December 16, 2017

As the World Turns

This was the title of a soap opera that ran on CBS for 54 years. Since about a year ago, it has seemed to many of us that we are living in a soap opera; that everything has gotten overblown, exaggerated, unreal. There is, after all, no thinking process going on within the head of Trump; he gets captured by some emotion, or impulse, and runs with it. One only hopes that this “limbic” mode of relating to the world won’t be operative in the case of a nuclear war with North Korea, but at this point, who knows?

As 2017 winds down, and we are faced with another year of soap opera “reality,” it might be good to speculate on what’s coming down the pike. As far as America goes, the answer is simple: cultural suicide. You’ve got people fucking vans and rioting over incorrect cheeseburger orders; others running around with pussy hats and actually believing that this activity amounts to confronting power; a tax bill that will make a lopsided distribution of wealth even more lopsided; progressives urging revolution and others thinking that identity politics is the answer; an epidemic of opiate use, in addition to widespread alcoholism and suicide; and the militarization of police forces around the country. And this is only a partial list. We are fucked, and there just is no way out.

I have proposed “Dual Process” as a portrait of what is happening (see AWTY, last essay): that concomitant with the disintegration of capitalism, alternative experiments are arising to fill in the resultant gaps. Such experiments are especially rife in countries suffering from austerity programs, such as Japan, Spain, Greece, and Portugal. And along with this, the growth of secessionist movements, such as we see in Scotland, Catalonia, and parts of the United States (something I predicted in 1981). One hopes that all of this will get stronger over time, but in the case of the US, the whole ideology of “Me, Myself, and I” is so deeply entrenched, that it is unlikely these things will take place in a serious way. The temptations of “greenwashing,” for example—adopting the symbols and language of green politics while retaining the ideology of economic expansion—are very hard to resist.

Meanwhile, on the world stage, it is clear that the US is finished, or shortly will be. Even internal intelligence memos say this, that China is rising and that there is no way to resist it. When England was eclipsed, at least it had the US to fall back on. We have no one, and it’s likely that most nations of the world will be happy to see us go. Even our allies know we are jerks; Trump is merely the outward manifestation of this (like a sacrament, noir version). Mr. Putin would love for Russia to relive its former imperial glory, be a major player on the world stage; but I suspect the nation is no match for Chinese hegemony.

One diplomat recently argued that America vs. Europe is repeating the drama of the Western vs. Eastern wing of the decaying Roman Empire. America will simply collapse, he said, and become irrelevant, while Europe will morph into some version of the Byzantine world. That is, it will neither be a success nor a failure; it will just limp along. And yet, within that structure, citizens will be able to lead modest and reasonable lives.

But getting back to China: check out my Preface to the Mandarin edition of WAF, archived on this blog. I was frankly amazed that it escaped censure, because I predicted that China would copy the American model of expansion, of cultivating economic colonies around the globe. It is now the world’s largest economy, and President Xi hardly shows any tendency toward restraint, or toward the marginalized alternative tradition I discuss in WAF. All of this will put an enormous strain on planetary resources, and the ignoring of this, and the disregard of climate change, can only pour oil on the ecological fire we are currently caught up in. In any case, the geopolitical situation is one of horror vacui, and as the collapse of America will leave an open hole in the world system, China clearly intends to fill that empty space. I suspect it will.

In the Twilight book, I discuss E.M. Forster’s notion of an “elite”—not, he says, an aristocracy of money or power, but an elite of integrity, of right intentions. People like John Ruskin or Gandhi stand out in my mind as representative of such movements; as Wafers, it is what all of us on this blog aspire to (which is why the blog has evoked such rabid animosity—the “existential strain” I have written about in the past). Despite every attempt in the past to corral such people, to trap them in some form of institutionalization, they always slip through the net, and go free. They resist definition, and yet when you run across one of these folks, you know it. It is folks like these who are best equipped to carry out the positive side of Dual Process, but it would seem that neither the US or China are very interested in what they have to offer. After all, they often choose to point out the down sides of modernization, and nations bent on hustling aren’t going to be receptive to this message. Here again, the “Byzantine” model of Europe may be the most likely place for such people, and such movements, to flourish.

On a world scale, the next 30 or 40 years are going to be rather hellish. As I have often said, you don’t get history for free. Hegel declared that it was a slaughter bench. The point is, you don’t transition out of an enormous world system that has been with you for centuries, overnight, and with relative ease. The collapse of Rome was a nightmare, as was the implosion of the feudal system in Europe. Capitalism is hardly going to escape the same fate; it may even be worse. What lies on the far side of this transition is anybody’s guess. Huxley agreed with Forster, but (like Ray Bradbury) predicted that this Ruskinesque “elite” would have to live on the margins of the dominant culture, whatever that culture might be. “Communities of the abandoned,” Ernest Becker called them, and said that when a person gets to the point of seeing the emptiness of the dominant culture, he or she is then confronted with the question of the meaning of life. American and Chinese (and European and Latin American) consumerism is designed to keep people from asking that question. But, he suggested, such an awareness might just be a new form of religious consciousness, one that could make it possible for us to survive as a race. There are attendant evils on this, of course: the fascism of New Age cults, for example. But all this elite can do, is its best, hoping it will be good enough.

As for Wafers, our motto is something along the lines of “Virtue is its own reward.” (Ruskin: “There is no wealth but life.”) Gandhi once said, “People ask me what is my message. I have no message. My life is my message.”


Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Thank you for another great post Great Seer MB.

Having recently moved back to France after spending 10 years in the UK - "the USA of Europe" dare I say - it does feel like a "middle ground" in France. People are much less in a hurry, there's no constant hustling atmosphere in the air and cafés are always full. It's not all roses though. Rising concentration of wealth, progs, green washing, technodouchebagery, gentrification and identity politics abound with a fury here too. The pros however definitely outweigh the cons and if any Wafers on the blog are considering a relocation, venez les amis!


6:17 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dr. Berman,

I enjoyed "As the World Turns"--it's well-written and you make several good points.

I wanted to ask you about the book "Going Postal" which you've recommended here several times. I am several chapters in, and I'm really impressed. I think a lot of people here will enjoy it. Ames's thesis that "rage murders" are essentially the same thing as the 19th Century slave revolts is an insightful way of looking at it. I was wondering, though, how you think this idea holds up with regard to some of the more recent rage murder sprees? For example, the guy who dressed up as the Joker and shot up the movie theater in Colorado. Or the New Orleans or the Las Vegas shooters? I think you could still use Ames's general framework, perhaps. But I do see some differences. Like the fact that the Las Vegas shooter was retired and financially well-off. And the Colorado shooter seemed to be doing it more because he wanted to get 20 million YouTube hits, than as any kind of rebellion. In a sense, these recent shooters seem to me more like instantiations of "American Values" (i.e., low empathy, moral nihilism, obsession with celebrity, etc.) than as any kind of resistance to them.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Here's something to get your teeth into Dr.B:

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Derek said...

As someone who studied "English" at university, I can assure you that it is really just a study of "Literature." While it's referred to as English, it's certainly not confined to that. I read a great deal of literature in translation (including Sappho and Plato). Also, there is a strong tradition of science fiction and imaginative literature written in English...Huxley, Orwell, Asimov, Bradbury, Wells etc...Please don't take this response as an attack; I just felt the need to defend what I studied and correct what seems to me to be an erroneous assumption.


8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Streeck is very gd; I quoted him a bit in Essay #27 of AWTY, from an article he also did in the NLR, 3 yrs ago.


Gd pt, altho perhaps we need to think of slavery as now including an entire way of life, an ideology that is so oppressive that it is driving people crazy.


9:31 AM  
Blogger Grandma said...

Hello Dr. B, excellent essay, thank you! I revisited prior posts on the Chinese preface, and existential strain.

Peak Prosperity is predicting huge increases in gas prices. While the "trickle down economy" of Reagan et al all never materialized, the negative trickle down effects of extremely high gas prices is assured. Wealth flows uphill, shit flows down. O and D.

A quote for today:

"Love lets the other be, but with affection and concern. Violence attempts to constrain the other's freedom, to force him to act in the way we desire, but with ultimate lack of concern, with indifference to the other's own existence or destiny. We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love". R.D. Laing, British psychiatrist

The slavery of which you speak!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

One more face of the future:


Is book burning next?


11:38 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I enjoyed your essay; thanks.
The sexual harassment scythe swings wide, now felling a female.
[Andrea Ramsey] A first-time [Democratic Congressional] candidate in Kansas thinks Democrats may be going too far in trying to remove sexual harassers from the party after she was forced to resign Friday over a 2006 lawsuit accusing her of sexual harassment and [job] retaliation, the Kansas City Star reports.
Sexual Harassment Claim Ends Woman's Congressional Run

And, on the ideological battle front, this:
“The White House has told the [Centers for Disease Control] not to use [these] words in any budget documents being prepared for next year, reports the Washington Post. The banned words—drum roll please—are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
For the CDC, These 7 Words Are Off Limits

“Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series)

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Don Midwest USA said...

Article in Harpers this year by French polymath Bruno Latour

Title: "The New Climate"

From the article

"This is where we need to introduce a plausible fiction.

The enlightened elites — they do exist — realized, after the 1990s, that the dangers summed up in the word “climate” were increasing. Until then, human relationships with the earth had been quite stable. It was possible to grab a piece of land, secure property rights over it, work it, use it, and abuse it. The land itself kept more or less quiet.

The enlightened elites soon started to pile up evidence suggesting that this state of affairs wasn’t going to last. But even once elites understood that the warning was accurate, they did not deduce from this undeniable truth that they would have to pay dearly.

Instead they drew two conclusions, both of which have now led to the election of a lord of misrule to the White House: Yes, this catastrophe needs to be paid for at a high price, but it’s the others who will pay, not us; we will continue to deny this undeniable truth."

12:48 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Might as well call this (american showcase) drama of cultural collapse one big episode of As the World Hurls.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

I don’t always agree with the World Socialist Web Site but I have been reading their articles on the #MeToo campaign and they are interesting. Here is the latest one.

WSWS is perhaps too dismissive of the issue of sexual harassment but I do think that they have a point about how larger issues are being drowned out by the #MeToo campaign. It looks like the Democrats will be using sexual harassment as their main argument against Trump and the Republicans, not the tax bill or ending net neutrality or possible war with North Korea. Unbelievable.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Unknown-

I don't post Unknowns. You need a real handle. Let me suggest Cranston V. Toiletswab III.


Keep in mind that progs are assholes. This explains a lot.

Note to Brother Maynard-

We have a half-page-max rule on this blog, so cdn't post yr post. Pls compress and re-send. Thank you.


2:41 PM  
Anonymous Holland said...

No man ever wanted as desperately for Rome as Ovid re Tomis. So I actually find this v moving!

3:20 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

Here is some history on supply side economics. This same model created the Panic of 1896, and at that time was called Horse and Sparrow Economics. The premise was if you fed the horse enough oats there would be some oats left over for the poor little sparrows. Of course, they had to peck it out of the manure! More recently Lewis Black made the analogy to drinking a lot of beer. Then you put a cup on the floor. Pee your pants and what drips off your pant leg into the cup is the “trickle down.” Feces or urine? The 1% do view us with contempt.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

"I am not quite sure anybody should do anything other than read Plato over and over and try to recapture the vision of human nobility he started."

DioGenes, that will be enough about Plato, thank you very much.

Aristotle said, "I am a friend of Plato but I am more a friend of the truth." To start with, we don't even know exactly how much of Plato's writings is original and how much is Socrates talking. Philosophy is the noblest calling of man, as it tries to push the boundaries of our knowledge, and, in the attempt, it often runs into dead ends. We shouldn't begrudge the mistakes made by philosophers, but we certainly must learn from them.

Some of Plato's contributions, like the myth of the cave, have justly become part of the history of philosophy. But read The Republic, for example, and you'll see how much of it is just tedious and irrelevant as philosophy, only of interest to historians, ranging from the banal (the part where certain types of music are declared harmful and to be banned) to the outright deplorable (when lying is described as a vice for individuals but permissible for the government).

