Here is the conclusion to "Le Roy and the next age of mankind". Click here for part 1, which is about history and oblivion (it can also be read without reading the rest). Click here for part 2, which is about what drives the persecution. This post is about the next age of mankind.
I might as well have been in a bomb shelter for the past several decades (and I knew even less before that) so I am confident that I know zip about cultural politics.
Or even what it is, exactly.
But it seems to me, ignorant as I am, that old culture wars are possibly partly fading and new ones have yet to fully form into polarized useless talking head prolefeed.
(And even if that's wrong, it gives me an idea.)
Here is my disclaimer:
Just as black humor straddles the fine line between comedy and tragedy, so the prose poem plants one foot in prose, the other in poetry, both heels resting precariously on banana peels. — Peter Johnson
But I will try not to make a footnote take up 1/3 of the post this time.
OK, let's continue.
What follows will be over the top for newcomers, but that's OK. If you want mainstream, pick up a newspaper.
There you will find that those girls in Le Roy (and others, but it's always the girls) are practicing impossible biology or impossible physics — magical powers — BUT they aren't aware of it.
YET it is never a priority to overturn science with this groundbreaking discovery (or have one iota of skepticism about it). You'd think the existence of magical powers would be a big deal, but no.
It's only ever a priority to stop looking for toxins or pathogens. Nothing to see in Le Roy, move along.
In fact, have you noticed? Toxins (or any harm from any powerful industry, but that is totally coincidental) are always vaguely unscientific. Pathogens exist sometimes, but let's check with authority first.
Admit it: you probably believe in alien abduction. You flake!
Our polarizations center on disease politics. A cluster of them in a holding pattern around Le Roy, waiting to land.
The important thing isn't the superstitious belief or logical fallacies or arch-vacuousness. It isn't the usual bigotry.
It's larger, and it can be the subject of a new war of values and facts.
The stricken in Le Roy are learning the lessons we have learned, just as poisoned and denied humans have throughout the larger, darker period of backwardness and avarice, unremarked by the common Joe until it is too late for him.
What if we make this a Schelling point?
Not Le Roy itself, of course, but the topics related to it:
Attitudes toward disease, toward its sufferers, opacity, corruption, politically-directed pseudoscience, denialism, official and systematic denigration, the complicit media, and many more things.
In other words, misopathy.
There are Le Roys all over the planet and people are missing what they have in common. It is not merely Incline Village and Camelford and Le Roy, separately.
It is one fight.
House of cards
It's a towering house of cards about to fall. It's disease politics, scaling to denialism as a profession and the defense of industrial murder, scaling to the girders and panels of our Truman dome. The infrastructure of inhumanity.
I don't know what made people in Le Roy sick. Maybe TCE had something to do with it. Maybe they will find it and the world will move on. Maybe they never will and the moronic medieval lack of thought prevail.
But suppose the less-bought media start investigating the fallacies and bias and fraud and funding discrepancies and bigot farming and cronies that we see all the time, with all of these diseases, that are reported only as if they did not echo one another? As if they were flukes, not worth remembering, one-offs.
And puts them together.
A stone's throw from Le Roy, the 15 minute town, artifacts poke up out of the ground. Not a rusting barrel of solvent, but an archaeologist's lifetime of discovery about our civilization, or lack of it.
New clothes for the emperor. Film at 11.
At this point the facade is maintained by incarceration of the extremely sick, children forcibly removed from their parents because they are sick, the lies and moving mountains of false and cowardly science, toxins and pathogens denied, for many diseases — an entire AIDS-like pandemic disease denied. Princes are going to crisis lengths.
Above all, it means a collapse of the uneasy and corrupt identification of science — that principled, unbiased (and therefore at times inherently subversive), transparent, and often selfless search for natural reality — with rank authority.
Leaders and followers both, and pseudoskeptic and Stockholmer alike, fear the loss of authority more than they will ever in their lives lament the loss of science. None admit it.
Most can't even tell the difference. Just read a pseudoskeptic blog. Outgroup formation, verecundiam, derision. Mess hall for memetic footsoldiers. In other words, followers.1
What we can regain
We can regain science, instead of the PR machine. Le Roy, or the next denigrated, mischaracterized, and misattributed village, can be the starting point.
It is the beginning of shame. It is the end of the stench of committees routinely riddled with corruption. Biomedicine for the sake of finding out about reality and for sufferers — not FUD for convenience.
No, I'm not so naive as to think the various forces and systemic biases involved in these matters can or will retreat without rear-guard, and give birth to a humane and scientifically accurate world without intense and sustained effort on our part, but they will be watched.
And as you know of course:
Entire professions in disrepute. The end of the string of hundreds of denied diseases throughout the past century or so — the burden of proof reversal and massive suffering and death.
Trials at The Hague. Internationalized tribunals. Justice.
Back to the immediate present
I think we are in a transitional age, and we can set the topic.
The trick is accelerating that change. It takes, like with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, systematic testing of the electric fences.
Maybe the world will switch to a sitcom and laugh at the sick person therein and forget all about the next few Le Roys.
The Lottery again.
But let me be explicit: I'm not talking about today's left vs. right, or secular vs. religious.
Not tussles or moral panics or nontroversies or distractions or PR blitzes. Not culture wars as we have known them. And not, not, not just Le Roy.
I am talking about the topics that delimit ages of mankind.
The world is regressing. Our democracies, whatever their merits, have been bought lock, stock, and barrel and the guns are pointed at us. Small changes now can make big differences later.
What if we start another Age of Enlightenment? We will update it. That age brought us advances and a strong thirst for scientific experimentation, even as far as a regard for the potential of humans over the hierarchies of that time.
We have problems to solve, and we have learned a few things since then.
Some people think Enlightenment came and went; others think of it as a failed project. In contrast, I think it has barely begun and has yet to comprehensively materialize.
Is it lame to think big?
As I lie here bedridden, leading the smallest of lives, reflecting on our dessicated age, such musings occasionally flutter by. Decided to sketch this one.
So those, in three parts, with a ridiculously long footnote, are my ideas on Le Roy. I wonder if the banana peels held.
1 Of the two, Stockholmers are the nicer followers. They say, "I can't believe how sick some of you guys are!" Then back to the world's hindmost disease agency or its minions and cat's-paws for authoritative authority before the true nature of the disease can sink in.
Pseudoskeptics tend to like the structure of authority (they get to be enforcers), while Stockholmers tend to like the comfort (no disturbing questions or facts).