It may be the case that we invent exotic and unlikely monsters to fear as a way of keeping our minds off of that which we really should fear. You can do something about great white sharks: Don’t go in the water. But bees? I once came near to serious injury as the result of a bee sting, not because I’m allergic but because I was riding a motorcycle at the time and the damned thing flew into my vest. (In fairness, I ran into it more than it ran into me.) I was startled by the sting (I’d never been stung before) and jerked just a little, which, on a motorcycle, can be enough to get you hurt. That didn’t happen in this case, though I imagine that many passing motorists were wondering why the guy on the motorcycle was punching himself in the chest. Bee stings hurt, as it turns out.
We certainly invent things to worry about when it comes to politics. Some of my more enthusiastic correspondents on the right send me missives about President Obama’s secret plan to install himself as president-for-life and suspend the 2016 elections, while political obsessions originating on the left are a staple of popular culture: Waterworld, Bladerunner and other corporate dystopias, Godzilla. The enduring popularity of conspiracy theories is almost certainly rooted in our refusal to look squarely at the quotidian horrors of the 21st century: Islamic State beheadings and Ebola abroad, failing institutions and a corrosive culture at home. If things go well and truly wrong — and they always do, eventually — it won’t be the Illuminati or genetically modified crops that get us. But we’d rather worry about Godzilla’s atomic breath than about Iran’s atomic ayatollahs.
Heavy debt, dysfunctional families, unfunded and unfundable liabilities, economic stagnation, official corruption, lawless government, overrun borders, social cohesion strained to the breaking point . . .
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Read the rest here...