August 13, 2012

September Lecture Schedule

Dear Friends:

Time for me to hit the road again. For those of you living in or near the cities indicated, please feel free to attend, if you want. Here's the info I have so far, in any case:

Sept. 11: Librería El Péndulo, Alvaro Obregon 86, Col. Roma, Mexico City, 7 p.m. (más o menos)

Sept. 14: House Chamber, Vermont State House, Montpelier, VT, 9 a.m.

Sept. 17: Clark University, Dept. of Humanities, Worcester, MA, time TBA

Hope to see you there!



Blogger Noah Linden said...


I want to thank you for that comment you left on the last page holding SS members and other war criminals responsible for their actions. Indeed, the Nazi soldiers were not victims. They were murderers, torturers and war criminals. They were victimizers, and there is absolutely no excuse for what they did. Any person with a conscience would choose death over supporting the Nazis.

Most of the time, American pseudo-liberals refuse to assign blame or responsibility to anyone (except Republicans). They especially refuse to condemn torturers and war criminals that wear the American military uniform. They claim they are as much victims as the little children they kill and the people they mercilessly torture. They do not believe that Americans could be evil, only that they might be "stupid" or "mentally ill" or some such euphemism. With their heads deliberately buried in the sand, they become complicit in the worst atrocities imaginable - Clinton's deliberate starvation of 500,000 Iraqis, Obama's many wars against largely defenseless Third World nations, the looting of the American treasury by the super-rich, the destruction of the natural world, etc.

And these same pseudo-liberals vehemently (and sometimes rightly) denounce the political and military establishments of other countries as evil - China, Cuba, and so on. But they refuse to see their own leaders as evil.

It's really Orwellian - these American pseudo-liberals echo the values of nobody more than the far right when they defend the atrocities of their leaders at every turn, refuse to see their own people as responsible for the destruction they cause, and see evil everywhere outside America (and the need for "intervention" in countless other countries).

It's the Manichaean world view you talked about - America = good, everyone else = evil. Nobody is more representative of this view than American "liberals". By seeing Americans as good and every other people and place as corrupt and evil, American pseudo-liberals really do think they are actually SUPPORTING EQUALITY AND PROMOTING TOLERANCE. This is terrifying cognitive dissonance, no less appalling than that uttered by people such as Michelle Bachman or Rush Limbaugh.

I'm just so fucking sick of American pseudo-liberals that I almost want you to write an entire book about them, taking this piss out of their self-serving ideas and showing them to be the bigoted fascists they really are.


1:06 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Bon voyage. Look forward to the video, since none of the venues is within 1000 miles.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And here I thought NBC was going to pick up the lectures by satellite and beam them across the world. What a disappointment.


Check out Chris Hedges, "The Death of the Liberal Class."


4:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I dunno if u caught the discussion on this a bit earlier, but I recently wrote a small bk in the 'spiritual guidance' genre (don' worry, Oprah wd NOT approve!), and since there's no $ in it, no American publisher will even reply to my queries. My Mexican publisher loved it, and will be bringing it out in Span trans next yr. But I still have this odd desire to see it appear in English. I'd prefer an American publisher, of course, but given their lack of interest, do u think it makes sense for me to contact Joe's Australian publisher? Of course, 'spiritual guidance' may not be their thing, but I'm just thinking out loud here in the hope that you might be able to give me some feedback. Write to my email address, if u want.

Gracias, chico-

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

Dr. Berman:

I just finished Dark Ages America and will be reading Twilight (meant to start there)once it arrives in the mail. As I was finishing up the book I came across Thomas Frank's article Dead End on Shakin' Street

and was wondering if you had seen it. The "vibrancy" he speaks of seems to be directly on point with your analysis.

Also, I was wondering about your use of the term "spirituality" in your books. I think I know what you mean, but as an atheist, I always find the term problematic. I assume if I keep reading your books I'll get a fuller idea of to what you are referring.


5:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for writing in. Best bks for my take on spirituality are "Coming to Our Senses" and "Wandering God".


6:08 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Noah, I have a question.

If those are pseudo-liberals, who are the "real" liberals? Who should we admire instead?

6:57 PM  
Anonymous dookie said...

Esteemed Professor

Best wishes in your travels

Yest on BookTV I became acquainted with Dambisa Moyo. Her book, "How the West was Lost" seems parrallel to yours.

Love your blog & bloggers
Perhaps they would enjoy:


7:41 PM  
Anonymous dookie said...

My last comment went thru?

Dambisa Moyo


7:43 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

just a quick note...forget Rom, and his Robin, Paul Ryan, and forget Obama-Filmore. THIS guy in the link above is who we need running the show. He will get us down the drain quicker than Palin on her worst (best) day!

Dr. B -
Speaking of Joe B - thanks for introducing me to the work of Joe Bageant through this blog. When your upcoming book comes out in SP, can u give us the name? I'd like to acquire a copy. thanks

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

i'm just re-sending in case the link got truncated. i didn't chop it up.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Still nowhere near New Mexico. But I'll be there, in spirit. Thanks for your books and blog-- and to your fellow readers whose words give me hope that at least I'm not alone on this sinking ship.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear MB,

NBC will not be broadcasting your talks but will instead be broadcasting Stars Earn Stripes - where America's finest suit up in full combat gear to shoot it out.

RawStory covers it at:

You can see it in all of its "glory" on Youtube:

Could be a watershed moment with the full weight of Hollywood production and American's gettin 'er done by shooting the shit out of each other.

El Juero

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

Any rich Ayrabs out there still considering sending their spoiled brats to college in the United States of America? Check this out:

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Once again, I'm struck at how small potatoes all these killings are. The failure of the Pentagon to distribute semi-automatic weapons to all 311 million residents of the US--well, what can I say? Is there no way to wake the military up?

On a more serious note, it shd be pretty clear by now that the country is committing suicide, day by day, and there is no stopping it.

As for the subject of Ay-rabs, here's the popular image we had in the sixties. These are the lyrics to a song I remember hearing when I was 17 yrs old:

"Let me tell you 'bout Ay-hab the Ay-rab
Sheik of the burning sands
He had emeralds and rubies just dripping offa him
And a ring on every finger of his hands.

"He wore a big ol' turban wrapped around his head
And a scimitar by his side
And every evening about midnight
He'd jump on his camel named Clyde...and ride."

Right: his camel was named Clyde. Why not Carlton Butterworth III?


11:04 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...


The Hedges book is great and I'm sure yours will be too, but I'm afraid Phil Ochs said it all a long time ago, and in ~4 minutes!

12:57 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

At least the police stopped one terrorist. We talk about the feds, but every tiny burg in the US aspires to be a police state. Add drawing chalk sea turtles and selling lemonade to the list of crimes soon to be punishable by death. Maybe the kid should take up the completely legal and far more American hobby of amassing 6000 rounds of ammo like the Aurora shooter.

3:21 AM  
Anonymous abc said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Zero--from the NYT:

"The police said that Mr. Bachmann, 41, had gone to the house to serve an eviction notice. It was unclear whether Mr. Caffall took aim at the victims or whether they were killed in the exchange of fire with officers.

The area where the shooting occurred is a working-class cluster of single-family clapboard homes about two blocks southeast of campus. University students rent many of the houses, and the Texas A&M logo can be seen on mailboxes and screen doors."

People who have nothing to loose in a country that glorifies a frontier type mentality can expect more of this, especially in Texas. What I found of interest was how it was reported in the Austin American Statesman newspaper. No mention was made of the man's motive for opening fire and the run-down dumps were referred to as an historical district. I'm in NO way justifying what this man did or what Joesph Stack did a couple of years ago when he flew an airplane into a federal building in Austin. This is senseless, cruel violence that ruins the lives of many people. What I am saying is unpleasant, extenuating circumstances (which do not excuse violence at all) are ignored and the crazed, lone gunman profile marches on.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Noah, let me second what Nate said about the Hedges book. Just read it last week & it's incredibly clear-eyed. Nate's also right about Phil Ochs nailing it decades earlier too - check out the fine Ochs documentary There But For Fortune if you can.

Following up El Juero's post about the truly vile Stars Earn Stripes, 9 Nobel Peace Prize winners issued a letter condemning the show & calling on NBC to cancel it:

Of course NBC responded with some drivel about "homage to the men & women who serve" - you know the sort of vaguely stirring but empty crap we get from politicians all the time.

I note that one of the contestants is Muhammad Ali's daughter. Wonder if she gave any thought to her father's choice to sacrifice the best years of his boxing life rather than be drafted & used as an inspirational showpiece for the military in the 1960s?

8:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, we've had 3 massacres in how many days now?, and yet the US cannot and will not think sociologically. It's always an insane individual, a disgruntled loner. Slowly, the entire country is turning into insane and disgruntled loners.



9:46 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...


The real liberals are people like many of the commenters on this blog - people who understand that it's not ok to bomb many countries, which have done nothing bad to America, back to the Stone Age - people who understand that choosing the lesser of two evils (the Democratic party) is still evil. Real liberals do not defend atrocities committed by their own governments and military personnel, but seek to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to justice.

Real liberals are capable of imagining viable alternatives to corporate neo-feudalism, whereas American pseudo-liberals accept corporate neo-feudalism as the only viable economic system - even thought it is destroying the world's economy and the environment.

Real liberals do not support a war criminal and a destroyer of the environment like Obama. They find the destruction of the world to be unacceptable, while pseudo-liberals are quite satisfied with this state of affairs, as long as they themselves can live lives of comfort and privilege.

Real liberals (in America) are the type of people who read The Nation. They vote for Green Party candidates, and may be involved in things like Occupy Wall Street or other protests for good causes. And they do not close their eyes and pretend that great evil does not exist in the American psyche.

