February 27, 2012

The C-SPAN Link (BookTV)

Dear Friends:

C-SPAN aired my Nov. 8 lecture at B&N in Los Angeles this past weekend, and (quicker than I expected) sent me the link. For those of you who missed the TV broadcast, and are having problems with insomnia, I provide this below. It's basically the same lecture I gave in Seattle four days earlier, and posted on this blog; tho the Q&A is obviously different. Anyway, enjoy!



Anonymous JWO said...

It looks like part of the Q&A was cut off at the end, I hope I didn't miss much!

I just read this:


that I thought reinforced your point in the comment section of the previous post about violence in Mexico ... the same murder rate as Wichita you say?

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

As reported by the AP, Israel will not warn the US before striking Iranian nuclear sites, the Koran burnings has made the US presence in Afganistan increasingly untenable, the US has near no influence over the spike in gas prices (How's the control over middle-east oil supplies working out for ya , Mr. Cheney?), and the US has scaled back the number of people employed at the US embassy in Bagdad. Do you feel these things taken in total constitute our Suez moment? Of course we had our Suez moment domestically what, 300 years ago?

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's clear to Asians, Europeans, etc. etc. that America is involved in a continuing head-up-ass moment. When it will finally add up to a Suez moment is not yet clear, but I suspect we're not far away.


3:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

B4 I 4get: note the very favorable review of WAF on Counter Punch by Thos Naylor:


3:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

MIKE CIFONE if u.r. rdg this pls contact me at mauricio@morrisberman.com. I lost yr email address. I can get tog. w/u in SF the morning of March 21, if that works 4u (11 a.m.). A little coffee, a little chopped liver--whatever u prefer.


3:55 PM  
Blogger Remonster said...


Is there a chance you could do a reading in Bellingham Washington? We have a great local bookstore called


I think you would find a receptive audience in our community.


5:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Gary,

I'm afraid I can't make it to Bellingham at this time, but here's an idea: perhaps you and a few friends could carpool up to Vancouver BC on March 18 (see previous post) and attend the rdg I'm going to be doing at the People's Coop Bkstore. It's a Sunday; you cd make a day of it!


6:11 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman:
While watching your L.A. talk I had thoughts of inviting some of my friends over and replaying it for them. But after further consideration it occurred to me that you present your arguement so convincingly and succinctly they all might have a revelation (or transmorgrification if you will) come to see the mess were in, the shallowness of their culture, see no way out and all commit suicide in my home. So I am going to send an E-mail with an attachment instead.
David M O&D
Ps I checked my spelling on this one.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Psychosis and suicide are the twin dangers of listening to a Berman lecture. This is clear, so u wd be running a risk there. On the other hand, it cd lead to an intense group bonding, and a decision to leave the country en masse or become NMI's. Tough call, I grant u that.


11:42 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Oh my...

Psychosis...suicide...intense group bonding ?

San Diego used to be home, so my first flash was back to the Heaven's Gate hoopla of 1997.

Maybe Nike would re-issue the shoes they made for that group.
You could sell them out of a van after your lectures.
You remember, the (Desp)Air Jordans.

A more up to date gimmick could use drone music CD's by composers such as Terry Riley and Philip Glass as freebies given with the purchase of hobbyist-level build-your-own-drone kits.
See Doctor Drone out in the parking lot after the lecture.

I'm tellin ya, Dr. B., if you can't beat 'em or even wise 'em up,
then fleece the sheeple and laugh all the way to the deli.
It's like The Bard told us, "The Past(rami) is Prologue !"

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I greatly enjoyed your BookTV reading. Along the lines of the comment that the Indian lady made during Q&A, do you think the ongoing "latinization" of America may change its ethos over time? Perhaps by injecting some of that "leisure" element into the American psyche, and thus make the place more bearable?


PS – should you assure me that that will happen sometimes in the 22nd century, I will make plans of moving back to America around that time... possibly journeying in a small vase... or urn... LOL

5:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd question, but the problem is that in order to survive in America, you really do hafta adopt the American ethos. I call this process one of 'gringificacion', gringification. In that sense, the US is not a multicultural society at all: regardless of color or religion or ethnic origin, everyone here is a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, hustling their way to 'success'. I'm guessing that (sad to say) we change them much more than they change us.


8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I intentionally lived in Hispanic neighborhoods in South Florida prior to moving to the Dominican Republic as a way of finding a sort of enclave that was separate from the "American way", and I must say, that for the most part the hispanics, especially those from Mexico,Central and South America, retain their culture and don't buy into the garbage. Because of that they take a lot of heat for not "assimilating", but normal healthy human beings don't want to assimilate into a culture of death.
The vast majority don't even want to be in the U.S., but since America bankrupted their countries via the IMF they come up to make more money, most of which all goes back home.
I think it'll be interesting to see what happens once Americans, at least the one's of European descent, are in the vast minority and no longer are in numbers large enough to vote for the criminal filth they seem so fond of re-electing every four years even though said filth doesn't even attempt to hide it's disdain and disrespect for America's people and Constitution.

Don't count the Latinos out. The Cubans of Miami and most of the Puerto Rican people are very much americanized since they have been here so long, and Puerto Ricans are citizens from birth, but the Mexicans, Central and South Americans are different.

Look at the emergence of presidents like Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Christina Kirchner (Argentina),Ollanta Humala (Peru), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), and Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua) all of whom are FED UP with American imperialism and interventions and who aren't afraid to speak out openly against it.

Latin America has come a long way since Operation Condor.

