January 01, 2022

Overdetermined: A Thought for the New Year

“Overdetermined” was a word coined by Freud. It referred to the convergence of factors that made personality, or neurosis, a sure thing. By age five, he argued, it was all over: what we were at five was what we would be at eighty-five. Of course, most of us evolve a bit, knock the rough edges off, manage to become a bit more mature. But fundamentally speaking, we remain the same person for all of our lives. “Overdetermined” suggests that serious change is nearly impossible, because coming from a number of sources, the various factors converge to “freeze” one into a particular constellation, as it were. Freud believed that his “talking cure” could effect such a change, but I’m skeptical of the notion that intellectual approaches to emotional problems can accomplish this. The result is that for the most part, we are who we are; the underlying structure remains intact.

Freud also argued, however, that neurosis could be a good thing. Self-transparency could work against us, render the “fixed” self unable to do its work in the world. In the same vein, Isaiah Berlin pointed out that if Van Gogh had had access to therapy, so that he might become a “well-adjusted” individual, it isn’t very likely that we would have the benefit of all of those stunning paintings—among the greatest art in the history of the world. “Normal” might not be such a positive thing, in short.

I sometimes consider my own situation, and realize that by the age of eight, if not before, I looked around me and decided I really didn’t want to be normal. America is the ultimate hustling, competitive, put-down society, and on a visceral level, I understood this. So unlike Frank Sinatra, I really did do it my way, and the result is a “career” that I’m fairly proud of. But there are costs to doing it your way, namely, that the creativity can emerge from a neurotic base (something I explored in the final chapter of Coming to Our Senses), and that you can expect to be alone. Oh sure, I have good friends, and have had a number of girlfriends; but in the end, you really are by yourself, if you take this path. But you take it because you are convinced that the alternative is much worse, and I am so convinced.

However, suppose you decide that you want to alter the trajectory of your life, which is to say, your destiny. I explored this in a collection of stories I wrote in 2010, Destiny. The first story (really a novella) concludes that any effort to make such a change is bound to fail. The second story says that change is possible, but that one would be faced with a lot of anxiety, as a result. And the third story asks the question: Why bother? I have thought a lot about all of these options.

Facts—the intellectual approach—are pretty much powerless against mythologies, and our individual mythologies are a big part of our destinies. There are by now a number of studies showing that when someone holds irrational beliefs, and is presented with hard evidence that disproves them, s/he will reject that evidence so that the neurotic constellation can be preserved. A typical (social) example is the religious cult that predicts the end of the world on a certain date. The date comes, apocalypse doesn’t occur, and rather than deciding that their belief system is a load of hooey, the “true believers” simply move the date ahead. One down side of this (among many) is that these types of groups rarely produce any Van Goghs.

In any case, at the micro, or individual, level, we all do this, so as to protect ourselves against change, and against any serious soul-searching. There is a gain in this, of course, but also (inasmuch as most of us aren’t Van Goghs) a very real loss: we wind up living mechanical, programmed lives, without even realizing it. Dialogue with others is not real dialogue; it’s just mutual affirmation of a common value system. In America, bubbas talk with bubbas, progs and wokes talk with progs and wokes, and very few people venture outside of their comfort zone.

Freud also pointed out that neurosis was hardly limited to individuals. Whole societies, he argued, whole civilizations, could be neurotic. And in such (macro) cases, the same stuckness applies. Some examples from my own experience:

My first book was a study of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and more generally, the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the development of science in England. It focused particularly on the most obvious feature of British life: hierarchy, and class society. But if it’s obvious, the British certainly don’t want it pointed out. The book remains a mainstay of graduate programs in the history of science, but beyond that, it made no difference whatsoever. There was no serious discussion, in its wake, of the nature of class society. Instead, a few scholars associated with the Royal Institution banded together to refute the claims of the book (a bit hard to do, given the mountain of footnotes and data I provided), and the result was a bit of a joke. Their book was about heat, rather than light (e.g., one writer called me a sixties counterculture person). Oddly enough, they never mentioned the name of my book (I guess they regarded it as hexed, or contagious in some way). If they had taken my argument (and that of many other critics) seriously, it could have possibly led to a public or media discussion of class society in England, and how damaging such social arrangements are. But no: let’s just take a defensive position, live in denial, and protect privileged arrangements at all cost. British institutions must remain sacred.

Of course, this national neurosis, amounting to institutions such as Eton, Harrow, and Winchester, was the backbone of empire, and helped to make England the de facto ruler of the world. For at least a century, the sun never did set on the British Empire. This was perhaps a good thing (unless you talked to Indians and other victims of colonialism), but the whole configuration finally worked against England, in a number of ways; and as the 20th century wore on, it couldn’t maintain its hegemony, and finally became largely irrelevant on the world stage. Yet class inequality didn’t change one iota; under Margaret Thatcher, for example, England, utterly unwilling to engage in any self-transparency, crushed its working class. No surprise, Freud would have said.

A second example: Japan. The most obvious feature of Japanese society is group consciousness and behavior, which has both positive and negative aspects to it. Hence the name of my study of the nation, Neurotic Beauty. But when it got reviewed in the Tokyo English-language newspaper, the Japan Times, it was clear that the Japanese media wanted to hear about the beauty, but not about the neurosis. The original reviewer, who was not Japanese, gave it a rave review (he told me). This got thrown out by his Japanese boss, who wrote his own (tepid) review, so as to preserve a positive self-image. Again, this was an opportunity for a country to examine its basic assumptions. (Not that I am its only critic.) As in the case of England, it chose not to do so. Japan limps along, not really able to solve its problems.

And finally, America. God, what could ever penetrate the American skull, whether that of its public intellectuals and so-called “critics,” or of the wo/man in the street? These “critics” are basically phony: at heart, they continue to say that America and its value system are more or less sound, and that we will pull out of our current downward spiral, reverse the trajectory. To take a hard look, as I did, at America’s most obvious feature—hustling, endless economic and technological expansion for its own sake—and to come to terms with it as being destructive and self-destructive: that just ain’t gonna happen. So, quelle surprise!, my work is almost completely invisible, I’m not on the radar screen of any intellectual discussion, and the country can and will continue to (inevitably) sink into the grave, by doing what it has been doing since age five, so to speak. “Change” in America consists of diversity appointments, tearing down statues, and “editing” Mark Twain—all window-dressing. It never goes to the heart of the matter, and there are no indications that it ever will. (The only real alternative to the hustling way of life is the world view of the Native Americans, and they are politically irrelevant.)

It’s worse elsewhere, of course. Write a serious critique of Russia, or China, and if you are a citizen of those countries you could get yourself killed. Journalists in Mexico are routinely bumped off. Those few in England, or Japan, or the US, who write such critiques don’t get killed; they just get marginalized and ignored—killing of a different sort, I suppose. Killing of a voice—and of an opportunity.

I realize this is pretty deterministic. I’m saying that for the most part, individuals don’t change, and that countries or civilizations never do. As W.H. Auden famously put it, “We would rather be ruined than changed.” Historically speaking, however, change does occur: we are not hunter-gatherers anymore, or living in the Middle Ages. And we are certainly better off in some ways as a result of that cultural evolution. But it seems to me that we are also worse off in certain ways, and that as a planet, we are not headed in a healthy direction, even leaving the question of climate change aside. Technology and its associated values are doing us in, and the resistance to this trajectory is pretty feeble. How, then, does change occur?

Let me give it to you in a word: pain. On the individual level, a person changes when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing. Then s/he will make the leap, as in the second story of Destiny. Then s/he will seek therapy, say to the therapist: “I’m suffering. My life is a mess. I need to get to the bottom of this, and try to become a different person.” Of course, change might not necessarily occur, but if it does happen, this—intolerable suffering—is ultimately the starting point on the road to a better life.

And for nations? No such luck, I’m afraid. Arnold Toynbee, many years ago, chronicled how every civilization rose and fell, and in the falling stage did precisely those things that got them into trouble in the first place. Change can come, but only after the system crashes, the point at which it becomes impossible for these countries to keep doing what they’ve been doing all along. In the case of America, it will fall apart, perhaps into separate sections of the country (via secession), and this might offer the hope of some regional rejection of the American Way of Life, which has become, truth be told, a Way of Death. This is probably a few decades down the line, but as far as I can see, it offers the only glimmer of hope possible. Dum spiro, spero, wrote Cicero: As long as I breathe, I hope.

©Morris Berman, 2022


Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

MB and Wafers,


A good documentary about a Qanon fanatic who descended into madness and murdered his own children...to protect children from a global cabal of Satanic pedophiles that doesn't exist. America might be a fascistic shithole, but at least it's #1 in lunacy.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Happy New Year MB & Wafers,

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity
By Carlo M. Cipolla, illustrations by James Donnelly

Sometimes I wonder if ignoring evidence in favor of irrational beliefs is stupidity, suicide, or both. The rise of Trump is showing us that when a large section of the population believes that ignoring reality is a meaningful choice to be made, communication becomes impossible and secession seems like the only way forward. I really can’t imagine that anyone still believes in the American dream at this point. The American dream is dead. We should have a proper funeral for it and get on with the business of living instead of killing each other, killing ourselves and destroying the planet. I never imagined that a whole country could be psychotic, and yet, here we are, getting worse every day with no hope of serious change in sight. The destructive power of stupidity should not be underestimated. If the Native Americans had known what they were dealing with when the first settlers arrived in America, I wonder what kind of world we would have today.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It is well said that it would have been better, if instead of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock would have landed on them. Here is America in a nutshell (this link courtesy of the new president of Evergreen College, our friend and colleague Jack L., who is busy firing faculty and admin as we speak):


America is certainly psychotic; it's also a joke. As for the Dream, the bubbas believe Trumpi will restore it for them. Finally, there *is* serious change in sight: it's called massive collapse. Nothing unserious abt that!


This is a tragic and horrible story, beyond imagining. How awful, those poor innocent children. I have often said that the end game wdn't be pretty; here's a gd example. As America spins out of control, and deep into the cesspool of its own making, I fear we are going to see more of this kind of thing.


4:27 PM  
Blogger Quercus said...

Dear MB:

I am intrigued by what Freud said regarding our basic personality being in place ("over-determined")by the age of five.

I have some memories of being five (Kindergarten, etc.) and possibly my personality was already formed my that time, but I am not sure. Earlier than that are vague impressions from that mostly dreamlike state of infancy. Of course the nature vs nurture arguments come into play, is this the essential "self" or "soul" we are born with or have we already been culturally molded, if unconsciously, during the earliest years of childhood? Undoubtedly some of both.

This begs the question: Can people who been deeply damaged psychologically before the age of five ever recover?

Where does Freud discuss this and are there other references on the subject?

Many thanks,


4:47 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Well, Happy New Year everyone. I hope...

Miles the Fusspot

ps: short poem

Tell me Tulsi:

Tell me, Tulsi, sugared nonsense.
Repeat the same words,
Until my logic surrenders
To your clinging cliches.

