May 24, 2013

Conversation with Chris

Dear Wafers and Waferettes:

Chris never got back to me about posting the conversation we had last month, so I'm going to interpret this as a Yes. (Chris, if I got this wrong, notify me immediately.) Anyway, I know some of you already located it via the extraenvironmentalist and the Orlov blog, but let me post it here for easier access:

I'm told it goes down easier with a large glass of Scotch. Enjoy!



Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Remember the "humorous" theme (abt 30-40 yrs ago) that showed up now and then in Am pop culture: the Japanese tourist? The J tourist was ridiculed as a camera-obsessed freak who traveled the world and never removed his eye from his camera's viewfinder. The stereotypical J tourist never experienced anything first-hand: he only took dozens of photo of it, then sped ahead to the next photo-snapping opportunity. I recall the shallowness and absurdity of this photo-obsessed second-hand living being emphasized in the presentations of this "humorous" stereotype.

Well, who's the laugh on now?

Every dolt in Am is glued to his/her "smart" phone, snapping bazillions of photos, leading a second- (or third-) hand existence. I wd say people today are far worse than the J tourist of old: the latter snapped photos only while on vacation.

(Someone once asked classical composer Franz Liszt why he never wrote the story of his life. "It was enough," Liszt answered, "to have lived it.")

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Glenn S. said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

That was a great podcast. I'm a big fan of the Extraenvironmentalist. It's too bad they couldn't get James Howard Kuntsler to complete the "4 Horseman..." set.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers far and wide,

MB and Wafers-

A January 2014 "It's Over" conference is an excellent idea!

Please allow me to offer a few suggestions:

1. Given the nature of lecture topics and workshops that will be held, it is quite apparent that we will need a boatload of hard liquor and perhaps a few bottles of excellent wine. Since all Wafers are granted free admission (Thanks MB), I suggest that Wafers start an alcohol fund immediately. Contributions of $20 or more will be greatly appreciated.

2. As MB indicated in his interview with Hedges, the Dixie Chicks are looking for some gigs in the US. With a name change... something like Pixi Chix... they could slip back into NYC and jam at our event.

3. I suggest that Bingo conduct the workshop on the psychology of denial. Tracing the psychodynamic development of dolts or identifying the defense mechanisms of dumb clucks could be possible workshop activity ideas.

4. "Shivering shit balls, it stinks" could be a good anti-CRE Foundation logo, however, it's difficult to depict such a thing artistically.


6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I thought he said: "OK, but 1st I need to make a Liszt." Ha ha.


Logo wd hafta include a crowbar and large tube of K-Y jelly. As for the Chicks, perhaps "Dixie, Shmixie" might work for their new name (meaning no disrespect to the South, of course). Or perhaps "Chicks on Toast," and the poster ad would show them standing on a piece of toast. (Being in Barcelona, I seem to have picked up a certain surrealist vibe.)


8:38 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

MB and fellow WAFers--

Terrific podcast with Chris Hedges (note to self: Read Bellah and get conversant with "path dependency" . . .).

For those of you who aren't in positions to emigrate but wish to look at alternatives to the status quo, just sending out a reminder that the Slow Living Summit takes place in 2 weeks in the People's Republic of Vermont. Here's a link:

Best, and in solidarity--


9:54 PM  
Blogger said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

Really enjoyed listening to you on the EE podcast. I've been listening to the play-by-play crash discussions for several years now (Kunstler, Greer, Orlov). I think you add a much needed historical perspective to the conversation.

I realize that this blog is now mostly focused on the ongoing crash, but I recently discovered your works and just read Wandering God. I'm wondering if you or any of the Wafers who are listening might know of any good follow-up reading to that book -- maybe more research on the ideas you presented or further ideas on the evolution of consciousness?

Thanks again!

- Matt

11:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's an interesting question. WG was the 3rd in a trilogy on consciousness, and the 'fate' it suffered--as in the case of #2 (CTOS)--as opposed to that of #1 (ROW) was for me a real education. All 3 bks are an attempt to "unlearn the inherent dominative mode," as Raymond Aron once put it; to question the dominant (meta)narrative of Western civilization. ROW was extremely successful: the only best-seller I wrote, as it turns out. WG sold something like 2000 copies; CTOS did a bit better, over time, but still remains a 'cult' book, as many have called it. The question is why.

This is only a guess, but ROW appeared just as the scientific paradigm was seen by many to be deeply flawed, and it offered a holistic alternative. It contained a logic of opposition, in other words, and was thus seized on as the next paradigm, the next solution. It never made any headway in the academic world, of course, but it got lionized by alternative (or would-be alternative) communities, such as that of the New Age. This lionization was pretty unthinking, pretty sloganeering, in retrospect, and led to a lot of spinoffs. But the availability of an alternative was, I believe, key to its success.

The 2 succeeding volumes offered no such formula, and no such solace. It deconstructed, and then left it to the reader to think abt possible reconstructions. CTOS, for example, suggested that a body-based history would look very different than a purely cerebral one. To my knowledge, no one picked up the challenge. I realized how badly the book had 'failed' when I discovered, on one occasion, that it was shelved in the Yoga section of a bkstore! Popular culture, and the Academy in particular, are not comfortable with empty space, which to me is the beginning of real thinking. What they want is a formula, and I had by then begun to realize that formula was the problem, not the solution. It's fate as a 'cult' bk was thus sealed.

Much the same can be said of WG. Central to the argument was a challenge to the anthropological community: that with the exception of the Australian continent, hunter-gatherers were *not* religious, and cave paintings did *not* reveal any sort of shamanism, which was a later imposition on the art of Lascaux etc. The book did receive a favorable review in the "American Anthropologist," but beyond that, it sunk into oblivion. It was far too much "unlearning" for the Academy to handle, in a word. So altho I wish I cd offer you some follow-up rdg to the bk, to my knowledge it simply doesn't exist. It and CTOS offered no formulae, but only a creative path to future understanding. As that path was rather arduous, and threatening, WG had no takers, no 'disciples', as it were. The narrative of primitive religion, as inaccurate as it is, remains the mainstay of studies of Paleolithic consciousness. Like CTOS, WG will remain invisible, or at best, a 'cult' object. C'est la vie.


7:08 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

A young, earnest, well-educated liberal makes a progressive case for drones while agonizing in public over it all:

As far as I can see, he's mainly impressed with his own moral torment & doubts, and how noble he is to be wrestling with such matters on such a high cerebral plane. Oh, where will he find surcease after deciding it's acceptable to kill X number of innocent civilians for the greater good? No doubt it haunts his hard-working hours as an investment strategist.


Thanks for the podcast link. Much as I enjoy reading your words, hearing you speak adds an extra passion to this issue, and really brings it home to me. Shall we say it makes both you & your ideas more present to me?

Looking forward to reading CTOS. Modern society has a very strange relationship with the body, doesn't it? Just taking the most obvious aspect, sexuality -- our culture is simultaneously drenched in it on a superficial level, pretty much solely as sensation & power; at the same same, it's got to be one of the most emotionally immature societies as far as sensuality & complex human feeling are concerned. Symptom of or contributing cause to our culture's shallowness?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


CTOS is available from the Book Clearing House in Harrison NY, 1-800-431-1579, or Used copies off of Amazon as well.


9:24 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

Malditos sean, baby boomers! Why should we who were born after 1980 have to clean up your mess for you? You stole the future of your children and your children's children! Unless at least a few communities in every continent find creative means of weathering the collapse and building philosophically wiser societies from the ground up that preserve the best of previous historical periods, we are deep in a world of sh**. It may be petty of me, but I can't stand how John Michael Greer nonchalantly smiles in his pictures, looking at the history and probable future of humankind, like he is teasing "Heheheh, enjoy your rat-like existence, those of you who are younger than me!"

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Bad Idea du Jour said...

My wife and I were just talking about this last night. It's a double-whammy: not only are people buried in their screens, but they are experiencing reality via media, which is second(or 3rd)-hand info that has been vetted in order to attract attention. In the future, we might become a NMIs just by having the audacity to exchange greetings on the street!

The J-tourist and Liszt quote remind me of Wendell Berry:

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


A fine interview. As much as I like and have profound respect for Hedges work and courage I think he is of the view that the majority of Americans are victims--a few baddies and a lot of good people under the yoke of oppression. While this may well be true in some measure many americans dram of being the opressors--moving up from Walmart to TSA or Homeland Security and have the chance to taser some protestors....While the life of americans is mostly empty and they are inflamatory dolts I don;t know if they are innocent and or unwitting victims. Maybe they are and I am missing something deep in human nature after all in russia and germany even very smart people caught on to things a bit too late...

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

America is at the point of no return. Read this:

Arizona's bitter debate over a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has sparked an investigation into lawmakers' safety after at least nine legislators received a threatening email over Gov. Jan Brewer's push to expand Medicaid access.

The message referred to Second Amendment rights and shooting someone, but did not include any direct threats. It was sent to House Speaker Andy Tobin, who opposes the Medicaid expansion, and eight other Republican House members.

"Please kill SB1492, the Medicaid Expansion Act," the email begins, before quoting the Second Amendment. It then reads, "If you are ever asked why you shot the person, the only answer from your lips should be, I felt my life, or/and my family's life was in immediate danger of death. So I did what I had to do in order to eliminate this threat.

Helping poor people to get medical care is a crime worth killing people, but destroying America by the bankers and wallstreeters is not a crime worth killing people.

America should die. The country needs to die, period.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous T. Williams said...


I'd have to agree. My faith in humanity never survives the frist couple of daily personal interactions. The sad truth is the mass of people out there are dim witted, non-caring, brainwashed zombies. If I could afford to move I would but I am barely living paycheck to paycheck. I guess I'll end up going down with the ship U.S.A. but I'm not going to pretend that most of the people here weren't part of the problem. The leaders are crap and that goes without saying but yea, most people are too.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Your recent comments on Edward Said are right-on when you say:

“The interest of Western academics in multiculturalism and post-colonialism, he says, can in fact be a cultural and intellectual retreat from the new realities of global power. Globalization, in other words, is a system by which a small financial elite expanded its power over the entire globe, redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich--and *this* is the crucial issue.”

In the May 23rd Guardian, Glenn Greenwald struggles with the question, “Was the London killing of a British soldier 'terrorism'?”

Maybe he misses “the crucial issue” when he says that the word ‘terrorism’ “seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Check out the 2004 NYTimes op-ed piece, by John V. Whitbeck:

Whitbeck sees the issue as one of wealth and power instead of ‘multiculturalism’ when he says:

“While most of mankind has more reason to fear the high-technology violence of the strong than the low-technology violence of the weak, the fundamental mind-trick employed by the abusers of the word ‘terrorism’ is essentially this: The low-technology violence of the weak is such an abomination that there are no limits on the high-technology violence of the strong that can be deployed against it.”

I recall Peter Ustinov saying: “Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

I just question whether “the new realities of global power” are really so new. Wasn’t it always about wealth and power for a few? Making ‘Islamic Terrorism’ the new enemy does have the added (and now necessary) advantage of not requiring capitalism to look relatively good.

David Rosen

5:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

@ T. Williams,

Please don't lose faith in humanity due to the behavior you see among americans. They DO NOT reflect humanity at all and in fact behave the way they do because they collectively squandered their humanity.

And don't give up trying to get out of there, either. It's not as daunting as it may first appear. Once you're able to live among full fledged human beings you'll be glad for the time, effort and sacrifices you made to make it happen.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

in reference to your experience @ the guitar concert in Barcelona, how does this relate to hope that other, older cultures will avoid America's folly? What do you make of the pervasiveness of neoliberal, tech-obsessed Capitalism outside the US? Most of us would probably agree that the US is ground zero and the belly of the beast when it comes to neoliberal global capitalism and tech obsession/addiction, and that there is no hope for the US. Then the question turns on the pervasiveness and seduction of techno global capitalistic culture OUTSIDE the US. What do you make of the resilience of other cultures/countries to avoid the seduction/addiction of global capitalistic (non)culture? Is this related to the dual process you speak of, whereby in the same Barcelona/Catalonia that people are addicted to their fones, others are rejecting tech addiction/capitalism?
That is why I'm so eager for some tangible milestone of collapse to occur. Considering that there is no hope for the US, and that it is a living horror, having the US become a full-on fascist state, or having the US default on its debt, might at least cause other countries and cultures around the world to at least pause in their mindless following in our footsteps.
In the O&D department, I'm guessing we can expect more, and more frequent, infrastructure collapses like the I-5 bridge collapse in Wash. state. May the decay accelerate!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H.G. Wells In the Days of the Comet, 1906.

"After a brief century of hope and pride, the great republic of the United States of America, the hope as it was deemed of mankind, became for the most part a drifting crowd of landless men;landlords and railway lords, food lords (for the land is food) and mineral lords ruled its life, gave it Universities as one gave coins to a mendicant, and spent its resources upon such vain, tawdry, and foolish luxuries as the world had never seen before. Here was a thing none of these statesmen before the Change (the comet)would have regarded as anything but the natural order of the world, which not one of them now regarded as anything but the mad and vanished illusion of a period of dementia.....All the vast cities had given way and gone...and the lives that were caught, crippled, starved, and maimed amidst their labyrinths, their forgotten and neglected maladjustments, and their vast, inhuman, ill-conceived industrial machinery have escaped...

8:52 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dr B,

Had you hit the New Age circuit of seminars, talks and fan clubs after 'Wandering God' was a best seller you might have started a real live cult that provided you with wealth and fame beyond imagining, a la Tony Robbins, et al--but there would have been no people thinking for themselves in your new cult, that being the problem with mass movements. They would just, at best, be parroting your thoughts, not thinking.

Maybe that's why Liszt was content to let his work stand by itself without putting commentary on his private life into the marketplace.

I think that the American people are both victims and perpetrators, as I recognise that I am. I benefit from the accrued wealth of the British Empire even now and have always been powerless to either mitigate or reverse its appalling cruelties or policies in scrabbling for that wealth. I was born, unasked, into an ongoing system that I heartily abhor.

It is short-sighted to demand that your forebears present a perfect world for you to inherit, your forebears had their own problems of living and powerlessness to try to solve--why should your generation be exempt? The world was never perfect and humans are a greedy bloodthirsty lot. T'was ever thus, for all our pretensions to civilisation.

All Hail the surrealists, glory of Barca!

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

A house divided against itself cannot stand:

Grant Acord, 17-Year-Old, Charged With Attempted Murder Over Plot To Blow Up High School

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon teenager intended to blow up his school in a plot "forged and inspired by the model of the Columbine shootings" and he will be charged with attempted aggravated murder, a prosecutor said late Saturday.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr rt, the TBL (Techno-Buffoonery Level) in Barcelona is amazingly high, and quite a depressing spectacle. The American techno-poison seeps in everywhere. In Guatemala, I saw elderly indigena women clutching their cell fones for dear life, and I saw something similar among the Maori in New Zealand. I think it was at the end of "Derzu Uzala" that the native is sitting in his yurt, watching an American sitcom on TV. There may hafta be a worldwide crisis for people to wake up to the meaninglessness, and destructiveness, of these electronic toys.


Pls note that I don't normally post Anons. In the future you'll need a handle. Let me suggest Sam Schmeck.


This is pretty gd evidence that we have entered a phase where we are eating ourselves alive.


12:34 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

If WAF had kept its intended title _Capitalism and Its Discontents_, we wld all be Cads now. Or just the men. The women wld be Cadettes. One weeps for the lost possibilities as one weeps for our Almost-Jesus, what was his name? He ran against Obummer last time. Ah, I forgot it. Anyway, like we weep for him.

(Seriously, "1st I need to make a Liszt" STILL has me laughing. So bad it's great.)

1:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Or Caids. Ugh. Wafers, much better, esp. given eucharistic overtones. As for lists (or Liszts), a yr or so ago some bozo published a bk saying that making a list was the answer to all yr problems. It became a best-seller. In the US, you can put forward any piece of dreck, and the population is so stupid they go into a feeding frenzy. Author is now in a hammock on some South Sea island, with only 1 item on his list: Write another dumb book, rake in tons o' cash.


ps: Re: 2012 election: His name was Rom Mittney, and he got 47% of the vote (speaking of mass stupidity). At top of the Rupert Murdoch Press list is: Pulp all copies of Berman's 5-vol. "Foundations of the Mittnaic Philosophy."

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I was appalled to read in a recent article that some Palestinians in the West Bank are willing to pay $40 for a smuggled bucket of cold, soggy KFC from Egypt, and can't wait until Gaza "achieves" a KFC of its own. I mean, shit, why would anyone be that desperate for a corporate facsimile of Southern fried chicken, when 1000's of Southern women of a certain generation, both black and white, can make better fried chicken than KFC? Can't the Gazans just get their recipes from a 50-80 yr old church cookbook? Why would they pay for that shit? Is this just the effects of I/O psychology creating demand for literal shit via advertising? I mean, I know there's no hope for the US, but I fear for the rest of the world when I see stuff like this. Mindlessness. Appalling, baffling...
Speaking of mindlessness, MB, I think the people @ the concert on the fones were simply oblivious and unaware of their conduct. I think, had you explained to them what they were doing, and how they were taking away from the reality of the experience by making it virtual, it might be the first time that they'd ever thought of it that way. The difference if they were Americans, instead of Spaniards/Catalans, they'd probably STILL not get it after you'd explained it to them, and may get angry and curse you or hit you.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman,

Very good interviews, including D Orlov's in the second hour. I second Matt812's observation that it was very good to have your historical perspective brought to bear. Mr. Hedges makes corporatism too much the focal point. Your observation that it goes back to 1500 and it's the entire culture's mindset, shared by elites and those who are fodder for the corporate machinery alike, takes it beyond the death vs. life, good vs. evil, powerful vs the powerless categoires that Mr. Hedges employs, although his take on our predicament is not wrong, just incomplete. It's just that you see the problem is so much bigger when you realize its all of us, and not just "the elites." Indeed, the references from time to time in this blog to M Heidegger's analysis, including of Neitzsche and technology, indicates that our problems are inherent in Western ontology itself, and that today's predicaments are the inevitable result of the way Westerners have understood the world.