J. Cazador

10:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sr. Hunter-

I certainly hope u.r. right. Ricardo Vega (I think that's his name, he was at UC Berkeley at the time) did a study yrs ago of mental illness among Mexicans in Mexico vs. those in the US, and found that the rate of the latter was exactly 2x that of the former. This wd suggest that US culture was making them sick, inasmuch as the values are so different (opposite). I think it will be an achievement if Latinos in the US manage to resist gringificacion; but as to influencing the larger culture, that seems unlikely. In addition, I have to tell u that traveling thru Latin America--specifically Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina--what I saw was a great desire to emulate the US model; altho I think u.r. rt abt Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, at least. And perhaps Brazil. Time will tell. Certainly, the IMF has done much to disillusion many.

Thanks for writing in-


1:55 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Lofty thoughts but I think you are kidding yourself. Even if there are some pockets resistant to American crap, their children won't be. I have taught ESL for years in public schools and would often get these newly arrived Vietnamese and Cambodian children who in September were remarkably gracious and respectful. By June they had all become street thugs-giving me attitude, not doing their homework, and of course walking around like they were the new hip-hop craze. The crap is everywhere and besides the parenting in the US is appalling-kids start running the house at 3 years old and I am not exagerating. I believe Dr. Berman either said or wrote that there are not more than a 1000 real fathers in the US; that is, I assume he meant, fathers who make every effort to steer their children away from American mental clutter.
Oh, by the way, most of the leaders you listed are certainly on the American hitlist especially Morales, Chavez, and Correa who had the audacity to tell the American navy to leave unless, he said, Ecuador could build a navy base in Florida.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Indeed, when I worked as a psychologist in America I observed what you and Dan explained. Children of immigrants have a very hard time in America, much more so than their peers whose families have been in America for several generations. I saw many children of families from Eastern Europe (a very traditionalist region of Europe) have trouble in America. Usually America wins over their families’ values, and these children of immigrants rebel against their parents’ heritage and become what I call caricatures of American culture by being more “American” than most Americans. It is a tragedy, because it usually leads to drug addiction, mental illness, heartbreak, rebellion, poor family relations, etc.

This is one of the primary reasons why, after 30 years of living in America, I decided to move my family back to Romania. I realized that if I were to raise my child in the US, I would inevitably lose her to the system. In America, it is possible to do everything right as a parent, and still end up with rebellious, hateful, children, and I just did not want to take that risk. America is a terrible, terrible environment for families. My 6-year old child is now doing wonderfully in Romania. However, last year we had to spend some extended time in America, during which she was depressed and hyperactive (in children depression often expresses as hyperactivity), cried every day, and was very bored (boredom leads to numerous clinical/addiction problems later in adolescence). All that miraculously went away once we returned to Romania.

If you have young children or grandchildren, think seriously about leaving America. Show them another option. America is no option.


1:10 PM  
Blogger J. P. CAZADOR said...

MB and Dan,

I have seen those mental health statistics that you (MB) speak of as well as statistics about the decline in the physical health of latinos from eating the american diet, with diabetes and obesity topping the list of ailments.
The majority of Americans are what keeps the beast alive, they're the ones voting for the crooks, believing the lies, allowing their criminal government to run amok, making war and promoting the american culture of death. Once their numbers are reduced to where they have no say in national or local elections, it'll be interesting to see what happens. The influences that negatively affect the world will be in jeopardy at that point, and other ideas will be able to be heard. America as we know it is on it's way out regardless, everything about it is unsustainable, therefore it's destined to fall, and personally I think that's great. It will be interesting to see what emerges from the embers, although most of us here won't be around that long or will be very old, since it'll be at least 50 - 60 years for it all to come to a head, maybe less, who knows?


I too taught ESL classes, to the children of hispanic migrant workers in upstate New york from 1991 to '92. The majority of those families kept a tight reign on their children and wouldn't let them watch TV, or would at least screen what they watched, and were strict about who they let their kids hang out with. They lived with multiple family members in the same home and there was always an adult at home, usually female, to watch the children. When I moved to Florida in 1993 I saw the same thing there also. Some children were still swept up and lost in the garbage, but not like what we see in american children, since 99% of american parents don't even try to intervene.

I think these immigrant communities will fare much better than americans will as things get worse in the U.S., but it'll still be very rough for everyone no matter what. The best thing, if one can, is to get out.


1:52 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


You say that Puerto Ricans and Cubans in the US are Americanized, but Mexicans and Central Americans are different. Remember that Puerto Ricans came to the US in large numbers in the 40’s and 50’s, and Cubans in the 60’s and then stopped arriving. There has been a steady stream of Mexicans and Central Americans entering the US and ‘recharging’ Latino neighborhoods. This gives the illusion that Latino culture persists in their families.

When I studied linguistics at UT-Austin, I was told that careful studies show that grandchildren of Mexican and Central American immigrants have pretty much lost the Spanish language. It is the constant stream of immigrants that gives the misperception that “Latinos are not learning English” or that Spanish persists among them. I have had numerous Latino acquaintances and colleagues whose grandparents were immigrants from Mexico, and they generally knew only a few words of Spanish – they were All-American. Even their parents often knew only a ‘pidginized’ Spanish. This is how all languages die among immigrants.

In the autobiographical introduction to his novel “Slapstick”, Kurt Vonnegut tells how what had been his close nit extended family, which “spoke English and German gracefully”, was devastated by the “American hatred of all things German when the US entered the First World War”. Children were neither taught German nor “encouraged to admire German music or literature or art or science.”

Then I think he sums it up in a nutshell: “We lost thousands of years in a very short time.”

David Rosen

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Nate in San Jose said...


I hope to make it up to SF on the 22nd. I'm a DAA50, lurk mostly, but I wanted to share a quick story:

A few years ago my wife and I visited a friend in The Bahamas.

