as the drain swirls

We have a system in place that rewards power with power; corporations, political parties, the media all feed off each other in a vicious cycle of corruption. Change is their real enemy. In the same way that citizens (tend) to get more conservative as they age, our institutions gain more power and wealth over time and, having more to lose, become more and more intolerant of change and progress.

I really thought there was a chance — after the orgy of corruption and excess the republicans fomented over the past decade — that we could save this country without falling to pieces, that we could have a soft reboot and rejoin the rest of the developed world in rational conversation. It seems like that was an illusion. I don’t know if we can put off pulling the plug soon.

With global climate change, rapid development draining the worlds resources faster than innovation can keep up, increasingly polarized politics, declining critical thinking and education among the celebrity addled public, the entrenchment of immortal and amoral corporations in positions of power and regulatory (and legislator) capture, corporate media drowning out all discourse with fluff and misdirection — what hope do we have?

The only thing we have right now is the internet. This is the last tool of freedom that could keep us out of the corporate powers’ hands. Google and Facebook are maybe months or years from taking that away from us. They’re figuring out how to buy us off with the convenience and the social pressure of their tools and gadgets. We’re letting them further and further into our private lives – even our minds. Soon the internet will be AOL again, a toy we can play with at the price our privacy and attention.

What then? At the end of history, with an exhausted planet, our bodies and minds tools of faceless corporations furiously scrambling to find the last drop of oil and ounce of water before their competitors, we’ll finally get a rest. We’ll never explore the stars or evolve into new and wondrous lifeforms. We’ll die thirsty and hot below a yellow sun and the universe will continue its long stretch without noticing.

Lance Cameron Kidwell

18 December 2009

Posted in Culture

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