I hope this answers your question.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Nate said...

MB & Wafers,

If the souls of my countrymen are tinder, then we might have the spark that burns this mother down: "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" movie premiers in a couple of weeks.


11:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the tipoff. I reviewed the Spanish trans of the book in "Reforma" (major paper in Mexico City) a couple of yrs ago, and then published the English version in "A Question of Values." So I'll be really interested to see the movie.


12:41 PM  
Blogger EditNetwork said...

Apropos of spirituality, "Coming to Our Senses," etc.:

Peace, everyone.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

If mucho, mucho inflation wd just begin, then we will see LOTS more action.

I call on all religions and Atheists to pray for this much needed stimulus.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Noah, thank you very much, it DOES answer my question! ^_^

Actually, though, I'd like to play the devil's advocate for a moment, if that's all right with you, Noah.

There's one possible advantage in making sure Obama wins instead of Romney, but only if one thinks in the very long-term.

See, back in the year 2008, Rush Limbaugh declared that he hoped the country would fail so that Obama would lose the next election. And Mitch McConnell declared that his goal was to make Obama a "one-term President".

Ever since then, the Republicans have defined the entire past four years by obstructing everything Obama tried.

Even worse, they literally "invented their own reality" and portrayed Obama as a terrorist sympathizer (when he's a warmonger), a Communist (when he bails out the banks), an impostor President (despite the fact that Obama has produced his birth certificate), etc.

If Romney wins this election, my worry is that the Republicans' attempt to rewrite history to their own benefit will work. They'll be rewarded not just for now, but future generations who come after us will learn that it's acceptable to literally "invent an opposite reality out of whole cloth" if it helps your party win, and you're close-minded or "dogmatically liberal" if you don't agree.

And the (very) long-term consequences of that could be drastic.

Morris Berman speaks in jest when he says that the United States is showing too little restraint and should simply bomb the rest of the world.

But if the Republicans learn from a victory that they can literally invent a false reality and get away with it, Morris Berman's jokes could become REAL.

An America led by liars and a public unwilling to question them could start attempting to destroy the Earth for REAL.

1:22 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

@Noah re the liberals

Their hearts are in the right place, but what I want to know is, where are their brains?

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It seems to me that we are already at the place u describe. Also, I suspect that the GOP will do whatever it wants, no matter how destructive, in any circumstance--i.e. whether they are winning or losing. There is such a thing as a death instinct, and they will manifest it regardless of the context. Not that the Dems are very far away from that, of course. Remember Don DeLillo's "toxic event" in his novel "White Noise"? It's sort of like that: death hangs over the US now palpably, like a dark cloud.


3:17 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Then what should I do about it?

My country is bombing and torturing people left and right, and I feel like I'm in that "They Thought They Were Free" book, but how am I supposed to "not be responsible for bombs like the Germans were for Nazis" when I can't get anyone to listen to me?

4:16 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Should we "simply bomb the rest of the world"?

Randy Newman says YES!

5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When I realized I had no one to talk to, I left. Just a thought.


8:22 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

To Smith,

I understand that bitter pill in your throat. I'm just recovering from it myself. But, this blog is already beyond hope for America. That bitter pill was actually a poison pill, fed to us all. Some of us are just realizing it and others here, have always known it. Don't leave, stay and learn.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


ps: you don't hafta be actually living in the US to learn. In many ways, you'll learn more as a result of being outside than inside. I suspect this is the experience of many, not just me.


11:39 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Check out Paul Ryan's recent campaign speeches and you might agree with me that he, more than Rom Mittey, is the perfect candidate from the pt of view of WAF's analysis. In evidence I present 2 excerpts from a Ryan speech.

1. "Ryan let it be known that he drives a truck--a big truck--using the anecdote to knock President Barack Obama's record on energy.

"'The last time I was filling my truck up, it cost 100 bucks,' Ryan said. 'The only reason it cost 100 bucks is because the pump cut me off at 100 dollars. I didn't even fill the gas tank! Enough! We have our own oil and gas. We have nuclear. We have all of the above: Wind, solar, coal. Let's use it.'"

2. "'I don't know about you,' Ryan told the spirited crowd that filled the high school's gymnasium, 'but when I was growing up, you know, when I was flippin' burgers at McDonald's, when I was standing in front of that big Hobart machine washing dishes or waiting tables, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I thought to myself, I'm the American dream on a path and journey so that I can find happiness however I can find it myself.'"

Note the telling words "however" - i.e., no ethics - and "myself" - i.e., with no help. After part-timing at Mickey D's, he went to Congress and lives off the taxpayer. And voted for TARP.

Source of speech:

There is more. For ex, he's an Ayn Rander simultaneously claiming to be a Christian.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some coincidence. I just finished reading DeLillo's White Noise - a great piece of fiction & seems to capture the "feel" of today as much as any piece of fiction can.

There's the toxic "event" but a number of other references and images pop out at you - the last couple of pages w/ people mindlessly wandering around a store with brightly colored boxes in their carts, an uncomfortable feeling about the indifference of government while it focuses on tracking of people. The classroom "debate" about Elvis and Hitler - cartoon figures that replace real thought in American culture. Omnipresent feeling of consumerism etc...

El Juero

1:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr message was a bit too long; if u cd compress it by 40-50%, I'll be happy to post it--but sans discussions of 9/11 as an inside job. I'm not interested in that, and there are lots of websites that are; so if u want to have conversations abt it, those wd be the places to go. Thank you.


1:52 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

DR.B & DAAers
Paul Ryan, I suspect, might think he is the incarnation of John Gualt. Even after reading "Atlas Shrugged" (many years ago) I could not pin down exactly what he actually did except be mysteriuos and smoke the best cigarettes. This is precisly my impression of Ryan which makes him a prime candidate for the vice presidency. The American electorate will fall in love with him and we will be spared another four years of Obomanation. This will put the downfall on the fast tract and if after four years (Of doing nothing except filling his pockets with tax money) when he is elected president, the slope will be made even steeper and slipprier saving us from that slow and painful death we on this site would surely deplore.
Campaign Logo
I say a vote for Ryan is a vote for peace, justice and the American way.
PS Least we forget, an AK-47 in every home.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Armandos said...

This man, Fareed Zakaria, was awarded a PhD from Harvard. A PhD holder from Harvard?????

Zakaria, in an interview Monday, defended the practice of not attributing quotes in a popular book. "As I write explicitly [in the book], this is not an academic work where everything has to be acknowledged and footnoted," his said. The book contains "hundreds" of comments and quotes that aren't attributed because doing so, in context, would "interrupt the flow for the reader," he said.

He compared his technique to other popular non-fiction authors. "Please look at other books in this genre and you will notice that I'm following standard practice," he said.

"I should not be judged by a standard that's not applied to everyone else," he added. "People are piling on with every grudge
or vendetta. The charge is totally bogus."


9:14 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...


It's fine to play the devil's advocate, but in all honesty, when American liberals do that, they're really mounting political opposition against people who, for instance, insist that bombing Libya is a war crime, an act of unspeakable evil. (I’m not saying YOU are doing this now, I’m speaking generally.) They're not so much playing the devil's advocate as they are defending the atrocities of the American government and the American military, and opposing any constructive political change.

It's really a way of doing these things while trying to avoid being held accountable for the same, since they're "just playing the devil's advocate". I think, instead of playing the devil's advocate, we should seriously discuss alternatives to corporate neo-feudalism…and what really amounts to America, and much of the rest of the world, committing collective suicide via the destruction of the environment. Even if they seem farfetched, they are our only hope.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans are getting much worse very rapidly. Obama has been far more destructive than Bush, who was in his own right far more destructive than Clinton. Nothing will be gained by supporting the Democrats. The whole opposition between Democrats and Republicans is national theater, nothing more. It’s a fraud, a mirage. Even if the Democrats were somewhat less bad, they’re bad enough that they are destroying the entire world via environmental degradation and war. That’s not an acceptable “lesser of two evils”.

So, it's time to actually stand up for what is right instead of supporting what is wrong ("choosing the lesser of two evils").

And leaving America, and thus refusing to be part of a hopelessly corrupt and dying system, may be the best alternative now. Berman is right - there is no saving America.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Don't know much about Zakaria but... If someone demands recognition they ain't nothin' but a huckster. Same as most all other Americans.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, Zakaria was fired by Time and CNN, which shows that at least some organizations still have decent/honorable standards regarding writing and reporting. And Z originally apologized. Looks like he's now changed his tune. What malarkey, that it's not nec. to cite your sources because he's writing for a popular audience. It's not 'standard practice' yet, whatever he says; altho things are moving in that direction, as part of the national decline. And if the author doesn't want to interrupt the flow--which I understand--then he can compile a biblio or reference section and put the sources at the end (I did this in the Twilight book, in fact, precisely because I didn't want to distract the reader w/ftnotes).

As for Dems vs. GOP, staying vs. emigrating--well, I guess everyone hasta decide that for themselves. The fact is that the Great Liberal Hope turned out to be a war criminal and a destroyer of the Bill of Rights (far in excess of his Republican predecessors) and that electoral politics are a facade, behind which lies Wall St. and the Pentagon--the real gov't. There isn't a single example of a civilization or empire in its dying phase that has taken stock of itself and reversed its trajectory--not one. (If 'resurrection' occurred, it was only after a major crash, or dark age.) In addition, the US' disintegration is part of a larger distintegration, that of capitalism in general (and possibly even, of the modern age); which is why I repeatedly say that the way out is thru. Secession makes sense to me, because these movements will get stronger as the system continues to erode; and so does local experimentation with different types of economies, technologies, energy sources, ways of living, and so on (in other words, the creation of real, close-to-the ground alternatives--the NMI option). But to stick around and fight every particular gov't abuse on the assumption that we still have a working democracy is something of a delusion, it seems to me. The 'fix' is in; there's simply no way around that conclusion that I know of. We might as well get it over with; which is why I'm genuinely sorry that Sarah Palin or Herman Cain won't be president (at least they are funny). The 'anthropology' of the situation, so to speak, is pretty obvious; and having Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand as our guiding light is a big part of what got us into this mess, both economically (e.g., Alan Greenspan) and spiritually (everyone for himself).

