There are moments — how can I deny it? — when my Roman ancestors get up and march through my mind, sandal-shod feet echoing off newly built roads and pointing everywhere going “Ist, ist, ist” (the indicative pronoun for something foreign and disgusting, and incidentally close to the Portuguese for “this” “isto”. Which tells you everything you need to know about what the first Romans to come to the Peninsula found and thought.)
And somewhere behind that is the idea that we’re going to need crosses lining every major highway in the West before this is solved and the barbarians pacified.
Believe it or not this is not a political post. It doesn’t even begin to be a political post, unless you consider the matter of incentives and punishments, which, like everything else these days goes into politics.
What I’m talking about is the recent outbreak of young people filming themselves licking, spitting into or otherwise tainting food afterwards returned to the grocery shelves.
I first came across this in a report of prize idiot alleged entertainer Ariana Grande who filmed herself licking doughnuts on a display and returning them to the case, while talking about how much she hated America.
Since then, in the manner of all destructive pastimes of monkey-see monkey-do peculiar to our species, it has gone generalized.
In a way the alleged entertainer was correct. It is a way to hate America. More fundamentally, it is a way to hate and destroy civilization. And humans. And really, everything humans care for.
Civilization could be considered the way that humans changed — tamed — themselves so we can live in vast quantities, close together. The city requires a different discipline from the ape band, which had maybe fifteen individuals, whose lives were brutish, nasty, short and infinitely dirty. To improve that, it started with behavior that allowed us to live in larger groups: software in the head that allowed to consider ever more extended family and eventually strangers part of the ‘band’, and ways to keep food clean, and ways to control our tempers so that we didn’t all spend all of our time killing each other. Ways to share, and ways to behave that increased trust between total strangers. This included trusting those who handled and sold your food.
We can argue forever on the matters of population, ecology, or even whether too much cleanliness is a good thing.
The thing we can’t argue aoubt is that civilization is what allows us to live in the numbers we do, the long lives we do, the relatively healthy/productive lives we do.
And we can’t argue that sharing your body fluids with strangers is a good way to transmit illness. Nor that doing it when the strangers are unaware is a violation of others’ rights and frankly biological terrorism.
If you hate all that, if you hate humans that much, if you hate civilization that much, if you’re one of those who talks about culling the Earth and reducing the population of humans to sustainable levels? My answer is always “you first.”
If you think you’re so special that you’ll take this kind of action to bring it about? My answer is again “you first.” (Possibly very first, if I catch you at it. At the very least, if male, you’ll sing soprano the rest of your miserable life.)
Look, we shouldn’t NEED tamper proof packaging. Yes, I know we do. But we shouldn’t. Part of the tenets of civilization is that something like this should be unthinkable. You don’t taint water and food. Even cats don’t shit where they eat.
But if we’re going to need ALL tamper proof everything? You’re adding to the cost of it. And also this type of prize-idiot will find a way to get around it.
You need to civilize humans. Because you can’t barbarian-proof civilization, unless you take out the barbarians.
Civilization is that state in which you trust strangers will observe minimal rules designed for the survival of all.
Part of where the wheels come off this is when you don’t civilize your own kids. EVERY civilization that handed off kids to be raised by strangers not their parents has regretted it. Some have collapsed and been replaced by others that DO civilize their kids.
As for us? Sooner or later this will have to be corrected. The sooner we correct it, the less violent the correction.
If we don’t act now, with courts, with social disapproval, with disgust, yes, it will take crosses. Or stakes. Or unimaginably worse punishments before this type of action becomes unthinkable again.
And we’ll get there. We’ll get there, sooner or later, because what’s not going to happen is for humanity to go quietly into that good night. Never did, never will. If we fall, something else will rise up, which deals with the barbarians swiftly and decisively. If you’re a barbarian you should note the West is not your worst option. Not even close.
If you think you are, you lack the imagination to forecast what might come after.
Trust me, it will be worse.