I guess some people find this depressing, because the job of "fixing it" seems hopeless: it's too big. I think, however, its a better understanding and MORE hopeful, because it means each person can do something about it right away by changing the way he lives and what he supports, right now.

This is one of the reasons I also read and listen to Orlov. He has also completely abandoned making his life depend on ANYTHING he hopes will come from TPTB. His life is not a perpetual waiting upon the next election, the next President, the next Act of Congress, revolution, or an ethical rebirth of corporate America. He just changes his life now based on what he sees coming.

As have you. Thanks again.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't post Anons. U need to sign in with a handle so that it says something like: Sam Schmeck said...
And BTW, Sam Schmeck wd be an excellent handle. Try again, amigo.


As far as I cd determine, most of them were tourists. If Americans, completely a lost cause. But in any case, addiction makes people surly and stupid. As for Gaza: the No. 1 TV program there is "Friends." And when Pizza Hut 1st opened in Moscow in 1991, the line was several miles long. American culture is very powerful, capable of damaging brains worldwide.


Well, most 'progressives' are not very bright, and have their heads rammed in their buttocks. They think their activity will turn things around. This is worse than a joke. However, Chris doesn't really fall into that category; he's too smart for that. If you listen to what he says at the end, it's clear he doesn't believe things are going to get better, or that his activity will make them better. He just thinks one hasta do what he does as a moral gesture, and I actually think it's admirable. It's just that I'm a very practical guy, and I can't get into moral gestures for their own sake. This is not my path, and I suspect most Wafers and NMI's feel the same way. Which means that you have to track on the decline, talk abt it with those who will listen, and live a life that makes sense in that context. Chris' comparison between worship of electronic dogshit and the building of huge heads on Easter Island is esp. gd, imo, because we are indeed building and worshipping useless monuments, thinking this is the way to go. But most Americans cannot be woken up, and I'm positive Chris understands this. He and I are among the .00001% that don't twitter, or facebook, or surf the net, but instead--read bks.

Of course, the Wafer or NMI solution is not really a solution, because America's problems are structural, and structural problems require structural solutions. However, the reforms proposed by the left will not come to pass, and are largely superficial anyway. There is simply no avoiding the fact that things just have to play out, and it ain't gonna be pretty. Which means, arrange yr life accordingly; and if u can--get out.


11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Schmeck says to Morris Berman "You've had your chance.", viajero.

I already signed in with 'Gale of the World'.

What does it matter? We're all fucked.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Ellen, Martin didn't ask his forbears to present him a perfect world. That characterization of his argument is unfair.

What Martin was arguing wasn't that his forbears didn't present him a good world; he was arguing that his forbears actively took steps to present a bad one, and are now blind as to the consequences of their actions, since they won't have to solve them, and even worse, they're blaming the young for the same problems they refused to accept blame for.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


OK, OK; Gale will do, chico. But why not Gail Storm? (remember her?) Also, it helps a lot to have the name upfront, in terms of rdg and editing (too complicated to explain). We may be fucked, but it still matters.


6:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Great podcast, thanks for sharing it. It is really sad to see what actually concerns Americans these days. Instead of concerning themselves with a president that has killed through extrajudicial drone assassinations around 3,500 people, they are more concerned with Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, who interrupted Obama's speech on drones. Americans are more concerned with what they see on their television and phone screens than the fact that their president is murdering thousands of people abroad, in violation of basic morality and their own constitution. As you point out, such idiocy cannot possibly be sustainable in the long term.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...


"Why should we who were born after 1980 have to clean up your mess for you?"

I was making the well-worn point that every generation gets handed a world of historical problems they didn't ask for, that they have no option but to learn to deal with--however badly. No-one is entitled to a mess-free world because life is messy and will stay messy however much whining about and blaming the baby boomers goes on.
Whining and blaming doesn't get any clearing up of mess done.

Hardly an unfair reading I think, though you clearly differ.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morris-

I'm listening to the Hedges/Berman slaughter of conventional wisdom on EE and wanted to add that there is at least one book that deals with gun violence as a social phenomena. Going Postal by Mark Ames (2005) takes the view that workplace massacres are reminiscent of slave uprisings and are a predictable result of polarized workplaces. It's the only book of its kind that I'm aware of.

Dave in Boston

8:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's the Dixie Chicks. They are the cause of all our problems.


3:03 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

It's the Dixie Chicks. They are the cause of all our problems.

Yes, they made the mistake of criticizing our "wartime" president. We can't have such "defeatist" attitudes, in wartime. Criticism of the commander-in-chief only "emboldens" our enemies. One day, decades or centuries from now this war will end, then maybe we can allow this kind of talk.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

ellen, Smith-

I could be off base, but it was my impression that the frustration is not simply that we inherited problems from previous generations, but that the millions who bought into the American Dream in the 80's and 90's are still around, still promoting their worldview without ever understanding where their dubious prosperity came from. Not only are today's younger workers inheriting a system not simply imperfect but in free-fall, but they also have to solve the problem of retiring boomers, many of whom still don't get that they don't "deserve" their McMansions just because they worked 50-hour weeks in the mid 90's.

Re: Techno-buffoonery around the globe:
Over the past several years, for both personal and professional reasons, I've lived abroad a few times and traveled to several more countries, in Asia, Europe, and South America. Whenever the subject has come up, I have never heard a local call Steve Jobs anything less than a "genius".

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Yes, Ellen, I beg to differ very, very strongly.

Frankly, the idea that no one should ever criticize Baby Boomers because it's "whining and blaming" is a prime example of "doublethink", given how often Baby Boomers criticize and upbraid the young (oh, but when they do it, suddenly they're telling the hard truth).

See, this is how America got INTO this mess. We decided en masse that we have the right to attack and dominate others, but if they treat us the same way we then get upset. Our wars on other countries are just a symptom of this general doublethink; it affects how we behave in our social lives, too.

It's the same with baby boomers. They'll attack people from behind a rock, attack from ambush, and rant about young people destroying the country.

But say exactly the same things TO THEM, and suddenly you're casting blame.

Everyone must be held accountable for their actions...EXCEPT, apparently, baby boomers. No, baby boomers apparently get to erect an invincible shield of "NO YOU!!!" every time they might be held accountable for something.

THAT is why Martin is frustrated. It's not only that baby boomers cause problems, it's that they harm others and, when CALLED on it, they angrily retort that you have no right to criticize them.

But when they feel others deserve blame, then, magically, it's NOT "blaming and whining" when THEY do it.

In other words, Ellen, it's the application of different "definitions" to exactly the same behavior depending on who's doing it, not the actual actions, that is drawing the ire of the young.

The basic (spiteful) attitude can be summarized as this, "I have my OWN problems, why should I care about YOURS?! Don't ever criticize me if I do something wrong, you should shut up and be thankful, you bunch of LOSERS!"

The attitude, basically, of the corporate boss who lays off his employees to enrich himself.

Is my point a bit more clear now, ma'am?

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I greatly enjoyed listening to the dialog between you and Chris Hedges. I think Mr. Hedges is probably a very different kind of person from the average WAFer. He is clearly a fighter, not fearful to confront injustice even if that action brings great peril, as demonstrated by his suing Droner. He is indeed the type of person that can change the world. On the other hand, I have a feeling the typical WAFer is more interested in a contemplative lifestyle, one of introspective reflection, and retreat from the face of tyranny.

As such, after listening to this interview, I reflected on what may be some of the more important things to me. I came up with this rather trivial list (and I apologize for its shamelessly hedonist features).

1. The weather is nice all year round
2. The beach is not too far
3. There are at least 4 independent cafes in the area that know how to make a cappuccino properly
4. There are at least 3 quality and moderately priced seafood restaurants in the area
5. The town has a fresh produce market not associated with corporate sources
6. The country I live in is peaceful and without armed wackos randomly shooting people for no reason
7. My family is safe and happy
8. We are all in good health
9. The country I live in has a civilized health care system (this automatically eliminates the US)
10. I have a few friends I can periodically meet with to have interesting conversations
11. I have enough time to read at least a few interesting books a year

MB, do you think the above reflect worthy WAFer values? Values worthy to emigrate for?

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...


I agree with your assessment of the generational issues. In fact, when I think of the short-term horrors that we'll undoubtedly endure as we encounter the slow devolution of neoliberal capitalism, I keep coming back to these generational issues. As much as I'd like to see younger folks (in large part, the Millennials) get enraged, I just don't see it happening. I teach many of these folks, and I just get the sense that many see their parents as their "best friends," especially in the post-9/11 climate that's ushered in the world as a "scary" place.

Further, I think these younger folks are so distracted that there's a genuine incapacity to connect the proverbial dots and develop a structuralized worldview (although, due to their relative lack of life experience, many Millenials have simply no reason to question business-as-usual . . . although I trust that the student loan mess might *somehow* shake their cages . . .).

Yes, the short-term horrors ahead will be made manifest (along in lots of other ways) in older adults (e.g., Boomers) *finally* realizing that, yes, the world has limits and, no, this ol' sunny thing called "retirement" ain't in the cards. When this illusion drops and toys, "earned" perks (e.g., entitlements), and such are taken away, I'll be running for cover . . .

It's funny . . . for so long, I've grown up hearing that Amerika is a "youth-centric" culture, and I'd modify that claim to say that Amerika is a "Boomer-centric" culture. Just do the math; what the bullies say is important, goes.

And, sadly, the younger folks seem so zoned out, so risk averse that I just don't think we'll be seeing any "Don't Listen to Anyone Over 50" T-shirts anytime soon.


8:31 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I don't think it's useful blaming generations, especially if you believe, as MB has said, that these things are structural and must play out (path dependency) So, it really makes no difference if the Boomers play an outsized role in collapse, indeed, they could be considered the 1st collapse generation. Indeed, you could just as easily blame their parents for hte spoiled, narcissistic way they raised them, having been through the Depression and WW II, Dr. Spock in hand, their parents introduced the whole child-centered/focused, perfect childhood w/every comfort/opportunity that creates so much damage in society. Basically, that's just the way it had to play out and how the US had to collapse.
Regarding multiculturalism, I always thought of it as a business strategy for global capitalism to function, basically, homogenize people as much as possible, then gloss over the remaining differences w/multiculturalism. Really, it's the only way a mutinational corporation could function.
I'm "coming out" as a former Cingular employee (amazing, a former cell phone company employee among WAFers). I must redeem myself by letting you know that I was let go for not meeting quota (I worked in a Sales call center.) I bring this up to shed some light on the whole worldwide BOP phenomenon. Historically, the US was behind the bell curve on the development and spread of mobile phone technology, precisely because landlines were so much more affordable in the US as opposed to other countries. Cell phone deployment and cell phone technology in the US lagged Europe and especially Japan and S Korea. The global standard of service, GSM, was developed in Europe to unify disparate networks under a uniform standard. Like most things, the US continued using a different technology until more recently. While I know that the history doesn't necessarily take away from the BOP phenomenon in the US, at least you know that other countries have probably been dealing with the BOP problem for even longer. Interesting is MB's observation that Japanese social mores restrict public phone usage despite having better technology for a much longer period of time.
Regarding global capitalism, wasn't the EU, and the accompanying free trade and capitalism billed in Europe as a means to combat fascism, eg, "consumers and a growing economy will keep fascism at bay"? I say this, because I always thought that hustling in postwar Europe always had a more nobler goal (keeping a lid on fascism) than in the US where we just hustle for hustling's sake (Coolidge's famous remark that, "the business of America is business") For that reason, it might be easier for Europe to abandon capitalism since it no longer serves the purpose of keeping down fascism.
Regarding American influence abroad, you have to look at the actions people take more so than the words they speak. It's one thing to speak out against the US, while at the same time embracing the American way of life/pop culture. I mean, if people are going to act like Americans, very soon, they're going to BE just like Americans.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I admire Chris, but I don't think he's going to change anything at all. I also think he knows this. Like me, he'll just leave a record of why the system fell apart. As for Wafers, as this includes NMI's, it is an umbrella for a lot of activity (as indicated in the Twilight bk), not just hedonism or contemplation (as praiseworthy as those things are).


10:31 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Ellen & Mike & Martin--

I was born in 1948, three years after the first atom bomb was dropped and that was the world The Greatest Generation (the title of some book extolling the virtues of the generation of WWII)gave us. The Baby Boomers did not correct this tragedy when it was their turn to run the world and they also created a lot of new ones to join it. I think the frustration expressed by the Millenials is justified within the context that problems we inherited and didn't ask for (as Ellen pointed out) we also didn't fix. Just like piling up dirty laundry, the hamper is now bursting and the Baby Boomers have no right to act like they haven't added to it.

That said, where do we go now? Or more importantly, what do you want the world to look like when you pass it on to the generations after you? Just like correcting the mistake of unleashing nuclear power was not done by my generation and should have been, your generation has the opportunity within the context of YOUR inherited world to do it differently. I saw this interview Friday and recommend it:

I really enjoyed the joint interview and only wish I knew someone I could share it with. It's always good to listen to a real discussion by people who actually know what they're talking about.

From Capitalist Fools:

"Once there was a place for the thinking outcast, an Emerson and a Thoreau. They were the prophets, the seers, nay-sayers in the hallelujah chorus. They were the voices of heterodoxy, and now there is no place, no podium, no television station to broadcast their dry sarcasms, their raillery, their contemptuous anger at the shoddiness of the intellectual product."

Hope you both keep up the good work in your own unique way.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous LW said...


Where do you live and are they accepting new people??? I'm a single guy in my late thirties who really has nothing holding me in the U.S. except that when I look into leaving I come away thinking the grass is not always greener and the effort may not be worth it.

I don't want to end up broke and homeless somewhere else. I just want a simple life without crippling stress and debt.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I looked into Denmark but I'm open to anywhere that fits the bill.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Susan W,

"... where do we go now? Or more importantly, what do you want the world to look like when you pass it on to the generations after you?"

Ideally we would move towards a world in which the US is not in a state of perpetual war. Ecological devastation, global warming, widespread inequality, an increasingly tyrannical and secretive government - none of these problems can be solved while the US is in a state of endless war (yesterday against Communism, today against "terrorism"). As long as the US has over a thousand military bases abroad and constant military interventions, there is no chance of ever achieving anything with respect to global warming, or stopping nuclear weapons proliferation, for instance.

That said, what I want is really beside the point. My generation is totally apathetic and blinded by their digital technologies, to the point where they are willfully ignorant of what's happening around them and anyone wanting to burst that bubble with the reality of decline is ignored or worse. There is no chance of me achieving my goal of ending the state of endless war, so it's hard not to be cynical and feel that speculating about ideals of social justice is fruitless if you're in the US.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The basic (spiteful) attitude can be summarized as this, "I have my OWN problems, why should I care about YOURS?! Don't ever criticize me if I do something wrong, you should shut up and be thankful, you bunch of LOSERS!"

Smith, that is the basic attitude of at least 90% of all Americans of any generation, probably throughout America’s entire history. Dog eat dog --- and generational conflict looks like a wonderful new version of it that is being fully encouraged by our elites. Yes, baby boomers G W Bush and the homeless disabled vietnam vet are both equally to blame, that entire evil generation, right? This is the kind of thinking our billionaire class loves to hear, “please focus your hatred anywhere but on us, thanks.” So, now we just add poor widows on SS to the long list of acceptable groups to blame, instead of the people who actually own and run the country. The list includes blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, intellectuals, atheists, socialists, unions, and of course, the Dixie Chicks.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

We Millennials were born & raised in Boomer World. So at whom shd the bony finger of moral judgment be pointed?

Sure, teenagers can be abysmal, but these aging masters of the universe never really stopped being teenagers - they openly boast of this. For Boomers the Peter Pan Syndrome ("I'll never grow up!") has always been a virtue to trumpet, not a source of deep, burning shame.

When the last one croaks in 2050, will that also at long last put the quietus on Life magazine covers of Jackie O, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, and Einstein sticking his tongue out? One significant plus of Mexico is that you don't see that superannuated kitsch on a week-to-week basis.

Collapsing capitalism can't be blamed on 1 generation forever, though. It's surely time for younger folk to get off their rears & hit the road or build (or redouble their efforts at building) useful things.

But if I hear Bill O'Reilly once more talking abt his 1950s Catholic school or advising America that the way to get a good job is to "put on a clean shirt & act interested," then the Boomer Generation will have pressed my button for the last time: I will leap from the top of the Torre Mayor & shout "Young men must live!"* all the way down to the pavement.

* meant more in the Shakespearean than the sexist sense

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman & Julian-

Re: Wafer Values & Chris Hedges

To Julian’s list of Wafer values to emigrate for, I’d add un-alienated work. This has drawn me to health-care and teaching. They’re corrupted and warped in the US, so I’ve always gotten much more satisfaction working overseas.

Alfred North Whitehead wrote: “It is said that ‘men (sic) are rational.’ This is palpably false: they are only intermittently rational – merely liable to rationality.” Whenever a Wafer decides to emigrate or follow an NMI path, is it conscious choice or rationalization? One of life’s unanswerable questions is: “Am I jumping, or being pushed?”

I too admire Chris Hedges, and I imagine a twinkle in Julian’s eye as he describes Chris as “not fearful to confront injustice even if that action brings great peril, as demonstrated by his suing Droner.” Chris has admitted having to break an addiction to the adrenalin-rush of being a war correspondent, so a high-profile lawsuit and celebrity-arrest may serve as a kind of Methadone program.

Also, do I detect irony when Julian describes Chris as “the type of person that can change the world?” I’ve come to doubt that a person or group can really change the world in a meaningful way – aside from doing a lot of damage.

