July 27, 2018

Declinism Rising


About a month ago, someone named Sean Posey asked if he could do an interview with me, and then submit the transcript to some alternative websites, such as Truthout etc. Thus far, everyone approached has declined to post it, which is of course no surprise: these "alternative" sites are not really radical at all. They still move within the orbit of America Can Be Saved (like the NYT, or Trump). Should someone come along and speak the naked ugly truth--that Americans are not terribly smart and that the country has no future--they shut their eyes and ears. Too real, too scary. If Sean does manage to get a "bite," I'll let you know; but in the meantime, I'm posting the transcript of that conversation. One thing about us Wafers: we don't spend our lives with our heads in the sand. We don't run from reality; we embrace it.

Sean Posey: Not every declinist has his day, but historian and social critic Morris Berman certainly seems to be having his. In 2000, Berman released The Twilight of American Culture, the first book in a trilogy (followed by Dark Ages America in 2006 and Why America Failed in 2011) on the decline of the American Empire. As the dot-com boom bubble inflated to the bursting point, Berman looked beyond just the economic scene to examine the many failings of American life. Predicting that America was inexorably headed for the rocks, Berman took a contrarian position, citing four factors that were leading to the decline of the country: growing social and economic inequality, declining returns on investment in societal structures, the erosion of intellectual standards and critical thinking, and what he called the“spiritual death” of the country. Almost two decades later--in the age of reality television, mass shootings, widespread poverty, opioids, and a Trumpian presidency--Berman’s predictions seem to be rapidly coming to fruition. However, unlike many contemporary social critics, he has very different suggestions for those who are still mystified by the illusions of the American Dream.

Berman’s latest books are The Man Without Qualities (2016) and Are We There Yet? Essays & Reflections, 2010-2017 (2017). His study of Japanese society and culture, Neurotic Beauty, was published in 2015, and he is currently working on a book on Italy. SP: What was going through your mind when you began working on what became the trilogy on America? Many Americans today look back to the 1990s as a time of milk and honey. What did you see in the culture that caused you to consider that we might be entering, as you later phrased it, a dark age of sorts?

MB: The celebration of the Clinton years was practically unanimous. Everybody (well, left and center) was thinking this was the best possible president, the best possible country, and so on. What I saw was decay and disintegration, and I was aware that practically nobody else was seeing this, although there were a lot of red flags around, if you cared to look. For example, one might occasionally read an item in the papers about the disparity between rich and poor. Well, that gap widened during the Clinton years. People think it was a fabulous era of prosperity, and there was some degree of "trickle down," that’s true. But the distance between the rich and poor increased during those years. It was essentially a prosperity for the rich.

I also began to notice things I’d had never seen before, like the misspelling of ordinary words on government or official signs. I remember when I was living in Washington, D.C., and at the Children’s Hospital, the word “children” was misspelled. It takes a dramatic degree of stupidity to get to that point--and we were at it. And I saw it everywhere. If you were with a group of people and you made some literary allusion--it could be to anything, really--everybody just stared at you. For the great majority of Americans, intelligence was a negative thing--"elitism." This, to me, was a sure sign of a dying culture. It was clear that we were living with a different type of population and in a different world than had existed only 20 or 30 years previously. And in fact, there were a number of books published during the 90s that took up the theme of the “dumbing down of America.”

I also began to believe that the famed vitality of American culture was only a surface phenomenon, like people jumping up and down in Pepsi ads on TV, proclaiming how "alive" they felt. Kitsch, in a word. An educated guess: all of this mindless excitement basically served the purpose of hiding from reality. I was living in Washington State during the mid-90s. I remember the hysteria that greeted the unveiling of Windows 95. It was like the messiah had come. I’d go to parties and people were fainting over Windows 95.... Why were you hysterical over Pepsi Cola or Windows 95? It’s because there’s nothing truly meaningful in your life. I began to see that this emptiness was true of most Americans and the country at large. In the Twilight book I called it “spiritual death.” Basically, you don’t really believe in anything anymore. You can’t really make a religion out of Pepsi-Cola or Microsoft, although many people tried (now it's the latest electronic gadget, or app). So while everyone was getting excited about Bill Clinton and Pepsi and Microsoft and telling themselves that this was life, what I noticed was an enormous spiritual vacuum. The popular smiley face logo masked a deep sadness. (Windows 95, BTW, proved to be a very inferior product. False messiah, apparently.)

Clinton's (internal) campaign slogan was, “It’s the economy, stupid!” The guy was never really about much else, and last I heard his foundation was sitting on $2 billion. If all you’re thinking about is the economy, then you’re not really thinking about much else. It means your entire philosophy of life boils down to "the cash value of things" (John Dewey--the best American philosophy can come up with, apparently)--which pretty much sums up the American Way of Life.

In any case, events such as the O.J. Simpson trial or the impeachment proceedings – Monica Lewinsky and the stained dress and Linda Tripp (remember her?)--had people watching television 24/7. My God, what empty lives. With Rome, you had bread and circuses, gladiator contests, and so on, which were basically ways of distracting the population from the corruption in the government and the misery of their lives. Here, we had O.J. and Monica serving the same function. I recall walking past the Mayflower Hotel when Monica was giving her deposition to Ken Starr, and one of the reporters parked on the street saying to a colleague, "She had yoghurt for breakfast this morning." What can you say to that, really? Drink more Pepsi?

SP: You’ve written often about the “cultural death” of America, and you’ve said that what passes for life in this country is based on commercialism, hustling, and self-promotion, and you've said that this masks a “deep systemic emptiness.” Could you expand on that?

MB: The German historian Oswald Spengler, who wrote The Decline of the West, anticipated me by almost a hundred years. His notion was that what holds any civilization together is a central Idea with a capital I, almost like a Platonic ideal. When people stop believing in that ideal, the culture starts to fall apart. People will try to hold on to the ideal, but it's just a hollow shell. The internal reality is that the culture is rotting from the inside. I think that pretty much describes the United States today and did when I was writing the Twilight book. We're just dancing on the edge of the abyss, and trying not to look down.

The modern era in general is a desperate search for meaning, and Nietzsche was right when he said, “God is dead.” Once that happened, it was hard to have a religious belief system. Secular systems arose to fill that emptiness. We had communism, which finally didn’t work out; we had fascism, which rapidly didn’t work out. And then we had consumerism, which, writ large, means capitalism and imperialism--and that is now coming apart. In many ways, that collapse is the story of the 21st century. In 1990 we could look at all of those other systems and say, ha, ha, we are the victors--which is what we said when the Soviet Union collapsed. There was going to be a unipolar world, our formula was the right one. Hurray, we won! The combination of hubris and stupidity was breathtaking. It never occurred to us that the other shoe was about to fall; that the bell was now tolling for us.

That Francis Fukuyama could write a book around that time called The End of History and be a professor at a major university has got to be the most laughable thing imaginable. (Don't get me started on the degradation of American higher education. Jesus, talk about decline!) As though history could end! What a dummy! One of the things I’ve argued is that there is a lot of stupidity in the United States, and it includes large numbers of people with high IQs. There are people running around with high IQs--David Brooks, for example--who are in fact little more than bad jokes, and yet are worshipped as sages. Fukuyama is a good example of this.

So, what have you got? You’ve got a deep systemic emptiness. This comes from the fact--in the case of consumerism, capitalism and so on--that you’ve embraced an ideology without knowing it’s an ideology, whose basic philosophy is “more.” What is it you want? More. Well, more is not a spiritual path. It has no content at all. And then you wonder why you're depressed. (I recall a column David Brooks did about his material wealth and simultaneous mental depression. It's not the economy, stupid!)

SP: You’re old enough to remember the 1960s. During that period, we had calls to reconsider the country’s direction from mainstream figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. And we had rather sophisticated student groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society, who issued the famous Port Huron Statement in 1962. What happened? Even during the early 1970s, a so-called “counterculture” of young people seemed to call for radical change on every front from the environment to foreign policy. It’s over 40 years later and none of that energy seems to exist today. Occupy Wall Street came and went, along with the “hope and change” of the Obama administration. Today, the energy is all on the right.

MB: As someone who lived through the ‘60s, I have to agree that some of us did have high hopes. But the truth is that subsequent analyses of what was going on during those "golden years" have revealed that only a minute fraction of the American population was actually marching against our involvement in Vietnam or going back to the land and growing organic food, or writing critiques of capitalism--the tiniest minority. When it came to Vietnam, most young Americans followed the conservative politics of their parents. They were not marching in the streets. They were not demonstrating. They, and most Americans, were much angrier at the protesters than they were at the soldiers who were busy murdering 3 million Vietnamese peasants who originally had no beef with the US at all (a folly later repeated with Iraq). They listened to the deliberate lies of Robert McNamara and LBJ, nodded, and said, "Well, we've got to fight the commies!" Most Americans probably still believe that about Vietnam, and most probably think we never lost that war--if they think of it at all. (As a side note, 50 percent of Americans polled believe that our enemy in WW II was Russia. These are your neighbors!)

So the problem is appearance versus reality. When the dust settled and we examined the statistics, it turned out that most of the 60s was froth. I discuss this in the third volume of my America trilogy, Why America Failed. In the 1970s you had the environmental movement, the Whole Earth Catalog, great excitement about how everything was going to change and how we were going to build a sustainable society, and so on. It was mostly cocktail party talk, and it blew away like the spores of a dandelion with Reagan’s election. That election--the greatest landslide in American history--showed exactly where the American consciousness was. It wasn’t with Jimmy Carter's idealism about sustainability and the avoidance of consumerism. Americans weren’t interested in that at all. Reagan was certainly much more attuned to what Americans were about, namely narcissism and consumer goods. Ronnie typically ranks No. 1 in polls on "Who is your favorite president?". (Philip Roth accurately labeled him a simpleton and a knucklehead, which tells you something about the American public.)

It didn’t take much for the froth of the 60s to evaporate, because it never involved any solid political organizing against the dominant culture (like Occupy Wall Street, years later). And it was ephemeral because it didn’t have popular or grassroots support. Americans are interested in hustling and making money. As I said, Reagan knew his audience. They were not interested in fundamental changes, such as what Martin Luther King was talking about shortly before he was killed.

SP: We are currently witnessing one of the largest anti-immigrant backlashes in recent history. At the border, families are being separated, and in the interior of the country, ICE is busy rounding up landscapers and dishwashers. Many, if not most of these people, came here from materially deprived conditions. However, you write in your essay, “McFarland, USA,” that it’s Americans who are culturally impoverished. And after an appreciable time in this country, many immigrants come to realize this.

MB: A lot of immigrants, Mexicans especially, I think, view the United States as a cash cow. You milk the teats, you earn the money that you can, and then you send it back home. And in fact it has made a big difference for the Mexican economy over the years. But in terms of actually living in the US, the studies show that there are very great difficulties in adjusting. The rate of mental illness among Mexicans living in the United States is exactly twice the rate of mental illness of Mexicans living in Mexico. What I talked about in that essay, based on the Kevin Costner film, McFarland, USA, is that there’s a humanity that exists in Latin cultures that is largely absent from Anglo-Saxon ones. Anglo cultures are about property, and they have been since John Locke, if not before. They’re about competition and getting ahead. That’s the important thing. They are not about community, friendship, family, or even common courtesy--those things get thrown by the wayside. That conflict of world views is what the Costner film is really about (not too different from Dancing with Wolves, really). The Costner character slowly comes to understand that if he takes the lucrative job he is being offered in Palo Alto as a coach at a rich, all-white school, he’s going to have to leave McFarland, where he does have community, family, friendship, and common courtesy (even love).

At the beginning of the film, when the family walks into their house that they’re renting, so that Costner can take this job in McFarland, they see a painting on the wall of a beautiful indigena woman with a large platter of fruit and vegetables, extending outwards--the Great Mother. The Costner character's reaction is that he has to go to the paint store and cover it up. (What could be more American?) But as the film progresses, he realizes that maybe that Great Mother has something to teach him about nurturing and a different set of values. What foreigners frequently experience in America is that there’s money to be made, but the catch-22 is that the cost of living is much higher, and then there's the fact that hey, it just ain’t like home. People in the United States don’t care if you live or die. (Try living in a large apartment building if you don't believe me, or just check the daily news.) This callousness is extended to other white Americans too, not just immigrants or people with darker skin.

Just a few years ago the tide started to turn. That is, more Mexicans were coming back across the border to Mexico than were going to the United States; there had been a sea change. Not clear yet what this means, but it certainly antedated "the wall."

SP: In a recent column, Paul Krugman wrote: “Anyone claiming to see modern lessons in ancient history, especially Roman history, should be considered a hack until proved innocent.” In many of your books and essays, including in your most recent collection, Are We There Yet?, you point to the importance of looking at Rome’s protracted collapse and the lessons it can offer for America’s 21st century predicament. What are people like Krugman missing?

MB: The Twlight book, the first in my trilogy about the decline of the American Empire, is based on a comparison between contemporary America and the late Roman Empire. Shifting ahead 17 years, one of the essays in Are We There Yet? is about the Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, who founded the sociology department at Harvard and was head of that department for many years. Around 1937, he began publishing a series of volumes entitled Social and Cultural Dynamics. This is in the style of, let’s say, Arnold Toynbee. He analyzed the rise and fall of civilizations, and I doubt that either of these scholars can be called hacks. Anyway, he talked about "sensate" civilizations such as our own, which are based on material reality and not much else. What he said was that when a sensate civilization collapses, you get an inversion of values, such that frivolity is viewed as creativity, and cowardice is viewed as heroism, and so forth. I think of that when I think of Krugman. We are in a situation now where serious historians are called hacks, and a hack economist like Krugman gets a Nobel Prize. It couldn’t be more perfect. I mean, when is Kim Kardashian going to be elected president of the United States? Don't laugh, as people did about Trump in 2015. In terms of depth, Kim and Don aren't that far apart. This is the type of thing Sorokin was talking about.

