Blog Archive

Monday, July 27, 2015


I'm reading a particularly dense and scholarly book,”The Enlightenment and it's Effects on Modern Society”, by a Professor at the University of North Texas, one Milan Zafirovski.
As is my habit, I have made periodic searches for some confirmation of my own conception, that the “conservative” Counter-Revolution, and it's pre-cursors, is, at root, an Anti-Enlightenment Project.
After many years of such searches, the Professor's work is all I've been able to find.
So I tested the re-animated(Texas) Interlibrary Loan System and was(Mirable!) able to procure this tome.
I arrived at this hypothesis regarding the fundamental nature of “conservatism” during my research frenzy, still ongoing, into the source material of Conservatism...from Burke to Buckley to Beck.
From the rise of Religious Fundamentalism to the narrowing of our Public Discourse and the essential Dogmatism entailed in our current Economic Paradigm, I see evidence all around us of Anti-Enlightenment:
Systemic destruction of all things Public, from Education to Worker Rights to Essential the Rights of Speech and Protest, and the implementation of a Police State in the purported “Land of the Free”, and the thinly veiled Threats to Freedom of Thought strongly implied in the utterances and practices of various Right Wing politicians(“watch what you say”) to the rampant Nationalism and Militarism and Intolerance of the Different and the Dissenter.
We are shouted down by fearful and incurious rubes, both true believers and the paid kind. Let someone Critique some portion of the “conservative” it Biblical Literalism, or the assertion, with cherry picked “evidence” that we are a “christian nation”, or the related assertion that Neoliberalism/Corporate “Capitalism” is the Only Option for Economics...and the Defenders of the Faith emerge, screaming, to disrupt and derail fruitful discourse.
Our History has been increasingly Sanitised...shorn of the Progress made by all manner of courageous “malcontents” and “disturbers of the peace”...from the Progressive Movement, the Labour Movement, the the Civil Rights and Anti-War and Anti-Corporate uprisings, from the 1960's onward.
The promise of Free Information inherent in the “Information Age” has been forsaken, as Science and Humanism is derided and Scholarly endeavors are hidden behind paywalls and all are stricken from History textbooks in favor of a circumscribed and limited reading of our History and Progress, that at the same time, offers Apologia for the worst among the Anti-Enlightenment Zealots...a rehabilitated Joe McCarthy, or Jesse Helms, or Ronald Reagan.
Through Confusion and Distortion, those who would take us backwards to Feudalism and a Dark Age have...with great subtlety...delimited Thought, Narrowed the Possible...
Look around you....widespread Anti-Rationalism, Anti-Intellectualism, Palingenisis(a confused longing for a mythical Golden Age(1950's),and the corollaries, Militarism, Fundamentalism, A-Historicity...
The pressure to Conform, and to subvert the Free Expression of those deemed, “Immoral”, or “Strange” or “Dangerous”.
(which is the story of my life)
The fact that I had such a difficult time finding and acquiring a scholarly rendering of my suspicions says volumes, to me.


With Kant, I implore:”Sapere Aude!”...Let us Dare to Reason...and to Apply that Thought and Reason to the world around us.
Because there are forces arrayed, in plain sight, who would chain our minds, as well as our bodies, and force us all into the hell on earth that they long for, and think that we deserve.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Terrible Potential of Trump.