I do admire Chris Hedges and others for taking on the NDAA, the case of Bradley Manning, and other abuses; but the gov't is going to do what it's going to do (in fact, it now appears that even during the current injunction against the NDAA, the gov't was detaining people--and thus, in contempt of court; about which they cdn't care less.) I think it's important to document all of this stuff, so that there is a record of our collective suicide. Beyond that, however, I'm not sure. We really are tipping over a cliff, and as this process deepens, so will the attacks on the citizenry. As I've said elsewhere, and various historians have discussed, when a regime feels threatened with extinction it starts to find a fifth column, or 'heretics', at home, among its ranks, and this is the phase during which it starts to eat itself alive. To switch metaphors, attacking one abuse might be like trying to cut off the head of a Hydra--lots more heads down the road. If yr finally at the pt where yr trying to address the abuses of Nazi Germany, say--well, what's the pt? (Not that we're there yet, but see my post, "Slouching Towards Nuremberg"; there really is reason to worry, because the direction we are headed in seems pretty clear at this pt.)

11:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


11:31 AM  
Anonymous abc said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

You've said several times you left the US b/c you didn't really have anyone to talk to (among other reasons of course). I was wondering, have you found that in Mexico?

11:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


More in Mexico City than in the small town in which I live; tho I have a family that 'adopted' me here, and I enjoy hanging out w/them--they are loving folks, and it's very relaxing. The gringos down here, however, are a dead loss--they just bring the US w/them, really, and are boring beyond belief. (Check out the poem 'Gringos' in my collection, "Counting Blessings".)

I suppose the real strength of the Mexican social climate is the ambience. You can't imagine how gracious, how courteous, these folks are in public, and man, that is no small thing. Robt Putnam, in "Bowling Alone," called it 'social capital', and Mex is rich in that. When you are out socially, even if you don't talk to anyone, the atmosphere is so very different from the US. It's relaxed, enjoyable; it's not anxious, competitive, aggressive. Americans are always trying to prove something. What a sad collection of people (if only they knew it).


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Edmar said...

LONDON -- A painful economic recession, rising unemployment and biting austerity measures may have already driven more than 1,000 people in Britain to commit suicide, according to a study published on Wednesday.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Hey!! No more travel. When I can't git my fix, I go crazy. This blog needs to be attended too at all times. I'm addicted!!

9:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, cd be a problem. The only reason I can respond fairly frequently is that I have a shitload of typing to do these days, so can switch over to the blog from time to time to see what's shakin'. But the Sept. getaway probably won't enable me to do much here, and then, amigo, there's much worse to come: On Oct. 1 I disappear into Japan for 6 wks, and not just Tokyo: I'm spending 2 wks in Tohoku, in the north, where I'm guessing there are no Internet cafes whatsoever. Just telling u now, so you can brace yrself for the worst.


9:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

I am looking forward to your book on Japan. I have been reading Kay Larson's new book on John Cage, Where The Heart Beats. Larson is mainly interested in the influence of Zen on Cage's philosophy of art and music. Her portrait of him marks Cage as another thinker in the "nomadic" mode you discuss in WG. As a fourteen year old, Cage wrote a paper in which he called on Americans to stop what they were doing and reflect in silence. That way,Cage wrote, we might discover that "other people have thoughts."

10:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Guess we didn't take his advice!


10:52 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...


I'm trying to decide where to move. Is Mexico really a good idea for someone like me, who will, in a few years, only have his Bachelor's Degree?

What about Ireland? Do you see Ireland as you see the USA - failed and slouching toward Nuremberg? Has Europe been shredding its social safety net and civil rights like the USA has been doing?

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Jamie Jay said...

Assange is more important than KNOWN criminals who ripped off millions of customers at Barclays Bank, JP Morgan Chase, etc, etc). Ecuador, please watch your back, bcause this got nothing to do with justice/or defending the rights of the RAPED people of the world:

Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador - live coverage
We have no arrangement with the United States. This is the United Kingdom fulfilling its obligations under the Extradition Act to Sweden, a close partner in so many ways, a fellow democracy in the European Union.

Therefore we are determined to do so and we remain determined to do so despite the regrettable announcement that Ecuador has made today.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

I haven't posted in quite sometime. I recently had a baby and to say that I'm worried about her future and everyday life her in the U.S.A. Is an understatement. I just got a paper in the mail staying that I need to update my voters registration to my current name and address. Even though I did so already. I don't think I'm going to participate in this year's presidential election anyway.

Dr. Berman, I see you're going to be in Vermont in these next coming weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to make it. If not I just got to say your work makes for some wonderful bedtime reading for my little bundle


2:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Whatever u do, don't raise the kid in the US. Grow her soul somewhere else; otherwise, it won't grow at all. Act now, save her life. Hope 2 c.u. in VT.


Not a decision I can make 4u, or even advise u on. You need to do the research and decide for yrself. But u have one advantage: student status. This can give u residency in another country and then even beyond, if u go to grad schl there. Lots to choose from: Trinity College, Dublin; the LSE; the Sorbonne; Free U of Berlin; etc. etc. Good luck!


3:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice."
~ Woody Allen

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Michael in BK said...

Why worry about the state of the world when you may soon be able to own this?

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dr. Berman.
I taught English for nearly 10 years in the Tohoku region: Fukushima City, Koriyama, and Morioka. I'm sure you will have a splendid time there. Morioka especially has a great craft tradition and lovely temples. The food is excellent and you might want to visit a city called Akita which is known for its beautiful women. I'm sure you will find the Japanese infinitely gracious and everyone in Tohoku wants to practice their English so you will not want for company. I must warn you however that the US dollar won't go very far, but go to supermarkets near closing as most produce is dramatically reduced. Beware of natto. You'll know what it is soon after you arrive.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for info on Tohoku; I have a great affinity for both crafts and beautiful women, so this cd be gd. I just hope these women have some command of English, because my Japanese is at the level of 'Toire wa doko des ka?' (Where is the toilet?) I looked up natto on the Net, saw the pictures as well. It looks abs. revolting. If the J had fed it to the occupying forces, the Occupation wd have been over in a week. Not sure why they didn't think of that.


I'm sure this thing will rot my brain, even more than natto. Who spends time inventing this shit?


6:39 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

I KNEW I liked you. One of my guiding principles is: WWWD (What Would Woody Do)?

Brilliant of him to pose our quandary so acutely.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, yr one of the few. Most people cross the st. when they see me coming; at least in the US. And who cd blame them, really?


9:47 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

MB -- their loss, but ignorance is bliss in O&Ding America.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

Mr. Berman,

You are a brave man, as they are now finding mutant butterflies outside Fukushima. But, by now we've all been exposed anyway, especially those of us here in the Pacific North-west. I would be interested in hearing, upon your return, what the Japanese people actually believe about the amount of escaped/escaping radiation and the distance it has spread, from Fukushima, vs. the Gov't reports. I have a cousin who has lived in Japan for 20-years and he won't talk about it. Sadly, he thinks what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I think he is very afraid.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Maybe not (their loss). After all, I wd make them suffer horribly.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, that last comment was for LJ.

As for Fukushima, I realize there is a risk involved, even if I don't drink the water. Stories of how children will be affected in the future have now surfaced, altho the general Japanese tendency is always to cover things up.

On verra, as the French say.


12:03 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Weird time tonight with one of my best friends in the U.S. She decided to leave her husband of 13 years, days after cooing on Facebook about how wonderful it was to be married to him for that time period, since it was their anniversary.

Today he allegedly threatened to have her committed. She flushed all her haloperidol and ativan down the toilet because a cop told her to do so. She's been on ativan twice a day for several years. Quitting ativan cold turkey like that can kill even a young person through seizures, etc.

So she calls me up, tell me I'm an emergency contact for het and that I must move back to the U.S. immediately. I lived and worked as a journalist in California for several years, got laid off and now live in Canada, near my mom who is dying of cancer. My dad is a virtual cripple due to his hips, although he is due for hip replacement surgery soon.

I explain to her that as an only child I don't feel it's appropriate to leave my parents given the state that they're both in and she berates me for it! She says I MUST pursue my dream of moving to Austin, TX at all costs and that my parents should be left to their own devices.

This to me is really sad. I want to be with my mom as she is dying and help out my dad as well since he is no longer competent to handle all the issues that will arise if my mom dies.

I know I have a bad habit of posting stuff that isn't 100% discussion relevant, but this really disturbs me, since this friend I would qualify as one of the nicest people I know.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Chris,

Well, not exactly relevant to the theme of US Going Down the Toilet, but I do wish you well w/all this. Yr friend shd not have gone off her meds cold turkey. Many yrs ago some woman wrote a bk abt doing that w/Valium, and how she subsequently started to go nuts. It was called "I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can."


5:48 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...


I will also recommend Grad School as your ticket out of the US. If I remember correctly, it takes 3 years (and a job and speaking the language usually) to gain residency in Canada and the UK. And 3 years happens to be the length of most Master Degree programs.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

That common dreams article you linked to rings true on too many levels. I live in TX, so my chances are slim enough already, but my boss is a creationist who believes in a 6,000 year old earth. One time, long ago, he told me in regards to evolution: "I've heard of your Isaac Newton."

