May 16, 2016

Dual Process: The Only Game in Town

Waferinos-

Below, the lecture I gave at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, On May 13.

Dual Process: The Only Game in Town

The realization that we are in a dead-end situation, and that some very basic things are going to have to change if we are going to survive, will not come as a revelation to anyone attending this conference. Most of us have been thinking about this for the last 30 or 40 years, I’m guessing, and in general, this is a perception that millions of people in Europe and North America have as well, if only on an unconscious level. Literature on the subject has been with us since the 1960s. I’m thinking of texts that were very influential or even famous, perhaps starting with Paul Goodman’s classic work, Growing Up Absurd, which appeared in 1960, followed by Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man in 1964. Ted Roszak’s Making of a Counter Culture came out in 1969, Andrew Hacker’s End of the American Empire in 1970, and the famous Limits to Growth study in 1972. Hovering over all of these, of course, were the works of Mashall McLuhan, beginning with The Gutenberg Galaxy in 1962, which drove home the point that technology was not neutral, was not value-free—a crucial argument in making the West transparent to itself. Basically, a whole way of life came under attack, largely associated with the American Dream, but also with the dominating presence of science and technology in our lives, which is inevitably part of that dream . But exactly what it is that has to change, and how that change might be accomplished, never really got clarified in terms of any large consensus.

How social change occurs, of course, has been the subject of debate among sociologists for at least 150 years now. A lot of the answer depends on the scale of the change we are talking about. In terms of what I want to address in this lecture, my focus is on massive social change, the kind that occurred with the collapse of the Roman Empire, or with the rise of feudal Europe, or with the replacement of feudalism by capitalism. For events of this magnitude, the usual bromides about change—a better educational system, for example, or electoral politics, or even armed revolution—really won’t do. The changes I’m talking about are practically geological; they require centuries to play themselves out. They are about what the great French historian, Fernand Braudel, referred to as la longue durée, the long run.

Braudel was the leader of a group of scholars known as the Annales School, and the basic argument of this school was that the proper concern of historians should be the analysis of structures that lie at the base of contemporary events. Underneath short-term events such as individual cycles of economic boom and bust, said Braudel, we can discern the persistence of “old attitudes of thought and action, resistant frameworks dying hard, at times against all logic.” (Does this sound familiar?) An important derivative of the Annales research is the work of the World Systems Analysis school, including Immanuel Wallerstein and Christopher Chase-Dunn, which similarly focuses on long-term structures: capitalism, in particular.

The “arc” of capitalism, according to this school, is about 600 years long, from 1500 to 2100. It is our particular fortune or misfortune to be living through the beginning of the end, the disintegration of capitalism as a world system. It was mostly commercial capital in the sixteenth century, evolving into industrial capital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then moving on to financial capital—money created by money itself, and by speculation in currency—in the twentieth and twenty-first. In dialectical fashion, it will be the very success of the system that eventually does it in. Of course, Marx in particular argued that a dialectical process was at work, by means of which capitalism produced its own gravediggers, as he put it—the proletariat, which would eventually rise up and replace capitalism with socialism. But that never really happened, and in any case, socialism has not proven to be very successful, as we all know. In addition, it’s not all that different from capitalism. To be sure, it is different in calling for an equitable distribution of wealth, and I personally find it hard to disagree with that. In January of this year it was revealed that the 62 richest people on the planet have as much as the bottom 50% of the world’s entire population. This is not merely grotesque; it is surreal, and as far as I am concerned, anything done to correct this situation would be all to the good. But beyond the matter of distribution, the two systems are defined by identical parameters, in particular, economic and technological expansion. Neither system really cares about environmental fallout, or the quality of work, or the psychological pressures that accompany the expansionist way of life, or the spiritual dimension of life—the meaning of all of this. In that sense, as I suggested earlier, wider access to education, or electing Justin Trudeau or Bernie Sanders, or storming the Winter Palace, is not really going to change very much. If we are talking about the rise and fall of civilizations, or large-scale socioeconomic formations, something much more profound is needed.

Why civilizations fall apart has been studied by numerous thinkers, including Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, Joseph Tainter, and others, each of them coming up with a key factor that, say, led to the downfall of Rome, or whatever. And all of them are right, as far as I’m concerned; the answers are not mutually exclusive. For Tainter, for example, the root of the decline is economic: every civilization hits a point of diminishing returns, when it can no longer support itself. In the case of the United States, China holds something like $1.4 trillion of the national debt in the form of securities like treasury bills, and Japan $1 trillion. These countries could pull the plug on the entire show, if they wanted to; they don’t because they prefer to keep collecting the huge interest on these loans. For Spengler, the crucial factor was spiritual: every civilization, he wrote, embodies a central Idea or Platonic ideal, and when the faith in that evaporates, so does the civilization. Again, to turn to the US, the Idea has always been the American Dream, the dream of unlimited expansion. (Comedian George Carlin used to say that they call it the American Dream because you’ve got to be asleep to believe it.) But millions of Americans now know that they will never retire, that their kids will have a worse time of it than they had, and—young or old—that they really don’t have anything meaningful to look forward to in their lives. The recent film by Tim Blake Nelson, Anesthesia, portrays this very well, that American life is so empty that everyone is running around trying to stuff the Void, fill the hole in their souls. One result has been a homicide rate that is now through the roof, with a massacre—defined as the killing or maiming of 4 or more people—occurring more frequently than once a day. Hard to believe, but it’s true. And the police are busy mowing down people in the street—more than 5,000 unarmed civilians were killed by the cops between 2001 and 2011, and the murder rate is rising. Freak attacks occur out of ordinary frustration now, oddly enough around fast-food restaurants. A woman doesn’t get her Chicken McNuggets or whatever, so she returns to McDonald’s with a semi-automatic rifle and shells the place down. One might suspect brain damage here, but I think it also reflects the frustration of no longer being able to have whatever you want whenever you want it. Rage against the failed American Dream, in short, and there is plenty of that to go around these days.

This loss of spirit is discussed by Nicole Aschoff in her very astute and entertaining little book, The New Prophets of Capital. She points out that capitalist society is especially in need of stories, because the micro-events of our lives all take place within larger structures whose purpose it is to make a profit. The vast majority of jobs are not created to meet human needs, but only to accumulate more and more money for the owners or investors. Echoing Erich Fromm from many years back, she says that coercion is not enough to get people to work at these jobs; rather, “Large swaths of the population must…believe that capitalist society is worth their creativity, energy, and passion, that it will provide a sense of meaning.” The problem is that there is nothing intrinsically meaningful to the logic of endless economic expansion. As a result, stories—which are really fairy tales—become indispensable to the system. These include Horatio Alger novels, for example—the saga of the self-made man; or Benjamin Franklin’s tales about frugality and thrift; or the stories provided by the great captains of industry about vision and perseverance, and how competition will supposedly advance the human race. “These work-as-virtue, profit-as-virtue stories have been remarkably successful,” she concludes. My own feeling is that this snow job—I call it “the greatest story ever sold”—is now running out of steam, as more and more people are finding their lives worthless and aren’t exactly happy about it. The consequences of this development, I believe, will be long-range and very powerful.

As for Toynbee, his argument was that it is not external invasions—whether by the Visigoths in the 5th century or the Islamic jihadists in the 21st—that bring an empire down. Rather, he said, by the time of the invasion, the civilization in question has already committed suicide—so weakened itself by self-destructive acts that an invasion was merely icing on the cake, so to speak. That this is true of the US, which brought 9/11 on by nearly a century of meddling in the Middle East, such that blowback became inevitable, is too obvious to warrant comment. In fact, “blowback” is a term coined by the CIA; they have not been ignorant of the consequences of US foreign policy. As Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pointedly stated, “If you are going to terrorize people, eventually they are going to terrorize you back.” Duh!

In any case, the last time a change of this magnitude, i.e. a civilizational shift, occurred in the West was during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, during which time the medieval world began to come apart and be replaced by the modern one. In his classic study of the period, The Waning of the Middle Ages, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga depicted the time as one of depression and cultural exhaustion—like our own age, not much fun to live through. One reason for this is that the world was literally perched over an abyss, something that emerges very clearly at the end of The Tempest, by Shakespeare, written as late as 1610. What lay ahead was largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it mildly, a bit of a drag. The same thing was true of the collapse of the Roman Empire, on the ruins of which the feudal system slowly arose. It is also true of our situation today, which is why the “solutions” proposed by political figures are little more than bad jokes. These people have no vision because they can’t grasp what is happening, and therefore what is required. For some reason I don’t understand, they refuse to take my recommendations; it’s really quite annoying. Let me give you just one example of this.

Four years ago I was invited to give some lectures in Spain, during the course of which I did a few TV and newspaper interviews. The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was facing a huge economic crisis and sought to solve it by borrowing 100 billion euros from the European Union. When I was asked what I thought of this, I said, literally every time I was interviewed, “Señor Rajoy es un idiota,” and I added that this would solve nothing at all, because the money was going to bail out banks, not create jobs or rescue the poor. I predicted that in 6 months time, Rajoy would be back in Brussels with his hat in hand, asking for another 100 billion euros. Of course, Rajoy got the money, distributed it to all his rich friends, austerity in Spain reached intolerable levels, people rioted in the streets, and practically to the day, Rajoy returned to Brussels 6 months later to ask for another bailout. Again, one suspects some type of brain damage at work, but the larger picture is that the folks in charge are trying to manage a system that is no longer manageable, with bankrupt neoliberal strategies that can’t possibly work.

Well, Rajoy is a moron, but electing a socialist—as happened in Spain prior to Rajoy, with José Zapatero—didn’t work either. The folks who have the real answer to this austerity mess, which is a crisis of the entire neoliberal model, are not in the government. They are the folks at the grass-roots level, pursuing a form of Dual Process, as I’ll indicate shortly.

Dual Process consists of two parts, as the name would indicate. The first part is the collapse of the reigning socioeconomic formation; the second part is the concomitant emergence of alternatives, what could well amount to the latter’s replacement. As far as collapse is concerned, I’ve already indicated how the system is doing itself in politically, economically, and spiritually; and as I suggested 16 years ago, in The Twilight of American Culture, these processes are going to continue unabated—a prediction that proved to be true. In fact, they actually accelerated. The truth is that no system lasts forever; change is the only constant we find in the historical record. As one social critic argued a few years ago (Peter Frase), “humanity has never before managed to craft an eternal social system…and capitalism is a notably more precarious and volatile order than most of those that preceded it.” Wolfgang Streeck, in an article he published in 2014 in the New Left Review, wrote that “What we are seeing today…appears in retrospect to be a continuous process of gradual decay, protracted but apparently all the more inexorable.” Whatever stability capitalism had in the past, he goes on to say, was dependent on the presence of countervailing forces (e.g., labor unions). Today, no force is on hand to check capitalist expansion, balance it out; which suggests that it may undermine itself by being too successful. Everyone in these societies is mesmerized by consumerism, and thus dysfunctions in the system continue to accumulate, because there is not enough structural variety to cope with change. In a word, he concludes, “victorious capitalism has become its own worst enemy”; it is “dying…from an overdose of itself.”

As an example of this, Streeck points out that consumerist culture is absolutely vital for the reproduction of contemporary capitalism. The problem is that producers and consumers tend to be the same people. So when consumers hunt for the best bargain, they defeat themselves as producers, because they drive their own jobs abroad. In addition, corruption is now inherent in the system; it’s hardly a case of a few bad apples. Consider what came to light after the crash of 2008, and which is probably still going on. Streeck writes:

“Rating agencies being paid by the producers of toxic securities to award them top grades; offshore shadow banking, money laundering and assistance in large-scale tax evasion as the normal business of the biggest banks with the best addresses; the sale to unsuspecting customers of securities constructed so that other customers could bet against them; the leading banks worldwide fraudulently fixing interest rates and the gold price, and so on.”

It’s not clear how long this type of systemic violence can sustain itself.

Let me now turn to the other part of Dual Process, the emergence of alternatives concomitant with the disintegration of the dominant system. Well, this is one reason I’m happy to be here today: from what I gather, that’s what most of you are exploring in your professional lives. Before I talk about today’s alternatives, however, let me give you an illustrative example from the Middle Ages. Capitalism was effectively launched by 1500, but much before this, ca. 1250, some smart Italian merchant came up with the idea of double-entry bookkeeping. This system is central to any capitalist enterprise, because without it you can’t really calculate profit and loss, and hence can’t really function very well. So in the midst of a feudal system slowly starting to fray at the edges, we have the opening salvo of an alternative emerging economy, 250 years in advance. The “habits” of capitalism, the tools and behaviors that made the new system possible, developed side by side with the old system and eventually eclipsed it. What we need to explore, of course, are the contemporary equivalents of double-entry bookkeeping.

To return to the 21st century, then, I think we can say that as capitalism continues to fray at the edges, the alternatives to it—I’m thinking of alternative currency systems, for example, or alternative energy sources—are going to become increasingly attractive, and you can be sure that 2008 is not the last crash we are going to live through. It’s no accident that the countries with the severest austerity, such as Greece or Spain or Portugal, are the most creative with respect to these alternatives. Indeed, as of 2012 there were no less than 325 alternative currency experiments operating in Spain, barter included, and I’m guessing that figure must be much higher today. Barcelona, it turns out, has more than 100 “time banks” involving thousands of customers, that allow people to trade services without the use of money—what has been called a “parallel economy.” Catalonia is particularly strong in this regard, and I suspect that with the breakup of capitalism, we are also going to see the breakup of the nation-state, and the emergence of very strong secessionist movements. All of this might be only 30 or 40 years away, but a vague outline already exists, and those countries caught in the pincers of austerity are especially engaged in networks of cooperatives, credit unions, time banks, organic farms, and the like. As the biologist David Ehrenfeld has written, “Our first task is to create a shadow economic, social, and even technological structure that will be ready to take over as the existing system fails.” This is, to my mind, a pretty good definition of what I mean by Dual Process, and it is very likely to be the central story of the rest of the 21st century.

Let me give you some more specifics, in particular the case of Japan. This is from the final chapter of my book on Japan, which was released last year, entitled Neurotic Beauty, in which I speculate about the possibility of Japan becoming the first post-capitalist society. It is perhaps the most schizophrenic of nations, having gone hog wild, since the postwar American occupation, for consumer goods and the hi-tech life, while having had the historical experience of the Tokugawa Era, roughly 1600 to 1850, of a tradition of austerity and eco-sustainability. As one Japan-watcher notes, the nation “is the leading-edge of the crumbling model of advanced neoliberal capitalism”; and yet, for 250 years prior to the hectic growth initiated by the Meiji Restoration in 1868, it got by with very limited economic expansion, and did extremely well. It cultivated organic farming, forestry management, commercial fishing, cottage industries, and a vigorous culture of recycling. Townsend Harris, who was the first US Consul General to Japan (1856-61), wrote in his diary that what he saw all around him was real happiness: “It is more like the golden age of simplicity and honesty than I have seen in any other country.” This was a society of urban gardens, community interaction, cheap public baths, itinerant repairmen, and craft work of very high quality, all proof that a steady-state economy can generate a vibrant culture. Beauty and luxury were found in simplicity and elegant design, rather than in endless abundance. This is practically part of the Japanese genetic makeup.

