I was in Paris recently, in a park near the Louvre museum enjoying a lazy summer day. I wasn’t the only one with such a great idea, there were probably a few hundred others enjoying the sunshine– children playing football, kissing lovers entwined on the grass, businessmen on a lunch break…
You can imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw a squad of French infantry troops on patrol through the park, brandishing assault rifles at the ‘ready’ (essentially holding the weapon in a fire position with index finger over the trigger).
The only thing missing to complete the picture would have been Taliban forces and the Afghan countryside.
I was shocked at the display, wondering what possible threat could necessitate sending infantry troops through one of the world’s most peaceful city parks. Even more, though, I was shocked that no one else seemed to be shocked.
This sort of security charade has become commonplace. Ridiculous and unnecessary shows of force are simply accepted in today’s world; our governments blame faceless, conceptual enemies like ‘terrorism’ and have convinced everyone that such measures are for the common good.
Think about it– when taking public transportation or patronizing public buildings, how many times do you see signs or hear announcements that start with, “Ladies and gentlemen, for the safety and security of all passengers…”
This wasn’t the case 10-years ago. If French troops went marching through Paris in 2000, the whole city would have gone nuts. In fact, consider many of the other ways that the world has changed so drastically over the past 10-years:
1. The endless War on Terror and the rise of police states around the world
2. Elimination of any semblance of financial privacy
3. The bursting of four major bubbles– stocks, credit, derivatives, property
4. Developing nations’ increasing economic dominance
5. The end of America’s economic and diplomatic primacy
6. The greatest global economic decline since the Industrial Revolution
7. Rising world population coupled with food and water shortages
8. Loss of confidence in major institutions: government, banks, corporations
9. The growing, addict-like social dependency on technology
10. Central planning in the world’s most “free” economies
Lying there on the grass in Paris hoping to not get clipped by a negligent discharge, I started thinking about the boiling frog.
The allegory illustrates that when you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water, he immediately senses danger and jumps out. When you put him in cool water and slowly bring it to boil, the frog won’t sense danger until it’s too late.