November 21, 2013

9/11 and Counting: What Have We Learned?


Anonymous Holzwege said...

Thanks so much to Morris Berman for posting this video of his talk. I've just watched it.

It's plainly an excellent summary of the salient points of Dark Ages America, namely, an introduction to one of the best analyses of America's foreign policy. Needless to say, that policy speaks volumes about the United States itself.

Dear Wafers, if you have not read DAA, I take the liberty of strongly recommending it to you. It a 'must' read.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Mike Daniel said...

Mike Daniel

Morris I have just finished watching the You tube video. An excellent talk. Thanks very much for making it available. A couple of questions. First how responsive was your audience visually to your talk. Are these Americans getting it? Second, a clarification on your comments about the mythological or story mind based part of ourselves. Were you saying to the audience that we need to become conscious of this side of ourselves,this part of our psyches. Do you think they got that aspect of what you were saying?
Thanks again.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Color me disgusted.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

That was a fine presentation. I think you're right that the US is probably stuck in "1984" from here on down.


Thank you. Yes, “The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.” But please, don’t sell the past short. If we want to be more than puppets on strings, it’s important to understand that the past is still with us and that it influences us deeply. I guess it’s what we choose to keep and value from the past makes the difference between wisdom and… well, Southern Baptists.

I once heard a scholar of ancient languages saying that in his copy of the Gilgamesh Epic he had marked all the parallels with Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents.” And Alfred North Whitehead said that Western Philosophy is a series of footnotes on Plato.

Most Americans are living a myth from the past, but they don’t know it. I remember Eric Fromm, in “To Have or to Be?” describing young rebels of the 1960’s as developing “an almost phobic disinterest in all tradition, including the thoughts that the greatest minds have produced.” He continued saying, “In a kind of naïve narcissism they believed that they could discover by themselves all that is worth discovering.” Too many Americans seem to think it is only what they know that is is worth knowing, which is a major feature of Joe Bageant’s “American Hologram”.

David Rosen

4:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I think they got it. As for 2nd question, check out my essay "Tribal Consciousness vs. Enlightenment Tradition" in QOV.

Thought I shd provide u guys with a New York Diary. Here's how my last 2 days went:

Last nite: I'm in a kinko-type place called Postal, that has Internet connection (where I am rt now as well). The staff was getting annoyed that the guy at a branch Postal store was pulling crank calls on them. So they asked me to strike back for them. I took the fone, called the guy, and told him that my nephew was trying to track a package and that Postal guy hung up on him twice. I began to scream, "You're a douche bag!" "I've been called worse," he told me. "What's yr name?" "Joe Blow," I screamed. Meanwhile, the staff in this store was rolling on the floor. I became BMOC. They bought me some headphones and refused to charge me for computer time.

30 mins ago, the 'douche bag' came into the store, and the staff introduced him to me. We shook hands. "Mr. Bag," I said, "I'm Mr. Blow." It was very friendly.

Earlier today: I'm nr Penn Station, trying to get a taxi. I approached one driver and said, "r.u. free?" He wdn't answer. "Hello?" I said. "No!" he barked.
So I moved on to the next moron, who angrily gestured at his cell fone, indicating that talking to his girlfriend was more impt than making a fare. 3rd driver: "r.u. free?" I asked. "Me or the cab?" he replied. We had a gd laugh. (He was Indian or Pakistani, if that makes any difference.)

I went on to the MoMA, to see the Magritte exhibit and the Edward Hopper exhibit. (Fabulous, both of them.) Long line at admission desk. I'm in line behind a beautiful woman, late 30s. We start talking. "Where r.u. from?" I ask her. "Europe," she says. "That's a big place," I say. "You've heard of Latvia?" she says. "Of course I've heard of Latvia," I tell her. "u.r. an American" she looks at me; it's more a question than a statement. "I agree w/u," I say, "that most Americans are idiots. But not *all* of us are idiots." She turned out to be a surgeon attending a conference in NY on invasive medical procedures. Anyway, we both went to the checkrm to check our coats. "Let's walk around together," I suggested. "Oh," she said, "I have to go to the airport in 2 hrs." "Well," I said, "enjoy yrself," when what I really wanted to say was, "Marry me! Have my babies!" But I held back. Rt now she's probably on a plane to Riga, where she'll marry some Latvian guy and have Latvian babies. All of this does have the flavor of the Seinfeld episode, "The Conversion," in which George converts to the Latvian Orthodox Church, for the sake of a woman. (It doesn't work; call me Lovesick in Latvia.)


5:17 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,


Many thanks for making your radio interview and lecture available. Both were excellent, highly informative, and fresh conversations.

The old "... airport in 2 hrs" line. Sheesh, MB, that's a serious buzzkill! Remember, always carry a copy of "Counting Blessings" while standing in line behind beautiful ladies. I'm certain that this woulda worked some magic for you and the Latvian Lovely...



7:44 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Great talk. Thank you for posting. I read quite by accident your DAA after Chalmers Johnson Blow Back Trilogy. His work was of course rock solid but it was in the language of diplomacy, political priorities and real politik. You however dive into the actual culture and not just the official machinations and rationale etc. You get to the underlying cuases and your talk refreshed that lesson for this old guy.