As for contemporary Japan, I was surprised to discover that Japan has more of what are called “complementary currency” programs—more than 600 of them—than any other country in the world. Some of these programs date from the seventies, and the number shot up dramatically as of 1995, when the effects of severe economic recession began to be permeate the country. Essentially, these are agreements within a community to accept something other than legal tender as a means of payment. They don’t replace the yen, as it turns out, they just run parallel to it as a kind of barter system, similar to what I described for Barcelona. Lifestyles among the youth have also begun to move in new directions, with a strong decline of interest in luxury goods. This is the so-called “satori generation,” the youth who prefer to keep things small, and who embrace sustainability rather than consumption. Many young adults have begun to explore careers in rural agriculture, for example, and the Japan Organization for Internal Migration runs a web site that assists them in resettling in rural communities and starting to live sustainably. These folks have rejected the rat race of Toyota and Mitsubishi in favor of “careers” in fishing, or making jam, and Japanese magazines occasionally run feature articles on how they are involved in organic food-growing, or crafts, or something outside the dominant capitalist framework.

I did have a discussion with one young man who was himself not part of this movement, but told me that his parents’ generation was. He guessed that overall, the percentage of Japanese who have gone in this direction was small, but that there was nevertheless a large unofficial network of people who had turned their backs on mainstream consumer society. “They believe that capitalism is a dead end,” he told me, “and that as it continues to fail, alternative lifestyles will become increasingly attractive, as well as necessary”—a good summary of what I am calling Dual Process. Even at the official level, Japan has much to its credit, ecologically speaking. The domestic solar power market in Japan reached something like 20 billion US dollars in 2013; and the nation’s “ecological footprint,” defined as the per-person resource demand, is comparatively light. Whereas the United States placed fifth-highest on the list of the Global Footprint Network for 2007, Japan ranked thirty-sixth. There is some awareness, writes Azby Brown in his book, Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan, that “sustainable society will come because the alternative is no society at all.” Thus social critic James Howard Kunstler was led to make what he called “one flat-out prediction,” just a few years ago, namely that

“Japan will be the first society to consciously opt out of being an advanced industrial economy. They have no other apparent choice, really, having next-to-zero oil, gas, or coal reserves of their own, and having lost faith in nuclear power [not enough, unfortunately—they continue to remain schizophrenic about this, even after Fukushima]. They will be the first country to enter a world made by hand. They were very good at it before about 1850 and had a pre-industrial culture of high artistry and grace.”

Well, time will tell.

In The Reenchantment of the World I argued for the central importance of coming up with a new paradigm for civilization. Thirty years later, in Why America Failed, I laid out, unsurprisingly enough, the reasons for why America failed, and said that it was primarily because throughout American history we marginalized or ignored the voices that argued against the dominant culture, which is based on hustling, aggrandizement, and economic and technological expansion. This alternative tradition can be traced from John Smith in 1616 to Jimmy Carter in 1979, and includes folks such as Emerson, Thoreau, Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, Vance Packard, and John Kenneth Galbraith, among many others. In England it is particularly associated with John Ruskin and William Morris, who argued for the need for organic communities with a spiritual purpose, for work that was meaningful rather than mind-numbing, and who did manage to acquire a large number of North American disciples. In The Approaching Great Transformation, Joel Magnuson states that we need concrete models of a post-carbon economy, ones that break with the profit model of capitalism—and not in cosmetic or rhetorical ways. He gives a number of examples of experiments in this vein, ones that I would term elements of a steady-state or homeostatic economy: no-growth, or de-growth, as some have called it. This does not, it seems to me, necessarily mean a return to some type of feudalism; in this regard, I see history resembling a spiral rather than a circle. A more immediate danger is what has been called “greenwashing,” in which you adopt the language of the environmental movement while retaining the principle of unlimited economic expansion. The apostles of green capitalism, such as Al Gore or Thomas Friedman, have gotten very wealthy from peddling this type of hip baloney; and Magnuson, when he was doing the research for his book, toured the United States only to find that there were a good number of enterprises that billed themselves as committed to environmental protection and community service, but which in reality were about capital accumulation and little else. This is a danger that serious promoters of Dual Process will need to be on guard against.

Let me conclude on a larger note. What we are finally talking about is the passing not only of capitalism, but of modernity in general—the waning of the modern ages, in effect. Shadia Drury, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at the University of Regina, put it this way:

“Modernity’s inception and its decline are like those of any other set of political and cultural ideals. In its early inception, modernity contained something good and beguiling. It was a revolution against the authority of the Church, its taboos, repressions, inquisitions, and witch burning. It was a new dawn of the human spirit—celebrating life, knowledge, individuality, freedom, and human rights. It bequeathed to man a sunny disposition on the world, and on himself….The new spirit fueled scientific discovery, inventiveness, trade, commerce, and an artistic explosion of great splendor. But as with every new spirit, modernity has gone foul….Modernity lost the freshness and innocence of its early promise because its goals became inflated, impossible, and even pernicious. Instead of being the symbol of freedom, independence, justice, and human rights, it has become the sign of conquest, colonialism, exploitation, and the destruction of the earth.”

In a word, its number is up, and it is our fortune or misfortune, as I said earlier, to be living during a time of very large, and very difficult, transition. An old way of life dies, a new one eventually comes into being. Dual Process: it’s the only game in town.

©Morris Berman, 2016

196 Comments:

Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Dan (from last thread)

I've had similar experiences of territorial behavior at these startup schools. I have to plan my week around the 20 minutes when I can make copies unmolested by our copier troll, an admin who sits around and makes nasty austerity enforcement comments to teachers looking to photocopy.

All of this behavior is essentially due to the widespread breakdown of boundaries in society. This makes the job of teachers, who rely on and create these boundaries, essentially impossible.

So, teaching today is essentially reactionary. Everybody is locked into their own little world of trying to uphold boundaries and standards that are violated daily by the media and wider society.

Hence the territorial teacher troll. Trying to hold onto whatever little sphere they think they still have.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/border-lines/

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Baleboste said...

Nice one, did you have a Q&A after? How were the questions, did people seem to get it?

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

I do wonder whether systems have been changing since the beginning of human civilization. Feudalism and empire seem to me to be very much the same, except in terms of scale. Feudal lords were always at war, and always exploiting others, seeking to acquire as much money, land and resources as they could get their hands on. Similarly, emperors were always at war, and always exploiting others, seeking to acquire as much money, land and resources as they can get their hands on. The difference, I think, is that capitalism allowed ordinary individuals to think themselves emperors, and to engage in this type of behavior, even though it made no actual difference in their ability to accumulate money in the vast majority of cases. If I remember correctly, Christopher Lasch called this phenomenon the "democratization of elitism", and it is this phenomenon that has undermined the viability of capitalism, because it has destroyed practically all social cohesion throughout the world.

However, there have been other systems throughout human history. Some examples are nomadism, or living without any large-scale system, which is practiced to this day by many Central Asian peoples; communitarianism, or the compassionate sharing of resources, which was practiced by the Native Americans and the Caribbean islanders before the West destroyed that system; and tribalism, which is a kind of blend of feudalism and communitarianism still practiced by certain African and Amazonian peoples. The only examples of systemic change I've come across are these three systems giving way to empire or capitalism, or empire giving way to capitalism. Unfortunately, the default mode of large-scale human civilization appears to be empire, either capitalistic or feudalistic. That's why a reduction in scale is the all-important factor for Dual Process, in my opinion.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Dr. Berman: Glad to say my friend and I made it out to this lecture at the U of Waterloo - we walked in shortly before the event started and sat up front to your right. Realized a few minutes into your talk that I'd met the guy sitting beside me somewhere twenty years ago - an old time activist, I think - and that I'd met the professor who introduced you as well many years ago - probably also at an activist event. Enjoyed your talk and felt it summed up your recent thinking very well. Hoping you're able to get Spinning Straw Into Gold back into print soon; I'm keen to hear more about your life story and intellectual journey. Sorry I didn't come up to shake hands, but, being a polite Canadian, I didn't want to impose and figured there were probably another thirty people who also wanted to shake hands. And, besides, I knew I could just write to Dark Ages America after the fact.

There were two questions I was planning to ask at the lecture that I decided to hold over now. I forget one but remember the other. Normally when you discuss the future, you speak in terms of civilizational collapse and - at least currently - about returning to a hand-made world. I wonder though, if the scenario put forward in so many science fiction films and novels is not more likely, that is, that the future will be defined by a large, low tech world that finds a way to reconnect with agriculture alongside a hyper technical world closed off to the masses in which the human being is in one way or another re-engineered? The classic scenario for this is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

On a related note, there is the question of Francis Fukayama's revised historical thesis, whereby he posited that we were not, in fact, facing 'the End of History' because science and technology have reached a stage where they are able to potentially redirect history in completely unexpected and unpredictable directions.

One last item (and I might know this if I had read your memoirs), but can you describe, if possible, the very interesting role you have played - let's say in from the late 1970s to the late 1980s for now - as an academic who was also a public intellectual - whose books were often meant to be relevant to the public and the academy. Few academics succeed in being relevant in both worlds and many who do are still clearly on the side of academia

- Northern Johnny

5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Johnny-

Sorry you didn't say hi. As for yr questions: wd love to answer them, but this wd take several hrs, I fear, so I hafta pass. Just want to say that I was impressed by the relatively low Douche Bag Index (DBI) I encountered in Canada this time around. Q&A after the lecture, for example, was first-rate.

Take care,
mb

6:25 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...


Loved your talk and wish I could have attended. I just wonder that alternatives exist here already in the US like going off grid and some minor alternative currencies but the powers that be are clamping down on that or finding ways to make it illegal which I would suspect would happen on the macro level if enough people started going that way. I mean, places like Greece, Spain, Portugal may be dominoes in the global scheme and maybe eventually a total collapse would be uncontrollable -who knows- without all out anarchy breaking out? The US led globalists are already reacting in ways which influence financial backlashes to these 'alternative' systems and when things get too confrontational governments just throw more police or military at the problem and it just cycles the chaos - I suppose if things get big enough? imposition of martial law?... restrictions on movement , curfews, migration? Internment camps? ... I mean, outlawing grow your own? (already happening in some areas).... collecting rainwater, recycling and so on...It's stupid I but zoning laws on steroids and whatnot? The US is an insane asylum ... The global financial elites and their armies will eventually turn this world into a gulag if push comes to shove. They are not about to take 'limits to growth' lightly look at where tech is taking us. They don't care if the air is unbreathable or the water undrinkable - they will have and control the means to 'filter' and sell access and force whatever you want to call this 'capitalist consumerist shithole' of a culture down our throats whether we want it or not. It would be great if alternatives could just fill in the gaps as this monster dies but it seems like things will just mutate into something just as hideous (warlords) if not more so..... I'm thinking we will like see more guns involved in whatever it becomes that's for sure....

anyway, my $.02.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

pol-

I really don't have much hope for the US, because I think it's basically a collection of morons. But I think alternative expts cd take root in Europe, or Latin America, or even Asia. Resurrection of Europe in Middle Ages didn't take place in Rome, after all; happened in the north.

mb

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

@MB: "Q&A after the lecture, for example, was first-rate."

Did anyone record the lecture? If so, will it be published on-line? I often find the Q&A sessions at least as interesting as the lecture itself.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

M-

I don't think it was recorded. Plans are to publish it in the proceedings of the conference, or in a collection of articles based on the conference; but that wd not include Q&A.

mb

8:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I have some exciting news 4u. The masses--alert, aware, and supremely intelligent--are now fully cognizant of what is happening to them, and they are disgusted with the political establishment. They are now poised to rise up and overthrow their corporate masters. Left-wing revolution is in the air! The US is on the edge of massive progressive social change. I'm sure you all share my excitement over these inevitable developments.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/welcome_to_1984_20160514

mb

8:17 AM  
Blogger ab645471 said...

MB-

Hedges was never quite able to distinguish a revolutionary setting from a collapsing one, one of the differences being that in the absence of human material capable of revolution (evolution has already failed to occur) society is left with the latter outcome. He lives inside his vacuum. Another different mistake is the kind of Derrick Jensen pointed out in your last interview, that in times of despair the masses set out on a "hero quest". History has a different story to tell and the heroes are unlikely to drop by. What usually happens is that the worse the condition of the general populace gets, the more likely they are to empower buffoons and lunatics. In troubled times they all come out of the woodwork and are swiftly praised by the dying culture, which gets then its final "coup de gras".

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Just remembered the second question I was going to ask during the Q&A at U Waterloo - actually, it was less a question than a comment. During your talk on Dual Process, you referred at least once to the danger of the mainstream culture co-opting elements of Dual Process as they emerge. The example given, 'Green washing,' was a good one, as we have all seen evidence of this trend, particularly in the aftermath of the Anti-Globalization Movement (Alter-Globalization Movement). My comment would have been to the effect that we do indeed need to be vigilant when it comes to the co-optation of alternatives. Perhaps the most obvious example at the moment is the rise of the so-called 'Sharing Economy,' which strikes me as an attempt at commodifying and controlling key elements of the informal economy that has arisen, especially after the 2007/2008 Crash. The swarms of would-be entrepreneurs are a serious threat - especially those backed by new software and Apps. Consider Uber and AirBNB, for example - though I see that an informal network still exists for couch surfing and house sitting. It seemed to my friend and I after your talk that what we need desperately, in Canada, and elsewhere, is a viable means of changing goods, services, value, outside the mainstream monetary system. This is especially the case when we consider rates of unemployment, under-employment, personal debt, collapsing wages, precarious employment, and the economy's persistent inability to create meaning, secure work. It seems to me that we need a way to make such work possible, outside the salary / wage / grant / government funding system. In Canada, in particular, the grant / government funding system is particularly bureaucratic, and largely controlled/manipulated by elites and/or certain political / cultural cliches. Anyhow, enough said for one post ...

- Northern Johnny

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good article here:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/17/the-mainstream-media-and-its-discontents/

and this excellent quote from it:

"The only real difference between the left and right halves of the mainstream is on “social issues,” and both halves are fairly flexible when it comes to that stuff. Yes, the mainstream “right” has to pretend to oppose things like reproductive rights, LGBT rights, affirmative action, open immigration policy, and so on, just as the mainstream “left” has to pretend to serve the interest of the working classes and various minority groups, but both halves of the mainstream are committed, above all else, to preserving and advancing global Capitalism, which, let’s remember, is effectively transnational (or supranational) at this point, and is all about doing away with any kind of despotic social structures or personal values that get in the way of its ongoing efforts to privatize and commodify everything."

10:04 AM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Doc, Don't lose hope so early. United we will make revolution and succeed. We'll join arms with our beleaguered comrades and fight towards a just cause. Here's a sneakpeek of the comrades planning for the mass uprising,...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZXgAq1iS2M

We already have practiced "storming the palace", so that part will be easy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK2XFYL3D80

11:17 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Indeed! We have nothing to lose but our chains, already. Jesus, poor Hedges is now certifiable... In any event, yr talk in Ontario was great; a whole lot more realistic scenario for people who, unlike Hedges, actually have their heads screwed on correctly.

Miles

ps: I'm currently reading "Going Postal" by Mark Ames. A most fascinating argument, I hafta say. Many thanks for the recommendation. Enjoy Vancouver.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Valentina-

We have a half-page limit on this blog. Pls compress by 50% and re-send. Thank you.

Jeff-

Wafer dinner tonite. Wish you were here! Meanwhile, along with you and Esca, I'm so excited about the imminent proletarian uprising Hedges has in store for us.

ab-

Nice pun on coup d'grace. Gras = fat, very appropriate.

mb

4:26 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

All this talk about revolution has given me the vapors.

