In one of those coincidences that I would call suspicious if I were absolutely sure nobody would take me seriously, my hard drive crossed the line to bad on the very day the Brookings Institution released its $1.3 million study of Rhode Island’s economic condition and prospects (via WPRI’s Ted Nesi). These days, an unexpected computer failure is not unlike returning to my office to discover that corrupt and thuggish secret agents gave the room and files a quick-and-dirty look-through for some information they mistakenly believe I have implicating the Commander in Chief in a scandal that even the mainstream media couldn’t ignore, which is to say that I’m still putting things back together.
That said, I’m overdue for a post, and I’ve wanted to note a theme to which I’ll return in more detail in the Brookings report. It initially appears on the very first page of text and pops up amid all of the analysis and jargon throughout:
Which is to say that Rhode Island—a small state in a large nation in a fiercely competitive world—is facing an existential choice about its future. Are the state’s business, civic, university, and government leaders prepared to think deeply and act decisively as their predecessors did in order to meet profound uncertainty with innovation and ingenuity? Or will they merely make the best of slow decline?
The italicized text tells Rhode Islanders who Brookings’s real audience is, and the audience determines the recommendations. Unless I’ve missed it as I’ve read the report while waiting for the bars to reach 100% on computer diagnostics programs, the report’s authors do not once ask, or advise their audience to consider, what Rhode Islanders want their state to be. We are irrelevant. Worse, we’re widgets. We need to be repackaged and reprogrammed for the benefit of the right kind of companies. Our neighborhoods have to be redesigned in order to attract the “coveted millennials” whom the authors see as the spring blossoms of “coolness” and “hipness” (not to say “grooviness”).
As I said, once I’ve lifted all of my virtual filing cabinets off the floor and hung the digital pictures back on the walls, I’ll go into more detail, but there may be no better evidence that the next step in the progressive plan is intended to bring government and the industrialists back into alignment, coming full circle since the days of the robber barons, in order to assert their authority over us all and to protect their own power and interests.