January 17, 2018


Well, Waferinos, it's time to start a new thread. Problem: my cranium is as empty as Bush Jr.'s. I can hear the wind whistling between my ears. I keep biding my time, waiting for a foreign Suez Moment (fSM), but thus far Trumpi has yet to generate another, hopefully more outrageous, shitholegate. Jesus, what's a weary declinist to do?

Anyway, coming off the last thread, I like the idea of Wafers forming face-to-face meeting groups, such as we've done at the NY Wafer Summit(s), and plotting the coup de grace, whereupon (to quote the ever-prescient Benjamin Rush) the nation will implode in "an orgy of selfishness." Said orgy is, in fact, going on in slo-mo; it only accelerates when Wal-Mart has a sale, and you can see what The End will look like up close. I keep waiting for some Jesus-like figure holding up a sign in the midst of one of those events, and crying, "Kill! Kill your neighbor! That's it! The meek won't inherit shit!" Weren't a bunch of people recently arrested for feeding the homeless? That's the spirit!

We have strayed so far from anything decent. Apparently, a group of black women met with Obama shortly after his inauguration...


But this could apply to practically any major political figure today, really. Once, the US was drifting. Now, it's just circling the drain.



Blogger Christopher said...

Having a moral center de facto excludes one from holding public office, and voters have no one to blame but themselves.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Maybe the foreign Suez Moment has to accumulate, like a steady drip on a rock:



1:44 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...

"Has no moral center" may or may not be a lightly coded way of saying he is a crypto-fascist brudda or to use a little more street lingo, "black face, white heart", as the saying sometimes goes.

Wondered if you caught Finkelstein on Democracy Now and what you thought if so?

He seems like the successor to Chomsky in most people's minds at this point in time, I imagine, including Uncle Noamz.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a hopeful sign, of the intelligence of the nation's youth, and the vibrancy of our culture. With this type of health and vigor, we can be sure that great things lie ahead for America!:



4:55 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


A snapshot of the "American Mind" from the movie "Back To School.


Vince I

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I agree. As Socrates said, " I am too honest to be a politician."
Yes, the tide pod challenge is the new craze. I think it's only a matter of time before Russian roulette takes over. Looks like we've seen the last Woody Allen movie. Actors who've worked with him or years are now refusing and some actors in his latest film are donating their money to various charities. Alec Baldwin has come to his defense so I suppose his career is now essentially over. The message is clear: You have every right to be a great artist so long as you stay within the confines of strict middle class morality which, of course, precludes anyone from becoming a great artist.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I remain puzzled by the whole Woody thing because no charges were ever brought against him. So Dylan says she's telling the truth; Woody says she isn't. This is classic He said, She said--a wash. Why, then, are all of these people deciding, w/o any concrete evidence, that he is guilty? I don't get it.


8:43 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and all Wafers worldwide:

An article "Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Shootings; Blame Men" walks through various studies and concludes " the problem of toxic masculinity" in America is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Interesting read.


And be sure to spent a few minutes on the readers comments to the article.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Ghiradelli said...

Dan, Professor Morris Berman,

Mia was apparently just as nuts. Mentally abusive. In reality, it was probably just a terrible Hollywood marriage and the kids are understandably maladjusted adults today. I bet the real abuse was committed by both parents--putting the kids in the middle of their nasty feuding.




It is more confusing as to why so many celebrities are coming out now, saying they regret working for him, when the original allegations are so old, stale even, w/ no new evidences.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

The World Socialist Web Site has an interesting article on the Woody Allen situation.


The WSWS has an entire series of articles that are critical of the #MeToo movement and I would recommend them to WAFers. The WSWS is perhaps the only left-wing organ to take a critical stand on this issue. A campaign against a legitimate problem (sexual harassment in the workplace) has turned into a witch hunt where any accusation can ruin a person’s career even if there is no evidence beyond “he said/she said.”

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

There may have been no charges against Woody, but I think people are reacting to not just the accusations but also circumstantial evidence that he would be capable of this sort of thing. Didn't Ronan Sinatra, er, Farrow also comment on this?

I respect some of the work he has done, but must admit that I think the old adage about smoke and fire may apply.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Plus one sibling came out in his favor, said that Dylan was just trying to please Mia (not the sanest of individuals, apparently).


Perhaps they are coming out now because of the witch hunt atmosphere. The limbic brain at work (who needs evidence?).


12:52 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Interestingly, as i look at emigration options, I discover that it is pretty hard to leave the US. While it is relatively easy to get a long term visa for study, etc., permanent residency or a work permit in another county is difficult. Canada is also surprisingly difficult.

Also, as a US Citizen you still need to pay US taxes on your worldwide income (the us is one of two countries that does this - very exceptional indeed). Also, you bank account information is automatically sent to the IRS under facta so most foreign banks won't take Americans as clients.

Overall, despite all the hassle it is to emigrate, it will probably be worth it. I don't see things improving. In fact, i think they will get much worse. Roger Stone said that there would be civil war if Trumpi got impeached and I think he is correct. The revolution when it comes, will come from the right.

2020 promises to be a mess of presidential politics- who has the time to worry about this? Better to live in a country with a good stable government where the politics aren't insane on both sides.


1:56 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greets from Cascadia, Wafers! In our regional news showcasing one of the “brightest bulbs”, a hospital employee triggered a lockdown and police response yesterday at a Seattle area medical center when he walked through a lobby carrying an umbrella with a handle made to look like the hilt of a sword. He said he ordered it online:


Inspired by the excitement over Oprah’s potential presidential bid, I did some research on her past relationship with Trumpi. It appears Oprah never endorsed Trumpi as presidential timber, but he was on record back in 2015 and earlier as liking the idea of Oprah as a possible vice presidential running mate:


With or against Trump, Oprah could neutralize Lorenzo Riggins and Shaneka Torres by handing out gift boxes containing double cheeseburger with fries coupons and cable TV discount certificates to lucky recipients in a potentially winning campaign to give Merica what it really cares about.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Brother Maynard--the us follows those that leave the empire like herpes thanks to the tax on worldwide income thing (only 2 countries do that the sht hole us, and Estonia I thk).

FACTA (obshtforbrains quietly passed it b/c of all the us corporate shysters hiding $ abroad) can be a nightmare--do serious research on the empire's overeach and the other countries bending over, spreading their cheeks and taking that red, white, and blue flag up the rectum. Basically, the us said they will withold 30% of foreign accounts if they do not comply with FATCA.

Many countries will not take american bank accounts due to the extreme hassle of dealing with IRS/US. In effect, the us empire also owns the foreign banks. All purposeful and well orchestrated to keep you a prisoner in on corporate plantation, your home was simply slave quarters--version 2018.

The best thing to do is renounce. Period.

Renouncing will not stop any potential SS payments, or medi"care" assistance if you choose to return to the empire.

Just say--renounce.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Diamond said...

Mike R....

what do you mean by 'renounce'? Is that in line with Dr. Berman's Monastic Option?

(I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I need to do.)

(note: this is my first post. I've been a lurker here for a couple of years. Just finally finished WAF while commuting on the dreaded LIRR to NYC every day to a tedious dead-end office job.)

More tomorrow...

5:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB -- the issue for Woody Allen is not "due process" given that you can be fired without recourse from any non-union or non-government job in America for just about any reason other than blatant discrimination. The issue is the American idea of art as a commodity. The actors who are now renouncing Allen are responding to a potential threat to their own livelihoods, just as the corporations that quickly brought the ax down upon Lauer, Spacey, Weinstein and the like were in strict damage control mode, and obviously didn't care what they'd been doing until the political climate changed and it began to threaten their bottom lines. And while I agree that strict he-said, she-said allegations involving just one party should not be used as sufficient evidence to destroy someone's career, I prefer to think of it from a declinist's perspective as yet another step down for the country.

As for our "foreign Suez" moment, I still think it will be awhile. Even Trump's antics to date have not been enough to cause the the feckless, corrupt "leaders" of a majority of other nations to stop cooperating with us. It reminds me of the old Bruce Cockburn song, "Call it Democracy," with its line about how America always "Kills the best and buys the rest." Great song if you've never heard it, BTW. Check it out at this link.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Woody

Some years ago, Woody brought up an interesting idea in the matter of Mia Farrow and her molestation charges. Woody pointed out that Dory Previn, ex wife of Mia's husband (jazz pianist Andre Previn), wrote and recorded a song in the early seventies called "With Daddy in the Attic" about incest. This was *after* Mia helped break up Dory's marriage to Andre, which sent Dory down was a path to a severe mental breakdown. Dory was encouraged to write songs as a form of therapy and self-analysis, of which this song and others formed the heart of an album called "On My Way to Where." The song "With Daddy in the Attic" is almost a blueprint for Mia's charges against Woody regarding Dylan. It's quite bizarre, but Woody essentially believes that Mia got the molestation idea from this song.


5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I doubt the motivation is just economic, or even primarily economic. I suspect a very American desire is at work, namely, the desire to be seen as righteous. This is a very strong theme running thru all prog and political correctness activity: See how good I am, I am on the side of justice, of the angels. Keep in mind that Americans are empty people, and this certainly extends to the Hollywood set (something that Woody in fact satirized in a # of films, the worship of celebrity for its own sake, without content). When yr empty and not cognizant of the fact, there is a deep unconscious impulse to rush to fill that void. Being self-righteous, like going to war, is perfectly equipped to do the job. Hence, getting on the witch hunt bandwagon is hard to resist. Early on, Woody suggested that the (justifiable) calling out of assholes like Weinstein cd degenerate into what has now taken over the gender landscape. Large issues of this sort tend to be a mixture of truth and bullshit, tossed into a blender and then poured into the (pathetic) American head.


We are excited that you have emerged from the shadows to become a participant in the greatest blog on earth (GBOE), presided over by the GSWH. That's a horrible commute, and I'm glad WAF made it a bit easier to tolerate. Now wd be the time to get into the more accessible Berman stuff: TMWQ for laffs, for example, or AWTY for short think-pieces. (The Japan bk is best read at home.) And since yr nr NY, I hope you'll attend the next Wafer Summit (whenever that will be). In the meantime, scarfing pastrami at the 2nd Ave Deli is not a bad idea, washed down w/a Cel-Ray Tonic.


6:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: "The first impression one gets of a ruler and of his brains is from seeing the men he has about him."--Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

The worship of jackals by jackasses.

George Carlin - America is a full of shit country - Hambone LittleTail.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

I forgot to include the source that references the Previn song:


Please excuse this 2nd-post violation, MB.

