August 23, 2019


Well, onward and downward. Nothing could be clearer.

A couple of replies to previous comments:

Sam: Statistically speaking, it's purely American.

trying: for starters, check out last essay in AWTY.

As for Obama and the Martha's Vineyard estate: Only Progs don't get it, that he was never anything more than a silver-tongued hustler. They were too busy getting excited about having a black president, to understand that hustling and soullessness and rank dishonesty are hardly the exclusive prerogative of whites. God, is this country fucked.



Anonymous B. Louis said...

Here's my own personal anecdote. A dance with American soullessness.

January 2012. I had just been informed that a videogame I had written all of the music composition for had gone platinum (1.2 million copies at the time). This was a big deal for me since it was published by Nintendo on their new piece of hardware called the 3DS. It was a bit of a professional milestone.

1 month later, I was called into the boardroom of my company and was told I had 2 days to clear out my desk, along with several other artists. I was given a $3,000 check to buy my silence (which it did). On my way to pick up my first unemployment check, I happened to walk by a Gamestop and saw that very same game in the 'Hot Sellers' section of the display window.

Top of the mountain and destitute!

3 months later, I was homeless and living out of my car.

7 years later, the industry still grapples with whether or not unionization is a good idea.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Onward and downward in the heart of the technocracy.

Time to update the baby boomer classic

If You're Going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear a hazmat suit everwhere
You're going to meet the American decline there.

(Apologies to John Phillips and Scott McKenzie)

8:46 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
“Onward and downward”, as you correctly said, is the road this country is taking. But there is a small bright spot in the distance. More and more people indeed are heeding your words and realize this country's future is bleak. I speak to a few. However, the sad thing is that, like all of us here, they are and obviously will stay in the minority. The vast majority of the population still have their blinders on. And they wear them as they shout inside their heads, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” when they're away from their low-paying, dead end jobs in this, the final stages of capitalism.
I enjoy your saying, “The truth gets me high.” And for the folks here who, like myself, probably can't emigrate or form their own enclaves in the years ahead, I often think of Bobby McFerrin's 1988 song that we all can hum in the meantime: “Don't worry. Be happy”.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Rufus T.(he Original) Schmeck said...

Hello Wafers & MB,

Cultural prison.... matrix, if you will, in which "even smart people are stupid". When "Pillary" wore that Armani jacket to a speech on income inequality that was the final straw.... "lesser of two evils", my ass. It shows how entranced "even smart people" (& Obama is a pretty smart guy. Numb,... but smart.) are when they're trapped in the American Matrix of greed, ignorance, fear & narcissism. This was the culmination of the Democraps abandoning the blue collar middle class & for the educated elite.

I still stand by the position that the US is an expression of the theological commitments made millennia ago, but the end result is the same. We are a nation so entranced, so disconnected from our bodies & from what a fulfilling life is, we will act out our mythology until we kill ourselves &/or destroy the world. My heart breaks.....

Rufus T.(he Original) Schmeck

10:29 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I think RBG is the perfect metaphor in these last dying days of clinging to life with brittle keratin fingernails stunned in the realization that Hair Trump gets another seat b4 2020 and the end is inevitable.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Some guy goes berserk when Popeye's runs out of their new chicken sandwich-

11:25 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Why Trumpo's going to get his 2nd term in a cinch:

I finished watching this last night: the TL;DR is a cultured, intelligent man, Speer, essentially fell in love with Hitler because Hitler had charisma. Eerie. I mention this because I talked today with a guy who appeared to be intelligent and cultured, and "disagrees with 90% of what he (Trump) says" but still thinks Trump's great because ... Trump "gets it" - how to be loud, how to get his name out there etc. Bookish guy who works for NASA etc., maybe he'll retire and get a job with the new Freikorps eh? Eerie.

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

True enough, Dr. Berman. The one thing that might monkey things up is that if Trump does indeed tank the economy prematurely, as he seems to be doing with his trade war. If that happens, and enough 401Ks are adversely affected, it might well cost him the election.

Trying to stay sane,

Here are a few things I do as a NMI to navigate my way in this grotesque country: 1) In my car, I never turn on the radio. I have about 600 classical CDS, and listening to them when I drive puts me in a much nicer place than pop music. Even catchy, half decent pop music fails to open one to the world of beauty that you find, for example, in a Bach Oratorio. 2) Lately, I've been forcing myself to do some selective socialization. I go to a poetry group every two weeks where we share our poems (I'm a formalist, and write mainly sonnets) where there are some agreeable people, and to counteract my social isolation, I'm also thinking of joining a bird watching group, in the hopes that it's an activity not particularly attractive to douchebags. We'll see! 3) Instead of watching news shows like CNN or MSNBC, I watch nature documentaries on Netflix, and listen to endless podcasts. 4) I cut people out of my life who mistreat me, even once, and even if it's a single petty remark or action.

It's a good topic and I'll say more later. But I don't want to go beyond half a page. I hope some others chime in because it is interesting to see how other people approach this important topic.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Endgame for the corporate elite: completely drug the nation to patch up all their problems

Outside of your real medical fundamentals (on market in some form pre 1980) you would be a complete idiot to take anything prescribed by an American physician.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Jaco said...

"Rising sea levels and climate change are our greatest global threats," said the guy who's just bought a mansion on the coast.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

David Koch, one of the Koch brothers, just died and I read his obituary on N.Y. Times. Nothing unusual, just another robber barron who kicked the bucket after a lifetime of plunder. Plundering is a very sacred American tradition. I believe that this is the only country on earth where you can mobilize the entire political system to help you plunder across the globe, and legally so. There are always the new and nastier Koch brothers around the corner, waiting make their own "American story". Just like Trump, it seems only America can produce these sorts of people. I do agree with you that this country is fucked.


12:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Those of you who are sending messages to old posts: don't!


Chicken sandwiches are impt. I wd have done the same thing. Shaneka remains the pioneer. When does she get out? Wafers shd meet her at the gate.


2:28 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

One can see two possibilities for Trump: (1)Corporate rulers finally say he is bad
for business and hire a hitman or (2)they put wads of money into the hands of GOP
Senators to vote for his removal from office.

When global warming means the end of consumerism, what will the masses be given as
new patriotic values to give their impoverished lives any meaning?

2:59 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB - Yes, that's what prompted my comment. Maybe it's time to move beyond endless proofs to personal responsibility. What now? Now that the end within sight? How do we preserve what's worth preserving and live decent and fulfilling lives in the midst of collapse?

Rufus T. “US as expression of theological commitments” – none that have anything to do with compassion and justice. The religion followed by almost all Americans is a civil religion which worships the flag and calls on its god to kill its enemies. (See work of Robert Belluh.)

Thanks for sharing, Megan.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only 1 post every 24 hrs. Thanks.


3:37 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Megan- re birdwatching. You'll need to be careful to avoid typical American douchebags. After close to 20 years of birding with groups, I slowly gave up because I found myself spending so much time lagging behind or running ahead to avoid people that I finally realized that going in a group didn't make sense. The last walk I went on I dropped away from as it had two guys swinging their dicks... uh, discussing their camera equipment and their recent 'save the planet' trips to Kenya in loud and belligerent voices for fifteen minutes straight. Buh-bye! In general you'll find typical American status-signaling liberals.

Search out the other quiet ones, the people who get left behind because they actually stop to... look at the birds, heaven forbid. At the heart of every birdwatcher is a wide-eyed child in awe, but most people will be thoroughly alienated from themselves and from being honest in expressing such pleasure. Keep yourself open for those moments of awe from others, but like a rare bird don't expect to see it much. Do remain true to your own awe and pleasure. And oh yeah- fuck lists. Just don't.

I've had many many great conversations with very good people. If you find people to connect with, try to arrange times directly with them to go birding. Not to be totally negative- you can learn a lot on walks, get cued in to nuances and techniques that make things much richer. Just remember that most of the loud talking, often very informative but definitely the most verbose, will usually be from people you will not want to be around other than when they are at their helpful best.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Gunnar--Scalia was Gins-douchebaguette's best buddy on the court until he died. More recently, she made a comment about what a decent guy Kavanaugh is and that what happened in his confirmation hearings was "a highly partisan show." Does that sound like she gives all that much of a shit who Trump names to replace her? Yet I recently heard two dumb progs singing her praises and hoping she hangs on until the Teflon Don leaves office. It's like they are incapable of hearing what they don't want to hear--just like Trump supporters.

@Matt S--two Koch anecdotes: 1). Their father founded Koch Industries so he could build an oil refinery for Hitler, 2). As kids, the two had a Nazi nanny who among other things would force them to shit on command. I shit you not.

In regards to the "silver-tongued hustler," here's a great quote about him and his two immediate predecessors: "In 23 years those 3 invaded 9 Muslim countries (and) killed 11 million people..." Just too bad the author goes on to state: "Time for an 'American Spring." In your fucking dreams, pal.

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for that Max Keiser link. Jesus, as a Frenchman, I had no idea Versailles had no toilets until 1768!


Your point 4) is the most crucial one. I've made a massive "cleanup" myself among my friends and people I've known for years as their true faces revealed themselves with time. The amount of hidden rage and bitterness most people live with is just beyond words. Especially Progs.

p.s. recommended TV series for Wafers: Mindhunhter on Netflix.


5:28 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

To continue with some other NMI behaviors, I would also add the importance of beautifying one's environment. I have no problem with people who choose to adopt the minimalist lifestyle, in a kind of Zen spirit. But I personally find it necessary to be surrounded by a certain number a beautiful things. For example, I hate those Ikea desks and bookcases, they look so mass produced and utilitarian. I don't have a lot of money, but I've always wanted to get one of those exquisitely made, 18th century writing desks. I have this idea that I will learn how to become a good refinisher, and when I find one, I'd like to spend a summer sanding it down and refinishing it myself. I find that having a few nice, aesthetically pleasing things in my immediate environment like hand-carved furniture, a beautiful painting, or even just a lovely garden full of flowers, strawberries and watermelons, adds something indispensable to life. So much of America, from our homes and buildings, to the various little trappings of daily life, is just plain ugly. I think it's important to try and resist this in our own lives.

And of course, books, lots of books. There's nothing that makes a home seem more enchanting than a few thousand books in all the rooms, stacked in closets, hidden behind other books, and ferreted away in those storage tubs you put under your bed. I like kindle for collecting a few hard to find or expensive titles, but I think a proper monastic individual needs to be surrounded by vast numbers of books in order to truly flourish.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

After months of futile search I finally found, by pure coincidence, a surgeon in New York City who could remove a tumor in my pelvis and literally save my life. I underwent surgery on July 29 and got home last Saturday. I read the blog every day but only feel I can contribute now.

