April 30, 2017

Finally, the Class War Is Out in the Open; or Why Trump Won the Election

Wafers-

I was in Germany in November at the time of the American presidential election, and wrote the following essay on Nov. 9, the day after. I subsequently gave it as a lecture at the University of Mainz, but was unable to post or publish it because of lecture commitments I had made in Mexico for the spring of 2017. Those commitments have now come and gone, and so I'm free to post it at this time. Most of you will not find any surprises here, because we have been discussing these issues since Trump's victory. Nevertheless, I thought I would take the liberty of posting it; reviewing these things may possibly be of interest, even at this late date. Or at least, I hope so. Here goes:

A few months ago, I read in some online newspaper that the six richest people in the world owned as much as the bottom 50 percent, or 3.7 billion people. This is so bizarre a statistic that one would have to call it surreal. One wonders how we got to this state of affairs. As in the case of so many things, the United States is at the cutting edge of this development. Just for starters, most of those six individuals are Americans. But of course it goes deeper than this. The world economic system is fundamentally an American one, and is sometimes known as neoliberalism or globalization—fancy words for imperialism, in fact. And imperialism is a system in which the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class gets slowly squeezed into oblivion.

American capitalism, of course, has been going on now for more than 400 years, as I describe it in my book Why America Failed. And yet one thing that can be said about social inequality in America is that it was relatively stable from 1776 down to about 1976, i.e. a period of 200 years. It existed, but for the most part it wasn’t harsh or extreme, save during the Gilded Age and the Depression, and it enabled Americans to believe that they were living in a classless society, or even that they were all middle class. As for the Depression, America pulled out of it due to the dramatic industrial development required by World War II, but Franklin Roosevelt was well aware that the nation needed something more viable than a war economy in order to sustain itself. And so in the summer of 1944, a conference on postwar financial arrangements was convened in a small town in New Hampshire called Bretton Woods, and the economic plan that was devised at that conference came to be known as the Bretton Woods Accords. The guiding light was the great British economist John Maynard Keynes, possibly the greatest economist who ever lived.

The Bretton Woods Accords put forward two key concepts. One, that the US dollar would be the international standard of exchange. All other currencies would be pegged to the dollar in value, and could always be traded in for dollars. Two, that the US Government would guarantee the value of the dollar, i.e. back the dollar, by means of gold bars kept in a vault in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The paper dollar, in other words, could be trusted completely. All of this was implemented as soon as the War was over, and it led to a remarkable period of prosperity, worldwide, for the next twenty-five years.

For a variety of reasons, Richard Nixon—not one of my favorite people—decided to repeal Bretton Woods, which he did in 1971. What this did was usher in a dramatic age of finance capitalism. Just to be clear, capitalism comes in three flavors. There is mercantile or commercial capital, in which wealth is derived from trade, and which flourished during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Then there is industrial capital, in which wealth is derived from manufactures, and which characterized the modern era, that is the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. And finally there is finance capital, in which wealth is not derived from trade or manufactures, but simply from currency speculation. This is what the repeal of Bretton Woods allowed, because with the removal of the gold standard, the currencies of the world had no intrinsic (dollar) value; they just floated against one another in a market place of constantly fluctuating exchange rates. Casino capitalism, we might also call it. Those who were rich could make huge amounts of money by speculating on currency rates, because they had large amounts of money to begin with. The rest of us—the so-called 99 percent—didn’t have the luxury of this, and were largely tied to a paycheck, if indeed we even had a job.

The effect of the repeal began to be noticed by 1973, and the gap between rich and poor began to widen noticeably thereafter. Ronald Reagan did his best to make it worse. His so-called “trickle down theory,” by which the wealth of the rich would supposedly spill over into the wallets of the poor and the middle class, was a farce. In a word, nothing trickled down. The rich decided to hang onto their wealth, rather than spread it around. What a surprise! And so today, in China as well as the United States, the top 1 percent own 47 percent of the wealth. In Mexico, thirty-four families are super-rich, while half the country wallows in poverty. And as I mentioned earlier, a handful of Americans own as much as the bottom 3.7 billion of the world’s population. As President Coolidge astutely remarked nearly 100 years ago, “The business of America is business.” John Maynard Keynes’ warning, that the economy was there to serve civilization rather than the reverse, was completely ignored.

“Reaganomics,” as it was called, got further entrenched with the fall of the Soviet Union. This event was taken, in the United States, as definitive proof that what was called the “Washington Consensus”—a neoliberal, globalized economy—was not merely the wave of the future, but indeed the only wave of the future. Political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a very famous, and very stupid, book declaring that we were now living in a unipolar world; that America, in short, was the end of history. It’s actually a very old idea, going back to 1630, that America would be the model for the rest of the world—“a city upon a hill.” American politicians love to quote that line. Meanwhile, the light of that city was getting dimmer for most of the American population.

And yet, in the face of all this, Americans continued to believe that they were living in a classless society, or that everyone was middle class. You wonder how stupid a nation can be, really; other nations are hardly so deluded. The author John Steinbeck famously remarked that socialism was never able to take root in America because the poor saw themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” As I argue in Why America Failed, everyone in the US is a hustler; everyone is just waiting for their ship to come in.

In any case, Bush Sr. continued the pattern, as did Bill Clinton. The passage of NAFTA benefited the US at the expense of the so-called Third World, with economic bailouts from the IMF tied to austerity measures that sent peasants in Chiapas, for example, into starvation—and rebellion. The rise of Subcomandante Marcos, and the Zapatistas, was to be expected. But the machinery rolled on. Bush Jr. correctly referred to the super-rich as “my base,” and the Obama presidency, despite a lot of flowery language, was a continuation of Bush Jr. After the crash of 2008, Obama didn’t bail out the poor or create jobs; not at all. He bailed out his rich banker friends to the tune of $19 trillion dollars, while the middle class lost their jobs and their homes and lined up at soup kitchens for the first time in their lives. Tent cities for them, and the working class, blossomed across the country, and Obama did nothing. As for Hillary—and this is a crucial point—what she was essentially promising was an extension of the neoliberal regime that had been in place since her husband took office in 1993. When Trump pointed at her, during the presidential debates, and said to the audience: “If you want a continuation of the last eight years, vote for her,” the people whom globalization had destroyed heard him loud and clear.

Trump seemed clumsy and boorish during the debates; in fact, he knew what he was doing. “What does Hillary have to show for thirty years of political involvement?” he cried. “Everything she is telling you is words, just words. She has nothing to offer you.” He was right, and millions of Americans knew it. Her slogans, like “Stronger Together,” were meaningless. He was speaking about reality, while she was reading from a script. She also looked as though she were programmed. Unfortunately for her, she tended to smile a lot, and it was so forced that she occasionally came across as insane.

In any case, things had changed since she was First Lady. After twenty-five years of neoliberal economics, the white working class understood that politics as usual had nothing to offer them; that Hillary was just a variation on the Obama regime, which had hurt them badly. There was now a realization that their ship would never come in, that they would never be able to participate in the American Dream; that they were permanently embarrassed non-millionaires. They had a deep, and justifiable, resentment against Washington, Wall Street, the New York Times, and all such establishment symbols, and their desire was to say to that establishment, and to the American intellectual elite—pardon my French—go fuck yourselves. Precisely by being vulgar and blunt, and not coming across as a smooth operator like Obama, Trump was winning a large part of America over to his side. Even his body language said “fuck you.”

Trump’s authenticity was also noticeable in his adoption of a declinist position, the first presidential candidate in American history to do this in a serious way. After all, if your campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” you are saying that the country is in decline, and that’s exactly what Trump was saying. Our airports resemble those of Third World countries, our roads and bridges are falling apart, our inner cities are filled with crime, our educational system is a joke—and so on. All of this is absolutely true, while Hillary could only come up with a feeble, and hollow, rejoinder: “When was America not great?” Give me a break.

Let me return a moment to the matter of the resentment of the American intellectual elite, the so-called liberal or professional class, which includes much of the Democratic Party. This is a largely untold story, and yet I regard it an absolutely crucial factor in the election of Trump. The same year that Nixon repealed Bretton Woods, 1971, a prominent Washington Democrat by the name of Fred Dutton published a manifesto called Changing Sources of Power. What he said in that document was that it was time for the Democratic Party to forget about the working class. This is not your voting base, he declared; the people you want to court are the white-collar workers, the college-educated, the hip technologically oriented, and so on. Forget about economic issues, he went on; it’s much more a question of lifestyle than anything else. This was the key ideology in the rise of the so-called New Democrats, who in effect repudiated their traditional base and indeed, the whole of Roosevelt’s New Deal, which had historically provided a safety net for that base. Bill Clinton was part of that wave, and during his presidency we saw not only a widening gap between rich and poor, but NAFTA, the abolition of welfare, and the so-called “Three Strikes” law, which put huge numbers of black men into prison for as much as twenty years for minor crimes, thereby destroying their families’ ability to survive. Hillary was also part of that wave, and as Trump and his supporters understood, she was going to court the chic and the hip, not the folks that neoliberalism had ground into the dirt. As it turned out, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump; they were not taken in by Hillary’s gender politics. (For more on this see Nicholas Lemann, “Can We Have a ‘Party of the People’?” New York Review of Books, 13 October 2016, pp. 48-50)

Which brings me to the final point. If the liberal class abandoned their traditional working-class base; if they had stopped, from the early 1970s, fighting for the New Deal ideology; then what ideology did they adopt? This is the saddest, and most ridiculous, chapter in the history of the left in the US: they became preoccupied with language, with political correctness—the sorts of things that not only could do nothing to improve the condition of the working class, but which were actually offensive to that class. God forbid one should say “girls” instead of “women,” or “blacks” instead of “African Americans,” or tell an ethnic joke. Left-wing projects now consisted in rewriting the works of great authors like Mark Twain, so that their nineteenth-century texts might not give offense to contemporary ears. The children of the rich, at elite universities, had to be protected from any kind of direct language. When some students at Bowdoin College in Maine, in 2016, decided to hold a Mexican theme party, complete with tequila and mariachi music, the rest of the campus was in an uproar, calling this “cultural appropriation.” Apparently, only Mexicans are allowed to drink tequila, in the politically correct world. Personally, I regarded this party as a tribute to Mexican culture; what does “appropriation” mean, anyway? In 2015 I published a cultural history of Japan, called Neurotic Beauty. Am I not allowed to do this, because I’m not Japanese? Should Octavio Paz have never written about India? All of this is quite ridiculous, and amounted to a callous neglect of the working class on the part of people who had traditionally fought for that class, for its survival. So while the working class and the middle class found itself confronted with real problems—no job, no home, no money, and no meaning in their lives—the chic liberal elite was preoccupied with who has the legal right to use transgender bathrooms. Well, I’d be angry too.

Just as a side note: In 1979, Christopher Lasch wrote a book called The Culture of Narcissism, in which he argued that during the sixties, we discovered that we were powerless to change the things that really mattered, namely the relations of class and power. As a result, in the seventies we decided to pour our energies into the things that didn’t matter at all, and political correctness is a good example of this. It’s not really politics, in other words; it’s a substitute for politics, and thus a waste of everyone’s time.

In any case, Hillary never understood this. She attacked Trump in the debates for being politically incorrect, when it was precisely that incorrectness that was the source of his appeal. She called his followers—many millions of Americans—“a basket of deplorables.” They didn’t appreciate being looked down upon, especially since the liberal elite had gotten wealthy at their expense. In her pathetic concession speech, on November 9, she still kept appealing to “Diversity,” to “Stronger Together,” and said how she hoped she would be an inspiration to little girls—apparently, in her politically correct world, little boys don’t count. The only one thing she got right in that speech was her observation that the nation was deeply polarized—“we didn’t realize how deeply,” she added. No kidding. The “deplorables” proved to be not so deplorable after all. They knew who their friends were, and they knew she wasn’t one of them.

There is a lot more to be said on the subject of Trump, of course. His belligerent stance toward Mexico, for example, or China. His appeal to nativist sentiments, to bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism. And while I respect the rage of his followers in terms of their desire to strike back at the economic forces that had destroyed them, I have to admit they aren’t my folks, so to speak. These are people who live in rural areas, go to Little League baseball games, join the Rotary Club and the Elks and the Kiwanis, dislike outsiders, hold church picnics, and reject any form of government support as “socialism,” even though they desperately need that support. We are still a nation of cowboys, and Trump is the biggest cowboy of all. By 2004 I saw that I simply didn’t fit into America, whether it was the cowboys or their opposite, the Harvard intellectual elite; and by 2006 I had moved south of the border. The last eleven years have been the happiest of my life, and I have Mexico to thank for it.

In conclusion, let me say that the American press has persistently labeled Trump as an anomaly, a kind of quirk or historical accident. He isn’t. He represents the constituency I just described, and they comprise a very large part of the nation. He is also the ultimate hustler, whose life is about money, and in that sense as well he is America writ large. The comedian George Carlin used to say, “Where do you think our leaders come from? Mars?” In the last analysis, we got Trump because we are Trump. Above all else, that is how he came into power.

©Morris Berman, 2017

184 Comments:

Anonymous Tom Servo said...

A perfect post to mention Thomas Frank again. Frank has an opinion piece in The Guardian that makes similar points.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/27/democratic-party-2018-races-midwest-populism-trump

8:51 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Thank you Dr. Berman for speaking the truth!

9:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tom-

Yes, I know. The NYRB article by Lemann I cite contains a review of Frank's bk, "Listen, Liberal," which discusses Fred Dutton and the Democratic sellout.

trout-

Yr welcome. My pleasure, always.

mb

9:17 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Never before in history has there been more ways to connect and maintain constant communication with other human beings both near and far, yet we as a species have never been lonelier.

http://usat.ly/2pjgx63

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

Excellent lecture, Morris.