The World Systems Analysis School has been accused of “history without people”, but I think their view on this matter is more nuanced. I’ve heard Immanuel Wallerstein say that when a world system is at its peak even large forces produce negligible outcomes, but as a system declines (bifurcates) and is replaced by another, even small forces can produce major results.

Unfortunately, this is probably still for a future generation, but hopefully both Chris’s and Dr. Berman’s writings will have a positive influence.

David Rosen

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I am only familiar with Europe, but in the past other WAFers wrote good things about Latin America. Maybe they’ll chime in?

So I’ll write about what I know. In Europe you have good health care, low crime, and decent lifestyle. Northern Europe has jobs and an efficient system, but weather sucks. Southern Europe has great lifestyle and weather, but jobs are scarce, and the system (i.e., bureaucracy) is frustrating. Eastern Europe has a lower cost of living, weather is so-so, and progress was made in improving the bureaucracy, but wages are low.

There are places that meet all those requirements. Gibraltar, a tiny English-speaking nation in southern Spain, with a booming economy, efficient system, great Spanish-like lifestyle, and perfect weather. Malta is worth looking into also, since it’s English-speaking and has a good economy. Cyprus used to be similar, but after their banking disaster, I don’t know. All these are in the EU.

If you or your parents/grandparents weren’t born in Europe, EU immigration or obtaining a work visa can be a hassle. Your best route might be to marry an EU citizen. Besides, if you are looking to get married, you should look for somebody from another country, as American women in your age bracket are a total disaster.

Personally, I have dual citizenship, but I never bothered to look for a job in Europe since I teach online at a few US schools, so I get my income from America. These are the perfect jobs for me, but if I ever lose them, I would look for a job in Europe.

What scares me most about the US (in addition to the violence and the weirdness of the culture) is the criminal American health care system -- just to get away from that is enough of a reason to leave America.

Changing countries is never easy, but can be done successfully. Anyway, if you want to chat some more write me at:

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: generational issues, Jim Quinn of the Burning Platform has a recent essay regarding millenials and the preceding generations, that he siimply groups as "elders" that has received a lot of attention and sparked a lof to comments from very defensive baby boomers.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

IMO there is nobody to blame really. The powers that be in any age always do what they want and lead/push their slaves off the same shitty cliff.

I have read so many books written by bona fide prophets and not a darn soul listened except peasants and the few intellectuals that buck the system, if they were lucky enough to be educated or had the inclination, or chance, to READ and study independently.

Just viewed "Somewhere In New Mexico Before The End of Time." This is where we are! Nothing else matters. As the film says, "It's all over except for the tarantulas." (The film notes that it only takes the earth 10 million years to regenerate, so maybe the next will do better. Who knows, could this be the third or fourth time around?)

One other thing I really noticed. The credits thanked Morris Berman for his support.

I was very proud to read that and thank the good Doctor as well.

I think the film is sensational!

11:14 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

What's up with all this intergenerational conflict? Where did we get the idea that the generations were somehow socially and economically independent of one another and not responsible for each other's welfare? The extended family, however defined, must be reinstated along with the general concept of mutuality. Otherwise, we shall be divided against one another and who does that serve?

11:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, I'm wondering if we haven't wrung all the juice out of The Intergenerational Conflict and shdn't by now move on...

Re: Chris' addiction to adrenaline rush as war correspondent: something like that might still be going on in terms of fighting injustice, which is a little like fighting Evil or Terrorism. There's no end to that. This is the "negative identity" problem Hegel talked abt, and which I discuss in QOV. After all, righteous anger is a great high, and I find that I too can get caught up in it. Not that the target doesn't deserve it, but realizing one's own way of framing things, one's own narrative, brings a larger perspective to the issue. I talk a bit abt this in my forthcoming "Spinning Straw Into Gold" (now on verge of publication). I'm personally happy that I wrote things that were not focused on the US, such as "Destiny" and "Counting Blessings," and to some extent the Japan bk as well, which now consumes most of my time. It's just a personal choice, but I really don't want my life to turn into a 'crusade'. Life is quite short, I'm realizing as I approach 70, and there's so much out there that is simply interesting for its own sake. Like cafe con leche in Barcelona, which I shall now go and obtain, muchachos..."God is in the details."


1:21 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

'Is my point a bit more clear now, ma'am?'

No, since you asked, but I am amazed at your ability to extrapolate rage from nothing, to read the minds of millions of your fellows with such accuracy and to paint with such a broad brush.

If you want to discuss definitions try thinking about this one: 'general double-think'

Thinking, if it gets done at all, is done by an individual and remains unique to that unique individual, so 'general double-think' is a contradiction in terms and thus meaningless.

Blaming 'general double-think' ain't anything even approaching a solution either.

Since I don't want to hijack Dr B's excellent blog with personal ire, I will say no more on this.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

If I may add one teensy last comment on "intergenerational conflict," the other day was apparently the anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra. To mark the occasion, CBC radio played a Sinatra song performed by Richard Hell and the Voidoids from their album, as the presenter said, "Black Generation."

As a member of the "Blank Generation," I thought that made sense.

Gabba gabba hey.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In the past there's been a bit of an uproar on this blog over sexist jokes, so I can't post the one u sent in. However, nonsexist ones might be a gd thing at this pt. Wafers are invited to submit ones that start out with "A rabbi, a priest, and a minister were all in a lifeboat...," or "This guy walks into a bar and...." Let me try one in this last genre. A grasshopper hops into a bar and sits at the counter. The bartender says, "You know, we've got a drink named after you." The grasshopper says, "Kevin?"


4:27 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

David Rosen,

Chris Hedges sometimes brings to my mind a scene from Dr. Zhivago. I haven’t seen that film in many years, but if I remember that scene correctly, the corrupt and immoral Komarovsky was lecturing Strelnikov (former Pasha) about the effect of men like him (Strelnikov) on the lives of others. He said something to the effect that while they are greatly admired by virtually everybody, while they are praised and idolized, in reality they cause nothing but pain.

I am not saying that Hedges causes pain in other people’s lives, and certainly he is the exact opposite of Strelnikov. But his idealism must be very difficult to deal with for his family. It would be so much easier if they just left the country and enjoyed their lives. Some battles just aren’t worth fighting.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B., David Rosen and others-

About Chris Hedges...

I dabbled in Machiavelli when I was younger. (He was apparently far more proud of his "Discourses on Levy" than "The Prince" and, although not the best human being on the planet, was nowhere near as evil as many would have you believe.)

Machiavelli excoriated his Florentine compatriots for not being willing to fight and treating those under their jurisdiction but outside their city walls, those who may be inclined to fight for them if only to defend their own lands and families, as second class citizens. Since they couldn't trust most of "their own people," the Florentines relied heavily on mercenaries, who Machiavelli regarded as intrinsically cowardly and liable to betray, either because someone else offers a higher pay, or it's simply easy to get away with if their client is defenseless.

Much of the time I am impressed by the participants of this blog, but this talk of fleeing the country puts you in a position similar to that of the Florentines in some ways. You are beneficiaries of others' willingness to fight. Many of you are in countries in Latin America or Europe. If those countries got into difficulties, would you flee that country, too?

My suspicion is that, for too many Americans, our roots in this country are just too shallow. There is no real connection to the country. Chris Hedges is probably among the few whose roots run deep in this land, to the point where leaving is just not an option. But for immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants, or those otherwise loosely connected to this country in meaningful ways, abandonment is just too easy. Chris' behavior to many of you is almost incomprehensible.

I think I am being harsh, but I think I understand where many of you are coming from. In a country that treats you as commodity, and encourages you to treat everyone else as commodities, real patriotism may be hard to come by.

I know I rambled and what I wrote is "disconnected." I am in a hurry and still managed to write more than what I intended.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's basically a cheap shot, and displays massive ignorance, as far as I am concerned. I've explained my own position on this many times here, and you either never read it or can't understand it. I'm not inclined to repeat it at this pt, for yr benefit. If you really want to view me as a coward, be my guest.

But I have to say, I'm really surprised at you. All of this seems beneath you. Sure, I was the beneficiary of others' willingness to fight in WW2, but since then their willingness to fight has been a major cause of our collapse as a nation. And I hardly regard Chris' position as incomprehensible: I've said I admired it, but that this was simply not my path (again, for reasons you are unaware of or can't understand), and I don't feel my path lacks any integrity whatsoever.

I'm a bit ashamed of you, to be honest. I think you owe all of us an apology.


11:46 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Bingo -

U may be correct regarding Mr Hedges' family.

I heard him speak about his father one time and it was very emotional for me. He was apparently an extremely principled man of character as was my own father.

Opposite to Chris, I failed my dad in numerous ways. I think his father image drives him to do what he does, which, I believe is admirable, but not for me.

My son, by the way, has never let me down and I am very thankful. Maybe, I turned it around for him.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

The exchange between David Rosen, ennobled little day, and DR B is interesting. I agree with the theory about the shallow roots of some people in America. When you think about the injustice done to American Indians, when you think about how Africans were dehumanized during slavery, when you think about the current mindset of the current American politicians, when you begin to think about how most Americans are suffering today at slave-like wages and no healthcare and exorbitant school fees and tuitions and book prices, you begin to see Karma at work. You begin to see that these people are pre-ordained to eat themselves for lunch, sooner than later. The injustices and atrocities committed in this land by these people are so great that only God knows how to deal with them. It reminds me of John Brown’s last note to his jailers: “I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had… vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”
You cannot fight Karma as much as you cannot fight these people; they got more guns than you. The best strategy is to get out of the way and allow nature and karma to take over for the inevitable/impending day of reckoning.

12:55 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Greetings Wafers,

Recently I've been listening to various talks by Chris Hedges around the web, in addition to the recent Berman/Hedges interview @ extraenvironmentalist. Along with this interview, I'm finding three of Hedges most recent talks apropos to this discussion:

1)"Looking Ahead: Chris Hedges On Poverty, Politics, U.S. Culture" with Neal Conan at NPR's Talk of the Nation broadcast on May 15, 2013:

2)Chris Hedges 4-7-13 talk at Green Party Meetings (Hedges keynote at NJ GP annual meeting):

3)Chris Hedges with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Talk, 12 November 2012 (sponsored by the Lannan Foundation):
I have alot I can say about these three particular Hedges videos (I kind of think of these as "Hedges Uncut") and why each of these three, along with the Berman/Hedges broadcast, are particularly important if we are to understand Hedges current position. Where does Hedges now stand on these issues? Obviously there is no "digest," version that I can offer here regarding where *I* believe Hedges stands. Certainly, it would be a "sin of ommission" to digest his remarks. Wafers don't bring such a cookie-cutter mentality to these questions...

(btw: ennobled little day, I'm a bit discouraged, how are you saying what you said: this is very un-Waferian of you b/c it smacks of the pro-typical cookie-cutter defense strategy! Surely, you hurried your remarks? For example, any clear, rational, "life-saving" view would embrace various aspects of all these things: NMI, emigration, revolt & resistance, "extra"-environmental sustainability isures. There are no clear boundaries between any of these things...that's where a cookie-cutter defense is, at best "non-plussed").
If we focus on Hedges' opening sentences at the Green Party of New Jersey meeting, then we have a general sense of where he stands (and I have more to say about this, of course). And in the back of my mind, this can be usefully juxtaposed beside his remark from the NPR interview:

"My wife is Canadian. Canadian culture is different in many ways, but fundamentally it's different in that it doesn't have this kind of belief, which has been part of the American fabric from our inception, and that is regeneration through violence."

"Regeneration through violence." There's a pointed, clear & simple reason why we would *not* want to stay and fight. This kind of mythology is woven *deeply* into the American character, this penchant for and embrace of violence.

I'd say that's a reason why none of us can be anything but wary if we go into a "stay and fight" ('die with your boots on') mode here in the U.S.. In other words, we cannot go into this under any kind of illusions about what we're up against: in other words, we are not fighting "power systems" and the corporate states...we are fighting against our fellow citizens who are deeply entrenched in this kind of 'blood contract' deeply rooted in the American character. We are supposed to be waging a war on two fronts, both of which are next to impossible to undermine?
I've gone over my 1/2 page limit, so I'll return later with further remarks and after I sit on this a little longer.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Dr. B.-

You may be right that I owe you all an apology. But as you point out, there is much that I do not understand. If what I said is indeed beneath me, hopefully I will soon understand why.

For the time being, though, I do believe there is SOME truth in what I said but, again, I freely admit there is much I do not understand. I implore that both you and other fellow WAFers be patient with me and others like me. (For my part, I will be more respectful and err on "keeping my mouth shut." Plenty of times I have had the urge to post something and have kept quiet precisely because I know there is much I am ignorant of. It is sometimes hard, though.)

My intent was not to offend. Countless times in my life I have wished there had been those who would point things out to me that were painful or uncomfortable. Know I now that many keep quiet, in part, because they are afraid of my wrath, wounding my feelings, are unsure about the truth of their views (which is often a justified feeling), etc. I have tried to develop my character so that I can take these "hits" with grace and a clear and open mind. From personal experience, it helps if the person delivering the supposed "bad news" is respectful, considerate, makes a good-faith effort to see things from the other side, (I'm having difficulty articulating exactly what I mean here), etc.

To the extent I have failed to live up to the standards above (which I think I may have) I apologize for my previous post.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's one of the most qualified apologies I've ever read. WTF, man? You call us cowards and then say "You may be right" and "To the extent that", etc.? You take my breath away. That you don't understand (and you really don't) hardly excuses that kind of behavior. Why not formulate your objections in the form of questions, before insulting us? (This is also known as common courtesy.)


2:23 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


If I could weigh in on one of Day's points, he says "You are beneficiaries of others' willingness to fight." I just wanted to write in to say that this is one of the biggest idiocies surrounding the contemporary American cult of the soldier, that "freedom isn't free" and we owe our liberties to the soldiers carrying out our wars. This idea, shockingly dominant in America, is really a massive delusion, as it gets things precisely backwards. It is *because* America is in a state of perpetual war that our liberties are increasingly threatened, because of the growing national security state that spies on every American's emails and private communications, secretly kills Americans, etc. But brain-dead Americans, in an increasingly fascist and authoritarian, not to mention troubling way, continue to pay heed to the delusion that our troops "make us free." People who unquestionably obey orders and commit frequent war crimes are not "heroes," and we don't owe our liberties to them (with the exception of the troops fighting in the Second World War).

Sadly, though, to say the above, or think critically about American soldiers without making absurd assumptions concerning their god-like status, is now considered a heresy, as Chris Hayes learned on Memorial Day. See

2:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, that's why I said that every war after WW2 was self-destructive. Frankly, there was so much screwed up in Day's message, I didn't really know where to begin. It makes me sad that people on this blog might be involved in that sort of jingoistic pretzel-logic.


4:15 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Marine Killed Wife, Went on Shooting Spree

He "died Sunday in a gunfight with Texas authorities."

One commenter says it's not a Texas thing, the shooter was from South Carolina so what do you expect?

Meanwhile, Chicago snuffs half a dozen on Memorial Day weekend.

Note that the headline blames guns for the murders. Nothing is wrong with Amerikan society, "the shootings seem to be unrelated acts," inanimate objects are to blame for everything that goes wrong here. (It also blames another hated enemy of die Heimat: holiday! Why weren't the killers shooting people AT WORK? O thou idle hands, Satan's very playground.)

7:24 PM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

I was reading on the bus and someone asked me what the word 'fiction' means. This is in a poor neighborhood where I'm regularly approached by hookers, and most conversations on the bus are about drugs, hookers, or violence. I think we should stop talking about collapse -- in some places things have been bad for a long time.

On the upside, my roaming around the country for work and slowly dropping out of the system is working well. Seems to me a good way to revolt is to make and spend much less money and to live simply -- out of way of the hustling and consumerism of cities. Living in a tent and without electronics or electricity isn't too bad.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous LW said...

Just finished watching a MB lecture on YouTube where he discussed technology taking the place of our humanity. So true. I remember discussing Apple's slave practices and how they should employ people here in America with good jobs using their unrivaled profits with someone who gave me the typical: "well, unless you want to pay $500 for a cell phone that's how it's got to be. If the jobs were here in America it would cost so much to pay Americans what they think they deserve that the phones wouldn't even be affordable!" Zombies always think that is the coup de gras, of course the ultimate moral authority is found in what allows Americans to afford cheap iPhones!

I responded with, "then let's get rid of the stupid iPhone. If it's between people having decent paying jobs or a cheap cell phone I side with decent jobs that allow for a decent lifestyle, besides wouldn't the fabled 'free market' adjust as necessary to make things affordable?" And they just couldn't even comprehend what I was saying. It was like I suggested to give up breathing when I said to dump the iPhone. Unbelievable zombies. People have been hypnotized by gadgets to keep them from seeing how bad things are getting.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Oh goodness the old stay and fight meme. With that soon follows the you should participate and vote and maybe protest and that Obama is really making a difference delusion. What can one say to such idiocy?

Staying and fighting is not viable and anyone with either sense or a former idiot who has been shot at and thus enlightened will point out that staying and fighting is a as pointless as it is idiotic. The tin pot patriots for the most part do not share something many veterans, chris hedges and yours truly have in common. What is that? Seeing people get blown up, dead children, wailing widows and crying children. Go try the stay and fight bullshit on the children blown up by drones in Pakistan, the mothers in Falujah, or to the parents of the children murdered Mai Lai in Vietnam. If any of these people could have gained even one more day with their loved ones by getting out of harms way they surely would have. Like MB I am committed to joining my loved ones outside the U.S. very soon and enjoy life, love, good food and friendship if even only for a day more it is the brave man who embraces life. People like enpbled little day have my complete contempt for their utter and profound stupidity yet are also instructive of the reason to leave the U.S.A.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Bad Idea du Jour said...

