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A Cup of Soda in Hell

The great theme of every overrated writer in the past twenty years has been the interconnectedness of things. Butterflies flap their wings in China and famine kicks off in Africa. A man gets on a plane in Sydney and another man jumps off a balcony in Paris.

You can get your interconnectedness fix from Thomas Friedman's New York Times column as he marvels at the flattening of the world or any one of an endless number of fictional tomes in which strangers from around the world collide and influence each other's lives.

The interconnectedness of things is not just the theme of the next TED talk you'll watch or the next Wired article you'll read. It's the theme of policy as well. Pull one string and everything changes. Policy is no longer about making things happen by doing them, it's about finding the precursor to them and doing that and when that doesn't work, finding the precursor to that.

The growth of government means that everything is interconnected and instead of trying to cut the cost of health care by trimming back the bureaucracy, you ban sodas to fight obesity in the hopes of eventually cutting the cost of health care. It's the sort of thing that sounds smart when it's made into the theme of a book that discusses how connected everything else is to everything.

It's stupid in real life, but who pays attention to real life anyway?

Public policy is wired into the next great insight into interconnectedness and the one after that. Doing things to do them is stupid. It's the sort of thing that Bush, poor dumb ape man, would do. The smart set, the Obama set, do the things that they don't want to do to do the things that they want to do. It's the sort of thing that sounds stupid if you try to explain it to a cab driver, but sounds like absolute genius when explained to an audience consisting of dot com people and people who wish they were dot com people.

And sometimes it even works. Most of the time though it makes things confusing and miserable.

The opening premise of interconnectedness theory is that trying to do what you want to do is futile. You don't make a hurricane by turning on a fan and aiming it as a cloud, you do it by getting on a plane to China and then irritating a butterfly so that it flaps its wings. And then the hurricane comes or it doesn't.  But while you're there you'll probably meet a monk or a street urchin who will go you a deeper insight into life or steal your wallet which will inspire you to write the next bestselling book about how everything in life is really connected to everything else.

Wars? Naturally we don't do them. Only dumb brute apes think that you win a war by killing the enemy. That's a positively medieval point of view. Even Bush knew better than that. No, you win a war by dealing with the root causes of the war. You find all the links to all the events, you win over the natives with candy bars and briefcases full of infrastructure money, and then it all converges together and the war is over. Or it's not. But either way you write a book about it.

Interconnectedness is the search for causes. It's never a mismanagement problem, because that's not a revelation.

Tell Mayor Bloomberg that health care costs are high because it takes four administrators to a doctor to get a patient through the system and he'll look bored. That's obvious. Tell him that recreating every new government building so that visitors are forced to use the stairs and those cold black marbles in his head will come awake.

Tell Obama that we're losing the war because we're not killing the enemy and he'll hand you a pen and excuse himself, but tell him that the war is being lost because we need to get more Muslims into space and he'll hand you a Czarship.

We are becoming a subtle and stupid society, obsessed with nuance and a mystical search for the hidden social engines of life. And while that may seem advanced when you're reading through the latest New York Times bestseller that explains how fishermen in Southeast Asia are influenced by sales of cotton candy in Michigan and the price of coffee in Brazil, it's actually quite debilitating.

Subtle societies aren't good at what they do, they're good at finding reasons not to do it.

The Muslim World is nuanced and subtle. An illiterate street vendor in Cairo can come up with a conspiracy so complex for every area of his daily life that it would baffle Oliver Stone. And worse still he will probably be half right.

When turbaned lunatics pop up on MEMRI videos to explain that the CIA unleashed cannibal werewolves trained by the Mossad to set off the Egyptian revolution, they are just being students of the interconnectedness of all things. They believe that we are all conspiring against them, because their society is a vast conspiracy perpetrated by everyone against everyone else.

Americans are among the few peoples in the world who actually mean what they say when in most of the world's failed societies, what someone says has no surface meaning and a great deal of subtext. This makes Americans absolutely hopeless diplomats, but very good at actually getting things done. To deal with much of the world you need a detailed set of customs and codes, but most people can walk off the plane at JFK or Los Angeles International Airport and adapt with very little effort.

Or at least that's the way it used to be. These days American elites embrace nuance and subtlety. There was a time when things could get done because doing them involved going from A to B to C. If you wanted something done, you did it. Now if you want something done, you go from E to Q to Z to D and then decide that it's probably better not do it.

The new intelligence does not involve doing things, but doing them at an angle or learning that it is better to do nothing, than to do something.If the Wright Brothers had been born today, they would have considered inventing the airplane in terms of its carbon footprint. If Lewis and Clark had been born today, they would have gone on their trip to raise money for microfinance and then destroyed their maps to avoid letting them become tools of colonialism.

Global Warming is the culmination of all that interconnectedness thinking. Finally the butterfly flapping its wings really does set off a hurricane. A carbon atom emitted from the mouth of Mrs. Doris Hessingman of Longtree Lane, Tennessee causes tsunamis in Asia. An errant sneeze in Milwaukee causes hunger in Africa. Three teenagers take a plane trip to Europe and drown an entire continent.