Tell me foolish dreams.
Please, Tulsi, take me so far away,
Anywhere you wish.
Let me enter your hidden world.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

You are all worried about nothing. The answer is simple- drugs. Trauma? Mushrooms are an effective treatment. Many articles out there, such as this one which focuses on the money-making possiblities (of course!!)-


And if it works for octupuses (pi?), it should be good enough for Americans. Imagine if whole towns and cities consumed MDMA at once? Don't the creatures sound like most Americans, hiding out, looking for food and sex and nothing more? (they sound like prime candidates for smart phones, in case anyone has an in at Apple's marketing department.)

"When the California two-spot octopus isn’t attempting to bring more eight-legged cephalopods into this world, it... spends most of its time hiding or searching for food, asocial males avoiding asocial females until their biological clocks say it’s time to partner up. That is, until they are on MDMA..."


so lighten up and enjoy the ride.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Whose worried? Not us, nor Alfred E. Neuman. Wafers, like Blake, live in eternity's sunrise. As for octopi: if they are Jewish, it's octopim for the males and octopot for the females. Sorta like bubbim and bubbot. On Molly check out "The Hero" (Sam Elliott, 2017).


I think the entry is via her workout tape. Anyway, in the Chinese calendar this is the year of the Tiger, but as I'm not Chinese, I proclaim it The Year of Tulsi. It will be in 2022 that Americans will at long last embrace Tulsism, and enter a fully enlightened state.


Well, this wd involve a very extended discussion. The Jesuits believe that it's all over by age 7, but studies done at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY in 2016 show that memes, such as depression, can actually be inherited (thus validating Lamarck, to some degree). In other words, there are not only influences operating from 0 to 5, but there are also things such as hereditary trauma that can be passed on genetically 2u b4 u were even born. Talk abt being fucked!

But schools of recovery include therapeutic techniques such as EMDR and TRE (google these). I dunno how effective they are, however. Also check out Bessel van der Kolk.

Camus said that our earliest memory (1st conscious moment) was the template of how our lives will play out. It usually occurs between ages 2 and 3. Mine was almost exactly at age 2.5, and in my case, Camus was rt.

I usta give psychology workshops and had people draw their first conscious moment, and also their first Transitional Object (Winnicott). It was not uncommon for members of the group to start crying. That's how powerful this stuff is. "Know thyself" is the most impt thing a person can do in this lifetime, imo. The brutality of Americans is the result of this population not knowing a thing abt themselves, and not wanting to know. This is why they lay their trips on others, why they hafta destroy Iraq, Vietnam, etc. etc.--it's a way of compensating for the grief of not knowing themselves, and it doesn't work. It's also why they hate their lives, wh/they find meaningless--an accurate perception, I'd hafta say.

Other refs: check out CTOS ch. 1, and the ftnotes.

Good luck!


7:04 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Be reminded that Freud's talking was just the beginning of the valuable work of being able to emotionally relive early childhood experience, not mere calmly talking about them with adult emotions. It is touching on early experiences that make adults connect to works of art that point to early happiness and pleasures.

This relates to the current American mood, a mood of perpetual discontent and displeasure stemming from the loss forever of what
joy was found in childhood. Note how often you hear "community" as
a substitute for the family as a source of security and warmth. Try
finding them in dumb jobs and the joy of shopping with a credit
card. I fear such frustration can only lead to growing violence as
an attempt to return to early days.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wd be gd if u cd reference some of that 'valuable work'. Are you thinking of Reich, for example, or Winnicott? My own experience of working w/adults on early childhood experiences avoided Freudian intellectuality or 'calm talk' by having group members draw images of the experiences w/crayons. As I said, this 'kindergarten activity' really pulled the plug, in many cases. Re: Americans in dumb jobs and malls: Americans are broken people, what we wd hafta call the walking wounded. One thing I did while writing CTOS was sit in shopping malls day after day, observing the body language of the people who walked by. That told the whole story: sadness, or the attempt to cover it up.

Freud did talk abt "abreacting" emotional experiences, but it wasn't his focus.


9:17 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Since I am a psychotherapist, I’ll pitch in my thoughts on the topic of Healing. It’s not possible to achieve 'complete purification'— in the sense of shedding all of one’s pain to no longer have past traumas/deprivations affecting oneself. The reason is that to do that, you’d no longer be who you are (the past is an unsheddable part of one’s individual ontology or “personhood”). What is possible, is to change one’s relationship to the past so that the past is less limiting/painfully-impinging on the present/future. One can ameliorate the cuts, bruises and even fill in what was deprived in the self; but one cannot change much the basic outline/temperament of the self.
Clinical trauma (if not too severe) can be recovered from to the point where a person stops getting daily flashbacks, intrusive thoughts etc. Even people with a “Borderline Personality disorder” can heal/grow to the point where they won’t split between good/bad and can maintain intimate relationships to others; that largely depends on the client's willingness and on a good therapist who is able to work with the client’s unconscious or “bodily level” of being.
Significant healing/growth on the embodied personality level is not easy; it is harder than learning a new language and it is a slow process. As it regards the body and trauma, I second Dr. Berman in saying that “the Body Keeps the Score” is really good. One way for Wafers to experience bodily level connection/healing/growth first hand, with not too much difficulty, is to try Eugene Gendlin’s “Focusing Practice”. Aside from a therapist, he was also a brilliant philosopher of the body.
3 links:
-Theory/Philosophy of the body: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXp11zpK95M
-Book: https://www.amazon.com/Focusing-Open-Deeper-Feelings-Intuition-ebook/dp/B004CLYCSO
-A Guided Focusing Practice (best one I could find on YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dswp0_WpMuA

9:31 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman & Wafers,

The media always mention by name the first born babies of the new year. Here’s a suggestion. In the true spirit of the Dysfunctional States of America, the first deadly casualties of mass shootings should be named. Also, the recipients of the first deadly force our paramilitarized cops use should be thrown in for good measure.





9:41 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

On the cusp of 2022, more of nothing in the US empire.


10:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For a dying nation, all of this is an appropriate way to usher in the new yr, I guess. Citizens die; nation dies; end of story. All is drowned in violence, corruption, and stupidity.


"Body Keeps the Score" is by Bessel van der Kolk. Another impt work in this genre is "Depression and the Body," by Alexander Lowen (bldg on the work of Wilhelm Reich).


11:00 PM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

Talk about "neurotic constellation" being preserved by denial and
irrational faith in happy factoids. At the center of this
constellation is a black hole of ignorance and stupidity holding
the whole shittery together.


3:35 AM  
Anonymous Orca said...

Regarding change, years ago I came upon the maoist (and lenenist) concept of self critique and I concluded that it was a very powerful tool for change, after all it was the corner stone of most religions and revolutionary movements. But it rarely works, I think because our subjective experience is erronous. We live in a system that makes us strangers from ourselves in order to survive. Dr. Berman mentioned pain, and I think that this estrangement from the self, coupled by drugs, alcohool and reality TV are ways to escape pain. Even out value systems which are functions of the social system force us to value pain and seek no change. We value heroic efforts in face of adversity, we value warriors and the warriors ethos, we even value pain itself, as they say "no pain no gain". We are encouraged to endure rather change.

We are escaping change by either dulling our feelings or glorifying the pain.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Say, Cosmo, is "...the most sustained attack on the seat of American democracy since the War of 1812" a reference to the British burning down the White House after those yankee assholes invaded us?

By the way, "American democracy" is an oxymoron.

Bonne année

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Mila said...

"The honour goes to Italy. Not for the prowess of its footballers, who won Europe’s big trophy, nor its pop stars, who won the Eurovision song contest, but for its politics..." I am hopeful for Chile, which may draft a new constitution


11:19 AM  
Anonymous Unproductive Doomscrolling said...

Thank you, Professor Berman, very insightful. As someone living in Canada, I do have a question for you: how do you see the decline and eventual break-up of the United States affecting Canada? Not just Canada, but Mexico too, where you live? Both Canada and Mexico are very tied to the United States through supply chains that are next to impossible to untangle except at great cost.

While I do think the decline of the US empire would enable a lot of people in the global south to pursue liberation, which is currently suppressed by US foreign policy, there's no doubt it's going to be a painful transition for Canada and Mexico.

I started worrying about the break-up of the US in 2018 and was told by several friends and family members that that was crazy, America would "pull through". no one is saying that now, though I find the most common response is people just don't want to talk about it, the consequences for Canada would be far-reaching (i.e. denial). How is this subject approached in Mexico?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, but there's a small problem of a paywall.


Merci bien. Always gd for Americans to have an outside pt of view. They need it badly.


12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Those are gd questions. Unfortunately, but largely for economic reasons, most Mexicans are oblivious to the disintegration of the US. It still remains the Promised Land, where the streets are paved w/gold. And yr rt: 80% of goods manufactured in Mexico are sold on American markets. As for Canada, the situation is a bit different, but the US economy remains closely tied to the Canadian one. What you need to realize is that the end of America, wh/is happening as we speak, is an ongoing process. Think of that famous analogy of the frog being slowly boiled alive in increasingly hot water. Nor did Rome collapse at 4pm, Aug. 26, 476 A.D. It's possible that America will end w/a bang instead of a whimper, and I'm sure there will be a few more bangs ahead of us, such as 9/11 or 2008. But the crucial process is one of steady erosion, or what has been called (in the case of Rome) the "death of a thousand cuts". You see this every day that you go online and read the news. What the governments of Canada and Mexico, not to mention captains of industry, are doing is rolling w/the punches (or cuts). Sure, it wd be total chaos if the US imploded in a week, but that's not a likely scenario. Even as secession gets going, it's not going to be a sudden, linear process. Think of Jerry Seinfeld's analogy w/the breakup of a relationship: it's like tipping over a coke machine. You hafta rock it back and forth a # of times before it goes over.

Still, I do think there will be an external Suez Moment, as England had in 1956, when it became clear that "Rule, Britannia!" was rather hollow. China is relentlessly moving into the No. 1 space on the planet, and as the Chinese are smart, and Americans stupid, hegemony will surely pass to them (2030 at the latest). But that still will not amount to a sudden economic crackup for America. Rather, it will slowly drift away into irrelevance. And I can tell you this: when that Suez Moment occurs, and when it is clear to all that for all intents and purposes, America is finished, 98% of the people of the world will be dancing in the streets--perhaps even in Canada and Mexico. (Gee, I wonder why.)


1:50 PM  
Anonymous Tomomi said...


Angela Merkel Governed Germany to the Left of Bernie Sanders: Why Don't Americans Know?
Germany just replaced Angela Merkel: Why does the American press insist on calling her a "conservative"? Does this show how little US reporters know @ how average people live in Germany/Europe?

Why don't they know? They are incurious and don't care.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That, for sure, but also: they have shit for brains. No hyperbole here: in the entire history of the world, there has never been a population as stupid, and as clueless, as Americans.


2:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I appreciate the sentiment, but pls be advised that I don't post Anons or Unknowns on this blog. To participate, you need a real handle. Thank you for yr cooperation.