Like Chris Hedges, my family background goes way back. It contains both European oppressors and the native oppressed, Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers, Klan members and cross-burning victims, capitalists and anarchists. So which persona do I get to claim? Should I jump ship or stick around for my just desserts?

In unrelated news: A skeleton walks into a bar. He orders a beer and a mop.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

This may be kind of relevant to the Hedges/Berman discussion. In a phone interview on Joseph Tainter speaks about the steady state concept. He ties population growth to increased energy needs. He said (paraphrasing) to curtail increased demand for energy or create a steady state scenario you might have to unrealistically tell Americans they can only have one kid. As Dr B's works make clear, that idea ain't gonna fly in the Land of Individualism. Well, maybe if you enforced with drones somehow killing off the surplus kids as needed. In addition JT suggests nuclear power may have to be part of the mix of energy sources because of its relative efficiency. I found this surprising what with Fukushima etc.. Thoughts?

11:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think EnnobledLittleDay insulted himself more than anyone else, for it makes one wonder how lucid he is to go from claiming he agrees with the Wafer beliefs yet then spews the typical Joe Six-Pack 'amurrican' nonsense so often heard from the hordes of dolts that infest the U.S.
Americans have no ties to the land because they're the descendants of the thieves that stole it from those who most certainly did have ties to it and who respected it, unlike americans do. Americans are the citizens of a fake and invented country that was used as a front for hustling, and because of that they have no real culture to unite them and give them the social mores that unite almost all other people of the world. That's why they generate nothing and why everything they do, say and "think" is generated from their criminal government. A prime example: when their government said it was okay to hate & kill the indians or the blacks, they hated & killed the indians & blacks. Today their government says all that was wrong, and so americans now say killing/hating blacks & indians was wrong, yet they hate & kill the muslims since they're the current scapegoat & the exact same rhetoric used to get americans to hate muslims today is the same as it was years ago to get them to hate the blacks & indians (and everyone else they've hated), that they're "savages", "godless", "dangerous", "stone-age animals", etc., etc. There will never be a revolution because americans love and support the very government that openly betrays them at every opportunity. They're anything but revolutionaries, douchebags they are for sure, though.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Capo and James:

You have it right. Staying in the US is often forced upon us (I'll stay for my family and job) hence the NMI which seems to be working for James!

Sean: You might like this video made by some friends:


8:56 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Could we please stop pigpiling on top of Enobled Day? While some of the responses to ELD's comment were well reasoned others seemed merely to be reactionary in a pack animal sort of way. The comment about benefiting from other's fighting seemed a bit off but more along the lines of an error in logic than a deliberate insult. Perhaps ELD could be persuaded to elaborate on what s/he meant.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

23-year-old Esteban J. Smith is a marine, and he is on a shooting rampage.

You become what you practice and preach - America has been at war since 2001; they have killed and killed and killed in foreign lands, and when foreign enemies are no more, Americans turn on themselves as shooting targets.



10:28 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Four things

First check this out. A man who lives in America is claiming refugee status in Sweden. You are so right Dr. B about the things you say. Our nation is screwed.

Second, Dr. B with your permission may I document my own experiences as long as it relates to the theme of this blog? May I have your permission?

Third, America is still made up of dolts and still full of crap.

Fourth, I want to make an addition to the replacement of the dollar bill with Kim Kardashian's ass. On the actual ass, it should have two heavy set guys with money bags puckering their lips and kissing each cheek. What do you think?

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

@ Jesse:

"America has been at war since 2001."

America has been at war since long before 2001. Even if we start in 1890, America has been continuously waging military interventions, in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Iran, Nicaragua, China, Korea, the Philipines, Cuba, and on and on. Granted, in many cases America has not explicitly declared that it's in a state of war, and covertly intervened in other countries' affairs. But as actions speak louder than words, a fair reading of America's history of interventions suggests that it's been in a state of perpetual war nonetheless since long before 9/11.
For those interested, there's a list of all American interventions starting in 1890 here:

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Should I stay or should I go?

For me, finance & family & innate temperament = stay. If many things were different, I'd probably go. But the NMI option seems to suit me best now.

My question: will there be any truly safe, civilized place anywhere in the near future? The consumerist culture is pretty much global, isn't it? Though some places will obviously be hit much harder than others when it all collapses.

Arguments about this, as with arguments about generational responsibility, strike me as very useful divide & conquer strategy for the 1%. Whether it's consciously their plan or simply the way human nature works, it certainly benefits those with power & wealth. For example:

For them, squabbling among those they oppress & loot is all to their good. Opting out of their game altogether, or at least as much as possible, seems the best bet, whether it's by relocating or by taking the NMI path. English clergyman & metaphysical poet George Herbert said that living well is the best revenge. It's also the best escape, I think.

I say this as someone who nearly died 11 yeard aog; a total of 17 cardiologists told me afterwardfs that by all rights I should have dropped dead months before I needed an emergency triple bypass. There should have been no symptoms, no warnings -- by all rights, I should have been dead by the time they saved my life.

So I know that life is fleeting, precarious, and immeasurably precious & sweet. Don't waste it on infighting, please. Live it to the fullest. Live it as you feel it ought to be lived, as something civilized & simple & rich.

And 1%? As the Moody Blues put it some 45+ years ago:

It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave
And keep on thinking free.

Good advice, WAFers!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Probably best to stick to the political, rather than the personal. Thanks.


11:38 AM  
Anonymous TheWolfer said...

Cube, you stated: 'First check this out. A man who lives in America is claiming refugee status in Sweden. You are so right Dr. B about the things you say. Our nation is screwed"

I was watching the video until I heard this: "my boyfriend is a nurse". Then I realized why he is against the Bible and religion.

I turned off the video, and I thought "well, good for you that you did not move to a nation where men are men and women are women, and they want to keep it that way"

This is part of the reason this country is disintegrating - everyone wants something that feels good immediately (hedonism).

2:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Attention All Wafers:

A recent study, reported in The Atlantic, turned up the fact that Americans reach for their smartphones 150 times per day. Yes, you read that correctly.

And when I tell people that Americans have their heads embedded in shit, and that the country is going down the toilet--they laugh!

In the US, there is no upper limit to douchebaggery.


4:08 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,


I agree. Enough. ELD surely can voice his/her opinion without being excoriated.

Capo --

"The tin pot patriots for the most part do not share something many veterans, chris hedges and yours truly have in common."

But you forget, Hedges is staying and fighting because of what he's seen (as he made clear in the interview) when bullies and criminals,& "military men" take over.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I'm surprised you let wolfer's sexist, homophobic post thru. It's just boilerplate evangelical fundamentalism that usually gets roasted on here (Sarah Palin, Michele bachmann). I mean, geez, if evangelical fundamentalists like wolfer, with their flawed ideology, spirituality, & theology aren't a major reason why America failed, then what is? No, it's not turning away from the Bible that's causing America to fail, but corporate evangelical fundamentalist churches & their bizarre, illogical, contradictory, flawed belief system.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, it's instructive. Keep in mind that for every one of us, there are a million of him out there. Wolfer is a kind of reality check.


When one comes from an emotional (not analytical) place, and starts calling people on the blog cowards, I think it makes sense to tell such a person how rude and ignorant and off-base he is. I'm not into entertaining personal attacks here, and Day still owes us a (real) apology, imo. As for Chris, I also think he made it pretty clear that he doesn't think he can stop the process; which then means, it's purely for the sake of moral principle. Thus, the choice is to be righteous or pragmatic. Both paths have their advocates, and my own feeling is that both are admirable. It's just a question of temperament.


2:15 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Here's an interesting report on surveillance, from a European perspective, but also applicable to the situation in the US.

The comments to the video on YouTube are worth reading too.

The future has been with us for some years now.

The trial in the Court Martial of Bradley Manning is finally scheduled to begin on Monday 3 June 2013 at Fort Meade, Maryland.

3:35 AM  
Anonymous MrGlenn said...


Can you recommend some books on the Puritans and Calvinists and their contributions to the character and culture of the formative years of the United States?

You want someone banned because of your PERSONAL perceptions, choices, lifestyles, beliefs, etc? You label the guy with all kinds of names that you did not deduce from what he said. Yet, you want yours included and his excluded.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Best single vol. is Sacvan Bercovitch, "Puritan Origins of the American Self." Also check out bks by Edmund Morgan.


7:16 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Ellen (and others who have posted youtube and other links like tinyurl, etc.),
Please be aware that the link does not always go directly to the story you intend. For example, the one on European attitudes toward surveillance leads only to a large menu of unrelated videos from different countries. Is there a title by which one might identify it? I have sometimes gotten around the address issue by typing in the title.

On a related topic, I pursued MB's comment about "Americans checking their phones 150 times a day." I highlighted and clicked that very phrase and came up with the article which also mentioned the emerging wearable technologies like Google glasses and embedded sensors, thus liberating people from having to stop and check their phones, the data stream being continuous and voice activated.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

I don't know if anyone saw this article concerning American individualism/wealth disparity from a couple of yars ago by Steven Hill of "Europe's Promise" fame. It is slightly WAFer-esque, though you have to suspect that he holds out hope the US can awaken and emulate aspects of the European workfare state.

Re ELD, I agree the underlying accusation is cowardice, that you are getting something for nothing. References to Florentine history notwithstanding, is it not so different from "Freedom isn't free" ("No Shit!"-Halliburton Corp) "Land of The Free, Because of The Brave" emotional sloganeering? But even this exchange was thought provoking and instructive. It actually made my mind wander to Andrew Bacevich who says that Americans ask the volunteer military to pay a heavy price to enable the nation's excesses, yet they really don't want to pay the cost beyond slogans or deal with other harsh realities. Talk about something for nothing.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Ellen: I was too assertive- something I need to work on. And you also bring up good points. But part of your refutation came dangerously close to a strawman argument. No one is entitled to a perfect world, but that doesn't exempt us from living conscientiously; this applies doubly so to those who decided to bring children into this world. As for the previous critique,no, I don't support shallow multiculturalism (I would gladly assimilate into Switzerland or Norway- it would've likely been healthier for me to grow up with European values than American ones), nor am I a believer in the Obama cult. That response truly grasped for straws (that tribal supremacism has led to much human suffering is also another truth).
That said, I do promise to all WAFers that I will do my best possible to leave a better world for future generations. I'm certainly not buying into the consumer culture ever again, though I may need to leave my family, because their capitalist-Catholic beliefs could be an impediment to the projects I want to undertake. They most probably will need to see capitalism (and hopefully also the Church) perish with their own eyes.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

About the "People's Republic of Vermont": If the world had their CO2 emissions per capita, climate change would be even worse than it is now. In the last election only 5% of the vote went to 3rd party candidates. Burlington is less walkable than most cities in the world (read Walkable City by Jeff Speck). 30% of people living in Burlington are living in poverty. The state has had $8 billion in defense contracts since 2000 (e.g. General Dynamics designs and tests their weapons in Vermont). A slow living conference is great, but let's not brush aside the dominant reality of the place.

Vermont and Oregon are better than a place like Texas, but they are still based on suburban sprawl, junk food, supermarkets, a hustling economy, war profits, consumerism, and modern technology.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

MrGlenn, Wolfer's opinion, if followed through, would result in others losing their freedom and well-being. He wants people to be punished for not being religious, or for not acting according to his (arbitrary, based on personal taste) standards for men and women.

A person has the right to his position, but not to his opinion. That is, you can believe what you want, but if other people get HURT as a result of what you believe (for example, because you believe that Arabs are all terrorists and their countries need to be bombed off the map), then you have an ethical duty to change your beliefs (as you would have others change their beliefs, if you're the one who might get hurt). That's just basic human decency.

You don't get "the right to your opinion" if your "opinion" is that others should be robbed of that same right.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous MK said...

So glad to have this blog to turn to each day. Just got the book Endgame and can't wait to read it. I work in a library and was told by a twenty something co-worker that she doesn't read adult books because they are too deep! Think I'll just keep hitting my head on the wall.

11:37 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Greetings Wafers,

Hope you all check out this terribly interesting video (or read the accompanying transcript)~> "Why Tim DeChristopher went to Prison for His Protest":
There are many interesting things to cite here. But this particular exchange drew my attention. Tim DeChristopher's response to Bill Moyer's question (ie., it's a threat to our *industrial civilization*) is an important distinction he makes. I think understanding this particular distinction makesmall the difference in the world for our survival. But it's subtle enough that I think most folks (read: Americans) would miss it. And I think we would miss it without having read your books Dr. Berman.

BILL MOYERS: Did you see that cover of The Nation magazine recently? "It's Not Warming, It's Dying," referring to the earth. Do you agree with that, that it's more than global warming? It's actually an existential threat to the planet?

TIM DECHRISTOPHER: Not really. I mean, I think it's an existential threat to our industrial civilization. It's a threat to the kind of planet that we have evolved on, the kind of planet that we've always lived on. But I think both the planet and human beings are resilient. And I think there will be some kind of survival. The thing that scares me is what we will have to do in order to survive.
I also bring this up Dr. Berman as it relates to Chris Hedges remarks toward the end of your joint interview. Hedges points out something along the lines that this time is different because this time, b/c of global warming, we are taking the whole planet down with us, this time we are talking about the extiction of the human species (paraphrasing from memory here, apologies if I get the drift of his remarks wrong). I noticed that you didn't disagree with Hedges, but did not have the opportunity to flesh out your viewpoint, Dr. Berman. Well, as you would probably point out, Hedges is too smart to not see and understand this distinction. But thinking about this in regards to Americans, to not make this distinction or not qualify what we (as activists and militants for truth) say about Climate change and, instead, go straight for the jugular as Hedges does here is kind of discomfitting. That's because most Americans cannot and will not see the writing on the wall: that the American way of life is the real existential threat to our planet. We are so indoctrinated and braindead, that the end of earth's civilizations does not mean (I'm not joking) the end of the American way of life!

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

James Newlin- I think it would be interesting if you started a blog where you could describe your experiences with simplified living in more detail than space permits here. Of course it would have to be something that strikes your interest as well in order to work, but just so you know at least one person would be interested in reading something like that.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Wafers and Waferettes,

Sadly, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has announced she will not seek re-election to Congress. She was my rock, my anchor, my salvation. I believed, with heart and soul, that she would accelerate the collapse of America. Of course, history will remember her as a complete nincompoop and a key player in the collapse of America, yet she was capable of so much more.

Well, all that is left to me now is her memory...

Michelle, ma belle.
These are words that go together well,
My Michelle.

I wuv you, I wuv you, I wuv you.
That's all I want to say.
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand.

O&D Michele, O&D forever,


12:39 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


Ur u-tube contribution proves the word "legal" doesn't mean a thing, unless, u are on the elite team.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

Okay, maybe I wasn't very objective in my 1st criticism of Wolfer, but I think what he said demonstrates blatant evangelical fundamentalist (non-)logic
"I was watching the video until I heard this: 'my boyfriend is a nurse'. Then I realized why he is against the Bible and religion."
"This is part of the reason this country is disintegrating - everyone wants something that feels good immediately (hedonism)."
1st, how do you deduce by the statement, "my boyfriend is a nurse" that an individual is against the Bible and religion, and a hedonist? How does that logically follow? Also, since when is this blog pro-Bible and pro-religion? On this blog, of all places, where we poke fun of evangelicals like Sarah Palin, why would we care if someone is "against the Bible and religion."
Isn't Wolfer saying that America failed because we turned from the Bible & religion, while we've had in-depth discussions on here about how evangelicals (creationism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, etc.) are part of WAF (why America failed)?
"I turned off the video, and I thought 'well, good for you that you did not move to a nation where men are men and women are women, and they want to keep it that way'"
I mean, how else to interpret that but blatant sexism? I'm not into identity politics, but geez, not much you can do w/that one...

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

The suicide rate for men between 30 and 64 is up.


1 - feeling of loneliness

2 - feeling of uselessness to family

3 - lack of fear in face of death

Note 3 above: explains suicides in soldiers. They are trained to kill and die, so they feel no fear to die in face of death. Fascinating for WAFERS!

Source 1

NEW YORK -- The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported Thursday.

source 2

The suicide rate among baby boomers has increased in the last decade -- up a shocking 28 percent, according to a Reuters report.

Studies have found that middle-aged men are more likely to kill themselves than middle-aged women, with reasons varying from economic to educational.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous LW said...

Just had to say that I'm reading DAA now (just recently being introduced to Morris through the recent Hedges interview) and it's really good. I actually laughed out loud during his discussion on "community" towards the beginning of the book.

MB described the odd interaction he had with a neighbor when he decided to be nice and bring her cookies. I couldn't help but laugh imagining them both standing there ritually eating a cookie in awkward silence before he decided to leave. He suggested that she may have even thrown the remaining cookies away!

It's sad really, I know, but it also struck a dark funny bone in me as it rang so true to my own experiences. Community? Ha! Please, I live in an apartment complex and couldn't tell you the name of any of the people living around me and if I tried to find out it would be "weird." This world is such an odd place. If you don't laugh, you'll cry.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

I'm a little late to the dance on this topic, but I felt compelled to weigh in on Ennobled Little Day's "question" in his/her post:

"You are beneficiaries of others' willingness to fight. Many of you are in countries in Latin America or Europe. If those countries got into difficulties, would you flee that country, too?"

Yep. However, for one of the countries in Latin America, Europe (or Asia, where I spend more and more time, and am planning to emigrate) to get into "difficulties" on the scale of the quagmire of America, nearly the entire populations of said countries would need a frontal lobotomy, a machine gun, and a mega-dose of anger. In other words, the likelihood that foreign lands I've visited end up as fucked up and soul-killing - at the individual level - as the US is about as high at the likelihood that Chris Hedges starts a movement. All due respect to Mr. Hedges, he's a great writer and speaker. However, he can stay in this shithole as it circles the drain. I like tranquility and manners, two things I am bereft of in America, and I'll pursue them forever.

