Sunday, January 20, 2008

The real, the counterfeit, and the madness of crowds

Several threads to tie together here:
1. The worship of celebrities, as evidenced by the swarms of paparazzi around the unfortunate Britney Spears, or the elevation of George Clooney to "Ambassador of Peace" status by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

2. The debasement of currencies by decoupling the paper money from a tangible underlying form of wealth, such as gold. A buck ain't what it used to be.

3. The madness of crowds, whether in the pursuit of Salvation by Carbon Reduction or the rare but spectacular rushes to purchase, say, silver.

What does it say about us, that we are so fascinated by the banal, fooled by short term expedience over long term value, and vastly more likely to run with the herd than against it, even to our own destruction?

Why, it says only that we are human. We want things to be easy for us, sooner rather than later, and without much regard for the long term consequences. We need something to believe in, something that lots of other people believe in.

Seems to me that it is like wetting the bed in order to get warm. It works, but only for a moment.

In all this, may we never lose sight of the importance of free speech and vigorous debate.

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