Saturday, December 4, 2021

Diary

 As we move into December, COVID-19 is breaking records in Vermont, though, fortunately, since the beginning of the pandemic Vermont is still the second-to-last state in the number of cases per hundred thousand, with Hawaii retaining the best state record. As in other states, the most conservative counties have the highest rates of cases, and they are driving the numbers up. Although cases have also increased in Addison County, it still has one of the best records of any county in the country. Like everyone else, we are waiting to see how the situation develops with the Omicron variant. During the spring, summer and fall, life was beginning to return to normal, and I ate at restaurants three times, but now we are reverting to the earlier protocol. The governor, Phil Scott, a Republican, is looking less exceptional currently. The previous success in the state may have had little to do with him, and, like most politicians, he is reluctant to introduce mask mandates, because they are unpopular and unenforceable. In this and many situations, a fair, science-based authoritarian regime could produce far better results than what we've seen in the U.S. and Europe. It is too early to tell, but I think it is possible that Asia may emerge as the world power within a few years.

We have reached the point at which the federal government has become so transparently inept that it is difficult for me to take it seriously anymore. While the pandemic was broadly mismanaged under Trump in 2020, Biden seems only marginally more effective. Of greater concern are Congress and the Supreme Court. Congress is unwilling and unable to pass necessary and basic laws, usually as a result of political ideology rather than reason. As time passes, the Republican Party is evolving into one that supports anarchy and the elimination of taxation, along with an incoherent form of Christian fundamentalism that would be unrecognizable to Jesus Christ. Strangely, their political ascent coincides with a decline in the popularity of their ideas in the majority of the population of the country; the Republicans have been far more skilled than the Democrats at exercising unscrupulous methods. On top of this, the Supreme Court is now controlled by Republican fantasists who are denying that women have the right to control their bodies and are declaring that fetuses are people. These views can only be supported by an assortment of religious biases that have no place in a government that was specifically designed to separate church from state. Moreover, the Supreme Court is unwittingly displaying its intellectual bankruptcy by failing to recognize that by encouraging unwanted births they are supporting the growth of an underclass which will inevitably increase suffering and social costs for future generations. In my understanding, judicial proceedings are meant to weigh evidence, and the majority of the current justices seem to believe that their positions are supported by a being that does not exist and whose existence can never be proven. In the current situation, with intellectually incoherent Republicans dominating Congress and embarrassingly ignorant conservatives dominating the Supreme Court, the future of the U.S. is looking increasingly dire as time passes. Things could change, but perhaps not without a fear-inducing collapse of some nature.

On a more positive note, family members who had been living in Bellingham, Washington have moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire, a short drive from here.  I will be seeing a lot more of them, and, besides generally enjoying their company, I will have additional opportunities to discuss issues that interest me with a like-minded person. Often, I have been constrained to write what I think in raw form on this blog, because I have lacked the opportunities to develop my views in the course of routine conversations. The visitors, who came in two waves, have all departed, along with their cats. We had to keep the three cats apart from William in order to prevent fights. In one instance, a cat got loose, and, within moments, the fur was flying, literally. Fortunately there were no injuries. William doesn't like having his routines changed by visiting cats and is pleased that they are gone. As an outdoor cat, he generally eschews fights: it is the indoor male cats that are the instigators.

As far as reading is concerned, I do have a couple of books on hand, but I'm not as yet terribly excited to read them. I may start one soon.

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