July 18, 2021

431

Well, our previous thread investigated topics such as Pearl Harbor, the vaccine (pro and con), and whether Kamala Harris was a buffoonette. There was also an interesting discussion of the possible idealism of Jefferson et al., and whether the vaunted ideals of the early Republic were merely a cover for a deeper underlying ideal, namely hustling. In all of these crucial debates, Wafers displayed, as usual, brilliance of insight and subtlety of argument. I'm telling you guys, there is no blog like this blog. When I hear of people going to other blogs, I am filled with a great sadness. "Why?" I sometimes cry out loud.

In any case, I think we can all agree that the American empire is drifting, with no coherent purpose. Oswald Spengler, who wrote The Decline of the West a century ago, argued that every civilization was held together spiritually by a central, guiding Idea, in a Platonic sense, and that once that Idea became tarnished or unconvincing, the civilization was on its way out. In our case, the brief debate we had over America as bastion of democracy/freedom vs. America as world epicenter of hustling may be moot, in that "pursuit of happiness" effectively identified--or perhaps we should say conflated--democracy with the opportunity/freedom to amass wealth. A similar ambiguity would seem to be present in the Idea of the American Dream, American Way of Life, etc. In Trumpi we had (have) not merely the apotheosis of hustling, but in fact a full-scale assault on democracy, so we see where things finally wound up. But as Richard Bushman showed many years ago, in From Puritan to Yankee, the seeds of this were planted long ago, in the late 17th century, when the classic definition of virtue--putting the welfare of the community ahead of personal aggrandizement--got turned on its head. (Joyce Appleby makes the same point in Capitalism and a New Social Order, but incorrectly dates the shift to the time of Jefferson). We see this everywhere: Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, for example, a self-described Marxist, turns out to own millions in real estate. She is hardly an anomaly: this is the essence of the American Dream, or Way of Life. Or so it would seem.

The problem is that if the Dream is really about personal aggrandizement, then the nation is doomed; it is perhaps the core reason that we are drifting, because what it really amounts to is that we have no guiding moral purpose. We drift because we have no rudder to guide us, or no compass, if you will. On an individual level, the cost is by now obvious: millions dying by suicide, alcohol, opioids, television, cell phones, and rioting at Wal-Mart sales. At the national level, it takes the form of the government not being able to say what our foreign policy consists of. Indeed, some (few) astute observers have suggested that we have no foreign policy to speak of. Inner and outer, microcosm and macrocosm, reflect each other. Or as Jefferson's contemporary, William Blake, declared,"Earth and all you behold: though it appears without, it is within."

-mb

July 04, 2021

430

Well, Wafers, we're having a great discussion, but I don' have a lot to add to it at this point. Let me just submit a question that many of you might wish to debate. It's the most important question facing America today, if not the entire planet. Kamala Harris botched her trip to the US-Mex border; now staff members are quitting due to what they claim is her dysfunctional administration. More and more, it's beginning to look like she's incompetent. But this thought occurs to me: what if, besides being incompetent, she is also a buffoonette? Here she is being groomed for the presidency, and may actually be a buffoonette! The consequences of this for the alignment of major power blocs--well, I don' hafta tell you guys what this would mean. So please, let's all weigh in on the subject and see if we can come to some consensus on it. The world is watching.

-mb

June 23, 2021

429

Well, the descent of the US into irrelevance and complete dysfunction continues apace. Poor Joe, most of his great plans are now on the rocks, or are soon to be. Despite his own descent--into madness, by all reports--Trumpaloni continues to exert a very serious influence on the American political situation. 602,000 Americans have died from covid; the stats of alcoholism, opioid use, and suicide are thru the roof; brutality of the cops is even greater than it was before George Floyd; 'unexplained' massacres now occur on a daily basis; citizens exploit each other, and treat each other like dirt; and in general, the misery of Americans is probably at an all-time high. In addition, the government has no coherent foreign policy; it continues to float without any direction, while Russia and China certainly know what they are doing.

All of this is well-earned karma; Americans are getting exactly what they deserve. They embraced this way of life--radical individualism, every man for himself, hustle your way to fame and fortune, cheer the government on in its imperial wars, believe we can do no wrong, and so on--with great enthusiasm. Now it has turned around to bite us in the ass. We are being punished for our callousness, our cruelty, but the word 'punishment' doesn't really apply, because it assumes the punishee knows what s/he did wrong. Americans don't; they don't connect the dots, partly thanks to gov't propaganda, and partly because they are quite stupid. All of these signs of collapse, such as daily massacres, are 'external', as tho they fell from the skies. Suicides, opioid use, alcoholism--these are supposedly individual problems, as tho there is no pattern to them. There is no awareness that all of the factors I mentioned are all of a piece, and that piece is the American Way of Life. Even our most astute critics (or most of them) never realize this, never manage to point this out. And in addition, this blindness is part of the collapse as well.

