May 15, 2018

The Descent into Madness

Nemesis: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

So word has it that master torturer Gina Haspel is going to be confirmed as head of the CIA. This is absolutely breathtaking, but it does say to the world who we are, and is undoubtedly another nail in our coffin. Perhaps a stretch, but it's a little like Ilse Koch, the "Witch of Buchenwald," getting appointed mayor of Berlin after the War (this did *not* happen; the Germans did not wish to destroy themselves twice). I said it long ago: Trump's historical mission is to dismantle the country, and he couldn't be doing a better job. John Kiriakou is worried about the state of the American soul (see his essay, cited in the previous post), as though the jury was out on that one. In fact, it can be summarized in a single word: rotten. As he notes, 67% of the American public approves of torture, and Trump's approval rating continues to rise.

It's all over but the shouting.



Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

David G: (from previous post) I'm with you! I don't have a smartfone either, but I'll be forced to get one, probably this year since it is becoming actually MORE expensive to have a dumb fone... I've already seen friends and family dragged into the clutches of the bright shiny Cyclops. I only hope I can escape with the sheep, so to speak.

Bill: Great news!

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Just heard Tom Wolfe just died, sad!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

At the intersection of cars, cell phones, and petty criminality, this item from the Raleigh WRAL television website:

A man loans his cell phone to a young man, the fellow bolts, and the owner literally runs the kid down with his car, killing him. No gun, no knife, just a few thousand pounds of Detroit steel. Who says Americans aren’t resourceful?

12:33 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

How the Enlightenment ends.....

1:29 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Thomas Wolfe continued the tradition of a Southerner being able to perceive more clearly the nature of the dominate northern capitalist, individualist culture- similar also to Michael Lewis. Bonfire of the Vanities captured the zeitgeist of the 80's when American decline began its acceleration 'greed is good'...

Been looking for a copy of his undergraduate thesis; 'A Zoo Full of Zebras; Anti-Intellectualism in America' - 1951- predates Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963).


3:21 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


I'm relieved for you and your great news. Always enjoy your posts!


6:57 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

America - An Empire of Nothing. Essentially Seinfeld in real-time, but less successful and nowhere near as funny.

"In the end, the last empire may prove to be an empire of nothing at all -- a grim possibility."

7:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Pure barbarism is now what holds up the empire. Where in the hell is the Democratic resistance?! Waffling and wobbly, as usual, w/at least one, Joe Manchin of W.Virginia, hailing Haspel as a "person of great character." Just let that sink in a moment, Wafers. Also, as predicted, Trump's embassy move has led to the ghastly massacre of Palestinian men, women, and children by Israeli snipers. Both the criminal Trump and Netanyahu regimes should be held to account for these crimes.


7:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

This headline is self-explanatory: When Credit Scores Become Casualties Of Health Care.

The soul of the techies--a Wastebook employee leaked an internal memo from a senior executive who wrote: “Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good.” The reaction of other Wastebook employees upon finding out they worked for a company that considers its bottom line more important that a deadly terrorist attack was to demand management DO find and fire the person or persons who leaked the memo.

And lastly, this piece is about evil old warmonger John McCain, but it could be adjusted to fit the lives of most prominent Americans: A Life Wasted. "America has indeed been able to paint a vivid portrait for itself of why Vietnam was such an insane venture that should never have happened, and certainly not repeated. If your culture has the ability to put that in words and images, and as a nation you still don’t learn the lesson embedded in them, you’re pretty much lost."

9:01 PM  
Blogger ccg said...


Was there ever a doubt that Gina Haspel would become the new CIA director? There wasn't in my mind. But I'm also not surprised that many Democrats opposing Haspel were/are strong Obama supporters. I suggested to some of my clueless academic colleagues (who vote Democratic) that their hero paved the way for someone like Haspel to run the CIA. They don't understand. They can't make the connection to Obama's refusal to prosecute the war criminals of Bush years. They conveniently forget Obama's rationale for his legal inaction; I mean that business about "looking forward and not backwards." Yeah, so looking forward has brought the awful Gina Haspel into the directorship of the CIA. Thanks Barack! But then I knew that once he got elected he'd never have gone the war criminals. I guess he wanted the option to be one himself with impunity. And he was.

By the way, the New York Times has become unreadable. It specializes in Russia/Trump and identity politics. The same is true of the New York public radio station WNYC.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Babe said...

Americans pay high prices for medical services, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits and prescription drugs. A complex payment system causes spending far more on administrative costs. Making money valued above the sanctity of health and life.

We need to look at and study Japan’s laws on healcare costs

10:19 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Long Live The Dollar !!


This is an old classic that I came to know recently. Absolute gold !!

11:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Israel will follow America into the Abyss:

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Mathieu Streher said...

Débranche, débranche, débranche tout...revenons à nous.

Speaking of smartphones, I think Wafers need an anthem. For this I nominate 'Débranche' by the late France Gall, whose song is more pertinent today than it was in 1984!

Repose en paix au paradis blanc, France.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Bill, so glad to hear I can keep on arguing with you for a long time.

N Korea cancels talks with South Korea and warns US

I am shocked, shocked that someone doesn't want to make a deal with Trumpolini.

About two thirds of Americans supporting torture: the obvious question is, what about the other third? My theory is that 90% of Americans who do not think they will be ever subjected to torture approve of it. The other third, more or less consciously, suspect that the US government could torture them in the right circumstances.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

The pull of tech is inexorable. As I mentioned a few times I see young black men walking on the street with ear buds. Don't these morons realize that there is a concerted war in this country on young black men? Shouldn't they be fully cognizant of their surroundings instead of walking with that insane bovine expression? Might as well be a Jew in Nazi Germany wearing ear buds.
Well, I now give up. I posted quite a few articles on Facebook concerning the Gaza massacres and the name calling simply got too much. Garison Keiller was right-"Americans have the uncanny ability to look reality in the eye and deny it." Thousands of Gazans have either been killed (including an 8 month baby) or wounded yet THEY are the terrorists. The brainwashing, especially among older American Jews is truly breathtaking. Of course, when I mention that Israel created Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO I'm greeting with disbelief. And when I suggest they read Pappe's "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" they refuse calling him a misguide leftist. The sad part is that I know some of my interlocutors from high school. Then they were long-hair anti-war hippies. Apparently, not a big jump to becoming a fascist.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More children and teens are being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts. “New research, published Wednesday in Pediatrics finds children ages 5-17 visited children's hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts about twice as often in 2015 as in 2008.”

The more people rely on Facebook for news the less politically knowledgeable they are.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous TT said...

Ideas From a Post-carbon world

8:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you all for documenting the continued degradation of the US. Jesus, what a horror show. Meanwhile, in my Preface to the Chinese edn of WAF (archived on this blog), several yrs ago, I predicted that China wd turn into the US in Mandarin. Check it out:


9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Meanwhile, I'm so excited about Meghan!

10:02 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

For the Prog Files: Mother Jones on Torture

I don’t even disagree that being scared is a factor, and it’s not like I don’t have a modicum of compassion for twisted Americans. Nonetheless, the article misses quite a bit.

“The bottom half of the poll graphic explains why so many people feel this way: they’re scared. This is hard for people like me to understand... But scared people support bad policies. They support interning people of Japanese ancestry. They support napalm and carpet bombing. And they support torture. The only way to change this is to figure out a way to make people less scared. Obviously we haven’t done that yet.”

Hmm, maybe they are also vicious war criminals and idiotic torturers who enjoy getting worked up and scaring themselves by projecting their darkness.

Here’s a global poll on torture from a couple years ago. Notice that the Russians (who we’re supposed to be scapegoating) are, unlike Americans, overwhelmingly opposed to torture. Now, if being scared is the main driver as Mother Jones contends, what does it then say about Americans that they are so much more afraid than Russians?

10:53 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Sorry MB to post within 24 hr ... but this discussion with my American friend enraged me. You are right , there is just no point having an argument with Turkeys. So I was discussing about wars being fought by US and this was his response.

"But the pursuit of wars is not dollar hegemony. Rather its "World Peace". It may sound counter but yes. US needs peace for trade to prosper or it may really just want a peaceful World. Either case it's for peace and we can guess the true intent."

MB, what is it that makes educated sane people go this mad and become Turkeys. Its unnearable to have any sane discussion at this level.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

So so excited about Miss Markle--her dress, her shoes, the way she walks, talks, parts her hair. So happy that Britain and america are so so excited about this amazing event!

This is very impt to me. I chk the tee vee constantly and my twatter and wastebook to make sure that I don't miss a thing.

I don't know what ontolagick means, nor have job insecurity or access to real health care, but I can tell you how many ex-fiances Markle had! What a lucky dude Prince Larry.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

A new docu on HBO, 'A Dangerous Son' nicely exposes how entirely fucked up mental health tx is in the U.S. - way beyond Dickensian by a factor of X. We can't build institutions big enough or soon enough to alter this trajectory, my god what happens when these kids start families of their own? I view getting impatient care for 90 days (about how far insurers will go) similar to setting a broken arm. What does it say about our 'communities' that within an easily predictable amount of time post discharge that arm, so carefully set, will get ripped off at the shoulder? Treatment centers are the last refuge of sanity.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...
Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”​ Rachel Corrie is the young American woman murdered by an Israeli soldier who crushed her to death with a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family home in the occupied Gaza Strip. The IDF later returned to shoot at the mourners at her memorial service.

Click the links- "​Electronic Intifada highlighted incidents of Israeli soldiers using social media to advocate brutal violence, and acts of sadistic torture and murder of children. The​y​ also revealed images soldiers posted on Instagram of nudity, drug use and violence and most notoriously of a Palestinian child seen through the scope of a sniper’s rifle.​"​ ​Watching ​them​ having "fun" frying a small bird alive is a tattletale into the psyche of the Israeli culture that's very comfortable with cruelty just like their American brethren.​

12:59 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The death of SHAME...

3:01 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Funny how none of these commentaries make the link between the collapsing birth date and the depression rate. One symptom of depression is always listed as 'disinterest in activities you once enjoyed'... It seems family life is something Americans no longer enjoy.

Re: fear and torture. Has any other culture produced a rough equivalent to the horror movie? I'm no smile and butterflies Disney kinda guy, but the idea of sitting around and terrifying yourself for two hours seems completely asinine and decadent to me.

Classical tragedy is about human living and striving in a cruel world. Horror is about some kind of self-induced cultural paralysis. Complete terror in the face of evil.

A good example of how a healthy mythos encourages meaningful activity and participation in a population, while our fake mythos produces people who sit around scaring themselves silly stupid.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...


"Wastebook" eh? I like that one, I'll have to remember it. On McCain, I think hes a guy whose inner conscience was never able to totally break through to the surface.

