September 08, 2011


Dear Friends at the DAA65:

We are now going to switch to the WAF50. My publisher, Wiley, wants to do a promo for my new book, Why America Failed. In a word, the first 50 of you writing in to my editor and requesting a free copy, will get one. Not too shabby, eh? Here's the address (you'll need to do the at and the dot correctly, obviously):

enelson*at*wiley dot com

And you folks keep saying I never do anything for you...



Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

I just submitted my name. Thank you for making this offer available.

I have turned a couple of friends of mine on to your work. I actually just gave a friend my copy of 'A Question of Values' to read over the weekend.

I'll try to spread the word about your new book to my circle of friends and maybe drive the WAF50 up to 55. Dare to dream?

And just so you don't think I'm all business this morning, enjoy this headline from last night's GOP presidential debate:

Onward and downward.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Be sure to include your best physical mailing address!

11:40 AM  
Blogger Matt Cardin said...

This is a very generous offer from you, Wiley, and Nelson. Many thanks, Morris. I've been hugely looking forward to your new book.

Btw, when I sent an email to the provided address, it bounced. A momentary glitch, perhaps?

12:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chad, Matt, others:

Oops! Eric gave me wrong address first time around; I've now corrected it on the post (it's enelson, not ericnelson). If u had any problems, try once again, and it shd work. Thank you for your interest and support.


ps: Just wanted your input: Shd I, at the last minute, change the author name on the bk to Rom Mittney? It's a great nom de plume, and wd surely boost sales enormously, since everyone will wanna know who this guy Rom is, I'm guessing.

12:15 PM  
Blogger WCS Minor Circuit said...

Man, I jumped on this offer with the quickness. All these books you've been putting out recently have really done wonders for me personally. Keep up the great work, MB!

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Thanks for the offer. Just sent in. If I do get a free copy I'll still leave my pre-ordered copy and put a copy in circulation as a gift!

Looking forward to reading it.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, you probably need one for the kitchen, one for the bathrm. In fact, if u buy a copy for every rm in yer house, u cd set up a situation whereby yer always rdg the bk, 24/7.


1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you mr berman. Hopefully I was one of the first fifty. I called the friend who introduced me to your work and he is going to try and get a copy as well.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth M said...

I am all over this! Email sent.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Ashley Colby said...

Done and done. More sad truths to add to my enlightened depression.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Jimi Jones said...

I, too, have submitted my name. This is a very kind offer. I live in DC and will promote this book to the fullest extent of my ability. Thank you for your inspiring work!

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Paulc said...

Thank you so much for making this offer available. I have been waiting for this book to come out ever since you announced it was coming. We all hear about Hedges and Chomsky and others that make it to the somewhat popular (if not still underground) left media but where is Berman? Same thing in bookstores. I suppose if Rodney Dangerfield was still around he'd just say, "A guy just can't get any respect" these days. But hasn't this always been true. Doesn't it seem like the voices that need to be heard are always shouted down or kept silent. I guess it's also a little difficult when so many people have their heads up their asses as you would say. Whatever the case, your work is important. Thanks for keeping it real!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

If you've emailed me, you're on the list. If you haven't yet, do soon, we're coming up on 50...

2:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear WAF Seekers:

Apparently we're nearly all out; there was a feeding frenzy w/in the first 2 hrs. Inspiring! In fact, I wish we cd make the bk available for free to all those who actually care abt this subject. Like u, I'm grateful to Eric Nelson, Laura Cusack, and Wiley & Sons in general for making this offer.


Yeah, it's kinda frustrating: I'm not even in w/the out crowd! Democracy Now will have me on the show when snowballs freeze in hell; I send articles to The Nation and don't even get a form letter rejection; friends go into bkstores and nothing I've written is on the shelves; u get the picture. One friend told me Don't worry, you'll be famous posthumously. Like Copernicus, I suppose. I'm telling u all, the earth really *does* revolve around the sun!


2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the fortunate few who live in Powell's City of Books in Portland. Your books are always available there. (We wd relish a visit from you someday!) For clarification's sake: I am not a rep for Powell's, just a resident. But be of good cheer! There are places where your books can be found!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks so much for the offer. I just hope I made it in time. Hey, see that debate last night? 1/3 of Alabama collects food stamps but still they all bowed to the alter of capitalism. Can't wait for Obama's speech this evening. Great jobs plan-reduction in the payroll tax and extention of unemployment insurance makes up 200 of the 300 billion plan. The nation is in greater freefall than the World Trade Towers. Only 9% of jobs in the US is in manufacturing and 40,000 factories have closed since 2001. It's a race to the bottom and given how pathetic the US military is, this is perhaps one race we are sure to win.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

Ditto what Kevin said. I'll buy a copy as well and give it as a gift.


3:48 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...


I think it's because Berman's work doesn't have the obligatory "if only if we did this" chapter at the end of the book where he suggests the constructive things we can all do to dramatically change the country's course. Americans don't have much of a stomach for reality, and telling them it's over is just as abhorrent for the liberals out there as it is for conservatives.

I'd be interested to hear Maury's opinion of Adam Gropnik's piece in the latest New Yorker Decline, Fall, Rinse, Repeat, particularly the part where he deals with Thomas Friedman (good grief) and Michael Mandelbaum's That Used To Be Us.


4:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Meanwhile, check out cover of New Yorker, issue of Aug. 15/22: ship of state is sinking, while 3 Wall St. types sit in a lifeboat, drinking champagne and smoking cigars. Title: "S.O.S." Even the New Yorker knows it's all over. As for Thos Friedman, if there is a god I'll have a chance to urinate on his shoes (along w/Bush's and Obama's) in this lifetime.


Problem w/US Military is that it has all this restless energy and doesn't know what to do w/it. I would suggest: (a) Attacking itself. This cd be fun to watch. They 'shock and awe' the Pentagon, then bomb all of the 800 installations we have around the world. After that, the CIA and NSA complexes in MD and VA. Whee! (b) Attacking Canada, and perhaps Costa Rica. Why not? Time to occupy Toronto, after firebombing the suburbs. (c) Repeating the Vietnam experience: napalm anyone suspected of anti-American sentiments, including Americans.


Portland: one of my favorite cities; see discussion of its history in ch. 7 of DAA. If there's any way u can get me up there, let me know.


4:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note for Wm Lloyd:

William: You posted your message on an old post, and once I posted it I wasn't able to locate it. In general, it's best to post on the most recent one.

