nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Outliving the US: the comments

The other day, I asked whether people expected to outlive the US, and got some very interesting replies.

The most noticeable similarity was that no one expected anything good to come of an end to the US, which probably supports the idea that the US is very stable.

tahkhleet posted a substantial core dump about politics and the state of the culture. I'm feeling rather swamped. This is unfair. Overloading people is *my* job.

Still, I'm going to pick out some bits. However, I recommend reading the whole thing.

Is Obama genuinely that awful? I'm disappointed that he isn't prosecuting those responsible for torture (and NPR did a bit about how he used the word torture before he was elected, but has dropped it since then). Is he letting *everything* important slide?

I'd have thought he's at least smart enough to take a lesson from what Katrina did to Bush's reputation.

Two "do my homework" questions:

Are his foreign policy advisors really all hawks?

How did he handle things when he was a community organizer? Did he get useful work done?
Slightly different angle about the financial elite: One of my friends believes that credentialism is part of the problem. The most likely way to get one of those very well-paid jobs is to be totally focused on the exhausting work of getting the right degrees. Aside from tahkhleet's point that only someone who's got bad values will be willing to do the work, getting the credentials means being totally focused on incentives rather than paying attention to the larger system.

Back to my pov: Having a system which makes room for competence is a very subtle problem. If people are totally shielded from consequences, whoever is good at social climbing will get the rewards, and the quality of work goes to hell. If there is too much effort to make sure the right thing is done, people game the measurement system, and the work goes to heck.

Genocide: I've been wondering for a while whether I'll see a nation commit auto-genocide (over 75% of population killed). It just seems as though people go nuts that way occasionally, and people are much more dependent on infrastructure than they used to be. Still, I don't know that the elites are dreaming of wiping a lot of the rest of us out, though worries about overpopulation can be read that way.

For purposes of this discussion, it isn't necessary that the elites would actually benefit from genocide, just whether enough of them strongly believe they would.
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