For those contemplating taking part in any uprising, how about some music to loot and burn by?

My suggestion: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gil Scott-Heron, RCA's Flying Dutchman label, 1971 release)

https://youtu.be/QnJFhuOWgXg

Additional tunes to rise up by: (1) Fight the Power by Public Enemy; (2) Police State by Dead Prez; and (3) What's Going On by Marvin Gaye.

Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

A group in America that is practicing dual process is the Nation of Islam based in Chicago

7:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mo-

Allah Akbar!

mb

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

It is not over until...
Did you guys hear Obama philosophising about ignorance and virtue. According to our "educated" president, "ignorance is not a virtue" whether in real life or in political life. Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, and Lawrence Summers can not be described as ignorance, but they surely contributed is what is killing this nation. Just help yourselves and do not "ignore":

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpu5uN5nAa4
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/

8:35 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

Excellent!

This post reminded me of some disagreements I've been having with a friend lately. He finds all radical critiques of the U.S. and neoliberalism to be "intellectually lazy." The reason for this apparently is the failure of intellectual "outsiders" to provide feasible alternatives or concrete plans of action. He balked when I pointed out that alternative voices in the U.S. have always been undermined and marginalized, claiming essentially that "they resort to attacking the 'Establishment' and the media because they realize nobody finds their ideas convincing." He's an Ivy grad who works in policy reform.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Hi mom, take a close look at my brand spanking new gun, isn't it COOL...bang!

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/mississippi-man-accidentally-shoots-mom-in-face-while-trying-to-impress-her-with-new-gun/comments/#disqus

Meanwhile, here's proof positive that merely emigrating is not enough for some Americans to shed their monumental douchebaggery. An American woman living in Australia stopped communicating with her parents after finding out that mother was a huge Trump supporter. Worse yet, she went to the media and publicly proclaimed what an awful person she thinks her mother is. This is someone who by her own account was never abused by her parents, she just disagrees with them politically. Of course, if you read the comments you'll see a bunch of idiot liberals falling all over themselves to support her rather than being horrified that she would publicly denounce her own parents over something so stupid:

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/family-breaks-up-after-daughter-shocked-to-find-her-mother-is-an-internet-troll-for-trump/

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Vico tom said...

Bill Clinton in 1996 sounded like Donald Trump in 2016 on illegal immigration. This is a period of 20 years in which the problem still persists.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/17/bill-clinton-sounded-like-trump-on-illegal-immigration-in-1996-video/

7:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mo-

Cdn't post it. The rule is one post every 24 hrs. Thank you.

mb

9:26 AM  
Blogger Ashley Colby said...

Dr. B,

Have you published anywhere (besides the blog) on dual process? I am writing my dissertation now and focusing on people who are exploring these genuine alternatives. I'd like to use dual process to help explain, but likely my committee will be a bit perturbed if I cite a blog post.

Ashley

10:12 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

This is what Americans are worried about:

"There are "doga" sessions (yoga for dogs), a gym equipped with canine treadmills, and a grooming facility that offers pedicures, blueberry facials, and baby-powder belly rubs."

You really can't make that stuff up.

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/inside-the-luxury-fat-camp-for-americas-overweight-dogs

10:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ashley-

I first coined the term in a lecture I gave a few yrs ago at Clark University; I think it was called "The Waning of the Modern Ages," and is archived on this blog. In terms of citing it or the U of Waterloo talk, you don't hafta cite the blog; you can just cite the lectures, which is perfectly legit (just provide title, venue, and date). However, DP is also discussed in ch. 7 of my Japan bk, "Neurotic Beauty," so you cd cite that if you want hard copy, so to speak. Otherwise, you'd hafta wait for the vol. of conference proceedings, which might take a while, so I suggest citing the lecs or the Japan bk (or all 3 sources, what the heck). Good luck!

mb

12:37 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Morris, with respect to dual process, don’t you think it’s more likely that humans will cling to the neoliberal dream right up to, and past the point at which it ceases to function and only much later scramble about for an alternative, one dictated by practical necessity rather than by a recognition of its virtues? I guess my issue is the concomitant aspect of dual process.. As the system falters it will be natural for a percentage of the populace to seek out alternative ways of life, but I have difficulty seeing this coalesce into something that will buffer the hurt of a systemic failure and offer a path to the future. I see it much more likely that the system will fail and following that we will have an aftermath reminiscent of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Rather than dual process I see crash and burn, a long period of chaos and darkness, and then maybe a way forward will emerge…maybe…

I sincerely hope I am wrong, yours is a much more hopeful prognosis.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

With internet commentary, historians need not merely surmise the collective unconscious of our zeitgeist.

Gems like this. Names and locations withheld to protect the guilty.

"America, the long,cold,horrific winter night of Communism and Muslim Terrorism and Liberalism is almost over in our country,and the dawning of an unbelivably beautiful spring day is about to shine in our eastern skies! America will have a new President. His name, Donald J. Trump! We will have an American Patriot as our strong leader! Be ready for RED WHITE and BLUE changes! Money coming back into our treasury by the truck loads! Jobs everywhere, building the Trump Wall, rebuilding the entire NATION,roads,bridges, tunnels,air ports,high speed rail system, new power grids,new refinarys, new cutting edge everything! America will need our brightest minds to go into every nation and find the best and newest of everything and bring that knowledge back to America and we will all rebuild America together! The United States Military will be number one in the world!!! Our nation's Police will be honored and built so stonger! The drug dealers will All be gone and our precious youth will be safe. I see an America coming where we all love one another and respect one another and live our lives in peace!!"

4:41 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Seriously? It's a rightwing plot to turn us against Hillary!

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/us/politics/the-right-aims-at-democrats-on-social-media-to-hit-clinton.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

4:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

I hope the Wafer dinner was a great success! I was w/u guys in spirit.

MB, Wafers-

My friend who recently passed away had two great quotes that current students referenced during his funeral service:

1. "Be sure to read Marx, Freud, and Darwin, but don't take 'em too seriously."

2. "History and the social sciences in general should fill a very large drawer in your dresser, but be sure to save some drawer space for love, fun, and happiness."

Kinda Waferish, I think...

Miles

ps: My kinda gal:

http://www.zerocensorship.com/t/uncensored-florida-crime/265176-florida-wife-virginia-stewart-battered-husband-for-getting-the-wrong-flowers-and-candy-for-mothers-day#axzz492wCQiWe

5:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Christian-

We are probably talking abt 2 sets of people, i.e. 2 different constituencies, but I do think the 'dual' aspect of it is that the alternatives will accelerate as the dominant system continues to come apart. However, as I've said b4, I don't really hold out much hope for America; we just don't have the basic intelligence to work out a viable alt. structure. Europe, Asia, Latin America are more likely candidates. The US scenario might not amount to much more than crash and burn, martial law, death of thousands, and so on.

mb

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

So we finally broke into the Canadian market with the 1st Canadian Wafer Summit Meeting. With the exception of one woman getting stung by a bee and going into anaphylactic shock, it was a great success. But I think it might be time to expand into more exotic venues. If anyone rdg this can get me a gig at the U of Sofia, we cd arrange for the 1st Bulgarian Wafer Summit Mtg. And then perhaps on to Chad, etc. Wafers Rule, there's no doubt abt it.

mb

7:06 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Dr. MB, one great historian you do not bring up of course is Edward Gibbon. I wonder if Trump is elected, if he will be our Nero or Caligula, Marcus Aurelius or Constantine or represents some pathetic later long pathetic string of emperors that came afterwards that nobody remembers for good reasons, no that is more like the Bushes and Clintons. Or perhaps we'll look back on history as BT - Before Trump and AT - After Trump. Maybe we can call it the D/T Boundary - the event horizon - extinction event like the K/T boundary 65 million years ago. A decisive turning point that we should have predicted and seen long ago, but only recognized in the rear view mirror, not a black swan, but the fuse to a trigger that was long ago pulled. Excellent essay of course, and nothing I read that I disagree with. I just wonder what you think of Gibbon, and how your analysis through the years might compare to his, or if you have ever commented on Gibbon before.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Solomon the savior is coming to our rescue. He unites all religions: Hindu nationalists; Russian Orthodox; Black evangelicals; the Jews and Muslims too. Now if he could get the Catholics on his side, -the WASPs already with him, we would not even need to build a wall. The unwanted would all self deport, hoping to be allowed to come back into the fold after doing purgatory in their "own" lands, making Mitt Romney’s dream come true—which would unite the Republicans. Amerika's prayers has indeed been answered. Just see the face of this blubber who symbolizes TheProfane and the charlatans leaning into him at prayer!! He holds the bible as if it were a spittoon and they were about to lick it, but, given he’s the answer to our prayers, it's all Manifest-Destiny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk4c2uoOF3o

Blame it on Yahweh himself for he has blessed the piss and the baton, the weapons of choice to cleanse the country.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inVZeWTH3s0

Assholes of all kinds have been awakened by our Solomon:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/dec/08/steve-bell-on-donald-trump-cartoon
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/13/donald-trump-india-hindu-supporters-new-delhi
http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-05-17/why-leader-us-muslim-coalition-wants-you-vote-trump
Even the Bimbos are mesmerized. Why not? It is all divine directive.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvQ6vJzcb_E

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

I'm sad to see Hedges so completely disconnected from reality these days. He's so obsessed with left-wing revolution in America that he's lost his ability to see the impossibility of that scenario. It's true that a very substantial percentage of Americans believe they want left-wing change, but whether they actually want that sort of change is something else entirely. These pseudoliberals are only willing to vote for candidates that speak in left-wing rhetoric but actually enforce right-wing changes. That's why American pseudoliberals love Sanders but despise Nader and every other politician that would usher in genuine left-wing change. It seems Hedges has lost sight of what he discovered in The Death of the Liberal Class.

Morris,

I think that the total destruction of America and its culture, and the supplanting of a foreign culture, is a distinct possibility. For example, when Spanish is more widely spoken than English in America (at about 2050, according to some estimates), don't you think it's possible that American culture will largely be replaced with Latin American culture? This would obviously be a very welcome possibility, although I worry that American culture will conquer the entire globe and make failed capitalism, with all its attendant violence and poverty, the permanent ideology everywhere in the world.

Dio,

You have to love the illiteracy and willful blindness of whoever wrote that screed. That vicious simpleton actually believes the "newest and best of everything" qualifies as a moral value, and that a society that continually engages in genocide and internal oppression could be filled with love and harmony.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


From the article (lecture) :

"What we are finally talking about is the passing not only of capitalism, but of modernity in general—the waning of the modern ages, in effect."

What in addition we may be seeing is actually the end of the view that human beings are "in control of nature", in control of their own destiny. What is ending is expansion of several kinds - human population, economic growth, grand technologically dependent quests for knowledge, etc. Industrial civilization itself is headed for irreversible deterioration.

The renewal part of dual process will involve the replacement of an anthropocentric view of the world with a sort of geocentric view in which Homo sapiens is recognized as "just another species", provided that communities still exist within which any sort of grand global vision still remains.

What I fear is the complete loss of any kind of species-wide self-awareness. Civilization and human population could collapse to the point where only isolated small human communities exist, eking out a sort of stone age existence largely unaware of what the rest of humanity is doing. A rational world view could be replaced by sort of a quasi-religious one, based on superstition, fantasy, stories, folk knowledge and myth. The beginnings of this sort of retreat from knowledge and reason can already be seen in the USA. Did Spengler predict this?

interview with Nicole Aschoff :

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/oprah-is-not-your-friend-a-qa-with-nicole-aschoff

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Trump will win the presidency in November. I want to be on record here. Based on what is out there on shameless Bill and crooked Hillary, they are untrustworthy and parasites, never held any real jobs in their parasitic existence. If Trump is not more capable than the two scumbags then let the nation exists no more - we are sick of the childish lies and blatant theivery.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Ashley Colby said...

Dr. B.,

Thank you for the direction on citing dual process. Now, to convince my committee that you are sociological enough. Even when ideas work perfectly to describe a phenomenon, there's a sort of gatekeeping going on in my sociology department (Washington State, site of the invention of environmental sociology and Bill Catton who penned Overshoot) wherein faculty decide who are the proverbial 'cool kids' to be citing at the moment.

Also, regarding more exotic locales for WAFer summits: after the PhD my husband and I are planning an escape to Uruguay and are contacted nearly daily by people looking to explore the sustainability end of the dual process. Maybe we can organize a visit to the Universidad de la Republica in the next couple of years. Uruguay is the antithesis of the US in many ways, and (we think) a good place to try to explore alternatives for the future.

Ashley

for anyone interested in why uruguay: https://uruguayworldcommunity.wordpress.com/why-uruguay/

10:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ashley-

Gd luck with yr committee. I did once spend 4 days in Montevideo, wd love to go back.

mb

10:20 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Jesus, I certainly hope the Waferette who was stung is going to be okay... In any event, gd to hear that the 1st Canadian Wafer Summit was a great success. Indeed, it's time to introduce Waferism to the Eastern Bloc w/a future Bulgarian Summit. Can you imagine the endless amounts of polenta w/plum jam we could all have? Also, word has it that the Bulgarian gov plans on shutting down Sofia's Tsarigradsko shose for yr arrival.

MB, Wafers-

Is Trump a dangerous mutation w/in the Republican Party, or is he essentially a throwback to Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover (i.e., anti-immigrant, nationalistic, and protectionist)? I think it was Gore Vidal who once called these three "the three horsemen of the apocalypse." Jesus, what would he make of el Trumpo? I miss Gore:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/19/donald-trump-republican-party-election-conservatives

John S-

Obama is our Caligula. Like Caligula, I seem to recall Obama referring to himself as a god on several occasions? Trump will be our Claudius; preparing the ground for an eventual Nero. Anyway, by 2024/25 things should get really nasty in the US, I'm guessing. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a complete collapse of the gov in the near future. Think Ceausescu-type removal and execution in the streets of DC...

Miles

1:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Word has it that the Waferette has recovered, thank god. Meanwhile, I did a rdg from TMWQ last night at Banyen Bks. People got so excited they began biting each other just to calm down. May 18th will be immortalized in Vancouver history as The Night of the Vampires. Imagine what will happen when I hit Bulgaria.

mb

3:00 PM  
Blogger C. J. Timmins said...

Another sign of our present dark age: http://www.unilad.co.uk/opinion/theres-a-worrying-trend-of-teens-committing-crimes-for-internet-fame/

To summarize and save my fellow wafers the click: the virus of American hustling now has spread globally and members of our future generation are hustling & committing outright crimes to achieve the trivial currency of social media "likes". This includes--no exaggeration--live streaming a rape. Another modern day Horatio Alger decided to shoot himself in the head with a handgun to gain more followers. What pluck he has! One psychiatrist at Harvard quoted in the article likens it to a form of mental illness.

And so we are once again reminded of Dr. Berman's citation of the prescient American Indian scout who observed of the Donner party: "They eat each other." Yes, this is certainly an allegory for America and Americans. And when there exists no more territory on the physical frontier of our modern age, these incidents become inevitable. We now “dine” upon our psychological and spiritual frontier. This also recalls the Cree prophecy: “Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”

But we humans still hafta eat!