I spent three weeks in a hospital on the upper East Side of New York. Each day I would go to a little outdoor balcony and gaze at the New York skyline. I remembered something you said, Dr. Berman, at the last Wafer Summit. You said you loved visiting New York because it was a place where you could see the empire in all its glory before its collapse. As I looked out on that skyline, I couldn't help but remember your words. I don't think NYC will be a good place to be in about a decade. If you are an NMI, better start looking around for a place to live that is a little more sustainable.

Speaking of NMI, eventually we will have to address food supplies. This book will help:

One thing I learned in my medical adventure is that the American healthcare system is totally fakakta. I'm sure everyone knows that by now, but there are some amazing stories of incompetence waiting to be told, maybe in future blog entries. I don't want to violate Dr. B's half page rule, but I fear I may have already done that. Onward and downward, with a chicken sandwich on the side!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

This is not specifically about the United States but I came upon an interesting essay about the relationship between technology and ethics that Wafers might find interesting. I think the author makes an interesting point about the difference between “hot evil” of the type most people think about like criminal or personal violence and the impersonal “cold evil” of something like modern warfare and even environmental destruction. The essay is from October, 2000 so it is somewhat dated but the basic ideas are still very relevant.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Hammond said...

Professor Berman -

In your teachings of sociology did you ever go over the work of Bourdieu? I am reading "An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology" this very moment, and wanted to know if you had any comments?

1:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We have a half pg limit on this blog.


Whew! So glad to hear abt the successful operation, and that yr still with us. Jesus...


On Bellah and civil religion, check out essays in QOV.


1:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I know he's impt, but I never really got into him. I did read a few essays on 'habitus' etc., but that was many yrs ago. My bad.


1:59 PM  
Anonymous Mikel said...

Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century. Interesting essay here.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

@Bill Hicks: "American Spring" - Lol, thanks for that! More like "Silent Spring" but whatever...

Meanwhile, here's an entertaining Sunday cartoon about the style of fascism: "Death and surrender to power in the clothing of men"

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Liv said...

Dear Wafers, I am still is Spain and reporting that practicing being a Wafer or NMI is very easy here. The social life here is very spontaneous, you don't have to plan it. It happens... In the US meeting someone or being social is like pulling someone's teeth. In Granada were we live, everything is very affordable, and groceries are healthy, fresh, and easily accessible (local). I lost 30 pounds just eating and walking a lot within a year. Our healthcare insurance cost us 150$ a month and covers everything, no deductibles and another USA crap.
Megan you are so right; America in general is extremely ugly, with architecture, buildings and designs. In Spain you can find cheap colorful handmade furniture, rugs, and plates. Or I got free old furniture and repainted them blue turquoise. The paint is here very cheap too. And everywhere you look is just lovely.
In addition, following the US News from Spain makes me wonder how I could live there for 16 years....the amount of a violence, and aggression...terrifying.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@trying to stay sane re: how to survive as a remainer.

Laugh. As much as you can. A good laugh, at the absurdity and silliness of it all, and at the plain brilliance of existence and the richness of the world we are in. Even in the US, there is much to celebrate in small nooks and corners.

Develop a 'hobby,' an avocation, a project. Megan has her sonnets. I do photography. For me, my photos are messages to the future. Showing the small ways people arrange flowers, do a doorway, create a path beside their house, carve a chair, etc. Well, my work is more subtle than that. Artifacts and larger arrangements and fabrications, showing both what humans are capable of and showing that there were small gestures of decency and beauty. In essence, that we weren't all bad. Find a way to leave a message of your own into the future, if only by keeping a behavior (like helping a neighbor) alive.

I am a few hundred miles from a major American city, and not too far from the Canadian border. This is not an accident.

And to be morbid, I am prepared to stop living if that is the best course of action.

I'll talk a bit about dealing with people another time.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous CWell said...

The comment about Americans wearing shorts reminded me of a story an Iraqi doctor told about a close call in Baghdad after the American invasion. He was going to visit his aunt after playing soccer and was wearing shorts. He was stopped at a checkpoint by Sunni militia and he is Shia. Because he was wearing shorts the militia thought he was a ridiculous childish person, possibly with some sort of mental problems, not even worth considering capturing or killing. He made it through and left Iraq the next month. The shorts saved his life!

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Krog said...

Axios: Trump suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them from hitting U.S.


11:33 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

DeMint is a WAFER...

“Mass shootings driven more by 'culture' than lack of gun control, can't be solved by Congress.”

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Heads up, I was able to order Genio for $25 on Amazon. There was a $2.50 coupon too which I forgot to check. Oh well.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, gd. The $25 price has actually been up for a while now, as well as quick delivery.


Thank u all for contributions. I have 0 to add today, except to say that this clearly is the GBOE.


9:34 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Megan, Mike - I hope to survive collapse, in both the mental and physical sense, but survival without beauty and meaning and friends would, for me, be pointless.

So one of the activities I depend on to provide meaning in my life is raised bed gardening. I have 3 in a side yard that cheerfully provide real tomatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers. I also landscape and fill my yard and beds with gorgeous flowers and shrubs, adding beauty not only for me to appreciate but the neighborhood as well. It's been said by more eloquent persons than I, but there really is something magical about getting on one's knees and digging in the dirt.And then watching as nature does her thing and blesses you with nutritious and delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers. Maybe salvation lies in working with that from which we came, instead of polluting and abusing it for profit.

I've also found that taking a walk away from "civilization", among trees and nature, if possible, does wonders for my mood and sense of emotional well-being.

Finally, sociologists proved decades ago that we need other people to be human. We are social creatures who don't do well in isolation. So it will be important for us to seek out friends with whom we can celebrate life.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

‘Cause I find that burgling a house goes more smoothly when I strip down to my underwear...

A Raleigh NC homeowner’s guest accidently trips the security alarm, and police arrive and take the owner away in his underwear.

Bonus points for correctly guessing the man’s race.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Thank you for providing the advice I needed. It was not meant for me directly but could just as well have been:

"My advice: trust. Just put one foot in front of the other, as Machado advises. Pay attention to your dreams, your body, your physical reactions to things. As you walk, you'll make the road."

I am going to concentrate on my creative side which I have stifled for so long. I don't mind working a few days a week in a cafe or bar if I can spend four days of the week painting, doing photography and graphic design. Thankfully I live in a civilized country (Ireland) so I can afford to get sick or be unemployed for a while.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

This article reveals just what 'fun' is for too many Americans and that natural areas are for exploiting and trashing. The article suggests that the area planted with trees by the YMCA teens was targeted by people with the ATVs since no other damage was reported by the article.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Ode to Merika

"When the first time is the last time
It can make you feel so bad ...
On and on ..."

(Stephen Bishop)

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...
Go to 08:30 for the action.

In Las Vegas odds given are called "Vegas book." What is the Wafer book
on Trump's re-election.

3:08 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Penny Lane - thanks for:

That's an excellent cartoon! We have another "Joe Sacco" here.

All: Well, hours spent on "man in the street" videos on Hawaii tell me, it's even more hustle-y than the Mainland and I'd be sick of it within 6 months. That's not even counting in global warming. The ruling class there (Japanese) can keep it and their shakuhachi flute too. I got a trumpet back into my hands and been out busking, but it's no wonder why buskers have almost all died out in my town - I'm better than ever and only able to make $3 an hour.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dan Daniel, thanks so much for the great advice on birdwatching. I appreciate it. Though I can imagine exactly the scenario you've outlined!

1:39 AM  
Blogger Janet D said...

You know how you've been talking, MB, about what/when will be the Suez moment for the U.S.?

Well, maybe it won't be anything as dramatic as that. Maybe the rest of the world will just just start to notice that they don't need the u.s. for much of anything:

2:55 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

So going for a hike causes elk to abandon their kids and the population to plummet. We're like black mold, spreading everywhere and ruining anything we touch.

"Biologists used to count over 1,000 head of elk from the air near Vail, Colorado...

"But when researchers flew the same area in February for an annual elk count, they saw only 53.

"“Very few elk, not even many tracks,” their notes read. “Lots of backcountry skiing tracks.”

"The surprising culprit isn’t expanding fossil-fuel development, herd mismanagement by state agencies or predators, wildlife managers say. It’s increasing numbers of outdoor recreationists – everything from hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry skiers to Jeep, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders."

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Dorian said...

Police urge residents in Texas town to vacate homes during nearby SpaceX rocket launch

Class Space Warfare?

9:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I did say a short while ago that maybe the Suez Moment was really a slow drip, erosion, as it were. I doubt we have very much in the way of international standing anymore. A # of countries are moving away from the dollar as exchange currency, for example.


Sounds like yr on the rt road!


Given the fact that the guy was black, I can't understand why the cops didn't just shoot him. Law enforcement seems to be slipping, as of late.


We shd probably start thinking of holding a World Wafer Conference (WWC) somewhere. Chad? The Azores? I'm open to suggestions.

Meanwhile, I'm fainting from the brilliance of this blog.


10:21 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...

Thanks for the links...

@jjarden: a very interesting Atlantic article.

@Henri: love Taibbi...

"It’s hard to see right now, it being the end of our society and all, but the situation is not without humor, in a “What does this button marked ‘Detonate’ do?” sort of way. Can America shoot itself in the head a second time?"

"The average American likes meat, sports, money, porn, cars, cartoons, and shopping. Less popular: socialism, privilege-checking, and the world ending in 10 years."

"Ronald Reagan once took working-class voters away from Democrats by offering permission to be proud of the flag. Trump offers permission to occupy the statistical American mean: out of shape, suffering from gas, poorly read, anti-intellectual, treasuring things above meaning, and hiding an awful credit history."

@Anjin-san: indeed, Charlie is one of my favorites...

"There are so many parts of our national history that are lost to guilty amnesia because we don't ever want to reckon with them."

10:42 AM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

The US is on the edge of chaos and disorder. Americans are just losing their shit left and right.

With a side of animal cruelty. Who murders a wild animal and leaves it to die? We're becoming more and more psychotic/sadistic with each day.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Richard Heinberg makes two arguments for localism versus globalism - essentially his first argument is that fossil fuel use drives globalism and that energy source is unsustainable.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The mother-in-law I can understand. I once had a mother-in-law. The rest is just Americans going completely nuts; which I can also understand.


The bit abt gas needs expanding (so to speak). It cd have been a crucial factor in the 2016 election.


2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What fucking planet does this guy live on?

4:19 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

A few years ago I took the Master Gardener course. The program is run by the county agricultural agent’s office. No land? No problem. There is a growing subset of people who do container gardening on patios, doorsteps, and windowsills. I noticed the other women tended to be of the short fingernails and sensible shoes persuasion. The men and women seemed to care more about their compost piles than their cars. Many were eager to share their plant cuttings, recipes, and tips for keeping living things healthy. My county is mixed rural and suburban with a large city twenty miles away.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

The Bottom in Grass Commercialism (at least until tomorrow) – She sits, she refuses to get up, she inspires children to buy worthless crap. Pretend like you’re supporting the Civil Rights Movement by purchasing 18” replica of Rose Parks. You will feel so much better about yourself.

