November 20, 2013

Interview with WLUR-FM IE/Fall 2013/111813RadioIE.mp3


Anonymous ellen said...


Mary Wollstonecraft published her refutation of Burke, 'A Vindication of the Rights of Men' in 1790, two years before Paine's pamphlet was published.
Reading through the attached link, particularly the social upheaval of the times and corresponding government backlash against sedition, I am struck by the similarity to today's political climate.

Plus ca change....., indeed.

Snowden's docs just keep on giving. This latest revelation of our government selling us out made the main TV evening news and gives the lie to all those pompous MI5 and MI6 denials to parliament last week:

I wish now that I had doubled, nay, tripled my donation to fund George Galloway's documentary 'The Killing of Tony Blair' (but he got three times the money requested in less than a week anyway)

'Viva Zapata! Tierra y Libertad!'

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Very interesting radio interview – well worth listening to more than once. I’m hope we get to hear the presentation which followed.

Kanye West,

Re: David Ray Griffin

What the government is telling us about 911 is also a ‘conspiracy theory’ which should not be believed for many reasons. One reason that I don’t pay too much attention to it is that the Great American People don’t seem to care. They don’t seem to care that the US now resembles “Brave New World” and “1984” combined. So what’s the point? Let them stew in it.

David Ray Griffin, together with John B. Cobb and Charles Hartshorne, standing on the shoulders of Alfred North Whitehead, are leading lights in the discipline of Process Philosophy and Process Theology, which under the rubric of ‘Constructive Postmodernism’, are being taken very seriously in China.

I strongly suggest you spend a fifty-minute-hour listing to Ken Rose’s September 10, 1012 interview with Professor Cobb on “What Now?” Check it out at:


I second Dr. Berman’s choice of Ursula LeGuin as a superb science fiction writer. She has been referred to as a “trans-human anthropologist”.


Just out of curiosity, why did you address your remark about the Southern Baptists to me – is it in reference to something I’ve posted? I don’t mean this as a complaint, I’m just curious.

In any case, these Southern Baptists are sometimes a bit slow to see the light. I understand they’re expected to condemn the hunting of wooly mammoths to extinction next. They’re not ready to condemn witch-burning yet, however.

The other day, when I saw a man with a club over one shoulder dragging a woman by her hair along behind him, I just figured they were Southern Baptists. I believe in religious tolerance, so who am I to complain?

David Rosen

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Maurice Ravel's momentary cigarette habit said...

I had no idea you were such a good interview subject. I've watched a few of yours tonight. You have a rare talent for cohesively answering on the fly the sometimes tortuous questions posed to you in dictation-worthy prose. Bravo.

On to a point of content...

Dear Abby: In a few of your interviews you seem to have a deep respect for Thoreauvian solitude, and you also speak of local community, traditional societies and their upkeep, and things like eventual state secession as in the Vermont concern, which would involve extensive and active intercommunity participation.

Obviously not mutually exclusive things, but do you feel that community involvement clashes with the aims of solitude at all, or is it simply a matter of degree? Should the monastic feel any obligation to participation? Atomization is a potentially dangerous societal issue that gets zero help from isolation, but what I'm asking is a bit outside of this factor.

I moved about a year ago into a rural flat for an indefinite sabbatical and am enjoying my clamshell for the present, and it's doing wonders for my ability to engage various artistic and scholarly works, but I'm very remote now from anyone I know in the city (still communicative; not Kacynski material) and am not involved in local community in the slightest.

A somewhat germane reference morsel: I remember a Nat'l Geographic article on East Berlin c. 1983, and they had a picture of a graffito sprayed on the W. German side of the wall. The message has stuck with me all these years, though only in the English translation from the caption: "Live alone and free like a tree, but in the brotherhood of the forest." I'm not so sure there's a lot of brotherhood in the US forest.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Interesting wide-ranging interview. I must admit I’ve never heard of the misspelled street sign theory of societal collapse. But if you’re right and it’s true, then you must alert your Mexican neighbors that they better start rebuilding those Aztec temples because they’re going to need a new religion real soon.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Misspelling is a symptom, not a cause.


It's a question of balance. The issue is explored pretty well in a bk by Warren Wagar, "A Concise History of the Future," or something like that.

Wafers note that the video of my lecture the next day shd be posted here in a week or so.


8:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: am staying with friends in Bklyn rt now; nearby, on Flatbush Ave, there's a clothing store called Atrium. They've decorated the store window with the following message (large letters): Happy Fucking Holidays.
Only in America, I tell u.


9:06 AM  
Anonymous Rosegarden said...