To speak of alternatives & Dual Process, there are some out there at work (however futilely) to inhibit our addiction to the "smart" devices enabling this illness: https://medium.com/the-light-phone/we-re-not-anti-technology-we-re-just-human-4ea39b2db46e#.fk5q69nul

Of course, the "Light Phone" is still another device or talisman that will no doubt need validation (Instagrammers sharing pics of their new toy), because the addiction is too severe. Even Dr. Berman cites how during in his time in Mexico he’s seen an increase in smart phone usage among the local population (am I correct?). One can only wonder what Marshall McLuhan would have to say about these new “drugs”/”mediums” since his death (ca. 1980). What would be their “message”?

Keep in mind: the iPhone itself is less than 10 years old. Give it another 10 or 20, my fellow wafers, and those outside our circle will be so severely addicted they won’t have the capacity to see the walls crumbling around them.

P.S. Kudos to Dr. Berman for the scene in his recent book, The Man Without Qualities, that challenges Americans to throw their cell phones into the Potomac river.

P.P.S. I’m curious of this community’s thoughts on the wonderful television series, Black Mirror (produced by the BBC, available on NetFlix). It deals with the near future ramifications of such technology, and still retains a very visceral, human touch. Highly recommended!

3:18 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

John S-

I think FDR was likely the American Augustus. Like Augustus, he brought a civilizing, humanistic perspective to a state wracked by blood rivalries. He ruled for a long time and industrialized, just as Augustus found a city of Rome and left it a city of marble.

And like Augustus, nobody's been able to nearly match his power since. The leaders are commanded by the bureaucracies he set up, esp. mil/intell. It's like a chariot that's lost its driver.

The current silliness seems to indicate the end of a particular brand with particular players, perhaps akin to the Julio-Claudians with Roosevelt as Augustus. But these people have even more power now, so the whole thing is much messier for the whole society.

Also, FDR was like Augustus in that he was the only one that gave a damn about public art/national culture. The Aeneid gave way to 24/7 games in a similar hustling way, however.

3:50 PM  
Blogger illini said...

MB ignores the most obvious reason for collapse of civilization: climate change.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

illini-

I take it yr a newcomer to the blog, yes? Over the yrs we have discussed both climate chg and resource stress on this blog, fyi. You might also check out "The Collapse of Western Civilization," by Oreskes and Conway. Who's ignorant, exactly?

mb

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Climate change is the immediate cause of the collapse, but the deeper cause is cultural - why we have allowed climate change to continue and accelerate without any action on our part to stop it. Therefore, a cultural analysis reveals the true reasons why the world is falling apart. However, climate change is indeed something we should talk about, since it is the primary mechanism by which modern civilization will be destroyed. It's very important to talk about Dual Process in the context of climate change - that is, which locations are good for engaging in Dual Process. It's not a very good idea to attempt Dual Process in a location that will soon be underwater due to rising sea levels, or in a location that will soon turn to desert.

Timmins,

I would say we're already there. People no longer can understand anything outside of their artificial virtual worlds. They don't even know what it means to live in the real world, let alone how to comprehend the world around them.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

The bk by Oreskes and Conway is very gd in terms of integrating cultural and scientific factors.

mb

8:55 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

>Nice pun on coup d'grace. Gras = fat, very appropriate.

There are even university courses in "fat studies." They are sometimes in women's studies departments, and sometimes in health, but the real devotees plead for it to become a discipline (?) in its own right.

And this is probably an aspiring faculty member (protesting an appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers at U. Mass.) Someone has nicknamed her "Trigglypuff" and awarded her fifteen minutes of fame in Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y69tkCbeC5o

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Would u consider the Amish practicers of duAll process?

10:03 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Speaking of smart phones they are the worlds most popular gadget - ever. World-wide 3000 are bought every minute - 24/7.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/20/hyperdemocracy-or-hypermodulation/

"Rather than despise the mogul elite, however obscene their extravagances and privileges may be, Americans continue to live within the illusion that such wealth and privilege will soon be theirs. They will not deny to others what they hope to possess themselves. When everyone is greedy, greed is not a thing to be recognized."

"Temporarily embarrassed millionaires," indeed.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is gd:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/21/nyregion/trump-hat-death-threats.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=6&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F05%2F21%2Fnyregion%2Ftrump-hat-death-threats.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=0

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Brain,

Those are excellent insights. Indeed, it's very difficult for people to recognize the inherent traits with their respective cultures, because these traits are so prevalent, and so deeply embedded in everyday life, that they do not appear to be cultural traits at all. Rather, they appear to be the cultural language by which everything is expressed - a medium, rather than a message.

I only disagree with one thing: Americans most certainly will deny others what they themselves hope to possess. That's why Americans are so strongly opposed to social services of all kinds, even when they themselves need such services. Their acceptance of the acquisition of obscene wealth by a tiny oligarchic elite is the result of their desire to maintain the possibility for all Americans to climb to the top of the dungheap, so that they themselves might one day do just that. They would steal all the wealth from all the other people in the world if they could get away with it. I also think that sheer malice is the other major factor in this dilemma; many Americans are perfectly willing to fuck themselves over just to make life even worse for everyone else.

Above all, there is this: in order to become an oligarch, you must deny others what you yourself hope to possess, over and over, backstabbing, manipulating and destroying countless people along the way. Steve Jobs is an excellent example of such a person, and it comes as no surprise that a horde of American douchebags held a candlelight vigil when he died.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Despicable dept.:

http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2016/05/man-fatally-shot-3-year-old-stepson-who-was-jumping-on-bed-police-say.html/

Schmuck dept.:

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/05/19/disturbing-video-shows-planned-attack-on-high-school-art-teach/21380375/

Surprised student didn't just line the teacher up against a wall and strafe him w/machine-gun fire.

Miles

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Deadthoreau said...

Just had to pass this gem on for you guys.

"On a recent visit home to Wisconsin I found myself sitting alone in a crowded shopping mall, feeling the same intangible revulsion that eventually banished me from America. Above me towered a brutish vending machine, complete with celestial chimes, rotating lights and a steely synthesized voice beckoning the assembly of dupes. A miserable young lad approached, dragging the body of his package-laden mother. He searched her eyes repeatedly until she finally fed the machine, got a Rocket Ranger toy and stuck it out to her child.

He slapped it onto the floor and screeched for still another selection. Mom stuffed in more bills until finally the boy was out of choices. ‘Well, for God’s sake, what do you want,’ she bellowed.

In a confused rage the boy bawled, over and over again, ‘I want something, I want something, I want something.’ As I watched the boy I thought that, after all these years, America is still shooting up the town, still digging its heels unnecessarily deep into the precious elements that sustain us, and still making me glad that I now live in New Zealand.

The boy seemed to forewarn of capitalism’s psychological dead end where life masquerades as a kaleidoscope of consumer choices. His was the collective voice of mindless consumerism as it has been perfected and amplified in America. It spoke too of the existential loneliness that gnaws at me whenever I return to the ‘all-consuming society’ as some sociologists have come to call America."

https://newint.org/columns/essays/2001/07/01/deadzone/

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

The lady has balls

2:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dead-

Check out a bk by Sue Gerhardt, "The Selfish Society."

mb

9:39 AM  
Anonymous xypeter said...

Contary to sm ppl's comments, I certainly know exactly who Hillary and Bill are. They are not mysterious; not anodyne caretakers. One simply can't avoid feeling the ultra-transparent scoldy meanness tht lurks jst behind the faux enthusiasm. To see what a great econ czar Bill will be, and 2 lose weight by purging, just see the article. Just a cpl choice excerpts below

POLITICAL RIFTS OVER BILL CLINTON'S HEALTH CARE LAW RESURFACE AS AID SHRINKS
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/21/us/politics/welfare-arizona-bill-hillary-clinton.html

---> "... In her autobiography, “Living History,” Hillary Clinton said she agreed with her husband’s decision to sign the welfare bill, even though it “outraged some of our most loyal supporters.” The old program of Aid to Families With Dependent Children, created in the New Deal, “helped to create generations of welfare-dependent Americans,” she wrote."

---> "... In 1996, for every 100 families in poverty, 68 received cash assistance. That fell to 23 for every 100 in 2014. And in a dozen states including Arizona, the number is fewer than 10 in 100. In response, the very poor have devised what Kathryn J. Edin, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, called survival strategies. Some, she said, sell plasma, a blood component. ...."

. . . . . . .

AND ON AND ON. (Not to mention dying in the street.) And to think she gets the blk primary vote anyway; so sad.

xox
P

1:50 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

This is what happens when you offend the official civic religion of Merica:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/21/nyregion/trump-hat-death-threats.html?_r=0

She said she is about to graduate with a degree in media studies and hopes for a career in radio or journalism. I think there is a rude awakening ahead for her.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

xyPeter

Thanks for the link concerning how poor people sell their plasma for cash due to the wickedness of Bill and Hillary. Those blacks and other minorities who vote the scumbags are simply dumb or they have no time to read or think.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Dead,

What a heartwrenching experience, so powerfully described. That scene is basically the sum total of the American consciousness packaged into a single moment - an angry, confused child screaming for consumer goods, ignorant of the fact that human connection is what he really needs, ignorant of the fact that consumer goods are only empty substitutes for love.

Everyone,

Have you noticed that Trump supporters act as though they were engaged in some eternal rap music video? The far-right used to spew pernicious lies and propaganda; now, it communicates in psychopathic, dramatic gestures devoid even of the semblance of coherence that far-right propaganda used to provide. Ask a Trump supporter why he's right and he'll just say something like "Trump will win, motherfucker, and there's nothing you can do about it! Yeah! Suck on that! Trump will FUCK YOU UP."

How can anyone - Chomsky, Hedges, Amy Goodman - think that this nation might have a bright future when most Americans view life as one gigantic reality TV program whose purpose is dramatic displays of gratuitous violence and colossal narcissism (as Hedges correctly notes, but fails to properly integrate into his worldview)? The sheer stupidity and viciousness of the contemporary political scene isn't the "decay of the system of the ruling elites", as Hedges claims, but its purest and most stable manifestation to date. The inculcation of stupidity and viciousness in the American populace has been a goal of the ruling elites since Woodrow Wilson and the Creel Commission (as Hedges once again correctly notes, but fails to properly integrate into his worldview). The imminent right-wing revolution will only allow that system to become more itself; it won't represent a fundamental change.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

http://decider.com/2016/03/25/why-you-should-watch-my-beautiful-broken-brain/


beautiful film streaming on netflix , produced by David Lynch ... consciousness / the mind explored thru 34 y.o. stroke victim's recovery of her new self

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Ridley said...

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/312367/the-power-paradox-by-dacher-keltner/

https://t.co/WF20zPMlwj

ancient theme, new take: UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner's new book The Power Paradox

11:57 AM  
Blogger Dominic O'Malley said...

In the SF Chronicle today in the 'World' section, 'Crucible of Vietnam War made U.S. a better nation', John kerry and Ken Burns participating in the "summit". The importance of honest government is one of the benefits that resulted from our participation in the war this idiot writer reported. While perhaps something was spoken of it in the 'summit' (I wasn't there), nothing was mentioned in the article itself of the millions of lives lost in this evil endeavor. Disgusting.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Zuspin said...


Barbara Ehrenreich pointed my attention to this one



http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/05/american-financial-hell/481107/



Could there be more Dante in this?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Bijoy said...

Here in Atlanta, looks like they are slowly replacing teacher assistants with A.I. assistants

http://www.news.gatech.edu/2016/05/09/artificial-intelligence-course-creates-ai-teaching-assistant

and the very smart students didn't even know the difference. Very funny MB

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I think I have to agree with Northern Johnny. We are not near to collapse yet; in fact Moore's Law is kicking in and we are on the second half of the chessboard as far as technology is concerned. This is where capitalism will devour itself. There are predictions that robots will perform over 70% of existing jobs within the decade. Driverless cars are set to unemploy 80% of men in some areas of the country. As a nation, we will have to re-evaluate the meaning of our lives when employment for the majority no longer exists:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoqrY8F7r0c

4:46 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[D. O'Malley]

If the Vietnam War made us a better nation, the evidence is damned thin on the ground. Consider the following article; sounds like our work in that country continues even in our absence.


"Since the end of the Vietnam War, in 1975, more than forty thousand Vietnamese have been killed by unexploded ordnance."

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-vietnam-war-is-still-killing-people?mbid=nl_160521_Daily&CNDID=24465181&spMailingID=8953365&spUserID=MTA5MjQwMjQ4Mjg5S0&spJobID=922033546&spReportId=OTIyMDMzNTQ2S0

Don't worry, though. Seems like the Vietnamese have forgiven us: check out the label in your shirt or sweat pants. When it doesn't say "Hecho en Mexico" it might say Made in Vietnam. Capitalism is always a winner, eh?

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Vietnam is just going to become another southeast Asian bich like Japan Korean and Philippines

3:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Hedges just revised his timetable: the uprising of the masses will not, apparently, take place *now*. It will occur, "at best, a decade from now." Safer bet, I guess.

mb

4:58 AM  
Anonymous Vusnamefo said...

The former Gov of Mass aches et ts, William Weld, was on CNN moments ago. He compared deporting illegal immigrants to what Hitler did to Polish Jews before the Holocaust. The host of the program reminded him that the American people are not happy with the immigration problem and that there is a difference between illegal and legal immigrati on, the would not listen to any of that. She asked him then to state what will be his public policy on illegal immigrants here. He started doubling around like a retard. It is as though these useless politicians have no workable solution to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, but they are forever ready to call anyone with a solution HITLER.

7:24 AM  
Blogger ab645471 said...

NOTE: MY MISTAKE. DELETED PREVIOUS POST. PLEASE DELETE THIS LINE. THANK YOU.
There are about 360 to 400 million native English speakers in the world. Add to that around 470 million to 1 billion of those who, although not being their native language, also speak English. There are around 170 Wafers, and this blog has maybe something like 2000 returning readers. Painful as it is to realize, Americans are not the only morons around. America is still great. We are the alpha morons leading the other morons down the tubes for the last time.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Vusnamefo]

Illegal immigrants, William Weld, and Der Führer.

Though it was originally applied to Usenet discussions on the Internet, this meme's use has expanded to encompass virtually any discussion, wherever it may take place. I refer of course to Godwin's Law, named after attorney Mike Godwin who coined it. Godwin was the first counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and general counsel for Wikimedia. In its original incarnation it read:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

The "law" is also referred to as a "reductio ad Hitlerum" or an "argumentum ad Nazium."

Hitler: the trump card available to everyone. No discards required.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

WAFers--

Fine mind, indeed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/world/europe/angelina-jolie-will-be-visiting-professor-at-london-school-of-economics.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=1&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F05%2F24%2Fworld%2Feurope%2Fangelina-jolie-will-be-visiting-professor-at-london-school-of-economics.html&eventName=Watching-article-click

O&D, fellow travelers--

Brian

2:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Vusnamefo-

Speaking of illegal immigrants: William Weld and his entire familial line! The Welds have be running around Massachusetts since, well, the beginning. My favorite Weld, of course, is Tuesday Weld. Check out her performance in the "Cincinnati Kid" w/ Steve McQueen. Edward G. Robinson is also gd.

MB-

Is Hedges on drugs? I recall that Luxemburg was executed by the Freikorps and thrown into a river in Berlin. Poor, poor Hedges...waiting for a progvolt that will never materialize. And if one does, he will be the first to be torn to pieces...

Miles

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Genie said...

https://t.co/Glv2GBxNqn

The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump

"If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over."