7:55 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

DioGenes- Philology? Ionesco wrote, "Philology leads to calamity," as my first-year English Lit. students learn. I find it odd how you say that studying English is limiting. I had a degree in another discipline, but I went into English because I found it so catholic in what it covers. That said, there's very little about high school that doesn't involve suffering.

Bill Hicks- Thanks for the link to that Mark Ames piece. I read What's the Matter With Kansas years ago, and couldn't really discern an answer. Ames provides an answer: spite, viciousness and sexual envy. At first I didn't think his formula completely explained Trump, but then again it might. Unlike Ames' sexually happy, beautiful, coastal liberal whom the midwest white working-class male despises, Trump exudes sexual anxiety...and nobody really believes his Slovenian supermodel wife really lets him touch her. She probably has an coterie of Italian gigolos on hand to take care of those needs. All this makes Trump an attractive candidate to these schmucks.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Prasenjit Sen said...

Dear MB,

Another great post. Thank you so much. Looking fwd to a worse year ahead. While America is clearly getting more irrelevant on the world stage by the day (Jerusalem episode is a fit case to illustrate the point), life in not-so-developed countries is becoming more hellish for anyone not dipped into the feelings of murderous hate for the `others'. Working societies are turning into killing fields for the minorities and the dissenters; educational, political, and legal institutions are being dismantled systematically while the mantra on the mouth is `development'.

Have been reading Pakaj Mishra's "Age of Anger". Would you agree that the present anger of the underclass has its root in the not-so-talked about aspects of the enlightenment ideals? You touched upon the point briefly in WAF, further elaboration?

12:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. As for enlightenment roots: I fear I forgot what I wrote. But my guess is that the underclass is angry because it's gotten fucked for decades. Obama was going to be the Great Black Liberal Hero; turns out he got rich while the underclass got poorer. Underclass knew Botox Face was just Obama II, so put their chips on Trump; who will sell them out as well. Rage will continue to build. Revolution? No...rather riots at Wal-Mart and McDonald's. Besides, what's political action, when I've got my cell fone to keep me warm, rt? Matt Taibbi calls Americans a collection of spiteful jerks. This is gd, but I think violent turkeys may be a bit more on the mark.


1:17 AM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

FYI Morris

Thanks again for your insight into culture and our times.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for writing in. Note that one rule of this blog is, only 1 post every 24 hrs. So wait a while and send in the other one. Thank you.


4:54 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

It is starting to get to me how many rich, powerful Jewish men have been accused of sexual harassment especially against gentile women. Are we looking at examples of Jewish exceptionalism/superiority here? This was a major claim of the Nazis by the way and I wonder what is said in gentile homes about all this.
I think the Jerusalem decision will backfire. Israel will not know one day of peace throughout the remainder of its existence which, in turn, will generate second thoughts within anyone considering emigrating there. Also, expect a major war in 2018 between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon which none of the major (corporate) media talks about. Both sides are gearing up for war but Israel is surely to experience a bloody nose as Hezbollah has the ability to fire 2000 missiles a day and we're not talking about those enhanced firecrackers that come out of Gaza.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Holland- What a gift for the Saturnalia!

Zarathustra- You seem to be giving Plato the Straussian treatment. I know the libertarian right has been trying to turn Plato into a protofacist for years (I used to travel in those circles), but to get caught up of over passages like the myth of the metals just totally misses the point, as American libertarians are wont to do. The whole point of reading Plato is that his work provided the first intensive examination of what is knowledge as opposed to appearance, true opinion, myth, and lie. Maybe the idea that the rulers provide a 'pseduos' to justify the social order is shocking, but there you have the groundwork for all later political criticism. Plato's work is humanity's first attempt at self-awareness, and while we have come a long way since then, his writings still show us the questions to ask when we fall back into darkness.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Rich said...

Great discussion here. But I have more practical matters on my mind - like how to get out of this godforsaken country. Kayne Cyrus, any advice on immigrating to France? I've done some research, but the process seems daunting.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

MB: ps: I'm so excited abt this:

I am too. I can think of NOTHING more important than this actually. Fortunately, I'm told the media will provide non-stop, continuous coverage of this event for at least a month. Not even the tiniest detail will escape their attention, fawning, and royal ass kissing. Me? I'm looking forward to purchasing the special editions of Star, US, and People magazines as precious heirlooms. It will be like you were there and what could be better than that? 2018 will be spectacular indeed!
-Brother Maynard

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Zombies said...

I've experienced Jewish exceptionalism in the forms of extreme arrogance and stories of infidelity etc., that Goy and Shiksa don't matter. Yet I think with any pious culture comes extreme insecurities and corruption, trying not to generalize. Harvard and the Ivy League (an ideological gate-keeping to wealth and power) have favored Jewish bloodlines. Today we're forced to live in a multi-cultural world without rule of law (judicial system for the rich by the rich), tremendous wealth inequality, opportunity, privatization, and diminishing resources in over-shoot. I think sociopathic family values are a bigger problem - people selling out each other for short term gains.

On another note, I've been trying to find links to Sinclair Lewis's poems to read online and am either incompetent or they're being shadow-banned or something. If any greater Wafer mind wants to solve this problem please have at it.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Historically speaking, the Ivy League schools had quotas for Jews, i.e. were hell-bent on keeping them out.


I'm with you. When I read that Meghan was going to spend Xmas w/the Royal Family, I got so excited I lost control of my bowel functions. It wasn't pretty. I'm thinking of sending my dry cleaning bill to Buckingham Palace.


3:28 PM  
Anonymous dr vic bold said...

I'll try once again to see if I am still UNknown, eventhough I am still
Vic Bold. Perhaps your readers would enjoy some good news for once
from America. The Black Friday of 2016 had 180,000 requests for background checks for purchasing a firearm; this year the number went up by 20,000 to 200,000.
Do you think there's preparation for some kind of racial/ethnic civil war?

4:00 PM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

According to a Stanford researcher, people who hear voices in the USA tend to experience the phenomenon as something deeply hostile and hateful, while people in Africa and India who hear these voices experience them as something much more friendly and even playful.

Whether these voices come from some ethereal external source or they are just hallucinations, a very sad and, for a Wafer, very unsurprising statement about society in the USA is being made here.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Bold-

At last, you did not come thru as Unknown. Instead, u.r. among the Bold and the Brave, which is a perfect description of the American citizenry. Regarding yr gun data, that is probably the effect of this blog. For yrs I have been saying that Americans of all ages need to be armed to the teeth, and start randomly shooting each other. We may be on the edge of a Great Event.

As 4u, Be Bold! Altho why not sex it up a bit? E.g., Prof. Victor J. Boldingham, PhD, DDS, BM, VD.


4:50 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@Rich, like for any EU country I believe there are only three ways to get a long-term visa for France: getting a job here, enrolling to study at a french university or having a french spouse (the latter being the preferred option, especially if she wears Chanel N°5). I am no immigration expert though but all details should be on the website of your nearest French embassy. Feel free to shoot me an email though for anything else!

6:34 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

As a retired Canadian, I’m wondering if I’m relatively safe, in the given situation, from what looms before us all or whether I should be looking to relocate elsewhere.

As a possible alternative, my wife is Cuban, and her family has a lovely - if basic - little home in a town not too far outside of a Havana. My father-in-law would be very happy if we were to move there and “keep it in the family”. I love the place and the locals, but worry just what sort of manic violence might be yet unleashed against Cuba by America. I’d prefer not to end my wife and my retirement as civilian casualties in Wall Street’s latest effort to promote “democracy”. . .


PS. China recently sent the Canadian Prime Minister packing with his tail figuratively tucked up between his legs. Perhaps our longstanding “but we’re nice” ploy may no longer be regarded as credible?

7:35 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

I'm thinking when ur earning less than half of white folk identity politics matters. Kenyan Obama may have wanted to correct this but Kansan Obama won.

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Kind of puts the goal of playing professional sports in perspective esp football - indulge in aggression and escape poverty. I have to say one thing about the NFL, I don't have any illusions but I thought the best line in the movie Concussion was the doc stating football is brutal, brutal, brutal, and then Shakespeare. It is popular for a reason.

Matt Taibbi's latest article in Rolling Stone about the scam of 'higher ed' is right on imo but he left out the real kicker not only r students taking out loans worse than a home mortgage, like you've documented MB, going to college is mostly for many social/party reasons. In the latest hazing death @ LSU the pledge had a BAC of 0.495 - wow.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Obama's entire record b4 taking office made it clear that he never wanted to correct anything. He just wanted to be president, and identity politics helped him do that. Since identity politics are far more impt to Americans than history, data, and evidence, it was easy to ignore all of the latter and project onto the shmuck--a completely empty person--all of the progressive hopes and dreams. Most of them don't even realize they were sucker-punched.


Thing is, Latin societies aren't for everyone, and after living in an Anglo society that is highly disconnected in terms of human relations, the Latin-style connectedness can take a while to get used to. The gringos down here tend not to mix; they just hang out w/their own, and never really get what Mexico is abt. As for myself, I have 0 interest in returning to a disconnected society; the mere thought of it makes me vomit. I slid into Mexico like it was a warm bath, and never looked back. I don't hang out w/the gringos; all of my friends are Mexican. Anglo societies do have certain advantages, but to me they are fundamentally anti-human.


8:26 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Looks like the sexual abuse witch hunters are out in full force now, and irony of ironies, one of the latest targets is a female Democratic congressional candidate from Kansas. Notice how the craven party "leadership" dropped her like a hot potato even though the case involves a single accuser, and the target never had the opportunity to refute the charges.

Next up--a first term Democratic representative from Nevada is not seeking reelection despite also facing only a single accuser. When he ran last year, the Democrats were all giddy because he is "a native of Mexico and the first Latino to represent Nevada in Congress," proving again just how meaningless identity politics is.

And last up--Chris Matthews is also in hot water because NBC paid off a female staffer who said he "made inappropriate comments and jokes about her in front of other people." Apparently, we are no longer allowed to point out that there is a world of difference between grabbing someone without their consent or masturbating in front of them than merely assuming that their word on what constitutes an "inappropriate comment" should be sufficient to destroy somebody's career--especially when they are the only accuser.

From a declinist's POV, however, it's all good--just another step down for doomed society.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Matt Damon recently said that we hafta start distinguishing between degrees of harassment, and what is and what is not harassment. A sane commentary on the current witch hunt. Minnie Driver responded by saying it's all the same, like cancer, and men are in no position to even have a position on any of this. This will exacerbate the witch hunt and make things increasingly crazy.

But as I said earlier, and you say now, declinists can be happy about this. There are so many factors in a society collapsing, but one of them is that human relations become impossible. Life was hellish b4, and this makes it much worse. As the misery of social existence in America deepens, more and more people will silently (or not) just give up on this way of life. And they should. Minnie is making a big contribution to our cultural suicide.

In addition, the witch hunt will keep us off focus, neglecting issues of power and class relations in favor of identity politics, exact definitions of harassment, and so on. This also will hurt us.


9:37 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The fact that the Rock is even being given serious press coverage surrounding his desire to be President proves just how ABSURD the country has become.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sounds gd to me, tho I still prefer Lorenzo Riggins.


12:54 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Kanye, it's really funny, because I always had the impression that France is "the USA of Europe." I mean the constant boasting about the French revolution, as if they had invented the "Republican values" and the rest of the world was just trying to catch up with them... For Pete's sake, if you visit Napoleon's tomb and don't know history you might think that he won in Waterloo! Of course, I am exaggerating a bit for dramatic purposes and I haven't lived in France, so I could be wrong.

The British, on the other hand, do feel superior but have always considered it rude to talk about it, let alone to boast about it, at least until Brexit's nervous breakdown. Perhaps not in substance but, certainly in style, the British are the most different from the US that I can imagine.

P.S. Re-posting due to the 24-hour rule.

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Erroneous Bosch said...

Re: Europe as Byzantium. I don't see it here in Holland. The people are really rather into hustling and have been so since at least the sixteenth century, when they founded the country as a tax revolt. There's a good argument to be made that it is in fact one of those fragment societies you have written about, as the dominant western part of it was settled rather late and only ever knew (proto) bourgeois culture.