I enjoyed meeting you on Tuesday at W & L. We traveled from Pennsylvania for the pleasure of seeing you in person. Your talk was informative and thought-provoking. Thank you.

I noticed that you like Ursula K. Le Guin. She is one of my favorite authors for both her fiction and her essays on writing. I am a retired first grade teacher. Below is a quote from her fantasy fiction that I think helps to explain the assault on education in America today. It may address Querent's question about trends and extrapolations.

Tales from Earthsea, 2001, page 69

“A school,” Ember said. “Where the wise might come to learn from one another, to study the pattern...”

“The lords of war despise scholars and schoolmasters,” said Medra.

“I think they fear them too,” said Veil.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

As always, another brilliant and inspiring flow of wisdom from master Morris. Living in, as my Kewa Pueblo friend Peggy Bird calls the belly of the beast (i.e., the United States), I despair on a weekly basis over my inability to penetrate the fog. However, I was uplifted by Morris' quote from Gandhi: "What you do in life is supremely unimportant but you must do it anyway." This indeed is the crux of the matter. Even though my efforts to engage in Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for "to heal the world") may amount to nothing, I have endeavored to live a life of integrity of which I can be proud. Furthermore, as you internalize this knowledge, this eternal truth, it becomes much easier to deal with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," i.e., the attacks and incomprehension of all those who don't "get it." I'm reminded of a wonderful response by Chris Hedges to a typical right-wing ignoramus who, incapable of intelligently responding to Chis' analysis of American perfidiousness, spewed: "What are you, some kind of liberal nutbar?!" Hedges' response was golden: "I don't participate in discussions that descend into character assassination." Amen

Anyway, thank you again master Morris for your wisdom, inspiration, truth, and absolute refusal to cave in to the madness. You are a true shaman.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

Question for master Morris: What are your thoughts on the new media venture being created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras & Jeremy Scahill being financed by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar? When I first learned of it, it sounded like a great breakthrough but after reading this piece in NSFWCorp, I feel more skeptical. Thoughts?

Thank you :)

11:43 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

It was a very good radio interview. It is very enlightening indeed. I never really thought about it the way you thought about it.

I went into the rationality of why people believe the way they believe. Your radio interview has shown me that the reasoning as to why people continue to believe things even when I show them to be fallacious.

Even when they agree upon my points it is no wonder they still revert back to the old way. I am dealing with something that is interwoven in the peoples sub-conscious which is the American Dream. I kept trying to look at it in a logical manner and I can clearly logically understand it won't work. I have to look at it from a more cultural perspective. You were able to truthfully dig deep into the American unconscious thoughts.

Dr. B, how were you able to do that? How are you able to dig deep in the culture's psyche? I always thought as a child people thought in a very rational manner. This has been my underlying assumption for most of my life.

Everything that is said about the human psyche seems so counter-intuitive to me but yet it is true.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Good gravy.

What's next, "Christmas is for fags?"

Sorry, but I'm low on electrolytes at the moment....

1:06 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Another symptom in a recent essay by Norman Pollack in CP:

"Today, spinal meningitis at Princeton, a rare form, which Swiss medication, not US-approved, may or may not successfully address, while Cuban medicine has produced a vaccine specifically directed to this type B meningococcal meningitis (see W.F. Whitney’s excellent article in CP, Nov. 18) but is kept out of reach because of the embargo on Cuban imports, illustrates the fanaticism of America, its capitalism, its fear, surely not of Cuba itself, but what Cuba represents, an alternative life form to the rigidified society and its institutions America has become, the Princeton students hostage to the unreasoning hatred of whatever holds the nation up to the mirror of reason and social decency. One small item in the news, but it is just such, which by their very presence, alerts us to the prevalence of social decay. There are many others."

Have fun with your deli-meats and watch out for rich hipsters!

1:28 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...


It was meant to complement your post on The Gettysburg Address - that is, on the nature of historical inertia is some quarters of this country.
Wasn't it Faulkner who said something about people for whom the past is not even past?

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

I have to say, that I am surprised at the hostility to Burke on this blog. I think Burke's philosophy is highly compatible with many of the points that Prof. B. makes in his books, particularly CTOS.

The thing is, that Burke wrote his works at the time when the modern "Age of Reason" was at its height, and was just starting to take over politics. Burke understood that every "Age of Reason" ultimately breaks down, because the theories and abstractions which drive it run up against hard and stubborn facts and realities which do not fit in with the theories.