You mentioning the Bretton Woods Conference is of paramount importance. You've mentioned these reports in the past, but in Global Trends 2025 and 2030, it's predicted that the US is going to lose its reserve currency status and that the international monetary system will be reconstructed. I haven't read "The Mandibles" but I know the book touches on this subject as well. The consequences of this change will be EXCRUCIATING for Americans and will most likely plunge the US into a depression worse than the Great Depression. This is a huge reason why I left the US to teach English, by the way.

A book I finished recently and recommend all of the readers here to check out is "The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis" by James Rickards (you may be interested in checking this out too Morris, the author and your friend Nomi Prins communicate on Twitter). If I had to summarize the book in a few short words, I'd say this: none of the problems from the 2008 financial crisis have been fixed, there is more risk in the system than ever before, institutions like the IMF and World Bank are fully aware of this and have written extensively about it, and the resulting fallout will be calamitous.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Thanks for the great post MB. It's worth mentioning Thomas Piketty here too:

"Piketty's argument is that, in an economy where the rate of return on capital outstrips the rate of growth, inherited wealth will always grow faster than earned wealth. So the fact that rich kids can swan aimlessly from gap year to internship to a job at father's bank/ministry/TV network – while the poor kids sweat into their barista uniforms – is not an accident: it is the system working normally."
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/28/thomas-piketty-capital-surprise-bestseller

Kanye

5:28 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

A half-hour video by YouTube personality Sargon of Akkad details the turkey-brained lack of any self-awareness at all of the social justice left. I would add that Rachel Bloom's musical number on Bill Nye's show displayed not only a complete lack of any real talent, it was also a sufficiently cringe-worthy combination of heavy-handed indoctrination and self-indulgent narcissism to make even people such as myself embarrassed to be associated with the left in this country.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. Berman,

Since it's baseball season up here in these United States of Discomfort, I'm going to borrow a baseball analogy and say you hit one out the ball park with this blog post, Senor Berman. I can't wait to pass this on to my liberal friends and listen to all of the "but-but-buts" that will ensue from the pussy-hat crowd. Maybe, just maybe, one or two of them will wise up when they read the truth so clearly and unemotionally stated, but I ain't holding my breath. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful summation of the last century of American economic reality.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

Many thanks. I can't imagine it will make a dent in the heads of the progs, but as I've often said, I'm not trying to reverse our downward trajectory (a hopeless task), but only to chronicle it.

Kanye-

Exactly. This is what finance capitalism is all about.

mb

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Wile E Coyote said...

MB,

I realize you have soured on Hedges and his pollyana-ish talk of revolt, but in this article he is refreshingly pessimistic:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/reign_of_idiots_20170430

Maybe he's coming round.

9:40 AM  
Blogger David said...

MB
Great article and the sort of discussion that our not-so-free press in America ought to be encouraging in these trying times. I know it's wishful thinking but we are allowed some flights of fancy from time to time!
Apropos Octavio Paz I highly recommend a book he wrote in Spanish "Tiempo Nublado" in which he discusses the state of the world in the late eighties with some sharp observations about America. Don't know if it ever made it into English.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wile-

I'll be honest: I see this Hedges essay very differently than you do. He starts out by saying that the mass of Americans are being victimized; his last line is "We are his victims." Poor ol' Chris! He just doesn't get it, and apparently never will. This essay is abt as far as one can get from my current post, which concludes as follows: "In the last analysis, we got Trump because we *are* Trump. Above all else, that is how he came into power." Hedges' model of what is coming down is one of rape: the ruling class did this to us. Mine doesn't discount that as a factor, but it points to a more crucial one: the truer model is not rape, but consensual sex. After 400 yrs of hustling, this is what Americans are all about, and by 2016 they put the ultimate hustler into the White House.

This raises the question as to who, really, is the idiot. I have said repeatedly that in the US, even the smart people are dumb, and Hedges' endless promotion of the rape model is a gd example of this. The rape model is completely simplistic, but it serves his psychological need--which is quite desperate at this pt--very well. If we are oppressed or violated, as he believes, then there is a solution: revolt! This is the agenda he continues to push, oblivious to the fact that the revolution has already occurred (it just came from the rt, not the left--as I kept saying it wd). This gives his life Meaning, with a capital M, and he's not likely to opt for a more complex model (e.g., consensual sex) because then you are staring declinism rt in the face, and this for him--as it is for all progs--is anathema. Never mind, that it's reality; oh no, let's just stay with a rape/revolt model in order to make ourselves feel better. So you see why I don't think the poor guy is 'coming round'. Rather, I believe he is permanently stuck in illusion. At the end of the day, a somewhat pathetic figure; in the true sense of the word, the man lacks intelligence.

Keep in mind that if yr a declinist, you welcome Trump, because you see him as historically 'selected' to finish the job, polish off the US. Who better to do it, after all? (See also above, my note to Mike.) But I do appreciate this abt Chris and other progs: altho there is no way to arrest our decline, their delusion also serves to hasten it. If you have all of these smart progs living in unreality, instead of assessing the situation w/real intelligence, that can only make things worse. ("Here in Lake Wobegon," wrote Garrison Keillor, "we have the ability to look reality right in the eye and deny it.")

Mike-

BTW, it wd be great 2 c.u. once again at the NY Wafer Summit Meeting (NYWSM), this time around on Oct. 29. Hope u can make it.

Roboto-

Thanks for link to that video, wh/is hilarious and rt on target. How absurd these people are, their heads up their asses, rolling around like doughnuts. But again, they too serve to bring the country down, so I suppose we shd give credit where credit is due.

Ror-

I just ordered Rickards, thanks.

mb

10:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

Can you imagine the NYT inviting me to do an essay like that as an op-ed piece? When pigs fly!

mb

11:09 AM  
Blogger alyosha said...

Dr Berman,

I've been lurking for a long time and hugely admire your writing. Agree with others upstream that this post knocks it out of the park. And no, it will be a very long time before you see anything like this in the NYT.

I heard Hedges speak a few years ago, and appreciate how his war reporting background informs his thinking. But your teasing apart the rape/revolt model from the consensual sex model starts to get at what's bothered me about him. And as you say, he doesn't realize that the revolution has already occurred.

Anyway, I made up my mind during the Bush Jr era to leave the US. I had hopes with Obama - imagine, someone who could actually speak intelligently after George W Bush - but realized by March 2009 - I was in an airport, watching Obama give a speech about saving the banks - that this guy is impotent, doesn't understand what's going on, and will at best try to keep the plates spinning for as long as he can. Ditto for Hillary. I'm hard at work on getting out before it's too late.

thanks so much for this watering hole,

alyosha

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B & All: I thought you might like to read Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson's speech given at Gettysburg, PA on Memorial Day, May 30, 1963. (It's kind of a "Second Gettysburg Address")

Here's the text of the speech; it's not very long-

http://www.lbjlibrary.net/collections/selected-speeches/pre-presidential/05-30-1963.html

Dr. B, do you remember if the speech made any impression at the time?

This NYT article from 2013 gives the speech some context-

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/sunday-review/at-gettysburg-johnson-marked-memorial-day-and-the-future.html?_r=0


12:46 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

This is a beautiful piece of work, MB; a fine blog publication for May Day, otherwise known in the US as the "communist" holiday. Who's looking out for the American worker? It sure as shit ain't the modern Democratic Party. Many thanks for pointing this out, and attempting to open up a space for our deluded progressives to get a clue. I tell ya, a teaching gig at UCLA is right around the corner for u as we wait for what Philip Roth once described as the "indigenous American berserk."

Miles

1:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

My dear Karamazov,

No need to lurk anymore. As you prepare to jump ship, keep us posted on yr progress.

Birn-

I have no memory of that speech; no one seemed to pay attn. to LBJ until JFK was murdered. Then what most people remembered him for was Vietnam.

mb

1:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I tell ya, my fone has been ringing off the hook from universities across the land. "Come, O Berm! Take up a full professorship, and tell us how the country is going down the toilet and how our students are politically correct turkeys! We long to hear this; just name your salary, at least 6 figures."

What can I say? I'm moved to tears.

mb

1:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. E.g., Cranston Butterworth III sounds pretty gd. Then, resend.

mb

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Very much on topic, this is a good but worrying read:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/01/emmanuel-macron-french-voters-marine-le-pen?CMP=twt_gu

3:27 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


As urine well up his noble eyes remembering a 'job well done' -our messiah, the sodomizer of the gullible. Muchas gracias para dar el dolor inolvidable!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPOt5qSZsDk
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/01/barack-obama-speaking-fees-economic-racial-justice

The messiah who lead from our "behinds."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRlfyR4v0rE
http://time.com/3421894/obama-ad-war-on-women/

Before we thank Trompa for the 'coup de dis-grace,' scuttling of the empire we need to thank Barray-the-messiah who loaded the cannons.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aBmbUkkIGc

3:31 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

I think we are about to see the rise of the slave economy in the U.S. Basically, almost everyone will be unemployed or will be a "paid slave" working low-end jobs.

Due to a little planning and a lot of luck, I will hopefully not be forced to participate in the slave economy. I am not proud of myself, but financial freedom beats being a slave IMO.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Prasenjit Sen said...

MB... This article and the charts therein make interesting reading. Though the report is India-centric, the last two charts give a comparative global picture too. It would have been good to have a comparison from pre-1990 days when India embraced neo-liebalism. From what I remember from a more recent report, the disparity has only increased. My point is, the story of wealth gushing up rather than trickling down is universal.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Another yankee doodle moment. Austin Texas— An attacker with a machete-like knife fatally stabbed one person and wounded at least three others Monday 5/1 on the University of Texas campus, and police had a suspect in custody, authorities said.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike R.-

Small potatoes. When will these attackers learn to equip themselves w/drones?

Pras-

What article?

Esca-

Read my new bk, "Turkeys on Parade."

mb

5:06 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

Hi, I was wondering is the US decline a foreshadowing or at least the beginning of Western Decline? If so, do you think that the US citizenry will ever break from the grip of the illusions of American exceptionalism?

I think back to Susan Sarandon's comments after the election Hillary Clinton as the Dem nomination. She believed that for America to ever change it will have to "fall into the toilet" for the country to change. Do you think America hitting rock bottom can cause a cultural shift or are Americans too ideologically ingrained? I personally feel America is a an extremist society that can never find a middle ground.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Thanks for the essay. Like the others, I'm always happy to get a thoughtful break from the unceasing litany of mayhem, murder, and morons.

No one can know what form the collapse will take. Or how long before it happens. And as you've pointed out, the collapse won't necessarily be like the collapse of a highway bridge or as happens when a derelict building is demolished. Nor can we know what form any subsequent social organization might take or how the "survivors" might try to reorganize themselves. It seems undeniable, however, that whatever the new forms and arrangements, it could hardly be much better than what currently prevails, could it? Same inputs, same urges and drives. Why should America II, the sequel, be much of a deliverance for those who remain? Where will the post-apocalyptic Solons come from? How large a social/geopolitical unit will be either governable or sustainable once established?

I'm 66, and don't expect to see a rebirth. If one is even possible, given the raw materials ready to hand.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nesim-

There is no hope for the US. Lots of alcoholics hit bottom the other side of death, and we are drunk on absurd notions of growth and infinite expansion. That will be our fate.

When I say 'no hope', BTW, I don't mean, 'a little hope'. I mean, 'no hope'.

If you need any further clarification of my position, feel free to ask. I worry that I can sometimes be ambiguous.

mb

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Antilucis said...

Morris,

We are talking at cross purposes. The one point on which we can agree is that you did not understand what I wrote. Whose fault that is, I’ll let others judge.

A philosophical consensus on relativism, self-refutation, etc.—here, you’re simply wrong. As a corrective, see this brief but lucid overview: http://www.iep.utm.edu/cog-rel/ (skip to “Conclusion”, if need be).

Beyond that, many of the readers’ comments to the “Post-Modernism” article address your (and Pluckrose’s) intellectually unsophisticated and emotionally biased straw man view of this subject. I recommend reading these comments, too, and not just the article. You might want to learn something about non-Classical logic, dialetheism, etc., while you’re at it.

As to the E.E. Sleinis book, apologies for my error. The correct title is *Nietzsche's Revaluation of Values: A Study in Strategies* (see especially pp. 32-46). You’ll have no trouble finding it in the NYPL online catalog.

Thank you for your time and your replies.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Schlomo said...

Most of us here understand that decline will continue to play out in America as well as much of the "developed" world (due to Washington policies and "philosophy"), but that America is the *worst* suited to manage that decline due to its culture and institutions, and imperialism, as compared to say France. Dr Berman makes that case in his books.

I want to emphasize a bit that those looking for an explicit moment of "collapse" likely won't see it. First, define "collapse." More likely is that quality of life for most Americans will continue to degrade while the rich pilfer more. But the cheap food and cheap unlimited entertainment will placate the masses for a long time. Don't expect a violent uprising, Americans are too dumb, scared and apathetic. My point is as a young American, don't wait too long waiting for a trigger point to indicate you need to emigrate. Don't risk waiting and then thirty years pass by and you're too old to make a change in life and too late to establish yourself elsewhere.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

Hello Mr Berman, I was wondering what your thoughts are on climate change. I know that you have said the US has no future but I'm curious about whether or not the earth has a future considering that the planet seems to be headed towards environmental catastrophe every year.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nesim-

Note an informal rule on this blog: post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.

Schlomo-

By and large yr rt, but as I've written b4, all empires have 'nodes' of collapse, great shocks: Rome in A.D. 410, for example, or the US on 9/11 and in 2008. I think we are going to see more nodes ahead, along with the 'death of 1000 cuts.'

anti-

I don't think we are going to get anywhere, really. Yr certainly correct, that I didn't understand what you wrote, because pomo-talk is largely gibberish, imo, and that's how your writing struck me. Not sophisticated, but doubletalk; I just cdn't make my way thru the forest of jargon, for which pomos are justly famous. As for philosophical consensus, Rapp, whom I cited, is hardly the only critic on the pt of self-referentiality. (I wish I cd give you a bibliography, but it's been a while since I read thru these critiques, and I fear I didn't keep a file. Note that Rapp, in refuting pm, writes in ordinary, understandable English prose.) I suspect it's you who are wrong. (BTW, when I tried to access your 'lucid overview', I got an error message: "This page cannot be displayed.") Nor do I find Pluckrose unsophisticated or emotional; just the opposite. (For what it's worth, I sent her essay to a very sharp colleague of mine, who is more up on these things than I am, and he thought it was 1st-rate.) It's very easy to get caught in a kind of pm fog, a hall of mirrors or closed circle, from which reality is excluded, which then leads one to believe that the difference between the height of an ant and that of a giraffe is purely subjective, or socially constructed, or that Jewish and Aryan urine are chemically different. Interesting that the French have (healthily) moved on from pm, while a lot of American academics still cling to it. (Check out Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer," on how isms provide psychological salvation for their adherents.) In any case, I suspect we wd go back and forth forever, w/neither of us persuading the other of anything--the more so since I literally cannot understand your language--so I think it's just best to agree to disagree. C'est la differance, I suppose. All the best.

mb

8:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

This article wd seem to support the current post:

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/05/01/pro-clinton-probe-2016-reveals-yes-democrats-have-wall-street-problem

Taylor-

There's a lot to be said about it; I think it may be the one area in which social activism makes sense. Check out a British film called "The Age of Stupidity," which argues that the train has already left the station. But anything we can do to stop the destruction of the environment is still impt, in my view. One crucial pt is the possibility that capitalism will implode b4 the world implodes. Once the whole 'growth' paradigm is dead in its tracks, and further econo-techno-expansion is no longer possible, the movement to rescue the planet may find itself w/a whole lotta allies, and a whole lotta new energy. Cross fingers.

mb

8:16 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB: "...everyone in the US is a hustler..."

Just today I heard a radio commercial for Uber in which the tagline was (if I got it correctly): "Get your side hustle on." Then I come home and read this essay. Too funny.

Wiley--another problem with that Hedges article is that he spends the first paragraph calling a whole host of people at the top of our society "idiots" for doing the various things they do. Call 'em what you will, but one thing they are NOT are idiots. They know EXACTLY what they are doing, and they know that by doing it the will get (or remain) extraordinarily rich and/or powerful. They could not possibly care less if average Americans get fucked in the process or if the planet becomes mostly uninhabitable after they are dead an buried.

Meanwhile, support the troops, even the deranged psychopaths among them:

https://jonathanturley.org/2017/04/28/couple-arrested-after-filming-their-laughing-as-they-killed-ptsd-service-dog/

9:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

All of these things bring to mind the TV series "The Americans," which I have found very absorbing. I just screened the 4th season. In this one in particular, the KGB is seen doing pretty awful things to innocent victims. If someone happens to see an agent by accident, he is killed off w/o a 2nd thought, because the agency can't take the chance of his going to a police sketch artist. People are used for agency purposes, chewed up and thrown away, w/o any concern for the huge psychological damage that has been inflicted on them. And all of it because the agents believe that the end justifies the means--the end being the promotion of world communism, a purely abstract ideal. For this abstract goal, which has been corrupted beyond recognition in the Soviet Union anyway, the most horrendous acts are justified, explained away.

Of course, I'm hardly unaware that the CIA has behaved just as badly, also for an abstract ideal, e.g. 'democracy'--which has also been corrupted beyond recognition in the home country. But for whatever reason, Season 4 is focused on the KGB, not the CIA or FBI.

At one point, Elizabeth (Keri Russell), in the wake of destroying a Korean family for the purpose of getting her hands on a biological weapon, is haunted by what she did, and goes to talk to her daughter's pastor. She doesn't give him any specifics, of course, but asks him what one shd do if one is haunted by something. He talks abt prayer and religion--neither of which she believes in--and finally says, "Really, the only thing that matters is how we treat each other." Not much help, obviously, because she and her KGB husband routinely treat people pretty badly. But it was a true Christian answer, it seems to me.

Also a Jewish one. When a Roman soldier asked Rabbi Hillel to tell him the essence of the Torah in the time he could balance himself on one foot--"al regel echad," in Hebrew--Hillel said to him: "That which is hateful to you, don't do to another. That's the essence of the Bible. Everything else is editorial commentary." Smart cookie.
(continued below)

10:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

It also leads me to think of that famous distinction that another smart cookie, Martin Buber, made between I-It and I-Thou relationships. The former are instrumental: you use other people for your own agendas, w/o regard to the damage you might be causing. This is what we see in "The Americans." The latter are spiritual connections, in which you treat the other person with authenticity, and allow them to be who they are.

I don't know if Buber ever said it, but it's my belief that if you relate to everyone around you instrumentally, eventually you become an It as well, which is to say, a person w/o any meaning in his/her life: spiritually dead. I believe this is one reason why America is dying. Hustling means treating everyone and everything around you instrumentally. At the end, you have nothing at all to show for your life. W/in a hustling culture, there are very few I-Thou relationships. Hence sociologists report that the level of loneliness in the US is now thru the roof, and that empathy has sharply dropped off. Huge #s of Americans say they don't have a single person in their lives in whom they can confide. Lives of quiet desperation, said Thoreau.

This issue of abstraction is also disturbing. "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend," wrote E.M. Forster, "I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." Neither communism, nor democracy, can keep you warm at night, can hold your hand, can listen to you, can make you feel loved. Murdering people or ruining their lives to uphold an abstraction has to be the greatest curse that ever befell humankind.

What sort of relationships do us Wafers have w/each other?, I sometimes wonder. As you all know, I'm not a fan of virtual or digital reality; it lacks the sensuality of face-to-face (or eye-to-eye) contact. This was one of the reasons I reacted negatively, yrs ago, when my then editor and then agent insisted that running a blog was mandatory (for what? sales, I suppose; boy, were they wrong!). But the blog was 11 yrs old last month; we are coming up on our 300th post; and the stats show that in those 11 yrs, abt 2.9 million people checked us out. Now that we have mostly filtered out the trollfoons and other folks who hate us, hate what we are; or those who have only a casual interest in the blog--I guess/hope most of these people have drifted off to other blogs--I can't help wondering if, virtual reality notwithstanding, we have generated I-Thou relationships here. As you guys know, I don't have a lot of interest in talking abt the blog itself; it just seems tautological, a form of intellectual masturbation. But as we are in the midst of 3 major anniversaries--11 yrs, 300 posts, nearly 3 million hits--I am moved to think about the *ambience* of the blog, and to conclude--this is just me now (keep in mind that I'm actually senile)--that a good % of what goes on here falls into the I-Thou category.

What do you all think? Shall we do another 11 yrs?

-mb

10:28 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

I'm 41 and never married or had kids and saved up a good bit of money. I have a Bachelors Degree in History and did some graduate level work. Could I still get a job teaching English in China or somewhere else and start over in a new country?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

BH-

I dunno if China wd be my 1st choice, personally, but that's up 2u. I will say this: if you are able to quit the US, and don't do it, yr a damn fool.

mb

12:15 AM  
Blogger Prasenjit Sen said...

Did I forget to attach the link last time? Here it is:

http://www.thehindu.com/data/indias-staggering-wealth-gap-in-five-charts/article6672115.ece

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

Have you ever checked out pomo's most energetic foe, the philosopher Raymond Tallis, who calls pomo "that great pyramid of bullshit"?

4:46 AM  
Blogger Mohamed ali said...

@bh by the time American empire falls the English language we'll be useless. The best thing to do is start a small business or farm. I own some fertile land in Ethiopia my goal is to save money so I can build a house on it and farm it. I don't know anything about farming but my whole family in Ethiopia are farmers

5:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Was not aware, thanks for pointing him out. pm is not 100% bullshit, imo; just maybe 97.5%. You know, when I told Anti that our conversation about pm was kinda pointless, I wasn't trying to be coy; there were 2 real reasons for this, wh/I tried to explain to him. The 1st echoes an old joke: What do you get when you cross a deconstructionist w/a Mafioso? A: Someone who makes you an offer you can't understand. I *literally* cdn't understand that 1st para of his, filled as it was w/pomo jargon. Pomos have created an esoteric language all their own; only the 'cognoscenti' are hip to its meaning. To get into a debate w/someone who uses this bizarre language, as opposed to ordinary English, is for me a useless endeavor. pm critics such as Carl Rapp use the latter; they studiously avoid pomo-speak.

The 2nd reason is rather linked to the 1st: it's a closed circle, a hall of mirrors. You can't penetrate the magic bubble of pm because pomos have defined their very being in these terms, and so critique cannot get thru; they are fighting for their psychological lives. It's not really different than debating a dedicated communist, or neoliberal: they *have* to be right. So again, what wd be the pt? They always have an answer for every critique, and it always involves a kind of word magic, an impenetrable vocabulary. Ultimately, it's not so much a pyramid of bullshit as religion by another name. And I hafta add that for me, at least, it's pretty boring: that truth doesn't exist; that everything is a 'text', or socially constructed (except *our* texts, of course)--Jesus, I got better things to do than read that sorta stuff. (Sleeping, for example)

The reasonable response, it seems to me, is to leave these folks to it: Godspeed; I hope that works for you. Now I'm going to have lunch, wh/is real food, and not a 'text'.

mb

ps: Any links to Tallis, specifically to his writings on pm?

6:25 AM  
Blogger alyosha said...

e-friends are no substitute for the real, flesh and blood, face-to-face kind, but they're not nothing either.

During the Cheney Administration, I was involved with political blogs (probably a gigantic waste of time), and came to be a student so to speak, of a commenter named "oldman" who occasionally posted at one particular blog. He didn't have his own blog, he was just another commenter. Much like a coterie of students who admire a favorite university professor, we fed at this oldman's writings, which seemed wise and germaine for the times we were in.

A couple years later, the writings stopped, and we discovered that "oldman" - who was really someone in their early thirties, but from a completely different culture - Viet Nam - had died. I was saddened, and the blog owner actually posted a physical address for oldman's family - somewhere in Michigan. I sent a physical card, a condolence expressing what oldman had meant to me, and how sad I was to see him gone.

Trumpi is the embodiment of I-It - he has no friends, just work and his family. Hardly ever any laughter, just a scowl. A NoWhere Man flying around in his own private 767, now Air Force One.

alyosha

1:02 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Excellent Essay Morris! I sent it to my family and friends.

Here's a recent piece by James Kunstler on life in modern-day America...

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-national-blues/


1:53 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Mauricio,

Yes! Let's do another 11 years. While I am not a fan of online 'friends' this blog definitely has a sense of I'thou relations. It comes through in recognizing various names and resonating with some more than others. Also the feel of the mostly respectful back and forth between Wafers is the key, along with some out right disagreements we can freely put out here without having to be concerned about offending or being trashed by others.

This consideration, respect and straightforwardness is what is missing mostly everywhere in the US. In addition I have learned so much with the books videos and references to other articles that Wafers offer.

So another 11 years in spite of your senility...would that we all could be so senile.

Marianne

2:17 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

For those who might've missed it, this story, describing how Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described the Syria missile attack as representing "after-dinner entertainment" at Mar-a-Lago:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/05/01/politics/wilbur-ross-syria-entertainment/index.html

Ross (AB Yale, MBA Harvard) stepped on his crank in a speech Monday before a conference at the Milken Institute, a philanthropic institution founded in Santa Barbara, CA by Michael Milken. Milken's name may be familiar to you: now ranked by Forbes magazine ("A capitalist tool") the 488th richest man in the world, Milken earned $1 billion over 4 years at Drexel Burnham Lambert in their high-yield bond department. The "Junk Bond King" was indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989, paid a $600 million fine and spent 2 yrs in jail. He was barred from the securities industry for life.

Our Commerce Secretary, whose own "nom de commerce" was the "Bankruptcy King," specialized in taking over failing companies and selling them for a profit after reorganization. He has his own tale of woe: in August 2016, practically a minute ago by geologic standards, he was obliged to reimburse investors $11.8 million and pay a $2.3 million fine to settle an SEC probe into overcharging by his company WL Ross & Co.

Did somebody say "den of thieves"?

2:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marianne-

Oh, OK; ya talked me into it. Altho my drooling on the keyboard due to my age has been a bit of an embarrassment.

As far as face-to-face goes, there will be another NY Wafer Summit Mtg (NYWSM) on Oct. 29, but I'm thinking we shd once again try for an International WSM in 2018, perhaps in Mexico City. Last one failed, as did plans for Ireland; and I think all hotels in Ulan Bator are booked solid, not to mention Tehran. But maybe this is something we shd bat around during the next 7 or 8 mos.

mb

3:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hillary, why do we hafta keep hearing from you? You can't imagine how boring u.r. at this pt. Fer Chrissakes, disappear already. Your face actually scares me:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/02/hillary-clinton-trump-election-loss-russia-fbi-interference

"I take full responsibility except for these accidental crucial factors from the outside in the last 10 days that robbed me of victory. My loss had abs. nothing to do w/the factors identified by Berman in his recent post, like a continuation of the politically correct neoliberal regime by and for elites. No, certainly not. Altho I acknowledge that my face scares Berman, and probably scares a lot of people. Well shit, let them try smiling w/a face filled w/Botox. And now that the election is over, does anyone out there know how to remove Botox? It really hurts."

4:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hill: You forgot to mention that yr a douche bag. Don't you think that might have had just a little something to do w/yr defeat at the polls? Yr also a turkey. The American people need to hear you admit these things.--mb

"To the American people: Upon the urging of Berman, I need to add that a major factor in my loss was that I'm a turkey and a douche bag. Honestly, I hate being a turkey and a douche bag. I wasn't a turkey and a douche bag when I was in college, and met Bill. I was pretty and had lofty ideals. I had no intention, at that pt, of becoming a war criminal (like Bill, later) and a corporate mouthpiece, or of having a scary face filled w/Botox; none at all. Somewhere along the way, power became everything for both of us. Now Bill looks like, and is, an ageing asshole, and I'm a turkey and a douche bag. This cost me the election, and if any of you run into me on the streets of Long Island and want to point to me and say, 'Turkey! Douche bag!', I won't object. Good night and good luck."

4:15 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

MB: A really great essay. Original and honest. Its sad and at times darkly amusing to chat with people in the U.S. Unlike your essay or the essay on poverty I shared there are so few original notions. They (99.9% of Americans) don't argue, or write, or think, they recite partisan pablum others have masticated for them. Read comments on blogs, overhear conversations as you go about your day in the U.S. and its just rehashing of platitudes or tag lines drawn from TV or a po mo professor. You can go months in the U.S. without hearing an interesting or original thought (I expempt some children typically bright before stunting of mind begins) Indeed as Gore Vidal (or hilariously as Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali-G called him, Vidal Sassoon) stupidity is exciting. On a cynical (though realist not) my father and an uncle would mock my youthful puzzlement over widespread stupidity and feeble efforts to "educate" or correct people. Their view was largely, F'em, they are like horned cattle, don't hurt them, but get away from them and if you must profit from their stupidity (they did both). Trying to get them to think is as pointless at teaching a horse trigonometry.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

I look forward to the October Wafer Summit and also would be happy to help plan an international summit.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

Dulouz Jr.

Nomi Prins has an article at TomDispatch.com describing how the Trump Family is cashing in on The Donald's Presidency; "The Empire Expands:Not the American One, but Trump's". At least Clinton and Obama had the decency to prostitute themselves after they left the White House.Of course, Trump has always been a consumer of whores, I suppose. Next to your blog, Dr. Berman, I find TomDispatch interesting because it has links to a wide variety of websites, resources, blogs, magazines and newspapers, both foreign and domestic.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous MoonWetPotatoe said...

Drunk American gets in fight on Japan Airlines.

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/fight-breaks-flight-japan-los-164812050.html

5:32 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Well, I second Marianne's emotion: let's do another 11 years! Besides, there's no one I'd rather follow into senility than MB ;-). Here's what MB and the blog mean to me:

Get It While You Can-

Oh, let us give thanks to the greatest blog in the universe.
A place where supple minds come together to converse.

Hey, it ain't chopped liver to say
MB is the ultimo hombre of this soiree

Wafers elegantly move thru the fog of the American monkey puzzle
Offering a hustle rebuttal with care and a chuckle

Oh, get it while you can
Hey, hey get it while you can

Time and again, it's a stairway to Heaven
A burning bush
A swept-aside Red Sea

This is what the Wafer blog means to me...

Miles

5:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

Let's talk abt the International Wafer Summit Mtg (IWSM) when we get together in NY. Very glad you will be able to make it.

COS-

Yeah, occasionally I do overhear Americans talking, and--it's fucking depressing, really. As I said a while back, the temptation is to stop them and say: "Who did this to you?" But I always refrain, of course. I mean, are we going to sit down and have a seminar on their banality? The difference between conversations I can have w/Americans, as opposed to ones in Europe, is simply astounding. Americans might as well be gurgling and drooling (or grunting). As far as horses, let's not forget Clever Hans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans

mb

5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Moon-

Have you ever considered how many Americans need to be peed upon? I don't think there's enuf urine in the entire world to do the job.

Jeff-

I wept like a baby.

mb

5:53 PM  
Blogger Grandma said...

Marianne, I wish I had written your post. Agree on everything!

Dr. B, excellent essay/speech. I'm glad to be here, still learning, in harmony and agreement.

As for the pomo's: I tried to wade thru several as a grad student. Had that grad student fear that I was missing something, but it seemed like gibberish to me. Glad I'm not alone, as you have much, much more research experience than I.

Just wanted to add: Pomo is then 97.5% hustle, for street cred, book deals, academic cred, "in group" cred. When I was in middle school, the rich girls in the locker room after gym would speak in their own secret language, too. Never forgot that: they made fun of anyone who didn't "get it" which was, of course, everyone else. Lesson learned, I lost any desire at a young age to pursue being in the "in group". Now it has a name: the I-It group.

This group right here, us Wafers, the I-Thou groups, will do just fine by me.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Not to linger too much but one more thought on pomo that I can add is that a few of its theories make for interesting ways of interpreting art and literature, but then again you get something like an article on Neruda's "Me gustas cuando callas" that claimed it to be a misogynistic assertion of patriarchy just because some lady who read it and didn't like it said so. And yes, this is an actual published article that I came across in grad school.

Ways of interpreting art don't necessarily map well onto politics, because duh, politics involves material reality and real human relations, not fictional ones and people's subjective takes on them. Maybe it was a similar mistake that made social darwinism popular in its day, trying to make one discipline's square peg fit in the world's round hole.

And just for fun, take a look at these bad writing awards bestowed on pomo hotshots:
http://www.denisdutton.com/bad_writing.htm

with nuggets such as:

"If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to “normalize” formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality."

ok....

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Atlas Shoulder Shrug said...

http://exiledonline.com/paul-ryans-guru-ayn-rand-worshipped-a-serial-killer-who-kidnapped-and-dismembered-little-girls/

http://knowledgenuts.com/2013/09/20/ayn-rand-was-a-secret-welfare-queen/

7:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Patrick-

I guess the most egregious example of pm obfuscation was the notorious Sokal affair:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

There's just a persistent emptiness at the center of all of this, it seems to me. Again, I did find Foucault and the sociology of knowledge etc. useful to my analysis of premodern science/epistemology in the Reenchantment book; but I felt that what I finally came up with was life-affirming, whereas I see much of pm as nihilistic. It's suspect: if you can't say it in plain English, and hafta invent an opaque, specialized vocabulary to be engaged in by a total of 47 people (or whatever), there's gotta be something wrong w/it.

Grandma-

Ultimately, most of the world, and certainly America, will continue on the I-It path. Nor wd a socialist revolution change any of that, as my own experience w/many left-wingers can attest to (it's still mostly hustling and self-aggrandizement, just under a different banner; integrity is not a big part of their world view, except in theoretical terms). Altho E.M. Forster didn't use the term I-Thou, he was talking abt it when he wrote:

"I believe in aristocracy. . . — if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos."

Note that I discuss this in the Twilight book. Wafers cannot, and will not, convert hordes of people to the I-Thou path. Maybe they can pull a few fish out of the sea, but for most Americans the challenge of this path evokes enormous existential strain; which is why the blog gets so much hate mail, trollfoon attacks, and so on--a deep bitterness, *ressentiment*. Over the yrs I've said to the trollfoons: "Wafer or douche bag: the choice is yours." Not a single one of them chose to be a Wafer; not one. It's just too threatening. All Wafers can do is follow the I-Thou path, and maybe influence 2 or 3 people in their entire lifetimes. But influence is not the goal, in any case; as the saying goes, virtue is its own reward.

mb

7:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Atlas-

Rand was definitely the queen of I-Its, a truly callous individual. BTW, Mark Ames wrote a terrific bk: "Going Postal." Highly recommended.

mb

8:11 PM  
Anonymous silliconvalleyburnout said...

All hope is not lost for Hillary supporters. One Trump voter was convinced he made a mistake after reading 800 pages of queer feminist theory. Warning, do not consume hot beverages while listening to this video. You'll spit it up and burn yourself :when you laugh -)

https://www.facebook.com/TheOnion/videos/10155397968279497/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

8:59 PM  
Blogger mike said...

I have enjoy this blog about Martin Buber-

http://martinbuberinstitute.dialogicalecology.org/

MB- I'm enjoying your discussion of PM a great deal. Always felt it was hollow at the core. Aristocracy of the sensitive, considerate and plucky, yes.

Are you aware of the work Bill Plotkin is doing at Animas Valley Institute? Depth work in nature.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"Rand was definitely the queen of I-Its, a truly callous individual. BTW, Mark Ames wrote a terrific bk: "Going Postal." Highly recommended."

Rand is probably the person who best represents the empty and sociopathic nature of America.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

silicon-

abs. hysterical

mb

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Schlomo said...

Just another day in dystopia.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/02/us-border-officers-lock-up-australian-man-after-overstaying-visa-by-one-hour

(Overstay not even his fault and he has to stay in jail until a bail hearing May 10)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/02/jordan-edwards-shooting-officer-fired-roy-oliver-texas

(I can't even keep up with all the innocent blacks people murdered by savage American cops anymore)

This blog is the only thing keeping me sane in the Idiocracy. MB, would it be okay if we created a Wafer subreddit on Reddit to communicate amongst ourselves?

9:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Schlo-

Re: Reddit: why don't we keep Waferdom on this blog rather than anywhere else? Easy to communicate w/other Wafers: just post yr email address, invite people to write you. You'll see, they will. Thanks.

mb

10:05 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

11 More Years! 11 More Years! 11 More Years!

Just tonight I had a rare moment with the television actually on and tuned to a commercial network--and within a few minutes saw an ad saying what a great job Trump did is his first 100 days. "Already Making America Great Again!" I believe was the tagline. So we've apparently hit another new low in which campaigns are now perpetual and never stop.

Meanwhile, not far from where I live, two idiots lost two of their five children after playing abusive pranks on them and posting the "funny" videos on YouTube. Looking at them and realizing these are the breeders, how can anyone have hope that America will someday turn things around:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39783670?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

And, in a scene right out of the movie version of Fargo, a mope in Oregon tried to push a coworker into a wood chipper. What's particularly scary about this one is that it looks like yet another example of completely random workplace violence committed by someone who just snapped:

http://kval.com/news/local/police-tree-company-employee-tried-to-put-co-worker-into-wood-chipper-head-first?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

10:30 PM  
Blogger Chris A said...

Morris,

You made reference in your last posting to both Buddhism and one form or another of meditation. Would you be able to discuss your thoughts on both subjects, or link me to some of your writing about the metaphysical/spiritual?

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Facebook has apparently been helping advertisers target depressed teenagers.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/02/facebook-surveillance-tech-ethics

If one doesn’t mind the religious tone of the essay, Richard Stivers discusses the addictive nature of technology (including social media) and how it impacts our lives in this essay for the Ellul Forum.

https://journals.wheaton.edu/index.php/ellul/article/view/458/50

As far as the relationships that Wafers have on this blog, I am normally skeptical about online friendships but I really appreciate the blog as a place to deal with issues that are tough to discuss with people in the real world and elsewhere online. I appreciate Dr. Berman’s ability to keep the trollfoons out since they have ruined many other online discussion spaces.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fako-

Cdn't post it. 2 problems:
1. Too long: we have a half-page-max rule on this blog.
2. You can't ridicule me or any other Wafer, if you want to be part of this discussion. If you have a specific criticism of anything we are saying, in terms of content (not style or personality), fine; just present it seriously and courteously, and we'll respond in kind. Satirizing us will get you deleted every time; it's for chumps. Don't be one.

Tom-

Crushing the trollfoons, like so many roaches, has been one of the highlights of my life and achievements of this blog. They really are pathetic: they still lurk, because in a twisted way, they are anti-Bermans; a good case of negative identity, a la Hegel. They are mesmerized by the blog, can't stay away. I tell them to go elsewhere, but they can't: they have no other lives. They piss away all their energy on hatred, but hatred corrodes not the target, but the vessel that contains it. We are thus talking abt people who are degraded and debased. Poor shmucks.

Chris-

The only bk I wrote that was directly spiritual was SSIG; otherwise, spirituality only emerges 'between the lines' in stuff like the Reenchantment bk or CTOS. As for Buddhism, a short while ago I cited Karlfried Duerckheim, "The Japanese Cult of Tranquility," and Thick Nhat Hanh, "Silence." Hope this helps.

mb

2:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John McWhorter of Columbia U. just wrote this online:

"A college teacher friend of mine the other day noted that no one in his class could name who was president in the 1980s, nor, upon being told who it was, could they name his political party."

What silly little turkeys American students are!

3:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And while we're on the subject of turkeys: Hillary, bitter and vindictive, is apparently intent on continuing the election campaign of 2016. "It wasn't that my tiresome political correctness, my blatant dishonesty, and my allegiance to the wealthy and the neoliberal elite, did me in; oh no. It was Putin, Comey, and all those horrible interferers. I shd be president. Waaa!"

Meanwhile, the American public hasta continue to suffer seeing that grotesque, Botox-laden face, day in and day out, because she can't get over Trump having handed her her ass on a platter (an ass that oddly resembles her face). He promised to prosecute her once he was in office, but that was going to be for her email scandal. Trumpi, are you listening? Forget the deleted emails. Instead, try to get a law passed making it illegal to *be* Hillary Clinton--a Class A felony. Fer Chrissakes, Don: get this woman off the streets already! How much douchebaggery, how much sheer ugliness, can our poor nation tolerate?

mb

3:23 AM  
Blogger remo26 said...

I'm finding the pomo discussion here quite interesting. I must admit that I was quite taken by the works of Jean Baudrillard in the 80s/90s - particularly, "Simulation and Simulacra," "America," and "Cool Memories." This was at the same time that I was enamored by Theodor Adorno's views on mass culture. I recall feeling a bit of isolation setting in as I started to flex my familiarity with the vernacular when I realized that I only had a small cadre of friends who could maintain such conversations.

