Ancient Chinese Proverb: Excuses are like Assholes -- everybody has one, they all stink, and they should rarely be heard in public...
A sure sign of the final degeneration of a society is the feeble quality of it's exculpations.
The Civilizational Death Spiral has a definitive ending -- that occurs when the civilization is no longer capable of maintaining itself, and finally collapses under it's own weight. Usually the weight of it's own internal contradictions, but the moment of initial nosedive is often difficult to pin down with any accuracy.
However, it is easy to prove that there is one, tell-tale sign that indicates that the Death Spiral is underway in earnest and acquiring momentum, and that is that unmistakable period during which people will accept -- sometimes eagerly -- the most laughable falsehoods on a routine basis, and not give a flying fuck at a rolling donut that a) they're being lied to, and b) that the liars take it for granted that no one cares enough that they don't even try to construct plausible lies.
Once people have an expectation of being lied to it becomes impossible for the average person to place, or expect to possess, confidence in anything. If the expectation of mendacity is the first milepost on the road to Civilizational Implosion, then this loss of confidence in people which soon spreads until it infects institutions and warps cultural norms, is certainly the second.
The third phase of Civilizational Implosion occurs when the lies are finally believed or at least accepted, by a critical mass, and policy, or at least important decisions, are made based upon them.
Having been formulated upon a weak foundation of falsehood, the policy predictably fails, often spectacularly, and without question.
It is now that we enter the fourth phase of Civilizational Implosion, and that is the attempt to Assert Control -- to censor, to punish those who notice the failure, to ostracize those who who have lost faith in the lies and the liars, to deny the existence of the failure, even of objective truth itself, in order to protect the lies, but more importantly, to protect the liars from the torch-and-pitchfork-bearing Masses.
The Control phase seeks to ensure that the Lie or Excuse becomes The Truth.
However, Control is always lost, eventually. Those who wish to enforce some control either manage to go too far, or something prevents them from going far enough, and no semblance of order remains. It's a free-for-all.Society begins to break down: the laws become meaningless; those who enforce them come to be seen as instruments of tyranny; those who write them come to be regarded as venal tyrants; the institutions which law, custom, culture have created and serve are judged to have become rotten by association and not deserving of respect or confidence. Truth is no longer separable from Lie and Excuse, and the results are chaotic.
And now we enter the fifth phase of Civilizational Implosion, The Faceplant. That moment when it all comes crashing down with an audible thud, if not an explosion, and this is the dangerous time, for it almost always ends in viral opposition and violence.
The Liars can no longer protect themselves against those they've lied to by simply spinning New Lies to explain the failure of the Old Lies. They've run out of excuses, and without their Excuses they can no longer justify their position of control. This is when those in Control are at their most dangerous.
The point I'm trying to make is that Excuses, once made, will always be evaluated, and if found wanting, paid for. Unfortunately, once the process has reached a certain critical mass, it becomes impossible for the bill to be paid by the Excuse-makers alone.
Here are four (4) examples of Excuses we encounter daily in Modern Life, often exemplified by an individual Excuse-maker who represents one of the deadly infections currently attacking the organs of America, and a short comment on the eventual toll they they may take on greater society.
1. "What Happened"
If we were to hand out Nobel Prizes for pathetic excuses, Hillary Clinton would probably be a perennial winner. It is curious to note that the Title of her new book --"What Happened" -- which purports to explain how The Smartest Woman in the World lost what was universally-regarded as a slam-dunk election to a Man she (and others) have painted as an out-of-touch, manufactured personality of questionable intelligence, taste, and ability (that could explain Barack Obama just as well), is itself, emblematic of the need to make excuses.
For if Mrs. Clinton were being honest with herself -- and the rest of us -- and was seeking to explain or investigate a failure rather than cover one up, the title would include a question mark (i.e. "What Happened?"). The lack of that question mark automatically triggers the cynic in me, for if Mrs. Clinton were perplexed, she would have asked this question of herself.
