Old guys, like owners of antique collections, must go the rounds of appropriate restorers, varnishers, plumbers, even, and carpenters, to say nothing of forgers, to maintain the semblance of vitality.   By this time so many of my medics have either died or retired that I am breaking in a new cohort and, surprise, talking about the primaries and associated horrors.

These guys and gals are educated and articulate, some are quite literate and cinemate, but very few have any idea, or interest even, in political reality.   Twenty five years ago one of my neurologists opined, about Clinton, that maybe presidents don’t have to be smart.   Mercilessly I reminded him of this much later in the dim [in so many senses] days of Dubya.
He got the point.   Which is my point – he was at least paying some attention.
Nowadays, a great swath of doctors, lawyers, professors, sharp businessmen, dealership owners, have a very primitive idea of foreign relations and domestic affairs.   They have no interest in political trade-offs, the inevitable incrementalism of treaties and diplomacy.  They take at face value the absurd propagandistic titles of military campaigns  [“Enduring Freedom”] and bills of Congress [“Patriot Act”].
They really do see the world in terms of not only American exceptionalism but of benign American global dominance.   They feel we have “lost” Afghanistan and Iraq [as if we ever owned them or had a right to].   Obama has sold out to Iran.  He gave them tons of money (ignorantly referring to the unfreezing of the Iranians own money); he bows to Putin, who is an evil genius running everything behind the scenes.   Once again the Russians exemplify the abject poverty that results from the collapse of “socialism” and yet are twelve feet tall on the battlefields and borders of the world.
Like many Americans, they may be very informed and shrewd when it comes to contracts and lease terms or matters of professional obligation, but when it comes to policy and politics, they live in a fact-free zone of magical thinking.   And especially in that other form of politics, war.   It’s as if the Enlightenment had totally bypassed them in the area it is needed most.
Given my own biases, I blame the utter failure and craven mercantilism of the media and our bone-headed pop culture, as well as our intimidated schoolteachers and a broad sweep of the professoriate (most of whom teach in business schools) for encouraging ignorance and rewarding jingoistic bravado.    This would include much of the political class itself, who see themselves as types of sportscasters on the outside or salesmen on the inside.
Something is really wrong when football coaches are revered as sages and Colin Powell has an afterlife as a motivational speaker.
Meanwhile there are fewer and fewer citizens paying attention and more and more informed sell-out cynics exploiting and managing the mass deception for oligopolistic ends, astutely disguised [even though often crude camouflage is quite sufficient].
This is the Real Inequality that is tearing us apart.
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