I'm not defending the guy, when voting time rolled around on the senate floor he was as bad as any of the sleazeballs we have in Washington. But if you look at some of his comments over the years there's an indication of some kind of struggle, it just could never get past his own innate worldview of pro-hustling and pro-military(ie war), much less the Republican establishment.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Tom--I just love how the supposed "researchers" in that article about Wastebook you posted are scratching their heads for an explanation to what their research is showing. Have these idiots ever OBSERVED a frequent FB user? They post only articles they know will get lots of "likes" from their friends and family members and block anyone whom they disagree with--it's the perfect recipe for creating countless millions of tiny little echo chambers where no contradictory information ever penetrates.

I don't know if we have any Trekkies here in Waferland, but here is an interesting article about how the new Stark Trek: Discovery series totally abandons Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future as socialist utopia and has replaced it with a metaphor for endless war that even goes as far as to paint the Klingons as out-of-control religious fanatics who employ such tactics as suicide bombings. The whole concept of trying to get to know your enemy and using diplomacy to achieve peace is completely thrown out the window. Yet the producers of this travesty are very pleased with the way they have presented by far the most diverse cast in Trek's history--even including GAY characters! As the author says, the way the show portrays The Federation as being just slightly better than the enemy but very, oh so very tolerant, its scripts could have been written by the DNC.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More on the inherent decency of Americans:

Altho lately, I've begun to wonder if Israelis are not the worst people on the planet.

Meanwhile, check out the new hat Meghan has been wearing. It looks like a cow pie. I have this image of millions of women tossing their pussy hats, and running thru the streets with cow pies on their heads: The Bowel Movement. I can't decide if this would be good or bad. Wafer input on this crucial issue badly needed.


8:56 AM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

I know this is ancient news, but for some reason I've been delving into this. The events surrounding Jessica Lynch are put into question by this story in The Guardian (from 2003). It really makes me wonder how much of the news we get about wartime events are Wag The Dog manipulations?

12:50 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Here is an essay by Charles Eisenstein that discusses what the optimistic reports on the condition of world humanity by Stephen Pinker and Nicholas Kristof leave out. Unfortunately the US doesn't believe in empathy and connectedness and short of a major crash and collapse, that will not change. Eisenstein's report of what Philadelphia's prosecutor is doing is interesting to say the least.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Sherm said...

Ethnographic accounts of ethics from 60 societies reveal 7 universal rules of morality that both liberals & conservatives can agree on: "love your family, help your group, return favors, be brave, defer to authority, be fair, & respect others’ property."

3:47 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Rex Tillerson warns of "growing crisis of integrity and ethics"

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

I am having so much trouble parsing the headlines re: Gaza Conflict escalations etc

Bernie Sanders: "Over 50 killed in Gaza today and 2,000 wounded, on top of the 41 killed and more than 9,000 wounded over the past weeks. This is a staggering toll. Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters."


"The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence."

Hamas official: 50 of the 60 protestors killed were Hamas.

Hamas is responsible. Hamas uses its people as a human shield. And then international commentators continue to compare #'s dead from each side. "Quick, get me some more dead Jews so we can even this out!" How insane.

Every nation on Earth exists to protect its citizens, not make sure a decent percentage of them get killed to accommodate moral relativists across the world. Strange how only Israel is subjected to this...

4:55 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

Reading a book called The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller. He is at Catholic U.; wondering, MB, if you know him? I appreciate his thesis, and his writing is clear.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Go Bolton! Our Declinist Hero!

"We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him," wrote Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's vice-minister of foreign affairs."

"World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate," North Korea's vice minister wrote, responding to Bolton.

^^ And who can blame them? Trusting the U.S. is like trusting Jerry Sandusky to watch over your kids. The U.S. doesn't give a flying f**k about the North Korean people. They only want their resources.

Go Trump! No need to prepare! Americans don't care for complexity or nuance anyways, so you'll have plenty of support here:

And finally, from our very own spineless, so-called progre$$ives:

^^Maybe Gina Haspel will wear a Vagina Hat as part of the torture.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

EU to forbid companies from following new US sanctions on Iran

Mini Suez moment to me, possibly growing if Trumpi blows a gasket and sanctions the EU. Then maybe he's ignored by US companies? The potential for tragicomedy here is too great.

This story was muted today, should be a lot of hoopla when it passes. The emperor may still have clothes, but he's dressing down. Something poetically beautiful about the US president as a dottering fool largely ignored by all the more humble wielders of real power.


Excellent review. The same applies to all these superhero movies. You get the impression that Americans inhabit a universe where they are always on the verge of executing somebody or being obliterated from existence by strange, incomprehensible forces.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I can't speak to the Bowel Movement nearly as eliquently as this chick can,

So much for the Canadian escape...

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Essay Chick said...

Incisive argument by Robert Wright. A must read. Rational is only an ‘e’ away from rationale, and sometimes that ‘e’ emerges without the conscious mind knowing.


8:07 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Great news in the USA Today probably related to the study DioGenes posted: U.S. birth rate plummets to lowest point in 30 years.

Typical of an MSM story, however, it treats this news as if it is a BAD thing. There's also the usual refusal to come to terms with the REAL state of modern America: "That was surprising, because baby booms often parallel economic booms, and last year was a period of low unemployment and a growing economy." This is what happens when a culture lies to itself so often it doesn't even realize it's lying anymore. A "growing economy" obviously doesn't mean shit when you have exploding wealth inequality, but don't expect the idiot reporter to get his head out of his ass and figure that one out.

Then there is this: "One (reason) may be shifting attitudes about motherhood among millennials, who are in their prime child-bearing years right now. They may be more inclined to put off child-bearing or have fewer children, researchers said." No mention is made of WHY millennials have "shifting attitudes." Could it be the fact that so many of them are saddled with unpayable student loan debt and have no job security--if they are even lucky enough to HAVE a decent job? Hey--maybe I should become a "reporter." I could hardly do worse than this knucklehead.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

Kashe Varnishke.

I have wondered the same thing. Growing up as a kid I loved to read Information Please Almanac. Funny thing, in the 80's the IPA would say we lost over fifty thousand men killed in the Korean War. Now they say we only lost thirty something.

When the Second Iraqi War had just ended and the occupation began there was a man who argued on his website that the government was lying about our losses. I can't remember the name or website. The offical loss was around 500 or so going into Iraq. He argued we lost more like five thousand and it was being covered up. Considering what I read in the 80's in Information Please and what they say now about Korea I don't know what to believe. I worked with a former army ranger for a few years and he was in the first war with Iraq. He said the news coverage about them just all wanting to give up was a lie. He said many Iraqi soldiers fought like devils and were brave men, and lucky for our side their equipment was old and their tanks given half charges in their shells. He thought it reasonable (I told him about revisions of Korean losses I discovered) that they lie about our losses somewhat.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

Our times are what they are.

I am deeply appreciative of the observations on this blog, and MB's insight.

Thanks also to journalists;

and Historians.

Enjoy the wedding! To bad about Dad.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Rapprochement With Russia Is Now a Core Policy Objective for Germany

Well done, Trumpo! Pretty soon the US will be so toxic that not even weasels will want to talk to you.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Bill: Great news!

Kashe: the MSM is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the government. You would do well to assume that anything (not just limited to government) you hear, see or read is a lie unless proven otherwise.

The first question to ask yourself is cui bono, who benefits? In the case of Jessica Lynch, the fairy tale was meant to bolster public support for our criminal and illegal war in Iraq - which, like everything else, was based on a lie. What they also do is put the fairytale on the front page, and when and if the truth seeps out it’s buried somewhere else. The public, which has the attention span, critical thinking skills and curiosity of a gnat will continue to believe the fairy tale. I know people who still insist that Iraq had WMDs.

Like I’ve said many times here, my motto is to believe nothing and question everything. Perhaps my cynicism is the result of having a mother who was a pathological liar, but it has certainly helped me wake up to what’s really going on in the world, and it ain’t pretty.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it (half page rule).

Gina confirmed! Progs shd be ecstatic: she's a woman, and that's all that counts. And let's not worry abt Condi being a war criminal.

Let me add that I don't give a shit abt the royal wedding.


9:22 AM  
Anonymous Sabine said...

The recent events just confirmed that Gaza's always been alone in its struggle.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Yet another school shooting in America. At least 8 people killed at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is 3rd schl shooting in 8 days. There has been an avg of 1 per wk since Jsn. 1st. Regarding this last one, Trump said he feels very bad.


1:49 PM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

Thank you, Wafers, for responding about MSM stories. I've known for sometime much is made up caca, but only really recently realizing to what extent the MSM is a propaganda machine. Trying to get a typical Turkey to understand the machinations of MSM though is a dead end.

@Michael Burgess Thank you for posting the Charles Eisenstein essay. I admire his writings, which have some parallels to Dr. Berman's in some ways. I wish I could say I share his seeming optimism about humanity.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Another school shooting? I just finished reading Mark Ames Going Postal, so have been thinking quite a bit lately about why such events keep happening. Ames' linking of the psychology of slave rebellions and workplace/school shootings is interesting. Isn't it odd that in the media one seldom hears Ames' theory that society itself might be a factor in these shootings? "Going postal" is merely chalked up to insanity, and not as a logical, or at least an expected reaction to one's environment. I had to get this book through interlibrary loan from school, as the public library wouldn't bring it in. Those damned librarians are going to get theirs some day....

Someone asked about A Canticle for Liebowitz. I happened to read it again last winter. I first read it 30 years ago. It's worth reading, although I found the idea that Latin would be used in the monasteries of the future to be unconvincing. Perhaps Idiocracy has unduly influenced my view of the future of mankind.

I don't care about the royal wedding either, but that won't stop me from hosting my annual Victoria Day special radio broadcast this Sunday. Y'all are invited to tune in.


2:14 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Curious--what happened to all the vigorous chanting, marching, "social media" postings, pussy hatting, clever posters, wastebook clicks, lesbian HS student activist photo-ops, etc...

NOTHING. WILL. HAPPEN. The empire was ontologically and intellectually empty.


2:14 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

Ms.Poopee when engaging the mouth hole.
"Speak Canadian. Go back to your fkn country. You are not talking to one of your a-rab bitches, you're talking to a fine white lady."

So much for the Canadian escape...

3:43 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

My heart aches for those who were killed and traumatized today in the massacre at Santa Fe, Texas. The complete blindness to the obvious is so repulsively sad...


4:35 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

In the second Gilded Age, the mansions get bigger, and the homeless get closer...

6:26 PM  
Blogger Mark Deagle said...

Trump says he will keep them in is prayers and thoughts lol. Now that will stop the killing lol. Oh by the way i did not know trump had thoughts.I forgot one of his thoughts is North Korea will give up there nukes because he told them they must. Now when the leader of North Korea stops laughing, maybe he will tell Trump the truth , that it is time for trump to take his head out of his ass and see that trump will be dead before he ever gives up his

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Bolonga said...

