Posted by Big Gav
I won't be back online properly for a few more days and have only had a chance to quickly skim the news, but I thought I'd just drop a few links in. First, bird flu has reached Siberia, second, an analysis of why the experts always seem to get it wrong when looking at Iran, third, some Ocker thoughts on peak oil in "Peak Oil: The Turd On The Table" and finally Billmon on Collapse.
Ordinarily, I'd be the last one to challenge Jared Diamond's thinking -- the man is a genius. But in this case I have to wonder if he isn't overanalyzing things. Maybe the reason humans act so dumb isn't because of their intellectual frame of reference, or their clan structure, or because they lack historical awareness. Maybe people act dumb because a lot of them are dumb -- dumb as turnips. So stupid they have trouble each morning remembering that their shoes go on their feet. So mentally challenged they have to use crib notes to remember their ABCs. So monumentally dense they can't even do the job of a cable news talk show host -- or at least not properly. Borderline vegetative, in other words.
Might that not be a more plausible explanation for our present predicament than a complex failure of the intellectual substrata of our socio-political paradigm considered as a subset of the tragedy of the commons?
Maybe we're simply not smart enough to fix the massive mess we've created -- just as some of our early ancestral cousins couldn't quite make the evolutionary grade either. Take Australopithicus robustus , for example:
A nice enough ape, I'm sure, but not exactly the brightest bulb in the Olduvai Gorge. When his environment changed, he couldn't adapt, until finally his last known forwarding address was at the American Museum of Natural History.
Maybe we've reached the end of our rope, too -- that is to say, maybe we've risen to a level of intelligence just high enough to create problems we're not bright enough to solve. A kind of evolutionary Peter Principle in action.
Certainly, I don't see anything about our current national leadership, or the dominant political party in America, that would disprove my hypothesis.