Ages of Reason become corrupt, when their high priests insist that facts and events which are documented and which happen consistently, cannot possibly be happening because their theories do not allow for it. Western medicine's attitude toward acupuncture is a good example of this. The Soviet Union's 70 years of failure in collectivized agriculture is another.

What Burke complained about, was that the French revolutionaries insisted that if the political facts on the ground were not consistent with their theories, then so much the worse for empirically observed fact. People like Robespierre thought that if his theories did not work, it wasn't because they were wrong (God forbid!), but because some evil cabal of counter-revolutionary conspirators were frustrating his plans. Hence, the Jacobin terror of 1793.

Prof. B. documented this sort of thing in CTOS. He pointed out that, for the last 2000 years, Western society has gone through 500 year cycles, in which some grand Theory of Everything is run up and applied (often with great bloodshed), until the theory starts to break down. At that point, another Grand Theory of Everything takes over, and round and round the mulberry bush we go again.

So, again, I think Burke is quite compatible with what MB writes about. That is why I don't get some of the hostility in some of the comments.

3:55 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Dr. B,
Listened to your talk a few times while doing my T-gvng baking prep. Very interesting stuff (your talk, I mean - the baking was only mildly interesting). Even just pointing out that Lincoln was feeding the hustling narrative with his Gettysburg address while Carter was trying to take us in just the opposite direction in his “spiritual malaise” talk was very clarifying for me – and refreshing because, for pretty much my whole life, it’s always been Lincoln who got praised as the great hero and Carter who got treated like the pathetic fool; but framing it as a kind of clash of two fundamentally different cultures – providing that kind of big picture view – really seems to put the whole discussion into its proper perspective. I mean, we can be all in favor of things like justice, equality, living on a more human scale and pace, and all those good things; but until we see how deeply culturally embedded these issues are, we’re much more likely to end up inadvertently promoting our unjust, unequal, hectic, hustling, and otherwise rotten way of life.

Looking forward to meeting you and the group of Wafers in NYC this Saturday.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Gil Thelander said...

Satire becomes reality dept.:

4:18 PM  
Blogger deflationista said...

Hey Morris-

I am not sure if you have seen this yet, but this video of Kim Kardashian may take your love to an even deeper, more meaningful place. Enjoy!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Grotesque! I love it!


I dunno much abt this new media venture, will hafta check it out later (currently in NY). Glad my work is helpful 2u, in any case--I appreciate yr appreciation. ps: informal rule here: post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.


Thanks for coming down; it was great to meet u guys.

To the NY Wafer Contingent (NYWC): see u Saturday, muchachos.


7:17 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@Kathy Sloan - count me as EXTREMELY skeptical. This isn't the first time Ames and company have caught Greenwald crawling into bed with libertarian billionaires. As grateful as I am for the Snowden revelations, Greewald's agenda must be viewed through the lens of the uber-libertarian superman who wishes to crush the tattered remains of government oversight.

Seen that way, Snowden has merely been a useful tool for smearing the state. And while the state rightfully deserves to be smeared over domestic spying (and many other crimes), if it should become completely captured by the corporate elite, things will get far, far worse for the average "citizen" than they are right now (just wait until those poor McDonalds employees CAN'T get food stamps, for example).

I'd give it until about the end of Hillary's second term before the uber-libertarian project to utterly destroy what remains of state power in the US is finally completed.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

I had planned to come to your talk in Lexington but, alas, I took ill at the last moment. So sorry to have missed it.

I was recently listening to the Bill Maher show, and he was interviewing an individual named Radley Balko who has written a book called The Rise of the Warrior Cop. The author talked about an incident in New Mexico in which a man was pulled over for some mundane reason when the officer noticed that the man was "clenching his buttocks" tightly (how one would notice this during a routine traffic stop is unknown). The officer proceeded to remove the man from the car, frisk him, and then took him into custody. From there, the man was given something like 3 enemas and a colonoscopy because he was suspected of hiding drugs in his rectum. Of course, no drugs were found.

Mr. Balko made the point that no one - not the judge who allowed the procedures, the officer who detained the man, the supervisors - has been or will be held accountable. In fact, the same thing has happened to at least two other people.

Listening, I realized: it is not that the United States is in its death throes, it is already gone. When such basic rights can be violated routinely and with impunity, we are currently in living in a post-Constitutional state. The American experiment is finished.

Dr. B - was there ever a time that you had optimism that the US might turn it around? Or has the WAF analysis always been apparent to you? I ask only because my own experience has been one of gradual disillusionment and, now, a recognition and acceptance of the fact that it's, as my mother used to say, "all over but the shoutin'"

Diogenes The Elder

10:15 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Michael, re hostility to Burke. That wld be me, in part, & I must apologize 4 my tone; I actually like Burke but simply think Paine won the rhetorical battle abt the French Revolution.