The young brat in Texas, who shot up a high school in Santa Fe,he used to wear a shirt to school saying "born to kill". I'm just saying the shirt forgot to add one more word: be and suffix -ed . So it looks like this "born to be killed". This might trigger some but I think police officers wouldn't mind. As for the royal wedding, they should bring out the guillotine just in case. I still can't believe that royalty of any kind still exist.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Hey morris what do u mean u don’t care about the royal wedding? Don’t u know the bride is half black. What an advancement for the black race . The English used to enslave and colonize is now they are breeding with us. If only mlk was alive to see all this. Lol

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

MB, that's just school shootings. I believe mass shootings (at least 4 shot) happen more than once per day. We don't hear about most mass shootings, then you have all the standard 1 or 2 person shootings that don't even make the news, and let's not forget the 20,000 annual gun suicides. This is only guns we're talking about, then you have the pills and cars killing people. Of course a lot of deaths will never be qualified as suicide, even if it's someone taking pills or heroin because they're so depressed and out of their mind that they overdose just trying to escape the reality of life in the US.

Good luck convincing anybody that this has any meaning or significance. It's always "a few bad apples" or something about mental disease, like this is 100% nature and has nothing to do with America. I laugh when I see people try to pin this on some other cause, often it's pointing to some big drug company like they're the real cause...

You'll NEVER get people to wise up and suggest that America itself is causing all this pain. We keep our blinders on and act like we're at the perpetual peak of all things good and civilized.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

This report suggests that at some level, younger people here in the US are realizing there might be much of a future for having a family in the US. Perhaps a contribution toward societal collapse.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

It's getting hard to stomach these media post-shooting rituals.

I would die happy if one day some anchor said, "Look, today there was a shooting/terorrist attack. We know these people are an extreme version of most of the other people in this society- starved for cheap attention and fame- so, as the responsible custodians of the national dialogue, we are going to ignore this and move on. A short announcment of this sort will be our policy for these events from now on."

The media is actually busy creating a catalogue of pseudo-martyrs for the sick and demented to emmulate. Brain damaged kids shooting their way through life like a video game hopped up on anti depressants are getting models and media templates for their suicides by public spectacle.

And the progs think a few more counseling services will help. When people are this far alienated from society that they just want to kill it *as such*, what makes anybody think a school therapist can perform these miracles? The progs never see the deeper picture.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Dave: I suggest you look outside of the Anglo-Zionist rhetorical box and investigate alternative narratives about Gaza. This would include the origins of Zionism, the Balfour Declaration, creation of Israel, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic Jews, ethnic cleansing, power differentials, etc. Ignore the propaganda so you can come to your own conclusions: I’m not saying what your conclusions should be, but at least you’ll be fully informed. BTW, like the new S.C. law, criticism of Israel is now being censored. Thought crimes are not far behind.

Sherm: Nice rules, except for one: “defer to authority.” The Milgram Experiment illustrates what’s wrong with that mindset, and is one of the reasons humanity is in such deep kaka. Acceptance of authority perpetuates a master/slave dynamic in which the slave commits atrocities for the master - for example fighting in a war. I think a much better approach to the whole subject is that of Natural Law.

Joesph Goebbels:

Herman Goring:

8:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, the report suggests just the opposite.


Blinders-->Decline. This is good!


Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. If I could pee on Meghan's shoes, I'd do it in a second. Jesus, the crap we wallow in.


But what ever happened to Ay-hab the Ay-rab, sheik of the burning sands? And why was his camel named Clyde? I cd never understand that.

Mike R-

The 'reality' is that it's *all* theater: the W.H., Senate, House of Rep, MSM, universities, pussy hats, demos, legal system--it's just one large bubble.


10:48 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Happiness is a warm gun.
Georgetown University professor Frederic Lemieux published a study on mass shootings in 2014. He summarizes his findings, providing a link to the original study, in the following article today from the website “The Conversation.” An excerpt:

“A study I conducted on mass shootings indicated that this phenomenon is not limited to the United States. Mass shootings also took place in 25 other wealthy nations between 1983 and 2013, but the number of mass shootings in the United States far surpasses that of any other country included in the study during the same period of time. The U.S. had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period.

And this article, from the same website, based on a study conducted by the US Secret Service and the Department of Education following Columbine in 1999. The team studied 37 school shootings involving 41 attackers that took place from December 1974 through May 2000.
This interesting point from their findings:
“Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.” The implication [investigators found] is that schools must develop a culture that promotes student sharing of concerns about others.”

Good luck with that.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Ilene said...

Bar Hosts a F*ck The Royals Party To Raise Money For Local Food Banks

3:30 PM  
Blogger Crow T Robot said...

Bill -

Sorry it's taken a long time for me to post, but I wanted to say I'm really happy you're doing well health-wise. Great news.

On your Star Trek comment, I couldn't make it through 3 episodes of the new show. It's just terrible, for a multitude of reasons I won't waste here as I don't want to bore non-Trekkie Wafers to death.

But here's a fun thought: All of the Star Trek series are abbreviated among the fanbase by the initials of the show. So, the 60s original is TOS, Next Generation TNG, Deep Space Nine DS9, etc.

The new show is called Star Trek Discovery. Best abbreviated name ever.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

The theater (government, media, universities, etc) seems to be so overwhelming to people that many choose to just shut down and focus purely on trivia/hobbies and ignore anything of substance. It's sad that so many people only see two options: either focusing on the shit show that's on facebook/twitter/news or to focus completely on trivia (video games, TV, hobbies, etc). Intended or not, all the institutions you've listed have definitely created the apathy and focus on things that don't really matter.

Even religion is no rock for people to turn to. On Friday ALL the catholic bishops in Chile offered to resign in regards to covering up the child sex abuse. I think in combination with everything else, all the scandals coming to light decade after decade regarding priest rape of kids and the cover-up have really changed how people view the church. Protestants seem like they've about given up, their message is so diluted, they're fine with multiple marriages, thinking just about whatever you want about the details of religion, and adopting nearly everything that's popular in the non-religious world.

I've seen this royal wedding thing plastered everywhere, and one of the biggest things to me is how normalized divorce has become. People seem not to give the least bit of concern about remarriage. This can't be good for society to treat family in such a casual and flippant way. Divorce and remarriage I believe are two of the worst things and I wish people saw this as shameful rather than giving each other high fives and hopping straight back into the dating pool upon divorce.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Regarding the royal wedding, an interesting movie to watch (if you can get past the horrifically sympathetic portrayal of the utterly loathsome Tony Blair) is The Queen. It portrays Elizabeth (played in an outstanding performance by the great Helen Mirren) after Diana was killed while fleeing the paparazzi as being utterly baffled as to why the royal family should make any kind of official acknowledgement of her death. Elizabeth is particularly perplexed as to the mass outpouring of grief that occurred in the days after the accident until (of course) her dashing young prime minister shows her how to defuse the anger that was building towards the royals for their perceived heartlessness. I don't know how factually accurate any of that is, but it is hard not to feel sympathy for Elizabeth as she comes to grips with the fact that most of her subjects have become drooling, celebrity worshiping morons.

I was present for a conversation yesterday between several women comparing this wedding to Diana's and remarking that Diana mispronounced ol' Chuck's name during the vows and said in a much later interview how much she hated her wedding dress (which the women all agreed was indeed ugly). That's when I piped up and said, well that's the type of thing that happens in arranged marriages--which I don't think went over very well. I actually wanted to say something about how the Bolsheviks had the right idea about how to treat royalty, but my wife would probably have killed me.

3:46 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

If the following statistic is not a strong indicator of US' "descent into madness" I don't know what is?
A new statistic has revealed that, to date in 2018, more children in US schools have been killed in shootings than the current total of military service member fatalities.

Also, below is a link to Joe Bageant's essay titled "The Sucker Bait Called Hope" which he wrote after Obama was elected for his first term. I think its one of Joe's best essays.

Best Wishes,

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Fascism is certainly homegrown. The only sub job available this past Friday was at my former middle school (1963-66). Normally, I only go to high schools because the students (?) spend the entire time playing on their I-crap which is good for a sub in terms of classroom management (in 2 years of subbing I've witnessed perhaps only 10 students who took the time to read an actual book). My job was to visit various classes as a supposed ESOL teacher. In two classes there were minor instances of students going off task, either talking to another student or simply not doing the work. The teachers, instead of dealing with the issue, immediately called the main office to have said student removed. The teacher made no effort to handle the situation him or herself. I could list near 20 things to get the student back on task but the teachers tried nothing. Meanwhile, the rooms are hot, the desks are too small for middle school students, and in most rooms I visited the teacher did not provide any background information (schemata) to support the task, only "Do this. You have 10 minutes." The school has become predominately black since I attended it since all the liberal Jews would not dare have his or her precious child sit near a person of color. In such schools, from studies I've read and through observation, discipline takes priority over education. In predominantly black elementary schools, for instance, hours are wasted getting students to line up in a straight line whereas in middle class schools teachers simply say, "Let's go" and could care less if students stray from the line.
As for Palestine, it's hopeless trying to change anyone's opinion. I have repeatedly said wth Israeli quotes that Israel created Hamas in the 1970's as a counterweight to the PLO. They even registered as a political party within Israel! Think anyone takes note? Not a chance.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Nigel said...

An ice core from Greenland records the economic state of the Roman Empire

HOW COOL IS THAT? Thought of you immediately MB

9:41 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

How can a real liberal cheer the Obama stock market that bailed out the rich while everyone else suffered?

How can a real conservative cheer the rise of Apple stock as an American success when tech is destroying 'family values' and sending their kids off to be parented by digital screens?

There are no real liberals in America and there are no real conservatives. There is nobody interested in improving society or in preserving its better aspects.

There's just the incoherent ramblings of people caught up in the flux of economic activity.

Has America ironically validated Marx's view of history? The American story revolves around nothing more than economic struggles.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Stefano said...


Jimmy Kimmel Challenged People to Name a Book and It Went as Well as You'd Expect

10:33 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Apologies for posting something a bit tedious now: another pseudo-smart guy (Pulitzer prize-winner no less) saying 'I think we'll survive'.

But my broader point is we’ve survived presidents who were not commensurate with the task and I think we’ll survive this one.

Reading that, I could not help remembering the words of Nietzsche in "Anti-Christ" about the Roman Empire:

This organization was stable enough to hold up under bad emperors: the accident of personalities cannot make any difference with things like this.