When discussing why she is voting for Romm Mittney, my mother said she was pro life and brought up Terry Schaivo (sp). I brought up overpopulation and the scale of death of one vegetable vs 100s of thousands of Iraqis. She retorted with "if I go to the hospital I think you'd kill me" and her catch-all explanation for geopolitics was...

...wait for it...

...the illuminati.

I'm surrounded by idiots. You hear these stories and live them, but, alas, add this to the pile.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...


Thanks for the info. I just found out that Trinity College offers a Masters in Music Theory - exactly what I'm studying as an undergrad. As for a job - what about being a music teacher? Could that count?

2:08 PM  
Anonymous abc said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Chris--there are a lot of hospitals in Austin and your friend will be fine; if she starts to feel tremulous, really anxious, restless, or simply needs reassurance she can go to the ER. I don't know her - or you - but I find it hard to believe a cop would tell her to flush her meds. Haldol is an antipsychotic and this is prescribed for a reason, if you get my drift. I hope you'll base your decisions on what's best for you and your family and I hope too your friend will make it thru this and be okay. She needs more help than you can provide, no matter how well intentioned.

Dr. Berman,

"Life begins on the other side of despair." Jean-Paul Sartre

5:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you can just keep in mind that 99% of the American population has ground chuck in their heads--and I'm talking the low-grade, fatty kind--you might not get overly upset. At least, that worked for me for a time; then I finally decided I wanted to live among decent, intelligent people, rather than among angry and depressed buffoons.


6:18 PM  
Blogger Reader said...


I had a conversation with a colleague of mine last week; a former leftist who got brain-washed by her righty friends. She said the following to me, "I'm on the fence between Obama and Romney but I'm voting for Romney because if he doesn't win I'm afraid we will never again have a republican president." Mind you, this woman is an educator, college level.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


u.c.? This is why IQ is not really the issue. The issue is the quantity of ground chuck inside the crania of most Americans.

But then, once in a while u find a tiny ray of hope. The following article appeared in The News, the English-language newspaper publ. in Mexico City, today. Dateline Beverly Hills; headline: "Restaurant offers discount to phone-free diners":

"A Los Angeles restaurant is offering a deal to customers who agree to look at their fellow diners instead of their phone screens. Eva Restaurant is giving a 5 percent discount [that's all? jesus, we're really pushing the envelope here] to customers who will leave their cellphones with staff when they are seated. Owner Mark Gold said on Tuesday that the policy isn't about other diners who might be annoyed by cellphone chatter or the glow of smartphone screens [why the fuck not, u douche bag?], but an attempt to create an environment where diners connect to each other instead of to technology."

Well, good for the Eva Restaurant. What a concept: people before electronic trash. Why is America filled with so many smart phones, and so many dumb people?

Anyway, this strikes a small blow for Cranial-Rectal Extraction.


10:27 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

I have a couple of theories about stupidity, one of them is this: Intelligent, critically thinking people, who have high functioning brains, hearts, and souls, are old souls. With over population, the old souls become fewer and fewer, as the world becomes over populated with newer, younger souls, who enter life dumb in every sense of the word. This thought leaves us little hope.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna Mariana Dominguez said...

RE: The Eva Restaurant, as stupid as 98% of americans are, what are they going to talk about if they finally "connect"? If I had to eat there I'd much rather that they be occupied with their gadgets so I at least could eat in peace and not listen to their mindless drivel. Even though they don't realize it, I'd bet that the reason most americans are so isolated is because detest themselves and each other, and their consumption of most of the world's drugs, both legal and illegal, is a manifestation of this self hatred.

3:46 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dear Reader and Dr. Berman,

I had written a comment, which disappeared when I tried to preview it. No loss - it was too long, anyway. The gist of it was that we do not understand the Japanese devotion to family and how that trumps the fear of death. My brother's friend returned to her home, a mere 80 miles from Fukushima, to help rebuild the town and be near family. She says if they can't afford to move together, they will at least be together when they die. It's a fatalistic approach we find stupid and impossible to understand - not that we try very hard.

Here in the US, we celebrate death - as long as it is someone else's. Congress, backed by Oblahblah, is moving to designate three sites as our newest National Parks. They are valuable historic sites which should be celebrated and appreciated by the public, apparently. These would be Oak Ridge - the world's largest repository of enriched uranium, Los Alamos - home to the nation's largest supply of nuclear weapons, and Hanford - the most contaminated nuclear site in the country. (I assume they won't announce that as you board the tour bus.)

So pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and have a picnic. Hey, none of *us* died when we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


7:04 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Here is a writer I like.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Not to worry. The elections are actually uncontested every cycle. Every level of our government has been populated with corporate careerists. The campaigns are just television entertainment for the masses.

Ask yourself this. What would be the difference if a republican took office? Here is a small list of what to expect when republicans get "control" of the government.

1. Continued war.
2. Lower/No taxes on corporations.
3. Unchecked Pentagon spending.
4. Dismantling of social programs.
5. Privatization of education.
6. Unwavering support for Israel.
7. Violations of the Constitution.

This list should look familiar. Why? It is what has been happening under the current "administration". It is what has happened during every administration since Reagan.

Forget left and right. There is no left in this country. The right has pulled the agenda so far to the right that the Democrats of today resemble the corporate republicans of yesterday.

We have one party in this country, and that party is the Money party. You see the corporations win every election.

I highly suggest that you read Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon Wolin. You will find that we have never been a democratic state. Nor will we ever be one so long as money / more is our ethos.


8:25 AM  
Anonymous Franky Dan said...

Reader said: “I have a couple of theories about stupidity”.

A more plausible theory is that America is now populated with self-haters and unpatriotic souls. Examples are plenty: the wealthy who honestly earned their money from America but refuse to pay taxes; the wealthy who stole from public funds via Medicare/Medicaid fraud; and the wealthy who pillaged retirement and pension funds in wall street. These believe they are smart and that everyone else is dumb. Everyone else wants to be a millionaire like these unpatriotic people regardless of the impacts of their behavior on the public and society. That my theory is more plausible think of the kind of people in the unpatriotic class; they are highly educated from the best universities in America. Read WAF to learn about such highly educated smart people like Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, and others.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Armando Macos said...

The Assange situation in London may lead to world-wide riots and embassy burnings. If the British police violate international law and storm the embassy of Ecuador, I do not see why peoples around the world should not burn down British and American embassies in their nations. In fact, all the nations in Latin America should get together today and warn Britain and America about storming the embassy of Ecuador in London.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, here's another rare example of Cranial-Rectal Extraction for u guys to contemplate:


In terms of dollar volume of sales, 67% of the antidepressant drugs sold in the world are purchased and consumed by Americans--who are less than 5% of the world population. This oughta tell us something, fer sure. But yr right abt talking to Americans, of course. I find it a terribly depressing experience. The American ex-pats in this small Mexican town have diced goat turds inside their crania; to talk w/them is to inhale nitrogen. And this is pretty common in the US as well: what can you learn from aggressive morons, really? Wafers are encouraged to submit typical conversations they might have w/their fellow country(wo)men. (Real or invented, either way is OK.) E.g.:

Wafer: "I'm really concerned about this guy Paul Ryan; he wants to cut $3.3 billion from support systems for the poor. Eventually, we won't even have Social Security."

Typical American: "Let me show you this new app that I have on my computer!"

You get the idea. In the history of the world, heads have never been more deeply embedded in rumps.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous Brad Bill said...

The best read, ever!

I am so tired in my late 50s of the struggle ... that I am angry beyond belief. Nothing in my dream was tied to massive wealth or domination over other people. But that killer instinct certainly is present in many people I know. That’s the instinct I apparently lack – the need to be rich and control others even if it means allowing those many others to suffer and die for my personal achievement.

The American system – both our healthcare system and our broader economic policies – have been stacked against many of us from the start. And what makes me angriest now is that I instilled in my own children the same notion my parents instilled in me that hard work and ingenuity will get you where you want to go. I lied to them, and I didn’t mean to. Hard work might keep you afloat at times, but in these United States, it’s just not enough. Work 50 years? Believe you’ll retire in dignity? It’s an illusion. It’s a lie.

Those in the classes above us want it kept that way, and they will kill to do so. Whether it’s a slow and grueling death like mine or the swift and sure deaths in wars waged for profit or the brutality of what we do to our poor, the class in control doesn’t care how they stay on top. They do not care about you and they do not care about me.

Like millions of my fellow Americans...., I am dead woman working. [we] suffer and die ...for [their own] personal achievement [and success], ... in favor of their own aggrandizement [and success]

3:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And there u have it. In a nation of 311 million, a tiny tiny handful may grasp that it's all been a con.


8:07 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Typical Conversation Dept:
(based on a real one)

Me: Endless material gain is not a coherent philosophy of life at all; it's probably the reason there is so much angst and emptiness amongst Americans.

Typical American: I hated philosphy class in college. I totally downloaded my term paper though from a cheat website and didn't get caught. The teacher was a douche bag.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe: I like it. This may launch a whole new 'dialogue' genre. E.g.:

Me: "Does it bother you at all that your head is rammed into your rectum, and that you are rolling around like a doughnut?"

Typical American: "The clarity of my vision is unparalleled."


12:18 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Me: I was amazed when I got to Tangiers and was met by so many children who could speak English, French, Spanish and even German. And of course they all spoke Arabic.
Moron: They spoke Arabic too? I've heard it's a very difficult language.
Amando, if the British storm the Equadorian embassy an overwhelming majority of Americans will applaud the action and any appeal to international law vis a vis asylum seekers will be met by derision. When Wikileaks first surfaced, for instance, Wolf Blitzer on CNN was exhorting the US govt. to stop the leaks and arrest Assange without realizing that Assange is doing what any good journalist should be doing-uncovering government nefariousness.