Hell, I like the land I live(d) on in America; the autumn is beautiful in the Midwest, a fresh snowfall still causes me to reflect; I love what I grow in my garden and what my grandma grew in hers. But I treasure love and kindness more, and the daily dose of injuries inflicted upon my heart and soul in America from the most trivial of interactions aren't worth all my 'attachment' to the lovely land.

Awesome podcast btw, Dr. B. My wife listened with me, and thinks you're cool. She gained a lot of 'awesomeness' points when she said that. I want to renew my vows already. Hope you are well, amigo.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Here is the Kafkaesque portent of things to come, a 'US FBI swat team' went into NZ to try to illegally grab up an internet businessman for extradition. It is from Russia Today so 'patriots' might take offence at the language--"The Kim Dotcom case proves American lynch-mob mentality is spreading like an extra-legal fungus across the planet."---but there are no safe havens now:

4:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hi there, all...

Lotsa conversation as of late. I'm currently in Cork, had porridge this morning, and my taxi driver, Mr. O'Sullivan, asked me if I had Irish blood. "In a test tube, you mean?" No, just kidding. But I told him I had Irish friends.

Yesterday's issue of El Pais had an article abt how folks who immigrate to the US wind up with increased health problems and shorter lives. No shit, Sherlock. I woulda clipped it, but was rdg the house copy in a cafe, then forgot to buy a copy b4 I left for Eire.

I do admire Chris' fight for law and justice, but worry abt the population he is fighting for: morons who are actually opposed to the ideals he's fighting for. In the conversation, he talks abt how his ans. machine at the NYT wd be full up every day with hate messages. At least half the country wd be happy with a police state, and at least 99% are happy with the idea of the American Dream--which means, in effect, empire. Hell, let 'em have it, I say.

Andy Borowitz has an article out re: sharp anticipated rise of Congressional IQ, with departure of Michelle Bachmann. I wd urge u all to pee on her shoes, but she's not worth wasting perfectly gd urine on.


Not the world; the US. On a world scale, we are literally nuts. Joe Henrich at UBC has done some gd research on this.


It's just impt to realize these folks, and not u or I, are most of the country. Even b4 9/11, I made up a little saying, which I sent to all my friends:
1. The dolts are on the march.
2. There are lots more of them, than there are of u.
3. If they get into power, they will hurt u.
Proved to be true, eh wot?


MIT Labs has been working on a total body net, so that u can walk down the street interacting with no one but yrself...which is practically the situation today anyway.


5:28 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

A duck walks into a post office, and asks the man behind the counter "do you sell any corn?"

The man behind the counter says "no, this is a post office. We don't sell corn."

So the duck sighs and walks out.

Next week the duck walks back into the post office and asks "do you sell any corn?"

The man behind the counter says "look, this is a post office. We DON'T sell corn."

So the duck sighs and walks out.

Another week later, the duck walks back into the post office and asks "do you sell any corn?"

The man behind the counter says "I've told you TWICE now. We don't sell corn. If you ask me one more time, I'll nail your f**king beak to the counter."

So the duck walks out.

Next day, the duck walks back into the post office and says "do you sell any nails?"

The man behind the counter shakes his head and says "No."

So the duck says, "in that case, can I buy some corn?"

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Zaid said...

An interesting story:

For his service in Iraq, Walker received seven medals and commendations for valor. A former comrade in arms named John Endsley wrote in a letter to the court, “Doc Walker [was] the epitome of what it means to be honorable.” I met Walker recently for several hours over two days at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky, a minimum-security facility where he is currently serving his sentence. He was almost 6 feet tall, slight with delicate hands, blue eyes, and blond hair molded in a prison-issue crew cut. We sat in the prison’s visiting room under the gaze of two guards who had been told to keep a close eye on both of us.

Walker fidgeted often and had a twitch in his left eye that wasn’t there before the war. For the last several months he had been taking Prozac, which helped calm his anxiety and lift his depression. Nevertheless, he moved nervously, wringing his hands and repeatedly rubbing one thumb back and forth over the other. At times he kept my gaze for long periods, while at others he couldn’t seem to look at me at all for more than a second or two. He was unfailingly polite and articulate, and though I knew it was difficult for him, he did his best to put words to the traumas of his experiences in Iraq, and the devastating consequences after he returned.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


Quite a few science-fiction writers warned about the imprisonment of virtual reality & the wired-in life. As an example, consider "City of the Living Dead" by Fletcher Pratt & Laurence Manning, circa 1930:

Meanwhile, report from a more literal prison:

I guess this is the transparency Obama promised & delivered.

And another intellectual prison:

As one of comments posted in response says, "You can't fix stupid."

8:52 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...


Let us know your opinions of Ireland! Given my appalling language skills it is on my list for a place to go when I've had enough of livin' in the USA (all respect to Steve Miller of course).

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Mo Ronich re: ELD, Arthur Silber put up a good post around Memorial Day about the willful ignorance, denial and romanticized BS which imbue noncombatant Americans and, presumably, Brits in their support for war and the troops, and how disgusting this soon proves to be to those who actually serve on the front lines. Silber quotes some graphic details from Fussell's "Wartime- Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War."

I used to wonder why my uncles who served in WWII never talked about it. After all, wasn't it a glorious victory of good over evil? I don't wonder anymore.

@James Newlin
Regarding selection of a state best suited for NMIs, it is probably a mistake to think on the scale of even a state. In the short run, states may still matter. But if you believe the collapse analysis put forth by Ophuls, Kunstler, Greer, Orlov, et al, life is going to get a lot more local within the next 20 years. It may be better to focus on finding a specific community - town, village, or small city, with characteristics that appear promising and which still has some sense of society and cohesiveness, and start making yourself useful and forging ties to the people there. Orlov goes so far in one of his columns as to recommend that one choose a village, town or small city that had a vibrant pre-industrial existence, as that indicates it was well situated with access to food, waterways for trade, etc. In other words, it had a reason to exist that was not dependent on fossil fuels. Of course, that is not sufficient, and only goes so far.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Hey WAFers, haven't been around much lately but thought you would enjoy this latest shining indicator of America's inevitable demise. Presenting, I kid you not, the Burger King Whopper hands free device:

Now you too can look like a cow wearing a feed bag and be grateful that the death merchants who sell you the poisonous garbage that is slowly killing you have been so kind as to make it possible to keep right on texting while stuffing your fat face.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Horatio Nelson said...

there's hope for us yet, Wafers!

10:12 AM  
Anonymous MrGlenn said...

You CLAIM to know everything about logic and about this blog. You write: "1st, how do you deduce by the statement, "my boyfriend is a nurse" that an individual is against the Bible and religion, and a hedonist? How does that logically follow?"

TheWolfer did NOT say he deduced that the guy is against the Bible and religion from "my boyfriend is a nurse". Rather, he stated that the guy was ranting against the Bible and religion first. Afterwards, the guy states that his boyfriend is a nurse. Criticizing the Bible and religion came first.

You write: "since when is this blog pro-Bible and pro-religion? On this blog, of all places, where we poke fun of evangelicals like Sarah Palin, why would we care if someone is "against the Bible and religion.""

You are too quick to equate TheWofer to evangelicals, to Sarah Palin, to Michele Bachman. How did you determine this equation?? Does it mean that someone cannot be religious without being an evangelical, without being like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman??

Then you elect yourself to be the prophet of what this blog should be against. If this blog is against religion people, then it is against Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists because these are religious people. If this is what you want this blog to be, then you desire to be against more than 90 percent of humanity on this earth. If you choose to be against religion and the Bible, does that mean you must ban from existence and exterminate does who do not share your belief??

You want to ban TheWofer from this blog because of his opinions and way of life, but you want to be respected because of your own opinions and way of life. Do you see anything wrong with your attitude?? Do you see the IRRATIONALITY in your thinking??

If you desire some respect from others, then do not arrogate wickedness to yourself. You think you can normalize your lifestyle by treating others as outcasts to be banned; and yet you expect others to love you; you expect the country to be peaceful. If you must have your lifestyle, you must allow others to have theirs, otherwise remember that you have no monopoly on wickedness.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

What is your math and science take on these supposedly intelligent people who are creating this stuff? Undoubtedly they have seen "The Matrix". Given our situation today the dangers as presented in the movie are quite real. Toward what good do they think they are working?

You work in a library? Is it the case there, as it seems to be in my city (assuming it's not the same one) that the quantity and quality of books on the shelves are diminishing? In my town, children's books seem to occupy a growing amount of space outside the children's/juvenile area, recognizable by their uniformly thin size, large print, and simplistic language and topics. These, and slightly less simplistic books with titles like, "What's Wrong With America/ the World/ Your Life, etc., and What-You-Can-Do-About-It, biographies of celebrities, and pulp fiction comprise roughly ninety percent of the reading material, with serious literature (the remaining ten percent) tucked in here and there. Top it off with a Romper Room atmosphere and you have a recipe for suicidal depression. It took six weeks for the system's one copy of Hannah Arendt's "Origins of Totalitarianism" to wash up on my shore. And this city, which passed a massive library levy a few years ago, is supposed to be one of the most educated! What do you see going on in your town?

10:45 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

So far, this is what I understand about America. One of the social norms in America is independence meaning one is not supposed to need others. Americans promote themselves as an individualistic people with freedom of expression.

One is supposed to conform to these things without question. One is ostracized when one asks questions, will not conform or can't conform. What is believed is contradictory.

How can one conform to individuality? How is this logically possible? The modern day American beliefs are inconsistent and can't be reconciled with each other. How is it possible for one to be a conformist and an individualist at the same time? This is what America demands and I call bullshit on it.

12:18 PM  
Blogger jml said...

For those of you who have been missing Mitt - some good news!

12:27 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Not only was each member of the jury for Tim DeChristopher's trial personally instructed by the judge to not follow their conscience (see link I posted above to the Bill Moyer conversation)... we also have public school teachers being punished for trying to teach about rights and legal dissent:
Grateful to have gotten a copy of Paul Craig Robert's "How the Economy Was Lost" (thru CounterPunch's web store) b/c MB and other Wafers have quoted from him recently. As Roberts points out:

"If the American people wish to continue as a viable society, they must inform themselves of their plight and demand change. If they acquiesce in propaganda and disinformation from the special interests who are enriched by America’s decline—the same special interests that control their government—the bulk of the American population is headed for Third World status [...] Wake up! Be aware that the interest groups that control “your” government are destroying you."

3:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"You are beneficiaries of others' willingness to fight. Many of you are in countries in Latin America or Europe. If those countries got into difficulties, would you flee that country, too?"

I wouldn't need to flee, firstly because unless their country is run by a U.S. propped dictator like Pinochet, Noriega, or Somoza, they won't be making war and creating enemies with anyone, and second of all, those countries are populated by men & women of honor whose history is RICH with revolutions, and that's because they know their history & that of others, they know what kind of a government they want, and they'll resist indefinitely until either they're dead or until they have what they want, which is why every one of those aforementioned dictators fell, because during their reign they faced constant resistance that never let up, unlike americans who take every insult and slap in the face from their leaders & then re-elect them..

You'll never see the people of other countries in Latin America, etc., wear t-shirts with slogans like "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" or "Give me liberty or give me death", or "The tree of liberty must be replenished from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" for those slogans reside firmly in their DNA which is why the Sandanistas spent 60 years fighting the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua and are now in full charge of the country, and why the FMLN did the same in El Salvador, the list goes on and on of people who stand and stood up up for themselves worldwide against America & other empires (Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., etc.).
The only people who need to wear those slogans on t-shirts and bumper stickers are the sociopathic, self-betraying, boot-licking eunuchs that compose the U.S. populace (or infestation). They swagger about with those t-shirts on, talking about how 'one day they're gonna take amurrica back to the way it was', but then they'll hate on people like Chris Hedges & Ralph Nader who truly want to help them as they defend and re-elect the scum who openly betray them every step of the way. They'll claim the hispanic immigrants are "invaders", but then they'll flee in what's called "White Flight" and leave entire cities and areas of the country open for the "invaders to settle right in (which I'm glad for, because it gave me a sane place to live prior to departing the U.S.).
Ever heard of Vietnamese Flight?
Or Sandanista Flight? Iraqi or Afghani flight? Revolutionaries don't flee, or side with their mortal enemies, or not know their history is or what they want for a government.

Americans as Revolutionary material? NO.

As Doltish Douchebags? YES.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous SuperMan said...


Here is a video to help you fight sexists and the rest:

The rest of the article and video are here for you to enjoy:

Always remember: Opinions and lifestyles are matters of choice. One choice should not caricature or exterminate the other. Americans constitute less than 1% of the entire world's population. What is good for you may not be good for peoples in other cultures, or what you think is constitutional and moral and legal for Americans may not be the same for peoples in other cultures.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

But, Dr. B, your supposed to maintain this blog as a dolt-free oasis, a sanctum where we go to get rejuvenated. The only dolt posts that should enter the sanctum of the blog are the ones that show dolts stupidity and ignorance, ie. the ones we can laugh @ and poke fun of.
I've been trying to volunteer with our local immigrant organizations. In my work, I'm truly amazed at the diversity of Latinos in my community, so many Mexican states are represented as well as other Central American countries. My Spanish embarrasses me, and, since most jueros are douche bags, I'm not sure how I'll be received. But, I look at it as an NMI opportunity, to get outside the American mindset. Seems like a lot of the focus is immigration reform (sigh), but maybe I can do what I can to provide a realistic view of things, and meet some fascinating and real people along the way.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Nice article for fellow WAFers here:

Quote from that article:

"[Glenn] Greenwald and [Murtaza] Hussain are of the opinion that- as stated almost universally by each suspected terrorist from 9/11 to the Boston Marathon- Western foreign policy, with its brutal occupations, bombings, drone campaigns, and propping up of oppressive dictators that serve Western interests, is actively creating more, not less, of the very thing the “War on Terror” is designed to extirpate: the threat terrorism. Their argument is that it is naive to believe that Western actions do not play a significant role in the blowback we experience in the form of terrorist attacks on Western soil. For them, the simple logic of cause and effect is our guide: If you indiscriminately target citizens and support regimes that kill innocent people in other countries, for the sake of national interests, all while citing “freedom and democracy promotion” as justification for your presence there, you should not be surprised if retaliation is sought. Greenwald and company do not justify that retaliation, as some of their critics have wrongly asserted. They are merely underlining a rational set of reasons for “why they hate us”, in an effort to counter the “they hate us for our freedoms” narrative that is often force-fed to Western citizens.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

Hi Morris,

I thought this Japan-India story by Vijay Prashad might resonate with you.



1:21 AM  
Blogger jml said...

This article is about an island in Greece where people live into their 90's and early 100's. It is interesting to compare to the unhealthy aspects of American life that make us sick and drive us crazy. A few quotes:

"In fact, people here live on average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America – around one in three Ikarians lives into their 90s. Not only that, but they also have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, suffer significantly less depression and dementia, maintain a sex life into old age and remain physically active deep into their 90s. What is the secret of Ikaria? What do its inhabitants know that the rest of us don't?"

"As one of the island's few doctors told Buettner, "It's not a 'me' place. It's an 'us' place.""

"All the blue zones are slightly austere environments where life has traditionally required hard work. But they also tend to be very social, and none more so than Ikaria. At the heart of the island's social scene is a series of 24-hour festivals, known as paniyiri, which all age groups attend. They last right through the night and the centrepieces are mass dances in which everyone – teenagers, parents, the elderly, young children – takes part."

"I ask a number of men in their 90s and 100s if they do any keep-fit exercise. The answer is always the same: "Yes, digging the earth.""

"The island's greatest charm is that it is an unselfconscious sort of place."

In every way this culture is the complete opposite of the American.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Some more information for your Japan book, if you want:

Japan has a HUGE bullying problem. Like, even worse than the American version, so their culture of thinking of others doesn't always work out as planned.

Here's a couple of links:

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Chicago Sun-Times fires all its photographers:

The comments say it all, plenty of WAFers-in-potentia there!


Americans don't care about quality, especially if it costs money, and the reason they don't care is because the majority cannot tell the difference between a good photo and and exceptional one, or a good song from a drum-machine-laden, auto-tuned, lyric-less piece of garbage.

We get the nation we want, and we've got a dumb one.


Just saw the Japanese film Still Walking which I highly recommend. The closest thing to Ozu, but dealing with the contemporary Japanese family & its discontents.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I assume you are appealing to a notion of tolerance based on the whole postmodern notion of moral relativism, "judge not lest ye be judged", etc., when we pass judgements based on quality of what is good and what is bad all the time on this blog. I thought part of the purpose of this blog was to reject American political correctness and conventional American "wisdom"?
I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that I'm coming from an American perspective, in relation to my post about Wolfer. I'm not certain, but I think Wolfer is an American, at least, his post represents conventional American attitudes about gender, the Bible, and (evangelical fundamentalist) religion. Perhaps MB and others can shed more light on this, but, it is my understanding that there is a wide spectrum of acceptable gender roles and expressions among cultures, and that cultures vary widely in their mores regarding sexuality. It is my understanding that the Western norm of rigid gender roles and sexual repression was introduced into many non-Western cultures via colonialism/empire, and that many pre-colonial societies held much more liberal/fluid attitudes.
After "my boyfriend is a nurse", Wolfer then deduced that he UNDERSTOOD why he was "against the Bible and religion". How does that follow? I don't get how the statement "my boyfriend is a nurse" sheds light on being against "the Bible and religion"
2nd, I do think that evangelical fundamentalist Christianity is a very flawed belief system that places too much emphasis on the individual (individual salvation, "priesthood of the believer") at the expense of the society/organization (submission to the hierarchy/organization) We've poked fun @ evangelicals and their bizarre beliefs all the time on this blog: promoting Armageddon via global warming, creationism, warmongering, "God bless America", etc. Just because I and others on the blog think evangelical fundamentalism is very flawed and dangerous doesn't mean I and other don't appreciate and see redeeming qualities in other spiritual paths: Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, even Catholicism, Islam, and mainstream, conventional Protestantism have some redeeming qualities, especially compared with evangelical fundamentalism.
3rd, MB must have some yardstick of quality to measure what posts make it through and what posts get discarded/dismissed, otherwise, the blog would be inundated by ad hominem attacks by angry, stupid dolts, and would quickly lose its purpose as a refuge of like-minded individuals from stupid, angry, American doltdom. I take MB's word for it that he's has to reject posts from angry, violent, patriotic American dolts. So MB is our gatekeeper, if you will, or, if you prefer, the dictator of the kingdom of WAFers.
Last, I'm not sure what this "lifestyle" is you speak of? I'm not sure you know enough about me to have any idea what kind of "lifestyle" I have. Also, I'm not asking for tolerance or acceptance from evangelical fundamentalists, and don't really care if they accept me. I don't care about their opinion or values. If they hate me, I certainly don't care, since I'm not seeking acceptance or tolerance from evangelical fundamentalists. It would be nice if they didn't shoot me, but, considering that this is America, that can't be guaranteed, certainly not as time passes. I'm baffled to your reference to wickedness, it seems like a righteous rant that is lost on me...

