We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment and revanchism arrive with a new pitchman, selling rollbacks disguised as opportunities and promising to reclaim that which has been lost after decades of social progress and cultural liberalization. This isn’t a “new normal” but rather an old one reemerging, and the only sort of normality it represents is that which is perversely defined by a type of mass insanity.
"An analogous notion is “the fruit of the poisonous tree,” indicating that when something is corrupt at the root it will also be so in the fruit." (from the article)
Randall Amster asks 'how far back has it been rotten' ?
Physically and mentally we are 'tribal carnivores'.
Extreme hierarchy and large, (greater than 100) polities are not a part of our genetic evolutionary history - until we began farming and living in cities - a new type of symbiotic relationship for human beings - the beginning of our move towards becoming a 'social species', a truly rare form of life in Earth's long history, according to the great biologist and thinker Edward O. Wilson.
Perhaps "to thine own self be true" is an appropriate way of addressing this metaphysical issue ?
Now that dystopia is here - the opportunity to grow from this experience presents itself.
On a personal note, and I think personal notes are far more powerful than academic treatises and discussion, I have always sensed that the civilization I grew up embedded in was dystopic, it is merely more evident now.
Finally - I reacted to this feeling - and climbed mountains as a full time occupation for seven years - not for profit - the "road less taken".
Best thing I ever did, bar none - wild and free.
From John C Cremony's seminal, and still unsurpassed "Life Among the Apaches", p.94, softcover, on Indian character:
"He conceives himself not only my equal, but decidedly my superior... He is the man of the woods, the plains, the mountains, and looks upon us as the men of the towns and the cities. For no possible consideration would he change places or accept our domiciliary style of life, and without such domestication all our effects are vain and idle."
I have found this is now my view, i.e., I am an Apache at heart.
The real question is this:
Can we not cultivate what is best in this savage state in which we all evolved, and what is best in the modern world ?
I will answer - Yes - I think we can.
Great article by Randall which beautifully summarizes the socialized distortions and intentional amnesia that have crafted the corruption that rules.
As such, the big issues of the day are not Trump per say but the brutal politics that has existed or decades now given more power by a deluded voter base and an invigorated corporate governance.
Collective insanity is truly an apt description for the illusion of stepping forward when what we have been doing is stepping backwards. Making America great again by making America sick again, more undemocratic again, more weaponized again, more war-like again . . . . .
Good work Randall.
I love your writing Randall. I love your tone. I can't wait to read more of what you have to say. Here is my little contribution to the issues of what is fake and real in today's world... i.e. media. https://turningpointnews.org/exposing-political-corruption/why-we-need-independent-media
"Starting with avoiding the fallacy that everything would be fine if only things hadn't gone off the rails electorally. Business as usual produced this result, not some anomaly."
How true! Trump is the result of business as usual, not an anomaly at all. The mass insanity of war profiteers; government lies; which has been exacerbated by a fawning, presstituted press and the vested interests of the world wide Empire of the Fourth Reich that has for many decades been a disingenuous, raison D'etre; "keeping the world safe for democracy" has now brought the U.S. a Trump presidency.
" The sooner we realize it, the more we can do about it. For real.
I wasn't sure if I should comment on your comment, but I think it deserves a response. I tend to think like you...Our country seems to worship money and capitalism. Ever since I was a kid I felt people and their lives were "little boxes made of ticky-tacky." It's difficult to be "different" in this society. One becomes labeled either rebellious or maladjusted. But can you tell me, and I'm not being snarky here, how are other cultures different?
Thank you for your reply.
My youngest child, a son, lived in Florence for 6 years. When he returned, he moved to Montreal,Canada. He and his wife (born in Toronto and who also lived in Florence), are "different."
The rest of my family sees the change in my son. He thinks differently and sometimes speaks to us as if we are oblivious to the rest of the world. So, I get your drift. I can't feel guilty for being born here, but I do understand that the average american, especially those of us who are not well traveled, are a bit self-centered to say the least.
It's not pleasant to understand that the rest of the world looks at us as "ugly americans." It is also extremely upsetting to become aware that we as a people have been propagandized beyond saving. I remember when I was a young adult; the news would talk about the "poor Russian people" who had to endure propaganda from their country's media, and how I thought I was lucky to live in a "free" country like the U.S. Imagine my dismay when I realized what a horrible lie that was! We here in the U.S. have been propagandized from birth! I can't recall a "news" program that honestly reported on world events, interesting cultural or artistic global events, open dialogue between nations, etc.
Our only saving grace: We are a young country. Perhaps we will learn as we get older? I think much tumult is in our future and all I ask is that people like you use your words to help heal and instruct rather than criticize--although God knows, we deserve it!
Thanks for all the references!
I "Googled" Goran Bregovic. As you said, audiences other than U.S. seem to have lots of movement! Very lively music! Thank you.