If Mrs. Clinton were truly interested in an objective post-mortem of her second failure, that question mark would have been there, for sure. If she were concerned so as to answer the questions her supporters had concerning her reasons for defeat, that question mark is almost required.
Instead, the title reads like a statement. It indicates that the woman and her people already know what happened, have always known what happened, and to a lesser extent, have always known what was going to happen.
In which case, one must ask the question: if you possibly knew what was going to happen, then why didn't you do anything differently?
But, alas, the book (to judge by the snippets published to date) is nothing but a list of excuses. A litany of misrepresentations, a deliberate distortion of history (always the first victim of excuse makers), a tour-du-crap of revisionism, finger-pointing, projection, snobbery, and not a single ounce of objectivity to be found, anywhere.
Normally, I would have read the book first before making that judgment, but as I've stated earlier in this screed,when it comes to Hillary Clinton, I expect to be lied to (and she has no one to blame for that reaction but herself). And if there's any saving grace to the Clintonian brand of deceit, it's often to be found in the details of the language used, and in the context of solipsism; it may not be true for us, but it is true for her, and since no one has enough courage to enter that haunted house of a head of her's, no one will ever be able to tell for certain whether her uttered delusions are simply convenient, or genuinely believed.
As of today, Hillary has constructed a vast array of factors that conspired to hand her a second loss. These are:
Bernie Sanders lied about her, or, alternately, Bernie Sanders told the truth about her.
Donald Trump lied about her, or, alternately told the truth about her.
James Comey undermined her.
Loretta Lynch didn't run enough interference.
Barack Obama screwed her over.
Joe Biden screwed her over.
Anthony Wiener screwed her over.
James Comey screwed her over.
The American Body Politic is infected with Sexism, Racism, Misogyny
Self-hating Suburban White Women failed to vote for her.
The Russians hacked the DNC. The Russians hacked the election. The Russians released her e-mails to WikiLeaks. Guess she feels bad about selling them 20% of America's uranium supplies, then?
The Electoral College is unfair.
The Polling data was bad, and the people paid to tell her so failed to let her know.
The 24-hour cable news cycle did nothing but talk about e-mails, Benghazi, impromptu meetings between her husband and the Attorney General who was supposed to be investigating her.
The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Macedonian internet content farms spread fake news about her (and the Russians, too!).
Netflix kept people home on Election Night.
Mysterious anti-American forces (never identified) were at play.
People just wanted change.
People assumed she'd win, and stayed home on Election Day.
The Republican party (well, duh!)
I could go on forever, but you get the point. And the list is growing by the day.
The woman has more excuses than there are Saudi Princes, and these excuses need to be aired (and repeated) to protect decades of lies told and other excuses made, not least of all to protect Hillary from reality, but as to protect the ideals which she "stands for" (the woman doesn't stand for anything that doesn't have a check, or a government job she can't do attached to it): feminism; "equality", "glass ceilings", "Progressivism". That these are all myths that have routinely failed the Test of Reality doesn't matter: too many people make too good a living off ignoring this point.
The real point is the woman believes she's entitled to a third bite at the apple, and the only justification for being granted that opportunity is to present herself -- and by extension, her supporters -- as victims of some cosmic injustice.
2. Speaking of Anthony Weiner....
I thought I would never have to write another word about this piece of shit, but, alas!
I read in my morning newsfeed that Carlos Danger fancies himself a victim, too.
Now, let's put aside, for a moment, the smokecreen of excuses Weiner produced to obscure his own venality and lack of impulse control -- his Twitter feed and e-mails were hacked; he was the target of "political operatives"; it was all a case of mistaken identity; The Press was on a witch-hunt -- it's clear from his behavior subsequent to being caught the first time that all of it, public non-apology-apologies aside, that the man just couldn't help himself.