We were walking on the shoulder between the ghastly hotel/casino and my friend's place, when a middle-aged Bahamian woman walked toward us (apparently in conversation on her phone.) We were discussing the next day's plans or something, and out of nowhere this woman began excoriating us.

Well, it turns out that she had no phone, just a soft voice and something in her hair. My wife and I had grown so used to people yammering away on their phones in public that we completely missed a friendly greeting.

WAFers take note: whether you are a tradition-minded new immigrant or an aspiring NMI, understand that no one can live here and resist this culture. CRE has gone airborne!

Onward & Downward,

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...


In my work as a clinical psychologist I observed quite the opposite. Anglo children whose families have been in the US for many generations appear to adjust better to an emotionally deprived and nurture-restricted environment like America. Children of immigrants have more trouble with that. Most immigrants to the US lose the support of their extended families once they leave their countries, and that is devastating for the children. Humans are not “nuclear family” creatures—we are clan, tribe, village type creatures. I observed this when I worked in substance abuse clinics, the prison system, the VA system, I did SSA disability evals, etc.

In one of his book lectures MB mentions the 34+ fold increase in mental illness in children during the past 20 years. Last year I wrote an article about this matter also, so I looked into it closely. These are not arbitrary statistics—they are published by the Social Security Administration, and these children are usually disabled for life. This rise in mental illness coincides with the beginning of mass-marketing of psychiatric medication. In America these drugs are usually prescribed for life, but their extended use leads to permanent and irreversible brain damage. And just wait until APA releases DSM-V, next year—they will really go after children and after grandma then.

Regarding the collapse of the US empire. I am from Eastern Europe. In my country communism fell in about 2 weeks once protests started and Ceausescu’s Securitate started shooting people in the streets. The USSR fell in less than 2 years. These things tend to happen very quickly. I would not count on America’s decline outliving us... at least, I'm hoping it won't :)


6:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is a gd discussion, eh wot?

My own model of US disintegration has always been based on Rome, allowing for the fact that things are vastly speeded up these days. If you look at Rome, any day was like any other day, for the most part; the collapse was actually an erosion, altho punctuated by certain 'nodes', such as the sack of Rome by the Visigoths under Alaric in A.D. 410. There was also a lot of intermarrying w/the neighboring Germanic tribes; and when Odoacer (a Visigoth) replaced Romulus in A.D. 476 as emperor, it seemed pretty much like a natural transition. The Soviet experience, like the Mayan one, is historically very exceptional--i.e. suddenly going into freefall. The usual pattern is the Roman one, and one can even say that England followed this pattern as well. So any day in the US is like any other day (pretty much), but the fact that the trajectory is downward is hard to miss, unless (like most Americans) one is in complete denial.

Still, there is nothing to prevent us from repeating the Soviet experience; which was pretty hellish, in fact, and many Russians now wish they could get the old repressive Communist regime back. (At least it was stable.) The thing abt the Soviet Union was that from its inception, it was basically a house of cards: mostly a revolution from above, with an economic system that could distribute wealth fairly well, but that could not generate it very well. The American system is just the opposite: very gd at accumulating wealth, very poor at distributing it. In fact, the flaw in US capitalism is the ideology that accumulation itself will bring about distribution (the trickle-down theory), which has not worked out in practice. Yet the sustaining factor here--wh/the USSR did not enjoy--is that almost all of the population buys into the ideology, with the poor believing that they are "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" (John Steinbeck). Tent cities of the impoverished fly the American flag above them. And folks like me or Hedges or Naomi Klein or Chomsky etc. are easily marginalized, rendered innocuous, in a system that is so powerful that it doesn't require any direct censorship to maintain itself. This is why I think the Roman model will obtain here: the empire really is powerful, and despite the heavy curtailment of civil liberties during the past 11 yrs, there still is a lot of flexibility in the system. As in the case of Rome, I think that the real rebellion will occur in the periphery, not the core, even though the core is slowly hollowing itself out. Things such as extreme individualism and the belief in an endless frontier (see my essay, "conspiracy vs. Conspiracy in American History," in "A Question of Values") are practically part of the American DNA, and have lasting power even tho they have dialectically turned against us.

The wall that we may hit, perhaps, may be an ecological one, then: there really are limits to growth.
Social inequality will probably not be enuf to bring this about, as the case of (e.g.) Brazil wd indicate. In that case, a real crunch may indeed happen in our lifetime (even in mine, tho I'm tottering on my last legs). Whatever one can say abt it, it won't be pretty. The alternative model will then not be democratic socialism (which I don't think cd ever happen here), but an eco-sustainable-decentralized-secessionist scenario, as I suggested in a previous post ("La longue duree"). But I still think that even with a major crunch, all of this will take decades to work itself out; as in the case of the waning of the Middle Ages.

Food for thought, in any case.


7:06 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

That's the prime question: how (not if) the empire collapses - quickly or slowly - and how does one live out ones life in that context?

Interestingly, Greer is discussing the same question in his recent posts: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/02/trajectory-of-empires.html

9:15 AM  
Blogger PedroC. said...

I think that three important factors are being left out of the decline equation:

1) The ever growing threat of a major war, which would have a devastating economic and social effects. An attack on Iran could speed up the downfall of the Empire by orders of magnitude.

2) Another growing threat of a major global depression. Default by Greece would quickly spread to Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. It would also send investors crazy and plunge the stocks worldwide. More devastating economic and social effects.

3) Technology. As I've said before, Singularity IS coming. One cannot deny the inexorable accelerating growth rate of 'progress'. The thing is that instead of saving us all, that 'geek Rapture' will probably translate into a worse state than the one we're into.

