The Inka empire and us: How extensive, how extreme, is human mental dysfunction?
Human dysfunction runs quite deep, especially at times like these. Consider the first fourteen minutes of last night's Maddow Show.
Before she got to the impending impeachment of Donald J. Trump; before she discussed the inspector's general's report about the Russia probe; before she discussed the new report which said that the public has been systematically deceived about the war in Afghanistan—
Before Maddow touched on any such matters, she devoted her first fourteen minutes to the topic she loves above all others. She devoted her first fourteen minutes to questions concerning the impending sentencing hearings for Rick Gates and Michel Flynn—hearings to help determine the length of their possible prison sentences.
Under the circumstances, this topic was amazingly tangential—but so what? Maddow began her program with this topic, and she was still discussing this topic as of 9:14. To watch the closing chunk of this absurdly tangential fourteen minutes of bafflegab, you can just click here.
(Needless to say, she will never discuss the public school issues we'll be discussing this week and next. Maddow never stoops to the level of discussing the lives and interests of the nation's low-income kids. In fairness, neither does anyone else on her corporate channel.)
We've told you this many times. As others loved the smell of napalm in the morning, Maddow loves to think about people from the other tribe being frogmarched off to jail.
She is so in love with this topic that we're inclined to regard it as a borderline sickness. Last night, this impulse took her to a place which seemed a bit amazing even to us.
That said, the craziness was all over cable last night and this morning. Brian Williams, Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough? At this point, their devotion to conflation and confusion about allegations of Ukrainian "meddling" have reached the point of total intellectual breakdown. This is especially true in the case of Williams, though Scarborough was shouting and screaming this morning from 5:59:30 on.
In our view, it's unlikely that this unfolding tribal breakdown will ever turn out well. It makes us think of Charles Mann's portrait of the Inka empire at the point of first contact with Europe.
What the heck was the Inka empire? We'll let the leading authority on the subject give you a quick overview:
The Inca Empire...was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. Its political and administrative structure is considered by most scholars to have been the most developed in the Americas before Columbus' arrival. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in the city of Cusco. The Inca civilization arose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century. Its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.This powerful empire fell to the Spanish, but how did that happen, and why? As with other "first contact" disasters, Mann describes the powerful role of epidemic disease in the fall of this empire, "bigger by far than any European state" at that time.
Beyond that, though, there lies a story of human cruelty, and of crazy ideation.
Pompous professors like to scold the electorate about those idiot Pilgrim settlers with their crazy ideas about being God's chosen people. In this small way, these spectacularly pompous professors work to re-elect Trump.
That said, we humans have always had crazy ideas. And especially as judged by present-day standards, we humans have always been immoral and cruel.
Around the era of first encounter, this was true of humans in Europe, and of humans in the Americas. We'll excerpt Mann's portrait of the Inka tomorrow, but we are currently watching two political tribes break down as our own failing society stages a very large fight.
Williams was out of his mind last night; Maddow spent a large chunk of her program on an amazingly tangential matter. To her credit, she didn't play the audiotape in which Governor Bentley tells his girl friend that he loves touching her body.
This is the way societies come to an end. Tomorrow, a walk with the Inka.