More on my fiction writing

« The art of American Eden | Main | When Scottsdale was real »

January 04, 2022

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I share Rogue's pessimism about the future and what appears to be the fairly eminent collapse of much of what passes for an inhabitable planet. The climate problem cannot be solved with amorphous "action plans" by well-intentioned liberals. We would bollix the whole thing up with demands for "racial equity" and "inclusion". Indeed, that is what AOC has pretty much put forward. Probably the best effort we can make is throw as much money as possible at R&D and even geoengineering. We don't have much time here so the guilt-tripping from purists may cripple this agenda. OTOH, preening one's moral superiority never goes out of style among our woke narcissists.

I'm fascinated by the denial among leading Democrats and their elite media figures when it comes to our electoral prospects. In their reading, it's all because of right-wing propaganda and some bad luck. The problem here is that the party's capitulation to identity politics has sent a message to the white working class that they're no longer welcome in the party. The heavily feminized party now takes its cues from upper-middle class academics who avidly telegraph their nobility and wisdom at every opportunity. That they are also elitists and authoritarians makes them popular among NPR listeners and homeless advocates. But among the salt of the earth, not nearly enough to create a majority.

A few hopeful signs appear now and then. Willy Brown and London Breed have actually taken on the woke cabal in San Francisco. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/us/willie-brown-san-francisco.html?searchResultPosition=1 Instead of the chronic minimization we find in places like Portland, they tell the truth in declarative sentences that leave no doubt that the understand the catastrophe afflicting west-coast cities. Now, if we could only get the national Democrats to side with its voters instead of the zombies and their protectors in the Homeless Industrial Complex.


Isn’t there a job Scott Smith of Mesa and lately Valley Metro finds worth running for? Although a Republican, while he was mayor of Mesa he was quoted as believing no valley suburb could rise higher than or without Phoenix. It struck me that for once, a suburban mayor understood the necessity and utility of working with the central city than against it. He’s the opposite of Lake and her ilk, substantive and reasonable.

I am not pessimistic about the future. I am not optimistic about the future.

There is no future.

Let me preface: I am NOT a nihilist. A nihilist effectively declares a certainty of non-existence of non-meaning. Nihilists are, paradoxically, positive of a negative state of being.

Politically, I found myself aligning with Democrats, and more often times than not my choices have left me with disappointment. Not regret, though. Demographically, I would be perceived as someone who should vote GOP or "independent" and pretend that I am open-minded and persuadable by both parties.

Yet my lived experience of GOP rule has been defined by Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the capture of Protestant Christianity by the religious parallel to movement conservatism, the transformation of the Supreme Court into the equivalent of Iran's Guardian Council. Then there is Trump, who manages to embody the worst qualities of celebrity, politics, capitalism and all of humanity just so thoroughly. And his anti-qualities are radioactive, tainting friend and foe equally and for generations long after he slinks off this mortal coil.

Needless to say, I feel that voting for GOP makes me an accessory to the crime.

Yet my lived experience of the Democrats is that no matter how popular the policy, no matter the personal character or the political adeptness of the candidates, they let themselves be ridiculed, take punches, and never punch back.

I've seen it all too many times. And I'm throwing in the towel. I have come to a sad realization.

Our politics are not the problem. Our politicians are not the problem. Our elites are not the problem. They are "a" problem. They are not "the" problem. The problem, all along, has always been and always will be, We the People.

Me. Trump. Mitch McConnell. Joe Biden. George W. Bush. Barack Obama. Joe Manchin. Kimberle Williams Crenshaw. Your parents. Your children. Your racist uncle. Your woke nice with the inscrutable pronouns.

You too, Soleri. Your decompensating cavils against easy leftwing targets, who aren't here to clap back but that's kinda the point right, may get you the role of D-Fens in a dinner theater revival of "Falling Down." As commentary, it's uninsightful and you are just as much of the problems in your precious Portland as the people who give you the sads.

And did I mention me? Yes? It bears repeating because I'm that a-hole.

I'm here to bear all of us bad news. There is no future.

I mean, time's arrow will still lurch forward and the physical laws and properties of the universe will remain in place as we understood them.

There is no future because every crisis before us today is an accumulation of every person in existence and the sum total of every one of their bad ideas and actions all leading up to a reckoning with the inevitable.

We've all underestimated our culpability.

