April 24, 2018



I guess it's back to numbers. I was thinking of "Turkeys Rushing Toward the Abyss," but I'm getting a bit tired of turkeys, both in print and real life. Anyway, we've had some very enlightened postings in recent days, so I suggest we continue the trend. Keep in mind that I am the Great Seer of the Western Hemisphere; I shall have no other blogs before me. Also, try to avoid adultery. On that note...



Blogger jjarden said...

Instead of collecting cans, this homeless lady in Chicago collects dead bodies and throws them in her shopping cart.


12:57 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Partially related to the previous post's comments

"As task after task becomes easier, the growing expectation of convenience exerts a pressure on everything else to be easy or get left behind. We are spoiled by immediacy and become annoyed by tasks that remain at the old level of effort and time."


3:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I don't recall if anyone posted about this story when the shooting originally happened, but it is in the news again since the family has filed a lawsuit against the police department after their teenage son was shot to death by the cops while backing out of his own garage. In addition to explaining to that 2-year-old girl why her father was senselessly stabbed to death, how do we explain to the teenagers who legitimately thought their friend was suicidal why, when they called the police to ask them to check on his welfare, a trigger happy cop executed him in cold blood? How do we explain to his parents how their son ended up riddled with bullets in the driveway of their own home? Luckily for them they are white, which means their lawsuit actually has a chance of succeeding.

Here's a glorious American hero: "I’m A Nice Guy": Accused Felon Goes On Rampage With Machete And Threatens To Put Housemate’s Head On Spear. Check out the mugshot--to say this dude has a few issues would be a great understatement. Whenever I see people who look like this, I can't help but think that what I'm looking at it is someone slowly being driven mad by our mindless, hypercompetetive society and is attempting to attract attention but to convey the horror they feel deep down in their souls.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wonderful mug shot of that guy, Joshua Taylor; a quintessentially American face. I've said this b4, but I think it's long overdue to give everyone semi-automatic weapons, pick 1-2 'free days', and tell them to go shoot anyone they please. No penalties on free days, and we encourage you to esp. target total strangers. Instead of "In God We Trust" on legal tender we might consider: "Death: What a Blast!"


5:47 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

One Canadian police officer peaceably gets a terrorist suspect to surrender while the suspect points an object that looks like a gun at the officer.


Simply amazing! The US would have had 50 officers surrounding him and then pumping him full of lead at the mere suggestion he had a gun.

The militarization of US society is staggering. Because we live in it daily, we don't really notice it. To the rest of the world, it is simply bizarre. Why anyone would want to immigrate to the US is beyond me.


6:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, from what I've heard, the streets are paved w/gold.


6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Stirrings of secession:


(note the 'unbiased' reportage)


6:49 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

American work culture is literally killing us! Shocking, I know:

"But Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, says companies are completely missing the point. Offering lunchtime yoga to stressed-out workers ignores the real reason why workers are so stressed out in the first place—management practices like long work hours, unpredictable schedules, toxic bosses, and after-hours emails."

I have the misfortune of knowing too many corporate managers and their attitude towards lower level employees. They don't care if you have to miss your child's birthday party! It seems to me that having a job isn't even worth it if you're slightly above the poverty line, but still unable to afford the basics. You might as well collect welfare and food stamps. And honestly, who can blame someone that does? The system is so rotten and miserable that it's actually healthier to not work. And on top of that, there's no job security. Automation is going to continue to displace millions and millions of workers. But that's okay for a progre$$ive like Jeff Bozo.... I meant Bezos.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Ulysses said...

The Internet Apologizes …

Even those who designed our digital world are aghast at what they created. A breakdown of what went wrong — from the architects who built it.
By Noah Kulwin

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Isabel said...

Why Kids Who Break the Rules Are More Likely to Become Rich


8:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


An impt article, which validates my analysis of the role of tech in American life (WAF ch. 3). There is never any questioning of new technologies because they exist in a 'religious' context, and so they are seized on as the solution to all our problems, when what they mostly do is exacerbate those problems.

Two vignettes:

In 1984 I'm teaching at the U of Victoria in British Columbia. UVic decides to mount a conference on "the university in the 21st century." Scholars from all over the globe are invited, and I am asked to speak as the token Luddite. One speaker after another claims technology will save us (from what?). When it's my turn to speak, the condescension is palpable; they just managed not to laugh, as I talked about the potential downside of this approach (all of which came true in subsequent yrs). And of all the speakers, I was the only one interrupted from someone in the audience--Patrick Suppes from Stanford--who basically harangued me regarding my world view. I was not able to impress upon him that his world view was not necessarily superior to mine. Anyway, at conference end, they all stood around congratulating themselves; I returned to my office to work on CTOS, and argue how bodily reality was the baseline of real experience. (Suppes, BTW, in addition to his career as a philosopher, was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and a millionaire. What a surprise.)

2 or 3 yrs later, the National Academy of Sciences mounted a huge conference entitled something like: "Education of the Future: The Technology is Now." Somehow, I was invited. I thought: why are they conflating education and technology? But it became obvious: everyone there thought that technological innovation should dictate the content of education. Wm Gibson, for example, praised the Net as an absolute marvel, from which only gd cd come. Other speakers were equally daffy. Happily, I had not been asked to give a talk, and I cd only sit there and gape at the sheer idiocy of the symposium.

Once again, folks w/very high IQ's can be very stupid (if I haven't said it enuf). And so now we have literally tons of bks and articles showing how destructive digital tech and virtual reality is, on literally every level. Nice that even the inventors of this stuff are finally agreeing w/me, but I doubt it will change anything in the short run. Maybe there is hope for the long run, I dunno, altho these technologies are creating generations of very lonely, depressed, anxious, and stupid people. (There is also some evidence of negative impact on brain physiology, and possibly brain tumors.)


9:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Good description of the US at large; 'solution' a joke:


1:18 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Kabuki Theater--went to the Kabukiza in Toyko for an incredible performance; even though 4h, was mesmorising and provocative---featuring the heroes of the Meiji Restoration and commemorates its 150th anniversary. The next was a full-length performance of an epic play portraying one of the most famous family feuds in the Edo Period, featuring Onoe Kikugorō.

This theatre also permits folks (mostly tourists) to come in for a single act (makumi).

The Japanese--quiet, contemplative, acting listening. The Anglo-tourists/single act--endless diddling with phones, apathetic body postures, ants in pants, tons of coughing, whispering, looking all around --restless--akin to Cleveland Moffet's 1895 re: american's constant restlessness/agita.

I realise, perhaps, there's a bias--those who love Kabuki and can go 4h, versus those who may enjoy only 1-1.5h. However, the INABILITY to sit through ~1-1.5h w/o phone diddling, looks of boredom, and ants in the pants from anglos (many american/australian) was sickening and overtly apparent.

The backwards baseball caps, mid-driffs, and ratty tee shirts were a 'nice' addition too.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dr. B: Didn't realize you had a new post...here it is again:

I’m very interested in metaphysics (started with the philosophy of non-dual Kashmir Shaivism), and therefore quantum physics. I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Lothar Schäfer, Professor of Physical Chemistry, and have ordered his book “Infinite Potential….” In it he says:

“Some 40 years ago, when I came to the United States as an immigrant, I was amazed by the level of aggression that is considered as normal in our society. As a child I had constantly been admonished to be kind and cooperative, yet in this country aggression is a virtue – certainly in the business world, in politics, and in public entertainment. In contrast, the nature of the quantum world shows us that the best way to live is with kindness, and knowing this has helped me to live in an aggressive society without being aggressive myself. The quantum phenomena are so life-changing because they reveal the connection between our life and the life of the universe.”

Dio: Kali Yuga explains it all, and we either segue into the next Yuga or go out with a bang – which, unfortunately, is what’s happening.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Ulysses - I really enjoyed reading the article you posted from the New York Magazine about the woes of the Internet. The ability of capitalism to consume anything it meets has been discussed on this blog many times before, and from reading the article, that appears the Internet has been consumed. It has been eaten alive and incorporated into the large rotting body of our culture. I don't believe there is any way to recover when that happens. We just have to wait for it all to die. That is why this blog is about the only website I ever visit anymore.

You may already know about this, but maybe other Wafers and lurkers would enjoy hearing about the book I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek. It highlights some of the travails of the Internet in a darkly humorous, anecdotal fashion. I truly enjoyed reading it and plan to read it again soon.


11:45 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

First, thanks to all the contributors to this blog. Each new day offers interesting comments and article referrals that contribute to my continuing education. No tuition necessary, never mind loans. Thanks.

Here, an article from The Hill newspaper. Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told 1000 bankers assembled in Washington yesterday for an American Bankers Association convention they should keep up pressure on legislators to minimize attempts to regulate banking practices. This in the wake of the recent announcement that Wells Fargo has once again been fined—now for $1 billion—for shady dealings.

And from the Lawyers, Guns, and Money (RIP Warren Zevon) blog, an item on a Pennsylvania judge who decided that a groom before her to be married sure looked like an illegal. Enter ICE with the ink pad and cuffs.

And this, in which a former Texas Board of Education member takes to Twitter to ask a biracial teen who’s just tweeted his being admitted to Harvard whether his admittance was merit or quota based.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Millenial Realist

In most societies working 70 hours a week would be a sign of incompetence.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Re: rulebreakers
I remember seeing the application for financing for Y-Combinator, a Silicon Valley VC firm. The application was full of questions as to how you 'hacked systems' i.e. exploit loopholes or vulnerabiliites to gain advantage and get what you want. The corporate culture of many SV firm Uber, FB is sociopathic. Yet their leaders are lauded and praised by the sycophantic business press. They are held to be the ideal. You can go to expensive seminars to learn to be like them. Jack Welch of GE decimated the factory towns of NY and New England and he was a hero; praised for his business vision, toughness, and courage.

The Washington Post article quotes 1979 Culture of Narcissism: “the extreme of a war of all against all, the pursuit of happiness to the dead end of a narcissistic preoccupation with the self.” I look back at 1979 as halcyon days. The only solution to this kind of society is to realize there is no solution. It will eventually kill itself as all parasites eventually kill the host.


1:09 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Speaking of the pitfalls of technology Rod Dreher has a good piece on virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier acknowledging the negative impact of the Internet and related technologies.


Dreher is a Christian so his article focuses on how Christians can deal with our modern dystopia through what he calls the Benedict Option but I think his points apply to anyone who is unhappy with the present course modernity is taking.