7:09 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

If there ever was a modern case for the return of public tarring and feathering, flogging and stoning, and drawing and quartering....THIS is it...


7:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't post it: we have a once-only-in-24hrs-rule here.


7:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't post it: we have a once-only-in-24hrs-rule here.


8:32 PM  
Anonymous Zombies said...

I feel about the global shakedown and American decline like this tune.


10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Quite nice. Myself, I love a gd global shakedown.


10:39 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

If you spend some time consuming foreign media, and then return to American media, you find metaphors and hyperbole that only sound appropriate for a five year old.

This is especially true of economic news. The stock market 'booms', 'soars', and 'roars' like some sort of dragon.

I find it absolutely incredible how the news keeps generating stock and job numbers while never mentioning the economic reality of the vast majority of people - you may have a well-paying job, even in the top 10 percent, and still be hopelessly in debt, especially if you have kids. Without going into debt, you can do very little in life except go on welfare and try and find part time work.

There was a great book that came out a few years ago - Creditocracy, by Andrew Ross. He argues a moral case for debt refusal, since access to credit is now a precondition of any meaningful engagement with society as a citizen of a Western democracy. Anybody who came of age in the credit expansion of the early 90s until now can either have a standard of living with substantial debt or else cease to be a full citizen, having no access to education, housing, or job training.

Incredible- companies once paid to train employees. Now you have to go into debt to maybe have a shot at a job.

Finally, I can tell you from personal experience how many people that are totally uncreditworthy are still getting loans for cars, schools, etc. After 2008 we made the whole country into a giant subprime loan. It is a total, complete joke, a mad delusion, and Trump's new propaganda machine seems to have actually convinced people who felt otherwise a year ago that it's all turned around. What utter, complete stupidity.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...


Understandably, you focus on the US as you know that society the best. But the story is more or less the same over a large part of the globe. Just look at the characters ruling us: Erdogan, Putin, Duterte, Modi. et al. I am not talking about monarchies or autocrats. These are people who have been `elected' by people like us. Tell us a lot about us.

I have also turned into a declinist, not just reg the US, but about the whole liberal-democratic order presided over by the bourgeois elite. But paradoxically, it is them who are using the political right to give vent to the popular anger against the failure of the liberal program of the past century and a half. In spite of world bank saying that the developing/under-developed world will have to wait another three centuries to catch up the developed world (meaning they will be in the `waiting room of history' for ever), politics in these countries are being driven by the rhetoric of development. As if we haven't had enough of the shit.

My take is that this surge of the political right is relatively temporary before the whole edifice collapses with a big thud. Comments?

11:53 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Judging by the fact that people between the ages of 10 and 24 are now fixated on eating laundry detergent capsules, I'd say that 'adolescence' should be replaced with 'infancy'.

'Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24, scientists say'

1:05 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman what your take on the this new threat to Western civilization?


It seems to me decline might happen faster if everyone is alone to face the looming cliff of the abyss....
David from Canada

1:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've actually commented on 'the lonely American' before, and cited various studies on the subject, both here and in my work (see, for example, Olds and Schwartz). It's an impt factor in our spiritual death and our social disintegration, it seems to me. America is emerging as the paradigm anti-society.


Check out the final essay in AWTY; you'll see that I'm not just talking about the US, but about the world socioeconomic system of the last 500 years. But as for Putin et al. being freely elected...I'm not really sure about that. These folks really are autocrats, and democracy has been an uneasy adventure in those countries. Russia, for example, has been autocratic since the Kievan Rus (9thC).

I also don't think it's the bourgeois elite who are rebelling against the neoliberal regime; far from it. They want that regime to continue; hence, in the US at least, Hillary was their man, so to speak. Merkel and Macron and Rajoy etc. represent the same elite, and the same regime. Of course the World Bank, IMF, and related institutions want to see 'development' around the globe, no matter how long it takes; that is central to the whole neoliberal/globalized program. Folks like Rajoy et al. have no vision: they cannot imagine that that program has no real future, and that what is now required is a very different type of socioeconomic organization. This is something I have repeatedly argued, even when lecturing in those countries (Spain and Germany, in particular).

As for the surge of the political right: I confess, I never imagined someone like Trump playing any type of role in our national decline, but why not? (I did predict, in 1989, fascism coming to the US, but I wasn't thinking in declinist terms at that pt.) It seems clear now that his historical role is to dismantle the US, and in that regard he hasn't done a bad job over the past year. The US may collapse with a big thud, but it may also go the way of the disintegration of the whole world-system, namely via the 'death of 1000 cuts'. A combo of both is probably the most likely scenario: slow death, punctuated by events such as 9/11 and the crash of 2008. (This was the Roman pattern, in fact.)


3:13 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...

What about economic cooperatives? Supposedly Reagan was a big closet fan!!

3:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, he certainly kept that one to himself. I'm told he also loved matzoh ball soup, which he ate in an actual closet.


3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Progs really have no limits:

"An article in Cosmopolitan describes a ‘shovel-load of homophobic commentary around Ross and his relationship with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Carol’, accuses the show of ‘fat-shaming’ over jokes aimed at Monica’s character having been an overweight teen, and says the jokes concerning Chandler’s drag-queen father amounted to a ‘sub-plot of transphobia’."



6:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it (24-hr rule).


7:16 AM  
Blogger flanagle said...

Brother Maynard-You can escape. I left nearly seven years ago and have no intention of returning. I moved money out, got a foreign bank account etc. I`m just a guy, retired, not rich. I would be happy to chat with you or any other WAFers who are thinking about it. I could have benefited from some expat advice back then. I made my share of mistakes along the way. And I`m still learning. I`m at yahoo.com under same name as here. Best of luck.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

In 2010, 388 billionaires owned as much private wealth as the poorer half of the global population. By 2016, a mere eight people did https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/inequality-and-the-coming-storm-by-edoardo-campanella-2017-12

8:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What declinist cdn't love him?:


9:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike R., Jack L.-

Sorry, cdn't post it (24-hr rule).


6:05 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

Their organic missiles went flaccid realizing a real missile was headed their way. Lord blimey!!

Better this to 'spank your (mind) monkeys' ...

8:49 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

America is just a “Cult of Personality” and “Celebrity Worshipping” Country....Fans are now gushing about the Presidential bid of Ivanka Trump...WHY? Because she “LOOKS” like a Leader.

We are SO Fckd!!


10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No Shit Dept.:


11:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, the gov't shut down. Of course, it isn't the 1st time, so in a sense it's no big deal. I wonder if most Americans will even care. But Trump's biggest mistake was failing to app't me to a top admin post shortly after his inauguration. I would have shut the entire country down--schools, Wall St., corporations, hospitals, the NYSE, the media, libraries, dept. stores, the water supply, all mom and pop grocery stores, sports teams, Gucci outlets, KFC, McDonald's, Saks 5th Ave., the military, bowling alleys, etc etc.--w/in 48 hrs. Talk abt missed opportunities; we cd have ended the American empire once and for all.

Meanwhile, there's this to chew on:



5:11 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...

Isn't shutdown a little bit of a bullshit buzzword in and of itself? It's more honestly described as a furlough... lest you become infected with dark age propaganda and unconsciously emit it outwards to others, infecting them?

6:00 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

Interesting article on damage Trump has done to America's influence on world stage but misses that decline is not due to Trump alone but to the natural end of US as imperial project. Also good on some stats supporting thesis of decline.


6:20 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Very interesting the last link posted by Dr Berman.

Pepco, a power utility that serves the Mid-Atlantic region, just announced it’s lowering everyone’s electric bills as a result of the savings from corporate tax reform.

It's obvious there is collusion between the capital and Trump's (would-be) authoritarian regime. Isn't that the definition of fascism?

On a completely different topic, as a movie buff I am in shock about what's happening to Woody Allen and the rest. As they say, I didn't see that one coming, silly me: the American movie industry, one of the pillars of America's influence in the world, committing cultural suicide. By burning at the stake the genuinely creative people they have left, they are reducing Hollywood to a factory producing nothing but toxic sludge: the Emoji movie, Fast & Furious 37... and Oprah.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I’m still listening to Mark Passio’s lectures and got a kick out of the following:

“If the founders of this country came back to life and saw what was going on in this country they would take a piss on people. That’s what they would do. That’s how much disrespect they would have for what we’re putting up with. They would tell us that they warned us all about this, and you know what you did? You ignored it....”

Another endorsement of urine!

8:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A very gd article, documenting a large collection of mini-foreign-SM's over the past yr that are contributing to our decline. And all of this, in the past yr at least, is Trumpi's doing. Yr rt about the natural end of the imperial project, of course, but I do think this essay confirms my basic argument, of Trumpo as a World Historical Individual, picked by History to polish the US off, once and for all. History doesn't care that its agent is a moron and a buffoon; so much the better. Our time is up, and Big Don is the man for the job. Some of the late Roman emperors were literally children. In our case, it's an emotional child, but what's the diff, really? Trumpi's job is to dismantle the American empire, and he's doing it.

Somewhere in his memoirs Kissinger records a moment in the Oval Office, when he looked at Nixon--pants too short, exposing white socks, and using the language of an uneducated thug--and thought to himself: "How odd it is, that History chooses the most unlikely people as its agents." I don't think Henry as weighed in on Trumpo, but I can only imagine that The Don confirms his thoughts on the subject.


8:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: in that regard, Trumpi's campaign slogan was wonderfully ironic. Since very few Americans are declinists, very few people outside of this blog understood that the subtext, the *real* campaign slogan, was Make America Irrelevant.


Clearly, urine needs to come to the forefront of our consciousness. 325 million Americans need to have their shoes vigorously peed on. Who will lead the charge? I'm still waiting for Liv to tell me she's rented a helicopter, and will deluge Bethesda with yellow fluid. (ps: liv: check out my essay in QOV entitled "The Black Hole of Bethesda") As for the Founding Fathers, word has it that they had very large bladders.


Touche, altho I confess to being of 2 minds abt the Woody debacle. Certainly, he is being crucified: you have all of these actors condemning him based on hearing only one side of a He said/She said argument. Whatever happened to the little matter of evidence? Only 2 people were present at that event, if it ever even occurred; there were no other witnesses that I know of. Meanwhile, Mia is a bit of a vengeful basket case, and one of the siblings has stated that Dylan was doing this to please her mother. What a horror, that one of the most humorous, brilliant, and creative people the US has ever produced has to end his career on the note of an undocumented smear campaign.

