Do you know where Crimea is? Seriously now, a gaff by presidential hopeful Gary Johnson the other day proved once and for all, not even educated Americans have a very big “mental map” of our world. I was a geography student first and teacher second, and I can tell you categorically that very few of America’s leaders know US history and geography, let alone world names and places. If Johnson had known where Aleppo, a city in northwest Syria was, I would have been amazed. 99% of Americans could not point to Syria on a map if their lives depended on it. Not even college students I once polled, would be able to reliably find Moscow, or even St. Louis in Missouri for that matter. Get this, if a geography bee were slated to solve world crises, the United States would end up a third world banana republic. Don’t take my word, read this study published by National Geographic, or this 2014 one from the US Government’s Accountability Office, or this Telegraph report that shows one quarter of Americans do not even know Earth revolves around the sun. Some of you will perceive my path to proving a “Putin point” later on. Others should take heed, the complacent billionaires need chastising:
“Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.” Dale Carnegie
Now, on Crimea and Russian aggression is the American people are totally ignorant participants in a game of worldwide domination. Putin sending “little green men” into Crimea, his rescuing a Russian speaking population from certain denigration and torment by the Obama administration Nazi-Kiev junta, the situation did not, does not even register on my countrymen. What’s worse, even if Americans are informed and if they understand what removing language and ethnic cleansing signify, caring what happens overseas is just not something on US citizens’ “to do” list. We are “Ameri-centric” to the bone, trained, fed, and leashed to a way of thinking that is detrimental to the whole wide world. Even when Americans are “busted” being dumb on important matters, the insanity is hammered home by memes and Twitter trends making comedy of our pitiful society. Take the moment the 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant contestant, Miss South Carolina Caitlin Upton stumbled and fell off her high heels blaming bad geography on the US having “no maps”. It was just funny, a joke, 300 million Americans guffawed over Ms. Upton’s ignorance…. But the joke was on us all.
Barack Obama is quoted as saying “I’ve now been in 57 states, I believe.” 57. Former Vice President Dick Cheney transplanted Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in Peru once. Ukraine civil war incendiary Senator John McCain went on national TV to proclaim Iraq borders Pakistan. Former President Gerald Ford lost an election when he proclaimed the USSR would never dominate Eastern Europe on his watch. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney figured Iran was Syria’s ally only so the former could get to the sea! (Neither nation is land locked) George Bush thought Africa was a country, Obama thinks the Atlantic Ocean is the Gulf of Mexico, and Vladimir Putin is about to invade??? Ignorance, no child left behind, Americans are truly the “sheeple”.
“There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite.” Paul Gauguin
And America’s appetite can no longer be quenched, enter Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Bred mediocrity is notion first called to my attention by my brother Tony Joyce, a self made engineer who worked his way to the top hurdling every obstacle a human can. Bred mediocrity is the natural laziness of a successful society, intersecting with a resentence of intellect. It is also a topic experts like Dr. Joe A. Mann, and others have addressed. The most notable case I found being this Harvard Business Review report characterizes Americans as being overcome by Reality Deficit Disorder. Make no mistake, there are boat loads of proof America has become the land of the incurably stupid and hapless, but the stunning writings of author Umair Haquesmack us in the face. “America excels at mediocrity”, this is the undeniable truth we must come to grips with. His reportage snaps the fingers of cool reality in our faces; “What exactly is America still best in the world at?” Don’t guess, don’t wish, take time to discover exactly what we excel at these days – then evaluate the value, consider the long term, understand the pitiful fate or our nation.
But I need to tell you why, rather than pound the reality into your head. Google “mediocre America” and read up yourself – yes READ, be part of the solution. The reason “why” the whole world needs to understand America’s decline is simple.
If we go down, we’re taking a few billion with us
This Town Hall article during Barack Obama’s bout for a second term as president encapsulates all that is horrifically wrong with our system. The reasons we are going to intimately fail are in this, if one reads carefully and considers, that is. Barack Obama is the most mediocre leader in the history of the world, given the United States’ position when he took office – no empire or nation had more potential to effect positive change. But the only changes we have seen boil down to a far left wing takeover of colleges, the media, and Hollywood. The “story” force fed Americans runs so far foul of the truth, it’s inconceivable to the sentient soul. Hard news and truth are no longer appealing, Geography and even history are open to new interpretations – America is drugged into submission – and hardly anyone can escape. Brain candy, the “gravy” that coats the American psyche, it is the most deadly substance the Universe has ever known. Quoting author John Hawkins:
“The New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc., etc., etc. act as press flacks for the Democratic Party. Whatever story the Democrats want out there, they push it. Stories that are bad for the Left are either completely ignored or treated as insignificant. When conservative state legislators help fund public colleges that teach kids to hate them and conservatives watch TV shows, movies, and cable news networks that smear their beliefs over a morning paper that mocks God and looks down its nose at people with traditional values, it’s no surprise the Left has a huge advantage. Vladimir Lenin once said,”The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” and today, conservatives are funding the very people who are hanging our country by the neck until it dies.”
The aforementioned author stands a staunch right wing opinion scribe, but America needs to come back to the center. Remember what I said; “America will not go down alone?” Well, the humanity cannot afford another total collapse, we cannot survive another “Fall of Rome” – for these Romans will scorch the Earth for good. The state is set. Refugees of color in the shooting gallery, they take the place of the Jewish people for a new holocaust. Islam is the enemy, so are Russia and Vladimir Putin, and the Chinese are a colorful enemy too. American “exceptionalism” is a reality, only not a positive descriptive. We are exceptionally stupid, exceptionally callous, exceptionally selfish and greedy, a nation with one intention – to eat it up, wear it out, and use it all – we might as well go on and admit it.
“The coming years will prove increasingly cynical and cruel. People will definitely not slip into oblivion while hugging each other. The final stages in the life of humanity will be marked by the monstrous war of all against all: the amount of suffering will be maximal.” Pentti Linkola, Can Life Prevail?
When the bubble finally bursts, when these mediocre men and women who lead finally fail us, a nation so dependent on excess and eccentricity will collapse utterly. Take the dollar, for instance. What if our policy toward Russia and China is wrong? What if the Eurasian Economic Union succeeds in replacing the dollar as the medium of exchange? A loaf of bread could be $20. Supplies of 1000 products could be unattainable. A really new Great Depression could hit overnight! Many have warned of this, but few have prophesied what Americans would do. We care not to stop a million children being murdered in far off lands. Crimea is a “buzz” term by CNN to justify a new Cold War. Syria is Iraq or Afghanistan, a place where “rag heads” are slaughtered – who cares? But gas at $100 dollars a gallon, empty grocery store shelves and candle lit dinners are Hollywood sensations for Americans to discuss, over a Budweiser and a corn dog, at a Super Bowl Sunday half time. What happens if it all becomes real though?
Whoever is in charge in the White House at this moment in history will have a caveat. Bring back normal, get our cable TV back no matter the cost, nuke whoever you have to, just give us our lives back! You have to see the end of all this taking shape, I know you do. Putin attacked no one. Muslims are not the problem. Neither Republicanism nor Democratic stoicism will defend us from ourselves. Mediocrity cannot rule, but in the 21st century it can obliterate us all. I leave you with the root of our collective demise, the reason the Obama or Clinton or Trump types enthrall the masses so:
“Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe…