November 05, 2020

Of Size and Scale


While we're waiting for Schmiden to win and Trumpi's absurd lawsuits to crash and burn, I thought I might provide a bit of intellectual diversion. As follows:

Beyond right and wrong there is a field; I'll meet you there. --Yalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

A short while ago, someone sent a message to this blog, in which he voiced his concern that communism was threatening to take over America and the West. For me, it was like listening to Rip Van Winkle, who had fallen asleep for 30+ years and woke up thinking that Ronald Reagan was president. But it got me reflecting on the danger--not of communism or capitalism per se--but of size. It could be that the real problem with the Russian empire, or the American one, was the word "empire." In other words, it was not about ideology as much as the scale of the enterprise. After all, if we are talking about modern industrial societies, the most successful ones on the planet would appear to be the Scandanavian countries, which keep both socialism and capitalism in check by means of a mixed economy.

Another way of saying this was posed many years ago by the American anthropologist Richard Schweder, who suggested that most ideologies were functional or viable within limits. There is, however (he went on to say), a perverse tendency to always go overboard; to go to extremes. One thinks, for example, of the political correctness movement, which has become intolerant of any dissenting opinions to the point that it has acquired some of the characteristics of the fascist groups it opposes. Or as I wrote in the wake of 8 November 2016 (see Essay #15 of Are We There Yet?), how its extremism finally provoked the backlash that put Donald Trump into office.

As far as socialism goes, it does, as noted above, seem to work in controlled contexts, such as the Scandanavian countries. Modified socialism, as it were. But apply it on a vast scale, as in the case of the former Soviet Union, and you wind up with totalitarianism--Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. (Of course, Russia has been autocratic for something like a thousand years, long before the Bolshevik revolution; but that's a whole other discussion.) As for capitalism, a similar argument was made by Richard Powers in his brilliant novel Gain, which is a condemnation of the scope of hustling, not of hustling per se (we all have to make a living). In the novel, in the late eighteenth century, two brothers open a soap-and-candle shop on the Boston docks. It proves to be very successful, so much so that 200 years later it has evolved into a huge pharmaceutical conglomerate, poisoning rivers and giving the folks who live near them cancer. The point is obvious.

It's also about religion, in the broad sense of the term. Whether Left or Right, it is easy for people to get caught up in abstractions, and lay waste to everything around them as a result. We see this clearly in that remarkable TV series, The Americans, in which two Soviet agents living in the United States (played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) so blindly follow orders from Moscow that they murder one "enemy" after another (most of them innocent) for the sake of The Cause, until at the end, with Gorbachev emerging as a challenge to the Kremlin's old guard, they have to confront the fact that their lives have been meaningless, a gigantic illusion. On the capitalist side, we have millions slavishly pursuing the supposedly endless expansion of the American Dream, which, after a certain point, also issues out in meaninglessness. (I recall David Brooks, a few years back, writing about how, despite having a $4-million apartment in Manhattan and celebrity status as a New York Times columnist, he was depressed. Gee, what a surprise!)

The sad fact is that the number of political writers who realized the crucial importance of not getting seduced by an ideology--not going "whole hog," as it were--is pitifully small: Koestler, Camus, Orwell, Eric Hoffer (The True Believer), and the American monk Thomas Merton, among others. Koestler's word for this fanaticism or fundamentalism was "devotion," a word with obvious religious overtones; and toward the end of his life he suggested that the only hope for the human race was that scientists develop a pill to combat it. Which does raise the question of the psychological dimensions of the phenomenon. (More on this in a moment)

The Scandanavian example does point to an important post-imperial possibility (although China has certainly failed to get the message): decentralization. Alternative politics can emerge with the breakup of empires, although the post-Soviet collapse led to a great deal of regional brutality. America, too, will (I believe) have its own secessionist breakup, probably within two or three decades, or even less; yet it is not likely that these new independent states will be able to shed the narcissism and competitive individualism that seems to be woven into the American DNA. E.F. Schumacher notwithstanding, small is not in and of itself necessarily beautiful.

I go beyond the issue of decentralization in the second story of my recent short story collection, The Heart of the Matter, which is also called by the same name. Whom might we look to for sensible political alternatives? In that story, I suggest John Ruskin, William Morris, Gandhi, Lewis Mumford, and Ernest Callenbach as guides to a reasonable future, although, as we might expect, they have to date been dismissed as "quaint" or utopian. All of these writers were in favor of decentralization, but they saw something equally important, in addition: the necessity of inner peace, of balance, of a human consciousnss that was not endlessly self-aggrandizing. "The spirit of our days," wrote William Morris, "has to be delight in the life of the world." Hard to disagree.

This brings us to the psychological aspect of the problem. There is, in fact, a sixth writer we need to consider, namly the much-maligned Italian thinker, Niccolò Machiavelli. As I argue in Genio: The Sources of Italian Genius, Machiavelli has been badly misunderstood. Beneath the level of political opportunism--which he certainly did advocate for princes--there is a deeper level that transcends Left and Right, and that is the opposition of ego vs. decency. I do believe that if we are to have any future at all, as a human race, it is going to have to be green, sustainable, and decentralized, containing elements of both capitalism and socialism, and free of the ideology of "growth." But these are necessary conditions, not sufficient ones. For enlisted in the service of ego, these things can also turn into "religions." (If you've ever met a Green fundamentalist, you know what I'm talking about.) Machiavelli understood that in the real world--the world of rulers and their subjects--it was ego that prevailed; but what kind of world was that, finally? The man was no buddhist, but he did see that in order to evolve toward decency, the ego had to become aware of what it was doing, and why; to acquire self-transparency, in a word. As James Joyce famously put it, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Waking up: this is the long road ahead.

(c)Morris Berman, 2020


Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

For these beasts to function there has to be a population
of "happy robots" (as C.W. Mills put it).

5:55 PM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

I'm not a fan of Mr. Hedges, but unless I'm missing something he seems to have finally seen the light.

On another front: Dr. Berman you really are correct. Size matters, so to speak. Common sense should tell people that empires are too big to last forever. Can we seriously expect someone living in Georgia to understand someone 3000 miles away in California? They probably can't begin to understand someone who lives on the other side of the state. And this has nothing to do with who is right or wrong. Too many things just play into the mix to make common ground almost impossible.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sometimes a name gives it all away. Hedges has been hedging his bets for yrs. Mostly 'revolution', but then once in a while 'decline', so he can be out front, so to speak, just in case the (ridiculous) revolution doesn't materialize. Meanwhile, he says 'farewell' to America, but somehow just can't get himself to leave the country (= cowardice). He really is an American patriot, not grasping the fact that you can't do that and be a patriot of humanity at the same time. Does he really have anything new to say at this pt? Why is he continuing to publish? It's pretty sad, to go from excellent journalist to tedious preacher to hackneyed tape recording in something like a decade.


7:11 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Just ran across somewhat claiming that because Biden will be dealing with a Republican Senate, it is important that the left build unions and community organizations.

Ever notice how the Right's answer to any economic issue is 'lower taxes'? Economy doing well? Lower taxes because reward! Economy doing bad? Lower taxes to stimulate economy.

Is there a rhetorical term for this kind of idiocy, where no matter the issue or the question, the answer is always the same?

I've tried to have conversations with people as to why they think the same answer I've been hearing for 40 years is suddenly going to be effective this year, but they get very upset. Why do they think THIS protest march will change things when the last 46 marches haven't?

Last night I posted a video of someone talking about the mythology and magical thinking of Trump believers. How about the myths, delusions, and religions on the left? As strong as on the right in each individual, but harder to pin down because there are more ideologies and theories and practices, not the cohesive massive scale of right wing ideology.

(Sorry for the lack of source material, but out of respect for this person I will not link his tweet.)

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

Trump the modern-day Nero? That's rather unfair... to Nero - The Post

7:53 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Trump spoke live from the White House briefing room tonight...Bottom Line message....

This has been a FRAUDULENT and CORRUPT election, and I’m NOT leaving.

VERY DEFIANT....looks like He’s going to have to be DRAGGED out of that white house by his draft-dodging BONE SPURS!!

NEXT he’ll be vomiting THIS...

Are you REALLY going to allow them to DO this TO YOU? TO US? WHERE are the BRAVE PATRIOTS ready and willing to take action? Are your children and grandchildren going to be PROUD or ASHAMED of YOU? TAKE ACTION NOW!!

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Thank you Dr. Berman for the insightful essay, and correcting my Yiddish (former blog).

A lot of what you presented above reminds me of the US empire being a civil religion.

Civil Religion in America by Robert N. › articles_5

Opinion-US-ians gleefully and voluntarily wolf down and submit to what America offers all wrapped in a bullshit 'religion.' There appears to be no real manufacturing of consent nonsense that Chomsky states. It's a purposeful 'love' of' country,' patriotic zealotry, constant 'praying' for their "freedoms," flag obsessions, Wall Street lip smacking, worshipping police/military, lavish praise for "making it ($)," repeating: We're a 'democracy' mantras, (just vomited in my mouth), corporate C-suite lust, greatest place on Earth yammering, endless business expansion sermons, driving a luxury auto is what life's about, etc...

You don't hear many Luxembourgish saying, "I believe in Luxembourg," or Kiwis, obsessing about the "New Zealand dream," or Belgium officials saying, "We're the greatest nation on Earth," so we feel compelled to expand ad infinitum and sow our religious seeds to other lowly countries....

98.7% of the US-ian populace is so immersed in this civil religion BS it's nauseating....ready to urinate on the next US-ian that f's up my Chinese food order!

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Timothy Franks said...

God Trumpo and the GOP are starting to sound like the Alex Jones Party.

I thought the dems were bad with russiagate.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

A great essay. I hope that decent decentralized world can come into being, however given my age I won't be around to see it. But it would be great if my grandchildren will live to see it.

Switching gears more and more people are writing like you. A good piece about America itself, not Trump, being the problem.

"And its (Americas) belligerent government’s disregard for facts or even a modicum of decency, cooperation, compassion or conscience has been revealed to every inhabitant on the planet, and in very stark terms. It cannot, and should not, ever be trusted. In fact, its dissolution is the only hope we have for a livable future on earth."

9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Shit-

On the civil religion, see some of the essays in QOV. I discuss Bellah as well.


9:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


"its dissolution is the only hope we have for a livable future on earth."

A great line, and what I've been saying for yrs now. A pity, Trumpi cd have done so much more damage. But don't despair: declinism lives!

Meanwhile, bubba=paper tiger. All talk, no bullets. I'm actually ashamed of them.


9:53 PM  
Anonymous Joshua Seabright said...

How Do You Know When Society Is About to Fall Apart?
Meet the scholars who study civilizational collapse.

They missed our dear scholar!

10:01 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Ziggy Zag - robot voice on that is horrible, ironic, but mainly horrible.

Emma - as much as I like to, comparing the Rump to Hitler is also unfair to Hitler.

Dr. Shithouse -

Timothy Franks - Yet the Dems haven't made hay on Dumpo being OK with bounties paid by Russia for dead American soldiers. They're just "losers" after all. (Yes should be here in-country doing constructive things but still!)

Anjin-san - Only way to decentralize is to lower the energy base. Sub-Amish ideally.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Pleiades said...

Bubbas? - is code for the "Celtics" that are being replaced through non-assimilating less creative and aggregately less intelligent, more often less moral, refugees? You harp on the dumb useless American majority - empty consumers like G. Carlin but what other choices were they given other than to weaken, demoralize, and genocide themselves - e.g. useless education system and empty incorporated opportunities? Why they are disappointing you by not firing back? That the system is protecting and supporting the rioters e.g. given assault weapons, cops standing down, courts, threat of the barbaric prisons, is why the color revolution against Celtic interests goes on. Who benefits from a top down ethnic evolutionary strategy - destroy competition?

11:06 PM  
Blogger Cyrillia Juniper said...

Thanks, Dr. B for that very thoughtful essay. I've come back to the PNW to work towards that very future. I'm too broke to flee the country and, like Anjin-san, I probably won't live to see such a community, but I'm going to do my best to shift any pebbles that I can to influence the future. Attention now shifts from the pustule of Washington, D.C. to the health of the local. Waking up from the "American Dream" is the goal.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


To be honest, I'm not sure what yr arguing here; rather convoluted language. I was just pointing out that the bubbas have spent mos. parading their weapons, were told by Trumpi to 'stand by', and then when push comes to shove, they hide under the bed. That's it, and it's also pretty obvious.


I discuss Tainter in the Twilight bk, in fact. But as for refs to me: the MSM will take notice of my work when pigs fly over the White House in V-geese formation.


12:08 AM  
Blogger flanagle said...

According to the latest from>ususa-election-australia
An Australian bookmaker Sportsbet is paying out $16.5 million(US) to the Biden betters: "We have supreme confidence that Biden will end up in the Oval Ofice". You know it's all over for our 'Mid-town Mussolini' when the pros start paying out.

Even though the Bubbas haven't hit the streets... yet, as it sinks in that Donnie is going down and out many will likely be hitting someone soon. Like the rage of losing Superbowl wagers but on an order of magnitude much worse, the 911 switchboards with domestic abuse calls will be lighting up bigly all across our great land.

But, on the plus side in the Land of Hustle, some enterprising folks must be hard at work right this minute designing the "Special Limited Edition (for the first 25 million only) President Donald J. Trump Commemorative Solid Brass Collectors Coin yours for only five monthly installments of $19.95 (plus shipping & handling)".

5:58 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B are you sure you're not Obi-Wan Kenobi? He said as he was fighting Anakin Skywalker "only a sith deals in absolutes."

6:48 AM  
Anonymous crazy stan said...

MB - that's a great Rumi quote. u also a Rumi fan MB?

Emma - this might b of interest for u

America Is Eerily Retracing Rome’s Steps to a Fall. Will It Turn Around Before It’s Too Late? Two thousand years ago, the famous Republic had a chance to reject a dangerous populist. It failed, and the rest is history.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

I dreamed a Biden joke last night:

Joe Biden has announced that as President he will change nothing. In a Streeckian fashion while assuming a Crouch, does that mean that I cast my vote for nothing?”


(with nodes to German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck and British sociologist Colin Crouch)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Clearly, there's enuf Rumi for everyone. As for comparisons w/Rome, check out the Twilight bk.


I am the GSWH. I know all.


Looks like Schmiden has won, but don't kid yerself: Trumpi will endure, as will the Trumpites. What will not endure is the US. But the Trumpites are an interesting bunch, parroting Trumpi's assertion that the election was stolen. Really, if Trumpi announced that all of the mail-in ballots consisted of pastrami sandwiches, and thus had to be disqualified, his minions wd run around w/signs showing pastrami sandwiches, with a negating red circle over them. Cf. "Life of Brian."


9:53 AM  
Anonymous Doyle said...

Modern Argument Against Libertarianism: Trump would've won if he hadn't listened to Kudlow & Moore and the GOP Establishment on neglecting pandemic stimulus aid

My hot take for the day.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Allen Dark in Texas said...

Dr. Berman,
An excellent essay. Good to see you still in good form. Diversity and dispersion and a revaluing of values are surely one "ideal path" to pursue...for survival of the human specie. BUT, you seem to under estimate the importance of our most critical resource...TIME.
Having spent about forty years of my business career in various crisis management situations, I believe that TIME is often the most critical expendable resource involved.
So I ask you, what is your probability that the philosophies of an adequate percentage of 8.3 billion people, scattered all over the world, can be changed IN TIME so that we stop consuming and destroying the planet? I do not believe it is even conceivable. Mitigation, managing a sharp drop in world population from 8-9 billion down to perhaps a sustainable 8 MIllION should become a top priority for the thinkers in the world. We are simply going to run out of TIME. Regards. Allen Dark

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Marianne Williamson discusses America's "soulless ethos"-

(3-minute video)

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Michael Lind has an interesting article on why he believes that nationalist populism is here to stay even if Trump loses the election, which now looks likely.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always saw her as a New Age douche baguette--adviser to Oprah, of all things (a Major douche baguette). But even a broken clock is rt 2x/day, I suppose.


Agreed, the odds aren't great. I just wanted to lay out what was necessary, no matter how improbable. Check out my Machiavelli chapter, for greater elaboration.


The 2nd stimulus package was slated for August, and then never happened. Financially, a lg % of the country is suffering quite badly, and Trump showed his priorities were elsewhere. This cdn't have helped him. The covid b.s. also cdn't have helped, as people are dying. Poor strategy, for sure. And yet, many millions voted for him; his loss is in the razor's edge category. That says a lot, it seems to me.


11:11 AM  
Anonymous Flabster said...

Regarding Pleiades’s comment: It relates the to one of the beliefs of QAnon, that color revolutions will be instigated against Trump, Q will tip them off so they can prevent this.

The Celtic part has to do with the high country of Appalachia being settled by scotch Irish. I don’t have a good source that explains this as well though I would assume it has to do with far right groups who believe there are plots afoot to replace them with foreigners. Most of the conspiracy crowd freelance together ideas at random (I often have to listen to such blabber at work).

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why perpetual election analysis is vital:

Drifting to the left:

12:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. His message was so garbled, it was like getting a letter from another planet. This is one loop I am surely out of.


12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The airspace over Biden's house is now restricted. If the bubbas were more than mere talk, they would weaponize a drone a bomb the house. But what do they do instead? Beat their meat.

But they are big on words, so we can expect, during the next 4 yrs, an endless bombardment from them and the Karens (bubbot), to the effect that the election was fraudulent, stolen from Trumpi. Of course, this kind of divisiveness can only help in our inevitable decline.

O dem bubbas!


1:11 PM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Don't worry Dr. Berman and Flabster-2 QAnon candidates won and are headed to congress.

The US empire was definitely from another planet.

Onward and downward.

2:31 PM  
Blogger futuroexpat said...

Thanks for the magic word: Oaxaca.

Not all the bubbas were hiding under the bed.

"Police detained two men outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Thursday night as police investigate an alleged plot to bomb the ballot counting center, local media reported. At around 10 pm, police were tipped off regarding a group arriving from Virginia in a Hummer to perpetrate an attack on the convention center."

3:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have no idea as to who these people are, or what QAnon candidates believe. I hope it is something completely nuts, and that more of them get elected to congress or whatever. Part of our decline cd be that the country enters a demented, loony tunes phase b4 it falls apart completely. No serious declinist cd object to that.

As far as alien planets go: I think there is a theme in sci-fi along the lines of When God created the earth, he felt he needed a 'drain' for lint, so to speak. So he singled out the US as the place that wd collect all those people who didn't know how to relate to others. Welcome to the lint drain.


3:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Marching in Charlottesville, the bubbas (bubbim) chanted, "The Jews will not replace us." Well, I'm here to tell you guys, that they will. You have believed that it has been the secret goal of the Jews to take over the world. This was a correct belief, and it is happening rt now (we are smart beyond smart, you fucking dummies). Prepare to be replaced, douche bags. Meanwhile, all yr military swaggering, and while Trumpi is himself being replaced, you turkeys cdn't fight yr way out of a wet paper bag.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Mike Cifone said...


Thanks for the very beautiful post. You continue to provide a light of hope in the darkness.

I'm trying to get my students in an ethics class I'm teaching to understand the nature of the current (radical) political and economic imbalances that shake us at home and around the world; to that end I've assigned the amazing text by Wolfgang Streeck "How Will Capitalism End?" (have you read it?).

My students are remarkably receptive to the thesis of decline these days, but I fear the text is still too difficult for them, and they struggle to get clear handle on its central thesis. What text would you recommend in its place?

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Where o where are those oh so proud americants? The bubbas, the camu vests, showing off weapons, joe six packs, the regular guys and hot girls with guns citing their love of Jesus and the US of A, big pickem up truckers, the police unions and farmers? Where are they? They disappeared like dandelion spores (Berman). Cricket cowards!

Dr. Berman! Get with it..LOL--those QAnons are the 'DNA' of the us. "that alleges that the world is run by a powerful cabal of Satan worshipping pedophiles, who work to undermine US President Donald Trump and his actions against them, with the cabal operating a global child sex trafficking ring."

4:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike R-

How savvy cd these people be? They name satan worshippers, pedophiles, child sex trafficking...and forgot to include the Jews! And yet the Jews are clearly the cause of all our troubles, as the Nazis so astutely pointed out yrs ago ("Die Juden sind unsere Unglueck"). As for the bubbim, they are abt as effective as Trumpi's forthcoming lawsuits. We have had not merely 4 yrs of "alternative reality"; also 4 yrs of bluster. What a shame this will not continue.


Gd to hear from u. I cite Streeck in various works, and we have also discussed him on the blog. As for texts: there's my trilogy on the American empire, plus the 1st sections of QOV and AWTY. However, I do use polysyllabic words, so...


That is of course encouraging, but represents only a small handful of bubbim. 99+% of them have shown that they have no testes. Words aplenty, but no bullets.


4:26 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Qanon believe that the online furniture store WAYFAIR is selling child sex slaves in their online shop. Their marketing head's surname is Chandler, which Q says is code for 'Child Handler'. You could not make this up wait they absolutely did make this up. Meanwhile, onwards! TRUMP 2024:

Should 78 year old Trump run for GOP 2024 nomination, could he be beaten? His "I won" schtick is a way to legitimise himself as 'The once and future president'. Trump's running mate won't be Mike Pence, it'll be one of his spawn. Trump/Trump 2024. Trumptrump will be running against Kamala (as an 82 year old Biden would be on intravenous Ensure by then, if he's still topside).

Note to self: google "side effects of amphetamines on geriatrics").

Kamala's VP/running mate: a 77 years young HR Clin-ton. Kam better hire a food taster.

God, it's an endless nightmare.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I believe inauguration day is Jan. 20. I suggest that all of us show up for this, and stand at the back, holding signs with lettering 3 feet high, with one simple statement:


When people ask us what this means, we say: "Here comes 4 years of nothing." Then when 2024 rolls around, and everyone sees that we were rt, we will be bombarded by messages on the blog congratulating us for our insight. All of this will pave the way for a Trumpi comeback, so that he can continue his historical mission: dismantling the US.

For the truth is that Schmiden has 0 new to offer. As in the Obama admin, we will simply be treading water. Which for a declinist is very lame fare. What we really need is a violent lunatic in the W.H.; something that will be temporarily postponed. But rest assured: Trumpi, or at least Trumpism, will be back.


5:11 PM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Re: Schmiden

MB, count me in. Would be fun.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

This was about 25 years ago. What would he think now?
If you need a theme song, I suggest this one.

6:57 PM  
Blogger moresoma said...

As soon as I read this headline, I thought of you Morris.

Raleigh pastor faces $2 million lawsuit. Lawyer says he has ‘proclivity’ to urinate on people.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Honestly, I'd like to join his church. We can't have too much urine in this country. Altho I'm not in favor of unleashing it on sleeping people. Only on the shoes of folks like editors at the NYT, Lori Loughlin, Obama and Hillary, etc. I believe many people will back me up on this. It says so much, really. (Slapping is also gd.)


7:38 PM  
Anonymous Satchmo said...

Hey I though Schmiden already ran against Obummer in the '08 (s)election, yea? They must be recycling puppets.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Is this analogous to a peasant in Revolutionary France stealing a loaf of bread? At gunpoint of course.

“Police say the three stole cash, Newport and Camel cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping products”

8:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In 2008, Biden was Obama's running mate, which is how he became VP.


9:01 PM  
Anonymous Seneca’s Cliff said...

In one of my favorite books, “Human Scale”, Kirkpatrick Sale argues that nearly everything fails its purpose when it grows beyond a certain size. He wrote that book in 1980 and in more recent years has become a fan of secessionist movements to pare things down to a workable scale.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

I can't wait for America to be healed, for civility to return, for empathy and sympathy to rain down on all suffering from the pandemic and the depression and the just plain b**thurt of living under Trump. Oh Hallelujah... Let the healing begin!!

People who think that Biden will usher in a new era... well, even on a practical lever, I've got two words for them: Mitch. McConnell.

And if it goes well, Pelosi will return as Speaker!!

I hope everyone can (re)learn this song to sing at the Inauguration of The Biden Era of Redemption: The Age of Aquarius is finally upon of us!

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

I've posted this before, but I urge any WAFers in need of a break to watch Midnight Diner on Netflix. It's saved my stuck in Amerikkka backside many a night.

10:01 PM  
Blogger David said...

MB Good points. When the USSR dissolved there was hope that Russia would become democratic. But given the 1,000 year-heritage of autocracy and its limpet fixation on holding on to its 11 time zones, Russia cannot be democratic any time soon.
On the same vein, how does the US, who claims to be a democracy hold onto an empire of 800 plus bases overseas and lord over the seven seas? By fostering a cult of the military, by never questioning its obscene $900 billion "defense budget" by preventing any discussion of its military's role in the world (imposing Pax Americana and economic imperialism). The brainwashed public just goes along with what the power elite dictates without so much as a whimper and when the President in the annual State of the Union proclaims that the US has the mightiest military in the world, they give him a standing ovation.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Americans are singularly unable to distinguish between force and strength. Of the first, we have a lot; that wd seem to be the purpose of our foreign policy. Of the 2nd, which is an internal thing, we have very little. This is why we are crumbling today. And if this is true of the nation as a whole, it is also true of your typical individual American, and his/her approach to life.

Note to Pleiades-

You seem to be living in some sort of upside down conspiracy world, complete with antisemitism, and once again, your language is garbled (something you don't really recognize; you actually come off as a moron). I also note that your latest rant didn't contain a single bit of evidence to back it up. In a word, yr not a very gd fit for this blog, and I hafta suggest you'll be happier elsewhere. I'm guessing that there are a huge # of blogs out there that wd be open to your very special brand of political 'analysis'. Here, it comes off as little more than weird, with nothing to substantiate it. So gd luck to you; it won't be hard for you to find a match, I'm sure.

Dan D-

All will be well. Halcyon days await us.


I'm not familiar w/that bk, but recall that Sale wrote a very favorable review of WAF, yrs ago. He esp. liked my prediction of secession.


3:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It is sobering to contemplate the fact that for 4 yrs, the US was governed by a madman, someone who was clinically insane. Of course, since Bad Is Good in these end-of-days, that was a plus. The late Roman empire also had emperors who were out to lunch, including a 7-yr-old boy, and this contributed to its collapse. But of course, a vulgar boor can get a bit tiring. Biden will do very little to change things, despite the hopes and dreams of the progs. But at least he's not an asshole, wh/brings its own kind of relief. History is rarely linear, and by treading water, Obama-style, his admin will serve to slow down our disintegration to some degree. Perhaps, in 2024, with a Trump comeback, we will be ready to resume a more accelerated pace into the abyss. In any case, from a declinist pt of view, it's comforting to know that nearly half the country lives in the alternative, self-destructive universe created by Trumpalumpi.


4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

More and more people are starting to see the light.

"Turns out, the so-called shining city on a hill is, instead, a black hole where hope, optimism, reason and the future go to die."

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Can I have some bit of fun making predictions without evidence? Just this time? I think Trump will now try to cut a secret deal with Biden not to be prosecuted or investigated or something in exchange for eventually not making too much trouble in the transition. I don't think he'll run in 2024, maybe somebody in his family, but certainly, after 4 years of such a corporate whore as Biden completely destroying whatever is left of the middle class, the country will be ready for a real fascist, as others have pointed out.

7:15 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

''We were living the American dream, until it turned into a nightmare.” #whyshamematters

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Strix Aluco said...

Highly recommend fictional series about a chess prodigy Queen's Gambit on Netflix - which was consulted by Garry Kasparov.

Also recommend Kasparov's "Chess Imitates Life"

8:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Like the bubbas (bubbim), you were a lot of bluster and hot air. But to yr credit, you did enormous damage to the country during yr brief tenure. As declinists, we are sad 2 c.u. go. Who better to preside over the collapse of American civ than a grotesque buffoon, a bulvan, a putz, a certified lunatic such as yrself? But there's always 2024, and you shd know that you will have the extensive minions of Waferdom cheering you on.

Farewell, Trumpi, Farewell!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Pertinent to the topic of the current thread: Earlier this year, the German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck wrote a paper, “Reflections on Scale”, in which he discusses the nature of statehood and whether there are advantages to being bigger or smaller. Although he doesn’t see smallness and cultural homogeneity as panaceas in the context of unstable global capitalism and financialization, he sees hopeful possibilities decentralization and smaller sovereignties as offering chances for individual and collective survival.

Other papers and interviews with Wolfgang Streeck can be found here:

Some years ago, I came across a book by the late economist Leopold Kohr (1909-1994), “The Breakdown of Nations” (Green Books edition, 2001, but first published in 1957). Kohr, a friend of E. F. Schumacher, described himself as a “philosophical anarchist” and argued the case for peoples who have lived in small states being happier, more peaceful, more creative and more prosperous. Though not guaranteed, I believe future generations in my region Cascadia would be better off separated from the declining American Empire and take their chances against global capitalism.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

MB: Thanks very much for your clear remarks on size and scale in political systems, that most systems are functional within limits. I had a thought: as human political systems get larger, are the limits of the human brain challenged? I'm thinking of what the biologist George C. Williams wrote. He maintained that conditions in the Stone Age "essentially put the finishing touches on human nature as we now have it." In his 1997 book The Pony Fish's Glow he wrote that humans "have had time to evolve very little since the invention of agriculture, a few millennia ago. Human nature is now very much what it was in the Stone Age, which lasted more than a hundred times as long as recorded history. Current human nature is designed for Stone Age life." Are human systems hobbled by a brain that is optimized for Stone Age living? Is that why empires rise and fall, because human nature is essentially Stone Age? Is there any validity to my thinking?

12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ronnie Laing once wrote: "The Stone Age baby is born into the 20th century." We neglect the real care of that child, in favor of a phony notion of progress--cell phones. Human beings need community and caring, not electronic toys.


Thanks for refs that previously made a similar argument. Gd to know.


And so, Joe. Joe will not unite the country; this is the usual post-election rhetoric. The country will remain bitterly divided, you can count on it. As for his larger mission: he will do his best to restore the globalized, neoliberal regime that has been in place for decades, and was certainly reinforced by Obama. A corporate world, with a corporate agenda, which causes suffering for most of the people on the planet. Think ahead to 2024: Trumpi, or some version of Trumpi, will certainly have a chance at the polls once again. And if that person isn't a bulvan, a vulgar boor, the chance will be so much greater.

The final problem is that we have 2 nations that don't want to talk to one another, but which each have something important to say. Dems will ignore what I said in WAF ch. 4, and continue to tear down Confederate statues, for example. The rt will go on ignoring the murder of black people by white cops. Etc.

And hovering over it all is the truth that almost all Americans are clueless abt, including the hi-IQ dummies at the NYT and elsewhere: the US is finished, no matter what anyone does or says. The empire is dying, and for most people on the planet, this will be regarded as a positive thing. All of the things I identified in the Twilight bk as bringing the country to its knees, are coming to pass as we speak.


12:58 PM  
Anonymous AmericanDream said...

Mr. Berman - America rejected Trump (well he still got decent votes but as a start he is out). And the daughter of a Jamaican/Indian immigrant parents is the VP. Where else in the world is this possible ? That is why I say anything can be achieved here. Also in a decade or so the Trump supporters will be gone and the US will become more progressive and I believe solve all the difficult problems it faces (climate change/wars etc).

1:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Ode to Trumpi:

You said when the shooting starts
you'd rush in to do your part
Your bubbim were busy hanging brain
Whilst Schmiden will be lifting champagne

Oh, Trumpi, Oh Trumpi
You tangled up Wafers in blue
Can't you, for once see
You need a brand new hairdo

Well, I sure hope we can now get this virus under better control for another Wafer NY rendezvous in 2021! I will supply the booze, and will contact The Russian Tea Room to begin preparations for a feast of Pelmini and Pirozki! A platter of Herring Shuba wouldn't hurt either.

Za Vas!


1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, gd luck w/that, amigo. Yr optimism is indeed bracing. And I don't wanna argue w/u; it's just that if you want to check out another perspective, you can read my work. (And certainly, don't, if yr not interested.) All I want to do is reiterate what I said earlier abt yr own ambitions: go for it! Since anything can be achieved here (allegedly), you might wind up as a high gov't official, or a capt. of industry. You may feel differently abt all this in 10 yrs, but for now, as I wrote u, 'follow yr dreams'.


1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Maybe the Proud Boys shd start calling themselves the Ashamed Boys. What wimps, I tell ya.

I too am hoping for 7ANYWSM in May, but it will depend on the virus situation. We've never met at the Russian Tea Room's a thought, tho a bit pricey. Their borscht is divine, however. They usta have ads in the New Yorker like:

"Is it true that Tchaikovsky ate 9 plates of blini before he composed the 'Pathetique'? Come, be inspired!" or

"Exactly where does the Russian Tea Room stand? Slightly to the left of Carnegie Hall."

Ah, New York.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


From time to time somebody will raise the issue of Biden being some sort of shill for corporations, during his time in the Senate, and as VP. I can well believe it, but I'm wondering if any of you have come across evidence for this. I'm quite sure he will strive to promote globalization and neoliberal economics, but is there any specific evidence for his working to promote corporate interests?

Watching (online) jubilant crowds of progs in NY, Philly etc. celebrating Biden's victory, I can't help reminding myself of how fundamentally unintelligent Americans are...which includes major anchors, newscasters, editors, and so on. The progs actually believe that the source of the American 'problem' was Trump, and now that he's being replaced by someone who is presumably a nice guy and doesn't engage in constant lying and disgusting rhetoric, all will be well. It's so I have said, even the smart ones in this country are dumb. Was all well during the Obama admin, when Obama turned into a war criminal and was regularly murdering civilians with drones (he himself picked out 1/3 of the targets)? When 0 was done abt the environment, and the rich (like Obama) were getting richer? Americans focus on the personal and the trivial; the larger picture is literally beyond the reach of people who have 0 training in history or sociology. Instead, let's dance in the streets over the dump of Trump (=pure evil) and installation of Biden (= messiah). Let's get excited over the fact that Kamala is a person of color, while forgetting that Obama was a person of color, and did shit for 8 years (and hardly promoted the cause of people of color). Meanwhile, the US is, and will remain (for as long as it can) a genocidal war machine run by a plutocracy and cheered on by clueless morons.

An analogous situation: in DAA, I talk about how hurt Americans were in 1980 over the Iranian hostage crisis, how they took it personally, w/o any recognition of what we (CIA) did to Iran in 1953--deposing Mossadegh (democratically elected president) and installing the Shah and his torture regime. There is never any larger picture for Americans, never any connecting of the dots.

Nor do the progs want to address what motivates the Trumpites, why Trumpi came pretty close to winning a 2nd time around; or why Dems lost seats in the House, and gained little in the Senate. Those motivations are real, and cannot be dismissed as groundless. (Not that the bubbas are esp. interested in what motivates the progs, of course.) Americans believe that emoting is the same thing as thinking, and that self-righteous passion proves yr rt.

Anyway, the post-election glow will eventually fade, and no one--neither progs nor bubbas--will ever conceive of our stubbornly refractory problems in structural terms. I doubt very many Americans wd be able to say what 'structural' means, in fact.

What we are witnessing rt now, I believe, is a false dawn.


4:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Here's a typical example of American brain damage. Cher posted this on Twitter:


What cd be more naive?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Question for Miles-

What role did Trumpi's hairdo play, do you think, in his defeat?


5:55 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Dr. B, you keep wondering where the right wing militias have gone. I say you need to be patient. Unlike the dumb leftists and centrists, many of the militia boys won't all gather in one central, well lit location. Their Grand Leader has not given them the order to do anything; Trump is still playing the court game. Many of the armed groups were in the military and know that actions need strategy and long-term goals.

Don't despair just yet. The next three months will be plenty of time for them to coordinate a response. They may pick a date like December 7 or January 15 to start the battles? In the meantime, many on the left are solidifying their own militias; you might get a real civil war yet!

On the small/localism issue, I will point out that there is no guarantee that the efficiencies of small scale also means classic liberal or progressive structures. Medieval serfdoms were small-scale locally controlled economic alliances. There is talk of a Maine/New Hampshire/Vermont/Massachusetts alliance. What to do with the west shore of Lake Champlain? Or should the east shore revert to New York as it was 250 years ago?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

I emailed him with the secret plan: We will bring to the
Supreme Court the 107-year-old physician who delivered
Biden as a baby in K E N Y A. The Court will take mere
seconds to disqualify Biden.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogulator said...

Emmy award winning HBO doc(2006) on election fraud:

"Hacking Democracy"

7:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Maybe Manhattan needs to go to war w/Queens. But where wd that leave George Costanza?


7:20 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

less than 24 hours, but FYI beofre I forget-

"From time to time somebody will raise the issue of Biden being some sort of shill for corporations, during his time in the Senate, and as VP. I can well believe it, but I'm wondering if any of you have come across evidence for this. I'm quite sure he will strive to promote globalization and neoliberal economics, but is there any specific evidence for his working to promote corporate interests?"

8:40 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Biden=A brief sigh of relief b4 2024

I like the idea of EduPods, why not kill factory education once and for all? Dress up some of these abandoned buildings and teach! Seems like an nmi solution.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. and WAFERS:

As much I cringed when I heard Biden was talking about 'uniting America' (doesn't sound an agenda for justice, does it?), and as much as he will almost certainly tread political water, as Dr. B says, there is no denying his Presidency will make a world of difference for millions of suffering Americans. The video says, I think, say why very well:

-Northern Johnny

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Lots of blather, God obsessions, some window dressing changes, a war or 3, then 2024.....

In the meantime,

There's a shit cloud coming....

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The Murdoch-owned NY Post is suggesting that Trump should throw in the towel-

Here's an article about the Trump team's press conference today at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping office in northeast Philly, next to a crematorium and an adult book store-

I thought that the article was a joke, but if you scroll down, there are photos of Giuliani and the boys holding a presser in a drab parking lot. It's somewhat of a less prestigious location than the downtown 4-star Four Seasons Hotel and perhaps a sign that the jig may be up. Time will tell, of course.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Dan D,

There's a quite a bit on Biden's support for business. Today, the news has Biden's current economic advisor as a long term Goldman executive.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that Biden is a staunch advocate of globalization and neoliberal capitalism, both of which--the record is quite clear on this--make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. That is the larger picture.

On another note, I'm aware of the rather dramatic swings of the American electoral process. Bush Jr. was such a shmuck, and led us into the worst foreign policy mistake in US history (altho Vietnam is rt up there), that the pendulum swung strongly away from the GOP and put Obama into office. Obama was a pretty boy, a nothing president, treading water for 8 yrs, and as Hillary offered nothing more than more of the same, the pendulum took another violent swing back, and we got Trumpi. Who was such an asshole, and flubbed the covid situation so badly, and was so clearly racist, that the pendulum then swung back again, and we now have Mr. Empathy in the W.H. And in 2024, after very little substantive is accomplished? Can we predict another similar reversal (which seems to be the American electoral pattern), namely a return of Trumpi or someone even more rt wing and nasty? Just thinking out loud here.


9:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I can't refrain from observing how singularly awful Trumpi is as a human being; one of the worst, when you get rt down to it. A jackass like no other, even beyond dreck such as Nixon, or Reagan, or Bush. Of course, from a declinist pt of view, this was a gd thing, and perhaps, like Grover Cleveland, he'll be back. But when you stand back a bit, and look at the guy from a distance, he comes across as surreal.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Unknown Knish said...

I wouldn't worry too much about Schmiden, I really wonder if he'll make it 4 years. Will he stay a year or two and then retire making way for Schmarris?

If the electoral college actually elects the guy...

10:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This remark from Thomas Frank:

"His years in the US Senate overlap almost precisely with his party’s famous turn to the “third way” right, and Biden personally played a leading role in many of the signature initiatives of the era: Nafta-style trade agreements, lucrative favors for banks, tough-on-crime measures, proposed cuts to social security, even."


11:29 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Interesting discussion of neo-Shintoism in Japan and coddling up to Washington

12:42 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Dr Berman,

I've been trying for four years to find a single redeeming quality in Trumplestiltskin, but I can't. Heck, I've been trying since the 1980's when I first heard about him. Nada, zilch.

The problem for me is that he's fully exposed the true American character, and he really is the ultimate icon for this deranged culture. And 1/3 of the populace thinks he's the second coming.

Some religious videos popped up in my YouTube feed with prophecies about Trump winning. Check out the comments:

These people are making excuses for him trying to justify his personality. Things like "God chose a strong leader who speaks the truth". So speaking the divine truth includes mocking a disabled reporter and bullying a teenage girl? (Greta)

At the risk of projecting an opinion, this culture is looney tunes!!

4:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


More than 1/3, actually. And opinions are fine, in some cases, esp. when backed by evidence. That link is certainly looney tunes. But this is helpful in terms of understanding why Joe's call for unity was stirring, but not very realistic.


5:09 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

One thing I notice with non-Americans and American politics is that the global community is always so fooled by the Democratic party. I get that it is because Team Red is so foul and implausible as a modern political party, but I remember how Obama was so fawned over in Europe (Mr. Nobel Peace Prize) and something similar with Biden now. To go further back, Kennedy also got adulatory press.

One could argue that Team Blue is the "empathy mask" that allows the international American corporate state to chug on.

It's good cop/bad cop all the way down. But all you need to know about Biden is that he is "Mr. Middle Class" in a country that has lost its middle class across the span of his political career. Suffice it to say his sincerity is not quite obvious... Anybody reared on American soil has heard this sanctimonious nonsense a million times, even if it makes better copy in actually civilized states.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Waesfjord said...


The last Irish prime minister was half Indian and openly gay. We've had two female presidents and President De Valera (1959–1973) was half Cuban. At this point a normal person's reaction should be, "so what? What does that tell me about anything?" To the Prog, it means that America is about half a century behind Ireland in the identity politics game but it tells us zero about Irish social, economic or political life. It sounds like you are impressed by superficial identity markers such as race and gender so you should be right at home amongst the bobbleheads crying with joy in the streets before shrines of Schmiden/Schmarris.

Diversity without higher purpose is meaningless: Is identity politics ruining democracy?

Thank you for the film recommendation, Dr B.(Pawn Sacrifice) It looks like my cup of tea. I am saving it for a Winter night. To the abyss!

6:59 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

The election shouldn’t change a thing. Don Trump’s cult obviously isn’t going away. They still have Fox News to adore. And who knows? Perhaps if he doesn’t flee the country on January 19th to avoid prosecution, Don the Con will get a prime time job on that network. He can stab either Hannity or Carlson in the back doing so.
But more important, the Karens also aren’t going away any time soon. So let’s enjoy Episode “Sweet Sixteen” of our fine, polite, happy American ladies. :)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


O dem Karens (bubbot). Let us all remember that altho Trumpi is a disgusting bag of douche fluid, 74 million Americans voted for him. These folks are not planning to emigrate, as far as I know.


9:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also check out "Searching for Bobby Fischer." As for identity politics: touche. If the Power Elite in America were suddenly all black, or all female, the social and economic situation would remain the same. In other words, the relations of power wd be the same, with an elite controlling a capitalist regime that oppresses the masses, and has no other purpose than the expansion of wealth for its own sake. AmericanDream's excitement over Kamala is touching, but it misses the point, which you make very well. However, it is normal for immigrants to this country to live in "Horatio Alger World" until the system fucks them over, personally. That's when they start to take a closer look at the system. A lot of Mexican migrant laborers in the US have learned this the hard way, for example, and yet--the seductive pull of American culture--many still cross the border (or try).


10:03 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Iran calls US election a 'spectacle,' says it is a clear sign of 'decline'

10:17 AM  
Anonymous D-Pressed said...

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Morticia said...

The harshness of nature is evil. Dominance hierarchies are by nature ruled by the most ruthless and pathological. Cultures should be allowed to preserve themselves from all the subsidized war refugee immigrants. Canadians should not be expected to be bred out and subjecated to Sharia law, private banking, lobbies, statutes and codes, usury, etc. People should be allowed as a race to develop an identity and culture outside of empty corporate consumerism. But that is not what's being allowed. Why? Because there isn't enough oil and other resources to host 7 billion useless eaters and breeders? Couldn't the managerial class imagine another less evil way for humanity - or is that not what parasites can be about?

11:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Let me tell u how this blog works, for future ref. Large generalizations (opinions) on the state of the world are not helpful; why shd anyone take yr word for it? Here's how to participate: the subject of the blog is the collapse of the American empire. You may have a specific argument you wish to make in this category. State yr thesis, and then provide evidence for it (links, articles, etc.). We appreciate your observing this protocol. Thank you.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Mary Trump on the end of Uncle Donald: all he has now is breaking things

All he’s got now is breaking stuff, and he’s going to do that with a vengeance.

After January, things look bleak for Donald. He has more than $400m of debt coming in the next four years.

Come on Trumpi, you know you are now like a cornered animal, and all you can expect if you leave the White House is jail. Will you call up the militias, stage a coup and start a civil war, or will you be a pussy? You can still make it into history books if you destroy America, which is not worth existing after betraying you. You know this perfectly well, but I'm afraid you'll behave just like the pathetic loser you are.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Jason Chitti said...

The duel: Are empires always bad?
A source of atrocity—or belonging? Two contributors advance opposing positions

Nice thought exercise for the blog. Your historian two cents MB?

2:34 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Morticia might also want to avoid using Third Reich terminology like "useless eaters".

Not to mention avoiding actual Third Reich ideology.

She's the second 'white genocide' specimen in this thread. Or 'what genocide?' as I prefer to call it. Wonder if some stormfront headbanger has linked to a WAF article? Hope not.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Large subject w/a lg literature. I can't review it 4u at this pt. What I've concluded, however, is that imperialism is largely bad, but not entirely bad. It does bring benefits to the subaltern civilization--in particular, to its ruling class, wh/it coopts. But the damage, both socioeconomic and psychological, is pretty intense. England, for example, left India a wounded civilization, from wh/it has never recovered. What it did in Ireland is fairly horrific. Etc.


3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

My home state:

I've been to many of the places in this collection. Whew!

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

From Trumpi supporters on a "social" network site:





4:12 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Please tell us you aren't Canadian, Morticia. Over all, today's a bad day for us; we lost both Alex Trebek and Howie Meeker. And there's a blizzard going on right now outside.

As for empires, "What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?"

4:18 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Dan D. I've lived in the south most of my life and have known a lot of these militia guys. Personally I've found 95% of them to be little more than boastful cowards, who act tough when no one confronts them. I feel like talk of imminent civil war is overblown, but in another ten years, who knows. Diogenes - I too cringed at that nobel prize farce. Its as you say, its a perspective of comparison because the republicans like to be more blatantly awful, at least on the surface. The democratic party at this point is a pile of dirt filled with worms, but next to it is the republican party, which is more like a pile of dog shit. Which would you rather step in?

The undercurrent of so many of our debates in this country is around balance. As Morris alludes to re: Scandinavian economics. Americans just can't help but jump on one narrow path after another, whether its left or right or whatever. Harmony eludes this country, and always will. Amazing to think Western Civ went from the Greeks to this.

For a sane commentary on some of the PC delusions around race see John McWhorter . He's working on a new book, I'm looking forward to it.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always loved that Monty Python skit abt the (non?)benefits of empire. Hilarious.

Meanwhile: any predictions as to how the Trumpi drama is going to play out? E.g.: Trumpi sets up a microphone in Times Square and announces: "I am a sick, violent buffoon." What are the odds? Wafers, pls provide other likely scenarios.


4:30 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

If Trump escapes going to jail after Jan. 20, he might be able to get a developer's job at the Four Seasons:

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr said...

Trump has been doing 85 in a 55 zone, weaving in and out of traffic, a beer in one hand and twittering with the other. Passengers in back (us) are screaming either from fear or mad joy. Pence is hiding under a blanket wondering why he accepted that piece of candy.
Biden will do 34 in a 35 zone, Kamela strapped beside him. Passengers in back singing Kumbia.
Only thing, both are on the same road, going to the same destination.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Exactly. All this hubbub about diversity and identity politics, when what really matters is completely ignored. And one thing we don't have is a population smart enuf to recognize this. Another thing does stand out for me: Trumpi is possibly one of the sickest, most violent, and most deranged people on the planet, and (a) he actually got to be president for 4 yrs, and (b) there are 74 million Americans out there who still think he's fabulous. The progs are now relieved, because they regard him as some sort of anomaly. In fact, he is quite representative of who we are and the way of life we pursue.


6:25 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Hair Loss:

Thy hue, oh Trumpi, is pure and bright
When first thy mystic braid was woven tight
Pale nimbus of hair
What really goes on up there?
A follicular sin
Dragged across
A head that now hangs aside
An election it could not hold
Upon thy brow of gold
Of oil of coconut, musk, and shampoo

8:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Nicely Donne--i.e., it has echoes of John Donne. Is his shampoo anti-dandruff?

Meanwhile, Trumpi is supposedly doing an interview rt now on Fox News (8:30 pm EST), and I can't seem to find it online. I guess we'll hafta read abt it later. I assume he's going to double down.


8:24 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Dr. B,

"The progs are now relieved, because they regard him as some sort of anomaly."

WAFers, This cannot be overstated. The jubilation in the streets over Biden's win may be the single greatest act of denial I've seen the American public ever engage in. Do NOT be seduced.

Trump is NOT an anomaly. 2024 is going to puke up a character that can be described as "Trump's Degeneracy + Intelligence"; and he'll WIN. Easily.

Because his base is already convinced the election was stolen.

The next 4 years are your LAST chance to leave America, WAFers. America has already proven itself capable of electing a fascist, and it WILL do so again with catastrophic consequences. This was truly our last warning.

My wife and I have filed paperwork for our daughter's Swedish citizenship. We're off to Iceland as soon as it's settled (Scandinavian Union lets us live anywhere).

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

I fear your readers may be celebrating prematurely.
Once you read of my plan certain to reverse the
results, you'll understand. He goes to the Supreme
Court demanding that they obey the will of our Holy
Fathers who deemed five slaves worth three whites in
the census. Had they known of the millions of Hispanics
living on grounds we were inevitably going to steal
far and square, they also would have been included.
Therefore, simply reduce all these nonwhite votes by
40% and he gets four more years.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Hello Dr B and Wafers,

It’s been awhile but I want to thank you all for this wonderful post and the subsequent comments. As usual you’ve all given me so much to read and think about. Reading through this after the election was balm to my soul. I’ve lived in DC aka the Belly of the Beast for many years. So many of my acquaintances there were gushing over the Biden win with such ridiculous statements about democracy winning. I can’t help but wonder if these people are nearly as insane as our departing Dear Leader. I have been watching Dirty Money on Netflix just in case anyone needs any reminder of how corrupt the whole damn place is. Wudu I also love John McWhorter. His linguistics podcast is a true favorite for any language nerd. Also I am no longer in the US!!! We bit the bullet and left a few months ago. Thanks to all, especially Dr B, for giving me the courage to leave while still fairly young. I am one of the lucky ones.

Best to you all!

11:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Congratulations! Chances that this move will change yr life for the better are high. You are indeed lucky--and smart. The Biden-gushers: not so smart. All this excitement over Kamala! So we had a black woman as Secy of State under Bush, who is basically a war criminal, and who sits on the boards of corporations that exploit people and the environment. But she's black and female, so oooh! The stupidity of Americans is breathtaking. Also check out post by B. Louis, above.

Note to John-

I'm no Zionist, but I'm not into entertaining any Protocols-style stuff on how Jews are secretly running the world. Nazi slogan: "Die Juden sind unsere Unglueck." Not for me. However, yr post wd be welcome on a huge # of antisemitic blogs.


Perhaps more stupidity than denial. Americans are so out of touch w/reality, or the ability to grasp what's essential, that they permanently reside in Disneyland. So we now have 2 mythologies operating: the bubbas believe (and will continue to believe) that the election was stolen; the progs think that diversity is equivalent to true democracy, and to having equality in relations of power and wealth. In the case of both camps, facts are irrelevant to the beliefs. For neither side will there be a wake-up moment, which means that our future will be determined by these warring mythologies.


Obviously a great plan, but I think Trumpi will also need the force of the bubbas behind him. Unfortunately, it turns out that they have no force; it was just all talk. Hence, Trumpi will go down the drain. But 2024 may, as some have suggested, see the rise of a similar authoritarian figure, but one who is smooth, and not an asshole and a bulvan.

What do we now have in the US, w/Joe at the helm?
1. Can his admin really get covid under control? Nearly half the country has no interest in facemasks or social distancing, and these things seem crucial. As for a vaccine, my dr. told me not to take it; said that he wdn't trust anything that hadn't been tested for 2 yrs, esp. not a vaccine that was produced in a rush.
2. Can his admin get climate change under control? Of course it's worth a shot, but a # of experts have said that wind and solar power can't generate the energy we need; and many have suggested that it's basically too late, the train has already left the station. Time will tell.
3. Can Joe root out systemic racism? Again, worth a shot: we don't need white cops killing black people in the street like dogs. But I fear racism is part of the American DNA, and that anything I said in WAF ch. 4 will be unnoticed and/or ignored. (An apology to the South for what the North did to it will not be forthcoming, nor will any recognition of the fact that the antebellum South was more than just slavery.) Our idea of rooting out racism will probably continue to be cosmetic: tearing down CSA statues and capitalizing the word 'Black' and 'correcting' Mark Twain and having more black women in ads in Cosmo, etc.--BLM-chic, one might call it.
4. The program of globalization and neoliberal economics, which was reinforced by other Democratic presidents, will certainly continue, and thus continue to destroy the poor and the middle class. Meanwhile, those folks will continue to be patriotic, continue to believe that the playing field is level, and that in America, everyone has a chance. Altho FDR- or Schmernie-style 'socialism' cd save their necks, it is absolutely clear that 99+% of the population has no interest in dumping or even seriously modifying (e.g. Scandanavia) the capitalist system (which will get dumped only when it breaks down, and is unable to continue).
5. The 4 factors that I identified in the Twilight bk--20 yrs ago, now--that destroyed the Roman empire, and are destroying the American one, will continue to operate, full steam ahead. We will not escape our fate, and that fate is by now quite clear.


3:47 AM  
Blogger Sandi Brockway said...

Thank you so much for still being a voice of sanity for me!!!

4:31 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Good morning Dr. B and WAFers,

Continuing with the looney tunes, has anyone seen the video yet of Trump's spiritual advisor Paula White praying for his reelection?:

And here's the hip hop version:

As for Trumpi's reaction, there's a link up above to an article by his niece Mary Trump. She says he's going to "break things", and I wholeheartedly agree. We all know he's prone to temper tantrums, and it's likely we'll see some spectacular tantrums and breakage coming down the pike. And not just the furniture in the White House..

And regarding B. Louis and Jamie's comments, congrats on leaving the US. I'm wondering if a blog post with tips and advice on leaving the US is in order. I've been saving to buy a house here, but I'm not sure I can take it anymore. If this is indeed the last chance to leave the US before 2024's "Trump 2.0", some of us less-worldly folks could use some tips and pointers on how to get out. Just a thought.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We can expect violence from Trumpi. He's basically a child. As for emigration tips: most countries have a website for ex-pats, where you can find info on life in that country, how to immigrate, and so on. There are ex-pat blogs as well. E.g., plug "costa rica expat forum" into Google, see what u get. ps: if you buy a house in the US at this pt, yr a damn fool.


My function in life, I suppose. Actually, the one consistent comment in reaction to my publications, since the Reenchantment bk in 1981, is: "I thought I was crazy until I read ___." Just look at the fools drooling over Biden, and then read the commentaries on this blog. Yes, everyone else *is* crazy!


5:29 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Wudu: I know what you mean about most militia types being weekend warriors. I am thinking of the 5% that are actually being 'adults' about what is involved. And they are out there. I think about what 2 kids did at the Boston Marathon and how it led to the whole metro area being on lockdown for days. Smart actions, well placed and timed, can be very disruptive, especially in a truly unstable system like the US these days.

The Kyle Rittenhouse t-shirts and such across the country give a hint. But you may be right- a series of small bubbles but no real boiling to be had.

And a lot of what may happen will probably never reach the point of combat. Hard to imagine people in Alabama getting too excited if, say, Vermont declared its independence, eh? The US is split already, with an existing interstate commerce system. Add 'regional districts' and slowly starve the Federal level...

Dulouz, Jr.- great analogy. Much appreciated.

9:36 AM  
Blogger pogie said...

dr berman
could you please comment a little further why you included thomas merton in your list of ideology averse thinkers ?
also, i have been gathering your implicit book recommendations on my amazon list imaginatively named, morrisberman-readlinglist
for example, i had never heard of eric hoffer, but will now research and read him
i studied physics and maths at college, so this is new territory
are the materials from courses that you have taught, publicly available anywhere ?
as always thanks for the ongoing education

9:44 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

At least he’s honest…

“They’ll go, ‘Mr. President, tell me, who’s the country that’s most difficult to deal with? Is it Russia? Is it China? Is it North Korea? Sir, is it North Korea?’” Trump said.

“And I go, ‘No. Well, by far, the most difficult country to deal with is the U.S. It’s not even close,’” [Trump] continued. “And they all say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ And I say, ‘No, I’m actually probably not kidding.’ We have very, very deceptive people.”

11:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Merton was on a rather different track, a spiritual one, that regarded ideologies as false gods. He believed everyone had a 'point' of the divine buried w/in them, and that our job on this earth was to make that point conscious. Hence the last line of my post. As for course syllabi: long gone, I fear. But probably many of the items are included in the ftnotes of my various bks. As for physics and math: that's how I got my start as well. For a critique of the scientific worldview, check out the Reenchantment bk.


Some ideas to smooth out yr days, and make them more enjoyable. For those of you still doing post-its on the mirror: refresh:

AMERICA, followed w/a downward pointing arrow. This is really all you need to know abt American politics.

Then, during the day, I walk around my house singing (every few minutes) The Song of Trumpaloni. Here's how it goes:

"Trumpaloni! (high note)
Trumpaloni!" (low note)

It has a very relaxing effect.


11:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: If you need a 2nd post-it, try this:


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Flabster said...

My personal take based on this (1st is semi serious humor that cuts closer to the truth than almost all commentary). It is supposed to be funny, instead it is horrifying.

The second, statements from people:

Based on the general ignorance of the population and massive deliberate incompetence over the preceding four years, I feel that we may be closer to break up than before the election. Read the comments of the Trump supporters in the above link. There is no returning them to a state of calm. The senate will thwart any real response to Covid and the other major issues facing the nation ( substandard education, limited healthcare access, personal debt that follows for life).

Trump plans on dividing as much as possible before leaving, making the nation less able to respond to its problems:

Where will this lead accelerating decline.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Consider what this country consists of:
1. Bubbafoons
2. Progfoons
3. Trollfoons (on this blog)

What chance cd we possibly have?


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Ziggyzags concerns are not as outlandish as they might seem.

A recent broadcast of the critical hour interviewed Gerald Horne about his analysis of what might happen going forward. Gerald Horne is a prolific African American historian who has, in my opinion, written some of the best analysis of the history of the United States.

He argues there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will rule for Trump.

His interview starts about the 19-minute mark.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the link. This guy has a lot to say abt what America actually is, not what it thinks it is.


1:09 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Zizek makes some of the same points that have been mentioned on this blog:

Slavoj Zizek: Biden’s win changes nothing and signifies stalemate that could see Trump run again in 2024
"The US is now almost symmetrically divided, and Biden’s words of unity and reconciliation sound vacuous – as former US secretary of labor Robert Reich put it: “How can Biden heal America when Trump doesn’t want it healed?” And this division is here to stay. As academic Michael Goldfarb argued: “Trump was no accident. And the America that made him is still with us.”..."But the outcome of the elections is not just a stalemate – there is a clear winner: the big capital and deep state apparatus, from Google and Microsoft to the FBI and the National Security Agency. From their standpoint, a weak Biden presidency with the Senate in Republican hands is the best possible outcome. Without Trump’s eccentricities, international trade and political cooperation will get back to pre-Trump normality, while the Senate and Supreme Court will block any radical measures. The paradox is thus that, in the US, the victory of the ‘progressive’ side was at the same time its loss, signifying a political stalemate which may even give Trump a chance to return to power in 2024."


2:05 PM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

I watched PBS's American Experience episode on Eugenics, which served to remind me how the U.S. can so easily be swept up into a mob mentality of attitudes in the name of "progress" and "science." I have put science in quotes because the man who put the Eugenics agenda in place in the U.S., Francis Galton, used flimsy data to push forward Eugenics as a way to cure the U.S. of its social ills. His flimsy data was based on nothing more than surveys that people answered (not actual observations and replicated outcomes). Progressives loved Eugenics because it was science based (purportedly). Congress passed legislation nearly halting immigration based on the "science" of Eugenics. And of course, many people were sterilized to stop breeding of undesirables.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Do you have the link for the PBS program? Wd be helpful.


You mean that all those people in the streets, ecstatic over a Biden victory, are fools? But how cd that be?


2:19 PM  
Anonymous AF said...

Anjin- Thanks for the link: but if the President won every single campaign lawsuit he filed today, in every single court, it would not affect enough votes to change the outcome in any of the states where it's close. I have to say, having read these lawsuits... I don't think he's going to win any of them.

The single biggest lawsuit comes out of Nevada, where the President claims that 3000 people voted while living out of state. But as the WSJ reports, the vast majority of those people serve in the military.

The other lawsuits, dealing with whether ballot counting observers can get within 6 feet or whether ballots received after election day should count are either without legal basis (no rule on how close observers get to be) or unlikely to result in a legal remedy (PA Supreme Court okayed late ballots and there are fewer than a thousand statewide).

This really cool website gives you all the written filings, and their outcome, by state.



2:44 PM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

Here is the link MB. Also link to DVD:

2:47 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Caitlin Johnstone is a beauty:

"...the heavy favorite to lead the US war machine into further imperial conquest as Secretary of “Defense” is a butcher of the fairer sex named Michele Flournoy, who was Obama’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2009 to 2012."

Biden Will Have The Most Diverse, Intersectional Cabinet Of Mass Murderers Ever Assembled

"This is the same Joe Biden after all who is so hawkish that he not only supported the unforgivable Iraq invasion but played a leading role in actively making it happen. Who passed the notorious 1994 crime bill which helped explode the US prison population to levels unseen anywhere else in the world. Who made a career out of attacking Republicans for being insufficiently tough on drug use and crime. Who takes credit for authoring the words of the Orwellian Patriot Act years before it was passed when he tried to pass the same measures back when everyone else found such authoritarian oversteps horrifying. Who called WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist”. Who has shamelessly exploited racism at any time it could be used to advance his political career."
Don’t Fool Yourself: Your Biden Vote Was Not A “Vote Against Fascism”

2:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks for the refs. Gd stuff!


3:00 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

"American Election Is Not a Reset For Better Global Relations"

This article in my opinion fully understands the situation. Ultimately it does not matter who sits in the white house. Policies will change little.

"In a very real way, the rest of the world should stop paying so much attention to the American spectacle. It’s like watching a “reality TV show” which has little consequence except sapping the viewer’s energy. Better to get off the proverbial couch and get on with building an alternative, real world."

Completely agree with the article conclusion.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Walter Ryan said...

jeez this headline is something

Peak capitalism Department:

Gun stocks tumble after upbeat vaccine news, lack of civil unrest

3:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You and me both. I look forward to the day when nobody gives a shit abt the US. When it is powerless; when its 'values' are regarded as disgusting and anti-human. When it is recognized for what it was, a mistake (see WAF), and when its citizens are rightly regarded as little more than frivolous clowns.


4:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I also have this persistent daydream, that Trumpi refuses to leave the W.H., and on Jan. 20, when Biden is officially commander of the armed forces, he has the Army come in, handcuff Trumpi, shackle him, and escort him off the premises as a trespasser. He is forced to wear a sign around his neck that says JACKASS. At that moment, a cadre of Wafers swarms around him and pees on his shoes. Now this wd be true Reality TV.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Ben Carson tests positive for coronavirus:

Vanessa Lee Jones, 38, caught again for public masturbation. This time she was near a dumpster, outside of a Popeyes chicken restaurant. Jesus, there's something metaphysical about it:


4:41 PM  
Anonymous Riffe said...

Jamie - for more on eugenics movement of the early 20th Century, see chapters in the book "The History of White People". Hitler was partly inspired by what Americans were able to do.

Speculations about the future are nothing more than the name suggests - an unsupported theory or conjecture. As others have pointed out, it doesn't matter what Trump or Biden do in the next 2 months. Nothing is going to change the American character. We are a vicious, greedy, narcissistic, sexist, and racist culture and have been since the beginning. The best thing for the rest of the world is for us to fade to black. Personally, I hope Trump refuses to leave. It would make great TV.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Carter said...

Kropotkin’s study of mutual aid across the animal kingdom showed how human beings could overcome competitive struggle.

The radical aristocrat who put kindness on a scientific footing

5:56 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

I don't mean to sound paranoid, but it remains at least possible that Trump's SC could overturn the election. We are under the persistent illusion that the US is still a democracy or has ever had "informed citizens." We'll if it doesn't happen now, no telling if it could still happen in the future. Imagine the fun that would ensue if the SC declared Trump president for life.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Re: Vanessa: sad. This may be what happens when people are pushed to the breaking pt. Ben Carson, on the other hand, is just a douche bag.


Well, the Supreme Court got its candidate in in 2000; maybe it can do the same thing again. All we can do is wait and see.


6:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Zig-

Wrong blog for speculative dementia, amigo.


7:35 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Stevo Stinker:

Paraphrasing the Great Sphere:
"Even the "smart" US-ians were dumber than stale dog shit (Berman)."

7:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Shit-

Seer, not Sphere. I know all. As for Pinker: WHAT a douche bag. Skip the beating, just toss him on a dung heap and add urine to shoes. Stir, place in casserole dish for 30 mins.


8:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

8:23 PM  
Blogger FarmerBrown said...

Greetings MB, Wafers,

"Trump tore off the curtain which divides citizens, the spectators of the political game, from the rulers and displayed the wheeling-dealing, exchange of favors, the use of public power for private gain in an open, in-your-face manner, available for all who attended the show to see. While in the past administrations such illegal and semi-legal actions, as receiving money from foreign potentates, moving from one to another lucrative position, cheating on taxes were done with discretion and some decorum, with the curtain lowered so that spectators could not see and participate in the malfeasance, this was now done in the open. It was thus thanks to Trump that we could see the immense corruption lying at the heart of the political process."

1:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle to participate. Thank you.


3:22 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Dr. Berman,

Forget the house, I'm a darn fool for still being here at all! Thanks for the tips, I'll look into it. If nothing else, I fled to the outskirts of empire several years ago and I'm a stone's throw from Canada.

Here's an article on Trump from a Maine republican:

"A leader understands that to achieve greatness one must lead everyone in his organization. In this regard, Trump did not even try. Unlike all other past presidents who have narrowly won elections, others at least made a feeble attempt at representing all constituents. Trump, from day one of his administration, chose to represent only those who elected him."

And based on the many articles here, it seems that WAFerism is on the rise. Next thing you know, everyone in the US will have yellow shoes.

Even Weird Al has joined the discussion:

Finally, an acceptable use of auto-tune..

5:13 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers:

I found this interesting article surrounding the US elections. Maybe someone should tell the Puerto Ricans: "Stop - don't do it!"

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Bluestein said...

Kenyan journalist reports on US election like Americans report on other elections

This guy is too good.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Mod said...

MB I have an E. Indian acquaintance who assures me that the caste system corruption was there far before the East Trading company etc. There was no Camelot so to speak and the subsidized h1b scam (not based on merit) is kept out of the media and protected in the US courts. Asian cultures are good at tribalism, criminal behavior with Art of War tactics.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mod (and not Modi, thank god)-

Yes, the 'native' cultures are never completely innocent; not all of Mexico's corruption, for example, can be attributed to US influence. But I do believe that imperial powers make things much worse, and leave disaster in their wake. That being said, I'm hardly an expert on Indian history. For the light side, check out "The Gandhi Experiment" in my book "The Heart of the Matter."


1:46 PM  
Blogger Market Message said...

Dr. Berman,

What are your views on the blockchain? There is a philosophy associated with decentralize finance and sound money. Is this where technology can make a positive contribution? One of their central tenants is decentralization along with security and transparency. Private money not controlled by central bankers is an attractive alternative. Central and private banks have often been destructive forces.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Secretary of State Pompeo says that there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump term.

Bluestein, your Kenyan reporter is turning out to be pretty accurate.

Now watch the media do all this 'both sides' in the face of a coup. Think of the ratings!

2:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

One of the great douche bags of the 21stC.


I guess yr not familiar w/how this blog works. We are big on links, evidence, references, etc. You haven't provided any, so I have no way of replying to yr questions. Other guidelines that may help u in the future: post only once every 24 hrs; never exceed a half pg in length. Thank you.


2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Question for Jack L. in Cascadia-

What's the word from Evergreen these days? I haven't kept up, but I'm hoping for full financial implosion and bankruptcy. Any chance? Or perhaps covid polished the place off, in the wake of their political correctness debacle. Perhaps they renamed it Turkey Institute. There are so many possibilities.


5:26 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

He's kind of like the western hero "The Loan Arranger,"
always making deals but disappears with no one knowing
much about him. Since he'll have a divorce to handle
and many court cases once he loses his immunity, perhaps
this 18-min- biog will be worthwhile, especially about his
previous legal troubles.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

US-ians doing what they do$'s the PA "attorney general" selling t-shirts. These sick us fucktwits cannot help themselves....

6:57 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course She Did...she needed the money...why wouldn’t she kill her two daughters and harvest their organs in an attempt to sell that really wrong?

7:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Shit-

Not clear: was this abt raising $ for cancer surgery?


7:38 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Morris! Regarding your assertion about Trump voters—the "74 million Americans out there who still think he's fabulous," isn't it also true that a substantial number of these dolts merely voted on partisan party lines and didn't necessarily vote for Trump, the monster, even allowing for the fact that Trump *is* arguably the Republican party?

7:48 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Market, imo the science behind blockchain is interesting and worth looking at, but so far its mostly been a way for tech enthusiasts and investors to make money off of hype. See this - . Wired magazine are tech evangelists and even they aren't convinced. There was another essay I had read earlier this year, but I couldn't find it. It said if you compare two basic financial transactions, like moving a small amount of money from one account to another, one using Visa and the other using bitcoin - The visa transaction uses 2% of the energy that using bitcoin would. Real efficient.

Doesn't matter tho, cause for all the silicon valley true believers, the next big disruption is always around the corner. Uber, facebook, bitcoin, grubhub. What most of these "innovators" seem to be good at doing is funneling money away from the middle class into the hands of already wealthy investors and managers. But to dum-dum libertarians this is free market efficiency. All these unions and government programs are getting in the way of progress, gosh darnit! I'm not sure in the end which group of libertarians I find more hilarious. The hard-nosed Cato Institute types, or the goofy silcon-valley kind who can't wait until we can merge ourselves with AI and conduct all transactions through bitcoin.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

Greetings Prof. Berman and Wafers:

It has been a while that I participated in this blog. I have been very busy since I made a big move last year from southern Mexico to Tijuana. I am wondering if I will stay in Tijuana but in any case, it is good to see the blog as active as ever.

To Mike Kelly, I have been trying to convince Puerto Ricans that being a colony of the US has done no good for PR. I saw that on this blog, it was mentioned that colonialism/imperialism causes psychological damage and this has been the case for Puerto Rico. Sadly many Puerto Ricans think of the US as a type of savior and many Puerto Ricans and other Latinos see themselves as inferior to the gringos. I remember when I was living in the NJ-NY area, it was very common that when one spoke in Spanish to the younger Puerto Ricans in that area, they would react very angry or with embarassment and they would respond in English with a very nasty attitude. Sad to say but many ppl if they were able to, would commit suicide immediately to be reborn as gringos.
My hope is that the situation in the US gets so bad and chaotic that they withdraw from PR. I hope the time comes soon that Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and all other Latinos see the true face of the US and stop idolizing that degenerate culture.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Who knows? But check out Essay #15 in AWTY. ps: In future pls address me as GSWH or Mr. Berman. Thank you.


8:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Americans are dumb beyond belief:

What jackasses.


9:02 PM  
Anonymous Carrot said...

I am currently reading "Losing Eden" (2020) by Lucy Jones, a journalist investigating the importance of a connection to nature to our mental and physical well being while sobering up from a decades long drug and alcohol addiction.

"Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild"

10:06 PM  
Blogger Auriel Ragmon said...
Well, what can you say! At least she had her panties on.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

I Am Done

I was raised to be a lady, and ladies don’t curse, but fuck these motherfuckers to hell and back for what they’ve done to me, and mine, and my country. All we Joe Blow Americans ever wanted was a little patch of land to raise a family, a job to pay the bills, and at least some illusion of freedom, and even that was too much for these human parasites. They want it all, mind, body and soul. Damn them. Damn them all

Even though she apparently voted for the Trumpalumpa twice, I find this woman more relatable than any Schmiden fans I know. I guess there's a little deplorable in us all -- or at least in me.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Abuse. That's the only emotion I feel re: America and its twisted culture. I have to leave with my wife and daughter.

Last week, a pretty public announcement was made regarding a business deal I was involved with. I work in an artistic field, so I promise I'm not a vicious hustler. Or I try my best not to be.

Anyway, no sooner did my family read about it than they started e-mailing me attempting to reconnect with me after 8 years. The same family that left me living out of my car in 2012 after I was laid off. The same family that adamantly REFUSED to let me work in the family business so I could at least have insurance coverage. The same family that was OK with me using alcohol to control my seizures while I was unemployed.

They're now "upset" that I'm not attending a family wedding in March.

Apologies for pouring my emotion out, but American life feels like open heart surgery with no anesthesia. Sick to the core.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you just assume that almost all Americans are brain damaged, you'll probably be less angry. Such people act the way they do because they can't help themselves. From within a kind of bubble, their behavior actually makes sense to them. It's only nasty or sick from an external point of view.


Check out CTOS ch. 2.


1:52 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

B. Louis,

I'm with you. Seems like the only emotion I feel lately is disgust, and lots of it. I try to keep in mind that most people's behavior is the result of faulty programming, but it's still not easy to deal with.


Came across an interview with Penn Jillette from the magic/comedy duo Penn & Teller. He worked with Trump on The Apprentice reality show and he has some pretty revealing insight about him:

The part about Trump starts a few minutes into the interview. Some of his observations are that he has zero shame or embarrassment, he never laughs (except in a belittling way), and he has no interest in music. The best comment by far:

"His hair looks like cotton candy made of piss"

Enough said.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

'It's not over': Trump supporters protest Biden victory in swing states

Just look at the picture with the caption "Armed Trump supporters in Harrisburg."

7:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


One guy is carrying a sign that says "Fuck Trump!"--!? As for these folks being armed: eh!


8:29 AM  
Anonymous Bella Greenberg said...

This should be a rich conversation: Indigenous Traditions and Western Psychotherapy.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Namaste said...

Mr. MB - Your observation on good/bad cop is spot on. I would also like to add my opinion based on my observation. US does stuff like selecting Kamala Harris or appointing Immigrants as CEOs of tech companies etc so as to attract slave labor. You make one guy CEO then you have thousands who think they too can become one. I have observed this behavior in my friends. Also a question for you ? I have observed that most immigrants become fake/pretentious after moving to US within a few years. Why is it so? It gets very hard to talk to them, just feels unreal.

Mod - wow from caste system to h1b scam to Asians at Art of war tactics. Please do a little bit of reading before making such conclusions. Here's a starter. Of course its a dense topic so a lot can be said.

"The fact is that, before 200 years, the British came to one of the richest countries in the world- a country which had 23 per cent of global GDP... a country where poverty was unknown," Tharoor said.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Abraham said...

"Knowledge didn’t originate with individuals, and the concept of mind was irrelevant. Knowledge was...held in ‘living Country’. And humans had to get together to animate this knowledge"

Monsieur Mouche on what can living in one place for 60,000 years teach

9:51 AM  
Blogger Del Gord said...

Does it come as a surprise to anyone? Does the man learn from anything? The Republicans have switched from 'time to concede' to 'let's see what happens' overnight. Like a bunch of lapdogs. Past experience says the losing party tries to figure out what to do to be successful in the next election. In this case they are contesting it, while Trump says he's going to set up a PAC (to control the Repub Party) to running in 2024. Boy, that locks the Repubs in pretty good. Guess who would be 78 in 2024? Sleepy Donny. If only I could escape this catastrophe.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers, here’s your report from Cascadia:

In response to the GSWH’s question about the current condition of Evergreen College, I had to do some research since the college has been unusually quiet of late, and the campus deserted since all classes are being conducted remotely online. However, according to the last local newspaper report about Evergreen’s enrollment in October, Evergreen’s Fall 2020 enrollment was 2,291 students, which would be a 44 percent decrease from Fall 2016 enrollment. For 2021, the college administration has announced a 10% cut in budget (minus $5.3 million), deletion of 26 staff positions, and monthly one-day unpaid furloughs for many staff.

Evergreen has revised its curriculum to be organized around “paths of study”, but these are not required, and there are still no majors, academic departments, or grades:

In the spirit of the new college pathways, Canadian Wafer Jim Kline and I tried to contact Tulsi Gabbard in Hawaii to entice her to come to Evergreen’s campus to lead a “Pathway to Tulsism”, but all we got was an out-of-office “Gone surfing” message on her voicemail.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Immigrants become fake or aloof or arrogant because they get socialized by the American way of life. They see that whites behave this way, so they figure that's the way to get ahead. Loss of soul comes naturally, given enuf time.


Sounds pretty gd, tho I wish they weren't leaning so hard on the $ angle.


10:31 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Mod, Caste system is not 'corruption'. The latter is a much innocuous term compared to what caste system is. Moreover, East India Co. is a mere baby compared to caste system, which has survived for ~3000 years. Combination of myth and coercion has been extraordinary in perpetuating the system. We have, perhaps, a story of genesis among the major religious/cultural/social groups that say all men are not born equal. Once you have embedded that idea in the myth of genesis, the rest becomes easy. Even the idea of claim to equality is a non-starter. When the modern republic was built in 1947, there were some serious efforts to undo the historical injustice.

Saying poverty was unknown in pre-British India is quite a stretch of imagination. Would be like saying just bcoz US is the richest country, poverty does not exist there.

Nevertheless, we are enjoying post-election spectacle.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Mark Deagle said...

It must hurt Don the Con really bad, knowing he got beat by sleepy Joe. Nothing will change for the USA, but at least Don the Con, ego has been crushed. LOL

2:18 PM  
Blogger Cyrillia Juniper said...


Good story about the Aboriginal way of "knowledge." It's a way of not knowing but simply opening the "self" to experience while wandering the Country. It is evocative of this post of Dr. B's, his book Wandering God and Bruce Chatwin's Songlines. My favorite quote, especially that last line:

"You have to get out of your speeding vehicles, slow down to walking pace, and look around and see what needs to be kept alive. Each territory has its own nature, and living in that place teaches you that you are part of it: you breathe its air, drink its water and share its nutrients. And they compose your own living tissues in the same proportions. There is no escape; there is no better world."

For those of us stuck in this country, it's something to keep in mind.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Francis said...

John Gray on the recent US election in The NewStatesman:

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Invisible Sam said...

Official who once called Obama a "terrorist leader" takes over Pentagon policy.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

Related to size and scale are the works of Jacques Ellul
and Murray Bookchin.

Related to the current hoopla over Biden's winning can
be found in this 10-min video.

It is surprising to find seditious communist propaganda
published by the likes of Google...Hedges, Chomsky, Carlin,
Berman, and Richard Wolf all available to dishearten our content

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Mod-

You need better language to make the pts you wanna make. One of the rules here is: never insult a Wafer.


Gd article, altho I think he's wrong abt American strength vs. Chinese weakness. America now has 10 million covid cases, huge unemployment, and a very contracted economy. And as he pts out, the progs really don't understand the attraction of Trumpism to 71 million voters (which has real substance to it), so they keep going in circles. Changes, as he correctly predicts, will be cosmetic; and the GOP cd certainly win in 2024, w/or w/o Trumpi. All in all, a gd think piece.


6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Regarding America's geopolitical future, one critic observes (this came to me as a comment on someone's blog; I don't know the author or the source, sorry):

"The US has fallen behind Russia in weapons of offense and defense. As Andrei Martyanov has written extensively, this race for dominance is determined by education and practices, and the US fails miserably in both. Thus, the Russians have jumped ahead in military research and development with proven weapons. Similarly, the Chinese have jumped ahead in digital economy, 5G, Big Data and is very competitive in robotics and AI, nanotechnology and quantum computing and quantum communications. The US suffers from dependence on brain-draining foreigners, and has made the decision to keep the keenest brains (Chinese students) it depends on from continuing their education and research within the USA. The US will soon, in the next five years, find itself a real second rate military facing Russia and China. And the US will be outdistanced in the most important technologies by China and Russia over the next five to ten years."

This writer also talks abt secessionist movements and the eventual breakup of the US, which I have been predicting for yrs now. (Altho he thinks in terms of 50 yrs, and I, abt 20.) There are powerful forces at work that are tearing the country apart. (Compare the relative stability of Mexico and Canada, for example.) Finally, recall that I have said on several occasions that this was the crucial decade for America, wh/will be unrecognizable by 2030.


6:43 PM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

Wafers, I don't know how many of the 70 million morons who voted for the Orange One believe this garbage, but at the very least it tells me that 'liberals', which I do consider myself, had better be ready to fight with more than picket signs. If not now, sometime in the future. Probably near future.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Note that of your list of 5, only 2--Berman and Carlin--are not patriots. For all their criticism, the other 3 are.


7:10 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Arthur V - "Liberal" isn't really a thing we leftists can call ourselves with anything but shame. See the Phil Ochs song "Love Me I'm A Liberal" or see MLK's speech on the "white moderates" who he sussed out as the biggest enemies of the civil rights movement. We will indeed need to fight with more than picket signs.

Ziggy Zag - Communism is what all the cool kids are studying these days! I was just telling my boss that I think the good times post-WWII are finally wearing off and we'll see a return to pre-WWII politics with a growing and active left. By the way, Ziggy, are you that guy with no pants telling dad jokes in the funny pages?

7:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to senders of hate mail (often antisemitic)-

I've said this b4, but here it is again: it takes me about 4 seconds to recognize you guys, and then I just hit Delete. So if you wanna knock yerselves out, be my guest; just understand that yr not getting read. On the other hand, I doubt there's much else going on in yr lives, and hatred keeps you going, so perhaps it doesn't matter. Altho in the end, poison hurts the container, not the target. God, there are so many bitter, sad people out there.


8:19 PM  
Blogger moresoma said...

PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

8:27 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Morris, have you ever read Jane Jacobs' Dark Age Ahead? Remarkable woman who reminds me, intellectually, of my beloved piano teacher

12:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think I did, yrs ago. She's one of my heroes; I believe I refer to her in DAA.


1:02 AM  

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