1:55 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I had this thought driving into work this morning....

Why are Billboards along the highway even legal?

Think about it...we’re such a hustling and huckstering culture, that the government allows private companies to erect these big ads that are basically saying....

“Take your eyes off the road and be distracted while looking at our nice ad....the safety of you and other drivers be damned.”

2:56 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

A the Turkeys on parade! Rarely read news but have children...They shared a contra-temp of Kanye West. It appears he dared to speak his mind and share his ideas on twitter. He said he liked how a young black conservative woman thinks. This led to a media explosion. Within hours, publications from the Washington Post and People and others jumped in and started a smear job. A white journalist (ah progressives) at the Washington post thought his ideas inappropriate for a black man. Very odd how years ago the right was nasty, not the left has taken that mantle and are by all appearances and actions much nastier and nore intolerant. Also in this vein, a TV anchor one Joy Reid said bad things about gays--very nasty stuff. But alas, as she is a progressive all is forgiven. She claimed she was hacked. My kids now say they were hacked or the Russians are undermining them when they don't do their school work. I was hacked by the Russians or other nefarious entities is the new dog ate my homework...Its also amazing how the left in the guise of the media is o.k.with Joy Reid saying bad things about gays but mad that Kanye likes a conservative woman. Its like a Vassily Grossman novel! O.k. another 6 months away from news....

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Risto said...

Finland eliminates its 'Universal Basic Income Program' and takes new measures to cut benefits to those who do not actively seek employment."

Finnish citizen here. Dual citizen w/ USA. This news article is totally misrepresenting the situation. The experiment with the UBI was scheduled to last for 2 years and to end at the end of 2018, this is not some new announcement and the experiment is not "eliminated".

7:01 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Ulysses--I don't at all disagree that the Internet and social media have been a hugely destructive influence, but I really take issue with this passage: "The election of Donald Trump and the triumph of Brexit, two campaigns powered in large part by social media, demonstrated to tech insiders that connecting the world — at least via an advertising-surveillance scheme — doesn’t necessarily lead to that hippie utopia." Yet both the author and the interviewees readily acknowledge that the key decisions that went wrong were made well before 2016, and anyone with half a brain should have been able to spot these negative trends long before Trump ever decided to run for president.

The Internet has been accelerating the offshoring of middle class jobs since the Bush years; Amazon has been treating its employees like disposable garbage for at least that long while dodging any form of taxation and destroying small and now even large businesses; "disruptor" companies like Uber and Airbnb have been trying to dismantle the regulatory state, while others like Theranos were proven to be out-and-out frauds. Does all that sound like part of some "hippie utopia?" I don't see any of these douchebags giving up the immense fortunes they reaped from their self-professed misdeeds, and since they make it sound like they wouldn't be nearly as concerned if ol' Botoxface had won the election and the Brits had voted to remain part of an undemocratic association of colonialist powers, you'll forgive me if I have serious doubts as to their sincerity.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that news in the US is reported by turkeys, for turkeys. Then you won't be confused or even annoyed.


7:56 PM  
Anonymous Francois said...

@COS I think the left needs to embrace the new woman of my dreams Randa Jarrar. Randa replaced Naima Lowe who was the old woman of my dreams. Randa teaches at Fresno State and she is a classy dame much like Naima. I wish to sing Barry White songs to both these seductive ladies. But I fear that is cultural appropriation. Professor Berman and Bill Hicks why do I keep falling in love with women who hate me for being a white devil?

8:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bill will hafta answer for himself, but as for me, I can tell you that women hate you for being a white devil because you are probably a white devil. (You devil, you!) As to why you fall in love with Naima, Randa, et al.: you may have some deep need to punish yrself. If therapy doesn't help, I suggest you join my campaign to get Kim's buttocks on the $1 bill. It turns out that the secret of American life can be found deep down between her rather massive cheeks. Dig it?


8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Quick Wafer quiz (no using google): What is the name of the song that begins:

"Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies..."

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

"We often think of suicide as an individual act, but the social and physical environment is really an important determinant of​ ​suicide, Houle said. Put another way, the very traits associated with the West (and romanticized in American culture)​ ​individualism and independence, stoicism and solitude​ ​may also have deeply negative implications for its people​.​..​ ​consequently, attenuated social ties and weaker social institutions such as marriage and religion...​ ​lowers social integration levels and increases suicide rates"

"The West’s mountain towns tend to float to the top of what I’ll call Listicles of Happiness: Those inane rankings of the “best towns” in the nation, whether it’s the best small towns, the best ski towns or, a recent favorite, “20 Colorado Mountain Towns That Are Paradise,” the writers of which have some fetish for stoplights, or the lack thereof. Judging from these lists, we mountain townies are a joyous bunch, working high-paying jobs that not only allow us to follow our passion, but also to go fly fishing on our lunch break, mountain bike after that (without stoplights to slow us down!), and then, fueled by a runner’s high, party long into the night."​ ​Perhaps the whole country is ​​a basket of​ ​"testicles​ ​of happiness?" https://youtu.be/yXf-xcR8bdA?t=91

Obscene by Design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6CYLfWaCOA

Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die. "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were,
as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee." -John Donne

8:48 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

(Possibly disqualified for infraction of 24-hour rule. I throw myself on the mercy of the GSWH. God Save this Honorable Court.)

9:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

I believe that's "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," MB. You know, my mind is wandering of late to our Pantheon of Wafer Heroes (PWH). Did Nelson Agosto ever find a decent order of regular-sized clams? Does Charles Weatherford continue to store up his own urine, and dump it on the heads of unruly neighborhood kids? Did Rachel Butterbaugh finally climax? These are the important questions...


9:32 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

@Bill -- Yeah, I agree that the damage caused by social media and the Internet predates the election of Trump by several years. They're using it too much as a scapegoat. Many of Trump's supporters are actually real and not Russian bots. Unfortunately, I have a few Trump supporting family members and I know for a fact that they're not a bot!

Before the destruction caused by social media & the Internet, we destroyed our cities and communities with the automobile: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/25/opinion/cars-ruining-cities.html. Just another example of embracing technology at ALL costs.

Speaking of Amazon: http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-owns-five-massive-homes-across-the-united-states-2017-10

And their working conditions? http://observer.com/2018/04/amazon-britain-harsh-working-conditions/

Oh and another stinger: http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-is-now-making-an-astonishing-230000-every-minute-2018-3

^^And so-called "progressives" love this guy!

9:36 PM  
Anonymous NJguy said...

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

10:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, yeah, yeah. (You got it)


As for car, check out DAA ch. 7.


We hafta think of a Freddie Wadsworth/Brittany Carulli ticket for 2020.


Jesus, what a riff. You got rhythm, man. Yr like Jas Joyce, only more coherent.


11:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This I love (seriously):


11:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Totally Fucked dept.:



7:49 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Dr. Mayer Hillman says he's done writing-


Quote from article- "In 1971, 80% of British seven- and eight-year-old children went to school on their own; today it’s virtually unthinkable that a seven-year-old would walk to school without an adult."

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Kathryn said...

Is the Professor familiar with the study by documentarian Adam Curtis called Hypernormalisation? Or his other films, like Century of the Self?

I thought they might be a platform for some nice discussion here.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle, like Cranston J. Butterworth III.


Not familiar.


Sorry, cdn't post it. We have a half-page-max rule on this blog. Pls compress by 25% or so and re-send. Thank you.


11:39 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Hello MB and Wafers,

Posting for the first time, was in the US for about a decade and worked for most of the time on Wall St :). Working on Wall st and living in US made me disillusioned with life. Decided to move back to India thankfully before the Trump stupidity began. My time in US would have been much better had I known MB and fellow Wafers. Incredible Ponzi scheme the Wall Street people have concocted. There was an article by a Wall Street banker in nytimes titled "For the love of money" pretty much sums up what happens there. Our boss told us in a meeting full of people that bonus was going to be down but we should feel sorry for the millionaire executives cause 20% down means a lot to them and anyways we get peanuts.

Also I found raising kids in US is very difficult and different to what I had learned growing up. There is tremendous pressure to make your son into an alpha male, ready to fight and crush others anytime. It's almost like you are preparing them for a war and not for a peaceful life. And if you have a daughter physical attractiveness is what she must be worried about 24/7.

Moving back to India was not easy cause India is not yet developed and has its own problems. Population, pollution , poverty , lack of a modern infrastructure in some parts (though cities have made progress).... But culturally i find India much better. There is still a strong sense of family and community and people care for each other even though there are problems. Hope I made the right decision to move back. This blog definitely makes me feel so.

Sorry for the personal rant, will contribute more in future... Thanks MB and Wafers for the education you provide through this blog..

12:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the blog, and thank you for your contribution. I've never been to India, but have read mountains abt it. Maybe I'll do a visit b4 I croak. But I am quite sure you did the right thing, making this move. You know, Mother Teresa visited the US and remarked that she never saw a more spiritually impoverished country. Your move will give your kids a true inner life, which is pretty much foreclosed in America. Yr rt: life in the US is basically war, and not just for boys.

Have you seen "Today's Special"?



12:39 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...


"Increasingly, democratically elected leaders regard the media as an adversary deserving of their contempt."

2:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have already written Trumpi to put Brooks and Friedman into a deep dungeon, in chains, and see to it that they never write again.

By now, *all* institutions in the US are deserving of our contempt. Ronald Dworkin actually said that in the NYRB abt 10 or 12 yrs ago. He was no punk.

Meanwhile: not to be missed: "Backstabbing for Beginners" (film).


2:28 PM  
Anonymous Bologna said...

Increasingly, I'm a sense of betrayal the longer I remain here in college. It's like I been sold short of the education I been promised. Just to clamp down all the material under just 4 months is degrading and frustrating. And just the seer indifference of professors is enough to be depressed over. Some are even surprised to see the continuing denigration of an entire generation of kids coming out of the public school system. Again, I'm sorry if this sounds like a compliant, but it's just I need it to get it out of my system.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Bill, "an undemocratic association of colonialist powers" for the EU is way too simplistic and facile for your usual standards (hoping here that flattery will get me everywhere...)

By all means, do go to Greece or Poland now ("colonialist powers"?), for example, travel in time and go to these places 25 years ago and then tell me. At the end of the day, after much complaining, the Greeks even refused to leave the euro, with an extreme left government in power, suck on that. And the Polish do not want by any means to leave the EU. Just don't believe the surveys.