I was as surprised as anyone else, when polls showed Donald Trump as the spite of the GOP “establishment's” efforts at putting him back in his bottle.
Here is the quintessential Tea Party Great Leader...almost messianic...the One they've been waiting for.
After almost seven years of Denials and Coded Language and Euphemism, twisting themselves into knots to try to put the Tea back where it came somehow confuse everyone enough that we wouldn't see what the Tea Movement was really all about...perhaps the elevation of Trump will finally overwhelm those efforts.
“Mainstream” Republicans...which includes folks like Ted Cruz(ha!) first dismissed Trump's outrageousness as somehow anomalous...
Some still do.
Cruz and others have given in, after looking at the latest polls, and embraced the message of Trump.
Here is Berzelius (“Buzz”) Windrip, made manifest.
An ideologue par excellence.
Most folks that I know on-line who are of the Right are for just about everyone else except Trump.
Jeb Bush is the current favorite.
But in the Real World of the Texas Hill Country, it's Trump.
I've overheard his name, in a positive manner, in gas stations and feed stores and in the produce aisle.
He's mentioned with a sense of hope and vengeance in the places on-line where the Locals go, and in which I lurk.
His Message could be lifted right out of Sinclair Lewis' terrifying warning of a book, “It Can't Happen Here”.
Indeed, it is as if Trump and whomever advises him took Umberto Eco's and Paxton's taxonomy of Fascism and by their Dark Arts summoned them into corporeal form.
Now, the Gerrymandering and tainted Voting Machines and Voter Suppression may have lost their luster for the Establishment of the GOP.
Tea was created and enraged and set loose,and this Creature has not only attacked all things has also turned on it's would-be Masters.
For 6 years, those Masters have attempted to keep a hold on the reins of their Vicious Pets, with decreasing effectiveness.
The Beast managed to get itself into the Halls of Power, and into Leadership Positions, and has effectively escaped the Paddock.
A True Tea Party President is the last thing the Masters wanted...the Beast was supposed to work for them, after them maintain their increasingly tenuous hold on relevance.
At the same time, the Democrats are beginning their own Civil War...the Corpo-Dems, inheritors of the old DLC, are up against a real Socialist...with an effective Populist Message.
The similarities to Germany, 1929, are striking.
There are also parallels to the slow motion Collapse of Rome.
The latter took several Centuries to fall to pieces;the former, under 20 years.
Look to Napoleon, as well.
If you are in a Tea-colored area, pay attention.
Listen in the grocery store, watch the body language.
If you are in one of the more Liberal areas, stay there.
Liberals in the Occupied Zones will need a place to run to.
(it's a big book, but I encourage everyone to read William Shirer's 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'.
A good companion is “They Thought They Were Free...”, and Sinclair Lewis' book, mentioned above.)
For all of you Hidden Liberals in the Red Zones, keep a diary...hide it if you must...or stick it online on an anonymous blog.
Feral Journalists will be important, because I think we may be heading towards interesting and illuminating times.
“Apocalypse” does not denote the “End of the World”, outside of our ignorant popular culture: it instead means,”Pulling Aside the Veil”...Revealing the Reality of things.
I think a lot of our worst suspicions will soon be confirmed...all those things that polite civility* and Godwin's Law have prevented us from saying for so long.
(* I've encountered vanishingly few people of the Right who have practiced these niceties, but a great many who have ignored them totally, in order to make Liberals into the Proto-Fascists.)

The Great Three Legged Stool of the American Right...composed of the “Establishment”, the Libertarians and the “Christian Right”...that's been in place since the mid 1970's, has been getting more and more unstable.
Tea is a coalition of the Christian Right, and that portion of the Libertarian Wing that is on the lower end of the intelligence scale-- Hacks, in other words.
The Libertarian Lumpenproletariat, the Anti-Government, the Neo-Confederates, and the most vocal and incoherent of the Christo-Fascists are feeling Empowered right now.(How many states have their boys in power, right now?)
At least Consciously.
Unconsciously, they are secretly terrified of losing their Pride of Place in American Society.
California became Majority Hispanic just the other day...Kansas is not a Randian Paradise...nor are any of the other states where the Right has been in charge.
Greece is (hopefully) contributing dramatically to the message, already articulated by such diverse places as Iceland and Argentine and Bolivia, that Neoliberalism is not the only way....Thank heavens, because it doesn't seem to work as advertised.
Turns out that there are Alternatives(see”TINA-Margaret Thatcher”).
Gay People can get married, Obamacare still lives, and there is a growing movement of Black Folks and their Allies to finish killing Jim Crow.
Things look shaky from the American Right's perspective.
They have convinced themselves(with considerable help from the Establishment Right) that Obama is the AntiChrist, inflicting Communism upon the body of America.
Now Left Wing Christians are stepping up and challenging their Righty Brethren for their Pretend Martyrdom, attempting at long last to wrest total control of the public face of Christiandom from the most unChristlike people on the planet.
The Pope has joined the fray.
This is all perceived as a Resurgent Left...which, in a way, it is; but it is also something more: I think of it as a further Normalisation of a few more of the Ideals of the Left.
The seeds of this have been percolating away in corners since the Right's Counterrevolution began...the 60's are rippling around us again, after all these years.
These myriad phenomena, and more, are a Felt Thing on the Right...they feel it in their bones, and after all the remarkably long-lived Incoherence, it is taking shape.
Go you now and Lurk in their Fora.
Look to the Comments from ordinary folks.
And Eavesdrop!
If you're in the Red Zone, the proof is all around you.
“Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Fascism has no easy and comfortable Antonym.

