This is a somewhat long and detailed post on the excellent Tomdispatch site, about how the homeless, lacking any sort of safety net, and suffering from mental illnesses, alcoholism, drug problems, and the like, have by necessity started permanently visiting the libraries of the Empire, turning librarians into involuntary social workers. A sort of canary in the coal mine, in Chaos' opinion and apparently also that of the author:
"America is proud of its hyper-individualism, our liberation from the bonds of tribe and the social constraints of traditional societies. We glorify the accomplishments of inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, pioneers, and artists. But while some individuals thrive and the cutting edge of our technology is wondrous, the plight of the chronically homeless tells me that our communities are also fragmented and disintegrating. We may have gained the world and lost each other."
"What do you think about a culture that abandons suffering people and expects them to fend for themselves on the street, then criminalizes them for expressing the symptoms of illnesses they cannot control?"
What do you think, readers? An isolated event, an unfortunate byproduct of our success, or a sign of the beginning of the collapse of the Empire? Chaos suggests, once again, to pay attention to the actions of the culture, not the "values" it proclaims it has.