Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dystopia now...

Our Congress is working hard to earn every point of its less than 20% approval rating.

Politics as usual.  They appear gridlocked once more as yet another deadline over the debt ceiling looms nigh.  This comes fast on the heels of last week's vote in the House of Representatives that cut funding to food stamp programs.  The vote ran almost entirely down party lines with House Republicans voting in block.   

I like science fiction.  That last statement likely strikes you as a) nothing new and b) having nothing to do with the subject of this post.  Stay with me on this.

The science fiction of my youth was filled with Star Trek the original series, films from the 1960s that were godawful but oh-so-fun, and of course Star Wars.  Yes, I had all of the action figures.  The future looked bright.

That is not the science fiction future we ended up getting.  Instead, we live in pre-apocalyptic days that are just on the cusp of dystopia (look it up).  We have a dysfunctional government with two parties unable to see any points but their own and working lock-step in a scorched earth policy to complete their agenda by any means necessary.  The food stamp vote and the Fight Against Obamacare: Round Bazillion are just further evidence of this.

"But there are too damn many people bilking the system to get free things." Of course there are.  One is too many.  But that line of reasoning sacrifices aid to the legitimate for the punishment of the offending...and the latter, I wager, are in the minority.  Sort of reminds me of the sky-is-falling fear over voter fraud.

A "slash and burn" cutting of aid programs will only create desperate and frantic people.  Desperate people easily become violent people.  That means crime.  It might even be easier in this proposed society to get a gun than it would be to get something to eat on a consistent basis.  Dystopia.  It's not the Hollywood kind with the good looking, rebel bad boy action stars.  It's going to be uglier than that.  Much uglier.

Or maybe not.  An article I read today in The Economist argues that the disenfranchised might not even care.   While those on the left (and I must admit that is where I tend to fall most times) fear class disparity and societal polarization will lead to open riots, economist Tyler Cowen thinks otherwise.  Instead, "the have-nots will be too engrossed in video games to light real petrol bombs. An ageing population will be rather conservative, he thinks. There will be lots of Tea-Party sorts among the economically left-behind. Aid for the poor will be slashed but benefits for the old preserved."

Good news for the elderly I guess.

Me?  Let's just say I'm not looking forward to it.

 Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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