The Responses: Whom am I Going to Ask?

HWWLT Logo on yellowThe more people who want to answer my question, “How will we live tomorrow?” the better. For starters, I plan to ask four specific groups: people I know; people I don’t know, people in power today; and people who offer up their ideas. That covers pretty much everybody in one form or another, but I’m open to other suggestions to encourage participation.

 

People I Know. This is the obvious, easiest group. I will contact the friends, family, and deep thinkers I already know and ask them whether they will grant me a single question interview. Alternatively, they may choose to script their response to my question instead, which is also fine by me.

People I Don’t Know. Like most Americans, I live in a bubble of like-minded folks. My particular bubble is well-educated, affluent, secular, male, and white. In other words, I’m privileged. Some might say I’m self-made, since I’m more educated and affluent than my family of origin, but I’ve received special benefits bestowed upon clever white guys. I don’t apologize for my position in society, but I acknowledge it stems as much from luck as effort. I am grateful for my good fortune.

images-3images-6images-1images-5images-2images-4Although I know a few individuals outside my bubble – my Mormon brother, my Army nephew, and my black lesbian theologian friend – I need to get outside my bubble for a wider perspective. That’s why everyday I plan to ask at least one person I don’t know,“How will we live tomorrow?” More importantly, that’s why I’m planning a route that consciously brings me among people I don’t know. I want to go to Dearborn, MI because I don’t know any Muslims. I want to go to Williston, ND and Fresno, CA because I don’t know any itinerant workers. I want to go to Huntsville, AL because I hardly know anyone in the South. I want to ask eccentrics and journeymen, rich and poor, mansioned and homeless, young and old, ailing and robust.

People in Power Today. Tomorrow will not spring full-blown from nowhere. It will be built upon today. Therefore, I want to offer individuals in power now a podium to articulate their vision. In advance of coming to each state, I plan to contact the governor, U.S. Senators and Representatives to solicit their answer to my question.

imgresWhen I get to Iowa, I’ll invite all the Presidential candidates to respond. I also plan to ask business, religious, social, and cultural leaders. I’d like to know whether there is confluence between Howard Schultz’ (Starbucks) and the Walton’s (Wal-Mart) view of tomorrow. Do Peter Morales (Unitarian-Universalist Association) and Pat Robertson share any common ground? What do entertainers who dabble in tomorrow, from the indie band, The Lisps (Futurity) to Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), have to say about tomorrow?

Please send me suggestions of influential people I should invite to answer my question. Make a comment here or contact me at fallonpaule@gmail.com. They won’t all answer, but if even some do, we can help shape our national conversation.

imagesPeople Who Offer Up Ideas. Finally, I welcome anyone to answer my question, and I promise to post on this blog all the responses that meet the guidelines included below. Anyone who has an idea of how we can live tomorrow is invited to contribute.

I look forward to hearing from YOU.

__________

Guidelines. How to submit you answer to “How will we live tomorrow?”

  • – Answer the question, “How Will We Live Tomorrow?” in 500 words or less.
  • – Provide up to three supporting images, audio or video clips.
  • – Substantiate all statistics and references with relevant hyperlinks.
  • – Respect other people and their opinions – no trolls, rants or insults.
  • – Include your real name. This will be posted with your response.
  • – Provide a line or two about you – location, age, occupation, passion.
  • – Provide you contact information and tell me whether to post it with your response.
  • – Email your submission to fallonpaule@gmail.com. Thanks!
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The Question: How will we live tomorrow?

HWWLT Logo on yellowAs I travel across 48 states, I plan to ask people along the way, “How will we live tomorrow?” Why ask a question? Why ask that particular question?

A ready question is a conversation starter. Traveling alone is conducive to meeting new people, but a question kickstarts the interchange. A provocative question expands my interactions beyond pleasantries.

More importantly, asking the same question across the full spectrum of people will frame my experience. The most rewarding travel balances a general plan with serendipity. It’s useful to have a route, some destinations, and expectations in mind, but not be a slave to preconception. My question is a key part of my general plan. I’m not just interested in seeing stuff. I’m interested in exploring America. I want an idiosyncratic, unscientific immersion into what makes our eclectic country tick.

So why ask, “How will we live tomorrow?” Because it is simple and open ended. It can literally refer to the next day, or invite speculations of the future. Yet like many seemingly simple things, each word is imbued with conscious thought.