I'd be surprised if the world can stay in the shape it is now by 2015. In 2020 I don't think any of us will recognize it.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think it likely that we are going to see a major crash during the next 2-3 years, one that will dwarf that of 2008 in size. As for unrecognizability: well, it won't be total, of course, but I wd put something like that occurring in 2025--a mere 13 yrs away. Meanwhile, the American public is preoccupied w/how Rom Mittney is doing, or the latest buzz on Angela's leg. HRIR/CRE!


3:37 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...


When I was growing up in communist Romania nobody believed the Party. That was largely the result of Western propaganda, but also the effects of policies such as restricting people’s traveling abroad and the unavailability of western goods. Otherwise the system was far more humane than the American system. Perhaps if communist nations would have followed Yugoslavia’s model, socialism might have survived. Maybe that’s why Yugoslavia was destroyed--for the same reasons you described in WAF in reference to the South.

BTW, I too believed that propaganda, but got over it quickly when we arrived in NYC and I saw the burned Harlem, the panhandlers, and the nasty people. I told my father, “If this is America, I want to go back.” I eventually did. He’s too proud to do it.


I was a computer engineer for many years before I became a psychologist, but I see no evidence that the singularity is coming. AI is hype. Computers are a long way from becoming self-aware or showing creativity or intelligence. We do not understand how the brain works, and we may never understand it. We also have too limited an understanding of chemistry and physics to make any complex nanotechnology. We just aren’t that good at understanding natural processes. I suspect Ray Kurzweil will die of old age before he’ll get a chance to upload his brain to his iPad (that was reserved only for Steve Jobs).


11:33 PM  
Anonymous George Hiram Williston said...

I have just become aware of your work. Like you I see the problems of our country as symptoms of cultural dysfunction. I am a school teacher who wrote a book I call This Tribe of Mine: A Story of Anglo Saxon Viking Culture in America. I self published. It won an award and went now where but it follows our language culture to its roots in GErmanic viking culture. This is wher we get Twias-day, Wodens-day, Thors-day, and Frias-day. Still with us only a "different" God has our back. If you are interested you can visit my website thistribeofmine.com

George Hiram Williston

6:50 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Mr Williston:

I read a little of ur web site and found it to be highly interesting.

Will read further.

I recently wondered why is it that, in America, we are cursed by the white man but Europe has shown a more sociable attitude than in the States.

I believe that you may hold the key?

11:44 AM  
Blogger PedroC. said...


do you think that a 1929-type economic crash would be enough to stir up the average Joe? If so, in what direction? (secession, fascism, anarchism?)


my father took a bank loan to buy me my first computer. It cost him 2,500 USD for a 120 MHz, Intel 486 processor with 4 MB RAM and 100 MB HD. My current computer (2,000 USD) has 2000 times the RAM, 1200 times the speed and several thousands times more HD capacity. Even my cellphone is at least 10 times more powerful than my first computer (and I don't own a last-generation smartphone). All in 20 years.

When I started to study biotech the cost of sequencing a human genome was in the millions range (the first one cost billions). Next year it will cost 1,000 USD thanks to IONtorrent. By 2015 it will cost the same as a regular blood test.

fMRI technology is getting cheaper and more precise, enabling us to see with more detail the function of the human brain.

AI would be too lengthy to discuss here. Software issues aside: the first supercomputer to surpass the theoretical computing capacity of the brain is coming in a couple of years.

I don't even have a PhD and I can order some DNA online and then transform bacteria in my kitchen to produce recombinant proteins from other organisms.

What I fear is that all the actors in these areas are putting technology before humanity, and thus have no plans and are just following what technology wants, in detriment to us all.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome commentary on CSPAN. Only point of minor disagreement: Ron Paul is a classical liberal, and the fact that his doltish and strategically inept "faux Republican" (republicanism-without-limited government) audience cheered for a "let those without healthcare seek charity" comment, ignores the fact that his system is infinitely more compassionate and benevolent than the current system that thaws/murders alcor patients, outlaws laetrile cancer therapy and includes on the FBI most wanted list a doctor who provided such therapy with a 90% remission rate, outlaws the advertising of optimal health information about dietary information regarding natural alternatives to high-GI carbs such as stevia and Lo han Guo, outlaws raw milk, and outlaws/delays Stephen Badylaks' adult mesenchymal stem cell therapy, etc...

Everything else was spot-on and well worth the price of your book which is on-order. Particularly correct was your criticism of the government youth propaganda system that has gutted the jury system. Servility to the law is what is now taught: independent juries have been replaced with voir dire (1850 by-product of the fugitive slave law), and the idea that anyone goes to court and doesn't plea bargain to the all-mighty prosecutor (and ex-prosecutor in a black robe) is "unthinkable."

...Because the kids aren't allright, and can't think critically.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


It's been said that the danger of rapidly advancing computer technology isn't that machines will become more like humans, but that humans will become more like machines. And I think we see that happening every day. The purely mechanical model of humanity from the 19th century was bad enough; the current digital model is far more ominous, particularly since so many are so eager to embrace it, without pausing to even briefly consider its ramifications.

Today's anecdote:

Sometimes the choice of a single word can say so much. I came across a story about a formerly homeless man who is now a millionaire. Aside from the obvious message such a story is intended to send, i.e., he became rich & so can you & so can anyone, there's the headline: Once homeless, man is now worth millions. Note that he didn't earn millions, or gain millions -- no, he's worth millions. And what exactly was he worth as a human being before he got all that money, I wonder? Anything?

12:40 PM  
Blogger Russ said...

Well, Wyoming Republicans are planning ahead, getting ready to draft their citizens and buy an aircraft carrier (! - have they seem a map of Wyoming?) in the event of political and economic meltdown:


4:39 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Re: Yugoslavia delenda est!