So we shall either limp along to our oblivion, a la Biden, or--if Trumpalumpi makes a successful return in 2024--rush toward it, like lemmings to the sea. But avoiding it is no longer an option. We cannot, and we shall not, escape our fate.

-mb

June 09, 2021

428

The Obama presidency was characterized by 8 years of going nowhere. Obama was little more than a photo-op with pretty speeches. Indeed, he had no moral compass, and no vision for what America could or should be. His 'goal', if one can call it that, was simply to be president. Once that was achieved, he was content to just float on the status quo. In a lot of ways, it was similar to the Clinton presidency, minus the semen-stained dress.

Then came Trumpaloni. A declinist's dream, one might argue, because his notion of saving America was in fact to mount an assault on it. He did a ton of damage, and we are still living in the fallout from that. He could well get reelected in 2024, and get us back on the straightforward collapse track.

What, then, can we say about poor Joe Schmiden? The guy certainly means well, but the drawbacks are obvious. First, he wants the US to recover its world hegemonic role, to be the global leader once again. I don't have to convince readers of this blog that such a goal is a fairy tale par excellence.

Beyond that, however, he has no coherent foreign policy; a fact that many political analysts have already commented on. Internationally speaking, the US is basically adrift.

On the domestic front, let me point to 3 things. First, Biden wants to fight Covid, and has done a fairly decent job (dramatically better than Trumpalumpi, quite obviously). Second, he seeks to promote diversity across the board. Which he has done to a large extent, but there is the question of whether this is window dressing, or real social change. Again, I think readers of this blog know the difference between shit and Shinola, even if Joe and the rest of America do not. Finally, Joe has FDR-type ambitions, which include massive spending on infrastructure and aid for families in need, taxing corporations, and perhaps a few other noble goals. All of this, however, is starting to look like it will be stuck in the mud. Which is not Joe's fault, but the Republicans are having none (or very little) of it, and they seem to be in a position to defeat these plans in the Senate. My prediction is that on the domestic front, deep structural changes are not in our future. As for various protest movements, I think we can already see that they have been about as effective as pussy hats. Across the nation, to take but one example, police departments have larger budgets than they did a year ago. So much for "defunding" the police. America will remain what it is, in other words, as it moves slowly but steadily along the path of social, political, cultural, and economic disintegration.

The difference between the Clinton/Obama/Biden mode of being, and that of Trumponi, is thus the velocity of our disintegration, nothing more. That we could switch to an entirely different trajectory is not an option; way too late for that. The choices are slow disintegration or rapid disintegration. The elections of 2022 and 2024 should clarify how things are going to play out.

Finally, it is not clear how the condition of the American people is going to figure in this drama. Nearly all of them have security as their first priority, and no admin, Dem or GOP, can guarantee that for them. A large percentage of the population, in consequence, doesn't care if we have a democracy or not; for them, that's neither here nor there. Most are angry, scared, desperate, disoriented, and above all--dumb as a bag of hammers. Fundamentally, Americans are a silly people, a frivolous people, with no goal beyond learning how to hustle better. Concepts such as "community" or "society" never cross their feeble minds. I can't say exactly how that will fit into the current disaster, but I am sure that it will, one way or another.

-mb

May 19, 2021

Temporary Blog Closing

Everyone Please Note: This blog will be closed during May 20-26. I know this will cause great grief, but it can't be helped, as I have to go to DC to meet with other Wafers for the fabulous 7th Annual Wafer Summit Meeting--the meeting to end all meetings. So feel free to post today, May 19, but after that, I ask you to hold off until May 27; after which, we can resume our lively discussion. Thank you all for your patience and understanding.--mb

May 05, 2021

426

Well, Wafers, that last thread was quite a ride. We seem to have worked through Senor Maher pretty thoroughly, both pro and con; I do believe that wittingly or no, he has been documenting the collapse of the nation. This especially in terms of the sheer stupidity of Americans. We seem to have finally caught up to that iconic film, "Idiocracy," portraying nation of morons 500 years hence, but what in reality was only a few years away. But I do have a few disappointments.

1. Like almost all media pundits, Bill fails to state that the country is finished, despite the fact that this is the obvious reality. 2. As a result, he is not able to connect the dots: that a major factor in our collapse is our collective stupidity. 3. He also is confined to a very limited vocabulary: Americans are dumb. But they are also spineless douchebags, pathetic turkeys, and clueless buffoons. We need an upgrade in nomenclature, in short. 4. I keep waiting for him to say, "Morris Berman has recommended that all Americans be vigorously slapped, as a partial solution to our problems. Let me state here and now that I am in full agreement with this sentiment, and if such a movement will be launched, I intend to be on the front lines."

And so, Wafers, we move on into the future: dark, bleak, violent, and without a lick o' sense. When the president can declare that America will not be overtaken by China, you know we're up to our eyeballs in horse dung. Disneyland lives!

-mb