I don't know of any automatic character limitation to a message. Informally, I ask that people submit no more than half a page; but that is not a computer limit.

In any case, you asked for my email:

Hope to hear from u-


7:17 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Morris, this is so generous...I thank you and salute you. In the end, the market is secondary...working the interstices of what is economically possible to pull this offer off is THE ultimate act of NMI defiance...

Although I also thank Eric and the rest of the Wiley folks who are IN the market for allowing this...thanks guys!

Beyond refusing to play the game of " are my programmatic recommendations for last minute reform...people, we can TURN THIS AROUND!...," Morris' work seems shut out of even the lefty debates because it deals with first principles..calling out the folksy myth that the mass of our people somehow possesses an anti-intellectual "wisdom" that will save the day, that the logic of continent-wide freehold expansion was fatal from the start, etc. etc. This kind of stuff does not compute in what passes for our public conversation.

Even if the gatekeepers have not come across these and similar specific points in Morris' work, they instinctively know in their half-intelligent gatekeeper ways that Morris' intelletual DNA is unpalatable enough to justify excluding him.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Okay, that's it! We've gone a good bit past 50! Maybe we'll figure out a different giveaway for October...

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Bisley said...

Morris and Wiley,

Many thanks for the freebie. I'll be buying a couple copies anyway to pass along.

So I had a revelation today, partly in response to this exchange from the Repub "presidential" debate:

POLITICO: Gov. Perry, Gov. Huntsman was not specific about names, but the two of you do have a difference of opinion about climate change. Just recently in New Hampshire, you said that weekly and even daily scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?

PERRY: Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

OK, the people "outvoting" Galileo were asserting religious authority, but I digress......

My neck has been hurting lately and I realized after reading the passage above what it is I have:

Shaken Head Syndrome.

I think, if untreated it leads to Exploding Head Syndrome. Anybody else around here have it? Will Morris' new book help or hurt?


8:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The thing is that Perry is a douche bag. Like most Americans, he has little more than warm baby diarrhea in his head. What he knows from Galileo would rattle in a thimble. Alexander McCall Smith (popular Scottish novelist) recently wrote that a rotten culture produces rotten representatives. The corollary is that a moronic culture produces moronic representatives.


A gd idea. For Oct., I suggest sending out corned beef sandwiches on rye w/cole slaw and Russian dressing. These can be packed in dry ice, then reheated upon delivery. Talk abt generating a fan base...


Political scientist Philip Green recently wrote that in the US, historical amnesia and intellectual vacuity have hit a critical mass. This is THE one thing the left (whatever that is) or progressives can't face (and note that Green is on the Board of The Nation): it takes a baseline amt of gray matter to turn things around, and Americans do not have that baseline amt. I remember marching against the invasion of Iraq in DC a few yrs ago, and seeing all the misspelled signs. And I thought: "There really is no hope." I mentioned it to one woman I was marching along w/for a short while, and she immediately became hostile. Truth is that the Dolt Factor (DF) is the hidden time bomb in the American collapse. Never in the history of the world have so many stupid people been gathered together in one geographical location. Never.

Onward and Downward!


11:08 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Dr B,

Awesome offer. I already pre-ordered one through Amazon, but it never hurts to have a spare in case President Michelle B decides to have a book burning rally. My address was submitted, so feel free to send me cured and salted cuts of meat at any time. That is, at least, until the US postal service goes belly up. If I miss the 50 mark, I'll just pre-order two. Or three.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. I've submitted my request to Wiley that they do a corned beef runoff in October, but apparently this caused something of a conflict at the firm: there is a large contingent pushing for platters of chopped liver on Ritz crackers instead. Will let u know the outcome of this epic struggle, but either way you've got some deli en route to your domicile.

Not, however, via USPS, as you pt out--it may have collapsed by then. Part of the general collapse, I suppose, along with Camden NJ, Detroit, and numerous state budgets around the country. Next wd be schools, libraries, and newspapers--already severely threatened--then hospitals, symphony orchestras, universities, major corporations, municipal fire and police depts., and finally bowling alleys. We shall see it all in our lifetime, amigo; it won't be pretty. The banks and the military, however, will do quite well.

I fear Michele may have torpedoed herself outta the running in the recent California debate, appearing even more stupid than the other GOP clowns, surpassing even Ging Newtrich. How could any nation have produced such an array of buffoons as serious political figures?, you may ask. Excellent question. Keep in mind that in 5th-century Rome, the emperors included young children and literal morons who could do no more than drool and grunt. And just as the NYT now makes grammatical errors in its front-page headlines, so did late-Roman intellectuals publish books with numerous errors in Latin grammar and spelling. Ad astra per aspera! Onward and downward!


4:41 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr Berman:
Thank you, Mr. Nelson and Wiley and Sons for the generous offer. Of course you know this smacks of socialism, which means the powers will be rounding us up sooner.
Your post reminded me of that silly movie Mars Attacks in which upon hearing the song La Paloma the martian's heads explode and they are defeated. You might have solved our problem. Instead of our heads exploding because of the insanity, we could change the cover of Dr. Berman's book, substitute a new title (God is a Capitalist and He Wants You to Make Money), send copies to all the political hacks and half-wits (two half wits will not make a whole wit); when they start to read, their heads will explode (if there's anything in them). Problem solved!

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Bisley--I was pretty amazed by the Galileo remark myself--was he comparing himself to Galileo as being right but misunderstood?! But we must give credit where it's due and I'm proud he's ever even heard of him. If Perry had watched the evening news last night he'd have heard that this has been the hottest, driest summer in Texas and broke all records for any state (including the years of the dust bowl). His "jobs program" was simply to frack, drill and lay pipeline but since he's planning to live in DC I guess we can all die of heat stroke down here as he won't loose a minute of sleep. He doesn't when a man with a 70 IQ is executed, or one whose attorney slept through his trial or one where the victim's family petitioned to commute the sentence to life without parole. No indeed.

