Another day, another piece of surrealism emanating from the clusterfuck that is the incoming President-Elect of the soon-to-be former most powerful and admired nation in the world. Today’s wonderful news (as in, you were probably shaking your head and wondering “what the fuck” as you read it) is that neurosurgeon Dr Ben Carson has been appointed as Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This is a man who wanted to run for president, but then demurred when asked if he was willing to serve in the Trump administration due to his lack of political experience. Apparently, lack of political experience alone is a disqualifying factor (for anything other than the presidency itself – obvs) but that disaqualification is nullified by the vast experience in housing one gets as a neurosurgeon…I guess?
This follows on from a string of quality appointments, like the Attorney General who was refused a judgeship back in the day for being a little too racist (amongst other sterling qualities, presuming you’re a right-wing Evangelical nutjob), and an Education Secretary who is an avid Creationist. And let’s not forget that bulbous wankpuffin (thanks for that one Sally) Stephen Breitbart, who now fawns shock and horror every time somebody even suggests that his website is a cesspit of white supremacist spew and bile, even though it is exactly that (no, I’m not linking to it, in addition to the horrible content it’s just…bad). None of this is surprising though, it’s 2016, which is probably foretold in some ancient Mayan scroll we haven’t yet found as “The Year Which Ran Out of Fucks to Give” and has brought us the Brexit and Trump. The Austrians have just voted for civility, but 2016 quickly realised that some of us might take some small joy from that, and as a result gave us Italy overwhelmingly voting for populism. In France Marie Le Penn is licking her racist lips as she contemplates what might be coming her way next year. And of course, all the good creative artists are dying out in droves, leaving us with a swamp of a talent-pool that I actually would support being drained by Trump or anybody else.
Ideally we wouldn’t find ourselves in such a deleterious position, but unfortunately every time Idealism picks herself up, proudly thrusts her chest out, and defiantly hoists her flag of rational thought, civil discourse and general decency aloft as a beacon to those who love and long for her, the 5 year old toddler-terror that is Reality runs up and sucker punches her in the groin with a manic cackle. And it’s our fault – to continue the metaphor, society has been that parent who’s let their little darling tear up and down the aeroplane aisle because they’re the most important, special, unique little hell-raising piece of shit snowflake in the world. Democracy as we’ve implemented it is a horribly flawed thing. I know Churchill said that it was the worst system, except for all the others, but that’s like saying having an anaesthetic-free leg amputation is the worst thing ever, except for having a double anaesthetic-free leg amputation. Objectively true, but the first one is still shit. And quite simply, the problem is that we’ve taken that idea that “all men are created equal” and misread it as “All men are equal.”
No. No, all men are definitely not equal. Neither are all women, in the event that somebody is offended at my exclusionary pronoun usage. We might begin that way, but we definitely don’t end that way. The truth is that there are people who are shittier than others, but we’ve gone and taken human rights to the end of the spectrum, and refuse to acknowledge this because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or something. We want everybody to feel they have a legitimate contribution to make to society – technically that’s true, except sometimes that contribution involves somebody shutting the fuck up because they’re an idiot. But we don’t want to admit this, and as a result, we have the situation where western democracy gives everybody’s opinion the same weighting. Believe the earth is flat? You get exactly the same amount of voting currency as Dr Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Think that it’s ok to blow up innocent people because your impotence has found an outlet in an extremist version of a make-believe ideology? No problem, your vote still counts as much as Richard Dawkins and Nelson Mandela’s did when he was alive. Giving heroin to kids to “help them sleep” the sort of thing you subscribe to? You mean as much to democracy as the struggling, honest, hard-working parents sacrificing and going without just to give their kids a single chance for a better life than they had.
I could go on, but my head might explode, and I’ve run out of the bleach I’ll need to cleanse my soul. The point is that this idea that everybody is equal is bullshit, and we need to acknowledge it before it’s too late. Stephen Fucking Hawking is warning the world that it’s on the brink of species-wide disaster from climate change and asteroids, and Trump’s highly considered presidential-as-all-fuck response is to announce the defunding of NASA climate research because “it’s political”. Jesus.
The best way to fix the problem is a licence to vote. This is as popular a sentiment as advocating a licence to breed. Still, I don’t understand why we need licences for everything except having kids and voting. People should be made to sit an exam that tests them on the different political party manifestos and platforms, and if they fail they don’t get to vote. Or perhaps their vote could be proportionally weighted – the higher you score, the more your vote counts. That way, people who believe that £350m a week is vanishing off into the EU’s savings account simply because it was written in big white letters on Boris Johnson’s Big Red Bus (aside: that’s not a euphemism, but it would make for a great one) wouldn’t have the destructive power they do now. People who don’t understand the very real danger their blind acceptance of fear-mongering and lies actually poses would be nicely neutered by this system. People will say “it’s not fair” and it’s a violation of human rights, but what about the rights of those of us who actually care enough to understand the issues, and approach things with an open mind in case we’re wrong? What about our right not to be subjected to the tyranny of the “I found an article on the internet which confirms my biases and prejudices because I lack even the most rudimentary cognitive ability to think critically” masses?
Alas, this is a battle that will not be won. It’s a
shit-ton of fun considered impolite to actually tell a moron they’re a moron – we’re supposed to let them believe they’re actually really valuable to the world at large. Quite clearly they’re not, but if near-total ostracism (self-imposed or otherwise) isn’t your thing, we need to find a way to force people to live in accordance with their political philosophies, or at least the philosophy they profess. You know, be accountable (shocker!). So I say – let’s just give the idiots exactly what they want. You voted the way you did because you’re tired of experts? Wonderful, thank you for your fucking stupid equally valid opinion!. However, now, no more doctors for you when you’re sick. Nope, they’re “experts”, and we were tired of experts when we voted remember? No more tax accountants helping you out at year end. You, my armchair-warrior-touting friend get Google and “alternative” ideas that all the wisdom that the non-experts out there have to offer. Anti-vaxxer who believes “Big Pharma” is evil? Welcome to the polling booth my friend! However, I hope you never, ever get something like cancer, because we know who makes the treatments for those as well! Maybe try this lunatic equally valid non-scientific alternative source. Anti-immigration? Perfect – but you’re no longer procuring anything from anywhere that isn’t 100% local owned and operated. And if you own a business, you’re only hiring locals – so what if they demand wages and benefits at much higher levels than the other guys? And of course, you’ll only be buying goods that contain 100% non-imported ingredients – no more late night kebabs from the Turkish kiosk on the corner for you!
I know it’ll never happen – the fringe right are lunatics, but unfortunately there is a fringe left as well, and they’d collectively implode if anybody even tried to suggest personal accountability might be the flip-side of human rights which needs to be enforced a bit more robustly. The middle has become a wasteland where only the most foolish venture, upon pain of virtual crucifixion by both sides. But Christ it would be fun to watch some small-minded bigot buying groceries with only 100% non-imported local ingredients, or one of those Food Babe type-idiots trying to fend off diabetes-induced gangrene or HIV/AIDS with an assortment of nuts and berries. It would be natural selection at its finest. Might even encourage a few of them to join the dark side, or as it’s sometimes referred to by decent, rational people, not being a complete knobhead cunt. What a Christmas gift that would be.