MB's prognostications on verge of coming into being

3:03 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

It doesn't get any better than this Wafers:
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/23/angelina-jolie-new-role-visiting-professor-lse-william-hague?CMP=fb_gu

We'll have Brad teaching at Harvard soon I hear.

Kanye

3:08 PM  
Anonymous David said...

The Republic as we know it is dead. The public is still in denial about the Empire we have become (with 800 plus bases overseas how could we not be an empire?). As for the future none of the public is ready for it. For half a century or more we have been muzzled by the National Security State and have become silent supporters of the status quo. The powers that be ensured that no discussion of the nation's socio/political system would ever take place. We are suddenly faced with the dissolution of the sacred "market system" that we thought would last forever. And because there has been no discussion of alternatives for as long as memory serves and given the silence we get when we try to raise it polite conversation, we are up the creek without a paddle.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Well, at least he went from being 100% deluded to abt 80% deluded. Saying The Revoln will take at least 10 yrs gives the poor guy a bit of breathing rm, I guess. Yet he still believes this Revoln is going to come from the Left. WHAT can one say to this? If I cd afford it, I'd get him into therapy. (I can't afford it.)

mb

4:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

But if I *were* rich, I'd start a foundation for the education of parents in loving child-rearing. When I was in Waterloo, someone gave me a copy of Sue Gerhardt's bk, "The Selfish Society." I'm only halfway thru, but it's a basic Wafer text. She documents the damaging effect of capitalism on the treatment of infants and toddlers; pretty heart breaking, really. It also shows why change by 'revolution' just ain't gonna cut it; something deeper is required. Anyway, a terrific bk.

mb

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

What interests me most about America is how it has managed to convince itself that the Free Market is somehow Biblically based. Empires often believed their violence was sanctioned by God, but they never deified their markets and bazaars as places of worship. Moreover, they never believed that communitarianism among neighbors is a Satanic practice (as the residents of New Orleans clearly do, evidenced by their refusal to work together so that another hurricane won't wreak havoc on the city), nor did they believe that a dog-eat-dog attitude amongst the citizenry was a divine mandate.

Genghis Khan implemented many rules requiring citizens to cooperate with one another in various ways; the punishment for breaking these rules was death. Charlemagne instituted many educational reforms designed to enlighten and unify the citizenry. The Romans had local forums where citizens could come together and discuss issues that interested them. None of these empires ever punished anyone for feeding the homeless, as America does with frightening regularity.

Capitalism was invented about 600 years ago. The Bible was written 2,100 years ago. Obviously, capitalism can't possibly be Biblically inspired, but Americans, being narcissistic and willfully ignorant, refuse to confront this fact. Most of them believe that the ancient societies mentioned in the Bible employed free-market capitalism, and that extreme wealth is tangible evidence of one's virtue, despite the many parts of the Bible that declare otherwise. For Americans, the Bible says whatever they want it to say; they anxiously avoid reading the Bible, lest they actually learn something about what it says.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


I might say much the same thing but not nearly as well :

Jim Kunstler :

"The most exceptional thing about the US has been the rapidity of its rise and now fall in the roll-call of empires. We barely had time to put together a coherent culture that historians of the future (enjoying ratatouille with fresh rat by firelight) could identify, and now it’s all percolating into a dreadful maelstrom in which one catches glimpses of the Kardashians, PT Barnum, Betsy Ross, Davey Crockett, and Eleanor Roosevelt amid the detritus of broken Tupperware and flapping pages of the Affordable Care Act. What a goddamned mess we’ve left to posterity."

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/lower-away/

Jim left off the image of future Japanese historians glancing at pages of a dusty, silverfish-eaten copy of a translated version of "Why America Failed" while eating mildly radioactive green cabbage stew seasoned lightly with chopped, dried jellyfish and trace amounts of Caesium-137.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137

5:20 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

What interests me most about America is how it has managed to convince itself that the Free Market is somehow Biblically based

That amazes me as well. The speed at which the clergy went from being suspicious and wary of business to being a cheerleader for a rapacious system and way of life (in direct contradiction to the gospel of Mark and the teachings of Jesus) is really quite breathtaking. And yet, here we are with grotesque books like Jesus Christ CEO and God Wants You To Be Rich.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I keep waiting for Hillary to issue the following statement:

"I want to say to all my supporters that I am fully aware that I'm a douche bag. I've been a douche bag all my life, and I remain a douche bag to this day. Anyone with half a brain can see that I'm a douche bag. What I'm asking all of you voters to do, in California and elsewhere, is *overlook* the fact that I'm a douche bag, and vote for me anyway. After all: Reagan was a douche bag; Bush Sr. is one; Bush Jr. is one; my husband is one; Obama is one; so why not me? Why penalize me alone for being a douche bag? And if elected, I promise to launch a Douche Bag Liberation Front (DBLF). Thank you and good night."

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh
Douche Bag Liberation Front is gonna win!

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Marc,

Indeed, that mental image may be one of the most sobering images possible. The American Empire, by deifying social Darwinism and inculcating antisocial impulses in the citizenry, has quickly destroyed whatever flimsy social, cultural and economic fabric it once possessed. If any historical knowledge survives after climate change, overpopulation, resource depletion and pollution have run its course, people will remember how and why America destroyed itself, and will probably take care not to repeat its mistakes.

More likely, all historical knowledge will be lost, and America's demise will attain the status of a legend, like Atlantis or the Biblical floods. Still, legends are powerful influences, and the tale of America's self-destruction might be enough to prevent future peoples from duplicating its mistakes. Then again, it might not, especially if America's socioeconomic system is replicated with new terminology and ideological justifications. After all, totalitarian cultures can use literally any idea to justify their violence, as history has shown us. Perhaps the future of the human species is exactly what Orwell predicted: ever-increasing suffering, violence, ignorance, hatred and poverty. It's a sobering thought.

Also:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/90-year-old-florida-veteran-arrested-feeding-homeless-bans

Almost all the largest American cities have passed, or have attempted to pass, bans on feeding the homeless. Penalties include months in jail and fines of several thousand dollars. Why not make it a capital crime? Why not ship all people who feed the homeless to Guantanamo Bay? It's the logical next step, and only slightly more insane. No doubt Trump and all his supporters would shed tears of joy.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Woman punches son over wrong Taco Bell order:

http://ktla.com/2016/05/20/west-virginia-woman-accused-of-punching-son-over-burrito-order/

Loretta Lynn Armstrong for Prez, 2016
Mary Hastings for Veep, 2016

US Dept. of Education :

1. http://wncn.com/2016/05/05/sc-school-employee-appears-to-choke-hold-student-during-fight-until-she-passes-out/

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFUaGxpr3Do

O&D,

Miles

1:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

That's quite a face on Loretta: the future of America. Between her and Hillary, a close call.

mb

2:14 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Wafers,

Not to steal the thunder from the beautiful faces of Trump and Hillary, but the past few days have been quite interesting in France.

The staff in all of the 8 refineries of the country has gone on strike and a fifth of the country's fuel pumps have run dry. The shortages are set to worsen and rail + air strikes are coming. People are literally driving around trying to find which petrol station close to them serves/doesn't serve fuel. There's even talk about staff from nuclear pants planning a strike which would potentially lead to electricity shortages in the days ahead. This is all caused by a new Labour Law proposed by the government which would reduce workers' pay but it's mainly the expression of a general fed-up. The Labour Law is just the straw that broke the camel's back.

This might all get broken up by armed intervention from the police in the next few days, but it's interesting to see how easy it is to put an entire country to a halt in just a couple of days by blocking oil supplies.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/24/france-set-to-grind-to-a-halt-as-strikes-spark-fuel-shortages-an/

Vive la France!

Kanye

6:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a collection of turkeys dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/24/rage-room-anger-management-unemployment-houston-texas

And this ain't gd either:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/24/academics-china-crackdown-forces-intellectuals-abroad

8:35 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Christian Schulzke - another sad development in the past half century is how much of the clergy also went from opposing government sponsored evils such as the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons to these days either being cheerleaders or largely staying silent.

@Kanye Cyrus - let's hand it to the French workers for still having a little bit of fight left in them. That would never happen here in the U.S. Cue American conservatives mocking the French in 5...4...3...2...1

In today's edition of "What Douchebag Liberals Believe," the same folks who are celebrating the fact that Bill Cosby is finally going to face trial as a sexual predator after all these years also think Bill Clinton should be given a pass:

http://www.salon.com/2016/05/24/it_must_stop_now_the_media_cant_allow_trump_to_make_this_election_about_bill_clinton/

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Nice lecture, will have to print it out at my school's library for reading when I get the chance.

Who is Richard Rorty? Should I be reading him? Forgive me if this is old news but in one of Chris Hedge's articles a few weeks back he quotes the philosopher at length:

"One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words “nigger” and “kike” will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet."

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_revenge_of_the_lower_classes_and_the_rise_of_american_fascism_20160302

Even if you feel like culture has NOT moved toward the situation above (I think it very much has) you have to admit that paragraph seems a hell of a lot more likely/prescient now than it did 4 years ago, or the 18 since it was written.

BTW, Ang Lee is making a movie out of Ben Fountain's excellent anti-war novel, Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk. I know some readers here liked the book as much as I did, we'll see how the film turns out.

https://youtu.be/bEG2uamc324

10:34 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"What interests me most about America is how it has managed to convince itself that the Free Market is somehow Biblically based

That amazes me as well. The speed at which the clergy went from being suspicious and wary of business to being a cheerleader for a rapacious system and way of life (in direct contradiction to the gospel of Mark and the teachings of Jesus) is really quite breathtaking. And yet, here we are with grotesque books like Jesus Christ CEO and God Wants You To Be Rich."

Well it didn't happen overnight. But what happened is that the culture of hustling took one of the most positive features of the idea of America, the absence of state-sponsored religion, and turned it into a market-based competition for followers among various sects. The inevitable result was a lowest-common-denominator race to the bottom, where religion ultimately existed to tell people that their superficial desires and prejudices were sanctioned by the almighty.

On another note, I saw a documentary recently on netflix called "Bigger, Stronger Faster" about the steroid culture among both pro athletes and recreational gymrats. It's a largely first-person and very personal film, by a guy from Poughkeepsie, NY whose two middle-aged brothers are still on the juice, still unable to let go of the Schwarzenegger-Stallone macho posturing they were raised on in the Reagan era. The oldest brother, a washed up professional wrestler won't let go of the dream even after a suicide attempt, at one point breaks down crying flatly stating that his inability to move on with his life is causing him and his wife great unhappiness, but that he was "born to attain greatness, and I know the only one standing in the way is me." If Gatsby was the American Dream as Tragedy, the repetition is indeed farcical, but no less sad.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-millennials-live-at-home-20160524-snap-story.html

I'm among that demographic, quite proudly, even though I could afford to rent. It's very amusing to read Internet comments screaming at once that we are financially irresponsible AND need to start incurring more bills to join the rat race.

"The pattern may be a contributing factor in the sluggish growth of the U.S. economy, which depends heavily on consumer spending. With more young people living with their parents rather than on their own, fewer people need to buy appliances, furniture or cable subscriptions. The recovery from the 2008-09 recession has also been hobbled by historically low levels of home construction and home ownership."

See, kicking everyone out at 18 was all about feeding the beast of disposable consumption, house flipping, and fake marriages, all to maintain that picture of success.

I know that in my case, my childhood in the "booming" 90s was quite depressing because of all the pressure the rat race exerted on my Boomer parents. Things actually markedly improved after 2008, where everybody has set their sights lower and in many cases conceded this small degree of communitarianism.

I have real conversations now with my dad, mom, and brother, in the precious moments away from the hell of public working life.

Of course, the unenlightened take this as unmitigated failure. Thank god their Robinson Crusoe, Anglo-American worldview is dying in favor of how all other people everywhere have lived.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

I think it's a good idea . It keeps Americans from going on a shooting spree

1:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Not feeling the Bern dept.:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-socialists-20160525-snap-story.html

6:53 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Re: rage-room "destructotherapy"

People who frequent these types of establishments need to get real help soon. I would wager that most of them are suffering from intermittent explosive disorder. Breaking objects and pitching temper tantrum fits, even in controlled environments such as this, is *not* normaI behavior. Most likely these folks have antisocial personality disorder and were socialized in families where explosive behavior and verbal abuse were common and considered normal. The relief that they report feel after participating in this type of violent outburst is common, but it doesn't get at the root of their anger and hostility.

Miles

ps: A comparable scenario: trollfoons who get off on attacking MB and other Wafers.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

El,

Excellent points there. When a culture has no real content except hustling, every facet of cultural life is remade in the image of hustling. It was only a matter of time before American religiosity became nothing more than an excuse to indulge in the basest human instincts. I'm waiting for the day some slick American entrepreneur starts selling tickets to heaven, complete with a free room at one the finest hotels in the Kingdom of God, filled with all the newest and best amenities, including cable television, Netflix, cell phones, Playstation 4, fine wines and champagnes, machine guns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and young, nubile call girls eagerly waiting to please. I promise you, that person would make a fortune, and might even rise to political prominence. In America, your success is precisely in proportion with your lack of personal integrity. The greatest country in the world indeed.

Dio,

To be sure, amongst a certain sliver of the America populace, the Anglo-American lifestyle of competitive materialistic individualism is dying. But overall, I think Americans are desirous of following that lifestyle more than ever, and are enraged that they'll never achieve their dream of becoming Lloyd Blankfein. This explains the popularity of Trump, who has ten billion dollars and promises to wreak havoc on anyone who disagrees with that lifestyle even slightly. The violence he promises to unleash on the world is fundamentally about venting the rage of white, working-class Americans who have finally grasped that they will never become part of the elite; it's not about stamping out terrorism, or about keeping America safe. Because these poor whites cannot take revenge upon their bosses or their government, they've decided to ethnically cleanse the whole world. They know full well what they are doing, and that the people they want to kill are innocent, even if they don't admit it.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Please see below a link to an editorial by Kent Nerburn that no newspaper would publish:

http://kentnerburn.com/the-editorial-no-newspaper-would-publish/

I encourage all Wafers to read it. The editorial is a response to the Washingtom Post's self serving poll that says that 9 out of 10 Native people are okay with the term Redskins. Below is an excerpt:

"Sadly, we experience some kind of emotional disconnect between the Native mom and dad going to the grocery store with their children and the mythic Indian riding across the plains or canoeing through pine dotted islands. Because we love that mythic Indian, we think that any reference to the Indian in our popular culture is an honoring, and that Indians, if there are any, are just being too sensitive and ought to get with the program. What we are really doing is using those images to blind ourselves to a past that we would rather ignore than acknowledge, and turning real people into caricatures and cartoons."

Nerburn ends by asking Americans to change their ways. I have corresponded with Kent Nerburn a few times and have recommended Joe Bageant and your works to justify why most Americans will not 'hear' him.

Best wishes,
Himanshu

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Vico tom said...



"The inspector general, in a long awaited review obtained Wednesday by The
Washington Post in advance of its publication, found that Clinton’s use of private email for public business was “not an appropriate method” of preserving documents and that her practices failed to comply with department policies meant to ensure that federal record laws are followed."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/state-dept-inspector-general-report-sharply-criticizes-clintons-email-practices/2016/05/25/fc6f8ebc-2275-11e6-aa84-42391ba52c91_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_clintonemails-1030a-lede%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&tid=a_inl

7:03 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

El, JimJ

While driving to work back in the late 70’s I’d listen to Imus In the Morning. My favorite was his schtick as the Reverend Billy Sol Hargis of the First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship, coming to you from Del Rio, Texas, the gold buckle of the Bible belt. “If you can’t take it with you, have it waiting for you when you get there” by depositing your money in his bank. I loved the theme song: “I don’t care if it rains or freezes as long as I got my plastic Jesus riding on the dashboard of my car. I can go 100 miles an hour long as I got the Almighty’s power glued up there with my pair of fuzzy dice." The “reverend” one time sold Cheeses of Nazareth. It seems that Imus had our “culture” pegged over 40 years ago.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Sarasvati - indeed Imus did have our culture pegged back then. Unfortunately, he later sold out to that same culture.

