Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/20/real-plan-make-america-ungovernable
CD wants to know … is this a complete sentence?
AMONG OTHER NEEDS – RANKED VOTING –
Heinberg’s ramble is worth the read – your patience with his wanderings might be rewarded – but I’m keeping Ecologist Peter Turchin’s sociological prognostications at arm’s length. My main reality guru is Karl Popper, whose attitude toward science excludes imponderable (non-disprovable) theses – not to mention academic departments lacking anything else. To my nose, Turchin effectively extends a bizarre disproportionate terrorism we’re subject to, fanning fears of social disintegration (as opposed to Solnit’s thesis of hard-times enhancing human solidarity). To put it more crisply: Turchin represents a noxious wad of baseless social paranoia, imho, which Heinberg would do better to forget about.
Heinberg’s analysis is unfortunately on point in one major way of the American mind. The American mind is obsessed with America and thinks that America is the world. That is part and parcel of America exceptionalism that has destroyed perspective and humility in the populace. The world is experiencing the pandemic. The world is experiencing climate change. The world is experiencing limits to growth. Etc. The American mind does not grasp any of this because it is “exceptional”, and therein lies our societal infection. Until we gain humility (no more “USA USA USA”), and understand what our place is on the globe (and retract our toxic tentacles where necessary), we are doomed to the fate of all failed empires.
Heinberg admonishing us to “Educate, don’t disinform” is preaching to the choir considering that is what CD posters have been doing every day, at least going back to Dubya’s first term when I started posting.
Ever since Raygun ascended the throne four decades ago the GOP’s mission has been to disinform, and they have continued to refine their strategy and tactics ever since. Disinformation is what enabled, launched, and maintains Trump’s cult (and every other cult through history).
When I worked in Germany during the 70s a significant minority of Germans’ only gripe with Hitler was that he lost the war, just as three decades after Trump’s demise, his cult will continue to be loyal to him.
The author offered very good advice at the end of the article. We should not be so quick to pass judgement on our “enemies” and learn to be more receptive to opposing viewpoints. I have met just as many radical people on the Left clamoring for violence as much as on the Right thereby blurring the lines between the two. Finding common ground is essential to any healthy democracy.
I agree with the author offering good advice at the end of the article when he states:
“the political system is set up to make it nearly impossible for a third party to take root”. I believe this is true—which to me translates into another example of WASF.
Even if we could establish a third party, I fear we’ve run out of time as chaos (climate/social) ratchets up.
“I intend to hold fast to my goal of trying to minimize casualties.”
Perhaps this (“minimizing casualties”) is the only thing we can do at this point.
RE: finding common ground. I think this is possible in some cases but not all.
We must not discount the number of individuals in our society that have personality disorders that are highly destructive (as we are seeing with trump et al) and where it will be impossible to find common ground.
To try to do so with a person who has NPD is a set up for failure and can suck the life force out of you.
You can never have a healthy, reciprocal relationship with these individuals.
And the number of people with NPD is growing in the u.s.
Approximately one in every 10 people is walking around without a conscience, or at best, lacks empathy. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the prevalence in the general population for antisocial personality disorder is estimated at 3.3% percent and the prevalence of narcissistic personality disorder is as high as 6% percent.
There are approximately 326 million people in the U.S. (The U.S. population has increased) and 6% percent of them have narcissistic personality disorder, which equals 19,560,000 people. If each of those people narcissistically abuse just five people during their lives, that amounts to an additional 97.8 million people!
“Speeding up collapse might arguably reduce nonhuman casualties, but the human toll would be horrific.”
I’m not sure that (reducing nonhuman casualties) is possible anymore. It might have been the case 40 + years ago?
And if that is not the case (i.e. if extinction is baked in now) that would render accelerationists hoped for results moot. Mute? I never use this term correctly!
Didn’t we used to have word/grammar/spelling monitors here?
