The public sphere has been effectively stripped of everything but corny, irritatingly hammy political theater.
All we have left in the U.S. is a deeply impoverishing Political Theater of the Absurd. Policy, theory and governance have all been reduced to competing stage performances in the Theater of the Absurd. The actors are transparently given to farcical overacting in exaggerated dramas drained of meaning; they proceed through the cliched motions as if the audience hadn’t seen the same charades overplayed dozens of times before.
“Government shutdown” and “debt ceiling” may have engaged audiences starved for entertainment in a bygone age, but now they exemplify a theater that is so impoverished it can only re-stage tired formulaic dramas with a savage appetite for incompetence and buffoonery.
The poverty of this substitution of theater for actual ideas is best displayed by ObamaCare. The entire complex edifice of ObamaCare is not an expression of policy–it is simply the perfection of state complicity with a private cartel that increases its share of the national income regardless of which set of bad actors are on stage.
As for the alternative “policy,” it is nothing but a reversion to the pre-ObamaCare cartel-state arrangement that artlessly combines gross injustice, insensitivity to cost and insane incentives for fraud, skimming, defensive medicine and the pursuit of national chronic ill health as the most profitable state of existence.
That these two variations on state-cartel predation pass for “policy” is a clear indication of the absolute impoverishment of American political/social/economic ideas. We are adrift in a political order that glorifies and rewards overacted farce and punishes policy grounded in actual ideas rather than the theatrical trends of the day.
The public sphere has been effectively stripped of everything but corny, irritatingly hammy political theater. The players, bereft of talent and inspiration, chosen for their blind obedience to those benefiting from the eradication of ideas and the replaying of tiresome charades, are blind to the poverty of their performance and political theatrics.
Will the audience ever tire of this cheesy Theater of the Absurd? It seems the appetite of the American public for this sort of play-acting entertainment is essentially bottomless. As a result, so too is our poverty.