Dr. Berman,

Thanks to you and your publisher for your generous offer but I was too late to take advantage of it. I'll patiently wait and order mine and hope it gets the attention it deserves and the opportunity for some serious discussion.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Got an E-mail this morning from the publisher saying I will get a book. I'm kvelling as I write this.
Hey, who needs Bachman when you have Perry? I mean this guy is Bush Jr. on steroids. He'll bomb some country just because he's having a bad hair day.
Sick of all the 9-11 programming? Of course not even the slightest suggestion that 9-11 was blowback for American meddling in the Middle East as you so well documented in the Axis of Resentment chapter in DAA.
Greenwald has a great piece in Salon today about the cheers that went up at the debate when the death penalty issue was raised (in support of it of course). The progressive punditry has rightly condemned the outburst but of course say nothing when Obama reserves the right to assassinate American citizens abroad.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I think O's assassination attempts have been condemned by some of the progressives outlets, such as But certainly not enuf; and then one hasta realize that only a few 'oddball' websites like truthdig or alternet are actually telling the American people the real story. Which means that the other 309.7 million are drowning in dreck, and on a daily basis. I think I predict somewhere in DAA that 9/11 will go down in American memory as a day of martyrdom (which it shd be, in part), not as a day in which we came to grips with the nature of our foreign policy, and its destructive role in the world. That latter realization is as far from the average American 'mind' as buddhist satori.


10:31 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

The misinterpretation of "9/11" is mind numbing. I work in a building in downtown Springfield, MA and here's what we received from the building managers a couple of days back:

Tomorrow (Sept. 8) at approximately 12:00 pm, a 144 " long, 2,940-lb portion of a column from the World Trade Center will be driven past Court Square in route to the Raymond Sullivan Public Safety Complex at 1212 Carew Street.

This artifact, which has recently been awarded to Springfield due to the efforts of the Spirit of Springfield, will be incorporated into the September 11th memorial ceremonies on Sunday. Ultimately, it is expected that the WTC artifact will be set up as a memorial within Forest Park.

In the meantime, once the WTC artifact arrives by truck in downtown Springfield, it will be driven slowly down Main Street to Court Square, where it will be escorted by Springfield Police and Fire, AMR and the MA Air National Guard to the public safety complex on Carew Street.

You are invited to come out and watch as this massive 9-11 artifact makes its way down Main Street. Crowds are expected to gather at Court Square and along the MassMutual Center sidewalk.

10:58 AM  
Blogger HansfromDK said...

Dear Dr. Berman

Thanks for the offer - I have also sent a mail though it is probably too late. But where and when have I or for that sake anybody else said or written that you never do anything for us?? I am grateful - only chopped liver is hard to come by here in Santiago de Chile, and people are generally reluctant about advising me how to get it to Mexico. But if you should come by, I will surely buy you a Chillenian parillada at a proper restaurant.

Best to you and the WAFfies

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Apologies in advance...

Ritz crackers:
enriched flour, soybean oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, salt, leavening, soy lecithin, natural flavor, cornstarch.

Carr's Table Water crackers:
wheat flour, palm oil, salt.

12:02 PM  
Blogger kate59 said...

Morris: Just finished Dark Ages America. Ordered another copy (hard copy) for a friend of my older son (political science major in college). Loved the book -- awesome amazing work. Can't wait to read Why America Failed (I missed the free ones). We order from a very small bookstore in Boston and they did carry at least one of your books but they were all out when I was there. I don't recall which one it was, but you are not completely ignored here, anyway. We are doing our best to get the word out.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanx so much for yer support. Between now and release of WAF, u might wanna read the 1st in the series, Twilight. It's selling for one cent on Amazon, I think, and will take u 2 hrs to read.


I think it's time for u to move on to other topics besides food. Just a thought.


As gd a demo of CRE (Cranial-Rectal Embedment) as anything. It's really terrifying, when u.c. it up close.


3:47 PM  
Anonymous Zosima said...

Stop the presses! Check out the photo of army tents in Iraq with giant ac units. Perfect dust jacket photo for 'Why America Failed'

20 bill a year to ac our tents. Meanwhile back in 'the land of the free' our 'way of life' goes on in my city.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm gonna suggest to Wiley that they give away 50 free T-shirts w/the letters HRIR on them: Heads Rammed In Rumps. When I become president, all Americans will be required to wear this T-shirt 24/7.


4:47 PM  
Blogger ryan kloostra said...

Dr. Berman,

Thank you so much for the offer. I already ordered a copy and I am looking forward to seeing you in LA in November. As a longtime fan of the blog, ToAC, DAA, and RtW, I think it's safe to say that Ron Paul is not exactly your picture perfect candidate. That being said, he is anti-war, he constantly reminds the American people that of the blowback we are experiencing b/c of our foreign policy, he is very intelligent(an MD), he hates corporatism and he understands that the current party system is just two wings of the same idiotic bird. So although his economic principles might not fit your fancy, he has a lot to like. Heck, even Ralph Nader likes him (check youtube). I'd love to know what you think.

ryan k

7:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't follow Ron Paul all that much, ie news abt him, because I find the Libertarian position to be misguided; ultimately, as derived from Ayn Rand, cruel. But I did run across an essay recently by Adele Stan that was posted on Alternet on Aug. 27: "5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution." The subtitle reads: "He's anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior-citizen, anti-equality and anti-education, and that's just the start." You might check it out.


8:19 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Friends,

I guess now is as good a time as any...

Serious illness in my family has been leading me to reevaluate how I wish to spend my time. I would like to see if it's possible to focus on all that's good, even in the midst of all the social inanity and environmental degeneration. In short, I want to try to complain less, and listen more. (And, yes, I'd like to find a way to share my passion for ancestral nutrition; if it can make a positive difference in just one person's life, it will have been worth it.)

So thanks, everyone, for helping to keep me going these past few years. I am truly grateful. I'll likely stay in the background, quietly cheering you guys on.

Dr. Berman,

I have to admit: Carr's crackers tend to stick in my throat! But, please take care of yourself.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry to hear abt illness in the family and yr current situation. We hope to hear from u from time to time nonetheless, if u feel like contributing.

Take care, amigo-


ps: I shd add that I've never gotten into Carr's, but do do a Ritz once in a while (old childhood habit).

8:37 AM  
Blogger Pollysweet said...

Thank you. I was one of the lucky ones.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous mandt said...

Thank for the offer. What a pleasure it would have been to have received a copy, our small group of seniors always share books. But I found the site too complicated to navigate, perhaps the offer was rescinded.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear mandt,

So sorry u had problems, esp. since no one else seemed to. The offer 'sold out' in 2 hrs, much to my surprise. But here's the best way to handle it: have your local library pre-order a copy from Wiley & Sons (NJ) rt now, and put your name on the top of the Reserve Rdg list. Actual date of publication is 10/17, so u can have it fairly soon, read it, and then pass it on to friends. And thank u for yr interest--I appreciate it.


6:18 PM  
Blogger Cj said...

Thanks Dr. Berman. I was too late for the free copy but still have my pre-order in place. Thank you for the amazingly informative blog and thanks also to the many that comment here.