However, I don't think that such schools of thought can be totally written off. Rather, it seems that their development scurried down a rabbit hole with the goal of taxonomic precision in order to codify social malaise that ultimately rendered it so inaccessible that it became elitist and irrelevant.

- remo

4:26 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Another example of our best and brightest:

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/mundo/2017/05/2/con-trump-crece-racismo-dicen-estudiantes-tras-fiesta-antimexicana

6:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chris-

Sorry, it's Thich, not Thick. The guy is anything but thick.

John-

Clearly, we have much to look forward to from our young people. Bright future ahead!

mb

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Dr. B.,

Kudos on the essay/lecture. It's as clear,succinct and insightful an explanation for how we all ended up enrolled in Trump U. as I could imagine anyone mustering. I'm sure, upon the lectures conclusion, the German students lofted you on to their shoulders and carried you off to the nearest beerhall where you regaled them well in to the night with tales of your past of shoe-showering subterfuge and icy entanglements with moose, Meece and a certain mice-size brained female politician.

As for the McWhorter quote, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. When I was in high school (in the 80's), my AP History classes, in the well-to-do suburbs of Northern Virginia -- no less, never even made it into the 20th century. No exposure whatsoever to the world wars, the Great Depression/New Deal, Vietnam, the labor and civil rights movements, etc. Every year we just rehashed the pilgrims, and the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Gobble, gobble.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dean-

Yr rt, the Germans wanted detailed info on Sarah's orgasms. Ach! they exclaimed.

remo-

Well, the Frankfurt Schl is dense, but not impossible. And someone like Erich Fromm certainly wrote in completely accessible English/German. The pomos, it seems to me, are in a different linguistic category.

mb

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

It's been a while since the height of the pomo furore, but the mention of the Sokal Affair reminded me of something. Computers and mathematics can have some surprising applications. There have been algorithms and actual implementations of them since at least the 1980s that can produce imitations of human speech patterns. Originally called "travesty" generators, they are now known by the more proper and colloquial phrase Bullshit Generators. There are many of them still available online. Some are even self-parodies by scientists.

A Pomo Bullshit Generator:Communications from Elsewhere

A New Age Bullshit Generator:Reionize Electrons!

Try not to bust anything laughing...

12:52 PM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...

Hi MB,

Yes, this one's a keeper! Amidst all the sturm und drang from the Progressive Left that the Russians hacked the election for Trump -- if the former British intelligence officer, Mr. Steele's allegations pan out Donald is so screwed b/c either he'll get impeached or the Russians will take him out -- the real reason Hillary lost has been entirely forgotten, even by the Republican Right.

News on the domestic front: The couple who pranked their kids on YouTube lost two of their kids to the State. They're only sorry they got caught.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/tasneemnashrulla/parents-who-pranked-their-kids-on-youtube-lose-custody?utm_term=.trD7B0qpK#.hsQy0P2L1

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike Pratt said...

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/energy-dreams/9780231180597

The Russian philosopher Micharl Marder is always interesting: His new book: Energy Dreams from Columbia University Press keeps up w/ that.

The question of energy is among the most vital for the future of humanity and the flourishing of life on this planet. Yet, only very rarely (if at all) do we ask what energy is, what it means, what ends it serves, and how it is related to actuality, meaning-making, and instrumentality. Energy Dreams interrogates the ontology of energy from the first coinage of the word energeia by Aristotle to the current practice of fracking and the popularity of "energy drinks." Its sustained, multi-disciplinary investigation builds a theoretical infrastructure for an alternative energy paradigm.

This study unhinges stubbornly held assumptions about energy, conceived in terms of a resource to be violently extracted from the depths of the earth and from certain living beings (such as plants, converted into biofuels), a thing that, teetering on the verge of depletion, sparks off movement and is incompatible with the inertia of rest. Consulting the insights of philosophers, theologians, psychologists and psychoanalysts, economic and political theorists, and physicists, Michael Marder argues that energy is not only a coveted object of appropriation but also the subject who dreams of amassing it; that it not only resides in the dimension of depth but also circulates on the surface; that it activates rest as much as movement, potentiality as much as actuality; and that it is both the means and the end of our pursuits. Ultimately, Marder shows that, instead of being grounded in utopian naïveté, the dreams of another energy—to be procured without devastating everything in existence—derive from the suppressed concept of energy itself."

1:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

That 1st link is a perfect example of the pomo language I have been referring to. 'Schlangekraft' is a nice touch; I'll hafta remember to publish w/them, altho 'Schwanzkraft' wd have been even better.

mb

1:07 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

MB,
I agree with most of your assessments on American culture, society, identity politics, neoliberal degradation of liberalism, etc. Your essay on this thread is hard to disagree with. However, power relations have an effect on the extent in which lower classes exercise the total awareness necessary to have consensual sex with the wealthy- the rule makers- and agree to its own degradation. Freedom is money. Money is power- connections, and an abundance of choices. The tokens of capitalism - those coming from the minority's classes- make rational decisions based on their set of limited choices. They often decide: if you can't go against them join them. Ultimately, the rule makers bear the most responsibility in the self flagelation of their subordinates.
For example Native Americans often times sold out their own people for a promise of land, wealth and some political protections. Mental colonization can't happen without bribery, coercion and violence or threat of violence and a significant reduction of self reliance of the oppressed. There's a cycle of abuse from which a person can't escape because his or her psyche prefers the abuser's attention and scraps of protection than the unknown future of freedom- of leaving. That's not so different from the ACA recipient who is a coal miner has black lung disease gets lifesaving treatment with ACA and voted for Trump because in his mind a coal mine job is more essential than welfare or healthcare access. It represents the only chance at self reliance he knows- even though it will signify dying of black lung disease. Republicans and democrats abuse differently: one promises a "good job" with no healthcare and the other promises healthcare, scraps of welfare and no good jobs. Capitalism is what allows this to happen in the end. Trump and Obama are nothing because they can't go against the system that enables their ascension to power: one a hustler rule maker and breaker son of a millionaire and the other one a token, just PR for capitalism. Western Europe is now begging for the right wing politics of good paying jobs while eschewing immigrants and egalitarianism because their quasi socialism welfare states- which they reached when their populations were more homogeneous(and that's no coincidence) - don't give them the autonomy(power, self reliance) they need.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Brooke said...

speaking of the frankfurt school

http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2017_Spring_McCarraher.php

interesting review of interesting new book

2:11 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

"A college teacher friend of mine the other day noted that no one in his class could name who was president in the 1980s, nor, upon being told who it was, could they name his political party."

When visiting a niece at college last year I was introduced to her college roommate. On discovering she was from Asheville, NC I asked her if she had been to the Thomas Wolfe house. She looked at me with a totally perplexed expression. She had no idea who he was and Asheville is little more than an overgrown town. Amazing.

There is no surprise here:
http://www.rawstory.com/2017/04/its-official-top-psychiatrists-at-yale-conference-warn-that-trump-has-a-dangerous-mental-illness/

2:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Juliet-

Well, as usual, I don't see things the way you do, but I can't keep arguing w/u, again and again. Equally problematic for me: I hafta ask (again) that you start breaking up your huge paragraphs; I find it hard to read what you write in present form. Check out what other Wafers are doing, and copy their format. Also try to say less; your messages are typically longer than they shd be, which means I'll hafta start deleting them. Thank you.

mb

2:39 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Are most Americans worse than a horse?

Of course, of course!

Derrick Jensen on Clever Hans (starts just after the 21 minute mark):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfqxD0OQCok&t=21m0s


On another note, I’m reading Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories, which contains an essay by Péter Forgács entitled “Wittgenstein Tractatus.” Forgacs’ 1992 short film of the same name may interest some Wafers, and it is available online:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QewCXEG5ALM

2:45 PM  
Blogger wrobinson said...

I'm really interested in the ongoing pm discussion, but I've been too busy and too slow to get my thoughts together - about the world we live in rather than any particular texts (which are indefensible, and nicely lampooned in Jeffrey Eugenides's novel 'The Marraige Plot').

I'm 43 years old and until recently I've lived my whole life in a post-modern world. I haven't reread David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernity since university so my post here is going to be rusty to the point of downright unintelligent, but he presents (like a good marxist) the path to postmodernity as an evolution, an awakening: multi-narratives, rejection of the top-down patriarchal voice, science is questioned, minorities get an equal voice and so on.

Yes, for sure it's open to exploitation by the vapid, especially in universities, but when I read the article you linked to by Helen Pluckrose, I was less than thrilled by the pushback, and the snark in the tone. It's fine to have a pop at French writers who knowingly peddle babble, but it's hard not to see this new paradigm shift we are living through back to modernism as some kind of regression: back to colonialism, paternalism, possibly totalitarianism but most of all techno-douchbaggery.

Great blog by the way. I've been reading it every day for years - w

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

MB,

Great essay, as usual.

Wafers - I recently read an essay about France that has a similar theme, mainly that of the difference between the hip, city dwellers and the rural working class. The essay details the work of Christophe Guilluy who has written some important books on this theme, although they have yet to be translated into English. Here is the essay (in English) for those who are interested; I highly recommend it if you want to see how what's happening in France mirrors the situation in the USA:

https://www.city-journal.org/html/french-coming-apart-15125.html

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

w-

I think it's pm rather than modernism that gave us techno-douchebaggery, and that is congruent with it: those endless, constantly changing screens make the world seem like a collection of 'texts', all virtual, w/o authority, and ultimately meaningless. I'm hoping we do 'regress' to the printed bk, and leave these pm toys behind; that wd really be progress, in my opinion.

I'm also skeptical of the notion of paradigm shifts as necessarily progressive. These things are always a toss-up; you always lose as well as gain, and we have lost a lot. Numerous studies show that print is superior to screens in a whole # of ways. Was losing home doctor visits progress? Etc. For a larger overview, check out my quote from Terry Eagleton at the end of my essay, "McFarland, USA," wh/is archived on this blog (a couple of yrs ago, I think).

Finally, we need stuff like the Pluckrose pushback because it is not, as you claim, that the French pomos are knowingly peddling babble--not at all. They fully believe their nonsense, or at least did. As I mentioned earlier, the French have happily done w/pm; it's their American colleagues who remain lost in the enchanted forest.

k-

Also check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittgenstein_(film)

This was 1993, original screenplay by Terry Eagleton. I discuss it in the Wittgenstein chapter of WG.

mb

3:58 PM  
Anonymous SunDriedTomato said...

Dean,

It's interesting that you bring that up, my experience of hell (high school) was much the same. We never once studied anything past WW1. Every year we studied the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and spent so much time on them that it was May by the time we got to Woodrow Wilson.

I remember the students even complained to the teacher that we were just going over the same stuff again and again every year and that they wanted to study more modern history.

4:02 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Pomo speak reminds me of AI SpamRobot-ese. The Me Generation birthed and raised (in an orgy of selfish neglect) the Selfie Generation, what could one expect? Sell to your audience is the 'murican way, addled language and causes of the moment for the denizens of short attention span theatre.

Re: 11 more years, this blog is the closest thing to useful conversationalism I'm gonna get here in semi rural Missouri where when it ain't Jesus it's Trump. I mean I try to stimulate fullfiling conversation with workfellows and neighbors but welive in the cheap seats and I work in a warehouse. Everyone is close to three fries short of a Happy Meal. Example - a guy asked what I was eating for lunch, and as I normally read a book during the lunch break I said peanut butter and Machiavelli.
Waste of a good joke. Oh well.

A teaspoon of diatomaceous earth in a small juice glass gives the body the silica needed for neuron health. Does wonders for the digestion,too. The goal is to get 22 more years outta ya, prof. Keep writing, please.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Esdras Medeles said...

So Senor Berman to celebrate 11 years tell us something quite different while related-and I know there is not a magic crystal ball.
11 years from now how do you see the United States in the context of our decline and wafer world?
what do you think you will be writing about? i.e. the Trump legacy, the middle east, NK, climate change, economy.
how are we going to look back 11 years from there (2028) to now and see the decline and pm?

8:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Es-

I suspect we'll be in even deeper shit than we are now. Don't you?

I also think that between now and 2028 I'll be shipped off to Guantanamo and tortured. Maybe I'll write abt that.

Fun times ahead, amigo-

mb

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Boar's Head said...

Dr. B,

As usual, fantastic essay and I'm looking forward to meeting you in the flesh when you come to NYC in October, perhaps over some Pastrami at Katz's!

Dean/SundriedTomato,

Your experiences in grade/high school history (or "social studies," meh) mirror my own to a tee! Pilgrims, thanksgiving, revolution, civil war, rinse, repeat every damned year. I mastered the material at some point between 4th and 6th grade, so I started reading the parts of the textbook we skipped in class such as the rise and fall of populism, our many red scares, colonial interventions, for the remainder of my school years sparking a lifelong interest in history.

Years later in my mid 20's I decided to go back to college after a stint in the armed forces. Since I have a hard time with teachers, books, and dirty looks I enrolled at Thomas Edison State College where I could do most of my course work in the form of CLEP and DSST exams. Needless to say, I had my eyes opened as I poured over college level history books in depth for the first time with no professor to put the pilgrims/revolution/civil war blinders on for me.

Since then I've continued to read history books for pleasure, and have never ceased to be amazed at the amount of misery the US has inflicted on the world solely to make rich guys richer. What amazes me even more is the pervasive, government directed, 24/7 propaganda campaign used to sell it all to Americans from the day they're born. Hustling's always been THE defining American value from day one, but Eddie Bernays and those propagandists who came after him have made hustling the SOLE American value.