I think you are right on about Yugoslavia being destroyed for the same reasons that the American South was.

Marx said that capitalism can only function after it has eliminated all other ways of life. Wall Street and the Pentagon would deny that, but their actions speak louder than their propaganda.

Germany was very gung-ho in destroying Yugoslavia, and I’ve heard it said that they helped precipitate the whole civil war by immediately ‘recognizing’ independent Slovenia. Of course the ‘Balkanization’ of the region would make it easier for them to dominate it economically, but there may have been a strain of ‘revanchism’ (perhaps unconscious) involved. I guess that Germans could look at the history of WWII and feel some pride, in a perverse way, that they took on half the world and almost won. Yugoslavia, however, was a bit like a Vietnam for them.

David Rosen

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...


You’re making a great point. Indeed, while computers may not become like humans (despite Moore’s so-called “law”), it is clear by now that humans are becoming like computers. The young generation of today is truly scary in that they lack basic abilities to develop human attachment or show any kind of non-egotistical emotions.

Btw, my first computer was a TI99/4A. My next one was “the original” IBM PC. That puppy had a 4.66 MHz processor, 256k of memory, two 360K floppy drives, and a black and white monitor… I got it from Crazy Eddy down on Canal Street for the bargain price of $4500… it still hurts when I think about it… :-(


Yugoslavia is indeed an interesting case. I don’t know the details of its recent history, because I was living in the US at the time. But now I am back in Romania, and I live not far from the border with it. I tell you one thing—there are a lot of rich people around here who supposedly made their money by smuggling gasoline and diesel across the border during the 90s war. How do you smuggle a trainload of gasoline without being seen by American satellites? Evidently that was allowed by NATO.


11:22 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


If the final appropriation for this Doomsday/Rapture bill is only a severely thrifty $16,000, I'm thinking maybe they aren't thinking of the same aircraft carriers you and I are thinking of.

Maybe some sort of wide flat-bed cargo trailer that can, you know, carry an airplane.

Of course, somebody's brother-in-law might be angling to make a whole bunch of money on a cost-plus contract to do enough dredging in Yellowstone Lake to make it hospitable to aircraft carriers.

Maybe they'll set up a school designed to get the US back on track.
Today The Lake...Tomorrow the Bathtub.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Definitely these are bathtub aircraft carriers. They look like small inflatable rafts. And the “aircrafts” in question are small Chinese-made remote controlled drones you find in the toy section at WalMart.

The only reason these inflatable rafts... err, “aircraft carriers”... are so expensive (16 grand) is because they are made by Lockheed-Martin.


2:10 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


I think you have it figured out.

My hypothesis is that someone in the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security is combining a traditional medical marijuana protocol with Norman Cousins' laughter therapy (substituting old episodes of Yogi Bear cartoons for Cousins' recommended Marx Brothers films).

This could lead to them conflating Yellowstone Lake with "yellowcake", giving them an inflated sense of what they need to protect, justifying the acquisition of mil-grade rafts.

Years ago I had some experience with one of L/M's divisions.
If they are pricing an inflatable raft at a mere $16K, then their intent is probably to steal the business from competitors such as Siemens and Rockwell. Once L/M have the contract in hand, Wyoming will be on the hook and will pay through the nose for ancillary items like rapid-inflation subsystems and proprietary repair equipment (aka vinyl patch kits).

I guess the COTS memo hasn't gotten to Cheyenne yet.

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian, I have a question. When you say the young are unable to develop basic human attachment, are you referring to their ability to make friends?

Because the young actually make lots of friends; it's just that it tends to be of the "I'll come over to your house and play videogames" variety.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Morris Berman speaks about these issues in the beginning of Dark Ages America. He explains how the toy industry has destroyed the traditional (and well researched) important role of toys as “transitional objects” so essential in the child’s development. In a consumer society toys are now replaceable, expendable, and so are friends and parents. This will later translate into unstable romantic relationships, heartbreaks, divorces, emptiness, isolation.

I see the young in the US having very serious attachment issues. It’s really pathological. It starts with their parents, whom they no longer respect and don’t regard as a source of legitimate authority or people they may aspire to emulate in adulthood. Parent-child relationships in America are now horizontal, not vertical, as they are everywhere else and have been for thousands of years. As far as making “friends”, indeed, they have a lot of them, but there are more like "fans" than friends. Friendship in America is ultimately about promoting the self. It’s narcissism, competitiveness, it’s about ME. And, like all narcissists, they are empty and fragile inside, and full of rage on the outside (“narcissistic rage”). These phenomena have been studied extensively in classic psychological literature.

There is so much more to say here about this. I would not know where to begin, and I don’t want to take up too much space here. But America is extremely toxic for children and adolescents. A good book to check out is Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, by Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld. Gabor Mate also gave a few really good interviews in the past year, some on democracynow.org and on YouTube. And, of course, Dark Ages America speaks about this as well in a way that cuts to the chase and pinpoints the problem right on.


5:24 PM  
Blogger Greg Czyszczon said...

Good on you to quote Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld. Great wisdom in their books.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

NPR had a talk today on containing Iran, as we did the USSR, as a viable policy option to blowing them up. This may be an important signal, because means that good liberals like me who listen to NPR are now permitted, unlike before, to think that there is some alternative to war with Iran.
Also, neocon Robert Kagan was on CSPAN Q&A. The host kindly avoided mentioning that the wars Kagan promoted have been a complete disaster. He wrote his latest book to say that the US is not in decline, we always have our ups and downs, so we shouldn’t let this latest downturn prevent us from continuing our wars or even adding new ones, because if we do, the world will cease to be the wonderful place it has become, thanks to the US . I sensed an undercurrent of worry in Kagan that the country may be growing weary of throwing more lives and treasure to the gods of war. Judging from his girth, these gods have paid him well for his services. Most revealing was the fact that he and his entire family have been ensconced inside the foreign policy establishment for decades. War as a family business, like they’re the Von Trapp family singers of US war promotion. Of course, the only tune they know is the Darth Vader theme.