The fact is the Roman Empire did fall, and so will the US. Nietzsche, as we know, blamed Christianity for the fall of the Roman Empire. Well, I guess even Nietzsche could be an idiot some times. One thing is sure, though, when the US finally collapses, Americans will blame somebody else.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, so did Edw Gibbon.


Jesus, what douche bags.


This is good, of course, but who is going to pee on Meghan's shoes?

Now this is nice:


1:19 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

300% increase in suicides by teens and pre-teens in the past 10 years. We are talking about 11 year olds:
This is statistically significant much like record low birth rates. Don't expect MSM to connect the dots or question the superiority of the USA 'system' as a whole. Existential or ontological questioning is not allowed. And, to be fair, Americans would ignore it anyway.

Listening to the JoeRogan podcast interviewing Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone: Mark their words: Trumpi won't be the worst or stupidest president before this is all over. In fact, it is likely the next president will be worse than Trumpi. With Trumpi, we are at least saved a bit by his laziness and stupidity. Who knows what future leader is currently being formed in the rabid Petri dish of American culture? Their guess: Lil' Tay


2:40 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@ DioGenes,

You are right about there being no real liberals or conservatives in America. I used to be a Republican, I was in College Republicans and everything, but the Iraq War and my college experience soured me on conservatism. Like many Catholics I grew up thinking the Republicans defended people like me against liberals who wanted to destroy the family and religion. Most of my relatives were former Democrats who switched parties in the 1970s due to culture war issues like abortion.

When I went to college and met some wealthy Republicans I learned that most of them had nothing but contempt for the working stiffs that voted for them and most didn’t care about defending family values but were more concerned with attacking unions, war and tax cuts for the rich. It was a big eye-opener. I am now an independent voter.

I think Christopher Lasch had American conservatism pegged back in the 1980s.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Thanks, Sarasvati, for responding to Dave. You were a lot more patient and understanding than I would have been. I suppose his attitude is understandable, given the propaganda that's out there. This extends beyond the news, which is predictable, but to pop culture (Ahab the Arab indeed) as well. Jack Shaheen, who wrote "Reel Bad Arabs," about portrayals of Arabs in film, noted that Lord Curzon was a Zionist because as a kid he read Walter Scott,and couldn't bear the thought of Muslims controlling the Holy Land, which was by rights Ivanhoe's turf.

Just this weekend, on Bill Maher's show, everyone was unanimous in saying that it's obvious that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, and that the Palestinians were responsible for their own deaths in Gaza. To illustrate how horrible Arabs are, Maher asked, where would western supporters of Palestinians rather live, Tel Aviv or Gaza? This is a lot like asking if one would rather live in Dachau or in Munich.

Anyway, I'm out of space, so here are some links:

6:43 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Just for the record, my last entry should have read:
"This report suggests that at some level, younger people here in the US are realizing there might NOT be much of a future for having a family in the US. Perhaps a contribution toward societal collapse."
Given the US's open borders and demand for cheap (slave) labor for work Americans refuse to do, even Trump's declarations about limiting immigration, illegal or legal, like all his other declarations can be questioned - maybe leaving NOT out was kind of a Freudian slip - but you are right Dr. Berman, low birth rates can be an indication of overall decline.

Here is another indicator of American decline - according to the United Way ALICE Project, around 40% of US households struggle to or can't meet basic monthly needs.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Possibly, 40% go to bed hungry. And I read that about 40% are 1 paycheck away from disaster. I.e., if yr car is totalled, or you break an arm, yr screwed.


Check out Hedges' latest, much of which sounds like a riff on what I've been saying for yrs. He even puts forward Dual Process as the solution--without, of course, calling it that--and scores identity politics as b.s. Mamma Mia!


9:07 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

@ al-Qu-bong --

I'd had it with Bill Maher after watching him interview Jesse Jackson after the Charlottesville incident where he suggested the people marching to protest removing the statue of Robert E. Lee be identified and fired. So much for free speech! No mention was made of the fact that they had applied and received a permit to demonstrate. Everyone was labeled as either a white supremacist, Nazi or KKK member (I guess it was in conceivable that anyone could simply think differently from them and NOT be a member of one of these groups). Here's the link and he makes this suggestion around 2:30.

Did no one on his show ask if the Palestinians had been invited to live in Tel Aviv?

10:03 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I’m pretty sure this was posted in the past, but I thought it worth reposting as it was so prescient.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Dale said...

Welcome to America, where you can't get the health care you need to save your life from lung disease until your wife is killed in a mass shooting.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only 1 post every 24 hrs, por favor.


2:42 PM  
Anonymous Mike R said...

Thank you WAFER Dale. No health care, or health care based on employment; even then filled with coverage gaps, deductables, copays, monthly pays, drug pays, fighting with docs/paperwork for drug coverage, etc etc.

Welcome to the usa--where there's employment at will--no other country has this law--akin the IRS basing taxes on citizenship.

This keeps the american sheep in perpetual agita and restlessness; the rug could be pulled at any moment for anything or nothing--no good cause clause. No job, no health care, fuck you and die.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

MB: Yeah, I actually liked Hedges most recent essay, nice and biblical...

"It [the press] drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America."

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Peter Coats said...

Costa Rica to ban fossil fuels and become world's first decarbonised society
New president embraces 'titanic and beautiful task' of complete renewable energy transition

Post-carbon life, Costa Rica is sounding more and more hospitable

7:09 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Urinarch Dept.:

Michael Allen Haag charged for assaulting female airline passengers and then urinating on the seat in front of him.


7:20 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Regarding school shootings, does anyone have an idea what the USA will look like when more people are out of work (thanks to technology taking more jobs), with no way to support themselves or their families, with lots of time, anger, and weapons?

7:55 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

@Tom Servo, what an incredible essay!!! Though the exclamation points may belie Lasch's argument. (I'm turning into Elaine from Seinfeld). ''Angerless wisdom''. What an extraordinary insight, though I think anger may have its place. Something Chris Hedges argues, and of course Hedges has his issues.

In any case, a ''spiritual'' solution is the answer - and the question?

8:43 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Cool, cool. The President tweets policy and makes private calls from an unhardened internet-connected always-on microphone and camera that he always keeps on his person and in the Oval Office.

A different take on the phone criticisms we hold here

10:17 PM  
Blogger Allyn F said...

Dear WAFers,
Many of you doubtless read James Howard Kunstler, for those who don’t this week’s blog post about school shootings is gold.

“It’s all part-and-parcel with an American way-of-life that is not what it advertises itself to be. It’s become a cruel hologram of a distant memory of a land that sold its soul for a few decades of comfort and convenience, and ended up in a wilderness of addiction to cheap hits of pleasure. ”


11:58 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

Hedges article is pretty good. For a lot of us it feels like we are in limbo and there’s nothing we can do until collapse comes. At that point it will be too late to do anything. I think this is the problem for people like me. I’m in a city for a job, but I’m stuck because I really have no other friends, family, or ability to work on anything related to dual process. Alternatives seem like theory rather than a practical reality. Until collapse happens a lot of alternatives won’t be feasible.

This whole situation has made me anxious and I feel paralyzed. I thought some years ago I could do something else, but Ihave too little skill and resources to leave a full time job in a city doing the standard rat race crap. This anxiety and paralyzed feeling has been with me over 10 years now. I’m not sure if others have felt this, it’s like feeling stuck even when you seem to have plenty of freedom and options.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

Well, the US just allowed for Companies to avoid class action lawsuits from their employees.

Next up, Ex-EU commissioner warns that Trump is not an anomaly but actually represents America and that the next wave of Presidents will continue his "America First" strategies.

As for the Palestinian front. 2 more people died from their wounds, bringing the death toll to 119 people. Peacefully protest they are rewarded with being shot dead and blamed for making the Israelis kill them. Violently fight back against living in the worlds largest concentration camp and they are to be killed and blamed for inciting Israel. I am still wondering when we will see the answer to the Palestinian question. All the conditions are there for Genocide and it's not like Israeli society will bat an eye.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Don't know how many of you read Jonathan Turley's legal blog, but he does a pretty good job of documenting America's decline even if he fails to realize it himself. All of these posts are from the past week:

Colorado Man On Frontier Flight Urinates On Back of Seat After Being Moved For Allegedly Groping A Woman. With picture catching the douchebag in the act.

Man On Frontier Flight Accused of Slugging Both A Deaf Pregnant Woman In the Stomach As Well As Her Service Dog. A Frontier Two-Fer.

Oregon Man Upset With Noisy Kids Allegedly Fires Over A Dozen Rounds From AK-47. Next time he ought to just plug the little bastards.

Thrill Kills Turn Into Wild Massacre: Eleven People Accused Of Killing Spree Of Wild Animals in Oregon. Check out the pictures of these creatures (I'm not talking about the animals). Surely, these are the future leaders of the great American left wing uprising that so many liberal twits believe will come any day now.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Aaron, Cel-Ray-

The more Hedges copies the declinist argument--which he does every so often--the saner he starts to sound. I guess we cd call him a pseudo-Wafer. His citation of the teachers' strike as an example of dismantling the corporate structure is ludicrous (plus, what we really need to do is dismantle the entire schl system, which is teaching kids 0), but it's his way of holding onto his "revolt of the masses" foolishness. But when he is willing to abandon his crap about revolution, and really admit that what lies ahead is disaster, he sounds a lot like us. Nice also that he's gotten on the bandwagon of Dual Process--about which I published in Counter Punch in 2012 (and possibly earlier, elsewhere; I can't remember)--but not so nice that he fails to credit his source. This 'borrowing' is part of his general m.o., however, as Chris Ketcham clearly demonstrated in his New Republic article, 11 June 2014. (Hedges' attempted refutation of this was on the order of pathetic.)


Urine attacks are of course de rigueur, but I wish this Haag guy had chosen more appropriate targets: Obama, Hillary, the Royal Couple, David Brooks, etc.


9:40 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Mike R

Most of my family works in healthcare, and the cruelest joke of all is that they have to keep working into retirement years just for the health benefits. Meanwhile the CEOs are wondering just what may be wrong with their frustrated employees, and splurging on 'mindfulness' training.

Too Much Winning:

@Tom Servo
Thanks for the link, Lasch was great. He seems to have been really sensitive to the Carter-Reagan 70s-80s cultural shift MB notes. Culture of Narcissism is also a good read.

As for conservatives, thank Trumpi for destroying their vacuous nonsense. Reagan also created the fake conservatism we now know. Before his cowboy act, there were many secular, intellectual conservatives, like Bill Buckley.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This is gd:

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

@Tom Servo

Christopher Lasch is a favorite of mine and if you haven't read his last book Revolt of the Elites & the Betrayal of Democracy, I recommend you do.

" According to Lasch, the new elites, i.e. those who are in the top 20% in terms of income, through globalization which allows total mobility of capital, no longer live in the same world as their fellow-citizens. In this, they oppose the old bourgeoisie of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which was constrained by its spatial stability to a minimum of rooting and civic obligations."