4:41 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


Truly creepy. One has to wonder how many Americans fantasize about going postal.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

I reply to MB by mentioning that Freud's "valuable work" has always
meant his maxim, "Where there is Id, let there be ego." This means
that one's self-understanding can come only from uncovering the roots
of his personality as the consequences of early experiences when the
Id (basic drives and emotions before repression) were in control.
Titles to be read are Freud's An Outline of Psychoanalysis and New
Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Otto Fenichel The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis; Anna Freud The Ego and the
Mechanisms of Defense; Jones The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I'm quite sure that Freud's valuable work cannot be boiled down to one sentence, or one item. Yr citations are fine, but check out the Standard Edition of his work: 24 volumes. In any case, yr original post on this sounded like you were referring to the work that took off in the light of his own, e.g. Reich or Winnicott or Klein or etc. If that *was* what you were talking abt (but apparently not), then I agree, the man opened the door. Anyway, this seems like a non-discussion.


8:57 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

There are many things one can "do" with neurosis, including (in the most common instances) repressing it, or converting it into symptoms, or projecting it onto other targets (people, things, and institutions.) For the most part, these "defense mechanisms" work rather well; it was never Freud's purpose to do away with them altogether, since they constitute the warp and woof of creative sublimations, the very things MB admires in Van Gogh. But one must remember that sometimes the cost is a hefty one. Van Gogh's most creative period only lasted only two years, and then he was gone. American society, deep down, is unconsciously aware that it is powered by hustling, and defends against the realization of this fact by projecting its conflicts outward onto the world, where other nations oblige by playing the roles we assign to them. That is what made the Soviet Union, in the words of psychonalytic anthropologist Howard Stein, a "good enough" enemy. The USSR represented the split-off and projected elements of Americans "negative identity," that is, the identity made up of repressed communitarian ideals and dependency wishes. In return, we got to pretend that our other identity -- our "positive" one -- with all of its emphasis on false bravado and contrived individualism, the identity was sought to keep as our own. But the bargain always depended on the existence of the good enough enemy to soak up the disavowed and opposing elements within ourselves. Now we lack a workable external enemy, and the negative identity we used to project onto others has come home to roost. Thus the political animosities and divisions that show every sign of intensifying in the lead-up to the 2022 and 2024 elections. Recognizing our problems for what they are -- our problems -- will not be easy; in fact, it probably isn't possible. And so we find our neighbors to the north, in Canada, wondering what they should do when the United States finally wobbles and tilts into complete dysfunction. Will they intervene? More importantly, will they accept refugees? And what about Mexico, especially now that they have decided to cut back on, if not eliminate, the 180-day tourist visa by means of which so many of our compatriots have escaped the raw, cutting edges of a machine spinning out of control? Time will tell. Charles "The Wafer Anthropologist" Nuckols, Provo, UT.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I appreciate yr reflections and observations, but need to say a few things abt presentation on this blog. But first, let me say that you have failed to understand my view of Van Gogh, or the type of creativity he represents; for which I refer you to the last chapter of CTOS.

As for presentation: in future:

1. Instead of sending in a large block of text, wh/is a bit difficult to read, break it up into paragraphs. At the same time, make sure you don't exceed the half-pg limit.
2. Provide links or reliable refs for yr argument. Who is Howard Stein, for example, and what has he written?
3. Same goes for yr take on negative identity etc. While I basically agree w/u, it cd be relegated to the category of pure opinion. In short, some refs for this analysis wd also be helpful.

Thanks for yr understanding, and hope all is well in Provolone.


10:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers check it out:


10:24 PM  
Anonymous zaniwal said...


I've really liked getting into the work of Mark Solms, whose work fuses psychoanalysis, psychology, and the frontiers of theoretical neuroscience. Freud opened a lot of doors!

The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness

11:27 PM  
Blogger Sorry Im Normal said...

Professor Berman, regarding psychotherapy it has also been absorbed by the American cult of hustling. In the book: We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy – and the World's Getting Worse Hillman and Ventura explained in the early 90s that we've had a century working of the 'self'.

Therapy in America is first and foremost a way to marginalize and gaslight victims of abuse. Just as Freud was pressured to create the Seduction Theory, to cover up for abuse perpetrated by the rich and powerful. This is documented in the book Against Therapy by Masson. Prof. Masson was former head of the Freud Archives. After 23 years of therapy myself, I'm worse off. Therapy being a lie is a microcosm of how fake American society is as a whole. All that awaits at the end of the rainbow is poverty and broken promises.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Masson is not a reliable critic. This was discussed ad nauseam many yrs ago in wake of his "Assault on the Truth." Most reviewers agreed that it was Masson who was assaulting the truth. In any case, of course America turns everything into hustling, and psychoanalysis is no exception. Freud referred to the US as "a gigantic mistake." Sehr richtig!

I'm sorry yr worse off, but I'm guessing you did a strictly Freudian thing, wh/finally won't work because it's basically intellectual in its approach. Reich, Jung, Object Relations therapy, Gestalt, etc.--all that wd probably have helped u. Of course, it depends on getting a decent therapist (there are a few around).


Looks gd, thanks for the ref. As for Freud opening doors: true, but one thing sticks in my craw: How a Jew cd fail to mention the healing properties of pastrami is simply beyond me. I can't forgive him for that. The Standard Edn of his work, 24 volumes (in English), contains not a single ref to chopped liver or deli meats. Ein Skandal, eine Schande!


11:53 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian said...

This gets straight to the root of the problem, into the territory that most American commentators unwilling to go.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you, but pls note that this blog is not a bulletin board; it's a forum for discussion. In future, pls provide something more substantial, and specific. Elaborate, in short.


1:09 AM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

In reply to al-Qa'bong, the next great assault on American demockery
was the 1963 march on Washington when nonwhites had a complaint about
how American history mistreated them. See for yourself in this video.


3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...


Finally some people in my country are starting to write about what may be coming to Canada as the US collapses into fascism. Everyone I talk to about this looks away or tells me I'm nuts.

Anybody thinking of moving here should think long and hard and look elsewhere

4:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As for the people you talk to: keep in mind that they are clueless buffoons. This might enable u2 relax a bit.


You come late to the party, I fear; this is something we have talked abt b4. This was hardly an assault on democracy; it was an attempt to get *into* democracy, into the system and the American Way of Life *as it is*. To get a larger share of the pie, not to destroy the pie, or to change the system in any way. B4 he died, MLK apparently said to Harry Belafonte that he had the feeling that he was "herding his followers into a burning church." Who wd want a larger share of a rotten pie?, he effectively said.

Of course, the establishment understood this; they knew that MLK and all of those folks on the Mall were no threat to the system at all. Indeed, they were a *boon* to the system. This is why RFK, who was then Atty-Genl, had the Signal Corps of the Coast Guard make sure all the microphones were working properly, so that MLK's message could be heard by everyone. The US Gov't treated the Black Panthers rather differently.


7:45 AM  
Anonymous Lawrence said...

Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen


8:15 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

1) Dr. Berman, how do you avoid the despair and the nihilism that comes from knowing too much? I know much less than you do and already it is painful to be disillusioned constantly, and hope-killing to know the ugliness of the world and the futility of convincing the masses of any sort of profound truth.

2) Kinda disturbing: US Delegates discuss Police Scotland de-escalation tactics. At 0:43, as the American delegates are watching the non-violent way Scottish police de-escalate a situation, one of them says that if that suspect was doing that in America he'd get shot, and then another American agrees with him. Just look at the sheer glee in their faces and voices.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Regarding #1: Gore Vidal once remarked that "stupidity excites me." I feel the same way. You watch an entire nation shooting itself in the foot, and from a certain vantage pt, it's hilarious. You watch Joe's links of Karens in action, and frankly, these are very funny people. You watch progs and wokes turning into fascists, and the irony is over the top. In addition, as America continues on its suicidal course, you know that there is a silver lining: finally, it will not be able to continue on with its imperial rape of other countries, its genocide, and its promulgation of false values. As I said earlier, once it collapses, 98% of the globe will be dancing in the streets.

In addition, if I have no hope for the US, I am optimistic about the human spirit. It always comes back, it always prevails, and there will always be Wafers and fellow-Wafers to pursue that path (see E.M. Forster, "What I Believe"). The wheel of karma turns; as the US goes down, perhaps the values of the Native Americans it murdered will rise up. One can only hope.

Finally: there really is so much beauty in the world, despite it all. And I'm not talking about great things, such as Van Gogh's paintings (altho, not to exclude them). I sit in a cafe in Mexico City, having my breakfast, as I just did, omelette/toast/cappuccino, then saying "Buen Provecho" to the ladies at the next table, and I say to myself: It doesn't really get better than this, does it? I go back home, and the sun streams into my living room...you get the idea.

Re: #2: the glee of American murderers: I find it fascinating. I also know that this poison in the soul is part of our decline. In the end-game, the nation generates trash, and basically becomes a large garbage can. Sick, of course, but possibly an integral part of our failure as a nation and as a people. From a larger pt of view, the nation can't really help itself, and so I find myself, as an historian, looking at it at a distance: this is the way of the world. Of course, not the entire world. Himanshu, who occasionally posts on this blog, sent me a book called "Being Different", about Hindu civilization, wh/is mostly a critique of the Western way of being--its Manichaeanism, its rigidity, and its being trapped in dilemmas it cannot solve. It's a real eye-opener; I highly recommend it. Of course, most Indians have not escaped the traps and illusions of phony narratives either; but a few do. They have Gandhi; we have Thos Merton. There is no question that great souls will be marginalized and ignored, but they do constitute a tradition, and I think it's worthwhile to try to be part of that tradition, to the extent that we can. As one wise old pope remarked, many centuries ago, "We can't all be St. Francis." Yet anyone, potentially at least, can be a Franciscan (in the secular sense), it seems to me.


12:05 PM  
Anonymous Albert said...

Your view fits the 'religious' view held by some, that 'demons' control this world (per Jewish/Christian book of Enoch), everyone is predestined, reincarnation is the norm, and there's nothing you can do about it. It seems the only real purpose or 'salvation' if you will, is to see this reality for what it is. Concepts such as 'sin' are meaningless, like how 2nd Temple Judaism thought of 'uncleanness' as the default state of things. Evolution & consciousness just leads to seeing realty for what it is.


The Calvinistic/Gnostic/Cathar/Manichaean views of extreme determinism makes sense. I'm not sure if Hindu & Chinese philosophy thought the same. Almost seems like this is some kind of dream world, that we're being controlled by some higher being(s).

1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You have completely misunderstood, and misrepresented, my views. I wdn't know where to begin, to set you straight. And I certainly don't believe that demons control the world, or that we are living in a dream. But--think what you want, amigo! It's your perception, after all.


2:02 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@MB I seriously thank god I’m not as confused as Albert. Everyone I know believe Wafers are insane so I never say much. This forum is the only place I’ve felt comfortable expressing my views and it would b hell if they came out sounding like poor Albert! (no need to publish if this is off topic or mean)

3:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I didn't feel it wd be rt to block his post, but it did take my breath away. "Confusion" is putting it mildly. Americans never cease to amaze me, really. I lay things out as clearly as possible, it goes thru an American brain, and comes out completely twisted and off-base. Madre de Dios! Albert, you probably need a different blog, one suited to yr unique perceptions; but in the meantime, I shd say that my religious sentiments are mostly w/Buddhism, not w/Calvinism or Western religions; and if you do want to know what I believe, you might check out E.M. Forster's essay, "What I Believe," and story #2 in my book "The Heart of the Matter." But I do encourage you to scan the blogosphere for a different venue. Best of luck.



