Some of the old science fiction writers explored the entire concept of the decay and collapse of society, as featured in the NIMH or Calhoun experiments with mice and rats back in the 1950s and 1960s. (You can read about the politically-corrected report on these experiments in the Smithsonian. We are told “humans are too adaptable to be trapped in such dystopias.” Someone should tell those trapped in too many cities around the world.)
They portrayed societies filled with madness at all levels. In which the “norm” was insane by the standards of the 1960s. Societies which were difficult, if not impossible to live in, at least sanely. Usually, the cause of this insanity was corporations – big business.
Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! depicted a New York City of 35 million in a world of 7 billion people, in which the madness of an overcrowded, resource-poor society was portrayed. The novel, written in 1969, portrayed the world of 1999. In 1973 Harrison’s book was the inspiration of the movie Soylent Green, with a similar setting. Many other lesser known novels and short stories (and movies) may be recalled.
These did NOT accurately predict the future. In reality, Earth had only 6.1 billion people in 1999-2000, not 7 billion. NYC only had about 8 million instead of 35 million people. And society was deemed to be “normal” – families were not having to share a single room with another family, and people were not eating processed long-pig (human bodies). (At least not generally in NYC or much of the world.)
But was society really “normal” by anyone’s standards? Was the world of 1999 really sane?
And in the last twenty years, has it gotten better or worse? Although overpopulation is not considered a significant threat and (as far as we know), we now have around 8-9 billion on this planet. There are no vast factories into which people are herded and “Impossible” burgers – or even “milk” shakes – emerge.
Indeed, here in 2019, you can still rent a two-bedroom apartment for under 500 bucks in many parts of the Fifty States. And buy 93% ground beef for less than 5 bucks a pound. When taking inflation into account, both those prices are well below what we paid in 1969.
But on the other hand, the madness associated with rats in a cage…
seems to very much be with us. Consider:
In the UK, transgender activists hounded a midwife out of her professional association because her statement (in a Facebook message) that only women could have babies was offensive, according to the Daily Mail. The organization, accused of pandering to the political activists, doubled down on the woman. Few if any have spoken out against this caving to what is, arguably, a group of mentally-ill opportunists busily destroying society. So that we have so-called transgender “men” who give birth (out of their own body) to babies. And transgender “women” who rape and impregnate other “women.” Who claim that the so-called “rights” of 1/10 of 1 percent of the population can subject the rest of society to a tyrannical totalitarianism which exceeds the general concept of Harrison’s insane society, to say nothing of 1984 or Brave New World. And worse, we have tens of millions of people, from government bureaucrats to voters, who play their mental games.
Whatever your political stand on the privileges of transgender “men” and “women” including the right to play “the Emperor’s new clothes” sort of imaginary games, other signs of societal madness are surely disturbing.
A few weekends past, on “National Chicken Sandwich Day” (a bizarre, even insane concept itself), a would-be customer was stabbed to death in the parking lot of a Popeye’s chicken stand in Maryland, according to the Daily Mail.
We have the Swedish professor seriously suggesting that the Soylent Green solution is indeed the answer – while we have a sixteen-year-old leader of a new Children’s Crusade advocating a return to the Middle Ages in technology.
We have more and more reports of parents – including mothers – killing their own children, while others go around killing other women to cut the living babies out of their stomachs to claim as their own child. We have eight-year-old children who hang themselves and also hang their four-year-old sister so that they “don’t have to go alone,” to escape from bullying. We have more and more political leaders who say that the only way to combat violence and death is by going out and violently attacking and killing more people. We have children who set fire to their family’s home with the stated and preplanned attempt to kill their family. We have rapists (in Australia, for one) who are released from jail while awaiting trial on minimal bale, because they can’t speak English. We have fathers who execute their teen sons for raping their 3-year-old sisters. We have a 6-1 “woman” who attack a 79-year-old black man for singing hymns and preaching from the Bible, stabbing him with “her” three-inch stiletto heels.
At the same time, we have politicians behaving insanely. Whether we are talking about the nonsense dealing with Brexit, the nuttiness of the DC impeachment circus, politics in Israel and the rest of the Middle East, or the growing disturbances in Latin America. To say nothing of a never-ending process of spending, regulations, and abuse. Madness or insanity do seem to fit.
Is madness really a growing problem, or are we just more aware of it?
Let me address that in a further commentary. At the same time, who or what is responsible for this insanity? Is it really the overcrowding and/or “excessive social interaction” of the NIMH rat experiments? Is it the fault of government? Of education? Of religious extremism? Or what? Can we pin down the causes?
And finally, what can we do about it? More later.