They're tourists in their own countries with no real interest in the problems facing 80% of the citizens and a cynical manipulation of public institutions for increased power and resources. He offers no solutions.

On Gaza -- Israel's mask of moral superiority keeps slipping off and the excuses and rationalizations grow more shrill and repulsive. Maybe we could loan them Gina so she could give them a few tips on how destroy the tapes.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Francois said...

Hedges is my favorite plagiarist. I don’t see him ever stopping the “revolt of the masses” talk, if he did he would be letting his father down. I believe his activism and sense of justice are a result of his father brainwashing him. His father was against the Vietnam War, his father hated the army durung WWII, his father loved MLK and non-violent resistance, his father founded an alliance for gays at Colgate and made his little boy lead it. Kunstler’s essay about schools was fantastic, they really are prisons. I agree with you Professor Berman, we should dismantle the entire public school system, but take it one step farther and shutter public universities. America students aren’t learning much of anything in schools, universities, or at home. They are addicted to their cell phones. In my opinion cigars and cigarettes are less harmful than cell phones.

10:54 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Richard Hofstadter has some very useful essays on Usonian Pseudo-Conservatism.

• “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt - 1954”
• “Pseudo-Conservatism Revisited - 1965”
• “Goldwater and Pseudo-Conservative Politics”

I’ve found these helpful in understanding what’s driving some of the anger, scapegoating, and viciousness.

All of the essays are worth reading and can be found in the collection The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter. The more famous titular essay is also worth reading, and should probably be read first, but I’d suggest not stopping there as the later essays explore the development of pseudo-conservatism more deeply.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown fell afoul of the local gendarmerie in Milwaukee this past January. Though he was cited for a parking infraction but not arrested, to help Brown “get his mind right” in the on-site interrogation phase, the officers tased him. These officers are now subject to an internal review. Body cam footage exists that is expected to be released, perhaps tomorrow (Wednesday, 23 May).

Anticipating the reaction of the general public to the airing, assistant police chief Michael Brunson Sr spoke about the video during a speech at a church on Sunday during the city’s Ceasefire Sabbath. (You read that right.)

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Or TASERs, as needs may dictate.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,


Re: "This anxiety and paralyzed feeling has been with me over 10 years now."

You may want to consider micro-dosing psilocybin to treat your anxiety and depression. Get a guide for yr first trip and be sure to disclose specific anxiety symptoms and triggers that you have to the guide beforehand, as a third of psilocybin users report increased anxiety while hallucinating. In any case, psilocybin may be just the thing you need to extinguish yr anxiety and depression.


Excellent news about yr health!

Over and Out,


ps: Time for some jazz:

If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want To Be Right, by Ramsey Lewis:

3:32 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Aaron, I guarantee you that you're not alone in feeling like that. I wish I had wise words to say, but I don't. Fortunately, wisdom is available; apart from Dr Berman's books, something that I highly recommend is the "I Ching." Check out the hexagram "Darkening of the Light" (not exactly how you're supposed to use the I Ching, but never mind).

And for a bit of comic relief (if somebody hasn't posted it already) Texas official blames school shooting on too many exits and entrances.

PS Gregory Stevens is my nomination for Honorary Wafer of the week for "calling the city of Palo Alto an “elitist shit den of hate” and criticizing the hypocrisy of “social justice” activism in the region."

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Incredible scenes:

4:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, those are all pts in Hedges' favor, imo. That's not the problem. The problem is that being an American, he's by definition an opportunist--no less so than Trumpi, just in a different field.


Again, they are opportunists; what America is about. As we slide deeper into decline and degradation, what is disgusting becomes coin of the realm.


Remember when Trumpi referred to various countries as shitholes? I was unclear as to why he didn't include the US in that list. Anyway, we now have shit dens--Buffalo, Bangor, Biloxi--you name it.


Watch length, por favor. Regarding psilocybin: I did mushrooms yrs ago, and it was marvelous. Last yr, a friend of mine took part in the study of its effects at Johns Hopkins Med Schl, and also benefited greatly. But some people have bad trips; it's impt to have an experienced guide.


Not clear why they didn't just shoot the guy. This is what the cops regularly do, no? I'm getting fed up with this coddling of criminals, myself.


4:42 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

New book released today, Sh*tshow!: The Country's Collapsing and the Ratings Are Great, by Charlie LeDuff of Detroit: An American Autopsy and "The Americans" fame.

I'm looking forward to Thomas Frank's upcoming book as well.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Diogenes, I have also had the same thoughts about modern conservatism in relation to people like Buckley. He expressed ambivalent feelings about the direction the conservative movement had gone near the end of his life, I think he would be pretty horrified by the election of Trump. But he gained his greatest influence in an era when it was still acceptable to be both a conservative and an intellectual. Nowadays if you're a politician who sounds too smart you're an "elitist".

regarding schools, I know the talk on here about shutting down schools is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but if people like Ivan Illich had their way thats what we really would do. The problem is this approach doesn't really answer the question of how schools were able to work perfectly well before the modern era. What changed? Technology and American culture changed. We now have a culture which basically trains young people to have short attention spans and no interest in learning, so why the surprise that they don't do well in school? It would be like sending a battalion of soldiers off to fight a war with no weapons, then being baffled as to how they all ended up dead.

7:10 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Dog pummeling, how sad is that?

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

I am glad so many Wafers liked that Christopher Lasch article. I think Russell Kirk may have been the last great American conservative intellectual and even he was starting to have misgivings about the state of American conservatism before he died, especially over the rising influence of the pro-war neoconservatives. Speaking of which, Andrew Bacevich has a good article on the bipartisan militarist cartel that runs the country.

Ian Welsh on frightening new facial recognition technology.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous J Lent said...

Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why.

8:01 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Are We Witnessing the Fall of the American Empire?

8:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out the guy's face. This is surely the face of America, present and future.


Cd the Wafer declinist outlook slowly be seeping into the American bloodstream? I wonder. Sales of WAF are minimal these days, and I can't help thinking that it's because the # of bks that say It's Over continues to grow.

And I thought he was going to live forever: end of an era:


9:50 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Did you look at the author of that article in The Atlantic you posted? How the Enlightenment Ends is written by Henry A Kissinger, yes, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. I bet the GSWH didn't expect this guy as an ally! When I clicked the author name link, I didn't see any other stories. This is the very first time he has written for The Atlantic.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Has anyone been watching the new "Roseanne" series? I watched the old one occasionally, and hence more-or-less knew the background of the situation, but I don't recall it being this political. Roseanne's character states that she supports Trump, mocks her pussy-hat wearing sister (justifiably), and yet each show presents another angle on the desperate situation that working-class Americans are in. There's still humour in the show, but it's generally all pretty grim.

Some have ripped her for supporting Trump, but it seems obvious that she's eviscerating Trump's America.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I never quite understood William S. Burroughs in spite of a summer seminar study of Beat poets. A documentary on Prime video helped and his Thanksgiving prayer is pretty awesome (apologies if this is old news),

Certain he'd enjoy the gun debate...

12:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Oh, my heart is broken today over the death of Philip Roth. The world has lost a truly magnificent and brilliant man. There are no words, really.

I think I'll go for a long walk...and, when you think about it, nearly all of the great writers, thinkers, and contemplative people saw the deep value of taking long walks. Drawing from that inspiration, I think I'll head out for a bit. Thank you, Mr. Roth.


12:23 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Now we're back to trivial BS: It's like when you spend your last dime on botox as opposed to food, rent, or electricity. At least you can disguise the despair on your face after you're evicted. Standing up for the anthem and the American flag isn't going to change the reality of our collapse. It's not going to bring our troops home or feed our homeless, that's for sure.

We're also bat shit crazy compared to the rest of the world (of course you don't need a study to tell you that):

"That said, if all the world’s a stage, America is a prime player: a rich, loud, attention-seeking celebrity not fully deserving of its starring role, often putting in a critically reviled performance and tending toward histrionics that threaten to ruin the show for everybody else. (Also, embarrassingly, possibly the last to know that its career as top biller is in rapid decline.)"

Sounds like you wrote this part, MB:
"While no one’s denying that hard work contributes to doing well, the American version of this idea—a Horatio Algerian fantasy that involves strapping on your proverbial boots and climbing corporate and class ladders—is both naive and empirically, factually and statistically wrong."

2:40 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Check this out.

It's sad.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The Nobel Committee has made some awful bloopers in its history, but not giving the Prize to Roth is surely one of the biggest.


3:35 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Realist: Loved that alternet article you posted:

"Turns out what you really need those boots for is wading through the thick swamp of bullcrap that is the myth of the American Dream."

4:33 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

New York parents win legal battle to evict son, 30:

Students shooting up the schools, graduates sitting at home, workers watching porn, retirees getting botox and trying to evict the graduates. This society is an absolute circus, and it won't even acknowledge it has issues.

Get ready for some ultra-Kafkaesque stuff in the near future when all the digital natives are booted from their caves. You ain't seen nothing yet.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

Millennial - that Alternet piece seemed like trash to me. They throw around so many ideas and mix and match a lot of unrelated things. Point 1: just because people do something doesn’t mean it should be condoned. They’re suggesting because premarital sex is done that we should say it’s ok. I disagree with that entire way of thinking. Also, this piece assumes all Christianity to be of the Joel Osteen variety. I think the 70 million Catholics would disagree with this assessment.

This idea that people are prude and we should just do what feels good; this is not a good idea. I think that’s part of how you get broken families and people living alone. If you start to toss everything out the window for some vague morality, you end up in a bad place. Most people now think it’s just fine to see your family just once a year, remarry multiple times, and have no stability for children.

There is a practical side to religion and morality that you’re just glossing over. I think the correct approach is to acknowledge reality while also striving for the ideal rather than just throwing the ideal out the window.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No shit department:

"Former CIA operative John Kiriakou, a whistleblower who worked under Haspel at the Thai site, said the appointment proves you can ‘engage in war crimes [and] still make it to the top’."

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

In the world of hustlers everyone is an opportunist. The minorities, the marginalised -colored, immigrants, women, etc- who demand justice and fairness, are often in 'bed with power' appeasing them. Until one day they are reminded appropriately that they are indeed suckers. If she was a nation her name would be Israel. And the day of reckoning -hoist by one's own petard- does come...

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Haley said...

Write up about Jordan Peterson, and our cultural template for what an intellectual looks like:

7:58 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Man wanted for attacking an SUV with sledgehammer...