3:50 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

In trying to deal with difficult people, I tried to go “gray rock” and ultimately had to go “no contact.” Several family members were condescending, misogynistic, engaging in rage, acting with no boundaries, gaslighting, etc., and one was dangerous with firearms. You know, typical USAians, that others view as “normal.” I found healing help from Dr. Les Carter. He is a very gentle, caring soul who wants you to be the best you. In this clip he pulls out all the stops. I think his message will sound familiar to Wafers.

A Narcissist’s “Stupid And Proud Of It” Syndrome

Dr. Carter has noted that you can not change the person (don’t live on that hope), but you can get yourself help.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

What Einstein and quantum mechanics did to Newtonian physics, Freud
did to traditional psychology by examining below the surface. His
first major work was on dream interpretation, wherein he applied his
maxim, "Where there is Id, let there be ego." For further evidence of
this, do see:



7:13 PM  
Anonymous Rockwell N. Role said...

Have a spare room available for recent arrivals from Used S of A.


7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Kind of a broken record. Again, that maxim is hardly all of Freud. As I said earlier, this is probably a non-discussion, so I'll just leave you to it.


1st, I appreciate the fact that he refers to such people as stupid. Most of the US, I'm guessing, wd qualify. I'm not convinced Marjorie Taylor Greene is all that unusual. But in terms of treatment, he overlooked the best approach: beating the person senseless and then throwing him or her on a dung heap. While this won't do much for them, it will make you, the beater, feel a whole lot better.


7:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Shit, I predicted that in 1989 (CTOS). Did I get a Presidential Medal of Honor? No!


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

What USians considered "news"--US empire fast "food" imperialism in the UK:


A Brit dipshit (redundant) "researched" the first Popeyes (US empire fast "food" chain) and learned how to make the chicken sandwich that "broke" the internet...

"I added two pickles to the bottom bun, followed by a piece of buttermilk fried chicken. The employee said that if the chicken has a curved shape, place the curved side on the bun so that it fits nicely."

Because Brits and USians had similar mindsets, maybe the "journalist" should get a copy of Dr. Berman's First Edition of the Philosophy of Tulsi, Volumes I-III; this would be a wonderful complement to her 'research' into US chicken sandwiches, of course, in addition to Marklism and Hats: A Journey into Douchebaggery.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What can I tell you? You actually think I'm a Gnostic, or a Manichaean. Honestly, you sound a lot like Marjorie Taylor Greene; all that's missing is the Jewish space lasers. She, too, talks as tho she has scrambled eggs in her head. Pretty scary, in its own way. Anyway, gd luck on yr search for a different blog; I jus' know yr gonna knock 'em dead.


9:48 PM  
Anonymous Chuck Steak said...

WAFers contribute to buy one-way ticket for Trump's extradition?


10:33 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

(Apologies Wafers, more psychobabble below, I'll cool off after this)
Sounds like you went through ‘the Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) looking glass’. Something I have been thinking about as of late, is how much the psychoanalytic description of NPD parallels American culture.

NPD is one potential adaption that the human organism can enact to guard against shame. NPD differs from other types of defensive personality organizations, in that it is characterized by a core emptiness. Why is that so?… because the NPD defense, in essence, consists of replacing a potential or actual “authentic self”, with a “grandiose false self”— a false self that is made up of a collage of what the “shaming-sadistic parent” and society’s super-ego deems as being “superior”. A crucial point: Narcissists ARE their pathology; there is nothing (practically) there other than the image, the collage, the Mercedes Benz parked in the driveway and the “good looks” of working at a high paying job. It's also a spectrum ranging from less severe to more severe; Extreme narcissists (AKA Sociopaths) also begin to actively have a need to hurt other people to fill up that emptiness. If you constantly create yourself upon what others think is “good”, “superior”, “better” and constantly negate your vulnerable and (sometimes) unflattering authenticity, then one ends up empty.

Typical counter-transferences when working with NPD clients consist of feelings of boredom, invisibility and insult. I recently attended a psychoanalytic conference and a famous speaker there said that psychoanalysts have been noticing an significant uptick in narcissistic pathology in the last several decades.

So doesn’t it sound like American culture is largely an NPD swamp; the perfect environment to breed this kind of pathology?

11:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Unknowns.


Yes, it does describe American culture, but 2 problems here: a bit too long, and you provide no links or references. Pls be aware of this in the future, thanks.


3:06 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

MB wrote: "You watch progs and wokes turning into fascists, and the irony is over the top."

Finally people are catching up to you (this may have been posted already):


Wherein the author states:

"At this supreme moment of crisis, the left has divided into warring factions completely incapable of confronting the seriousness of the moment. There are liberals who retain an unjustifiable faith that their institutions can save them when it is utterly clear that they cannot. Then there are the woke, educational and political elites dedicated to a discourse of willed impotence. Any institution founded by the woke simply eats itself – see TimesUp, the Women’s March, etc – becoming irrelevant to any but a diminishing cadre of insiders who spend most of their time figuring out how to shred whoever’s left. They render themselves powerless faster than their enemies can."

9:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Says it all, dunnit? And yr rt, I've been saying the same thing for a while now. In fact, I said the US was finished in 2000. Did I get a Presidential Medal of Honor? No! In any case, his phrase "willed impotence" certainly describes the wokes and the progs. The problem I have w/this essay is that in the beginning, he pegs it correctly: liberals, wokes, and other Americans are doing fuck-all; and then at the end he writes, "the hope for America is Americans." Which Americans? Ones who are living on Mars? If that is our hope, then we have no hope at all, by his own analysis.

The only other complaint I have: if the MSM is finally catching up to me, I wish they wd also catch up to my vocabulary. It's time to call these Americans by their name: douche bags, degraded buffoons, turkeys, clowns, utter assholes, etc. They are the reason we have failed, as a nation, and therefore we can no longer soft-pedal our language. Because they ARE douche bags and so on, and I'm the only critic I know of who has pegged this exactly, and doesn't care if this language is not p.c. I guess we may start using that vocabulary *after* the civil war he predicts take place, but by then, who knows? The MSM might be praising the bubbas who have taken over the government, for their own safety. Ay, chihuahua!


9:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Pastrami: Another version:

The bubbas stockpile arms
The progs beat off.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Perhaps, an honorary Wafer?

"America now has (in order of increasing stupidity) more nincompoops, jerks, numb nuts, shitheads, utter halfwits, morons, imbeciles, idiots, assholes and complete assholes than any other country in the world .."


11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is gd, altho he forgot meatheads and degraded buffoons.


3:14 PM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

Gabriel Boric elected president of Chile

Boric had campaigned on the promise of installing a "social welfare" state, increasing taxes and social spending in a country with one of the world's largest gaps between rich and poor. After proclaiming victory, Boric pledged to maintain an "orderly economy."

"U.S. President Joe Biden called Boric last week to congratulate him and the two leaders discussed their shared commitment to social justice, democracy, human rights and inclusive growth. Biden "applauded Chile’s free and fair elections as a powerful example to the region and the world," the White House said in a statement."

This is just surreal in light of what the CIA did to the last left leaning leader of Chile (Allende). But maybe this is just another symptom of U.S. decline. Still, you would think O'Biden could use a fraction of his 768B defense bill to take out this Boric joker.

Professor, I think you may have discovered the secret to happiness in this fallen world. Where I live there is not so much sunshine, nor are there any open air cafes, but before Covid hit I would spend every spare moment in my local Subway Sandwich shop subathing at a window seat while I sipped soda & read my book. Happiest hours of my life thus far.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

Here's a link to the article that was mentioned in the post shared by Rockwell N. Role. Worth a read.


I may check out the book mentioned in the article by John Leader Maynard
"Ideology and Mass Killing: How Groups Justify Genocides and Other Atrocities Against Civilians" (Oxford University Press, 2022) [in press, forthcoming]

4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bk is not listed on Amazon (yet?).


Glad Subway is gd for something, at any rate. It's the little things that can make us happy, not fame and fortune. 2 wks after you buy a Mercedes, it just sinks into the background and yr on the hunt for the next 'high'. There is a word for that type of life: meaningless.

Check out this bk on what the US did to Chile:


Not just murdering Allende, but the sick imposition of Milton Friedman and the fabulous American Way of Life on the Chilean economy. I've been to Chile several times, and the feeling in the streets and stores is one of blah, of vague depression--the ultimate outcome of the American Way of Life.


5:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Meanwhile, as the countdown to armageddon continues, there are a # of very powerful women out there who need to step forward, but don't seem to be doing much of anything these days:

-Sarah (Palin)

Always in the forefront of political action, Jack L. invited these female powerhouses to a Summit Meeting on the Evergreen campus. Here were their replies:

Tulsi: busy revising my workout tape, also going thru the page proofs of Mr. Berman's remarkable 5-vol. work, "Foundations of the Tulsaic World View." Breathtaking.

Sarah: busy having sex on an ice floe, among the meese, with Ed Meese in attendance. I find the meese very arousing. Ed, less so.

Kamala: spending a lotta time in the bathroom these days.

Meghan: preparing for an exhibition of my hats.

It's a pity, because these women could change the course of history.


8:42 PM  
Blogger Sorry Im Normal said...

I nvr did psychoanalysis not sure ins would pay. Medicare won't even pay for group therapy. Can't upend the dyad. Always been some blend of CBT/Rogerian. Internal Family Systems for 3yrs. Tried EMDR but fall asleep. Been on 17 diff psych meds. Triangulated by convicted felon through therapist (long story). Large gaps of <12yo memory inaccessible. Always been an upstanding citizen (no drugs/crime/alcohol), for this I get punished. Mvd 24 times in 15yrs.

Lived w several people who needed serious help, funny how the systems doesn't label, drug, or coerce them into treatment- bc they have a job, wealth, or a mortgage. Read books and websites from people that could help me but can't afford 200/hr or don't live in their state. Have complex-ptsd(ptsd during development).

Anatomy of an Epidemic by Whitaker documents how the psych meds and treatments aren't stopping the tsunami of mental disorders. Maybe making them worse. MadinAmerica great blog documenting the decent into madness.

It's clear this 'society' doesn't value my cohort, therefore I plan on living in a van. Helps stretch the fixed income. US is so bereft of human contact and decency/empathy this would be an upgrade. Talk about your feelings in the US and expect to get punished.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


The alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has turned on Trump due to his support for the vaccine, as have many other alt-right pieces of trash. Much of the MAGA movement will probably end up rejecting Trump for being insufficiently alt-right and supporting someone even worse. We could be looking at a bubba vs. bubba civil war in addition to a bubba vs. woke civil war.