It all goes back to the argument of complete decentralization versus the need for some global organization. I don't know if I am the odd one out here, but I think there is a need for global organizations. Ok, they can become completely dysfunctional and deserve to die, like the US, but the EU is not at that point at all at the moment. It simply is a very different kind of beast; it doesn't have an army or an FBI or a CIA, for that matter. Perhaps in the future, the EU could degenerate into some really horrible, but we're talking about the present.

About Brexit... Well, we have a half-page size limit here.

3:17 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Pretty soon everyone in America will have an “Emotional Support Animal” with them everywhere they go.


3:26 PM  
Anonymous Dokaebi said...

Belman-nim & Estimable Wafers,
A belated and heart-felt congratulations on the 12th Anniversary of the Only Blog You'll Ever Need (OBYEN)*. Let me add my own voice to those testimonials who have already averred the sublime power of this blog to see the faithful thru the Dark Night of Pox Americana. Soon may the sun rise upon the Empire of the Damned!

The short film linked below is Part One of Six in an Australian series on Western Decadence and Collapse. It’s written, filmed, and produced by an Aussie of Indian ancestry and is distinctly Waferian in its honesty and forthrightness. A must-see, I daresay. As a teaser, this compelling lead-in from Cyril Connelly:

"The goal of every culture is to decay through over-civilization; the factors of decadence - luxury, scepticism, weariness, and superstition - are constant. The civilization of one epoch becomes the manure of the next."


*Excludes trollfoons, US-ian lickspittles, and sundry "free market" poltroons of other stripes

5:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr probably rt. A few mos. ago some diplomat compared US and Europe to Western and Eastern parts of the Roman Empire. The Western part simply collapsed: he predicted the same for the US. The Eastern part became the Byzantine Empire--both functional and dysfunctional, it sorta just limped along, and he predicted the same for Europe. Which is not nec. bad. A lot of the good life can be had in the interstices of such an animal. None of the gd life can be had in an empire that has gone to hell in a basket, which is where we are obviously heading.


You know I'm big on urine. Remember the gal in Bethesda, who finally left the US? I told her to rent a helicopter and pee on Bethesda b4 she left. This kind of action makes one feel empowered. In your case, you might fill plastic bags w/urine, get yrself a Nixon face mask, drive around campus w/the windows open, and when u.c. a prof., fling a bag of urine at him or her. This cd lead to a lot of (much needed)faculty resignations, and you'll feel like a million dollars.


Yr referring to turkeys, rt?


5:51 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...


-----The unique way the Dutch treat mentally ill prisoners … Interesting piece'Dutch law recognises a sliding scale from full criminal responsibility through to total lack of responsibility, with three levels in between'


-----Sex robots, evolutionary psychology, Capgras delusion and Genghis Khan. This essay on the future of sex androids has something for everybody!

7:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Creepy article, also kinda sad. It may be time for canny vulvas to speak out.


8:22 PM  
Anonymous Risto said...


BAH!!! I never posted my web address, just rant!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Wafers - Whats your take on this essay by James Fallows The Reinvention of America

He argues that America is in the process of changing into something more positive, especially on a local level. Is he reasonably optimistic or just delusional? I'm not sure.

Tom - Jaron Lanier is almost always worth listening to. Hes quirky as hell and I don't always agree with him, he's also kind of uppity sometimes but he has a unique insight into Silicon Valley and isn't afraid to call them out on their BS. I remember watching an interview with him a few years back where he talked a lot about "Web 2.0" - which basically refers to social networking / sharing sites like facebook, youtube, twitter, etc. The interviewer asked him if he had anything positive to say about web 2.0, his response was a big fat No, that overall it has been a mistake was doing incredible damage to our society.

This was before the social science research had really hit mainstream consciousness about how terrrible sites like facebook are, before Cambridge Analytica, Trump, the alt-right, and all the rest. He was right then and he's even more right now. His book "You are not a gadget" is worth reading

9:10 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


Going to give you a plus one there. When it comes to colonialism, the UK is numero uno.

The UK is such a backwards place there isn't even any serious probing of the creepy role of the monarchy in supposedly one of the world's most advanced states. There was discussion that if Corbyn won he literally would just not be accepted by the queen as her PM.

We share a continent with Canada, a country that still prints the currency of a foreign monarch, and Angela Merkel is supposed to be some kind of hegemon? Please.

With that said, there's a lot to admire about the UK in contrast to America culturally. Smarter people, much more of a sense of history and a broader view of the world, but you can see a lot of them in their American offspring.

I view Brexit as a kind of civic temper tantrum. Like children, people in Western countries today have all kinds of valid grievances but aren't able to 'parent' themselves to valid, introspective solutions.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think I may have read it a while back. I thought it was delusional, or whistling in the dark to keep the truth at bay. A smart guy, but blocked on the ontological level; as we've discussed b4.

Let me give you an example of how clueless Americans are, and why there are 170 Wafers and 327 million people who--at best--are whistling in the dark. This little episode touched me, for some reason, and so I'm going to share it with the Waferhood.

Several wks ago I was having breakfast in a café, and a few feet away was an American couple doing the same thing. Ordinarily, I wdn't say anything; but the guy spoke Spanish, and they had even ordered chilaquiles, which is an indication of insider knowledge of the country. So I struck up a conversation. If we have 327 million buffoons in America, this couple was not part of them. He was fluent in Spanish because he was a lobbyist for environmental groups across Latin America; she worked for the Dept. of Health, or something similar. They were on holiday; their home was an affluent suburb of DC.

I really wanted to know where they were re: status of the US in world history, but avoided any declinist talk because this scares most Americans, and they wd have probably regarded me as demented. So I was honest, but also diplomatic (so to speak). The 1st thing I noticed was that they were of the belief that the mess we were in was temporary, and due to an 'accident', i.e. Trumpi. Just get a Democrat elected in 2020, they said, and we'll be back on track. I refrained from arguing that Trumpo was no accident, but actually the logical culmination of what the US had been abt from the very beginning. I just said that the problem with the Dems in 2016 was that Hillary was just offering more of the same (Obama), that Trumpi had scored that correctly, and that too many people did not want more of the same. They agreed with me.

Nevertheless, they were stuck on the theme that electoral politics cd save America. That Trumpi cd not win in 2020 because his base was too small. I pted out that he had won with a small base in 2016, because popular vote didn't matter in the US; all you need is to win by 1 vote in abt 8 swing states, and you've won the whole game. Trumpi, I said, cd do the same thing in 2020. Besides, I added, who do the Dems have for 2020? No one. They replied that the Dems wd find someone from among young Democratic state governors. I did not pt out that (a) this was a long shot, grasping at straws, and (b) anyone running for the presidency needs huge amts of $, usually provided by Wall St. and corporations, and thus the successful candidate was bound to return the favor to these people once he took office.

They also felt America wd pull thru, because our legal system was strong. I can't remember if I said it generally worked for the rich, not for the rest.

It was a very civil conversation. I liked these folks. They were not morons, not rude or aggressive, but rather very intelligent, and willing to give and take. But in spite of all that, they were naïve. There is a tendency most Americans have to deal with history as though it were journalism, i.e. about daily events. Bks like my American Empire trilogy are not going to make sense to them because it wd appear to them like I'm coming from the moon. You really hafta understand WAF to understand how and why we wound up w/Trumpola, for example, and this requires an ontological shift--a shift in narrative, in fact. We are fed a certain narrative abt the US from abt age 2, and shifting to a radically different narrative requires not merely a keen intellect, but an ontological capacity that Americans simply don't have--even the ones who are bright, courteous, and smart. And then, of course, if you live in an affluent Maryland suburb, and hold down well-paying jobs, there's not a whole lot of incentive to undergo any drastic change in perception.
(continued below)

10:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I mention all this because folks like these are probably the best of the best of the 327 million, and if they don't get it, nobody will. Most Americans don't understand that FDR, for example, *saved* capitalism (something most historians agree upon) by introducing socialist elements that gave the system breathing rm and flexibility. They don't see American life as defined by hustling and competition and money and power because like water to a fish, it's so pervasive one doesn't really notice it. They certainly don't see that the 'alternatives' we are offered to the dominant culture are just more of the dominant culture. The brainwashing system in the US is remarkably powerful--"the greatest story ever sold"--and hence, not only is revolution out of the question, but so are even serious positive reforms. How many Americans, for example, realize that identity politics is merely a way of avoiding politics? 170? You get my pt.

Fallows is also smart and well-intentioned, but if you are ontologically blocked, as he is, you get bogged down in trees, and can't grasp the nature of the forest. And for such folks to confront the fact that our # is up--well, it's just too scary to contemplate.


10:35 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...


No I have not watched "Today's Special" , but will do it soon ...

Here is an interesting article on Tagore's views on East and West and nationalism ...


5:35 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

I read the Fallows article. It chimed with what some very intelligent people I met recently through family were saying along the same lines. One of the couple was an economist. I still, however, grasp where Morris is coming from because there is that 'wider arc' or lens, to mix a metaphor, of history. If the dominant, national future continually drags local restoration back into the swamp, then the swamp will eventually win. And that is a question of the 'real' values operating under the surface, a la Fernand Braudel. On the other hand, you never know: that battleship may turn in the bathtub!

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be a mandatory accessory for all Wafers this spring:

8:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Aircraft carrier, actually. Seems unlikely.


In future pls note that we have a 24-hr rule: no more than 1 post every 24 hrs. Thanks.


8:59 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

A phenomenon that shows not only how american life is the antithetical to what human beings truly need in their life, but also that there is always a way to make a dollar!


Most Latin American cultures are much more touchy and affectionate than average, but where I live we actually greet and part with a hug and kiss on the cheek among purely male friends; imagine that happening in an american frat house or at a tavern in any 'murican town. I honestly foresee a day when even handshakes are considered a physical affront in USA. Kindergarten classes largely forbid touching of classmates at this point. Just when you think the sub-humans can't get less human...

Also, re: Byzantium, I know so little about its history, anyone have a good book ref for a general treatment of this place and time?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@ Patrick D. Fitzgerald,

I grew up in an Italian-American family where hugging and kissing was considered normal even between male relatives. I think most Americans would look at us like freaks. I find the current crusade to keep people from touching each other to be very strange. It is a good example of how Americans take things to absurd extremes. Eventually I think all communication will have to be done through electronic devices so that nobody’s “personal space” is violated. And people wonder why so many Americans are miserable and cannot form friendships or other relationships.