However--this is where I am conflicted--as a declinist, I do see this horror as a gd thing. Remember, in such times, Bad Is Good. I see American clowns running down the street on cell fones, for example, and I think: "That's right, destroy the fabric of our society." I see a vulgar boor in the W.H. and I think: "Go, Trumpi; you da man!" I see the current feminist witch hunt making romantic relations impossible and I think: "Good show! Make love impossible, that'll make us happy." And I see the same witch hunt destroying Woody, who has contributed so much to American society, and I think: "That's rt, just kill off all of our creativity, for no sensible purpose. That will certainly make American great again." I agree that pigs like Weinstein need to be put out of circulation, but in his case, there was real evidence, fer chrissakes. Turning everyone into Harvey Weinstein will polish off the little culture we have left. Let's hear it for toxic sludge!


8:32 AM  
Anonymous Liv said...

I am here hanging and enjoying the shutdown, I call it exciting times. I think at my work, I was only the one happy about it....weird. Oh, I know now, all this pathetic doing nothing federal workers are scared as shit because they will not get their paychecks. Who will pay for their toys, mortgages etc. I am not do own anything, not even a car.
MB, I was actually thinking to piss on my resignation letter as well. Or I am thinking of asking my Director to terminate me, I did do anything for the past 2 or so years and taxpayers money are getting wasted. Next, time look for the headlines: FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RESIGNED BECAUSE FEELS GUILTY GETTING 6-FIG SALARY FOR DOING SHIT!
That will be fun. Also, I am reading the book about THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES and enjoying it. Really funny, delightful story.Life is fun. Why did I take this life here so seriously? I am still banging my head. Our departure date set for MARCH 31.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous lenoir said...

dear fellows
born Wafer here. ran away from NA at 19 in the early seventies and to Africa and Middle East no less. born *orientalist* to boot. Just crazy about camels.
Thrived, +/- 25 years, as professional émigré by choice, cheekiness and a lot of chance..
Now living in Central America.(hey Doc..we are practically neighbors)
rarely go back.
It was a lot easier then, but still doable.
Boldly go: get out while you still can.
Hats off to our intrepid Doctor/pioneer/Capt Kirk
lovingly, from a long time lurker.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Make sure yr resignation letter reeks w/urine. Let there be no doubt as to what yr true sentiments are. And since yr earning 6 figs, do hire a helicopter. You might also think about release of fecal material over Bethesda, not just urine (2 tabs of Ex-Lax shd do the trick). Have yr friends join you (on a full meal).

It's impt not to take American life seriously because almost all of it is posturing: a charade. Govt shutdowns, virulent feminism & pol. correctness, electoral politics, TV commercials--it's not so much that American life is rotten (tho it is); more to the pt, like Americans themselves, it's empty. In addition, most Americans don't know their asses from their elbows, or shit from Shinola. I called all of this, in the Twilight bk, "vital kitsch," because it does have a certain energy, even tho it's abt nothing. Shadow boxing, basically.

Do you wanna know how stupid Americans are? One reviewer of TMWQ lambasted the book for not presenting "a realistic political program." Hello? Ever hear of fiction, you dimwit? And unlike a lg % of Americans, this guy can actually read and write--indeed, he's paid to do so.

Good luck on yr departure and new life. We're all rooting 4u.


12:05 PM  
Blogger Grandma said...

What shutdown? It's still possible they will approve yet another CR, although Trump seems to want to take another extended Florida vacation. That appears to be his motivation.

No one seems to notice that the govt hasn't actualky been funded since Oct 1, 2017, just a series of CRs. In other words, portions of govt functions have been shutdown for months, 'cause it's hard to plan or be proactive about anything with no budget. Somebody did an analysis of what that means in dollars and cents, and it's a pretty horrible figure. Multiplied by the number of years the government hasn't begun a fiscal year with a budget, it's pretty serious money.

In the meantime, the media will be screaming about other wasted dollars and cents related to the 2018 "shutdown".

A slow motion train wreck, right before our eyes, so I'm making popcorn. This may not be a Suez moment, but definitely we are already in decline. How steep is the next slippery slope, I wonder? Or will it be a cliff?

Liv, I for one am definitely cheering you on. Wish I could come, but enjoy and please keep us posted!

1:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


So glad you decided to step out of the lurking shadows. What's a nice girl like u doing in a place like that? You belong in the light, chica, not in le noir, nibbling on camel burgers.


ps: Le Noir because you like Stendhal?

4:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it (24-hr rule).


6:32 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I can't think of any world-historical analogy for this shutdown nonsense. It's a great metaphor for national suicide. What kind of advanced civilization can't come up with a way to separate points of controversy from general funds, and instead chooses to stop funding *itself*?

The senators created a good percentage of the programs not funded *themselves*, and have reauthorized them numerous times. So basically they are discrediting everything they have done for decades by hanging it out to dry. What a bizarre, nihilistic abdication of leadership. It honestly would be healthier for them to engage in routine corruption to get things done than have this strange and bizarre ritual threat of national self-harm.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

The very worstest aspect of the government shutdown: Overseas Troops Will Likely Miss NFL Championship Games Due To Government Shutdown. I'm sure they'll still have plenty of bombs and bullets to slaughter innocents civilians.

During my career at State, I experienced about four government shutdowns in total. We used to joke that the only thing worse than being named "non-essential" (and not being allowed to work during the shutdown) was being named "essential" (and having to work despite not getting paid) since Congress would always vote to give every employee their full pay whether they worked or not. Of course, if such employees as the Secret Service, Capital Police, Air Traffic Controllers and the military all walked off the job, any "shutdown" would be over in about three seconds.

@MB - "I see the current feminist witch hunt making romantic relations impossible..." Only among the progs. Conservatives, who are already likely to have more children on average, don't give a shit about feminist bullshit. The liberals are literally self-selecting their own extinction!

6:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


On that theme, see "Idiocracy." Hopefully, the progs will expunge themselves; then someone hasta expunge the rt-wing. Then we'll need to expunge anyone remaining. Man, the country is starting to sound better already!


7:04 PM  
Anonymous A.J. said...

Marked safe from Government Shutdown


Just checking in fellas ;)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a brilliant film: "The Florida Project".


12:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Also a film abt another witch hunt period in American history (much worse than today, at least so far), in which the government did its best to destroy talent and creativity in the movie industry: "Trumbo," with Bryan Cranston.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

Two great films, MB. Cranston was amazing. All it takes for evil men to succeed, is for good men to remain silent. I'm reminded of King's talk at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 when he said : I must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to my limited vision, but I must speak.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A potential semi-Wafer?:


7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A taste of things to come?


7:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have been predicting this, plus the imposition of martial law, for a long time now.


8:19 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

WOW! Morris, thank you for the link to the Peterson interview.

Two things really struck me: First, that what we see “out there” is the aggregate of what’s collectively “inside.” I’ve long recognized my inner monster and know that it contributes to the whole. It really is terrifying to contemplate what you might be capable of. The other is that the purpose of life, which to me is the search for Truth (probably never to be found), is not happiness (which is not consistently possible). But the search for happiness will leave chaos in our wake because we’ll have to trash others in our pursuit, whereas the search for Truth is humbling.

All this dovetails nicely with the lectures I’m listening to on Natural Law (Passio also talks about sovereignty). I’m looking forward to finding out more about what Peterson has to say.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

I've seen Trumbo, really good film. However, I think this time it's worse. During the HUAC it was the government doing the witch hunting, and the creative people had it more together. As seen in the film, sometimes they managed to cheat the government ban. It's true, though, that the HUAC did have some success. After that period you can hardly see a film with a social theme, like The Grapes of Wrath. But now they are doing it to themselves because, basically, the majority of movie people are full of baloney already.

On Venezuela, note that the chaos is in a country supposedly governed by (Bolivarian) socialism. The US didn't manage regime change there (they tried). Certainly the economic pressure the US has applied has had some effect, but it doesn't explain the implosion of the country on its own. To me the main two reasons are that Maduro is an idiot and that, if you are going to have a centrally controlled economy, you need a people capable of organizing themselves; the Venezuelans are not. Where could socialism work? Perhaps in Switzerland, trying to be funny, but only half-jokingly.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Cory said...

MB re: JP

Thought you'd like to know Jordan Peterson draws heavily from Joseph Campbell-type interpretations in a lot of his lectures. He has quite a few lenghty lecture series on Youtube where he kind of breaks down the Old Testament and different minutiae of Christian/World Religion myths using broad and spurious correlations and comparisons, of the Campbell kind. He handles Carl Jung very carelessly too, but the Jung references don't bother me as much. On top of all of all that, his body language is so intense and his voice so strained, makes me uncomfotable.

much love,


9:02 AM  
Anonymous Wormwood said...

Pakistani humanist denied UK asylum after failing to identify Plato - The Guardian on HumanRights https://theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/17/pakistani-humanist-denied-uk-asylum-after-failing-to-identify-plato

9:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr input. I detest Campbell, and think he didn't know shit abt mythology. (See ftnotes in WG for further elaboration.) That notwithstanding, JP does say some valuable things (I think).


9:35 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@David Parent

Great links. I agree that there is a serious problem with male friendships these days. My only qualms are about the issue of toxic masculinity. Many of the stereotypes about being a man’s man existed in the 1950s, perhaps even to a greater extent than they do today, and yet Americans were significantly more social than they are today. Americans joined clubs in huge numbers and would often entertain friends and have parties. I think there are other factors like economic and technological change at work here as well.

That being said I think that American culture and possibly Anglo-Saxon culture in general produces more socially isolated, unhappy men. Anglophone people make fun of men from other cultures for being affectionate but the men I have met from “sissy” Latin cultures are usually mentally healthier than Americans or Brits.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

Interesting article about what happens to states in chaos. In Mexico certain towns are teaming up with Corporations to create a quasi state in opposition to cartels.


12:05 PM  
Anonymous AaronA said...

That was a very interesting interview with Jordan Peterson, but it shares the basic flaw of all "advice".

It purports to offer you a "way out".

Life is tragic, but there's a way out. "You order your reality", and if you take charge, you can overcome the fact that you are a "tiny, insignificant, and weak" entity. Fascism and nihilism are catastrophic responses to the human condition, but we can avoid them if we just think about life the "right way".

This is the message of all religion and modernity - it reproduces what Berman calls "verticality". You are nothing now, but you can become something, eventually.