Paul Krugman is not an historian. He never trained as an historian, and he’s a bad economist. What I mean by that is that he’s little more than a capitalist apologist; the guy believes he's thinking outside the box, but it just ain't so. If you read his columns, what’s the bottom line? Growth (which is actually the cause of our problems, not the solution). When you ask me, What is he missing?, the answer is that he’s missing the fact that capitalism is coming apart at the seams and is in its declining phase. To compare someone like Krugman with, let’s say, the German economist Wolfgang Streeck...this is a brilliant guy who has demonstrated that capitalism has no future. Then there is the World Systems Analysis school, centered around Immanuel Wallerstein at the University of Binghamton. We can add Nomi Prins to the list. These are people who really are sophisticated students of the global economy. They are not apologists for capitalism and they don't put much stock in the notion that "growth" will save us.

SP: Things have changed considerably since you wrote about the "monastic option" in The Twilight of American Culture in 2000. The idea of a “Benedict Option,” also a book of the same name, is now spreading through segments of the Christian community in the United States. What did you have in mind when you first wrote about the “new monastic individual,” and has your thinking changed at all over these last two decades? Though you were speaking in secular terms, what do you make of the religious call to revaluate the culture’s obsession with individualism and materialism?

MB: About a year ago, some minister who has a following based on that call, wrote an article on his blog about how I had come to that same Benedictine conclusion from a secular point of view. He actually thought that I was a socialist, which I suppose is about 10 percent true. He was shocked that someone who was secular could be promoting this idea. I don’t think it matters very much what the spiritual glue of a community is, and I don’t think it necessarily has to be religious. I wrote about the “monastic option” of the fourth century, which was mostly Irish, and certainly was Catholic. The idea is that people disconnect from the larger culture, like the Amish or the Shakers. You pull yourself away from that culture and you create a community in which you preserve the values of Western civilization that you think are important.

I don’t know to what extent this course of action is being pursued in the United States, but I know that people write me about their own attempts to become “new monastic individuals.” You’ve largely given up on the larger culture. You realize that it’s dying, that it’s not preserving the values that are your values, and you want to cultivate those, hopefully, with like-minded individuals. All well and good.

As far as I can see, there are only two ways of escaping the destructive influence of America: one is the option just indicated, that of the new monastic individual. It's a kind of internal migration. The other option is the one I took, which is to leave America altogether. I still think that’s the best option: just get out. If you don’t get out, then you’re living in a kind of corporate-commercial wraparound 24/7. It makes it extremely hard to live a healthy life, or even to think straight. Myself, I have to admit that I didn’t have the strength to resist the dominant culture. At first I thought I was going to be a lotus in a cesspool, but all that happened was that I became a dirty lotus. So I left, and it was the smartest, happiest, and most significant decision I made in my entire life. Like most Americans, I had been little more than a hamster running on a wheel.

When young people ask me, What should I do?, I tell them: Hit the road, Jack! Emigrate now; don’t put it off. What do you think is waiting for you, when you are ready to retire? It’s not going to be pretty. Most of them will undoubtedly dismiss me as a lunatic (all of which raises the question of who is truly insane, of course). Most of them will ignore my advice, and (I believe) will bitterly regret having done so later on. As I'll be dead when these kids are about to retire, I guess the only thing I can do is say it in my epitaph:


(c)Morris Berman, 2018


Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Kashe Varnishke (continuing from the last post),

I think you are correct about the influence of Catholicism. After World War II many of the traditional right-wing parties were disgraced by collaboration with fascism and in their place the Christian Democrats or similar parties filled in the gap on the center-right with social democrats, socialists or communists to their left. Christian Democracy is fairly left-wing on economics, at least by American standards. For example, Christian Democrats in Germany helped to develop the social market economy.

Protestants also deserve credit too. There was an old saying that the British Labour Party owed more to Methodism than Marxism. The post-war British Conservative Party was also somewhat communitarian. The old term was “One-nation Tories” or the “wets” as they were called by Thatcher and her supporters, who were called “dries” by her opponents. In Canada, George Grant was probably the main philosopher of this school which was called “Red Toryism” although Grant never called himself a Red Tory. Grant was an Anglican. As Dr. Berman pointed out noblesse oblige was an important part of many of these traditions. What do we have in America? The prosperity gospel.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Unknowns; you need a real handle to participate in this discussion. May I suggest Hardon Schmeckle-Dingle III? It has a nice ring to it.


12:37 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Great interview and grand sweep of ideas presented so crisply and clearly. I regret not experiencing one of your lectures in person. Your ideas on religion or rather lack of it made me think of the work of Norman Cohn. In many ways, the lack of religion leads to other projects (communism, totalitarianism, neo liberalism) which though claiming to be secular are in fact utopian projects of a religious sort (as in strictly based on faith that some magical progress will take place if we just follow the latest from the several think tanks and universities etc). The neoliberal globalization faith seems to have run aground of late, what replaces it seems to be the outcome predicted by Gray in a lot of his work--globalization is a late phase enlightenment project, will fail and tribalism and nationalism will return. He predicted this in the mid 90's and caught all manner of grief from the Tom Friedmans of the world. Anyhow, the source (and book which changed Grays world) was Norman Cohns in search of the Millenium. I can't do this great work justice, it resonates deeply with me and seems to have a great deal of overlap with some of your work MB. Here is nice summary: https://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/norman-cohn-john-gray-world

12:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. Yeah, I made gd use of Cohn in CTOS.

Here's something all Wafers will want:


Now we need some rolls with Thos Friedman on them, also Obama. Shit to shit, is the idea, I guess. (To be sung to the tune of that old song, "Dancing Cheek to Cheek." Wafers are encouraged to provide some lyrics. Extra pts for including Zuckershmuck.)


1:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Thinking abt the Lewinsky business inspired me to write a short poem in Italian:

Non e un hippie;
E--Linda Trippi!

God, I'm so creative.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff. Thanks. Also pls note my litte Italian poem, above.


5:32 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Misspellings? I happened to substitute at my high school, Northeast High. I decided to buy a Northeast coffee mug. On it was: HAIL NORTEHAST! Didn't anyone notice the misspelling, return the mugs, and ask for the correct spelling? Probably to this day someone still hasn't noticed.

7:39 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Great interview Morris!

Here’s a peak at the beginnings of the new civil war that’s coming....


9:44 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Guns for everybody!


As MB notes concerning our Bizarro society, anyone questioning the need for so many guns is obviously stupid, crazy, ignorant, un-American, all of the previous & more. Just another part of the "More!" worldview.

Spiritual emptiness is indeed the root of it all, with nihilism swiftly following. I'm struck by how many people seem to come alive only when talking about money. That'll solve everything … but there's never enough, is there? No concept of Enough, in fact.

When I ask some young relatives what they want from life, it's always, "To be rich!" When I ask what they'll do with all that money, it's always, "Buy things!" When I ask why they need or want to buy things, or how many things will be enough for them, they're either unable to explain or else retort, "Well, if you can't even understand that--!" And some just say, "There's never enough!"

10:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm surprised they spelled HAIL correctly. Meanwhile, maybe the school changed its name, and NORTEHAST is actually correct!

For a gd look at the future of America, it's always instructive to check out the faces of its young people:


I keep waiting for the NYT to run the following headline, b4 shutting down for gd:


A man can dream...


11:05 AM  
Anonymous Panayiotis said...



11:44 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...


After reading you new blog entry I can understand why no one wants to touch it not even some progressive sites. Not only would they have to rearrange their thinking but deeper yet their whole reason for being would have to change. I think this proves your point that very few are willing or able to see reality for what it is.


11:54 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Venezuela's inflation to hit 1 MILLION PERCENT

My socialist friend says:
1) What about all the non-socialist countries that had hyperinflations?
2) Venezuela isn't socialist. It's populist authoritarian.
3) Venezuela's main problem is corruption and bad goernance
4) You're cherry picking with Venezuela and the Soviet Union. What about Scandinavia?

The first problem is that this is redefining "social democracy"--capitalist free markets financing redistribution--as "socialism". And hey, usages change; words aren't set in stone. But we already had a perfectly useful term.

Corruption isn't what caused all the people who knew how to run an oil company to flee--that was his purges of PDVSA engineers over political differences, and his expropriation of foreign oilfield operators in the Orinoco belt. Both of which were about socialism. Chavez called himself a socialist. And his nationalizations and massive social spending blew beyond the budget, is very socialist.

And Scandinavia is a social democracy, friend.

I was reminded of this friend by the interviewer's shock that you're not a whole cloth socialist

12:01 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Spot on with the interview as usual MB !!

Tim -- I have had similar experiences. Some of my relatives have told me that career is all that matters in life. They would incessantly talk about buying things. Attending gatherings has become painful. There is a bloody 1 hr photo op session at each of these events. And immediately after its over there is a rush to get these photos onto Farcebook and blabber with *digital* friends about how good they look. Each feels like there is a Kardashian in them. While in US, I realized how far these people had fallen. A few of my friends did not bother to attend their parents funeral because they had issues with Green Card, and a few whose parents were terminally ill waited till they were admitted in ICU to meet them cause they didn't want to waste money to go see them more than once. When I would ask them if they regret it, they would say I am being too emotional and not practical. That such is life and you have to care about your own life and making it better. A better life now means, your car has replaced your mother, home your father, and gadgets have become your siblings/friends. Thankfully I am out of the shithole and don't have to deal with these morons.

As for guns, watch any of Dana Loesch videos. The NRA have done a great job of convincing Americans that their life is in such danger that instead of spending on food and healthcare, they must be fully loaded for apocalypse. You never know when the Govt, which has tanks and nukes, decides to invade you with tasers.


12:24 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Very nice read! I was too young to see how bad the nineties were, but of course it's only O and D from there.

There was a discussion on here about awful people being obtuse to their own karma. I think the real punishment is that, if you have bad standards for yourself, you can never match up to them. Even within your own perverse self-defintion, you are always going to lose. There's always going to be someone a little better looking, a little richer, a little more popular. A society based on incidental values makes it impossible for anybody to ever feel fully worthy of themselves.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous J Ouellette said...


Cosmography Manuscript (12th Century): Wonderful series of medieval cosmographic diagrams and schemas sourced from a late 12th-century English manuscript.

- Jennifer O

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Curious article, I thought: A Country Made of Plastic: Israel’s Addiction to Disposable Tableware. “If you are into the environmental stuff then don’t eat on disposable plates, but I live now, and all this environmental stuff is no concern of mine,” and it seems he is not alone at all...

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Island Hermit said...

Hi Dr. Berman & others,
First time I have been compelled to comment in this space. Interesting and frustrating to create content then have it rejected by outlets that should embrace that content. Another professor, Dr. Jem Bendell, is having a similar experience. He is not writing about the decline of American "civilization" (there has got to be a better word for this hideous cesspool...) due to inequality and spiritual death, but rather the near-term collapse of all human society due to climate change and its implications for our ecosystems, economies and societies. The paper, titled 'Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy', was rejected for peer reviewed publication, and, like you, Dr. Bendell decided to self-publish. I will include a link to the paper below.


The decline & collapse of civilization, be it due to environmental degredation, financial mismanagement, spiritual decay, etc. sure seems to be getting more play these days. To NOT see it is astonishing to me. It is the proverbial 1,000 pound elephant in the room, teetering drunkenly back & forth. Faster & faster we go!

I finish with a wonderful quote:

“I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy…and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation—and we scientists don’t know how to do that.”
- Gus Speth

Thank you!
Island Hermit

1:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr input. In future, pls make sure you don't exceed our half-page limit. Thank you.


Interviewer not in shock.


1:41 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Check That Phone
(to the tune “Cheek to Cheek”)

Cellphone, I’m on cellphone
And my mouth yaps so that I can hardly think
And I seem to find Kim’s rump so pink
When we’re out buying, check that phone
Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And dystopia hangin’ ‘round me thro’ the week
Seems to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together buying, check that phone
Oh! I love to check the sales
And like to copy Kim’s long nails
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As yapping, mouth to phone
Oh! I love to go out shopping
Be a mall consumer
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As yapping, mouth to phone
I wrap my head around you
The smarm about you
Will carry me thro’ to Heaven
I’m in Heaven
And my phone rings so much I can’t keep up
As I pop a pill to get that pick-me-up
When we’re out together buying, check that phone.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. I wept.


2:53 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

An Exhibition Recreating the Isolated Huts That Philosophers Worked In http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/10944/an-exhibition-recreating-the-isolated-huts-that-philosophers-worked-in

Where is the great Belman's study cave

3:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As it turns out, I use sofas rather than huts. My sofa in Mex City has seen pages
fly off the pad. And the crowd cried: "Belman! Belman!" And I got up off my sofa, went to the balcony (which I do have), and I waved and smiled--like Napoleon, or the Pope. "Write more, great sage!" they cried. And I went back in, and sat down on the sofa.


4:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB: "If you don’t get out, then you’re living in a kind of corporate-commercial wraparound 24/7. It makes it extremely hard to live a healthy life, or even to think straight." As someone who cannot leave and is doing my damnedest to live an NMI existence, it's my contention that the most important step is to shut the freaking television off and leave it off. Mine is only on during those relatively rare occasions that I watch a pay channel. My only exposure to the media machine comes from watching sports now and again, and even then I'm horrified at just how infantile the commercials are. I keep asking myself who could possibly be persuaded such obvious bullshit--especially the political ads--but of course that's a stupid question. Whenever I'm in a place where I can't escape--say a doctor's waiting room with a teevee tuned to CNN and the volume set so high as to make reading impossible--it feels like I'm being verbally punched in the head.

@Dio--related to the above and MB's interview, as a child of the 70s it is perhaps difficult to convey to someone for whom the current media climate seems "normal" the shock I felt at how over-the-top the media's coverage of the O.J. Simpson case was. You have to realize this was a time right before Fox News even came on the air. To me, the O.J. coverage is a watershed moment to go along with Reagan's election, Bush vs. Gore, 9/11, the Iraq War, the financial crash and Citizens United--all of which helped pave the way to President Trump and America's eventual downfall.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous jadepond said...

Thanks for sharing this interview. Appropriately synchronistic with the recent Bloomberg headline.. Reality Show Fame Is More Lucrative Than an Oxford or Cambridge Education

6:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Who cd forget Judge Ito? In a sense, he epitomized everything that was wrong w/America. He allowed TV coverage of the trial into the courtrm, turning it into a circus, and literally preened b4 the press. Wow! A chance for little ol' me to be important! Look at me! Being a judge was not enuf for him, apparently. What a pathetic little turkey. Americans think so little of themselves, have so little spiritually, that if the world shd happen to shine a light on them for 4 seconds, they go batshit. The country has no adults. Of *course* we all go gaga over Kim's buttocks. Of *course* we elected an overgrown child to represent us. Of *course* we run around in pussy hats. Of *course* Hillary goes into permanent, petulant angry child mode after she loses. Of *course* 327 million child-adults go into a rage if you suggest that the country may be on its last legs. Etc.


