September 9, 2008


A comedy of areas (Spengler, 9/10/08, Asia Times)

Who are these countries, and why are they there? They don't seem to want to be there much longer. The late Kinison's "World Hunger" routine comes to mind:

You want to help world hunger? Stop sending them food. Don't send them another bite, send them U-Hauls. Send them luggage, folks. Send them somebody like me. I'll walk out there. Send a guy that says, "Hey, you know, we just drove 700 miles with your food and we realized there wouldn't BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS! YOU LIVE IN A DESERT!! UNDERSTAND THAT? YOU LIVE IN A ***** DESERT!! NOTHING GROWS HERE! NOTHING'S GONNA GROW HERE! Come here, you see this? This is sand. Nothing grows in this *****. Here, eat some of. Taste it. You know what it's gonna be 100 years from now? IT'S GONNA BE SAND!! YOU LIVE IN A ***** DESERT! We have deserts in America, we just don't live in them, *****!

Only in the context of over-the-top black humor do Americans ask the obvious question, namely: What are certain countries doing there in the first place? Merely suggesting that some of them might not need to be there made Kinison, who died in a 1992 car crash, the deepest foreign-policy thinker of his generation. [...]

It's also the case that by 2050, there will be fewer than 100,000 Georgian women of child-bearing years (between the ages of 18 and 35). The number of potential mothers who speak Georgian will have fallen so far that Georgian will be in danger of extinction as a cradle-tongue later in the century. Ukraine presently has a population of 46 million, which will fall to about 25 million by 2050. But only 2.4 million of that 25 million will consist of women of child-bearing age.

Carlin's humor had a deep premise: the ridiculous things we do stem from our refusal to take life as it comes. "Why do all these people need help?" he once said of self-help books. "Life is not that complicated. You get up, you go to work, you eat three meals, you take one good [vulgar term for bowel movement], you go back to bed. What's the ***** mystery? ... Why would anyone need to be motivated by someone else? If you lack motivation, a seminar isn't going to help you. What you really need is to get smashed in the head thirty or forty times with a golf club. That will ***** motivate you. Or else it will at least get you moving around the room, locate your socks, get the day rolling."

Carlin was the closest thing stand-up comedy had to Goethe's Mephistopheles, who told Faust that he should listen to the race of devils who have been chewing on this tough biscuit for millennia: from the cradle to the grave, no one has ever been able to digest this lump of sourdough called life. Everyone isn't going to make it, Carlin tells us, and those who don't can go ***** themselves - desert countries where there isn't any food and former Soviet republics where there aren't any babies, for example.

Not everyone is going to make it. That should be America's mantra. America was settled by people who didn't think that Europe was going to make it, and decided that the better part of valor was to bail out and start something new. Georgia and Ukraine are not going to make it. They are past the point of no return. Nothing will save them. They do not like life well enough to perpetuate it. ***** them.

America's obsession with a happy ending for all - otherwise known as Wilsonian idealism - is the ultimate source of the problem.

...America doesn't stand for the proposition that everyone is going to make it. At the End of History all nations will be history, though some countries (which chiefly exist only in the Anglosphere) will do quite well. America's role in the world is to help people to obtain the liberty within which they can decide for themselves whether they make it or not. You get to pursue happiness--we don't guarantee you find it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2008 7:44 AM
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