What if we just accepted that we are nothing? What if the problem isn't nihilism, but running from nihilism? What if accepting our insignificance is actually liberating? What if things like fascism will always be with us, and thats ok?

Instead of searching for a solution, we embrace our nothingness, our finitude, our mortality, live a little bit, find some joy and beauty, and then face into oblivion, liberated from the need for grand meanings or projects .

1:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I can't see fascism as being OK, but yr probably rt, the tendency will always be w/us. It's just one particular face of groupthink, wh/is what Peterson seeks to condemn. Yr own position seems to be one of Buddhism...wh/is fine, of course.


1:16 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

I guess Peterson says some interesting things, but at the end of the day he just seems like another hustler to me, and a lot of it rubs me the wrong way. Take the stats from this recent article:

"Peterson runs a website on "self-authoring" that promises to help those with a few spare hours and $14.95 discover their true selves."
"Now he has more than a half-million YouTube subscribers, nearly 300,000 Twitter followers, and several thousand die-hard disciples who send him money, to the tune of $60,000 per month."


1:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Certainly *looks* like hustling. And I suppose spiritual hustling is the worst form of hustling of all.(Think of Deep Pockets Chopra, e.g.) There's a lot of desperation out there, clearly.

I think the guy probably does offer some valuable insights. The problem is when any of these gurus or doctrines acquire mass appeal. At that pt, you can guess there is probablly something wrong w/the whole thing. Reality can't be summarized on Celestial Seasonings tea labels.



2:32 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

@AaronA, "What if we just accepted that we are nothing? What if accepting our insignificance is actually liberating?"
Listen to any of the podcasts from my friend Martin and you'll hear the echo of that golden mantra.

You can do what you want, but not want what you want -Arthur Schopenhauer
Is is futile 'tilting at windmills'. Learn to be still -Don Henley

"We are like sheep without a shepherd
We don't know how to be alone
So we wander 'round this desert
And wind up following the wrong gods home (Jordan Peterson, Eckhart Tolle, et al)
But the flock cries out for another (youtube, blogs, etc)
And they keep answering that bell
And one more starry-eyed messiah
Meets a violent farewell."

3:00 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Earlier this week I had dinner with a friend who works in the public transport sector. We spent the evening talking about professional and family matters, but at the end as we were waiting at his bus stop, he began talking about Trumpi and how his regime has brought chaos at the national level of government. When I responded that the U.S. appears to be on an irreversible trajectory of decline, he responded along the lines of, “Oh, that would mean the Southern States breaking off and when the oil ran out, they’d make war on other regions including ours (Cascadia)!” Just then his bus pulled up so we weren’t able to continue the exchange, but it seems the future breakup of the country is now in the back of the minds of people I talk with even though it’s never been a topic of previous discussion.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...


Oh, Peterson is absolutely a hustler. This is a man who called Marxism the greatest "Murder ideology" and is a huge capitalist. I watched him lie in an interview talking about how capitalism is apart of human nature. He like Paglia have interesting things to say but all in all they are opportunists who have taken the idiotic campus culture, in this case, Canadian campus culture, and used it to make himself a lot of money.

He is an opportunist and would have never risen to prominence had it not been the campus kids inability to deal with figures like him. Why do you think he is largely a conservative darling now? Just watch his interview along side Brett Weinstein. Peterson is a Turkey.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...


Respectfully, I have spent a fair amount of time listening to Joe Campbell and read portions of Hero of a Thousand Faces as well as absorbed various screenwriting schools of thought coming out of his views on myth.

He generally seemed to me to be sincere and passionate in his respect for and transmission of, various rites and "tropes" to use a media term, from indigenous peoples from many cultures and continents and bringing them into the western fold of knowledge.

Not having a copy of Wandering God handy, as circumstance would have it, I was hoping you could elaborate slightly on what you think Campbell's essential failings were or are?

Jeff D

6:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, it wd be too elaborate a discussion for me to repeat here, and you need all the details to understand what I'm talking abt. Hopefully, yr local library has a copy of WG on the shelf, in which it's all laid out. (Try interlibrary loan, if not.)


Well, I'm a big fan of Brett's, and no friend of Evergreen's, I hafta say. Your phrase 'idiotic campus culture' is pretty much on target, in the case of the latter (I taught there for a semester, yrs ago). I did listen to 5 mins of the dual interview you referred to, so it's hard to form an exact opinion of Peterson based on that, but thus far, I didn't hear much to disagree with. Lots of people, of course (I'm not one of them), genuinely believe that capitalism is instinctive. As for comments on Marxism: r.u. sure? I heard him refer to communism as murderous (which it was, historically speaking), but not to Marxism per se, and they aren't the same thing.

The interview I listened to was, I believe, from early Sept. Shortly after, Evergreen settled Brett's lawsuit for $0.5 million, and he and his wife left town for gd. In the 5 mins I listened to, however, Brett stated that during the negotiations, it was clear that the schl had learned 0 from the whole incident; depressingly, they just doubled-down on their politically correct position. No surprise, really. I guess they settled out of court because the lawsuit was for nearly $4 million, and they probably wd have lost.


7:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/21/banning-jordan-peterson-causing-offence-cathy-newman-free-speech

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Zombies said...

I'm new to J. Pederson whose vibe is somewhat left brained logos vs ethos for me, but I appreciate his framing about animals, herds, ancient dominance hierarchies, predators, telling the truth when you're forced to the margins, knowledge we're systematically not taught along with history or anything real - incessantly indoctrinated into the obedient inner child consumerist mode.

The gov and wealthy handlers have all the tools for control, surveillance, over-whelming force, etc. Sociopaths, predators, seek control. Our abilities to make a living are increasingly decided for us. Complicity is forced, trans-national corp capitalism is pathologically zero sum.

Sometimes you can defend yourself from aggression. Mass non-participation with this many people living in this many poor living arrangements for barely table-scraps, propped up by diesel engines and diminishing oil is impossible even with a fully formed consciousness. Increasingly people are just becoming unjust fodder for the gov which is increasingly closing, privatizing, disenfranchising the society, rewarding the criminally complicitous for the oligarchs. The ghettos are solutions for the wealthy.

Nietzsche warned about becoming a bigger monster, Pederson warns to recognize that your inner monster is there. There will always be criminal extroverts to fill the boots of the elite. When you're completely dependent on the corp state due to "progress" hard to evoke some kind of collective non-conformist participatory democracy - only tiny moral victories drowning in seas of historic cultural failure seem possible now.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A propos our discussion of Evergreen, Peterson, pol. correctness etc., the following essay may be useful:


I think I cover the basics of this in my QOV essay, "Tribal Consciousness and Enlightenment Tradition," but this larger version is, as the British like to say, not totally without merit.


8:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Also instructive:


10:20 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Should you look forward to being useless?


11:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gd article on the 60s by Louis Menand in the Jan. 8 issue of the New Yorker.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Polk said...

Capitalist have been trying to convince us that their economic system is the result of natural and desired progression of homo-economus (and therefore to be embraced rather than resisted) since the writings of Adam Smith (if not before). Conversely, evolutionary sociologists and psychologists posit the cooperative, socialists and gender equality cultures of Hunter-Gatherers as normative and "instinctive", if for no other reason than that is the system under which humans evolved over 80,000 years, compared to capitalism which is a mere babe in comparison.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

As you know the Eagles are in the Superbowl. Fans were going crazy throughout the city until the police moved in like it was an insurrection. I never saw such a police presence even when the Pope was here last year. It was clear that they were there to protect private property. Destruction was the last thing on the fans' minds though. They simply wanted to celebrate. My guess is that these events are actually drills for if and when martial law is declared. Quite a procedure-police surrounded the fans from all sides and slowly moved in to disperse. Needless to say fans outside the circle who arrived late (like myself) were prevented from entering. I can see that under martial law those within the circle would be arrested or worse.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

172 Wafers stand strong: Declinists United For Trumpi (DUFT)!

(Duft means 'fragrance' in German; what are Wafers smelling that the rest of the nation is unable to detect?)

I continue to be amazed at how dumb the smart people in America are. Recently, some social critic called Trumpo a "toxic nitwit." This was meant to be a negative comment on Mr. Trumpola. How is it that this writer was not able to see that from a declinist pt of view, what we need in the White House is precisely a toxic nitwit; that Trumpoco is simply fulfilling his historical role? That after centuries of genocide, hustling, imperialism, aggression, and promoting antihuman values--toxic nitwittery, basically--the US has nowhere to go but down, and that Trumpata is the logical and karmic culmination of all this?

Another example of such blindness may be found in an essay by James Mann in the Jan. 18 NYRB. The article documents the incredible destruction Trumpatone has unleashed on the country; the accompanying cartoon shows him smashing the US to pieces w/a sledgehammer. All of the documented horrors are indeed horrors--*if* you believe the US can and shd survive. But if you realize, as Jas Mann doesn't (and the guy teaches at Johns Hopkins, no less--my alma mater), that it's Game Over, then the horrors are, if not wonders, then the necessary elements of our national denoument. Instead, he deplores, he gnashes his teeth, and he concludes with the following para:

"After Trump's first year in office, what is clear beyond doubt is that the damage he is causing to the nation, to its domestic and foreign policies, and even more to the rule of law, to its constitutional system, to its social fabric, and to its very sense of national unity, is piling up week by week. The longer he stays, the worse it will get."

My 1st reaction to this is: Our domestic and foreign policies have been brutal and destructive for a long time now. "Rule of law" is a sham in the US, and we no longer have a social fabric or any national unity to speak of.

My 2nd reaction is: WTF do you think we are going thru? WTF do you think decline looks like? A cocktail party? My lord, Man(n), we are merely reaping what we sowed, and Trumpi didn't wind up in the Casa Blanca por accidente, amigo. It's hardly enuf to provide a profile of national suicide. A true analyst provides his readers with an analysis of *why* this is happening; except that you yourself don't understand it.

Fer chrissakes, it's over; it's over.


10:45 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Lukasz Niec, a doctor of internal medicine for 40 years in the US, is now sitting in a jail cell in Michigan w/no idea when he will be able to return to his family or patients. Niec has been described by his colleagues as a "model of what a physician should be":


I tell ya, MB, I really think the next time you travel to the US you will be detained.


12:32 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

"After Trump's first year in office, what is clear beyond doubt is that the damage he is causing to the nation, to its domestic and foreign policies, and even more to the rule of law, to its constitutional system, to its social fabric, and to its very sense of national unity, is piling up week by week. The longer he stays, the worse it will get."

