Monday, March 12, 2007

Rhyming History

Miraculous new communications technologies have suddenly appeared, transforming everyday life. Everything is moving discombobulatingly fast. Globalization accelerates. Wall Street booms. Outside San Francisco, astounding fortunes are made overnight, out of nothing, by plucky nobodies. The new media are scurrilous and partisan. Marketing spin and advertising extend their influence as never before. A fresh urban-youth subculture has emerged, rude and vibrant, entertainment-fixated and violence-glorifying. Christian conservatives are furiously battling cultural decadence, and one popular sect insists that the end days are nigh. Ferocious anti-immigration sentiment is on the rise. Both major American political parties seem pathetically unable to deal with the looming, urgent issue of the day. Insurgents practicing asymmetrical warfare have, practically overnight, threatened to bring down the political order of Western civilization. And the President has tapped into patriotic rage to invade a poor desert country, having dubiously claimed that the enemy nation represents a clear and present military danger to America.
Good summary of what is going on now...or is it 1848? Kurt Andersen writes in Time on how "history really does rhyme, if not repeat itself" and more. That's a pretty good way to put it.

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