10:16 AM  
Anonymous MK said...


The quantity of books depends upon the $ available to the library. The quality seems to be easier words and ideas etc., but that has been happening for some time. There are more graphic novels and the types you mention, the Hardy Boy bks have been made easier! but some very good types (MB, Hedges, Knustler) also. A lot of people use the library to get dvd's and to use the internet.
Even though people are reading How to Get Rich etc. I at least do see people reading.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

John McCain went to Syria to show solidarity with rebels trying to destroy the government of Syria. Whenever you see these people come into your country pretending to help you, run away from them; it is a deadly trap to destroy your culture. Imagine Russia coming in here to assist some militia groups against the US government. The arrogance and wickedness of white people is beyond belief!

BAGHDAD -- The United Nations mission to Iraq said Saturday that more than 1,000 people were killed in violence across the country last month – the highest monthly death toll in years.

The entrenched idea that Chechen separatists have not and do not engage in jihadi terrorism; that they pose no threat to the West; and that anyone who thinks or says otherwise should be distrusted — these false premises have framed a dangerously misguided policy in which Chechen radicals have been protected and nurtured — at the expense of American lives. The neocons, the same crowd that suckered Americans into invading Iraq, played a front-and-center role in whitewashing Chechen jihadi terrorism, and defining our disastrous policies in the Caucasus. The Boston Marathon bombings are, in no small part, blowback from the neocon love affair with Chechen terrorism. This isn’t just my position — it’s also the position taken by FBI whistleblower and Time magazine’s 2002 Person of the Year, Coleen Rowley.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good Day Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Exactly! Mittney needs to get back on the horse. With the sudden departure of Michele, America is now primed for a Don Draper type huckster with a fantastic haircut. Remember Nixon back in '68? After JFK, who could have dreamed that wingtips and Grecian Formula would be made cool again...

Go Mittney!

Horatio Nelson-

Great story! Because of this, Holder and Obama are working on an addendum to the NDAA. Something like... grammar terrorists will be droned or forced to read, ad infinitum, "Oprah Theology: A Comparative Analysis of Oprah Winfrey's Worldview of Christianity and Biblical Christianity" in Gitmo.


1:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I know many of u have asked where to go to live off the grid, so to speak. I found it: Southern Ireland. I have a friend in Cork, and today we drove down toward Skibbereen and then down to Lough (=Loch) Hyne. Complete stillness, pristine environment. A few fishing boats on the lake, a million miles from nowhere. People live their lives out here without being plugged into an electronic world. Landscape is breathtaking. Pack yr bags.


3:51 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


Ikaria sounds like a dream. I wish I could move and live there. I wouldn't even know where to start.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

Hi Morris,

One more link for your Japan studies:

I think you've been on Doug's show and probably still listen, but just in case:

The interview is with a guy named richard katz who has the ridiculously named "the oriental economist report." He seems like a bit of a schmo who still believes in "the market," but it sounds like he's been living there a long long time - and most importantly, his analysis is sound (in my very humble opinion). Aside from giving some historical economic perspective - which gives context of course, he mentions a few aspects of the culture affected by the economy that don't get mentioned too often.



6:22 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Ireland (Eire in the Irish language) is indeed beautiful, but 'Southern Ireland' was a very short-lived autonomous region of the United Kingdom, proclaimed in May 1921 and formally dissolved in December 1922, thus never properly established. Irish people are still quite touchy about the misnomer, given the bloody struggles for Home Rule. Even lower case 'southern' will cause republicans to point out that the northern-most point of the island is within the 26 counties of the republic. 'The Republic of Ireland' is an acceptable descriptor but the constitution states that the correct name is Ireland. There is a Northern Ireland of 6 counties but no Southern.
Unfortunately citizenship rules have recently been tightened and US citizens are unlikely to qualify unless they already hold dual nationality or have an Irish parent with an already established right to citizenship.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman,

I did a web search out of curiosity of Skibbereen and Lough Hyne — the photos are a testament that the "landscape is breathtaking." Have you taken any pix yourself on this trip, Spain included? Don't be holding back — upload those babies.

In the gallery of photos for Skibbereen was this fantastic perfectly shaped 'crater.' An additional search I learned that it was a man-made creation by the California artist James Turrell. Did you happen to go there?

Never having been in Ireland I've often heard the weather is predominately wet — most of the photos I viewed were rather sunny, I'm sure in the winter it's a whole other story.

Nonetheless, following up on the crater image I came across, it turns out there is a Cloud Appreciation Society, and they held their first Irish Cloud Festival last year at the crater. A cloud appreciation society — how can you go wrong with that?

Happy Trails!

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@in.fern.all: As far as I can tell, the phenomena of crass commercialism, derivative-ness and oversimplification began with mainstream American cinema and pop music before it spread to books. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how the motion picture industry represented by the conglomerates (Viacom, Time Warner, Disney, etc.) went from promoting The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Network to Footloose or Rambo in a matter of a decade.
@cubeangel: Let me clarify two things for you: One, what the United States has is a conformity based on greed and materialism, with an ersatz, hollow individuality that does not really promote the healthy development of the person. And two, most so-called American "conservatives" in particular are actually radical reactionaries who found it convenient to dress up their prejudices, warmongering, chauvinism, fundamentalism, jingoism, police state and special interest advocacy, etc. as "traditional wisdom."
That is all for today. I will write again tomorrow. Take care.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Dave Foley said...

I understand French novelist, and chronicler of atomization and winner-take-all despair Michel Houellebecq agrees. He lived in Cork for years. Now he's in Spain, according to Wik. Sounds like he can pick'em.

Anyway, Dr. Berman, at one point in the talk you said that for the elites, the powerful, it's not so much the system as that they remain at the top, in the high status, in control. This was striking. Do you think this phenomena is unique to this time, or that just the extent of it is unique? Is it that in a healthy or healthier (moral, intelligent, etc.) society elites would be willing to, I don't know, turn over power, or allow movement between classes? Because the middle and lower statuses would not be that horrible? Or because just clinging to power would not be seen as the highest good? Or something else?

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Today's breakdown-of-civilized-behavior anecdote:

Apparently an increasing number of businesses are selling front-of-the-line passes of one sort or another, so that if you've got the extra money to spend, you can avoid waiting in line like everyone else, i.e., the rabble.

In short, it's promoting a self-centered, feudal society: the oligarchs & the serfs. If you've got money, you deserve to be treated like a human being; if you don't have money, you really don't qualify as a human being.

Check out the science-fiction film In Time, in which the wealthy literally buy time from the poor & live for centuries, forever young; the poor in turn literally sell years of their lives in order to make it through one more hardscrabble day.

12:28 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

I'm reading a number of books on the blog's theme [Berman's, of course, Magnuson's, Ophuls, Dmitri Orlov, etc.].

There is a fair amount of prognostication in some of them about the form of future economies, communities, and such, how people can organize to survive and help each other.

The problem I have with this is that on little cat feet, everything is being quietly moved to a "subscription" model to keep everyone permanently indentured to the "owners".

That was the model for trying to take over the public water supply in several South American countries. And I think it's the model for large hedge fund purchases of vacant housing - turn everyone into a permanent renter.

It's what's going on with software. And Kindle books?

You are not going to be an "owner" of anything - you will be a "user", "renter", "subscriber", "sharer", "associate", "lessee", and make your regular payments to the "owners". Keep that cash flow coming. Never let them off the hook.

People may think they can just go off, grow their own vegetables, live off the grid with solar energy and all the rest of it.

But the explosion of intellectual property law (patents, copyright, etc.) in the last 20-30 years may mean you have to tithe to Monsanto for your seeds, "lease" your solar or alternative energy components [and don't think about building it yourself and infringing their design patents!] and all the rest of it.

The point is that the hustling culture never knows when to quit and, especially for the free range psychopaths who head many American corporations, there is never enough. Not a hopeful time.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

WAFERS, please take time to listen to this (all of it); it proves conclusively that America is seriously sick:

You can read along using the transcript (if you read along, you appreciate it more):

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Reading WAF, and saw a brief mention of Norman Brown. I read Love's Body and Life/Death a number of years ago and you've reminded me to revisit. Any thoughts come to mind on his work and its relevance?

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Nothing to upload, as I shoot with real 35mm film. I.e., I don't own a digital camera. Sorry 'bout that.

However, I can describe some things 4u. E.g., last night I went to O'Connor's pub in Doolin, ate fish and chips and drank Guinness while listening to local musicians doing their thing. It was fabulous. One young guy did some Irish dancing; Ted MacCormack, who is abt 75 and has only one leg, sang Irish ballads (great voice); and a 7-hr-old girl did solos on the concertina, with everyone in the pub--abt 100 of us in one rm--applauding wildly. Yes, a few people took some fotos, and 2 bozos recorded things on their cell phones for abt 5 minutes; but that was all of the electronic crap. 100 people, and only 2 people briefly on cell fones. This, I thought, was what life is about; not Techno-Buffoons in NY, Vancouver, or Barcelona rushing around on their fones thinking they are so hip, or staring into thier tiny screens at concerts. John Banville, the Irish writer, uses the word "disimprovement" in his latest novel, "Ancient Light," and I think it fits. All this hip techshit is not progress; it's just disimprovement. Life is people being real, like in this Irish pub, not morons on laptops in Starbucks. I did want to tell the 2 bozos on cell fones that they were a disgrace to their race, and that as soon as I finished my pint of Guinness they cd be sure their shoes wd no longer be dry; but as a foreign visitor I managed to restrain myself. But you see a scene like this and you think: what assholes these hip Americans (Canadians, Spaniards) are; what a pathetic experience of life they have.


6:10 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...


Think this is more an urban vs. rural thing tho' isn't it? Rather than American/Spanish vs. Irish.

i.e. outside Barcelona/Madrid, Spain might be cell-fone lite. (Dunno myself, it's years since I've been).

Do the citizens of Cork know any decent duck jokes, btw?

7:59 AM  
Anonymous James Newlin said...

A new book is out about one of our top exports to China: scrap metal

Scrappers: Dayton, Ohio, and America Turn to Scrap by Steve Bennish (Dayton Daily News)

Another book I just read, it's from 2006 and tells the story of the U.S. mining labor movement in the 19th century in S.E. Ohio -- I think an important part of the history of our decline.

Agents of Change: The Pioneering Role of the Miners of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds In The Nation's Labor Movement by Cheryl Blosser & John Winnenberg (The Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council)

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Delighted you are having such a delightful experience. I always liked the Temple Bar in Ireland. Spent two weeks there years ago and a couple of stops lately and its delightful. Its improved since it no longer is the "Celtic Tiger". During the "boom" the Irish were taking on some very English and American douchebaggery aspects but alas the whole think came down like a house of cards and comeuppance was had by many. I think given that there was 9and is) strong cultural intergrity and no doubt active and or nascent catholocism made the comeuppance meaningful. If you like the celts parts of france (Brittanny) and in Andulusia in Spain you will see the fun and grounded gingers who are breather of the Irish.

Does this mean you will leave the lands of Juarez and Tacos? We Mexicans will miss you!

P.s. Good on you for shooting 35 mm. Digital image processesing is o photography what a MP3 is to a good vinyl with tube amps---a crappy simulacra.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Politically Incorrect said...

On the Irish music scene...
It's one reason I think most of the real quality music from the Irish shores stays close to home... traveling cost $$$ and the hassles probably having a lot to do with it but really ever since Riverdance and the commodification of Celtic culture you'll be hard pressed to see much without a lot of hype attached to it in the States. I mean musicians gotta make a living and it's nice to see some of what's available on-line especially when traveling to Dublin may not be in the cards on the weekends... but I agree... must 'everything' be recorded? can't music just be enjoyed for the moment.. in the company of people who can appreciate the shared experience.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Here's a link to a great article by Lewis Lapham titled "Ignorance of Things Past." While certainly not a new observation, Lapham points out "History is not what happened 200 or 2,000 years ago; IT IS A STORY [emphasis added] about what happened 200 or 2,000 years ago."

In conjunction with the Wendell Berry poem, here's Ray Davies:

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
And to proved that it really existed.
Fathers take pictures of the mothers,
And the sisters take pictures of brothers,
Just to show that they love one another.

You can't picture love that you took from me,
When we were young and the world was free.
Pictures of things as they used to be,
Don't show me no more, please.

People take pictures of each other,
Just to prove that they really existed,
Just to prove that they really existed.
People take pictures of each other,
And a moment could last them forever,
Of the time when they mattered to someone.

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
Just to proved that it really existed.
People take pictures of each other,
And the moment to last them for ever,
Of the time when they mattered to someone.
Picture of me when I was just three,
Sat with my ma by the old oak tree.
Oh how I love things as they used to be,
Don't show me no more, please.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Tim Lukeman—

About “a self-centered, feudal society” where without money “you really don't qualify as a human being”:

Rich people always shopped at different stores, traveled first class, etc. It’s just becoming more blatant – with Communism gone, capitalism needn’t seem attractive anymore.

America has always been schizophrenic as it denies it’s a class society. This takes away feudalism’s humility at one end, its ‘nobles oblige’ at the other, and reduces everything to money. A Mexican gentleman once told me that they don’t like Chicanos who come to Mexico demanding respect only because of their pockets full of US dollars.

Feudalism had drawbacks, but wasn’t without compensations.

About the rich buying years of life from the poor, remember the Yiddish one-liner: “If the rich could hire the poor to die for them, the poor could make a very nice living.” With capitalist medical technology – it’s no joke. Already they’re pushing for ‘free market’ organ donation.


About never being the ‘owner’ of anything but only the user, and never get off the hook. For the majority of Americans, it’s been that way for decades.

When you’re making house and car(s) payments, you’re a slave to your employer. That’s the way it’s been since the end of WW II. A car is worthless by the time it’s paid off, and even if you pay off the mortgage on a house – taxes, insurance, and upkeep still require a substantial cash flow.

Check out this Dmitry Orlov interview:

It’s unique in that Orlov talks about his own life experiences in the USSR, America, and Russia.

The Capitalist World System is crumbling, and after all the death, destruction, etc., we have the grim satisfaction of knowing that this rotten system is NOT forever. Now *that’s* change we can believe in!

David Rosen

9:30 PM  
Anonymous LW said...

Just thought I'd ask if MB (or anyone else) was aware of the annual Bilderberg meeting taking place this Thurs-Sun in England.

Here is the list of people attending:

Notice General Petraeus, Kissinger, Senior Advisor of Microsoft, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Intl, Timothy Geithner, Group Cheif Exec. of BP, Barclays etc...yet no one on the stupid cable "news" channels even mentions this weird meeting each year of government/media/banking elites? I'm sorry but that is just odd, especially in this day and age when people are becoming more aware/concerned about the uber-rich corporate elites grip on the levers of power.

I find it very difficult to believe that these people have anyone's interestes in mind but their own. Of course who would expect a corporate owned media to report on things other than Lena Dunham's tweets regarding urine? (not kidding, it was a real cable news segment) Unbelievable.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


Do u suppose there is anyone on this planet who wud turn down winning the Power Ball lottery. The last amt. won was approx. 700 million?

11:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Currently on Inishmore in the Aran Islands. The place got electricity in 1975. Dolt Index (DI) is very low: I saw 2 bozos on fones, and I think they were tourists. No cars here, just a few minivans that take u around. A landscape to die for--abs. breathtaking. We probably need to organize a World Wafer Convention (WWC) here for 2015 or so.


12:50 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

In addition to the Bilderberg jamboree (a registered charity for billionaires) in Watford in June:

we are also hosting the G8 summit on June 17 and 18 in Lough Erne, Fermanagh, NI-- just in case Dr B wants to drop in on the biggest police operation ever put together in NI.

Everybody who is anybody in the world will be there--which means a handful of arrogant nobs, not you and I.

The secrecy and security around these exclusive gigs is causing me to rethink my previous dismissal of all those Illuminati conspiracy theories. The only comfort I can find is in remembering that wonderful word 'hubris' and in humankind's propensity to make great plans and then fuck up the implementation of those plans completely, cold comfort indeed for us poor pawns who are the subject and funders of those grand plans.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Flying dolts!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To The Good Dr. Berman and fellow WAF’ers across the planet……

Today, I draw your attention to the latest missive from Noam Chomsky titled “Humanity Imperiled : The Path to Disaster” published at the Tom Dispatch website. As you might guess, he’s referring to the impact of climate change, the possibility of a pandemic and of course, nuclear war.