3:37 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Time for some comic relief. This just in from a writer friend of time:

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra.

After careful consideration by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one.

Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of 'cocktails', 'highballs' and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'.

Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research.

This means that by 2020, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Julian and Anon, if I may put in my two cents concerning kids in the US (something important to me since my sister's kid is turning 1 soon). I would like to recommend "Last Child in the Woods" by Louv. It is a good book for those of us who find our NMI place outdoors and wish to get kids out of the TV room.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of children, the toxic culture they are born into and our monstrous mis-understanding of what we are as human beings, I have found the work of Joseph Chilton-Pearce to be quite compelling. Beginning with Magical Child and then Evolution's End which is introduced here:



7:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life Dept.: The following is from the Washington Post review of "Game Change," the HBO film about the McCain-Palin campaign:

"How on Earth, in a nation so technologically gifted and an age so flush with instant information, can we remain so woefully uninformed, willfully dissonant and bad at knowing one another? .... Much of what goes on in “Game Change” may in fact echo your workplace, where memos go unread and e-mails unresponded to; where the flashiest talkers get promoted too soon; where difficult questions are merely unwelcome interruptions to the PowerPoint presentation; where no one has a clue but everyone is engaged in operatic levels of self-preservation while constantly monitoring their BlackBerrys."

[As good a description as any of a culture in collapse, and of a clueless and degraded citizenry.]

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

One has to laugh at today's NYT's lead story:"Intractable Afgan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy" which includes this risable line:"Despite years of urging and oversight by American advisors, Mr. Karzai's government has yet to prosecute a high-level corruption case." Oh, like you mean not one Wall Street executive or torturer has ever been prosecuted in the U.S?
But even more risable is how the Afgans have played the US like saps, stealing billions of dollars while painting fairly tales for US policy makers. It shows how pathologically insular Washington is. One has only to spend half a day in an undeveloped country to see that behind the natives' smiles lies only a desire for American bucks. Like in that song Act Naturally" the US "is the biggest fool that ever hit the big time."

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

I love the way Morris is framed during the B&N talk by large stand-up posters for Kindle and I-pad (or whatever those gadgets were) - this is visible in the long shots at the start and during Q&A.

The very electronic Soma-providers he is excoriating during the talk seem to be standing guard on each side of him, ready to.....?

Its all very very Dada, in an evil kind of way, not funny Dada at all.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Re: “…not very good at it.”

Right now I’m up to my eyebrows in a struggle against the Board of Supervisors of Washington County, Iowa, trying to save our very small town from an unnecessary boondoggle of a sewer system.

Our county government, which should have been a beacon of civic virtue, has instead become a den of thieves. If you can manage to bring our valiant corruption fighters home from Afghanistan please sent them here first.

On second thought, never mind. They may decide they have to destroy our pleasant little village in order to save it.

Instead, Google “UCTV” and type “Chalmers Johnson” in the search feature. Then check out the March 2007 interview he gave on “Conversations with History” which is called “The Final Days of the American Republic”. He talks about the American Empire, and I’m sure you will agree when he says, “We’re not very good at it.”

David Rosen

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Indeed, incompetence and stupidity run rampant in the good ole’ USofA these days. I’ve been teaching online classes at a few American “universities”, and most of my students are total morons. No ability to think critically whatsoever--I don’t even expect it anymore. Some write so poorly, I can’t understand what they’re trying to say. In a philosophy course I had taught many times, all they write about is their own simplistic evangelical faith, while denying everything else; science, Greek philosophers, is all devil’s work to them. I am so burned out with their religious brainwashing, at this point I don’t even read what they write anymore. I get a quick word count, check for APA style, and give them a grade based on that. But of course, they're skilled at plagiarism, such as buying papers from online term paper mills.

They also lack even the most basic courtesy and respect. Most of their emails start with “Hey Julian”. One addressed me with "Yo bro". Of course, they lie all the time, and some even haggle with me over grades. Last week an imbecile turned in a paper that was 65% plagiarized. Although it deserved a zero, I gave her a high “F” (50 out of 100). She then proceeded to harass me in email demanding I change her grade to a C, bitching that this never happened to her in other classes. She only stopped when I told her that if I get one more email from her I’ll change the grade to a zero. And, to see the kind of hutzpah I have to put up with, her following paper was 85% plagiarized.

These are the cretins that America plans to win the 21st century with.


7:30 PM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Someone mentioned gas prices; I would add that it seems to have escaped the American mind that we cannot have war with Iran and low gas prices at the same time. The mere threat of another war in the Middle East is making speculators go crazy - and the leap in prices is all due to speculation (well, that, and the fact that Exxon just wants more money), not any physical issue with oil supplies, and certainly nothing that is Iran's fault, etc. But they are preparing us for even higher prices to come; I call it "softening the mark". We are the mark. Iran, of course, has done nothing to deserve all this sanctioning (our idea of "diplomacy"), except for this: they begin trading on the Tehran bourse in currencies other the petrodollar later this month. The nerve. You see where that got Libya. (What we did to Libya broke my heart. I hope there is a hell, just so that all of our leaders involved in that hate crime can go there.)

I just read the interview you did with Nomi Prins...most excellent. It is posted on alternet, and so will be widely distributed.