6:21 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Several years ago I saw two TV evangelists yakking it up on a late night TV show. It was entertaining listening to the usual bromides but then they said something that actually got my attention. Both agreed that they no longer referred to the old Biblical stories (Noah's ark, Jonah in the whale, David and Goliath, etc.) b/c no one knew them anymore. And apparently, there were no plans to teach them either. And this was the religious right we hear so much about! As far as I could tell it was the Gospel of Prosperity -- God wants you to be rich and He isn't checking the books too closely to see how you accomplish it -- that was being enthusiastically pedaled. It's all about the bottom line which, after all, is the bottom.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Some yrs ago, on a history exam in high schl, the question was asked, "Who was Joan of Arc?" and one student wrote, "wife of Noah."

I've been rdg Walter Benjamin lately on the rise of fascism. He says that fascism meets a desire for self-expression, which it offers to the masses as a substitute for real politics. It makes no attempt to change relations of power and property. It thus gives the masses not their rt--which is what they shd want--but instead a chance to express themselves--which is very appealing. If one applies this to identity politics today, we might guess that the latter is paving the way for American fascism.


7:02 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

MB: As you note, the best option is to leave the USofA. The next-best is monastic seclusion. A third option may be what readers of this blog are doing -- recording the madness, rather like Victor Klemperer did. Many comments on this blog sound like observations by cultural anthropologists. That's what I feel like I'm doing sometimes. It's cathartic.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Psychotubby said...

Every four years, the U.S. election circus rolls around again, and citizens declare that they'll emigrate if The Other Side wins. And I wonder at their apparent assumption that your average American could just "up sticks" and move to the country of their choice.
Personally I have no idea how easy (or not) it may be - but judging by Brother Maynard's comment on the previous post it sounds as though it may tend toward "not".
I was born in New Zealand and have no intention of leaving, but I am conscious that we are fairly high on the international shopping list - and money does seem to be the front door key (dammit). So as much as you seek to encourage anyone who will listen to emigrate, it is entirely possible that they simply can't, at least until fleeing Americans are able to claim refugee status.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I agree, altho it doesn't exclude either of the other 2 options. But what all of us are doing here is charting why America failed, i.e. mapping the downward trajectory.

The following story would have been impossible 20 or so yrs ago:


Old Mexican guy accidentally brushes by Laquisha Jones' daughter, so she beats him w/a brick and nearly kills him. She'll be going away for a long time (lucky daughter). Check out picture of our gal--quite a sight. This IS America, this face, this angry, obese body language. People are nearly killing each other over nothing, beating each other up, hosing down McDonald's with bullets because they never got bacon on their cheeseburgers, fucking goats and vans, engaging in daily drive-by shootings, trampling each other to death over Wal-Marts so they can get a DVD player for $29, holding neo-Nazi rallies, and above all: hating, hating, hating. Yes, I agree, we need to document all this. And don' tell me it's a few bad apples. Ha. It's the whole fucking orchard.


8:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is a discussion we've had b4, and it's kinda tiresome to hafta repeat it. Yes, a lot of people are not in a position to emigrate, but of course, 99% of those don't want to anyway. And a lot of people *are* in a position to leave, but most of those also don't want to. It's certainly not true that large #s of people say they are going to leave if The Other Side wins (some do, but w/most it's just talk, when push comes to shove). In any case, the NMO is an option for those who realize that the game is over, but for whatever reason, can't get out. Not as gd as getting out, but it still makes a lot of sense. Anyway, yr arg is a straw man: the avg American--most of the country--has no interest in leaving. (From NZ, you probably cannot understand how powerful the American system of brainwashing is.) So of course, I'm talking to a very few, and never claimed otherwise. As for refugee/asylum status, there are lots of countries for whom that wd not be an issue, altho a minimum income wd be. (Not millionaire status)


9:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Many thanks for the latest interview w/Sean Posey. I checked out some of his writing about Youngstown, Ohio. I sure hope a media source picks up the interview, as it's exactly what's needed now as we soar headlong into one shit storm after another. I also like the fact that you hold the American people (TAP) ultimately responsible for our situation, and not the political leaders who are, of course, a manifestation of the spirit of the people. In this case, Trumpola is, as a Wafer indicated earlier, "The Greatest American President."


Luv the tune! My favorite version of "Cheek to Cheek" is, of course, Ella Fitzgerald. Incidentally, Ella was married in Youngstown, Ohio -- the place that Sean Posey writes so eloquently about, back in the day.


ps: Just found this one: Robert Mueller on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.


(Sigh) I wish I could pour a tall scotch w/all the Wafers of the World and MB, of course...

9:04 PM  
Blogger David said...

A superlative interview that easily could appear in Der Spiegel, Le Monde or Corriere de la
Sera. Unfortunately our papers and their editors are so hampered by the Inquisition that it will be a miracle if they even mention it. Keep up the good work!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


These folks are their own Inquisition, actually. But thank u.


Wd be great to host a World Wafer Conference in Paris, or whatever. But at least there's the 6th NY Wafer Summit next April, where we can drown in single malts.


9:28 PM  
Anonymous Megan C. said...

Dr Berman,

Just for the record, I wasn't the Megan who was surprised you are not a socialist. There must be another "Megan" posting here. So to avoid confusion, I will call myself "Megan C. (AKA, the Megan who writes all the negative stuff about Trump.)

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Had dinner with a couple from Bulgaria this evening. They've lived here for 20 years. The thing that shocks them is pregnant women in the US remain standing in line say at a supermarket checkout while in Bulgaria it's commonplace that pregnant women are immediately allowed to go to the head of the line. I assume this is also true in Mexico, correct doctor?
Afterwards, I attended a comedy show during which a female comic spent the bulk of her show asking men if they had ever put anything in their butt. Comedy nonpareil.
Israel's recent nation-state law has had an effect though even it's supporters said nothing would change. There has been numerous attacks by Israeli youth on Palestinians both within the 1967 borders and the territories. Israelis feel the law essentially gives them full licence to attack Palestinians when and where-ever they like. I've come to the conclusion that you can either be Jewish or you can be a zionist. YOu cannot be both unless you believe Judaism gives you the right to kill another people and steal their land. Hell, recently the Israeli supreme court would not allow a Palestinian living within Israel proper to bring his West Bank wife to Israel claiming that to do so would be committing "national suicide." You tax dollars at work.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

MB - Great interview! It would be great if it would be picked up by outlets in other countries, but I'm sure it will get no play here in the US for the reasons you and others have cited. But all you have to do is look at the progression of misery/insanity in the US to see the overall trajectory we're on. (PS - thanks to whoever mentioned Valdas Anelauskas' 1999 book, "Discovering America As It Is" - while out of date, the stats were then already truly dismal, and have only gotten worse in the years since.)

Meanwhile, in today's Boston Globe, it seems TSA is now surveilling US citizens after they come back in the US through customs if they have stopped at "suspicious" airports (including Istanbul!). Unbelievable, even the Air Marshals think it's nuts: https://apps.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/graphics/2018/07/tsa-quiet-skies/?s_campaign=breakingnews:newsletter

Meanwhile, we watched the lunar eclipse and Mars two nights ago in our little village in Italy, with our Italian and British neighbors. Last night attended a world class concert under the stars. In both cases, out with friends, helping each other out, enjoying life. We just love it here.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm not even on the radar screen in the US, and I doubt that's gonna change any time soon. Thesis of WAF was that America failed because it consistently refused to allow serious critics a voice abt the hustling nature of America. It will keep doing that. Which is why I framed WAF as a postmortem.

Hope you liked my little Italian poem, bellina.


6:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


8:28 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

All Hale Technodouchebaggery! I know, and for good reason, C. Hedges takes a beating on this blog - it is difficult to watch him gin up the three people willing to undertake acts of civil disobedience - but I still like the guy and his latest On Contact with astrophysicist Adam Frank was, to me at least, a mature discussion. The gist of it - quit griping - climate change is a wall that perhaps all civilizations in the universe must conquer or die, it's an opportunity for our species to evolve past our (legitimate) use of fossil fuels. I think it is unlikely 7, 10, 15 billion of us make that transition. Also in one form or another tech is probably going to be needed for survival. It's obvious this crap in the hands of capitalists is addictive and harmful but as an unregulated drug why not use it for experimental purposes? Turkeys don't mind, obviously, so I say data mine - drill baby drill - in the hope it will help the remnant survive in their caves at both poles.
@Bill (of course u r right abt tv) I went a long time without teevee. I'm new to Waferdom so I don't watch it I study it. I use it as confirmation for all things Wafer then I smoke a bowl and blow my mind!

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Jake said...

Dr. Berman, as shootings continue to happen on almost a daily basis in the US, up here in Canada Toronto, we've had two incidents, where two men committed senseless murders amongst innocent civilians, for purportedly no reason at all - these two within the span of six months. Is America leaking north of the border? People in Toronto talk about why these people commit murders, they say they're angry, but often I cite you (and recommend you to these people, in vain I suppose, as people don't really like reading), saying this is the result of our culture, based on a laissez-faire, individualistic mindset, that leads to isolation and an inversion of human values. It appears the fabric is slowly ripping apart at the seams, even up here in Toronto... Would you concur with this?

12:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I lived in Canada for 7.5 yrs, and my take on the situation was that most anger in Canada shows up as passive-aggressive. That happens down here as well, of course (58 dead in Las Vegas, e.g.), but normally(!) violence doesn't occur w/no reason at all (altho the MSM always says the cause was dysfunctional brain chemistry). Canadians tend to be a tad repressed; Americans jus' let it all hang out. I'm not sure which is worse, because Canadian public courtesy doesn't really mean very much (unlike Mexico). But yeah, probably a lot of it is due to hustling and endless competition as a way of life. The lesser amount of violence down here may be due to having much more of a social safety net--socialized medicine, for example. Check out Mark Ames, "Going Postal," which may give u some insights.

Abt 20 yrs ago there was a poll taken on violence and related attitudes in the US and Canada. 12% of Canadians said that it was justified to use violence in the pursuit of yr goals. Figure for Americans was 24%.


12:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Regarding the possible future of cell fones etc., you might wanna check out Gary Shteyngart, "Super Sad True Love Story."


12:21 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Dr. Berman--excellent interview, and too toxic for the 98.7% of usa-ers who cannot or will not accept reality; afraid this won't see the light of day.

Psychotuba-- -A nice ditty abt the trial/tribulations of "greatness" in the us empire and how G-d bestowed it's hopes, dreams, and aspirations onto the exceptional country for those immigrants.


The MSM was intent on preserving, maintaining, and promoting us propaganda w/Horatio Alger permutations to its readership. We have a persecuted Jewish man, fought in the War, fled crazy commie Russia, wrote alove song for his wonderful awesome new homeland, he loves america, we love america, and we love God, and we love, love....As Dr. Berman states--these puff pieces were written to reassure the professional braindead masses that everything is ok, and that we're still "great," immigrants love america too, and move on (work hard for that corporation).

Sans those fleeing pogroms, who the fck in their right mind (knowing reality) would willfully come to the us---- unless hu$tling ("opportunity") was the main goal. No universal health care, no education w/o massive debts, no job security/employment at doctrine-only in the us, no pensions/no real retirement--BS "savings" programs, FATCA, citizen-based taxation w/Eritrea, no authentic community, etc... God bless america!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

Rod Dreher just did a blog post about this interview on his blog.

Comments are predictably awful.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Dan, the real question is. Why are there any pregnant women standing in line in the US in the first place? I mean, how do they think their kids will live 10 years from now? A good cocktail conversation topic/ice breaker exercise if you're invited to a party with Progs in the near future: ask them if they plan to have kids and why so. It'll drive them furious. Prog Rage unleashed!


1:49 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

In case you were considering emigrating to Canada...

From where I live: 'Why did you do this?': Muslim man reels after being attacked while walking home from Saskatoon mosque

Elsewhere: 'I would kill your children': Police looking at confrontation as possible hate crime

Toronto man who yelled racist insults at Muslim family now charged with assault, threatening death

Dan: You know that old Lenny Bruce schtick, "Jewish vs. Goyish?" Today he'd probably say "Palestinians are Jewish; Zionists are Goyish"

"The boy fatally wounded during Monday’s raid on Dheisheh was the sixth Palestinian child slain by Israeli forces in July."

2:07 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

MB - Have you watched the film/documentary "Punishment Park (1971)". I think its a must watch for Wafers if they haven't yet. Seems like nothing has changed in 50 years. This sometimes makes me wonder if American collapse will happen soon or will the World collapse before that. See, I think, that as long as the rich have slaves to work for them the ponzi capitalist scheme will continue on. And since there are enough desperate people in the World, slaves will always be available. Look at immigrants for example, America continues to shit on them but still there are plenty who want to migrate there. Plus hardly 5% want to move out of US in spite of all the mess. People are willing to tolerate slavery, racism, violence and give up on honesty, integrity, culture just to satisfy their greed. I get it when you say America is morally bankrupt, but at times I have a nagging doubt that as long as there are greedy fools, who are in abundance, the American shitshow might drag on. They will die trying and then be replaced by new slaves and then maybe robots and the Ponzi scheme continues. Do you see the cycle breaking somewhere ? Or climate change will be the undoing...


Meet #salivasally ... why only stop at spitting.. where's the urine and breast beating...


2:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's not really greed in the case of most immigrants; it's survival. They will tolerate almost anything because they are just trying to make ends meet, and the rep America has is, that this is the most likely place to do that. It's hard to think of spirituality or much else, really, when yr tummy is constantly empty.


3:55 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Delshad said...