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Aaron - I don't think the article was implying that just because something feels good, we should do it. I think what they were trying to get at is that Americans tend to have a fundamentalist, black & white view towards these types of issues in comparison to other countries. No one is saying that pre-marital sex is necessarily good or even bad. It's just that here in the U.S. many are raised to believe it's sinful and evil without having a more nuanced & realistic approach to it. Many others are raised with no guidance at all (apathetic parents).

The results speak for themselves -- red states with predominately abstinence-only programs tend to have high rates of teen pregnancies: It's pretty much the "forbidden fruit" phenomenon, which is similar to our over-indulgent alcohol culture compared to other countries. Not to mention the hypocrisy of parents telling their teens to abstain from alcohol or sex until they're 21 or married when they themselves didn't abide by that as teens.

I know too many of my peers who grew up in these restrictive & reactionary households and their lives are a mess. And I fully believe this is one of many contributors to our decline. A moderate approach to life and a nuanced view of issues are rarities in this "exceptional" land. It's Manichean -- good vs. evil, light vs. dark.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

@ MB

You may be right about the mainstream. There certainly has been an uptick in collapse-related analysis, and fiction seems to have taken a dark turn lately as well. Of course, it took the election of Trump for what passes as the left in America to acknowledge that there may be deeper problems here. Personally, I kick myself every day for not having fled this dump years ago.

For the Nobel, Roth certainly deserved it, and I'd also nominate Calvino. He deserved it more than Borges or Nabokov, IMO, but apparently he was too bawdy, or too mainstream, or something. Gore Vidal wrote an interesting essay about Calvino's big funeral in Italy, noting that Americans would never give a serious writer the celebrity treatment.

On another note, Linh Dinh talks about leaving America, and he mentions Neurotic Beauty:

1:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Well, there goes Trumpo's Ignoble Prize:

Cuddle rebuff dept.:

Kristy Misty Mudd, 31, beats her boyfriend because of his refusal to cuddle:

Meanwhile, for the record, I just wanna say that I'm very much in favor of pre-marital sex.



2:44 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Aaron & Millennial -- I think you both have valid points. I was raised Christian (but not fundy) in a small Midwestern town and fled to become a big city atheist (or at least strongly agnostic) as soon as I got out of college. My parents were cool with it, and my dad became more agnostic himself as he grew older--but I can say I've seen both sides of the equation up close. My best friend from high school is a born again and he is one of the most decent guys I know, one for whom the tired cliche, "he'd give you the shirt off his back," actually does apply.

Anyway, while it can't be argued that fundamental, patriarchal societies aren't terrible places for women, gays and the like, it is equally true that one of America's biggest problems is that it has largely abandoned any sort of moral code. You might even say it is (ahem) a question of values. The lack of values is how another guy I know who is deeply religious can say that he loves Trump for supposedly putting the country back on the right track despite the latter living as hedonistic a life as one could possible live and being a monumental hypocrite who screws the poor every chance e gets. It's also how most of the supposedly "tolerant left" has become just as intolerant of those on the right they disagree with as the latter are of them while also screwing the poor whenever they are inconvenient.

Just my $.02.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st of all, anyone named Kristy Misty Mudd shd be locked up for her name alone. Otherwise, I share her indignation over BF's refusal to cuddle. Really, if she had been armed (and why wasn't she?), he would have got what he deserved. New exciting female movement: #INeedCuddling.


The turkeys also passed on Graham Greene and Carlos Fuentes. Thanks for tip on Linh Dinh. Caught me by surprise.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I find this news item intriguing:

The guy beats his wife to death with a saucepan, then repairs to the local pub for a pint. Neat.

The NRA is fond of saying that guns don't kill people; people do. But what if the gov't recalled all the guns and issued everyone a saucepan? What then? Wafers are invited to submit creative saucepan scenarios.


7:24 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Another Case Study: even the "smart" people were stupid.

Catchy rapping and great moves! Onward and downward--exciting.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


And as if the "Witch of Buchenwald" running the CIA weren't enough, we also have neocons Nikki Haley and muppet-face John Bolton running foreign policy and threatening to give North Korea the Libya solution.

Changing subjects, not that you need any validation, MB, but today this British historian, Godfrey Bloom, stated clearly that the U.S. is headed for a Dark Age. He said that when an empire collapses, it is followed either by another empire, or a dark age. The U.S. will likely be followed by a dark age:

2:24 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

JP is filling the vacuum left by the old secular conservative intellectuals. He's a hit because he is smart enough to use and abuse the language of secular psychology to make points otherwise left to dunderheads like Hannity.

When it's all said and done, the US really has more in common with the Soviet Union than any other political experiment. The masses of disaffected people trolling the system and insensitive to the fake and grandiose official pronouncements feel like a real proletariat.

People who go to the emergency room for minor cuts because they won't be turned away for a lack of insurance. People who have a paying job but sit and play flash games on their phone all day. Concern trolls who write up long reviews of restaurants on Yelp. Financial news reporting no inflation when college tuition has gone up 500 percent. News and sports playing for nobody in particular in public places where the homeless gather. Alienation in a failing casino gulag.

They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Francois said...

Rachel Dolezal, my favorite white woman who posed as a black woman has been charged with welfare fraud. Dolezal needs to grab a sauce pan and break Shaneka Monique Torres out of prison. The two femme fatales can then use their sauce pans of mass destruction to hold up a McDonalds for bacon.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

If you think smartphones are bad news, watch out: Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact.

Why would anybody buy this piece of shit really beats me, but again, this is a sign of the times.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

ADHD drug overdoses rising among American children.

1 in 5 college students suffer from anxiety or depression.

Jean Twenge on the link between smartphones and the increase in depression and suicide among teenagers.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Hello Wafers, Lots of good, interesting links. Geoff - thanks for that link to the interview with Linh Dinh. I love his observations of American life (and elsewhere), he really gets to the heart of a place. His comment on what's happened to Hanoi, where he says "its oldest section is now a crass playground for tourists", really rings true. I see it in many Italian cities, where the historic city centers have been turned into medieval Disneylands. Additionally, his observations on the state of American Universities/letters is absolutely on point.

While reading about Ralph Waldo Emerson, I found this quote by him - "I hate this shallow Americanism which hopes to get rich by credit, to get knowledge by raps on midnight tables, to learn the economy of the mind by phrenology, or skill without study, or mastery without apprenticeship" (from 'Self-Reliance'). More evidence that we've always been this way.

Meanwhile, Trumpi & Co are charging headlong into disaster, with Bolton, Pompeo, et al being about as obnoxious as they could possibly be, and then wondering why the rest of the world isn't immediately falling behind them. They are truly fulfilling their roles in this tragedy. Sigh

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Oops! sorry for the extra comment within 24 hours. The Emerson quote is NOT from 'Self Reliance' - I had read the reference in another essay. Just read the original, that quotation is nowhere to be found. Not sure where it came from originally, but the idea is still spot on! (I should always check with the original!)

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

I for one am getting pretty tired of Jordan Peterson and all of the brouhaha he has stirred up.

Having said that there is an article today written by the professor who was instrumental in him getting hired at the University of Toronto and who knows him quite well.

I think it's worth the read.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I agree. Armed with a saucepan, nothing cd stop Shaneka. I love her.


What else cd follow the collapse of a country filled with morons?


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


The 2020 Dem ticket:
Pres: Lorenzo Riggins
VP: Kristy Misty Mudd

Meanwhile, this is why we love him!:

Go, Trumpi, Bolti, Nikki, Gina, and all you collected assholes! Slash and burn!


12:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I read Philip Roth's "Exit Ghost" a few yrs ago, decided to reread it in wake of his death. He's got some great observations on the stupidity/mindlessness of cell fones. In addition, here are some great quotes:

"I could not believe what I saw when a creature so rooted in his ruthless pathology, so transparently fraudulent and malicious as Nixon, defeated Humphrey in '68, and when, in the eighties, a self-assured knucklehead whose unsurpassable hollowness and hackneyed sentiments and absolute blindness to every historical complexity became the object of national worship and, esteemed as a 'great communicator' no less, won each of his two terms in a landslide."

As for liberals: they "had no idea who the great mass of Americans were, nor had they seen so clearly before that it was not those educated like themselves who would determine the country's fate but the scores of millions unlike them and unknown to them."

All this in 2007. I'm wondering if Phil died of Trump. Or perhaps the realization that "the great mass of Americans" were dumbbells proved to be too much.


6:41 PM  
Anonymous Tomas5 said...

You don't even have to be a living thing to get a handgun in this country

Driver sees a black object in the air, later finds a handgun lodged into his car

7:36 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB -- "I'm wondering if Phil died of Trump." Probably not so far fetched. After all, Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide after Bush's reelection.

Here's an interesting article that points out one of the reasons why Trumpi is so useful to the nation's owners: Corporate Privilege: Premeditated Murders, Civil Fines and Miscarriages of Justice. Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $25.75 million judgement for knowingly putting asbestos into baby powder. CNN apparently took a two minute break from reporting on the Trump circus to report this news without providing the viewer with any context: That J&J has a market cap of $327 billion (thus the verdict is a tiny drop in the bucket) and that nobody from J&J was criminally indicted despite the fact that countless deaths were likely caused by placing a known cancer causing carcinogen in a product used on infants. The author adds that CNN did the very minimum in reportage in order to avoid losing an important advertiser. One thing he fails to mention is that none of the employees of these corporations who are deliberately killing people ever resign in protest--which from a declinist's standpoint proves what we are saying about America.

Anyway, the whole article is worth a read.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...


Jesus, Roth was an extraordinarily erudite writer. Is "Exit Ghost" your favorite Roth novel, BTW? My favorite is "The Ghost Writer." I also love "The Human Stain," but I believe GW to be his greatest work.


8:15 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

@MBurgess @JLent @AuthorMB

re: this link & general arguments to SA Pinker

Critique of Enlightenment Now & Pinker reminds me of Monty Python. All right but apart from doubling life spans, 17x wealth, 90% poverty decline, disease eradication, clean air/water, peace, freedom & happiness what has the Enlightenment ever done for us?

Otherwise I very much enjoy the discussions here, my friends

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Gale said...

Professor Berman,

A fantastic and prolific author, but don't we now know Mr Roth was a deeply flawed womanizer and such.

But I do understand your collegiality

All my best

11:37 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I have absolute faith in Trump and Carson when they say they want to gut HUD and turn food stamps into care packages.If we've learned anything take Trump @ his word...

After the crash when all shit hits the fan what once looked like a ridiculous nutty plan with no chance of enactment becomes instead the envy of the last middle class.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Has nothing to do with collegiality. He was a great artist, and a great student of the human condition (like Freud; but let's wipe him out as well). So he was a womanizer? O the shame, the horror! I understand that Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot were antisemitic. Anyway, I have no collegiality with the latter two, any more than I do with Roth; but one thing I do have is perspective. God, identity politics is so fucked up.