Hey, I saw that Sarah poked her head up to suggest she may yet be involved in the "election". And here I thought you were going to take her off our hands! And Marcy Kaptur is running against that "Joe the Plumber" guy in Ohio, and in Congress, in the year 2012, they are arguing about the value of birth control. It's all truly freakish and out of control.

Take care and all the best,

6:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The chances of the American public actually understanding things like the relationship between war and gas prices, or what is going on with respect to Iran, is roughly negative infinity. But this ignorance is part of our decline, and will also help to accelerate it. As for me and Sarah: a lost cause, I fear. I'm now involved with an abs. gorgeous woman, am pazzo over her, and she has put the kibosh on any sexual activity between myself and Sarah, whether on an ice floe among the meese or anywhere else; and is particularly opposed to Ed Meese being in attendance. In a word, Sarah had her chance (assuming she's been reading this blog), and she blew it.


I occasionally get letters like yrs from university or college professors, and what I tell them is that the whole thing is easier to tolerate if you keep 4 crucial things in mind:

1. When a civilization collapses, this is one of the things that happens. The 'future generation' has no critical thinking skills, and is not about to acquire any anytime soon. In a word, we *have* no future to speak of.
2. In the case of American civ in particular, these students are little more than hustlers, in their own way--and thus strongly contributing to our collapse.
3. They have shit for brains, and I don't mean this metaphorically. If you would open their pathetic crania and look inside, what u wd find is excrement.
4. The nonstudent population is actually dumber.


I've often said that since we are not a gracious people (to say the least), our decline will be stupid and ugly, rather than wise and meaningful. As for the evidence of this: just look around!


7:23 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dr. Berman,

I am so happy to hear of your new romance. Lovely!! (I trust she has all due respect for deli meats?)

Julian: If they have learned only one thing from their parents, it's the ability to hustle and grift. One of my sons studied Spanish for half a year in high school. One day, he overheard a group of girls talking to the teacher before class. They were failing the class, and had written a letter to the principal in which they alleged the teacher had committed all sorts of sexual misconduct. He read the letter and exclaimed, "But I never did any of this stuff! Why have you written this?" The answer was simple: blackmail. "Give us passing grades or we send in the letter. People always believe the girls; no-one will believe you."

Poor guy had a breakdown right then and there (no-one was hurt, but a few empty desks were overturned and the poor wee innocents were exposed to lots of curse words in both English and Spanish). He was fired for that.

My son switched to Latin, realizing that nobody takes Latin as an easy way to satisfy the foreign language requirement.


8:28 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Indeed, they’ve all hustlers—just like you described them in WAF. They probably all dream of working for Goldman Sachs one day. My consolation is that given where the American economy is headed, they are unlikely to ever get a job to pay back their student loans. That’s hustler karma for them.

Word about how bad American education is has been getting out, though. My wife and I have been considering spending another year in the US, so that our 6-year old daughter can complete first grade there and learn to speak English without a foreign accent. But it appears that the Romanian school system is likely to require our daughter to repeat first grade here, upon return.


I hear you. Some are even bringing guns to school. At least, teaching online I don’t have to deal with that. For what they pay teachers these days, it’s just not worth wearing a bullet proof vest all day.


7:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Tough decision. You run the risk of her being socialized into being a creep; which might require 2-3 yrs abroad to correct.


8:34 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


(Please forgive my free advice, which is probably worth exactly what you pay for it.)

I don’t get it. After all your experience with your older children, and after what a visit to the US did to your daughter already – you actually want to bring her back here and put her in school?

It is certainly good to be able to speak English, but to take a risk like that just to avoid having an accent? Am I missing something, or what?

I’m always happy to meet somebody who speaks English with an accent – because I know there’s a good chance they’ll be worth talking to, and I won’t have to stay within my little “acceptable persona”. Here in rural Iowa I can make myself fit in pretty well by talking about farming, the weather, and a few other local issues, but I have to censor 95% of what I would like to talk about. In the rest of the country, it seldom goes beyond “Have a nice day.”

Also, your daughter will probably have a charming accent.

Of course, you know your daughter and your situation, and I don’t – and it’s none of my business anyway.

David Rosen

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

MB, David,

Indeed, I know that you are both absolutely correct. This is an issue I am struggling with still. Hopefully, if we do decide to spend another year in the US she will still be young enough when we return to undo the damage. But, last time we spent a year there, she had a very hard time. It’s a tough decision, really.

Is there any place in America that is not as toxic? Hawaii, perhaps? In fact, Hawaii is the only state I have not seen and don’t know much about, so I am still hoping it is a little different from the mainland.


9:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Vermont. See if you can hook up with the secessionist folks: 2nd VT Republic. I'm actually scheduled to give a talk at the State House in Montpelier in September.


9:43 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...


Thanks for the feedback. Vermont would make a lot of sense for us. In addition to hearing good things about it, my last employer (which has psych services operations all over the US) has recently offered to send me to VT, if I’d be willing to work for them again. If all goes well, I hope to see you there in September. Thanks again.


10:21 PM  
Anonymous George Williston said...

Mr. Berman,
What do you think about the idea that we are still a viking culture acting out old cultural tenets? We came to this country as raiders for land and resources? We took this continent and then we started out across the oceans again? This is the cultural roots of our behaviors. That he who can hoard the most is the most revered? Opposite of most cultures native to this continent which we dismissed as childlike and primitive but hey lived healthy and the earth here was the same.
I would appreciate a comment on these thoughts.
Thank you,
George Williston

10:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't really know much abt that, so can't comment a whole lot. Offhand, it seems like a long shot, in terms of causality/continuity; whereas the connection to an entrepreneurial British middle class is well established.