Great article Richard Heinberg. Lots of words, but a two line summary makes up for that:
“Remember that we are all just frightened animals trying to survive. Help those in need. Be a good neighbor. Educate, don’t disinform. And take care.”
Thanks to your post I was sent on an adventure in wikipedia.
Waṣf is an ancient style of Arabic poetry, which can be characterised as descriptive verse.
This genre had a long history and later became a favorite of the troubadour poets and the authors of sonnets in the Elizabethan era. Shakespeare effectively ended this movement with his Sonnet 130 which satirized the form.
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Have you actually read any of Turchin’s stuff?
I’ve got interesting stuff to read, so I’ll be leaving the metaphysicists alone, thanks anyhow. I suppose you’ll go on to explain what the hell a putative ecologist (whatever that is) is doing with sociological theses – but you really needn’t bother.
Okay, just so we’re clear that you like making blanket characterizations (in this case false) without having done any actual research yourself.
For readers who actually want to think critically, they may be interested to know that Turchin is far from a metaphysicist. His background is as an ecologist and his approach to studying history has been based on collecting massive amounts of data from diverse civilizations over geography and time to find common patterns. He’s helped spark a new, mathematical approach to the study of history, which he coined cliodynamics. From his website:
'Cliodynamics (from Clio , the muse of history, and dynamics , the study of why things change with time) is the new transdisciplinary area of research at the intersection of historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Mathematical approaches – modeling historical processes with differential equations or agent-based simulations; sophisticated statistical approaches to data analysis – are a key ingredient in the cliodynamic research program. But ultimately the aim is to discover general principles that explain the functioning and dynamics of actual historical societies."
Let me explain Karl Popper’s problem with psuedoscience such as Cliodynamics: a blanket characterization I challenge you to refute, by making up for the scientific deficit here. Where can you or anyone point to a disprovable hypothesis in any of this? Kinda important, imho. Without that, it’s not science – it’s not even clean philosophy to me, because it has to phony itself up in pseudoscientific garb.
Prove me wrong. Locate the hypothesis. Or else concede that this is faddish crap. Probably belongs in the pseudoscience remainders dustbin with Carlos “lost my notes” Casteneda. Definitely not science.
The author makes some important insightful observations but when he says . “…The Democratic Party was once the party of wage laborers and union members…” isn’t one of them. The author is parroting the claims made by the ruling class to dupe people into voting for one of their political parties.
I recommend we all return to the ABCs of working class politics and read Eugene Debs on the need for a genuine party of the people.
Or why not read this short essay by the World Socialist Party of the United States (yes, i know full well you have never heard of it even though its been around since 1916)
This is not a modern field of study. Ibn Khaldun wrote an encyclopedic study, The Muqaddimah, an Introduction to History.
** Written in the manuscript age, The Muqaddimah is considered unique for the breadth and freshness of its analytical insights. It essays a total view of mankind and of the forms of social organization, their driving forces and motivations, the purpose and functions of government, the roles of labor and money and of the arts, crafts, sciences, and religions. It is a summing up of the achievements of historical Islam, a work considered to be far in advance of similar studies eventually undertaken by Europeans. Arnold J. Toynbee described The Muqaddimah as “undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place.”
** I found that recommendation while studying Toynbee’s twelve volume A Study of History
(If Toynbee considered Ibn Khaldun to be number one, then he must have been a very close number two.) The three volume English translation of the The Muqaddimah was printed as Bollinger Series XLIII, Princeton, and deserves a place in any scholar’s library if he/she is interested in the subject. I forgot to mention that Ibn Khaldun wrote The Muqaddimah in 1377. When I was studying it, I was surprised that little seems to have changed since then. Empires and Civilizations seem to rise and fall in the same manner today as they did in the 1300’s, and you see it happening across the board.
Neither PArty will allow that, without a ‘gun’ at their heads.
The question is, what will that ‘gun’ look like, and how long will it take to get it pointed?
We are an empire in decline.