I shared DAA and now subsequently to a good friend. His keen observation is that your are refreshing in that you don;t give a list of solutions aligned with some political/policy platform like say that asshole Robert Reich. Rather, its a narrative and or "philosophy" that is comming to an end--or as Jacques Barzun pointed out in Dawn To Decadence-the western fin de siecle......

7:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


"...leave pretty women to men without imagination."

12:12 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Very interesting lecture, Dr B. I found your mention of the tribalism ideas and explanations of Akbar Ahmed intriguing and will read his book, The Thistle and the Drone. It might help me to differentiate more accurately between the nations, if not the many smaller tribes, instead of doing the lazy old colonial thing of labelling the entire subcontinent (and poor Malala!)India.

Google WLUR-fm, click on 'Culture and Education' then 'Radio IE' then first item: 'Archive' for the interview.

Michael in Oceania,
Sorry, but I won't be apologising for my 'hostility' to Burke's ideas. I fully agree with Marx that Burke was a sycophant, a toady to established power. As a British MP in those times he could not remain in government without toeing the party line.
However, as a free-thinking, working class nobody, I don't have to buy into his or anybody else's authoritarian clap-trap--so I don't.

I do find it strange that you interpret this as 'hostility' though. Acts can be hostile but ideas, (at least until they are acted upon) rarely qualify. Ideas are profoundly neutral, without power, and only gain seditious power when they are perceived as threatening to another person's authoritarian notions of what the world should be. A good reason, IMO, to avoid the 'appeal to authority' fallacy that you were making in your original statement that I originally took issue with as patently false:

'....but history suggests that the people will never turn on their rulers, but only on convenient scapegoats.'

That would certainly be true if the people only listened to the rhetoric of Burkean apologists for divinely ordained, hereditary power --but they don't. They have alternative ways to think about the world and sometimes act upon them.

Burke also wrote: 'The laws of commerce are the laws of Nature, and therefore the laws of God.' (I can see where the US gets its values and rigidity from in accepting this paternalistic fool as an authority on all things.)

Marx, who was a great thinker, not a rhetorician (there is an huge difference) sarcastically commented: 'No wonder that, true to the laws of God and Nature, he always sold himself in the best market.'

Just another mendacious politician, bought and paid for.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


So yr back! And dumb as ever; what a surprise. I keep forgetting that yr an American, and thus not learning anything is to be expected. Well, I'll say it again, tho it won't make any difference:

1. You won't get posted by 'ambushing' me with a list. One issue at a time, thank you.
2. You won't get posted by behaving like a superior peacock; by attacking me, as opposed to just presenting yr evidence. Attitude, sarcasm, rudeness--this won't work. You keep doing it, however, because yr not very bright, and need me (badly) as a target, so u can feel gd abt yrself (won't work, amigo; *you* and yr unhappy personality are the reason u feel bad abt yrself).
3. Yr characterization of my view of Japan is completely off base. This is not what I am writing in my bk--which you haven't read.
4. None of the above will help you. You are pathetic and stupid, and will be back again, making the same mistakes. Of that I'm abs. sure.
5. I understand that I represent something powerful in yr unconscious, so u.r. fixated on me and this blog, but why not try therapy instead? Meanwhile, go bother Noam Chomsky, what the heck.
6. God, r.u. dumb. A classic American moron, if you'll pardon the redundancy. Please don't take this personally, but you really do have shit for brains.
7. Now that I've baited you (yr so easy, u can't imagine), re-attack! Instead of cultivating a meaningful life, just keep posting dreck to this blog. It's a great way to spend yr time, esp. when you don't really have anything else to do.


That's gd advice, but being a superficial male, I often have a hard time following it.


Thanks. Reich and other 'progressives' are tedious; mostly (not entirely) old-line Democrats, who have nothing new to offer. But in terms of income and reputation, they are rewarded well by the system. It's hard to get them to see very obvious things (lord knows, I've tried), e.g. that tech is not neutral, or that most of the American public is dimwitted, and therefore that positive social chg is not terribly likely. But the Times keeps asking them for (lame) op-ed pieces, and yrs truly hasta self-publish to get 'heard'.


Being an author has rarely served to get me laid, truth be told. Besides, she was there to see Magritte, not to read poetry. But who knows? Back in Riga, she may have cracked open the bk, fallen in love w/me, and flown down to Mexico, where I wd have transferred my affections from Sarah P. to this gorgeous Balkan beauty. It's really absurd, my hormones still active when I'm nearly 70. Just sign me

-Lovesick in Latvia

9:39 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dr. B.: you sir, are no kavorkan (that's what you call fellahs with the kavorka).

You don't expect Baltic beauties to fall for just any old internationally famous spy/homme de lettres?

Should you entitle your next book "Spinning Straw into Self-Esteem" these Lettish babes will be falling out of queues and into your arms.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I think you mean Baltic, not Balkan

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks much for the mention of Harmonium - such great music.