The 1990s version of Imus's show that eventually popped up on MSNBC featured frequent interviews with close circle of cronies from the political and business worlds, including such self promoting cretins as Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Chris Dodd, Harold Ford, Steve Wynn and Bo Dietl. After 9/11, Imus's politics, which had been fairly independent before then, took a sharp turn to the right in support of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. By the time he got thrown off MSNBC for his producer's ugly racist on air comments about the Rutgers women's college basketball team there was pretty much no reason to listen to him anymore. Of course, like most similarly disgraced former mainstream media figures, he eventually landed at Fox.

Just goes to show that very few are immune to the corruption that is endemic in American society if you wave enough money under their noses.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Bill Hicks}

Your comments on Imus and the mainstream media figures prompt me to offer a pointless complaint on the general pointlessness of political commentary in general. Every talk show, no matter the orientation of the host channel or medium, is nothing more than a venue for the presentation of predictable views and the exchange of playful banter between individuals whose personal circumstances and economic well-being have nothing to do with those of the mass of humanity. There is a roster of experts and pundits who for all we know do nothing more than float from studio to studio, offering their disengaged assessments of the current scene, like so many UN observers who have no particular stake in the chaos and carnage going on around them. The same politicians (McCain, Steve King, LIndsey Graham, Nancy Pelosi, Darryl Issa), the same pundits (George Will, Cokey Roberts, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol), the same political operatives (Donna Brazile,the go-to insider whenever the subject is political campaigns).

Nary an outsider or dissenting voice--except in the most anodyne meaning of that term--to be seen or heard. Bread and circuses for the well-off, who are more likely to suffer less than their fellow citizens when the Zusammenbruch takes place.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

This from the lead article in the May 16 New Yorker, by George Packer:

Trump became leader of the GOP "by understanding what many intelligent people utterly failed to see: the decline of American institutions and mores, from Wall Street and the Senate to cable news and the Twitter-verse, made the candidacy of a celebrity proto-fascist with no impulse control not just possible but in some ways inevitable."

Duh! Will you tell me how it is that comments like these inevitably fail to cite my work? I just can't understand it!

mb

9:06 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

It's a crime, MB. Packer is essentially engaging in intellectual theft. The New Yorker should fire him and then hire you. Yr first article could be "Duh!: Time to Wake the Fuck Up America."

Miles

9:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Yeah...I do have the feeling that ain't gonna happen. Well, their loss, what can I say. Plus, Playboy has bunny foldouts; why doesn't the New Yorker feature pastrami foldouts? That wd be my 1st order of the day as editor.

mb

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

There is really not much to say about today's segments of On Point, both of them. The relevance to the themes of this blog are rather self-explanatory.

On Point: Why A Third Of Millennials Live At Home

The Great Recession is in the rearview mirror. But nearly a third of millennials are still living at home with their parents. And here’s the big change: more Americans aged 18 to 34 are now living with their parents than with romantic partners for the first time since 1880, the first time we kept records. Why are a third of millennials not leaving home? It’s about jobs, loans, rent, pay, late mating. And maybe a culture shift. This hour On Point, millennials, staying home.

On point: Sebastian Junger On Vets And Their 'Tribe'

Sebastian Junger wrote “The Perfect Storm,” then went on to become one of the great chroniclers of American soldiers at war in Afghanistan. Now, he’s followed those soldiers home. And he sees many at a loss. Maybe it’s PTSD from battlefield trauma. But maybe, he says, it’s the country they’ve come home to. So much division. So little community. It can leave vets starving for the tribe of the platoon. Maybe we all are, he says. This hour On Point, Sebastian Junger on the longing for tribe.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Charles Eisenstein, on the frontier of the regenerative part of dual process:

http://charleseisenstein.net/by-their-fruits-ye-shall-know-them/

"I am fond of saying that no optimism can be authentic that has not visited the depths of despair. But today I have realized a corollary: no despair is authentic that has not fully let in the joy."

You might check out a few of his other essays. Charles has 3 children, and you wonder whether his lack of attention to the issue of global human overpopulation has to do with that, but nobody's perfect.

Some balance between the effusiveness of Charles Eisenstein and the pessimism of English philosopher John Gray is indicated.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Dr. Berman:

This morning, while sipping my coffee and eating my wheaties, I read the following in the online Atlantic and instantly thought of you and this blog, both of which have once again been proven right in their respective analyses of American culture. The operative phrase in the following excerpt is: "The Sanders movement has become impervious to reality':

"[A]ccording to the official narrative, the [U.S.] primary is already over. Also according to the delegate count, which has Sanders’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, just 78 short of the 2,383 it takes to win the nomination. Also according to the Democratic voters, some 3 million more of whom have supported Clinton than Sanders over the past four months of voting. And also according to Clinton, who told CNN the other day, “I will be the nominee.

"But in the world Sanders’s supporters inhabit, this is all so much media manipulation ... Sanders and his people have their own sets of rules ... The Sanders movement has become impervious to reality. Some have even called into question the nature of reality itself: 'Bernie Sanders’ political revolution is political only inasmuch as thought is political,' a self-described 'meta-modernist creative writer' named Seth Abramson wrote in the Huffington Post a few days ago. 'By the very nature of things — we might call it perceptual entropy—the impossible, once perceived, enters a chain of causation whose natural conclusion is realization.' By this logic, Abramson reasons, Sanders is actually winning. It’s, like, the Matrix, man, or something."

Moly Ball, "This is how a revolution ends," Atlantic, May 26, 2016: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/bernie-sanders-clinton/484439/

- Northern Johnny

8:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

NJ-

I certainly agree w/the Atlantic; even if Bernie wins the California primary, he's clearly lost the delegate count, and I doubt he can persuade the 'superdelegates' to turn things around at the Dem national convention. But what virtually everyone in the US overlooks is what we are actually voting for. The nation is dying; it's in a state of ongoing collapse. This is the fundamental reality, which means that what the American voter is really voting for is the rate of collapse:

Bernie--slower rate of collapse
Hillary--continuing Obama rate (aka crisis management)
Trump--fast rate, or at least much faster than the other two.

I have yet to see an editorial on *this*. Instead, Americans actually believe that it makes a substantial difference, who is elected. Folks like you and me, living outside the US and peering in, see 322 million people walking around as though they were underwater, at the bottom of an aquarium. Clueless, in short.

mb

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

I think Sorokin was right when he theorized that the continual birth and death of cultures and governmental forms is exclusively a Western phenomenon. In places like Asia and Africa, and even Eastern Europe, there was no substantial change until the 20th century, when these places were overrun by capitalism. This transformation was instigated by the West, and will not last long, due to the waning of the modern ages.

It's true that nothing lasts forever, but in the case of non-Western societies, it seems that a steady-state system is literally built into their DNA. Their fundamental cultural attitudes will probably remain the same until they are exterminated by outside forces, or until the human species itself is destroyed.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

It's a gd question, 2b sure. Of course, Egypt did go thru cycles of civilizational collapse and recovery, and I think China did as well, so I'm not entirely convinced that Asia and Africa shd be left out. Steady-state is really a hunter-gatherer phenomenon, not a civilizational one; I discuss this a bit in WG. What can be said abt capitalism is that it is the most likely formation to be convulsive; as the record shows.

mb

11:20 AM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...

It takes only 67 steps to climb the top of the dung heap. If he can so can anyone...
http://www.tailopez.com/flow.php?lp=FS-8432&utm_campaignnickname=20000b&utm_ad=hereinmybackyardv1&gclid=CKSnhc_U-swCFYdehgodgSYASg

A.D -It is easy.
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/infomercial-king-tony-robbins-wants-to-be-the-next-suze-orman

If you won't even twitch its your fault then.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nEyPAmMr5A

From Manifest-Destiny to the White-Man's-Burden, A.D was only a natural progression. After all what else were you supposed to do after unburdening the planet of the vermin?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s

1:43 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

As the American collapse quickens, American insanity proliferates:

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE8nXcr00tU

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/27/in-san-diego-trump-shames-local-mexican-judge-as-protesters-storm-streets/

3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/27/sarah-palin-assails-obama-for-hiroshima-visit/

and, finally:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyaY3Y2qf0I

O&D

Miles

9:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Signs of a culture in deep decay are everywhere now.

mb

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/nGeXdv-uPaw

9:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The US was involved! Gee, what a surprise!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/27/argentinas-last-military-dictator-jailed-over-role-in-operation-condor

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Unbelievable- kids crashing their heads together, on purpose!

http://www.wgal.com/news/new-knockout-game-leaves-student-unconscious-police-say/39756330

11:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birn-

This is a great metaphor for the current state of the US. When your life/country is totally meaningless, you might as well bang your head until yr unconscious, what the heck.

In addition, students might as well bang their heads together (or against a concrete wall) because there is nothing inside them.

mb

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

I talked to someone recently that complained that American culture had turned to shit. And yet, as a true American patriot, she insisted that America was by far the greatest country in the world. I begged to differ, based on her own analysis, and postulated that the human species can't be so terrible that a shit culture would stand as the pinnacle of human existence. Despite being a black Muslim, she had once been a Trump supporter before his bigotry became too flagrant for her to ignore. She refused to speak to me again.

The same psychological dynamic can be found in any Trump supporter. Most of them will acknowledge that America has turned to shit, and every last one of them still believes America is by far the greatest nation on Earth. Point out that a trashy culture could never be the highest human civilization and they become enraged.

What troubles me is that in my childhood, I can't remember ever being told that my country was the greatest on Earth. And yet, my classmates grew up to believe exactly this. What if this attitude is the result of something so massive, and so unconscious, that it doesn't appear to be an attitude at all? What if this attitude doesn't require words or gestures to be transmitted to American children?

Every culture has mythical heroic tales of their militaries that exalt the nation at the expense of other nations. And yet, comparatively few people from these countries would say their civilization is superior to all others. I don't think elementary school history classes, war documentaries on the History Channel, and like phenomena, are responsible for American exceptionalism. What we're dealing with is something that transmits itself *through* unconsciousness.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

Hey Morris, serious question: if somebody were interested in writing a biography on you, would you give them the information they would need to write it? Would you write an autobiography of your life? Does the thought of people reading about the innermost details of your life after you've passed away intrigue or disturb you?

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Did u guys see bill mahers new rule? I think he is a wafferhttp://youtu.be/2gfTLr78S4w

12:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mo-

Quite fabulous, and if not 100% accurate, probably 95%. As you may know, Bill is a major character in my latest novel, TMWQ.

Ror-

There wd be no pt, because I'm not famous, and I'm actually not very interesting. I did write a personal/philosophical memoir a few yrs ago, namely SSIG; it's currently out of print. But never fear: I'm working hard to bring it back. Hope you enjoy it.

Jim-

Actually, I covered this phenomenon in some detail in a couple of essays in QOV.

mb

2:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Reward for murdering women and children in the Middle East:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/25/politics/obama-kalorama-washington-dc-leases-house/index.html

4:46 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Jim Jardashian]

"America was by far the greatest country in the world."

I find I repeat stories more and more as I get older--the curse of the aging, I suppose--so my apologies to you and the other readers if I've offered this before.

Lewis Black on Broadway, regarding America being the (self-proclaimed) greatest country in the world:

https://youtu.be/4mCDZMWVWuc


And another of my favorite social critics, masquerading as a drunken comic. Doug Stanhope on nationalism:

https://youtu.be/QsPDT5qHtZ4


10:42 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB & Wafers,

MB-

Well, how about a biopic about yr life, MB? I think "Feel The Berm" would be a gd title.

MB, Wafers-

A day in the life dept.:

http://www.complex.com/life/2016/05/wife-stop-domestic-violence-shirt-arrested

Miles

6:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

Cdn't run it (24-hr rule). :-(

Jeff-

Actually, I'm thinking a cartoon bk might be more appropriate. :-)

mb

7:33 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Hustlers hiring hustlers who end up getting hustled:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larissafaw/2012/07/19/how-millennials-are-redefining-their-careers-as-hustlers/

Checkout the awkward near parapraxis in the last paragraph. Intentionally crafted, it’s more of a Bernaysian Slick than a Freudian Slip.

Here are the final paragraphs:

«
Ultimately, all employers need to realize that side hustles — be they profitable businesses or non-monetary hobbies — are advantageous. “If I am in the t-shirt business and find out one of my employees has a successful blog, I need to say to myself, can we learn from what he is doing? How can we take what he is doing and do it here?” says Martin.

Thompson adds, “Multiple interests are how you create a happy life. Employers see how [multi-careerism] makes their employees more productive and happier. And happy employers in the long run benefit.”
»

10:31 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

Wafers may be interested in the book Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall.

As a theoretical particle physicist and cosmologist, she deals with huge numbers (billions of years and stars) and tiny little things like WIMPS and axions and neutrinos. Her latest research involves how dark matter in the galaxy may have created an imbalance that sent a comet to Earth and killed the dinosaurs.

Some quotes from the conclusion:
“When we are too hasty in exploiting the earth's resources – significantly influencing the planet and its life – we are very rapidly undoing the cosmic work of millions or even billions of years.”
“We like to think we are resilient, but most likely the current state of the world is less stable than we think.”
“Exponential growth starts relatively slowly but then shoots up dramatically. The resources required to sustain this new status quo swamps anything we've encountered in the past.”
“An intelligent species shouldn't predicate its existence on competing for and destroying scarce resources that have taken billions or at least millions of years to emerge.”

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

The end is near for Obama and people like him

2:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mo-

Why do I think that's not quite correct?

mb

3:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Imagine 8 yrs of this face:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/28/hillary-clinton-us-presidential-electiond-democrats

brrr!

mb

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Vico tom said...

Dr B wrote:

"Bernie--slower rate of collapse
Hillary--continuing Obama rate (aka crisis management)
Trump--fast rate, or at least much faster than the other two."

More accurate claim:

Hillary--very fast, speed of light rate of collapse
Bernie -- fast collapse
Trump -- no more collapse

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

I'd like to add a few things to your analysis in QOV. Every culture has mythical heroic tales of its military that exalts the nation at the expense of other nation; likewise, most nations engage in historical revision to make themselves appear to be much more virtuous than they really are. And yet, comparatively few people from these nations believe their nation is superior to all others.

I can't remember ever being told as a child that America is the greatest nation on Earth. And yet, all my classmates grew up to believe exactly this. Therefore, the transmission of American exceptionalist attitudes must be entirely subliminal. What we're dealing with is something so massive, and so powerful, that it transmits itself *through* unconsciousness. No words, gestures, stories or propaganda are needed to teach American children that America is the greatest nation on Earth, and immune to the historical processes that govern every civilization.

There's also the possibility that people are born with something that transcends the physical: a mind with inherent qualities. It's difficult to believe that all cases of American exceptionalism are caused by either propaganda or by subliminal transmission. It's also impossible to explain genetically, since children of recent immigrants are every bit as thuggish as your average America.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-first-look-at-americas-supergun-1464359194

That'll show 'em!

8:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

Well, that is pretty much what I say in QOV: that the 4 programs are unconscious. However, don't kid yrself: millions of kids, every day, are told America is Numero Uno, quite explicitly.

Vico-

Well, I very much doubt that's more accurate, but I'm certainly hoping that we get to test the collapse hypothesis in the case of Trump. He's now in a statistical dead heat w/Botox-Face. Wafers, let us pray.

mb

10:18 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Bill Maher a Wafer? I dunno, but a guy named "Mohammed" saying this about that racist sphincter strikes me as odd.

I'm not sure, Jim Jardashian, how you can miss hearing and seeing that gringos are told they're living in the greatest country in human history. Maybe it's a case of the fish not being aware of the water, but from the outside, even we see and hear how great you are every day.

I have to disagree with this:
"Every culture has mythical heroic tales of its military that exalts the nation at the expense of other nation..."

There's a line in Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," where the mythic perfect city in the story is said to have a "sense of victory." I discuss this with students, and ask them if this concept resonates with them or is a foreign way of thinking. My view is that in Canada our sense of victory doesn't exceed much beyond staying warm until spring. The students go a bit further than that, but not very.

I also ask them to identify Canadian heroes. They never identify military people. The consensus with my last group was that the greatest Canadian hero was Terry Fox, a one-legged cancer sufferer who ran across Canada to raise money for cancer research, but died halfway through his quest.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I think the Trumpster might go for an invasion of Mexico though, so be careful what you wish for!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Donald Trump:

Don: Do you read this blog? You shd know that many of us here are praying for yr victory come November.

I realize I'm not the person to be giving you political advice, but a couple of things do occur to me that I'd like to pass on to you:

1. Once Bernie is out of the picture, and it's just you and Hillary, I suggest that you forget abt "Crooked Hillary" and instead repeatedly call her a douche bag. This label will stick, because she *is* a douche bag. Also mention, as frequently as you can, that she has Botox in her face. This two-pronged attack could land you in the White House.

2. Once yr president, hire large #s of thugs to roam the US and beat people up. I'm thinking in particular of Jews and Muslims, but frankly, anyone who looks halfway intelligent shd get the crap kicked out of them. This will make it abs. clear, where you stand. Be sure to place yrself in the mainstream tradition of what Richard Hofstadter called "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life." Believe me, millions will applaud you.

Anyway, just food for thought. If you don't take the oath of office next Jan., I will weep bitter tears. You da man!

mb

9:02 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

A mass shooting finally hit close to home. This happened one block from where my grandparents lived for decades. I've been to this gas station many times. Makes you think getting shot in America could happen anytime.

What would cause somebody to open fire in a car repair shop, kill people, shoot a cop in the chest, and shoot at a cop car and police helicopter? Sick world we live in.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/amp/two-dead-six-injured-random-houston-shooting-n582376#

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Check out "Going Postal," by Mark Ames.

mb

11:05 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Just returned from a two-week vacation in Quebec and Ontario. Nice break from the US. Dr. B., our paths nearly crossed, as I was in the Waterloo area for a few days, but alas, you had already been there and gone. A couple of observations. One, based on my highly subjective non-scientific judgement, the smartphone gork-out fraction among people walking down the sidewalk is less in Montreal and Ottawa than at home in Portland, OR, although it is still definitely there. I hope the Canadians can resist the tendency to gork out American style (maybe they have less reason to?). Two, the Mennonites in the Waterloo area have something figured out that the majority society hasn't -- that the answer to a happy, prosperous, sustainable life does not lie in technology, money, or "progress". We visited a Mennonite historical museum in which I was really impressed with their ethic of simplicity, community, helping. They are asking all the right questions about what makes a good life, and it isn't the American Dream or any of the other superficial things our industrial consumer society goes for. I wonder if it is possible to hope that this ethic could be a model for a new way of being (the second part of Dual Process) for the wider society or whether it is only the religious underpinning that motivates these people to be so tenacious in holding onto this ethic. At any rate, I admire them and look for ways to incorporate these ideas into my own life.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Al,

Hmm, I think you're right. There are some cultures that don't perpetuate myths about their own alleged military prowess and national superiority. Nevertheless, many cultures do, like those of America, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, and practically all African, Caucasian, Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations. On the other hand, I've yet to encounter this attitude in any Latin American, Scandinavian or Southeast Asian citizen; I simply wasn't thinking clearly when I claimed all cultures embrace myths of military and national superiority. I suppose living amongst American psychopaths my whole life leads me to make dire (but thankfully unfounded) conclusions about the human species as a whole.

Morris,

I wasn't kidding myself. I'm sure that in many parts of the nation, like the Bible Belt, children are told explicitly that their nation is superior to all others. But in my neck of the woods - at least, when I was growing up - that sort of thing was taboo, and yet all my classmates managed to imbibe that poisonous attitude nonetheless.

I'm surprised you don't seem to be frightened by all of this. I find it terrifying myself, because it implies that any nation could theoretically fall into this mindset without even being aware of it. I'll grant you that this is almost impossible in the case of many nations, but for me, this isn't good enough. Nations like Hungary, Russia, China, Japan, and Korea believe they are superior to all others, and with so many nations embracing myths of their own superiority, the world will never rid itself of this problem.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

They do it in Massachusetts as well. No, I'm not terribly frightened.

mb

11:29 AM  
Blogger Jeff Snyder said...

MB, you ideas are spreading, by unconscious assmimilation. "Inner immigration" in Germany. The author, lamenting her lack of power over what is happening in/to Europe, nevertheless finds 6 things she can do.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-30/its-unbearable-50-year-old-german-woman-rages-i-have-lost-all-my-trust-state

4:15 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Jeff Snyder - This comment from the author of that article is quite disturbing: "When I read the preamble of the AfD program I had to cry because it is so beautiful. I will share this program wherever my feet will take me."

Here is a Google translate quote from the preamble of the AfD program the author finds to be so beautiful:

"A one-sided focus on twelve years of misfortune in our history obscures the centuries in which a unique substance was established in culture and constitutional order."

"Twelve years of misfortune" is a hell of an understatement to describe the Holocaust and the launching of a war that killed 50 million people.

I'm German by heritage--both sides of my family--but it makes me very nervous whenever Germans start to get too obsessed with blaming "the other" for their perceived national misfortunes.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


There is a chapter in the bible referring to the fallen human enterprise with respect to perversions, especially sexual perversion. Just see the assortment of choices at a porn site on the web these days. OMG!! There are more choices there than the nuts & bolt section at my local bigbox hardware store. I wonder what sort of people are aroused by these ugly scenes of violence totally devoid of sensuality? It is titillating alright, but a grotesque depiction of woman seemingly enjoying being physically and verbally abused. A magazine dedicated to porn is aptly called Hustler. Every aspect of our lives including relationship and intimacy is now nothing more than hustling at the expense of a sucker. Have you seen the type of video games people play? In one game you score points by bloody punching and kicking scantly cover girls on a beach. This is called entertainment in end times!!

A sign that amerika has totally failed both mentally and bodily is in the stats of its copious consumption of porn, pathetic video-games and drugs. Most of these porn and video games are made in USA. We have gone too far down a dark alley and there is no turning back. Amerika was never great and will never be one.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/may/30/online-porn-addiction-reddit-nofap
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/08/death-porn-video-phone-loneliness-sex

http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/pornography_is_what_the_end_of_the_world_looks_like_20150215
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/03/30/no-one-free-until-all-are-free

9:51 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IawEMxTroBk

Description: Milo Yiannopoulos assaulted and threatened by BLM 'protesters' at DePaul University... and security does nothing.

Security does nothing. Why not? This article suggests an answer: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/magazine/why-we-should-fear-university-inc.html?_r=0

SJWs are useful idiots being dangled in front of the left like pickpockets' decoys-- with the approval of university administrations in bed with the corporocracy. SJWs distract people on the left from the subtler but more profound changes in the same way as those other useful idiots, Jerry Falwell et al., were rewarded for distracting Christians.

Somewhere I've recently read that when SJWs clambered aboard Occupy Wall Street, bringing their fissiparating manufactured grievances, was when the movement fizzled. Not only that, but advisors to the NYPD knew that this would happen and encouraged them, saving the department from a great deal of trouble and bed press.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Alogon-

SJW = ?

mb

11:58 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Esca

You could add "foodie" culture to the list of strange perversions.

It's as if food is the American substitute for art. All these brands, places, colors, logos, and identities associated with... food.

Ranking food, talking about food, taking pictures of food, driving by endlessly advertised eateries, imagining food as some kind of key to life problems... really, it's exhausting to be around.

I was in Germany once, and the food wasn't as good, but nobody cared, since it wasn't something anybody would go into depth over.

Here, you need food just to get you through the pleasurelessness of daily life. How could you dare subject anyone to a pointless meeting without bringing donuts?

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Social justice warrior

2:51 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

SJW = Salami and Jalapinos on White bread.

HTH.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Why not Some Jewish Whiteboys? All these abbreviations are getting a bit too esoteric for me. HTH? Hold The Horseradish?

mb

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

Ranking food, talking about food, taking pictures of food, driving by endlessly advertised eateries, imagining food as some kind of key to life problems... really, it's exhausting to be around.

I was in Germany once, and the food wasn't as good, but nobody cared, since it wasn't something anybody would go into depth over.
------------------------------------------------------------------

I think we need to be careful here. People have do have hobbies you know. I moved to Germany several years ago, and I can assure you, there are plenty of people who are very into food and drink here. Heck, I drive over the border twice a year for Belgian beer.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trans-

Belgian beer: very good.

Meanwhile, a Wash Post columnist finally realizes the American public is a collection of douche bags:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-taught-me-to-fear-my-fellow-americans/2016/05/30/1b364736-242a-11e6-aa84-42391ba52c91_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

mb

8:58 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Had quite the Memorial Day experience. Got hit by a driver while I was on my motorcycle. Guy ran across all lanes of traffic to make a left turn, but hit me instead. Guy was totally apathetic that he nearly killed me doing freeway speed. He was more concerned about damage to his car. I just don't wanto leave the house most days so I don't have to confront stupidity out there. I couldn't believe the guy didn't apologize.

He even had the balls to say I was in his blind spot. He hit the back side of my motorcycle with his front bumper. Pretty shitty somebody would lie and not care.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Jesus, are u all rt? This is grotesque, but very American. I trust you have his lic. plate no. and name of his ins. co.

mb

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

SJW = Social Justice Warriors, like radical feminists, Black Lives Matter adherents, and everyone else who believes that identity politics is the highest purpose to which a human being can aspire. You know, the kind of people whose identities depend on constantly being offended by every innocuous occurrence, and on fighting an endless battle against nonexistent conspiracies.

Lack,

Sorry about what happened to you. American culture is filled with sociopaths that truly cannot feel anything for anyone except hatred, envy and malice. It looks like you ran into a typical American; I hope you find the means and the opportunity to leave America for greener pastures.

Everyone,

What do you feel about Hedges's claim that the impoverishment of the white working class is responsible for the rise of Trump and his fascistic ideology? I feel that it's completely incorrect, because the Great Depression was just as bad, and because American's responded with a call for greater economic justice, and not with a call for fascism. In addition, there are billions of people all across the globe who suffer far greater poverty and oppression than Americans, and yet most of them do not clamor for fascism and genocide.

I think Trump's popularity is a result of psychological impulses that have always been dominant in American culture; the economic downturn merely forced most Americans to realize that they'll never achieve their dream of becoming rich, and it is this realization that is responsible for Trump's rise to prominence.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

Yeah, the Depression of the 30s did not involve a belief that the American Dream was a pile of crap, or that it wd never come to the working class. Left-wing activism at that time intended to spread the A.D. to everyone, and when FDR threw the working class a few crumbs, things quieted down (of course, WW2 helped a lot as well, in terms of econ. recovery). But this time around, as you say, there may be a growing awareness that the Dream is an illusion, and that there's nothing to hope for. Result: rage. Then Trumpo comes along, says he'll make America great and take everyone along on his tidal wave, and: here come the brown shirts!

As for the SWJ's, I'd like to see people running around w/signs that say "No Lives Matter!" That wd be closer to the truth, at least in the US.

mb

4:14 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Colin Murphy, 23, staggered into a Kroger store, disrobed, and pooped on a self-checkout kiosk:

http://www.wlwt.com/news/police-drunk-man-exposes-self-defecates-on-kroger-selfcheckout/39783586

I tell ya, this guy is presidential material: he's w/out inhibition, self-confident, and completely politically incorrect.

Miles

4:53 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Jim -- I was raised in a rust belt midwestern town that had the misfortune of having one of its last factories shut down by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and the jobs moved to China DURING the 2012 election. The workers who were being fired even had to train some of their Chinese replacements the company brought over before the shutdown. Romney was asked by the workers to go there and explain why this was good for the American economy, but he blew them off. Today, I'll bet 60% of the people in my hometown are supporting Trump--having woken up 35 years too late to what the neoliberal consensus in Washington meant for them. So yes, I do believe what Trump says about "free" trade and tariffs are indeed a HUGE part of his success.

MB - the problem with that WaPost article is that it was written by super douchebag Richard Cohen, who has been a big part of the neoliberal consensus and should have been put out to pasture years ago for his numerous instances of sexual harassment.

Just read over the weekend that libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was booed at his own nominating convention because he believes people should be required to get a driver's license (and presumably actually learn how to drive) before getting behind the wheel. To think some conservatives plan to vote libertarian this year because they think TRUMP is a lunatic.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Colin is my new hero. Personally, I admire direct, unambiguous political statements.

mb

8:27 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

Morris asks:

>Alogon-

SJW = ?

"Social Justice Warriors." I apologize for using an unfamiliar acronym. It's not polite. As a reader, it's annoying when we can't understand what someone is saying for this reason. Thanks to everyone who has explained it already.

The trouble in this case is, I believe that there is such a thing as social justice and that it is worth fighting for. But these kids are just solipsists with chips on their shoulders bigger than my front porch. "Social justice warrior" seems so ironic that I'd rather write SJW and let it go at that.

The young man who took over the stage might be an alumnus rather than a current student at DePaul, and apparently a self-styled man of the cloth. The young woman-- reports differ-- is the daughter either of a faculty member or of a high administrator in the Chicago Police Department. So unprivileged. The latter pedigree would explain the inaction of Chicago's Finest.

Ms. Shu-Ju (Ada) Cheng, associate professor of sociology, has just followed an earlier letter of resignation with a dazzlingly polysyllabic protest to the president, not for failing to support this guest speaker's free-speech rights, but for supporting them. She looks forward to no longer being complicit in "reinforcing the exact inequalities and dominant ideologies upon which this institution is built" and the "racism that underlines all educational institutions."

Wouldn't the best response be, Thank you very much?

9:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Al-

I doubt there will come a time when Americans suddenly realize that identity politics is a diversion from politics, and that they are getting all worked up abt the wrong things. Christopher Lasch said it very well in 1979, that in the 60s, we discovered that we cdn't change the things that mattered, so in the 70s we poured our energy into changing the things that didn't matter. That illusory path is one we are still pursuing, the more so since self-righteousness feels so gd. Meanwhile, the ruling class laughs all the way to the bank--and many of them are women and people of color.