1:44 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Our Brit government have already stated that there will be no storming of the embassy, although our politicos are even more devious and at least as untruthful as those in the US.
They intend to play a waiting game since storming the embassy would declare open season on British embassies around the world--very bad PR-- and will probably try to disrupt Assange's electronic access next, as he is still running wikileaks in some fashion from the embassy.

This whole exercise is an attempt to silence that form of truth telling.

I'm no great fan of Assange the man but he has provided a valuable and necessary service to us and I would hate to see him shut down in any way.

I love your blog Dr Berman--its refreshing to read your doomladen prognosis, leavened as it is with wit and humour. I am out of hope for the near future myself and the humour helps.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

I think the reason so few of us are enthralled by money and the power that comes with it is that so few of us have it. Life is really hard for the Wealthy. They have to spend a lot of time and worry on the subject of how to keep that vast imaginary pile intact. Of course there are many ignorant who think that a pile of money would be useful. Useful, perhaps. Necessary, no. Once one is able to divorce oneself from the gold attraction one finds a very sweet freedom.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Here's an example, although it's not from my own life personally.

I know of one guy on the Internet, who shall remain anonymous, who's heavily into girls' dolls and toys. The ponies, the dolls, the fuzzy creatures, everything meant for little girls.

He's in his 20's. Why the obsession?

See, he grew up in one of those post-industrial hellholes where people were conditioned to think misery was "their lot in life". Because of that they had almost no sympathy or compassion for each other at all.

This guy was repeatedly bullied in schools, and harassed by classmates and teachers alike. His parents tried to force him to conform to the violent daily culture, and his way of rebelling against that enforced "masculinity" was to retreat into My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite.

Now he spends his time on the Internet ranting about "kindness and compassion are awesome!" and collecting girls' toys.

More relevantly, others have been constantly pressuring this guy to "be tolerant and accepting" of others, but as he retorts, nobody is tolerant and accepting of HIS (superior, compared to mainstream American) values!

All his conversations are with "dolts", and it drives him crazy.

Any thoughts?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

DR. B & DAAers

Friend: Do you know they are going to take our guns away from us

ME: I don't own one. Do you?

Friend: No, but I should have the right to.

ME: You seem so adament about this, yet you don't own one?

Friend: Because their too dangerous!

ME: If their too dangerous and you don't own one, Why do you care?

Friend: Because its in the constitution and I should have that right.


You see where this conversation went.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Me: You should read everything you can get ur hands on.

Evangelical Church Schooled 14 Y.O.: Why? I've got a bible.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This guy needs to study the Japanese concept of 'amae'. He might start with Takeo Doi, "The Anatomy of Dependence." Also ch. 1 of a bk I wrote yrs ago called "Coming to Our Senses."


Be sure to check out the quote from Woody Allen, which I reproduce somewhere above.


11:06 AM  
Anonymous Michelloo said...

America is going down the tubes because of people like Wolf Blitzer. They have taken over the airwaves in America and they apply the American airwaves for their selfish, money-grabing cravings.

Assange said the U.S. is at a crossroads.

"Will it return to and re-affirm the revolutionary values it was founded on? Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark."

He also addressed the recent incarceration of Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot.

"There is unity in the oppression, there must be absolute unity and determination in the response," he said.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out "Hoax," by Nicholas von Hoffmann. He calls Blitzer and his ilk "war whores," because they made their careers based on their excited, jingoistic reporting of the Gulf War of 1991. I remember it well, and it was pretty disgusting--tho not to 99.9% of the American public. Americans think Wolf is groovy, when in fact, he's just--a wolf.


2:38 PM  
Anonymous BillOM said...

Doctor Berman-

I hope to attend your talk at Clark in Worcester. My mother worked there for a number of years as a researcher (she's at Holy Cross now). I'll be embroiled in my senior year at UConn by then, but I'd like to get there.

I was wondering about your thoughts on Reconquista and Charle's Truxillo's prediction of a hispanic homeland in the Southwest US. Will much of America be returned to Mexican possession, in your view?

3:23 PM  
Blogger Reader said...

Wendy said, "I think the reason so few of us are enthralled by money and the power that comes with it is that so few of us have it."

Perhaps to a point (I would hope a minor point). A primary difference between them and so few of us is that they are willing to sell their integrity, morals, heart, and soul, even grandma, for the money. We are not, would not, and would fight to our death before doing so. Bob Altemeyer, in "The Authoritarians" believes that the difference between RWA (Rt.Wing Authoritarians) and others is in the DNA, being as much a personality trait as being shy or an extrovert; and having been reinforced by authoritarian parents (there enters the chicken or the egg … the nature/nurture argument).

RWAs are fueled by self-righteousness and fear, which they express through aggression onto those who think differently. The hording of money makes them feel powerful and secure.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's doubtful, but two developments might make all that moot. 1st, demographically, there will be more people of color in the US than whites by 2030, and a good % of those will be Hispanic. 2nd, I expect that by mid-century there will be various secessionist movements in the US that will be successful. Which means that those states affected won't technically be part of the US anymore. But this is just a guess on my part.


3:52 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Wondering when they will change the name of that website to "Common Nightmares" (as opposed to Common Dreams).

Re the Donna Smith link (Dead Woman Working), I saw her several times when I was working on the Single Payer campaign a couple years ago.

She infuriated me by continuing to plug the Democrats' stupid healthcare plan, since it was "possible" as opposed to what was right and necessary (enhanced Medicare for all).

Finally, the truth is beginning to dawn on her that the two-faced corporate party works for the 1% and doesn't give a whit about us 99%ers.

Rude awakening, indeed.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

A couple of examples from my own life:

The first isn't a conversation so much as an observation. My wife & I were going into a Panera coffee shop & held the door for an older woman coming in after us. She thanked us & in turn held the door for a chunky young man w/earbuds in place & sunglasses. No thanks from him, not even a nod of the head, just breezing in as if it was his due. The older woman & I shared a glance; she shrugged sadly.

When we left & my wife was returning our dirty dishes to the drop-off station, the same young man, earbuds still in place, couldn't wait half a minute for her to finish, and instead simply dumped his own dishes on top of the opening for the recycling before sauntering out. I put his dishes where they belonged & went out to the car with my wife. There we saw him get into his Mercedes convertible -- yep, earbuds! -- and roar out of the parking lot without slowing down when turning into the pedestrian crosswalk.

That same day we went to a grocery store & brought our groceries back to the car in a cart. As usual, several able-bodied shoppers had simply abandoned their carts in the middle of the parking lot, blocking empty spaces, even though the cart corral was just a few feet away.

I brought my cart over, along with several I'd collected on the way, and was thanked by the kid collecting them all at the corral. I said, "You know, is it really so hard for them to return their carts when they're this close?" He shook his head & said with great dignity, "Some people just don't have any manners."

Small anecdotes, I know -- but telling.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous MikeAlan said...

To Tim Lukeman:

The examples you give are one of the big reasons I have to psych myself up to go to Walmart and many other public locations anymore. Yeah, I know I shouldn't shop there, but it's the closest place for some things that I just cannot get without driving quite a bit further. Besides, the Walmart people have migrated everywhere these days. These is no escape.

Anyway, the grown men who are dressed up in oversized shorts and shirts and sauntering along with menacing tattoos all over their arms, neck, face, etc... are just a disgrace. Add in their self-entitled, halfwit wives, loser girlfriends or current "piece" with their "no-future" kids in tow and it's usually more than I can stand. The only way I can do it is to take freak show Walmart people approach and look to be entertained instead of annoyed.

Yeah, yeah, I know, don't be so judgemental. It's hard to avoid anymore in this country.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Millions of yrs of evolution, and *this* is the result! I guess you cd just pretend yr an anthropologist.


9:06 PM  
Anonymous BillOM said...

Dr. Berman,

How do you feel about the rise of China?

10:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ambivalent; my feelings abt Japan are much more positive, even tho I know it's a very neurotic society (like ours). Check out the essay in "A Question of Values" entitled "The Asian Road to Victory."


12:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And when I say we live in a nation of clowns, people laugh!:

12:16 AM  
Blogger Reader said...

This is not a clown, he's a very sick man, barely human, a mutant.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mutant? A U.S. Congressman!

1:07 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...

I would argue that most Americans are not human beings, if you define human as the ability to think beyond immediate, materialistic, personal needs and have basic common courtesies for others. After all, even animals think about immediate, materialistic, personal needs. They build shelters for themselves and hunt. Most of them endlessly strive to be the leader of their pack, and always have something to prove - just like Americans. With the exception of domesticated animals, most animals display no common courtesies for others, instead preferring to rely on intimidation, deception and violence to achieve their goals - again, like most Americans.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. If Americans are sick of being hated by the rest of the world, perhaps they should try, at least for a few days, actually acting like human beings for a change.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

The kicker? This guy sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee!

The irony for me is that just last night I watched a British program w/Richard Dawkins from 1995 about the general public's lack of basic science. So what's the first thing I hear on the news this morning? This dope's astounding ignorance. As Nigel Tufnel might say, "How much more stupid could it be? None. None more stupid."


Yep, he had the shorts as well! It's interesting -- whether they're from the low income areas around here, or the nearby ultra-rich enclaves, they all act the same way -- that sense of pure entitlement, that disregard for anyone else, that pride in being such incredible asses.

