The President and the Prince

What do you think about quantitative easing? Alright, scratch that. What’s your take on reparations for the descendants of enslaved people? Yeah, ok. Let’s move this in a less contentious direction: a penny, please, for your thoughts on Islam.

Or, hey, how about we kick around a theory or two about climate change? Or talk, instead, about LEFT-WING MEDIA BIAS (all caps seems about right)? No? Then maybe pondering the Fermi paradox is more your jam?

I put it to you, dear reader, that never before in the course of human history has it been easier to flatter ourselves into believing just how terribly smart we are. There is so much complexity in the world: who can even remember how un-evolved we used to be?!

And, sure, it’s really not so hard to think generous thoughts about the human race. Some people, some of the time, do extraordinary and brilliant things. And – probably – most people, most of the time, are kind-of-heart, generous, and likable.

But do you ever catch yourself, in more pensive moments, struggling to reconcile all of this with a very different, nagging thought: maybe, in fact, we’re still incredibly dumb? I do.

Especially troubling for me are the following two photos. First, a couple months’ ago, this:

The prince and the president

And then, in today’s Guardian, this:

Nuclear football

In the first of these photos, President Obama is in a palace greeting a royal toddler. In the second, a uniformed military aide is carrying one of America’s three ‘nuclear footballs,’ which enable travelling presidents to launch nuclear strikes if circumstances compel him or her to do so.

The institution of monarchy and the destructive force of nuclear weapons… Imagine humanity starting from scratch, identifying these two things as a desirable goal, then ‘working backwards’ toward realizing them. Surely, that would be absolutely fucking nuts.

Here we all are, though, in 2016, just somehow accepting the concept of hereditary monarchs – even if that must also mean putting on a pedestal one random cute kid in a dressing gown and slippers. And just somehow accepting that all our major population centers can, in a flash, be reduced to ash and rubble if one of several nuclear ‘superpowers’ ever seeks to demonstrate how super is their power – which, after all, didn’t come cheap.

And through it all, of course, we say: my country is better than your country. And my god is better than your god… In a way, it’s almost funny. Until, you know, it isn’t.

Syrian boy

It’s never been easier to know a little bit about something. But what good is that?


About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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3 Responses to The President and the Prince

  1. The fact that many folks take a gazillion selfies, run around catching virtual pokemon – and queue for days outside Apple Stores; does indicate that this is partly accurate

    ‘maybe, in fact, we’re still incredibly dumb?’

    One chain of thought could be that these things are escapism, consumer driven hive minds acting out as expected.
    Religion; in its many guises, is ultimately a ridiculous thing to have – if for just one reason, that it cannot move with the times and adapt.
    I think the struggle with one religion – see ‘Glaswegian Shopkeeper murder’ (outrageous event, please google it if you didn’t hear about it) and the outcome of it. The attitudes of the defendants supporters in the public gallery certainly left a sour taste, more so when considering the bigger implications. Said implications involving their young family members, and those in contact with them and the unsavoury environments they create.

    Depressing state of affairs, and yes, tip of iceberg stuff really, when you ponder about the World and all its existing concerns.
    In a nutshell, the worst thing to happen on this planet was mankind. Doesn’t have to be that way.
    Certainly, a move to secular societies and a diversion of resources into known quantities would be progress.
    Imagine the leaps in science. The improvements in Ecological and civil engineering for another.
    Trouble is, a lot of us aren’t ready for this yet. Too stuck in old conflicts, ideologies or focused on new gains such as oil, land or natural advantage points.
    No government or ruling system is perfect. Some are clearly worse than others in terms of rights and freedoms. Some operate brutal societies that routinely torture and kill citizens. Some do these things for ridiculous reason such as insulting a fat dog lover who was born to sit on a golden chair and don a silly hat for ceremonies.
    Then you have those who act nuts, when denigrating its sky fairies. Arguably, some fairy worshippers rather like the idea of moving back to the 6th Century. Think I covered that one in one of my own blogs.

    And then again, some governments and ruling systems do none of these sorts of things.
    And yes, they still aren’t perfect. They also afford its uninhibited people of both genders; freedoms to play pokemon, and well – simply chat shit if they desire.
    Some people like taking moments out of their time, to write a blog or comment, and share any thoughts on something that interests or concerns them. It could be as inane as a famous songwriter or singer, a football team or film.
    It’s all chat, it’s all good; but sometimes the topics batted out of the field are interesting too. The ball can land in the rough as well as the fair way.

    • I don’t agree that mankind is the worst thing to happen on this planet. At least, it’s definitely the best thing that ever happened to me.

      • Collectively speaking. But isn’t that what you thought initially perhaps? Overpopulation is a resource drain, and constantly encroaching on natural habitats. The Indonesia fires for instance, which ravaged an area larger than Wales, was ‘started’ to enable Palmoil growth. Never mind the orangutans who fled the fires to frequently being killed by humans when they entered their villages for safety. I really feel that listing a massive list of similar, perhaps much worse examples, would be pointless as you are fully aware of them I guess. I feel a proper debate on overpopulation and its countless impacts is overdue. Another blog perhaps. Idk. Maybe sport or porn next.

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