Sorry to “one-up” you but,
You forgot the two most important questions…
How much will it cost?
Who will pay for it?
It’s already happened in at least two states – maybe more?
We need to get busy actually bringing it about –
I had had plans to start working on it in NJ – I would have tried to contact
people who worked on it – and organizations supporting it for info.
Personal reasons – like a broken foot kept me from it – and prospects now
for my getting involved are dim as so much to catch up with.
It’s a job for new activists – but they have to believe it can happen – and has happened.
The world is using these systems of RANKED VOTING now and waiting a week to hear
Meanwhile, stick with PAPER BALLOTS, PENS AND TRACKING NOS …
EVEN when the hack-able computers give you paper, there is no tracking info and they
can’t be resurrected for recounts in the same way that “Mail In Ballots” can be tracked and
authenticated. This election – having moved away from computer voting – also prevented
the infamous calling of elections based in 1% or even 0% of the estimated vote.
It was essential that no calls be made on early “estimated votes” and all of MSM avoided
doing that – and walked us slowly thru the process – and then into the MAIL IN BALLOTS
so that every American could understand what was happening.
UNFORTUNATELY, we have a lot of Trump voters who don’t want to know –
and they fight against any information contrary to what the do know.
Guided by CHURCH, MIC, and GUNS they stick by their beliefs.
WAIT A MINUTE … !!!
NOT THAT I’M TRYING TO DENY A RIGHT WING PROGRAM FOR
FASCIST TAKEOVER HERE –
Trump has been “ruling” for four years now with pretty much all of sane MSM
against him – and from what we see from the 2020 vote at minimum 80 MILLION
of our citizenry against him – in other words he should have had a more difficult
job doing it than Biden will have with that same 80 MILLION and likely more SANE
people supporting him. Our biggest worry with CORPORATE BIDEN AND DP
ESTABLISHMENT is BETRAYAL BY THEM ONCE AGAIN.
And, OK – what would Trump do if he were Biden and taking over a like situation –
he wouldn’t acknowledge any defeat – he wouldn’t acknowledge any lack of support -
he’d just go on doing what ever in the Hell it is he wants to do according to his own needs.
And that’s what Biden should do – but ONLY by following a LIBERAL AGENDA supporting
where we need to go – IF WE KNOW we need to move to MEDICARE4ALL, then let’s start
with increasing the Medicare rolls down to age 55, let’s say – or maybe 50 is a better number
for any who may want to join. What’s the vote here on the starting age?
For one, we should ensure all children are included immediately – pediatric up to age 10-12?
Next 18 months increase it again down to age 35 – and if we all still exist by then … as
Biden leaves he can make it FULL MEDICARE4ALL…
And he must of course renew and refresh Social Security and it’s aims -- sufficiently enough to
allow the 70 year olds and 80 year olds who find it still necessary to work even in low paying
jobs in order to support themselves. AT LEAST THAT MUCH MUST BE CORRECTED AND
ALLOWING OUR YOUNGER PEOPLE TO PICK UP JOBS THEY LEAVE. Many have been
able to re-connect themselves back to business similar to what they used to do at fairly decent
salaries – those jobs could be opened to younger people, as well.
This is another reason why there aren’t jobs for teenagers any more –
$15 minimum wage? That’s for teenagers –
Anyone holding a real – 5 day a week - 9 to 5 job should be making $20 an hour or $25.
Also, MEDICARE taking care of more Americans will also help give some competition to
the PRIVATE/PROFIT costs of health care –
And it would take our system of medicine out into the world of PREVENTION rather than CURES
which never come.
NOT WANTING TO IGNORE TRUE THREATS – THEY ARE REAL – BUT DAMN…
LET’S HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE IN OURSELVES THAT WE CAN DO AT LEAST
**AS WELL AS OTHER NATIONS HAVE DONE RE HEALTH CARE – WE’RE NOT **
INVENTING THE WHEEL – RIGHT?