August 01, 2021

The Decade of Our Discontent


Perhaps we should call it "death creep." Slowly, slowly, America drifts towards its end. We all feel it on a daily basis: a pandemic that looks like it's here to stay; China rising, replacing us step by step; a high suicide rate among our armed forces, in the context of stupid and meaningless wars; the widening gap between rich and poor; direct human relationships supplanted by digital/virtual ones; and so on (it's a long list). It is said that yes, Rome was invaded, sacked, but the real fall of Rome took the form of imperial overstretch (our problem as well) and what some historians have called "the death of a thousand cuts." It's possible, or even probable, that we shall see another 9/11, or another 2008 (economic crash); but the real work of History tends to be glacial. Millimiter by millimiter, we are going down the drain. Who could have imagined, even 10 years ago, a scenario in which one American tells another to put on a mask, and the offended individual takes out a gun and shoots the first one? And that this scenario would be played out repeatedly? Has it really come to this? Meanwhile, the smartest in the land, the pundits at the NYT and elsewhere, keep telling us that this is temporary; that we shall pull through this. Only a few Cassandras--very few--say the obvious: that by the end of this decade, America will be unrecognizable, a very different sort of country (with or without Trump). Meanwhile, the great mass of people live in a fog, oblivious to an end-of-civilization process that has been repeated many times in the past.

Something I have been arguing since 2000, when I published The Twilight of American Culture: There are two, and only two, ways out: you can leave the country, or you can become a New Monastic Individual. There is no bright future for the US. The lights are slowly going out, and by 2030, things will be very dim. Recognizing this, as very few do, is called Reality.



Blogger Rook said...

Yasha Levine, a Russian immigrant, nails America:

"It’s been thirty one years since we came to America — when our Pam Am Boeing 747 lifted off from Rome and touched down at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. And I gotta say that these three decades have not been kind to the notion that America is the pinnacle of civilizational progress. In the time we’ve been here, just about everything’s gotten worse — more oligarchs, more poverty, more pollution, more environmental collapse, bigger financial bubbles, more never-ending wars, more school shootings, more heat, more fires, much much more homelessness, and less and less democracy. With every year it feels like the pitch of America’s decline gets steeper and steeper. There’s systemic failure and stagnation and corruption on every level, papered-over with lies and self-deception — and no alternative in sight. I mean, California — the avant-garde of America’s innovative spirit — can’t build a simple high speed public train and depends on prison slave labor to fight forest fires."

11:24 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Well, Doctor. Two things certainly are omnipresent in this pathetic country’s downfall. We have the guns/mass shootings.

And on the funny side, we have our Karens and Darrens here in our Dysfunctional States of America who never disappoint us.

I myself right now am staying only because I have two close personal friends. Should they predecease me, like you I then will have “ no one to talk to” and will leave this shithole. But in the meantime I’m sitting back and enjoying the show. And it may get more entertaining this fall if the Delta variant explodes; there is another lockdown; and this time there isn’t another government bailout.

2:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

With decline staring them in the eye the average American prefers to look the other way and resorts to their inbred optimism to carry them thru each day. This optimism has spared them the great intellectual debates that festered in Europe but also blinded them to the inevitable decline that their nation is facing. The values of rugged individualism were always paired with hard work and a positive outlook that shaped the American psyche. Foreign observers such as Tocqueville endured during his brief sojourn in America in 1833 relentless paeans to how great America was to the point he had to excuse himself. But the bottom line is that only with such religious belief in the greatness of America could the predatory capitalist system be kept afloat for the benefit of the robber barons (err captains of industry).

Freedom of thought in America is limited to repeating what the Mob has been saying all along. Not toeing the line is heresy, to be booted our of your group and ostracized. Our great writers have at one time or another had to escape overseas to be able to think and write freely without being muzzled by Mob think. Most Americans will never be able to escape this single minded "tyranny of the majority" and just go along with the flow.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

This video details the frightening numbers and facisitic beliefs of Christian Nationalists in the USA military.

The worst are full of passionate intensity.

And any revolution/coup will be from the right

5:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Long ago I established the Buffoon Index (BI), to measure the % of buffoons currently existing in the US (98.4, as opposed to Denmark's 0.3). But it now appears we need to establish, in addition, a Thug Index (TI). Again, for the US, I imagine it will be quite high.


5:45 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Death by a Thousand Cuts shows up in daily life in the US in small ways too. Food packaging gets smaller but the price stays the same. For example, a bag of coffee used to be 16 ounces, it's now 12 or 10.


And here are two films Wafers might enjoy:
Ran by Akira Kurosawa

Come and See (Иди и смотри) by Elem Klimov

These films are in foregin languages, with no American characters, which means 99% of Americans will not have heard of them, much less seen them.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Antisemitic trollfoons have been busy!:

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Here's an Op-ed on the subject of white evangelical Protestants (WEPs)-

"For white evangelical Protestants, the degradation of democracy is not regrettable. It's desirable"

Partial quote from article-

"...WEPs believe they are God’s chosen (or will be.) They tend to believe the United States was given to “real Americans” by God to be ruled in His name. Those who are not God’s chosen are pretty much disposable."

7:56 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Could't agree more, Mr. Berman, unless the third option is something like watching it all go down in a spectator sport sorta way. My wife and I hit the retirement road in a travel trailer in three weeks to see as much beauty the landscape holds as long as her teacher's pension remains solvent. 11 more shifts to go at my wage slave factory job and then it's all a lark on the happy buddha asspad hopping from one state park to the next.

We plan on spending several months in mexico and peru, respite from the buffoons, ya?

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

A true American. Dumped gasoline everywhere to save time on his delivery route.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

I remember in the late 1950s a guy from the local army recruiters
came to talk to all the males at my high school. A summary of what
he said was, "You have just two choices: you can enlist to do your
military service or you can get a deferment if you go to college."
Of course, enlisting was our way of defending our "freedom," but
this meant either having your body ruined in the military or your
brain ruined by hiding in college to avoid your duty. Remember, TWO
choices and that's your "Freedom." Such was socialization in the
Dark Ages.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Tortured-

Proof? Evidence? This blog is not a place for just blasting yr opinion. Why in the world wd we care what you think, when you don't bother to back it up? I suspect other blogs wd serve yr purposes better.


3:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Jamie-

The history of Russian antisemitism is both long and deep, so if Solzhenitsyn *did* say something like that (you offered no proof), he wd be part of a large, ugly blot on the Russian soul. But at least he was talented. You, on the other hand, have nothing to yr credit. Yr just a sick piece of garbage, and yr own soul is rotten to the core. And of course, you wd never bother to read any of the numerous histories of Russian pogroms against the Jews. Easier to bathe yrself in antisemitic crap. What an exemplary life you must lead. Yr parents must be so proud of their son, eh?


4:47 AM  
Anonymous Jules said...

'Best a human can be’: indigenous Amazonian Karapiru dies of Covid
Karapiru Awá Guajá, among the last of the hunter-gatherer Awá tribe, survived a massacre and a decade alone in the forest, inspiring others with his resilience and ‘extraordinary warmth’

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Adam Eget said...

"Former President Obama is hosting a 60th birthday bash for himself on Martha’s Vineyard....held at the Obamas' $12-million home, which sits on 30 oceanfront acres.... 475 confirmed guests —Pearl Jam was set to play...Steven Spielberg also was expected."

9:44 AM  
Blogger Matt Cardin said...

I would be sincerely interested to hear your latest thoughts on the new monastic option, Morris, as related to current and likely future developments based on the more specific outline of the U.S. trajectory that has become clear in the two decades since you wrote the Twilight book. I've always vaguely/idly hoped for some long essay or full book on this subject to appear from your pen, something in which you explore the idea further and consider its various potential manifestations, iterations, and ramifications. I know you've said you found it impossible to implement the new monastic option yourself in the U.S. (a statement that I grokked deeply). Has your thinking about the whole thing evolved in response to where things have gone and are going?

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Authorities had to look at surveillance footage? No one noticed what crime he was committing while he was actually doing that? I hardly think so.

So some of our wonderful fellow americans ignored what he was doing. You know at least a couple of people had to have noticed that he was dumping fuel.

He needs to be out there cleaning that mess up while he awaits trial / prison.


10:48 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Hi Dr B,

Is there now a second Jamie registered to the blog? Though I haven’t been posting much recently, I’m still reading regularly. I pretty much get most of the articles I read from this site and plenty of great book ideas too. Very sad to hear about this uptick in antisemitism. Though I am not Jewish, I certainly have Jewish family members and numerous friends. I don’t want to be associated in any way with a hatred that caused millions of senseless deaths and would advocate more in our own time. Maybe I should call myself Jamie Cello?

A Wafer recommended Fears of a Setting Sun. Sadly the book follows the pattern many Wafers have noticed in books about US decline. Sound criticism followed by a whiplash 180 of how American will be alright in the end. Very disappointing for us declinists. It’s still interesting to see how disillusioned the founders became at the end of their lives. Also some great Wafer quotes in the book, especially from the irascible John Adams. “Oh my country, how I mourn over thy follies and vices, thine ignorance and imbecility, thy contempt for wisdom and virtue and overweening admiration of fools and knaves.”

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Kia said...

Nomadland Exposes the Middle-Class Rip-Off

Forty years of Reaganism and trickle-down economics have left America pockmarked with refugee camps and people hanging onto life by their fingernails

One can’t help watching this brilliant piece of movie-making without wondering, for weeks after, just how much it romanticizes abject poverty wrought by vast wealth concentration in this country.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Thought you might like to read a 2007 interview (not previously published) of Gore Vidal by Joe Lauria - to commemorate 9 years since Gore Vidal's death (July 31) about the 'E' word. I don't think Vidal would be surprised by what has transpired since his death, amused maybe.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Were whites ever sold into slavery by the millions? Think, man, think!


Not to worry. Most of these antisemites just practice 'hit and run', then disappear. They are not only assholes; they are also cowards. Shd Antisemitic Jamie check in again, I'll just suggest he look in the mirror, at his eyes, and notice how empty they are. I'll also delete w/o takes me 3 seconds to recognize hate mail, and you obviously wdn't fall into this category. So you can continue to call yrself Jamie.

