SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (Reuters) – The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts”, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Friday.
The ‘all-island’ approach contradicts the UK position
There is an unfortunate correlation between crises and catastrophes and mass psychology.
For those with a decent long-term memory, you may have noticed that the frequency of attacks and tragedies taking place today around the world is far above and beyond what occurred 10 years ago. So much so that many in the public have moved beyond the point of outrage and have now embraced complacency.
The mass shooting issue, for example, once inspired fevered debate over gun rights. Not so much anymore. While I am happy that the relentless attempts by leftists to exploit every shooting as a tool for their gun grabbing agenda have taken a backseat, I see a trend in another direction which is equally dangerous. That trend is a move towards acceptance that "these things happen," instead of a healthy discussion on real solutions (and no, more gun control is not one of them).
A decade ago the Vegas shooting would have inspired media and social discussion for at least a year. Now, the story disappears in two weeks and is replaced with 10 others. I will be surprised if the latest church shooting in Texas in which 26 people were killed stays on the news feeds for more than a few days.
Where does this complacency come from?
It is a complex problem, but one that I think relates to the state of decline within any particular society. In Carl Jung's The Undiscovered Self, Jung mentions a consistent element of latent sociopathy and psychopathy within most cultures. Perhaps 10% of people within a society are latent sociopaths and psychopaths, and around 1% or less represent full blown sociopaths/psychopaths. Most of the latent people will never become truly dangerous if they are living within a culture that is healthy and morally balanced. In fact, those with inherent sociopathic traits can become very high functioning human beings who are adept at careers that many other people avoid (surgeons and career soldiers are two examples).
However, in the event that there is cultural rot and a degradation of principles, environmental influences come into play and latent sociopaths/psychopaths have the potential to mutate into something far more dangerous. Jung examines this dynamic as an explanation for the sudden and accelerated decline of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s into totalitarianism and moral relativism. When the mentally disturbed 1% turns into 10% or more, entire nations can be dragged along into the abyss.
As a litmus test I find it valuable to look at popular culture when trying to determine if a society is on the brink of collapse into a singularity of moral relativism, because popular culture often reflects these elements more honestly than the supposed "experts" will. When examining Germany before its fall, I recommend studying the films of Fritz Lang; particularly his movie 'M' released in 1931, which depicts a serial killer with a penchant for children being put on trial by a group of underworld criminals, not because they abhor what he does on moral grounds, but because his activities are drawing too much unwanted attention from authorities on their own criminal enterprises. If the dark world of 'M' doesn't perfectly showcase the decline of Germany, I don't know what does.
Today, we are constantly surrounded by popular culture which leans towards the morally relative; stories in which the heroes must become monsters in order to defeat other supposedly worse monsters.
At another level, our popular culture tells us that it is only the fantastical, the super powered and the government contracted heroes that have the ability to affect change and disrupt disaster. Underlying all of this seems to be a narrative of defeat; the notion that there is nothing the average person can do. And, of course, we are also bombarded with stories in which gluttony and decadence are applauded while anyone that takes a more responsible path is portrayed as unhappy or joyless in the long run.
Translate this to the developing trend of mass shootings around the world and the public reaction to them. On one end of the spectrum, in the past it was the sociopathic left that saw mass death as an opportunity to enforce political control over gun rights advocates, with the goal of eventually achieving total disarmament. These people do not care about the dead, let alone logic, they only care about furthering their agenda. They see government power as the answer to every problem.
If you were to hold up examples like the Paris or Mumbai attacks to gun grabbers and point out that disarmament only makes mass shootings EASIER for criminals and terrorists, they would not listen. Obviously, if any of the citizens including the off-duty police officers had been armed in Paris, the attack might have been stopped much sooner.
In the case of the church shooting near San Antonio, that attack WAS interrupted by an armed neighbor of the church who used his rifle to fend off Devin Kelley, forcing him to escape in his vehicle. Had that neighbor not been armed, the massacre might have gone on much longer. Had one of the people within the church been armed, the attack might have ended in seconds, as we saw in Denver in 2007.
Now, as I said earlier, there are sociopathic members of the political left that seek to take advantage of these scenarios, but these people have fallen by the wayside recently.
On the political right, sadly, I have seen another brand of sociopathy rising, with some arguing that all the people within the San Antonio church that were unarmed "deserved to die." This is just as dangerous a mentality as the exploitations of the left. If the liberty movement itself sets aside empathy and resorts to sensationalist or morally relative methods to drive forward a political agenda, then we are only hastening the fall of our culture, not protecting it. And, we become no better that the leftist disarmament thugs we abhor.
In between these two extremes sits a coagulated mass of people who simply don't care much as long as a particular disaster doesn't involve them. These are the folks who are uninterested in solutions and don't really want to hear anything about it. It is these people who tend to become wreckage floating on the tides of history; their lack of concern eventually comes back to haunt them in the future.
So, if these are the wrong ways to approach the mass shooting problem, then what are the right ways?
I think it is vital that Americans in particular maintain our care and concern for the victims of these events. The solution to mass shootings is clearly a responsibly armed populace. According to all the stats on active shooters, defense by citizens is the only factor that seems to make much difference. But to convince more and more people of this requires a level of conscience and empathy that inspires confidence, and perhaps brotherhood. When people know that you give a damn and aren;t simply pursuing an agenda like the political left does, it is more likely that they will listen to what you have to say.
As I noted in my article How To Stop All Future Mass Shootings, the Vegas attack was organized by someone who was smart enough to avoid a point-blank engagement in a city and state in which concealed-carry firearms are more common. Point-blank attacks are by far the most common because they are generally attempted by people who have minimal training or because the attackers are relatively certain that their victims will be disarmed in the area they have chosen (gun free zones).