Comes complete with pillbox hat, glasses, shoes, clutch, dress, coat, and gloves. (Protest signs and bail money not included.)

Interesting take on influence of religion (Christianity, of course) on Civil War.
In “The Founding Myth”, Andrew Seidel argues that the Civil War was a religious war to gratify religious fanatics on both sides of the slavery debate. Those for and against slavery were fortified in their stances by the certainty of belief afforded by the Bible, which prevented possible compromises.

Has Hedges finally given up hope of mass protests saving us from collapse?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Only in America would a state governor go to Israel, visit the Western Wall, and say a prayer asking God for the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Venezuela.

In other foreign policy news the Taliban, who are close to signing a peace deal with the U.S. that will facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. forces, have pledged to keep fighting until they bring down the regime in Kabul. Which would mean that 18 years of futile war and over a trillion dollars spent will win the U.S. exactly one thing: a vague promise by the Taliban to prevent terrorists from operating on Afghan soil. How long before the last helicopter lifts off the roof of the U.S. embassy? Afghanistan hasn't been the "graveyard" of the U.S. empire, but it sure has been a significant step on the road to the cemetery.

Relatedly, one of the major war criminals who kept the Afghanistan madness going for 8 grueling years has already managed to cash in on his tenure in the White House to the tune of $135 million, and is in the process of buying a $15 million estate on Martha's Vineyard. When it comes to grifting, the Clintons have been sorely outclassed by the Obamas. Yet if a former university law professor and Senator-turned president of an African country amassed a nine-figure fortune in less than three years after leaving office, everyone would say that's just what happens in "third world shitholes."

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Flatulent Obuma said...

Tax attorney, Mr. John Richardson (Canadian/USA-ian) is trying to help reduce the punitive and disabling effects of US citizen-based double taxation (in sole company with the small African dictatorship, Eritrea) and FATCA.

He has stated that the only "benefit" of being a US person is taxation. Being an "American" is simply holding a premier membership in the world's greatest tax, form, and penalty club.

USA--THE shit hole. How's all that freedom when one cannot open up a bank account, invest for retirement, or get a mortgage bc they're a "US person." You are to buy american, marry american, and never ever leave america.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

I spent a wonderful weekend in Haarlem, Holland, playing bass koto in a small concert with Australian shakuhachi master Anne Norman. It was in a private house where the bottom floor has been converted to a space for arts/cultural meetings and concerts. What an eclectic group of people, all interested in doing for themselves and enjoying beautiful music and great conversation. Enlightening. This is for me what keeps me grounded. @alex - so sorry to hear about Hawaii, but actually doesn't surprise me - it is truly a hustling culture. It would be a shame to let that drive you from the shakuhachi.

And here's the latest from Linh Dinh, about an old friend of his (Vietnamese-American) who was snookered by a lovely Vietnamese hustler who has, unfortunately, learned the American way all too well:

5:18 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

On MB's comments about countries moving away from the dollar, there's this:


"Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, has said that the world’s reliance on the US dollar “won’t hold” and needs to be replaced by a new international monetary and financial system based on many more global currencies....

The US accounts for only 10 per cent of global trade and 15 per cent of global GDP but half of trade invoices and two-thirds of global securities issuance, the BoE governor said. As a result, “while the world economy is being reordered, the US dollar remains as important as when Bretton Woods collapsed” in 1971."

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The requirement in the US for having "real" I.D. is approaching fast, and is creating chaos-

I was shocked to read that only 7% of adults in the Commonwealth of PA possess passports.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Jeanine said...

When in the US, do as the Romans did

8:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bernie, Schmernie.


9:53 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Ital, Haarlem is a great place. If you ever visit again, the Franz Hals Museum is pretty good.

10:58 AM  
Blogger delete said...


"this guy live.....'

I read the link and you have a point. However people need hope
no matter how misplaced and false it is in ever becoming a reality.
The flip side perhaps with reference to Saunders may
be viewed in light of Three Dollar Don being a Black
Swan event in it's own right. Who would have guessed
even though the underlying culture of support has always
been there.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Umair Haque has published an essay on the growing irrelevance of the G-7. I like the essay and agree with his assessment of the financial elite's bad behavior but even without the G-7, I doubt the financial elites' behavior will change unless it is forced to. Haque puts his hope in the 90% who he feels are in a better position to know and to act and in the United Nations. Maybe a major increase in oil prices or a series food supply crises (perhaps brought on by losses in biodiversity and/or climate change) might shake the elites up but they are in the process, seemingly, of insulating themselves against any eventuality.

1:39 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Italiana - The pneumonia I had was bad enough that I think I realized subconsciously that I was dying, if slowly. With trumpet playing becoming worse and then untenable, it was a huge relief to be able to play anything. I believe that I was essentially preparing for those last few walks on the beach and reef fishing sessions back in Hawaii before it (the pneumonia) finally did me in.

I didn't realize how sick I'd become until I got my $30 course of $3 antibiotics via a $3k visit to the ER.

Indeed, Hawaii has become the kind of gaudy place that looks *up* to Southern California. On Google Street View my old streets are unrecognizable. The place I knew is no more, and I'm sure now the memories of the harsh racism of the place would not let me enjoy it at all.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

For the last week or so I’ve been going through the computer and hard drives of my best friend of the last almost 30 years who passed away last November from stomach cancer - delivered to me at his request by a brother. He had lived full time in Prague for about the last 18 years. He was one of those rare friends (and a nominal American, to boot) with whom keeping in touch was almost effortless.

I’ve been asking myself what the attraction of living in Prague was for him these past years. He spent his time doing mostly what he did in the US - drinking beer, playing darts, watching football, and talking to anyone and everyone who would listen. I can only speculate that people appreciated him there, the locals and expats of various countries. And I think he felt that appreciation. I remember getting questions from others all through the 90s when we lived in the Seattle area like “what’s his story?!” People called him an ‘odd duck’. Here, I think few people ‘got’ him. During the recent World Cup he went to his local pub in Prague to watch games with an international crowd of drunks, ruffians, and ne’er do-wells, and hosting trivia-night contests. To me the thought of going out to a bar around here just does not appeal.

Not sure of my point. Maybe just another datum on how life in the US breeds isolation and misery if you don’t fit in (last time he was here he told me it was getting harder and harder to relate to Americans) Anyway, good for him for finding a place where people ‘got’ him, and for getting the hell out of here. It's later than you think...

6:35 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Here's a different perspective:

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Graham said...

Ugh! Mexican mass murder—very different from US—no firearms, well planned gang action, exits are sealed and gasoline thrown inside to fry the people at a go-go club

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in the UK, BoJo made the Queen suspend Parliament to get Brexit through. First time this happens since 1948. Progs are going apeshit.

Go BoJo!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

The idiocy will never, ever end.

Sadly it seems like this failed. It could have contributed well to collapse. I look forward to 2040 when nobody under the age of 30 will know how to engage in organic mammelian communication without a digital intermediary.

Onward and way downward.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

David Cay Johnson has been chronicling Trump's corruption for years and years. A good article about how Trump really feels about the "poorly educated" he supposedly loves.

With an insight that made me think about them a little more compassionately.

"Will these millions of workers grasp that Trump is abusing them to satisfy his whims? Or will they react more like battered spouses who keep returning for more abuse because they cannot see the harsh reality of their situation?"

9:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Myself, I'm personally overwhelmed by the kindness of Americans:


9:51 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Blinded By the Light is about growing up as British Pakistani boy in the 1980s, yet it struck a chord with people worldwide

Film rec

10:41 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I really thought that two years exposure to the GBOE (greatest blog on earth) made me immune to being shocked by any news story of American cruelty. Then a story like this comes down the pike. jesus fucking christ, D.H. Lawrence must be doing cartwheels. Of course there’s a lawsuit, Americans only understand money, I pray she gets hers and takes the next flight to anywhere.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hi MB and others,

I have been too down for a few months to write anything on anything. Realized things don't look so funny when your house catches the fire.

Why only the USofA? Isn't the whole word fucked? Trump is charging on. Look who is the British PM, BoJo. A huge number of conservatives installed him to hammer Brexit through 'do or die'. And he is merrily dancing to the tunes of his master Dom Rasputin Cummings. Give me one conservative value the man represents! Look at other parts of the world. Millions in lockdown for nearly a month in Kashmir. Millions of Rohingya's driven out of their country for two years now. Millions of Uyghurs being `re-skilled' by China. What does the West, defenders of 'human rights' have to say? They are `watching closely'. What more can they do? With the Americans and the Brits fighting to save their won democracies, when do they have time to think about hapless others on the other side of the globe? In the southern half, Amazon burns, but Bolsonaro is so upset with Macro calling him a liar that he declares that his wife is more beautiful than Macron's.

Fcuked up, surreal world we are living in, aren't we?

1:00 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

Britain’s Reichstag Fire moment:

“But if Hitler’s rise teaches us anything, it’s that the establishment trivialises demagogues at its peril. One disturbing aspect of the present crisis is the extent to which mainstream parties, including US Republicans and British Conservatives, tolerate leaders with tawdry rhetoric and simplistic ideas, just as 
Papen, Hindenburg, Schleicher and the rest of the later Weimar establishment tolerated first Hitler and then his dismantling of the German constitution.

The lesson seems to be that to prevent the collapse of representative democracy, the legislature must jealously guard its powers.”

Good article comparing both US and Britain to Weimar Germany, though he pulls his punches towards the end.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Rosegarden – sounds like heaven. Been my experience that people who like to dig in the dirt and watch things grow are humble, helpful and kind.

Bill – Think he’s trying to curry support from the Christian fanatics on the right? (BTW – Rick is a US Senator now)

One reason for the ever widening gap between rich and poor is the enormous debt most Americans carry. “… and forgive them their debts” a new book by Michael Hudson argues that a better model existed several millennia ago. Sumner, Babylon and Israel devised a system that periodically forgave debt so that the lives of the poor were not ruined for good. Rome did not. The result was a widening gap between rich and poor as a cause of its fall - TAC.

“Unfettered usury resulted in debt bondage and forfeiture of properties, consolidation into large landholdings, a growing wedge between rich and poor, and the ultimate destruction of the Roman Empire.”

Anjin-San. I don’t think Americans are so much like battered wives as spoiled children whom politicians keep telling what they want to hear. Don’t worry, you can have it all without any accountability to other Americans or the rest of the world; don’t worry about what others think of you, your home and “family” is exceptional and entitled; you need not trouble yourselves with learning anything, your leaders will take care of the world.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous R Stockmal said...

"facile Spanish Civil War/Election 2020 analogies:

Trump = Franco

Biden = People's Republican Army

Bernie = CNT/FAI

Warren = UGT

Harris = PSUC

Tulsi = POUM

Beto = International Brigades"

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Andrea Townsend said...