Why these morons bother w/an extremely minor intellectual figure is beyond me, but then I suppose they don't have much going on in their lives. But I have learned a lot, over these many blog years, about the extent of antisemitism in America, and the passion behind it. The nation is carrying a cancer, as a result, and I see abs. no way to convert these shitheads into decent human beings. However, a silver lining: it's part of our national self-destruction--maybe even an impt part.


Note that when DAA came out in 2006, Gore wrote an article that contained an extended riff on the bk, very favorable.


No great 'evolution', I fear. Once I finish a bk, I move on to other topics. I do provide some examples in Twilight of NMI activity, wh/is abt the best I can do. But Wafers are smart: they can probe the possibilities w/o my input, I'm sure. The only thing I've added to it, in recent yrs, is that if the American scene is tragic, it is also funny. When you've got Americans (literally) fucking goats, what can you say? When a woman in Wal-Mart is told to wear a mask, and pees on the floor in response...A Wafer, or NMI, can look on these social horrors and chuckle, or even guffaw.


1:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


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


2:24 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...


7:45 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

An infamous American internet personality whose actions have helped America decline just a little bit faster. Sse has brutally betrayed many people, attempted to kill at least one innocent person, and has recently been arrested for repeatedly raping her demented, 80-year-old mother. The only reason she wasn't arrested earlier is because she used her autism diagnosis to shield herself from blame. However, the game is up, and karma is finally catching up with her. She is a perfect synecdoche of America.

As mentioned in the article, her bio states:

"I am Mrs. Christine W. Chandler Sonichu, Goddess of the Nations of Cwcville, Comma, and the Commodore Consoles, and the Creator of Sonichu and Rosechu. She/Her,"

Cwcville stands for "Christine Weston-Chandlerville", and Sonichu and Rosechu are mashups of characters she plagiarized from video games. This is infantile narcissism par excellence. Could you imagine this woman as president? The results would be a declinist's dream.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Hey Dr. B and fellow WAFers. It's been a while since I checked in.

I'd like to say that I've spent my time pursuing something noble, but I'm still a rat in this American maze looking for my measly piece of cheese. Que sera sera in the tech industry, I'm trying my best to be decent to my fellow humans as much as I can, though.

One thing I HAVE noticed in this degenerate corporate America of late is the eagerness with which it prostrates itself before the Church of Jesus Woke. Of course, it's all performative. No one REALLY cares about the plight of marginalized people, but it sure feels GREAT to pretend we do when we all go to our mandatory sensitivity training.

It dawned on me that the lyrics to 'Heresy' by Nine Inch Nails could easily be a critique of the grotesque masquerade of modern American Wokeness:

"If there is a Hell, I'll see you there..."

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The latest from Prof. Ledewitz-

"How America’s spiritual infrastructure is in need of repair and what can be done to fix it."

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Hervis said...

Techno narcissists are “true believers in tech magic, believers in the idea that any problem facing the human race could be fixed by applying tech [as] magic.” (James Howard Kunstler, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation.”)

8:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For an extended discussion of the subject, check out WAF ch. 3. Here on the blog we like to call them technobuffoons.


8:44 AM  
Anonymous Massy said...

The collapse of the Soviet Union was foreshadowed by a sharp drop in fertility, rising numbers of deaths from substance abuse and a loss of faith in the country's ideals.

A cheery piece in today's UnHerd:

America Is Turning Into The Soviet Union

11:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Putin recently said much the same thing. The only question now, regarding the American collapse, is what form it will take. No-collapse is not an option.


11:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Sr. King-

Yes, today is my birthday. Gracias.


12:54 PM  
Anonymous Uno said...

"The more we synchronize ourselves with the time in clocks, the more we fall out of sync with our own bodies and the world around us."

2:48 PM  
Blogger FerQ said...

Happy Birthday Prof. Berman! I hope you enjoy your day. How are you spending it?
Best Wishes


5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In the US, I wd spend it alone. Here:
1. My yoga instructor brought me a piece of cake
2. My editor at Sexto Piso took me to lunch at a fancy Turkish restaurant
3. A family I'm close to is having me for dinner tonight; serving chiles en nogada.
Here I'm loved.
In America, I'm ignored or spat on.
Viva Mexico!

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Cannot go wrong on your birthday with a touch of Carlin.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Happy B-day! Here are a couple of stories that feature Americans in action:

Brawl inside a pizza joint in Brooklyn:

Bus driver accused of drunk driving w/10 cub scouts:


7:45 PM  
Blogger farbror Frej said...

U.S. 'really messed it up' on Afghanistan says Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Interview starting at 03:37.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

If you spend time on Twitter, you will see tweets like the following more often than you might think:

"My sister's father is lying in a hospital bed dying, and so her boss thought it was a good time to fire her because she's not working at the capacity he needs her to.

"I can't help feeling like this isn't the best society we could come up with. I'm just so effing tired of it."

I think that this exhaustion may be underestimated when people think about what will happen as the collapse continues. More and more people will go to ground, hole up. Not shoot others, not riot or take over buildings. Most people are tired of it all, more than anything else.

Recommended book, especially for those of us left behind and contemplating the NMI reality- Doris Lessing's 'Memoir of a Survivor"

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Happy Birthday Dr. B! I wrote it down somewhere, then proceeded to lose the date.

The Atlantic has been posting some strange stuff, but they've been rather level headed on pandemic stuff (see article about Delta and the UK). However, concerning the subject of this blog, I ran across this one today:

Kind of light, no references to Barbara Ehrenreich for example, but interesting nonetheless.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Also Happy Birthday Dr. Berman, unfortunately, the end is nigh.


10:27 PM  
Anonymous Mitch Reich said...

ASIA 28 JULY 2021
The West isn’t dying – its ideas live on in China
What the Western world confronts is not the threatening advance of alien civilisations, but its own dark shadows moving through China and Russia.


10:28 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Dr. B - Happy Birthday! Glad to know your erstwhile familia is helping you celebrate.

Massy - I am sympathetic to a lot of this article's complaints about wokeism, but this author seems to be more a seeker of bogeymen than of truth. That he attributes despair in rural America to low church attendance and academic malfeasance, more so than the strip-mining of America's economy by "moral majority" backed Conservatives like Reagan, seems a bit suspect to me.

This impression is reinforced by his frankly laughable portrayal of Stalin as a champion of non-ethnic-Russians within the USSR. I imagine Ukrainians, Kazakhs and Jews didn't feel terribly privileged during his reign.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

Does the slogan about more education automatically leading to the
conveyor belt taking one to the joys of consumerism and a well paying
job for life have any validity? One way to find out is to gamble
that it does by going into debt to become one of hundreds in the line
at the corporate employment office.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I want to thank all of you for your birthday wishes; very kind. I just got back from a dinner w/close friends. Dani (I love her) made chiles en nogada, wh/are currently in season. Several hours of wine, food, music, and laughter. You cdn't get me to return to the US for all the tea in China.


12:08 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Happy Birthday, Supreme Sage of the Cosmos

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

I find it interesting how Trumpers worship Trump, even when there's strong evidence he's ripped them off by pocking donor money:

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Russell Taubes said...

Texas Senate Passes Bill To Restrict Charitable Bail Organizations

A Texas bill would ban charitable groups from paying bail for anyone who committed "an offense involving violence" at any time in the past 10 years

Some evil shit, here.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Reese said...

How Tokyo grows in its own trash, thanks to its incredibly efficient recycling systems. All combustible trash is incinerated, emissions are cleaned before release and the left over ash is used as a replacement for clay in the cement used for construction.

More evidence Japan has post-capitalist longevity

6:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls post only once every 24 hrs. Very impt.


As for now I claim only the Western Hemisphere of the Earth. But inasmuch as I was brought up in the "endless frontier" context of a very sick society, who knows what lies beyond the horizon?


6:51 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

I'd like to pose a question to Dr. B (happy birthday, BTW) and the rest of the WAFers who might be better informed about this topic than me.

Does anyone know WHY anti-Semitism is the cockroach that just won't be flushed? It's really quite staggering to me how consistently Jewish people have been made scapegoats by governments over the course of human history. I don't get it at all.

For all practical purposes, Judaism might as well BE Christianity. The differences are negligible AT BEST and really boil down to just ceremonial ones.

Some of you out there who've read more on the subject might be able to enlighten me. Has anyone studied why this continues to be a problem?

8:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Here's a gd place to start (I read it last yr):

This looks gd:

And I've read abt half of this, and corresponded w/the author (he describes a pogrom that my family was caught up in, Ukraine, 1919; I actually know the inside story, told to me by my father):

Also 3 vols by Simon Dubnow, on persecution of Jews in Russia (I read all of these).

And there's lots more.


9:41 PM  
Anonymous Davy said...

Officials Say Officer ‘Justified’ Despite Accidentally Shooting Chicago Music Student -

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Nathancorpuscolloseum. said...

Lauria is a good student of Vidal . Final question "What is to be done?" Sounds like Mr Vidal. The whole conversation sounds like the conversational level of this blog: except citated by the laxness of mostly/only the supposed common knowledge of the things presidents have done on every two of our watch. As well as at least a tacit agreement to recognize the history of what liberals call colonialism possibly every day, for the short history of the nation. United States. And territories, but there we donot have the history except through the random news from Duterte Villas and previous Filipino I mean Phillipines regimes. Question begging: did the empire as its expression create the conditions of Dickens' London? Answer: Phillipines and, how do you answer JAMES Baldwin's question about what do you require from the existence of black_ underlined - people. Work is one, make no mistake, and goofily good humor, that was my difficult answer to Baldwin.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For future ref, it's corpus callosum. Additionally: I honestly have no idea what yr talking about; and whatever yr views are, you provide no evidence for them. Not how this blog operates.