Anyway, for those Wafers looking for a good book on the history of the west that covers the K-12 "history gap" years of WWI-the sixties I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope. It is a long, long book but Quigley is a true proto-wafer who sticks to the facts and not the establishment "history channel" propaganda narrative.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Boar-

r.u. the same person as BH?

Note that Smedley Butler said of his military career that he was just 'a gangster for capitalism.'

Pls watch length in future: half-page max is the rule. Thanks.

mb

9:53 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

On Working in America...


https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dont-read-work-andrew-taggart

11:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

No wonder so many here had bad history classes, their teachers were likely too busy shooting heroin or cooking meth:

http://www.newson6.com/story/35329774/sapulpa-police-heroin-syringes-found-in-teachers-purse?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/35331784/breaking-bad-new-mexico-science-teacher-pleads-guilty-to-cooking-meth

Juliet--back in 1980, the two biggest occupations in my home county were factory worker and farmer. At that time, most people were reasonably prosperous, yet the majority voted for Reagan over that "loser" Carter and also John Anderson, who was their own Republican Congressman. Now, 37 years later, 90% of those factory jobs are gone and most of those farms have been bought out by giant agribusinesses. No one forced those people to cut their own throats politically. They did it because both Carter and Anderson were trying to tell them the truth about American and its limitations and they didn't want to hear it.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

I think the US has ceased being a res publica during the past 11years of writing on this blog. Given the fact that the US has spent the last several decades deliberately destroying its own institutions, there now seems to be a rapid acceleration of this process to the point where most Americans are simply hollow, empty, violent and idiotic douche bags. Case in point:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/02/sandy-hook-school-hoax-massacre-conspiracists-victim-father

This douchebaggery will only grow in intensity until it consumes American society completely, because Americans appear to have no defense against this phenomenon, and have lost the spiritual bonds that hold society together.

When a society stops believing that it is one, hate, division, and eventually extremism will rule. This is where the US finds itself. So I think that much of what we will be writing about for the next 11years is documenting the institutionalization of the law of the jungle taking hold in the US.

Miles

12:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/obama-presidential-library-chicago.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Dear Mr. Obama:

I was interested in both the egregious cost of your future library--half a billion dollars--and its purpose, according to you: To be the 'hub of the community.' This by having a grill, where people can come and cook burgers. Considering how much you did to destroy communities across the country during your administration--filling the wallets of your Wall St. friends, and allowing the neoliberal regime to grind the poor and the middle class into the dirt--I have a better idea than a grill, one that will definitely pull the crowds in--the people you hurt. In the foyer of the libe, on the floor, have a large portrait of yourself, and encourage the community to come in and urinate on it. You'll see--the lines will stretch around the block. And the consensus will be clear: a fitting tribute to you, and your ridiculous presidency. (You might also invite the families of the victims of your drone attacks in the Middle East to participate as well; they too have full bladders.)

Respectfully,
mb

1:20 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

So I think that much of what we will be writing about for the next 11 years is documenting the institutionalization of the law of the jungle taking hold in the US.

A minor quibble, Miles. The Law of the Jungle has a certain rationality about it, albeit a cold, cruel, and often vicious rationality. What the US is in for, barring the sort of major cosmic shift that New Agers are always on about, is an entirely irrational and thoroughly chaotic mass nervous breakdown. I can imagine things getting to the point where death will be a mercy for a lot of people. Nearly everything I see and hear when I pay attention to what's going on out there supports this conclusion. It makes me feel very badly for the few young people today who have their wits about them.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Roboto-

I keep telling them to emigrate, but they (most of 'em) just won't listen!

mb

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...



News Flash!! According to Rueters, Obama has endorsed centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. Says Obama: "The French election is very important to the future of France and the VALUES WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT. Macron has stood up for LIBERAL VALUES... He is committed to a better future (LOL) for the French people. HE APPEALS TO PEOPLE'S HOPES AND NOT THEIR FEARS. (Haven't we heard that zinger before?) En Marche! Vive la France."
Donations for urine and old shoes will be kindly accepted.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B:

I wonder how many Americans are familiar with Smedley Butler (mentioned by you above) and have read his essay, "War is a Racket." I would guess not very many...

I love the inscription at the bottom of his plaque at Philadelphia's city hall-

http://www.wolfenotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Butler.jpg

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/may/02/sex-letters-james-joyce-frida-kahlo-marcel-proust-on-show

FUN

1:32 PM  
Anonymous James said...

hmm interesting topic
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/relgious-education-countries-worse-sicence-maths-time-studied-sit-leeds-beckett-university-a7641051.html

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Julian said...

https://literaryreview.co.uk/terms-of-engagement

John Gray reviewing
Terms of Engagement Civil Wars: A History in Ideas By David Armitage

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Schlomo said...

MB & Wafers, regarding US decline, I think we all know that your average American has very little understanding of life outside of US borders, and I posit that it goes beyond ignorance and is an actual hatred for other countries. When I mention emigrating, even to so-called "educated cultured Millennial progs" (ha!), Americans give me a blank stare or cannot understand why.

My question is simple: will America implode or explode? Implosion would be self-destruction, a contained demolition that the rest of the world watches with amusement. Explosion would be taking the rest of humanity out with it. After understanding the criminal war history of this country and seeing the recent celebration of Trump's beautiful missiles, I've begun to realize that Americans will probably destroy the rest of the world on their way to the bottom, not only through war and violence but also environmental destruction and societal destruction (exporting neoliberal corporatism overseas, drawing others in our race to the bottom). And seeing Europe, Japan, Australia etc drawn into bootlicking the US war machine even in the age of Trump gives me much less hope for the world.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

Hi, again Mr. Berman.

I have a lot of friends who live in both Japan and the US (they travel back and forth). With what's going on in Europe with its own rising right wing, would you say immigration to the east would be a more sound option?

I ask because currently my friend and his wife are moving back to Japan. She is a Japanese Citizen and he is working on the last year of qualifying for Japanese citizenship. They are telling me I should go there over Germany. I remember you speaking positively about Japan at least culturally over that of the US.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

12:23 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Back to the DARK AGES Folks...

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/trump-religious-liberty-executive-order/index.html

There has ALWAYS been "Religious Freedom"...what there has NOT been is Discrimination by Religious People against the non-religious, LBGT, and non-whites in the Public Marketplace.

Things are going to get VERY Bad in America when religious "business owners" start discriminating against customers, as well as discriminating against current or future employees.

This is a BAD Executive Order that is going to backfire badly.

I Can't believe how crazy things are getting.

The riots and clashes are going to ramp up dramatically.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Polk Culpepper said...

MB - After reading your 2014 interview with Naomi Prius, I read Dowd's "The Twisted Dream". A real and disturbing eye-opener. Do you know if he ever updated the arguments he makes in that book to include events that happened after 1974?

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Larry Shultz said...

Morris, one small correction is needed. Bretton Woods is not a town but an area within the town of Carrol NH. I have been at the hotel where that conference was held and also at the hotel where the US Federal Reserve was born, Jekyll Island Georgia.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

I was thinking this morning about the GOP 'health care' bill, which may or may not die in the senate. If it comes to pass it will kill thousands of Americans. I don't disagree with that progressive take on the situation at all. I do believe that republicans want to get rid of as many what they see as useless people as possible. After all raiding a village or throwing people is so 19th and 20th century. Killing people this way is so much cleaner.

What struck me is the progressive response. We need more marches, call your congressman, and get out the vote in 2018. Maybe the problem is the language by which we are trapped. But if one says certain behavior will kill people shouldn't the response be somewhat more powerful. If I see a person being beaten on the street I can step in to stop it if I have the courage. And maybe that's the problem. We simply do not have the courage to do what needs to be done.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"If it comes to pass it will kill thousands of Americans."

Those Americans are going to die regardless of what "solution" is offered. Obamacare is really just a scheme to steal money from people and give it to Big Insurance companies. That's why Obama put out something as convoluted as the ACA instead of coming up with a genuine public healthcare solution.

The root problem with healthcare in America is not legal or even economical. American "culture" itself makes people unhealthy (e.g. not enough sleep, constant stress, lack of Meaning in life, etc.).

12:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Arthur-

House just passed the bill. Keep in mind that progs are very stupid.

Nesim-

I loved Japan, but wdn't want to live there myself. You'll be very lonely there. Even the Japanese are lonely. It's the nature of social interaction, highly ritualized.

Polk-

Nomi Prins. I don't think she owns a Prius. As for Dowd, no idea.

Waferinos-

I need yr help. My next bk, "Are We There Yet?", is currently a Word doc on my computer. Publisher tells me that in order to format it as a bk, we need to use software called InDesign. They don't have anyone on staff with expertise in this, and are looking around--as am I. But I'm wondering if any of you know some very skilled computer person, well versed in layout and design, who has familiarity with InDesign. If so, pls have them contact me at mauricio@morrisberman.com. I'm eager to get the bk into print. Thanks.

mb

12:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Is there no way to get this turkey off the political stage? Jesus, that face!:

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/clinton-pac-resistance-trump/index.html

What a moron. She is simply unwilling to lose the election.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous al Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

You might be interested to know, Ti Jean Dulouz Jr., that there was an article on cbc.ca today calling Obama's endorsement of Macron "fairy dust." In a way, that's an apt description of Obama's words and acts.

Marine LePen somehow got hold of my email address (I suppose there are records kept somewhere) and sends me election propaganda, which is rather funny, considering that she wants to prevent foreigners with last names like mine from becoming French citizens.

Bisous.

Citoyen Grego

12:31 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

when all else fails...

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/05/02/berkeley-author-george-lakoff-says-dont-underestimate-trump/

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Well WAFers, it's been nice knowin' you!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/05/05/stephen-hawking-just-moved-up-humanitys-deadline-for-escaping-earth/

Mr. Fish has a great cartoon on Killary (also on Truthdig): http://www.clowncrack.com/2017/05/04/number-one-number-two/

oh, and apparently Kim the Haircut is accusing a CIA funded lumberjack of trying to kill him with nano-bots or something ... dear god put us out of our misery quick!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Dulouz--apparently, douchebag Obama has learned exactly NOTHING from how his open support for Remain backfired a year ago. It would be outstanding if it were to happen again. Not that I have any love for Le Pen, I just want to see this endorsement jammed back in his arrogant fucking face. He seems to think it is still 2009, when most of the world other than delusional progs were still buying his bullshit.

Schlomo--while the future is of course unknowable, I agree that explosion is far more likely than implosion. The Intercept posted a great article just the other day about how North Korea's extreme paranoia is rooted in part on the wanton slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Korean civilians by America during the war, usually in the form of strategically senseless bombing campaigns that dropped more tonnage on the peninsula from 1950-53 than were used against the Japanese in WW2. Such a vicious society is highly unlikely to go down gracefully. It will probably be more like Al Pacino at the end of Scarface if he would have had a nuclear weapons arsenal to use against his enemies.

MB -- indeed there has never been a more graceless loser in the history of American politics than old Botox Face.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Department of Education dept.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B9iKpirx8s

Melee at a Pennsylvania High School left a number of teachers injured, one w/a concussion.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Special-Education-Teacher-Student-Sex-Prison-421155753.html

Stephanie Amato, special-ed teacher and heroin user, sentenced to prison for sex w/14-year-old student.

Miles

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Boar's Head said...

Dr. B: No, I am not the poster known as BH. I post here intermittently but mostly lurk, and my handle is a homage to my favorite cold cut brand.

Schlomo: Most Americans have no idea what actually goes on outside of our borders, including what our federal government is up too in foreign lands. I was speaking to a friend of mine last night and we got on the topic of drone strikes.

He was shocked to hear that drones fire missiles at their targets and have a 20 lb warhead full of HE on the business end. He seemed to be under the impression that drones simply zapped the bad guys somehow without causing collateral damage.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


End of Poverty??
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pktOXJr1vOQ

There is NO left, right, socialist, communist, libertarian, "there" that's better than here. Capitalism is the only game in town.
https://youtu.be/mWX-G2NJeSI?t=630
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/22/mexico-s-most-wanted-man-since-el-chapo.html
https://pleasespikemydrink.com/2017/04/24/ecuador-death-by-government/
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18846
No place to run. Nowhere to hide.

But wait!! There's still hope; technology will deliver us gloria!!
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/27/race-to-build-world-first-sex-robot


9:36 PM  
Blogger M. Harvill said...

Donnie is simply the ultimate American symbol - the hustler on the take. Clinton was too busy pretending to care and the public didn't buy it. It certainly didn't help that the DNC blatantly pushed Sanders to the side, milquetoast that he is. The Dems did a fantastic job alienating a large chunk of their base. It's an odd feeling, seeing an empire at its end. It's not going to be pretty.

10:33 PM  
Blogger ZeeLawyer said...

Hi Dr. Berman, thank you for a superb essay. Dark but true.

In the comments you identify a certain British film as "The Age of Stupidity." I think you're referring to "The Age of Stupid": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Stupid

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Oshitforbrains had veto proof majorities in both houses for 2 years and could have easily passed single payer and even spoke about it in 2008 but gave us what the Heritage Foundation had been advocating for years. One can almost feel sorry for Trump supporters. With the skeletal healthcare they'll eventually get, with a tax bill that will increase their taxes, and with a robust foreign policy when Trump was talking about scaling back, they will have no where to turn. A few meaningless executive orders with some attacks on the press-that's about all they'll get from Blowhard. He got captured quite quickly by the deep state and now is basically reduced to sending tweets from his bedroom and is only called down to meet a foreign dignitary or, again, sign some order even Republicans will ignore. For example, Buy American is a sham. International trade agreements allow foreign companies to bid on American contracts. So unless Trump rescinds Nafta and the like there will be no relief for the American worker. And of course there was never a chance of nuclear war with North Korea-finance capital would simply not allow it.
Yes, I would not advocate living in Japan. I stayed there for 9 1/2 years. I left in 1993 and it was not easy even then to make friends. Now I can only assume Japan is one of the world's great epicenters for techno-douchebaggery. Japan has always loved gadgets so I imagine it's become nearly impossible to have even a brief conversation without some techno distraction. And if you're looking for romance, forget it. Young Japanese find sex utterly distasteful.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/23185-alleged-drunk-driver-claimed-her-name-was-hillary-clinton-after-fleeing-police-cops

stunning resemblance

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Whatta Dunmy said...

last time hillary clinton raised a bunch of money to fight trump, he got elected president.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/clinton-pac-resistance-trump/index.html

9:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Well, they might turn to their guns. Which wd be very interesting.