Like Pinker, yr not thinking very clearly. It wd take a long discussion, and you seriously need to read the guy's critics; but the life span question is debatable, regardless of what you have read (figures are jacked up due to higher infant mortality in the past, which was actually practiced deliberately by hunter-gatherers to keep pop. from getting outta control); 17x wealth for whom, amigo? Distribution of it has probably never been worse; we have a whole new host of diseases to replace the old ones; our air and water are polluted; and what peace/freedom/happiness are you talking about??!, and for whom? (Just look around the planet!) "Progress" brings its own propaganda with it, and you got sucked in.

Being 'better off' is highly subjective. The great French historian Marc Bloch once pointed out that there was simply no way, in terms of how their lives were experienced, to conclusively argue that a peasant in 12C-Provence was subjectively unhappier or worse off than a 20C Parisian businessman. Every civ is a package deal, with both light and dark; the question is whether any civ is 'delivering the goods', i.e. making its citizens happy; and the determination of that is quite iffy.

If you wanna get unsucked, however, you'll hafta do it on yr own. We've had this argument out sporadically over the last few yrs, and I personally don't have the energy to repeat it. But maybe in terms of yr own (much-needed) 'enlightenment', some of the other Wafers might be willing to help.


I'm still a big fan of Portnoy. What a line: "So now, doctor, you know the worst thing I ever did: I fucked my own family's dinner." After publication, it 1969, it was rather common (so Roth later reported) for him to be dining in a restaurant and have some stranger come up, look at his plate, and say: "Liver?" I love it!


Clearly, the data of our collapse are reaching asymptotic proportions.


10:58 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I read Portnoy's Complaint back in the 70s, and what I remember best about it was the kindergarten scene where the teacher was asking the kids to identify common household objects, and little Portnoy was shown a spatula. He had to pass, pleading ignorance, because he'd heard his mother call it a "spatula," which he assumed was Yiddish, and he didn't want to embarass himself, so he was thereafter mocked for being the dope who didn't know what a spatula was.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


The Enlightenment needs to be given a better historical context. It is still celebrated as an alternative to the world of the Inquisition and Ptolemic astronomy. It did successfully end many dying and dysfunctional paradigms.

But nobody critques the Englightenment for those historical successes. The problem lies in all its current shortcomings.

To take one of many examples- our economic system seems to be the product of an Englightenment ideal. Economists engage in all kinds of empirical tests and offer all kinds of proofs.

And yet in spite of all this careful ratiocination, you get absurd outcomes, like the 36 year old orthodontist in a million dollars of student debt.

Of course there is going to be a crash nobody could see coming, because it was invisible to the blind little inquiries of economists, but obvious to anybody young and working for a living.

The biggest problem in Enlightenment thought is the so-called is-ought gap. The economy is something you can only study like a specimen of mold. Why shouldn't it leave a young professional as a lifelong debt serf?

11:28 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Why are we living in an age of anger – is it because of the 50-year rage cycle?

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


Silicon Valley scenes...My daughter went back to visit colleagues at Santa Clara University and stopped for lunch at a cafe in San Jose. She described the lifeless looks in people's faces and multiple times saw people eating alone, setting up their lattes on the table. Making sure everything looked just right they took selfies of the lattes and warm buns.

Her description reflects perfectly what you see everywhere down there: people taking pictures of lifeless objects trying to bring them to life to show some feeling of connection. All that they long for that's missing in their lives.

It's a far cry from what SCV used to be called: The Valley of My Hearts Desire.


12:03 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

A story about friendship. When I was teaching I had, I thought, 2 good friends. Let's call them Mr. B and Mr. K. We were close. We visited each other's rooms when free, went out to lunch on occasion and I was even invited to their respective homes. And I played a kind of game-who was the better friend? Sometimes it was Mr. K and sometimes Mr. B. In fact, I once lent Mr. B $150. He never paid me back. I knew he had some money issues so I never asked for it back After all, he was my friend. So now 2 years have passed since I retired and it's basically out of sight, out of mind. I rarely heard from either of them last year and now I don't hear from them at all. In other words, they were work colleagues all along, nothing more. I was stupid to think they were genuine friends. I'd like to hear Wafer stories concerning friendship if you can.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

"...apart from doubling life spans, 17x wealth, 90% poverty decline, disease eradication, clean air/water, peace, freedom & happiness what has the Enlightenment ever done for us?"

This kind of one sentence simplistic argument is extremely common with the typical American who wants to make a point about our current system basically being the correct path. The amount of spin is incredible in these types of statements.

Peace: why do you think we have peace? Is it because we've become peaceful, or because we have nuclear weapons in submarines pointed at each other 24/7 so large land based war is no longer feasible? Wealth increases only at the expense of nature, and we're well past the point of no return regarding climate change. Lifespan: just having soap and vaccines has made the biggest difference; the vast medical industry in my view isn't giving us as much as we think. Philip Slater made the point decades ago that we should measure years of meaningful/happy life, since being an old person isolated and in pain in front of a TV shouldn't really be our measure of success. Life span is also different in rich vs poor. Regarding happiness, you get into questionable territory when your primary goals in life are pain minimization, comfort, security, and all the other typical things that are part of the liberal/atheist narrative. Your narrative and goals in life will shape how you view statistics. If you are focused on religion, nature, and wisdom, I would say the current state of things can be seen as a near complete failure. If your narrative is basically hedonism, you're likely to have a lot of unintended consequences.

My prediction is that all this is just a blip, that once we've pushed the limits of resource extraction, all this technology will disappear for most people and it will be back to low impact living. Most praise today is simply praise for vast resource extraction; sustainable living anywhere near what we have today is not possible.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle," for the distinction between karass and granfalloon (based on Ferdinand Toennies' distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft). That shd clear up the confusion 4u. I've had many (non)relationships of the type you describe.


1:09 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

To see what Pinker's Enlightenment 'has done for you' you need to curb being ingrate and enjoy yourself some of the rewards of progress. I doubt if any of the owners of these toys are complaining about "clean air/water, peace, freedom & happiness." So stop whining and go visit your local marine dealership and spend some of the "17x wealth" you earned.

The choice to be on which side of the 1:5000 is yours.

Nobody is forcing you to live in un-progress. You can move in with Gate's if you wish. There is plenty of room in his 66,000-square-foot Xanadu 2.0.

Pinker's secrets to progress 'Enlightenment Now' is only $23.79.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Dan--friendship in america is largely a scam/sham. It was all about using each other for economic gain/professional enrichment/narcopathic needs. Believe Dr. Berman and other WAFERs have given their experiences too.

My experience is very similar-- american 'friendships' consists of mutual tummy rubs, happy talk, you go girl/boys (love bombing--Margaret Singer)-- you thk you have "friendship." The minute uncomfortable things are said, an action is kindly requested, or challenge are made to their smiley narrative-..they're gone. They cannot even react to differences w/o rage and silent treatment. They basically use you to make themselves feel good--like ticking a box in their heads that they are liked. You are allotted 3-10min of 'friendship,’ then like a stopwatch, they're off to the next…Like a 11yo trapped in a 50yo body.

Also, chronic-- "too busy," non-unresponsiveness, cxl last minute prior to an outing stating a work thing, too tired, too busy, constant phone/watch starring. Or being invited during lunchtime at their home and no offer of food, nibbles—nothng or-- too busy to get food. Not even an offer of tap water. It’s like a cold, arms-length distance. Sartre said the Anglo-Saxon had iron in the soul. The american friendship was indeed like trying to get blood from a stone.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

I know you have a 24 hour posting rule but wanted to correct my mistake. Silicon Valley used to be called, The Valley of Heart's Delight.


4:49 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

WAFers may enjoy reading the following article by Professor Brett Kaplan, Professor of Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She discusses the criticism that arose among some in the Jewish community regarding Philip Roth’s characters and their perceived anti-Semitic color.

As a general observation, I can recommend the website “” I find it offers at least one article of interest every day that I visit.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Dan--a big part of the problem in America these days is that most people have to separate themselves from the support groups they had growing up in order to find decent employment. That was the case with me--no friend I've ever made since high school have I ever felt as close to as I did the people I grew up with. When I got sick with cancer, my wife and I experienced a huge outpouring of support--however as my treatments dragged on into their third year those largely dried up and it became apparent that most of them had been pretty superficial anyway, maybe one would bring us a meal here or stay with me for a few hours there. My wife is a bit of a social butterfly and has dozens of "friends," but after my second surgery when I still needed a lot of care she finally became exasperated and actually said at one point, "I've never felt so ALONE."

Fortunately, I have great health insurance and we never had any financial problems, because that probably would have really driven the point home. My wife probably has five times as many "friends" as I do, but when the chips are down I think we're both in the same boat in having only a few close family members we can really count on--and those don't live anywhere close by. And the really sad part for me is that 30 years after I left my hometown I've grown so apart from those few friends from back then that I'm still in touch with that I hardly even know them anymore. THAT'S modern America for you.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure even Roth, could have made this up:

I suggest we hire a Sensitivity Reader on this blog and that MB you submit all Wafer posts for his/her approval.


4:07 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Aaron Thomas,

Very good points you raise in your post. Things like climate change and the devastation of the environment are always brushed under the rug by people like Pinker and the Enlightenment crowd, with a bland shrugging of the shoulders, and some version of "Human ingenuity will eventually solve these problems too." But I'm skeptical of this, and in any event, it's way too early to tell. Just sit tight, Mr. Pinker, and give this thing 40 more years to play itself out. Imagine what an out of control, fucked up wasteland America will be by 2050!

Indeed, depending on how you date it, this globalized, neoliberal, Enlightenment civilization really has only been around for a brief moment in historical terms. And it's really only gone into hyperdrive since, say, the 1980's and 90's (when neoliberalism became the only game in town, when the Internet, social media, and cell phones began their work of destroying all community and social bonds, etc.) So how in the hell can people like Pinker even dream of making a final judgment on whether or not this is a good thing? Again, I say give it just a little more time. It's bad right now, as we document here every day, and in a few decades it's going to be unspeakably bad.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Moretti said...