As America fractures into an ever-increasing number of warring factions, it's only a matter of time before a war of all vs. all rears its ugly head. This is the final result of negative identity spiraling out of control.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

With all the recent warnings about the US becoming ideologically
unglued, one can understand what the other side believes by following
right-wing talk radio for the latest official conservative line. It
appears that there's a large source of money and writers putting out
the topics and policy for the slants of the week, all faithfully
repeated by the propagandists. Any articles or books that they do
not like are simply dismissed and no further discussion is allowed.
The pose is that since the commentators are so well educated, there's
no need to read or discuss what is patently false and treasonous.
Come 2024, you'll see the engine put into high gear. Consult Google
for programs and times in different US cities.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the heads-up. We encourage Wafers to include links or refs w/their posts. For example, do you have any proof regarding this "large source of money"? This blog is big on evidence. Thank you.


3:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm not big on gurus, and this one has clay feet like all of them; but he does say some helpful things. Check out the YouTube talks by Sadhguru; they may give you some relief.


3:23 AM  
Blogger Shawn McDowell said...

This sounds like a comic book storyline, but it's real...

Flamethrower-wielding anti-vaxxer planned 'citizens arrests' of Dem governors -- and has now been arrested

9:52 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

This isn't exactly on the topic of the end of the US empire, but has anyone else noticed that incumbent politicians are now called "lawmakers" in the media? I first became aware of this recently in references to US politicians, but this article refers to French "lawmakers."

"A president cannot say such things," lawmaker Christian Jacob, who chairs the opposition conservative les Républicains party, told parliament.


Is the current use of "lawmaker" an attempt to enhance the status of politicians?

10:20 AM  
Anonymous data said...

Is there a proper name for what I want to call the "utilitarian fallacy?" It's the concept that if you can show something is good in a study, that it should be imposed on the entirety of the population. So for example, if playing an instrument has been shown to improve IQ in a test group, therefore all school children should be compelled to play an instrument (as has been imposed in certain school districts). Or for example, if ebooks are shown to be more environmentally friendly than paper books, we should make paper illegal and only allow ereaders. All decisions come down to data, that decisions should be objective rather than subjective; see if a news program can go 5 minutes without giving you data.



1:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Unknowns.


There may be. Check out the work of Jeremy Bentham, and esp. critiques of his ideas.


More exact would be CDP--Corrupt, Destructive Person. "DDP's met in Washington today to ..."


If Trumpi were in the W.H., wh/is what shd be the case, this man wd rightly be given a Presidential Medal of Honor.


6:36 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

Senor Berman, Yes, Bk is not listed on Amazon yet.

al Qa'bong - I've noticed that word being used for a while. It must be a conscious word choice to bolster authority that the press has done.

I heard there was a happy hour after the Summit Meeting on the Evergreen campus.

Some dialogue reportedly overheard:

Kamala: "If everyone knew how much of a dominator I am in bed they'd feel more comfortable with my use of authority."

Meghan: "You know the British men love being dommed. I had my pick of the litter over there. I wanted to borrow his brother but that old bag wouldn't let us sneak away in Buckingham."

Tulsi: "I achieve sexual pleasure through pure meditation these days. The less I need, the more I can give to the world and especially my fellow Americans."

Sarah: "EEEEEH golly gosh I'm just so flabergasted to be in this company. I wish I were with my meese."

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Chuck Steak said...

It is fitting that we relive those happy moments when true patriots
were defending our democratic way of life. Who can recall a mere
seventy years ago when the country was still intact with Ike and Dick
in the White House?


8:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fukuyama sees 6 Jan 2021 as a Suez Moment, both internal and external:


9:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Americans are so intelligent:


The shmuck was released on bail, and the DA is pondering as to whether to charge him w/a crime(!). Meanwhile, it seems that many people believe that the Jews are behind the vaccine. Yeah, tell me the medieval blood libel is history.

I adore this country.


11:02 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

In 1933 Hitler and the Nazis were believed to be saving the nation.
It certainly appears that millions of lunatic Americans believe the
same about Trump and his GOP lackeys. Someone should look into the
deeper roots of corruption and decay that could have a second victory
for the dregs directing the nation as a criminal enterprise.


2:49 AM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Dear Dr. Berman: Many thanks for your hard-bitten apprehension of reality, devoid of middle-class tone, "cultured" voice and the false sublimity that usually goes around this time of the year as a masquerade against the buying and selling of luxury. Despite the symbolic echoes of a last stand in your writing, not for a second did I feel imposed on. I found myself walking London's noisy streets with Gay and pined for Basho in Tokyo. What a great way to start another journey on life's bumpy highway!

3:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Lack of that type of voice (=the voice of pompous turkeys) is one reason I'm off the radar screen in terms of public intellectual discussion. Calling Americans degraded buffoons also doesn't help, but what the hey: they *are* degraded buffoons, and the single most impt reason why we are going down the drain. As for Basho, check out my bk "Neurotic Beauty." Meanwhile:

Winter solitude
in a world of one color
the sound of the wind.


The other half of the country believes that the Trumpites can be stopped by politically correct activism. While they beat off, the Trumpites stockpile arms. Meanwhile, every day the Boogaloo comes closer. But I have a question for y'all: stats show that a significant % of police and armed forces are Trumpites, white supremacists, and extreme rt-wingers. So when it's Show Time, and the Trumpites rise up, as they did on 6 Jan 21, who exactly is going to put them down? Will the folks in uniform gun down their own 'brothers'?

You know in CTOS (1989), I said fascism was likely to come to America; in ch. 4 of WAF (for wh/I was vilified), I said the Civil War never really ended. And now, both of these realities seem to be closing in. Did anyone listen to me? Was I given a much-deserved Presidential Medal of Honor? Does Schmiden invite me to the W.H., announce to the nation, "This guy knows where it's at!"? "This guy tells it like it is!"? No!


6:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I wd also accept a ticker-tape parade down 5th Ave in my honor. While we wait for that, ponder this:


6:26 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

On the police and right-wing alliances, this little aside comment is probably one of the most chilling I have read in some time. Official FBI policy...

"Michael German, a former FBI agent who worked undercover against domestic terrorists during the 1990s, knows that the white power sympathies within police departments hamper domestic terrorism cases. “The 2015 FBI counter-terrorism guide instructs FBI agents, on white supremacist cases, to not put them on the terrorist watch list as agents normally would do,” he says. “Because the police could then look at the watchlist and determine that they are their friends.” The watchlists are among the most effective techniques of counter-terrorism, but the FBI cannot use them. The white supremacists in the United States are not a marginal force; they are inside its institutions..."


8:46 AM  
Anonymous Gil said...

The Other Invisible Hand

Why all life limits certain kinds of selfishness


Sorry Richard Dawkins!

Some of this sources David Sloan Wilson who's great book "Darwin's Cathedral" I first heard about thru our blog author's suggestion!

9:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good ref, thanks. See also work of Robt Trivers.


When the Boogaloo arrives, I imagine that many cops might join the rebellion. Rather than shoot Trumpites, they might shoot progs.


9:57 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Biden Our Time™ has raised an important philosophical question this morning:

31m ago10:00
Joe Biden ended his speech on the anniversary of the 6 January attack on the US Capitol with an oft-repeated phrase of his: that we are in a “battle for the soul of America”. “We are in a battle for the soul of America, a battle that by the grace of God and the goodness and greatness of this nation, we will win,” he said. “I know how difficult democracy is. I’m crystal clear about the threats that America faces. But I also know that our darkest days can lead to light and hope.”


If Merica has such a single soul, then that soul is hustling.

For a look at the dark undercurrent in Seattle’s suburb of Kent, and relevant to MB’s comment on the coming of the Boogaloo, consider this husband-and-wife effort:


11:43 AM  
Anonymous The Flabster said...

Dr. B,

From both reading and personal experience in middle America I can tell you that your last post is bang on, which is terrifying. In large sections of the USA the law is bubba and bubba is the law.

The links are well known:


Anti Semitic nonsense comments were shockingly common, and people seemed surprised when I didn’t join in. I saw what was happening and moved but it’s not far enough away.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I wld bet half of my food stamp money this “family” is pro-Trump, gun crazed, and “pro-life.” Cosmic irony then that this child *shld* have been aborted. This isn’t opinion, it’s a fact. Accidentally blow off your face or be aborted? personally I’d choose the latter.


Let the fuckers have to remember this every Christmas and begin another new year in shame. That’s some good karma but like MB says Americans are too stupid to understand their karma.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

On location in TX, tons of Trump 2024, Jesus 2024, Trump is Jesus, Jesus was Trump, Trump Won, signs.

Very exciting.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Can there be enough advertisers to keep all these shows on the air and making money without funds from larger sources that do not have to advertise? What they sell are the ability to get votes for Trump
and fellow GOP conservatives at all levels of government. Name large
corporations that give large sums of money only to the Democrats.



koch%20brothers%20consrvative%20funding - Bing

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

The American mind as viewed from what it is fed is not a pretty picture.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

If America is a religion, then the only salvation is through heresy, in my opinion:


I'm not going to sit here and lie to my fellow WAFers. I'm an utterly damaged product of American life, complete with a regimen of psychiatric drugs. I'm not here peddling the McMindfulness of corporate America.

I do, however, believe that Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were correct in their admiration of Eastern philosophy. If America represents an industrial level brutality of the human soul, then it behooves one to look at its polar opposite. I think I would have gone completely insane had I not stumbled on Buddhism.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Didn't George Soros contribute heavily to the Dems?

Dr. Shit-

I don't doubt for a minute that Trump is Jesus.


Summary of events of the day: high-level beating off.

Wafers: It's all over but the shouting.


9:19 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Has anyone posted anything here about the "Yale Halloween Costume Incident"? If so, my apologies. But what a bunch of entitled babies! Hard to believe this is one of our "elite institutions".


Notice how the professor is upset that we've lost the "liberal values" of critical discussion, etc. No kidding, is he Rip Van Winkle or somthing?--the naivety of even smart people in this country is shocking.

Also, so many Americans have been infected with reductionist NeoDarwinism (This professor not excluded.) Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett have done irreparable damage to this culture. To wit, here is a recommendation to offset that a bit.-- "Darwin Day In America. How Our Politics and Culture have Been Dehumanized In the Name of Science", By John G. West. A most outstanding and thorough book.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We're not very big on people broadcasting opinions. Anyone can do that, really. Try this as a format in future:
1. You state your argument regarding the collapse of the American empire
2. You provide evidence (links, reliable refs) to support yr pt of view.

1st, the nationwide student foolishness re: political correctness. My take: becoming an adolescent in America is an awful experience. You emerge empty, w/0 at the center. To fill that void, you find all kinds of drugs; and one of the easiest, in a college context, is p.c. This enables you to feel passionate and alive, dedicated to a noble cause etc. It masks the hollowness w/in, and is v. difficult to resist. And of course, you become grim and humorless (so many feminists, for example, fall into that trap). You never lighten up, and you never see how trivial your outraged concerns are, in comparison to real problems in the country/world.

As for Dawkins et al.: a sorry bunch. The giveaway is their fervor: they have made a religion out of atheism. The opposite of love is not hate; it's apathy. No one cd accuse them of that.


2:54 AM  
Blogger flanagle said...

I would like to recommend a film I stumbled upon recently. "The Ball at the Anjo House" (1947, with English subtitles) Director Yoshimura Kozaburo. It's free at Youtube. In some ways it reminded me of a novel often cited here: "The Mandibles", which depicts the downward trajectory of a well-off American family as the US implodes in the 2030's. The movie examines a family of the Japanese 'landed gentry' being jolted out their long-held status and privileges following Japan's defeat. The film won the Kinema Junpo award for best film of 1947. That such a finely crafted film could go into production mere months after the war is nothing short of amazing. I put it right up there with later films like "Ikiru", "Tokyo Story", and others. Long-time Nipponophiles like myself will very likely not be disappointed. Like the above mentioned classics, it deserves more than one viewing.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the ref; I love Japanese films. Also check out my bk "Neurotic Beauty," wh/may be of interest 2u.


10:38 AM  
Anonymous never mind said...

I haven't seen a post on spelling mistakes in a while. I see the word "nevermind" used often, likely because people are familiar with the 1991 Nirvana album "Nevermind" and they don't know that this isn't actually a word. Fedex uses the single "nevermind" on their shipment tracking page, so millions of people are getting used to seeing this, and the spelling error will only grow. I'm assuming some programmer made this mistake, so it makes me wonder who is behind the spelling at Fedex. Click the "delivery instructions" button to see the mistake.



1:09 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Can one consider Soros to be a corporation in the sense that GM or
Apple are corporations? Granted that he does give to the Democratic
Party but not only to them, as I stated. He certainly does not give
to the GOP, but he does give to others.


7:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Tomato, tomahto.




8:13 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

@Flanagle (and Dr. Berman): Thanks for the "The Ball at the Anjo House" recommendation. I had to stop less than 5 minutes into the clearly marvelous film to write this: The layabout "prince" in the story is such a good-for-nothing that he can't even blow smoke rings (from the cigarette he is shown smoking). I am sure this subtle depiction of ineptness was a deliberate decision by the director/screenwriter rather than the actor's possible inability to blow smoke rings. Wonder what you think.

And Dr. Berman: Many thanks for the Basho Winter Solitude poem. So much meaning packed in so little. I can't wait to immerse myself in Neurotic Beauty, not least because Japan was my first foreign country back in 1991—I have been and lived there for months around half a dozen times, and for all sorts of mystifying reasons, it remains my favorite place on earth.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


In this sorry screed, Biden correctly points out that that great nations face the truth and don't bury it...but then claims America's a great nation while failing to mention that America has buried the truth about its past for at least a century. He also claims America's a nation of peace rather than violence, which is sheer lunacy, given America's history.

Given his exhortatory demeanor in this clip, it seems Biden thinks convincing Americans that America's an honest and peaceful nation will inspire them to be honest and peaceful. Talk about beating off!

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Nikki said...


Do you know of any other nation that's founded on mythology to the degree Amerikkka is?

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Here is one more on the theme of "Darwinism in America". An excellent documentary, basically "Charles Darwin Meets P.T. Barnum"--and you can pretty much guess how that is going to work out! Among the other things to recommend it (For example, it features two of those enduringly American traits, "ignorance" and "cruelty"), this one is also pretty engaging:


Needless to say, zero sum Darwinian thinking has also infected countless other American "greats", like Justice Oliver Wendell "three generations of imbeciles are enough" Holmes. But read the "Darwin Day" book if you want the encyclopedia length treatment of the issue, and to undo some of the programming that most of us were subjected to at school.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Israel comes to mind...

Wafers: check it out:


Another voice sort of saying that 6 Jan 21 was our external and internal Suez Moment.


7:21 AM  
Anonymous Weissmann said...

Dick Cheney did more to destroy democracy in ten minutes of his Vice Presidency than Donald Trump did in four years

A Tale of Two Authoritarians
The appearance of Dick Cheney in the House of Representatives on the anniversary of January 6th helped identify the true villain on the scene


8:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Nobody's fool, Mr. Taibbi. I particularly liked his mention of beating off. What he shows is not only are we fucked socially, culturally, economically, and politically, but also, that we are fucked in the head. What cd the future possibly hold for us?


12:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Only Tulsi can save us now:


5:17 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Will the WAFer outlook reach the upper levels of Capital when the
debt crunch goes out of control? How will the 30 trillion be explained and affect the majority of the population? Perhaps they will finally realize the mess made by their betters and that it is time for totally new responses and policies? Or the whole affair could sink to a new economic low.



10:54 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


Taibbi's claims that Trump doesn't want to subvert American democracy are ludicrous in light of recent revelations such as this:


Furthermore, this article, which was posted here by multiple Wafers, shows that Jan 6th was indeed a coup attempt, and that Trump's second coup attempt is already underway:


Furthermore, if you look at Taibbi's recent substack articles, you'll find that most of them criticize progs and wokes and few, if any, criticize bubbas. This is a mountain of evidence that he's moved to the right.

Of course, Taibbi's criticisms of the American left are usually valid. Woke ideology is a cancer that is destroying American colleges and much else besides. However, because Taibbi is no longer able to criticize the American right in any serious way, his journalism is no longer worthy of respect. Sure, he's a great source of information if you want to know the misdeeds of wokesters or the Democratic Party, but if you want an unbiased view of American politics as a whole, he has less than nothing to offer.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don' agree w/u that we have a 'mountain of evidence' that Taibbi is now a rt-winger, or that his writing 'is no longer worthy of respect.' He made some very gd pts in that essay, I thought--gave us a lot to think abt.


Clearly, the masses will rise up and institute a socialist regime. Who can doubt it?


3:10 AM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

How Chicken Became An American Obsession

A fascinating documentary on the single most important facet of American culture, the one thing that unites us all whether we be left or right, man or woman, gay or straight. I'm speaking, of course, of the humble chicken sandwich. Once Americans died for their flag, now they'd kill for some batter-fried poultry stuck between a brioche bun. How can anyone say Americans lack a cultural tradition? This stuff is better than haggis (it really is)!

3:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: rather than thinking abt debt or revolution, it might be better to focus on what's really impt:


Altho I can't avoid feeling that woman in 1st pic looks like a douche baguette; she has a certain moronic ambience.

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

1) Currently reading a book titled When the South was Southern, picture history of the South around the civil war, by an ardent pro-Southern author. Interesting how wildly, hopelessly different the North and the South were and are. Do you think that if the South had won, American values would've been better? Less hustling for example, more community, less war crimes abroad? The author also focuses on the sense of beauty that Southerners had in buildings, many resembling Roman aesthetic, before the North came with its drab, lifeless cubic buildings.

2) You mentioned in one of your last comments here how the newer generation is filling its internal void with religious adherence to political correctness. From my experience in ultra liberal sites like reddit, the things they do and say are insane to say the least. To clarify, Reddit is made up of thousands of subreddits, and each has its own different moderators, the overwhelming majority progressive liberals on the march for any "offensive" words in the comments. I once casually mentioned that black people suffered more than trans people and got permanently banned from one of the subs for "transphobia". In another sub, some kid wrote an inarticulate and paranoid rant about right wing infiltration of that subreddit, including his brilliant analysis that the biggest problems in America is right wingers being mean to women and transsexuals. He also added a message to right wingers: "Grow up, the real enemy is the corporations, let's unite against them!". The moderators were so impressed with this that they endorsed it and "stickied" it to the top. These people are a parody of themselves. Nothing will make a person sympathize with the right more than a stroll in progressive liberal social media.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Adriana said...


Superficially you could say the same thing about MB! He criticizes woke bullshit and progressive hypocrisy, doesn't make him a right-wing stooge!


8:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What's to criticize, of the bubbas? They know what they want and they are going after it. No bullshit there. And declinists might even say, More power to ya! Others might look upon them w/horror, but I don't see that they are figures of ridicule. The progs, on the other hand, on a whole # of levels, are absurd.


A Southern victory wd have brought its own set of problems w/it, but that wd be a rather lengthy (and hypothetical) discussion. I think such things are discussed among alt-history groups, however (check out Ward Moore, "Bring the Jubilee"). As for Reddits, we cd probably use a few links (unless one hasta join; I have no idea).


Does this documentary discuss the healing properties of chicken sandwich suppositories? This cd be our salvation. Speaking of wh/, I remember seeing some video online in wh/some guy, abt 28 yrs old, is standing in front of a Popeye's holding a chicken sandwich, and he looks up at the sky and says, "Thank you, Jesus." True dat.


9:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This looks like fun:


10:11 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hello Wafers,

Have been quiet for a while. Got caught up with some stuff on the personal front.

MB, I believe Joseph Tainter also said the same thing. Civilisations never change. They keep doing what they have always done. Things that may have been advantageous in earlier days don’t remain so. But a course correction never happens. And the same things become drags leading to collapse.

About collapse of America, here is a nice piece in the Guardian. Death by a thousand cuts?

11:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Tainter's explanation was economic; a bit too narrow. There are other factors as well. But in all cases, you don't get a reversal of the downward trajectory.


1:17 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

And let’s break out this new year with some new nasty, ugly, racist, anti-Covid Karens.
Our Karens. They’re still going strong!



3:04 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

Dr. B and Wafers:
Joseph Tainter is a good read. So are Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1962) and Norbert Elias (The Civilizing Process, 1939). But the best books for our present situation remain the trilogy -- the trilogy for our times: TAC, DAA, and WAF.
We are at the stage of the imperial cycle where the pathologies of empire have coalesced into a terminal illness. Earlier empires suffered different pathologies, but ultimately their pathologies also coalesced into terminal illnesses.

4:41 PM  
Blogger ccg said...

Here is a clip featuring Glenn Greenwald talking about 1/6:


To me, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi are the voices of sanity in the profession of journalism. I know people who think of themselves as progressives and who used to like Greenwald and Taibbi but hate them now because they have they audacity to criticize the Democrats.

By the way, I especially like Matt Taibbi's description of Dick Cheney being slobbered over by the likes of the Adam Schiffs and Nancy Pelosis of the world. Perfect description!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, in 10 mos. the Dems will have their heads handed to them on a platter. Then we can watch them, including progs and wokes, *not* change their strategy, thus setting 2024 up for another GOP victory. Anyway, the Dem celebration of someone like Cheney is a sight to behold.


That's why I called WAF a post-mortem. When it's over, it's over. It's of course nice that Greenwald and Taibbi are calling out the phoniness and corruption of the gov't, but in the end, it's just attempting to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. I've been saying we're fucked since Twilight (2000), I predicted fascism in 1989 (CTOS), and do I receive the Presidential Medal of Honor for telling it like it is? No! Jesus, you'd think that b4 the whole show goes into terminal crackup, the gov't wd give some sort of award to the guy who has been predicting terminal crackup for decades. I'm here, guys, right over here...


5:12 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Weissmann- thanks for the Taibbi link. I don't keep up with most of the media noise so I am not clear of all the ways that he and Greenwald deviated from the party line and have been excommunicated. But I do enjoy reading them.

On the day after Trumps election win in 2016, Greenwald put up the following article that, along with good insight, probably explains why he is on many Dem's sh** list. it's still worth reading for its long view, not getting dragged into the immediate weeds-


One paragraph that still rings far too true of the Dems:

"...When a political party is demolished, the principal responsibility belongs to one entity: the party that got crushed. It’s the job of the party and the candidate, and nobody else, to persuade the citizenry to support them and find ways to do that. Last night, the Democrats failed, resoundingly, to do that, and any autopsy or liberal think piece or pro-Clinton pundit commentary that does not start and finish with their own behavior is one that is inherently worthless..."

6:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Other quotes:

"The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony...

"That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare."

I said much the same thing in AWTY, Essay #15. Plus, I have often said elites are trash. Let us also note that they are witless buffoons.


7:37 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

One of my favorite moments in American political history:

September 2, 1996: Dick Morris graces the cover of TIME magazine as Clinton's Svengali.
September 9, 1996: Dick Morris graces the cover of TIME magazine after sucking a prostitute's toes.


Frankly, it's amazing the collapse didn't happen sooner.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Who was it that said America was a trashy, stupid nation? I can't quite remember...


8:24 PM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

6 Things You Might Not Think Are Harassment

"No one is hysterically declaring ALL public interactions between men and women who don't know each other to be harassment. But the sad fact is that often they are. And even when a man says something as simple as "Have a nice day," we are able to read between the lines and know his motive, and 9 times out of 10, it's not about well wishes. It's the tone, the setting, the look on his face that tells a woman that there's a sexual power play at work, and she's losing."

Being raised in the extremely sexist, misogynistic era of the 80s & 90s, I was taught that it was just good manners to salute everyone you met on the street with a "How d'ya do", "Good morning/afternoon/evening" & to return the favor if someone saluted you. In fact, if you liked something that the person had, it was considered extra courteous to say "What a smart looking coat you're wearing!" or "Your puppy is just the cutest!". But as an innocent child, little did I know that this seemingly innocuous custom is really a veiled threat -- usually intended to convey your desire to violently rape your fellow pedestrian! Well, I'm glad someone cleared that up for me.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, a man *not* saying hello to a woman is also harassment, because the empty space (so to speak) thus generated is a clever way of drawing her in, getting her intrigued. This wd also apply if the man, upon seeing her, runs in the opposite direction.


4:06 AM  
Anonymous Blu said...

Irresistible Empire Dept.:

Global spread of autoimmune disease blamed on western diet

“Fast-food diets lack certain important ingredients, such as fibre, and evidence suggests this alteration affects a person’s microbiome. These changes are then triggering autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 types have now been discovered.” https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jan/08/global-spread-of-autoimmune-disease-blamed-on-western-diet

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


It's true that the bubbas know what they want, and are sincere, unlike wokes, who are totally full of shit. It's also true that the bubbas are bringing the American empire to its knees, which is fantastic. However, the bubbas are also racist, sexist, homophobic, fascistic, cruel, violent, bloodthirsty, deluded and stupid. Many have ties to white supremacist and/or neo-Nazi groups, and many are unhinged enough to believe wholeheartedly in the Qanon madness. If this isn't worthy of criticism, what is? It would be hard to imagine a more loathsome group of people.

We can see wokes for the silly, grifting, fascistic pieces of garbage that they are without looking at bubbas through rose-colored glasses.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

A US empire "teacher" puts son in trunk after he tested 'positive' for corona.


12:28 PM  
Blogger MSCL said...

Thank you for this post. I am currently transitioning out of the American mindset. I find myself accepting my hypocrisy by living in the US because the world is hypocritical. I am alone and I feel the pains of a human being isolated but I find relief in your blog and the community you have created in truth telling.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd show. We have a great community here. If you keep in mind at all times that yr living among a huge collection of turkeys, this shd carry you thru the dark days.

Dr. Shit-

This kind of laxness bothers me. Why in the world didn't she take out a .357 Magnum and blow the kid to Kingdom Come?


No one here is looking at the bubbas thru rose-colored glasses. Pls be clear on that. However, let us also note the key historical role they are playing (unwittingly).


I guess if you eat crap you turn into crap.


3:44 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Nadine- I am not convinced that the Bubbas represent anything more than a farcical 'return of the repressed' (if we are to invoke Freud) of basic elements of American culture. And I find the binary of Bubbas/Wokes to be near useless for looking at the deep forces at work these days. Both represent bubbles of swamp gas wafting through the air, generated in the festering decaying/decadent swamp of the history and tradition of the United States. Until the decay is excised, the fart clouds will continue. There are very real forces that Trump hooked into for his own narcissistic glee. Dr. B's quotes from Greenwald above is one of the better succinct summaries of these forces. Another article that I find contains good overviews is this interview with Chris Arnade-


"(Y)ou alluded to NAFTA and free trade. Mathematically it works, because the winners win more than the losers lose. So on a net basis, you say: “Hey look! The data says everybody wins.” There are three fundamental problems with that. One is that winners never share with the losers, that just doesn’t happen. Secondly, what you’re measuring is a very narrow framework of what’s valuable; you’re making the assumption that everybody wants more stuff, having more stuff is what meaning’s about. But the back row finds meaning through their connections, their community, through their structure. When they lose, they’ve lost everything. When the factories go, the town and community fall apart. Their churches hollow out. Their families start facing problems with drugs. So when your sense of meaning and place and valuation comes from your community, and your community gets eroded, that’s it. Game over..."

7:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd article. Again, see AWTY #15.


7:48 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

A Canadian scholar argues that by 2025 American Democracy could collapse, causing extreme political instability and widespread violence:



7:51 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

The piece that I posted may have a paywall. I'll try to find it for free. Sorry.


7:54 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...


I had an interesting stop in a Savannah, GA restaurant. The picture above is related.

I was eating breakfast alone and happened to be seated between two couples, an elderly one on my left and a young one on my right.

The elderly couple talked to each other.
The young couple didn't say more than 10 words to each other. Both were FIXATED on their phone screens.

I don't pretend that the American 'narcissism bonfire' is new, but Jesus Christ, social media has thrown a fucking barrel of nitroglycerin on it.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just my opinion, but from what I see, the highest % of Degraded Buffoons are among young people. They know 0, they read 0 besides their fones, they have v. little empathy or feelings for others, and in general they are pathetic. They are also heavily into suicide, from what I read online. What a tragedy. Imagine if they had been born into a sane, non-cellular America.


I think that article has been posted here a couple of times, thanks. Note that his dates coincide w/mine. 2030 is clearly the End of the Road. Again, fascism is not the only way a nation can wind up in the toilet, but more and more it's looking like that will be our path.


9:20 PM  
Blogger delete said...

To al Wafers and Dr MB

Yes NPR but maybe fuel to spiral downward.


10:53 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

In case anyone wants to know where the country's youth have their priorities, look no further that one of their most popular figures Logan Paul, who has a Youtube subscriber count of 23 million+


One watches this house tour video with a certain "amused-awed-fascinated-horror". This person/thing is one of young people's most followed prophets; Watch it all the way through at your own peril.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A country's future is in the hands of its youth.

America has no future.


11:26 PM  
Anonymous Cosmo Como said...

Ever think of becoming a consultant by 2025?


2:31 AM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

That hadn't occurred to me, Dr. Berman, but I think you could be right. Like so many of the choices that are forced upon Americans, you are damned if you do & damned if you don't.

Nadine, while both the progs & the bubbas are worthy of ridicule, the one pertinent difference I see between the two is that while (most) progs depend on social ostracism & shaming to get their way, the bubbas rely on something far more implacable: violence. And even if the progs did gain total control of the state apparatus, their basic ethos is unsustainable -- a prog society would collapse in on itself the moment it was realized. The kind of fascist theocracy the bubbas want to achieve, however, has proven historically to be perfectly viable -- albeit deplorable. And this is what makes bubbas not just ridiculous, but dangerous.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not a bad idea, but given my predictive accuracy, I first want to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor--long overdue.

It's really amazing: the professional classes cd have been rdg this blog all along, instead of the warm dog poop pumped out by the op-ed writers at the NYT. But then they offer the one thing I can't: a false sense of security.


5:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, Bill confirms what I've been saying all along: there are an awful lot of people in this country who need slapping:


5:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Here's what tickles my funny bone:

1. The progs and the wokes will not take Bill's advice; they'll just keep doing what they're doing.
2. Come November, they'll get creamed in the midterm elections.
3. As a result, they'll double down, and keep on doing what they're doing; paving the way for a Trump victory in 2024. Wokism, political correctness, is a religion. Therefore, there is no waking up a woke. The fact that they were a key factor in the rise of a fascist state won't faze them in the least.

O&D, my friends-

6:44 AM  
Blogger ccg said...


Thanks for posting that 2016 piece by Glenn Greenwald. I remember reading it when it first appeared and thought it perfectly on point. But an academic colleague of mine, the guy who first alerted me to existence of Glenn Greenwald some years before, found it all quite offensive, and henceforth couldn't stand Greenwald. This colleague bought into what the New York Times was selling at the time, and pretty much still is, that Trump got elected solely on the basis of racism.

As a window to the mindset of a person like that (i.e. my colleague), consider this: He didn't vote for Hillary because he knew she was pretty awful, but because he lives in state that he knew would go for her, he voted for Jill Stein. I suspect he wanted to be able to virtue signal on this when it became obvious that President Hillary was awful. But when Trump won, he was devastated. He couldn't even talk about it for two months or so. He acted as if the election of Trump was done to him personally. Well, I can hardly wait to see how he reacts when the Democrats get clobbered this November, and when Trump gets re-elected in 2024.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Looks like an interesting read here:


10:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Seriously, what cd be dumber than a hi-IQ prog? Who among us wdn't prefer a Marjorie Taylor Greene/Tulsi ticket, to Kamala Harris? Current polls have it that if the pres election were held today, Trumpi wd crush Kamala. Not that Kamala is a turkette, or a bad person; but rather, that she seems to be nothing at all. At least Tulsi has a workout tape, and Greene is entertainingly demented.


Check out 2nd story in "The Heart of the Matter." There's a character named Butler Smedley.


12:27 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

@ Cel-Ray (any relation to Man Ray?) Almost 40 years ago, and long before I had ever heard of Smedley Butler, I worked with a guy who had been in the British army in the 60s and 70s. He used to tell us stories of his military exploits in places like Belize and the Persian Gulf. About the latter, I told him he was nothing but a hired gun for British Petroleum. He didn't like that.

Regarding Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, Taibbi's description of the January 6 rioters as the American version of football hooligans is spot-on. Instead of doing normal coup stuff like seizing communication centres and military barracks, these yobboes hung around taking selfies. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they ordered pizza while they were in the Capitol buildings.

I still read sites like Commondreams and Counterpunch, but I skip past the public stonings for his apostasy that Greenwald suffers there.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous The Flabster said...

As out gracious host says: “The elites are trash.” None of this should be a surprise to us, though it’s ugly to see.

Notice: left, right, and centrist are all affected!


3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Clearly, these are representatives of The People.


4:11 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Check this out, Doctor & Wafers. The numbers are going up. Perhaps Florida is the template for angry USAins to blow each other away on the roads. What’s better? These or mass shootings?


4:38 PM  
Anonymous Kumbani said...