As for books on the Byzantine Empire, I think George Ostrogorsky’s “History of the Byzantine State” is still the landmark book on the subject. Another good book is Dimitri Obolensky’s “The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500-1453” which discusses the relationship between the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox nations of Eastern Europe. I try to read books by scholars from the Orthodox nations because Western scholars often have a biased view of the Byzantine Empire.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks for yr input. Male hugging upon greeting among friends is the norm in Mexico; it's a very touchy society. It hardly means yr gay. With women, you hug, then kiss on cheek. There are numerous indicators that America is a sick society; the 'no-touch' rule is one of them.


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Teddy said...

You can watch the entire first episode of the PBS series on First Civilizations, which explores the co-evolution of warfare and complex societies


Looking forward to following along //// Wandering God Dept.?

12:00 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Trumpo will receive a Nobel Peace Prize for this. The progs and liberals will hafta be put in mental institutions over it, or they will just start spontaneously combusting:


Miles J. Trumpo

12:21 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Slow down, Diogenes. We don't print the "currency of a foreign monarch" in Canada. It's our currency (as much as any currency can be said to belong to anyone), but the Queen's image is on some of it. I like it. The Queen is our head of state, even though she holds no actual power. It isn't as if we're ruled by Whitehall, and it's preferable to being ruled by millionaires and their lawyers, which is the case in the USA.

We like to hold on to a few traditions, which is something I've found that some gringos can't get their heads around, what with all that "freedom" you gained after usurping the Crown.

As for touchy-feely cultures, I have had quite a few Filipino students recently, and have noticed how, for example, three guys can be looking at a computer together, and they'd be draped all over each other, holding each others' arms, etc. They (males and females) are really friendly, usually smiling, and seem like happy people in general.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I just got off a note to the head of the Nobel committee, urging them to establish a prize for haircuts. My vote wd be for Kim, but Americans of course will favor Trumpola (or Ted Koppel?).


1:09 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

"To them, the Romantic Hero was no longer the knight, the wandering poet, the cowpuncher, the aviator, nor the brave young district attorney, but the great sales manager, who had an Analysis of Merchandizing Problems on his glass-topped desk, whose title of nobility was 'Go-getter,' and who devoted himself and all his young samurai to the cosmic purpose of Selling - not of selling anything in particular, for or to anybody in particular, but pure Selling."

Sinclair Lewis in “BABBIT”

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...


It has been quite a week! Bill Cosby's conviction (punishment should be no more pudding!), Trump having a meltdown on Fox & Friends (to the point that even *they* had to cut him off), and the arrest of one of the most prolific serial rapists and killers in history (Golden State Killer). Let's start with the Golden State Killer, our declinist of the day:

He was married and a police officer in Cali during the 70's when he raped over 50 women. Then he got caught for shoplifting a hammer & dog repellent and was fired (the police were much stricter back then. Today, an officer can kill an unarmed citizen and still stay on the force!). After that incident, he ended up killing 12 people in the early-mid 80s. He was just caught this week, found to be your ordinary grandpa living a quiet, quintessentially suburban life. But my questions are: How did his wife not know? Did his neighbors really "know" him? Why is the U.S. filled with these psychopaths, yet you rarely hear about this elsewhere? His crimes were beyond brutal and it's amazing how much rage such a privileged and ordinary man can have. As MB and many of you have pointed out, the U.S. has no spiritual purpose. So it should be no surprise we end up creating monsters like this.

And in other news, our Declinist American City Award goes to --- Houston! The Houston city council has approved development in a flood plain. I guess Hurricane Harvey wasn't enough to resist the seduction of the almighty $$$$:

^^^ Gotta keep on hu$tling. Not even a hurricane can stop them!

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Zeek said...

Diana) Wow! That was intense reading. Capgras delusion and scab labor. Vulva vulva vulva!

Risto) I thought Finland had an established and healthy Universal Basic Income system.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Attended Ibsen's The Wild Duck last evening. Although Ibsen himself called it a tragic-comedy there was nothing in the play that warranted laughing like you were in a Las Vegas nightclub. Nevertheless, there were attendees who were laughing hysterically at lines that may have caused a slight smile, certainly not guffaws. The laughter, in fact, unnerved the actors who had some difficulty recalling their lines throughout the performance.
So one of Philly's finest, Bill Cosby, was brought down based on events that occured 30 years ago by women who knowingly and willingly went into the home of a married man. Sorry to say but it sounds like a lynching as I'm near certain Weinstein will never see a day in the pen.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, I think the point of identity politics is to: (1) keep everybody at each other's throat so they don't notice what’s really happening, (2) make censorship acceptable, even necessary, and (3) distract them so they remain ignorant of the dangers of technology, especially AI.

Zara, the bigger the organization, the less power the ordinary person has…just think how difficult it is to influence even local government. And there is an unofficial EU army although it’s not billed as such - it’s known as NATO.

al-Qa'bong, after reading your last post, perhaps you could answer some questions that have long puzzled me. Why do people think they need to have a sovereign (supreme ruler) even if it’s one that supposedly has no power (which I don’t think is exactly the truth)? What is it about her accident of birth/blood lines that make her so special? What is it that makes it okay for the royal family to be supported in part by British taxpayers, some with little money, even though the queen is a multi, multi millionaire if not a billionaire? BTW, the British royal family is actually of German descent (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). I’m hoping you could explain, beyond “tradition,” because many aspects of the whole institution strike me as being insane.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Nothing wrong w/visiting a married man per se; cd be friendship or just some sort of business mtg, after all. The women didn't expect to get drugged and raped, I'm guessing.


4:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: As for Weinstein: did I read that there was going to be a movie abt him? I wd love to see a play on Broadway called *Weinstein!*, along the lines of "Springtime for Hitler."

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The Stephen Foster statue in Pittsburgh has been removed-


PC run amok?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides. Meanwhile in the US, a survey reveals that 99% of congressmen have given a blow job to a Monsanto lobbyist in the past fortnight. In other news, US scientists are catching up to Dr Frankenstein.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The faster we destroy our history, the faster we'll decline. Cultural suicide is groovy only in a mentally ill society. BTW, Jefferson died with 150 slaves and didn't free them upon death. Time to bomb Monticello!


5:10 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

jj - thanks for the Babbit quote, Lewis was the first writer I encountered where I felt relief in knowing someone else thought like I do and I've fed on it ever since culminating in Waferdom, think he'd win a Nobel prize today?

I wonder if Hedges is getting high on all the teacher protests? Beyond asking for more money I see very little in a way of 'reforming' education. They are correct in fearing the future, their retirement program is grossly underfunded and they won't get social security (if it still exists). Another crash like 2008 will do them in and Devos craves exploiting the last real American resource it's children. Might just get replaced by 10$ an hour workers. Try getting avg joe to pay more taxes so they can continue to retire at age 55.

In the dumb Americans dept, I watched a news report on Napa valley peeps trying to rebuild after the fires. One couple's home was insured for 750,000 on a value of 730 but what they weren't told is it cost an extra 200,000 to rebuild. They said there were thousands in same position. Their advice? Make sure you buy additional insurance to cover the gap. Instead of getting angry and asking themselves why they allow this exploitation they can only think to buy insurance to cover their insurance which no doubt will find another loophole. This is really evil in the health insurance market.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Tom, Patrick,

Julius Norwich's 3 volume "History of Byzantium" is exceptionally good. Norwich is an impressively elegant stylist, and the books read like blood-drenched Game of Thrones novels. My favorite history books by far. There is an abridged version, but skip that if you have the time and read the whole thing! You won't regret it.

I would also recommend the "History of Byzantium Podcast", which is around 160 half hour episodes. The guy does a very above average job, and he knows his subject well. Speaking of which, Mike Duncan's "History of Rome" podcast on YouTube (of which the Byzantine podcast is a continuation) is also quite good--it might be the best of them all in fact. But for declinists, I think that the two Romes are fascinating case studies, and Norwich and the two podcasts certainly go into great depth as to how it all unwound.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's the sheer goodness of Americans that I love:


2:56 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Re: Pure Selling / Babbitt


The march of the omnibots has started, and your company needs one… You’ll find yourself in strange meetings, discussing strange topics. “Eyes? Should it have eyes? What do eyes mean on a brand level?”…

When you start an omnibot project, your brand evolves from logo to being… Amazingly there’s already a fascinating history of salesmen crafting fake beings to flog inventory. Behold these uncanny automata, created to push watches on the kings of Europe…

Creating an omnibot is not just about tech. It is about creating an illusory person that customers will want to have in their lives… In this digitally crowded scene, charm will be paramount… In part two of this series, I’ll outline some of the identity, design, and tech decisions you’ll need to think about when creating an omnibot.

Not really feeling like peeing so much as projectile vomiting.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You-can't-make-that-stuff-up/Progs-on-steroids department:

Had a look at Amazon's best-selling books the other day. Check out who's #4:


6:20 AM  
Anonymous Dokaebi said...

Admittedly, any analysis of events on the Korean peninsula is fraught. Yet, I wonder as to your take on the recent NK-SK rapprochemont? Are Moon and Kim making a legitimate power play, or is this yet the latest case of a wayward client state soon to be chastened for daring to exert its own political-historical will? How does the American Twilight factor into the daring success (or lack thereof) of small and plucky nations?

8:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Too soon to tell, really. All I can say for sure rt now is that Kim's haircut has gotta go.


9:19 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


I don't see the monarchy as a 'tradition'. Technically speaking, it still governs the UK. So long as things are business as usual it can seem ceremonial, but what if parliament wanted to phase out the monarchy, or do something radical the queen wouldn't sanction? It's a crisis waiting to happen.

As far as Canada, I understand it's Canadian currency, but as much as I appreciate Canada, the imagery gives the country a rather colonial feel. There are so many great Canadians you could choose as a national symbol! Put Donald Hebb, the father of neuropsychology, on the money. Or Fredrick Banting, the man who discovered artificial insulin, without which I would not be alive. Or Wayne Gretzky. Just not some heir of sociopaths who visited the country to check in on her property a few times in her lifetime.

This is a uniquiely Anglo thing, btw. No love for Spanish royalty in Latin America, and very little royalty in general left on the Continent.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Re: Poor don't have a prayer in Washington.
Spiritual death of our society. Our sense of community has absolutely collapsed. Why even have a House Chaplain? Appoint a Gordon Gekko look-alike to the role and have him read some quotes of Ayn Rand on the House floor. Care and concern of the poor and sick have no place in modern America: it's a drag on economic growth. Also, its heartwarming to see Anti-Catholicism start to make a comeback. Trumpi & Co is bringing back all of this country's great traditions. Maybe Trumpi will proudly run as The Know Nothing Party candidate in 2020 He'll win in a landslide as most Americans know nothing.