So much so, that not only did he send pictures of his junk and racy text messages hither and yon through the vacuum of cyberspace, but he managed to descend even further into the personal sewer and engage an underage girl in his alternative sexual preferences, and turn what might have been a peculiar peccadillo into a full-blown felony.
And, naturally, since Weiner (much like Hillary Clinton) believes that despite his flaws and astonishing lack of character, he, too, is a victim who has a viable future in politics (he even ran for Mayor of New York City while being investigated), if only it weren't for those pesky moralists and right-wing muckrakers, and no extreme is too far in making that fantasy a reality.
So that the girl in the middle of this latest texting scandal is nothing more than a charlatan, herself, who couldn't wait to sell her story to the press. I guess Mr. Weiner is unfamiliar with the adage (and I don't mean to cast aspersions upon this particular victim of his uncontrollable libido) that when you sleep with dogs, you sometimes wake up with fleas.
But, even if you were extraordinarily generous in ignoring all of that, there is still one salient fact that you need to take into consideration when judging Anthony Weiner and his possible, future political prospects, and that is that he just can't help himself because he's ill. He says so; his soon-to-be-ex-wife says so; his lawyer says so. it's the old "Sex Addiction" defense being trotted out.
A mere matter of behavior modification. A minor dysfunction that can be cured. A simple matter of a minor, but admittedly-disgusting, disease to be fixed...somehow...with drugs and therapy and a hospital instead of a jail cell.
And then Anthony Weiner will, one gets the impression, somehow become "a hero", and worthy of trust and respect and public office again.
Unless someone gives him a smartphone with a camera in it, of course.
3. Women's Sports
Personally, I find this phrase oxymoronic, like "jumbo shrimp", "clearly misunderstood", "deafening silence", or "theoretical experience".
Some caterwauling feminazi (sorry, that's redundant) is making noise today that sexism prevents women from getting any attention for their athletic prowess.
Naturally, since this frothy vagina can't actually bolster her case with definitive proof, she resorts to the time-honored excuse --a staple of the Diversity Training regime -- that the sexism is implied, inferred, invisible, hidden, concealed, non-corporeal,insubstantial, but nevertheless, guaranteed to be there.
Helpful Hint: If you can hear the dog whistle, you're probably The Dog.
Because she says it is. And she compiled statistics. Statistics that may reflect a reality, but do so absent context. I'll return to this in a minute.
Let's just put it this way: the feminist is always extolling the virtues of the female. One of the supposed greatest virtues of the female is supposed to be her non-competitive nature, the idea that women are natural co-operators and facilitators. However, since feminism is built upon a solid foundation of rock-hard (oh, no, you didn't!) double standards, the peaceful co-operating facilitator suddenly becomes the fierce Alpha competitor, par excellence...for just as long as that image is required, and then they fall back to the "But, I'm a chick!" defense.
To give a graphic example, let us return to Mrs. Clinton: one day she's a feminine ideal, and the next she's a "fighter"; one day she goes out and savages her political opponents, and the next invokes the protection of her gender when her targets respond in kind. You get the idea.
The real truth here, however, is that not very many people are interested in women's athletics. If this were not true, then figure skating would be on TV year-round, gymnastics might get the same ratings as Major League Baseball, and the WNBA wouldn't have to give tickets away just to put a few hundred bodies into an otherwise-empty arena.
This is not to say that women aren't athletic, that they can't compete and excel, it's just that no one gives a fuck Yes, a few sports that are dominated by women might get higher-than-average attention during the Olympics, but this is a special occasion in which the best in the world have gathered to compete. The rest of the time, without the cachet of "the best the world has to offer" the only people who show any rabid interest in female athletics, I'm guessing, are lesbians, gay men, and the competitor's parents.
Men will watch Women's Tennis or Golf, but that's only because they have a Maria Sharapova, an Anna Lawson, or something else smokin' hawt in a short skirt, bikini, leotard, whatever. By comparison, watching women play hockey, or run flat-chested around a track, doesn't appeal.
