What happens in a society when serious discussions of long-term issues disappears?
What does it mean when the public debate about an issue of transcendental importance--such as education, long-term security, industrial development and environmental protection--ceases to be about facts and rational progression of ideas and becomes nothing more than a contest to outshout, out-talk and even cut out any and all opposition?
What happens to a nation when the primary form of dissemination of ideas is gossip, innuendo, mockery, demagoguery, bluff and ribaldry?
Where is a society heading when ideas are worth nothing and emotions are the standard for deciding policy?
When rationality is subtracted from the public forum, sanity at the policy level becomes intermittent, then nonexistent.
When ideas are demeaned to the point of instant rejection, debates are no longer about the merits of issues (pros and cons), but about prejudices, i.e., whims and lusts.
When debate ceases to be a rational search for meritorious resolution, the creation of policy via "debate" is not a progression, but a regression, a downward spiral where reality is the starting point and the path downward is fueled by ids and egos.
And in that rush to feed the bottom of wretched souls, the most extreme ids and most extreme egos lead the way. Sanity is not the realm of extreme ids and extreme egos.
Sanity is not Our realm now, not at the public level. We are led by ids and egos that deplore rationality in favor of "what I want, no, what I lust for" and on that basis, We are like the crewmembers on the Pequod or the Caine, caught in the rantings of madmen (and unhinged women) who are obsessed with their own psychotic visions, caring little or nothing about where they lead Us.
And if you think I exaggerate, do this the next time you hear a "public debate" on some large issue facing Us as a nation: notice how much is constructive rather than critical or of an emotional appeal. Serious debates are meant to build a solution, a plan or a process. What We have are slashfests, where mud-slinging criticism is sprayed without regard to hitting a specific target; rants, where anger and volume are the poorest of substitutes for analysis and veracity, and We have whines, where the idea is to shame the opposition through inane complaints and mindless sarcasm.
Listen, if you can, to what passes for public debate. Listen, if you can, to loquacious lunacy masquerading as leadership. Listen, for as long as you can, and then wonder how We got here...and how We'll get out.
The Jenius Has Spoken.