To everybody in the USA, just remember the Thanksgiving Day turkey goes nice with kreplach soup and some kugel. Gotta watch out though for those gluten-free matzoh balls - they're hideous.

How's this for a 2016 t-shirt idea?

Front Side:
Latreasa for President
Sarah for Vice
(superimposed on picture of Chix McNuggets)

Back Side:
Picture of Palin in a bunny suit, riding a snowmobile over the last remaining Alaskan icepack


5:57 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

I had a lot of difficulty hearing your talk since you weren’t miked up to the camera taking the video. I notice this is a problem on many YouTube videos. People seem to forget that hearing the speaker is far more important than merely seeing the speaker. Nevertheless, I think I got the most the themes, such as America’s unconscious programing, capitalism/globalization/America’s need to eliminate tribal ways of life (and really, ANY way of life that might constitute an alternative to the dominant monoculture), and how these things affected America’s reaction to 9-11.

During yesterday’s media festivities celebrating the assassination of JFK, someone brought up the Gulf of Tonkin incident and how LBJ used it to justify US invasion, and the carpet bombing the entire country of Vietnam from top to bottom. An interesting fact of comparison between GOT and 9-11 is that not one American was killed in the GOT incident (which was, of course, faked), whereas 3000 American were killed on 9-11. So, based on that fact alone, America’s reaction to 9-11 looks muted, and a more proportional reaction would have been to nuke the entire Muslim population of the planet. On the theme of eliminating the tribal and any alternatives to capitalism, this goes all the way back to the enclosures in Britain where the use of force eliminated independent subsistence agriculture which gave the victims no choice but to become cheap labor for capitalist criminals. Speaking of, here’s a fitting quote from an old friend (Typically American, Burke minus the intelligence and writing skill leaving only the empty husk of thuggish authoritarianism):

"For globalization to work, America must not demur from acting like the omnipotent super-power that it is. The invisible hand of the market never functions without the hidden fist. McDonald's cannot prosper without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15 fighter. And the hidden fist that guarantees a secure world for the technologies of the Silicon Valley is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines." -- Thomas Friedman, New York Times, 28 March 1999.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Well, we didn't have to wait long... here's Ted Cruz frantically demonstrating his nuttiness. No position is too absurd, just assert it -- even if it's self-contradictory.

AddictingInfo: Watch an audience laugh at Ted Cruz when he tells them he didn't want a government shutdown

At The Atlantic‘s Washington Ideas Forum on Thursday, Cruz tried to blame Democrats for the shutdown. “I didn’t want a shutdown. Throughout the whole thing, I said we shouldn’t have a shutdown,” he said with a straight face.

It made the audience erupt in laughter.

“Now, folks here can disagree. But repeatedly, I voted to keep the government open,” Cruz insisted.

That was too much even for Fox News’ Chris Wallace, the moderator. He interrupted to say, “But you know – and what they’re laughing about – is that obviously, ‘Yes, keep the government open, but only if ObamaCare was defunded or only if ObamaCare was delayed.’”

Still, no personal responsibility from Senator Cruz! Instead, he tried to blame the Democrats for not delaying ObamaCare for one year. Which pretty much proved Wallace’s point. So did Cruz’s later remark, “In my view, based on where things are right now, I think stopping Obamacare is the essence of pragmatism.” He added. “The most pragmatic thing we could do is say, ‘Listen, this isn’t working. Let’s start over.’”

Or to put it another way, Cruz was trying to duck blame for the government shutdown and, at the same time, take credit for his “pragmatism” in demanding that ObamaCare be scrapped.


7:01 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...


Thanks a lot for the link info! I'm looking forward to listening to the interview...

7:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Jesus, yes, Baltic, of course. My brain is getting balkanized (or perhaps vulcanized).


Nothing will work, I suspect. Those Baltic Beauties may forever be outta reach. (sigh)

Meanwhile, we had the little Wafer NY Mtg arranged by Sir Tagio this afternoon at the AOC French restaurant on Bleeker St. 5 there besides Sir Tag and myself: Kevin and wife Paula, Greg, Dan (Wolf), and bowtiejack. A gd time was had by all, and we planned strategy for International Wafer Summit Conference (IWSC) in Ireland, 1-5 June 2015. I'm telling ya, the Movement is bldg. into something powerful. We all need to get behind Lorenzo Riggins for pres in 2016. He has promised to replace Obamacare with Burgercare.


ps: Side note to Muted: yr a douche bag.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

I'm definitely glad I got to see the lecture via video. I wanted to come in person, but coming from a bit north of Philadelphia, a 5.5 hr drive just wasn't doable. I posted the vid on the Chris Hedges fan twitter account that I run (@ChrisLynnHedges) and it was very well received. People are generally more accepting of the "its over, we're doomed" theme than they were a few years ago it seems.

Death of our civilization aside, I'm still holding out hope for a paperback WAF, but I would probably buy it anyway if I could actually find it. I've visited every single bookstore within 30 miles of the city (probably a good 20 different stores) and have never seen it. There's always the internet, but that's no fun.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Bananda Head said...

Perhaps Americans haven't learned, but rather forgotten, much since 9/11.

7:00 PM  

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