Why liberals now believe in conspiracies
How could the most rational ruling elite in history have fallen for the most dangerous toxin in politics?


2:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Smart guy, John Gray. Progs, however, are stupid beyond belief.


Let us all look forward to the day when Tulsi Gabbard enters the White House, flanked by Chrystal Walraven and Lorenzo Riggins.


3:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: professional jackass dept.:

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

@ mb: John Gray, whose writings I have long admired for their sharp lucidity, switched from Locke to Hobbes (metaphorically, but also quite literally) in what appears to be a day or less. Would you have any thoughts on the reasons underlying that dramatic transformation?

With every best wish,


4:30 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Orwell saw it coming:

This is where stuffing statues down the memory hole leads to -- all judgment is gone. From the article:

It’s progressives of the sort who sit on the San Francisco School Board who are always banging on about the importance of teaching students the sordid aspects of American history. They’re the ones who would happily set aside lessons on the ingenious civic architecture of the Constitution in preference for concentrating solely on the document’s initial hypocrisy over slavery, and who denigrate George Washington as a slaveholder. They’re the ones who love nothing better than to induce a burning sense of hereditary shame in upcoming generations over how the West was won.

4:43 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Don’t USE a CANE!!! Use a Baseball Bat!!! And Brass Knuckles!! And don’t pick a 67 year to pummel....GO for the men and women in their late 80’s to 100!!

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Bethonie said...

Andrea/Morris Berman

Is John Gray a Wafer-approved writer? I read his "Straw Dogs" ages ago with great delight! What should I move onto from there? Or is this article a part of a whole book? Any recent publishings or recommendations?

Thanks much!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

2 cameras outside Epstein's jail cell both broken. Ok I'm now skeptical of the suicide story. No positive evidence of who murdered him or how & suicide is still on the table but this is very fishy. If Ghislaine Maxwell disappears/commits suicide=conspiracy

2:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't think we have any type of "approved" list, altho Gray is one of our favorites. What next: scroll thru previous comments list, where Wafers recommend various bks. Also check out ftnotes of my recent bks, for citations. Finally, run out and buy several dozen copies of "Genio," distribute them to yr friends. :-)


Some wd say that anyone who lives in Queens deserves to be beaten; except maybe Frank Costanza. I also can't understand why the kids didn't just shoot her. Tell me this isn't the end of American 'civilization'.


You'd hafta ask John.


"the worst are filled with passionate intensity" (Yeats).


9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

@Ordinary - it does seem as though the world is going completely mad. As a grandparent I find myself having to walk the line of being honest with my grandchildren and not filling them with my forebodings and dread for their future lives.

Umair has another good essay about what lies ahead. A lot of people made fun about Trump's offer offer to buy Greenland, but there is a darker and more worrisome side to it.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Walt said...

Bethanie, Ajay, Bermam-

"The author of Leviathan was never interested in freedom or democracy as ends in themselves. There was always a strain of despotism in Enlightenment thinking."

Ajay- I take his focusing on Hobbes not as a personal preference but as what he sees in a sign of the times, hmm?

Bethanie- Do you mean other books by Gray? I've only read Straw Dogs, Black Mass, and Silence of Animals which are all stellar.

W Hopps

12:09 PM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...

@Penny Lane: Thanks for the link on the "paramilitary aesthetic"; very interesting!

David Masciotra recently wrote an article on this phenomena - specifically the Punisher symbol...

"The Punisher skull is not merely a profitable merchandising industry, but an ideological icon verging on religious significance."

"Americans who wear the Punisher skull signify spiritual fidelity to the dark heart of murder beating underneath the red, white and blue façade of American identity. "

"A powerful strain of American culture has embraced the ethic and ethos of war, and it shows in its rejection of kindness and decency — in public policy, in political rhetoric, and on the clothes they wear."

JH Kunstler has also had a thing to two to say about the thuggish. "oafish man-child" attire that's so popular with many of our men today. It seems to me that, since 9/11, I'm feeling a steadily increasing sense of ... menace from this crowd.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

Dr. B and Wafers:

For those of you who enjoy dystopian fiction, I recommend Golden State by Ben Winters. It's the story of an enforcer of truth in a society where lying will get you exiled into the desert; a society where every moment is filmed by multiple cameras to be added to The Record. If it's recorded, it must be true. It's a fascinating, breathless trek through a minutely controlled society where liars are set upon and beaten, instead of peeing on their shoes.

Spurred by Dr. B's citations in his books and mentions on this blog, I just started into The Portable Veblen edited by Max Lerner, a collection of excepts from radical economist Thorstein Veblen's lifetime of writings. Not exactly leisure reading, but fascinating all the same. I found the book in my local library in the heartland of Kansas, a first edition from 1948. Go figure.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

MB - more child cruelty in Colorado, I can’t even imagine looking out the window and seeing a dead badly in the yard...

2:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check it out:

As the nation disintegrates, we descend into complete depravity.


2:28 PM  
Anonymous Blake Weaver said...

"In Sweden, one municipal government has hired two horses to replace many different specialized cars, tractors, and landscaping machines. They work 350 hours a year and costs about half to one third in "fuel" of one single normal municipal car. They are also a hit with locals. Since there has not been much commercial demand for professional use-horse powered machines they buy their tools handmade from Amish mechanics in the U.S.: they are the only ones who have kept inventing and improving new horse powered tools for a century or longer.

The municipal government own many sensitive fields, that needs to be cared for properly. Using large tractors on these lands would quickly ruin them forever, as they compact the soil: horses have no negative effect on the soil and do the work of dozens of men with hand tools."

Very different than Kunsler's "geography of nowhere" theory.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB, Wafers,

Sorry for the rant, but I am sick and tired of Umair and the "desperate seriousness" of his posts. Sure, he doesn't call for a Revolution like Hedges, but the tone of his writing is just as dreadful. Humourless, desperate - and if you peel another layer - actually passive aggressive.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Sure the world is fucked up, but the last thing we need right now is people being overly serious and desperate over our situation. I'd rather have people dance into oblivion than preach, moan and cry on a sinking ship.


4:47 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@cyrillia--thanks for the heads up on the new Ben Winters novel. His last book, Underground Airlines, about a late 20th century America in which slavery is still legal in the deep south, is also a great and chilling read. Before that, he did a trilogy called The Last Policeman, about the collapse of society in the face of an approaching civilization-ending asteroid strike, that is also quite good.

@Gunnar--imagine as well being so incredibly stupid that you think just chucking a dead newborn infant over your back yard fence will somehow cause it to disappear. Being a typical fat (from her mugshot) American, she was probably too lazy to dig a hole somewhere.

@MB--interesting article on the depravity of the American military. It's obviously gotten a lot worse since I enlisted in those hallowed days well before 9/11. Amazing that the progs and feminists who pushed for women to be allowed in combat roles would be at all surprised that the number of rapes would subsequently skyrocket. Never having served themselves (or ever contemplated having their own daughters serve), it seems beyond their comprehension that a massive band of professionally trained killers don't share the same values as a bunch of hyper-pc liberal arts college professors. I obviously don't condone it, but the fact that it is happening doesn't surprise me one bit.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Speaking of John Gray, don't forget that he has several rather substantial lectures and interviews on YouTube, many of them close to an hour long. Whether you are new to Gray or already familiar with his books, hearing him expound at length on his pet themes like "progress", types of atheism, etc., is a definite treat.

If one wanted to be precise, I'm not sure it's fair to call Gray an "original philosopher", in the sense of someone who has created a unique system of thought or way of looking at the world that didn't exist previously. But Gray is a wonderful stylist, and he manages to synthesize various ideas (from Schopenhaurean pessimism to flawed Platonic conceptions of the "ideal state") and bring them to bear on important contemporary issues, in a way that is both fresh and relevant.

At any rate, the literary quality of his writing is high. But like Dr. Berman, it's also nice to hear his voice and listen to his various interviews and lectures on youtube. It brings out a little something more than you get from the books and essays alone.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Nano said...

Netflix to produce series inspired by Hillary Clinton's presidential run

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Social networking sites cause stress that fuels social media addiction.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I don't post Anons. You need a real handle, like Henrik Ibsen. Thanks. ps: if this message comes thru as Unknown, it's a computer fuck up; sorry.


12:01 PM  
Anonymous Rilo said...


Wisconsin company that microchipped its workers envisions an 'internet of people'

12:31 PM  
Blogger FarmerBrown said...

Senor Berman and esteemed Wafers,how about Shutka as the next setting for a Wafer Summit?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Rook said...

Dear Dr. Berman, fellow Wafers,

I feel almost giddy with joy after leaving the world of tech behind. I had become very shallow, not materialistic, but one-dimensional, if that makes sense. I am reading books again, the fount of creativity flows again (sorry for the cliche but working with computers seems to have dulled my soul), my depression has lifted and I see possibilities. I am resurrected, thanks in part to this blog.

@ Kanye: agreed, someone needs to stick a scolds bridal on Umair.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

@mb and bill hicks

I served a psych internship at the VA American Lakes addiction unit in Lakewood, WA many years ago just as the first vets were returning from Iraq. One group I sat in on was for women vets dealing with PTSD. The majority had been sexually assaulted and/or sexually harassed, then denied advancement when they tried to go up the chain of command with their complaints. Regardless of branch of service, the military establishment completely failed those women. After my VA experience, I tried to dissuade from enlistment any women I knew contemplating military service, although not all military women experience harassment.

That said, before I left the PNW, I regularly followed a CBC radio series called Afghanada, in which a group of Canadian soldiers, led by Sargent Patricia Kinsella, coped with their experiences in Kandahar Province. It was a gripping realistic drama that never once slipped into misogyny. A soldier was a soldier, no difference. If only real life were so easy. Here's a link to the Wikipedia page:

5:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Kanye--I'm with you on Umair. When he first started blogging Umair seemed to be a fresh declinist voice, but his shtick quickly grew mighty old and now he just makes the same tired points over and over (kind of like Kunstler without the sense of humor). I think his problem is that he doesn't know any "real" Americans. He'd do well to attend a state fair, a monster truck rally or a WWF or MMA match--if nothing else it would give him something fresh to write about.

@Rilo--I grew up not that far from Madison, Wisconsin. To think that historically it was a hotbed of leftist politics--from Robert La Follett to the massive student protests against the Dow Chemical company in 1967. Most of the current Dems and progs who dominate the place probably couldn't even tell you what any of that history means.

Another case of American outrage stupidity: Woman Drowns As 911 Operator Tells Her To Calm Down. Twitter and media spin is that the dispatcher is a cold, heartless bitch. Bill's take is that the (likely grossly underpaid and overworked) dispatcher apparently did her job (police and rescue responded in just 12 minutes), and in a very stressful situation inadvertently said something unfortunate. She has already resigned, yet the Twitter lynch mob won't be satisfied until she kills herself, apparently.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003. The top 1% have more than twice as much as they did then."

