Listening to BBC's "Fifth Floor" program,
always good stuff. This morning they're interviewing a wonderfully wise Egyptian woman about the current condition of the revolution. She understands something that our Western idiots refuse to understand... Any revolution brings a Golden Dawn of Glorious Change. But by 9 AM the routine of the day has begun, and you feel the sharp cut of an internal gradient. The full-blown image of the Golden Dawn occupies your head, and you compare it with daily life that may be slightly better or slightly worse than before. Ouch!
Putting this together with other recent events, I realized something. The purpose of civilization is to stretch out gradients.
When civilization works, it softens both spatial and cultural gradients.
The fertilizer plant blast is a good example of failed spatial gradients. As I noted yesterday,
smart planners recognize the huge pressure gradient between the pipes of a processing plant and the normal atmosphere. They also recognize that pipes are imperfect and sometimes explode. There's nothing you can do to prevent those occasional breaks, but you can
put lots of land between the pipes and the population so the gradient has room to dissipate. Because this has been understood for a LONG time, there was no excuse for building houses and schools next to the plant in Texas.
The Chechen bombers in Boston: a failed cultural gradient. Living organisms have cell walls and skin and scales and bark to maintain a gradient between their complex orderly innards and the disorderly world outside. Nations are a BIG living organism. When functioning normally, they have borders and customs checkpoints and walls and anti-missile defenses to maintain a gradient between their particular type of order and the disorderly world outside. A selectively controlled
gradient is a source of energy. Let in the good elements and the positive sensory and cultural inputs gradually, keep out the bad. Sane people understand this, but modern American governments don't.
If we had maintained our national 'skin', the 9/11 attack couldn't have happened. Did we learn anything? Nope, not a bit. We're still outsourcing our labor to starve our own people, still sucking in bad cultural inputs, still letting 'disorderly' foreigners in. This is not accident or neglect; our leaders have been consciously destroying our civilization for a long time. It's their mission in life.
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Sidenote: NPR just mentioned a factoid that illustrates the absolute reagent-quality perfection of American idiocy and self-destructiveness. Last week the DC government issued a travel ban against certain Russians. Well good! Maybe they were realizing the problem, if a bit late? No, of course not. The ban was against RUSSIAN OFFICIALS WHO HAD BEEN TRYING TO PUT DOWN THE CHECHEN REBELLION.
Russians may be disorganized,
sloppy and drunk, but they are basically sane. They understand borders and self-defense. And "our" government couldn't stand to have anyone who understands self-defense entering our borders. We must be PERFECTLY VULNERABLE TO ALL THREATS. We must have ZERO IMMUNITY, ZERO SKIN, ZERO CELL WALLS. All invaders must be BROUGHT IN AND SUBSIDIZED AND ASSISTED.
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Update next day: BBC quotes the Tsarnaev mother: FBI knew Tamerlan quite well and kept track of him for several years. We don't know further details yet, but based on previous situations we can assume either (1) FBI tried to run a sting with Tamerlan and succeeded magnificently; or (2) FBI decided he would destroy America well enough without a sting, and let him run. In either case, FBI's post-1989 goal of turning America into one vast bleeding open sore was nicely advanced by this case.