This is a science web site, and of course politics as such has no place here.  Whatever my own opinion is, I have no agenda and don’t ask anybody to change their own. 

But the first, and to me the best documented, evidence for the concept that a large random mating social pool cannot sustain itself is the way societies die, or maybe I should say the way that geographical entities experience regime changes.  With very few exceptions the older a regime is, the more likely it is to fail in the near future.  At three hundred years of age the outlook is most grim.  Every exception I have found to the general rule is easily accounted for by noticing that the area in question does not indeed host a large random mating social pool.

If you date the origin of the United States effectively to 1776, then something is in trouble.  Either the principle must be critically reexamined (actually I am reexamining it all the time) or the nation faces a crisis this century.  If it is to be a crisis, then it is reasonable to expect storm warnings. 

One possible warning would be a change in police routines.  I do not know how to document it, but my impression is that law officers are less kind than seemed to be the case.  To say, “Ah, but they are up against a more vicious kind of criminal,” is not a contradiction. 

There are three things in the news that seem to me to be better documented.

For one thing, there is the “Patriot Act.”  The constitution states, if childhood memory serves, that nobody is to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  This never struck me as one of “my rights.”  To me this is a limitation on the government.  They have no right so to behave.  And I imagine the framers of the constitution had plenty of experience with the manipulative techniques of the British Empire.  There response was, to me an unambiguous, “Not here.  Not this government we are founding.” 

Currently, claiming authority from the Act, the administration can send a drone aircraft over somebody and blow him up without any process at all except that the president thinks it would be a good idea and the man is probably a terrorist.  Anybody else killed in the explosion, if it is a young man, is scored as another terrorist successfully eliminated.

Again, don’t tell me, “These are evil people who deserve no rights.”  That is not the issue.  In theory of course such an arrangement might be prudent, might even be necessary.  I cannot see how it is legal.  It would take a constitutional amendment to give the government such power.  But the fact that seems clear to me is that it is a change, a big change, the kind of change that suggests the regime has been shaken to its roots.

A second thing turned up recently.  Throughout his presidency Mr. Obama has been vigorous in trying to prevent “leaks,” information about the inner workings of government that is released without proper authorization.  That always gave me a warm feel.  I hated having to rely on leaks to know what was going on.  Of course I thought that such authorization should be forthcoming for just about everything and somewhere in my mind I thought that was the case.  In fact it was not the case at all.  It was leaked that the administration had for two years been engaged in negotiations with some other countries for a trade treaty.  According to this plan, if a company from one of the signing nations was doing business here, and it’s behavior was found to be in conflict with American law, and if there was any attempt to enforce that law, then the ultimate decision would be made by an “international tribunal.”  In other words the countries form a committee, presumably under the influence of companies with international interests, to decide whether America can enforce her own laws.

No environmental law, no anti-discrimination law, no minimum wage, no health or safety regulation, no requirement for proper records nor anything voted on by Americans can mean anything to an international firm.  Such issues go to that committee.  Don’t bother to man the barricades and scream against Obama.  According to my source Mr. Romney, the probable opponent in the coming election, has favored something of this sort for years. 

And there was very little play on the story in the news.  Begging the question of whether this is a good idea, I do submit that it is a change.  You lost your rights and now you have lost your sovereignty.  It’s going to happen.  Whoever is favoring it (and wouldn’t you think it was rich multi-national corporations?) own both parties.  This is a profound change.  We didn’t do this before.  There is seismic activity.

An older, and more obvious, issue is immigration.  We were once quite lax, but then the rate of immigration began to rise and its character to change.  I don’t think you could find a majority of Americans who will say that the current situation is all right.  And it is a change.  There is a profound demographic shift going on. 

So don’t be lulled into too much confidence by the high quality of goods, the presence of a nice social safety net, the tranquility of almost every street almost all the time, the serene hum of traffic, the convenience of going almost anywhere and buying almost anything.  My ancestors not that long ago worked a farm in Pennsylvania.  They lived mostly off the farm but also bought and sold, and at the end of each year there was a little money left over.  Banks were quite risky and their security was the farm itself, so they’d take the money and go to Baltimore once a year and buy a nice piece of furniture.  Those were not hard times.  Those were normal times, good times.  It is the present that is exceptional. 

We can have just about anything we want.  Obviously we want a future.  But the hints of regime change are in the air, even though even I cannot imagine a great change in the next several years.

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