Opinions are Like Assholes
Charles de Gaulle is supposed to have thrown up his hands and asked of the French,"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?"
I'm starting to wonder about the United States-- how can you govern a country with 300 million opinions, half of those uninformed, half-baked or selfish-- but every single one of them convinced that they're righteous and deserving of the same respect?
During an NPR story on the Three Cups of Tea controversy, a woman called in to attack the expose because it came from "journalists, elitists and intellectuals" who only wanted to tear down someone who'd actually "done something" for girls in Afghanistan. It startled me, because she used the same malediction and emotional straw men you'd expect from a teabagger on a scooter.
When archeologists of the future sweep away the rubble of the American republic slash empire, will they find the same chemicals in the water supply that destroyed the Roman ruling class? There is learned speculation that the bizarre behavior at the top of the Roman social structure was caused by lead and mercury in the glazes used on aristocrats' tableware.
I don't think it's lead in the water supply that's making us stupid and mean-- we test for that, surely? Or is wickedness contagious, like the social breakdown observed in a crowded rat cage?