One wonders, with all that is awful about America, how did it manage to accumulate so much of the world's wealth and power, and how does it continue to keep it, in spite of quasi-empires to the East which can provide other avenues of development and yada yada? Also, places for people to emigrate to, and cultures to emulate. How is it within the Wafer-worldview, that the U.S. has maintained the means of survival and other countries have not, one might ask? It seems kind of interesting to me. Obviously it is true that there are cultural gaps and problems, but it seems there is some kind of dynamism which was once at work and possibly is still at work, culturally speaking, which keeps a broad range of people involved in the American system of power and government, et al.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I've reached the conclusion that no matter how declinist Umair Haque sounds, when it comes to understanding why America is headed for collapse he really doesn't "get it" after all. Check out his latest post: How the American Elite Failed to Defend America From Fascism. Haque makes the rather silly claim that America's fascists are on the rise because the elites won't allow them to be called fascists and have failed to see what Trump and his followers truly are as they subvert America's democracy. What Haque somehow completely misses is that America's elites failed to "defend" us from fascists for the simple reason that they are THEMSELVES fascists.

America's military has directly killed millions of civilians from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq to Libya and Syria in unprovoked bombings and invasions of the type that got the senior German military leadership hanged at Nuremburg separate and apart from the Holocaust (waging aggressive war, it was called). Our vaunted "protectors of the republic" in the CIA (barf) have overthrown numerous democratic governments, and in two of the worst examples--Chile and Iran--directly replaced them with fascists who proceeded to torture and kill thousands of people. All Trump is doing is bringing the horrors America has inflicted around the globe home to those who have cheered them on or sat passively by. And I'll bet plenty of people in those countries are thinking that it's a long overdue comeuppance.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey!

God, where to begin? We have maintained our survival by exploiting that of others. This is Foreign Policy 101, mon cher. Check out Bill's post, just below yours, e.g. Then there are a million bks on the subject: my America trilogy; Bill Blum; Steven Kinzer; Noam Chomsky; et al al al al al....The 'dynamism' you speak of is nothing more than violent aggression, from the wipeout of Native Americans onward. I.e., murder, rape, and massacre of millions of unarmed civilians, in addition to economic imperialism. Our history is soaking in blood. Anyway, there are platitudes, and then there is real education. I'm hoping you take some time off to pursue the latter.


4:59 PM  
Anonymous Coleman said...


Frequent reader, first time writer here:

This is a direct line to all of the observations routinely collected on this blog, of the exceptionally high statistical rate of violence and even murder in this country.

How can we sociologically account for the demographic trends and how violence is displayed here? As a youngish black man, I look at what Jesse Jackson once said [one of the honest things he's said] that he was tired of walking down the street at night, hearing the sound of footsteps, turning around in fear, only to be relieved that it was a white man walking behind him. African Americans commit 50% of homicide. And about 50% of that is commissions of black-on-black crime.

And then I truly look at those numbers. It isn't black people, 14% of the population. It is young black men. Like me. But mostly in urban cultural deserts. These are rarely women. So, really, that is 7% of the population, accounting for 50% of homicide commissions. And then all of this gets swirled into Identity Politics, and Black Lives Matter. That black people are being hunted down by the police. Professor, I know you have a highly sociological background in your studies, do you have any words or interpretations.

Coleman H

7:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you for writing in. Participation sure beats lurking.

I remember that quote from Jesse, yrs ago, and I thought: it's tragic, but at least he's being honest. Another thing I read, also abt 20 yrs ago: if you were to randomly, metaphorically spkg, put yr hands on a black male between the ages of 18 and 24, the chances are 200 to 1 that he's in jail, as opposed to that he's in college.

Two of the keenest bks I've ever read on the American race situation, by black authors: Elijah Anderson, "Code of the Street," and John McWhorter, "Losing the Race." Also check out this, by Anderson:


Leaving causality/analysis aside, the empirical data, as I understand them: black people are at the bottom of every category of jobs except for sports and music. As for standardized testing of any sort--IQ, SAT, etc.--the ranking order, top to bottom, is yellow, white, brown, black. Jews are typically at the top.

Again, I'm not delving into the reasons for these data and situations; I'm just reporting them to the best of my understanding. (And pls correct me if I'm wrong.) But I can tell you that there is one thing that I believe most of that 14% black population understands: there is no hope. They have very little chance of escaping their at-the-bottom condition in American society, and they know the game is being played with a marked deck. A few get Ph.D.'s, of course, but most black male students who enroll in college drop out w/in the 1st yr. In my view, their perception is correct: they are in a no-exit situation. Things are of course much better than the one depicted in the film "Mudbound," but the fact remains that this particular population is largely poor and disadvantaged, and going nowhere.

Now if I were one of those people, here's what I would feel: Rage, with a capital R. America makes all of these great egalitarian promises, but the reality is something very different. It is also very difficult to express that rage openly, because you have a white police force, nationwide, that is ready to pounce. You have a black population (understandably) bristling with "attitude," and a police force that is going to tolerate no shit, no how. (Check out Chris Rock's hilarious video on how not to get your ass kicked by the PO-lice. It has always amazed and puzzled me, the ferocity that the cops display toward black people.) It takes literally 0 for a black person to get arrested: just sit in a Starbucks and wait for a friend, for example. Or sit in a car and read a bk on yoga. This shit is in the news nearly every day. "Breathing while black," etc.
(continued below)

7:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, the "justice" system is skewed heavily against the poor. Whites tend to get life imprisonment for homicides, blacks the elec. chair or lethal injection. Whites snort cocaine and get lighter sentences than blacks who smoke crack. The dice are loaded in an obvious direction. While I was revolted by the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial, one hasta remember that it was fairly common in the South for blacks who had committed no crimes whatsoever to get lynched, and the executioners bragging abt it the next day in public. The last president to own (de facto) slaves in America was Woodrow Wilson--kinda late, imo.

The bad news: there is very little chance that the race question in America will ever be resolved. For one thing, no one is doing anything to resolve it, and banning the Confed flag, or taking down statues of Lee, only generates more racial hatred on the part of whites. If you read ch. 4 of WAF, you'll see that the greatest mistake made by the North after the Civil War was not only in not apologizing to the South for what the North had done to them, but demonizing them, ridiculing them, and degrading them--a practice which goes on to this day. The South will never forget its history, and what happened to them, and without that apology (the odds of which are in the negative infinity category), it will continue to be a cauldron of resentment, and a thorn in the side of the rest of America. Instead of making that apology, which wd allow a healing process to begin, the nation takes down statues of Robt E. Lee, which only deepens the wound.

Rage on both sides, then, and not a hint of a solution on the horizon. We'll just continue to limp along in profound ignorance. And part of that ignorance is identity politics, which I've discussed on this blog a # of times. So while it's great that black people don't hafta sit at the back of the bus anymore, they ride the bus with 50 cents in their pocket, have no jobs or have ones with shit wages, and are basically on a ride to nowhere. The socioeconomic and political conditions of America have bulldozed them into nothingness, and identity politics and political correctness are merely anodynes, at best. They probably make the situation worse.

That's all I got, kid.


7:56 PM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Re: your own uoconong Italy book.

How do we feel about President Don's recent meeting Italian PM Gissepi ? Or Italy's state compared to The States ?

The coalition in Italy seems like a similarly destructive group to Don's administration

8:27 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Team! I can't thank you enough for the curated reading: What We May Be, The Courage to be Disliked, Loss and Change and of course all of the amazing article and blog recommends, are saving what's left of my sanity right now. I mean it. At least I know that somewhere, people exist who understand. Albeit not in the San Francisco Bay Area of course.

I'm living in a zombie colony surrounded by "I've got mine" liberals who think that as long as they vote Blue, they are justified in treating every human as a shortcut, a roadblock, or an ego-boost. Status is all; Friendship is currency; Ignorance is bliss, and you can't complain about income disparity, only about the homeless (which is me, btw. I sleep in my van.) Confide in anyone that you're struggling and watch the walls come down. My friend has terminal cancer (as a nanny, with no insurance), and for her it has been so much worse - with people blaming her diet, or negative thoughts.

Reading is my respite as I formulate another escape attempt - several having failed. They cost money. They require connections. They take a lot of heart, and if your heart has been betrayed by false friendships, corporate psychopathy, illness, hide and seek healthcare, Hillary/Trump lovers, triple-rent increases, job-loss, family emergencies, social estrangement, or whatever other slings and arrows, then that heart can take a minute to heal. I'm working on it. I'm grateful for you all!

Meanwhile my contribution: Sasha Baron Cohen trolling a Dick.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A lot of things might be said abt my Italy bk, but "uoconong" is not one of them. As for politics, don' worry, 80% of the text is abt Berlusconi (just kidding).

Penny Lane,
Yr in my ears and in my eyes.
Yr a real fighter, seriously.
All of us are hoping u can chg yr situation.
Keep in touch, keep rdg, and of course: stay on the blog!


8:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bravo! I'm looking forward to your book on Italy. I'm curious about your comment of the humanity that exists in Latin cultures that is absent in Anglo-Saxon ones. What do you attribute this to? Are you referring to Mexico specifically and her pre-Colombian roots or do you attribute this also to European Latin cultures such as those of Italy, France and Spain? You mentioned John Locke and Anglo culture but were not the fullest expression of his ideas to be found in the French Revolution? Perhaps you are exploring this in your book on Italy but since we largely still believe in the ideals of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, what do these countries pre-revolutionary roots tell us of what we might expect to come next?

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Beatles song:
Girl, you gotta carry that phone
Carry that phone your whole life
Girl, you gotta carry that phone
Carry that phone your whole life
You never give me attention
You're always playing with your fuckin' I-phone
And in the middle of a conversation
You log in.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Instead of 'conversation', I suggest 'copulation'. I'm sure there are millions of women out there who, in mid-fuck, if their fone rings, take the call, and continue fucking while talking. No official stats on that, however.


This might help:



10:37 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

In a way Hillary may serve as a metaphor. I don't mean to make fun of the appearance of the elderly (Im no spring chicken and no prize tomato), but the image of Hillary in what looks like a housecoat is disturbing. No not being a sexist or ageist (up there myself), but rather if I were a 70 year old public figure, worth around $200 million, no day to day stresses I would have a personal trainer, a dietician, a valet and generally a healthy lifestyle allowing me to look fit, trim and energetic. This does not appear to be the case. Imagine had she won and with the associated stresses what her health and appearance would be like. Frankly, she almost makes you feel sorry for her...almost.


11:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle to participate in this discussion. Suggest you try Lossofbladdercontrol.


Jesus, what a foto. She looks like a warmed-over plate of barf. I just wish she'd show up at a festival in Central Park and announce, "I am a douche bag, and I look like a douche bag." Actually, now I'm thinking it may have been better, from a declinist pt of view, that she had won the election. As she spirals down into irrelevance, stupidity, and sheer grotesquerie, she is mirroring the collapse of the nation. What in the world cd she have been thinking, walking around like that?


12:18 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

U.S. "most dangerous" place to give birth in developed world, USA Today investigation finds...


Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.


Most Dangerous county to give birth


12:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I sense a tinge of disrespect in yr approach to this blog. You seem to be unaware of the fact that you are entering sacred space. 1st, you need to change your handle. If yr "blah" abt the blog, you shdn't be here. Second, you are not to address us as "MB and company." The correct address is "Wafers". Remember, if you get to participate in this blog, you are one of the luckiest people on the planet. Pls adopt an attitude of infinite respect. Thank you.


5:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out this guy's face:



7:04 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

MB - Yes, I understand that when it comes to migrants running away from poverty/crime, survival is all that matters. But I came across many immigrants from various nationalities (Asians/Europeans etc) who could easily do much more than survive in their countries. What I found that keeps them glued to US apart from greed is that being an American means something special. I found this brainwashing to be very strong. Most of them have told me that living in America provides them with a *special* identity and that elsewhere they feel insignificant. When others criticise America for its foreign policy, avarice, etc they think its just jealousy of American Exeptionalism. It's mind boggling !! Anyways, I just hope the collapse happens asap and the World is rid of the cancer that is American imperialism.

MB -- this Mexican village, Cheran, can teach the world a thing or two about real revolution...


7:05 AM  
Anonymous Diane said...

What wisdom could the great Cynic Diogenes offer to our modern-day Alexander? Here is an imaginary an encounter between the two men. Diogenese vs Musk


8:29 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Greetings to MB and esteemed Wafers
Congrats on the interview Dr B. You will be vindicated in the history books.
For an academic view on Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

On the subject of the 1990s, I am reminded of this article from 2011 on MTV’s reboot of “Beavis and Butt-Head.” The author contends that the 2011 reboot didn’t work because American culture had become so stupid that Beavis and Butt-Head were no longer edgy.


If you can get past the crude drawings and toilet humor I think “Beavis and Butt-Head” was a pretty funny satire of American culture in the 1990s. Unfortunately, Beavis and Butt-Head are probably too smart for modern America. I think something similar is true for many trashy shows like “The Jerry Springer Show” which will stop production this year. What was shocking and edgy in the 1990s is now so commonplace that it no longer shocks. How can Springer compete with the insanity of the regular news today?

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Megan: regarding "socialism" and Venezuela, etc. the latest from On the Media may be of interest: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/on-the-media-2018-07-27

Cognitive Dissonance time: Saw a Toyota Prius (with Florida places no less) with a Trump bumpersticker this weekend. Same difference as Penny's "zombies" who stick Bernie stickers on their Suburbans.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@Penny Lane, God bless and may you find safe housing soon. I'm a half step ahead of you, homelessness is all around me in a city w/o any services at all giving most, esp single males zero choice except leave or die - 'we don't care which you choose just quit bugging us for loose change ur harshing my high.' That said, is there anything worse than the condescending 'help' of limousine liberals? Fuckers think if you don't overcome your life experience there must b something deeply wrong with you and their patience is short.
Re: black folk in America, check out what Harry Belafonte thinks,


11:11 AM  
Blogger Chairface Chippendale said...

@COS, When you used the phrase “prize tomato” I thought that would make a good handle for a Wafer newcomer.