Apparently, if I vote for the right candidate in the next election my hair will grow back and my prostate will shrink.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Criminalizing dissent

"...The proposed bill would create a broad definition of “domestic terrorism” to include any attempt to “affect” or “influence” government policy or actions. And it would include property damage—even attempted property damage—as a terrorist act subject to a 25-year prison sentence.
"In other words, if you opposed the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock and wanted the government to revoke the pipeline permit, you might be considered a terrorist.
"If you painted “Black Lives Matter” on a wall to advocate against police violence, that could be terrorism, too.
"And if you threw a rock at a bank window to take a stand against the 1% —even if you missed—you could spend half your life in a federal prison.
"So far as I can tell, McCaul and his co-sponsors are taking advantage of a moment of profound insecurity to advance a bill that will criminalize dissent."

Hmmm..... taking advantage of insecurity? Why I never.....

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Ibsen said...

Hi Mr. Berman!
Sorry for hiding my true identity. From now on you can call me Ibsen.
To be honest I don't remember what I wrote completely, as I was quite drunk at the time. Well, I wanted to show my appreciation for your work, and that's even before reading what I think are your major works. I am ordering some old copies of your books from ebay soon. There are no copies available in Norwegian libraries, but crap like "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***" has half a year's waiting list. Which makes me think about how Americanized Norway is. What do you think will happen with the culture in a heavily Americanized country if/when USA collapses? I must say I think there are many good things coming out of USA, thinkers like you and John Steppling. But then again, I don't speak other languages than Norwegian and English, so the world of reading is quite limited.
And I think I asked you for some Mexico advice... Maybe not the right place for that, but feel free to give me some advice about the most interesting place to visit in Mexico.
Thanks again.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Felix said...

andrea ajay bethonie walt megan morris berman -

another new John Gray piece

Why the humanities can’t be saved
Universities have been captured by a destructive ideology

9:41 AM  
Blogger hellbound_cynic said...

Daniel Suelos write up about the Brazilian Trump, Bolsonaro. Suelo is an NMI if Ive seen one.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Wafers interested in the UK, this is the best analysis I've read on Brexit in a while:


11:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


My personal favorite is Isla Mujeres.


The single greatest spur to creativity, in the entire world, is this blog. You'll see.


I am very pro-Shutka, myself. Altho Wasilla also looks gd.


1:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is why Americans need to be armed to the teeth:

1:18 PM  
Blogger Hallvard N. Jørgensen said...

Ha, more Norwegians reading the blog, that's cool. I have really been asking the same question as you, Ibsen, recently. I mean, I've, step by step, sort of been questioning my whole cultural world, so to speak.

I've read history recently. Interesting to read about the vikings, they had many cultural exchanges throughout Europe and Russia. The Catholic church played an important role in this, but not exclusively.

But my childhood and youth was extremely Americanized. (Food, movies, music, TV, Cartoons etc. Even church theology :-s ). Seems it was, to an extent, a part of the deal after the second WW. We got economic and military help from the US, but in exchange we had to open our markets and our culture. Also, didn't exactly help that the East was communist, and Norway felt it had to distance itself from them.

Well, anyway: Thank you for all your work, prof. Berman. I sometimes disagree, and sometimes ponder, but mostly I learn a lot, and feel that your work is helping me to be a better human being.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I think Texas legislature heard your call MB & it becomes more obvious everyday

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Rod said...

we’re a failed state

UMC has confirmed a 17 month old is on the way to Lubbock after being shot in the face.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Mark Deagle said...

Dear Dr Morris Berman,
have you ever notice that its all ways a angry white guy doing the shooting , never a black man. I guess the white man thinks he got a raw deal in life? lol. They need to vote again for Trump, because he really cares for them and feels their pain lol. I know what the answer is for the USA give out more guns, So that way we can keep the Population not to many years from now you will be right.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

"This is why Americans need to be armed to the teeth:"
We need more reps like Matt Schaefer from Texas in government:

More fast food news: "Driver kicks pregnant woman in stomach during fight at Chick-fil-A, police say"

If not guns, machetes: "Florida Man Who Didn’t Flush Toilet Threatened Griping Friend With Machete: Police"

4:40 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I’m reading “A Movable Feast” by Hemingway, and the Chapter, “Ezra Pound and His Bel Esprit,” really moved me....Here’s all these poor and starving artists trying to pool what little money they had in order to try and “rescue” TS Elliot from having to be a wage slave at the bank so he could focus exclusively on his poetry....These people were so committed to artistic excellence, and they recognized it in Elliot, that they just had to bring that to fruition, regardless of their own hardships.

I SO wish I lived on that era fo be one of the Lost Generation on the Left Bank.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Pauly said...

Immanuel Wallerstein died yesterday... World Systems Analysis is really interesting. What a giant figure in historical sociology and in economic history.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@cyrillia--I suspect that you're correct and it's possible to completely integrate women into a nation's military--but then again the NATO/EU nations and Canada rely on the U.S. military to do the vast majority of the dirty work maintaining the global supremacy of the West. The treatment of women in the American military is no doubt largely a result of wanton slaughter and even rape of civilians being commonplace for America's military, and rarely being punished. But also, as I mentioned here a few posts back, when I served back when combat units were still all male, attitudes towards women and gays within the ranks were appalling. In their rush to appease the progs and feminists, America's military "leaders" never thought that maybe the full integration would be best done gradually so as to minimize the institutional shock and inevitable backlash. Of course, after the invasion of Iraq not to mention all of the other massive war crimes that have followed, it is difficult to work up sympathy for anyone (male, female, gay or straight) who would willingly serve in combat on behalf of the empire.

@MB--you know what will help curtail mass shootings? Not tougher gun laws, but praying for victims and praying for protection and "praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent." An idiot U.S. CONgresscritter actually Twitted that and didn't get tarred, feathered and run out of his home state of Texas on a rail.

6:11 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Great line from the John Gray piece posted by Felix:

"If Nietzsche did nothing else, he predicted Steven Pinker."

9:46 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Susan W - was watching "All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace" by Adam Curtis, part about Rwanda, Belgians took two co-existing tribes, Hutus & Tutsis, convinced 'em Hutus were high mucky-mucks, then when it all fell apart, liberals convinced Hutus to rise up against their "oppressors" + whites, then stood in shock when Tutsis & whites were killed. Frankly it reminds me of Hawaii where the Hawaiian's own elite sold 'em out, but now all evils are due to the accursed "haole"; that appallation now politically re-translated to mean "without breath or soul" when it meant "those who have iron" originally.

Kanye - THX for excellent art. on Brexit. I suspected it was so ... What is it about the Anglosphere; truly we are Iks.

10:01 PM  
Blogger FarmerBrown said...

Senor,I see Sarah is still pulling at your heartstrings.
And i hear she plays a mean flute too.....

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Ibsen said...

@kanye: Read Wolfgang Streck's analysis of EU (google it, I am too lazy) for another view. Basically it was a class conflict, with some similarities to Trump, but I think Brexit had much, much better arguments on their side. That being said, I think both sides lack much knowledge about the issues they voted on, it was more of an identity vote, or a vote based on emotions. But if the EU worked perfectly, Brexit would never have won. Can't blame the Russians or anyone else for that. Young people in particular seem to have bought into this "EU is peace and love and holding hands" idea. As for the economy, the same fear mongering happened here in Norway in 94, and Norway has done well since then (plus when did the left start to care so much about free markets?). That being said, the Brexit leaders are a bunch of morons, mostly, so it doesn't make the case for Lexit easier.
@berman: I will look into that place.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A few things to help u: Streeck; provide a link; and refer to me as Mr. Berman or GSWH. Thanks.


My only goal in life at this pt is to copulate with Sarah on an ice floe in Alaska, surrounded by meese, and with Ed Meese present.


Prayer: extremely effective weapon in these troubled times. See also Marianne Williamson.


Thank you for writing. This blog is definitely Norway-friendly. We also welcome participation from Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Scandanavia needs to know that this is the only blog worth visiting.


9:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Why didn't the NYT just say it up front?: Biden is a jackass, a turkey, and a buffoon:

Biden, Schmiden.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

What a mess. First we need to round up all the white men and put them in a camp on Native American land (no Geneva Convention, he-he) and implement extreme vetting before letting any of them back in the country. Enough of these lawless terrorist killers and their disrespect for shopping malls and movie theaters.

An interesting article-

"The Misogyny of Climate Deniers
Why do right-wing men hate Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez so much? Researchers have some troubling answers to that question."

A succinct and critical point about the climate debate. Along the lines of the John Gray article on universities, people keep thinking that 'educating' people, more info and data, that if we all 'Unite Behind the Science' we can solve the problem. I watch and know many far left people who are convinced that people need more information but have no concrete actions for making changes.

People need a swift kick to the nuts (easier to do when all are collected in one camp, see first paragraph above) and waterboarding before taking their pickup keys and being given a scooter and sent home.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous CWell said...

The Jefferson County superintendent of schools proposed tearing down Columbine High School because of the morbid fascination drawing strange people to the school. Last school year, 2400 showed up - some of them staring from across the street and others trying to enter - so they never know when the next attack will come. The numbers have increased over the past 20 years. Just another sign of the deep sickness in America.

I worked in teen mental health programs for many years, but before the takeover of smart phones and on-line forums for serial killer fans and neo-nazis. I knew lots of kids who could have been easily drawn into that - but even into the 90's they hung out with friends, played guitar, listened to their favorite metal bands, etc

11:35 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Aside from the rape factor, how anyone could think that it’s a step in the right direction for women to engage in combat is beyond my comprehension. The goal of the military is to brainwash its force (per Henry Kissinger, military men are “dumb, stupid animals”) into mindlessly following orders and so suspend what little conscience they might possess. Traditionally, the feminine principle represented compassion, nurturing and non-aggression, and the masculine principle represented, among other things, self-defense. Going to war and killing other humans, who are very much the same as you and I except for their cultural brainwashing, because demented rulers give the order is insane. I guess today’s “feminists” have given up on being feminine and opted for insanity instead. I’m not sure which sex is going to win the race to the bottom, but I am sure it’ll be an USAian.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Kerry said...

RIP Immanuel Wallerstein — “This is the end; this is the beginning”

A great global public figure

3:05 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

@Sarasvati: I heartily agree. I cannot understand the mindset of a woman who wants to engage in combat, especially in the empire's military.

Good article by Andrew O’Hehir on Salon re: our slow-motion coup:

“We are in the middle of a slow-motion coup in the United States of America. Even the phrase itself is banal, which is itself a symptom of our moral and political exhaustion. But sometimes clichés are on the money. Most of this coup is happening right out in the open, where those of us who are somewhat paying attention can notice it, bemoan it and then move on to the next day’s real or manufactured outrage.”