Reading this bio for the 180th birthday of William James, which is today. What a guy! Some of his thoughts on America:

"The country has once for all regurgitated the Declaration of Independence and the Farewell Address, and it won’t swallow again immediately what it is so happy to have vomited up. It has come to a hiatus. It has deliberately pushed itself into the circle of international hatreds, and joined the common pack of wolves. It relishes the attitude. We have thrown off our swaddling clothes, it thinks, and attained our majority. We are objects of fear to other lands."


5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's the truly intelligent, such as Freud, De Tocqueville, and Wm James, who saw what the US was really abt.


Maybe guns and rage are all we have left (in whatever form).


7:02 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

In the grieving cycle, this is called "Denial":


These people ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Just wait until the sectarian violence is kicked off by the 2024 election theft. 'Stupid optimism' is going to become a luxury one can ill-afford.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Trumpi cd actually win, tho.


8:14 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Guaranteed to keep the southern border impregnable at a bargain cost.


8:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


America actually believes that this is what strength is. No relationship, of course, to why we're going down the drain.


9:19 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Wafer B. Louis, you're spot on. Most USians are stuck at the first stage of the Kubler-Ross grief model. They cannot accept nor believe the US empire is finished.


"1. Denial
Denial and isolation is the first reaction to tragedy Denial and isolation are the first reactions to tragedy and grief, which is a result of disapproval, shock, and rejection. Denial is a defense mechanism that allows us to accept the loss and alleviate the sudden attack of pain. When we first learn about the reality of the situation, we often find it hard to believe. Hence, we deny the tragedy in our minds. This is a common and natural reaction to pacify our overwhelming emotions. Denial and isolation provide us the time to accept reality gradually and allow us to process our emotions."

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...


It seems to me that, judging by their track records, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tulsi Gabbard are even worse than Kamala Harris. Moreoever, I'm not going to think more highly of Space Lasers Karen because she's fun to laugh at. She's literally a Nazi, and no amount of entertainment value makes that less evil.

That said, I appreciate that Greene and Gabbard are playing a crucial role in bringing the American Empire to its knees. As you often say, when it comes to America, bad is good. However, their actual desire is for America to conquer the world and reign supreme forever, so they don't deserve any credit.



Some Americans are now drinking piss to treat infectious diseases. This is fitting, since America's going down the toilet.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st of all, Kamala stands for only 1 thing: diversity. Election over, Biden has no real use for her. 2nd, yr forgetting that w/Tulsi in office, she cd educate the American public in the basic tenets of Tulsism--a philosophy so powerful, so transformative, that it would shake America to its very roots. Which we badly need.

Marj and Tulsi: a vision for the future.


2:01 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@ Art Baker-

The F-35 plane is a great example of how things fail in the US. Hard to even know where to begin at what a joke the military industrial complex has become and what a horrible crime against humanity it is in its resource waste. I lived in Burlington, Vermont, where the F-35s were first deployed. The noise level is horrific. Like an iron comb being scraped across your liver. The airport is just outside of town in the center of a 250,000 population center. Here's a good article on what it's like to live with these things flying overhead every day-


And the local 'leaders' (i.e. real estate developers) want the money and the status. Bernie Sanders has never seen a weapons system contract he didn't like. The airport itself is dumping PFAs into the ground water as part of firefighting training. So poisoning and torturing your populace is fine if money is to be made.

Just another example of a sick culture in a feverish death spiral. Poe's 'Descent Into the Maelstrom' is everyday life for more and more of us. Find yourself a barrel and hold on tight.


7:19 AM  
Blogger ccg said...

Here is a fairly good description of the problems with Kamala Harris:


One doesn't have to dig too deep to find negative information on this woman. Until reading this article, I was unaware of the business of her faking a French accent. That's just hilarious. What a class act is Kamala Harris.

I've heard a rumor that they might want to replace giggling Kamala on the ticket with "Wine Cave" Mayor Pete. We can only hope. And I mean that bad is good way.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...


Tom Friedman calls for a Biden/Cheney ticket.

HOLY SHIT can this guy get any worse?

- Jay

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Orca said...

America being shitty to enemies and allies alike



Sometimes I wonder if america considers its allies to be allies or vassals or some sort of colonies. With its attitude towards everyone I'd say america considers them as condoms to be thrown away when no longer useful.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Doc recommendation: American Factory


... made my skin crawl, made me shriek with laughter, renewed my misanthropy. We are doomed at scale, everything after 1700 is locust mode humanity

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan Henry-

Hey, American Dream, no?


He's always had shit for brains. Hey, that's the NYT.


Kamala is probably v. representative of the American public, in that she's empty. And she doesn't have a coherent sense of anything, that I can see.


7:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Be My Baby:


I confess, I thought she was absolutely fab.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

You could get more readers if you aimed for more intellectual content,
like cosmetics and sports. By now you know the deeper layers of the
American mind and how much room there is for trashy trivia.


8:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that Herman Cain, w/his 999 plan, is dead.


9:16 PM  
Anonymous Bully said...

Harvard political scientist says U.S. civil war unlikely – Harvard Gazette (They almost never happen in rich democracies.) https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2022/01/harvard-political-scientist-says-u-s-civil-war-unlikely/

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Xavier said...

South Korea cuts human interaction in push to build ‘untact’ society with less face-to-face dealings and more robots https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/10/south-korea-cuts-human-interaction-in-push-to-build-untact-society

Eek. Could see this being in store for USA

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

USian "news": sports, celebrity tushies, cold weather, endless war hawking, and chicken sandwiches....


11:18 AM  
Anonymous Xing said...

I guess this will fix gas prices in time for the midterms, pretty disgusting.

"Despite Biden’s promise to end the Yemen war & to make the Saudis “the pariah that they are,” he's fallen back into America’s hegemonic role: taking sides, making the US a party to conflicts, and selling more weapons—US interest, peace, stability be damned"

11:41 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers everywhere, here’s your headline news from Cascadia. Yesterday we had a little boogaloo action outside the offices of the state Department of Health in Tumwater, adjacent to Olympia. The board’s meeting agenda included discussion of a study to require vaccination for children attending K-12 schools. In addition to 30,000 emails from 8,000 people and several death threats to the board and staff, several hundred people turned out with three Republican candidates for Congressional seats to protest “Soviet-style lockdowns”, with signs claiming state officials were setting up internment camps. Proud Boy leader Joey Gibson called on protesters to show up at the homes of local public health officials planning the concentration camps, but said demonstrators “should not commit any acts of violence – we’re not at that point right now.” Yes, right now. As MB says, myth always wins.


12:05 PM  
Blogger MSCL said...

“Nobody wants wars; they can fool us all they want with the propaganda about the glory of war, but nobody wants to get killed for glory, and yet there are wars all the time, because the same dynamics of conflict play out over and over again with groups and nations, large and small: the aggressor who wants to take control of something (material or ideological) that the other has or refuses to give up, and the defender who is compelled to resist. Typically, both believe that God is on their side. Likewise, all the empires ever built were generally convinced at their height of glory that they will last forever, but they all vanished, and they always will. The list goes on. History might never become a predictive science, but patterns of collective human behavior are predictable enough that we ignore history at our own peril.”

Excerpt From
The Quantum Rules
Das, Kunal K.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

California police dog severely mauls Uber driver who fell behind on payments for rented car:


usa, usa!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous McCann said...

Clyde Bellecourt, AIM co-founder and longtime civil rights leader, dies https://m.startribune.com/clyde-bellecourt-aim-co-founder-and-longtime-civil-rights-leader-dies/600134813/?clmob=y&c=n

6:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Thoughts about America's second Civil War and its logical outcome

For the last 50 yrs, the US military has been defined by its ineffectiveness against insurgencies in foreign countries, and the impossibility of building legitimacy as an occupier. Why would they do any better at home fighting well-armed, anti-government hard-right insurgents in a potential 2nd American Civil War? Would not the problems that US military forces face in the occupation of foreign soil be that much greater in the occupation of the homeland? Do the geniuses at West Point and the NYTimes realize that it is tactically impossible to contain a terrorist force when it is supported by broad swaths of the population? We are, after all, talking about upwards of 100 million Trumpers in this nation who take a dim view of federal authority, to say the least. How could the US military clear and hold the whole of the US at once? Furthermore, one doesn't have to look very far to find an excellent example of a failed occupation experiment on American soil. The South under Reconstruction spawned the Klan and other anti-government organizations until they completely abandoned the project. Secession, if you think about it, is quite possibly the *only* nonviolent option available. What do you guys think?


7:11 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...


This is the only feeling I can associate with the idea of 'America'.

The insanity of the American right-wing is just a symptom of how much cognitive dissonance Americans are expected to live with. They're told from birth that they should love an America that abuses them to the point of shell shock.

I have scar tissue on two floating ribs that's easy to see when I don't have a shirt on. I literally can't do a sit-up. I have this scar tissue because when I broke two ribs during my lunch break, I was under threat of being dismissed if I didn't finish my computer project for the boss.

I was ambulanced to the emergency room with internal bleeding *after* I clocked out at 6:00 pm.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, the Army does have tanks, drones, and other tech horrors (if that matters).

Thank u all for yr informative posts. I think the period from 2025-50 is going to be a very dark one. But maybe, thru secession, a few folks will come out w/new ideas and energy on the other side.


8:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Americans are great human beings. Meanwhile, what kind of moron wants an autograph from Kanye? The guy deserved a gd punching, imo, altho Kanye needs to be jailed for looking like a horse's ass:



8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

@Miles- it seems much of the armed forces will happily throw their support to a fascist takeover.


In this video Mikey Weinstein head of the military religious freedom foundation estimates that 28% and 35% of current serving military personnel are strong Christian nationalists who want to create a theocracy and get rid of the Constitution. He makes the point that they inhabit all levels and branches of the Armed Forces. And the greatest concentration of these people are found at the "tip of the spear" - delta, rangers, navy seals,etc. These are the personnel actively engaged in fighting and combat in America's forever Wars.

Combine this with what we now know about the attitudes of the police and I think the future is grim for America to say the least.

As noted before in the blog artists seem to have an antenna that extends further. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaids Tale is closer than many people think.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also "The Mandibles," by Lionel Shriver.


10:12 PM  
Anonymous meta said...

Could you give your thoughts on the metaverse and how this plays into collapse? Facebook changed it's name to Meta and now Walmart is getting involved in the metaverse, NFTs, and crypto. It seems that as people lose wealth, it will all be replaced by staring into a headset to replace human interaction, travel, clothing, entertainment, shopping, and countless other things. It's much cheaper & better for controlling people to just give them a headset and put them in an apartment building in a city.


1:11 PM  
Anonymous Chuck Steak said...

Seems to be the time for another George Wallace or Huey Long to let
the disloyal commie liberals with all the money that the underclass
is very dissatisfied about how things are going for them.


8:03 PM  
Blogger buttbooty said...

I would diagnose amearikkka as a paranoid schizophrenic, and it will collapse like all paranoid schizos. It is normal to be neurotic in structure. The other positions are perversion and Psychosis following the re-reading of Freud by Lacan. Unfortunately the Lacanians have descended into extreme cultish behaviour

4:14 AM  

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