Quoting directly:
“…. imagine you’re an historian 100 years from now -- assuming there are any historians 100 years from now, which is not obvious -- and you’re looking back at what’s happening today….. So there are processes underway and institutions right in place…. which could lead to a serious blow to, or maybe the termination of, an organized existence.
The question is: What are people doing about it? None of this is a secret. It’s all perfectly open. In fact, you have to make an effort not to see it.
Trying to mitigate or overcome these threats are the least developed societies, the indigenous populations, or the remnants of them, tribal societies and first nations in Canada….. At the other extreme, the richest, most powerful societies in world history, like the United States and Canada, are racing full-speed ahead to destroy the environment as quickly as possible……. It’s institutional structures that block change. Business interests don’t want it and they’re overwhelmingly powerful in determining policy….”
Yep, nothing can be allowed to interfere with the profit system.

All Glory to the Hustlings

Go Here:

9:04 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Ian Welsh has an interesting new piece up:

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Dyaln said...

Hi Morris - and fellow WAFers (actually, I guess I started out as a TRWer, in my younger and more vulnerable years),

Sorry again if you've already heard (or will hear) this, but it's directly connected to the last behind the news show I recommended. Doug just posted another show with a Japan expert:

It's interesting. Doug is smartly finding what one might call mainstream guys with heavy economic/business chops. I think it's smart because if we don't understand this shit, we cannot really know what's going on with the power elite. Yes, it may be too late and it may not matter, but I still subscribe to the know thine enemy school...

I still hate though on many levels. I'm an idiot when it comes to math and I resent having to spend any time on understanding the dominant power's methods. Actually, Yanis Varoufakis addressed some aspects of this dilemma in this interesting speech:

i'd be curious to know what people think of it. I have mixed feelings. That being said, I feel like I understand the macro, because I was tutored (i.e., had many discussions) by an expert in world systems theory (Wallerstein's WST that is), Marx, labor history, etc. - not that I absorbed all of it, but that's where I'm coming from. Anyway, the most recent Japan expert Henwood interviewed contradicts his previous guest on the details and makes the case that during the last twenty plus years of Japan's economic downturn, Japanese citizens have been getting richer and living longer.

If you take the two guests together, I think it gives an interesting - if seriously incomplete - picture. Further study is needed, as they say...At any rate, I'm hoping it is more grist for your mill.



10:39 PM  
Anonymous Jabis Jay said...

This where America is heading:

The thing is when you open the door you have no reason not to let people enter the room; you may have to teach young kids in grade 1, grade 2, to high school about safe gay sex. I promise you it is coming. This is what freedom is about - when you are free, you are free - and no person should stand on your way of enjoying your freedom. In other words, everything goes, including abusing kids.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Mr. B,
I seriously agree with your idea of a convention on Inishmore.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morris Berman- The Twilight of American Culture 4-20-2000 -Book TV CLip.

Oh you Nailed it! Your 10-15 Years forcast is Spot on!

I Was Lving under a Bridge in Toronto in 2000.

I was at you San Francisco Book Signing, the Bearded "retired Hobo" Boxcar Johnny the Hebrew Hobo.

12:42 AM  
Blogger jml said...

jabis jay:

there's a quote by aldous huxley that goes something like this:
"when they have taken all of our other freedoms, they will give us sex, promote sexual promiscuity, and we will think we are "free.""
this is what is happening. americans are so stupid that they think that this is progress.

if there is a convention on inishmore, i will be there. my ancestors came from ireland. it is a magical place.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous capo regime said...

Jabis Jay,

Your comment is well insane. Freedom to protest public figures--especially public figures is part and parcelt of civilization albeit a declining one. This "freedom" does not equate with the abusing of children. Seems you are on some homophobic equivalence trip. In any case, the lack of dissent and views such as yours are yet another shovelful on the mountain of evidence to get on out....

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Jay Jaber: Homosexuality IS Not synonymous with pedophilia (most prefer adults just like normal heterosexuals), and reproductive or sex education is not synonymous with simulating sex or showing the students pornography. I certainly never experienced any of this growing up. You would do well to check if your sources of information are religious fundamentalists or bigots. Those ideas are nothing but ignorant, paranoid delusions.
@MB: Here is a hilarious comment from the Atlantic Wire that demonstrates how much further gringos have declined in their level of education:
"I'm a born-again Christian and I've always said that God wants us to play Dungeons & Dragons (and other roleplaying games).
Furthermore, those who claim that 'unicorn' is a mistranslation of 'rhinoceros,' or that 'dragon' is a mistranslation of 'crocodile,' are as mistaken as those who claim that 'day' in Genesis is a mistranslation of 'time period.' Obviously we need to take the King James Version literally (in the simplest and most obvious sense); if Shakespearean English was good enough for Christ Himself to speak, then it is good enough for the rest of us."
Let's insert a bonus here as well:
"Dragons are still here. There was no big meteor event. Baby dragons were brought into the ark with Noah, as well as all the other animals."

10:37 AM  
Anonymous James said...

I don't believe in most conspiracy theories either, but here's some food for thought:

I'm telling you...

12:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Worldwide Wafer Convention (WWC) may take place on Inishmore 1-5 June 2015. However, be advised that a previously scheduled Wafer convention in Mexico City, last yr, failed miserably. We needed 10 to do it, got 2. I wd suggest a minimum of 7 this time. Best itinerary is to fly to Galway, take ferry over to Inishmore. Details on guesthouse, whom to write etc. to be provided 18 mos. from now. But it hasta be 7 people besides me, with plane ticket in hand--no foolin'. This is the honor system: you can't suddenly pull out in May of 2015, leaving everyone else stuck with nonrefundable plane tickets. This is open only to regulars on this blog. (Last time the regulars pooped out, and complete strangers wanted to attend the "party" in Mexico City--!) We will not tolerate douchebaggery or any form of CRE. ps: leave yr cell fones at home.


1:04 PM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

Whoops! Serious (Freudian?) slip in my last post. It should read "I still hate it though on many levels. The "it" being the to engage with topics of finance and economics to get a detailed understanding what these fuckers are up to.

On a connected but different issue:

Do you (Morris) or any WAFers have an opinion on Zizek or Varoufakis's ideas?



2:42 PM  
Anonymous Jabis Jay said...

@jml: It is only in America that kids do not learn from watching or listening to adults in their surrounding – the American kids simply learn only by thinking deep thoughts while oblivious to the activities, sounds, and images in their environment. Only in America, the land of the free and the brave, that kids grow up with the knowledge that shoes are worn on human heads while shorts are worn on human toes. You see, in America adults do not teach kids the way to dress, to eat, to talk, to fuck – American kids simply learn these things on their own by thinking deep thoughts and by watching the Moon and Sun and Jupiter.

It is only in America that you are a bigot for expressing your viewpoint. The people who enjoy labeling you a bigot do so because of their own CHOSEN lifestyle and viewpoint. You are a bigot and they are not because they say so. You see, it is only in America. If you are religious you are automatically a bigot, a fundamentalist, and a fool. If they are gay, they are automatically not bigots, not fundamentalists, and not fools. Therefore, from 1600s to the present day the people from the Southern part of USA have been known as bigots and fundamentalists because they are from the so-called Bible belt. While the Northern part of USA started hustling, the Southern part started bigotry and fundamentalism. Do you see the connection here – the connection between Northern hustling and Southern bigotry? Do you see why America failed?

It is only in America that you can eat your cake and have it in your refrigerator. It is only in America that you can speak from both sides of your bigoted, immoral, and ignorant mouth and still be regarded as a progressive and modern-day moral man while the other fellow is the problem – his lifestyle and viewpoint are the problem and yours are not the problem. For example, its only in America can a mother go to work 24/7 and still claim to be an expert in raising her children at home. You see, this is why America has not failed! This is why America is the land of the free and the brave!

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I live just across the water from the Rep. Of Ireland, so it's comparatively easy for me to attend.

All you'll get from me is duck jokes, though. I've given up on the Big Picture.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

My bucket list includes a least the WWC in 2015. However, I realize I'm a dolt in comparison to the main contributors. It would be a fly on the wall experience to me though so I'm going to do my best to attend. If I die then I will pay anyway.

I cannot think of a better experience than the inaugural WWC. Meeting all will be beyond words: a sort of Bilderberg celebrity cast w/o the hubris/narcissism. Count me in!

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

If I demand $5 every time this happens in America from now to the end of this year, I bet I will be very wealthy:

San Diego Accidental Shooting: 10-Year-Old Boy Killed While Playing With Friend, Loaded Gun

6:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Don' sell yrself short. I like the idea of the WWC as an anti-Bilderberg conference.


Duck jokes are gd.


Zizek probably a bit overrated, as are all these intellectual celebrity starts. But I hafta say, his little bk on Lacan is 1st-rate.


4:37 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Calling all WAFers:

Here's an update on the National Security State : Glenn Greenwald published today an article on how the Obama administration asked for and got a court order demanding that Verizon turn over records of ALL calls on its system.

Quoting directly:

" The [court] order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.....The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing. ....The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual...... Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: "We've certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of 'relevance' to collect large numbers of records at once ..... but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretense of constraint or particularized suspicion.""

I'm guessing all cell phone carriers have similar orders.

Your "Constitutional Rights" are evidently printed on toilet paper.

It's all here:

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

I take it you haven't read WAF (why America failed). In it, MB discusses evangelical fundamentalism and its role in creating America, and we regularly discuss evangelical fundamentalism's role in how America failed. It's a flawed, new, excessively individualistic belief system, unlike established, mainline churches whose history goes back hundreds of years
gay people, like Jews, are a red herring, a distraction for people, the sexuality of a small fraction of the population bears no influence on the morality and sexuality of the vast majority. Gay people make up no not than a fraction of any given population regardless of their attitudes towards homosexuality. Because gay sexuality has no bearing on the heterosexual majority, focusing on it is a distraction. Giving gay people civil rights is small potatoes in terms of its influence on the greater culture. No credible study shows that tolerance of homosexuality in any given culture has any influence on the presence of same sex attraction in the culture. A tiny minority wields no such power. It says more about those who use it as a distraction from their own morality

7:52 AM  
Blogger jml said...

jabis, my comment regarding the lgbt interrruption of michelle obama's speech wasn't so much about morality as it was about the all-of-a-sudden continuous coverage of identity politics which seems to be done for the purpose of convincing the masses that we live in a progressive, "free" society. it's actually a distraction from focusing upon other issues. we are allowed/encouraged/given permission to protest gay rights, but not capitalism. (i hope i'm not offending anyone here who is lgbt - i have lots of friends who are, worked/lived in the "gay" area of my city for most of my adult life, and have nothing against people who are.)

10:43 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Shall we become Collapserbergers ?

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

MB ~

Thanks for the comment. I tried to read Lacan a long time ago while I was in school. I found him frustratingly opaque. No one could give me a compelling reason to spend the time and effort it would take to learn his terms, system of thought, etc., so I gave up. His writing on desire and need seemed interesting, but overall, I found him too dense and convoluted to make much sense of. What do you think is valuable in his thought?

Since I can't seem to post anything without a typo and I made a joke about a possible Freudian slip, here is my joke contribution to the WAFers:

A Freudian slip is when you think one thing and say your mother.



4:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Shep wrote: "Meeting all will be beyond words: a sort of Bilderberg celebrity cast w/o the hubris/narcissism."

Not if I'm in attendance. I may be broke, but I've still got my hubris/narcissism.

Is it just me though, or does it sound sort of like the premise of a Christopher Guest movie? You know, Christopher Guest, with those mockumentaries: Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman (all good, but that last one gets an extra star from me.) I mean, I can totally see him turning his camera on an oddball crew of haughty outsiders like ourselves. That said, I wish I could commit to going. I do have some Irish ancestors (somewhere in my mutt lineage) and I've never been to Europe. Also my credit card has bonus air miles that I've never bothered to use. Something like this might be a good excuse. But it's a long ways off to make a definite commitment. I would probably have to give a tentative yes, and wait til 6-9 months out to commit definitely...

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Jabis Jay said...

Shane: I take it you haven't read WAF (why America failed). In it, MB discusses evangelical fundamentalism and its role in creating America, and we regularly discuss evangelical fundamentalism's role in how America failed. It's a flawed, new, excessively individualistic belief system, unlike established, mainline churches whose history goes back hundreds of years

I read WAF and I think I missed the part of the book you described above. I mean I read about technology as a religion in America (p76-79). For example, MB talks about how religion "acts as a
kind of hidden religion" (p. 76). Or how Americans worship technology as in "fanatical devotion to technology" (p. 79) and as in "religious nature of American technoworship" (p.79).

I guess I missed the part you cited above concerning how "evangelical fundamentalism and its role in creating America" and how it contributed to why America failed.

Please cite page numbers from WAF so that I can reread the pages.

Thanks in advance.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Obama campaigned against this type of anarchy and violation of rights of the people, but he is doing it now that political power is sweet. They are monitoring your cellphone. They can even track where you are 24/7 through chips in your cellphone.
America, the brave new America!

This was part of the reason why Chris Hedges decided to go to court with Obama Administration.
Where is Professor Sheldon Wolin and his concept of inverted totalitarianism?

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Dr. B, a WWC sounds splendid. I wanted to do Distrito Federal last year, but alas, I was one of those who wimped out. it was too close to my wedding is my excuse. hopefully i'll still be married by 2015 and I won't be having another wedding at the next planned WWC. I've wanted to meet you since I was 19 (which was kinda a long time ago) and I'll get to see Ireland. So if it appears to be materializing as we get closer to 2015, i'll make it happen.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

WAFers -

Well, If this doesn't fill the bill, I don't know what does:



12:28 AM  
Blogger Michael said...


I can't say I follow your argument. Bigotry, fundamentalism, etc.--these things are not simply all relative. If I describe someone as a bigot, it's because he or she has, rationally speaking, said something bigoted. I'm not sure where anyone gets off suggesting that there is some hypocrisy in describing viewpoints from, say, more fundamentalist residents of the American South as "bigoted" because "northerners" are all secretly bigoted against southerners, or whatever. Bigoted statements are bigoted statements, i.e. rationally analyzable as such. Same goes for the fundamentalist ones.

Identity politics have a lot of problems, and I can't say I'm a fan whatsoever; but people too often imply that it's the responsibility of whatever minority groups to "fix" the problems with identity politics, or not engage whatsoever.

Meanwhile: In Texas, you can kill your escort if she won't put out.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To the good Dr. Berman and fellow WAFers:

Today, Glenn Greenwald published another article on the National Security State which America has become ( notice there was no debate in Congress).

Quoting directly:
" The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian. The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.....The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US. It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants. ......Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007....It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online. Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks."

It's all here :

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

Welcome to Denial Central, where everything the U.S. government, big business and the military do is good and honorable, those who say otherwise are conspiracy theorists and anti-American freedom haters, and exposes of any potential skullduggery are threats to the very existence of the global empire. This week's ostrich with his head buried in the sand, another American contact of mine, had this to say about Morris Berman's writings (note that he believes Morris is my university professor simply because I included the facts on his academic background in an e-mail):
"I have been thinking about the articlew which you quoted last week. I have to agree with one of his conclusions - that as a nation, we don't know what we are doing, and that as individuals, we are too...well, detached from the world, and that we are by and large ignorant of it, because for the most part we (as individuals) have little contact with it beyond our own borders.

But his overarching sense - that we are in the grip of Dark Forces intent on enslaving us to tyranny and desiring world domination with imperial designs - is rather shallow. For a professor, he seems to lack a knowledge of certain basic facts of day-to-day life (what has been dubbed the "Ivory Tower Syndrome"). His response to the idea of strip-searches for people taken into custody tells me he has never been arrested and booked into a jail, for nearly every police department in the world which has responsibility for either custodial detention or ensuring that accused persons actually show up before a magistrate, performs a strip-search (and even body cavity searches) before placing a person into the general jail or prison population - this to prevent the smuggling in of contraband.

His characterisation of Pvt Manning as a simple "whistle-blower" suggests that he himself has never been in the military - nor gone through the indoctrination necessary to be entrusted with any nation's secrets - and he seems to lack the vision necessary to see just what damage has been done, nor understand the nature of the trust violated.

So I find it irksome that in some ways I agree with his basic view, but don't see how he extrapolates all the rest out of it. Though well-written and even compelling, too much of it is just milarky and half-truths.

So anyway, I have been too busy to compose a decent and coherent response as to just what I think of your professor's blog - but it isn't the source of Truth and Enlightenment which I am sure he sincerely and with all the best intentions for the greater Good, believes it to be. I spot just too many errors."
At least he was polite. But you don't need theories of four-dimensional lizards or a hated minority performing Satanic sacrifices to acknowledge that some institutions are corrupt. Also note his choice to use "indoctrination" instead of "education"- a big-time Freudian slip.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

American motto:

"Let us pray, before we prey."

9:42 AM  
Blogger jml said...

martin - your friend sounds like he is experiencing the usual cognitive dissonance that goes on in america. he senses that mb is onto something but then must spend much time and effort convincing himself that mb must be wrong probably b/c he (your friend) is too invested in the present system. for many people, it is simply too painful to accept reality. i suspect that the reason the numbers of middle-aged american men are committing suicide is rising is because they just can't convince themselves any longer that something just isn't right and has not been for a very long time. accepting that much of what we have been taught and told is lies is a very hard pill to swallow.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Berman, an update:

Dmitri Orlov, with whom you and Chris Hedges had a conversation, recently ignited a firestorm when he dismissed a woman named "Gail" at the peak oil conference because she tried to bring up the role of women in post-collapse societies, which Orlov denounced as a "distraction".

Then he and his fellow commenters angrily denounced Gail as "Stalinesque", as troublemakers, as essentially feminist "idiots" who drive American men to seek women abroad because women get too uppity in America.

So, I went over to Gail's actual blog...and it turns out her tone was actually fair and reasonable; Orlov was calling her names not because her argument was flawed but because he personally didn't like it, and he twisted her words to make her sound more hysterical and emotional than she actually was.