This Climate Friedmanism is the inevitable afterbirth of globalization. Once you've connected everyone, all that's left is to build that interconnectedness into a global social religion in which everyone's deeds affect everyone else.

That kind of thing doesn't stop with the environment. Climate Change is just an attempt to map the omnisocial metaphor of connectedness onto climate science. Interconnectedness means that we are constantly affecting and being affected by everyone, everywhere all the time. That soda you're drinking is teaching a baby to get fat and die of a heart attack at forty-nine. Your white privilege has disenfranchised seven different minority groups on the way to work. A formerly simple America becomes a complex and confusing place full of rules and customs as it begins to fail.

Social thinking is not concerned with solving problems by tackling them, but by transforming society so that the problems no longer exist. It's the same sideways approach that makes Muslims think that once everyone follows their version of Islamic law, all the problems will go away. And so instead of solving problems, we take people's feelings into account, pandering to them and manipulating them.

Instead of trying to win the War on Terror, we're trying to win the War on Feelings with a hearts and minds love bombing campaign. And we badger people into losing weight a thousand different ways because it's easier than taking on the powerful health care unions. Instead of dealing directly with problems, our governments have become the social manipulators of people.

China is moving in on the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. North Korea is moving closer to a nuclear war. But Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of Pacific Command, knows what the answer is. Forget fighting wars, what we have to do is teach everyone to love Mother Earth. Having identified Climate Change as the greatest and likeliest security threat in the region, the United States will be conducting a multi-nation naval exercise to cope with the impact of Global Warming.

And why not?

On the interconnectedness front, it doesn't matter a whole heap whether North Korea drops the bomb or China smashes the Pacific fleet while it's engaged in preparing for Waterworld. It's all global now, which means that everything matters, which also means that nothing matters.

The purpose of US Pacific Command is no longer to fulfill a prosaic function such as keeping the peace. Like every other arm of the vast government, it exists to spread awareness of the impact of our actions on each other. It is just another ant in a vast ant hive whose sole purpose is to make a better ant hive by reminding everyone that they are ants living in one single blue marble ant hive whether an errant sneeze, an extra plane trip or a picnic of non-locally grown melons can destroy the hive.

“We can't drive our SUVs, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees," Obama famously said.

In the age of the social ant, you can't just do things. There is no you, only the omnipresent interconnected "We" and the nature of being a good we ant is to remind the other ants of all the things that they can't do, whether it's drinking large sodas or winning wars.

We are now interconnected. Everything affects everything else. And once you accept that premise, then the individual is done. There is only a flattened world of ant hives where conspicuous sacrifice is the new moral code and no one can do anything they want because it might destroy the world. 


  1. Anonymous12/3/13

    Absolutely brilliant per usual. Yes, we are in a Fellini freak film where fear, fantasy and fatalism merge madly in deadly devious drama.
    We are entering the formless, fuzzy,fragmented fortune telling where all are interconnected.

    This flim flam foments the negation of anything positive, hence we also now see the breaking down of anything that divides us. All of a sudden we read there really is no difference between male and female, between child or adult. Schools now allow transgender kids into the bathroom of their choice, so that Johnny who thinks he is Judy can enter the girls room or take a shower and show the girls his gift.

    One wonders with this sudden surge of sex speak where anything goes, but nobody knows, what's up, is really down. Sort of like getting the girls ready for the pervs, Moe variety, who would if they could, keep little girls for thighing, then dying for dopers, deadheads, and whirling dervishes. All for semen, but no men to see, as they waste in their retarded revery.

    Wasted and weary, the whiny, weenie liberals waive their rights to common sense, rationality and human intelligence. Thus, all others are to join in this insane groupthink/stink. We are to layoff our logical lights,and sacrifice 'sense' at the left's altar of artificial intelligence.

    Their wild wetdream is an artless, amoral, and attention deficit disorder demanding the loss of a moral compass. In lieu of gray matter we find in their craggy cranial cliffs, they now purport that nothing really matters...if they can now prove that left is right, that might makes right, even if it involves a moe 'honor killing' his wife or daughter, then, hey, we cannot say anything that disturbs the most disturbed of all. This twinkie twilight zone of the left has reached its zeitgeist in our age.

    It all began however, over a half century ago when cameras hooked up to vaginas recording the number of spasms released during orgasm. The left not content with such sick science, then decided to rev up a notch by pushing an ersatz educational system of, and by feminists onto generations of unsuspecting kids and parents.

    Now with the mind mangling of the masses by the messes calling themselves feminists, we are supposed to embrace gayness, and other assorted perversions, and worse, just call it diversity. Now kids are being taught in the pubic public schools, that lifestyle choices are there like a smorgasbord they can feast on. The end result is kids not learning the 3R's, but instead are learning the 3 R's X-rated as raw/rough and ready. Learning how to control a condom onto a cucumber is the new 101 subject. Apparently this feminist feeble minded fierce foisting of freakshows, fakery and four flushery onto students stultifys them--A formless future foreshadowing fuhrers of old. Most kids can't even think, read or count anymore. They are the products of useful idiots of the loser left.

    One Robert Bly authored a book many years ago, The Sibling Society. The left having done a bang up job to destroy the family has set kids up to look to another family, those of their peers..and then those other potheads posing as trash teachers. So basically you have the clueless leading the clueless and all careening into the circular circuitry of creep craniums.

  2. Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.

  3. Though I had arrived late to the concept of One World Order in 1999, back then it was still just a conspiracy theory. I had no problem believing it was true and that there were diabolical plans already in play by groups of high powered men in shadows, but still I wondered how it would be possible to unite the whole world of such diverse peoples under a single ruling force.

    Watching it slip into place for the past fourteen years, I realize I had underestimated how easy it is to subjugate people, regardless how diverse individually, by simply reconditioning them to think in terms of everyoneness. So, while I was wondering how One World Order could possibly come to be, it did, not physically, but mentally.

    You cannot fix stupid, but you can easily create it.

    In other news... a Baltimore lawmaker introduces a bill to make it illegal to suspend grade school students for forming a gun with fingers because introducing a bill that would make common sense legal would be too dangerous.


  4. “We can't drive our SUVs, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees," Obama famously said.

    I have to say it again: The big mistake in the Constitution is "The Executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States ...". Once you elevate some dumb@$$ guy to being something bigger than life, you have to end up with quotes like the above.

  5. 'Most of the time though it makes things confusing and miserable.'

    'We are becoming a subtle and stupid society, obsessed with nuance and a mystical search for the hidden social engines of life.'

    As King Solomon wrote long ago ,there is nothing new under the sun.
    Humanity has taken this dead end road before.
    This drive towards globalism by the elite is nothing more than return to the last failed unity apart from God and His terms scheme, the latest Babel will fail just like the first attempt.
    An old Yiddish saying ; 'Man plans ,God laughs' is God's response to arrogant,stubborn man who assumes he can play God.

    The more were are "united" ,the more divided we really become. This is the hand of God,the Babel effect is still at work.

    "And the whole earth was of one language and of one accent and mode of expression...

    And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
    And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them.
    Come, let Us go down and there confound (mix up, confuse) their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
    So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city.
    Therefore the name of it was called Babel—because there the Lord confounded the language of all the earth; and from that place the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
    Genesis 11

  6. In the last 500 million years, Earth has undergone five mass extinctions, including the event 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs. And while most scientists agree that a giant asteroid was responsible for that extinction, there’s much less consensus on what caused an even more devastating extinction more than 185 million years earlier.

    The end-Permian extinction occurred 252.2 million years ago, decimating 90 percent of marine and terrestrial species, from snails and small crustaceans to early forms of lizards and amphibians. “The Great Dying,” as it’s now known, was the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history, and is probably the closest life has come to being completely extinguished.

    Yet not one of these phoney Liberal Climate Change Pushers ever acknowledge this fact. Instead we have to make fuelso expensive that Middle Class Shmucks have trouble getting to work to support their families or heat their homes.

  7. I hate Friedman with passion. His flat world nonsense and a sort of peculiar passive-aggressiveness that always winds up promoting the kinds of things that Obama likes but with much more elaborate justifications is the kind of corruption that appeals to pseudo intellectuals and makes them feel justified in their bothersome interventions in other people's lives. I hate Bloomberg almost as much, but he also gives me hope: if an idiot like that can become a multi billionaire, so can anybody else.

  8. Talking about good-little-drone citizens of the imperial realm of Ozymandias-on-the-Potomac....

    Re: "Hemeac" sci-fi short story by E.G. von Wald

    Sneak preview of the quintessential Lib/Dem/Prog utopian wet-dream end-game.

  9. Anonymous12/3/13

    All very true, SK, but the prior error embedded in every progressive scheme is classic Hayek: no one can ever know enough to direct these interconnected systems.

    And chasing back up streams of interconnectedness simply magnifies the knowledge problem.

    What's worse is that progressives cannot admit to the knowledge problem because to do so would take away their entire good-faith excuse for meddling in the world's affairs.

  10. Anonymous12/3/13

    Tell us something we don't already know!

  11. It's stupid in real life, but who pays attention to real anyway?

    So much bears repeating. Brilliant all the way through. Thank you.

  12. “We can't drive our SUVs, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees," Obama famously said.

    The real kicker was the rest of that sentence, "and expect the rest of the world to just say 'OK' ."

  13. Every tax is connected to every other tax, and every taxpayer is connected to a loose noose.

  14. This article is garbage. In the time I'm taking to write this comment, my home computer is stealing enough power to feed 6 chickens in Siberia....Now that the chickens have starved, I will go about my business.


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