How did we end up like this?: At long last, Thomas L. Friedman has finally asked the big question.
"How did we get so inept?" he asked. He took this route to his query:
FRIEDMAN (7/29/20): When people ask me about my mood these days, I tell them that I feel like I’m a reporter for The Pompeii Daily News in A.D. 79, and I’m sitting in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius and someone just walked up and asked, “Hey, do you feel a rumbling?”Well actually, that's just the way he started.
Do I ever.
The summer of 2020 could be remembered as one of those truly important dates in American history...
For ourselves, we wonder how Friedman can be so upbeat. Given the way our societal downfall is cascading, we wonder what makes him think that there's going to be any history in the future—that any historians will be around to remember anything.
For ourselves, we have a hard time seeing a way out of our current mess. Selling The Crazy is big business now—and yes, it operates Over Here too, inside our own liberal tents.
We're just as crazy as they are. And they're out of their freaking minds!
Will we ever pull out of this headlong descent? Here's how Friedman got to his question:
FRIEDMAN (continuing directly); Everywhere you turn you see parents who don’t know where or if their kids will go to school this fall, renters who don’t know when or if they will be evicted, unemployed who don’t know what if any safety net Congress will put under them, businesses that don’t know how or if they can hold on another day—and none of us who know whether we’ll be able to vote in November.How did we get so inept? We aren't entirely sure, but we started building this site in 1997 because we thought the ineptitude was no longer bearable then.
That is a lot of hot, molten anxiety building up beneath our economy, society, schools and city streets—just waiting to blow the top off our country—because we have so failed at managing the coronavirus. We have 25 percent of all recorded infections in the world, and we’re only four percent of the world’s population. In the ultimate irony, Vietnam, which has a little less than one-third of our population but has reported only 416 cases and no deaths, is feeling sorry for us.
How did we get so inept?
And yes, The Crazy runs all through our tribe. The simple fact that we still can't see that helps show how inept we are.
The plague seems to add to The Crazy. We've seen unbelievably bad work again and again in the past several weeks, and that includes this very day, in both the Post and the Times. The work is unbelievably bad, and the editors can't seem to tell.
As a species, we have perfectly decent technological and construction skills, virtually no skills after that. We can't reason our way out of a wet paper bag, and we're thinking of a bag which is very wet.
The president seems to be mentally ill; the journalists refuse to discuss it. And as for the rest of their work—well, we have almost no skills at all.
We still hope to discuss some of the work we've seen today. That said, the ineptitude is simply amazing, and we're speaking about the work which is done on the highest journalistic levels.
Spreading The Crazy is big business now. Meanwhile, neither of our warring tribes is blessed with a great deal of intellectual skill.
It's all about Storyline, plus tribal loathing. It's those two things all the way down.
Our tribal sachems have very few skills. Our cable stars are absurd circus clowns. Intellectual squalor is pimped every day.
"How did things ever get so far?" How did we, the rational animal, manage to get so inept?
Try to avoid this answer: Over Here, in our own tribe's tents, it's easy to blame the whole thing on Trump. We refuse to see how many things our tribal stars did to help put Trump where he is.
We simply can't see ourselves as we are. Anthropologists tell us that this is the way the human brain is wired.