The Vegas attacker (or attackers) chose to use sniper-like tactics to prolong the massacre. However, what this shows is that an armed citizenry is a factor or barrier in how an attack is planned. With properly trained and armed security overwatching major events along with an armed population, there may never be another mass shooting again.
This is what Americans should be talking about, yet, there is no practical discussion on solving the problem. Is this a symptom of impending collapse within our society? Possibly. If there was ever an honorable task for the liberty movement today, it is to inspire solutions and to maintain moral balance. These shootings and other crisis events should not be forgotten within a week. They should at the very least be a learning process, a means by which we evolve our way of life and become more self reliant and by extension more safe.
If you are not a conceal- or open-carry proponent, then you should be. If you understand that the majority of shooting events that are stopped are stopped by average citizens that are armed, then it should only follow that you should become one of those armed citizens. In the meantime, it is not for us who are consistently armed to admonish disarmed victims as if they "deserve what they got." Their failure is our failure as well. For if we are not working diligently to convince others of the importance of citizen self defense, then we have contributed to the conditions that led to these massacres taking place.
There are methods of stemming the tide of social collapse. There are in fact solutions. They begin with each individual acting in small ways and big ways everyday. Complacency and zealotry are the enemy, as well as those that would encourage such mentalities.
Gaining perspective on China’s monstrous economy isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
As Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, with 1.4 billion people and the third-largest geographical area, the country is a vast place to begin with. Add in explosive economic growth, a market-oriented but Communist government, a longstanding and complex cultural history, and self-inflicted demographic challenges – and understanding China can be even more of a puzzle.
To truly grasp the emergence of China, one approach is to look at the impressive economic footprint made by the country’s cities.
Of course, cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong are the metro economic powerhouses that most people are familiar with. But have you heard of cities like Shijiazhuang, Wuxi, Changsha, Suzhou, Ningbo, Foshan, or Yantai?
There are literally dozens of Chinese cities that most people in Western countries have never heard of – yet they each hold millions of people and have an economic output comparable to nations.
The infographic above illustrates 35 of them, but here’s a list of 10 of them, the size of their local economy, and a comparably sized national economy:
It’s also important to remember that these cities don’t exist in isolation, and are instead cogs in the wheels of larger megaregions. Such areas would be comparable to the Northeast U.S., in which New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. are all hours apart and remain largely integrated as a regional economy.
In China, there are three main megaregions worth noting:
Yangtze River Delta
With a combined GDP of $2.17 trillion, which is comparable to Italy, the Yangtze River Delta contains cities like Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Ningbo, and Changzhou.
Pearl River Delta
With a combined GDP of $1.89 trillion, which is comparable to South Korea, the Pearl River Delta has cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, and Macao.
With a combined GDP of $1.14 trillion, which is comparable to Australia, this megaregion holds the two largest cities in northern China, Beijing and Tianjin. The two cities are a 30-minute bullet train ride apart.
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Having grown up during the second half of the 20th century, I don’t recognize my country today. I experienced life in a competent country, and now I experience life in an incompetent country.
Everything is incompetent.
The police are incompetent. They shoot children, grandmothers, cripples, and claim that they feared for their life.
Washington’s foreign policy is incompetent. Washington has alienated the world with its insane illegal attacks on other countries. Today the United States and Israel are the two most distrusted countries on earth and the two countries regarded as the greatest threat to peace.
The military/security complex is incompetent. The national security state is so incompetent that it was unable to block the most humiliating attack in history against a superpower that proved to be entirely helpless as a few people armed with box cutters and an inability to fly an airplane destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon itself. The military industries have produced at gigantic cost the F-35 that is no match for the Russian fighters or even for the F-15s and F-16s it is supposed to replace.
The media is incompetent. I can’t think of an accurate story that has been reported in the 21st century. There must be one, but it doesn’t come to mind.
The universities are incompetent. Instead of hiring professors to teach the students, the universities hire administrators to regulate them. Instead of professors, there are presidents, vice presidents, chancellors, vice chancellors, provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, associate deans, assistant deans. Instead of subject matter there is speech regulation and sensitivity training. Universities spend up to 75% of their budgets on administrators, many of whom have outsized incomes.
The public schools have been made incompetent by standardized national testing. The purpose of education today is to pass some test. School accreditation and teachers’ pay depend not on developing the creativity or independent thinking of those students capable of it, but on herding them through memory work for a standardized test.
One could go on endlessly.
Instead, I will relate a story of everyday incompetencies that have prevented me from writing this week and for a few more days yet.
Recently, while away from my home, a heavy equipment operator working on a nearby construction site managed to drive under power lines with the fork lift raised. Instead of breaking the wire, it snapped the pole in half that conveyed electric power to my house. The power company came out, or, as I suspect, an outsourced contractor, who reestablished power to my home but did not check that the neutral wire was still attached. Consequently for a week or so my house experienced round the clock surges of high voltage that blew out the surge protection, breaker box, and every appliance in the house. Expecting my return, the house was inspected, and the discovery was that there was no power. Back came the power company and discovered that high voltage was feeding into the house and had destroyed everything plugged in.
So. Here we have a moron operating heavy equipment who does not understand that he cannot drive under power lines with the lift raised. We have a power company or its outsourced contractor who does not understand that power cannot be reconnected without making certain that the neutral wire is still connected.
So every appliance is fried. Glass everywhere from blown out light bulbs. We are talking thousands of dollars.
This is America today.
And the incompetents ruling incompetents want war with Iran, Korea, Russia, China. Considering the extraordinary level of incompetence throughout the United States, I guarantee you that we will not win these wars.