You could replace 'Trump' with the name of any president in living memory and still have a true statement. In fact, it's not very long ago that the Dems and their lackeys in the media said those very things of G. W. Bush, though they've very conveniently forgotten all of it since 11/16 and are now busily elevating him, who set the middle east on fire with all the glee of a pyromaniac child, to the status of a wise statesman.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, I think Trumpi is in a class of his own, in terms of national damage.


Why I am not being tortured at Guantánamo this very minute, I really don't understand.


12:53 PM  
Anonymous Liv said...

MB: Yes, totally agree with you. Also, US politics have no ethics or morality; therefore it cannot exist for a long time. Naturally, it cannot. I am still surprised, the US still exists. Also, I tried to explain the US to my friends who are immigrants themselves from different perspective, but it seems to me that they are so brainwashed by the American Propaganda, they cannot comprehend it. They still think US is the number one and the education is here so awesome. They truly believe their kids are having happy childhood and will be ahead with the rest of the world. How pathetic to even believe in something so absurd. They blame me that I must be depressed or “gone nuts.” Arrogance and Ignorance, just like before the fall of a Babylon Empire. I have nobody to talk to at all. I do not even think being a NMI in US could work. And if it will be, I will be only on my own and complete casted out from this society. Lately, everything makes me mad and annoyed, here.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Peeing on the place will prove to be very cathartic, you'll see. 172 of us are cheering 4u.


4:05 PM  
Anonymous Kafkaesque said...

Jordan Peterson has appeared on philosopher-author and neuroscientist Sam Harris's podcast Waking Up, twice in fact. The 1st appearance is a very long and strange and semantic argument between the two, the 2nd appearance is much better. Although I agree with the some of you who are rubbed the wrong way by JP




A convenient way (in these modern times)to get inside the mind of a particular author is to follow their twitter. https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson

He's kind of a weirdo Capitalist Canadian. Not dangerous though. And is sometimes insightful.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

what do you mean by 'renounce'? Is that in line with Dr. Berman's Monastic Option?

No, he means 'renounce' your US citizenship. Go to a US embassy in a foreign country and sign an oath renouncing your US citizenship before a foreign service officer. A drastic step and only necessary because the US keeps tabs on american citizens living in foreign countries and not in a good way.

Re: martial law
I hope it will not com to this. This is why I'm really an advocate for peaceful dissolution or breakup. The country is too broken and polarized to ever be put back together again. Half the country wants to welcome immigrants with open arms; the other half wants no immigrants and to expel the ones already here. Half the county wants single payer healthcare; the other half wants to abolish health insurance to a completely free markets. So many positions are so polar opposite of each other there is no room for compromise. Best to let states go there own separate ways. if Mississippi is proud that it brought back ringworm, good for them but get me the hell out! I have nothing in common with them and frankly nothing to talk about.

Read: The 9 nations of norther America by Garreau or American Nations: the 11 regional rival cultures by Woodward. We really were never that united to begin with. The only glue holding us to together at this point is fear of a common enemy (russia, china, islam). This is not a stable basis for a country (negative identity). People are already self sorting to some degree e.g. conservatives are moving to texas and well educated liberals to california, etc.


4:56 PM  
Anonymous Gabriel said...

"The message that Adam Smith conveys cuts across party and ideological lines, and applies to both Left and Right. It is about a pathological attitude that politicians of all stripes are prone to"

"...Smith’s most famous idea is now usually invoked as a defence of unregulated markets in the face of state interference, so as to protect the interests of private capitalists. [But] this is roughly the opposite of Smith’s original intention."


5:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd article on how China is playing Trumpi in the Jan. 8 New Yorker, by Evan Osnos. Apparently, Chinese intellectuals are aware of the coming American collapse, unlike their American counterparts. Osnos quotes Yan Xuetong, dean of Tsinghua University's Institute of Modern International Relations: "I think Trump is America's Gorbachev"--in other words, the guy who led an empire to collapse. "The United States will suffer," he added.

Why can't leading American political analysts grasp this obvious fact? Why don't they write about the inevitable disintegration of the American empire, Trumpo's historical role in all this, and the suffering that is now appearing on the horizon and which can only get worse? Here again is the high-IQ/moron phenomenon. What is it that blinds all Americans to our fate, such that they believe things will ultimately get turned around? How is it that many Chinese know all this, and only 172 Wafers do? It's time to change the motto on our legal tender: IN DENIAL WE TRUST.


6:22 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Odds and ends dept.:

* Ran across citations of Dr. B in two things I have read recently. One was in a paper in the academic journal Ecological Economics entitled "Wicked dilemmas of scale and complexity in the politics of degrowth", by Kaitlin Kish and Stephen Quilley. They cited "Reenchantment". The second was a citation in a book entitled "Does Ethics Have a Chance in a World of Consumers?" by Zygmunt Bauman. Here, Dark Ages America was cited. So, it is nice to see such recognition of Dr. B's work out there.

* I had a mini-crisis or epiphany the other day, in which I think I finally felt in my gut what Dr. B tells us and is confirmed by the news each day. That is, "It's Over". I think this is somewhat akin to Paul Kingsnorth's conclusion when he decided to quit being an environmental activist -- that fighting for change is futile, because the system won't change, so you have to accept that and proceed figuring out how to live in a post-collapse world. Until now, I have tried to keep hope that resisting will somehow lead to change. I don't really think so anymore. My hope has to lie in something else -- because we all have to have hope for something, otherwise we will despair and quit living. I watch a little TV while exercising at the gym and normally can only stand to watch either the weather or the wildlife channels. But today the TV was on sports and news and stock market channels. It's so apparent to me watching this crap that the forces leading to destruction of US culture and the global environment are way too entrenched and powerful and normalized to ever be overcome. They will steamroller on, with the US public nearly unanimous in its participation. And yet, almost all of the people I know -- friends, colleagues -- are intelligent, thoughtful, good people who are appalled by the current state of affairs in the US. But even these dear people, near as I can tell, do not think about things deeply enough or examine their own lifestyles for complicity in the dysfunctional economic, political, and environmental systems we all live in. Blog commenter "Liv" said being an NMI in the US can't work, and I tend to agree -- it is too hard not to get sucked into the dysfunction. But I have to not let this get me down anymore and proceed with my life, finding joy where I can and reflecting my values in my lifestyle as best I can.

Sorry for the length, but writing this has been cathartic for me ... -- David G.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr only abt 7% over the line.

Thanks for tipping me off regarding refs to my work. It does come as a surprise.

Regarding alternatives to The American Way of Life: check out concluding essay in AWTY. (Hint: it's not abt running around in pussy hats)


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

MB, I know this is kind of late; I'll tell you exactly why in my next post and it's a local manifestation of our decrepitating infrastructure and Amercian stupidity.

In the meantime - A US international Suez Canal moment? Two ways it could happen.

First, is that the USA is forced to give up its external empire tout court in a financial crisis caused by Trumpi's raiding of the Social Security & Medicare trust funds: not in the way politicians since Nixon have done it, with the pretense of "borrowing" it, but outright theft, immediate cuts so that outgo does not exceed income and repudiation of all those IOU's (Treasuries) piled up at the SocSec Admin. Investors worldwide will rightly see this as the US defaulting on its debt and will rush for the exits. The resulting mess could be so bad that US servicemen and women are stranded abroad.

Second, a China trade war started by Trumpi could result in some lasting damage to the US economy and a Chinese victory (because China still has a cultural memory of hardship). The US's friends and allies in the Asian supply chain would be the early collateral damage. If this is escalated far enough it could take out the entire global trading infrastructure (which could be Trumpi's goal).

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

How did conservative zealots like Leo Strauss and Sayyid Qutb read America's future that liberal elites generally miss?
Qutb's prognosis of this country is like reading a random page out of Wafer blog, but 70 years ago.

Amusing Ourselves to Death : Does anything matter anymore?

"Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."

8:05 PM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

@ mb - Thank you so much for the newatlantis article and the Bret Weinstein video. They help to frame this issue in a clearer light.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Hello All, I'm a recent lurker of this blog. About 2 weeks ago, I googled "soulless American culture" and ended up finding Dr. Berman's interviews on Youtube. I finished Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire within a day and have been hooked on this ever since!

Although I'm 27 and have a long road ahead, I've come to realize that America's future is bleak. The technological rush to robots and automation will further seal our demise. I just read jjarden's Psychology Today article about automation and universal basic income. Due to our history and current political climate, there is no way we'll ever guarantee universal basic income. Sadly, we'll embrace this technological change without offsetting the effects of incredibly high unemployment. The societal effects will be devastating -- higher suicide rate, martial law, and monthly Vegas-style shootings. I kid you not, I fear this will happen.

I'm confident that Canada, Australia, the EU, and several other countries that currently have some form of safety net will weather these technological changes much better than we will. I can certainly see universal basic income becoming reality in those countries, but not here.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the Greatest Blog On Earth (GBOE). Others promise, but only the GBOE delivers. Don't lurk; live!

Re: DAA: it has a prequel (Twilight bk) and a sequel (WAF). Both may be of some interest 2u. If you wanna laff abt it all, I suggest TMWQ. If you wanna think abt what you personally wanna do abt it, check out SSIG.

America is not merely abt to go down the toilet; it's already halfway down. There is no reversing this. If you can emigrate, do so asap.

And now, from the You gotta be kidding me dept.: a quote from Moshe Dayan, 1956, when he was chief of staff of the IDF:

"Why should we complain about [the Palestinians'] burning hatred for us? For eight years they have been sitting in the refugee camps in Gaza, watching us transforming the lands and the villages where they and their fathers dwelt, into our property."


11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This looks gd:


11:41 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...


I’m a bit confused and hoping you can clarify.

In this essay you posted, the author compares and contrasts the “Technological Core” with the “Mythical Core.”


Is this the same dichotomy as “Enlightenment” vs “Romanticism”?

If so, it seems like he’s making the “Mythical Core” sound like it’s a BAD thing...the Bad Guy...and I was under the impression that “Romanticism” was a GOOD thing with many benefits to human beings and our lives, and it’s the “Technological Core/Enlightenment” that’s the Bad thing.