How. ‘How’ is a logistical wimgres-6ord. In strategic planning we developed a facilitation approach with clients that focused on first defining ‘why’ there was a problem or opportunity, then determining‘what’ the appropriate response was. Figuring out‘how‘ to accomplish the objective came last. If the‘why’ and ‘what’ were well articulated, the ‘how’followed naturally. But too often we got so bogged down in ‘why’ and ‘what’ we never got to ‘how’.

The United States is, without doubt, rich in snarly problems and ripe with fabulous opportunities. ‘Why’ we should move in a particular direction or ‘what’ most strongly binds us might offer interesting speculation, but they’ll generate less traction than one tire rotation among the millions I plan to pedal. ‘How’ is more tangible. ‘How’ acknowledges that we already have a bevy of rights and responsibilities, privileges and prejudices. We don’t act in a vacuum. Everything we do moving forward will tweak existing systems. It will shift the perceptions of who’s a winner and who’s a loser. In an existing, complex system, ‘why’ and ‘what’ can’t inform ‘how’. Instead, ‘how’ we act will determine ‘what’ we become and ‘why’ that’s worthwhile.

images-4Will. I like this declarative word. “Should’ or ‘could’ are too squishy. True, our future isn’t in our full control. But we’re human beings, not dust mites floating on a random breeze. We have more control over our fate than any other creature on earth. We cannot prescribe our future, but we will influence it.

 

images-5We. This is the key word in the question. Its not ‘I’, its not ‘you’ and its not ‘they’. ‘We’ is the only pronoun that fuses the individual and the collective. It acknowledges that the only viable future on a planet with seven billion people must consider the needs of many as well as singular. It’s a word a lot of Americans choke over, since history and geography have blessed us with more opportunities for individual expression than any other country on earth. But it’s a word worth embracing as we become ever more connected to each other.

images-6Live. This is my optimistic word. I like to think we are going to live, as individuals, as a nation, as a species, for a long, long time. Many say otherwise. Some welcome our demise through The Rapture, others quake in fear that our planet will turn inhospitable. But I choose to think that we are caring enough and resourceful enough to find ways to continue living.

imagesTomorrow. Tomorrow is never more than 24 hours away. It is also the distant future. This is the word that makes my question both practical and ephemeral. It invites specific answers as well as fantastic speculation. It takes today as a given and projects us forward as far as we wish to go.

 

 

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The Route: Where and Why?

HWWLT Logo on yellowI want to ride my bicycle to all 48 contiguous United States. I don’t know why. The idea lodged in my head a few years ago and the itch just keeps growing.

Bicycling across country is noteworthy but hardly unique; hundreds of people do it every year. I’m striving for more. There are limits to the adventurer in me. Cycling from, say, Barrow, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego is beyond my capabilities. But trying to pedal through 48 states is a worthy goal: an improbable, though not impossible, accomplishment. There’s a fair chance that life’s circumstances or personal health will intervene and force me to return to Cambridge. But there’s also a fair chance I’ll complete the journey.

Rolling my wheels cross 48 states is the overarching parameter. Beyond that, there are thousands, millions of routes. How do I choose which roads to travel and which towns to visit?

150327 Route Map

First, I want to visit everyone I know. My family is strung out across the country. Besides four sibliings, I have lots of nieces and nephews who live their own. I plan to drop in on them all. Then there are my friends. Childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, adult friends. I don’t know how they wound up living in Boise, Idaho; Slaton, Texas; and Sanibel, Florida; but I plan to see where life landed them. I’m particularly keen on visiting Sanibel, which is both flat and warm in winter.

Next, I want to see cool architecture. The new glass pavilion in Corning, New York; Calatrava’s museum in Milwaukee, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, E. Fay Jones’ chapel in Arkansas, the Getty in L.A. But I also want to see my own architecture – the buildings I laid my hand upon during my career. How does my first hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, hold up after 25 years? Is my very first project – 24 units of housing for folks with cerebral palsy – still standing in Norman, OK?

imgres-3imgres-5imgres-4imgres-2

 

 

 

 

I want to visit places that reflect the pulse of America, past and present. I’ve always been enthralled with nineteenth century utopian ideals, so I hope to visit Oneida, New York and Amana, Iowa. I want to visit ‘enlightened’ company towns like Columbus, Indiana and Racine, Wisconsin. And I’m keen to visit places on the cutting edge of American life. That includes the usual glamour spots like Silicon Valley and Nashville, Tennessee, but also the places where change is challenging: Dearborn, Michigan; Williston, North Dakota; and Ferguson, Missouri.

