July 17, 2012

The Quantum Mechanical Resignations of Mitt Romney

It so happens that I've been reading and hearing about Mitt Romney's difficulties in getting his story straight about when, or even if, he resigned from Bain Capital, the American-job-killing enterprise he wants to use as a stepping stone to leading the American people, at the same time I've been reading Quantum Man, a book by Lawrence Krauss about Richard Feynman's life in physics.

It was a feature of Feynman's early breakthroughs in understanding quantum theory that it is sometimes necessary to postulate that subatomic particles travel backward in time, as in the case of a positron which "quantum fluctuates" itself into existence out of nothing, travels backward in time to annihilate with an electron, and thus preserves various rules of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Pauli's Exclusionary Principle, and other sacred edicts of the Science of the Very Small.  It's a strange world, way down there, but quantum mechanics has been experimentally verified many times and seems to have real world referents, which differentiates it from, for example, String Theory, which is mathematically impressive but seems to lack any correlation to reality.  String Theory has been likened to a drunken game of darts at a pub, where the players throw the darts any old which way, then walk to the wall and draw a bull's eye around wherever the darts stuck.

Anyway, for reasons related to statistical mechanics, another dense and fascinating subject, it does not seem that the  anomalies of the quantum world happen in the world of Macro-Reality, so we're stuck with plain old entropy where we can tell what time it is, or at least whether Now is later than Before, by watching an egg roll off the kitchen counter.  A highly organized egg on the counter: Then.   A mess of yolk and egg white on the floor: Later.

This is the world that Mitt Romney is stuck in as he attempts to explain his Theory of Retroactive Resignation.  Mitt himself wants to be a big, white, cornball, empty-suit Positron who can move backward in time in a Large Feynman Diagram and quit Bain Capital in 1999, where he wants to have quit, and not years later during a period when Bain was busy shipping jobs to Bangalore and engaging in other anti-American economic activities which form the basic business model of the modern American corporate world.  Not that Bain Capital wasn't bad enough when Romney was definitely in charge, in the years before 1999, but it got worse, and Romney would like as much distance between Himself and his Anti-Particle Self in order to avoid mutual annihilation.

Mitt's big problem is that he remained as President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and sole shareholder of Bain Capital in SEC filings until probably 2003, and you can't really ignore these filings and claim you had "nothing to do with the company" after 1999 when the corporate record says otherwise.  And since corporations are strictly creatures of statute (something that seems to be overlooked in much of the current discussion), whatever a corporation appears to be as a matter of regulatory filings and corporate formalities is what it actually is, since its Virtual Reality is equivalent in this case to its Actual Reality.  That is to say, Mitt's SEC filings for Bain are not likely to quantum fluctuate themselves out of existence.  Nevertheless, the Romney campaign is striving mightily to sell its version of the retroactive resignation, even if it violates one or more of basic quantum tenets, such as the Bullshit Principle.

Who knows if Mitt will get away with it?  It's amazing to me that the American commoner would contemplate for a moment voting into office a corporate raider who parks his multi-millions offshore, takes advantage of every loophole available in the Internal Revenue Code so that his effective tax rate is lower than that of the baristas down at Peet's Coffee, and, in general, has absolutely nothing in common with well over 99% of the Americans he would serve as President.

Although, you know...I hate to get involved in this kind of thing.  The absurdity of Romney's candidacy is kind of interesting, in a macabre way.  I keep wondering whether there is some sort of rational limit, somewhere, to the capacity of the American Commoner to vote against his/her own interest.  If Americans actually start electing presidents who spent their careers dismantling American business, in the very activities that led to the complete undoing of the American Middle Class, then we've reached some sort of Event Horizon, another fun concept from the world of physics.

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