Chuck Jines

9:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A friend writes:

I am not looking forward to all the 9/11 stuff today. So many people see it as some kind of “Remember the Alamo” or “Day of Infamy” celebration of patriotism, but in my mind, it is just a call to arms to go out and conquer another country that hasn’t a chance of defending itself. Sometimes I can actually feel the darkness fall over the country like Mordor. I am not unpatriotic, but I am not for being a mad dog who bites anyone he thinks might have wronged him. And the country is filled with mad dogs, and politicians who appease them.

We are fucked.

And I wrote back:

Fucked indeed. I wrote in Dark Ages (in 2006) that in future yrs, 9/11 wd be celebrated as a day of martyrdom, not as the day we woke up to the true nature of our foreign policy. And so here we are, making the darkness even darker. It *is* a day of national tragedy, but not in the sense that the American people think.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Paulc said...

What gets me is all the "we were attacked, boo hoo" on and on and this 10th anniversary spectacle where every detail is replayed and emoted by "those that were there". Yeah, I'm thinking, it kinda bites back doesn't it?. This is the price we pay for picking on and destroying other people's the world over. And for what? Oil? Disney World? But somehow that doesn't count and Americans by and large continue to live in a perpetual state of amnesia over our complicity in it all. It apparently only hurts when it comes home to us. There was a discussion about this the other day on Democracy Now about how many 9/11's there are to go around in the world. And not just what's dragged out every September but every day. But somehow only this one counts? It's almost laughable if it weren't so tragic.

Unfortunately, without developing a collective conscience that is willing to come together to do anything about the situation we can only expect more of the same.

Maybe we'll elect that fish in the bowl after all? I'm sure from a technological perspective someone could provide justification....

2:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How to reverse cranial impactment in the US? No way. Wear yer T-shirt proudly: HRIR.

Consider Steven Kinzer's bk on what we did to Iran in 1953 ("All the Shah's Men). He says there is a direct line from that to 9/11.

However, how many non-Iranian Americans can identify:

1. Mohammed Mossadegh (probably 0%)
2. John Foster Dulles (probably
1%, maybe)
3. Dwight Eisenhower (5%?).

You get the idea.


8:40 PM  
Blogger Sergio said...

Morris, I live in Mexico City, and I have a little story to tell: three months ago, Diego Rabasa of Segundo Piso spoke on the radio (105.7 fm) about "A question of values", and I became instantly interested in reading it. It took me one month (this is for me a big enterprise because I usually spend over a year reading the books I love the most as yours), so by that time, I decided to expand my quest: one more month, one more book.

Nowadays, it's the end of the 3rd month and I'm finishing my 3rd book. I must say this has been the best reading year in my life, and that's because of a small thing your writing gives me: empathy. I see everyday how mexican people are loosing values, going deep in the void of consumption.

Before your books I was so raged out with my friends and a lot of people because their absent mind, but your books have made me understand why this people are like, what are they looking in life, and how can I cultivate my own private camp and that is enough.

So thanks, it's a real pleasure reading you. You are helping me find a way thru without rage, but empathy. And that's sufficient joy for me.

Even if we go worst, I will continue my quest into the NMI (new monastic individual).

I hope we will meet someday @ the lovely Union Garden in Gto.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A person came to our door yesterday and claimed to be a traveling college student earning points in a competition for college tuition. His tattooed arm indicated that he was an escaped circus monkey. His act proceeded.........and I really just couldn't take it. I told him to take his spiel next door. Perplexed, he asked, “What's a spiel?”
I answered, “Your spiel, you know, your sales act.” He looked perplexed. He just stood there with his mouth hanging open. As I raised my voice he finally figured that I wanted him the @#$% off my porch. He called me an asshole and flipped me a bird all the way down the street. I'm getting less tolerant every day.

8:37 AM  
Blogger kate59 said...

Your friend with the reference to Mordor...I've just been re-reading Tolkein for the umpteenth time, and funny (not ha-ha) that same comparison occurred to me. Guess it would occur to many Tolkein fans, at that.
Tell your friend s/he has spiritual comrades. I, too, abhor this endless hammering repetition of tragedy, tragedy, tragedy, with its blood-lust for personal vengeance. No one denies the horror and shock of 9/11 or the right and inclination of (many) people to love their country, but those sentiments should never be confused with, or be applied to, a sane response to terrorism or the formulation of foreign policy.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Estimado Sergio-

Gracias por escribir, y por sus palabras amables. Mira: Voy a dar una conferencia a UNAM el 20 de septiembre a la una (1 p.m.). Tambien a UAM en esa semana, pero no tengo la fecha todavia. Seria bien conocerlo.

Suerte con su proyecto de leer. Por cierto, mi editorial esta mas alto--en el sexto piso, no el segundo (jaja).



More stories of American courtesy and respectful behavior (sigh).

9:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


National pride blurs into jingoism pretty quickly in the US. And then, as u may know from rdg DAA, we had a group of sick people (starting w/Paul Wolfowitz) looking for a reason to invade Iraq and colonize the Middle East since 1992. As Walter Hixson has written, we were always about war, never about diplomacy--a sure sign of a shaky identity.


9:24 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dear Maury,

Thank you for the freebie! Due to computer problems I didn't get back online until too late, although I did write the publisher. But I'm not very much disappointed since it was a pleasure to hear that the offer was fulfilled in 2 hours. Wow! That bodes well; you may yet get your Tuscan villa.

I watched MSNBC's Rachel Madow's special on 9/11 and learned some interesting things very graphically conveyed such as the huge expansion of the security state since 9/11. A Google Earth satellite picture of DC indicated the new state-of-the-art (very costly) facilities devoted to Homeland Security while a voice over announced a statistic relating the amount of floor space created to the equivalent number of foot ball fields (a statistic fashioned to be certainly grasped by a CRE populace, no doubt). Another costly security endeavor is the daily combing of the polluted East River for explosives that might be lodged in pilings under Brooklyn Bridge. And the fact that NYPD is not a police force but a para-military organization headed by someone who used to work for the CIA. There was also assertion that Al Qaeda intends to build not a dirty bomb but an atomic weapon of Hiroshima magnitude and what should we do about that.

Madow made the point that all of this security expansion costs money and has contributed to the national debt.

But, alas, no historical context for 9/11 whatsoever; rather, an uncomfortable level of fear mongering!

9:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check this out:

along with other Dana Priest articles about the national surveillance state, at


10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of "Top Secret America" has been on three different NPR talk shows in the past week:

OnPoint - Sep 8

Fresh Air - Sep 9

Radio Times - Sep 12

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Kevin and Mila--The best article I read on 9/11 was by Tom Engelhardt entitled Let's Cancel 9/11.

I found your story of the artifact being driven through town to be installed in a park a chilling reminder of how quickly we revert to the sanctifying of objects. This is being treated like a "holy relic" that will bless your city with an upsurge of patriotism much like the old cathedrals competed for the bones of powerful saints. We are going backwards. Is the veneer over civilization really that flimsy?

9:16 AM  
Blogger Jimi Jones said...

I recently saw two examples of The Dumbening.

Last night CNN broadcast the Tea-Party-hosted Republican candidates' debate (surely the funniest piece of comedy broadcast in the past year). It was full of the usual twaddle except for a few moments from Ron Paul. Now I'm no Ron Paul moonie but he did say some interesting things about American foreign policy. He said that we're spending exorbitant amounts of money overseas to support our bases in other countries. He had to almost shout to be heard above the boos from the crowd as he went on to say "imagine if China were doing this on our soil?" or something to that effect. I was stunned to hear some reality in this debate and not at all surprised to hear the boos and catcalls from the audience.

Then this morning on the shuttle to work I heard a radio broadcast that made mention of Gary Shteyngart's novel Super Sad True Love Story (a brilliant book). Specifically they mentioned the "onion-skin jeans" from the novel. This mention was, of course completely divorced from context (in the book they are a symbol of, among other things, the hyper-sexualization of young people in near-future America). It merely mentioned "sci fi author Gary Shteyngart" and said "would YOU wear these?" like they were a good thing. No mention of the title of the novel, the context within which this symbol occurs or anything else. Sigh.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The boos and rejection of reality represent mainstream America, as u well know. Hard to talk to an audience whose heads are filled w/wood shavings, obviously. As for Shteyngart, check the archives on this blog: I did a post on his bk a few months ago.


2:00 PM  
Blogger Jimi Jones said...

mb: I did, indeed, read your discussion of Super Sad True Love Story. In fact it was that discussion that prompted me to go out and buy the book - an actual printed, paper book! Remember those??

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Lesley Thomas said...

Thanks, Morris, I tried for a copy. Am excited, love all your books, and both my husband and mother were once students of yours.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank u! Students where?

Meanwhile: I jus' wanna reaffirm to y'all how much I love Texas. Call me crazy, but I love the place. I love it to pieces; I adore it. I jus' can't get enuf of it. It's just my kinda state, what can I say.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous shadowplay said...

Just thought I'd share - the US officially has a record breaking number of people living in poverty:

It's amazing how clueless people can be even as their lives crumble all around them. The mess we're in is due to the general cluelessness of the American population, and as times get tougher I think people become more clueless as a defense mechanism (never getting past the 'denial' phase of grief). This in turn only reinforces their problems, which ushers in even more head-in-rectum syndrome, etc. Presumably this vicious cycle will continue until the entire edifice lies in ruins.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous St. Abyssal said...

Oh boy.

Hard to sympathize with a guy who killed a toddler, but the comments here are puke-inducing. People seriously talking about flaying him alive. People advocating for summary executions of accused criminals generally. People saying on no basis that he was a liberal. People raving about how this was an inevitable result of "that homosexual Lincoln" invading the poor widdle Confederacy in pursuit of his Big Government Agenda.

And you know what? These sorts of comments are fairly typical for almost anyone I talk to in real life. It wasn't that long ago I was talking politics with someone who wanted to execute all drug users en masse, for instance. Farther back I had someone I barely knew ranting about how the government should censor the media to prevent crime dramas from "giving ideas" to criminals.

Every passing day gives me another reason to worry about this country, which seems to crave fascism. I'm not sure I want to leave, but it's getting scary to stay. I don't know the first thing about how to go about expatriating. I'm a college student relatively close to graduation with a degree in ecology and poor grades. If my father died I might be able to scrounge up a few hundred thousand from my inheritance. What should a person in my position do? Where could I go?

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

"DETROIT (AP) — A 101-year-old woman was evicted from the southwest Detroit home where she lived for nearly six decades after her 65-year-old son failed to pay the mortgage.

Texana Hollis was evicted Monday and her belongings were placed outside the home. Her son, Warren Hollis, said he didn't pay the bill for several years and disregarded eviction notices."

The interesting thing about this story is how the media understatedly tried to pin all the blame on the woman's son. Then there were accounts that would warm a Republican's heart(?) like the private charities that would step in and save the day. No one had a harsh word for the government. But they readily wallowed in hypocritical bourgeois sentimentality, with hope and god-talk. Where's my one-way ticket?

Maury and Anon:

Thanks for the further info. on security state. It certainly supports the appositeness of the past tense of the verb "fail" in Maury's new book title.

Oh yes, another feeding frenzy at Target--even crashed their web site--when Missoni designer ware went on discount sale.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

St. A-

Actually, yer probably in a pretty good situation, as far as emigration goes. Getting a student visa wd be the best way for u to go, I think; you cd apply to grad school in any number of places, and I wd particularly recommend Europe. Also be aware that there are lots of expat websites that can tell u how to emigrate, and lots of bks on the subject--even for individual countries. There's tons of info on the Net, plus u can always go to the embassy of the country you are interested in, and get their help.

In a nutshell: If u stick around here (the US), u will come to regret it as the yrs go by. Time to light a fire under yer tush, amigo. Ten yrs from now, u don't want to be saying: If only I had...


The poverty figs are bad, but also skewed to be more conservative, because the criteria for poverty are quite dated. Using them, one gets a poverty rate of abt 15%. More realistically, functional poverty in the US is probably around 30% of the population. Be sure to read Barbara Ehrenreich's bks for a fuller picture.


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Zosima said...

My question, when I saw the title of the new book, 'Why America Failed', was, failed for who? I was looking up info on the number of billionares in America at time (400 and growing). I'm sure it will be a question you will get.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Depends on yr defn of success. I'm guessing most of those 400 are failed human beings. A major pt of the new bk is that our 'success' *is* our failure.


4:40 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman –

Thank you for the link to the Houston news program about the mother (non-white, of course) who beat her little girl to near-death. It brought back very un-fond memories of watching TV news at my in-laws' house in Texas. An insecure lower middle class just eats this kind of stuff up! According to Svend Ranulf ("Moral Indignation and Middle Class Psychology"), "the disinterested tendency to inflict punishment is a distinctive characteristic of the lower middle class." I can't remember who put me onto Svend's work – was it one of your books?