The only alternative tradition is that of Calvinism, which leads me to my question. Is Calvinism a barbarism? After all, they destroyed art in a big way and emptied the cosmos until it was just them and their god.

@Megan, fwiw, on his radio show, Ames seemed to be looking for a more biographical explanation for the Las Vegas shooting. Of course, a big part of it was that the shooter's father was a criminal hustler of some kind, so it seems to go full circle.

P.S. wd gladly footnote the Jewish Rosemary, but it might confuse ppl. Imagine the headlines ;).

6:15 AM  
Blogger Grandma said...

Filed under Too Little, Too Late:

More support for the "we went wrong with the development of agriculture" argument, but an interesting take on how we need to end our "culture of contest". Pushing a rock up a mountain, imho, when we here in the US are exhorted all day, every day, to compete, strive, maximize, hustle. Impossible to enact such a change in this context.

... humans are far more complex than we imagined—that is, they are not merely self-maximizing machines—and far more influenced by the incentives of the system in which they are enmeshed.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Certainly true of the 17C, but w/the eclipse of Dutch power, Holland has become a little more complex. My own impression of the place is that there are various strains of ideology and ways of life, but I'm sure you know more than I do.

Meanwhile, a note to Trumpi-

Trumpi: You can issue all the policy statements you want, but you cannot, and you will not, reverse the trajectory of history.


7:08 AM  
Blogger polecat said...

The Baffler is a collection of essays published 4 times a year. Each issue focuses on a particular topic. The current issue (Winter 17) is on Power, Corruption, and Lies. The prologue by the Editor is entitled “Corruptions of Empire”. One essay discusses how television is used to redefine American lives as a “continuous state of siege”. Another on predatory lending describes capitalism as “abuse by design … because capitalism doesn’t just permit exploitation of the working class by the own class; it requires it.” Another essay discusses the endgame of Sinclair Broadcasting’s expansion into more markets (70% of US homes) in these words: “the entire hustle is about the money”.

Perhaps the most intriguing essay is about Capital as the Cutting-Edge AI App, the use of technology to make decisions about the investment and use of capital independent of human input; that capital has become a form of embodied AI. “Capital has become so autonomous that the state as we knew it has ceased to exist as a competing power. The state, to the extent that finance dominates every decision the state makes, has become absorbed in capital. The state is merely part of the external architecture capital has learned … to maneuver around, with the eventual aim of extinguishing it.” As capital brings more of life into its orbit and under its control, there will be no alternative to its doctrines and no escape from its influence. The Sky Gods of Christianity and Judaism will be (have been) replaced by the very earthbound Golden Calf of Profit at Any Cost to Humanity and the Creation. The world as we know it will cease to exist. Its time to accept this truth and begin to prepare for it.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous TNT said...

Bosch - even old New York was once New Amsterdam, as they say.

there is a great bk all about Amsterdam as a World Liberal City, w/ some nice moments all about Spinoza's life there.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

This below is based purely on personal observation--perhaps, other WAFERS have a different experience?

Spent 2 months in Stockholm--most of the Swedish folks I interacted with and overheard--directly and indirectly was talk about money, play with phones, talk about buying the latest techno mumbo jumbo, played w/ phones during classical music concerts, jazz concerts, teens glued to phones, us -style commercialism everywhere, us/uk chain stores, and hamburger obsessions were the specialty-- even in the "fine" restaurants. Maybe they should hire Sheneka Torres to work in Sweden to monitor proper bacon on the cheeseburgers?


11:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


American politics and economics have been a failure, but American 'culture' has been a huge 'success'--ruining other nations worldwide. Yrs ago, Victoria de Grazia at Columbia U. wrote a bk abt the Americanization of Europe: "Irresistible Empire." That was 2006. 11 yrs later, the cancer is of course more widespread.


11:51 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Hola Wafers,

Just wanted to share a link to a short movie I recently finished making inspired by my formerly north american life. The budget was $1.19 (less than Chicken Nuggets!) and I am confident that it is not terrible/might even be enjoyable to those in the declinist know. It was shot in the SW side of Chicago and nearby suburbs for Bill Hicks and other Illinois natives or residents.

It's only 13 minutes long, comments welcome @ p f i t z ger AT gmail.

Thanks for the Plato discussion, I just started The Republic so I will be on the lookout for the good the bad and the irrelevant on that front.

Cheers and good tidings to all,

12:03 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Regarding the discussion re: Canada or France (or any other country for that matter), I think the key point is that just about any country will be better than the USA re: hustling. The USA is the belly of the beast. Distilled to its essence, the USA is hustling period. Hustling is in our DNA. Our civic religion is to get rich (no matter how). It will get worse: watch the repubs gut the already meager social safety net after tax reform passes and the deficit explodes.

You can make an argument that countries in the Anglosphere are too closely related to the USA but I think just about anything will be an improvement. You at least have government health care and little or no mass shootings. Those two things in and of themselves count as major improvements which shows you just how barbaric the USA is.


1:58 PM  
Anonymous Dill Pickle said...

Another example on why American politics is a miserable failure-

Somebody by the handle of "hammerinhank" wrote a post for the Daily Kos about the "Liberal"-"Conservative" divide. Yes, I put both words in scare quoted because the Liberals these days are illiberal and the Conservatives these days are unconservative, and also illiberal. Basically this guy went to Hillsboro, Ohio, at the open invitation by Gary Abernathy, the editor of the local paper, the Hillsoboro Times-Gazetts. Mr. Abernathy invited all the big media to come to town and discover what makes the locals tick, and to see if they can have a dialogue with them. Well this blogger went there and what he found out was that dialogue between the one side of the political spectrum and the other is simply not possible anymore. In other words, 37% (and not shrinking) of the country are dead set on the right side of the political spectrum, and another 33% (but growing) are dead set on the other side of the political spectrum and the suburbs are where the the political battles are going to be fought. Of course, for the Democrats to win in the future, the p.c.-illiberals are going to have to can it with their political correctness because that makes the ones on the right come out in droves.

Long term? I see nothing but political violence on the horizon, and the death of the Republic.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A fine film. You captured the conversational content of Americans pretty well. As for Republic: check out Bk 7. BTW, you might also enjoy the pre-Socratics. I favor the edition by Philip Wheelwright, myself.


3:29 PM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...


Just to opposite here. I live in Germany with my wife (a native) and go to Brittany often in the summers. The French are a proud people, but not hustlers. They are intellectual, artistic, and take life slowly. One of the funniest memories I have was doing a trip to Verdun with a German friend of mine; we went to a bar one night and a gang of burly looking biker types came in. They spent the evening drinking Belgian beers and wine and talking about the nuances of the cheese they were eating. Will never forget that scene.

German culture has more of a connection to US culture, particularly as many were taught that we are the indispensible nation post WW II. This continues to some degree today. Still, there are many places of refuge, an the Germans remain a very intellectual society.

In my experience the UK is the worst when it comes to similarities with Americans. I've said for years that the UK is basically the US but with old buildings and interesting accents. I appreciate many things from the UK, but they have the same nasty hustling streak that we do, and the culture is quite violent.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

I took a bus to Berkeley last week and when I got off a black man approached me saying he had just gotten out of jail and needed some money to go home. I told him, "sorry I have no money" and he got pissed and told me, "yeah fuck the nigger right?" It made me feel bad but it got me thinking, I don't usually give money to ANY homeless person and not all are black. In my local USPS there is always a white man(or hispanic, not sure) asking for money with his kid and wife and I usually say no but he has never freaked out and scream, "oh fuck the white man, right?" And it just made me think what has identity politics done to the psyche of Americans? Could it be that approaching someone while it's still dark and asking them for money is creepy regardless of what race you are?

If I could redo it, I would give him money but not because he's black, just because people shouldn't be in situations to have to beg for money, IMO.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

Berm, here is a classic example of what you refer to as an analysis that falls squarely within the mainstream: full description of a problem (millenial generation is totally fucked) followed by a simplistic solution (reform bureaucracies in question and problem is solved and -more importantly- solvable!!). No consideration of the idea that the reason that the future of the millenials is nonexistent (and has in fact been stolen from them) is simply that that is the American Way. Also note the cutesy adolescent tone replete with slang and pop culture references and cartoon graphics. Perhaps this author should read Why America Failed, because he describes a failed state but thinks it can be fixed.
By the way, just finished AWTY and loved it. Thanks again!

5:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I guess yr new. Welcome to the blog. A couple of guidelines 4u 2 think abt:
1. Posts shd be limited to half-page maximum.
2. Post only once every 24 hrs. So if you have a page-long post, divide it in 2, post the 1st half, wait 24 hrs, and post the 2nd half.

Thank you.


Glad you enjoyed AWTY. As for authors writing optimistic poop: I approve! This type of blindness can only accelerate our decline. Hopefully he'll keep pumping out the same dogshit, while believing it's cutting edge.


Myself, I tend to give spare change to folks who are begging, because I wdn't wanna be in their situation of such awful humiliation.


5:30 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Dorfman suggests that America is "crying out for a second and much needed revolution."

Has he been talking to Hedges?

5:49 PM  
Blogger Megatron Prime said...

Several people have died when an Amtrak train derailed this morning near Tacoma. I'm afraid we're going to see more stories like this as the infrastructure of the US continues to decay. Our bridges are in particularly bad shape - just ask the people in Minneapolis.

There was a proposal in 2009 to build a modern high speed rail network in the US but it never went anywhere. Americans never want to pay for anything that benefits everyone (universal health care is another example). I'm surprised that the USA still has public libraries, or that they were ever built in the first place.

Meanwhile, the passenger rail systems in Europe, China and Japan are safely carrying millions of passengers a day.

Amtrak crash

Obama's High Speed Rail Plan

China's High Speed Rail Network Expands

6:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always admired Ariel Dorfman. As for Hedges (sigh): poor shmuck. No more talk of revolution. His latest essay is how us liberals hafta pull together. Cd anything be more lame? I suspect Reality may have beaten the crap outta the poor guy. He may be on the edge of waking up. One can only hope.


Gd metaphor! Whole country is derailing.


6:31 PM  
Blogger Kashe Varnishke said...

@ Megatron Prime

The interesting thing about Public Libraries is that many were built due to Andrew Carnegie, the famous hustler industrialist. A rare instance of an elite distributing wealth to the common man. Of course, those were the times when there was an idea of commons at all; nowadays it seems to have completely vanished. Nearly everything has become a commodity.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a douche bag:

7:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Patrick--nice to see that $1.19 can actually buy some decent production values these days! Excellent choice of theme music as well--"Once in a Lifetime" is definitely one of the best Wafer anthems out there. Speaking of which, those familiar with the video version of that song will appreciate seeing Donald Trump playing David Byrne.

Megatron--related to your point about the high speed train derailment is the apparent crumbling of infrastructure and bureaucratic incompetence that led to this weekend power outage at Atlanta's airport:

"But of course this does not explain the glaring problem that has surprised and shocked national security experts: Why could a failure at one power source automatically knock out the supply to a whole airport? Why were there no backup systems to keep the essential services at the airport functioning? Why were there no emergency generators ready to cut in as they are, for example, at hospitals? Why was there no power for the most basic systems, not even lighting for the terminals, leaving passengers and airport staff in the dark at gates and security checkpoints?"

And lastly, more stupid, inhumane cop tricks: Man says cops ordered him to cut off his dog’s head or go to jail.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I had a kind of waking dream recently. In the dream (or vision), at a given time, 325 million Americans stood up simultaneously and declared: "We are a collection of turkeys, douche bags, and we deserve everything we get, including the complete collapse of the United States. We are clueless, dumb as shit, nothing more than a collection of hustling imbeciles. We chose cruelty and violence and ignorance as a way of life, both at home and abroad, and now we are getting our just desserts."

I awoke feeling strangely refreshed, ready to take on the day.


9:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a moron:

11:06 PM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

MB> First stop federal bench next one the supreme court! Too bad the pussy dropped out. (Maybe 'The Rock' will find someone similar)

I chose the wrong word (correct) in regards to Obama what I really meant is Barry is an oreo black on the outside white on the in - he looked like a total buffoon going into that federal prison. His 'si se puede' crap had me projecting an FDR moment in history, though now I see even that wouldn't have gone far enough.

