Perhaps not since Caligula appointed his horse to the Roman senate has the political establishment gone so far out of its way to flaunt its absurdity. The inanity is not confined to any particular factions; it is pure bipartisanship that unites the politically-minded in their efforts to bamboozle the booboisie with terrifying specters and the kinds of implausible explanations of events that recall childhood tales told around a late-night campfire.
Civilization – not the institutional order – is in a critical condition, one brought on by the failure of our intellectual and spiritual immune systems to resist the virus of institutionalism. This crisis is not to be found in Washington, or Detroit, or on Wall Street, but in our thinking about who we are as individuals and as members of society. As long as we revere the interests of organizations more highly than we do our own; as long as we continue to invest the lives of our children and grandchildren as resources for institutional consumption, this crisis will continue unto the disintegration of civilization itself.
Human history has seen a repetition of such patterns in the growth and decline of civilizations. Our culture is not fated to such ends, but we must confront the crisis in our thinking – yours and mine, not "theirs" – if we are to reverse the entropic course on which we are now headed. Each of us must, individually, abandon our subservience to the authority of others. In this connection, we might wish to recall the words of the poet Ezra Pound: "a slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him."
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