I think – and my blogging is all about what I think – that people are angry because they are afraid. I think people are afraid because they’ve lost trust: trust in our valued institutions (banks, for instance), trust in our leaders (approval ratings of congress are at an all time low) and trust in each other (do we know we are going to still be employed 12 months from now?)
So we are angry because we’re afraid and afraid because we can no longer trust that the tried and true methods of dealing with the massive world changes are working.
In Joshua Cooper Ramo’s book “The Age of the Unthinkable” he talks about how we keep doing the same things (that worked in the past) to deal with events that are constantly changing. He says: “we’ve left our futures… in the hands of people whose single greatest characteristics is that they are bewildered by the present.” And that the “sum of their misconceptions has now produced a tragic paradox: policies designed to make us safer instead make the world more perilous.”
“History’s grandest war against terrorism, for instance, not only fails to eliminate terrorism, it creates more dangerous terrorism. Attempts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons instead encourage countries to accelerate their quest for an atom bomb.”
Here we are. Van Jones was forced to resign from his White House job because, fundamentally he is a communist and a person who believes that not only is white America deliberately polluting the poor (read that, black) neighborhoods in this country, but he believes that the American government was involved in the 9/11 murders of nearly 3000 people:
Now Jones is being sought after to speak at private high schools and given a job at Princeton.
The people’s response to this man in the White House – even if his office was in the basement behind a stack of storeage boxes – and thanks to men like Glenn Beck who put the spotlight on him, caused his weak-end (that is not a typo) sneaky departure.
But he’s like Superman: he can’t be killed. I mean that in the metaphorical sense, not the literal. In other words an idea can’t be stopped. His idea, wrong headed as it is, is that of American communism. And it seems that no matter what we do, we can’t kill the idea, we can’t stop the spread of this cancer in our collective system. People like him intend that the communism cancer is spread and becomes all consuming:
We got Jones out of a government position but he comes back stronger and more popular in another form and with a new function. We won one battle but the war drags on at another front.
This is just a minor example of the paradox that Ramo talks about in his book. But it’s the minor skirmishes that seem to bother me the most. If we can’t eradicate the minor things (like the Van Jones ideology) how do we ever think we can win the big ones (like a world safe from Al Qaeda?)
We won 2 world wars. There was a beginning and an end and the United States ended them. I’m in the old mindset that Ramo talks about: We are a good and right people and we can beat anything. But now, I am afraid that I can no longer trust that way of thinking.
Is it no longer enough to be good and right? And why isn’t it? The subtitle of his book is “Why the new world disorder constantly surprises us and what we can do about it.” Maybe by the time I finish it, I’ll have my answers and I’ll be less afraid.