I remember Ralph Nader once said that there is no locus of power on the left anymore; no place you can pt to and say, "That has clout." 'Progressives' have no clout; none whatsoever. If you look on the right, however, there's a whole lot of clout, w/people not hesitant to exercise it.

To sum up: We are going down the drain as a nation and a civilization, and there's abs. nothing anyone can do to stop it. Things are bad now, and they will be radically worse 10 yrs from now. To fail to grasp that is to live in fantasy land. To think that the voting booth can reverse all this is just more fantasy. Over and over, I feel like I'm saying to the American people (who are surely not listening), "What part of 'All civilizations die' do you not understand?"

mb

9:34 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


"... these are fishing people, savages by our standards. John is a savage, but a happy amenable savage." "The only problem Cesium 137".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN3IP8bLJRI

We are now all "islanders" on this rock called Eaarth waiting for our John Frum. Maybe Trump is the one.
'E look like you. 'E got white face. 'E tall man. 'E live 'long America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFKfqrdP6xs

How did we garner the audacity that we shall remain unscathed?
"Paradise Lost", what the WASP leaves behind after he's done. Today it is the state of the whole planet -Mission Accomplished amigos!
https://vimeo.com/138519389

What goes around eventually comes around.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM0uZ9mfOUI

The White Man’s Burden - by The Grand WASP Rudyard Kipling

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
...

10:01 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

recommended to WAFers ---

The trailer to the documentary (about Gary Snyder) "The Practice of the Wild" ---

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc1Zf8ReE2o

"Beautifully attuned to the cycles of nature and the transcendent power of the written word, this warm portrait of Beat poet Gary Snyder and his cantankerous compadre Jim Harrison intertwines Bay Area bohemia, Zen Buddhism and musings on ecology and spirituality with the complex simplicity of a perfectly crafted stanza."

another source ---

http://www.watchonline.movie/the-practice-of-the-wild-c673935b-5a50-4fbd-9a52-b3ee01ac8748

I can't find the full documentary on a free website.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Snyder

a talk by Garry Snyder last year at the Colorado College ---

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-43SdTspJQ

Wendell Berry and Garry Snyder in conversation, from 2 years ago ---

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjB6UqLVrwU

2:22 AM  
Blogger Yossi said...

MB.
'Things are bad now, and they will be radically worse 10 yrs from now.'
If you follow Orlov
http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/a-russian-warning.html
or John Pilger
http://johnpilger.com/articles/silencing-america-as-it-prepares-for-war there won't be anything left to get worse in 10 years time. Considering the damage wrought by nuclear fall-out post Chernobyl and Fukushima nowhere will be safe.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Can't quite understand this: I thought we were the greatest country in the world, no?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/06/01/reversing-long-term-trend-death-rate-for-americans-ticks-upward/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_tyh-deathrate-1230am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

What cd possibly be wrong?

mb

4:51 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@transatlantic Going out of your way for an occasional treat isn't quite what I mean by "foodie" culture. That approach seems Epicurean in the true sense, and quite sensible.

I'm referring to hoards of young people in search of "Chicago's best burger", or "Philly's best cheesesteak". Mostly women, they then will go on sites like Yelp to rate eating establishments. The experience is all very important. Bad people eat at bad eateries.

I tend to haunt old Greek diners never featured in these contests of imitation, but it's almost immoral to a certain crowd. Food as an expression of alleged cultural progress, and the plethora of new, HEALTHY, options must be patronized.

@Jim

Exactly right on Trump. More than anything, people here vote out of shame. Obama was the racism shame vote, now Trump is the vote to erase the shame of poverty.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...



I'm referring to hoards of young people in search of "Chicago's best burger", or "Philly's best cheesesteak". Mostly women, they then will go on sites like Yelp to rate eating establishments. The experience is all very important. Bad people eat at bad eateries.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Ah, ok. I get what you mean. The smugness, etc. Yes, that attitude doesn't really exist in Germany with regard to food. In fact, I have found that attitude lacking in most aspects of life here.

On a related note (and following up on my beer comment), a few former friends of mine might fit into your category. American craft beer is apparently now, broadly speaking, the best beer in the world, I've been informed. Just like everything else from America.



9:48 AM  
Blogger Keith Elder said...

This guy must be a wafer:

http://www.ozy.com/true-story/the-night-i-almost-peed-on-henry-kissinger/69423

1:11 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear MB,

Just another day in paradise:
Campus shooting: Two shot dead at UCLA. Campus in lockdown

https://www.rt.com/usa/345098-active-shooter-ucla-victims/

Himanshu

2:43 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB & fellow Wafers:
Frank Rich has an interesting article on Reagan & Trump :http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/ronald-reagan-was-once-donald-trump.html

Quoting : "It’s the populist-white-conservative party that Goldwater and Reagan built, with a hefty intervening assist from Nixon’s southern strategy, not the atavistic country-club Republicanism whose few surviving vestiges had their last hurrahs in the administrations of Bush père and fils. The third wave of the Reagan Revolution is here to stay."

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Love this CP cover!

http://store.counterpunch.org/product/volume-23-no-3/

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

What pisses me off about the media these days is that they venerate Donald Trump and take his idiotic ideas seriously. When he says something like "All Muslims should be shot with bullets dipped in pigs blood!", the newscasters nod sagely, and analyze that statement as though it were rational and well-meaning. They also frequently call his vicious comments "controversial" with no small amount of admiration, as though being a blowhard megalomaniac were equivalent to possessing intelligence and boldness of character.

We all know that in dying cultures, villains are exalted as heroes. However, that's only an abstract statement; when this actually happens, the results are extremely ugly. Hillary Clinton's open defense of corporate greed, Bernie Sanders's cynical decision to mislead ad betray those Americans who do genuinely want left-wing change, daily massacres, millennials whose vocabularies consist only of a few hundred basic words...this is the reality of civilizational death. Insanity reigns.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

I think we must read different newspapers. The NYT and Wash Post, to name only 2, have been pounding away at Trump, sometimes having 5 anti-Trump articles in a single day. Other papers as well. I don't see any veneration of the guy, and I don't think he said all Muslims shd be shot w/bullets dipped in pig's blood.

2nd, I don't read Bernie as cynical, as deliberately trying to mislead the American public. There's no evidence for that at all. I see him as a lost cause, but definitely a sincere one. He will, of course, ultimately sell out to Hillary, but this is not some part of a 'scheme', it's just electoral politics taking its inevitable trajectory.

mb

5:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Elena Ferrante, whose novels are spectacular, writes that to be born in Naples

"is useful for only one thing: to have always known, almost instinctively, what today...everyone is beginning to claim: that the dream of unlimited progress is in reality a nightmare of savagery and death."

Everyone except Americans, of course, who, as a result, are living out a nightmare of savagery and death, w/o understanding why that is so.

mb

7:49 PM  
Blogger Jacob James said...

These videos cover the libertarian convention:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBjBQfi_fRk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoAr_tWuR5I

8:40 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Historian Julian Zelizer writes:

"Trump is the real life incarnation of the characters we love to watch in fictional shows.... We loved him not because we liked him, but we wanted to see how far he would go to get the job done."

Here's the rest of the article:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/30/opinions/trump-as-tv-anti-hero-julian-zelizer/index.html

Jimmy, trying to Carterize our wounds:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/us/jimmy-carter-racism-baptist-conference-unity-donald-trump.html?_r=0

and, finally:

The NRA *targets* our kids w/Eddie the Eagle program and advises parents to keep guns in kids' rooms:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/05/31/3782497/nra-kids-shooting/

Miles

8:58 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Yossi - if you think Chernobyl and Fukushima were bad, just wait until there is a mass workplace shooting at an American nuclear power plant. Just a matter of time, I'm guessing.

Himanshu - Since grade inflation is already running rampant, I would advise all professors and teachers to give all of their students straight As from now on. Only way to avoid getting shot, especially since so many gun nut law makers want to allow guns in the classroom.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Yup I'm fine. It's a miracle I rode out getting hit by a car. Motorcycle is totaled, but the guys insurance will pay. I still can't believe the apathy, when we pulled over, the guy tried to shush me while he looked his car over for damage. He went straight to his cell phone after he hit me. Never asked me anything or apologized.

The experience reinforces my belief that people are awful. He nearly killed me, and he didn't care. I don't think he's a bad apple, he's probably a good representative of the population. I'm sure his top concern was his insurance premium or not making it home in time to watch TV.

No other drivers even stopped. It's all pretty amazing to see how the public reacts. I think people generally just don't give a shit about people they don't know.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

You keep referring to 'people' generically. What you mean to say is 'Americans'. That level of narcissism, and of callous disregard for others, is the inevitable result of a hustling culture. Not all cultures on the planet are the same--by a long shot.

mb

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

UCLA shooting today. One professor dead. The shooter (a grad student or a PhD student) also dead. Do not blame this on Trump. Rather, blame it on your rotten educational system where no learning takes place. Obviously, the student learned nothing about using reasoning and arguments to settle academic disputes; the professor inherited the wind sown in the mind of the student.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucla-shooting-20160601-snap-story.html

2:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Frank-

I doubt these daily massacres have anything to do with learning, or lack thereof. What is happening on college campuses is also happening at fast-food outlets. Nor is anyone blaming this stuff on Trump. You might wanna check out the bk by Mark Ames, "Going Postal." We are living a way of life that is simply intolerable, and now have a situation in which a massacre--defined as the killing and/or maiming of 4 or more people--is occurring at a rate of more than 1 per day, as a result.

mb

3:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a jackass dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-warning-left-on-a-nannys-car-license-plates-stolen-and-a-top-pentagon-official-in-big-trouble/2016/06/01/50699a3a-2816-11e6-a3c4-0724e8e24f3f_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_stolenlicenseplates-4pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anthony said...

via The Economist, After the uprisings: Digital technology is keeping the spirit of the Arab Spring alive:

https://t.co/jTOGmgms3e


what do we pseudo-Luddite WAFers think of this more pro-social form of digital technology/media?

9:20 AM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...

Euler's Identity : “Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in his gang. There are 20 girls in the gang. What percentage of the girls in the gang has Tyrone knocked up?”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/racist-math-quiz-pimps-hos-drugs_us_574edaeae4b0af73af95d5c0


http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160120-the-most-beautiful-equation-is-eulers-identity

10:00 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Jim

Trump is a part of the celebrity culture, and the celebrity culture has gone from faux glamour to a shameless freak show.

People could look at Marlon Brando and say "He's better than me, I should try to be like him." Not rational, but not totally off the reservation as a human emotion.

The celebrities now, like the exploited teen pop stars, are meant to be sacrificial animals. The media takes people totally undeserving, fattens them up, and sacrifices them in a postmodern media Colosseum.

Trump gets this game, and the attacks on him are part of it. The sharks that promote indecency have found their perfect promotional, and a freak show has found his path to the top.

It's a question of who blinks first, or, more likely, how far they can go together.

US election: Understanding media addiction to Donald Trump
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/36429660

10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anthony-

I wdn't put much stock into anything the Economist has to say. But a word of caution: if you want to be part of this discussion, you must never, ever disparage the Wafers. We are not pseudo-anything, amigo.

mb

10:46 AM  
Blogger Dawgzy said...

Professor Berman- thanks for posting this. I always feel more deeply informed after reading your work.

Here's a bit of mainstream WAFerism from the man who, after all, wrote "American Stupid:"
http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a45443/trump-university-corporate-scams/

Also this nugget from the wonderful site "Open Culture:"
http://www.openculture.com/2016/05/can-you-pass-this-test-originally-given-to-8th-graders-living-in-kentucky-in-1912.html
It's not stated what a passing grade was, nor whether a pass was required to go on to high school. I wonder what percentage of US college graduates could pass this thing.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

MB,

I think I've been exposed to too many internet news sources. You're probably right that most television and newspaper media outlets condemn Trump. But I still think that nearly half of the American populace *does* venerate Trump; the mainstream press is contemptuous of him only because Wall Street does not want an end to illegal immigration, and does not want to keep jobs in America. Hillary is the Wall Street candidate, and much of the mainstream press will do everything in their power to see that she is elected.

However, Fox News has recently been quite supportive of Trump, and the New York Post has actually endorsed him, just to name two major mainstream media outlets. I expect many other endorsements as the election approaches, because the alternative (Hillary) will be too unpalatable for them. The conservative media outlets were hoping that Cruz had a chance, but he doesn't; their customers are Trump supporters, so eventually, they'll have to support Trump or go out of business.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm not sure about the veracity of that racist test story, Esca Dreg. After all, would a credible educator allow "Dwayne pimps 3 ho’s" to appear on a test? That's obviously an incorrect use of an apostrophe.

I thought I'd share this bit of Canadian douchebagery with y'all:

Brawl erupts in Costco parking lot after dispute over spot

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/costco-road-rage-parking-mississauga-1.3607965

Bisous,

Owen Dee

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

Sure, half the American pop. love Trumpo, but they are not the MSM. And the MSM has much more cogent reasons to condemn him than the immigration issue, it seems to me. As to what endorsements he'll get down the line, quien sabe?

Anthony-

Cdn't run it (24-hr rule).

mb

4:10 PM  
Blogger Viscount Flyte said...

"The problem is that there is nothing intrinsically meaningful to the logic of endless economic expansion."

this is indeed true, but one of its side effects hitherto has been meaningful. namely increasing life expectancy.

it was only in the mid 19th c that life expectancy for civilized people exceeded that of stone age savages and that this was due to infant mortality is a myth. mortality was significantly higher at all ages.

but now as you may have heard that trend is reversing in the US for middle aged whites without a degree and in france for its rural population.

take it as a compliment but it seems you have independently come to conclusions similar to those of the world's most famous living Cynic (capital "C"), ted kaczynski.

if it were indeed the case that life expectancy has neared its limit, then indeed technology has nothing at all to recommend it any longer.

and it has come to pass that only and intervention in aging itself will have a significant effect.

and there is reason to think that human aging is malleable.

but > 99% are concerned merely with status whoring, and much less than 1% of the NIH budget is dedicated to the biology of aging.

as denham harman said, "it's absolutely absurd."

now the world's most valuable and most profitable company is a toy maker (AAPL).

11:34 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Man wins 3 million in lottery.
Man invests it in a methlab.
Man will spend years savoring the finest toilet wines that prison has to offer.

http://www.odditycentral.com/news/man-invests-3-million-lotto-winnings-into-illegal-crystal-meth-business.html

In related Hollywood movie, hoodlum knows what he wants. MORE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIxnW_nB4Lk

2:14 AM  
Blogger shortrange said...

This whole idea of America recreating small town America of the '30s is so appealing but, unfortunately, has some problems. The population is now so dependent on mass produced industrial agriculture that any initiative to walk back food production to family farming would result in mass starvation. I doubt whether the author of this blog, MB, has really drilled down into practical effects of what he is proposing. He should probably contact a reputable economics department and ask them to model the Dual Process. For instance convincing millions of people to move from urban centers to rural locations where the food is produced would probably result in some form of state coercion similar to Pol Pots horror in Cambodia in the 1970's. The abandonment of current agricultural and transportation infrastructure used to supply the cheap food we enjoy today would result in steep declines in the values of pension funds, the part owners of that infrastructure, which would require huge federal indemnification.

It is these kind of details that the the "end of capitalism" crowd avoids talking about which is why we never see any detailed policy recommendations from them. So the Dual Process is unfortunately just a dream for the tattooed hipsters that MB uses to fill up the lecture halls but can have no hope of practical application.

1:00 AM  

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