About the mother who was apparently driven insane by her situation in life – try and look up Bertolt Brecht's poem, "Concerning the Infanticide, Marie Farrar".

About poverty: In the US, if you're poor you know you're poor and that makes it so much worse. Even so – if you look at the material possessions of many poor people in this country, they look like a king's ransom to the average Mozambican for example. Isn't this just another example of how it's always all about us? What is unacceptable for one of Us is normal for Them.

Back when we were talking about Russian humor, you may have thought I needed to be reminded that the USSR was not exactly a "workers' paradise". Don't worry, I don't. It's just that I'm sorry that the USSR didn't work out – and I’m glad that Nazi Germany didn't. Marx and Engels wrote about how a revolution in Russia would be a disaster because the conditions there weren't right. They probably would have marveled at how long it lasted. Here in the US I doubt if conditions are right for anything decent anymore, except groups of NMI's.

David Rosen

5:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I do see yer pt, of course, and the whole issue of the social circumstances that generate this gruesome behavior. It's just that I can't help feeling worse for the little girl than I do for her mother.


5:45 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB & All,

I just pulled the most recent "New Yorker" (Sept. 12) from the mail box, and found Andrew Gopnik's review of three books sharing the topic of Western and/or North American decline, "Decline, Fall, Rinse, Repeat."

Whether he had an advance copy of your latest book or not, I do not know, but I do regret that he did not mention it, or your previous works.

"Declinism is a bad idea (says Gopnik), because no one can have any notion of what can happen next."

This is probably the weakest line in the whole review.

I remember Gregory Bateson's observation that science can predict at what velocity a stone of a certain mass will break a glass window of a certain integrity, but science cannot exactly predict the pattern of the glass breaking.

The degree of certitude may be less in the social sciences, but the principle still applies.
A mechanical and oversimplied explanation of "declinism" can easily be demonsrated as superficial.

"Declinism" as an insight, is another matter, and I find Gopnik's dismissal too glib. The rhetorical poise of the magazine perhaps cannot bear much more. (He frames the article, at beginning and end, with reference to nostalgia for the Beatles.)

--Mark N.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you use online resources when you moved out of the US? Please give URLs for some of those expatriate support websites. The ones that you think are good. Google may or may not be our friend in this case. Even if we chose the right key words, would the most linked-to sites automatically be the best? Many of those sites might point you to "colonies" of Americans abroad who are just recreating the same broken society they are supposedly fleeing.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I fear u.r. going to hafta do this work on yer own. My own investigation dates to 2004-5, and most of it was for Mexico, tho I did look at other sites. You can actually do this; it just takes true grit. Go for it! (or don't; it's yer life, after all)


I never get mentioned; just "softly" plagiarized (I run across it all the time). Wd be nice if it were different, but as I said b4 on this blog, any recognition I get will probably be posthumous. Hard cheese, as Princeton sophomores usta say.


7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More brilliance from Michelle Bachmann:

LA Times: Perry, Bachmann and the HPV debate

September 14, 2011, 5:37 p.m.
As GOP presidential candidates tussle over the latest issue to split the field — oddly enough, it's the rather obscure question of whether states should mandate vaccinating girls against a sexually transmitted virus — it's hard to tell which one ends up looking worst. But our vote goes to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose rumor-mongering rampage against a safe and effective vaccine could discourage parents from protecting their daughters against cancer.

During Monday's debate, Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum lashed out at Texas Gov. Rick Perry over his 2007 executive order that Texas schoolgirls had to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (the order was later overturned by the state legislature). Appearing the next day on NBC's "Today" show, Bachmann claimed Perry had put the lives of girls at risk by mandating "what could potentially be a very dangerous drug." After the debate, Bachmann said, she was approached by a mother who claimed the HPV vaccine had rendered her daughter mentally retarded. Never mind that there is zero scientific evidence of such a side effect from the HPV vaccine or that five years of wide-scale public use have demonstrated that it prevents deadly cervical cancer at little risk: One unsubstantiated claim from a tearful mom is enough for Bachmann.


10:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When one's head is filled w/mashed potatoes, issues like this matter.


10:53 PM  
Anonymous Valis74 said...

Here is something to enjoy:

Our real problem in the future is that there just won't be enough villages for all of the village idiots we're producing.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Frontline did a show on the "Top Secret America" topic, I don't have a TV so you can watch it online here:

I also read somewhere, though I cannot remember where exactly, that the largest employer in the world is now the US DoD. Scary!


9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HPV "issue" is emblematic of what's going on in the States.

There are reasonable concerns by some about big pharma and the government helping push meds/vaccines that aren't necessary/unproven etc..
On the other side are those wanting to protect their kids from cancer etc..

What won't happen is anything resembling a consensus about healthy reprod./sexual activity. It's just not possible at this point. It's just a reflection of what is happening on a macro level.

There is no consensus on anything as things fragment and the noise to signal ratio gets worse. It seems so basic yet it is unsolvable in the American sphere.

These "unsolvable" issues retreat into their usual corners and people go back to the usual aggressiveness - the instinct we're most familiar with it seems.

With this kind of dynamic in play what else could happen except more extreme positioning to "solve" the national problems?

I'd expect some whacky slide to the right in the coming 18 months or so. The US public has recently shown a willingness to go to the Perry, Bachman side even when they see how crazed they are (ie. recently Wisc. and this week Weiner's seat in NY).

Still,inaugural ball dance possibilities seem to be opening up with the possibility of a Repub win. Dr. Berman and Sarah gliding across the WH ballroom!

El Juero

9:22 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman:
As I have been reading your books and the enlightening and inciteful posts on this website, Istarted wondering when it occured to me that we were on the downward spiral. I have always been (you might say) disenchanted with this country's foreign policies, past history, consumerism, and addiction (via the glass teat)to spectacle/sports/celebraty, but I never connected the dots until a colleague of mine posed a question.

About the time of Dubya's invasion of Afganistan I told a colleague that it seemed like the country was headed toward fascism. He ask what fascism was. My response: an extreme rightwing economic system which operates in a corporate fashion via totalitarianism/corporate state.(HS Gov Class def) I pulled my American Heritage Dictionary for the definition and to my suprise rightwing and coporate were not included. I was baffeled because somtime prior to this I was looking up another word and came across fascism with a def that included these words. I remembered that another colleague had the same dic and pulled his, sure enough that def included rightwing and corporate. This dic was my old one an earlier edition. It seems the definition had changed for some reason. In any case thats when I became a conspiracy theorist and a DAA.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Remember that it takes a village to raise a village idiot. Those SAT scores are even worse than indicated because the test has been dumbed down since 1973.