Chris Hedges was the first guy I ever really heard with a coherent sense of what's wrong with us - I agree with his diagnosis but his prescription is ludicrous just have to shake my head -hell while we're busy bringin' on the revolution let's cure cancer and genetically engineer pigs to fly.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Maybe we can also reverse the earth's gravitational field; what the heck. Hedges' "prescription" is by now incoherent, all over the place; I doubt he himself knows what he thinks any more.


11:46 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@ Pat Fit

Nice little film! I actually just moved back to Crook County. Rusted bridges indeed.

Don't read the Republic first. Read the Symposium. The hyper-political Plato of the American imagination comes from an excessive focus on the Republic - as if Plato was some kind of congressman with a new 5 year plan for government.

The Symposium is the more profound work, even if the cave imagery of the Republic is more vivid. The Symposium shows Plato at his most versatile, and also presents some distance between him and Socrates. All of the speeches are marvelous, and give you a sense of how 'Platonism' is a method of dialectical inquiry and not merely the hegemony of Socratic doctrine. Plato may expel poets in the Republic, but he is one in the Symposium. His persona is not nearly as simple as the Republic suggests.

To have authored even a single one of those speeches in the Symposium would have distinguished Plato; to have authored them all in such a brilliant array reveals him as a master of all preceding wisdom, and not merely his overriding Socratic doctrine.

I agree with Dr B that the pre-Socratics are also excellent. You can find several collections of Heraclitus with helpful commentary online. This is my favorite.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Fun times ahead for kids in schools!

"The report suggests an astonishing 69 per cent of teachers claim an overly heavy focus on academic subjects prevents them from tackling sexism. In other words, they want to spend less time teaching children subject knowledge and more time warning them of the evils of sexism. This will further redefine the role of schools away from education towards an explicit socialisation agenda."

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Cocaine deaths among blacks on par with opioid deaths among whites, study finds.

Violent crime across the United States increased in 2016 for the second year in a row.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Part of the New Puritanism:


9:06 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

By way of the website of Raleigh, NC TV station WRAL, this item reporting on the arrest of a Chicago daycare worker, who has been charged with five counts of aggravated battery for burning two-year-old children in her care with a hot glue gun. A second daycare center employee has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for having stood by and observed the actions of the principal. Just when you think the boundaries of human cruelty have been pretty clearly established, along comes a resourceful American to move the markers.

Without too much strain, I might tie the preceding to the tax bill currently making its way toward the White House. Paying less in taxes seems to strike most as a good idea: taxpayers can point to this, that, or the other program that is wasteful and should be eliminated, thereby saving taxpayer money. Or they can identify examples of government “overreach”—an overlooked candidate for Word of the Year, I think—as embodied in regulations that seem to serve no purpose or constitute an unwarranted intrusion into the private sphere and the lives of Americans. Like the idea that daycare centers need government licensing, their workers need background investigations, and a special government entity should be charged with oversight. Some Chicago parents might have an opinion on that now and the taxes such measures require.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Anjin-

Cdn't run it; too long. We have a half-page-max rule on this blog. Pls compress a bit and re-send. Thank you.


Why not just bake the kids in a casserole dish?


11:35 AM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Via the comments section of the NY Times on tax reform: "I feel so much better now that I've given up hope." I couldn't agree more. It looks like the owners of the country also think we're going down and hence, are trying to grab as much as they can as fast as they can before implosion.

The 0.1% isn't stupid: they know the country is doomed. Why did Peter Thiel buy New Zealand citizenship? The newest 'must have' accessory among the super rich is a survival bunker or a self-sufficient rural compound preferably in a foreign country.

Re: immigration. For those who can't escape the USA, the obvious choices for internal migration are: Hawaii, which still retains vestiges of a relaxed island culture, and Alaska, isolated with plenty of natural resources.


1:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Jas: more on the hot glue gun incidents:

1st, check out the daycare worker's face--Lizandra Cosme. In this face you will see the future of America.

2nd, why wd a daycare worker want to burn infants with a hot glue gun? I have been wading thru an old bk by Erich Fromm, "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness," and one thing he says is that there is a strong impulse in every human being to feel that s/he is able to cause things, to effect things. The ways to achieve this, he goes on, are manifold: eliciting a smile from a lover, for example, or thru work, whatever. And also, by having power over others: conquering a country (think of Bush Jr., how sick he is), by torturing people (think of American psychologists acting as torture advisers in Iraq), by destruction. All of these things seem different, and they are; but they are linked by a need to effect something in the real world. The sense of being condemned to ineffectiveness, concludes Fromm, is an intolerable experience, and "man will do almost anything to overcome it, from drug and work addiction to cruelty and murder."

The American Dream has collapsed in the US; a very large % of Americans believe they can't effect anything in their lives--and they are rt. The gigantic imperial machine they believed in has turned around, and is now crushing them into the dirt. Trumpi was to be the agent of their liberation; but the truth is that he couldn't care less about them. Americans beat futilely at the bars of the cage that constrains them, but no one is listening. What can I do, then, to show I am alive, that I can have an effect? Well, burn infants with a hot glue gun, for starters.

3rd: Hillary, that great bastion of wisdom and humanity, has assured us that the future is female. W/that great insight in mind, I nominate Brittany Carulli for president in 2020, and Lizandra Cosme as her running mate.


2:10 PM  
Blogger Kashe Varnishke said...

@ MB "The sense of being condemned to ineffectiveness, concludes Fromm, is an intolerable experience, and "man will do almost anything to overcome it, from drug and work addiction to cruelty and murder.""

So the proverb that idle hands are the Devil's workshop might have a semblance of truth!

2:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't really think Fromm was referring to idle hands.


3:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Turkeys on the march!:

4:01 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

The rot of American society is so viscerally visible that its a showcase of American stupidity. Recently, a friend of mine got out of the navy. He has been stationed in Guam for most of his service and has bounced between Japan and Australia whenever he had leave. Having come back to the US for two months he is leaving for Japan for college. His view of American culture is one of utter disgust, describing America as a vicious nation. In his own words "Everything in the US is a fucking ghost town. Every neighborhood is essentially a desert.".

As for Americans, what real sympathy can you have for these people? The murder of Daniel Shaver showed you can have a man beg for his life, murdered on camera, and no one cares. In fact, many people justify the cop and the cop himself said he would kill the guy again. One could justify antipathy for the murders of Black men by officers due to racism in the US, however, this man (A white man) died begging for his life and the whole thing from beginning to end was caught on tape and the end result is still the same. No one cares. Only 36k people give a shit about the family who like many black families had to watch their loved one's killers enjoy their lives as free men. The only thing that matters in America is money and luxury, lives are as cheap as lives that die under our military's bombs.

Lets all be thankful that Americans still have "their thoughts and prayers" to give.

5:09 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The scariest part of the story is that these two Einstein’s were allowed to procreate and have two children.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Regarding America as vicious: I have often commented on the subtle violence that pervades this society. Sitcoms portray this quite clearly: the source of the humor is one-upsmanship, or scoring points off another person, such that nearly the entire dialogue becomes one of attack-and-defense. By way of comparison, I don't have the same experience of Mexico, and I have been down here for more than 11 yrs. (On the rare occasions that I've dipped into gringo culture, the pattern of attack-and-defense is immediately obvious. I don't do much dipping, anymore.)

Something to chew on: Erich Fromm writes: "There is only a short step from passive enjoyment of violence and cruelty to the many ways of actively producing excitement by sadistic or destructive behavior; the difference between the 'innocent' pleasure of embarrassing or 'teasing' someone and participating in a lynch mob is only quantitative."

Wafers may wish to comment...


5:49 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Yeah, the lynch mob is american rugged individualism at its finest. Lack of integrity makes em all pussies at heart. I gotta work with a bunch of fat stupid football fans; their vicarious lives create quite the hostile work environment.
I read the blog at lunch... my soul saving dose of sanity!

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Dr Berman, you mentioned in the last post that the relationships between men and women are dying. I agree. Casual sex is common, be it from tinder, partiers or wherever but romanticism seems to have died. All our songs are about fucking and money, it's rare to listen to a new song that is about love. I grew up in Mexico and I remember my sister would get roses, guys would take their guitars and sing to her, write her poems, etc. Feminist in this country will probably ban poetry because "no means no," wouldn't want to "pressure" a woman into changing her mind, ya know? Makes me think of Wilhem Reich, what did he say the result of sexual frustration was? Fascism? We're pretty close to it, IMO.

Also I wanted to ask you, can you suggest me a book on female psychology? I re-read Wandering God and you focus a lot on what civilization has done to humans and it seems to me as if women got the short end of the stick. And, I don't want to sound like a misogynist, but I'm starting to think the vast majority of women in civilization develop borderline personality disorder at some level. Again, I don't want to sound like a misogynist, I'm just having problems with a girl and I just can't understand her.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB: I'll bet this guy is into violence as entertainment: Wisconsin Man Get A Six-Month Sentence After Breaking 20 Bones In Beating Of His Two-Month Old Daughter. It's particularly appalling that he only got 6 months for this crime.

And while we're on the subject: "Video: Toddler Abandoned As Adults Have Melee in Florida Mall." I'll bet the kid's mother/guardian/douchebaguette also loves her violence as entertainment.

And how about some violence in the workplace: Homeland Security agent accused of pointing gun at boss. Seems she got a bad performance review and was not happy. What do you suppose the chances are that'll she'll next make up a claim of sexual abuse?

And lastly on the casual violence front--just for MB, douchebag Track nearly cleared the path for you to realize your wildest fantasies with Grizzly Mama: Track Palin, son of former Gov. Sarah Palin, arrested for assaulting his father "Communication was attempted which failed due to Track yelling and calling myself and other officers peasants and telling us to lay our guns on the ground before approaching the residence."

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That you have found an oasis of sanity in this blog is a great thing, but I hafta tell you, you ain't the only one. I hear it a lot. But your comment has caused me to reflect on the power of this blog, and the sources of its healing properties.

Erich Fromm writes that in terms of character structure, some people display a "life-furthering syndrome," whereas others display a "life-thwarting syndrome." The average person, he adds, is a blend of both. But when I think of the character of this blog, it is obvious that it falls into the 1st category, the LFS. Wafers are lovers; they are creative; they have huge hearts and minds, and they come together here to be with other folks in this category. In the middle of the spectrum, the blend of both, we have most of the American population, which basically drifts along in a stupor. And then at the other end, we have the trollfoons, who clearly fit into the 2nd category, the LTS. These are people who cannot create, make things grow. They only know how to stop things, criticize, attempt to thwart expressions of life. Happily, they have been defeated, and have (I presume) wandered onto other blogs. But as a phenomenon, they are impt, because we hafta ask: whence did such a character structure arise? Here again, the theme of existential strain is relevant. Fromm puts his finger on it:

"In any case, for a man to be stunted in his growth and become vicious is as much a real possibility as to develop fully and to be productive; the one or the other outcome mainly depends on the presence--or absence--of social conditions conducive to growth."

This cd probably be a fair description of what happened to Hitler, for example, and I'm guessing most of the trollfoons who show up here have a similar psychological profile. They want to create, to love, to be loved, have all the good stuff--but they can't, they don't know how; so they turn bitter and vicious. I'm assuming this blog has been a target for them because they are jealous: they see us as life-furthering people, and they seethe w/resentment.

(continued below)

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Now keep in mind that Fromm was writing all this in 1973, nearly 45 yrs ago. Refer to his quote above, abt the imptc of social conditions. 45 yrs ago, it made sense to locate most Americans in the intermediate zone, between the two extremes. But what has happened in the intervening yrs is a dramatic shift in social conditions. They weren't great in 1973, of course, but were at least tolerable. Most Americans had hope abt the American Dream, or abt the future in general. Since 9/11 especially, most Americans have lost that hope, with good reason; and as the years wore on, they found themselves increasingly impoverished--socially, economically, and spiritually. Perhaps they still wanted to create, love, etc., but they were finding it increasingly difficult to do so. The iron cage was closing in on them, and it was getting worse every day. And so, they inevitably began to drift toward the trollfoon, LTS category. The good energy was stunted; it soured in the womb, turned into despair and negativity.

