How to Dissect a Civilisation

Future historians will probably look back on our time, as we look back on the first half of the twentieth century, and shake their heads in amazement, at our stupidity, our capricious nature, our inability to use common sense to resolve differences and solve problems.

The budget cuts that are taking place in much of the Western World, for whatever that term is worth, remind me more of Freddie in Halloween than of a skilled surgeon performing a delicate operation. The United States Congress, in order to avoid a battle over the debt ceiling, put in place savage spending cuts that would affect every area of federal spending.

These cuts were not carefully planned, as a skillful surgeon might do, but rather attacked with a meat cleaver, hacking left and right indiscriminately. This is typical of the incompetence that serves to describe the Republican led House of Representatives.

A look at the areas that will be affected by these cuts is evidence enough that these cuts were not thought through carefully, or if they were, the ideology behind them was no social conscience.

First, classrooms will have to close their doors earlier to account for the cuts to their budgets. From a single county, 30,000 hours of educational services will disappear, including 10,000 meals from 381 families that need them, the neediest families in the county.

For two weeks, they will have nowhere to go to get the meals they rely on. This county serves the working poor, people who have no choice but to work, and their children have nowhere to go. People will be forced to leave children will neighbors, the elderly, or people they do not know.

All across the country, children are being cut from schools to cater for the budget cuts. In some districts, children are chosen by straw poll, and up to a third of children will be unable to attend their schools. Early Head Start, which caters to low income families with toddlers and infants are being cut back two weeks this summer. These children need somewhere to go.

In order to continue to give large tax cuts to the wealthiest people in America, children will go without care, without education, without the meals they rely on. It also affects the ability of these children to compete in an increasingly difficult global environment in which children from China receive their education, while children here go hungry.

At least half of the sequestration cuts will affect the military, shrinking the military and canceling military contracts. Units will go without essential equipment they need to do their work in foreign lands, men will go without body armor, ships will return to port without the fuel to power their engines.

Funding for the nations emergency response system will be affected, limiting the governments ability to respond to natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and wild fires. People in affected areas will receive no medical care or emergency supplies. Those affected will wait for extended periods for essential services, water, evacuation.

For those who are unemployed, or who cannot find work, checks will fall by up to ten percent. People will be unable to feed their children, pay the rent if they are fortunate enough to have somewhere to live. Transport to find employment will dry up and people will be unable to get to the workplace.

Some homeless people who have been given public housing, will lose their homes. At least a hundred thousand people will be affected, putting them back on the streets, at the mercy of the elements, and people wishing to do them harm.

More than a hundred thousand people will lose their rental assistance benefits, forcing them onto the streets, or into difficult living environments.

Programs that care for the mentally ill will be eliminated, forcing 373,000 people out of the care they currently get.

The FDA will cut back on essential testing of the nations food supplies at a time when food safety is causing growing concern.

Loan guarantees to small businesses by the government will dry up causing millions of struggling businesses to lay off staff, or go out of business.

Scientific research into serious diseases will be scaled back. The National Institute of Health and National Science foundation perform an essential role in the nations battle against disease.

Testing for diseases like HIV will be affected, with at least 424 HIV tests no longer available to the public. In addition, many thousands will lose access to essential AIDS medication that may stave off death for at least a while.

This is the strategy Conservatives focus on each day. They want to cut programs that help the innocent, the helpless, the poor, the sick. They want to take away essential services that make this nation a country worth living in.

Civilisations have come and gone throughout history, be it the Egyptians, the early Chinese and Japanese, the Maya, the Inca, The Sumerians, the Greeks. All of them have vanished into the mists of time, leaving only scraps behind for archeologists to study. Civilisations vanish because they lose the philosophy that made them great, they do not work as a coherent unit, they destroy their environment.

We have a very good grasp of the reasons that Western Civilisation was so powerful for so long. We innovated through science and technology, produced great art and literature, developed philosophies that explained why we should think a certain way. The Enlightenment opened our eyes to the possibilities of our world. Rational thought paved the way for the technology that we have today, electronics, space flight, radio, air travel.

That rational tradition is being cast aside as we destroy the underpinnings of our great civilisation. We cannot do what it takes to restore our environment, level the playing field for the poor and Middle Class, create a society that is fair to all. We are slowly destroying the pillars of our society with our lack of reason and selfishness. If we cannot change that, our civilisation will join the march of vanished civilisations.

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