George- No question you made the right decision to move back to India esp. if you have children. I spent 8 years on Wall Street in NYC. My main takeaway is that the these people were absolutely miserable yet had all of their identity and pride in how much money they made. Outside work, the lifestyle is competitive and keeping up with the Jones. The 'Big Lie' of the American Dream is that money buys happiness. In truth, even the 1% are miserable here. As a friend of mine once put it: even the Jones hate keeping up with the Jones.Also, Indian food in fantastic.


12:17 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...


Look at this non-sense couple and their "theyby".


These people do not deserve to have children. This is nothing more than narcissism and attention seeking. I think people are too narrow when they think America is just the batshit crazies. The Europeans are going to get in on all the fun. America is just going to lead the way for the rest of the westerners to throw themselves off the cliff.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The 'good life' that most Americans aspire to: "All the Money in the World" (film)

4:23 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Having a monarchy isn't an anglo thing; the Dutch and Scandinavians have royal families (maybe Belgium, too, but I don't know forsure) and they don't seem to mind.

We have had constitutional crises like that which you describe, the "King-Byng affair" in the 1920s being the most notable. We worked it out by muddling through, just like we always do (that's the part that republicans, with their slavish devotion to written documents, can't figure out).

Speaking of slavish, how about you get rid of all the psychopathic slave owners on your currency before telling people in other countries who to have on theirs.

More to come in 24 hours...

Ta ra!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Shit, man, we even celebrate Andrew Jackson! Can you imagine?


6:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check this out:



7:54 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

This extremely annoying kid, Ben Shapiro, is one of the biggest DOUCHEBAGS to achieve fame and followers on the American scene.

I don’t think Trump is the actual DEMAGOGUE that the Far Right Wing Nut Conservatives have been pining for....nor Jordan Peterson....I think it’s Shapiro, and he is a VERY DANGEROUS LITTLE PRICK!



9:02 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

When are we going to implement yellow badges and armbands to identify the cockroaches? What's taking Trump so long to take the 'gloves off' on Make America White Again? https://youtu.be/dXkrVCmZikY?t=92

Imagine the headlines if a muslim would have travelled to New York and murdered a white man with a sword?
“He told the cops, ‘I’ve hated black men since I was a kid. I’ve had these feelings since I was a young person. I hate black men.'" James Harris Jackson, 28, a decorated army veteran served in military intelligence including a deployment to Afghanistan. During his service, the Army said, he received several awards. “I really butchered him,” Jackson boasted in a series of statements after his arrest in the tragic Hell’s Kitchen knifing of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. Jackson chatted with the police, asking about the press interest in his case and about the route they took in transporting him. “Can I get one of those (mints)?” he asked the detective. Tweety Trump made no comments, obviously. Jackson had plans to apply for police job. To 'take care' of cockroaches I suppose.

We are to believe that this fine all-Amerikn Brownshirt treated the Afghan folks with dignity and respect?

9:23 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Morris, thanks for the revealing, and also saddening, vignette. Evidence like it is what finally pushed me away from the notion that America is going to save itself. If even the "smart" people can't grasp the big picture, what does that say about the rest? As for Fallows, I do think he is an intelligent person capable of understanding historical processes and forces. But he can't get away from the desire to look for a silver-lining, to see the inherent "goodness" of America.

Many years ago I read a book by the historian Rick Shenkman. The title was "Just How Stupid are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter" . I could sum it up but the title pretty much says it all. Check out this Interview.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


While I have been excited by the many changes Trumpi has implemented, and by the crack team of fine advisers and appointees he has gathered around him, I share yr feelings that he has not gone far enuf. Two yrs into his admin, and Jews and Muslims are still allowed to walk freely down the street, not to mention black people and Hispanics. WTF? Where are the yellow badges, the detention camps in Idaho? I mean, everybody understood that the real meaning of his campaign slogan was Make America White Again. So nu? Trumpi, let's get on it already!


11:06 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Zar--I'll concede that my comment about the EU was a bit over the top. I just get very tired of liberal condescension on the Brexit vote, which is similar to that shown towards Trump voters in America, and the refusal to even consider that there were legitimate reasons why someone might vote Leave or not vote for ol' Botoxface.

Francois--I have to admit that I've been out of the dating scene so long that my advice would be useless. I was lucky enough to meet my wife the same year I first connected to the Internet. Our marriage isn't perfect by any means, but at least we are there for each other in times of need.

MB--reflecting on FDR, it's telling that even the Democrats now act as if they've never heard of him. I'm surprised there aren't protesters down on the mall in DC demanding that his memorial be removed because of the Japanese internment or the turning away of Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. FDR is a perfect example of how foolish it is to judge any great person or leader based upon one or two bad things they may have done at a time when social norms were very different. As an aside--my own life mirrors that of the couple you met pretty closely, yet somehow I managed to pull my fucking head out of my rectum.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I was thinking the other day about the ironic possibilities of Trump actually making a denuclearization deal with North Korea. If nothing else, it amuses me how fickle the various commentators are by already talking about Trump's "statesmanship", and how he should get the Nobel Peace Prize for this! Because so far, it's just atmospherics, and North Korea has conceded nothing of significance. But there is at least a small possibility that this is the one case where Trump's douchery (i.e., his apparent eagerness to start a war that could kill tens of millions, etc) might actually lead to a deal that is good for the world and the future of humanity. I am betting against this, but it is possible.

But if that did happen, statesmanship would have nothing to do with it. It would be because in this one weird instance, Trump's amoral qualities just happened to be the thing needed. I don't think this is going to happen, and I sense that Kim is just playing for time, but it would just be too funny if they gave the Nobel Prize to this repugnant sociopath, simply because he Forrest Gumped his way to a nuclear thaw! Nevertheless, Americans would eat that up, and it would all but guarantee his re-election. And, ironically, since 8 years of Trump would finish us off for good, this great thing for the world and the survival of the species, could end up being yet another one of America's "Suez moments".

2:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, interesting question. Personally, I hope Trumpi succeeds in this whole denuclearization endeavor, and that he does receive the Nobel. It wd be a terrific slap in the face for the NYT, WashPost, and the whole liberal establishment, and boy, do they need slapping. It wd also be a tribute to making the world safer, as well as a kudo to someone who actually did something real, unlike Ovama, who got a Nobel for being a poseur, and then gave an obnoxious acceptance speech.

Also, as you pt out, it wd ensure 8 yrs of Trumpola, which is what we need, from a declinist pt of view. The liberal establishment is so goddamn stupid: they cannot grasp that the man is a world historical figure (Hegel), and that his 'job' is to bring the American era/empire to a close. So they vilify every destructive move he makes, when they shd be cheering him on.

Of course, shifting out of the mainstream narrative is practically a Herculean feat. I talk about this possibility on an individual level in SSIG; such conversion requires something on the order of an act of god. Imagine, then, what it wd take for it to happen on a collective level. Imagine a world in which there were 327 million Wafers, and 170 morons--the dream of St. Francis, in a way. Imagine Americans rdg WAF and then saying, "Shit, I had it all upside down! The whole paradigm was malignant from the get-go." Imagine a nation recognizing that Jimmy was a visionary and Ron a total doofus. These shifts are sometimes referred to as 'Gestalt switches', often illustrated by the famous diagram of cup/two faces. What are the chances? Faced with serious criticism of the country, Americans typically go into a red-faced rage.


2:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gd essay on history of Judaism by Adam Kirsch in the March 26 issue of the New Yorker.

3:31 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

BrotherMaynard - Agree with you, Wall Street is addicted to money. I joined in my twenties thinking that money can make you happy. Even though money is important in life, I met millionaires who were absolutely miserable, could not spend a minute with them. But to survive on Wall Street and maybe most of US you have to become greedy and sociopath, otherwise most people consider you to be stupid. Money is such a powerful addiction that I almost got caught up in it. Surrounded by such people you will start questioning if you were bought up with the right ideals, were your parents stupid to teach you morality, ethics, honesty etc. Realised that there is a price to pay to earn money and you have to give up all the good you have been taught.

For those interested in Wall Street and the Lehman trading floor madness, read Jared Dillian's "Street Freak".. a very good insider story..

Moving back to India was not easy. Indians and maybe other immigrants are hopeful about US. Only a few decide to move back that too after getting citizenship hoping that in future US will start practicing the lofty ideals it preaches and they can move back. Here is an Indian immigrant's account of the confusion and why the family eventually decided to move back.


7:28 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


The Jesuit saying prayers before Congress cleverly called attention to the hypocrites present by saying prayers calling attention to the poor and those left behind.


11:44 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Trump's amoral qualities just happened to be the thing needed.

Megan, I have to disagree with you here. Trump's morality, as a matter of fact, is huge (as he would say) compared to Obama's or Hillary's. He does say, even if only by accident, the truth occasionally. I suspect he even manages to convince himself of the garbage he spouts quite often, having so very few fixed convictions. By contrast, every single word that Obama or Hillary ever uttered were conscious, deliberate, prepared lies.

In case it needs saying, groping women is, by far, not at the same ethical level as destroying a country like Libya for no reason, killing thousands and thousands of people, causing slave markets to reappear and laughing about it.

Having said that, personally, I believe that the changes in North Korea have more to do with the limitations of the US military and with China than with Trump, but who knows.

P.S. It's amazing that these days you have to turn to Fox News and Tucker Carlson to hear some truth.

12:06 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...


Do you have any thoughts on The Promise by Peter Kosminsky? The story is clearly told with a British audience in mind. Perhaps in an attempt to placate this audience, it omits the Balfour Declaration and fails to mention British Christian Zionism. Also, half of the program takes place in 2005, and United States involvement is never mentioned either. That said, it is a historical fiction TV show and not the prose of Noam Chomsky. At any rate, here is a link to an article about a controversy surrounding the series in Australia.

Currently, it’s somewhat hard to watch legally what with region coded discs and limited streaming options inside the United States. However, all four parts (each about an hour and a half long) are available on youtube for now: One, Two, Three, and Four.

The protagonist is conspicuously named Erin for obvious reasons, but perhaps her name is also meant to invoke the San Patricios.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Carter said...