And the rest is history. Massacres occur more frequently than 1 a day now. Daycare workers torture infants. Drugs, opiates, alcohol, suicide--these have become a kind of norm in many parts of the US. People riot at McDonald's, at Wal-Mart--over bupkis. Road rage, street rage, office rage, home rage (domestic violence)--this stuff is now the fabric of American life.

But here's the worst of it: These social conditions have gotten even more repressive, destructive, ever since Trumpi took office, and there is absolutely no chance that they will not be even worse than that in the coming years. Since Trumpo and his admin have 0 understanding of the type of stuff Fromm talks abt (being obvious representatives of LTS themselves), they will respond to violent outbreaks with even more repression, fuelling an endless cycle that can only end in mass chaos and martial law. If you think things are bad now...Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

As I said in my lead essay, all we can do is cultivate a shelter, a LFS oasis, and welcome those very few Americans who want to come in from the cold.


9:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, there are quite a few around. I'd start with "In a Different Voice," by Carol Gilligan.


Ah, me and Sarah, on an ice floe, among the meese...


10:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it (half-page-max rule). Pls compress and re-send. Thanks.


1:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Good Riddance Dept.:

Check out the movie, "Spotlight".

And another piece of dreck:

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Zombies said...

Romanticism seems like hope and tragedy connected, what might have been - a dream once lost to fill the void of an incomplete relationship.

So what you're saying MB is if I wore daily an Israeli Secret Intelligence Service t-shirt at Harvard I wouldn't cross wires with their fascist administration that is reactionary from by-gone Jewish discrimination?

1:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Kinda twisted logic. Maybe you shd wear the T-shirt, see what happens. Be sure to report back.


2:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafer Trivia Quiz:

On Seinfeld, Brenda Strong played the role of Elaine's nemesis, Sue Ellen Mischke. What was her nickname?


3:42 AM  
Blogger polecat said...

On "Me, myself and I" - American hyper-individualism is so ingrained in the culture as to be practically invisible, like water to fish. It informs every popular TV movie, every TV series and ad and every news report. Americans filter everything they see and hear by asking how this will affect ME. The most popular American version of Christianity is based on the individual saving HIS soul and getting to heaven. Its sister is the Prosperity Gospel of Peale, Osteen and their loathsome ilk who promise financial success to true believers (and generous givers). Some even look forward to the end of the world when they, and they alone, will be raptured away and the rest of us will burn in the fires of hell. Underlying hyperindividualism is a super-sized ego (Trump is the most obvious example) and deep disdain for the other. If others are not as well off as I am, its their own fault.

On the day care worker - I wonder if Becker might be instructive here, too. If Americans sense that the nation is dying (and I think, on some level, most do), then they feel threatened for their own survival and will turn against one another to reassure themselves that they still exist. When threatened, the human animal either flees or strikes out (attack-defense) to preserve its own life. Could this help explain the actions of a day care worker who feels threatened in a culture which has turned its back on her and would not care if she died? So she strikes out at what the culture has entrusted to her care.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

US will 'take names of those who vote to reject Jerusalem recognition' “The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us.”

This is so delicious, the POTUS behaving like The Godfather... Trump is so extremely vulgar that I think that Hitler acted with more class in international forums. I'll always remember my decision to leave the US and go back to Europe when the 2000 presidential vote recount was stopped by Bush Jr's cronies. Some people asked me why should I care about politics so much, and for a while I felt I didn't have a good answer. Now I can only believe in divine providence.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Hi Dr. B and Wafers,

I recently finished reading Going Postal by Mark Ames and Deer Hunting With Jesus by Joe Bageant. The books complement one another and help to explain how we got to the current state of affairs. Of course, both were recommended here and most Wafers probably have already read them, but if you haven't, I would recommend you do so. Both books are so well written that they are quite enjoyable, in spite of the distressing topics. AWTY is next on my reading list, and I'm looking forward to it.

I find it amusing that the only thing the 2017 Do-Nothing Congress has been able to accomplish is pass a giveaway tax bill for the billionaires who own them. Onward and Downward America!

9:30 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Wafers, MB,

Why don't we email Hedges and suggest he join forces with Eminem to bring about a Revolution?


10:37 AM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

Erich Fromm quotes Jan Smuts in Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, "when I look at history, I am a pessimist...but when I look at prehistory, I am an optimist." For some reason that quote has stayed with me since first reading it over 25 yrs. ago. Here's another "Human history began with an act of disobedience and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience." I think people who cut themselves also exhibit the behavior you mentioned MB, willing to do anything to feel something.

From the fuckin' awesome department,
Disney Trump.

Let's watch Oprah visualize her way outta this.

WTF was she thinking.

Is it just me or do these costumes, no wait I mean fashion trends, look like something outta pre-revolutionary France? I'm thinkin' Marie Antoinette would feel rt @ home,

can't stop jacking off.

MB delete the post if the links don't work I'm trying to set up hyperlinks but don't know if I'm doing it rt.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Brother: I lived in Hawaii for a while as a kid and as long as you get away from the main island, it can be quite the place. Expensive at sh*t though.

Pole: You said, "On the day care worker - I wonder if Becker might be instructive here, too. If Americans sense that the nation is dying (and I think, on some level, most do), then they feel threatened for their own survival and will turn against one another to reassure themselves that they still exist. When threatened, the human animal either flees or strikes out (attack-defense) to preserve its own life."

I like it! To confess as a Wafer with little to no chance of leaving the US, I see some of that in myself. The irrational anger and indifference hiding my frustration at living in this dump. And that's coming from someone with a great and rewarding job ... probably my only saving grace.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

MB- Sue's nickname was the Braless Wonder


Remarkable, huh? He really thinks that by giving aid in dollars that we own those nations. He fails to understand how these nations have their own interests and backers to please. The Chinese must be loving this guy because his thuggish nature completely blinds himself to political realities. The Rand institute came out and said America may not be able to beat China in a war. A startling admission for a super power that is rapidly losing its full spectrum dominance due to sheer corruption. Those F-35s are expensive junk and the rest of the airforce is becoming a shell of what it once was.

People seem to forget that the US Airforce was straining at the peak of Afghanistan and Iraq, two nations who had no hope of beating America. I wonder how ugly it will be when the paper tiger gets decimated? I do know one thing though. A nation who uses weak foes to bolster its war footing and claim dominance generally is no match for actual real powers.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

I suggest you engage your fellow co-workers/football fans with a deep psychoanalytic interpretation of the game: that of homosexual ritual. See work by UC Berkeley mythologist Alan Dundes below:
I am certain your fellow co-workers will enjoy this intellectual discovery and you can engage in hours of meaningful discussion and analysis of the sport vis a vis repressed Puritan homosexual impulses.
Hope this helps!

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Milli said...

hear hear! the recommendation of Carol Gilligan's work. Fond memories reading that stuff, on my freshman year about 35 years ago now.

My, how time goes on and on and on. Anyway--did you tackle or ref. to her work in any of your books?

Milli _Melanie_

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Gwyon said...

Interesting article-
Americans experience more pain than other countries:

So are the Turkeys just wimps or depressed/ground down by the horribleness of daily life in America?

4:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Let me 1st say that Jack L. of Olympia sent, via me, a Chanukah card to all Wafers. It's a very lovely card, and I want to thank him on behalf of all of you.


I don't believe I referred to Carol in any of my publications (altho I may have), but I did read the bk in the early 90s and thought she did a gd job of showing that female psychology was really different.


Right on. She tells Elaine that she's just 'hanging out'. Indeed. As for the US military: we haven't taken on a real (i.e., equal) enemy since WW2, and even then, it was stalemate in Korea and Vietnam handed us our asses on a platter. What we've got now is a turkey military, one that cannot even close the deal in Iraq or Afghanistan. I just wrote Trumpi suggesting he change the name of the Air Force to the Joke Force, and the name of the Navy to Navel Gazing. New name for Army shd have some ref to Botox, I think.


You don't need to hide yr anger. Put up 2 post-its on yr bathrm mirror:

That may enable you to relax a bit more. :-)


Check out the Kristen Stewart character in "Anesthesia".


I hear Eminem sorta turked out during his last concert. As for Hedges, he seems to have given up on revolution for the moment and opted for some lame kind of liberal politics. Check out his latest essay; it has the power of rancid tuna.


6:17 PM  
Anonymous marianne said...


The cardinal Saint Bernard Law... 8

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for your message, but I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. E.g., Cranston Butterworth III, DDS. Thank you.


6:35 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

IT’S OFFICIAL...TOP USAToday News Headline...


8:37 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

MB, who was the diplomat that noticed the parallel between Western / Eastern Roman Empire and US / Europe? It's important to know who beat you to the punch on publishing an idea. :)

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


He didn't really beat me to the punch, because I had no punch. I.e., I didn't have the idea in my head until I read his statement. Can't recall where I read it, but what I do remember was that he was not identified in the article. It just said, "one European diplomat recently suggested....blah blah."


9:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out her face online. What emptiness! A true American. And do I detect a hint of Botox?


9:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB: I've been making my way through AWTY recently, and I noted how in the first chapter you state that screen usage in the U.S. might be akin to the lead in the water in ancient Rome as a possible factor in the deterioration of Americans' brains. I totally concur, of course, but I find it interesting that in the years since you wrote that essay, we've also found out that there literally IS lead in the water here in the U.S.

That got me thinking about how we've discussed here that all the media hysteria over sexual abuse is unlikely to lead to any real change, and how the lead in the pipes story is a classic recent example of this dynamic in action. When the lead in the pipes was just in one poor community being victimized by "evil bureaucrats," the media was all over the story to the point where several Flint officials are now being prosecuted for their horrendous decision making. But now that it's been determined that there are thousands of other American communities where the water is as bad or worse than it was in Flint, it's been largely crickets. Of course, the fact that it would probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars to replace all of those pipes and nobody wants to pay for it is probably a big factor.

But we've gotten so stupid in this country that we'll even send a high speed train out on its inaugural run before the automatic safety system has been made operational, and then are amazed when the train crashes.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I didn't know lead in water was a nationwide problem, actually. Freud used the word 'overdetermined' to describe a situation in which a # of separate factors converged on a single effect, or result. I believe American brain death falls into this category: chemical factors, physiological factors, psychological factors, and so on. Of course, directly linking all of this to the Tacoma train crash might be a bit of a stretch, but the fact is that we seem to move from one dumbass event to another. Or just go into any bar in practically any city and listen to the conversation; it's little more than pure drool. I was listening to 2 gringo males today at the next table in a café abt 65, the other abt 40...they spent an entire hr comparing their cell phones and discussing what they cd do w/them. This is the spiritual/emotional/psychological/social level to which Americans have now sunk. And then there's the F-35...


10:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


For a devastating portrait of the insanity of the American Dream and the hustling life, check out "Brad's Status" (Ben Stiller).


12:09 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I just picked up Whitehead's "Process and Reality". The relative obscurity of Whitehead compared with the barbarian Bertrand Russell reveals just how superficial the academy really is. Russell published polished titles; Whitehead didn't even bother to edit his manuscripts, so old Bertie becomes the Anglo philosopher of the 20th century.

A few gems:

"A system of philosophy is never refuted, only abandoned... Failure to include some obvious elements of experience in the scope of the system is met by boldly denying the facts."

"Philosophy is the self-correction by consciousness of its own initial excess of subjectivity... The task of philosophy is to recover the totality obscured by (subjective) selection."

