Going to Hell

Going to Hell is a page of opinions about the likely prospect of humanity declining into some sort of hell, arguably the nearly inevitable result of the ever-accelerating vehicle of technology and wealth creation spinning out of control with a tragic result.

People getting screwed? They ain't seen nuthin' yet. Post-Brexit & post-Trump, the great ripoff will have left the vast majority with nothing and with little or no recourse, as liberal democracy will be dead & buried. Just watch the GOP here, the Tories there, and their billionaire owners, they're partying like there's no tomorrow. - RAYMOND BKLYN, Comment on Roger Cohen's The Madness of Crowds, NYT, FEB. 28, 2017

Yes, people are angry. Yes, people are getting screwed. But they're angry at the wrong people (immigrants, Muslims, minorities, women) who they think are "taking over" their country. And they're getting screwed (and about to get even more screwed) by the buffoon they elected to office. Britain is already having buyers remorse over Brexit. By the time the people in this country open their eyes to what is happening, it might very well be too late. Beware of huge military expenditures — usually means a war is in the near future. - Jackie Shipley Commerce MI, Comment on Roger Cohen's The Madness of Crowds, NYT, FEB. 28, 2017

I see two pillars that support the madness. One is good old fashioned racism and its rejection of multiculturalism. Intellectuals underestimate the power of our genes. We are all born racist. We are born to reject the other. Culture binds us into separate groups. These motivations are the result of tribalism. We are this way because tribes compete for resources to survive.

We can learn to accept each other. We do it all of the time. This requires integration. Trump and Farge and the rest of the ultra-nationalists are using these dangerous and primal motivations to sway the electorate. All demagogues are expert at this type of manipulation.

The second pillar is the lie of supply side, trickle down economics. Vast numbers of people firmly believe that unrestrained capitalism will help all. So they reject any efforts to rein it in. They call such efforts socialism which is perceived as economic slavery. Consequently, they vote for policies that make the rich richer because that's better than taxing them more because that is socialism. Like Mr. Cohen said, people are not logical.

Add it all up and we have mob rule. Plato figured this out. The founders feared it. We have succumbed to it. - Bruce Rozenblit (a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO), Comment on Roger Cohen's The Madness of Crowds, NYT, FEB. 28, 2017

We are in the midst of the very forces that caused the failure of ancient Greece, Rome, modern Russia, China, and others. It only take one Caligula, one Hitler, one Trump, to pull apart the columns that support the system and ruin it for all time.
- Pete from Houston, Comment on With Trump Appointees, a Raft of Potential Conflicts and 'No Transparency' by ERIC LIPTON, BEN PROTESS and ANDREW W. LEHREN, NYT, APRIL 15, 2017

The number of mass shootings in the United States has risen sharply in recent years — to an average of 16.4 per year between 2007 and 2013, from 6.4 per year between 2000 and 2006. (These numbers come from the F.B.I. and exclude episodes tied to domestic violence and gangs.) ...
On June 14, she woke to the sounds of her 2-year-old grandson. As she does every morning, she turned on the television and fed her grandson cookies and milk.
- JULIE TURKEWITZ, ‘I Want This to Get Over’: After Congressional Shooting, Complex Grief for a Gunman’s Widow, NYT, JULY 1, 2017

A President who tells lies every day, non stop war, guns everywhere with regular mass shootings, politicians owned by the rich, massive inequality which no one is trying to address, millions with no healthcare, race hatred and neo-nazis supported and encouraged by the President, religious extremists champing at the bit to persecute women and gays, Russian interference in elections, social media out of control and now pharmaceutical companies no different from drug pushers responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands a year.

What do Americans think about how the rest of the world sees America?

I'll tell you, the rest of the world thinks America is declining very, very fast - faster than anyone could have thought possible and getting to the point where there is no turning back. I would give it 10-20 years before it is a failed state with civil war or armed gangs running around the country.
- Tom Baker, Tokyo, comment on Nicholas Kristof, ‘Drug Dealers in Lab Coats’, NYT, Oct. 18, 2017

The most admirable creations of the human mind, contrary to all expectations, have had as their main effect destruction and massacre; with a bit of pessimism, one may curse advances in knowledge and fear that someday some discovery might have as a consequence the destruction of mankind . . .
- Joseph Babinski, from Egas Moniz, “Dr. Joseph Babinski,” Lisboa Medica 1932, as quoted in Jacques Philipon and Jacques Poirier, Joseph Babinski: A Biography, Oxford University Press, 2008; quoted in Errol Morris, The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 2), NYT, JUNE 21, 2010.

Today, there are growing fears that Europe and the West have entered a period of terminal decline.
- SHERI BERMAN, A Grand Tour of the Crisis in Europe, NYT, NOV. 9, 2017

(For contrasting opinions, see Heaven on Earth.)

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