NASTY BRUTISH AND BROKE

Following Poland’s lead, thousands of Irish are planning to hold a “mass-rosary recital,” hand-in-hand, their faith on display, their prayers asking for guidance, forgiveness, a very public outreach to God as the country is set to legalize abortion.

Believe it will help?

The future is irrational. As we outsource our thinking to computers, learning machines, artificial intelligences, robots, our very human inclination will lead us to embrace that which our machines cannot do — feel, faith, fabricate.

But there’s far more prompting this pivot to the non-rational.

The non-rational may, in fact, be our only path to righting our many wrongs.

America is the richest nation in the world. Americans, per capita, make more than the people of every other nation in the world excepting Norway and Switzerland.

Feel rich?

How could you? America’s richest 0.1% — not 1%, 0.1% — have the same wealth as the bottom 90% — not the world’s 90%, America’s 90%.

Rational discourse will not alter this.

Most Americans are struggling and have been for at least the past two generations.

  • Real incomes have been flat to down slightly for the average household in the bottom 60% since 1980 (while they have been up for the top 40%). 
  • Those in the top 40% now have on average 10 times as much wealth as those in the bottom 60%. That is up from six times as much in 1980.
  • Only about a third of the bottom 60% saves any of its income (in cash or financial assets).
  • Only about a third of families in the bottom 60% have retirement savings accounts—e.g., pensions, 401(k)s—which average less than $20,000. 

The culture isn’t serving most of us, nor is the economy, nor big data — nor those who insist upon rational discourse, “intellectual honesty,” and the continued reliance on the sanctioned centers of power, policy and the future.

First comes prayer, then comes action.

Those who sneer at praying and the prayors are at present insisting that America’s democracy is under assault because Russia — yes, Russia, in the second decade of the 21st century — is run by an evil man intent on destroying our way of life and is using the latest tools, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to achieve his dastardly ends, while finding easy, welcoming victims among those who pray, allowing this great and evil power to trick us into instituting leaders and policies that will gravely harm us — particularly, us, the prayors.

“More than half of American adults say they watch YouTube, and younger viewers are moving to YouTube at staggering numbers,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s exploitation of social media platforms based in the United States.

“YouTube is a target-rich environment for any disinformation campaign — Russian or otherwise — that represents a long-term, next-generation challenge.”

Perhaps.

But the American owners of these tools — Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — each, fabulously wealthy, controlling so much wealth that they are not simply in the top 0.1% but higher still, have already made it clear that the people that pray are not very welcome in their world. Nor are these titans of technology inclined on sharing their great wealth with the rest of us, prayor or no.

Is Russia the enemy of Americans?

Maybe, but not the only one.

And the time for rational acts is likely passed.

Our largest, wealthiest tech companies, Apple, Google, Tesla, et al, are cutting deals with the belligerently anti-democratic China, eager to cut labor costs evermore and salivating at the prospect of selling more product into the world’s most populous nation. The deals effectively hand over America’s greatest innovations, our dearest intellectual properties, and promote the long-term decimation of manufacturing and work by hands throughout America.

Our best, handed over to China.

Our leaders, actively seeking to control the messages we receive via our most accessible, far-reaching platforms.

This is all stunningly non-rational.

The faithful are praying to God for help, first in quiet, then in public. After that?

And what if God’s response is: tear it all down.