Anti-Fascism will have to serve.
“Liberal” and “Progressive” long ago were corrupted.
I've tried to reclaim them, as have many others, but they no longer contain the Unifying connotations that they once did.
“Democrat”, the fault of the same Mindfuck Machine, as well as by movers and shakers within the Democratic Party who think it Prudent to continue to veer Rightward.
The word “Libertarian” also has diminished, and “Right Wing” has accreted to the front end of it.
I have had giddy thought lately that “Socialism”, or at least “Social Democrat” would have purchase...that would be sweet!...but it is hardly a done deal.
“Anti-Fascist” is what I'll be, for the time being.
Evidence that the Right, at least the Establishment and the Christians, are essentially Fascist is all around us...and ever more Visible.
The Libertarians are tying themselves in knots, rhetorically, after so many of their former exemplary Models have gone awry: they are having pains to justify more “reform”. At some point, the Business Class...the Uber-Rich....1% who run everything, will be forced to make a Choice(heretikos).
If they see outright Fascism, with a decidedly Handmaid's Tale-bent, as a thing they could live with, and even use to their advantage, that's which side they will choose.
Hyper-Militant, Xeno-Phobic, Racist, with a visceral Hatred of Muslims, Immigrants, and everybody else.
Subject to Jingoism, they will fling themselves on any enemy presented convincingly to them...the Boil is on the verge of popping.
All it will take is a Singular Event, of sufficient size and emotional content, to prick that membrane.