In counterpoint, an article about the popularity of psychoanalysis in Argentina in yesterday's NY Times quoted a construction worker speaking quite eloquently about analysis & Jacques Lacan.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. B DAAers
The on going discussions on this site concerning how is or why is it that so many people can be snookered by so few is a stimulating one(somtimes I can't get enough). As Dr. B argues (And I think he got it right), it was your Quintessential Hustler who first immigrated that started this whole cultural mess we call a country. It was the seed, and the psychosis of greed has been nutured over the years now and envelops the society like in the matrix. After so many generations their is no hope for change for the short term. Of course propaganda (patriotism & retail advertising)and emotion (fear of everthing from losing what you really don't need to immigrants taking our jobs away contibute. Anyway thats what this two-bit farmers thinks.
Speaking of the "Matrix"(movie) their is a campy SCI-FI movie titled "They Live" that folks on this site might find fun. It is similar to the "The Matrix except that society is controlled by aliens broadcasting some type of field with subliminal messages throughout the atmosphere. Warning it s not an oscar winner but its relevant.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Armando Macos said...

Dismissing the man as “a very sick man, barely human, a mutant” does not do enough justice to the situation. This is a man who has worked for the public since 1988 (before I was born). This is a period of more than 24 years on public payroll with free healthcare coverage for all the members of his family; he had enough time to horn his skills and arguments on some burning issues; he was paid well to produce some ideas:

In state politics:
He was elected into the Missouri House of Representatives in 1988. He won re-election in 1990 (59%), 1992 (100%), 1994 (70%), 1996 (67%), and 1998 (66%). In 12 years in the state house, Akin voted for carrying concealed weapons, voted against the parks and soils sales tax, voted against the 1993 tax increase and education spending increase.

In national politics:
He became a member of US House of Representatives in 2000. In 2010, Akin won re-election with 67.9% of the vote. He voted for Paul Ryan's FY 2012 budget, which would restructure Medicare. Akin is an outspoken opponent of abortion in all cases, including health reasons or in cases of rape or incest. He opposes embryonic stem cell research, is a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, and is generally opposed to increases in taxation and spending. As a U.S. Representative, he has continued to support these views, earning a 96% rating from the American Conservative Union in 2008, and 100% in 2007.Akin has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Here's an example of conversations with ordinary Americans, and this time it IS from my personal life.

I don't remember the exact conversation, so this is a paraphrase:

Me: Don't you think it's upsetting that important political decisions impacting the suffering of the entire planet are made by ignorant people who think of little beyond what is on TV?

Other guy: Why are you so intolerant? You shouldn't put people down, ignorant people are good people too.

Me: I don't have a problem with ignorance, but they force intelligent people to be just as ignorant and they vote for policies that HURT PEOPLE, such as bombing Iraq and getting innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

Other guy: Sounds to me like you're in need of some serious self-examination before you judge others.

Me: Those "others" constantly judge the whole world and go to war with them; it is BECAUSE I've self-examined my patriotic American tendencies that I've become anti-war and anti-oppression. Are you even listening to what I'm actually saying?

Other guy: Yes, I'm listening, but you shouldn't be so judgmental. Even the ignorant people or the war-supporters are fundamentally good people at heart, and you should be more tolerant of them.

Me: Before attacking my character, why don't you assess whether or not I'm right? Our whole society is ITSELF judgmental! We're being controlled by a rigid capitalist evangelical Christian system that forces us FROM BIRTH to submit to brutal and cruel arbitrary norms, and aren't willing to study history or anthropology or think outside the box in any way.

Other guy: Be careful you don't get paranoid.

You get the picture. Thanks for providing a space to vent with that suggestion that we list conversations with Americans. You have NO IDEA how much that helps.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank u all for yr comments. This is basically why I can't get on "Democracy Now," or reviewed in "The Nation," and so on: The Left won't admit that we are dealing with 311 million horses' asses, because once u admit that, then the whole 'progressive' agenda collapses like the pile of turds that sit inside the typical American cranium. Somebody on the Left needs to have an epiphany, a major conversion, and write a book called "Jackass Nation." Not much chance that it'll get reviewed, however.

In any event, talking w/yr avg American is a scary thing; let's continue to record or imagine dialogues here. I suspect it's quite cathartic.

Meanwhile, I remember that many yrs ago a friend of mine asked me to give him a succinct map of American politics. I told him there were only 3 things he needed to keep in mind:

1. The buffoons are on the march.
2. There are many more of them than there are of you.
3. If they get into power, they will hurt you.

These bullet pts seem to be true a decade or so later. Todd Akin *is* America, after all; he's not just some sort of odd 'mutant' who wandered in off the street, as Armando pts out.

Tim: Let's go to an alternative universe. Can u imagine an American construction worker discussing Jacques Lacan? In fact, what's the chance he wd be able to identify John Adams?


You probably need to brush up on yr ethology; the animal world is actually a lot more complex than that. (E.g., animals don't kill their own species--just one example. And some species are not interested in hierarchy; etc.) On the other hand, America is not very complex: 99% of the population is stupid and violent. As a result, I worry that you have insulted the animal kingdom by comparing them to Americans.


12:47 PM  
Anonymous JPF said...

Hey, the Bushwacker has a new book out about -- wait for it -- the economy! Something about 4%, which I thought was his IQ.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous abc said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Will you be able to participate in a tea ceremony while you're in Japan? If you do, I hope you'll describe it for us.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous BillOM said...

Noah and Dr. B,

Your remarks remind me of Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger." Except that was about people in general rather than a nationality.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

Okay, my turn!

1) My cousin, a talk-radio listener on his hour+ each way mega-commute, talks with me over the 4th of July...

Cuz: Bill O'Reilly said that only 10% of Americans can name all nine justices on the Supreme Court. Can you believe that?

Me: He actually said that? It's probably more like 10% know that there IS a supreme court, 1% know that there are nine justices, and one-tenth of 1% can name all nine. And if we're talking those who know what the SC actually does, then we're rapidly approaching zero.

Cuz: (deer-in headlights look and nervous chuckle)

2) I'm walking with my toddler down the sidewalk and ahead of us a twenty-something landscaper is mowing the 18" strip of grass between the narrow sidewalk and the street. We stop and wait for him to shut off the mower so that we can pass. He does, shoves the mower, gives me the deathstare, and sighs audibly. I say "Thank you" and he rolls his eyes.

3) My wife and I are stopped at a light behind an insurance agent's car. How can I tell, you ask? Well, this particular insurance company maximizes it's hustling dollar by plastering the company car with the agent's name and Godzilla-sized Glamour Shots photo on the back. My wife says "Hey,[agent's name] is a litter-bug." as the window drops and the agent tosses fast food trash into the street.


5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of Godzilla, this is from Walter LaFeber's book, "The Clash," which is a history of US-Japanese relations:

"Perhaps most popular of all [after the War, in the US] were the *Godzilla* movies made in Japan, which became smash hits in the United States, where audiences who watched monsters attacking Japanese cities were usually ignorant that *Godzilla* was replaying the U.S. bombings of those cities during the war."

Now why would Americans not understand that the monsters were metaphors for Allied attacks on Japanese cities?

a) They don't eat sushi, so cannot empathize with the Japanese
b) They don't drink sake, so etc.
c) They have their heads buried in their recta.

As for tea ceremony: the problem is I only have 6 weeks over there, and already am busy lining up apptments at the U of Tokyo, bilingual interpreters, and on and on. But I'd like to do tea ceremony, sumo, kabuki, and No, in addition to traveling around, interviewing artesans, etc. What I need is 6 mos. and a suitcase full of yen, but no such luck. I think it's really unfair that a hippie millionaire has not decided to become my patron.


5:21 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Hey, MB. You're sought after in Seattle. The Public Library has 6 copies of WAF and there are 19 people lined up to get them. Cheers! Altho sales would be better, I guess.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hey, at this pt, if anyone reads it, it's kind of a miracle, so I ain't gonna complain. In any case, I gave up on putting a downpayment on that villa in Tuscany long ago.
But thanks for letting me know.


7:33 PM  
Anonymous Michael in BK said...

Just saw on the internet that "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan" is a perfect anagram of "My ultimate Ayn Rand porn."

8:43 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Another sign of these fetid times. A PhD is worth the gold type on the diploma but that's about all.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, I have this sinking feeling in my gut that Mittney is going to lose the election. This will be a tragedy, because he and Ryan are poised to do untold damage to the country--possibly even greater than Mr. Obama (incarnation of Millard Fillmore) has. But the polls have Rom trailing the pres (in excess of any margin of error), and every time he opens his mouth it gets worse. Even the electorate, wh/is none too bright, can see two stunning facts:

1. The guy is a doofus.
2. He also *looks* like a doofus, wh/is even worse for his election chances. Not quite as moronic as Bush Jr., but definitely not gd. He's completely vapid, much like "Chance" in Jerzy Kosinski's novel "Being There."

His European tour was little more than a bad joke (check out all the gaffes on google), and he has yet to put out a political ad profiling himself. So the Obama camp is doing it for him, and it ain't exactly complimentary. In a word, the guy has his head rammed up his ass and is rolling around like a doughnut. I'd be delighted if he wd do that once elected president, but as a candidate, it's not such a hot strategy.

It looks like we're saddled w/4 more yrs of Nowhere Man: war criminal, shredder of the Constitution, shil for the Pentagon and Goldman Sachs. Oy.


10:55 PM  
Blogger cosmoflanker said...

Doc B,

I too share your disappointment over the increasing unlikelyhood of a Mittney/Ryan regime. Ever since it became clear that the Dream Ticket of Palin/Bachmann was not to be, I have been searching for a replacement team who could live up to their potential.

When Mittens announced Ryan as his running mate, I once again had a glimmer of hope, realizing that that this was another Dream Ticket - two MALE bimbos.

