Are Americans Going Insane? By Howard Bloom


In the wake of Covid, are Americans losing their minds? Sort of. We are going crazy for animal stories.  Why?

It could be because stories of insanity among humans are just too hard for us to take.

In the Associated Press’s list of the 31 oddest stories of the week, fully 16—more than half—were tales about animals.  First there was the Cannes film festival, where one AP headline claimed that, “The real stars…may be the dogs.”  Then there was a separate headline story about the dog who starred in the Swiss film Dog on Trial, the big, galumphing griffon mix who won a Palm Dog.

Yes, you heard that right, not the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palm d’Or. This pooch received a separate prize called the Palm Dog.

Then there was the fashion show in New York City called the Pet Gala—as in the Met Gala–but this time with pets.  Says the AP article on the topic, “They may call it a catwalk, but the Pet Gala is the dogs’ time to shine.”

Then there was the Pennsylvania black bear who was tranquilized while attempting to hide in the high branches of a tree and who fell twenty feet into a waiting tarp.  Not to mention two articles on cicadas, a fugitive peacock eluding animal control officers in Michigan, the monkeys driving the citizens of a town in Thailand so insane that the good folks launched a plan to lock up the simians and send them away.

Not to mention the three little piggies enrolled in a yoga class, piglets so cute that they attracted customers from miles away.  And the moose who killed an “Alaska man attempting to take photos of her newborn calves.”

Topping these, there are the 6.5 billion kitten pictures on the Internet. Pictures that get almost 700 million views a minute.

We are animal obsessed.  Why?  Because animal stories may give us an escape from the really crazy things going on where it counts the most, in headlines about humans.

In New York City, a sitting American president has been indicted as a felon for illegal accounting moves that helped hide his sexual misdeeds from the voters just before an election.

In Delaware, the son of a former president has been indicted for checking a box saying he was not a drug addict on a form to purchase a gun when, in fact, he may have just completed a drug treatment program and been certain he was drug free, but he’d had drug problems for years.  The case centers around a gun the president’s son kept for only eleven days, a gun ownership that is being attacked by a mass movement that says all citizens have the right to own a gun.

Then there’s the declaration by extremists of one political party that any compromise is treason and makes you a RINO. Matched by the extremists of the other political party who passionately support a movement that wants to overturn western civilization, using torture, rape, and murder to replace liberal democracy with the tyranny of militant Islam.  These things are truly insane.

But that’s not where the insanity stops.  There is an unrecognized war between a belief system that says all babies are born Muslim, then that some are perverted by false beliefs like Christianity.  Versus a civilization that also believes its babies are born with what it believes in–human rights– built into their very nature.

Neither side realizes that what it’s fighting for, its belief system, is an invention.

Then there’s the war of conquest between Russia and the Ukraine.  A war in which Moscow says that Ukrainians are the living embodiment of evil in a war between godliness and Satan.

Like the war between liberals and the MAGA movement, all of these are belief systems in conflict.  What’s good in one belief system is evil in another.  What’s heroic in one movement is demonic in another.

This opposition between our system of beliefs and theirs, is built into our biology.  The neurochemical oxytocin, for example, opens us to warm relationships with other people in our in-group but makes us suspicious of folks from out-groups.  That’s biology.

And the war between belief systems that biology encourages is insane.


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Howard Bloom of the Howard Bloom Institute has been called the Einstein, Newton, Darwin, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV.  One of his eight books–Global Brain—was the subject of a symposium thrown by the Office of the Secretary of Defense including representatives from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT.  His work has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Psychology Today, and the Scientific American.  He does news commentary at 1:06 am Eastern Time every Wednesday night on 545 radio stations on Coast to Coast AM.  For more, see


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