11:56 AM  
Blogger Jenna Mariana Dominguez said...

Professor Berman,

This blog is great, full of information and very fascinating. I just ordered your three books from Amazon.com and I'm eager to read them.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Americans are dumb, but it hasn't stopped us so far. I truly believe that a country only needs some intellectuals to run things (scientists, engineers, etc.). It is actually an advantage in a consumer society to have most people stupid. Stupid people run up credit cards and buy new cars, etc. If the masses became intelligent tomorrow the entire house of cards would collapse. I think (know) that the elite wants to keep the masses stupid and for them to keep buying crap. How many sandwiches does a rich man buy? How many cars? We need millions of consuming machines to keep this economy going. Keep them dumb and buying. That's what I say! Be glad that there are millions of people ready to go into debt to buy stuff.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...


I greatly enjoyed your talk. Especially your idea that the failure of America is ultimately cultural. As you say, America's tendency to take on a negative self-identity, defining itself in terms of some Manichean other, is responsible for the failure of the American empire.

One major sign of the decline of America is the juxtaposition between America fighting the longest war in its history, while ordinary Americans see themselves as atomized consumers, detached from any social or political context. The wars America fights throughout the world are totally foreign to the everyday lives of Americans.

I wonder whether you'd agree with my view of American culture. As I see it, in a thriving culture people would have a public discussion about all these wars and collectively decide whether they should be fought, rather than simply delegating these decisions to the president and arms companies. But instead, people today are so de-politicized and distracted by technologies that they are detached from their lives as social beings, and instead an omnipotent President and military industrial companies conduct American wars without any accountability or discussion. Any 'discussion' on television or newspapers that we see today is rather meaningless, since the President does as he likes regardless of any discussion, and war has become perpetual and self-justifying independent of any reasons.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This was an interesting talk, but one of the main impressions I got was just that it's a blunter than usual statement of the obvious -- that the US has passed a point where it has terminally compromised its ideals -- but this is really only shocking or unexpected to people who have no exposure to serious historians or are in denial about the ignorance of the popular mainstream culture.

So what does it mean for a country to fail? It is like saying history has ended. This is a metaphor. Life goes on. What does it mean to live in decline, in the shadow of the past, or in ignorance of the shadow of the past? European nations have been doing this for quite some time and are on the same approximate civilizational track.

There are a lot of subcultures and "social imaginaries" in North America that have responded differently to modernity and will continue to respond differently to it as it progresses, or unwinds. How they may do so is unknown, but I get the impression you assume it will be simply awful. Is that accurate?

4:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

P.S. Are you a fan of the movie "Idiocracy?"

4:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Best to post to most recent post, since folks tend not to read the older stuff. As for Idiocracy, I've watched it abt 5 times. It's set abt 500 yrs hence, but I thought 20 was more realistic.

I don't feel Europe is in quite the same category as the US, as Steven Hill makes clear in "Europe's Promise." They have done the best they can, in the context of US free-mkt pressure, to reinvent themselves, start anew from the ashes of WW2, create a European Union w/a constitution, etc. Yes, it's still a commercial-consumer civilization, but w/a lot of important modifications. There are so many gd places to live in Europe, whereas the US, as Donald Richie once observed, is "all Ohio." An exaggeration, of course, but nevertheless a worthwhile pt. Europe is struggling, to be sure, but I don't think it has failed.

As for American subcultures: many fall into the category of the NMI, it seems to me, and I hope they flourish. But the US as a whole will not and cannot reinvent itself, I don't think; all it can do, in the main, is continue to degrade. The "fix" is in, in short.


4:26 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

But what does it mean, to have failed? To be doomed to not have many "nice places to live?" To be "like Ohio" all over? To be like Spain and other former empires? Or to descend into tyranny and ruin, to live like Anglo-Saxon tribes, using Roman ruins for public toilets?

I've not read your book, but in the articles and videos I've seen, you don't address these questions or make predictions, but you gesture at them. E.g., Idiocracy in 20 years.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Lots of aspects to it, and the subject has been covered in detail by many historians. Check out Joseph Tainter's work, e.g., principally for the economic angle. It's not a mystery; it can take the form of slow disintegration (Rome) or free-fall (USSR).


7:29 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Tainter seems to focus on the why and the how of collapse. Not what life is like after you say a collapse has happened. The idea of a "dark age" in Europe was debunked long ago, but we still have these foggy ideas that there is some kind of awful civilizational zero point people languish in for centuries on their self-governed farming communes when the glory of Rome is now longer marching around. So "decline"--is it such a bad thing, especially as opposed to centuries of imperialist saber rattling and warfaring?

Talk of American "decline" simply puzzles me, because the history is all bad and worse that farther back you go. Decline could be the ultimate progress, especially in terms of energy and food systems.

If "dark ages" are times when ruling elites and centralized powers fail or severely contract, this is only good or bad depending on local conditions and your particular situation.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This wd be a very long discussion, and I fear I just don't have time for it. "Dark Age" was never debunked, just modified; early Middle Ages were indeed pretty bleak. As for America, I don't think the history is worse the further back u go; in many ways, it was a whole lot better. (Ben Franklin records drinking water out of the local river, e.g.; but there's much more than this.) Anyway, keep in mind that w/exception of USSR and the Mayans, 'collapse' is a process, not a sudden, discontinuous event. We are in it rt now: 18% unemployed, life meaningless for the great majority, imperial overstretch, disintegrating infrastructure, etc. For previous civilizational breakdowns, and daily life in those times--there are indeed studies of this, but I read them so long ago that I can't really give u a biblio. Shdn't be that hard to dig up. Gd luck!


10:03 PM  

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