@Penny Lane, Your comments about living on the margins and formulating escape plans rings very true. I really like the way you put it: “They cost money. They require connections. They take a lot of heart, and if your heart has been betrayed by false friendships, corporate psychopathy, illness, hide and seek healthcare, Hillary/Trump lovers, triple-rent increases, job-loss, family emergencies, social estrangement…”

It seems especially the case that false friendships (or shallow friendships that we in retrospect foolishly counted on) and social estrangement are the most painful but also provide the greatest impetus to leave. I also know first hand that major illness is another massive obstacle course to crawl thru. In Amurica it often means capitulation. But I’ll be damned if I’ll die here. Bury me in a place faraway from here. With my boots on.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Would you like fries with that?”
How an ex-cop and assorted American hustlers exploited the McDonalds-sponsored Monopoly game to steal millions. (“The Monopoly game “is derived from The Landlord's Game, which was created by Elizabeth Magie in the United States in 1903 as a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints, and to promote the economic theories of Henry George and in particular his ideas about taxation. It was first published by Parker Brothers in 1935.” Wikipedia)

Do you look like a terrorist? Are you sure? Maybe you oughta get a second opinion.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

MB: Thanks for the link to El Universal. Laquisha Jones is America in the flesh -- defiant, obese, brutish, clueless, and pathologically angry. Just this morning my local paper reported three fatal shootings in 12 hours. Will anyone notice? No. Such stories are the norm. Barbarity has been normalized.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

This quote by Hillaire Belloc, Jeffrey, might help to explain the USA's position in the world:

"Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not."

While times, and technology, have changed somewhat, the principle remains. I recall about 10-12 years ago, making sand castles on the beach at Cannes (visiting a relative, sleeping on the floor of his apartment...and sometimes witnessing what REALLY rich people look like), in what would seem an idyllic situation. What made this picture less than savoury was the US aircraft carrier lurking on the horizon. It appeared huge even at that great distance. Why do you suppose it was there, lifeguard duty?

Good takedown of Umair Haque, Bill Hicks. To complain that the elites aren't protecting the little guy reveals a rather distorted world view. What does he expect from these vampires, noblesse oblige? I think Mr. Haque has passed his "best before" date.

And Dan, you might be amused to hear that at the education factory where I work there's a sign at one of the parking lots on which it is written: "No Parking Passed This Sign." I took a picture of it years ago to show to students, but I haven't told the numbskull administrators about it.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Wafers and Waferettes, I think I've finally found the soul of America.

How To Dominate Your Neighbor's Lawn


Allyn Hane for president?

You may live in an ugly subdivision full of bland, uncurious people... But you can still find outlets for petty snobbery and power plays.

I think the logical endgame of American culture is the complete fetishization of every aspect of life. Grass can't just be. It has to become a product worthy of obsessions, social hierarchies, totally arbitrary aesthetic judgments.

Suburban WAFERs may qualify for a merciful exile and expulsion if they undertake a program of grass browning.

5:24 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

In early July, I was driven to make this montage. I e-mailed it to Dr. Berman a few weeks ago. He recently asked if I could share it with the blog. So, I uploaded the file to soundcloud. If you think you can stomach hearing these Americans, you can listen at the following private link:

vox americana – k_pgh

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Bloom said...

Smart and funny article on the limits of economic reasoning -- along with a engaged and generous perspective


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Blase said...

Imperial cultures seem pretty much bad across the board though counter narratives appreciated.

Who knows how much smarter Jewish people are. I think I heard Jordan Peterson explain higher verbal skills and less spatial reasoning in general for the Jews. In the same talk Peterson mentioned that "smart" people marry smart people more than in the past due to how the path to status and wealth work in the modern age. Ivy league discrimination against talented Asians for me is just another discrediting of the elite schools and education in general.

Personally, due to centralization I think conformity and specialization is rewarded more so than in the past which takes a certain kind of mind and values. David Graeber mentions many jobs are useless and zero sum in benefitting the commons like corp law protecting feudal interests producing nothing. The spatially gifted may be benefiting civ far more or damaging civ far more than language score-ers, though more tech is likely needed to solve the problems of hyper-complexity and in some ways consumption.

Sorry for the slightly disconnected thoughts.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out k's link. This, my friends, is what America is all abt. (Jeffrey take note.)


I think No Parking is a member of the faculty.


On a latent level, America has millions upon millions of Laquisha Joneses. God, I love that foto of her. Anyway, the time has come to make the latent level manifest. Go, Laquisha! You left Shaneka in the dust!


Well, that's what Fidel said. I wonder...


You've all provided incredible documentation of American behavior today. Takes my breath away. When I think of all the people who need to be slapped, I hafta lie down connected to my oxygen tank.


7:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

This is good:


Trumpo has so deeply alienated just about the entire traditional US power structure, including the national security establishment, it's gonna be interesting to see how all this plays out.

More from Thomas Merton:

"He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world, without keeping his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas...We are living through the greatest crisis in the history of man; and this crisis is centered precisely in the country that has made a fetish out of action and has lost (or perhaps never had) the sense of contemplation."


7:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@COS--I suspect that had ol' Botoxface won the election, she wouldn't look like she escaped from an assisted living facility for the mentally deranged. Despite all the excuses, she has to know deep down inside that she got the biggest and most well deserved comeuppance of any human in the 21st century.

@Tom Servo--I was a big Beavis & Butthead fan back in the '90s. Of course, it was made by the same guy who wrote and directed Idiocracy, who seems to have had a pretty good grasp on where America was heading.

@Gunnar--Belafonte is of course absolutely correct. Unfortunately, black people on average are just as besotted by American culture as their white counterparts. The most prominent black "leaders" of the 21st century, such as Obarfa, Clarence Thomas, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, Condoleeza Rice, Susan Rice, etc., are just as feckless and corrupt and any national white politician you could name.

@Dio--if I lived next door to that douchebag in the video, I'd let my grass grow all summer without mowing it. Fuck him.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I fear you've come too late to the party, and w/folks like u it gets tiresome to hafta explain, over and over again, how we operate here. We are not interested in wholesale comments on the blog. This wd turn it into a metablog, wh/wd be terribly boring. What we are doing is discussing specific issues related to the collapse of the American empire, and you don't seem to want to do that; your own orientation and focus of interest seems to be far removed from our own theme. Which is fine, but then you wd probably be a lot happier participating in a different blog, one that wd appreciate yr insights and yr particular approach. So let me wish you luck with that, and I think we'll all benefit if we go our separate ways. Thank you.


8:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


BTW: I read somewhere that B-Face was responsible for some massacre in the Middle East, perhaps Syria or Libya? And that Qaddafi was trying to broker some sort of peace agreement between Syria and the UN, and B-Face made sure he was killed because he opposed her candidacy? I'm not saying any of this is true, just that I seem to have read something like this online some time ago.

She does look deranged, doesn't she. I wonder if it'll get worse.


8:48 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

Coleman -

I don't know how much help I can provide, but, FWIW, here it is.

I think your best bet would be to elbow your way, if you can, into a skilled trade (electrician, plumber, brick and masonry, etc.). First, skilled tradies can make good money. I know tradies who make as much as doctors or lawyers.

Second, if you do decide to look abroad for a place to live, a skilled trade (especially with recognized certifications and qualifications) can go a long way towards getting you a work visa. In many countries, migrants in skilled trades are more in demand than white collar professionals. Unlike the United States, most civilized countries have merit based immigration policies, which means you have to have some combination of wealth, skills and/or education to get in.

A skilled trade can be a serious leg up for you. I hope you can pursue it.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Liked K's audio montage! On that same note, a friend sent something he saw on twitter. I like it.

"I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas..."

I think that captures americans, particularly the essence of those of the left/prog persuasion..

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

by Jacques Brel

"Of chrysanthemums in chrysanthemums
Each time more alone
Of chrysanthemum in chrysanthemums
Each time more numerous
I arrived, I arrived
But I would have liked
One more time to take love
Like one takes the train to be more alone
To be elsewhere. To be content.
I arrived, I arrived
But I would have liked
One more time to fill a body with stars
That trembles and falls death
Burnt from love, the heart in ashes
I arrived, I arrived
It’s not even you who is ahead
It’s again me who is late
I arrived, of course I arrived
I have never done anything else but arrive."

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Thank you Dr. Berman. I think this is one of the best interviews you gave. It is really accessible to folks who are not familiar with the declinists' view.



3:42 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...


Look at that smile.. the caption "Trust me" says it all... I am the best and hire the best people.. and the best people like Steve Munchkin have come up with this Ponzi scheme to give $100b in tax cuts to the bottom 1%, not the top 1% because that would be fake news in Trumplandia... Trumpi the populist "peoples" President cares about the bottom 1% ... and he is going to bring down the deficit, so says Larry Kudlow, another stable genius.. I guess USA is winning bigly...looks like its MAGA time finally...meanwhile at Faux news they are still chanting "Build that Wall" though it seems like "Mexico will pay for it" is out of favour for the time being.. and Jesse Watters wants "Best and Brightest" immigrants and not "some guy's uncle from Zimbabwe"

When I look at that Trumpi picture, it reminds me of the only good thing I find about him. His broad fat cheeks (not those cheeks). You can slap him really nice and hard and get your full palm imprint on that face.

Wafers - Talking about the issues facing black people in US, what is your opinion of Malcolm X. He had his flaws, but having watched his videos he comes across as sincere. He had the courage to speak his mind. His talks "The Ballet or the Bullet" and "The House Negro and the Field Negro" available on YouTube, seemed quite accurate. Chris Hedges summarises him well here:


6:16 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


That Merton quote is spot-on, particularly in speaking of the lack of contemplation & depth in our culture. I meet more & more people who simply do not understand what that means, even when I try to explain it to them if they should ask. It's not that they simply dismiss it scornfully; they actually don't seem to comprehend what stillness, reflection, or just "being with" a moment or an individual actually is, what any of it means. It sounds like a waste of time to them: "What's the point? What do you get out of it?" And the topper, of course: "You don't make any money doing that, so why bother?" As Erich Fromm entitled a classic book, TO HAVE OR TO BE? Most don't want to BE, they just want to HAVE. Cue Thomas Hobbes ...

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Alexander said...


“Just 19 percent of U.S. millennials agreed with the statement that “military takeover is not legitimate in a democracy.”

How cute

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Though this prime parcel is zoned for six lots, Mr. Kirman is marketing it as a family compound for a single buyer. "

The amount of money americans think they need to be "financially comfortable":

Technodouchebaggery department:

ps. I got all those links from Chris Martenson's Daily Digests. Much recommended!

Peace, Love & O&D!


11:53 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

That's a good quote by Charles Bukowski on the meaning of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, COS.

How go from that (you ought to have posted the whole quotation, or at least, "How can I be concerned with the murder of one man when almost all men, plus females, are taken from cribs as babies and almost immediately thrown into the masher?"), to an indictment of the left is an incredible leap in logic, though.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Michael in Oceania-

I think "Coleman" may be the writer and scholar Coleman Hughes. He writes for "Quillette," among lotsa other publications. Here's a sample of his writing:



12:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That wd be great. He looks like a cool dude. Coleman, come back!


1:00 PM  
Anonymous O-Ren Ishi said...

I am so glad I found MB/fellow Wafers. I have been so alarmed by the state of the US, especially as a minority, that I have been having difficulty sleeping at night.

I've been thinking about leaving the US for safety's sake but it is a difficult and complex process, not to mention an emotionally loaded decision. To make matters worse, I feel that most people in my age group (30s) are completely deluded by the current state of affairs. I can't even talk to them about this, they'll look at me like I'm crazy. It can be quite lonely.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous meangenekaz said...

Michael in Oceania, MB, WAFERS

Mike - Having the abilities you mentioned above has definitely given me a leg up over the years. Great advice for all WAFERS and future emigres...

And as things keep going down the drain, a basic understanding of how to keep the plumbing working correctly is a skill to value highly.

WAFERS - we march on!


1:40 PM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

Kanye, it sounds like the six lots in Bev Hills are designed to be a rich person's enclave for the coming "troubles". I've prided myself on not being a conspiracy theorist, but ... the capital gains tax writeoff seems beyond excessive. They (the rich, the powerful, or the rich and powerful) seem to be up to something. They are dreaming if they think they will survive non-linearity in a changing climate scenario.

Which leads me right to the Deep Adaptation article. I read the entire thing. Thank you so much for posting it! I'm one of those people who've survived and know the benefits of adapting to new, horrible realities. It's changed my thinking, in a good way.

For a change of pace, something a little more lighthearted in a Waferish way is an academic paper I read on American urban morphology. Kuntsler and others have talked much about car dependent cities. This guy cuts right to the heart, American cities reflect American turkey values. You'll need to dodge his academic complaints on all the research that should be done, but hasn't been.


On a more personal note, just got back from a funeral (landlord, died in his sleep, very ill). My neighbors, his family, have mostly been beyond wonderful, very kind. The other people at his funeral? Let's just say I felt unwelcome. Stranger in a strange land ... only in America can you be dissed for showing up to pay your respects.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Totally Fed Up said...

Hello Wafers,

As someone who desperately wants to leave the US, I don’t have the resources to do so (not asking for help). Procrastination can bite one, and, in my case, may take a big hunk.

Thanks to all for at least letting me know that I’m not alone in thought or circumstances.


8:22 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Kanye--"falsely?" The only problem I see with Amazon's facial recognition program is that the result matching criminals to CONgresscritters wasn't 535.

@George C--there isn't today a single black "leader" of any stature with one-tenth of Malcolm X's courage or integrity. Of course, there also isn't a single white "leader" with 1% of Eugene Debs's courage or integrity. But most blacks at least know who Malcolm X was. Almost nobody remembers Eugene "I'd rather be hung as a traitor than go to war for Wall Street" Debs, or how he ran for president in 1920 from a prison cell because of speeches he made blasting arch racist Woodrow Wilson for dragging America into WW1.

So now that the Trumpenfuhrer has engaged in a war of words with the super-odious Koch brothers, I'm waiting for douchebag liberals to hail them as members of "The Resistance" (puke) as they have with this tired old sack of shit: John Brennan is the face of American politics in 2018. The Brennan article is a brilliant takedown by our old friend, Peter Van Buren.

9:41 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Pitirim Sorokin Revisted...

Morris turned me (us) on to Sorokin and I’ve enjoyed reading about him and his work.


9:43 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

You know when I look at the news these days and think about how damaging American foreign policy has been over the last 75 years and how damaging it continues to be, a few verses from Ecclesiastes pop into my head (4:9-10):

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to lift him up."

The question is who is going to help "lift up" America when it crumbles in upon itself, as all empires do eventually. The answer is obvious - no one. Wasn't it Charles De Gaulle who said America doesn't have allies, it has interests? We've been able to act as the world's bully for so long due to our military supremacy and the dollar's role as the King of Currency. When that finally ends, I think its going to get ugly in this country real quick - but I guess you could argue its pretty ugly here already.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Hi al-Qa'bong said,

I had no idea that the quote was from Bukowski or the content (I only read Post Office so not an expert). Thanks for pointing that out. As I noted a friend just sent me the bit I posted so had no idea of the context. Thanks.