What became interesting, as I spun blue ribbon around my destination pushpins, were those features of our country without immediate appeal. My initial route map doesn’t highlight any national parks. It’s also rather empty through the South. This reflects my prevailing interest in images-3how we live and what we build, over nature, as well as knowing less about the South than other part of our country. I am anticipating that both of those predispositions will change. On the road, I may be so inspired by our natural beauty that I want to visit natural wonders. In the South, I hope to be captivated by its legendary hospitality and charm.

The only thing I know for sure is that the route I have mapped out will not be the one that I take. Who and what I want to see will change. It’s so easy to turn my bicycle in a new direction when something interesting beckons.

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Welcome to How Will We Live Tomorrow?

HWWLT Logo on yellow1984 is behind us. We’ve danced like its 1999. 2001 came and went without a space odyssey. Even Back the Future II is in our rear view mirror. So what lies ahead? Are we doomed to Blade Runner’s bleak future or destined to suffer a Waterworld? Will we destroy our planet and desperately seek Interstellar alternatives? Or will our magnanimity expand along with our horizons as we explore Star Trek’s brave new worlds?

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, and neither do you. But I do know our ability to shape the future is defined by the limits of our imagination. We may not be able to create everything we envision, but we will never create a future greater than the one we can dream.

And so I’ve decided to embark on a journey across America to engage people in a discussion about tomorrow – a year-long bicycle journey to all 48 contiguous United States.

imgresEvery action we take has consequences for tomorrow. No one set out to create a world of income inequality, racial strife, and religious wars. They are simply the logical result of economic and political systems, which, whether passively or actively, we value more than we dislike their collateral disruptions.images-1

However, acknowledging that we can’t control the future doesn’t mean we can’t influence it. If we can articulate how we want to live, only then can we take steps in that direction. This is why I’m asking the question: “How will we live tomorrow?”

 

imgres-1I’m often struck how movies set in the future use retro iconography. The planes in Avatar were vintage 1930’s, Star Wars’ Chewbacca looks Neanderthal. Sprinkling bits of our past into an imagined future unhinges us from the present and makes it easier to access whatever fantasy the director has in mind.

images-2In a similar way, I am accessing an elementary form of transport – the bicycle – to ask about tomorrow. A guy on a bike doesn’t prejudice anyone’s idea of the future. I hope to be accessible enough not to threaten, and quirky enough to elicit unconventional responses.

Please follow me on this journey. I’ll post my progress, tales from the road, and answers I receive to “How will we live tomorrow?”

But consider doing more. Participate in the adventure with me. Send me ideas of where to go, what to see, and who to query. Answer my question for yourself. I’ll also post responses to “How will we live tomorrow?” that you and others write. Add your voice to how we shape our future.

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CorePower Conundrum

awkward_pose_3-001Conscious breathing is rampant in my corner of Cambridge. There are more than a dozen yoga studios, within two miles of my house. Ashtanga, Baptiste, Bikram, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Yin: take your choice. Almost as many gyms advertise yoga. Given the peculiarities of urban geography, it’s no surprise that when the United States’ largest yoga company, CorePower Yoga, decided to enter the Boston market, they built a huge studio near my house.

I’ve been practicing yoga for ten years, first as a dabbler, then a Bikram addict. Last year I made CorePower my home studio, took their teacher training program, taught there for a brief time, and still practice there most days. Yogis from independent studios often grimace when they learn about my CorePower affiliation, but their scowl is misdirected. CorePower is a great place to practice yoga, once you shield yourself from the corporate veneer.

imagesCorePower’s strength is the same as any good American corporation: they offer a well-conceived, well-executed product. The Fresh Pond studio offers four different styles of class: basic hatha (C1), intermediate flow (C2), yoga aerobics (Sculpt), and the Bikram series (Hot Power Fusion). My physical condition has improved since moving to CorePower because I essentially cross-train at a single studio. Just as Whole Foods never has bad lettuce or Starbucks bad coffee, CorePower classes are consistent.