As long as I have lived, I have wondered how so many can persist in such direct evasion of facts. Whitehead, who is really a sort of Neo-Platonist ("The history of philosophy is just a series of footnotes to Plato"), suggests that our isolation of awareness to a small facets of life is just the final attempt of figures trapped in Plato's cave to shut out wider light of experience.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Master of Waferism,
Why don't you give money to the homeless? What lesson are you trying to teach them by being, in a word, cheap? They have to live under capitalism-perhaps next to slavery the most vicious of all economic systems. And to be born black here makes their lives doubly imperiled. As for me, I'm always giving something to the homeless and have even given 5 or 10 dollars on occasion for the most dire situations. But for the grace of God...Master.
Saw Republican lawmakers on the capital steps praising Trump for his "leadership" vis a vis the tax bill. What leadership? He delivered what Repubs have been dreaming about for decades.He simply rubber stamped Republican orthodoxy. Watching these politicians can face their constituents over the holidays should be more than interesting. My guess, however, is that they did their polling and it was discovered people would rather pay higher taxes, have no health care for them or their children, while 83% of the benefits will accrue to the 1% rather than support a Democrat who, certainly since Clinton, did nothing for the working class.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Liv said...

Thank you MB for the very accurate summary of the current events. The Opioids epidemic in US is beyond beliefs from low to upper social class, they are all affected. People will be surprised how many high rank professional and officer are addicted. Also, depression correlates with the opioids addiction. It goes hand in hand. EU has 0.4% of opioids users in US is above 4%. It is Christmas time and everyone at work only talks about shopping. When I told them, I don’t do Christmas shopping, they couldn’t believe it and called me a stingy bitch. I tried to explain to them that Christmas is about spirit, families getting together and gifts are waste of resources. However, they think it cannot happen without the gifts. Most of them think consumerism and shopping is a “value.” Really? Current sexual harassment in the US and the accusations make me laugh; American women have no idea what is romance, flirting, or courting. They think is harassment. I am so happy to leave this country because of this rotten society believing in wrong values. How can I raise a girl here in this death society? For very long time, I feared for the money and how I am going to make it outside of the US but I do not care any longer. My child is not going to become one of the brainwashed zombies living in this puritan society and cannibalistic anarchy. The US government is a joke.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-San said...

Another great essay and comments. I always find something of value whenever I check in to the blog.

A few years there was an online word contest whereby you changed one letter in a word and then had to make a def'n for the word. My favorite was "ignoranus" - someone who combines both being ignorant and an asshole.

In my opinion the this should be the word of the age of Trumpi.

In conjunction with my nomination of that word for the age of Trumpi, Mike Pence set a new low in fawning and obeisance.

Finally, my advice to any Wafers thinking of Canada - avoid Alberta like the plague. We are the province of "Texas lite". All of the evils of oil and gas and industrial agriculture and individualism. Happily we have saner gun laws so we don't massacre each other with the same reckless abandon as our southern neighbors, but nonetheless Alberta hustles. Try the Maritime provinces or Quebec.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If there is one obvious fact abt the US today, it is that the Death Instinct hovers over it, like an avenging angel.


9:20 AM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Dan - I agree with you. I was an asshole. I guess I’m just used to seeing beggars. And I agree with you, being black is not a positive in this country(not anywhere really) but I didn’t not give him money because he’s black but just because I’m an asshole. And I think it’s not good to think that everything bad that happens in life to you is because of your race.

Liv - Staying in the US would only mean working to pay mortgages, credit card debt, student debt, etc. Essentially working for the banks. Good to see you are not like the majority of Americans who think they’ll be the exception to the rule and become billionaires. I for one, am taking as much student debt as I can, if the country doesn’t collapse within 5-10 years, I’m getting the fuck out and never coming back. Also, American women don’t know how to flirt but that is the fault of the men, IMHO. American men are garbage

10:06 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Here’s a story blending multiple elements in our downfall narrative: Youth; YouTube; and firearms. On 15 December 2017 a Halstad, MN woman who shot her boyfriend in June of this year was convicted of manslaughter. The boyfriend decided they would make a video for YouTube that would “go viral,” as they saying goes. Having seen a video showing a book successfully stop a bullet fired from a handgun, Pedro Ruiz III had his girlfriend Monalisa Perez fire a .50 caliber handgun at him while he held a book—title not given—in front of him. With predictable results.

And, though 60 percent of individuals polled recently recognize that the new tax bill will principally benefit the wealthy, a study summarized in the linked article below explains why there will be no revolt of the masses. They suffer from the wishful thinking hypothesis. Yet a less charitable construction, he notes, would say simply that Americans are ignorant. The author adduces a separate study referencing an episode of the Simpsons, “Homer Gets a Tax Cut” (link embedded) to show that Americans were/are ill-informed and can’t/don’t make connections between tax policy and inequality.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Winter Solstice greetings from Cascadia, Wafers everywhere, and now the headlines -

A Seattle Times columnist perceives the recent Amtrak crash near Olympia, Washington to be symptomatic of Mericans’ lack of respect for the common good, and calls for “renewed commitment” in that regard. Good luck with that:

In fox-guarding-henhouse news, former Washington state auditor Troy Kelley was convicted in federal court of shady practices of retaining mortgage title fees that were supposed to be refunded to purchasers and not reporting the proceeds to the feds, prior to his election as auditor:

And finally, this week’s Cascadian empathy award goes to the guy who said his four pit bulls were “just doing their job” when they attacked and nearly killed a UPS driver trying to deliver a package to his property in Puyallup, a suburb south of Seattle:

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Judy said...

Liv -
So you think men grabbing women's genitals, force-kissing them against their will, and firing them from jobs or ruining their careers because they won't submit is your idea of "romance, flirting, and courting"? You must be a man, and you really have a lot to learn.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Doesn't exactly describe all men, no?


12:52 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Hard Times in Trump Country. Interesting article on the Ohio River Valley.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of Ohio, this is kinda neat:

2:24 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

C'mon Judy, be nice. Sorta like this:
Hey Mas o Waf, you might check if your student loan extravaganza is just another merican hustle.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Tom Servo-

Interesting photo-essay; thanks. A comment at the end stuck out-

"As if Hillary would’ve done anything to improve these peoples' lives. Hillary would’ve been hellbent on removing Assad in Syria, for sure. Which would’ve ended a lot of poor peoples' lives."

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Liv said...


You will be surprised but I am 5’ 11” tall, blonde and blue eyed woman and purely Slavic.
And if I read articles like women complaining of sexual harassment going to Massage Envy, give me a break. Go to Europe for massage, you will be totally naked and exposed and nobody cares. Lived in Europe 20 years and here 16, I observed enough in American women. If I will be a man will never date them.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Just a reminder to trollfoons who write in, attacking the blog: I'm not listening. It's usually clear by the 3rd word of yr post what yr up to; at which pt, I simply delete. So if you wanna continue doing this, fine by me: knock yrselves out. But you need to know that the stuff yr sending in isn't getting read. Of course, folks like you are terribly sick, and sad, and have nothing else to do w/yr lives--I get that. So I'm guessing you can't help yourselves; you are really writing these messages for yourselves. I just wanted to make it clear that you are not getting heard, and you will not be heard, on this blog at least, ever. Perhaps this will help you to get a life (not terribly likely, I know).


4:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In future, pls observe our 24-hr rule: post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.

Here's the deal, already discussed on the blog: Pigs like Weinstein deserve to be hung out to dry, imo. And harassment of women is, I am sure, pretty widespread in the workplace and Hollywood and lots of other places. The problem becomes one of blurry lines, and degrees. Since Americans love to get worked up abt identity politics (as opposed to real issues such as class and power, abt which they don't give a shit), it makes unhappy sense that the culture wd ignore Woody Allen's warning abt a witch hunt, or Matt Damon's abt the need to make some important distinctions, and go into frenzy mode. Turkettes like Minnie Driver show up, saying Damon has 0 to say on the subject since he's a man. I heard the same b.s. on WBAI in NY ca. 1972, feminist call-in shows, who yelled at any male caller who 'dared' to enter the discussion (even if he was a feminist).

So we do need to start exposing and firing the Weinsteins of this world, but with an impt caveat: let's not get to the pt where saying hi to a woman is equivalent to grabbing her ass, and flirting is equivalent to sexual assault.

But of course we will: we are Americans, after all. And as I said earlier, I'm happy abt this because it tears at the fabric of society (much like cell fones), and accelerates our decline. Bad Is Good: I love Trumpi, and I love morons like Minnie Driver. I love the GOP tax bill, the death of the Net, and so on. Slow suicide is kinda boring. Let's go for the gold!


5:23 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Dear Professor,
Thanks for moderating the comment section. I can only imagine what the trollfoons are saying. Take a look at any unmoderated comment section (such as USAToday or WSJ) and it is clear that Americans talk to each other like cavemen: Me say Tump good! Me think America good! France bad. Mexico dangerous. It is also the same people commenting over and over again using the same Faux news talking points: they really are marionettes on strings and cannot think for themselves. Oh well...this will never change.

Changing topics: I want to recommend a book to my fellow Wafers: "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by colin woodard. Interesting stuff. He makes the argument America isn't really that united and that without the American South (a butalist slave culture) America would be similar to Canada (although Quebec pulls Canada to the left). He also makes the point that NYC was founded as a corporation and never really changed. SF too was founded by the gold rush has a get rich quick mentality. Tech is the gold rush (I just left SF and can tell you it is hustle without end; there is no charm left in the city).


5:31 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Season's Greetings MB & Wafers,

I had the most wonderful dream last night, Wafers. MB was leading a huge protest march down Broadway toward Wall Street on X-mas day. An estimated 250,000 New Yorkers took part. Crack Wafer units armed w/K-Y Jelly and crowbars dispersed into neighborhoods throughout Manhattan to initiate reverse-CRE, i.e. Cranial Rectal Extraction. The march was so revolutionary that people suddenly dropped whatever they were doing and took part, pussy hats made another appearance -- this time emblazoned w/Wafer inspired post-its. Chris Hedges drove in from Newark and joined the cause. Hedges essentially became a human billboard wearing a sign that said: THE ONLY ANSWER IS WAFERISM. Meanwhile, I slipped inside Katz's to order up 200 pastrami sandwiches, several vats of cole slaw, a couple of three barrels of half dill pickles. By the time I caught back up w/the demonstration in Zuccotti Park, pandemonium had broken out. People held signs (Choke On Yr Tax Cut; Hillary Bleeds Botox; Trumpi Needs A Decent Haircut; I Was Once A Douche Bag, But Now I'm A Wafer; Make Baby Wafers, Not War). Jesus, It was a sight to see. Many people wore Waraji-style sandals and Kasaya robes, people raised their heads and arms toward Heaven and chanted "belman! Belman!! BELMAN!!! The multitude began to ecstatically dance and whirl, and thousands literally began to make love in the streets...

Washington DC was caught off guard by this Tsunami of Waferism. The WH began to scramble to put down the unrest. Sources close to Trumpi said his advisors were split between those who argued for some hard-line repression while others argued that a heavy hand would only provoke more protest and were proposing some sort of face-saving climb down. All the while, this was playing in my dream:

Unfortunately, I woke up!

Merry X-mas everyone,


7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's what I call a *true* American Dream! Arriba!


7:51 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Older interview of Chris Hedges on “The Connection” with Christopher Lydan.

It just appeared in my YouTube feed and I had never heard the interview before, and thought maybe some of you may not have either.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


New Yorker cartoons are occasionally very astute in pinpointing the degradation of Americans and the national suicide in process. The issue of Nov. 27 had 2 in this category. In the 1st, a man is standing at a bar, and the gal behind it is saying to him, "Small, medium, or that." 'That' refers to a large trough of beer on the floor to her left, where 5 guys have their heads in the brew and are guzzling like animals.

In the 2nd cartoon, 2 teenagers are sitting on a sofa, w/their grandfather between them. "Grandpa," one of them says, "tell us again about pensions!"

O&D, my friends; O&D.


9:18 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I don't think your history of slavery, BrotherMaynard, is the only thing that has kept the USA from being like Canada, but it might be a factor. I'm surprised that the our British tradition didn't enter into Woodard's argument. Canada has strains of socialism and conservatism inherited from Britain that are missing from the US culture. Both of these strains emphasise the primacy of the common weal over the individual. Mind you, since Pierre Trudeau stuck a dagger in that tradition with his "repatriation" of our constitution in the 80s, we've become more like you.

