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The Crack-Up: Donald Trump and the Fourth Great Shattering


#1

The Crack-Up: Donald Trump and the Fourth Great Shattering

John Feffer

On the real disuniting of America.

But the alternative to the current state should not be the non-state. The real alternative is a different state, one that is more democratic, more economically just and sustainable, and less aggressive.

#2

It’s good to take a long view, historically, and Feffer is right to think that some things are coming apart in a very big way, one we don’t quite understand.

I take exception, however, to this line:

‘Citizens are in flight from taxes, multiculturalism, public education, and even the guarantee of basic human rights for all.’

How freaking absurd can you get?!?!

Obviously a minority in the USA & Europe feel this way, but the phrase implies that the USA/NATO/EU alliance was a force to advance ‘multiculturalism, public education, and even the guarantee of basic human rights for all.’

In fact, ‘multiculturalism, public education, and even the guarantee of basic human rights for all’ are mere pretexts for military & economic imperialism. The bloody fiascos of Vietnam & the Global War on Terror have nothing to do with those things, despite the claims of NATO & USA.

One of the currents undermining the USA/NATO/EU/Israel order is that a larger & larger group of people recognize those forces as being imperialist, regressive, and brutal. And a ‘World Order’ organized on the basis of mass greed, oppression, & violence will eventually find allies in short supply, & cohesion to be an illusion.


#3

For an imaginative novelist, Feffer sure can sound like a just another defender of the status quo.

The nation-state, “the best bet we have,” is nothing more than a political construct built around territory, wars of independence and conquest, and the desire to command/pilfer resources. There are alternative political arrangements, and whether nation-states exist or not, people will fight one another–Indian tribes here are good example from history.

I’m sure that Feffer feels the same about nation-states as he does about the duopoly being “the best bet we have” to arrange ourselves politically in a diverse nation of 330 million.

Want to know what hinders progress? Status Quotidians like Feffer. He was accused of being a Cassandra, when actually he’s more like Candide.


#4

The root cause of the division described by Feffer is resistance to globalization, but he needed to do more to get at the cause of globalization itself, which is nothing more than the old capitalist pursuit of the lowest possible wages. This drives the demand for low wage immigrant workers which so infuriates Brexit and Trump voters, and of course has led to the outsourcing of industrial work from the UK and US to nationsj where unions are outlawed. The demand for low wages also drives all the innovation which eliminates jobs in every field from bank teller to auto assembly worker. The solutions offered by the various rightwing nationalists here and in Europe cannot stop or slow this process since they all uniformly support and are supported by billionaires who feed off the existing arrangement. All that the populists can offer is targets ranging from Muslims to Latinos, and if inequality reaches a critical level, the greatest distraction of all - war. As Thomas Piketty has made clear, inequality inevitably increases within capitalism and has only been slowed by the massive capital destruction of the two world wars - the enormity of his insights should guide all progressive thinking far more than outmoded references to Marx. We need to acknowledge that a growing GNP, a rising stock market, or unemployment numbers are all irrelevant as long as the pursuit of ever lower wages guides - as it must - all business decisions. Any answer to Trump and his supporters must be framed by a coherent analysis of the capitalist drive toward ever increasing inequality. He tells people that their jobs have gone away, and they have. But he lies about why the jobs go away even though he and his family are textbook illustrations of the phenomenon.


#5

Not a fan of Feffer’s analysis or musings. It’s an instinctive thing ~

Reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Love Letter to the Earth”

Have read “Laudato Si” - Pope Francis

Have read Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”

Am reading Carlo Rovelli’s more in depth “Reality is not What it Seems”

Am remembering Carl Sagan, Arnold Toynbee, Rachel Carson, Ronald Wright, Robert Pirsig, and on and on…

Climate Change & Ocean Acidification, Biodiversity & the Sixth Extinction Event underway - numerous other existential threats from a still burgeoning world population -

People are scared - so going for what they know best - finding a like minded group - a state, a tribe, a religion, etc…

Conclusion: Know thyself first - the only way being intimate with the natural world around you, be it the theoretical physicist’s mind’s eye view of the Cosmos, or a tribal person’s knowledge of how to survive on the land.

Climbing mountains, for me, full time, ‘for to see ;an for to admire’ (Robert Louis Stevenson) - worked.

Find a way to ditch consumerism and careerism, I did, and I turned off the TV more than a decade ago.

Ciao ~


#6

It will be increasingly impossible to keep wages at a decent level for most workers. Some employers find it impossible to make a profit if wages rise too high. Robotics is an ever increasing knock on wages also. However, not everyone needs a high wage if their expenses are not too high. If everyone had access to free or inexpensive healthcare, that would help. If monopolies and patents were better controlled, many items would be less expensive to purchase. If every adult received a basic income, that would help.


#7

“But the alternative to the current state should not be the non-state. The real alternative is a different state, one that is more democratic, more economically just and sustainable, and less aggressive. For all of its institutional violence and bureaucratic flaws, the state is still the best bet we have for protecting the environment, stretching out a safety net for all, and providing equitable education opportunities to everyone, not to mention its ability to band together with other states to tackle global problems like climate change and pandemics.”

The word you’re searching for is “socialism.”


#8

Don’t be fooled for a minute into thinking Trump is deconstructing the Federal government, as Feffer claims. Trump may masquerade as a destroyer to appeal Bannon and his ilk, but Trump is doing anything but drain the swamp. He’s accelerating the decades long corporatization and militarization of the government and the only thing he is destroying are the agencies that might yet be resurrected to slow down this headlong rush into fascism. Unless the 2018 elections put a stop to all this, three more years of Trump will produce an ever stronger, ever more repressive, ever more greedy and ever more fascist government that is more than willing and capable of quelling any civil disorder and unrest.


#9

Nice response

Know thyself first

This requires Self Control, Self Development, including Personal Training and Coaching, to include a Humanistic perspective from like…“READING A BOOK and Educating Oneself”

A process lost among the majority of TV couch potatoes or 4inch screen addicts.

Tons of data facts googled immediately.

Where does one go for Wisdom?

Certainly not Facebook Twitter or Google.


#10

Hello rolson - appreciate your reply !!!

I am seeking wisdom as we speak - and some peace and quiet, amidst the ‘cacophony’ that you allude to:

Before, I found an outlet in exploration - of mountain and desert - in travel and the meeting of fellow travelers.

Now, things are different - i.e., I am much older - unable to just put on the boots and go.

The Zen Buddhist Thay says there is great power in sharing with others - the group - something I am also unused to.

Rovelli points out Albert E was “a rebel” - and that new insights do not come from following “the beaten path”.

So I am still blogging here - connecting occasionally as in your reply, and looking inward, thinking of Robert Pirsig’s intro to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”:

"And what is good Phaedreus - and what is not good ?

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

I note these are unanswered questions.

Of most use to me - from Marlon Brando’s “Teahouse of the August Moon”, a sometimes maligned movie which I think entirely unjustified:

“Pain makes man think;
thinking makes man wise;
Wisdom makes life endurable.”

Ergo - until the system crashes, and “pain is all around”, to quote Simon and Garfunkel, we are out to lunch, up the creek without a paddle.

I like analogy and poetry these days - they seem to me more effective than rational prose.

Have you any ideas on how to proceed - either individually or collectively?

Even if the answer is no - it would be good to hear from you ~