The American Collapse (of Civil Society (non-governmental institutions))

Why is congress so partisan these days? Why can’t they compromise and work together like the old days when it was 100% white dudes?

Just read a local news report of some graffiti on the side of a building in the city “It’s never 2 late 2 assassinate”. There was no explicit target of this message, though the building owner assumed it was referring to POTUS. They quickly covered over the graffiti, but the building owner (random person, as far as I can tell) and a city official were both quoted as making comments along the line of “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, we have to find a way to come together and not be so divided in this country.”

All of that is preface to say I’m a bit tired of hearing this sentiment expressed with no further discussion, in whatever circumstance it is shared. If it is a random private citizen, then the follow up question should be “and what are you doing to make this happen in your life?” And if the person saying it is a government official at any level then there should be follow up questions asking what they suggest should be done to make it happen, what they will be doing within their powers as a politician to bring about this healing of division. Especially, more prominent politicians who have engaged in overt and aggressive behaviors that run counter to this sentiment of healing division should be called out clearly. The idea that it is someone else’s challenge to solve or that simply wishing it were so is disheartening to hear repeated. It is the new “thoughts and prayers”.


It’s not all bad, guys!
US Prisoner Numbers Are Finally Declining

More good news here.

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Here is why I have all of those thoughts about the hollowness of “we need to find a way to heal the divisions between us” proclamations. I feel like this is actually what is going on, bullshit “both sides” crap and false equivalency.


Under capitalism, the news is not incentivized to report as accurately as possibly, only as engaging as possible.


45 posts were split to a new topic: Homelessness in US vs UK

This was too good a thread to let disappear into the ether.

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People afraid of the society collapsing: doomsday preppers.

FRCF: doomsday greppers

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When a CEO’s pay is based on stock, why aren’t they paid with options, say, 5 years out? (Or are they?)

It seems like that would be better for the shareholders in the long run than incentivizing short-term gains.

So investorama specifically calls out those pitfalls. I’m obviously not the first person to think of this.

the incentive to keep the share price motoring upward so that options will stay in the money encourages executives to focus exclusively on the next quarter and ignore shareholders’ longer-term interests. Options can even prompt top managers to manipulate the numbers to make sure the short-term targets are met. That hardly reinforces the link between CEOs and shareholders.

I guess a counterexample is Warren Buffett. He’s been in for the long haul since what, 1965?

Side note: the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders letter was just published. I’d recommend reading them to anyone with even a passing interest in how businesses work.

They’re also written very unlike you might expect Wall Street reports to be:

Since 2011, we have owned Lubrizol, an Ohio-based company that produces and markets oil additives throughout the world. On September 26, 2019, a fire originating at a small next-door operation spread to a large French plant owned by Lubrizol.
The result was significant property damage and a major disruption in Lubrizol’s business. Even so, both the company’s property loss and business-interruption loss will be mitigated by substantial insurance recoveries that Lubrizol will receive.
But, as the late Paul Harvey was given to saying in his famed radio broadcasts, “Here’s the rest of the story.” One of the largest insurers of Lubrizol was a company owned by . . . uh, Berkshire.

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It really is a pathology. I was already there with gun violence and school shootings in America. But I guess I’m there now with coronavirus death statistics too. Because I don’t live in America, me becoming numb to the suffering isn’t going to change things one way or another.

But for those who live in America, and are already numb to the death and suffering of others… well, of course they aren’t going to wear face masks.


As soon as America decided that kids dying at a high rate in school was the price to pay for RWNJs to have their gun rights, America decided that “a high rate of people dying” is on the list of currencies we as a nation are willing and able to spend.


The myth of American freedom is worth any cost to these people. To surrender the myth of American freedom would shatter their entire understanding of what our country is built on and how it works. It would invalidate their ability to live their lives striving for an imaginary middle class, and believe that the only thing keeping anyone from wealth and prosperity is a mix of luck and skill.
For them, a few hundred thousand lives are an acceptable tradeoff. Changing their worldview is harder.

It more insidious than that, it’s the atomization of society that is the crux of liberalism that persists this mental model that individualism is the core moral tenant of society. As long as our society exists to perpetuate this, we will be unable to react and respond to societal threats such as the pandemic and climate change.

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TLDR Sri Lanka
Not a civil war in the sense of the American civil war or Syria or Yemen (short time scale).
More a continuous insurrection along the line of FARC (decades).

Right. More along the lines of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” where 50% of life goes on as normal, and 50% has the constant threat of sectarian violence or death by bombings and shootings.

I’m pretty well traveled, and I’ve had options to visit places where there was civil unrest. Like in early 2009, I was meant to visit Madagascar, but then:

And in 2014, I was planning on visiting Bangkok, but then:

And in 2016, I had quite a few trips to Turkey planned, but then:

Make no doubt about it, for outside observers and people with previous travel plans, the USA is currently in pretty much the same state.


Maybe we can undo some of the damage Facebook has done by weakening them.