4:05 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Here is a special invitation for our good Doctor to return and live here in The United States. And where else but in NYC where the action never stops; and it’s where hustlers and thieves think literally of anything in their creative “Yankee can do” mentality either to extract money from or kill you.
First, to get here our good Doctor can enjoy flying on one of our airlines where brawls, which this year alone number over 3,000, now are a normal occurrence:

Once here our Doctor perhaps can choose Queens as a place to live. The newest thing for thieves, thugs, and armed gang members is to ride on motorbikes to expedite things:

Or, our good Doctor can choose to live in the Bronx. That’s where criminals are disguising themselves as utility workers:

Well, Doctor? How about it? We all know deep down you miss this happy place immensely. LOL.

10:51 AM  
Blogger cmaith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Das Schmeckt! said...

I think this quote from Aldous Huxley is very relevant to this blog:

"The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted." Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

2:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Early Ronald Laing, I guess.


I do miss NY. I've been thinking of moving in next to Frank and Estelle Costanza, in Queens.


4:09 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Tucker Carlson, the most popular Republican newscaster in America, is speaking in a right-wing conference in Hungary this week, and has become friends with the despotic Hungarian leader Viktor Orban. Make no mistake: Carlson is doing this because he knows his viewers want America to emulate Hungary and become a fascist ethnostate complete with labor camps, overtly racist policies and a government-controlled press.

On a separate but related note, Bret Weinstein and his wife are good friends with Tucker Carlson, which tells me they too want America to emulate Hungary. And to think they used to be humane, ethical people. It doesn't take much to persuade Americans to abandon their democratic ideals and embrace fascism. Americans don't understand, much less possess, moral integrity.

In other news, Marjorie Taylor Greene has called on her supporters to shoot vaccinators who will be going door to door. Although this is probably a felony, the law isn't doing anything about it. We now live in a time where politicians are free to direct their followers to commit mass murder. Clearly, a country with a bright future.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've mentioned this b4: the collapse of America is inevitable, but it could take various forms. Fascism is a possible path, but only one of several. Slow decay into irrelevance is another one. An international Suez Moment, w/China making it clear who is the boss now, is yet another. And then my own favorite, secession, wh/is apparently stirring in several parts of the country. Finally, think of All of the Above, with parts of all of these scenarios playing a role (I can't see why not).

As I've also argued, I think we are going to be far along the Road to Nowhere by 2030. Anything cd happen, really, including the re-election of Trumpi (this wd be the fascist scenario). I also suspect that most nations, including our allies, will regard us w/pity. What bothers me, however, is that lessons won't be learned. Americans are simply too stupid; they don't connect the dots, and they in no way will be able to understand that they were a key factor in the disintegration of the country. Above all, they will never grasp the fact that our value-system was fundamentally out of sync w/anything that cd be considered human, and was so from the very beginning (see WAF). This in particular makes me sad. In a nation of 332 million (today), I doubt that even 5000 will know, let alone understand, Sitting Bull's words: "Possessions are a disease with them." As for beyond our borders, the failure of America cd act as an object lesson to other countries, but will it? (China, certainly not)


6:55 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Dr. Berman,

Regarding your reply to Nadine, our greatest philosopher/prophet says otherwise (the art of optimism). About a month ago, Mr. Brooks wrote an article expressing that "the American renaissance has begun".
Now he's written a new one about how "the Biden approach is working".

Quite frankly, I didn't know David Brooks was a porn star until recently when I started reading his "work".

10:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Brooks (I've said this b4) is an ass-licker of the upper-middle and professional classes; it's how he got to have a regular column in the NYT. The function of the NYT is to reassure those classes that the ship of state is (despite all appearances) in gd shape. Its own type of pornography, I suppose. Anyway, the guy is an embarrassment to the human race, imo.


10:11 PM  
Anonymous Rockwell N. Role said...

It is hard to believe that there was proletarian consciousness in
America: "We do all the dirty work, and the bosses get all the
money." Here's a 7-minute video as an example.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Wafers and Dr. Berman,

What you said about the MSM in the US empire, in my opinion, is spot on. It's a complete embarrassment.

Basically, it's the corporate/company newsletter keeping the masses 'on track' and in 'proper' form. Give them circus callers like Brooks, Friedman, Kakatuni, et al and the professional classes/upper middle imbeciles lap the propaganda up like a thirsty dog. Cheers of we love capitalism, "freedom" yammer, US has a few problems but we're awesome bc we said so, and nothing to see/nothing to see, we're on the right track if we 'vote' XYZ or 'resist' XYZ.

The US is and was such a bad joke it's not even funny anymore. In fact, in our travels, some Europeans are waking up to the reality that the US is decaying and degenerate (uttered from more than a few Italians, Luxembourgish, and French).

9:08 AM  
Blogger oneunitapartment448 said...

Mr. Berman. Thankyou for this blog. People citing their sources makes this place a calm in the spurious commenting on the net. I was suggesting that for those who have at least read Vidal, or taken enough interest in their part in imperial overreach to read Dulles real words about the subjects of empire qua: Chomsky's Year 500, that just paying attention to the executive was for a long time a constant reminder of the state of the world. For instance that Obama's attempt in his first 2 weeks to close Guantanamo was roundly denied, gave us all the heads up that his was going to be administering empire with good intent and washed out effects. After that I tried to suggest that the Phillipines offer just as dramatic a show of Americans intents towards every other person as the laissez faire doimgs of capital in Dickens's books. And then I suggested that Baldwin's 'ask' that white people ask themselves why? Would I need a subject people to feel: what? Is an every other daily fruitful question. You have the right to clarity from talkers, I will learn to grab citations before I return. Appreciatively, Nathan Calossum

9:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sources wd be gd. I still have a hard time following yr line of thought. Be aware that it comes across as a bit scrambled.


10:05 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Rockwell N. Rose and others-

Among the top documentary films ever made, 'Harlan County USA' is about a coal miners' strike in 1973-4 in Kentucky. It has a rhythm and structure that will seem alien to today's fast-paced hectic media but if you can settle down you'll be in for quite a lesson. Might even learn that some of these 'ugly' bad toothed hicks aren't quite the fools people here want to make them out to be.

Of course the days of actual labor activism are pretty well a lost skill these days. What I notice more than anything these days is that the work, the time, the effort to walk a picket line, go to a meeting and develop real plans, etc., is lost on today's activists. Today they want to like a tweet and go home to update their facebook page or something before they actually do the real long slog of working for progress. A day at a protest march and return to the corporate job tomorrow? Great! But actually strike, walk a line day after day, suffer??? No way.

Free on youtube:

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Interesting but a bit thin essay here:

didn't we have weeks of discussion on the blog (maybe 5 or 6 years ago) about this? Though, I think we called it infantilization.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Here's a nice read about amerikkkan mythology and the bomb.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Kelvin said...

Happy Birthday, Maury!

I'm glad you felt loved and appreciated on your birthday. I'll add my own appreciation to say that you've been a "Pole Star" for me ever since I embarked on reading your wide-ranging, brilliant books beginning with CTOS back in the early '90s. I'm looking forward to your recent short stories that I recently purchased as I know they will make me both think and laugh, not necessarily in that order. Your work inspires me to face another day in the States as I wake with vague feelings of anxiety and dread (what will the latest news divulge?, what zombie menace will I encounter on the streets today?, etc.). Your work helps shore up the crumbling walls of my New Monastic Sanctuary, and teaches me what I need to learn: how to laugh more in the face of American antics. Que le vaya bien!

12:56 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

"Harlan County, USA" is indeed a great documentary, and shows what faces regular people when they struggle against "Them"®. A cinematic relation to this doc is "Matewan."

Speaking of cinema, it's probably obvious that those commentaries about what's wrong with the USA always end on a cheery note. It's the Hollywood ending ("Coming to Our Senses" even has it, but my guess is that Belman has become more pessimistic since 1988). I just finished watching a Russian TV show, Остаться в живых (Staying Alive, set right before the Battle of Moscow in 1941) in which only one character survives the story. This grim ending isn't unusual for Russian movies and TV shows about the Great Patriotic War. The German film, Das Boot, has a similar ending. Hollywood war movies, on the other hand, need to finish on an upbeat note, which encourages a positive attitude towards war, I suppose.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I didn't realize that CTOS had a Hollywood ending, but then I was writing it several decades ago, so I can't really remember. It's probably better at diagnosis than prognosis, however.


Thanks for yr gd wishes and appreciation; very kind. Hope you enjoy "Heart".


On Hiroshima you might check out the discussion in NB.


Some yrs ago I thought of writing a bk called "Empire of Children." Got sidetracked, however.


4:00 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Marjorie Taylor Greene might be running for president. I think she will win if she decides to run, because the people that voted for Trump would vote for her in a heartbeat. After all, she's a fascist, antisemite and Qanon fanatic - that is, a more extreme version of Trump.

If she is elected, it's hard to imagine how America wouldn't lose most of its allies, as MTG thinks most of the world's political leaders are part of a Satanic, cannibalistic pedophile ring (this is actually what Qanon fanatics believe). I also imagine her election would cause America to implode almost overnight, due to the incredible destructiveness of her domestic platform. Could Marjorie Taylor Greene be the final nail in America's coffin? Could the feminist belief in female supremacy be proven wrong as the first female president lays waste to the nation?

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Maryon said...

On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden promised to scale back the nation’s immigration detention system. But more than six months into his presidency, the number of detainees has more than doubled."

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Wafers' nightmare has arrived?

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Jay Leno 2007 05 16 Jaywalk Allstars

This was so funny back then, but after the age of Trump, it’s scary because Idiocracy is truly upon us. Anything is possible. I wonder how long it will take before America is no longer taken seriously on the international scene. If possible, I think it’s important to emigrate before that happens.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't think very many countries take the US seriously anymore, but they can't say this in public. Which means that diplomacy w/the US is largely lip service. As for the moronization of the country: I cite that as a factor in the decline of Rome, and America, in the Twilight bk. Leno is terrific.


Gd clip, thanks. Millions of Americans already live in a frenzied state. As this heightens, as it will, collapse is more imminent.

Here's another gd clip:


1:35 AM  
Blogger Theorist said...

According to New Yorker mag interview with legal scholar "Rick Hasen," a voting rights bill like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act .... "might raise different constitutional questions about whether Congress would be going too far in altering the balance between the states and the federal government in running federal elections..."

It seems to me that the media and supposed scholar involved here are blindly accepting the rogue supreme court version of American voting rights ... and too many Americans are too stupid to know that the wool is being pulled over their eyes with this narrative. That is to say, we are too ignorant to know what Article I of the US Cont. says in its "elections clause."

BUT... and ,eg, Professor Franita Tolson has emphasized this in her work...when it comes to Federal elections, concerns about federalism/states rights is a bunch of made-up baloney, because Congress has complete power over time, place, manner of such elections! Its actually a major pillar of the constitutional structure, although the new supreme court doesnt seem to care, and Americans just blindly accept their views.

Americans are so easily fooled about such critical issues.

PS I found the discussion of technology in WAF chapter 3 as indeed a brilliant one, now that I've read half the book.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The kindest thing one can say abt the American people is that they are clueless. And not just abt elections or technology; abt literally everything. Once you realize that, what is happening in the US (today and yesterday) becomes quite understandable--as is our inevitable decline. All this speculation abt voting rts etc. is moot, because from a larger--i.e. to say, declinist--perspective, the choice in 2024 (assuming Trumpi runs) is fast vs. slow. Biden's accomplishment, thus far, is cosmetic: diversity appointments, diversity value-system. Between now and 2022 he will not be able to institute any substantive social change because of a toxic Senate; and after the midterm elections, forget it. Bidenism means slow decline, wh/will continue if he is reelected in 2024. Trumpism means fast decline. Hence, choose yr rate of speed; this is the only serious choice we have.


On an obliquely related note, some time ago I read that 86% of Americans can't locate Iraq or Iran on a world map, and 10% can't locate the US(!!). As for Laos or Kenya: I'm guessing the figure is in excess of 98%.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Ned said...

Read for yourself Orban's referendum questions:

Do you support that children shall encounter sexual educational content that shows different sexual orientations without parental consent?
Do you support that sex-changing procedures shall be promoted to children?
Do you support that such procedures shall be made available for children?
Do you support that media programs which influence children's development shall be aired without restrictions?
Do you support that media programmes which portray sex change shall be available for children?

Orban (a democratically elected leader, BTW)wants to prevent the decadent & destructive Gender Ideology from poisoning the minds of children in his country. Unlike other countries, he is deferential to parental rights in this matter. And he is willing to fight the EU over it. Finding a news story on the abhorrent deviant Chris Chan on here(with deferential pronoun use?!)followed by negative comments about Orban is baffling. And more than a little ironic.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


-Not clear what news story was posted here on Chris Chan
-Not clear as to what is ironic
-Not clear as to what any of this hasta do w/the collapse of the American empire, wh/is the subject of this blog (and not gender issues)


10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Interesting article in July 5 New Yorker on communal living by Nathan Heller. One member of such community told him that this is what she discovered: "What mattered wasn't being an extraordinary self alone but being a thread woven into the fabric of shared human experience." I can't imagine anything more un-American.


11:37 AM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

Responding to Theorist
I just finished a back and forth with the county chairman of the Democratic Party. After pointing out that Biden has fully stood against the $15 wage, prescription drug price reduction, public healthcare option, and other things he specifically ran on (Venezuela, Syria, the wall, child cages, immigrant deportations), she clarified that duplicity is justified because the party serves another higher purpose. Agreed: 2024 will determine slow or fast. People tend to fully miss that the policy objectives of the two parties are like conjoined twins.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

Ned, as far as I know no one is suggesting prepubescent children should get sex change surgery, only that they be given hormone blockers so they have time to work out their gender issues before having to undergoe puberty: a permenent (and often traumatizing) transformation that will make them identifiably male or female for the rest of their lives. How is that decadent? Sounds like compassion & common sense to me.

And the same goes for your other objections. We've all seen what happens when you leave sex ed up to parents: teen pregnencies & rampant venereal disease.

Parents don't have any rights, what they have is an obligation to prepare their children for adulthood. If they fail to fulfill their obligation then the state has a duty to intervene.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You might tell her that evil people justify the evil they do by claiming it's in the name of a Greater Good. This is the historical record and is, in particular, the story of the Soviet Union.


3:53 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


Looking at MTG's wiki, one gets the quick impression that this is one of the stupidest people to ever hold elected office in a modern representative democracy.

Notice how all of her controversies involve her jumping on the back of some pre-existing internet meme. She can't even generate her own propaganda. Trump was much the same way. He basically parroted talk radio on his way to power.

The best case for slow and ugly vs. sudden and dramatic decline is precisely the rise of such lightweights into political life. They are capable of neither great good nor great evil. All the scripts we have of the 20th century need to be thrown out- this is silly season.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In future, pls spell out acronyms. Thanks.


6:43 PM  
Anonymous Dermot said...

Nadine B. the country is fascist. The left is fascist and violent and backed by the state.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Evidence? In fact, the left is not fascist, tho it has strong authoritarian tendencies (there's a big difference, amigo). And how, exactly, is it backed by the state? On this blog, we do not bloviate. When we present an argument, we provide reliable links and references. Pls avoid this sort of mindless broadcasting in the future, or you won't get posted.


7:31 PM  
Anonymous Pulp said...

How Joe Biden Defanged the Left

7:35 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Folks, I don’t really have a source to link to a comment today, but I wonder if anyone relates to this:

One feeling that I frequently experience when I’m around many Americans is not fear, nor scorn, but what is it… it’s a sense of “uncomfortableness and unease”. I think I feel that way around Americans because I see things in them, or really it’s more of seeing the lack of things in them, and I got so used to it ever since reading Eric Fromm and the like and forgot how unpleasant an emotional experience it really is.
Ha, when you live in a society in which the majority are made out of the empty calories of Cheetos and you “see it”, you can’t help but feel like a guilty dangerous subversive some of the time.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I felt that at age 8. Of course, I didn't conceptualize it; this wasn't an intellectual insight. Rather, it was an emotional feeling that I simply didn't belong. Here's a rather strange story, regarding a woman I met in Utah more than 20 yrs ago, when I lived there for a short time. She was very intelligent, had done a B.A. in anthro at some university, and wrote a thesis on urbanization in Africa. When she finished, she cdn't help applying the same methodology to American cities, and saw the truth: that Americans were immersed in unsubstantiated, and very dubious, mythologies--esp. the American Dream--that enabled them to tolerate their lives. At that pt, she told me, she made a deliberate choice: to forget what she learned, abandon her "X-ray eyes," and join in the myth. So instead of going on to do grad work in anthro, she became a computer programmer and made a gd living fixing large IBM computer frames in hospitals and other institutions. She married a guy who was a construction worker, and became part of the American mainstream. Nor did she regret it: she told me that to see thru a society, so to speak, wd mean never having any friends or a normal life. This is my experience as well: by the time I left the US, I had almost no one to talk to. Start talking like a Wafer, and people cross the st. when they see you coming. They want to belong, not to become social pariahs. And if the price is the truth, they are happy to pay it. My friend in Utah was unusual, in the sense that she cdn't completely forget what she learned in college, and so retained a double consciousness, altho she didn't spend much time thinking abt her former X-ray vision. In my own case, I was, from early yrs, a "stranger in a strange land," and was able to shuck the feeling only when I ventured outside of the US. In 2006, I made that shift permanent; and when American friends ask me if I have any regrets, I say: "Only one: that I didn't leave the US 20 yrs earlier."


I didn't realize we have a Left, anymore; and I'm quite sure it never had any fangs to begin with.


9:33 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


Actually, it seems people like Marjorie Taylor Greene are capable of great evil precisely because they are stupid and unhinged. As you said, she believes whatever lunatic right-wing propaganda is floating around on the internet. Because of this, she would make one disastrous decision after another if she were in charge. Whether she can create her own propaganda really doesn't matter, as there's plenty of propaganda for her to work with already.

Some of the Roman emperors during the decline of the Roman Empire were unhinged morons like Marjorie Taylor Greene, and did tremendous damage to their civilization. The perfect example of this is Emperor Nero, who burned Rome to the ground, declared himself a god and committed horrific crimes against countless people. I don't know if America will have a leader that stupid and unhinged, but it seems likely, given its trajectory.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
I’m asking you a little favor. May I print this different post without references to websites? This happened to me today at Eisenhower Part in East Meadow, Long Island, New York. It was an encounter with one of my American “neighbors” whom that great ( sic) Jesus tells me I should love.

I’m walking inside Eisenhower Park on a path in the golf course that leads to Salisbury Park Drive. My block on which I live intersects with it. I enjoy the walks. But in this pandemic age when I’m in public, even outdoors, I wear my mask. If I pass another pedestrian I put it on over my nose and mouth. I do this as a courtesy. Some other pedestrians also wear them. But they are rare nowadays.
I also wear it in case I happen to walk by some people who do have them on. Living defensively, I don’t want any comments thrown at me if I’m not wearing one. But it’s obvious that I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. Sure as shit, as I’m walking home a punk ( about 25 or so) on a bicycle passes me. He angrily says, “Take the goddamn mask off!” He pedaled on a bit and condescendingly shook his head. So I replied, nice and loud, “MIND YOUR OWN FUCKIN’ BUSINESS.” He pedaled a little further and I then yelled, “GO FUCK YOURSELF!” He slowed up his bike and I thought he was going to get off it. So I started walking towards him to put up the dukes. But he kept on riding. He looked as if he was close to 7 feet tall, slender build. But I didn’t care. Just for good measure I was hoping he would return so I could confront him, and if need be, fight him. And so I stayed for over two hours where the incident occurred, this time with heavy tar rocks to throw at him as hard as I could before I put up my fists. Lucky for him he never returned.
For some reason, I always seem to attract mean, nasty people in public. I don’t know if it’s the nerdy-looking glasses, the mild mannered-looking face, or the flowered shirts. But I’m fuckin’ sick of it!
I mean this in all sincerity: If I were a character in a movie, I’m to the point here in the United States I would be Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Fuck these anti-maskers here in the United States.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Ziggy Zag said...

America, you think you have troubles and a bleak future? Little
jolly optimism in this lecture makes Waferism look like a celebration
of America's boundless happy destiny.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st, let me say that in my own experience, and also that revealed by stats, a huge % of Americans are jerks. I didn't really realize that when I lived in the US, so I was frequently caught off-guard. In retrospect, I saw it after I left the country. Americans live under a system that is high-pressured and fundamentally anti-human, so they are angry much of the time. And they take that anger out on the people around them, strangers included. They are constantly told that the US is No. 1, and yet their own lives are precarious and miserable. The contradiction is a tough one to bear.

2nd, my demand for evidence is not a 100% rule; I'm certainly open to people sharing personal experience that reflects the national collapse. But I do not like it when folks broadcast their political opinions w/o providing links or references, because unlike most blogs, this one is semi-scholarly. That is to say, it's not a place for bloviating. Who gives a shit what Mr. or Ms. X thinks abt the issues of the day? Anyone can do that. So I set the bar fairly high, hoping that the purveyors of pure opinion will stop, or go to a different blog. This weeds out useless discussions, and, imo, makes the blog more effective. 15+ yrs later, it's still going strong.

3rd, this rule or guideline means that we each grow personally (trollfoons excepted). This is a place for teaching and learning. We constantly provide refs to impt bks and movies, for example. Wafers are a remarkable bunch--as you of course know. Ask any American where Laos is, or what a reuben sandwich consists of, or when FDR died, and you'll get a blank stare. Wafers, on the other hand, don't have shit for brains.


3:57 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Wafer Joe,

Would respectfully offer some kind advice. In my opinion, it is often not wise to engage US-ians in any shape, way, or form unless ABSOLUTELY necessary (banking, groceries, health care, etc.). It is a vile, disgusting, hustler/huckster empire offering very little of real value to the world. Stay. away.

It is simply not worth risking your life trying to prove something, or trying to 'change' the US-ian mind-as they don't have one. It's simply buy lotsa stuff on debt, work really hard for capitalism, shout imperialistic slogans, then die. That's their life. Not yours.

Respect to you. Hopefully, you can escape this hell hole before it's too late. Or perhaps, NMI.

7:16 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Has anyone ever heard of Walter Ong? - he wrote about how technology changed consciousness - good and bad

8:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it. You provide no evidence for your post (see what I wrote above, re: bloviating), and we are definitely not into conspiracy theories regarding the moonwalk on this blog. Note that there are thousands of blogs around that are into bloviation and moonwalk conspiracy theories; you might concentrate yr energies on them.


9:51 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Well, it seems that the conservative side in America might be waking up a little bit to the grim reality of this country. Check this out:

"No, I’m afraid those who fear an imminent right-wing coup give us too much credit. Watching Fox News, posting Ben Shapiro quotes on Facebook, and casting the occasional ballot: that’s pretty much the extent of our activism. And that, if you’re wondering, is why conservatives always lose. It’s why we’ll go on losing until the last Bible-thumping, MAGA-hatted redneck in Georgia dyes his hair blue, cuts off his penis, and starts calling himself Cheryl. We deserve to lose. And, when we do, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves."

Prediction: Americans are not boycotting Amazon any time soon.

I've also noticed that this blog doesn't focus as much on another important element of decline/collapse; mainly the military technology aspect. Let me recommend this book:

"The United States’ efforts to preserve not just its dominance but the perception of its dominance are bound to fail for many important reasons, none more important than what is often misidentified in past American military-theoretical hypotheses about the future of warfare, known generically as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). This book explains why those hypotheses are failing and will continue to fail, and addresses the real RMA."

10:22 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@NeilW- I read Ong back in the 80s. Hard to find him even then, so nice to see the pdf link you provided- thank you. I'll need to re-read him and see how I mutated his thoughts. It will also be interesting to see how his pre-literate consciousness compares to the post-literate consciousness of video, radio, twitter, etc. which strike me as a backdoor return to a pre-literate world. I don't remember Ong commenting on contemporary media of his time in terms of literacy. Personally I find the Hollywood film (and TV news) focus on narrative as destructive, so I will be interested to re-read what he has to say on narrative and its role in pre-literate consciousness.

He and Neil Postman make an interesting pair. Ong pre-literacy and literacy, Postman literacy and post-literacy (where we are now, lucky us!).

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...


One of the things I am grateful to America for is showing me how not to live. Sometimes I wonder if the purpose of America was to serve as a warning to humanity. It took me a while to understand why I could never fit in, and I know now for sure that I never will. I can’t imagine spending more years in such a country. It’s mental torture to live in a country where so many people are so empty. I agree with Freud that America was a giant mistake.

Sigmund Freud Hated America: 5 Reasons Why -


I also noticed that Americans are angry most of the time. I think this anger is a defense against facing the fact that the American Dream is an illusion. Denial is a waste of life because it takes a lot of energy not to see what is there. It seems to me that people sometimes have a double consciousness, not in a positive sense like your friend in Utah, but something like this: I can have an intelligent conversation with someone in which they agree that things need to change, and then the next time we talk, they go on about plans that totally contradict what we talked about previously, as if the conversation never happened. This is disturbing, especially in this day and age of climate change, where we need to be grounded in reality more than ever, and have a sense of limits. It’s impossible to build anything sustainable with people not grounded in reality. I no longer take America seriously, I wish I never had.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Marshall McLuhan belongs on that list somewhere...


Thanks for the info. In future, be sure to limit yr posts to half a page. Thank you.


2:58 PM  
Anonymous Z said...

Interesting blog you have.
As a younger person in the US, I agree with your overall premise of decline in the US. Quite frankly, I believe the US is headed for a massive collapse much greater than what the Soviet Union went through. The Soviet Union itself is a good comparison partner to the US due to its industrial nature, military empire, massive propaganda/brainwashing system, etc. I don't think the people in the US are going to handle this well at all but it could come as a relief for many and give them the potential to stop living a lie. So many of my fellow coworkers are on mental illness SSRI medication for depression, anxiety, etc and you can just tell that they are messed up for whatever reason. The American lifestyle especially the food system is extremely screwed up with all of the obese people, working shitty jobs, forced to drive everywhere, etc. Now the insanity of the COVID coverage in the US for a virus with a 99.7% survival rate and you have people losing their minds because it is not spot fear porn on their TV. This country is evil as hell. I am ranting but the sooner this thing goes down the better for humanity.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Since yr new to this blog, here are 2 helpful hints 4u.

1. "Z" won't work as a handle. You need something a little more extended. Try Zygote, for example.
2. We aren't interested in people broadcasting their opinions. Anyone can have an opinion; so what? What we *are* interested in is evidence for yr views. In future:
a) State your argument regarding the collapse of the American empire (the theme of this blog). It should be specific.
b) Defend it by citing links or refs to reliable sources.
Hope this helps.


4:26 PM  
Anonymous down we go said...

I first read "Stranger in a Strange Land" in high school. It resonated with me but I didn't have the maturity at the time to understand why. I knew I was different from the usual American teenager: I like to read fiction and non-fiction (and still do - its even more of a comfort in my old age; I never tire of learning something I didn't know: I liked listening to classical music and was not interested in playing sports on the high school level. I felt different, separated. And now, thanks to the work of MB and others, have a better understanding of why.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

If you're rich you can live on a train in comfort and watch the world burn.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it. You provided no specific references. See discussions above: Thou Shalt Not Bloviate! Also best to make a specific pt, rather than give us a Gigantic World Overview.


Damn! I gotta get me one o' dem trains!


8:08 PM  
Blogger David said...

"The most deadly criticism one could make of modern civilization is that apart from its man-made crises and catastrophes, is not humanly interesting. . . . In the end, such a civilization can produce only a mass man: incapable of spontaneous, self-directed activities: at best patient, docile, disciplined to monotonous work to an almost pathetic degree. . . . Ultimately such a society produces only two groups of men: the conditioners and the conditioned, the active and passive barbarians." —Lewis Mumford, 1951

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Rockwell N. Role said...

The rich deserve their wealth because God rewards them for contributing
so much to the welfare and happiness of humanity. To make this into
a indisputable truth, an ideology is required; this is economics. See
an insider who knows this.

11:01 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Isn't the train concept Snowpiercer? 'Don't be a shoe, Great Seer of the Cosmos'

12:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




3:20 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

No offence, and nothing personal, Joe, but from my northern perspective, your anecdote sounds like two gringos preparing to go to war over nothing.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hello Wafers, Have been lurking for a while. Was completely flabbergasted by the brutal 2nd wave of COVID made much worse by an inept by the govt. Then am entangled in some issues on the family front that are demanding my full attention. Got a chance to scribble a few words today.

So, finally, answer to one of the big questions is emerging, imho. The climate is gonna collapse before capitalism does, it seems. I am *not particularly* referring to the recent IPCC report, which, typically, lags reality. Just a count of deadly natural disasters in the recent months is sufficient: heat dome in the pacific NW, devastating wildfires in CA, Siberia, and now S Europe, floods in Germany, China etc.

Some folks still believe that science can find a solution to the problem. Good luck to them while Bezos and Gates and Musk and their ilk build bunkers and plan their escape from earth. Do you see everyday people revolting? I don't. They would rather be busy in the next Amazon Sale.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Link to IPCC report? Or to info on recent natural disasters?


1:45 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

This might be what Ordinary Indian is referring to - Sixth Assessment Report by the IPCC.

Summary headline statements for policymakers seems to sum up likely negative scenarios. Glad I not young!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

Good afternoon Dr. Berman and Wafers:

There were a couple of articles I thought might be interesting to post for feedback, but this one really took the cake.

There is a society in turmoil and progs really think the removal of a 2 billion year old rock makes the world a better place. Yes, Wafers, someone actually is quoted to that effect in the story. Stay safe, all.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman & Wafers,
Here is another interesting statistic to ponder.

