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Sunday, 7.17.05: This Crazy World

The world is a troubling place and the bombing in London makes it even more complicated. You can't just blame "foreigners" anymore if your own countrymen turn against you.

Life used to be simpler. There were only nations or tribes. Religion was pretty much synonymous with the nation (or at least it was clear which religion was in charge). The strong nations went out and conquered the weak ones and made them colonies. Corporations obeyed the rules  of the country they paid taxes to. Only in cases of civil war did it get murky whose side you should be on.

Now we are "globalized."

Now we are "globalized." But the more irrelevant national boundaries become, the more tribal and fragmented we get. It's hard to be patriotic to the country you live in when you work for a corporation that is sustained by business with China or India or Brazil and when your church dictates your politics. And when your schools are are social experiments instead of old fashioned assimilation factories that taught you what it means to be an American or a Brit or a Frenchman in no uncertain terms.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of globalization. I like the concepts of the U.N. and free trade and open borders and a mosque on the same street as a Christian church.

But the transition is killing us. The change is moving too fast and we aren't smart enough to manage it well. Corporate leaders are driven by unchecked greed. Political leaders just flap their jaws with the same old clichés while the potential of wise policies rots away under partisan incompetence. And religious leaders are drunk with power. And We the People rely on corporate greed for our retirement checks, keep electing the same jaw-flapping politicians, and turn all our dilemmas into "what would Jesus do" questions.

What does this add up to? It adds up to 4 young Brits somehow deciding it's a good idea to blow themselves up on the subway. Where the hell do we go from here?




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