I even came up with an appropriate campaign slogan for them to use, one I hope will appear on t-shirts, billboards and bumpers across this God Blessed Land Of Exceptionalism:

Now More Than Ever,
America Deserves...
Romney/Ryan 2012

(cue patriotic music)

12:47 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

MB said

"Even the electorate can see

1. The guy [Rom] is a doofus.
2. He also *looks* like a doofus"

I don't know, Dr. B. You may be overestimating the American electorate's analytical skills there.

Todd Akin is about as popular with Missouri voters after his "legitimate rape" comment as he was before it, according to a poll taken Monday. Source:

A precis of Akin's comment:
"Akin [...] said that victims of 'legitimate rape' do not need access to legal abortions because they cannot biologically become pregnant." Source:

Akin is a United States Representative, who served on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Source:

Zeus help us all.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. B & DAAers
Cheer-up there is still hope for a Mittney/Galt vitory. Ray McGovern at Consortium News believes there is a good chance Isreal will bomb Iran before the election. Net And Yahoo(Not sure how to spell his name) in a public statement said that Isreal has a twelve week window to deal with Iran over nuclear weapons, which is how far off the elections are. If that is the case we have two senarios. If the US joins the fray it will just accelerate the end game, if not, the American electorate will turn against Obama and give the presidency to Rom/John and thus accelerate the end game. Its a win-win outcome. Sad but true. Why do I have mixed emotions about this?

9:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Far be it from me to overestimate the intelligence of the American voter. Recent biopsies of the latter (New England Journal of Medicine, 4 June 2012, pp. 8-17) have revealed the presence of large quantities of chipped beef (with that disgusting white sauce) inside the average American voter's head. So this may be a very subjective evaluation on my part. But Mittney really does look like a terrible doofus. Sort of like a caricature of a presidential candidate, such as might appear in a cartoon or comic strip about American politics. *Surely* the American electorate, even with chipped beef in their heads, can see that, no? In addition, his campaign, such as it is, seems to have lead in its ass. I tell u, I c 4 yrs more of Nowhere Man on the horizon.

Of course, in terms of putting the country into an early grave, Nowhere Man hasn't done such a bad job, as we all know. It's just that we really do need some comic relief by now. To the barricades! Herman Cain in 2016! (Or Michele Bachmann will serve just as well. Or maybe even Barbara Ann Nowak, or Joe the Plumber. O&D!)


9:47 AM  
Blogger Noah Linden said...


I'm really starting to see your point. When you say to an Obama supporter, "Hey, did you know that Obama signed a law allowing the military to assassinate and/or torture you any time they feel like it, without evidence or trial?" and the Obama supporter says, "But he's doing the best he can! He's a wonderful president, and I'd like to see you do better!" know the person has all the intelligence of a rusted food tin.

I always chalked up those type of responses to a kind of violent nationalism and self-delusion...but it turns out that sheer stupidity is part of the problem too.

And you're right: animals do at least have the ability to recognize imminent danger, to the best of their physical and mental senses. Americans do not have this ability. The government strips them of all their rights, pretty openly, and they simply can't mentally digest this and recognize it as a danger.

Are Americans really so attached to the idea of their nation being pure and innocent that they are willing to look the other way when they are strippe even of their right to live? Apparently, yes.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Recently someone I know who lives on Long Island came to this town to visit a friend of mine here. Joe is a schoolteacher, and a very smart guy. He had no idea that Obama had signed the National Defense Authorization Act, complete with the indefinite detention clause, on Dec. 31. I told him that the pres could arrest anyone he thought might be a terrorist (defined as having a missing finger, a gun in the house, more than 7 days' worth of food, etc.--the list of qualifications for being a terrorist as drawn up by the Dept. of Justice), ship him out to Guantanamo, and torture him to death. Also, that the person had no habeas corpus rights, couldn't make a phone call, cdn't see the evidence against him, cdn't confront his accusers, and certainly cdn't evoke the now-defunct Bill of Rights. Joe was flabbergasted; he hadn't heard of any of this. I repeat: he's very bright.

I in turn was flabbergasted. Joe didn't attempt to deny or excuse what I was saying; he had just never read abt this. True, he's not particularly politically oriented, but he does read the NYT or whatever. And he hadn't a clue.

So here's my estimate: leaving stupidity aside, wh/simply doesn't apply in this case, I'm guessing that 99% of the nation is unaware of this legislation, or of the total surveillance apparatus, or of the CMU's in Indiana and Illinois. Joe was different in that (a) he didn't attempt to argue with the facts; (b) he was horrified by what I told him; (c) he made no attempt to defend Obama. But frankly, if this guy didn't know about the NDAA, the CMU's, the NSA surveillance program and all the rest, then you can bet that nearly all of the American population is in the same boat.

Do u have any idea of how unrepresentative this blog is of the mental space of the nation?

At the height of the VN war, the # of Americans marching in the streets was a tiny % of the nation as a whole, and most people surveyed were more upset by the protesters than by the army, which was dropping jellied gasoline on infants.

The circulation of "The Nation" is something like 150,000.

Chris Hedges is a popular author and has written a pile of brilliant exposes of this gov't. I'm guessing that 99% of the American population has never heard of his name; or that of Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and the small handful of serious critics that does exist.

When I lived in the US, I was occasionally asked by professors of history or political science or sociology to address their classes (safer to have a wild-eyed radical voice the prof's position for him or her than do it themselves, I guess). Say the class had 50 students, which was more or less typical. I wd start out by asking how many of them had heard of Noam Chomsky. Two, at the abs. maximum, would raise their hands. Of the remaining 48, how many do u think went home and googled his name? 0? That wd be my guess.

As a result, the gov't can do whatever it wants to anybody. Not only because the average American wdn't give a damn; but esp. because the average American, or even the bright American like Joe, will never have heard of any of this stuff.

When I say we're fucked, I have pretty gd reasons for saying it. I'm not blowing smoke here: the notion that "we" (whoever the hell that is--certainly not the now-moribund Occupy movement)--are going to turn things around is so out of touch with reality as to not warrant comment.


12:02 AM  
Blogger Reader said...

Noah said, "Are Americans really so attached to the idea of their nation being pure and innocent that they are willing to look the other way when they are strippe even of their right to live? Apparently, yes."

Agreed. But, when it is all over, who will survive? The sustainability/stability camp or the survivalist camp? If the former, then humans might have future hope; if the survivalists, then Americans (or whoever they'll be) will once again repeat history, all over again. Like Rome, U.S. America, and them. Interestingly, neither of these groups, currently, seem so "attached to the idea of their nation being pure and innocent that they are willing to look the other way." Both, are the only ones yelling, hunkering down or protesting.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Noah, let me give you at least SOME hope:

There's a possibility the survivalists might die out.

I've read multiple authors who've studied the survivalist groups, and many of them agree that if the survivalists hole themselves up in the woods with guns and food, what will happen is that they might successfully kill the first few potential lone looters, but will then waste all their ammo and thus be vulnerable to the MOBS of looters, (and we're talking crowds of 50 or 100 or 1000 here as the cities fail) that will come later on.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

MB: Someone agrees with your critique of the "wool pulled over their eyes" progressive argument.


In the UK it is 5 years residency and you don't need a job. Canada is 3 years and you don't need a job. It was France I was thinking about when I said you need a job to become a citizen.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous abc said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

You are absolutely right about the majority, overwhelming majority, never having heard of most the bills that evaporate civil liberties. The Disappear Into Guantanamo bill was never mentioned on the NBC nightly news OR PBS Newshour! I knew about it from Truthdig and Truthout which I read daily and I do watch the news, for what it's worth (not much). I agree with Noah that the Obama supporter says, "But he's doing the best he can! He's a wonderful president, and I'd like to see you do better!" know the person has all the intelligence of a rusted food tin" because I've heard first hand and not always from uneducated people either.

The American populace is up against the wall as far as real information goes but also b/c they know their "vote" really doesn't count. My brother lives in a small farming community in North Texas and he recently told me this: the local, small school board wanted a football team but didn't have the money to fund it. So they floated a bond bill which was defeated by 70%--twice. So they took a different tack and got a bond bill passed to build a new AG building and expand that department which passed with no problem since kids were interested in animal husbandry, etc. They took the money "left over" and started a football team. So there you have it. The AG dept. wasn't fully funded, people didn't get what they thought they voted for and a very small group of men in control did as they damned well pleased.

You are so right. We are screwed.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for sending this in; I've actually corresponded w/the author in the past. My favorite lines:

"The problem progressives ignore is that they still believe what they learned in civics class: Give the people the true facts and their minds will lead them to logical conclusions. What the civics teacher left out is the powerful, perhaps ineradicable, human tendency to look for meaning by thinking in (or by means of) mythic narratives."

I talk abt mythic narratives governing American history in some detail in my book "A Question of Values." I've also said on this blog, many times, that poll results are determined by how the questions are posed--what language is used. This is why I can't accept the 'progressive' argument that there is a 'democracy gap' or whatever between what The People want and what the gov't wants; that The People are really liberal, but are being violated or hoodwinked by a right-wing gov't--the 'rape' theory of American society, the theory of false consciousness or manufactured consent. It's true to *some* extent, of course; but for the most part, Americans are on board with the imperial program of casino capitalism and the American Dream. There is no serious dissent from that, in the final analysis. Hence, as I say, "the wool *is* the eyes." Noam Chomsky is a very rational person, as are many other folks on the Left; so they think The American People are as well. But as both Chernus and I show, this is simply not the case, and this guts the argument that social change is just a matter of enlightenment, or education. For The American People are living not only in a mythic consciousness, but in a slogan-driven consciousness, against which facts can make very little headway. And this is the one thing 'progressives' cannot admit, because if they did, the American trajectory wd not look like a very progressive one; just the opposite, in fact.