I wonder how much time you, Chris Clausen, and Morris Berman have spent with Native American, Latin American, African American, West Indian, and other such communities in the US. Many of the poor Latino and Black seasonal and unskilled laborers where I live, work in order to enable families to get by. Subjected to oppressive, hazardous, and brutal work conditions, they work themselves to death. Here, if money is a god, it is the god of death.
I was fortunate to live in Italy as a child for three years (I was almost eight when my family moved there). While certainly I was too young to pick up on many things, I know it affected me (and my parents) -- and we all suffered more culture shock returning to the US than when we first moved there. But the experience stuck with me somehow, very deeply. Some years ago, living in New Zealand, it was noticing all the details in body language, tone of voice, verbal and physical expression that struck me, and I loved soaking up what I could while I lived there. As an adult, returning to the US the vapid like-killing nature of American culture was even more suffocating to me because I was even more aware of the immediate contrast with what I had experienced (it shocked me how visceral I reacted, making me physically ill). I felt as if everything was prefabricated, wrapped in cellophane, sterile. It was (and still is, to a great extent) an almost claustrophobic feeling for me.
Capitalism has a way of killing everything through commodification, including, crucially, art -- and in the US, there is hardly anywhere that capitalism has not transmuted into some strictly quantified value. The one saving grace I discovered is I recently moved to an area of town which is predominantly an immigrant population -- Latino, Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Somali, Korean, and more -- and aside from my job, I keep to this area, happier here than anywhere else I've been in the US (which is saying a lot). At least I am in a local community I can actually love and call my own. Outside of that however lie the gentrified neighborhoods spreading like cancer.
Says who? There's no evidence for this. I've never felt particularly carnivorous myself, more that part of me always rebelled against this aspect of my existence that I was brought up to believe as 'normal.'
"At the period and place, whenever and wherever it was, when man first lost his hairy covering, he probably inhabited a hot country; a circumstance favourable for the frugivorous diet on which, judging from analogy, he subsisted." Charles Darwin (The Descent Of Man, 2nd edition.)
"frugivorous" eating fruit, IE vegetarian..
One of the 'benefits' of being a long time punk rock fan: we've known things are fucked way before the corporate media shills, and we've got a good idea who has been pissing on the rest of us.
You make my point that racist white folk do ignore the fact that, in the US, there are those of us who are not white and actually do maintain our rich cultural heritages.
Interesting that you seem to be fine with the fact that you benefit from the capitalist oppression of the world's other 5 billion who live on $10 a day or less, and have the luxury to travel to Latin America, basarov.
Interesting, as well, basarov, how you are so dismissive of the Latinos and indigenous South Americans who have been so trashed by the capitalist system from which you have benefited, that they risk their lives to travel North, not to enjoy a little tourist vacation, but to survive.
Sigues aprovechando de nuestra pobreza. Mientras pasas tu tiempo tomando tu Malbec, mucha de la gente que tu desprecia, estamos organizando nuestras comunidades para luchar por la justicia. Gracias por dejar saber que no podemos contamos que tu respaldo.
Translation: I can't engage in a respectful dialog using sound reasoning, so I'll just call you names and hurl ad hominen attacks against you.
Sounds familiar. Is it the return of Pechorin?
As usual, basarov spews a combination of truth and bile -- mixed in such a way as to be almost indistinguishable; it is not so much that he is wrong as he is just unhelpful.
Here is one 'says who', but I doubt from your manner you are familiar with either Lovelock or Wilson, so I will refrain from further response:
"I think that we reject the evidence that our world is changing because we are still,
as that wonderfully wise biologist E. O. Wilson reminded us, tribal carnivores.
We are programmed by our inheritance to see other living things as mainly something to eat, and we care more about our national tribe than anything else. We will even give our lives for it and are quite ready to kill other humans in the cruellest of ways for the good of our tribe. We still find alien the concept that we and the rest of life, from bacteria to whales, are parts of the much larger and diverse entity, the living Earth."
- James E. Lovelock
Go ahead, denigrate the movements of the 60's that sought to promote economic justice, civil rights and racial/ethnic equity, anti-colonialism, peace, environmentalism, and social justice. Denigrate the efforts of those of us now, who have been trashed by the capitalist system from which you have benefitted, and are working to organize our communities in the continuing struggles.
Perhaps, at some point, you will decide to join efforts of those of us from the other end of the socio-economic divide and engage in efforts to bring about economic justice, civil rights and racial/ethnic equity, anti-colonialism, peace, environmentalism, and social justice.
If you do, you will find that the challenges and constraints faced by such efforts. If you do, you will realize that those authentically committed to bringing about social justice do through acts of solidarity not by denigrating or mocking the effort of communities under siege by capitalism and racism.
"Это не дано людям, чтобы судить о том, правильно или неправильно. Люди вечно ошиблась и будут ошибаться, и ни в чем больше, чем в то, что они считают правильным и неправильным." - Л.Н.Толстой
Good link. Thanks.