Jeff-

I love those melees! Time to get serious, arm students to the teeth.

Bill-

The question is why do we hafta keep seeing that face over and over again? Once Bush Jr. was outta office, he laid low. Why can't Hillary do that as well?

Pastrami-

Great cartoon. As I said, the 'deplorables' were not so deplorable after all. She's such an awful piece of dreck, really.

al, pol-

Obama is indeed living in fairy dust, but so are the progs. They continue to live in this dust; eventually, history will render them dust.

mb

10:58 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

WAFERS, MB,

My point on my previous post is that capitalism's maxim of "maximize profits and minimize costs" is in complete opposition to "pay fair wages, create more jobs, safeguard natural resources, create equality" and at some point it can no longer be restrained by governments, but quite the opposite it controls governments regardless of their ideological bent; politics comes down to: of which flavor do you like your capitalist Nightmare- male, white and Evangelical or with a bit more ethnically diversified with a dollop of Secularism? (The bottom line is what Marx predicted- it is a class war and, skin tone aside, you are only invited when you are part of the top wealthy percentage who owns most of the land, labor and resources) Technology's automation race isn't about creating equality- it is about centralized power. The fusion of technology and finance is the triumph of capital over labor. It is game over for democracy. A basic income guarantee is been thrown around because the elite know the history of pitchforks.

Obama was the lesser of two evils and so was Hillary. Trump 100 days was spent trying to establish the demarcation lines between democrats and republicans. It was about reversing anything Obama did in order to keep the GOP brand of low regulations, low taxes, strong military and Christian family values. It won't reverse the unstoppable coming of a two tier class reality: the haves and have nots.. It is nothing more than empty right wing Identity politics.

Here's what Bill Maher has to say about "liberal purists" who are divorced from this reality: the imperfect "Wall Street globalist democrat" friend you have is better than the neofascist republican enemy you hate.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_590d683fe4b0e7021e97fe0c?utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&utm_source=main_fb&utm_term=nosplashcard&utm_medium=facebook&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063




12:28 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

American Absurdity continues...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/high-fashion-destroyed-sneakers-selling-1425-020109961.html

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr. said...

Beginning of the end for Trump?
Him and Sessions plan on attacking states who've legalized medical marijuana- 29 states, DC, Guam and Puerto Rico, to date; with more coming soon. What happened to states rights? Does that only count when it's applied to what these a-holes believe is right?
I come from the 60's and live in the Cascade foothills alongside a lot of Trump voters. And they like to smoke a little pot, too.
Even football players support it! Trump's first step off the cliff?

1:38 PM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Here is another relatively recent and very sick example of what America has inflicted upon the rest of the world. The War Nerd recounts the 1975 East Timor genocide that was touched off by a wink and a nod from unindicted war criminal Henry Kissinger to then-Indonesian dictator Suharto with the aid and connivance of the CIA:

https://pando.com/2015/03/15/fear-forgetting-the-war-nerd-in-east-timor-part-i/

More recently, here's proof that believing in America is a form of mental illness. A Somali immigrant, whose own sister died of measles in Somalia, refused to get her children vaccinated against the disease after listening to some idiot anti-vaxxers, with predictable results. Check out the money quote from the story:

“I thought: ‘I’m in America. I thought I’m in a safe place and my kids will never get sick in that disease,’ ” said Salah, 26, who has lived in Minnesota for more than a decade. Growing up in Somalia, she’d had measles as a child. A sister died of the disease at age 3.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/anti-vaccine-activists-spark-a-state%E2%80%99s-worst-measles-outbreak-in-decades/ar-BBALNSE?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=DELLDHP&utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

3:02 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Some important points here about Syria for anyone who still thinks Putin is brilliant, or that the Russian oligarchy is any kind of alternative to the US empire:

http://www.syrianews.cc/syria-de-escalation-zones-ignorant-putinists/

Russia is now obediently carrying out the American partition plan for Syria - a pliant vassal with no vision of its own.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

Doesn't the whole "Resistance" thing feel hollow? This reminds me of the anti-war and anti-drone movement that liberal and liberal left had during Bush jr. It feels like the moment a democrat gets into power the liberals will declare victory and go back to their lives and insist everything is peachy keen.

Also, why has the Left not just in the US but in Europe degenerated into Identity politics? Like you have socialists and communists that have adopted Neoliberal talking points speaking of things flash words and acting like Political correctness will end all problems. Is that the end results of Postmodernism upon western society?

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Tommy said...

This is disturbing and important: Noam Chomsky has got Syrian chemical weapons story terribly wrong.

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/Comment/2017/5/5/Chomsky-and-the-Syria-revisionists-Regime-whitewashing

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

https://qz.com/977425/fyre-festival-ivanka-trump-and-other-gratuitous-misuses-of-philosophy/

Ivanka and Nietzsche hah, ok

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Chef Tony said...

This here is v relevant. Proto-WAFerdom references
https://sententiaeantiquae.com/2016/11/02/citizens-of-the-world-from-diogenes-to-marcus-aurelius-2/

9:53 AM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Homer sums up our attitude to Killary https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=homer+quit+boring+everyone+youtube&view=detail&mid=C0E4C2070B0F38C525ABC0E4C2070B0F38C525AB&FORM=VIRE. Meanwhile Simone Weil summarises everything about our plight in this brilliant series of essays: https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Oppression_and_Liberty.html?id=2GfV3nsmDg8C&redir_esc=y

10:37 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

So France elected the ultimate prog. for President yesterday. The guy is right up there with Obama in the League of Douchebags. "It's OK for young people to aspire to be Billionaires" he said among other things during the campaign. O&D! Vive la France!

Kanye

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Can you believe Oshitforbrains won the JFK Profiles in Courage Award last night? Disgraceful to see his daughter Caroline heaping praise on him. What courage? Droning wedding parties, funeral processions, first responders racing to help the drone victims? Hell, give the award to the first responders at least. And what did he do for the Palestinians or American blacks who suffered economically during the Oshitforbrains years. Did he help them remain in their homes for instance? Did he prosecute even one banker for the 2008 meltdown, one torturer during the Bush years? No. But he fiercely went after whistleblowers. SO please show me one act of courage during his 8 year photo-op presidency.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I don't post Anons. You need a real handle.

Rendar-

We have a half-page-max rule here. Pls compress and re-send.

Dan-

Remember he also won the Nobel Peace Prize--!

mb

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Derek said...

Wafers,

Is everyone enjoying the American press celebrating the fact that France just elected a former investment banker as president? Christ, you would think it was the liberation of Paris or something...O&D, O&D!

-Derek

9:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a big surprise:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/08/percentage-of-teens-and-children-hospitalized-for-suicidal-thoughts-doubled-from-2008-to-2015-study-reports/?hpid=hp_hp-morning-mix_mm-suicide%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.10867569f91e

9:33 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Juliet Cash,

I dunno, but why cite huffington post or Bill Maher--an entertainer? MB's post has it all on the topic by my lights. There comes a time to realize that if its in the Huffington Post or if its uttered by someone who makes a living on a tv, its safe, anodyne and perfectly prog acceptable. Come back to the wisdom of MB and other original thinkers....Huff Post or Bill Maher type missives are like the bad song you can't get out of your head--beware what you read...

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Ugh, technodouchbaggery ... 4 times an hour?

http://www.startribune.com/we-re-getting-so-hung-up-on-our-smartphones-that-we-can-t-stop-ourselves/421173423/

"We've trained ourselves, almost like Pavlov's dogs, to figuratively salivate over what that vibration might mean," Rosen said. "If you don't address the vibrating phone or the beeping text, the signals in your brain that cause anxiety are going to continue to dominate, and you're going to continue feeling uncomfortable until you take care of them."

11:53 AM  
Blogger wrobinson said...

MB,

Many thanks for your considered reply way upthread. The opening line stands out:

'I think it's pm rather than modernism that gave us techno-douchebaggery, and that is congruent with it: those endless, constantly changing screens make the world seem like a collection of 'texts', all virtual, w/o authority, and ultimately meaningless'

Point taken (and many style points awarded).

pm became mainstream as America rejected the Viet Nam war and the space race - it's not really an age that embraced scientific discovery. Is this why my and later generations love their gadgets so much, because we're scientific dum-dums?

Right now we're transitioning to something else altogether (the age of lonliness?) and science is much more to the fore. We've somehow evolved into a species of gadget-clutching supermen in iminent danger of losing all of our jobs to robots. It seems like the last time we feared these robots so much was some time in the mid-sixties...

@Derek - one French colleage called it 'a choice between a vulture and a hyena'. Seems about right.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Juliet, The empire's concubine Bill Maher suffers from USA -Universal State of Amnesia. He conveniently forgot recent history that lead to Trump. Where were these progs to report on the 100days of Obanga? LongLeggedMacDaddy is a classic example of a Psychopath; pretending empathy like the caring priest who takes the altar boy to the basement to console him, then "services his account". There were people on the streets of Pakistan celebrating Daddy's election victory only to get their asses' bombed, starting January 23, 2009, just 3 days him taking office. A freed-man friend of mine said right, that he'd rather be bludgeoned to death by outright evil than be slow poisoned by evil in disguise.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/obama-victory-sparks-celebration-praise-around-globe-1.756680
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/23/drone-strike-victim-barack-obama
Heard of "double tap" ?

Maher, the cute "USA" patient.
http://www.dailywire.com/news/10806/obama-dont-blame-me-its-not-my-fault-trump-won-ben-shapiro#exit-modal
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/print/photo_of_the_week_president_who_let_citigroup_20161029
https://www.rt.com/usa/362836-emails-citigroup-obama-cabinet/

Uncle Bernie-the-Shyster is no different. He should have gone on Maher's show instead to be cajoled with cute questions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZsG9vbUkLI

2:55 PM  
Blogger Mohamed ali said...

12 percent are 5-11 years old. What do they have to be sucidal about?

3:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle.

Mo-

Take a guess (they are living in the US).

w-

Check out WAF, ch. 3.

mb

4:11 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

Jesus H. Christ dept.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzQYA9Qjsi0

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Banker Nathan de Rothschild once said, “I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the British Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.”

We now have a former Rothchild banker as chief puppet of France. He'll say all the right things, PR smile alot, and boy is he charming.

Onward and downward.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Boar's Head said...

Bill Hicks: While the 1975 East Timor invasion was absolutely deplorable, its not the first time the US partook in Indonesian brutality. The US provided lists of names, training, and weapons to the Indonesian death squads responsible for the 1965-66 mass killings that claimed the lives of 500,000+ Indonesians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_mass_killings_of_1965%E2%80%931966

Dan: They gave our esteemed Droner-in-Chief a Nobel Peace Prize, so no, I am not shocked at all that he was presented the JFK Profiles in Courage Award.

Everybody bitching about Bill Maher: If Bill dared to not toe the party line he'd soon find himself out of work and Sam Bee, Trevor Noah, or Colbert would be doing Bill's show instead. Remember wafers and fellow travelers; one does not get to be on TV unless one says what they tell you to say.

If Bill had a 'Saul of Tarsus' moment on his way into work tomorrow and miraculously became a full blown wafer, he'd be gone the minute he started working wafer talking points into his monologue.

At any rate, I do think Mr. Maher's loafers need to be micturated upon in true wafer fashion.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Juliet--Bill Maher's net worth is over $30 million. I have no doubt that kissing the asses of the likes of the Clintons and the Obamas is a big reason why a former stand up comedian is now worth that kind of coin. Saying that they are better that the Republicans is like saying a copperhead is better than a rattlesnake. While the former might have slightly less toxic venom, at least the latter lets you know what it is before you step on it.

These people have no ethics, no integrity and no principles; and however much they may pretend they do not care about anybody who is not of their own social class any more than the Republicans do:

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/integrity-the-real-source-of-division-in-americas-political-left-3db3a61e25a9

Medium is chock full of astonishingly popular articles by corporate liberal stooges howling to the moon that they’ll never, ever stop talking about Hillary, that they’ll keep fighting Berners and Trumpsters and everyone else who “destroyed” her and get Chelsea Clinton elected out of sheer spite, and that Bernie Sanders is an evil Russian agent who “did everything he could to harm Clinton.”

7:59 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Bill,

The safety of vaccines is problematical. We cannot assume that a government that lies to us about almost everything is telling us the truth, especially when corporate profits are at stake.

For example, from the CDC, common substances found in vaccines include:

Aluminum, Antibiotics, Egg protein, Formaldehyde, Monosodium glutamate (MSG), Thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative)

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound too kosher to me.

Here’s a link to the vaccination schedule:

https://www.vaccines.gov/who_and_when/infants_to_teens/

I’m not totally against vaccines, but I think we’ve gone overboard.

You might also take a look at this:

http://info.cmsri.org/the-driven-researcher-blog/link-between-vaccines-and-african-american-boys-hidden-by-cdc-says-whistleblower

Like just about everything else in our age of “spin” it’s very difficult to get at the truth.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"Juliet, The empire's concubine Bill Maher suffers from USA -Universal State of Amnesia. He conveniently forgot recent history that lead to Trump."