Has anyone picked up our Nomi Prins's new book? Just saw she has a follow up to "All The Presidents Bankers"

6:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I haven't read it yet, but have been corresponding w/her abt it. She has a pretty dense lecture schedule lined up, starting tomorrow and going into June. She is a very dedicated writer; I'd recommend anything she's written.


7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good one in The Guardian:


7:24 PM  
Anonymous (Not) St. Patrick said...

The scent of London? "Living diesel". This is a brilliant piece of work.


7:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sad movie abt post-Iraqi war vets, and how the gov't treats them:

"Thank you for your service"

7:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Much more inspiring: "Hostiles". Gd flick.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Says it all dept.:


11:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Excellent summary of American mental illness:


11:04 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...


Well, the first thing I'd say is that you have to give Trump more time. He's only been in office for a little over a year, and I suspect that he'll work a lot more mischief before he's finished. That said, I'm not sure what to say about Trump's moral character in relation to Obama's or Hillary's. I don't think that Obama is a sociopath, though Hillary might at least fall on the spectrum. In any case, I can't be objective about it, because I feel such an intense and visceral loathing for Trump--for his utter lack of empathy or kindness, his deceitfulness, his slobbering vulgarity and loud-mouthed philistinism, etc. In any case, I prefer my amoral people to at least dress it up with a bit of civility and decorum. Whatever their failings, Obama and Hillary were at least capable of this. Whereas every time Trump opens his mouth, I feel like I'm in the presence of a lecherous and demented Toad King from some kind of perverse fairy tale! (And this is the guy who 4 in 10 Americans think is doing a great job!--good grief.)

For that matter, even if you put Trump alongside a thoroughly evil psychopath like Stalin, I would still prefer to hang out with Stalin, because at least he knew how to comport himself with some dignity, and wasn't always ranting and bloviating about himself! And at least Stalin--like Obama and Hillary--was well-read and had some curiosity about the world, so you would probably have something to talk about!

3:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it (half-page rule).


From a declinist pt of view, a demented Toad King is exactly what this country needs. Note, however, that Stalin murdered millions, something that the Toad King cannot be accused of.


4:15 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Loneliness may be a bigger public health threat than smoking or obesity


@Dr. Berman,

Good find. You should send that article to Chris Hedges and other lefties who are always blathering on about the need for revolution. I will become the king of England before a socialist revolution happens in America. Also, it looks like the endgame of American feminism is the right for American women to be materialistic douchebags just like American men. This seems to be the goal of most of the modern so-called “social justice” movements.

Most of the focus is on making women and non-whites better hustlers. The focus is on getting rich and not broad prosperity for everyone like under traditional labor liberalism. Thomas Frank pointed this out when he noticed that the faces of Hillary Clinton-style feminism were female CEOs and not female workers.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Edward Yong said...

We Need a Revolution: It Starts with Falling in Love with the Earth

New Essay By Thich Nhat Hanh 


Start the wk on the right foot

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...


My guess we've eaten them alive

8:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But even if the goal were true socialism, so what? Yes, a fairer redistribution of wealth wd be a lot better, of course, but it would still be the same game of endless technological and economic growth, the same screwed up, spiritually empty set of values. MLK supposedly said to Harry Belafonte shortly before he was killed, "Sometimes I feel like I'm herding people into a burning church." In other words, the socialist goal, or the goal of economic equality, is that everyone (black people included) get an equal share of the pie. But what if the pie is rotten? Who wants an equal share of a rotten pie? MLK began to realize toward the end that his movement needed to be more than just a fair deal for black people, but a radically different deal for everyone. Hence his support for the (multicolored) striking garbage workers, his opposition to the VN war, and his understanding that foreign and domestic policy were interconnected. "Freedom for Negroes" was no threat to the establishment; in fact, RFK had the Navy Signal Corps make sure that all the mikes were working for the "I have a dream" speech (you can't get more establishment than that). But MLK went way beyond color issues, by the end, and this was definitely a threat. I don't know who killed him, but if this were an inside job (as I believe Coretta King has maintained), I wdn't be shocked.


9:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Jeff-


Clearly, we need to go further in our exploration of Blog Improv.


10:17 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


I can appreciate your point about an organic state vs. the literalism of constitutionalism. But whatever the general wisdom here, it's also a failed model of an earlier failed empire. What remains of this empire is not a harmonious polity with no need of written law, but a collection of disoriented, displaced people forced into the English language. Not exactly Burkean community.

Second, the UK is unique in continuing to project its monarchy across this defunct empire as some kind of tourist attraction and cultural binding point. Not so in the non-imperial countries, where it is a kind of local tradition. Supposedly independent Americans love it, and will obsess over the royal wedding.

Good discussion of these issues (from a Brit source). Americans were late to turn on King George, and mainly blamed parliament, making excuses for the crown.


The royal system is inhumane- for the royals


12:23 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Good article by Dmitry Orlov on Russia possibly beating US hegemony by advances in missile technology essentially negating the US Naval Fleet. Might not result in a "Suez Moment" but could if the US decides to challenge the Russians in Syria by employing the US Fleet to act as an active aggressor, say, in the eastern Mediterranean.


1:07 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

George - thanks for the interesting Wharton article. The only real USA value is hustling. All else is window dressing.
As far as assimilation goes, NYC, SF, and LA are a small slice of the USA. The 'real' America is something else:

Indeed, MLK was assassinated only when he started questioning the hustling/capitalistic culture of the USA. I have noticed that folks who promote peace and justice in this country tend to get regularly assassinated (always by a lone gunman acting alone) or die in a freak plane crash: Huey Long, JFK, RFK, MLK, Walter Reuther, Harvey Milk, John Lennon, Paul Wellstone. I'm sure there are others.

Almost makes you think there is some kind of conspiracy or something...

Brother Maynard

1:48 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Why would they even WANT to contact the outside world? Sounds to me like they’re perfectly SANE.


2:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it (half page rule). Pls compress.


2:57 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Woman smashes window when she finds out Popeyes meal doesn't come with drink


3:33 PM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Brother Maynard, I have my own explanation for all the assassinations you mention: the US suffers from an obvious case of mass demonic possession.

When the pilgrims arrived in the Mayflower, Satan was waiting for them. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” They accepted the offer and started killing the natives for fun and profit. The rest is history, as they say. Since then, anyone preaching peace and love has to be disposed of as a foreign body.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Someone once said that if instead of the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, the Rock wd have landed on *them*, we wd be much better off today.


Hard to blame her, really. Shaneka, move over! There's a new outlaw in town.


4:33 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good (short) one from Umair today. Of course he ranges toward that "let's come together and fix things" but his critical points are right on:


"When a nation’s discourse has degenerated to the point of zero substance, all there is left to talk about is manners, etiquette, gossip, and scandal. And that is where American discourse is today. Obsessed with taste, aesthetics, manners — over issues, problems, and challenges, let alone how to solve, approach, or fix them."

4:37 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Saturday night, 28 April, the White House Correspondents Association held its annual dinner at the Washington Hilton. As he did in 2017, the president declined to attend; this year, he addressed supporters at a rally in Washington, Michigan.

Journalist Masha Gessen wrote the following essay on the dinner, in which she defends the performance of comedian Michelle Wolf and notes “the fiction that holds that journalists and their subjects can eat and socialize together and yet maintain the distance necessary to continue performing their professional roles.”


Though it’s difficult to avoid seeing at least some of the proceedings—the networks typically offer viewers excerpts from the event the day after—I can clearly remember the 2004 dinner when George Bush feigned looking all around the podium in a hunt for weapons of mass destruction but coming up empty. It actually got laughs.

Everything’s a big joke, to leaders and led alike.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you scroll back you will find the following essay by Jessica Knoll:


I then ask you to contemplate the following quote from D.H. Lawrence: "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted."

Finally, I ask you to estimate the odds that Jessica Knoll will awake one morning, look in the mirror, and declare: "My god, I am an utterly awful human being. I'm little more than a piece of dreck. My values are sick; I'm just a walking vial of poison."


6:31 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Take me out to the (american) ball game:

Two people were shot during an event at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis, Monday.
One of the victims was shot in the head and unresponsive, and the other was shot in the thigh.

Both were taken to the hospital. One died, the other in critical condition. The shooter escaped from police, and is still on the loose.

Buy me some (corn syrup) peanuts and cracker Jack.....

8:20 PM  
Blogger Crow T Robot said...

Read the Jessica Knoll piece during lunch today. I was floored. And 99 percent of the people who read this will say "right on" and "good for her."

This country is full of broken people.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Who haven't the least idea that they are broken. I mean, not even a smidgen of light.


10:50 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I just read the piece and was disheartened that comments were closed. I would have said that in the entire piece was not the word love, feeling, compassion, emotion. And horrors or horrors women are "caretakers"! Maybe it's me but aren't some women mothers, raising children to be responsible caring (Oh, there's that word again) grownups? Needless to say, the comments were equally nauseating. Rich, in this country? Just be glad you have a half-way decent job.
A friend in Thailand told me that the South Korean president stepped into North Korean territory after Kim stepped into the South. This was not covered here. Also, in congressional testimony Mike Pompeo said the US has killed hundreds of Russians in Syria. This also was not covered in, at least, TV media. And of course, there's been a near news blackout concerning the Gazan protests. Sometimes I actually prefer no coverage rather than lies. For instance the AP said Gazans were protesting for their "right of return" with quotation marks. It's an international agreement of which Israel is a signator. People have a right to return to their homes after a war. By the way, my facebook friends have been reduced to sending me posters in response to my written critiques. I suppose when you've exhausted name calling the next best thing a moron can do is post posters.
Thanks for "The Promise" links. I'll watch it shortly and get back to you. I'm presently reading "Expulsion of the Palestinians" by Nur Masalha. Talk about mono-mania. In the 1880's when there were very few Jews in Palestine, Zionists where already making plans for their eventual expulsion. Lesson to be learned-listen to intellectuals. By the early 1900's Arab thinkers were saying that Jews were intent on destroying the Palestinians way of life. Unfortunately, few were listening at the time.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...


I would qualify the excerpt you quoted from Umair's essay a little bit and say, if ONLY there were a general discourse about taste, aesthetics and manners! I'm not sure what he is referring to there, but I have to admit that I don't see this conversation going on anywhere in our culture. On the contrary, I fear we have degenerated to the point where even the sense of these things has been lost.