Which means, while I never have a bad class, I rarely have an inspired one. CorePower champions the American penchant for doing over being; classes are more physically active than mentally focused. I acknowledge what CorePower does well and pursue my restorative yoga and meditation elsewhere.

imgresCorePower’s mantra is to demystify yoga, making it mainstream accessible to all. Still, every class follows a prescribed sequence, lasts precisely one hour, and varies only within parameters that align with its chief demographic: young, attractive, fit women with disposable income.

There’s nothing funky or counter culture about CorePower. The facilities are spa-inspired, with crisp finishes, fireplaces, multiple showers, soaps and lotions. The studio’s mood can be modulated through music and elaborate lighting. Yet these amenities feel focus-group generic. Wiping muddy feet on the runner that images-4proclaims, “Live an Extraordinary Life” is like arriving at a motivational seminar. The reception desk resembles one at any hip start-up. The Sanskrit / English signs reminding people not to steal in the locker room or talk in the studios are identical to ones in health clinics. I feel particularly sorry for the little Buddha statues that grace the front of each studio. Everyone sets their mat on the floor and lies down, feet first, oblivious of the fundamental disrespect that represents toward the Buddha.

The best thing about CorePower is its structure and consistency. I may not have emerged from their teaching training program with enlightened imagery to offer my students, but I can organize a cohesive class, and have landed every teaching gig I’ve pursued.

images-6Many teachers who train at CorePower actually teach elsewhere because, like so many corporations, CorePower pays its front line workers less than local competition, yet expects more of them. CorePower extolls the community building aspects of having teachers staff the desk and thus create rapport between students and teachers, but in reality its a money-saving move that eliminates their need for a receptionist. I enjoyed teaching classes at CorePower, but detested the complicated computer inputs required to sell Lululemon tights.

Every CorePower yoga class ends with announcements, which the teacher makes immediately after the final Namaste; personal pitches for CorePower products and services. A few weeks ago I went to a hot power class where Michael skipped announcements. He left us in Savasana; lights low, and quietly exited the room. It was a welcome and relaxing alternative to getting a pitch for Boot Camp. Leaving the studio I heard the manager chastise him for omitting announcements (how did she know?), so I made a point to thank him, in front of her, for the yogic way he ended class.

images-3The following week Shira included pitches for Boot Camp throughout her Sculpt sequence. Afterward, I explained why product placement during class is inappropriate. “Yoga is not about things, it is about embracing our value in the present. Advertisements during class suggest we are insufficient and need something more. That is not yoga.” She stopped doing it, at least when I was present.

The following week I got a weird email from the manager, written under the guise of open communication, that included, “I also encourage you to practice your freedom to attend classes at studios that give you what you need from yoga.” In other words, CorePower doesn’t need me. After all, I’m not a young, attractive, fit woman with disposable income.

images-5The experience helped to establish my limits for CorePower’s corporate speak. As long as I get sixty minutes of unadulterated yoga, I can ignore whatever they spin before and after. But if CorePower’s thirst to sell me stuff permeates studio time, I will practice elsewhere.

 

I’m not opposed to corporations. I appreciate how they facilitate many of our country’s best attributes. We want corporations to manufacture and sell cars; items so complex yet commonplace benefit from corporate efficiency and mistake proofing. We accept when corporations sell us groceries; ma and pop stores cannot provide the variety Americans demand all year long. We shrug when corporations provide our healthcare and bemoan the loss of our family doctor. But CorePower has a conundrum on its hands; it’s a large corporation that sells a luxury service whose premise is antithetical to capitalism.

images-2CorePower arrived in Boston with ambitious plans. In eighteen months they‘ve opened four studios, and I take advantage of the fact that I can practice in every compass direction from my house. But the consistency of the teaching is faltering as the number of classes grows, and my home studio churns through Assistant Managers like calendar pages. Does any other yoga studio even have a position called Assistant Manager?

I continue to practice at CorePower because it’s convenient and the yoga is good. But I can understand why others doubt my decision and can foresee a day when I follow the manager’s advice and move on. To be a truly great yoga studio, CorePower will have to become less corporate. But then, it would no longer be CorePower.

 

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Objecting to the Truth as I See It

vitruvian_man-001The following essay was published in WBUR Cognoscenti on March 31, 2015:

Narrative non-fiction is not an objective undertaking; the author determines which facts to include and shapes their interpretation. So how does a writer flesh out the virtues and flaws of people he respects?