10:22 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman--
One of the problems with a blog like this is that you are limited to rather brief comments. It's sort of like the thirty second sound-bites on TV.
The main point I wanted to get at in my comments on the Houston TV child abuse story was what the TV station was actually doing. The mother was being made into the "Emmanuel Goldstein of the day" so that an insecure lower middle-class audience could have its "Two Minutes Hate" as in 1984.
I shouldn't have to remind a social historian that life consists of a flow over many generations. Based on my experience as a case-worker in child welfare in New York City back in the 60's, I can remind you that child abuse often repeats itself from one generation to the next – so who you feel sorrier for depends which page you turn to in the story. Not too many years ago the mother was very likely an abused child, and I'm sorry to say that it is likely that not too many years from now this child will be abusing her own child. Then Houston TV will run another story and we'll join an organized hate-fest against her.
The cycle could be broken in three ways. 1. The child may not survive the beating she just got. 2. She could get tons of psychotherapy and maybe not repeat the behavior on her own children. Of course that's the government spending that the Tea Party really wants to cut! Or, 3. We could create a decent society with real family and community – there is more to "social capital" than bowling. What do you think is most likely in a case like this?
As you say, it takes a village to raise an idiot - well, it also took a village to raise the mother in the Houston TV news story.

Please forgive my dismal outlook. I spent several years doing health work in Mozambique (1979-1982), and I watched children die like flies. The scary thing was how quickly I got used to it, and how easy it was to blame Mozambicans for their fatalism and lethargy. Fearsome is what 400 years of Portuguese colonialism can do to a people. Four hundred years of slavery in Egypt did the same thing to the ancient Israelites and God himself wanted to destroy them all and start over – Moses had to talk Him out of it. I found myself using biblical language in Mozambique, like, "These people are going to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, and maybe the next generation has a faint chance to doing better."
You are saying something like this about the US, which accounts for your great popularity. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the above mentioned mother just might be like a microcosm of DAA, and why cannot be turned around.

David Rosen

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

David M.—

The first edition of the American Heritage College Dictionary lists fascism as:

"A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism." ( Hey, does that sound familiar – look around you. If we aren't there yet, we're certainly headed that way. Of course, people will quibble over the word "dictatorship". Yes we do have kabuki elections from time to time.)

Subsequent editions, I am told, have toned that definition down somewhat – after all, the publisher, Houghton Mifflin, is part of the Corporate America.

David Rosen

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Educators in a neighboring town have decided to equip kindergarteners with iPads, just the latest in the idiocy that passes for public education (indoctrination?) in our corner of the empire, as reported by Maine Public Radio.

Once more, so-called experts genuflect before the technological equivalent of Moloch, ensuring that another group of youngsters are "sacrificed" and dumber than their predecessors.

It took me awhile to "warm up" to Dr. Berman's point that there's little that can be done to reverse America's slow decline (which seems to be picking up momentum). I wanted to believe that somehow, magically, the trajectory downward might be halted.

Count me as a NMI with a three-year plan to emigrate somewhere else.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No, I don't see the half-page limit as a problem for contributors; one can get a lot of info into that space, and most manage to do so. As for the TX incident, yes, I agree w/yer social analysis; I just feel sadder for the child than I do for the mother, to have to live thru that torture.


4:19 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi Dovidel.

Interesting comments re: Houston child abuse case. On the other hand, there is a whole population of liminal hispanic-Americans in TX who don't abuse their children, quite the contrary. They love and nurture them a la familia. But of course this is status quo, non-sensational, no need to report good news.

What I didn't like about the news broadcast was the inability to just deliver us the facts and let us decide whether we want to swing to the side of moral outrage and condemnation. Rather, the news casters must masticate the news with their emotions on the assumption that they can't rely on the viewers to feel one way or another. It is the hysterical bombardment of an insensate, CRE populace that indicates the larger problems of anomie and apathy, the inability to feel.

I side with Maury on feeling for the child's helpless plight. This underlines the power relations between an adult and a child. Obviously, children must be protected. On the other hand, if it were abused canines, the news casters could confine themselves to just delivering cold facts without emotional commentary and they could rely on the automatic outrage of the American Canine Association, this nation which has gone to the dogs, a watch dog in every home and a thief in every pot.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

There are a lot of levels to an event like this, obviously. I just had an immediate reaction of grief, that a defenseless little girl, age 2, who cdn't do anything abt what was happening to her, got tortured like that. Nor do I think it's about Hispanics or non-Hispanics; it just is.

To change the subject just for a moment: Amazon finally posted the flap copy and endorsement blurbs of "Why America Failed" online, for those of u who might wanna look it up. Thanks again, everyone, for your interest and support.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

There's a kind of simplistic article by Kathleen Parker on today's (9/15), arguing that 9/11 is the cause of all our problems today. Not very deep or analytical, but it does contain the following trenchant paragraph:

"A nation cannot heal itself without self-awareness. On this score we have fallen short. We seem not to want to recognize that we don’t have a problem; we *are* the problem."

Not much to argue with there...

10:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: also be sure to see the Tom Toles cartoon abt SAT scores--now at an all-time low. It shows Rick Perry commenting that "Fundamentals are moving in my direction," with Toles' comment that this is, indeed, representative government.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Kelvin said...

Hi Maury,

If it's not about race, then is it about Texas? After all, you commented "Don't you love Texas?" when you posted the story about the unfortunate abused child.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Valis74 said...

What was great about the SAT Test scores I posted yesterday is that you get 200 points to start with and the highest scores were in 1973 by the tail end of the Boomer geenration...who are now organizing themselves into Tea Parties to deny reality, science, evolution, the earth orbiting the sun and generally insist that reality conform to their belief systems no matter how detached from reality those beliefs are. It's not Orwellian but Disneyan.
All of which calls into question the relationship between intelligence (as tested on the SAT) and brain damage. Though I suspect the defect is not so much intellectual as moral. Intelligence, no matter how great, cannot overcome building your belief systems around something that is not a value, like money. Or even worse, around the vice that underlies money, Avarice.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, Tea Party does not account for all Boomers, obviously; it may be that the vast majority of them are deluded in another direction, namely thinking that voting Democratic could change things. I'm sure there's a statistical breakdown somewhere, but I don't have it, myself.


