Thursday, June 21, 2018

Have we given enough credit to pathology of late?

A sympathetic reader, noting our distraction
this Spring by esoteric matters of policy, 
has sent us this reminder of pathology's as-
cendancy in these matters. Selecting an ava-
tar for this claustrophobic crisis, of being
sandwiched between two inadequately intimid-
ated states, with the insouciant hair of the
prime minister of the one, and the navigation-
al élan of the archetype of the other, he re-
minds us to investigate what is terrifying in
our entrapment in this vise of dreadfulness.

Is it the permeability of the fence, or the
specter of penetration that has captivated
The New Government and its flock: our 300
some odd million citizens are entitled to an
honest examination of their wretchedness, to
be exposed to this proximity of social risk.

In the annals of geopolitical conflagration,
it would be hard to identify two neighbors of
greater hostility to the manifest destiny of
our nation. Look, for example, at how equably
France and Germany have settled their Alsatian
tipping point, compared with Canada's tariff
on dairy production smaller than a sneeze in
Wisconsin, and Mexico's soothing trickle of
underpayable menial labor to, say, Pasadena.

If the European genius for border peace is
too easily explained by a long tradition of
gallant martial haberdashery, then look to
our herdings, hither and yon, of naked nat-
ive Americans, into suitably desolate en-
claves, as proof of what phobic reason can
accomplish. Are we worried that our alien
heathens will seize our condos on the East
Side? We need look no further than to their
protection by Russian oligarchs, to reflect
on resources which haven't failed us yet.

Possibly, then, if our digressions on policy
really can be dismissed as an unintended im-
pertinence to pathology, at least we have
taken care not to claim that higher cons-
ciousness as some congenital trait of our
heterogeneous lineage. That would take an
entire century or two of persistent myth-
making and denial, whilst anyone can see,
ishing the glory of firing on Fort Sumter.

It is only too unimaginative, however, to
attribute our pathology to the chronically
ingrained and infallibly unanswerable tra-
dition of stark Confederate lying about
the motives for pummeling Fort Sumter, a
degeneracy which would have been swept a-
way by wise policy, barring internal fed-
eral borders, harboring it for endless rot.
But it's a snap to find our well of policy.

Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of
  Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Everyman's Library
J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1912©

No comments:

Post a Comment