As Hurricane Matthew dissipated and we all realized it was not as bad as predicted, we were relieved. Did we feel anger at the governor and the press for over-predicting the storm? No – how could we? It is a blessing to live in a modern technocratic society where you get immediate warnings and helpful advice – none of our ancestors had that kind of privilege. Next time a storm comes, will we decide not to worry because the media and politicians might be over-hyping it? No – we will not take any chances if at all possible. 
Yet, somehow there is something unsettling about the masterful over-control of disaster. It seems too easy to over-predict the severity of the storm, the need for everyone to get out of Dodge as fast as possible, and then to have no accountability after it is over as we find out it was not really one tiny part as bad as it was supposed to have been. About a year ago there was Hurricane Patricia, a huge storm off the western coast of Mexico. It took up more space in the Pacific Ocean than the country of Mexico itself. It was billed as the biggest storm in the history of measured storms. What happened? It hit land, dissipated immediately, went across the country and fizzled out. It was really nothing at all. But, once again, it is difficult to get angry about government and media over-controlling a disaster. 

However, the externalities are disturbing. For nearly a month after Hurricane Hermine hit Florida on September 1, 2016, Governor Scott asked Obama for disaster funding. Obama dragged his feet, and the governor excoriated him for doing that. This time, Obama approved the disaster funding before the storm even hit – probably because it was just a month before a big election. And the Clinton campaign in a tactical move, decided to pull its TV commercials from the regular stations and flood the Weather Channel with its commercials instead. I remember after Andrew, the insurance companies in Florida announced that there was no way they were going to be able to make good on all the money they owed for the damages done. Then-Governor Jeb Bush immediately issued a statement that this was completely understandable, and he supported and allowed them to shirk their responsibilities, leaving untold numbers of Floridians stranded financially in the aftermath. But, these kinds of externalities also get overlooked quickly because we all know the whole thing is being over-controlled from above. 

We have all long ago accepted that the state is over-controlling us – one disaster at a time. Even if we choose not to think about it too much, at least on a subconscious level we know there is nowhere to run to anymore. Our entire modern technocratic society is one big over-controlled disaster with the strings being pulled from government and the powers that be, from way up above our heads, and the rest of us just do the best we can to dance as the piper calls the tune. 

It is the trade-off for being so sophisticated and modern. We have incredible amounts of anxiety built into the sense of urgency that fuels modern social life. We tell ourselves that we can try to make small changes here and there, but overall, the storefront of civilization is up and running 24/7, all around the world, and you can run, but you cannot hide. 

Somehow, it is easy to imagine that when our ancestors got into a real big fight with one another, one of them would gather some friends and close family and announce they had about all they could take. They announced they were going to leave and go as far away as possible. Then, probably in the dark of night, a small group of them took off and headed into parts unknown, just to get away from the oppression and conflict that had been bred within their society. That is probably how and why humans ended up living all around the globe. Yet, that is impossible to do nowadays. The world is completely partitioned up and owned, so there is nowhere to go and start over fresh. Besides, what are you going to tell everybody on Facebook? We don’t need Big Brother watching over us, because we already have all our friends on Facebook doing that for us. 

In fact, the more you contemplate it, the more everything in society is set to a fever pitch. Education, for example, is a complete disaster. The smarter we got, the worse we became at organizing public education. In case you hadn’t noticed, our entire educational system from K through the professoriate was overhauled, transformed, and turned inside out at the end of the last century, and we are still seeing the roll-out of the effects. Think about it. When was the last time you heard anybody talk about how great elementary school is, or how great high school is, or how great college is in the USA? There is nothing satisfying about public education anymore, the whole thing is set at a fever pitch and over-controlled like a disaster in slow motion happening every day all day long. 

What about the way we went from a society that use to love to wonder how great everything would be in the future, to being a society that is terror-stricken at every turn? For decades now, who is happy about the state of everything in our lives except the professional politicians of the incumbent party when they run for office? American society has lost its manufacturing base, nearly lost its borders, and managed to give rise to an economy that moves sideways year after year. There are less good jobs than ever, most college graduates have no good prospects for the future, most entrepreneurs have no good prospects for the future. As far as I am concerned, the single most important marker of the economy is new business startups, and there is virtually no way to obtain funding to launch a new business anymore. Does that really sound like we are headed into a beautiful tomorrow?
   ~End Part 2 -> Part 3 Monday~