I recently published a memoir of post-earthquake Haiti; an upbeat story of Haitians and Americans working together to accomplish something worthy. It could have easily turned into a litany of noble deeds, but I didn’t limit the narrative to positivity. Tension turned our altruistic story into a gripping one. Each character displayed a few warts, myself included. Though the text reveals deep affection for everyone involved, not everyone likes what I wrote.

I was concerned how to present people in a balanced manner. This led to a double litmus test for evaluating prickly passages. First, I always coupled a fault with a virtue. This was easy since all the major players are rich in virtue. Second, I didn’t disparage any character more than I dissected by own shortcomings. Polishing my own peccadillos, along my comrades’, reinforced one of the book’s theses: we were ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing. My editors agreed with my approach; narrative non-fiction is not journalism.

imgresTruth blurring is rampant among every form of writing. Novelists research specific times and places to lend authenticity to imagined plots; journalists shape scenes and dialogue to enliven events. Every non-fiction genre inhabits a literary neighborhood where reality, perception, and memory find unique balance. Even John Berendt, author of the New York Times all-time bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil confesses, “Though this is a work of nonfiction, I have taken certain storytelling liberties.”

Narrative non-fiction provides an author latitude. Not every event that occurred over three years could be described in my book. I determined what to include and reported it through the prism of my experience. I upheld Roy Peter Clark’s non-fiction maxims: do not add and do not deceive. Still, some passages bristled. I decided the overwhelming positivity eclipsed those few rough scenes.

I was wrong.

imgres-1The advance publication copy described one family as boisterous. The father sent me a blistering email. After two years of living, working, arguing, and building together, he severed communication over that single word. I read his objections, the Free Dictionary definition of boisterous he inserted in his terminal email, and his declaration that it was both inappropriate and insulting. I couldn’t understand how this guy turned so hard, so fast. Especially since I don’t consider boisterous an insult. Especially since any observer would agree his family is boisterous.

The sting of rejection took weeks to subside. Meanwhile, I landed a promise from Paul Farmer of Partners in Health to write a cover blurb. Communication with his staff went well until they missed the copy deadline. Then I heard nothing. My polite emails degenerated into pleas. Finally, his staff admitted reservations about the book and produced a list of passages they considered insulting to Haitians.

I reviewed their list and decided against making their requested changes. There’s solace in being an equal opportunity insulter. A nonprofit dependent upon donations needs to be sensitive to every perceived insult; Partners in Health cannot afford to consider a phrase like Haitians are allergic to multi-tasking as ironic rather than damning. Despite evidence that American’s penchant to do too many things at once is both inefficient and unhealthy, they lifted the phrase out of context, as any spin-doctor might. They didn’t consider how that point-of-view helped shape my emerging awareness of Haitian culture or that American construction could benefit from the focus our Haitian crews brought to their task. Organizations tuned to any possible slight cannot cotton subtlety.

People who’ve read the book have universally appreciated my balance of narrative, personal insight and contextual research. Unfortunately, people in the book have objected to how they’re portrayed. My own sister, described as someone with “a flair for drama that I lack”, telephoned and exclaimed, “You called me a drama queen!”

imgres-2I now realize my criteria for evaluating the book’s content was naive. As long as we live in a world of sound bites, as long as someone can cut and paste a phrase without context, no litany of sweet talk can mask the bile generated by a single harsh word. And though I may be comfortable divulging details of my personal life, that doesn’t mean others will bless how I interpret their actions.

The main characters didn’t have the opportunity to review or edit my text. This is my story, in which they play a part. It is the truth as I know it. They may dislike my version of the truth, but no one has refuted it. They may harbor equally valid yet competing truths. Mine just happens to be the one pressed between two hard covers. And that permanence makes everyone wary.

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Audiobook Orgy Part 4: American Theocracy

usa-001Kevin Phillips has a grand, sweeping thesis: three interrelated factors are bringing America down. First there is oil. The energy that drove the unlimited aspirations of the American Century is showing its limits in the 21st. Second, there is religion. In particular fundamentalist Christianity, which has taken over the Republican Party and defines the national conversation on every major issue. Finally, there is debt. The triumph of financial services over manufacturing foreshadows America’s reduced role in the global economy.

