Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Verrückt

So the U.S. Congress managed to cobble together some sort of quick fix to enable them to borrow another 2 trillion dollars. Not only do I have trouble writing about this, I have trouble thinking about it. I start feeling a genuine detachment from reality that is very scary.

The German word for it is "verrückt" - normally you'd translate that as "deranged". But there's a lovely illustration of just what it means in this clip from Fritz Lang's "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse".


The psychiatrist, Dr. Baum, is describing Mabuse's criminal career and subsequent mental breakdown (Mabuse is now an inmate in his asylum). At first he uses the more typical word for insane - "wahnsinnig" - but when he wants to describe exactly what happened to Mabuse's mind, he says "verrückt" and even employs a physical gesture with his hands. It's like the moment in an earthquake, when the ground shifts out of alignment. "Verrückt" is going off course, like a train flying off sabotaged tracks.

That's how I feel when I try to enter into the logic of Democrats yelling louder and louder for an increase in the amount of money they should be permitted to borrow. It's already one step from reality, because they're not arguing for a particular use for money that they already have. A few years ago, the cry went up for increased spending on "infrastructure". Our bridges are falling down! Our sewers are crumbling! Our roads are decaying!

Anyone can understand an argument between "We have to pour our money into this!" and "No, this is more important!" But the U.S. is far beyond such prosaic battles. Now we are in fantasyland: "We must be allowed to borrow more of somebody else's money! We can't live unless we get more of somebody else's money! We have to have it! NOW!!!" When I try to think of someone so deeply in debt they can't get out, insisting that a bigger, additional shovelful of debt will...somehow...fix everything, I have that almost physical feeling that something in my mind is faltering and slipping sideways. Verrückt. To try to argue with this: "But borrowing means paying back, and you've already borrowed up to 15 trillion dollars. If you need so much money that you have to borrow it, then when and how..." only provokes screams from the insane asylum: "No!! Give it to me! Give it to me! NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!" I truly don't think that you can negotiate or reason with people so deeply in the grip of insanity.

3 Comments:

Blogger Tregonsee said...

For those of us who live down here, it is beyond terrifying. The next election will make or break, literally, this country. There are many signs that a big enough landslide may put responsible people in office, but never underestimate our objective" press and corrupt officials.

3:07 pm  
Blogger mdblocher said...

Makes me think of gambling addicts stealing money to gamble with.

9:23 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

It does, and I'm very worried about my friends in the U.S. - not that Canada can just skate away from a disaster either. We'd all be sucked down if the U.S. collapses. But it's frightening to see this sort of addictive behaviour on the part of people who have gained the power to direct the country. It's not like George III going insane - it's a majority of the entire political class losing their minds at the same time and in the same way. Perhaps we have to look at cases of mass hysteria, like those times when people were convinced the end times had arrived, to compare them to what's happening today.

8:25 am  

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