Models and Maps

and what went wrong with economics

The problem I have with “fiscal conservatives” is different in some ways than the problems I have with the more Libertarian variety...but there are many more similarities.
The fundamental similarity, of course, is Certainty.
Both tend to enter into a discussion already completely convinced that their Belief is the only correct belief, and thus, fail to consider any flaws or inconsistencies that may be pointed out.
The Fiscal Cons tend to be less prone to Market Worship, but this is only a matter of degree.
Both have the unfortunate inability to admit that they were ever wrong, regarding their predictions and the reasoning behind them. Their Assumptions are, as a sort of unspoken Rule, never Examined.
As the Reagan Revolution, the Great Experiment in Supply Side, Monetarist, Deregulatory* and, ultimately, Corporatist Economic Policy ,has rolled on,there have been many opportunities to compare the Predictions and Expectations, with actual real world Results.
Reason...and the Scientific Method...demands such, often uncomfortable, scrutiny...
But, beginning with Reagan, this necessary Scrutiny of Results began to be seen as Heretical....”Mainstream”(that is, Chicago School/Neoliberal) Economics moved into the realm of Religion, rather than Science—without openly acknowledging the shift.
It became Taboo to suggest that the move had happened...and this, concurrently with the Mindfuck I'm always referring to, caused the transition to what we have today: Surreality, rather than Objective Reality.
Empiricism in Economics was abandoned without fanfare, and Belief became paramount.
The phrase “Free Market” became the new Faith...the new Religion.
In the meantime, the US and Global Economies stuttered and lurched and utterly changed.
Domestic Economic Policy became disconnected from what was actually happening, out in the world.
Economists scrutinised their Maps of the Economic World, and believed real hard in the applicability of those Maps, in spite of the apparent dysfunctions inherent in Globalisation....including Labor Arbitrage, and the movement of Corporations into a Supranational Cosmopolitanism.
The World had changed, but the Maps had not.
Rather than admitting to the Changes to the terrain...which would require acknowledging that they had not foreseen many of the dysfunctions...and that they had utterly and willfully Ignored many others...”Mainstream” Economists insisted that their opponents were delusional---just “Big Government Liberals”, and “Losers, bitter over their inability to compete”--in other words, folks who should be ignored....and who already had received their Just Desserts.
From the failure of Bretton Woods, due to Oil Shocks, the overwhelming success of the Marshall Plan, and the perceptions of many folks in the wider world that they were being forced to play a subservient second fiddle to US Corporate well as the Nixon Shock, and the resulting Stagflation...all the way to the Reagan-Thatcher Hegemony(TINA)...Economic Models consistently Diverged from Objective Reality.
A Dogmatic Orthodoxy prevented adaptation to new circumstances, largely due to the reluctance to leave the Necessary and Corollary changes in Power Structure and Distribution to chance: the Owners/Aristocracy liked the Power right where it much for the “Free Market”.
As with all Hegemonies, throughout History, Power corrupts inasmuch as it attempts to Arrest Change...for the maintenance of it's own narrow interests.(Popper)
Under the Battle Cry of Fiscal Responsibility, from Reagan onward, we entered a period of almost total Irresponsibility.
Privatisation...removing as much of the Commons from the Public Sphere as possible, and “Deregulation”...which amounted to Deregulating the Very Large, and effectively undoing the New Deal constraints on the Fire Economy, both contributed to repeated instances of Market Failures and the Grandest of Larcenies...all lain at the feet of the Remnant Liberalism, by this time relegated to ineffectiveness and compromise—weeping in the corner.
At each instance of Failure and/or Larceny, the Big Banks performed Thaumaturgy on ever greater scales...coaxing “Growth” from an already moribund and exhausted world system:
CDO's, Derivatives, Swaps of worthless paper backed by increasingly esoteric Acts of Faith—convoluted trading schema involving faster than light trades of fractions of a cent...increasingly internationally interlocked systems of Banking and Insurance and Reinsurance and deals and collusions....all designed, as near as I can tell, to Hide from Public Scrutiny the Machinations of Wealth, and the monstrous instability and dysfunction...let alone the criminality...of Modern “Capitalism”(which is really something else, entirely).
All through this period, the Mindfuck machinery was working overtime...the Great Wurlitzer of Confusion and Fear and Hatred ground on, obfuscating and distracting the them all manner of Red Herrings to chase and fight over....imposing Just World-ism, so that the Fish blamed themselves, rather than those who had poisoned the water...and always presenting those who opposed the System as Evil, of one sort or another:
Libtards...Commies...Soshulists...Lazy Poor..Lazy and Murderous Black People...Drug Addled Teat Suckers, and...once the Evil Empire crumbled to dust so unexpectedly....Terrists!
...Under every bed, shoving aside the corpses of the Commies who once resided there among the dust bunnies and night sweats.
But then!...