However, I do disagree in that I think the quote portion and in particular the portion " men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas..." does not require any incredible leaps of logic to capture the sensibilities of most Americans and the left in particular. I harken back to my college days in Baltimore in the mid to late 70's (Hopkins class of 79, seems like yesterday) who were the lefties quoting--Chomsky and Fannon (Sartre was popular then too) , wearing Che T-shirts and screeming racist and capitalist at everyone. I did not go into the nuances being a pre-med student but seems like todays left and progs are recycling ideas that were already a bit stale when I was a wee lad. The left and progs seem now to just repeat what they hear on TV or NPR and whatever Chris Hedges has to say about Wollin and channeling Michael More. So yeah, its not a logical stretch by my lights to characterize the left of today as merely mouthing secondhand poorly understood old ideas. Todays difference is that they seem a bit more unhinged and more intolerant. Say what you will, the folks on the right (vacuous in their own way but not sanctimonious scolds like the left) seem to be having more fun, eat what they want, get laid more and have a few more laughs.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Good article on downward mobility and the increasingly precarious position of middle-class Americans. I don’t share the author’s optimism about political change but it is telling how the pain and misery keeps moving up the income and status ladder.


1:32 AM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

I came across an interesting quote in a book of essays "Evolutionary Psychology and Violence" (2003) edited by Richard Bloom and Nancy Dess:

"Cooke (1998a) has noted that psychopathy is more likely to be a successful life strategy in an individualistic society, such as America, than in a more collectivist society. Consistent with this view, psychopathy appears to be considerably more prevalent in North America than in Europe, at least in correctional centers, with one analysis yielding rates of 29% and 8% in North America and Scotland, respectively (Cooke, 1997). According to both Rieber (1997) and Hare (1993), psychopathy is actually becoming increasingly adaptive in North American society, which "is moving in the direction of permitting, reinforcing, and in some instances actually valuing some of the traits listed in the Psychopathy Checklist—traits such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, lack of remorse" (Hare 1993, p. 177)."
Pgs 68-69

The main argument of this essay is that psychopathy isn't an abnormality but is an adaptation which flourishes in certain contexts.
Rootless urban centers which allow for more anonymity are also prime hunting grounds. If Reiber and Hare believed America was permitting and reinforcing of psychopathic traits in the 90s, how much worse it has gotten since then!

5:06 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Roundup of Idiocracy ... Enzoi !!

#1 Kiki challenge
Idiots jumping out of moving cars to dance to some shitty song... one teen realised this is not a great idea after getting her skull fractured.
"When we got here and I finally gained consciousness in the ICU, that's when it hit me like wow, I'm actually in the University of Iowa hospitals because I tried to do some little challenge everyone's doing now, and I'm the one that got majorly hurt"said the enlightened teen

#2 Incompetent thieves
Even the thieves have lost the plot.. seems like they don't have the patience to come up with an elaborate plan to steal a shark.. "Salvaggio said that two men and one woman entered the aquarium, lifted the shark from an open pool where visitors could pet animals, and attempted to smuggle it out by disguising it as a baby"

Via "Fresh Hell" from thebaffler.com ....

#3 Advertising in the pits and "smart clothing"
"The agency now makes young women’s underarms available for hire as advertising spaces—so if you’re a brand adamant about standing out, no sweat."

7:39 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Great article Professor.

Just heard of the Q phenomena this morning. Just when I think it can't get any weirder or stupider here.....




8:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out DAA, ch. 7.


Welcome to the blog. Check out my bk on Japan, if you want.


11:40 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I'm not posting these 2 local news stories because they're unusual, but because they're so much the norm now:



I'm just trying to imagine what it must be like to grow up in this sort of world, school shootings, random violence, etc., as the status quo, with no experience of life ever having been any other way. Yes, it certainly isn't limited to younger people by any means! But the miasma of utter hopelessness must be all-encompassing if you are younger. The gadgets will get shinier, the souls more feral. And there won't be any Malcom X or MLK or even an RFK to offer something better … at least, none who'll be noticed or heeded. A society devoid of hope, devoid of possibilities for something better … welcome to Thunderdome!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Michael Scheuer, former intelligence officer for the CIA, calls for the death of Trump critics:


Americans interacting in stores dept.:



12:37 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER George Carlin: I too have noticed that "special" feeling that recent immigrants have when talking abt the us or being a part of the us.

Russians, Western Europeans, Aussies/Kiwis, Asians--doesn't matter--they all talk endlessly abt monetizing everything, how 'amazing' america is for them, and how they feel so happy--like they "made it." They're part of an exclusive club. "You can be a nobody and come to the us and be a somebody." (Better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody?).

Forget any historical references, narratives, documentations, evidence-based arguments, etc...all met w/ glazed eyes, psycho-motor agitations, and phone diddling. You might as well be speaking Mandarin.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I especially like your comment in this interview about how Krugman doesn't realize that growth is exactly what is killing us.

A rising GDP may actually just be a good way to track a dissolving society. All it means is that there's more economic activity happening, but in many instances this activity is counterproductive.

For example- you could have a society with stable community and family structures and little need for commercial day cares, or you can have a society that spends a fortune distracting, marketing to, and warehousing children in lieu of their overworked, overstressed parents.

Then they will turn into adults in need of expensive therapy down the line. All very good for business.

When there is no organic society, we have to resort to money for absolutely everything.

My area has probably seen a 20 percent rise in GDP since I was a kid. Yet most of the stuff is BS that should really be destroyed. Why don't we all work less and make our own meals rather than rush to one of ten fast food places on the main road after work?

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a word of caution to those of you thinking of hopping across the pond, it isn't necessarily any better over here:





3:48 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Excellent interview, Dr. Berman. You have mentioned, certainly on this blog, the possibility of states succeeding from the United States. Well, a group behind what is known as the Calexit Plan is collecting signatures (385,880 signatures needed)to get a referendum placed on the 2021 ballot as to whether to succeed from the United States and form an independent California. The Calexit Plan also creates in the eastern part of California, mostly federal land, an autonomous native American state within independent California. Doubt it would ever be allowed to succeed for now. Interesting though....


5:55 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I suppose it's a matter of perspective, COS. That quotelet of Bukowski could be interpreted as a commentary on anyone in The West, not necessarily leftos only. As for ascribing this behavour to those who follow "the left-wing media" (where's Ben Bagdikian when you need him?), again, if one were so inclined, one could say this is the result of exposure to Fox News, or other of the less virulent strains of mainstream media.

In 1946 Orwell wrote on how facile it is to sling around words like fascist (or snowflake") at those with whom one disagrees, but Jack London nailed this tendency 40-odd years earlier:

“The people of that age were phrase slaves. The abjectness of their servitude is incomprehensible to us. There was a magic in words greater than the conjurer's art. So befuddled and chaotic were their minds that the utterance of a single word could negative the generalizations of a lifetime of serious research and thought. Such a word was the adjective UTOPIAN. The mere utterance of it could damn any scheme, no matter how sanely conceived, of economic amelioration or regeneration. Vast populations grew frenzied over such phrases as "an honest dollar" and "a full dinner pail." The coinage of such phrases was considered strokes of genius.”

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Dominos said...

CJ I think you're greatly mistaken. You link mainstream media which has been controlled since the 50's and before like most institutions for pro-centralization framing. By who? As MB has mentioned, anyone on TV is probably illegitimate.

The dominance hierarchies as Chomsky, Onward to Dystopia, Stephen Verstappen, point out, reward self-interest and psycho pathological types. There are quantitative not qualitative values, winners and losers, mafias, blackmail, not victims. So tremendous wealth and opportunity inequality. Competition is controlled globally and labeled free market capitalism. Autocratic systems like communism are favored, enabled by PR: propaganda, controlled opposition, lawyers, advertisers, taxators, agenda driven educators, privatization like banks and judiciary, e.g. corruption across the board. Once a society and planet becomes closed due to corruption and wealth and power inequality very difficult to reverse.

I'm not fond of religions but maybe sometimes hallucinating tribes can balance out power. People are seeing Zionist institutional control disparity across the country. And the term anti-Zionist has become on par with being a Nazi fascist. What about all the Christians wacked under communist Bolsheviks or victims of Mao? The Q movement seems connected to Christianity and more economic solidarity which arguably a radical progressive left has diminished systemic issues over decades with identity politics, multi-culturalism, boutique me too movements, cultural Marxism, educational reforms, perpetual terror. The owners want obedient specialists who stand for nothing willing to do anything for the scraps of the rotten pie of one giant planetary polit-bureau. Europe and the West seems mostly lost but America still supposedly has some ammendments and freedoms. Mexico seems even less friendly to opposition politicians lately.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Puddy said...

I've been following this website (from China) for over four years: I'm a hopeless addict.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We usually don't approve of addiction on this blog, but in this case we'll make an exception. Meanwhile: don't lurk; live! ps: yr not David Puddy, are you?


I didn't think Cj was necessarily endorsing the Q phenomenon...


That wd be good, but note that the word is secede, not succeed (altho I wish all American secessionists lots of success).


Honestly, I can't understand why Scheuer didn't recommend that everyone kill everyone else. This wd finally solve the problem of America in the world, I'm guessing. Love that store interaction. And I also enjoyed this:


I'm very sorry that I didn't establish a Turkey Index (TI) in the late 90s, when I was writing the Twilight bk. Then we cd run another test, see what the TI is in 2018. Thru the roof, man!


Walking in the steps of Shaneka Torres. The kids probably ordered pepperoni, and it got left off. To arms, citizens!


9:07 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Here is Chomsky banging the gong on Democracy Now! a couple of days ago.

I surfed to it on Reddit, where a few comments were surprisingly trenchant, while some were typically obtuse, and still others are walking the way of the WAFER - cheering for team apocalypse, haha!

But hey, the info is getting out there...and I'm even carefully approaching a few close folks about this issue and am surprised to find a couple who are actually deeply aware, and empathic about it, which makes me feel less alone - as does the WAFER collective of course.

Meanwhile, a debt of gratitude - and a beer if I ever see you! - to whomever posted the Deep Adaptation white paper, the reading of which marked a turning point of serene epiphany for me.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


"There beneath the blue suburban skies..."

There is no other path than the Wafer path. All other paths are feel-good poopy. Of course, Wafers feel good just being on the Wafer path, knowing that everything else is kaka. Soon Wafers will be marching shoulder to shoulder, 8 million strong. (Time 4u 2 read TMWQ.)

But we cd probably use a gd joke rt abt now.

A man retires and decides he'll move to Hawaii. He gets off the plane at Oahu Airport, and walks into the open lounge. A beautiful woman puts a lei around his neck. He says aloud, to no one in particular: "I'm so happy to be in Hawaii."

Sitting in the back row of the lounge is a little old Jewish guy, who comes forward to the man. "I have to tell you," he says, "here on the islands we pronounce it 'Havaii'."

"Oh, thank you," says the man.

"You're velcome," says the little old Jewish guy.


10:04 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

American Teen ripped out relative's eyes with his bare hands, police say


Origins of Our Second Civil War: Will 2019 Become 1861?


11:17 PM  
Anonymous O-Ren Ishi said...

MB - Thank you for the recommendation!

Miles - if Black Friday is any indication of how people will react during a crisis, I think we are all doomed when things get REALLY bad.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Big surprise here: "About half of Americans don’t think climate change will affect them — here’s why"

The reporter is way too optimistic and delusional to think that a critical mass of Americans will actually change their lifestyles, including the phony and pretentious progre$$ives. You know, the kind that drives around in a Hummer with a "Save the EPA" bumper sticker on the back.

I was having a conversation recently with my die-hard "progressive" relatives about these issues and all they did was blame Trump (as if Obummer actually did much for our environment). These are the same people that drive gas guzzlers and do not walk, bike, or utilize public transit for any of their needs. They also don't want bus stops or affordable housing in their neighborhoods. So how are they any better than ExxonMobil?

And on a different topic, I had recently lost a relative who was in her 50s. At her funeral, I was amazed at how many people she knew and how packed it was inside. This is someone who had no cell phone, no Internet access, and no Facebook. Amazing isn't it? She took care of older people struggling with various illnesses. Not a hustler or ever in a hurry. Just a sweet, kind, and genuine person. She will be missed.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Indian Pulao said...

Dear Professor Berman and all Wafers!

I am form the Global South and form another country that has the dubious honor of being meddled around with by American Imperialism twice in the last 50 years.

Before saying anything else I would like to say that this blog saved my sanity, sometimes I thought it was just me, something was wrong with how I viewed the world, but this blog and Professor Berman's books really changed my mind!!

Professor Berman, I had always wanted to ask your opinion on a certain book from the 1970s, it's quite Waferish. Its called Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. It

One can read it here:

The author is a Japanese guy who sets out to explain the racism he found in America. He is a Marxist. He shows quite convincingly IMO that revolution in America cannot ever happen because a large section of the population directly benefits form the plunder of the Third World. I think it really matches your point of view as well! The guy has a very interesting take on the New Deal and the American Revolution as well! I am very interested in what you think of this viewpoint.

Sorry for my bad English!

6:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Krishna-

Your English is fine. Much better than my Hindi or Gujarat, in any case. The blog is honored to have made contact with the Indian subcontinent. Regarding Indian food, you might want to plow thru the blog archives for a post called "Mumbai in the West Village," or something like that (about a year ago). I think you'll enjoy my near-erotic appreciation of chicken tikka masala, keema naan, and other similar delights.

I was glad to learn that I saved your sanity. 2018 is 40 years I've been publishing books, and the one constant theme/bit of feedback I have received from readers over the years is some variant of that statement. "I thought I was crazy until I read ____," is the message I've received repeatedly. It's not that I was trying to be deliberately controversial; it's rather that as I studied history, these ideas were the honest conclusions I came to. Unfortunately, in terms of quantity, my life has been an abject failure. In terms of quality--e.g., reaching folks like yourself--I may possibly be the happiest guy alive. Not a bad tradeoff, imo.