Your Thoughts Please? Thanks

12:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Terminology is that of Leszek Kołakowski. It may be a bit overblown, and the word 'technological' is misleading, because Kolakowski means something much broader than iPads or whatever. I think the distinction he is making is the one I make a bit more simply in the essay (in QOV), "Tribal Consciousness and Enlightenment Tradition." Both he, and I, are fairly neutral about the 2 forms: i.e., they exist, they just are what they are, and they constitute human consciousness. In addition, the tension between the 2 is the source of a lot of creative work (it actually figures majorly in my own work as well--it's a theme that runs thru a # of my bks). Both Enlightenment (world of reason and analytical discourse, which requires some psychic distance from the phenomenon being investigated) and Myth (non-rational consciousness, which is much older than the evolution of the frontal lobes, and involves no distance from the phenomenon) are here to stay; altho the Enlightenment tradition, being much more recent, is correspondingly much more fragile. Hence (e.g.) while Moses is up on Sinai receiving the Law, the tribes below are dancing around the golden calf. Or as someone once observed, "When fact meets myth, myth always wins." What can ya do.

Anyway, the author is trying to say that these 2 modes of discourse are incommensurable. This is why telling progs that political correctness is crap, or that refusing to let some individual speak on campus is authoritarian, can't get thru to them, because they are caught up in groupthink (see Bret Weinstein interviews), in the notion that their very identity (usually identified with victimhood) is at stake. When Weinstein says that Evergreen learned nothing from the experience, and just doubled down on their position, he is really pointing out that the place lives in mythological space (which was my experience of the schl when I taught there yrs ago). I have repeatedly stated, for example, that there will never be a wake-up moment for folks like Hedges or Chomsky, because really getting it in their guts--that the US is finished--violates their Marxist or progressive mythology, that the US can be redeemed and that some kind of democratic socialist politics lies in our future. Like the pol. correct kids on campus, their very identity is at stake; or so they believe. (In my view, they are failing to find a deeper identity.)

So mythological thinking has definite drawbacks. What abt analytical thinking? The problem here is that science itself is value-neutral; it's merely a means to an end. Galileo before the Inquisition: "Science tells us how the heavens go; it does not tell us how to go to heaven." Pushed to the limit, this valuable mode of understanding is arid; it has no larger purpose. It's about how, not why, and that's why it will never replace myth. As a Jungian analyst once wrote abt Freud's bk, "The Future of an Illusion," "the real illusion here is believing that human beings are going to abandon illusion." Such is the aim of Buddhism, of course, but few manage to get to that state; it takes yrs of meditation to really see thru our illusions, and esp. our need for them. Freud came closer to the truth (than he did in "Future of an Illusion") when he wrote, in his autobiographical essay, that transference dominates every aspect of our lives. On this see my essay on transference in AWTY: I argue that the trick is doing a balancing act between these two modes. (As I said above, I've been wrestling w/this issue all my life.) So the author of the article concludes that 'reasoning' with inflamed campus activists is the wrong approach; their mythology has no room for issues like free speech. How then do we deal w/this problem? He really doesn't know, but he is correct in saying that the analytical approach is insufficient in this context.

(continued below)

1:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

In conclusion, I encourage u2 get beyond the framework of 'good' vs 'bad'. We aren't going to get rid of either mode. Both are valuable, both have their limits, and both are absolutely necessary for living in the modern world.


ps: It's interesting to apply this analysis to electoral politics. The winner is usually the one with the best story, i.e. narrative, or myth. Reagan was a master at this, w/slogans like 'trickle down', 'evil empire', and so on. Jimmy countered with a kind of wonky analysis; he actually had a narrative, but couldn't put the pieces together coherently, and the American people weren't attracted to it in any case. Something similar happened with Bush vs. Gore in 2000. Closer to home, Trumpi had a perfect mythology for the electorate: Make America Great Again; while Hillary didn't have shit, really, because her hidden narrative was 0 more than "I wanna be president! It's my turn! Waaa!" Too many Americans, obviously, realized that while Trumpo at least had a Plan, a real Purpose, she was little more than a douche bag.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: If you want to read more about evolutionary layers of the mind, check out the work of psychologist Merlin Donald. I summarize his thesis in the Japan bk, Appendix III. He argues that there is another layer beneath the Mythic one, which he calls Mimetic, and which dates back 4 million years. This consists of imitation and repetition, and lies at the basis of things like crafts, dance, music, and tool use. As for the Mythic layer (I guess abt 300,000 yrs ago), Robt Bellah writes:

"Mythic (narrative) culture is not a subset of theoretic culture [i.e. analytic mode, associated with prefrontal lobes--a relative newcomer on the scene], nor will it ever be. It is older than theoretic culture and remains to this day an indispensable way of relating to the world."

By and large, human beings are a mixture of all 3 modes; altho for a large swath of the planetary population, the theoretic mode is practically nonexistent.

As for the Buddhist project, of being able to distance yourself from your own narrative, i.e. take a position on it, which is to say, to see thru it, see it *as* narrative (and thus ultimately arbitrary): I discuss this at some length in SSIG.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...

So what do all these layers have to do with Joseph Campbell?
I'm working on the library issue but at this time I am the L.A.P.L. "arrest-on-sight" list, so... you know.
Gotta stay one step (plus) ahead of 'dem fuzz.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Have you been stealing library bks? Or did you mean LAPD? Ouch!

Campbell didn't really think in terms of layers; he just thought the world of myth (which he understood very poorly) was hip, where it was at, and created a universal 'shopping cart' model, into which all cultures were tossed in as fundamentally equivalent. That context made a crucial difference for content never crossed his mind. One of the more simplistic thinkers of the 20C, and a gd example of naïve, rt-wing romanticism. The New Agers loved him because he, like they, wasn't big on distinctions. You do need to check out WG, however. (Get a friend to do it 4u.)


2:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Campbell was gd at conning people, however. Check out the interview he did w/Bill Moyers, many yrs ago. Moyers comes off as a groupie, a chump.

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...



6:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only the beginning, man; only the beginning.


7:39 AM  
Anonymous Tybee said...

"Does the earth’s finite carrying capacity mean economic growth has to stop?" A thoughtful examination of this momentous question disguised as a review of this new book by Charles Mann, author of the fantastic "1491":


9:06 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@ Christopher,

Speaking of the rehabilitation of George W. Bush, check this out:

George W. Bush's favorable rating has pulled a complete 180.

"Most of Bush's climb back to popularity came from Democrats and independents. His favorability mark among Democrats has soared from only 11% in February 2009 to a majority 54% now."


I like to browse partisan Democratic message boards to observe the wild prog in their natural habitat and most people seem to think that Trump is worse than George W. Bush. I guess deporting people is now worse than killing them.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“One of the richest counties in California has started evicting hundreds of its poorest residents from a dusty riverbed homeless encampment just a few miles from Disneyland. Activists say the site may be home to as many as 1,000 people. Yet Orange County has admitted that it has just 250 shelter beds currently available.”


This in the most populous state in the (dis)Union (39.5 millions), with an economy that is the fifth largest in the world ($2.717 trillion), 4 of the world’s 10 largest companies, and 4 of the world’s 10 richest individuals. (All stats Wikipedia)

You won’t have failed to note the American flag flying alongside the makeshift tent city. The temporary digs of temporarily embarrassed millionaires? Proud Americans all.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Why didn't the O.C. just shoot them? I don't get it.


This tells us a lot abt the American public, really.


10:40 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Moshe Dayan was scum. In 1948 he led an army into a village called al-Dawazyma near Hebron and massacred 80-100 people. The children were killed by breaking their heads with sticks.Again, the most difficult book I ever read was Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. TO think that Jews could behave that way was appalling.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Perhaps that quote was a brief moment of clarity in an otherwise horrible life.


11:41 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

@Tom: So all it takes to end up in the good graces of #TheResistance is to express dislike for Trump. Starting a multi-$trillion war on the basis of out-and-out lies, leading to untold bloodshed and ruination and destabilizing an entire region is totally insignificant compared to something like saying "Grab 'em by the pussy."

11:43 AM  
Anonymous AaronA said...

You're right, my position is very Buddhist, but also different.

Buddhism starts out good but keep on becoming "vertical" - about escaping our nothingness. This happens to all its sects eventually.

What I like is seeing life like a dream - which you don't try and escape. This way, nothing is terribly important in life - not even the need to escape it. Life is more like a game. I think this hints at what you have in mind when you talk about humor being a metaphysical attitude, no?

That is where I think Buddhism began to fail - escaping this dream becomes terribly important, which itself undermines our ability to see this life as a dream.

This is why I say that ultimately, fascism doesn't matter. Sure, its bad, and we should oppose it if we can, but also not take it too seriously. It has no meaning in an "ultimate" sense, and we should be careful that we will become humorless if we fight it.

If life is a dream, and humour our metaphysic, we are beyond good and evil - evil isn't worth doing, of course , but we can't get worked up over grandiose projects for good, either. It's all just a big illusion. A kind of mild benevolence and laughing good will becomes our attitude.

What I like about your book Wandering God, is the "living in paradox" - that's really profound. It's a kind of non-dualism, realizing all choice is really "verticalism", in the end. An attempt at escape.

Structurally, life as a dream also banishes all choice, verticality, and attempt at escape. It is beyond all resentment.

Sure, the world is absurd, but it'll always be like that. It's all a big joke, really, let's correct evils if we can, but not take it too seriously after all.

Thanks for your wonderful books and blogs MB! I have no doubt your significance will be posthumous, as the "serious" people fade away.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


Your extensive comments to jj above is a big part of the analysis I value in all of your work. You make sense on a gut level which is quite grounding. On the other hand I took your suggestion and looked at some clips of Bill Moyers's interviews Joseph Campbell; and they brought back some old evaluations of mine. The guy was a con man who jumped on the wagon of the times and reveled in the adulation he got from so many progressives. He always felt off and flighty to me.

Thanks again for your response to jj.


1:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I confess I'm not really in agreement w/a lot of what you say, but that wd probably be a never-ending discussion. I appreciate yr honesty, in any case. Pls watch length in future, be sure to stick to half-page max. Thanks.


2:20 PM  
Anonymous George said...


It could be a headline from the last days of Roman Empire. A perfect symbol of decadence: taste this endangered species - it's delicious.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

Long time lurker. If I could only read one of your books, which would you recommend?

3:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is just more of America getting pummeled. As you know, I am in favor of pummeling, and think there shd be no upper limit set to it. Throw the homeless out of their shelters, serve fish at $25/bite--it's all pummeling. Maybe it's time to rename the blog: "America Pummeled".


3:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

American Carnage dept.:


Lorenzo is the only thing that makes sense now...


ps: Latreasa Goodman will do in a pinch, tho.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A terrible thing, but finally just part of the ongoing pummeling. There will be another similar event w/in 3 or 4 wks, maybe less. Meanwhile, when they find the shooter, he'll be a 'crazy loner', of course; nothing wrong with our society, oh nooooo.