He lists 13 events/policies to serve as evidence for his assertion stating “…If you believe that any of this represents normal democratic politics, or that its long-term pernicious effects can be undone through the mechanism of normal democratic politics, then I would gently suggest that you have been deeply gaslit, and are well on your way to becoming an enabler or ally of the coup itself.”

3:40 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Lionel Shriver, author of The Mandibles, returned to Australia this past weekend, despite having vowed not to return after giving a talk in 2016 at a writers’ festival in Brisbane; Shriver was condemned after the event for her criticism of such notions as cultural appropriation and the perniciousness of identity politics. She believes that such thinking can lead to fascism.

And, under the heading God hates Harry Potter and his Wascally Wizuds, this:
A private Catholic school in Tennessee has banned J K Rowling’s Potter series from the school library, acting on the advice of unnamed “exorcists,” who have warned that the magic, curses, and spells that populate the books can summon evil and harm the reader.

This sentiment comes to mind:
“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too."). Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1821

3:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Ibsen--I'm with you on Brexit. Too bad the Leave leaders are such a group of knuckleheads, because the reactionary EU needs to be smashed, consisting as it does of vassal states led by a bunch of craven collaborators who huddle under the military umbrella of the evil empire. And you're also right about libs and progs on the economy. They yell and scream about global warming and Trump's trade war, yet the most effective way to reduce greenhouse emissions and the ongoing destruction of the natural environment is to tank the global economy and destroy the neoliberal world order. If Brexit helps get that done--it's all the better.

Meanwhile, here is what "health care" in America has been reduced to: potentially seriously injured people are deliberately avoiding getting into ambulances because they can't afford the cost. An epilepsy sufferer had this to say: "...he makes a point to ask his co-workers not to call him an ambulance in the event something happens. 'I’ve requested that they wait until I regain consciousness and cognizance so I could get myself to a hospital in an Uber or taxi instead of shelling out another $1,200 for a ride,' he told me Please, everyone, I’m begging you, do not help me.

"Look out for yourself because no one else is going to. Even the people there to save the day. They don’t give a fuck about you."

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

JJ: also see Zola's "The Belly of Paris"

A bit of agricultural antidote:

WAFers: I made the mistake of taking to my bar mates about healthcare, I like to show them my bill for this year so far ($120K+) to point out the absurdity of it all and how if I was in Japan or the UK, my bill would be 1/3 to 1/5 what it is. Anyway, it got into "well how will you pay for universal health care if only one guy (me)cost that much" ... I said easy, cut the military by 50% (sorry Bill Hicks I didn't have the gumption to say 90%). Again, and again I am stunned at the hold the military/police as good guys trope has on the Amerikkkans. I was out in a rural area most of the weekend and was dumbfounded that the "sorry for my small penis" trucks had both a Gadsden Flag sticker and a "Thin Blue Line Flag" sticker on them. What are you collecting all these guns for exactly? Supposedly to protect against the government? Yet you hold the military and cops to the highest regard? Gimme a break!

8:57 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

“The Last Act of the Human Comedy”

by Chris “The NEO-WAFER” Hedges

3:01 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Peter Hitchens on the Death of Britain:

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Ibsen said...

Mr. Berman (?) & kanye:¨

Here are the links:

(What does GSWH mean?)


Nice to "meet" you. We Norwegians are everywhere.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

When I followed Marrianne's link, a Lockheed-Martin ad popped up at the top of her article. That should tell her something-

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Rob Ager said...

Eyes Wide Shut: 20 years on, Stanley Kubrick’s most notorious film is still shrouded in mystery

The only mystery is that people don't see it as a documentary.

Always thought this film portrayed the oninousness & indecent threat that lies beneath the American condition. Plutocratic riches and all these lawyers & doctors w/ their secret cults & sexual predation.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wafers: I'm at an Internet cafe, and this computer insists on listing me as Unknown. Damn! Sorry abt that.


Like Oprah, an utter turkey. She needs 10 yrs of round-the-clock therapy at a camp in Northern Cal. Also a brain transplant.


Great Seer of the Western Hemisphere. All-seeing, all-knowing.


Wallerstein was terrific. I learned much from his work.


Yeah, poor Chris. I was laughing up my sleeve from that essay. After yrs of saying the masses wd revolt, he starts saying many of the very things I've been saying for yrs. Talk abt Johnny-come-lately. Of course, I do agree with the notion of eco-resistance, esp. on local level; it's hardly the same thing as overthrowing 500 yrs of capitalism (on which see Immanuel Wallerstein). (Eco-refs: "First Reformed" and "The East") Hedges, however, still hangs onto the idea of masses rising up against the system, I guess--he wants to be in on all possibilities. Finally, an anthropologist the guy is not. We were hunter-gatherers for many millennia before the emergence of civilization; Hedges seems to be unaware that civilization is only a fraction of our total history, and that what he ascribes to "human character" doesn't antedate the Late Paleolithic. (War, for example, only arises in the archaeological record in the Late Paleo.) All of this is discussed in "Wandering God" (among other anthro lit)--a bk I worked on for 10 yrs. Hedges is actually a lightweight; much of his work is just cliches. But as you say, perhaps he's now a neo-Wafer, finally emerging from the fog he's been living in for some time now. (He'll probably tell us he was a declinist all along.)


10:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ps: Hedges does say that Homo sapiens has been around for 200,000 yrs, but at the same time he subscribes to the notion of an unchanging "human nature" that is inherently destructive, and that follows cyclical patterns. But pre-civs were sustainable, not inherently destructive, and certainly did not follow cyclical patterns of rise and fall. "Human nature" has hardly been fixed for all time. It's actually a very confused essay, and symptomatic of the kind of 'thinking' that pervades American intellectual life at this time. He also--ahistorically--believes that we only need 3-5% activists to turn things around, ignoring the fact that this is only true when most of the population hates their gov't or their current situation (as obtained just prior to the Russian or French Revs, for example.). As for America, any mass uprising will--and did--come from the right. Most Americans want the consumer society to continue indefinitely, and are not terribly concerned with climate change, resource depletion, and so on. Hedges can hardly be said to know his audience. So maybe the guy is *not* emerging from the fog.


10:43 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

@ James Allan -- Thank you for sharing the article on Lionel Shriver. I agree with her and have posted links to her articles in The Spectator several times. I've always thought "cultural appropriation" was nonsense and identity politics has only divided people and encouraged self-absorption and legitimized self-pity.

@ Alex -- People always seem genuinely surprised when their plans backfire and they become the object of rage. A lesson in "be careful what you wish for", perhaps, instigate. Adam Curtis also did a documentary about terrorists and how the government has manipulated or manufactured narratives about Osama Bin Laden. Remember when the US first invaded Afghanistan and we heard all about caves that had high tech dialysis machines, etc? Then they simply faded from the news. There were none.

On another subject, I recently read Eric Fromm's Beyond the Chains of Illusion and recommend it. He has this to say about the entrepreneur :

"Every man speculates on creating a new need in another in order to force him to a new sacrifice, to place him in a new dependence, and to entice him to a new kind of pleasure and thereby into economic ruin."

He analyzes Marx and Freud, their original premises and how they became distorted.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@Bill Hicks yes stupidity+pressure=‘fuckit let the neighbors deal with it’ ty as well for the Water Knife recommendation. Just two chapters in and I’m already left with an unforgettable image - the same river that created the Grand Canyon was turned into an IV drip for Las Vegas - wow. But hey it isn’t too late to buy a luxury home in Telluride, quote “It makes me feel like I’m living in a luxury treehouse.” What more cld a great ape ask for?

12:10 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

@ CWell—as someone who evidently has considerable experience in the field of teen mental health, what would you say are the two or three primary reasons (or perhaps a single overarching reason) for school shootings? (Undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues? Antidepressants? Fractured relationships?)

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Jan Van King said...

Unknown text by John Locke reveals roots of 'foundational democratic ideas'

"Foundational, democratic ideas"? "Momentous"? - OK, so turns out John Locke considered if Catholics maybe were tolerable. But setting the historical bar this low for democracy is probably partly why we're in trouble

4:07 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Rob: Eyes Wide Shut - Documentary indeed, especially when you consider the quickly buried depravities of Jerry Epstein. I understand that over 20 minutes was cut from the Kubrick edited film before it was released after his death. You have to wonder what they contained. Admission: I still haven’t worked up the nerve to watch the entire movie and don’t think I ever will.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Trumpo 'congratulates' Poland on the 80th anniversary of its annihilation by Nazi forces:

I've discovered that the US needs more Trumpo! What will it take to install MB in Trump's next admin? The time has come to stop pussyfooting around and get serious about collapse.

T-shirt idea:

Front: Trump for Prez: 2020
Back: Whatever he's for, I'm for.


7:00 PM  
Blogger disposium said...

I believe meditation has helped me to become a better person... Yet, as per Dr. B's experience with the 'Mindfulness' sector of the economy, we have this:

Mindfulness: Capitalist Tool

8:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@cyrillia--I'm sorry but have I have so many issues to take with that Salon article that to state them all I would have to go way over the half page limit. So instead I'll just deal with what the author left out--namely any criticism of the U.S. military or "intelligence" services; all the different countries we have invaded, bombed and destroyed; torture; assassinations of American citizens; prosecution of whistleblowers; and the thousands of foreign civilians murdered via drone strike. Those are all genuine fascist actions already taken by the U.S. before Trump was elected that have resulted in the wanton slaughter of millions of innocent civilians, the wounding and maiming of countless more and the utter moral bankruptcy of the nation. So how'd O'Hehir manage to miss all of that? Probably because he's typical prog--either too stupid to have noticed before January 20, 2017, or too craven to admit that far more blame for America's turning into a fascist state lies at the feet of the sainted Obarfa--whose name he somehow fails to mention even once. In fact the whole article is so hypocritical (no mention of Obarfa's role in locking kids in cages is another example), that it serves as a perfect example of why I've come to hate progs as much as I hate conservatives.

Let Them Eat Cake Department: Starving Seniors: How America Fails To Feed Its Aging. "Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were 'food insecure' in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That’s 5.5 million seniors who don’t have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow..." Granny might be safe from those scary "death panels," but not from starving to death.

9:33 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Women in combat rules makes excellence sense in a defensive role. Offensive, it's perfectly stupid. I think the USSR's having women soldiers, snipers etc. got conflated with the USSR's rolling the Germans back, when they were on the offense. I don't think there were too many female Russian soldiers marching into Berlin, other than a few hard cases.

The thing with Hedges is, he's a Christian and serious enough about it that he's got a degree in it and is actually clergy. Christianity is just plain .... weird. Forget all the Armageddon stuff, the idea of "original sin" being in everyone, lurking like some sort of herpes virus, is the part that creeps me out the most. All the other craziness seems to follow from that.