I haven't read "Settlers," but it sounds interesting, very Waferish in orientation. Certainly, America's poor are very patriotic (every study shows this), and the fact that $ flows into the country as a result of our exploitation of the 3rd World has a lot to do with that. But there is also a powerful ideological factor that may be even more relevant, namely the American Dream. Every American believes that sooner or later, their ship will come in. For more than 99%, this never happens; but the cultural hegemony of the US is perhaps the 8th wonder of the world: "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," I call it. Hence, the possibility of revolution on American soil is roughly negative infinity. Any revolution here will come from the right--which it did, in 2016.

But what about the racial dimension of all this, which Mr. Sakai is claiming? An argument along these lines was made abt 20 yrs ago by Charles Mills ("The Racial Contract"), and is also implied in recent work of Elijah Anderson on "white space." These analyses are much larger than the feeble-minded identity politics of American liberals, with their endless political correctness. The most impt idea I took away from this lit was that "white" is not really a color, but a position in society. (For example, Mills argues that in an Asian context, the Japanese are white, and that their bid in WW2 was to establish the notion that they were just as white as Western Caucasians.) This wd seem to ring true. It may, however, not go far enough. I have occasionally wondered if there is something primal about race hatred, or race exploitation: that black or colored is associated with evil in the white mind, while white is taken to represent purity, "closer to God," as it were. Trump's rise to power may possibly be explained, at least in part, by that kind of sentiment, which is in reality a deep existential fear. In any case, the exploitation of global South by global North is an historical reality that cannot be denied. Where we go from here is anyone's guess.

Anyway, glad to have you on the blog. All modesty apart, we are the cutting edge of world sanity--and of meaningful discussions. Thanks for writing in.


7:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




7:41 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

"The GDP is up."

That's the all-purpose response to any injustice, inequity, tragedy, suffering today. Just check the comments section of any online news article. Children torn from parents? School shootings? No work for millions? Racism? Fascism? Societal collapse? Species extinction?

"The GDP is up."

But that is the American Way: money absolves & erases all sins, yet not having money is the only unforgiveable sin.

Meanwhile, this sounds like an interesting book:


What's interesting is that so many purported adults don't exhibit childlike qualities, such as curiosity & wonder; they exhibit childish qualities, such as self-centeredness & frustration & rage. The first can enhance an adult life; the latter prevents an adult life. But the first demands growth & maturity; the latter demands neither. "Isn't there a medication/5-step program/seminar/guru for that?"

9:16 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

MB - Regarding the discussion on *white* colour, there is a dimension of attractiveness in play as well. White has come to be associated with beauty, not sure whether through propaganda or naturally. Even non whites hold such beliefs, there is a documentary "Dark Girls" which explores this -- Dark Girls Trailer . I would be considered white in India and even here I observe this phenomenon. Female leads in movies/ads are almost always white. Many dark people might have accepted they are not as attractive as white, so this leads to an element of superiority in whites and inferiority in blacks.

Wafers -- If you are in need of a good laugh, read this article and especially the comments. It's an old article that I came across recently.
Pantless driver dies while masturbating

Bill Hicks - Malcolm X had a real charisma as well, not the fake type associated with every celebrity nowadays, esp Trumpi and Obummer. One cannot put a sentence together and another borders on grandiose, full of cliches and lacking any orginality. Thanks for the Eugene Debs reference.

Mike R - There is no point arguing with such people. I used to, but have given up. In our childhood, we would often hear our elders saying "you will understand it someday". Sadly for Turkeys that day will never come.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it. We have a half-page-max rule on this blog. Pls compress and re-send. Thank you.


10:08 AM  
Blogger Balázs said...

Can you cut it in half and post them for me? I don't have the original text, sorry, it was quite an effort to write it :)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ah, bad luck. Once I delete, I don't have the text anymore either. Anyway, in future pls make sure you limit length to half a page. Sorry!


10:50 AM  
Anonymous Ronald said...

Npr has an hour long segment on history of the big Mac, which is celebrating 50 yrs of gross.

Stimulating newsday in America

11:11 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

posting within 24 hr to help Balazs

Balazs - if you still have that page open where you typed your comment, you can try clicking the back icon on the browser. Sometimes it takes you back to your typed comment before you posted it.

MB - try it on your side as well by going back a page on the browser

11:14 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

From Dr B's interview

About a year ago, some minister who has a following based on that call, wrote an article on his blog about how I had come to that same Benedictine conclusion from a secular point of view.

You know you are onto something significant when multiple people from vastly different walks of life, and political outlook, all notice the same things. I think I can safely say I am further to the right than anyone here and I have had discussions with other right wingers that came to the same conclusion. Either you migrate out, or you migrate in. You leave the dominant culture one way or another, because it aint going to last.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Tenney said...

Seneca: Such a Stoic

Reminds me of our Professor, at times

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Roy West said...

over 50% of The US supports capital punishment. i think right around 40% of Catholics do.

THIS should be interesting, Mista Pope.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ouch! Talk abt damning w/faint praise. I much prefer Epictetus.


6:44 PM  
Anonymous Duvall said...


The future of America’s “amazing” economy and how the entropy wars will rev up -- Nomi Prins, “The Entropy Wars, Five Financial Uncertainties of 2018 (So Far)”

7:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Americans thrown on the trash pile:



8:19 PM  
Anonymous Leo said...


EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Corbyn hosted an event in parliament comparing the Israeli govt to the Nazis - on Holocaust Memorial Day. The 2010 event was part of a national tour called: "Never again for anyone - Auschwitz to Gaza"

JESUS this might b the end for the Party. Perhaps finally for Corbyn? His crypto anti-Semitism is finally coming to a head. Why is the Left so quick to invoke Nazism anyway?

9:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


24-hr rule.


10:06 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Homicides and suicides are rising in America.


More Americans are living in their vehicles due to lack of affordable housing.


Smartphones are making kids depressed, warns top psychiatrist.


1:10 AM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

So I haven't posted in a while, been busy looking for work. Being in line for a promotion that I did not want, a coworker decided to nix her competition, me, by going to HR and lying to them saying I have said racial slurs. It took my fellow workers and supervisor by surprise as all of us know who must have told HR because I work with only one person, an individual I give free rides to her home so she doesn't have to use ride sharing. The funny thing is I have been working on leaving this job, as it is a job in between jobs sorta thing, and was a month out from resigning, she would have gotten the promotion but she did not have patience.

So, I basically HR did not speak to me, ask me my side, or even attempt to contact me. I was told that the accusations alone were enough to terminate my employment as the company doesn't feel it can tolerate any form "prejudice" and perception alone is enough to terminate, i.e. no one needs to prove anything and since I live in an AT WILL State. Note the woman who made this false complaint is white like me, and would later admit to me that she contacted HR because she "wasn't going to accept anyone getting the promotion ahead of her.". I told her to enjoy her 1.05 raise.

Fun times. I do not mind losing a crappy job like that but the sheer ruthlessness and willingness to lie in such a low end job just surprised me.

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Indian Pulao said...

Thank you Professor, it is an honour to be part of this great blog. Thanks for the warm welcome. Yes I am well aware of your predilection for Indian cuisine!

Yes indeed I have seen you say this before, as you said, American culture is no longer confined to America anymore. It is spreading everywhere. Even here in my country, where more than 90% of the population doesn’t have access to clean drinking water, we have Star-bucks popping up in the gated communities for the rich. It ’s amazing, if you go to these places, it’s like Mini-America, people speak English even though they can perfectly speak Urdu, they want to be Americans so bad! Its kinda of like how you describe parts of Mexico. The lure of Hollywood is much too strong!

Mr Sakai is attempting to figure out the material causes for this racism, following in the footsteps of Marx himself. There is a lot of stuff in that book. Yes I agree with you that ideology plays a big part!
You probably know Marx said “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas; i.e., the class which is the ruling material force in society is at the same time the ruling intellectual force?” The ruling class always have to justify their dominant position, therefore they come up with explanations for why it is right for them to have so much wealth and power.
Since the Euro-Americans ( this includes all the imperialist powers Britain, France, the US ,…) have been in the dominant position for much of the last 400 years and continue to be today and greatly benefit from this global apartheid, it is no surprise that their standards of beauty and ideas of supremacy are so common. I mean from a Marxian standpoint it would have been surprising if that was not the case. He agrees with you that "progressives" or the left are mere Turkeys. It's worth reading
the chapter on the American Communist party in his book. These-days I hear American progressives(Bernie et al) saying that we have to take back the Democratic Party, as if the DP was different before. I mean the DP(Truman) gave the world the Vietnam War and dropped two nuclear bombs for god's sake!

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Miller said...

@Tim @Pana @MB

Re: printed guns
Since the mid-90s, the number of guns in the US has doubled (to about 400 million), but the rate of crimes using guns has dropped to about 1/6 of what it was.

How do we eplain those stats? I know the US still has more than 30x as many firearm homicides per 100K population than the UK. But still vastly higher per head of population than other comparable countries. Japan recently had a year with no gun deaths.

They’re also using stats from the 90s? The crack decade skews all stats. A red herring? Of course its down xxx%! People were getting got by the 1000s in every major city during that period. We might also consider how much more we've incarcerated in our jails.

Still interesting evidence against an 'availability heuristic'

8:21 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Professor, thank you for clarifying Dominos response to my brief comment. I wasn't endorsing the QAnon movement at all and only included the link as another example of how idiotic political discourse has become in the US. When I wrote that comment it was just after learning of the existence of the QAnon group and the nonsense they are promulgating.

How anybody could imagine I was endorsing QAnon baffles me. Had a hard time understanding Dominos response (it's early here, I'm on my first cup of coffee and to be honest I really don't care) but it seemed, at least in one regard, he or she were criticizing me for including mainstream media links. Sorry Dominos, I'm not the first nor the last referencing the msm here. Just peruse the comments in this thread and you'll see many others.

Take care Professor,


8:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As for ruling class ideology, Gramsci is probably better than Marx. Re: Vietnam: we took over from the French after Dien Bien Phu, which was 1954. Truman was out of office by Jan. of 1953. So the continuation was 1st by the GOP, then the Dems later on. BTW, yr post is just a bit too long: in future, pls make sure it's 1/2 page max. Thanks.


Yr coworker is the soul of America--seriously. This is exactly what life in America is all abt. HR behavior as well (guilty before proven innocent). Honestly, if I had to return to the US I think I'd kill myself.


8:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I suppose Dominos is new to the blog and doesn't understand that one hasta read exactly what other people say, rather than imagine what they say and then attacking it. Hopefully they'll be more careful in the future.


8:34 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


You need to return with a threat of a lawsuit, or at least the bluff of one. Be creative. 'At will' does exist, but so does a lot of labor law against discrimination. Get it in writing or write it yourself and keep records. Also you can threaten to sue her for libel, which will make your employer have to be involved in the case.

It will probably matter to your future because employers are a cartel who will check with each other to see if you are employable or 'untouchable'.

My guess is that your turkey bosses will just respond like scared little rodents to whichever side is making the loudest, most persistent allegations. You should be able to leave on your own terms.

Re: untouchable unemployables


"Neither race nor class nor race and class combined can so efficiently encapsulate the kind of of social hierarchy, prejudice and inequality that marginalized Americans experience."

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Tom Servo,

Fascinating & frightening about smartphones & depression … but sadly not surprising. On a similar note:


And a related note:


8:54 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Many people (including, apparently the people who work in HR) don't understand the difference between an accusation and the necessity of presenting proof of that accusation. Nor do they understand how quickly and thoroughly a person's reputation can be ruined by false charges. That's why I looked with a certain skepticism on the #MeToo movement. Yes, rape and sexual harassment DO happen and the perpetrators need to be exposed and brought to justice -- that said, there were elements of this that smacked of a witch hunt. And that's where it goes when no one demands proof of wrongdoing.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Nesim: You aren't the first person that's happened to! Sorry and I hope you can find something else. If it were me, I'd sue the pants off them for wrongful termination. But that's me.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

3 Aug 390 BC "Gauls nearly conquered Rome because watchdogs fell asleep! Only the sacred geese of Juno/Hera squawked to wake the Roman defenders and save the city. Afterwards, on 3rd August, a #og would be crucified as admonition to all watchdog."

Listening for our sacred geese

9:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's my birthday today, but I don't see #ogs or hear any geese.


Consider the destruction of Woody Allen. He may have done it, but maybe not. It's a he said/she said situation; no one else was there. So it's a wash. And yet a whole # of actors declared they wd no longer work w/him. Evidence, apparently, didn't matter. She says he did it, and that's all they need to hear. I told you, in America even the smart people are stupid.


Dio is rt. If it's on yr record, you cd be permanently fucked. Remember: Americans are NOT intelligent.


9:53 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Punching a 84 year old and a mentally ill naked woman.... well done ..

84-year grandmother takedown

punching naked woman

Wafers - Recommending again to watch "Punishment Park", loosely based on the "Chicago Seven" trials. The director, Peter Watkins, seems to be a Wafer and a genius. The film was refused by all Hollywood studios and only ran for 4 days in a Manhattan theatre before being banned. A brilliant depiction of the polarisation in US during the Vietnam-era and relevant even today. Here is Peter Watkins' take on the making of the movie:

Peter Watkins on Punishment Park

10:26 AM  
Anonymous O-Ren Ishi said...

George Carlin - I started watching Punishment Park but was so disturbed by it I've had to limit myself to portions of the movie at a time. It is incredibly unsettling.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

As much as I can tolerate it, increasingly not much, I use teevee as a means of reality testing and verifying all things Wafer. Case in point I watched Meet the Press Sunday and there it was. Before going to commercial Boeing ran a 'brought to you by' ad and it was a picture of US capital with only the dome visible the whole rest of the building was wrapped in a flag with the company logo in the center - the subtle brain washing is undeniable and pervasive - my unofficial peer review consistently confirms this blog!
It's been four years now without a car for me and riding the poor people's limousine. Other than media I can confirm cars are equally dehumanizing and disgusting (I understand there is virtually zero options for most people).
I live across street from regional 'arts center' Friday nights in summer they have a festival of music and booze. Duos, triads, quad groups of people show up and leave together with very little interaction. If I went to meet people I'd be left with a thumb up my ass drinking warm 8$ 12 oz. beer - fuck that!