Mr. Phillips uses previous world empires – nineteenth century England, seventeenth century Holland, and sixteenth century Spain – to demonstrate a pattern wherein the dominant ‘energy’ of empire (coal for England, wind for the Dutch, and New World gold for Spain) fueled economic behemoths with righteous moral views. Each of these empires lost their energy edge, either because it dried up or the rest of the world caught up. As that happened, these affluent societies also lost the manufacturing edge that triggered their rise. They supplanted making things with complex financial instruments that they convinced themselves were as economically valuable. Then they let their inflated morals draw them into costly wars that ultimately diminished their stature.

imgres-9The most fascinating aspect of American Theocracy‘s discussion of oil is that it makes a convincing case that our oil-based future is limited without even delving into the issue of global warming and climate change. There is simply not enough oil to sustain our consumption habits beyond a generation. Sure, there are new sources to be found, but they are increasingly hard to extract and have diminished EROI (energy return on investment – the difference between the energy a source will generate minus the energy it takes to get it). Where oil isn’t physically difficult to extract, it’s often politically difficult to extract. Just look at Iraq.

images-5The outsized influence that the religious right plays in politics, especially in the Republican Party, especially in the administration of G.W. Bush, isn’t news. But Mr. Phillips’ analysis of how that administration’s policies gave religious institutions’ a leading role in our supposedly secular government connects seemingly disparate acts into a frightening whole. I never understood how environmental stewardship could be construed as a license for human plunder until I overlayed the Biblical perspective that man has dominion over all the earth. Nor did I realize that the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East is welcome for people praying to experience Revelation first hand.

images-8If we KNOW we are better than everyone else, and we KNOW God has blessed us with the right to plunder, going into debt to keep our system afloat is a no-brainer. Besides, when we put our national actions on credit, we can hide the true cost of the ongoing wars that will eventually spell our economic and political doom.

The statistical analyses in American Theocracy are daunting. Although Spain, Holland and England provide templates for demise, the scale at which the United States has drunk oil, promoted its exceptionalism, and gone into debt makes those previous empires minor players in the game of hubris.

imgresMr. Phillips does not offer any bold recommendations to steady our path. Yet I did not come away from his tome as discouraged as I might. First, because the book was published in 2005. Although many of his comments are more relevant now than ever, some are not. And second, because the empires Mr. Phillips analyzed – Spain, Holland and England – may have lost their former glory, but they are still pretty fine societies.

In the past ten years our dependence on oil has remained supreme. We have made good strides in finding more domestic sources of energy, but fracking and Arctic drilling only prove Mr. Phillips point that exploration is getting extreme. We’ve fallen behind in developing the next big energy source – renewables – because we continue to subsidize oil. Right now Germany is technically the leader in renewables, but once China decides to conquer that market, it will be all theirs because their centralized economy can actually respond much faster than our supposedly free-market one. And once we finally get on the renewables bandwagon, we’ll have farther to go than any other nation, because cheap oil has encouraged us to have the most dilute development patterns on the face of the earth. It just takes a heck of a lot more per-capita energy to survive in the U.S.A.

imgres-10The religious right still has too strong a voice in setting the national debate, but they don’t always win. Look at gay marriage. Look at the Occupy movement. Look at states raising the minimum wage. Look at #blacklivesmatter. I don’t understand why the right still sets the agenda, perhaps because a black/white view of the world is so appealing and a message of fear is easy to sell. But I believe there is more counter debate in 2015 than there was in 2005.

With regards to debt, the answer is as simple as it is boring. We have to start living within our means. At a national level, at a state level, and at a personal level. And we have to recognize that making money by shuffling money is not the same as making money by making things. That idea is starting to percolate, as Gretchen Morgenson described in Smothered by a Boom in Banking (NY Times 3/1/2015).

We like to think that human progress is an ascending line. Yet history is littered with societies that recede. Europe in the Dark Ages. Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Afghanistan under the Taliban. Societies where ignorance triumphed over knowledge and fear trumped hope. True; Spain, the Netherlands, and England are less powerful today than they once were, but they’re more balanced then at their zenith. I believe the United States will be a better place when our citizens are more equal and we treat our neighbors with greater understanding and respect.

images-7The real fear I take away from American Theocracy, is that our lifestyle is so unsustainable, our beliefs so blind, and our debt so enormous that we won’t slide into gentle comfort like our European cousins. Instead we’ll crash like a 21st century Rome. Let’s stop striving for global domination that we will never achieve and does no one any good. Let’s all pull together for a smooth landing.

 

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