Of course, for an otherwise healthy society to become unduly preoccupied with such concerns, would probably indicate the beginning of decline. But we are at the point where they no longer even register! This is why, for example, most of our entertainments (Reality TV, Stand-up Comedy, the inhuman American porn industry, etc), are permeated with the most abject tastelessness, cruelty, and anti-human values imaginable. And nobody even notices! It is also why, say, significant numbers of American men are now buying silicon sex dolls (yes, this is actually the case!) instead of dealing with us women, and think this is a rational course of action. Or why Trump could stand up in the presidential debate to rage and splutter out the most grotesque inanities, and the country cheered him on! Etc. Etc.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Kachiri said...


Absolutely unbelievable. After the death of a hundred million, and the cold war, this still constitutes a viable opinion...

6:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Perhaps not so unbelievable. You might consider the possibility that you have blinders on. The Communist Manifesto, for example, reads like it cd have been written yesterday; and even an anti-Communist like Isaiah Berlin cd write an excellent, and very sympathetic, biography of Marx. Marx was, I grant you, quite poor when it came to prognosis, but quite brilliant and contemporary as far as diagnosis went (goes). As for the Cold War, many historians regard it as more due to US aggression than Russian. In a word, your thinking is simplistic--classic American reflex. Have you ever actually read Marx?


9:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: While I'm not in Marx's league when it comes to political analysis, you might check out DAA pp. 113-131 for a more nuanced portrait of the Cold War than the one promoted by the US gov't (which almost all Americans accept uncritically).

10:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A Wafer's wet dream:


Go, Trumpi!


10:10 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Megan: I agree that Umair maybe didn't clarify what he meant in that post. I read it as saying something MB says here all the time, that most American's can only see the surface of things rather than any kind of nuance.

Another quote from that essay:

"In the absence of discussing a society’s real, genuine, urgent, pressing issues, challenges, and problems — in that vacuum, the only thing that grows is superficiality. Gloss. Shallowness. Who said what about who, and how they said it."

And you do bring up an important point about American men too. I've been reading about all the weird online things the Toronto van killer was into, "Incel" and Bettys and Chads. Its the first time I've heard of that scene, really f'ed up stuff!


10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Altho OWS never came up with a policy statement along the lines of SDS' Port Huron Statement of 1962, at least they focused on the 1%-99% distinction, by which the latter act as a service industry for the superrich elite. "Pressing issues," imo, are ones that go to the root of the American dysfunction: issues of class and power, issues of the nature of a hustling ideology, issues of misplaced values, and so on. Christopher Lasch wrote that since, in the 60s, we learned that we cd do nothing to change the things that matter, in the 70s we shifted our focus to the things that don't matter. Political correctness (including identity politics and gender relations) is a gd example of this, but there are many others: Kim K's buttocks, Stormy Daniels, Trump as a boor, the Russians, and so on. All of this is froth, but inasmuch as the American people are not very bright, and enjoy froth, this is the 'copy' that sells, so to speak. As a result, it's quite easy for the MSM and the gov't to keep people's minds off of the root sources of our malaise--and our collapse. In the 60s, many Americans were able to think in terms of structure, class relations, and long-term history. For a variety of reasons, that capacity has largely vanished; a development that is an impt component of our decline. I doubt we shall ever retrieve that capacity, but if so, it will be very long in coming. Let's all get excited abt Robert Mueller, or the election of 2020; *that's* what really counts, rt?


11:21 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Was Jessica Knoll trolling for a husband with that editorial? It seemed almost like an advertisement for some masochistic male to take a big step forward and propose. Surely a lifetime of harmony, understanding, and mutual aid awaits that lucky man.

In all seriousness, she basically wants to become Trumpi. The pussy hats have come full circle.

Also, since I've been ragging on the UK, I'll point out a particularly American pathology - selling one's own abuse as some kind of commercial product (her novels are thinnly veiled recreations of her own abuse). No other people in the world would tolerate this kind of exhibitionism, neither as therapy nor as a business.

1:02 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The state of American Intelligence...


2:21 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER DioGenes-- "particularly American pathology - selling one's own abuse as some kind of commercial product (her novels are thinnly veiled recreations of her own abuse). No other people in the world would tolerate this kind of exhibitionism, neither as therapy nor as a business."

Great point--many professional "speakers," promoters, careerists have used their personal stories of 'woe'/abuse/whatever into lucrative commercial hustling opportunities to sell bks, movies, etc...

Knoll cannot seem to go 2min w/o discussing her abuse as if she's contemplating yet another product.

98.7% of americans were mentally deranged.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a douche bag dept.:



4:57 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

" What remains of this empire is not a harmonious polity with no need of written law, but a collection of disoriented, displaced people forced into the English language." As the Brits (not us) would say, "Bollocks." Disoriented? Displaced? By the way, are you including the 13 Colonies in that description?

In any case, a few years ago a local theatre company put on a production of HMS Pinafore. Part of the performance was an actor playing Queen Victoria, who mingled among the patrons in the lobby before the show, then appeared on a balcony once we were all seated. We were informed that the operetta wouldn't begin until we sang "God Save the Queen" to our "monarch." We sang, and it was a hoot. As a kid in Dover Elementary School in Regina (you know, the "Queen City"), I sang that every Friday during assembly, so I knew the words.

None of us took the lines "Send her victorious/Happy and glorious/Long to reign over us" seriously, in case you're wondering. On the other hand, I wonder if you lot actually believe that gag about "Land of the free, home of the brave?"

5:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Touche; all gd pts. But what abt "Land of Hope and Glory"? (US high schl graduation song, BTW)

ps: Not "Happy and glorious," but " 'appy and glorious".


5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: I actually know a lot of those songs thru my maternal grandfather. He snuck out of Tsarist Russia ca. 1896, lived in London (East End, poor as a church mouse) for 5 yrs. Was present on the Mall when Victoria rode out for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. I can't believe I'm connected to all of that, going back more than a century. Gives me the shivers, sometimes.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of Marx, this bk looks like a hoot:


6:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This guy is one of my heroes. He called Bush Jr. a 'dog', threw his shoe at him. I would have preferred 'piece of garbage', and a bag of urine instead of a shoe, but at least he's now running for parliament in Iraq. Go, al-Zaidi!


7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Possible Waferbook:


8:19 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

CCCP was never a socialist country. In fact Marx's social-society has never been practiced in any nation state (except in lite abbreviated format in small countries with Scandinavia like mindset).

​"​When the world’s two great propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, it requires some intellectual effort to escape its shackles. One such doctrine is that the society created by Lenin and Trotsky and moulded further by Stalin and his successors has some relation to socialism in some meaningful or historically accurate sense of this concept. In fact, if there is a relation, it is the relation of contradiction.​"​

9:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Check it out: Is the U.S. Government Evil? You Decide. Of course, after going into extensive detail showing exactly how the USG is evil the author then pulls the usual liberal cop out: "How do you vanquish evil? You don’t fight it by hiding your head in the sand. Stop being apathetic. Stop being neutral. Stop being accomplices. Start recognizing evil and injustice and tyranny for what they are. Demand government transparency. Vote with your feet (i.e., engage in activism, not just politics). Refuse to play politics with your principles. Don’t settle for the lesser of two evils." Just how many people does this idiot think will read this drivel all the way to end who are not already converted?

Colorado Senate Republicans introduce legislation to fire, imprison striking teachers. Which means, of course, that a majority of their constituents favor imprisoning teachers for being so uppity as to insist on a living wage.

Why are restaurants louder than ever? The final bullet point is the most accurate: "Americans are loud."--Anyone who has spent time in other countries knows this to be true.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't know if this question has ever been resolved, but was the USSR oppressive and tyrannical because of Communism, or something else? After all, Russia has been autocratic since the Kievan Rus (9C), and that pattern never changed. It might be argued that the Soviet Union was more similar to its Tsarist predecessor than different; and that the Putin State is similar in its autocracy to the Soviet Union. It's possible that something similar might be argued abt China, which is capitalist-authoritarian. A nation certainly doesn't have to be communist to be authoritarian, it seems to me; and none of these states, as you pt out, wd have been admired by Marx.


9:58 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

For those who might want to learn more about either Karl Marx or socialism, could I suggest checking out any of the many YouTube videos featuring Richard Wolff. Here’s a link to his Wikipedia entry to give you some background on him.

It would be hard to imagine a more interesting speaker on these topics.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The NYRB, April 19 issue, has a review of a bk by Steve Coll called "Directorate S," abt America's secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reviewer is Thos Powers. The review ends as follows:

"Forty-plus years after our final failure in Vietnam, the United States is again fighting an endless war in a faraway place against a culture and a people we don't understand for political reasons that make sense in Washington, but nowhere else... The war isn't over or even nearly over. But by this time [i.e., end of bk] the reader can see what lies ahead--an endless sliding sideways at some annual cost in money and lives that the American public will tolerate, because we don't know how to win and we don't know how to stop."

Our epitaph, really.


10:52 PM  
Blogger Allyn F said...

Jessica Knoll thinks mentioning she was raped at 15 before declaring “I want power, I want money” will help her not sound like a psychopath. Then she advertises her SJW credentials with gender-is-a-social-construct inanity. “This trickles down to the way we socialize kids — girls are expected to be caretakers, boys the ones who will deliver a return. If you want to create your own wealth, the confidence to take calculated risks is a necessary skill. Placing the needs of others above your own is not.” Yes, it’s a bad thing to “teach” our daughters to be caretakers, who needs nurturing people anyway? That’s for the immigrant nannies I guess. Progressives’ true agenda is laid bare here. Why did the NYT even print this? I almost hurled on my keyboard.
Thanks to whoever recommended Postcards from the End of America by Linh Dinh. I recommend Robert Wright’s “Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.”

11:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Two tragedies here:
1. 99.8% of the American public already have this mindset, and if they read the article, will applaud her.
2. She's absolutely grotesque, and will never, ever realize it. On her deathbed, she'll be proud of being an awful human being.


Let me 2nd that. 'Rick' is sharp as a tack.

Science-oriented Wafers-

Check out the rather astounding essay by David Albert on quantum mechanics in April 19 issue of the NYRB.


11:58 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Re: Marx
The old joke was that everything the USA and USSR said about each others systems being rotten and corrupt were true.

Probably correct.


12:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you read George Kennan's famous "long telegram" (1947), about the rigidity and paranoia of the USSR, in hindsight it's ironic that he cd have been describing the US as well. (I think that this was already pointed out some time ago, but I can't remember by whom; possibly by Kennan himself.)