The one thing that really strikes me about progs is their complete inability to engage in any sort of self-examination or introspection. Progs are still whining about how the 2016 election was "stolen" from Killary by the "deplorables." Killary is, of course, the ultimate manifestation of prog behavior (i.e. it's not my fault for being a completely shitty candidate but the "deplorables'" fault for not voting for me).

8:05 PM  
Anonymous SunDriedTomato said...

It is interesting that in the article on rising suicides, that they are lowest during July and then start back up when school starts. It's clearly due to the bullying! The bullying is out of control the children are just down right vicious anymore. There is an alarming lack of empathy among children in the U.S. I suspect it's because they aren't being empathized with as children and thus aren't learning the behavior themselves.

I left school in the beginning of the 11th grade because of bullying. I was feeling very suicidal and had to see a psychiatrist. That was a decade ago. I can't imagine what children are going through now. The school system has completely fallen apart. It was so dysfunctional that in my high school the teachers actually STOPPED teaching and the kids just moved their desks together and played cards or did whatever they wanted. I drew pictures all over my science tests and got A's. I'm not kidding!

8:21 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Capitalism brings out the BEST in people...


https://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2017-05-supplement-industry-flies-radar-poses.html

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Miah said...

https://apnews.com/f966b31a614f434b8ecdb3ebd72ec051

Cuba has its first luxury mall, thanks to the business arm of Cuba's army

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Watch length, thanks.

Boar-

Always capitalize Wafer. Always.

mb

8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Hillary has been quoted as saying that she knows she turns a lot of people off, but she doesn't know why. Who can take her aside and tell her that she's a douche bag and a turkey, and that this may have something to do with it? (Also that her face is grotesque.)

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Sar: Say it ain't so! You would believe the internet before actual medical studies (many of which had nothing to do with the US gov - http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/290/13/1763)? This is why we now have almost 50 cases of measles now in MN. As usual, stuff online gets simplified and dumbed down ... like, Thiomersal. The crap had been around since the 1930s, but hasn't been used in vaccines for years now, plus it is metabolized as ethylmercury, not methylmercury (which is the fish poisoning stuff), and you get the same dose of elemental mercury from a friggin can of tuna as from a dose of vaccine containing Thiomersal (https://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/safetyavailability/vaccinesafety/ucm096228).

But, because stuff gets dumbed down, all people see is the "it contains mercury" and "mercury bad!"

Sorry for the rant, but I have several family members that work in public health and these conspiracy theories drive them (and me) crazy .. and people die because of it.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Wafers, MB,

Re: teenage suicide and highschool bullying. Watch the series 13 Reasons Why if not already done. Sorry for mentioning it again on this blog, but I wouldn't if it wasn't worth watching.

Why would people want to have children nowadays is beyond me.

Kanye

1:06 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Douche bag, turkey, grotesque face, and if all of that can be overlooked, she has all of the charm and charisma of a bucket of cold vomit. I never liked this women. Ever. I’m old enough to remember her and her odious husband—without which she wouldn’t have had anything to jump start her political career; some feminist icon, lol—the first time around. Even back in the late 80’s she seemed to exude a distressing combination of malice, evil, and stupidity. I’ll never understand why people think she is so damned clever. Her emails make for lamentable reading, though they confirm that I had her pegged correctly all those many years ago. “instincts that are usually wrong.” “holds the American people in contempt,” etc etc.

The aspect of the election outcome that was both surprising, and gratifying, is that 53% of white women didn’t vote for her. Apparently having a cooch wasn’t the quite the deciding factor she’d hoped it would be as far as the female vote goes.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

It was pointed out to me by my late father who was a Wafer way back (Capo) that the key reason he liked the work of MB is that he among very few (John Gray analytically, JG Ballard via literature, Sir James Goldsmith )grasps that we live in a post enlightenment age. Once you grasp that, you realize arguing using facts, logic or reason is a fools errand. Importantly, as is woven in MB's insightful essay Trump and many things make sense. The progs like "facts", but alas they don't really work..George Lakoff (of all people!) like MB gets it, albeit in a different way that MB but alas, on same path: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/05/02/berkeley-author-george-lakoff-says-dont-underestimate-trump/

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Speakin' of the end o' the world:

https://gizmodo.com/tunnel-collapses-at-nuclear-facility-once-called-an-und-1795058376

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Homz said...

I’ve never been good at “fill-in-the-blank” anything, so here, weeks late and a paragraph short, is my entry into the limerick competition:

Once, a young woman from Nantucket, woke-up in the morn’ said fugget, I’m movin’ to Topeka, not Costa Rica, ‘cause I’m jonesin’ for a chicken-mac-nugget.

For my encore, a bumper-sticker summing-up Merikan wisdom:
WHEN SHIT HAPPENS—MAKE LEMONADE

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Tommy said...

Part II
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2017/5/5/chomsky-and-the-syria-revisionists-the-lefts-moral-cul-de-sac
Any thoughts on this claptrap MB?

3:09 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

WAFERS,MB,

Here's some evidence on the primordial role of race over economics in working class choosing of Trump. "But Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump."
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/white-working-class-trump-cultural-anxiety/525771/?utm_source=atlfb

When I moved to Central Fla. I worked as a realtor. Stirring- racially guiding a client into a "racially appropriate" neighborhood, although illegal in theory, was continuously promoted by the bosses. My boss gave me a tour of where I would earn "my bread and butter"- the upper middle class white neighborhoods- as he also pointed out which neighborhoods were "other." As the area where I moved in was undergoing "hispanization" white Americans continued to flee further north because "their kids education will surely suffer with those Spanish speaking students moving in." That was when I realized that "the melting pot" was total bs. This article by The Nation discusses the role of the suburbs' petit bourgeoisie as the backbone of the fascist Trumpism movement and how Jim Crow and FHA racial mortgage discrimination laws contributed to the present electoral map conditions of city vs. suburbs,exhurbs and rural areas.
https://www.thenation.com/article/trumpism-its-coming-from-the-suburbs/

4:03 PM  
Blogger Mark S Deagle said...

I know you hate Hillary Mr Berman, but when Trump gets done with this country you will wish Hillary won.But than again since you think the USA is done you will be happy that the end is near.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Sar--as someone who would be dead now were it not for recent medical science advances in the area of chemotherapy and pancreatic surgery, you'll excuse me if I take a very dim view of hustlers who try to debunk public health advances. Steve Jobs had a much more treatable version of pancreatic cancer than I had, yet some quack convinced him he could beat the disease with yoga and meditation or whatever other new age shit he was doing. By the time he realized he should have listened to the cancer doctors, it was too fucking late.

Polio, Smallpox, Measles, Mumps & Whooping Cough used to kill millions of children before the advent of vaccines. Only in America is the citizenry so addle minded that an air headed bimbo like Jenny McCarthy can wave her silicone enhanced tits in people's faces and get them to believe she's some kind of qualified expert in medical science. Anti-vaxxers are scum; the very worst form of American hustler, just like the fuckers who try to sell cancer patients on alternatives to chemotherapy because they know those afflicted are desperate to avoid it if they can.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Another proud yankee doodle moment: A teenager has been arrested in connection with a video showing an elderly woman getting dropped onto the ground and then thrown into a swimming pool at a party in Florida.

The video shows 68-year-old Nancy James, who recently underwent hip surgery walking into the party in an attempt to get the music turned down. James is then taunted by the partygoers, with some heard shouting "throw her in."

The suspect then begins to pull on the elderly woman's shirt and leg, and then hurls her into the pool, along with one of her dogs. Her second dog managed to flee before it was thrown into the pool.

usa usa!

8:05 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Pastrami's response regarding vaccines to Sarasvati's comment on their dangers raises a question that I have. If the police are as likely to shoot you as not, the Deep State surveils you even as you sleep, the shallow state (government in its less menacing if still malign form) can fuck up your life at any moment through sheer incompetence, and your neighbors are morons at best and douchebags at worst, what gives you the courage to go on from one day to the next? And why would you ever leave your house?

I know: you need a quart of milk for the Froot Loops and you've run out of toilet paper, right?

What keeps you from offing yourself?

9:12 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"The safety of vaccines is problematical. We cannot assume that a government that lies to us about almost everything is telling us the truth, especially when corporate profits are at stake."

A look at vaccines on an individual basis. Some vaccines really have saved many lives. Others (e.g. the flu vaccine) are clearly just money-making devices.

I think looking at vaccines individually gives the most accurate picture regarding which ones are actually useful and which ones to avoid. Considering the money-hungry nature of vaccine makers in the current era though, it is likely that most vaccines made today are just money-makers and should be avoided.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Bennett said...

Dr. Berman -
Superb summary. I wanted to add that I also have great respect for John Kenneth Galbraith and feel that he was a great economist. One of his quotes that I have shared before is this -
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
My own plans also include a move to a more enlightened country in South America where expats, even seniors, are welcomed. My best to all the WAFers.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Pastrami and Coleslaw

What you haven’t addressed are: the other things in the vaccines, like aluminum and formaldehyde (BTW, Thimerosal is still listed as an ingredient). The number of doses babies and children are given. The fact that the CDC covered up data. And, we don’t know who funded that study, which is the first thing we should ask about any study whether we agree with it or not. Like Benjamin Disraeli said, there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.

I’ve spoken with any number of women over the years who say that their child was normal but changed after a vaccination. I take this very seriously. Like I said, I’m not totally against vaccination, but the schedule is insane: 15 different vaccines with multiple doses totaling over, by my count, at least 36, all starting with a newborn with an undeveloped immune system. Science, which has been wrong countless times, has no idea of the ramifications. And the pharmaceutical industry, above all else, is driven by profit…the well-being of people be damned.

The world is full of conspiracies. To not recognize this, or to denigrate the idea of conspiracies, is to ignore reality.

Ditto on the rant.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Last week, I went to dinner at a nice restaurant with my immediate family and friends of family. The conversation inevitably turned to the sort of delusional prog-talk in which I might have once participated but certainly didn't this time. Even though I declined to participate in any of it, I also noticed I didn't find particularly upsetting or annoying or anything like that. After all, if pretty much everybody is delusional, why trouble yourself by getting irritated by any of it? To me, it's all just part of the psychological "walking away" I've been doing from so many things lately. It might make me feel terribly disconnected, but it's a small price to pay when nearly everything towards which one might feel connected is unworthy, callow, and delusional.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Derek said...

MB,

Just as you did with the 9/11 conspiracy theory talk, could you consider placing a ban on this vaccination talk we've begun to engage in? Clearly no one is going to change anyone else's mind, and personally I'd rather not see the greatest blog on Earth end up like the rest of the Internet.

-Derek

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Nothing says decline like a good airport brawl.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/chaos-fights-erupt-florida-airport-100004134.html

9:32 AM  
Blogger bp said...

mb and WAFers, always a pleasure to read your analyses - you speak as one that sees "the territory" and not one that "takes the map as reality " - I would agree on your thoughts on "consensual sex" as being the problem in the US - I have seen where Catherine Austin Fitts says that everyone in the US has a vested interest in maintaining the corruption as we all share in it in and profit from it one way or another - sad, but when one sees how military bases were placed in each state one begins to see how the corruption is shared

as for the US failing - I figure it will end up being the failure of debt based fiat currency systems - a lot of countries holding that bag (Mexico included) I have been to Mexico 3 times and really enjoy it but I feel it is tied too closely to the US

talking of living in China - I have lived here for the last eight years (about 75% of my time) - I still go back to the US to see family and take care of business but it is stressful - China right now kinda reminds me of growing up in the fifties in the US

one thing about vaccines - one should be aware that the rotten fruit is always placed in the bottom of the basket - just because the measles vaccine is worthwhile does not mean all vaccines are fine - there is profit to be made

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

This is the last I'll say on the subject because once someone is convinced the other way, nothing save a Bill Hicks-like tragedy will convince them otherwise...

I agree when you say "And the pharmaceutical industry, above all else, is driven by profit…the well-being of people be damned." However (speaking of the well-being of people), not getting at least the basic panel of vaccines has got to be one of the most selfish things a parent can do. If one of the now 50 measles cases in MN happened across an immuno-compromised kid, the results could have been terrible! Plus, with measles you are infectious for a week before symptoms show up.

James: Simple, I've never been to Ireland. What's that Fight Club quote? “Its only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything”.

Anyway, WAFers, the discussion of deli-meats has waned the past few weeks. I hope the recent flooding outside Montreal will not impede quick access to Schwartz's! Oh great, now I'm hungry for a bagel...

10:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Derek-

Maybe I shd get the blog vaccinated, I dunno.

mb

12:59 PM  
Anonymous GRS said...

Dr. Berman,

In your lecture notes you stated "And yet one thing that can be said about social inequality in America is that it was relatively stable from 1776 down to about 1976, i.e. a period of 200 years. It existed, but for the most part it wasn’t harsh or extreme, save during the Gilded Age and the Depression, and it enabled Americans to believe that they were living in a classless society, or even that they were all middle class."

I would have to respectfully disagree with you on that point. I would say that slavery was pretty harsh and extreme and was inequality in social, economic, and political forms at its most extreme. This inequality persisted post chattel slavery as the Jim Crow era well into the 20th century.

Edward Baptist's excellent book "The Half Has Never Been Told - Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism" gives an excellent in-depth analysis of the connections between Slavery and American Capitalism and how slavery along with the "acquisition" of America's natural resource base from Native Americans laid the foundations (surplus wealth generated from slavery) for America's rise to an Imperial Super Power.

The Civil War was primarily fought for economic and geopolitical reasons. The abolition of slavery being a relatively late moral justification for the war by the North.

I am a fan of your writings and look forward to reading more from you.

8:03 AM  

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