Apparently, it doesn't appeal to women, either, or they'd be watching it, and this question would be academic.
Which brings us back to Yacking Clam's statistics: she would have you believe the lack of interest in female sports is due to the lack of media coverage. This is an excuse. It would be more proper to postulate that the lack of media coverage of female sports is due to the lack of interest in (most of) them, and is, in fact, directly proportionate to this lack of interest.
But that doesn't sit well with the Politically-active Sausage Wallet who is trying to make an argument for "equality...an' stuff'", particularly when it comes to parity in terms of paychecks. In this realm, media coverage equals moolah.
But, instead of making the case that if a female athlete wants to become Lebron James-wealthy in sports, she should have LeBron James-caliber talent,playing against LeBron James-caliber opposition, this Weeping Wetspot would rather you didn't make those sorts of distinctions, because vagina.
Excuses for failure, and worse, excuses for why failure should be rewarded, are perhaps the worst excuses of all.
4. A Republican Congress Cannot Give a Republican President a Republican Government
Without delving too deeply into the horrid personalities that are Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. John McCain or Jeff Flake, the annoying quality of a Ted Cruz juxtaposed against the feeble squealing of a Marco Rubio,it's perhaps best to just lay out the facts:
a) Obamacare, still un-repealed, despite eight years of Republican vows to do so, a President elected on a promise to do so, and an impetus from the voters to do so.
b) A tax reform cannot get done, despite Republicans having decades of rhetoric for the economic efficacy of tax reforms, despite eight years of Republican vows to repeal every Obama tax hike.
c) Regulatory Reform can't get done, despite decades of GOP rhetoric about bloated government, about the strangulating effect of unchecked regulations and bureaucracies, about Free Markets, and so on and so forth.
That should do to start.
When Paul Ryan says he can't undo ObamaCare in one, fell swoop, because of the regulatory hurdles to be overcome, he's making excuses. He's almost implying that Obama left behind a law that can't be undone, even if the majority of it only exists as a patchwork of Executive Orders and Signing Statements written on tissue paper.
When Mitch McConnell makes the case that Donald Trump is naive for believing that democratic institutions should work the way they were intended to, and that even if you've been in opposition to every liberal policy of the last 50 years, it's just expecting too much to at least get debates and votes on some of them, he's being disingenuous.
The fact is that The System (The Swamp) in which McConnell and Ryan operate fits their needs and agendas perfectly. They resent having to take orders from someone who isn't a member of their club.
The more they obfuscate, the more they drag their feet, the more they delay, the more they risk being crucified in the public square. And it's almost as if they don't care; they have become so used to believing their own bullshit that they can't even decide where it begins and where it ends. It's also as if they believe that they can be responsible statesmen while ignoring the wishes of the people who make up the State.
Perhaps the worst lie ever told, overall, was "All Men Are Created Equal" and the number of compromises and excuses made to prop up that lie have been both extraordinary in their number, and often deleterious in their effect, for they encourage the cynicism I've alluded to earlier and they also encourage the construction of an alternate reality existing in parallel with this one. Certainly the number -- and types -- of excuses made or told in support of that unsupportable dictum would bear me out.
Does Affirmative Action, for example, strike you as a sign of equality? Doesn't it's own existence fairly scream an obvious inequality? Would it even be necessary if an excuse for failure were not required to pay lip service to the ideal? Extrapolate from that...DACA, the ADA, Title IX, a Progressive Tax Code...does any of that indicate a belief that we're all equal, even equal under the law?
If you need to find a reason -- an excuse, really -- for the seeming inability of people these days to get along, to find common ground, to agree in principle, to even treat one another humanely, here might be your answer; we're up to our armpits in bullshit, and far too many either make their livings from it, have too much to lose in exposing it, have too much invested in believing it, or have given up even caring about it.
The Faceplant is nigh.
Wear a helmet.