12:41 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

James, really sorry for the rant, but you touched on a pet peeve of mine. Why not read the author directly instead of books written about him by people that, all too often, think they are more intelligent than him and can resist the temptation of pointing out his "mistakes"? The Communist Manifesto is actually not long at all. But if you're really interested, you shouldn't mind the eight hundred pages of Das Kapital. I take it you're interested in Marxism itself, not the history of the Soviet Union, for example.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not sure what rant u.r. referring to. It's possible you posted something that got deleted by a computer glitch, I dunno.


6:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of Kim's buttocks:


One thing this country has is a surfeit of cutting-edge intellects.


7:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Another example of same:


7:21 AM  
Anonymous Prasenjit Sen said...


Unfortunately, NYRB requires a subscription which I do not have. Any way one can access the article by Albert on QM?


8:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only if yr willing to spring for $4.99. This gives you 1 wk unltd access to all articles in the journal. It may be worth it...a companion essay to this is by Jim Holt, 10 Nov 2016, "Something Faster Than Light?"


8:57 AM  
Anonymous Lee Toole said...

@NYRB Quantum’s Leaping Lizards David Z Albert APRIL 19, 2018 ISSUE

This is behind a paywall for me. Does anyone have a link or text from it?

My old physics teacher was talking about the reviewed book, "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" when i met him for some tea. It sounds fascinating.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Loneliness is widespread in America and young Americans are lonelier than older Americans.


Surge in deaths among the homeless in America.


9:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


See my reply to Pras.


9:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Morris I have been reading your blogs I can't never post-I work so many hours a week just to pay off my student debt. I live a studio and I have a huge house in Cuernavaca isn's that ironic? I am a wafer I say everything since the first day I moved to the USA. Yet I have kids who live with their mom and that's the reason I am staying. I work in the healthcare field and oh boy. anyways I will post more (productive) but I do read most of it Morris you have made me see really the end outside Plato's cave. Let me tell you apparently I have a high paying job and everything here is fake. all is fake. I cant to go back to cuernavaca and swim in las estacas once again. However, let me tell you if you ever need a place in Mexico you got one. No rent your knowledge is majestic. Who knows? we might sit down some day along with other wafer in my land seeing the all of this collapse while having good food and a few cervezas. Salomon tenia razon "Vanidad de vanidades todo es vanidad."
contact me if you ever need something down there ok. I live in Chicago but got my house getting ready in Morelos.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hola Edras-

Ay, Muchacho! What a story. 1st, I should tell you that as I live in Mexico, I don't need a place in Mexico. But nice of you to offer. 2nd, always capitalize Wafer--always. Even if you say Waferino, it's with a capital W. Anyway, I hope things work out for you, and that eventually you can escape Chicago. Suerte, chico.


Some time ago we were discussing Chomsky on language, and I said I never believed his 'innate grammar' theory. Someone asked me for refs, and I remember mentioning an anthropologist who had lived w/a tribe in the Amazon, whose language didn't fit Chomsky's theory; but I cdn't remember who it was. Well, I just ran across his name: Daniel Everett. He has a new bk out, "How Language Began," and argues that it is culture that creates language, not any innate grammar. Hope that helps.


12:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


So sorry about the length of my last post, MB. Many thanks for the article of jazz and the brain. BTW, there's a great documentary on Netflix about John Coltrane called "Chasing Trane." It's very good.

MB, Wafers,

I'm enjoying the current discussion regarding Marx, the Cold War, and the demise of Pax Americana. For seven decades after WW II the US ruled as a global thug rather than as it pretends to see itself, a global policeman. I think all of this is coming to an end w/the rise of a multipolar word shaped by China and Russia. I also think that Marx was essentially right about the structural failings of capitalism in a general sense. It's obvious that the heyday of American capitalism is long gone, despite Trumpo's incessant meanderings about the greatness of the American economy. The reality is that it's nothing more than a skeleton of its former self, as the rise of massive social and economic poverty alongside obscene wealth among a tiny elite is a sure sign that the US economy is chronically moribund. The country's soaring 20 trillion national debt is another symptom of chronic atrophy. We are, it seems, at a cross-roads due to the collapse of the American economy. What direction will all this take other than down?


ps: Be sure to check out a program called "The Americans." Sadly, it's in its final season...

12:22 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Mob pummeling at Burger King!

12:58 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Did you guys see the TOP STORY on ABC News this morning?


I’ve been wondering about that for the last decade.

Any SANE Person knows that with “News” headlines like that we are completely and utterly finished.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


All gd news, except for 2 things:

1. An event like this happens abt 3x/mo. It needs to start happening 3x/day.
2. Why weren't these people carrying semi-automatic weapons? I suppose throwing a chair is a statement, but shelling the place down a la Shaneka Torres really makes the pt. These brawls need to be aggressively weaponized.


1:08 PM  
Anonymous Zen Citizen said...

@Prasenjit Sen, Lee Toole —

The digital version of the New York Review of Books may be available to you, with no fees, through your public library system, via the app RB Digital Magazines. That's what I use, thanks to the excellent San Francisco Public Library. Library systems smaller than SF's — perhaps yours? — may offer it by way of a sharing network of libraries in your region.

@Allyn F — I am slowly working my way through Robert Wright's, "Why Buddhism is True," and am finding it helpful and true. I second your recommendation.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...


Try not to vomit when you read this:
"The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it," Jeff Bezos.

Here's Bezos laughing all the way to the bank:

Jessica Knoll wants to be Jeff Bezos or the Koch Brothers. That's the sad state of 2010's U.S. progre$$ivism. Instead of focusing on what's wrong with the "good ol' boy's club mentality," many women and minority groups desire to be part of that club. So with that logic, the only thing wrong with someone like Kim Jung Un is that he's male. If it's a female or a minority group member sending someone to a North Korean prison camp, then that's okay according to our present-day identity politics.

Here's another compASSionate CONservative:
^^Maybe if work wasn't making people sick (physically & spiritually), then they wouldn't need this rule.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous foofy said...

hi mb,

I'm no linguist or a scholar even really, but would like to add here with hope of furthering an interesting argument, regarding your remark on the point of chomsky's work, I think that the underlying, perhaps deeper and more meaningful argument (separate from one single universal grammar to "rule them all", so to speak) that he makes is that language is "innate" to humans.

This is to say that all humans will be born with the capacity to use language - some spoken language, and if you put enough of them together, they will, inevitably work out some language amongst themselves. Because of this, I think that the idea follows that, then, perhaps there are "rules" (eg: grammar) that this "language" "gene" might construct the "inevitable" languages to.

while I didn't read the rest of the chomsky argument chain here on your blog, and so excuse me if I'm merely repeating, but, I think that there are some quite important implications of this that you might be throwing out (perhaps unmeaningly) with your potential dispositive case. I would say that chomsky would say: that this somewhat disconnected amazon tribe speak is further proof of the language (and therefore thought & therefore reason) capability of humans - that humans aren't a tabula-rasa, so to speak ... the big idea, I think, is that humans - all humans - have thought and language and are not, therefore, "savages."

I think a lot of your work, if I understand it correctly, spins somewhat on this central point: that culture creates the being, rather than that the beings create the culture. this is to say - a garbage US culture can do little else than create garbage people, while someone like chomsky fundamentally (perhaps progressively) believes that humans ultimately are in the driver's seat and can always, as you say: "turn this thing around."

4:10 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


I'm glad the queen inspires warm fraternal feelings North of the border. You may find a bit more disorientation in places like Johannesburg, Cairo, and what remains of the old province of Palestine.

That was the crowning jewel of British statecraft. Issue an ambiguous declaration (Balfour) effectively handing over your province to a third party, declare a kind of international jump ball, and retire to London. Your even less adapt American offspring complicate the problem even further with their apocalyptic religiosity, looking for the end of days in the Holy Land.

But, to answer your question, the thirteen colonies are absolutely a part of this dysfunction. Americans are so violently obsessed with identity because, at root, they have no identity in this world. We are still a second-rate colony with no real native culture, and little concern for promoting or appreciating the few successful elements of culture we have generated - those few tinkering on the margins.

It actually does make sense to organically evolve an identity rather than build one through American style behavior. I like the maple leaf. I hear that NZ is also getting a new national symbol. The real problem is the UK, where this is more than a symbol.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


(In future, watch length: half-page max. Thanks.)

Language is not innate to humans. Famous cases like the Wild Boy of Aveyron: if u.r. raised by wolves, or in the wild, you won't be able to speak any language past a certain age, just come out with wolf-like grunts. In short, language is cultural. As for Dan Everett's work, and its refutation of Chomsky: honestly, I read only his essay in "Cultural Anthropology" 20 yrs ago, and don't remember what his specific arguments were. I just recall thinking, like Wittgenstein: Of course; there is no innate 'grammar'; what there is is conversation. If you are raised by parents and in a society that speaks Shmu-Shmu, you will wind up speaking Shmu-Shmu. Why posit a mystical, unprovable innate grammar, for what is quite obvious?

As it turns out, Chomsky's linguistics derive from the Port Royal, a very old (17C) schl of thought:


His politics come from the Enlightenment; hence, there will always be progress. To my mind, the Port Royal has been debunked, and much of what we call progress is an illusion. The stupidity of Chomsky's acolyte, Steven Pinker, is the latest example of this. It would be nice if everything, including language and politics, were neat and Cartesian, but they aren't. Duh! Human beings are just not terribly rational.


5:16 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...


Sorry if you have addressed this before, but curious to know what do you mean and why you said " much of what we call progress is an illusion"


8:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Discussed in extenso over the last 12 yrs. I'm afraid I don't have the energy to recap the argument. But you might look up some of the reviews of Pinker's latest bk, which debunk him on exactly that pt.


ps: In future, pls send messages to most recent post. People tend not to read the older stuff. Thanks.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Karina said...

Climate science was begot from Red Scare


8:49 PM  
Anonymous PJ said...


Re: Marx, here is Terry Eagleton patient and casual analysis is great. Rrally appreciate

Why Marx was Right
Terry Eagleton on why we dismiss Marxism at our peril

9:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Karina, PJ-

Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the old stuff. Thanks.


10:06 PM  
Anonymous Prasenjit Sen said...

Thanks Zen for your suggestion. But I live outside the US. So... paying a small fee may be the only way for me as MB has suggested.

Thanks anyway for your kind advice.


2:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the old stuff. Thanks.


5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great post Great Seer. I would have chosen a different title for the article though: "arguing with Progs is like peeing against the wind"


8:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr welcome, but pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the old stuff.


10:29 AM  

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