Burke was onto something, tho, because the F Rev indeed was messy, & of course Paine, ironically, escaped it only by the skin of his teeth. ("The Goddess of Reason Can Be a Bitch": 18th century bumper sticker?) In some ways Burke was right deep down while Paine missed. Nevertheless, B was motivated partly as an apologist for injustice, supporting his employer, the British government. It's a dismaying mixed bag, like most history. That's why "plus ca change..."

ellen, thks 4 Mary Wollstonecraft. It's a testament to spotty American education that I knew her only as the author of Frankenstein and of "some pamphlet about equal pay for equal work"--! Now maybe some enlightenment will occur in Sanc-land...Anyway, thks again.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


I wouldnt hold my breath... A billionaire is never a legitimate person.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick technical question: whenever there is a link posted on this blog, I don't have any way to click on it. That is, it isn't enabled or lit up, so I basically can't use it. (And it doesn't work when I type in the address either) Is it like that for everyone? Any advice on how to make that work so that I can listen to the interview?

Thanks a lot.

1:36 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Human beings generally are not rational creatures. We have a facility for rational thought but are mostly motivated by emotion. It would be more accurate to describe the human as a rationalising individual, not a rational individual. Most thought--which comes after (often a very long time after) the very fast chemical reaction of emotional charge in the body- is about rationalising (explaining or excusing) what the emotional drive has already dictated. In that sense we are prisoners of our biological drives, not rational creatures at all.
Expecting others (and ourselves too, if we don't grasp this very human limitation )to react 'rationally' is a lost cause. Most proponents of propaganda (ie salespeople, con men, politicians, rhetoricians)understand this in their bones and appeal to emotion. As they say, you sell the sizzle, not the steak.
This doesn't mean that emotion is intrinsically bad, just that you have to deal with it in a different way.

I liked the NSFW article on Omidyar and his billionaire altruism. The bit about schools reminded me of something I followed in the Indian papers regarding the heroine-worship of Mahala, the Indian girl shot for promoting female schooling. It seems that the reason she was speaking out and thus a highly visible Taliban target in the first place was to advertise her businessman father's new venture of private schooling for profit etc, as described in the article.
The father is apparently a big cheese in for-profit education in India which is rapidly displacing what little incentive for state provision there might be.

Nothing is sacred when potential profits are in the offing.

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

"As grateful as I am for the Snowden revelations, Greewald's agenda must be viewed through the lens of the uber-libertarian superman who wishes to crush the tattered remains of government oversight."

This is wrong. If you view Greenwald's agenda through that lens, you completely misunderstand his position. He has in fact repeatedly, over a broad range of different media, criticized the House Intelligence Committee (which oversees the NSA and other intelligence agencies) for not exercising sufficient oversight. He has repeatedly singled out specific members of that committee who have taken enormous amounts of money from intelligence contractors and failed to exercise meaningful oversight. If anything, Greenwald is calling for more oversight, not less.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

@The Dude, despite your problems with Greenwald we're much better off with him than without.

Most members of the MSM today seem little more than fawning tools of power and money. Press conferences of 'our' leaders are nothing more than love fests.

The charges you're leveling have been made by both democrats and republicans.

That, in my opinion, only further validates Greenwald's efforts.


1:18 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

If that isn’t the perfect illustration of “Shit in; shit out” then I don’t know what is.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Despite my admiration for Glenn Greenwald's work I believe legitimate concerns about Greenwald's new venture with Pierre Omidyar are raised at Arthur Silber's blog

Unfortunately I can't link to specific entries but the first several pieces are in reference the new venture.


9:08 AM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...


On the topic of science fiction, The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster was quite prophetic. In it people rarely interact personally and spend most of their time staring at screens. They spend all of their time in their cube sharing ideas and knowledge through an internet type of system and have no interest in nature or travel. The Machine provides everything and is worshiped by the vast majority of people. (iPhones anyone?) However, a few people prefer to actually experience real life and these folks are known as rebels and troublemakers. (He even predicted Wafers!) Not a bad bit of science fiction prognostication considering the story was first published in 1909. Here's a link to a better and fuller plot summary:

The Marching Morons by Cyril M. Kornbluth is another favorite of mine. It is much like Mike Judge's Idiocracy movie although there are a few intelligent folks in the future of Marching Morons. They must have been those who followed the NMI path.

Philip K. Dick is another favorite of mine. Many of his stories will provide enjoyable reading for Wafers.

11:38 PM  

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