We need Lorenzo, and we need Latreasa; along w/Brittany Carulli. But I suggest Wafers go to the Michigan State Penitentiary and picket out front, w/signs that say: FREE THE SHANEKA 1. At least she was decent enuf not to unload at a school.


I've written 14 bks, on different subjects. So, depends on what topic yr interested in. Meanwhile, don't lurk; live!


3:52 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Millennial Realist- since you are under 30, it is very easy for you to emigrate - pick a country and attend graduate school there. Should be enough for you to get qualify for some type of permanent residency. Canada is 'peace, order' and good government' versus US "life, liberty and the pursuit of property (happiness)' note how happiness was intrinsically linked to property way back in 1776..we were fucked right from the get-go.

I've been thinking about our SM: when the US Dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency, it will be time to stick a fork in us: we're done. Supposedly the chinese and russians are working on an alternative. We won't be able to run deficits anymore without skyrocketing interest rates or hyper-inflation.

How about Oprah/Shaneka for 2020? Shaneka will be out of prison by then and will likely need a job. If Oprha's happy talk won't keep you in line, Sheneka and her glock will...


4:32 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Yet another wonderful person is gone, Rest in Peace:


5:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And here we were just talking abt the mythic layer of the mind. I weep. I have been rdg Ursula for years, and drew on "The Telling" in my Japan bk. What a cultural treasure this woman was. I can't think of another writer whose work contributed more to envisioning the possibility of a better world.


6:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Killing Fields Dept.:

23 days into the year, there have been 11 school shootings.


9:21 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Interesting comments on Campbell. I read him when I was younger, but I tried to get back into him recently, and found it pretty dry and repetitive. You are right that he flattens everything into a single Urmyth.

If you are looking to read old American popular intellectual writers, try Will Durant or Edith Hamilton. They are definitely a grade above Campbell, but then I must say Campbell was also a grade above Peterson. At least Campbell was just a popular writer. Peterson mixes academia and YouTube celebrity in a way that frankly degrades both.

One possible task for NMIs - copying over the whole of historical learning onto long-term digital memory.


9:22 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

@ David G. Congrats on your realization of what the U.S. is really all about - self destructive, self-centered hustling. If you feel troubled by such thinking then you're not alone. My epiphany was rather slow burning- I think it started about 10 years ago when I first read Neil Postman's book 'Amusing Ourselves to Death'.

It can be painful to come to terms with the facts of America's true character. And then to see the people we love and cherish, our friends and family, either remain unconcerned about it all or willfully ignorant - how cruel! But if you've come this far I think you will agree it is better to know the truth, and be troubled by it, than to believe a pleasant lie.

As far as trying to convince other Americans that the end of Empire is coming - don't bother. I've had so many conversations with people over the years where it was clear before our debate even began that no amount of evidence would alter their opinion - no matter the topic. As you said in your post Americans simply aren't capable of thinking about things in the right way. Discussing history in the context of current events, for example, requires not only factual knowledge of history, but also historical thinking skills, which are severely lacking among the general public. I hope you can find something else to focus on, and maybe we can all help each other figure out a way to escape this country, if not physically, at least mentally as NMIs.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Warren said...


Very sad.

11:40 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Thank You Morris! Terrific explanation to my request. Much appreciated.

Check this out...

These Evangelical Lunatics are the Biggest HYPOCRITES!!!!

Social conservative: Trump gets a 'mulligan' on his behavior


Evangelical leader says Trump is a 'changed person'


3:38 AM  
Blogger Joanna Hobo said...


Americans Don't Deserve To Be Ruled Under Authoritarian Trump Regime (w/guest Vicente Fox)

5:39 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Wudu--"I've had so many conversations with people over the years where it was clear before our debate even began that no amount of evidence would alter their opinion - no matter the topic." A lot of that is the influence of the MSM, which makes poor ol' Goebbles's Propaganda Ministry look like a bunch of amateurish wankers. Personally, I attribute my Waferdom in part to the fact that after the OJ trial in the mid-1990s, I became so disgusted with frivolity of teevee news that I basically stopped watching it.

That was a huge first step, since at the time I was a pretty typical American and was actually proud that I worked for the State Department. Nowadays, when I look around I see the corrosive effect that the MSM has even in my own family. Over the holidays I had a long conversation with my stepmother, who has bought whole into the whole stupid "resistance" thing, and made some great points about how the Democrats aren't really any better using actual examples of where they have collaborated with Trump despite their rhetoric (such as their giving him the votes to get his Saudi arms sale through the Senate when Rand Paul and several other Republicans publicly stated they would vote against it). I thought I was making real progress, but then the next day she was once again glued to MSNBC, eagerly awaiting their take on the latest Trump "outrage."

Americans have reached the point where they place more trust in paid propagandists whom they will never meet than the do their own family, friends and neighbors. In this case, even my "expertise" of having spent 22 years in official Washington and knowing intimately how the power game works counted for nothing. It's pathetic.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

I can take Hedges in infrequent doses, at least when he is being descriptive of the state of American culture rather than prescriptive, as in the article cited below, based on one of Walker Percy's novels about spiritual death. At any rate, an interesting read. Look forward to reading what others think.


7:14 AM  
Anonymous italiana said...

Greetings to all Wafers!

Long time lurker here! I have taken heart at all the discussions and links. This blog and Dr B's books have provided the context and background to the nagging feeling of unease that I have had for years about work and life in the US.

I am a retired Federal employee (DoD/Navy), who is SOOO happy to be out of that crazy world! The last 8-9 years of my career (I left in 2007) were miserable, watching the glee around me as we invaded one country after another. Mind boggling.

My husband and I spend half a year in our small house on a rural mountaintop in Italy (wonderful sense of community that is so lacking in the US), and the other half in a large US city. Our plan is to totally escape soon. (Elderly relative is the primary anchor in the US.)

Meanwhile - just saw this posted on truthdig, a wonderful, short award acceptance speech by Ursula Le Quin. Perfect!


7:16 AM  
Anonymous A Bad Egg said...

Refugees caring for the elderly here in Budapest.


7:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is abs. wonderful, thank you. Note that this blog is open to all Hungarian visitors.


Buongiorno, ragazza! Niente male, your situation. And here in Waferland, tutti stanno bene. In any case, we are delighted that your long period of lurking is over, and that you have decided to come into the light. You may know that I spent 3 wks in Italy--Roma, Napoli, Costo Amalfi--in September, and have been thinking about doing a bk on Italian culture. Where is your rural mountaintop? It sounds divine. You may also know that my bks sell like hotcakes, and soon I shall be a millionaire; at which pt, I plan to put a down payment on a villa in Toscana.


You ol' hobo, you. Maybe Americans *do* deserve to be ruled by a powerful, repressive Trump regime. Maybe that's *exactly* what they need.


9:29 AM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...


I'm currently reading Twilight of American culture. It's amazing how little has changed since 2000. I've observed from a young age the complete lack of intellectual curiosity among my peers. So I, like many others, buried our thoughts in order to "fit in." I took a few urban planning classes in college and had learned a little bit about Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs. I'll have to read more of their work. Dark Ages highlighted all of the issues with our crazy car culture, so that topic is of great interest to me. I've known for awhile that there was something wrong with our urban planning and how it's displaced people, especially the poor and vulnerable -- "drive until you qualify." It's sickening.


I'm currently researching other countries. The easiest route would be graduate school.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, things have gotten much worse since 2000; or so it seems to me. The 4 things I identified as contributing to our downfall have been exacerbated. As for Mumford: check out the essay on him in AWTY.

Yes, get out as soon as you can. Believe me, a better life awaits.


10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it. We have a blog rule of one post per 24 hrs. Pls let a full day elapse and re-send. Thanks.


11:53 AM  
Anonymous TZD said...

I have been a long time lurker here as well, and am looking to eventually leave the US.

After some of the experiences I have had (see organized stalking, which is gov't run - look up website titled fight gang stalking.com), I have become convinced America is a totalitarian state.

I became targeted by organized stalking due to political activism I engaged in back in 2011 during my college years.

I cannot get a job here in the US as a result of this Cointelpro type program. I was thinking of teaching English in Asia, as I do not see any other viable way to emigrate from the US. Would appreciate some additional advice on how to emigrate on a limited budget. Thanks.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I’m not certain this necessarily fits within the declinist narrative, but my WAFie-sense tells me it does. In any event, it certainly fits within the Fucked-Up-Shit narrative.

“Lisa and A.J. Demaree’s decade-long legal ordeal started with, by all accounts, an utterly innocent family moment.

In 2008, the couple took their three daughters, then ages 5, 4 and 1½, on a vacation to San Diego. They snapped more than 100 photos during the trip, like parents do, including several of the girls playing together during bath time. When they returned to their home in Peoria, Ariz., they dropped the camera’s memory stick off at a Walmart for developing.

Within a day, a police detective came knocking.”


12:35 PM  
Anonymous The Son of Ata Sonata said...


A generous position

12:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


More stupidity, more degradation = faster decline.


Not sure, but I think you hafta arrange a job in a foreign country first, then apply for a visa. Other Wafers may know more.


1:42 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey look, you got a mention in the American Conservative!

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

MAKING of a SHITHOLE people :-

Send your God's agents to 'soften the target'.
Organic mimetic replaced by GMO mimetic.

It is for your own good -the standard white man's M.O.

"John is piece of shit, but a happy amenable shit."

A planet plundered. And without consequences??
We are fattened off the sins of our forefathers. I doubt if we can escape Karma. Not even NMI.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the tipoff. Can you imagine my getting cited in the prog press?


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


You've got one big vote here for a book on Italian culture.


3:22 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

# of college students out of 35 who could identify who was President during the Great Depression:


Blank stares all around. This at "one of the best universities in the nation."

3:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But did they know what the Great Depression was? Or did they think it was some large crater in Yosemite National Park?


Old movie, "Gold Diggers of 1933," had a song that went, "We're in the Money!":


Wafers are encouraged to change the lyrics, for a song that goes, "We're in the Shithole".


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Merritt said...

Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right supporters. The results are as scary as shit. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/8/15/16144070/psychology-alt-right

4:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, there is a bright side: the more people like this we have in the US, the faster our decline.