10:33 PM  
Blogger David said...

Today sat down to lunch with a bunch of retirees. The conversation got into the military and I criticized the waste of maintaining 11 aircraft carriers and 700 bases overseas. I also mentioned that the placards showing military enlisted men and women were not worthy of our worship--they were not heroes just by virtue of having enlisted. One grizzled veteran took umbrage at my criticism and as a result the rest of the rabble gave me the cold shoulder.
Regardless, I will continue to lambast the waste of Empire and the never ending worship of the military........

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

One of the things Chomsky often points out is how there has been a definite progress over the past 150 years (in America), in terms of things like working conditions (the 8 hour day, guaranteed minimum wage, etc.), women's suffrage, emancipation of the slaves, more enlightened attitudes towards homosexuality, and so on.

On the face of it, these things do seem like a kind of progress. But one of John Gray's insights is how conditional these things are on arbitrary factors, such as continued economic growth. As soon as economic growth slows down or stops, for example, we see how tenuous these things really are, and all the old poisons like anti-Semitism, neo-fascism, anti-immigrant policies, etc., quickly take root. The Golden Dawn in Greece, Marine le Pen in France, Trump in America (Where the economy is still lumbering forward for some), etc..--all it takes is a little tilt of the balance for these small gains to go by the board. So there really is no universal march towards Progress. When it looks like we are heading in that direction, this is usually because one is artificially isolating the present and exempting it from the necessity of historical cycles. And as we are currently seeing in America--whatever faltering steps forward we may have taken over the years--it doesn't take much at all to slip back into complete decadence and barbarism.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In terms of value of yr time, I think taking up tiddly winks might be more profitable.


The guy was actually a pretty gd journalist until he became ordained. That was when the 'weirdness' started.


As a committed declinist, my own belief is that we cannot have too much Trumpi. There is no upper limit to Trumpalino! I wanna see Trump, Trump, and more Trump.


That's a terrific bk, imo.


ps: Sorry if this computer continues to list me as Unknown.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

A well-done short video on where we stand with the climate crisis-

title: We're Fucked

9:18 AM  
Blogger FarmerBrown said...

Not quite Chatwins's Songlines but hey.....

And if you like the first season, here's the link to the second.....

Senor,I couldnt stop wondering, I think I understand why the meese are about but what on earth is Mr Meese doing there?I'll hazard a guess,to pour water on your riotous lovemaking or to finally witness for himself and come to terms with why, 50 years later, young Berman is still the quintessential ladies man.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Regarding Ed: nothing so exotic. But if I'm shtupping Sarah among the meese, it seemed appropriate to have someone named Meese present. Keep in mind that at my age, I'm fairly senile.


10:29 AM  
Anonymous Shawn Doidge said...

"Maryanne Wolf says that the human brain was never wired to read. This seems an interesting approach for a scholar, teacher, and literacy advocate to take. Proust and the Squid, the second of Wolf’s four books about reading and the brain, provides a rich explanation, both through thousands of years of the human history of reading, and one child’s lifetime. Reading, Wolf asserts, has changed the way we think. And once you’re done with it, you can quickly move on to her latest book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World.

From the author of Proust and the Squid, a lively, ambitious, and deeply informative epistolary book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies."

I really appreciate Maryanne Wolf's research/writings

10:53 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

His parents must be SO PROUD of the child THEY raised.....Oh Wait, they’re DEAD!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

One thing to keep in mind regarding the recent Hedges article - he's writing about the consequences of global warming not American collapse. America would be declining if the planet were cooling. He hits most of the right notes - Pinker ridicule. gross inequality, vast ignorance, infrastructure decay, imbecilic leaders - but these are offered in relationship to climate change not decline. America is declining for other reasons. That global warming is happening at the same time may exasperate the consequences but it does not produce them.

And as MB points out, even after describing the situation as if there were ho hope, Chris can't help himself at the end by calling for acts of defiance and civil disobedience - as if that would make a difference in a nation run by Trumps and other idiots who could give not one good shit what Hedges' Protesters think or do. For national protests to work there has to be a common moral code that undergirds and influences national character. America ain't got one.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

For what it's worth fellow WAFers, this blog is attracting some pretty brilliant minds.

Mr. Rob Ager posting above is one of the foremost film analysts operating right now. He'd probably deny it, though. :) Nonetheless, I know a few creative types who've shown his videos to students.

@Rob, if you read this. Watch what Nicole Kidman is eating when she's on the phone with Tom Cruise in EWS. This is the scene where Tom is with the prostitute. Kid man is eating 'Devil's Food'. :)

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

CO2 Gap?

Remember the days of bomber gap, missile gap, nuke gap? Time to catch
up with those Chinese!!

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Downward indeed.

Omar Bertov on his analysis of hatred, pogroms and genocide. Probably coming soon to an American city near you.

In keeping with GSWH's last comment the refrain will be from old Huckleberry Hound days- I hate you meeses to pieces!

3:58 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I can't imagine any church I know of who would accept CH as christian, he calls out heresy (99%) of American churches. I salute your dedication MB, I started reading Wandering God but its above my pay grade. I found a terrific documentary on YouTube that supports your acknowledgement of pre-history:

Humans in Britain for nearly 1 million years! I think mystics (christians included) are on to something. Maybe this past 10,000 year acid trip we've been on is something of a fall (original sin) and we've been trying to get back to eden ever since. Along the way there have been spirit persons (Jesus, Buddha) who've tried to show an alternate path but we didn't listen and became suicidal in the process, we may have succeeded.

Matt Taibbi has a new podcast called Useful Idiots highly recommend: t-shirt spotted @ Trump rally "Voted for Trump? #MeToo

7:51 PM  
Blogger taylor1956 said...

How To Survive In America

1. Go into internal exile. Walk through society as you would walk through a forest.
2. Read Schopenhauer.
3. In Anatole France's immortal words, "Despise people with tenderness." Don't lapse into bitter misanthropy.
4. Get a dog. They show more spontanaeity and affection than most people in America.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

This great t-shirt, showing YOUR support for ending gun violence with the phrase "THIS IS F*CKED UP" on it, can be YOURS for the super low price of only $30. All proceeds go to benefit douchebag Betomax O'Rourke's preposterous presidential campaign. Know what else is f*cked up? That a slimeball politician like O'Rourke would use a horrific tragedy to raise campaign cash and have no recognition of just how inappropriate it is.

Meanwhile: Depression, anxiety rising among U.S. college students. "Reports of suicide attempts increased from 0.7% of survey participants in 2013 to 1.8% in 2018, while the proportion of students reporting severe depression rose from 9.4% to 21.1% in the same period. 'It suggests that something is seriously wrong in the lives of young people and that whatever went wrong seemed to happen around 2012, or 2013,' said study coauthor Jean Twenge. She noted that this was around the time smartphones became common and social media moved from being optional to mandatory among youngsters." So why exactly is social disease media "mandatory" for these idiots? I seem to get along just fine without it, and despite being in poor health and in chronic pain I'm hardly suicidal.

All time great American mugshots: Only in America can utter clowns like this be found walking the streets on a regular basis. Do they not own mirrors?

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greeting MB & Wafers,

While I've been silent, I read the blog every day, for sanity and some great links. Thanks @Susan, I haven't read that Erich Fromm book, will get it.

Meanwhile, thought everyone might be interested in a Danny Sjursen article in Truthdig - he's the (now retired) Army Maj whose insights into the insanity of the US Army are spot on. This one is about the bizarre mindset of Army officers (and I can say that many Navy officers have the same mindset) - they are all about the next promotion, who cares about the troops, any long term strategy, if the was (or whatever) makes any sense at all in the grand scheme of things. It is a self-perpetuating machine, the US military, always getting bigger and needing more so these folks can get the next promotion. Sigh.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Not exactly on the subject of US decline, but certainly related. Students at Eton college, the UK's most prestigious fee paying school (from which a large number of its political class emerge) are being examined on how well they prepare a PM's speech justifying the killing of protestors in a crisis-ridden Britain of 2040. Purely hypothetical of course:

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

“‘A single [American]’s 102-ton trash legacy will require the equivalent of 1,100 graves. Much of that refuse will outlast any grave marker, pharaoh’s pyramid or modern skyscraper.’ But, even then, what we toss out is just the tip of the...trashberg”

"We Are Garbage"

7:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've heard rumors that the US Army is doing training exercises on this in the Southwest.


Now, we need a shirt for Tulsi. Perhaps: I AM FUCKED UP.


Sorry, half pg limit. Compress and re-send, thank you.


Well, yes, but it's not a very clear article. Also, some of the factors you mention, such as inequality and ignorance, are certainly connected to American decline, as I discuss in the Twilight bk. Finally, final phase of American decline is certainly tied to environmental destruction (desire to preserve capitaism thru fracking, e.g.). As for protests, revolution, or whatever, these can only succeed in a context of deep and widespread dissatisfaction. Most Americans don't care abt environmental destruction, and want the consumer society to continue.


I believe she did some research showing that digital tech negatively affects brain physiology.


We are glad to have Rob on the blog, but I hafta note that all Wafers are brilliant.


9:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Why shdn't this woman be vigorously slapped?:

A professional douche baguette.

See bio by Janice Peck, and bk by Nicole Aschoff.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...


Charlie Pierce just posted an article based upon this research about the deep attraction some folks have for CHAOS. He mentions the same study that your article refers to. I find this fascinating, in a morbid sort of way. No doubt, things need to change; but hasn't history taught these folks anything about the dangers of opening Pandora's box?

One of my favorite actors,Michael Shannon pulls no punches...

"This country’s filled with ignorant jackasses. The big red dildo running through the middle of our country needs to be annexed to be its own country of moronic assholes. I don’t know how people got so goddamn stupid. But it’s really weird, because it’s like the last eight years, now it feels like a lie. Like, this has been festering underneath the whole time. Racists, sexists.

And a lot of these people, they don’t know why the fuck they’re alive. They know it. They’re doing drugs, fucking killing themselves. Because they’re like, 'Why the fuck am I alive? I can’t get a job, I don’t know anything about anything, I have no curiosity for life or the world.' So this Trump thing is like getting a box of firecrackers, or something. It’s like, 'Well, this will be fun for a little while, this’ll kill some time.'"

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...


I am very much against social media but I can see why some people view it as mandatory or close to it. Social media has infiltrated work, romantic relationships, friendships, education and pretty much all other aspects of life. It is much harder to opt out of it now compared to ten years ago. This is what makes social media so insidious.

My guess is that older people have an easier time opting out. For young people today social media is pretty ubiquitous, or at least it seems like it is. This is why I always tell people that I would not want to be young today and how lucky I now feel to have grown up before social media.