This is what the provincial election in Ontario looks like, Doug Ford is Rob's brother. You remember Rob, former crack using joke of Mayor of Toronto.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I ordered the book but in the meantime I looked up the meanings of karass and granfallon and realized that my supposed friendships were just institutionally based. It makes sense. I noticed how friendly teachers were inside the building but as soon as 3 PM hit everyone immediately left. In fact, in my last few years even those ersatz friendships were strained as teachers began to guard their data like some prized jewel. In one case I literally stayed after school and sneak into a teacher's room to copy her students' reading levels. Now it appears even worse as there is a great reluctance to say anything in the workplace in light of PC and Me Too.
As for karass, that too is a joke in the US. Again, due to everyone's pristine sensibilities one has to be careful what to say. I thought I had a friend who is,like myself, a struggling comedian. He'd call me on occasion or we'd have a drink and he'd pitch some jokes. I gingerly told him the jokes weren't funny and needed work. Think he answers my calls? Take a guess.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

ICE’s largest family detention facility—Karnes, which is run by a private contractor—they’ve got a prison bus for babies down there.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

IMHO I'd say the Enlightenment is more than a period of time than anything else, but maybe I am just ignorant. I personally prefer to focus on individuals, and for the ruinous state of Western civilization at the moment, I blame two individuals in particular (I accept all criticism about being simplistic and everything else beforehand): Darwin and Freud. Two great thinkers, no doubt, with great insights. However, the success of some of his ideas, beyond their wildest dreams, I imagine, have had extremely destructive side effects.

Let's take Darwin, for example. Evolution most likely happens in some way or other. But random mutation and natural selection are just an intellectually (and politically as well as religiously) biased explanation. To begin with, randomness is a very dubious concept. Many great philosophers have denied it exists at all. Evolution cannot explain the origin of life. But say this and you're likely to be laughed at as a muddle-headed religious idiot who doesn't understand science, while the fact is that you don't understand science if you don't understand its limits.

The success of evolution and psychoanalysis has resulted in a culture where all you need is science (and technology). Science can explain life, your very existence, and science can cure you when, inevitably, you feel meaningless: it's just a neurosis. Well, Darwin and Freud, I say to you, shovel your science up your arse!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and and Wafers,


Based on yr suggestion a ways back, I finally screened "Beatriz at Dinner." Jesus, what a phenomenal film! If any Wafers have not seen this terrific film, run out right now and secure a copy. Incidentally, this film relates quite nicely to our current discussion of the limits of the Enlightenment. Again, I can't thank you enuf for this recommendation MB.


2:12 PM  
Anonymous Crow said...

Forbes article: elon musk is a modern day henry ford
(2 minutes later)
We regret to inform you elon musk is a modern day henry ford

3:27 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I've begun a couple of thought experiments, a coping mechanism I suppose, that seem to relieve anxieties about the state of the world. The first is I try to imagine the venal cynicism of the billionaire class I try to see things through their eyes as I imagine them to b. I seem to detach and find much humor in the utter stupidity around me. The second is I try to imagine what it must b like to speak your mind from the bottom of your soul and find acceptance and admiration...must b a nice feelin *gotta b a total dipshit with zero insight into anything* but it must feel good, it's something I'll never experience, as others have said Americans have no appetite for 'negativity.'

In regards to silicon valley's own 'progressive' retardation I would offer one small concession. Most social aide programs are federal so there isn't much wiggle room for States to intervene. My hunch is if the left coast of WA, OR, and CA were their own confederation the benefits might b more generous.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Vaughn said...

Really excellent piece on Wittgenstein and his striking and enigmatic work in philosophy

4:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


On that, check out "Ecotopia," by Ernest Callenbach.


For lighter fare, try "The Hero" (Sam Elliott). I'm now trying to figure out how to get Laura Prepon in my life.


Myself, I'd hate to think of a (modern) world in which those two didn't exist.


You shd have probably given him some specific help with his gag routines. Remember Kenny Bania from Seinfeld? That's what Jerry tried to do. Of course, he might give you a suit, and then you'd hafta take him out to dinner (twice). (In real life, Steve Hytner, a terrific actor.)

Granfalloon relationships are typical of the academic world. How many cocktail parties did I suffer thru, having literally 0 in common w/most of these folks--while we were all pretending it was a karass? Take me now, O Lord.


When you come down to it, we never leave high school.


The problem, as you know, is that I am a very insensitive person, and worse--proud of it.

Wafers on friendship-

One thing I began to realize b4 (thank u god) I quit the US for gd was that Americans literally don't know what friendship is. They think it's about proximity; there is no understanding of soul in their conception because they have no souls. I've had friends of, say, 1.5 yrs suddenly 'ghost' me w/no explanation whatsoever. I can't think of anything I did 'wrong', and perhaps there was nothing. American friendships are as thin as tissue paper, and this too is directly related to a hustling culture that goes back 400 yrs, in which everyone is viewed instrumentally. The proximity definition also has no notion of obligation in it; it blows away like dandelion spores. Finally, you realize that with few exceptions, Americans are full of shit.


5:27 PM  
Anonymous Quercus said...

Check this Out:

Here we have biblical “scholars” discussing what kind of gun Jesus would carry! But the problem is that Jesus is not an American, and never enjoyed America’s freedoms and liberties, so he never would have had that right as guaranteed under the Second Amendment. Do you think we could make Jesus an honorary American, especially since he is alive and with us today?

As for his choice of arms, I say he should carry an AK-47 assault rifle to blast the crap out of those Pharisees!


5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st, Jesus is not alive and with us today.

2nd, according to a little-known bk of the Apocrypha, called *Zhlob*, the guy's strategy was not to gun down the Pharisees. What Jesus actually carried was a platter of pastrami sandwiches, matzoh ball soup, chopped liver, cole slaw with Russian dressing, dill pickles, and Cel-Ray Tonic. He intended to stuff the Pharisees until they cdn't move, but was cruelly cut down by a flying corned beef sandwich b4 he could act. He was never crucified; he was buried in corned beef, and then resurrected by a bunch of hungry apostles two days later. (Judas subsequently opened a deli on Allenby St. in Jerusalem.) This is the true story at the heart of Christianity, and the origin of the prayer "Zhlob Me Tender." Sad to say, this wonderful hymn was later replaced by the Ave Maria (which I do like, however).

The text of "Zhlob Me Tender" was lost around the time of Constantine. Wafers are encouraged to compose possible lyrics for it.


6:53 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

@ MB

I agree about Fuentes, and Greene in particular. The Quiet American is one of my favorite novels ever. Greene understood perfectly well why an American intervention in Vietnam would be disastrous, and he also knew the arrogant Americans would ignore his advice. Sure enough, nobody listened.

Re: Linh Dinh (@ Italiana)

Yes, it's too bad about Hanoi and Italy. I've enjoyed Linh's observations over the years about the USA as well, and his recent essays on his blog and about leaving are good too. I've bantered with him on his blog a couple of times, and he's a good dude, even though he has no particular reason to entertain some random guy from the internet.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Re: Granfallons

The notion has spilled into the absurd journalistic notion of fake interest 'communities'. We have some spy agencies full of people who are likely full of suspicion and resentment of each other, but they are the 'intelligence community'.

Same with scientific, LGBTQ, and medical community. It's a polite way of recognizing that nothing happens without the fake consensus of a few top names who define the community.

I remember reading that Spengler noted that Americans called their country "this country", as if it is all one happy accident they aren't a part of.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

"Evolution cannot explain the origin of life. But say this and you're likely to be laughed at as a muddle-headed religious idiot who doesn't understand science"

Just a heads up, Jews, Muslims, and Catholics all accept/teach/believe evolution. Considering science and religion are on the same page here, I'd say you are a bit of a quack at this point for not believing it. Maybe you need to find somewhere else to get your info?

A lot of modern Christianity is kind of a "believe whatever feels right to you" sort of thing, so they kind of pick and choose whatever is comfortable. Hey if you don't like it, you can just click over to another youtube channel or pick a different church and somebody will tell you what you want to hear. That's the problem of our time in general, not just on evolution.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

I was reading through Robert Greene's The 48 Laws of Power the other day. In the beginning of the book he stated something very waferish in my opimion. He acknoweldged, for reasons different than we woulf though, that basically we are on our own and can't count on anyone else to watch our backs. I fear the day I have a major medical crisis. I really doubt I would have anyone in my family much less friends willing to take time to sit with me at a hospital or take me on trips to the doctor if I can't drive myself.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Check out this Los Angeles based experiment in human togetherness:

- Northern Johnny

8:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls re-send yr post, but minus the antagonism. (I wdn't mind if yr target was a trollfoon.) Thanks.


Many yrs ago, living in San Fran, I answered an ad for a 'rabbi walker'. Woman had elderly grandfather who was a rabbi, she wanted someone to take him out for a walk 3x/wk. I finally decided against it, but thought I shd print up some business cards for future gigs, that would say:

Rabbi Walker
[phone #]

Then people might call me up asking for Jewish advice or whatever ("Help me, Rabbi Walker; my son is dating a shiksa!" etc.).

Recently, I've been thinking abt business cards for Wafers. One possibility:

"Under no circumstances will I tolerate horse manure!"
[phone #]

Wafers are encouraged to submit other statements for possible cards.


Always, always capitalize Wafer. Hence, Waferish, Waferian, Waferdom, etc. In terms of your future med crisis: you'll probably, like most Americans, die alone, and like a dog; which is why you need to start exploring the local Wafer network! Tells us where you are located, amigo.


9:04 AM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Aaron, you calling me a quack just proves my point nicely, thank you.

Just a heads up, Jews, Muslims, and Catholics all accept/teach/believe evolution.

This is extremely inaccurate, to say the least. I said evolution happens, by the way, but it does not explain life any more than change explains history. It is the pseudo-scientific random mutation and natural selection explanation that I challenge. A subtle topic that would require a complex discussion, something impossible if we resort to the authority argument.

There is still value in reading Aristotle, but we have moved on from the scholastics of the middle ages. There will always be value in reading Darwin, but we must move on.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I read this every Memorial Day when my AJC publishes it. It reminds me of my grandfather who survived two wars. It also reminds me of guys I knew, braver than me, who served their country and didn’t make it home.

God war makes me sick....

I'm sure you've had a # of peers and mentors go thru something similar, professor?

Happy Memorial Day my people

9:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zar, Aaron-

How does 'genetic drift' fit into this discussion?


9:39 AM  
Anonymous Francois said...

For Wafer cards, “Don’t forget the bacon!” Phone# 1-800-4Shaneka

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Some of the recent commentary reminded me of this quote-

12:02 PM  
Anonymous James barlow said...

MB: "The Germans didn't want to destroy themselves twice." (I think that the jury is still out on that one, isn't it?)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Rosebud said...

Instead of saying most citizens in the US are emotionally dead, would it not be morel accurate to say they are 'spiritually dead', disconnected from mother nature, soulless psychological and political zombies.

Katrina vane Heuvel on Nato Military Spending & Avoiding Cold War Nuclear Catastrophe with Russia. Watch YT Democracy Now:”

The difference between the Russian MIC and the USA MIC, is Russia MIC is mostly to defend itself from NATO and the USA; while the US MIC is mostly ABOUT to sell weapons around the world.

The rest of the world is opaque to most Amerikans, while being totally transparent to the world. How many Amerikans speak Chinese or Russian is a good example.

9:48 AM  

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