I don’t know how it is in other countries. Because, after all, we are “exceptional” here in the United States. Folks in other countries probably ( I'm guessing) don’t tailgate you and don't drive pickup trucks, Hummers, or the many other types of huge SUV’s that are so ubiquitous in our “bigger is better” culture here in the USA!, USA!, USA!. I see this every single time I happen to be driving home on the Grand Central Parkway after visiting my lady friend in Queens. You are literally putting your life in your hands driving here in the United States with these aggressive drivers.
Doctor, could this be a form of unconscious programming in our competitive, warlike culture?

p.s. To al-Qa’bong: No offense taken. Just keep in mind that I’m the type of person that keeps to himself; makes it a point to be kind to people, animals, and insects; doesn’t look for trouble; but no longer takes any fuckin’ shit ( and never have believed in doing so but did for the longest time) at all from angry nasty people—many of whom seem to be drawn to me in public here on Long Island and the New York Metropolitan Tri-state area where I have lived my entire life. Chalk it up to diversity if you wish. I for one would rather stand up to someone who offends me, to the point of death if necessary. That’s how I feel at age 67.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

If I might help Indian, here’s a link to the Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

There’s what is called an executive summary—a summary for the policymakers—which might relieve Wafers of the burden of reading the whole report. (By the way, the report—in the version I saw—runs a couple of thousand pages.)

A couple of observations: (1). Stopping the heating will require cessation of the burning of fossil fuels; (2). Some believe that certain self-reinforcing feedback loops have already been set in motion that cannot be arrested, that will only exacerbate the ongoing progression of heating,

Some individuals—scientists among them—believe that the climate change “problem” can be solved because…well, technology. As one climate scientist has noted problems have solutions; we are in a predicament. There are no easy answers in the back of the book.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Removal of the rock shows that the black students at UW really understand what constitutes meaningful, substantive social change. Good for them! In addition, I understand that the admin at UW will be testing them to see if they can distinguish shit from Shinola.


A lot of yr questions and confusion can be cleared up if you realize that more than 98% of the American public consists of horses' asses. Suggest you keep yr nose down. Current phase of American history can be put in the category of Freud's Death Wish--and I'm not kidding.


The notion that all problems have solutions is part of the childishness of the American public.


3:29 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

This popped up today-

"Robert Kennedy on civil rights, 1963; A Spotlight on a Primary Source by Robert F. Kennedy"

(From the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History)-

You can read RFK's full report to the president by clicking links within the article.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Teigen said...

Overflow COVID tents pop up outside LBJ Hospital as delta pushes Harris Health near ICU capacity

Lovely though do we normally put the ICU out on the yard in a tent?
I think Gadhafi did that once

8:12 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

My candidate for a Wafer theme song

(This is the best, maybe only “advice” one can give)

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

THE MOST deluded prog nonsense I have ever heard in my life...and very grandiose to boot. The US Left remaking the world, acting as a savior??? How is this idea any different, really, than Reagan's idea of America as the world's savior, fighting evil wherever it reared its ugly head? This sort of thing is really's blind patriotism, the idea of America as the greatest nation that ever was. Seriously, what American left is rising up and improving anything? Biden tried to do some good things at first, but has mostly caved to the opposition which, in all fairness, he couldn't do anything about. Most of the Democrats are much further to the right than Biden is, meaning they really have no desire to improve anything to begin with. Black Lives Matter proved ineffectual, with its leaders amassing huge fortunes despite claiming to be Marxists.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Scattered items-

For the left behinders who are going to still need food and shelter in the US, there are resources worth following. I know, these won't rescue you, they are full of prog delusions, etc. But there are glimmers of small local ideas embedded in many of the grandiose plans. And face it, when the s**t hots the fan, it's the bike mechanics and electricians and mutual aid groups you are going to be looking to, not cultural critics.

@Joe McIInnen (sp?) I'll repost an article on pickup trucks. It was interesting to see Bloomberg publish something so critical of US culture-

On another note, Joe, waiting two hours while collecting stones in case a biker returns? The biker snapped for reasons that had nothing to do with you per se. Just because you were the least straw, don't take it so personally? The stressors in the US are huge these days; that any of us can hold it together is amazing in ways. Being killed by a Karen or Darren would be a rather inglorious end no matter how justified. As the saying goes, pick your battles wisely.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Most Americans have very short fuses these days. Tell someone to put on a mask, and you (literally) run the risk of being shot. Best strategy is to treat any American you meet as a potentially out-of-control buffoon. Fly under the radar, and get out while you can.


8:56 AM  
Anonymous Nelli said...

The new U.N. report confirms that a repeat of Obama’s climate denialism will doom humanity — and at least a few Democrats may finally recognize that.

“Suddenly America is like, the biggest oil producer. That was me, people…Just say thank you.” — Barack Obama, one month after the IPCC warned that fossil fuel emissions are creating a climate catastrophe threatening all life on the planet.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Theorist said...

From a suggestion here I watched both Barbara Kopple documentary films this week (internet is a good source). The films are documentaries about the KY coalminers, and Hormel meatpackers in MN, in the late 60s and early 70s.

Aside from what used to be the strong union oriention of the folks portrayed, its striking to see what they were fighting for some 50 years ago now.... in most cases its was for wages of $10 - 13 dollars an hour. This year we've seen the Democratic party fail to to raise the minimum wage to what these folks were fighting for 50 years ago.

What you see in the films is that when the relevant companies earned high profits (with Hormel it was 30 million profit in the most recent quarter), it emboldened them to cut (yes, cut) their workers' wages. You see how the larger umbrella / international unions would sell out the locals.

[The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.]

10:01 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Thanks Michael and James for links to the report. Some links to the natural disasters below. These are rather easy to find in news search, and there are many reports over days. Some snippets:

Germany floods:
China floods:
Siberia wildfire:
CA wildfires:
Heat dome:
Europe wildfires:

Frankly, it felt surreal noting that all of these happened (or still happening) in just the last couple of months. And the rationalists/progs among us are waiting for a techno-fix! Like someone from a space travel co was blabbering on CNN that without space travel we would not have known how fast our ice caps are melting. So it is worth it in spite of the IPCC report.

Let's count our years.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Grogan said...

US liberals’ hysteria outlives Trump

"The other alternative is to double down on what we might call liberal authoritarianism: to recoil in disgust at a country that doesn’t live up to our enlightened standards and dream up ways to require its people to accept authorised authority: to censor the utterances of these wicked Americans, to call down ostracism on them, to force them to accept our vision of the world.

Anti-Trump hysteria is often regarded as having been a progressive development, a rebirth of left politics, even. But it was also, potentially, the path to liberal authoritarianism. Four years of Trump hysteria have soured the liberals’ enchanted vision of the US. America, they tell us again and again these days, is a fundamentally wicked land. Economic reforms are a chump’s game. What America requires now, they say, is discipline."

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Wafers et al. Qsn:

How does one answer /respond when folks say: Americans "have" to hustle (or be hucksters) bc their 'country' does not have a health system, they have huge student loans/tuitions, no /few employment rights, day care expenses, costs for everything unlike other countries, etc.etc..They have to run around eeking out a living, and think abt money all the time....what would be a reasonable response to these statements?

Thank you.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Joe- Please be very careful when engaging Americans in anything. 98.7% of them can become uncorked at any time. Keep your nose clean and your head down.

Keep small talk or any required chatting to the bare minimum with US-ians. Most are not normal people and will attack when they feel their ego, "freedom," country/patriotism is being threatened.

They're sick and there's no treatment other than YOU becoming a NMI, an expat, or emigration to a non-Anglo-Saxon country.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Shit-

"Leave the country, shmuckface!" Also, I like it that you said 'eek' instead of 'eke'; 'eek!' seems like the appropriate response to our economic system. (Translation into Yiddish: vey iz mir)


It's a gd essay, but the work of a journalist, not an historian. What he fails to recognize is that America was in the grip of Manichaean psychology from the late 16C: the first settlers reacting against England as a decadent society. I trace this Manichaean heritage in a # of my writings. The consequence is that hysteria, and self-righteous excitement, is the norm in America, w/almost nobody pointing out that the problem is not this or that political position, but the fever behind it. The progs/woke people are nominally in charge now, and their politically correct zeal is everywhere to be seen. If these folks ever acquired real power, we wd have something like the former Soviet Union here, or at the very least, left-wing McCarthyism.

In the 50s, Whittaker Chambers switched from being a fervent communist to being a fervent anti-communist. "See how I've changed!", he declared to one of his friends. "No, Whittaker," the guy replied; "you haven't changed at all; all you've done is change sides."

Lincoln called on his fellow-Americans to "disenthrall" themselves. They ignored him completely. The problem is when you are empty inside--and most Americans are--hysteria is a way of hiding from that Void. So we lurch from hysteria to hysteria. The threat represented by (whatever) opposition is always 'cosmic'.

Thank you all for the refs and links documenting our self-destruction. We are heading for ecpyrosis.


12:24 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Dr. Berman -

Thomas Frank is indeed a journalist rather than a radical cultural historian, but in the former category he is surely one of America's best. While he does not delve into the Manichean psychology, as it were, few share his understanding of the political zeitgest in American politics over the past two centuries. His cataloguing of the blindness, delusions and myths that abound in both the liberal and conservative elite are always fascinating reads, at least to me.

Works like "What's the Matter with Kansas", "Wrecking Crew" and "Listen Liberal" are not WAFER-y in their conclusions, but he certainly gets closer to the root of the problem than most American journalists ever will.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I esp. liked "Listen, Liberal." The Kansas bk got severely criticized as supposedly based on erroneous data, but I never really explored it, pro or con. In any case, my pt is that journalists can only go so far; they tend to skim the surface, altho certainly there is gd and bad skimming. But journalistic analysis, no matter how gd, is not historical analysis, and to my mind, that is a serious limitation. To understand any culture, imo, you hafta dig deep. I don't see Frank doing that.


6:22 PM  
Anonymous Rose said...

A Vietnamese refugee served as one of California's inmate firefighters. Then the state gave him to ICE

Phi Pham was born in a Philippine refugee camp and came to the US as an infant. He faces deportation to Vietnam, a country he has never visited.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

Dan Daniel, regarding the giant trucks, you might get a kick out of this passage from Neal Stephenson’s dystopian novel “Snow Crash” (c.1992). Everything in America had been sliced and diced and sold off.

“This is America. People do whatever the fuck they feel like doing. You got a problem with that? There’s only four things we do better than anyone else – music, movies, micro code (software) and high speed pizza delivery. (Uncle Enzo’s Pizza – “You’ve got a friend in the Mafia”)… The Deliverator is a Type A driver with rabies. His car is an invisible black lozenge. A row of orange lights burbles and churns across the front, where the grill would be if this were an air breathing car. The orange light looks like a gasoline fire. It comes in through people’s rear windows, bounces off their rear-view mirrors, projects a fiery mask across their eyes, reaches into their subconscious, and unearths terrible fears of being pinned, fully conscious, under a detonating gas tank, makes them want to pull over and let the Deliverator overtake them in his black chariot of pepperoni fire.”

6:47 PM  
Blogger Xair said...


It is interesting to listen to the public conversations of American citizens. The level of ignorance is amazing. I say this to preface that today I was listening to two men discussing Andrew Cuomo and neither of them had a damn clue as to who succeeds Cuomo, or how that successor is chosen. This reminded me of the NY Post article from a few years ago.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Shenjingbing said...

American economist Jeffrey Sachs exposes the ugly truth about how the west is keeping Africa poor.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I highly recommend Frank’s latest book, “The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.”

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Lindsey-

I prefer not to host other blogs on this one. Thank you for yr understanding.


8:48 PM  
Anonymous door said...

A article that everyone should read is at the web site August8,2021 Titled "Can They Learn?Another U.S.Wargame Defeat"by Patrick Amstrong.Patrick Armstrong was a analyst in the Canadian Department of National Defence his whole bio is with the article.It basically covers the corruption of thinking in the U.S. miltary.The statement that stood out for me was "Washington officials are not noted for their ability to see things from the other sides point of view".It is just one more piece of evidence of U.S. decline. Thanks

9:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very good article, thank you. Why do we continue to lose wars? Here is Gore Vidal: "Americans never learn. It's part of our charm." And here is the GSWH: "What do you expect, when both the nation and the military are a collection of jackasses?" What the article makes clear is that we are stupid beyond belief. Choosing intelligent options is simply not part of our repertoire. So of *course* we're going down the drain.

Also see the article by Eric Zuesse on August 9th. Author starts out by saying: "Maybe, America will start to apologize for what it has been since 1945." He's referring to the US foreign policy of imperialism, of attempting to rule the world. I wd add: poisoning the world with an anti-human value system. But of course, rather than apologize for these 2 things, America will continue to pursue them.


10:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Time to change the motto on our legal tender. IN GOD WE TRUST is pure bullshit. I suggest: BUFFOONS OUT OF CONTROL. Following the argument made by Eric Zuesse, this accurately describes the US since 1945.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Xair- I've overheard similar conversations, where neither party has any idea of the facts. There's a lot of that type of talk around election time, when it becomes obvious that few Americans know the basics of voting and government (how the electoral college works, what the branches of government are, who their senators and representatives are, etc.).

And today I learned that my home state has decided that making students demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and math in order to get a HS diploma is unfair. What, exactly, are students doing all day in school then?

Onward and Downward

12:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


They play video games (seriously).


12:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


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


8:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This looks gd:

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Fletcher said...

This tree has seen Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Crusades, industrialization, 2 World Wars, 70s fashion, the revival of 70s fashion, and the beginnings of the digital age …

11:47 AM  
Blogger dermot said...

Regarding Yasha Levine & US decline in 30 years - I came here in 93 and ~30 years later (2022) will move back to Ireland. My US wife is DELIGHTED to get the hell out. It's shocking to have seen the relative decline of the US and the ascent of Ireland over this time. Between environmental disasters, riots, economic mayhem, guns, etc., game over man, game over.

Regarding anti-semitism & why: it's "socialism for fools".

By placing all the problems of capitalism on "THE JEWS", the intellectually sluggard anti-semite can imagine a perfect capitalism, if only the Jews / outgroups can be removed. No need to question capitalism's inherent horror. Capitalism: a rigged game of musical chairs with more players than chairs, in which the 'winners' are given a head-start and/or pre-assigned chairs, and in which losers are guaranteed by a negative sum system, even if all players work hard.

Anti-semite: the game would be great if all the Jewish players were gone.
Liberal: the game would be fairer if we could educate the slow runners to run faster.
Conservative: the losers should have trained better, they deserve to fail.
Green: let's make the chairs out of recycled plastic.

2:34 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Breaking the 24 hour rule because I noticed ANOTHER poster using an existing poster's name. I am NOT the foolish Dermot who thinks the left is 'fascist'. Dermot's not a common name, so I suspect bad faith actor / troll.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1000 apologies. Apparently there are too many dermots around. As for your characterization of socialism: actually, all it wants to do is redistribute wealth. Wh/wd be gd. But its core values--economic and technological expansion--are the same as those of capitalism. Little interest in environmental issues, or psychological ones. But sure, you'll be much happier in Ireland, w/o a doubt. Plus, while less than 0.1% of the American public can say who Michael Collins or Gerry Adams were/are, 100% of the Irish can tell you who FDR or Ike were.


4:53 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...


In my happy hunting groungds the earlier summer weather conditions were the warmer, fiery days...ecpyrosis did look to me to be a Greek term mispelled oncerning fires. A quick check with wikipedia onfirmed that:

And I got to thinking about the Hindu world cycles again, the kali yuga we are in, that whole circle to where we are now in the decline.

Great discussion going down in this thread. I've had no comments lately and I've been busy kicking moere lame lawyer butt. A one minute demolition is a new record for me, working pro se... as my farmer friend in Illinois told me this morning, be sure to have some fun! Thank you Fritz, I do.

Wafers and puppers rule!

5:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr post rather cryptic (kryptic?), but what the heck. As long as yr consuming yr daily quota of deli meats, I guess it's OK. Ecpyrosis can be spelled w/c or k, BTW. In a lot of the lit on it, I found c.


6:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As you all know, I am very impressed by the remarkable acumen displayed by the American people. If it's one thing they know, it's how to separate shadow from substance, shit from Shinola. They know that failing health care, a cruel economic system, military buffoonage, widespread opioid addiction and the like are not the real issues. Hence I was gratified to learn that millions upon millions of them are extremely excited abt the possibility that Ross and Rachel might be forming a romantic liaison (in real life). David Schwimmer has denied this, but the fever continues to build. Move over, Kim; yr buttocks are now a bit passe. For the foreseeable future, it's Ross and Rachel.


8:25 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Coincidentally, just yesterday I finished re-reading What's the Matter With Kansas?.

I thought Frank's analysis was quite helpful in understanding why the working class in the USA votes against its own interests. Moreover, the book explains why one comes across absurd internet comments about the "leftist elite" who control everything. Furthermore, despite being written over 15 years ago, and mentioning neither Donald Trump nor the ghastly Mrs. Clinton and her deplorables, Frank shows why Trump won the 2016 election.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You might wanna run down some of the reviews.


12:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think we've moved on from vaccine discussions. Let's focus on collapse of American empire. Thank you.


9:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:

I'm sure Jews were involved, somehow.


9:35 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Tom Engelhardt gets what I feel also is happening right now and does a very good job describing what is recently and presently happening over much of the globe. Insured collapse of the United States and the West in general, along with China and India may even happen in my lifetime (maximum 10-20 years).

10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think it was in 1986 that Doris Lessing did a program(me) on the CBC called "Prisons We Choose to Live Inside." She had a question: how is it, that knowing what we know about things that are destroying us, we choose to do nothing?" Future generations, she said, will be asking that question of us. I can't remember what her answer was, or even if she had one; but it *is* the crucial question of the day, even more urgently than in 1986. Something to ponder.


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Democritus said...

Hello MB. In the spirit of focusing on American collapse, seeing is believing:

Anti-mask parents surround and threaten pro-mask parents who attended a local school board meeting in Tennessee urging schools to enforce mask mandates. Just watch the first three minutes and listen to the screams and threats. You'd think their kids were being rounded up for shipment to an extermination camp. I could never imagine this happening at a meeting when I was a kid. One of the comments from a viewer sums up our decline: "These are also people who think sending kids to school in bullet-proof backpacks is a great idea, but a mask is tyranny." What a shitshow.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Playin' the rusty trombone dept.:

Deaven Russell, 43, was arrested after police caught him masturbating in the middle of Times Square:

Daniel Stephens, 30, arrested and booked for public masturbation in Beaverton, OR:


12:46 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Ordinary Indian- Although I wouldn't call the recent ascading disasters surreal- more just expected reality- it's a sense I have had for a few decades now. Learning about this crazy idea of CO2 causing global warming from a science teacher in 1972 to Reagan's 'Yes, baby Boomers, You can have your cake and eat it too' rejection of any limitations on US consumption to Clinton's absolute silence on the issue and abject capitulation to wall Street at what was really the last chance to stop the disaster. As the Rupert Read lecture posted above makes clear, we are done for- nothing in the next decade can stop the processes unfolding from 150 years plus of heat buildup. There is no drain plug to pull to let the heat go elsewhere. We are cooked.

For me, any doubts I had ended with the report from Germany that forests had lost 70% of their insect mass. Insects are central and vital to most ecosystems around the globe. A 70% reduction is an ecological collapse of huge proportions.

As @rosegarden's Snow Crash quote re trucks above says, Americans are selfish beyond belief and will not stop unless stopped by others. Interesting that Bin Laden and al Queda knew what was destroying the world- New York City Word Trade- although their reasons were so wrong and their approach so limited in ways. Let's hope the rest of the world acts, and more resolute and completely than a couple of planes.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Tonga said...

The Biden administration's handling of the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border continues to flounder as the massive influx of people illegally crossing into the U.S. remains at an all-time high, leading to overcrowding at holding facilities with COVID-19 still being an issue.

'This Is Lunacy': Frustrated Border Patrol Agents Take Pictures of Overcrowded Detention Facilities

1:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


These guys are symbolic. The entire nation is beating off, and so are they. This is also my reply to Democritus.


1:40 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

This point has been made before here, but I’ll also give my own words to it:
I like Thomas Frank; his “Listen Liberal” is genius-level in exposing and articulating the sociology and politics of the liberal professional class. But Frank is still what we refer to here as an “American”. For example, if you watch any interview where he talks about Obama, he will generally take the position that ‘I like the guy but I was disappointed in him'— that is even after spending several minutes articulating the ways in which Obama worked to expand corporate totalitarianism.
Why do I think Frank refuses to see Obama as what he was (a slick narcissist whose deliberate rightwing legacy led to Trump) is because Frank doesn’t want to face the cognitive dissonance of it. While he may criticize the liberal professional class, I think he still is in many ways culturally enmeshed in it. He lacks a full sense of earnestness, that “ontological sense” that makes one a responsible human being. IDK, just pay attention to how he laughs.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous down we go said...

This from NYRBks review of "The Delusions of Crowds" and "Boom and Bust" on origins of Group Think and mass illusions, which applies to Dems and Progs as much as Trumpis:
"in the complex world, imitation can amplify maladaptive behavior, allowing delusional beliefs to take hold." Like Hilary is operating a child sex ring in a pizza joint. We may soon hear that Cuomo was involved as well. Or that Trump won after all. Surely no intelligent person would believe that. But, oh yeah, millions of Americans want to believe that crap and could care whether the narratives are true. How can a democracy survive when millions of its people are willfully stupid?

We are also susceptible to engaging stories, especially narratives of fear. We prefer bad news over good. This tendency is used by TV News Networks and right wing radio shows to increase ratings - regardless of what one might hear, we want to hear the horrible things that are happening to others instead of ourselves.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Something I discussed a while back on this blog: the difference between ontological knowing and intellectual knowing. Which is one explanation of why, in the US, even the smart people are dumb. Frank, Chomsky, the whole crew of them: brilliant on one level, blind on another. Yr rt: these folks are true patriots, and they keep hoping against hope that the US can be saved. Not much different from Trumpi, altho the methods for saving America differ. Two things they never consider: one, why save Americans? These are not worthwhile individuals, and they carry a poisonous value-system w/them. To call them "goofballs" is actually being kind. 2nd, the historical record is that at a certain pt in an empire's history, the game is up; saving becomes a deluded fantasy. We passed that pt long b4 I wrote the Twilight bk; in a sense, my America trilogy is just a postmortem analysis. But these guys are ontologically feeble; they can't see what's in front of their noses: that the nation is a pile of shit, and that the train left the station long ago. In such a context, their patriotism is absurd. Sure, gd analysis; but to what end?


2:48 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


The anti-mask lunatics are engaging in projection and gaslighting when they accuse pro-mask people of tyranny. I mean, these people voted for Trump, an actual tyrant who didn't even try to conceal his desire to be dictator.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

It gets better with these anti-maskers. Here are a few snippets of what went on inside. Get a fun look at a few idiotic right wingers with their typical “freedom” or “liberty” words emblazoned on their clothing or written on signs. Further down in another short video, get a good laugh at a “patriot”—one “of the people”—demanding a vote recount seated along with a Trumpster in a Trump tee shirt.
Heaven forbid if a few Usains put their asses out of joint. This country is downright pathetic.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

I had an experience that I think perfectly sums up the dystopian nightmare of modern America. Just when I thought I'd experienced peak buffoonery, this exchange happened.

Me: "Look, this disease is no joke. I really want you to get vaccinated."
Other Person: "I don't want to talk politics with you."

Thank you, WAFers, for providing an oasis of sanity in a desert full of the deranged.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good one, but not clear why you are talking to Americans. Save energy, invest it in your emigration plans.


7:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

He's so full of shit dept.:

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd article in Aug. 2 New Yorker by Jill Lepore on Facebook: wh/she shows is vile, sick, and destructive--basically, a cancer on the body politic. It has done the country a huge amt of damage, according to her. Of course, as a declinist, I can only cheer Zuckershmuck on, and say to him: "Just keep doing what yr doing."


9:06 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Well, this Benjamin Kerstein fellow sure seems to be channeling the GSWH. I leave it to you to judge.

“I am struck by America’s extraordinary sense of invulnerability. An unthinkably blood civil war did not break it, nor did Pearl Harbor or even 9/11. America and Americans, by and large, think they are going to live forever.

From afar, however, you eventually realize that, just as no man is immortal, nor is any nation. But even Rome fell, and while the Jews and perhaps India and China appear to prove the possibility of perpetual existence, it is in the nature of existence itself that survival is by no means inevitable.

This disillusion has been much on my mind lately, as I gaze from this great distance at the country of my birth. Because from over here in Tel Aviv, it looks like America is in the midst of a crack-up.”

9:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd essay. I esp. liked this para:

"Legitimacy has been given to the idea that America may be finished, and that this may even be a good thing. No republic can survive if the vast majority of its citizens no longer believe in it, and it does seem that more and more Americans no longer believe in their republic."


10:15 PM  
Blogger Quercus said...

Here is an account of a book popular in China about American society from a Chinese perspective. It has not been officially translated and published in English, but this essay is based on an on-line translation.

More grist for the mill.


11:20 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Moron USian parents heckling schools boards and medical professionals discussing the wearing of masks in schools- after refusing to get vaccines in the first place. When you add in the millions who get their political 'analysis' from fools like Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Tim Pool etc., it's pretty mindblowing just how utterly stupid and ignorant so many USians are.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Darya said...

MB, are you familiar with the case of Yoshihiro Hattori? He was a Japanese exchange student who was killed in Baton Rouge while going to a party. He went to the wrong house & was shot to death. The guy who killed him felt he was in danger, despite the fact that Hattori was unarmed & rang the doorbell; therefore it was not a case of attempted robbery or break-in.

A classic case of the paranoia & bloodthirstiness of Amerikkkans. Given this nation's history, I'd say this shithole is reaping what it's sown

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Hadley said...

I'm a Luddite. You should be one too

5:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good ref, thanks. That hustling/materialism and extreme individualism have left us nihilistic and spiritually bankrupt is probably obvious to outsiders such as this author, but only to very few Americans. I liked the fact that he wasn't seeking to condemn, but only to analyze, objectively: this is where the US has arrived at. The only wrong note was his suggestion that when the crisis of America finally reaches a critical pt, Americans will be forced to reflect on the nature of their society. The fact is that that will never happen; Americans don't know how to reflect on anything, let alone on America. We *are* at that critical pt rt now, and what we shall do is keep doing what we are doing--which is to say, following the trajectory of self-destruction--and thus bulldoze ourselves into oblivion. (More billionaires in space, more daily massacres, more bubbas and wokes, more cruelty; WTF.) This is by now an historical process, underway whether you love America or hate it. Jesus, how many times can I say it? All empires come to an end, period, and we are now in the end time. The Chinese get it; Wafers get it; Native Americans get it; but the hi-IQ pundits at the NYT? Not a chance. We need a new acronym: IM's, Intelligent Morons.


It's certainly unfortunate that so many Americans are stupid and ignorant. But what makes it worse is that in addition to this, they are also douchebags. Again, this is not necessarily condemnation; it's just an objective fact: a huge % of Americans are douchebags. And it's a condition w/o a cure. Take a douchebag, beat him silly, give him electroshock, put him on a Haldol IV drip, give him therapy around the clock, and guess what? He'll still be a douchebag!


6:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, as far as the US goes, karma is the order of the day. But that certainly is an awful story. The thing is that fear permeates the country; most Americans are on edge, and they have pretty short fuses as a result. It says a lot that the killer got off scot free.

The incident is iconic of America, really. If you stand back, and objectively look at the US as a whole, it's hard not to have a sense of nausea.


As for the role of technology in American life, check out WAF ch. 3.


9:23 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Many thanks for that fine essay.

MB, Wafers-

Short Poem:

Dream World:

The day that Dylan went electric
Bubbe took me to a communist cell meeting
Did I ever tell you about my Uncle Lev?
We wore peace buttons on our coats
Drew "smiley's" on our books
Sitting beside me was a tiny Marjorie Taylor Greene
I told her that Jews will one day rule the world
And that that's cause for celebration
I sensed no predation in our filiation then
Back out on the streets
The world was psychedelic
And hippies wandered around
Where have all the beautiful people gone?
My ambition was to become President
But I didn't stand a Chinaman's chance
Darkly I gazed into the days ahead
Inside the furnace of the frailest equation
Aspish tongues pounded a cogitation in my brain
America, oh America, you must free Crystal Walraven!

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it. You provided no evidence at all. This is not a place for simply broadcasting opinions. We find that sort of thing unimpressive. (Note that other blogs--hundreds of thousands of them--have no such restrictions.)


Beautiful poem, but what ever happened to Crystal? Did she actually do time? As for Lorenzo Riggins, I hear he is CEO of a large food chain.


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Keen said...

Nice thread on the many weaknesses of Steven Pinker's treatise "Enlightenment Now"

5:18 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
Here was another sage like yourself who knew and pointed out just how dumb the American public actually is. This video was taken in 1996, a few months before his death.
A few quotes from him: “Less than half of American adults understand that the earth orbits the sun.” “Only about 25 percent of U.S. adults get a passing grade in The National Science Foundation survey about what people know about basic science.”
He also made the note that critical thinking is absent in this pathetic country. And with the rise of the Christian Right and the faith based initiatives of elected conservatives after his death, one can only wonder what he would think today in our further narrow-minded, dumbed-down culture if he saw the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Hello Dr. B and Fellow WAFers,

I just started reading this book. I'm not even 20 pages in and I'm already astonished at how much of Native life was diametrically opposed to Western expansion (philosophically speaking).

It's almost 100 years old and it's even MORE of a stark warning now than it ever was. The Oglala Sioux understood that we live at the mercy of Mother Nature. The pandemic is definitely showing that Americans are GOING to finally learn this lesson in the harshest manner possible.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. His sagacity, like my own, are beyond question.


6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, a classic work. But pls note that Americans aren't going to learn shit. Enlightenment is not part of our repertoire.


7:02 PM  
Blogger Truth Seeker said...

As Noah foresaw the great flood to come so does Professor Berman foresee the demise of the USA. The only difference is there will be no Ark to save rhe few.

8:08 PM  

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