I suppose it cd have happened anywhere in the US, but my impression of TX (and I lived there for several mos., if that matters) is of a place that retains an historical legacy of being raw and violent. Top o' the pile in lethal injections etc.


1:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, check out "Jobless find refuge in Tent City" on, 9/15.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman
Florida is just as bad as Texas. They have an endearing name for the electric chair down here. I quit reading local newspapers about 10 years ago (could not take the propaganda anymore) so the name partially escapes me, but I think they referred to it as smokey or old smokey. Sad but true.

Thanks for posting the America Heritage College Dictionary's definition of fascism. It paints a picture of historical examples of fascism, but when you strip away the historical and emotional trappings, in the end its just an economic system like communism. It just takes despotic rulers or oligarcs or plutocrats to implement them.


7:58 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

David M and Morris,

Re: fascism:

Considering fascism to be a political expression of a purely economic malaise was the classic Marxist-Leninist interpretation. Although useful to some degree, it obscures, I think, the extent to which fascism is an irrational, chiliastic response to inescapable contradictions and chokepoints not just in economics, but in the entire project of cultural modernity.

Stanley Payne and Roger Griffin have done some of the best work on theorizing the elements of a "fascist minimum" beyond the economic. Anti-liberal, anti-communist, anti-conservative, all previous politics replaced by a messianic leader cult, war as a model for civilian society, the absolute necessity for internal and external enemies to destroy, and the centrality of what Griffin calls a "palingenetic (yes, he actually used the syllables "palin"!!)myth of national resurrection requiring the dissolution of all other economic, social, and cultural values and loyalties, the blood sacrifice of internal enemies, leaving only the faith in a transcendent ethnos rising from the ashes of defeat, division, and despair.

We're NOT quite there yet...we are somewhere in the "John the Baptist harbinger" stage before the full incarnation of some Fascist Christ.

Lets not overuse a term referring to regimes in the 1920s-1930s in Europe right now. We'll need its full semioic potency intact when it really comes to pass, in the fullness of time. Blessed is he who waits.

Re: Fla. electric chair

The name for the Florida electric chair was "Old Sparky" and putting someone to death was making him/her "ride Ol' Sparky"

Re: Fla and Tx.:

There was a brief contretemps earlier on this thread with one of the Anonymi who took umbrage at my blanket assertions about a creeping takeover of Southernist (not Southern! not Southern!) mentality being conducive our new Dark Ages.

Don't want to start the civil war all over again, but if "coastal elites" are being identified as such and used as straw men anyway, mightn't likely candidates for the coastal elite label just as well have some fun throwing the opposite regional stereotypes around? They're so much fun! And where does Texas end and the rest of the South begin in this regard?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank u for this contribution. u.r. rt on target re: fascism, imo. I look for'd to yer reaction to my ch. on the Civil War in "Why America Failed"--now only 1 mo. from release.


12:49 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Kelvin, et al –

The reason that I originally responded to the Texas child abuse story was to comment on the way the TV station presented it. And, by the way, if I seem hardened to the suffering involved, it may be that I am trying not to let American TV play with my emotions.

I never even mentioned the family being Hispanic; this type of child abuse happens everywhere, and as the US falls apart we'll be seeing a lot more of it. I mentioned that the mother was "non-white" because it is a typical feature of this type of program which seems to be popular around the Houston area. They begin with an unflattering mug-shot of a black or Hispanic alleged criminal or child abuser and fill the screen with it while the TV talking head foams at the mouth about it. It's this type of program, and the way people react to it which may (or may not) be typically Texas. I lived in Austin for years and I never saw anything like it there, but then Austin is a different world.

When people say, "I'm proud to be an American!", I reply, "Look at your own life and accomplishments, and if there's anything there to be proud of, be proud of that" – sometimes there actually is. In Texas you find a lot of people who are also proud to be Texan – even proud to be native Texan, meaning that they got there by accident. I figure that a big part of the Tea-Party Movement is the fact that there are a lot of Americans who have little or nothing going for them but their white skin. Obama in the White House makes them feel very diminished, and they're going ballistic over it. There are a lot of good people in Texas, some of whom participate in this blog, but there's something about the atmosphere there that makes me glad I'm not there. And they might say that there's something about me that makes them glad I'm not!

David Rosen

12:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Jus' don' mess w/the place, fer chrissakes.


1:07 PM  
Blogger Kelvin said...


Although not the same as physical abuse, sexual abuse of children as a wide-spread phenomenon was hypothesized by Freud in his seduction theory that he later abandoned for the Oedipus complex. In 1984, Jeffrey Masson wrote an interesting book, Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory, and also an article in the Atlantic Monthly,Freud and the Seduction Theory: A challenge to the foundations of psychoanalysis that stirred up ire in the ranks of orthodox Freudians and cost him his directorship of the Freud Archives. Masson's thesis is that Freud was mistaken to abandon his seduction theory because it would later be established that sexual abuse of children was indeed wide-spread geographically, although it might predominate in some places.

Derrick Jensen, who comes from an upper-middle class WASP background in Colorado, was a victim of his father's physical and sexual abuse as were his mother, brother, and sister. So child abuse is not limited to class or race, as you obviously know. I'm sorry to belabor the issue.


I've lived in Texas since 1976 (with a stint of 5 years in Portland, Ore. to attend school). In 1992, after a lovely time in New York city for the Christmas holidays in which I was not mugged or assaulted even though I rode the subway after midnight, I returned to Austin and was a victim of hate crime twice in that year. Based on my misfortune, I took to dubbing Austin a "redneck town with a hip fascade," much to the displeasure of my Austin friends. I still think so about that city.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"There was a brief contretemps earlier on this thread with one of the Anonymi who took umbrage at my blanket assertions about a creeping takeover of Southernist (not Southern! not Southern!) mentality being conducive our new Dark Ages."

That would me. There was no "contretemps", though, and not even any ill feeling, really. It was simply a matter of tone. I just wondered how you might react if someone reflected hipster, know-it-all smugness reflected back at you. No harm done, on either side.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...


Aw, c'mon, be honest, you were accusing me of stereotyping an entire region - it wasn't just the tone you were objecting to.

Just because the southernized mentality IS often tiresome doesn't mean one is smug and "know-it-all" to deflate it.

It's that southernized pseudo-humility at work again here,I might guess, (in my smug, stuck-up insufferable way).

Don't kill the messenger - fix the problem.

8:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home