Social media is a good example of how technology is not neutral. Social media has transformed life and culture even for those who don’t use it. I see it as being similar to television. Like social media, many people saw the destructive side of television and some chose not to watch television but television still profoundly changed the culture. The television refuseniks could not change that on their own.

Personally, I love not being on social media and I am lucky that most of my friends and family don’t seem to mind but I sometimes wonder if I would feel the same way if I was under 30. I think there would be more pressure on me to join social media and I would have a harder time being a social media refusenik.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB - Of course, you're correct that environmental degradation contributes to decline. Evidence of imperial and environmental collapse is obvious to those who know how to look. They can and often do work together. I was just trying to make the point that global warming is not necessary to imperial decline. The latter would be occurring without the former.

Anjin - "Let them all burn" - I don't know of any studies but I would bet my last family copy of the bible that the thoughts and emotions that drive NFCs could also be correlated with Christian Nationalists and those who read the Book of Revelation literally. They revel at the possibility of God destroying the world with fire and violence. Pagels argues that Revelation appeals to those filled with fears of destruction and death and who need reassurance that they, the chosen ones, the "saved", will be "raptured" into heaven while those "left behind", the evil, abandoned and "damned" others will die horrible deaths. Of course, this also aligns with the binary world beloved of most Americans in which we are the good guys upon whom God looks with favor and forbearance and "they" the evil ones who deserve to die - "cowards, the faithless, abominable, filthy ... and all liars" as the Book says. (See the book "Revelations" by Elaine Pagels.)

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

I've always thought the Oprah phenomenon to be a bizarre symptom of America's love of quick, painless solutions. Want spirituality? Buy this book and chant "I AM SPECIAL" if you have a negative thought. A negative thought such as "maybe I'm not special."

A friend at work took her daughter to Portland to start college and said the city smelled like urine. She was also telling me that she and her husband haven't paid off their student loans and the cost for her daughter will be 40k to 45k/ year and all in loans. When I asked why she didn't attend a local college for a few years, save some money and transfer, I was told "that's not what Anne wanted and I didn't want to say no." So here we have a brief synopsis of America -- sinking in debt, running up yet more senseless debt, the parents unable/unwilling to provide adult guidance and the whole thing reeking of urine.

An update on once beautiful cities on the west coast:

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

See page 3.

What's all this talk about 'mur'ka having no room for more immigrants? Years ago I worked for a commercial bakery on the night shift and was yelled at for taking some spoiled buns home with me. "You can eat the garbage at work, but we don't want you taking it home." I mean,
what?--I'm going to open a store selling garbage!!!"

3:05 PM  
Anonymous CWell said...

Main factors in mass shootings – social isolation, undiagnosed/poorly treated mental illness, and contagion from sensational publicity, combined with a culture that promotes intense competition, superficial values, notoriety, etc. American kids spend very little time with friends and lack social skills to cope with rejection and normal social challenges – the result is they spend more time on social media and get drawn into on-line communities that feed their feelings of resentment, entitlement, anger, a sense of grievance, etc. Then you add in easy access to guns, impulsivity and no effective interventions. Many of the teen and young adult mass shooters were living at home in supposedly intact families with parents who had no clue of what was happening with their child.
Antidepressants are part of the picture but IMO mostly because they don’t work very well (clinical trials inflated results), and parents/systems think they’ve addressed the problem because the kid is taking meds. Schools push parents toward medication for kids with behavior problems – I’ve witnessed schools threatening to report parents to child protection if they don’t get their kid on ADHD meds. I’ve also seen unusual reactions to antidepressants in adolescents – an agitated depression that can lead to suicide attempts or aggression – the “black box warnings.”

Articles on the drastic drop in face to face time American teens have with friends, and how the mental health of American children is impacted by social pressures, constant structured activities, etc.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In a nutshell: this society drives people crazy. We now have more than one massacre per day. So I'm not interested in MSM crap abt a "misunderstood loner," etc.


3:59 PM  
Anonymous flyingspaghettimonstr said...

Another Day,another suicide

I think anybody contemplating a move 2 Amerikkka at this point is outta their mind,frankly. Onwards & downwards!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

I was able to get a copy of Curio - what a magnificent read! I particularly appreciated the chapter on Gramsci. Bravo to you, GSWH, for this contribution.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Tom S--I hear what you're saying about social media and the young. It strikes me as being part and parcel of the "going along with the herd" mentality that is so prevalent in the U.S. these days. But I guess it's like the mounting evidence that idiotPhones are causing an enormous spike in traffic fatalities--nothing, not even a mass epidemic of suicides among teenagers and college kids, shall be allowed to slow the onward march of destructive technology.

@Pilgrim--what about the big blue dildos running up and down both coasts and all the littler ones thrusting up from beneath every liberal college town in between? Clearly, Shannon is blind to his side's own complicity in making America the utter paradise it is today. With his "I can't get a job" comment and his callousness about the rate of addiction and suicide, he sounds like a typical clueless Hollywood asshole.

@Anjin-san--that Vice article is nothing but another navel-gazing exercise on the part of the establishment. To wit: "40 percent also agreed that 'we cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over'." The fact of the matter is that American institutions--corrupt to their very cores as they all are--NEED to be completely torn down. I'm actually surprised that 4 out of 10 douchebag Americans actually recognize this fact, even if they likely don't understand what that would mean.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The Atlantic is catching up to your point of view, MB! Two current articles dovetail together very nicely.

First: Elite Failure Has Brought Americans to the Edge of an Existential Crisis ("Elite Failure" means failure of institutions -- even those "working class white men" don't trust traditional religion anymore, for example.)

Second: The End of the Roman Empire Wasn’t That Bad (Maybe the end of the American one won’t be either.) (Yes, that subtitle is on the article, not made up by me.)

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

@MB, et. al: re: U.S.society driving people crazy.

I have an adult nephew (early 30's) who has been diagnosed with ADHD, and has been put on medications. I told his Dad (my brother) that I don't think he needs meds. He needs to get out of the U.S. post haste. Well, after the election of Trump, my brother and all of his family now agree with me. My nephew (who is very bright) is busy getting as many certifications in mechanical engineering as he can, so he can move out of the U.S. Meanwhile, my niece is finishing up her veterinary degree at N.W. University, and has the same plan. My brother and sister-in-law are too old to get residency visas in most developed countries, so they may be stuck.

One of many factors which I believe is driving a lot of Americans over the edge, is the absolutely crap quality of the food they eat. Between GMO's, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup and other assorted poisons, it is no wonder people's nerves are jangly all the time. No doubt (MB) you have noticed this when you venture back in the U.S. In most other countries, you can actually get real food (as opposed to Frankenfoods) without paying a Rockefeller arm and an Onassis leg for it. For any NMI's who are stuck in the U.S., growing as much of your own food as you can, and sourcing such things as grass-fed beef, free range chickens, etc., is a crucial survival strategy.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Nothing says "I've given up" like a face tattoo but this kid might b one of the few with a future. Who else but gangs will b running this thing in a few years - get in on the ground floor, one thing we know he sure is loyal! (I'd b a shitty guidance counselor)

And here's a SuperHero to light the way:
I'm looking forward to it:

12:49 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

All the cool kids are doing it, it's .... Killology!

And today's cheerful thought: When will we in the US reach a point where the deaths from mass shootings = the deaths from automobiles? After all, we lose just a bit under 40,000 a year to car crashes and it's all taken in stride. The only time you see anger about it is if the driver was drunk and even then you're not supposed to "go on and on" about it. You're just supposed to mutter something about people shouldn't drive drunk or law ought to be stiffer or something, and leave it at that. Being maimed or killed by a car is Nature's Order after all.

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Yoogoogyoolator said...

@Ajay, @Cwell(nailed it), @MB and thoughful Wafers

The challenge with social media opposed youth has two components reinforcing each other in a cyclical pattern.

Ouside looking in:
Its cold, dark, and lonely outside. Social media is the primary medium for communication among peers. Being out of touch with online peers makes the online party look grand. Yearning for human interaction they attempt socializing in-person only to be reminded by online peers(majority) of the absence of online camaraderie.

Inside looking out:
After enough rejections in-person, offline youth cautiously wade into social media realms. Offline youth observing the most visible online personalities are often the least sociable in-person. The online personalities leveraging the perception of popularity will identify peers with lesser online social status. The offline youth are make examples of so the online crowd can feel more exclusive. Online youth aspiring for more visibility(majority) take notice. Repeat, deja vu all over again.

The offline youth start to sense online peer personalities are dictating offline possibilities when socializing is involved. Offline youth are lost at sea. The offline youth might not have the words to describe. But, it's reminiscient of an Erich Fromm perspective of the world. A lens from which the inversion of reality can be viewed. Of course the real world fails to match up to the parental scrips being recycled. And RX won't remedy authenticity in a world of pretenders. Offline youth are marooned.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. A link, some evidence, would not be amiss.


Thanks. Glad u enjoyed it. Title of bk is Genio, BTW.


9:11 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

An interesting piece by Stephen Kinzer:

Meanwhile, did we miss these two events? I can't remember:


12:21 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Michael - Most "food" sold in American grocery stores is over processed to render it sweeter or saltier so that it will sell better. Nutrition is a secondary consideration. Americans are not cognizant of the nutritional value of their food and most don't care to learn so long as it tastes good. In addition, the nutritional value of the soil in which grocery store crops are grown has declined to such an extent that carrots, potatoes, lettuce et al have less essential minerals and vitamins than they did 70 years ago. Processed "food" + bad soil = a malnourished population. Add corn starch drinks like Coke and Pepsi which millions drink more of than water and you get a people both malnourished and obese at the same time. For no doubt the first time in human history.

While reading a recent post on this blog about the voracious appetite of capitalism, it occurred to me that capitalism is like ancient alchemy in that it tries to magically transform everything into gold/money. I doubt that this idea is original with me. Does anyone know of a good article, book or writer who has dealt with this concept?

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...
Go to 01:50

Listening to enough fascist talk shows leads one to think that behind them are the
Chinese and the Russians, our sworn enemies. Both countries know that 'mur'kans are
both stupid and prone to violence, so if only there were a way of having them turn
on one another, the country would dissolve into civil war. The repeated message is
(1)"We all know who are internal enemies are," and (2)"they are the ones who want to take
away our guns." The guns are vital to destroy our enemies; we'd best use them now
before our defenses are taken away. Is this not exactly what the Chinese and the
Russians want to happen?

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I broach that subject from an oblique angle in ch. 3 of the Reenchantment bk, relating it more to technology than capitalism per se, but I think the suggestion is there (I haven't read the bk since 1981).


Honestly, we're so stupid that we'll do ourselves in without any sinorussian help.


Tell u the truth, so many brawls, melees, school shootings, Wal-Mart riots, and general massacres are occurring these days, that I can't keep track any more. Analogy: some yrs ago I began collecting data on American stupidity, until finally the data turned into a deluge, so I stopped collecting.


4:04 PM  

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