Also, as someone from Saskatchewan, the home of North American socialism and Medicare, it stings to hear that Québec is the locus of the left in Canada today. Saskatchewan is now as mindlessly right-wing as any other place on the continent.

Today I was chatting with a guy with whom I participated in some anarchist ballot-destroying fun about 20 years ago about goofy terms such as "anarcho-capitalism," and he told me he knows of people who call themselves "anarcho-nationalists," believe it or not. They are basically alt+right libertarians who don't like immigrants or political correctness.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB: My apologies for not linking the USA Today story about the widespread lead poisoning, which I assumed was more widely known (which kind of proves my point, actually):

Beyond Flint: Excessive lead levels found in almost 2,000 water systems across all 50 states. "The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares."

Still working my way through AWTY. Another thing that strikes me is that in the book's older essays (circa 2011-2012), you cited a lot of statistics from he 2008-09 time period which were pretty appalling then (example, in 2009, the average American teenager was sending/receiving 2272 texts per MONTH). Keeping in mind that this information is now nearly a decade old--how much worse is it today? In that instance it makes me so glad I grew up in the 1970s. Bullying and peer pressure were bad enough when you could escape it by retreating into your own house. Now, it's gotta be 24/7 for these kids. No wonder they're beating each other in the head and posting it to social disease media. BTW--did anyone else notice how shitty that neighborhood in that video looked?

10:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This was publ. in The Atlantic in Sept., went viral shortly thereafter:


10:44 PM  
Blogger vegar said...

Hey, I'd like to recommend a movie called "Idiocracy". It's a great movie that is in line with your trilogy on America.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Agreed; I've seen it multiple times, and we discussed it on the blog, many yrs ago. Supposedly it portrays the US 500 yrs from now; I thought 5 a more reasonable estimate.

As an example of American stupidity, here's a quick quiz 4u: Whom did the Bush Jr. admin denounce as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"?

Meanwhile, here's some great news:

Also this:


3:58 AM  
Blogger polecat said...

MB - I've send several comments in the last 3-4 weeks but none have been posted. Have I been banned from the Blog?

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

How is the vote in Catalonia great news? Here is a better report: "However, they once again failed to attract a majority in favour of independence: taking 47.7% of the vote and two seats down in comparison with the last election." That, of course, is not mentioned in the simplistic CNN report where, in typical American style, the whole thing is a good versus evil Disney story.

Honestly, I am disappointed to hear Dr Berman say that. This is not about the corrupt government of Rajoy. This is bad news. Ethnic nationalism has caused so much suffering in Europe. Are we rooting for the destruction of the EU in this blog? I am pretty sure that would please the big American corporations like FaceBook, who would prefer to deal with small, weak nations rather than a European Union capable of enacting the General Data Protection Regulation (I was surprised by how protective of the rights of individuals it is), while in the US the net neutrality rule has been abolished, which, technically, means that this blog, for example, could be effectively censored or, very likely, only available to those who pay for a practically unaffordable "unlimited" Internet access package.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Mohamed ali said...

Is the U.N. vote what people call Waterloo moment? I’m asking because I’m not 1000% sure what that expression means. I heard people use it to describe the end of the British empire. I think I read it on this site

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I suggest every time Nikki Haley is on TV technicians should cue The Godfather theme. Her speeches at the UN are pure mafia shakedown. Quite a vote. Countries that receive enormous funds such as Egypt and Pakistan defied the US on yesterday's JErusalem vote. It would not be too surprising, in fact, if the UN decided to relocate after all this country's threats and bluster.Funny to watch pundits speculate who the Dems might run in 2020 like it matters. The damage will be so great by then that it really wouldn't matter who runs.
Yes, read the Atlantic piece. I only hope the same thing is happening in Israel. Then there would be a generation more interested in social media than maintaining the occupation. Yes, American young people are beyond hopeless. I see it everyday as I go to various high schools.Still, I feel parents are the ones to blame. Don't they realize that the moment they give their son or daughter some tech-crap they have lost them for the rest of their lives? Just recently I received a text that a mutual friend had died. A fuckin' text! Can we cheapen human life even more? This and future generations will certainly demonstrate that we surely can.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I scrolled back and found 1 post of yours, 2 days ago. If you sent more than 1 message, then I never got them; tho I didn't check the last 3 or 4 wks. All I can suggest is that something is up w/yr computer, because I haven't deleted any of yr posts. Not to worry, you are part of our conversation. Just check yr software.


The phrase u.r. looking for is 'Suez Moment'. The US had a domestic SM on 8 Nov 16; we are now awaiting for a foreign one. In case of Britain, it spelled the end of empire in that everyone suddenly understood that England was no longer in charge. Now that seems to be happening slowly to the US--erosion of power in favor of China. Whether there will be an actual showdown moment, as in case of Suez in 1956, is anybody's guess.


Well, the Catalonian separatists seem happy, as far as I can make out; I don't believe that is the Disney version, myself. And I'm happy, because secession will mean the end of imperial regimes; altho in the case of Europe, yr rt, it's pretty complicated. I don't doubt that there is a down side to Brexit, Scottish secession, etc., but overall, I think the passing of the nation-state--a geopolitical formation that has coincided w/the regime of capitalism--cd be beneficial (the coincidence, after all, was hardly coincidental). And I regard Rajoy as an idiot, as I've mentioned several times in the past: a man w/no vision beyond neoliberalism and the nation-state. (Merkel and Macron are in the same category, although I'm certainly glad Macron defeated Le Pen.) As for the end of Net neutrality: it's a step toward our general decline, as is the GOP tax bill, condemnation by the UN, severe alienation of the Muslim world, continuation of our foolish wars in the Mideast, etc. So it all depends on yr pt of view. I doubt our decline can be halted; I think Trumpi's historical role is to accelerate it; and terrible decisions are part of that process. The guy's doing his job, and 2018 shd be much worse--wh/is to say, better. But you make a gd pt with respect to Europe; the situation is not cut and dried.


9:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I shd add that I have no hesitation regarding the balkanization of the US, and I certainly hope that by the time I kick the bucket, in 2045, we have independent states of Vermont, Oregon, Alta California, and so on. The weakening of the American empire means that it will not be able to command the resources to inflict damage (genocide included) on the rest of the world. Hard to be imperialistic when yr falling apart at home.


Once again, these are gd examples of our motto, "Bad Is Good." Nikki Haley is one of the most disgusting human beings on the planet; all well and good that she is speaking for the US, backing Trumpo, and acting like the Mafia. We need awful human beings in the gov't! As for the damage being wreaked on American teenagers by smartphones: not that anyone can halt the trend, but in general, a lonely, depressed, alienated population can hardly be a positive thing for America's future. If I were pres, I'd make sure every American had at least 10 smartphones, 10 lbs. of Prozac, no connections w/other human beings, and round-the-clock attachment to Facebook (the data of whose human damage is also emerging now). I'd make Zuckershmuck my top adviser, urge him to invent something even more destructive. I'd also hire Lorenzo Riggins to start a campaign for everyone to fone 911 in case they get shorted on a cheeseburger order. You get the picture.


9:40 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

I would just like to say happy holidays to all Wafers everywhere. It's the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, so it's time to look forward to the warmer months when planting season returns. With any luck I'll have a bumper crop of peaches again this year.

MB, I really liked the video you posted of the Ohio girl using a shovel on one of her friends. I admire a woman who can wield a shovel. If only someone taught her how to dig holes with that shovel, she could plant peach trees. That might take her and her friends away from the stupidphones, however, so I doubt they'll be improving their horticulture skills anytime soon.

Happy Festivus - the Festival for the Rest of Us!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A Festivus for the Rest of Us: what wd we do w/o Frank Costanza, and the Feats of Strength?

As for the shovel video: this is the US in microcosm, I'm thinking. Altho I have wanted every American to be heavily weaponized, shovels might do just as well. You issue a shovel to every single person, regardless of age, and tell them to go out and clobber someone in the head, on a daily basis. (A declinist's version of the American Dream)


10:05 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

MB, I was using 'you' in the generic sense. What I meant was [i]myself[/i], since I had already been seeing that parallel that the diplomat apparently also saw. I wish you could remember where you read that.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"Today's America, with Ronald Reagan the new daddy of California and John Wayne chawing [sic] spareribs in the White House, is pretty much the same Yahooland that Mencken was describing."

--Susan Sontag, 1966

Hmm...wonder what she, or Mencken, wd say today?

10:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it (half-page-max rule). Pls compress and re-send. Thank you.


11:42 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

In recent years I've come to really appreciate the idea that any power that must be conveyed in speech is not really power at all. It really helps one to navigate the maze of American hyperbole.

If America was still a superpower, no ridiculous Nikki Haley speech would be necessary. Naked threats and demonstrations of authority only arise when a fallen power is helplessly trying to evoke the memory of an authority that was once obvious.

This may help you with your boss or in working life, btw. So much stress dissolves when you tune out after somebody starts flaunting their status. It means they have none.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

a-Q: a right-wing person in Canada would be considered a left wing Democrat in the USA. While you may be edging closer to us, we are moving further way. The US government doesn't even pretend to help its ordinary citizens. For example, even a Canadian conservative wouldn't dismantle your single payer healthcare system. In the US, left wing democrats ideal of universal care was to stuff money into the pockets of for-profit insurance companies.

I'm just surprised how different the USA is from Canada and Western Europe. It always puzzled me. The good professor provides the answer. I always thought it was Ray-gun who sent this country off on its downward spiral ('greedd is good', 'government is the problem', 'trees cause pollution'). I now know it is much deeper than that and was always thus.

Tom Wolfe's senior thesis 'A zoo full of zebras; anti-intellectualism in america' speaks of a proudly materialist nation whose greed 'novocains our self expression (beauty) and ultimately our conscience.' This is in 1951!


1:18 PM  
Anonymous Don Midwest USA said...

California faces threats from fire, drought and earthquakes, and now mega floods.


The Flood That Could Change Everything

Sub Title

California is spending billions to protect the millions at risk of a megaflood, but thanks to climate change, it’s too little too late.

The earth is the major political actor

1:41 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings from Cascadia, Wafers. Addendum news follow-up to the Amtrak derailment near Olympia, Washington: A good Samaritan on his way on the day of the crash to donate food to first responders had a gun pointed at him by 52-year old Jeffrey Dickerson when he merged into Dickerson’s freeway lane. Police arrested the gun-pointer a few minutes later:

More metrics of decline: Nationally, U.S. life expectancy declined for the second straight year:

Finally, a film recommendation: Last weekend my spouse and I watched a biographic film by Chilean-born Andrés Wood on the life of singer/folklorist Violeta Parra (1917-1967). Though the film glosses over Parra’s political activism with the Communist Party, Francisca Gavilán beautifully plays the part of Parra and captures both her singing and complex character, one displaying its own existential angst about fitting into the society of pre-Pinochet Chile.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Seeing how aggressively Trump is pushing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is making me think that the Zionists know it's over and this is a hail marry. Get one last thing before the empire completely collapses. I hope you're wrong about martial law in the next 8 years but everything seems to be lining up. What is your opinion on Mexico if nafta ends? It might cause a big depression in the short term, although good in the long term. Maybe a better alternative for Wafers is South America. It looks like the US had to force a rightwing government into those countries which must mean that in general the people are very leftwing.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I replied 2u on last post. Problem is yr sending yr messages to the wrong place.


7:22 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

He was just too COSTLY...I mean, you can’t expect his parents to keep paying for all this upkeep.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Edward Johnson said...

Dr Berman: I haven't posted in quite a while; have been going through some family problems, still surviving in downtown St Paul. The Pioneer Press keeps reminding me that I am surrounded by GOONS and BUFFOONS!! Now NPR has taken Garrison Keillor away from me!! What will this witch hunt do next?? I would still like to move to eastern Canada, but they may not let an old retired railroad duffer like me (I'm 69) into their fine country as a permanent citizen. When the USA finally breaks up, I hope Canada will annex Minnesota, but deport all of the inherited miscreants and general idiots! I love your blog and humbly consider myself an apprentice Wafer..........Edward Johnson aka Railroad Johnson.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good link; pls post it here. No pt in sending messages to old posts; no one reads them. Thanks.


