The More Things Stay the Same

“After the doctors and scientific experts testified in Congress that cigarettes cause or compound not only cancer but a number of other diseases and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually, the senior senator from Kentucky stood up just shaking with anger and moaned, ‘You’re trying to wreck our economy.’ And what did Henry Ford II say when the government began insisting on safety devices in cars? ‘The American people don’t want anything that’s going to upset the economy.’ And what’s more, Ford was right. Fifty thousand a year dead on the highways, but don’t rock the economy. Look, America is no more a democracy than Russia is a Communist state. The governments of the U.S. and Russia are practically the same. There’s only a difference of degree. We both have the same basic form of government: economic totalitarianism. In other words, the settlement to all questions, the solution to all issues are determined not by what will make the people most healthy and happy in their bodies and their minds but by economics. Dollars or rubles. Economy über alles. Let nothing interfere with economic growth even though that growth is castrating truth, poisoning beauty, turning a continent into a shit-heap and driving an entire civilization insane. Don’t spill the Coca-Cola, boys, and keep those monthly payments coming.” — Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction