I don’t need to explore the universe to live in a state of wonder. Observing the human race is enough for me. A number of articles appeared in the December 19th issue of The Week that should convince the likes of Hawking or Einstein that there is more mystery in human behavior than in the laws of physics, quantum physics included. Who could imagine that in the twenty-first century Republican members of the Montana House of Representative would impose a dress code on its female colleagues, banning open toed shoes and requiring modestly cut blouses and skirts lengths? (The Week, 12/19, pg. 6.) I can’t speak about the blouses and skirts but a pair of closed toed boots might be what women need to kick those guys to Saudi Arabia where they belong.
Of course, the news isn’t all outrageous. Recently, a Russian website announced it was going to report nothing but good news. They were happy and they thought their readers would be happy. What a surprise. On the first day of the change, their audience dropped 30%. Another surprise must have tickled Right to Lifers. A new poll shows the majority of Americans no long think abortions are “morally acceptable.” The reason behind the shift might be a tad unsettling to some, however. 40% of U. S. women of childbearing age no longer resort either to abortion or contraception because having a baby out of wedlock no longer carries a stigma. (Ibid, pg. 14) So much for the “Just say no” campaign .
On a more sobering note, Lawrence Summers, a former Secretary of the Treasury, complained to the Washington Post that the nation’s infrastructure was in such disrepair that the public has lost faith in its leaders. As a major player in 2008-09 bank debacle, he should know. Still, someone should tell this former Harvard President that the public is far ahead of his admonition that they be “less accepting of institutional failure.” (Ibid, pg. 14)
Of course, one reason why there’s no money for infrastructure is the Pentagon’s decision to pour vast sums of money to build warrior robots. (Ibid, pg. 13) Defenders of the program argue robots will make war more humane – “a war to end war” logic. As yet, no one has explained what happens when our robots destroy the robots of our enemies and vice versa. Do the humans left standing shake hands or go back to massacring each other? The Pentagon might have an answer, but due to poor infrastructure no one’s traveling to Washington to find out.
As we struggle to explain human nature, most surprising to me is that cartoon characters know more about us than we do. Pogo nailed us a while ago.