18 December 2009

Lord of the Flies

UPDATED, with a bit of news out of South Dakota. I love it when I predict the future.

In some measure, the greatest contemporary writing is William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". For those who weren't required to read it in high school, it tells the tale of some juvenile boys stranded on an island; in particular, their descent into Darwinism. I haven't re-read the book in decades, but I will be in the next few weeks. I recalled the book because I've been outside the country just twice: to Haiti in the 1980's and Bermuda two years ago.

Islands, especially isolated ones as Bermuda, offer up impromptu and mostly unwanted, human experiments. Petri dishes of corporeal conflicts for those outside to monitor for their own destinies. Or perhaps, object lessons in how not to devise a social contract. Or perhaps not; lessons ignored because those outside either are certain that they are the winners, or that what happens in the petri dish won't happen where they live. Fools.

Since my return from Bermuda, I've been a regular reader of the Royal Gazette, keeping an attachment which was instantaneous. The same didn't happen with Haiti, although the internet didn't exist (at least in a civilian context) in those years. The disturbing convergence of fiction and reality, for an unbridled liberal, can be read in its pages for the last few weeks; certainly today.

While Haiti has been an unapologetic apartheid society for centuries (did you know that Haiti supplied baseballs and gloves for decades?), Bermuda is less obviously so; in order to preserve its tourist industry. Haiti hasn't had one for decades, and it was marginal even in 1980's when I was there. Bermuda tries to put on a happy face, but the edges are visibly fraying.

Bermuda, among other things, ties its currency directly to the US dollar. It views itself as an extension of the Carolinas. In that spirit, it is run for the betterment of a handful of white folk, mostly not even of Bermuda. Other than tourists, most of the economic activity is insurance. Much like South Dakota re-wrote its credit card laws to attract a handful of jobs, Bermuda has done so for insurance. Most of the jobs are not even held by Bermudians, ironic, yes? Read the Gazette daily for a few weeks, and you will see where we are headed.

I suspect that, no matter how much more the Bermuda government bends over for these insurance companies, they will flee the "social unrest", oblivious and uncaring of the fact that their exploitation of the population is the direct cause of the unrest. It is an evil way to run a society.

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