Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Social Higgs Boson Sought

In the heady wake of their near miraculous pinning down of the so-called God particle that holds all physical matter in the universe together, subatomic physicists from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions are teaming up with America’s best and brightest subatomic social scientists to undertake the even trickier feat of ferreting out what on Earth could possibly be still holding together the collective pretense that America has not become a full-blown irreversible Plutocracy.

“It’s really quite extraordinary,” said Dr. Ramani Agrawal, chair of the Quantum Social Psychology department at UC Berkeley. “Even our most conservative micro-sociological models, even after a thorough double and even triple checking of the data, predict that five years ago plus or minus a couple of months we should have reached a tipping point with respect to the collapsing of this American dreamland where the well meaning One Percent is taking good care of our democracy.

“According to most of our models, however, we are decades past the moment when this expanding cloud of group delusion should have begun dissipating into thin air.”

“It’s quite intriguing,” said Dr. Wesley Amos, Dr. Agrawal’s harder scientific counterpart at M.I.T. “Some mysterious, perhaps irreducible pseudo Jungian adhesive unit is keeping this fiction socially glued together no matter how far-fetched it gets.

“There must be some sort of astonishing collective denseness at the center of this fog creating the social equivalent of the kinds of gravity we associate with black holes, or at least neutron stars.”

Said Dr. Agrawal, “The new ground this fantasy keeps breaking is really forcing us to re-think our current understanding of what holds wishful social figments together.

“Our standard theoretical conception of the social universe has long accounted quite robustly, even elegantly, for what happened in late 18th century France, for example, and early 20th century Russia and 1930’s America. In one double blind confirmational test of our paradigm after another our equations have pinpointed almost literally to the day when the masses in various times and places got over the notion that their powerful wealthy class did not need to be beaten back down to manageable proportions if the society was to survive.

“But now right and left our models and equations are failing us. We just can’t get a handle on how it could scientifically be that at this late date in the rise of the new American Plutocracy the masses are still wasting precious energy on voting. They’re still even pouring their increasingly hard-earned money and their ever diminishing time into this instrument of majority rule that has long since been almost completely disabled.

“And then when all this hokey pokey calling itself an election cycle is over, somehow they can’t seem to get enough of all the fiscal dog and pony shows posing non-stop in Congress as two-party governance.

“At this point, I don’t know that any amount of new evidence gets us to critical mass. I mean, a Democratic president starts promoting the going after of Social Security and no corner gets turned. His visitor logs and the rosters of his regulatory agencies and his teams of economic advisors read like a Who’s Who of plutocratic all stars. He prosecutes a grand total of not one red-handed member of the international crime syndicate calling itself the Makers. Post-election he goes right back to buddying around with the nonsensically austerity-pushing Fix the Debt crowd.

“And for goodness sake, corporations are now persons. And if America harnessed the energy generated by the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street we could be coal and oil independent tomorrow.

“We’re going to keep searching for the so-called social Higgs Boson. That’s what science does—it just keeps plugging.

“But at the risk of getting myself ejected from the Age of Reason, I have to say, I just can’t help feeling that whatever unnatural thing is going on here is confirming the hypothesis that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.”

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