Remember the "attack of the trolls" we had on this blog a short while ago? This was a classic case of what I'm talking about. Over and over again, I could cite the points in WAF where I say that I regard slavery as an abomination, and that the Civil War had to be fought to eradicate it. Over and over again, I could point out that research by Gene Genovese and others shows that that the antebellum South had a very rich culture, and that the paradox and tragedy of it all was that it was rooted in a (horrible) slave economy. Over and over again, I could point out what Gene in fact does do in his writings: indicate that none of this empirical and rational discussion matters to Americans, because they have a knee-jerk reaction to the South, and so to say anything positive at all about it, no matter how qualified, must mean 'yr a racist', end of discussion. My attempts to explain to the trolls what I was *actually* saying in ch. 4 of WAF made abs. no difference at all to them; and the same is true of most large political arguments in the US: it's abt hurling slogans and epithets, not abt rational thought. The bottom line is that Americans confuse emoting with thinking.

And this means that our mythologies, our narratives, will not be seen thru for what they are; hardly. Rather, they will be lived out, and that includes the American Dream, where u have soup kitchens and tent cities flying the American flag above them. It means that blogs such as this will remain scorned or (mostly) invisible, and that books such as the ones I write will sell a few thousand copies in a nation of 311 million people. It means, in a word, that the gov't has abs. 0 to fear from its serious critics, and that real social change will come to America via inevitable historical forces. I.e., the Dream will only be dumped or discredited when the entire system comes unraveled, and we hit a brick wall, and no other choices are available. We'll do 'crisis management' for another 20 yrs or so, but I suspect that after that, all bets are off.


10:37 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. B
On a similar rant: I wonder how many Americans know that last month 38 soldiers commited suicide (highest recorded), that over 40,000(I suspect its higher do to battlefield suicide which are not recorded) American have taken their own life since the first gulf war, that more than one third of women soldiers have been raped by fellow soldiers and superier officers, and even have a clue as what the battlefield casualties are for all three wars. My hometown newspaper tallied the daily and total casuslties on the front page everyday for the Vietnamn war. Seldom do I see causualty figures these days. Similar, when I meet with some of my fellow Americans, and their playing with their cell phones and I-pads and wearing their Nike sneakers and I point out what I call the 14/14/14 rule (14 years old, 14 cents/hour, 14 hours a day) they would just ignore me. By the way it takes less than 10 dollars to put 100+ dollar fancy sneakers on the shelf in the shoe store.The store clerks and salespersons are sure raking it in. NOT!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

America is simply not going to solve its problems; that's all there is to it. Any thinking person knows that over time, things can only get worse.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous JSRANK said...

MB ...I find it enlightening to read this blog , the various opinions / projections , the dystopian fatalism, and the "rear-view mirror" reasoning for current conditions. This is not a critique. It is just that so many people, even intelligent ones, recognize the trap we are in and are at wits end as to how to extricate either individually or collectively ...and they can't imagine a way out.

I know so many that have withdrawn into personal escapisms, so that, like Scarlett O'Hara, they just won't think about that anymore when problems are seemingly intractable.
I suppose this is a mental survival technique ( not survivalist ) that at least enables individuals to marginally cope with day to day existence.

When time and opportunity permits, would like to hear more RE: Veblen, Eric Blair, Huxley, Vonnegut, Vidal.

Ends are but new beginnings.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, this is a pretty intelligent group of people checking in here, it seems to me; occasional troll attacks notwithstanding. So stick around, I'm sure you'll hear more about Eric Blair, Samuel Clemens, and Mary Anne Evans.

I'm not sure ends are new beginnings, tho. Sometimes, they are just ends. My own guess is that recovery from world capitalism will not take place on American soil, but elsewhere. That was the Roman pattern, in any case. But then Rome did foster islands of monastic preservation, as I discuss in the Twilight bk. The central problem is that Americans are constitutionally unable to see their own narrative, from the outside, as it were. In fact, at least 99% of the population wd not be able to define the word 'narrative'. That gives you some idea of what we are up against.

There is a story of some Sufi heretic, Al-Hallaj, I think his name was, who said to his executioner before they cut his head off: "If I had not been able to see what you are not able to see, I wdn't be here today." That's where most Wafers are today, I suspect. I'm just hoping I don't get guillotined (or whatever it was they did to the poor guy).


12:58 PM  
Blogger cosmoflanker said...

That common dreams article by Chernus is very good, however since common dreams is ostensibly a "progressive" site, the commenters are of course chewing him up and spitting him out...

The first sentence of the article is very telling, because I too remember hearing about "rational" people being the basis of democracy in middle school civics class, and thinking *something is wrong with this picture...*
I also remember the first time I heard the economics/capitalist equivalent: "all consumers are rational utility maximizers." I knew right then that we were well and truly screwed. In my 20's (back in the 80's)I said I wanted to write a history of the US to be entitled "The Failed Experiment." Well I never did, but I eventually found my way here last year just as Morris' work on that very subject was coming out. Nice to see someone did it :)

I also get a kick out of those who think "democracy" (especially in the "American" style) is the answer to this mess. What do you think got us INTO this , I say.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Sorry for the twice in a day post but,


Try "A Canticle for Leibowitz" for a literary take on the situation ... a book I (ironically or not) learned about from MB's book Twilight.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Mark Fuller Dillon said...

Recently, an online discussion group far away from here featured a thread about "relevant" books with something to say about our times. I posted the titles and thumbnail images of books by Naomi Klein, Chalmers Johnson, Sheldon Wolin, and so on, but most were books by Dr. Berman. This lead to a short discussion.

GROUP MEMBER: Sensationalistic anti-American crap.

ME: Which of these have you read?

GROUP MEMBER: I don't have to read them. I can tell just by the covers that they're crap.

There we have it: the liberating power of ideas...!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

As bad as it is, NDAA isn't the whole story of the growing surveillance and detainment system. "Private" security companies, operated by supposedly ex-employees of various three-letter agencies, are also part of the rapidly growing "national security" system. Another batch of documents from the Stratfor hack last year has been released on Wikileaks, and these reveal a surveillance system already in place in many cities in the US and even foreign countries. Trapwire may be violating the rights of Europeans under their data protection laws.

ZDNet: Wikileaks uncovers TrapWire surveillance: FAQ

Wikileaks has released as part of its The Global Intelligence Files series another vast cache of leaked emails from private intelligence firm Stratfor. Brought to the public eye is a system called TrapWire. This previously little known technology may have the ability to impact our everyday lives in the U.S. and abroad.

This serves as an FAQ to what we know so far.


5:06 PM  
Anonymous bart said...


Re: Gore Vidal:

Re: Sam Clemens. In Dennis Drabelle's Mile-High Fever: Silver Mines, Boom Towns, and High Living on the Comstock Lode we learn that the miners on the biggest silver strike in the country earned $4 a day, whereas each of the 4 Comstock Bonanzas Kings was clearing $40,000 or more a week. Sam Clemens arrived to cut his teeth as a journalist in 1861 and left in 1864 as Mark Twain. So at the age of 26 Sam got an up close exposure to the animating hustling spirit that so dramatically affects our fellow citizens.

While writing a letter home he interrupted to note "I have just heard five pistol shots down the street--as such things are in my line, I will go and see about it. " He then appended a ps. "The pistol did its work well--one man--a Jackson County, Missourian, shot two of my friends (police officers,) through the heart--both died within three minutes."

As Kurt Vonnegut might have remarked.... "So it goes... "

On Huxley:

6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I abs. adore GROUP MEMBER. If anything is going to bring the nation crashing down around us, it's guys like him. He's the quintessential American; I tell u, I love him, and I love the schmaltz (chicken fat) that sits between his ears, 'analyzing' everything he sees and hears (that's a poem, BTW). GROUP MEMBER, you know yr rt; what's to discuss? Stay on this path; victory lies ahead!


8:53 PM  
Anonymous dookie said...

The USSA is experiencing "Reverse French Revolution"

That's where revolting peasants do all they can to elect an aristocrat who will swindle them out of their savings even faster and lock up even more of them in the Bastille.
And what makes these peasants so revolting is that they are all fat—from eating cake just as Marie Antoinette had suggested.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous JSRANK said...

Thanks to all.
@JWO, I am more inclined to TSEliot . We are all Hollow Men now, destined to rot. I find Liebowitz a good read, but pretentious in its dated 1960's cold war lens; or that any religious or quasi-religious order would preserve science, intelligence, and culture without co-opting them for their own history and advantage.

@MB ....the problem of not understanding one's own, or any, narrative ... is that so much of what is 'known' is either false ( narrated by the winners ), or it is incomplete.
I had been sharing with Thor Heyerdahl on a novel concept that would change so many views on the origins of man. He was coming to see that pre-history civilizations were a global phenomena, and not a concentric circle from one starting point.
Has to do with global pyramid building and the development of the Clovis point, in short.

This is a narrative still being 'dis' (un) covered.

As for our current state, I observe that our so-called 'leaders'...the "deciders", so to speak, are Theory X managers with nary a visionary among them. These are such limited minds, that they can only envision fantasies of false narratives of the past.
They want their country back...way back.
The 'chaos-destruction-rebuilding' may not be the only model they know, but it is the one most used and respected.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Warren said...

Dr. Berman I attended your talk last night at Clark University in Worcester. I was the bald black man with the wire rim glasses in the second row. I've read your trilogy and admire your world view and rigourous scholarship. Would love to see you come back to New England more. I couldn't remain after the talk because I had to work the next day, and drive back to Providence. I've attempted to bring your world view to more people and I believe I have a couple of converts. Keep up the good work and I wish you the best.


10:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Warren,

Best to send message to latest post, as no one reads the old stuff. But glad u were at Clark, thank u for coming. It was a gd experience, I thought; I do wish there were some way I cd do more lecturing in New England.


1:04 AM  

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