Meanwhile, for those of you contemplating getting out of the US, let me tell you a little story that just happened 30 mins. ago (it's actually happened to me many times during my 11 yrs down here): I am a bit under the weather, was talking to someone in my Mexican family on the fone, and she said: I'll be over with chicken soup. 3 hrs later, several members of the family showed up, chicken soup in tow (delicious). They also made sure I had enuf anti-cold meds, wanted to know if there was anything else they cd do.

If I got sick in the US, I cd have died in my apt w/o anyone knowing abt it. Indeed, this happens every day in the US; it cd well be the norm. If it happens down here, it's extremely rare. People are connected down here, and they care abt one another. They aren't a large collection of 'individuals', narcissistic turkeys and douche bags.


4:23 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,


MB once remarked that if you split open American crania w/an ax, you'd find dog poop packed inside.


The Evangelicals wanna secretly bang Stormy.

Rent a uterus dept.:



4:40 PM  
Anonymous Ayana said...

P.K. Dick, not Orwell or Huxley, predicted the world we live in. I've always thought more of O or H when it came to WAF, perhaps PKD was our guy w/ the vision

Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans


4:46 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...


Imagine asking a college student, 'Who is the current vice president of the United States?' and getting back 'I don't know' for a response.

I've lost count of the number of semesters that have started that way for me.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

MB and all wagers,

Well here in New Orleans we are recovering from a serious hard freeze-induced drop in water pressure that started late the previous Monday night and resulted in a boil water alert that was not lifted until late last Friday night. As a result of this, the schools, the recreation centers and the libraries were all closed through the weekend. You'd think the staff would have put covers over the drinking fountains and provided bottled water (and hand sanitisers for those with suppressed immune systems), but legal counsel must be listened to at all costs!

Other notes:

If it weren't for a hustler and his plans for three wealthy neighborhoods-to-be in Baltimore in the 1890s through the 1910s, the exclusion codes and FHA lending standards in that city and this country may have been far different.

And a hustler from Ohio a century later meets his comeuppance as the charter school scam he started comes to an end when its public agency sponsor pulls the rug underneath it and for good reason!

5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You are aware that this blog represents the most spiritually evolved people in the history of the universe. To that end, do not address us as 'wagers', and be sure to always capitalize the name: Wafers. Thank you.


I doubt even 1% of the American population wd be able to say who Dwight Eisenhower was. No exaggeration.


5:27 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Brother Maynard-it's a personal issue as to whether one would renounce or not. We would renounced as the reporting requirements, banking, etc...were onerous, and other than your birth nation, we have NO commonality with the us in any shape, way, or form. Want nothing to do with america--it was a shit hole.

Moreover, do not want to be tethered to the us all encompassing govt paranoia for those who would dare to leave this amazing place!

Also, the us in its endless economic hustle, went from free to renounce, then 450$, to over I believe 1400$. Anything for a buck in the failed empire even renouncing.

A little levity---Another example of american greatness--APNewsBreak: "Maids to ask Las Vegas hotels for panic buttons" due to the "me too (bowel) movement."

6:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A friend writes as follows, abt a friend of his:

"Last November Richard was unloading his car parked on the side of the street when a lady in an oncoming minivan swerved while answering a call on her cell phone, if you fucking please, crashing into him, smashing his leg to mush."

Nice, eh? But hey, she's got her cool cell fone.


7:24 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

TZD- There are tons of blogs written by American expats many of whom are self-employed. On their blog, they usually write the pros/cons of the country, how they live/work there. Teaching English is a popular way to get employment in another country. If it is Asia you're after i'd look at Taiwan or So. Korea. For Europe, Czech Republic or Slovakia. These countries have relatively low costs of living. I hear wonderful things about Berlin (never been) but there are so many Americans there, I think you will have trouble trying to find a job teaching English.

Otherwise, I'm guessing 2018 midterms are going to be unbearable and split this country even further. If the republicans are really behind in the pulls, then get ready for a scorched earth culture war. My gut tells me the hispanics, muslims, and gays are gonna get it with both barrels. Recall that after 2 failed wars in countries that did not attack us and no WMDs, W ran a virulent campaign against gays. He's only re-election campaign theme that I can recall was a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Of course, he was re-elected.

Hopefully, I'll be gone by then....


11:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The camel on the rt looks a lot like Hillary:


It's so nice not to be hearing from her anymore. But I confess I miss Ging Newtrich, and Sarah Palin. Where *are* those turkeys? And what of Rom Mittney, and Reince Priebus? (jesus, what a name)


12:00 AM  
Blogger IM said...

Dear MB,
I am new here. Heard from your post from an acquaintance. Reading your books; A Question of Values, Are we there yet and others. Like the General Theory of Love you recommended. I must admit, I follow your guidance when it comes to books; you have a good taste for books ::)) I guess 40+ years of reading would do that o you ::)).

Here is a book I am puzzled by and I really could use your critical opinion: The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley. I love his sky hook theory and the wide approach to everything. I guess I could say that I like his "Today is a better World than yesterday" approach also. It seems to be in tandem with Harrari's "Sapiens". But again, I an optimist since I was born.
I am not referring to USA specifically. We know where that place is heading....(reminds me of the Soviet Union so much and that was since I have moved in here 10 years ago).
What puzzles me is the writer's background. He was accused of having investments in coal production and he was a member of the board of some bank in England when it collapsed (the first one in over 100 years) and he seems to have a position against EU and climate change change. I am actually quite convoluted. I did like many of his ideas.
I am in a process of awakening, from the American Dream. Realized that something is just not right since I have moved in US. With the currents political events I have started to question more. I just feel that I could use some guidance. Would hate to fall in another trap of some waked ideology and follow some -ists of unknown background.
Will move abroad this year. I miss the years when I could engage in fervent political and ideological discussions without worrying that I have to be political correct. I just feel that I am slowly rotting from inside here. Nobody to talk to cause all of the them are still dreaming the Dream and working and shopping...little busy robotic bees plugged to the Matrix....
Too bad the dollar is falling, if I could only have awoken earlier ::)))
Thanks for your time,


1:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Zdrastvi, y ochen priatno! I wish I could help you, but I haven't read the Ridley book, so I really can't comment on it. Checking him out on the web, he comes across as a right-wing libertarian, and this seems to have biased his 'science'. Check this out:


I cd be wrong, but his approach seems rather superficial. In any case, glad to hear you will be leaving the US. Personally, I never found it much fun, trying to talk to robots.


5:16 AM  
Anonymous Owen said...



Here is George Monbiot negatively reviewing a Ridley txt. They are also public rivals, but Monbiot comes out on top, IMO.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

Bill - by the time MSM began to demand that its news sections be self-supporting financially and put them under their Entertainment Divisions, most Americans had become convinced by same to believe what they saw on TV and read in newspapers was independent, fair, and objective reports of "what we needed to know" to navigate the worlds in which we live. Rather than talking to family and friends about the issues of the day, we converse silently with our TV "friends" - and that is what they have become to us - friends and members of the family who we can trust to "tell it like it is". This is particularly true on the local level where TV stations promote "reporters" (who are, in reality, nothing more than glorified teleprompter readers, and poor ones at that) as people we would feel comfortable having a cup of coffee or beer with. Anchors and weather persons are presented in self-promotions as affable, likable, "just like you and me", down home folks who have our best interests at heart. So "tune in" and come back often; we will never say or report anything that might make you feel uncomfortable or cause you to question your beliefs. We're here for YOU - to keep you informed and safe.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Good article on the outrageous cost of giving birth in the United State. From the article:

“Despite these high costs, the US consistently ranks poorly in health outcomes for mothers and infants. The US rate of infant mortality is 6.1 for every 1,000 live births, higher than Slovakia and Hungary, and nearly three times the rate of Japan and Finland. The US also has the worst rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. That means America is simultaneously the most expensive and one of the riskiest industrialized nations in which to have children.”


9:32 AM  
Blogger Jasper said...

I am a lurker on this blog. I dont see you being referenced often, so I figure you might appreciated this:


None of this cultural decline was unpredictable. Historian and social critic Morris Berman wrote a trilogy on this very subject, and in the first book, The Twilight of American Culture, published in 2000, he observed a general coarsening of American life, found in politics and entertainment, and also in how private citizens relate to one another. Although not a factor in Berman’s book, social media often favors those who can communicate in slick and snarky slogans, and transform even mild disagreements into the rhetorical equivalent of a barroom brawl. It now appears that a significant minority of Americans prefer their leaders to speak and behave in ways that do not elevate their culture, but recreate and enhance its worst elements.



10:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Someone already posted it, but thanks anyway: I appreciate yr looking out for Bermrefs, as they are known in the business.


In the immortal words of that Great American, Earl Butz, what Americans are looking for is a warm place to shit. (And that was 50 yrs ago.)


Ridley sounds like a peddler of easy optimism--something that has enormous appeal. One thing Americans esp. don't want to hear is that there are limits to what we can do.


10:30 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Buonasera Wafers!

We are located in southern Tuscany in a tiny village overlooking the Val d'Orcia and Monte Amiata, a dormant volcano (and we hope it stays that way!) Off the beaten path, mainly, although there are some tourists in the summer, mainly Dutch, but also some Americans. In the village itself there are Italians and also other nationalities who own property, although many don't live here the entire year. Makes for interesting conversations. The American tourists are generally wealthy, walking around feeling and acting entitled, but the expats who actually live here are very different from that. (Kind of like you describe in your Mexican village.) We avoid the tourists like the plague.

And one thing - only villas are quite expensive in this area. Small in-town/village properties are actually quite reasonable. Our place is quite small, in the village, but with a nice garden.

I also wholeheartedly endorse a book on Italian culture! We feel so comfortable and at home here, it's hard to go back to the US.

10:44 AM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

Where is Shaneka Torres when you need her?


10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What are these morons doing anyway, eating junk food at Burger King? They wanna die early? In any case, bring on Shaneka, with her semi-automatic weapons!


Sounds great. Maybe I'll visit you guys some day. Why anyone living abroad wd want to return to the US (except for short visits) is utterly beyond me.

Welcome to all the new faces on the blog! Don't lurk; live! We are Wafers United; nothing can stop us! Shaneka: if yr listening, we love you!


11:07 AM  
Anonymous Erik said...

"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were."


What about the term "arete"?

It is always a pr9vacat8ve question though: did evil prexist humanity? In the higher animals, or even as soon sort of destructive principle in the cosmos

11:18 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Some people think that the US has lost its moral compass. I think the moral compass in the nation always has pointed to where the money is--true North.

3:45 AM  

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