Welcome back, and sorry abt yr family problems. I'm pretty sure the USA will break up; I'm just hoping the process begins in earnest b4 u and I kick the bucket. Meanwhile, when yr walking down the st. and come across an American (scary thought, I know), remember that the chances that s/he has a cow pie in his/her head instead of a brain are very high. You may remember that poster from yrs ago: "It's hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys!" Time to put it on a post-it on yr bathrm mirror, look at it every morning. Or perhaps a shorter version, a la Conrad: "The horror, the horror."


6:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Here's what awaits us:


6:38 AM  
Blogger Gunnar Burton said...

Something kinda poignant abt this to me,

Anybody remember me? Anybody?.

Nikki Haley sounds like an irate June Cleaver to me. Why doesn't everyone understand that she has been appointed the world's nagging mom?

Festivus Maximus! (except u on fire for Jesus types, we taking this pagan holiday back damn ya!)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Grandma said...

The continuing decline of higher education in the US:

Amid the discovery of a new chemical element

Season's Greetings to all Wafers and Dr. Berman! Onward and downward ...

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

My holiday gift to all Wafers. Check out Paul Street's article "We Need to Change the Structure—Not the Personnel—of Government"


12:21 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Dramatic increase in fatal workplace injuries in the United States.

Online petition demanding that Matt Damon be removed from new Ocean's 8 film has reached over 20,000 names.

It is good to know that progs have their priorities straight.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Not sure what happened with my Firefox... Sorry for breaking the 24-hour rule MB but reposting the link here for Wafers:

Merry Christmas everyone!


1:27 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Master; Milli; MB -- re: Carol Gilligan

I always found Gilligan's research 2b intuitively correct, while recognizing some of the controversy w/ the underlying empirical results, and i also thought she tended to over emphasize adolescent girls being who are in crisis, seemingly ignoring male adols=escents

The conservative feminist Christina Sommers always rang as slightly more rational to me

2:14 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

Ed- permanent residence is unlikely but my understanding is that Americans can stay in Canada visa free for 180 days. On day 179, you can travel to the Free Republic of Vermont and then go back to Canada again for 179 days - although personally I would vote for Mexico: great people, great weather, great food and high quality and inexpensive healthcare. This past October I travel to Mexico City (Condesa district_ - it really blew away my expectations. I thought it was close to a european city in terms of streetscape. Of course, my family in the midwest, couldn't believe I was going (on vacation no less!) to such a crime ridden, backward country where they don't speak english. Turkeys!

I think the amount of violence in American society is, if anything, underreported. Violence permeates our society. For example, look at the comments about a tongue in cheek book about a gay black santa claus. The death threats start about mid-way down:
Similarly, I can't find the link but I recall someone on quora asking if it was OK to think America wasn't great. the answers were mostly incredulity (how can someone possibly think this? we are the best, etc, etc); the 3rd reply was a thinly viewed death threat. What is it again about all violence being a search for identity?


2:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good profiles of BIA (Buffoons In Action)!


Check out link provided by Kanye.


We are watching a WOM (Whirlwind Of Morons)!



2:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: And let's not forget DOOC (Douchebags Out Of Control)!

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Master of Waferism said...

Cheryl - Thanks for the suggestion, I'll read Christina Sommers after I finish reading GIlli. Although I gotta say, I am enjoying GIlli very much, I asked my brother and sister the question of what to do if your husband wife is sick and needs to steal medicine and they answered exactly how Gilli said. And although I do think a lot of the difference is environmental, I don't think it will ever change so it might as well be genetic.

Now I understand why feminists are obsessed with consent though, women don't have the self-stem to be able to reject guys, they probably don't even know whether or not they want to sleep with someone. Maybe when they get older they develop it but when young it's just too easy to abuse them, IMO.

Also, Dr Berman, sorry if I offend you when I asked about Jews or mention Zionism. I don't believe in conspiracies, I think Jews are just smarter than everyone else, although over the next 100 years, my guess is that American Indians will surpass them because they are selected for their intelligence into America and they are more socially intelligent than east asians

3:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not offended. Judaism and Zionism are not the same thing, and I'm not exactly big on Zionism. There's no doubt Jews are smarter than everyone else, tho this is due to regular ingestion of pastrami (=brain food) rather than genetics. I *was* offended, however, by yr reference to the Virgin Mary as 'marry'. She's cool, Mary; I always liked her.

Hail Mary!
Mary Xmas!


3:38 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

I'd like to think that as a Wafer I should revel in my son's scholastic excellence; though he brings home trophies from each debate tournament he attends (and truly enjoys putting on a suit and tie) I'm not sure if he has what it takes to compete at a national level.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Zarathustra said...

Russia issues stern warning U.S. is fueling new bloodshed in Ukraine: the US sending heavy weaponry to a tinder of ethnic conflict; what could go wrong? At this point the question is, what geostrategic benefit does the US obtain from this? I think none whatsoever, except causing bloodshed, and the US military most likely know it.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that Trumpi is an American, and Americans are not very bright. He has done a lot this yr to make sure that the rest of the world hates us; hopefully, he'll continue on this course during 2018. Jesus, this is my favorite pres of all time (not kidding).


Quite a video! We've got some cutting-edge intellects operating there. Can this be real?


7:08 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Merry Chanukah (past), New Year, etc...

Some personal tips dealing with family/friends during holidays:

Do NOT engage or try to "convert" and/or persuade them to WAFERism, referencing Dr. Berman's bks, historical references, etc.. or asking them to thk critically. Even though they're your family/friends--they're likely dumb as sht--intellectually and/or ontologically. Being family does not exempt them from their "american-ness."

Just smile, pass the pepper, and be nice. Acting 101. Let them pass wind through their mouths, spew us "news," rant about taxes, or get riled over money /promotion talk. Do not to get into a ping-pong match with imbeciles. You won't "win," nor persuade them. Their G-d IS america (civil religion-Robert Bellah) and what they thk it represents.

Talk about sports, tv shows, fantasy movies, the Royal family, celeb gossip, whatever, Have a script in place/ready to go for this superficial banter.

Keep interactions brief, and say you got a headache, stomach ache from travel, eating, medicine-whatever and the get the fck outta there within 2-3h max. If you have to stay longer, perhaps, play w/kids--IF they don't have a screen plastered to their faces.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Clearly, gd advice. I wd also recommend a roster of talking pts, to prepare oneself for the ordeal. Meghan Markle shd be at the top of the list. At all times, keep in mind that there is a high likelihood that most of them are brain damaged. Smiling, nodding--highly recommended.


8:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Has a nation ever been more degraded?:

8:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Dan-

David Shulman, "A Hero in His Own Words," NYRB, Dec. 7.


8:55 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Recent essay by James Kunstler...

9:20 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Liar, liar pants on fire; or, another day in Trumpian diplomacy.

Pete Hoekstra, a former Congressman from Michigan, is now the Ambassador of the United States to the Netherlands. See this Dutch reporter from “Nieuwsuur” (“News Hour”) interview the ambassador. See the ambassador traffic in alternative facts.

But for America's foreign policy, in Holland anyway, this won’t matter. Former partners and allies have seen the true face of this country over the course of a year, concisely expressed 140 characters at a time. They know a bunch of liars and assholes when they see them. I sympathize with the good people in the State Department, some of whom I knew and respected, who must represent the interests of a country such as our before a justifiably skeptical world.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Earlier this week I heard "Baby It's Cold Outside" on our community radio station, which reminded me of an argument I had on a prog website with people who said that the song advocates rape.

We were discussing why the US and Canada went on divergent path, Frère Maynard. That the US is further to the right than we are is beyond dispute. Regarding Canadian conservative governments trying to eliminate universal health care (I had to look up "single payer," as we don't hear that term much around here), our provincial government occasionally floats the idea of "two-tiered" health services where everyone's covered, but if one pays special extra fees one gets to queue jump waiting lists, etc. Such ideas are generally quashed by the ensuing clamour to keep our system as it is.

My son once asked me why there's such opposition to universal health care in the USA. My answer was that gringos think it's communism. In any case, I find the term "medical bills" as foreign-sounding as "Είμαι όλα αυτά έχων ήταν, και είναι, και πρέπει να είναι? και το πέπλο μου κανείς θνητός δεν έχει μέχρι στιγμής έθεσε"

9:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




9:36 PM  
Anonymous david smith said...

how about this for stupidity?

"TSA agents charged with checking passengers’ IDs have occasionally rejected the cards featuring the new design. At times, those agents appeared unaware that “District of Columbia” was the origin of the “D.C.” abbreviation."

1:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I doubt it gets dumber than this. Gd to know the safety of the nation is in the hands of cutting-edge intellects. I remember rdg that in the yr following 9/11, the FBI sent a large # of 'decoys' thru security at various airports around the country--i.e. FBI agents with guns--and 75% managed to get thru the checkpt unnoticed.

All but Wafers and a few random declinists believe the US has a future. I wonder what it wd take, at this pt, to convince them (99+% of the population) otherwise.


4:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm so excited abt this:

Kim's buttocks--giant moons--have been eclipsed; Meghan is where we need to put our attn. now.


4:42 AM  
Blogger remo26 said...

Regarding the debate, I admit I also found this jarringly pointless and nonsensical. However, the style is referred to as a debate technique called "Spreading" in which the goal is to verbally cram as many arguments into a time-limited debate session as possible. Therefore, part of the technique relates to the physical stress (e.g., breathing, focus, train of thought). Thus, one of the aspects of the technique is to use the minimum amount of resources (time) to replenish depleting sustenance (breathing air and next queued argument). The usage of the "stuttered uhh" is meant to compress the delay or wasted time to reboot the argument stream. So, there is no prima facie evidence for the downgrading of intelligence per se that may have been assumed by the example video (which may include some racial bias), but rather lemmings following a new recipe for winning techniques. Note that they most likely won because the debate response were post-reviewed. Thus, in the tally by the judges, they had the most valid arguments. Of course, this throws the ideas of rational debate out the window - cogency of assertions, rebuttal of arguments, demeanor, and conviction. It's like a verbal videogame - speed is the key. By the way, I knew none of this until I saw the mention of spreading in the comments of the video, and then googled it. Here's another example without the racial factor

5:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Black or white, it looks demented: debate as a parody of itself. As you say, it's the opposite of rational debate, and captures what in general now passes for 'dialogue' in the US. Signs of the times, I wd think.


5:46 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

James--I don't know when the people you knew at the State Department served, but the people I knew during my 22 years there (retired in 2014), more closely resembled these turkeys who--expecting a Botoxface win in 2016--tried to force Obama into greater American atrocities in Syria:

More than 50 State Department officials sign cable urging military action against Assad.

The same turkeys at State, I might add, who tried to retaliate against their colleague Peter Van Buren and deny him his pension for having the audacity to tell the truth about America's great war crime in Iraq.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks so much for the Peres story. His conversion to peace was akin to the Alec Guinness character in Bridge Over the River Quy who at the last the last minute of his life says, "Oh God, what have I done?" He was a hawk from his earliest days being Ben Gurion's lap dog. In fact,he was never in the military as Ben Gurion had him run all over Europe securing guns. In addition, he was instrumental in Israel acquiring nuclear technology (from France), appointed Sharon Minister of Trade and Industry in 1984 after Sharon was held responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and destroyed a Lebanese village called Qana in 1996 just to improve his military bona fides before an election (which he lost to Netan yahoo(!)during which 106 people died half of them children. Toward the end of his life he was chosen president of Israel only because the president at the time was convicted of rape (he had previously lost to this man in a Knesset vote). Of course it hardly needs to be said he wholeheartedly supported the settlement program. He was, in short, a worthless piece of flotsam and is only considered a man of peace because those with whom he came into power were so much worse. Thanks again.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A courageous guy, personal friend, and a true American--in the sense of a non-American, that is (person of integrity and intelligence).


10:56 AM  
Anonymous Hellbound_Cynic said...

I have a similar term for that. Anarcho-fascist.

Anarchy for me. Fascist toward every other human

12:01 PM  

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