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Saturday, June 10, 2017

The politicians in Washington give zombies a bad name

At least real zombies have a good excuse.

T he zombie fad died years ago, but Hollywood keeps grinding out zombie movies, the latest one being The Mummy. It's almost as if, as Sigmund Freud thought about neuroses, the zombie metaphor will never go away until we understand what it really means.

Zombies are people with no awareness and no purpose in life. They get up in the morning, they shave, they eat their brains and drink their coffee and go to work without understanding why. They stir up fake, self-created problems, never stopping to think that there might be more important things to worry about.

[Insert Reza Aslan joke here]

The main job of a zombie is pretty easy: walk forward with arms outstretched, saying the same thing over and over: “The Russians... the Russians!” as they hunt for brains that might be lying around unused. Zombies don't care about anything else, including staying alive. For them it's a reasonable, well thought-out strategy, because they're already dead.

Zombies
Members of the House Select Committee taking a break

But enough about the fantasy about Trump colluding with Russians.* Most of us out here in Flyoverburgh, Flyovervania knew from the start that it was ridic­ulous. Thanks to Comey, that fairy tale is in much the same state as Bambi after its meeting with Godzilla.

But there's a bigger issue. A civilization's most precious possession is its will to survive, its confidence that it is basically good and deserves to live. Good government and calm reflection on important issues are essential for this. The past 8½ years have demonstrated that both of those are rapidly disappearing.

Obama was elected because the voters hoped his election would solve the race problem. Instead, by taking sides, he set race relations back by decades. Almost all the social problems—the cake explosions, the college rape hysteria, the attacks on free speech—were the result of government taking sides on social issues. That, not the Russians, is the real reason why his successor lost the election.

It's tempting for people to blame their political opponents, but the truth is that political factions are not real. They are artifacts produced when the government goes beyond its mandate and starts taking sides. Doing so fractures society between those who think it's a good idea and those who are threatened by it.

On one side we get college professors spinning grand theories purporting to be about economics or sociology or the environment or social justice, but are really concealed attempts to support more government involvement. It's fraudulent scholarship intended to further their economic self-interest: they are dependent on government handouts and they want more.

On the other side we get those who resist it. Lately, we've seen a new development: people on the right using even more creative tactics. Some become flamboyantly or outrageously anti-PC, trying to desensitize the public to their ideas. Others write article after article hoping to convince people that there's a problem and our civilization is in big trouble.

Government is the playing field and its agents are the referees. When it strays from that role, it creates factions like these. Sooner or later, they'll be at each other's throats. They're already fighting: one person has been poisoned and several prominent intellectuals have been physically threatened. These problems are created by the government, and government needs to stop before it spirals into chaos.

Like zombies, both sides move forward, without understanding why or where they're going, looking for an unguarded bit of cerebral cortex that nobody's using and putting it to a different use. That's their role in our cultural ecosystem.

Okay, maybe I've stretched the zombie analogy a bit too far. But the point is that unless we become aware of why we're fighting each other, it will only get worse. In the movies, zombiism is a disease that destroys civilization, and the people turn to brutality to survive. How much better not to create zombies in the first place. But that would take brains.


* Then there's all the silliness about ‘covfefe.’ My theory is that it's clearly a misspelling of the Klingon word quHvaj, which means ‘dandruff’. Trump is saying he has dandruff. Or maybe he was speaking in Russian: коверкание (koverkaniye) ‘to mangle’. He's saying the press is mangling his words. Trump is a Russian!


jun 10, 2017; last edited jun 10, 2017, 9:55 am


See also

Argumentation in the Internet-driven world
Let the bastards get their nose under the tent on just one issue you don't care much about, and the next thing you know there's no freedom of speech at all.

BBC's Angsty Gay Yorkshire Zombies
How the British Broadcasting Corporation imagines a zombie post-apocalypse society


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