Some minor functionary at Bear Stearns left a door ajar, and the Blazing Light of Reality flooded in...and the whole edifice of Nonsense fell apart.
This coincided with the deepest penumbra of the Bush Darkness, when the Lumpenbillies and “fiscal conservatives” and their fellows in the Rabid Choir of Right Wing Pseudo-Xianity, had everything they had ever dreamed of in a government, and began to realise that things were not at all Utopian...that, indeed, it was all built on Hot Air and empty promises.
Enter Tea...and then the soon stamped down Occupy...and the Confusion grew exponentially...right in time for the entrance of a Black Constitutional Law Professor, with mad rhetorical skills.
Obama continued the nascent Bush “fixes”...bailouts of the Very Large Banks whose gambling habits and hubris had all but invited the Goddess Nemesis into the halls of worldly Power....and a paltry and weak not-really-a-bailout of Mainstreet, who were the real victims in all of these shenanigans.
Soon, the Casinos were at full tilt, again...Trillions of Dollars in Secret Bailouts, on top of the already ridiculously generous Bailouts in Public, fueled more and more excessive risk taking(with other people's money, of course)...and now, today, we are at the cusp of yet another episode in Dysfunction and an even Grander Larceny.
Meanwhile, across the Pond, Europe is experiencing the entirely predictable fallout of implementing the very same Neoliberal, Casino-Style Economics...first, Iceland, whose People had the foresight and the Stones to actually jail the Banksters, and flip the bird to the International Money Cartel.
Now, it's Greece...soon, Italy, Spain, and many of the Eastern European Periphery...Trickle Down has failed again, and the attempts to shore up the rickety pile of sticks by “Austerity”(that is, on the backs of the Poor and Middle Class, so that the Very Rich can continue their Parasitic Largesse), have only served to further depress economic activity, while filling the streets and neighborhoods with Righteous Anger.
We are reaching the bleeding edge of a Crisis unlike any since so many ways, with the very real potential to be much, much worse than that Benchmark of Stupidity and Hubris.
With Climate Change and all the disruptions that go with it, and the looming Resource Shortages...both Realities bad enough to finally slip out from under the Rug of Mindfuckian denial...we're all in for a rough ride.
China, too, is having difficulties...after 35+ years of being in possession of America's Manufacturing Sector, the Workers there are ever more demanding of the Baywatch and “Friends!” Lifestyle they see on TV. Their lack of environmental controls are making the air a cancerous soup...and Revolution is in the very air.
Right Wing Populism, in Europe and especially in America, threatens to undo the Enlightenment Project, once and for is still unknown if the would be Masters will pick that ravening beast to ride.
At the same time, a Resurgent Left...both in Europe, where it's not all that unusual...and in the USA, where the Left was thought to have been utterly making waves.
Bernie Sanders, the Greek Syriza and even the Pope! Are attempting to rehabilitate Socialism, sans the Totalitarian much the same way that Scandinavia did, after World War 2(the Nordic Model is in a lesser degree of trouble, only due to the recent machinations of their own would be Neoliberal Masters, but their Public is much more leery of such fantasizing).
The Death Star of Derivatives and Debt that can never be paid...amounting to some orders of magnitude above the level of actual, tangible wealth in the entire de-orbiting ominously.
This is where the Masters of the Universe parked all the dysfunctional ridiculousness whereby they propped up their Casino. When it crashes, at last, Reality will intrude...and the Neoliberal Casino System will collapse.
There's nowhere left to Hide their Incoherence and Paper Fixes.
I expect this in the near term...which we have all said before,lol...
But it looks very real, now.
Collect what Materials you reckon you will need, now....and prepare for the inevitable Lashing Out of our Right Wing brethren.
They will blame all things Liberal, and...if the Masters choose that Beast...there is a very real chance of a new Dark Age, and a reanimated Feudalism, mixed with an even more opaque and hard to delineate Fascism.
If the Left, and therefore the People, manage to take back control...and do not succumb to the Neoliberal-Lite of Hillary and her European analogs...there may still be some small chance of a managed decline to a lower level of Human Activity.
The Laws of Carbon and a Finite Planet demand this, and we'll have to very quickly figure out how to live with, at best, Steady State...but more likely, Decline.
Humans have never attempted either on such a grand scale; only in small, reluctant and regional crises. Our very DNA compels us to Expand.
Since this no longer obtains on our little world, Humans have three choices: to go out into the stars, at great enter the harsh reality of Limits...or some combination of both.
The fourth, unspoken choice...and still the most likely(especially given a new Dark Age) Extinction, and a Hell on Earth that will please no one but the most hard-core Fundamentalists of the Abrahamic Faiths.

I find that I am ever so weary of attempting to “debate” with the Lumpenbillies, so I have abandoned my various “debate” groups.
Life is too short for such Troll Wrangling, save in the interest of science.