Anatomy of a Failed State: The Entropic Death of Society

Without question, I come from the political left but my primary concern in politics is not whether my side wins or whether other ideas and people gain more. That’s a concern. When I work for Democratic candidates, I try to do my best to ensure the best position for the party. Yet, the game of politics comes well after accomplishing real achievements for the humanity and environment that I joined politics to help. My deepest frustration is nothing getting done. I may prefer a more public health system and a more conservative person may wish to work to make the private health system more efficient. One may be better than the other but so long as each contributes to a better situation, I’m content to settle for less progress as opposed to more if the alternative is no progress. Today, there is no progress. 

When presented with problems, now, a slurry of creative and intelligent ideas come forth, are all ignored, old and extremely moderate ideas are placed on the table, and finally those ideas die and nothing happens except the problems at the beginning are worse. I hear from a lot of fellow Democrats that we need to tone down the radical rhetoric but objectively there isn’t that much of it. Even what AOC and Bernie usually propose isn’t that radical and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is still pretty small. Yet, we didn’t accomplish almost anything before the hard left became popular. Back when it was considered fringe and doing Occupy Wall Street nothing was still getting done.

Even what is considered radical is pathetically tame, when I ghostwrote Facebook posts for my last political job, it was even considered edgy to send affections to immigrant communities on their ethnic holidays. Something like “To our local Hindus, our office sends its warmest blessings your way this Diwali.” It was controversial and my boss told me my posts made him nervous basically because, and I paraphrase, “They’re too cosmopolitan to be folksy”. If a politician thinks something like that is too progressive then they’re liable to make no progress because any progress is too bold and that’s where our politics is.

At every level from municipal upwards, there is an incapacity to handle even some of the smallest problems. A pothole is likely to remain for the better part of a year before the bureaucracy is finished permitting it be fixed. For some, partially cultural, reason, the ability to do anything even mildly effective has been lost. Almost everything that does work is inherited from an age when things got done and when it falls apart, it can’t usually be repaired. At some point, the human and physical infrastructure will have been atrophied so much and the hairline cracks will be so many it will lead to catastrophic failure and the bureaucracy and the government will look like a high school student council pretending to govern a third-world slum. If society is collapsing then it is not due to malice but incompetence of a titanic scale. 

In the months I spent in that office, in my last political job, I worked my ass off on multiple bills, amendments to bills, collaborating on municipal policies, and making broadcasts that attempted to make Charleston a kinder and more loving place and that would incrementally improve the human lives and environmental record of the State of South Carolina. My boss pretty much threw everything I did away and I left that office extremely resentful and feeling betrayed because I truly thought I could make the world a better place and I failed. Fighting as hard as I could, trying to move the system forward, it was screaming at a wall. It wasn’t my personal vanity being insulted but that I had looked to the system and thought that if I got a toe in that, unlike the others, I’d bend it. 

I was another failure in a long and broad list of many failures of idealists willing to compromise only to see the system unwilling to accept the most generous compromise and to continue falling into disrepair from unchecked entropy. The metaphorical and literal seas were rising and humanity was too disgustingly feckless to organize and plan anything to stop it. The world is going to end like the universe will. Physicists agree that entropy will ultimately be the fate of our universe. If there is an end, sociological entropy will be it. The heat death of society.

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