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

MB: Happy Birthday! Could you even imagine 20 years ago that you would one day be celebrating your birthday in a much warmer and alive country? Have a shot of tequila and enjoy, mi amigo!

Now back to American collapse: I'm not sure if any fellow Wafers posted about Brian Kemp, who is a Rethuglican running for GA's governor. But here's a couple of his fine campaign ads:



I have no doubt that he'll win. Lots of Turkeys agree with his platform -- guns, rounding up dem illegals, guns, chainsawing regulations, and more guns. How nice when you consider the fact that it hasn't been a full year since the Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Stoneman Douglas, and Santa Fe HS massacres. Not to mention the gun violence that occurs on a daily basis in this sick and soulless country. Meanwhile, the Dumbocrats keep jerking off to this seemingly endless Russia story. It's like a big budget movie with a story line that goes nowhere (to quote Elaine from Seinfeld). Actually, her quote can be applied to the pathetic lives of most Americans -- a story line that goes nowhere!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

Hello MB and Wafers:

I have been following this blog and I see that many here share very similar opinions that I have about the US and American culture. I hope to participate in this blog and share my experiences and views as well. BTW I left the US looking for my place to settle and
establish myself and I am now in Mexico. I am happy to be out of the US and I do not plan on returning to stay for a long term. I will only go to visit family and very short visits but I never want to live there ever again.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the blog, and to Mexico. I have a feeling u.r. going to enjoy both.


Elaine also said: "No, David, not the knuckle!" I loved that episode.


2:18 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Always a pleasure to read over these discussions, if only for confirmation of what I have been seeing for decades. Like some others, emigration is not an option, having neither money of any sorts (yes, there ARE people like me in the US who can actually read but never mastered how to make enough money to save) nor specialized job skills and impressive CV.

For those of us 'left behind,' I have found an interview with Chris Arnade gives an interesting quick overview of the damage in the technocratic class, the 10%, or whatever catchy phrase one applies to the unquestioning Hilary voters, along with the damage in the 'back row kids'-
Arnade has little hope for the US.

After not having a television for a couple of decades, one thing impossible to miss when I see one is the constant flashing and jumping. This is an old advertiser trick that is now used everywhere. Your peripheral vision doesn't register specifics, it registers motion. And you have a hard-wired instinctual response to look at something moving in your peripheral vision, along with a basic flight-or-fight activation. So we now have a nation cranked out of their gourds on adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. If you thought the reaction to 9/11 was full of fear and anger, the next similar event that Trump can exploit is going to be vicious beyond belief.

[Mr Berman, I do not have a sense of what a 'half page' is, so pardon if I am over. If I am over, I will now have a reference point and will try again. Delete this section, of course, if I am under and make the cut.]

2:25 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...


Happy Birthday! Hope yr day is a good one...

MB, Wafers-

Guilt by "metadata" dept.:


Decidedly Waferish dept.:


Luv to all,


2:27 PM  
Anonymous CASPER said...

“Fear, then, is ‘primitive’ in two senses: it is the earliest human emotion and it is also potentially the most destructive, turning other emotions it comes into contact with — notably anger, disgust and envy — toxic."

" Age of anxiety: do the origins of Trumpism lie in fear?
Philosopher Martha C Nussbaum’s The Monarchy of Fear is a book for dark times

review of Martha Nussbaum's The Republic of Fear for FT Life Arts"


I suppose what I try to do personally, and what this blog can do, is exactly what the 'dual process' in the NMI is -- in as far as doing anything, it's helpful in a very small way to expand the space for wonder as an alternative to fear; wonder as 'good' fear (overlapping with joy and much else) which can brighten/intensify human experience for better

2:33 PM  
Anonymous CandiedYam said...

I just came back from a week in Japan, and my, what differences between this society and the US. The Japanese are certainly not without their faults. They seemed very averse to foreigners, and I received a lot of glares from old salarymen and overall a pattern of measured avoidance. This is stuff I’m used to from living in the US as a ‘minority,’ but one thing the Japanese aren’t is brutish. A very orderly, clean, polite society. I even had a few bows from people as I moved out of their way in passing, which I reciprocated.

Upon returning to the US, the first thing I noticed was how filthy the airport looked, how ugly, poorly dressed, and obese the people were. I knew my short-lived reverie was over when I went through the x-ray machine and one of the TSA trolls yelled at me for leaving my sunglasses on my head. I told her to relax and that I’d take them off, which sent her into a rage. She then had her male troll colleague pat me down as some kind of weird punitive measure for daring to employ reason and agency.

At this point, I’m thinking maybe life wouldn’t be so bad in the East. Sure, I’d be an outsider and would probably never be able to integrate into society even if I learned the language, but I think I’d rather be shunned by humans than a bunch of angry and violent creeps looking to take out their frustrations on others. I even had some fat guy let out an exaggerated laugh as I walked past him in the airport. Didn’t say anything or even really look at him, but somehow he felt the need to vent his inferiority complex on whoever happened to be nearby. Jesus, this country is super depressing.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You might check out an obscure tome called "Neurotic Beauty." You wd always be alone in Japanese society, but at least the people there aren't gross, rude, and stupid.


V. gd recommendation! Preserving wonder is a very impt path for NMI's to follow. We've got 327 million people who are jaded, depressed, and whose idea of wonder is wondering how to make more $ (or increasingly, how to stay alive).

Dan D.-

Length just rt. Welcome to the blog. Don't lurk; live!


3:25 PM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Happy birthday Dr Berman. Leo, the event of which I believe you speak was one where a Jewish Holocaust survivor, Hajo Meyer, did the comparison of Israel to the Nazis. Jeremy Corbyn has already apologized. Please note that The Times is now owned by Murdoch. Besides, one should always be sceptical of what one reads in the media. Thanks.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Dan: Liked that CA article. The back-row vs. front-row is a great analogy. He says at the end:

"But I think ultimately the division we have is close to unsolvable. There’s no policy that’s going to address it, because I think it is so social and cultural. It requires almost a national kumbaya, the front row going back and living in different communities and opening their mind, and it requires the back row to drop a little bit of their anger. I just don’t see that happening in either case."

4:48 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Zar--indeed, the only fault I have with Corbyn is that he later apologized. Unfortunately, no matter how obviously idiotic the right wing smear of him being an anti-Semite is, not apologizing likely would have been political suicide.

@Nesim--as a retired middle manager who had to deal with several similar matters in my time, you have my total empathy. What your HR office likely did was take the path of least resistance to avoid an EEO case. EEO cases are usually long, messy, drawn out affairs that can last for years and cost the organization tens of thousands of dollars just to defend. And let's be clear about this point: as a male, particularly if you are a white male, you are at a HUGE disadvantage when dealing with the EEO bureaucracy. There is a presumption that women/minorities who file such complaints have a sound basis for doing so, and it is VERY hard to prove otherwise. You can expect, for example, to have innocent remarks you might have made thrown back at you if the other party or someone sympathetic to them had been "keeping book." In one of the cases I was involved with (my boss was the subject), the complainant turned over two huge volumes of material, and since she'd only been working with us for less than a year it was evident that she had been keeping track of every perceived slight from day one. Despite the fact that most of her claims were utterly ludicrous, we had to answer every one in exhausting detail. We eventually prevailed, but it took nearly 3 years and helped tear the office apart. Anyway, sorry that happened to you. Hope your next employer treats you better.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Sorry to hear about your run-in with the co-worker, Nesim. I find it weird that so many Wafers advise you to sue her and/or your employer. That's a rather yankhead move. Such litigiousness is creeping into Canadian culture, unfortunately; a consequence of Pierre Trudeau's 1982 "Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

You have a point, Leo, about leftos making comparisons to Nazis. From our perspective, all right-wingers are of a similar ilk, be they aristocrats, oligarchs, robber barons, Phalangists, Nazis, etc., so I ask for some understanding. Moreover, not even Hitler said that there was no such thing as a Jewish people, which some Israelis have said about Palestinians, which further reinforces your argument.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Happy Birthday! Well, Paul Craig Roberts is providing witness to the US decline, especially the US economy since he is an economist. He'd like to believe that the US could pull back from the abyss but his ongoing negativity suggests otherwise.


6:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. To participate in this discussion, you need a real handle. Perhaps: Julius V. Dingleberry IV.


Cd be worse for him if he *doesn't* sue, in the long run.


6:29 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

24 hr rule but forgot to wish Feliz Cumpleanos mis amigo - a life lived on eternal values of love, humanity, compassion, and empathy is only judged wasted in the good'ole USA - much gratitude for your work and this blog - blessings

6:31 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Leo – being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist,is not the same as being anti-Semitic. Israel is a nation state and Zionism is a political movement. Semitic technically refers to a language group, including Arabic, and since the majority of Jews (apx. 75%) are not of Middle Eastern origin (coincidentally, the 75% that run Israel), then it’s a misnomer. Accusing someone of anti-Semitism is a great way to conflate any criticism of Israel with being anti Jew, which allows Israel to do anything it damn pleases. Including genocide. I agree with Bill about Corbyn.

Casper – I’m not so sure that fear is a human emotion as it originates in the reptilian brain, the oldest, non-human part of the brain. The RB handles things like respiration, heart beat, etc., but it also helped with survival in the prehistoric world by causing fear of anything that was perceived as a threat. Of course, we fear those things we need not, and give a pass on those things we should. Ain’t programming just wunnerful?!?

7:03 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Our Fellow Americans who are rabid Trump cult members....CNN reporter talks to conspiracy theorists at Trump rally...


Excellent explanation from Carl Bernstein saying Trump presidency is worse than Watergate....


7:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm having a hard time w/yr posts. 1st, they seem to be stream-of-consciousness; I can't really understand them. 2nd, you don't really understand the code of courtesy here: disagreeing w/someone is one thing, blaming/attacking them is another. What you owed Cj was an apology; instead, you just attacked him some more. It all comes across as kinda goofy. Frankly, I think you wd be happier posting to a different blog. There are a million of them out there, and I'm sure many will appreciate your talents, and yr unique approach. Good luck.


Anti-Semitism means hatred of Jews, nothing more (check Webster's Dict.). It doesn't mean hatred of Semitic peoples (which includes Arabs) or of a language group. Simply, Jews: doesn't matter whether Ashkenazi or Sephardi. If you hate that particular race, religion, or ethnic group, yr anti-Semitic. And as you say, politics (Zionism) is a whole different issue.

Gunnar & everyone else who wished me Happy Birthday-

Many thanks. I'm jus' goin' along, trying to live in reality, like u guys. Wafers are opposed to (1) dogshit, and (2) trollfoons (the latter being a subset of the former). I don't think trollfoons are a religion, race, or ethnic group, but I want to go on record as being a rabid anti-Trollfoonite. Hopefully, this is politically incorrect. Do we need some new T-shirts? E.g., Front: a foto of a pile of dogshit with a red circle cum slash imposed on it; Back: REGISTERED WAFER. Wafers are encouraged to suggest other possibilities.


8:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Possible topic for discussion: Can one be anti-Semitic and simultaneously be a fan of deli meats? Wd an anti-Semite on a steady diet of pastrami eventually become a Judeophile?

8:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



8:36 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

MB - Breaking 24 hr rule to wish you a very Happy Birthday. Hope you have many more wonderful years ahead spreading sanity in this world. If I was in Mexico, would have come and delivered a cake and pastrami sandwich to you :). For all the good work you have contributed , wish I could offer more and get you your favorite villa in Italy, but sadly my pockets are empty :(

8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. Sure cd use that villa in Tuscany, however.


9:16 PM  
Anonymous cos said...

יום הולדת שמח

10:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Todah rabah (I have to transliterate).


10:39 PM  
Anonymous Brian S. said...

Happy to see that Counterpunch finally stepped up and ran this interview:

On another subject, I am finally reading your well-crafted (pun intended?) look at the Japanese, Neurotic Beauty. It certainly would be nice to think that somewhere on the globe, a society that has gone so far down the technocratic/consumerist rabbit hole can somehow extricate itself.

However, being the grim pessimist, I see cataclysmic climate change and the attendant food, water and resource shortages as forcing change on a global scale, and our narcissistic, materialistic lifestyles will be blown away as so much hot dust.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

MB, I don't know if everyone is aware of it but "The Greanville Post" has also run your interview. I've posted & shared it widely on Facebook. I have a Russian friend in Moscow who is a professional translator; his English is flawless. I suggested to him that he translate your trilogy on the fall of the American Empire & he's interested (his politics are that of a Wafer). I further suggested that if it is translated, you should go on a speaking tour in Russia; no doubt you would have many fans. Would you be interested in this? I think the Russian people need to have access to you!

1:14 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I can see I have a lot of reading to do!

I've just discovered your blog, and your piece about McFarland is amazing.

I grew up in Hawaii, as a hated minority (white) but still, there, I had a community. There's the old trope where (some) white people assume all black people know each other, well, it was that way with the white people; there were so few of us that we did in fact tend to know each other.

We were hated and isolated; we children were malnourished and the (non-white) church literally across the street would not feed us or even acknowledge our existence. But when I became an adult I moved to the city (Honolulu) and it wasn't as bad.

I still was not able to get any job that wasn't too dangerous, dirty, or demeaning for a non-white to want, but at least I could get a job at all.

I worked very hard, for years, to escape to the Mainland, the wonderful Mainland, where whites were not a hated minority. They ran things!

But truthfully, on the Mainland, you get more money but you trade off community, friends (real friends) and even financial progress because it's so much more expensive here.

And by and large, the white people here are assholes. Some are out-and-out, overt, assholes, and others are "nice assholes" in that they'll be nice to me because I'm white, but they exhibit all the personality traits of American Fascism. My boss is an example. Really once of the nicest white people I've met, and who has been very caring towards me (it's probably because he grew up going to good Catholic schools) but he voted for Trump. So I have to categorize him as being in the Fascist camp.

Well, I can't go back to Hawaii; I tried a number of years back and it didn't work out. But I can't move to small-town America where sure, there are pot-lucks and so on, but their sing-alongs tend to be about hanging the niggers and such subjects ...

The only places I know of where whites are not a hated minority *and* there is some non-American-Dream culture might be places like Russia or France or Greece, etc. And even there, I'd eternally be "the American". So that's out.

Well! I'm looking forward to reading your writings on Japan, a place so many disaffected whites seem to think is Shangri-La.

9:40 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home