That, and Orlov posted personal information about Gail to the Internet to "out" her as a supposed wealthy hypocrite.

(Which is another unwarranted conclusion he jumped to, like the "Stalinesque" overreaction, because Gail has previously been arrested in Occupy Wall Street; it's her relatives that are wealthy, not her).

Orlov's great at discussing future collapse. He's not as nice to people who disagree with him as Morris Berman is, however. Actually, another collapse scholar, John Michael Greer, the head of an archdruid order who also happens to be conservative (in a Burkean sense, not a Republican sense), also tends to call people names and pigeonhole them into what he thinks they are, rather than what they actually are.

Chris Hedges and Morris Berman don't apparently share this tendency, since they'll let people with dissenting views (like Jadis for example) post without throwing a fuss about it.

What do you think, Morris Berman? Is it because both you and Hedges are on the "left", while Greer and Orlov are on the "right"?

In other words, Berman, do you think your position on the "leftward" end of the political spectrum has significantly increased your ability to hold civil conversations with people, or do you consider it irrelevant by this point?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To Dr. Berman and fellow WAFers:
The good folk over at CounterPunch earlier posted an interesting column titled: "The Silent Death of the American Left". The title pretty much says it all.

Quoting directly:

"It is a bitter reality, brought into vivid focus by five years of Obama, that the Left is an immobilized and politically impotent force at the very moment when the economic inequalities engineered by our overlords at Goldman Sachs who manage the global economy, should have recharged a long-moribund resistance movement back to life..... Our politics has gone sociopathic and liberals in America have been pliant to every abuse, marinated in the toxic silt of Obama’s mordant rhetoric. They eagerly swallow every placebo policy Obama serves them, dutifully defending every incursion against fundamental rights. And each betrayal only serves to make his adoring retinue crave his smile; his occasional glance and nod all the more urgently. Still others on the dogmatic Left circle endlessly, like characters consigned to their eternal roles by Dante, in the ideological cul-de-sac of identity politics."

Maybe the collapse will be televised after all, just another pathetic reality show.

It's all here:

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


The reaction among the American populace to the new revelations regarding government spying is quite revealing, and tends to prove your thesis that Americans are dolts. Americans have essentially gotten used to and accepted the chains of endless servitude. They have become too pacified to question the fact that their government spies on their 'private' communications and taken this for granted.

To quote an illustrative anecdote from a recent NYTimes article, concerning one American's reaction to the NSA scandal:

" “I think it stinks,” said Steve Talley, 64, a retired state worker in Mount Airy, N.C., a small, conservative town near the border with Virginia. But, he added, “it’s been going on forever.”

“I don’t mean to be cynical, but this is nothing new,” Mr. Talley said. “If people think the government hasn’t been monitoring whatever they want to, whenever they want to they are sorely mistaken.”"

Link here:

8:26 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Martin Ramirez, your grotesque American contact seems to be saying that being trained absolves all... that they are "only following orders," which is just fine with him. He isn't the only one who ever thought that way.

Jesus, America is hopeless. Totally, utterly, flat-line hopeless. Whether Ph.d level or "good ol' boy," so many people in it sound like Lynndie England, people whose perennial belief system is as follows. If the boss says jump, I JUMP. Because he's got the MONEY. I will do ANYTHING for MONEY. I will follow the program no matter what it is, or who I gotta kill, 'cause that's my training. You're ignunt 'cause you never had the same training.

These people worship the personages in Zero Dark Thirty. Their life's aspiration is to be like these "heroes."

America is filled to the brim with these brutish dolts. When u couple that w/ the snooping, the massive corruption on every level, etc., etc.... well, I won't be crying in my margarita when it all comes crashing down.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

WAFers ~

For anyone interested, Free Speech TV is broadcasting the Left forum:

Wallerstein, Christian Parenti, and Jill Stein kicked it off.

I think FSTV will be broadcasting the forum for the next two days.

If nothing else it's an interesting view of what I call, "what's left of the left." Oh, and Chomsky will talk.

My feeling is, unless the left can organize itself under some kind of umbrella organization with teeth, it will never be able to organize others to the extent called for. We seem a long way from that...



12:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Open-mindedness is probably not a function of left or right, in my experience; communists are the archetypal example of rigidity and exclusion of dissent, for example. It may be a function of going beyond left and right. The truth is, there are very few folks like Camus, or Orwell, or Edward Said around. Americans are not unique in living inside of slogans, of course, but they certainly are at the cutting edge of it these days. Too bad abt Orlov, I hafta say.

Of course, I get a lot of hate mail abt my own supposed intolerance of dissent, but these folks come on with scorn and Attitude, and then think I'm going to post them! Americans are so dumb, I tell u; no emotional intelligence (or any other kind) at all. It never occurs to them to just neutrally submit evidence for their disagreements with me or the blog; no, they hafta be peacocks, superior to us all.

There aren't too many topics of a political nature I don't wanna discuss here...altho I confess, the subject of identity politics is kinda boring, to me. I allow it, but it strikes me as phony politics, finally--a distraction. Also 9/11 as an inside job, for a whole host of reasons I've explained at least 10 times, and can't keep rehashing. But the crucial issue is courtesy in dissent, using evidence rather than sarcasm or Attitude, and Americans find that hard to do. They think emoting is thinking, and that opinion is evidence, and I doubt I can make much headway against that depth of stupidity. Really, what can u do with folks who read ch. 4 of WAF and then decide I'm pro-slavery??! There are so many brain-dead people out there that if I had no filtering system at all, there wd be no blog.

But in the end, the dolts will win. I'm quite sure of that. And in a perverse way, I love them. Yes, i admit it: I love the dolts. When Mittney lost the election, I wept for days.


5:37 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Move along... There's nothing to see here:

"Cameron's Attendance At Bilderberg Group Is 'Conflict Of Interest', Say Protesters"

PS -- Escape from TechnoBuffoon land: T minus 3 weeks.

6:31 AM  
Blogger jml said...

it is worth reading the comments to this article from aljazeera regarding the latest community college shooting in santa monica:

we have become like the drunk, dysfunctional, pathetic relative that no one knows what to with

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Lets be fair to Dimitry Orlov--the comments the person posted on her blog were after the fact and of course reasonable--edited and toned after. Yes feminism will be a distraction after a collapse as will all sorts of isms. In my view the person Dmitry was confronted by was the typical american borderline idealog who later edited her appearance. Nuff said. And to be devils advocate if someone like Orlov or even MB get pissy after years of speaking sense and encountering dolts so what? They are human after all.

I with MB will remind you the left has produced millions of douchebags. As China and Russia will remind us it is the left who likes to exclude and go about murdering millions of people. The Nazis were progressive atheist leftists too---I always wonder what happened to histroy books and dictionaries. There is no basis in fact to assert people from the left are in any way civil. If anybody on the so called american left or progressive side has come up with an interesting or useful idea word of it has failed to get out--its the usual sloganeering.

There should be a wafer credo where the notions of left and right are shaken out of ones head. Why and how do people hang on to these useless concepts? Why even in wafer land do people bother with implying a bit of leftist superiority?

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Smith: Unfortunately, if you browse his archives, you can find out that Howard Kunstler is quite a knee-jerk Zionist. He has written very hateful, degrading pieces on Palestinians and Arabs in general (he called them "camel jockeys who won the lottery because of oil"); I am of Lebanese and Bedouin ancestry on my paternal side, so it is a little hurtful for me to see entitled Yanks or Europeans demeaning the Middle East when they probably haven't even studied or experienced its nuances and complexities for themselves (much like Africa or latin America). On this I recommend the books "Reel Bad Arabs" y Jack Shaheen, and of course, Edward Said's literature.
@sanctuary!: What is also grotesque is this counterfeit skepticism that has been popularized by the corporate media, embodied by Penn and Teller, Christopher Hitchens, etc. Critiquing obvious low-hanging fruit such as superstitious New-Agers and Creationists, you are a cutting-edge intellectual, but if you point out any falsehoods or corruption in more secular but dominant institutions (say, corporate agriculture or pharmaceuticals), you are a paranoid woo-promoting fruit cake. Hell, the Rational Wiki article on Chris Hedges portrayed him as a hysterical, touchy-feely religious visionary. You can once in a while find good information on pseudoscience and religious fanaticism from these sources, but you have to be wary of the deliberate disinformation in favor of special interests, the character assassination that accompanies it, and the authors or pundits'/hosts' personal prejudices. for example, despite the fact that Chinese medicine is based on millennium-old cultural heritage and has been well-received around the world, it is always tossed in with nuttier propositions like crystal healing. Who knows- maybe acupuncture affects the skin nerves or blood circulation in some way. All in all, this is in my opinion another of the CRE and societal decline.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Here we go again; only after two days:

Justin Stanfield Thomas Shot, Killed Accidentally By 4-Year-Old Son In Arizona

Dr B, you stated: "But the crucial issue is courtesy in dissent, using evidence rather than sarcasm or Attitude, and Americans find that hard to do. They think emoting is thinking, and that opinion is evidence, and I doubt I can make much headway against that depth of stupidity".

I think WAFERS here should show that they are not dolts by using evidence such as citing page numbers when they refer to WAF and make claims based on what they read in WAF or other books. This is only reasonable to ask. Right?

10:48 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

There's gotta be a CRE metaphor lurking in here somewhere:

"Although jellyfish rank low on the evolutionary tree (they don't even have brains), they have the unique trait of eating things higher up on the food chain than themselves – things that are bigger, faster and smarter than they are."

Rise of jellyfish reveals sickness of world's oceans

11:17 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi WAFers,

Let me bring your attention to this news item:

The NSA Sent a Takedown Notice Over My Custom PRISM-Logo T-Shirts

That 's b/c if u have ever needed a precise & succinct summation of the 'Dolt philosophy' here it is, courtesy of Max Read:

"Like all real Americans, I am an entrepreneurial, small-business job-creator type, so when I learned that the NSA was collecting immense amounts of data from nearly every major tech company on the planet, my first thought was: How can I make a buck off this?"

Brilliant summation of the Dolt philosophy spoken in American English. If you want to take the time and parse every word, this is how Dolt Americans respond to *every* situation they're faced with. In fact, I could just make a brochure to pass out to first-graders and basically not waste their 12 years of public education. I might title my brochure: "How to respond to *any* situation you may find yourself, in 50 words or less," and distribute it to all first-graders in our "public" schools. Here's how a first grade teacher might introduce the little cherubs to Max Read:

"Hi boys and girls. Finish sipping on your high fructose juice boxes, and criss-cross applesauce, because let's show our visitor how good little boys and girls welcome our friends from the business community. Shhh! I don't want to have to send a note home with you to give to your mommy or daddy because you were in Time-Out! Our visitor is Mr. Max Read, and he's an entrepreneur. Maybe your Dad or Grandaddy is an entrepreneur? Maybe you'll grow up to be one too! : ) Max Read says he has 50 words he wants you to always, always remember. And if you always remember them, you don't need to learn anything else in the next 12 years until you graduate. And your mommy & daddy will be *so* proud. ; )..."

Yeah, trying to be funny here Wafers (*trying* may be the operative word) b/c Max Read doesn't have a comments section on his page. I'd like to tell him that I have mixed feelings abt what he's doing. In other words, I'd like to both encourage his efforts AND tell him to go fuck himself.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

When you find yourself with millions/billions of dollars, it’s hard to have many complaints about the system you live under, except some version of the wealthy housewife’s stock lament, “It’s so hard to get good help, nowadays.” That’s the way it is with our growing cadre of celebrity journalists of the David Brooks/Thomas Friedman type. Here’s Brooks yesterday on NPR on the news the government has recorded all our phone calls.

BROOKS: To me, the most persuasive argument against all this is not what's being done now, but what might be done in the future. I do think the people in the national security state have relatively few checks on what they want to do. I think they want security overall and they don't really balance sometimes competing interests.

So I do worry that future abuse is a possibility, but right now I do think, especially with the anguish coming from the Oval Office and the FISA courts, so far what I can see is a check on a delicate trade-off.

SIEGEL: (Unintelligible) the anguish counts for something here?

BROOKS: I love anguish.

See, it’s all good if our totalitarians just show some anguish or regret - to know that they don’t feel good about recording all your phone calls, or torturing you, or executing you without a trial. That’s enough for Brooks, spoken like a true goose stepper, the only thing missing was a “Sieg Heil!” at the end.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

I take it you haven't been on the blog long. MB has said that he is an atheist, but I'm sure he could tell you that. Anyway, I don't have WAF handy, but MB discusses evangelical fundamentalism in the section regarding America's civil religion, where he discusses the whole "City on a Hill"/Zion idea of the belief by Americans that the US is sacred/ordained by God, holy, etc. He also discusses why evangelical fundamentalism took off like wildfire in the US because of the need to find something else more meaningful than mere hustling. The US has been about one thing, hustling, but, because that is not very meaningful, Americans have to find other "causes", like evangelical fundamentalism to give meaning to life. The whole idea of God's ideal Christian nation that has been with us since the Pilgrims. Zealous evangelical Christianity also underlied anti-Communism and anti-terrorism. The whole "City on the Hill" idea that must be exported worldwide at all costs has deep evangelical underpinnings and is rooted in fundamentalism. It's in the book, and I'm just paraphrasing--perhaps MB or someone can cite the pages/chapter(s).
Jabis also brings something else up when he contrasted the North and the South--the substitution of the lower class white, "redneck" if you will, culture of the South for the traditional, upper class, landed aristocracy of the Old South. Over the years, the lower class, "redneck" culture has come to be the exclusive representation of the South, while the Old South aristocracy has died out. In my mind, it's part of the transition from Old South to New South that took off in earnest after WW II. Roughly, this is the landed aristocracy of old money, heredity, either Presbyterian or Episcopalian, Democratic--the closest thing the US had to the English feudal system. Associated with cotillions, coming out balls, Junior League, etc. I'm old enough to remember the remnants of what was left of this culture growing up in KY. It had a vested interest in maintaining the rigid, hierarchical class system in the South which kept down not only black people but poor whites as well. In this system, poor whites ("rednecks") occupied a rung only slightly higher than blacks, and constant racial conflict between poor whites and blacks assured the landed aristocracy's position of authority. It's historically inaccurate to represent the culture of the poor whites as the traditionally dominant culture of the South. It has only been since the rise of the New South since WW II that the culture traditionally associated with poor whites ("rednecks") has come to be the dominant culture in the South. Traditionally, the landed aristocracy of the South used racism and evangelical fundamentalism to keep down both poor whites and blacks and maintain clout and position. (People expecting redemption in the next life will tolerate a lot of shit in this one.) The culture of cotillions, mint juleps, plantations, Presbyterianism/Episcopalianism, Burke's peerage, coming out balls, Junior league, etc. IS NOT the culture of country music, Baptists/Pentecostals, tent revivals, etc. Two traditionally separate classes that did not mix.
Regarding the whole surveillance scandal that's being talked about, does anyone think that maybe there's just too damn much info being collected to be of any use? Kind like all the info that's on the internet. I mean, at some point, the sheer volume of it all makes it so undwieldy that it becomes useless, basically a tower of Babel of everything. Isn't the discretion of information what makes it useful?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

RE Smith, MB

This is my take on it.

The conservative stance is a fundamentally pessimistic take on human nature, ie were all impulse and instinct, base desires gone wild.

The left stance requires some open mindedness because to be truly left leaning is to embrace giving someone else the benefit of the doubt. This evolves into a nurture over nature type of world view.

In the joke that is modern American discourse, these two extremes can find some common ground in that they must at least both understand how all the ideologies stem from this basic stance on human nature.

But it is merely a happenstance of the disgusting nature of our society. 99% of the population is distracted with nonsense and cannot understand the pivoting point.

Frankly, any "conservative" who actually is scares the shit out of me. If you're in a survival situation with a true conservative, you're getting stabbed in the back. Orlov strikes me as a true conservative...

And yes the left can go too far. There is both nature and nurture in our molding. But too far to the left is a poor system(which often entails murder). Too far to the right is guaranteed murder.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, to be exact, early belief in the "civil religion" was a Puritan one, not strictly Evangelical. As for later, Bellah's arg. was that virtually all Americans believe in the civil religion--even atheists. You may be making too large a category out of the word 'evangelical'.


I don't post Anons, so you might wanna pick a handle, such as Sam Schmeck, D.D.S.


4:35 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Capo, your statement about the Nazis isn't true. The Nazis were not "leftist atheists". The Nazis borrowed from Christians, the occult, atheism, the old Norse religion, etc. and created a "syncretism" of faiths to appeal to an ideology of power. They were also right-wing, in that they promised a return to agrarian values, a rejection of progress and a restoration of tradition, and a strong nationalistic culture and devotion to the fatherland as well as a purging of elements that polluted or weakened Germany's moral fiber.

Furthermore, I check "history books and dictionaries" very frequently, and I've even read Hitler's Mein Kampf to try to get a better understanding of his thinking.

The fact of the matter is that when the Left makes mistakes, such as Communism/Stalin for example, the left tends to PAY for those mistakes in that no one ever trusts them again; now, for example, liberals can be defeated just by screaming "YOU'RE SECRETLY COMMUNISTS" at them repeatedly, and the people will turn on them.

But when the right makes mistakes (the Inquisition, the Nazis, Pinochet dictator of Chile, etc.), they get erased from history and remain popular among the people forever.

And that is something I think needs to be pointed out. That is not "leftist superiority"; that is me trying to ensure that leftist points of view get a "fair and serious hearing". Which historically, they never have.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Shane W said...

true, I misspoke, though I think the religious evolutionary line (can a religion that believes in creationism evolve?) can be drawn from the Pilgrims through the years to modern-day evangelicals. They are the modern day spiritual descendants of the Salem witch burners. And most evangelicals (and Mormons as well) certainly fervently believe in the civil religion, that the US is sacred, and the City on the Hill/Zion "God Bless America"

10:35 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home