So Much for our “Wits Getting Sharper”

We like to think of America as the shining light of civilization, Reagan’s "city on the hill," a bastion of "exceptionalism" according to that great contemporary political philosopher Sarah Palin.

Well, maybe not so much:

It must be tough being Ronald Wright. As a blisteringly insightful historian with eyes as much on the future as the past, it’s easy to imagine how painful it must be to live here in the early 21st century and watch as the United States leaves a trail of blood across the globe. Some would go into politics or activism to try and stop it; if you’re an award-winning author and former Massey Lecturer like Wright, however, odds are good you’d focus all that outrage into a book instead—which is exactly what the author of A Short History of Progress and A Scientific Romance has done with his latest must-read, What is America? A Short History of the New World Order. But I’ll warn you now: it’s scary.

How scary? Check this out: “The Columbian Age was built on colonial attitudes: on taming the wilderness, civilizing the savage, and the American dream of endless plenty. Now there is nothing left to colonize. Half a millennium of expansion has run out of room. Mankind will either share the Earth or fight over it—a war nobody can win. For civilization to continue, we must civilize ourselves. America, which helped set the Europeans on their new path half a century ago, must now examine its own record—the facts, not the myths—and free itself from the potent yet potentially fatal mix of forces that created its nation, its empire, and the modern world.”

In to such a world, we’re going to introduce technologies that draw on the most powerful forces in the universe?  No wonder some things are kept in a library that nobody has a card for….

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