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Monday, August 03, 2020

The Causal Nexus and the American miracle belief

One of the funnier aspects of "objective journalism" is its relationship to causality. We live in a world that is well mapped out, on the micro level, by then statements. You throw a stone into a pond - a cause - and then waves spread out from the center.
The specialness of America, however, interrupts this story for the journos. I noticed this often in the Iraq occupation. Although it was easy to see insurgency would happen, easy to see that the U.S. would respond as it always responds in low intensity warfare - by trying to save the lives of American troops, which inflicts much more casualties on those it is occupying , whilst trying to win their hearts and minds - and that this was obviously going to destablilize the place progressively - the journalists always had a conditional: maybe in the next three months things would get much better! Cause, miracles happen! A similar belief that the causal nexus shows mercy on American Goodness shows up in the reporting about the election. Maybe Covid is gonna disappear! Maybe the economy will come roaring back!
One can't be totally certain. God might tell us all, in a loud voice, that Melania is really the newest incarnation of the Virgin Mary. But the odds are low.
This is why it is fun to read the D.C. insiders and the political writers, who all swallow this stuff and create elaborate analogies with, say, Biden now and Dukakis in 1988. Ah, I remember the analogies of Iraq like they were yesterday - analogies are the go-tos, the plan B of the casually illiterate.
By November there will be at least 200 thou dead of Covid in the U.S. There will be at least 35 million unemployed, and millions more who don't count. The landlords will be bleeding, and millions will be trying desperately to find someone to move in with. The machine has been started, and we are not going to see it stop.
Jim Haug

1 comment:

Bruce said...