Not only that, but we also overestimate our capability to solve our problems. This viewpoint is un-American, but how many Americans are humble enough to acknowledge that all of our successes and glories had almost nothing to do with human agency?

Our economic and geopolitical advantage was all fortuitous, well beyond the decision-making capacity of individuals or groups. We caught about 200 years of lucky breaks. And our luck has run out. It's beyond our control, and we can't escape our thought patterns.

I was a teenager during World War II. The slogan was "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." Is that same slogan happening now? We survived World War II. All I can do is hope - that all of us guilty of this problem -- will find a way to survive the obvious obstacles in front of us. Mariam

Jon, I can’t disagree with this column as its pretty much what I have thought since about 1980 for sure maybe even since 1958. But I was born a pessimist. A Paradox?
For Dugnutts, Yes, everything is simple. It's people who complicate things.
Albert Camus

Sorry Jon to hear about your Methodist Church. As a kid in the Midwest one could count on the Methodists to place a church on a cross roads. A good place to stop for a picnic or an outhouse. Sounds like your past pleasures in the church have been honed down considerably. One has to wonder if God is still in the room.
I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is.
Albert Camus

I think humans lost it about 14000 years ago when they decided to settle down from Hunter/Gathers to sitting in their own shit called villages.
Humans build their societies around consumption of fossil water long buried in the earth, and these societies, being based on temporary resources, face the problem of being temporary themselves.
Charles Bowden

Humans will eventually become extinct. People treat that as a radical thing to say. But the fossil record shows us that everything eventually becomes extinct.
Elizabeth Kolbert

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/45840.Elizabeth_Kolbert

Here’s to the year of the “Handy Man.”
https://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-habilis

a correction
the quote was for Jon
"I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is."
Albert Camus


Sorry Jon to hear about your Methodist Church. As a kid in the Midwest one could count on the Methodists to place a church on a cross roads. A good place to stop for a picnic or an outhouse. Sounds like your past pleasures in the church have been honed down considerably. One has to wonder if God is still in the room?

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

-- W.B. Yeats, in The Second Coming

and

Stephen Marche on the next Civil War:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/04/next-us-civil-war-already-here-we-refuse-to-see-it

Except I don't think it is going to be a Civil War so much as an American Holocaust, since the Far Right has most of the guns, is itching to use them, and owns the police and the military, with anyone not on the Trump voter list as a potential victim. I do not want to end up, old man that I now am, shivering against some Phoenix cement-block wall, bracing for the shots about to come from a Christian militia for the sin of free thinking.

Late at night after reading too much news, this is where my imagination now takes me. At a time when my imagination should be working on solutions instead of fear.

I cannot remember who wrote this, but I read this around another staring-into-the-abyss moment in politics for me. It was in 2004 amid the High Dubya period.

I was among the 40%-45% of Americans who would be on the right side of history but on the wrong side of the zeitgeist. I "hated the troops" because I hated the War on Terror. The zeitgeist made the choice for me. I "hated America" because I didn't get in on the sports stadium jingoism that the zeitgeist has defined American patriotism. I didn't contribute to the war effort by purchasing a McMansion I couldn't afford and driving a Hummer that consumes so much petroleum we need to ... plunder the Middle East just to keep it all gassed up.

But I digress.

The point that brought me here was the author's argument of a common feature of rightwing societies. In them, politics tends to devolve into secular theology. Every society, democratic or authoritarian, has debate or dispute. However, rightwing politics confines debate and dispute solely to purity and doctrine. There's no evaluation of first principles (i.e., "X" cannot fail, "X" can only be failed). The rhetorical style is very backward-looking, heavy on nostalgia and tradition. The performance of politics is preoccupied with ritual and solemn reverence to totems (flags, anthems, parades in tribute to the military, leaders or dead heroes).

Contra Andrew Breitbart's doctrine, rightwing culture flows downstream from politics. Society takes its cues from its power elites and realizes creativity and critical thinking are wicked, deviant character flaws that only degenerate society. So instead, society is prone to let their imaginations fail them by thinking through problems religiously and superstitiously.

The emergent thought pattern is a divine cause leading to a practical consequence. So behaviors are repeated for a desired consequence (e.g. a bountiful crop) or atoned for to avoid a calamitous one (e.g. drought).

You see where this goes with each iteration. Society thinks through and fails the same problems ad infinitum, sees new ideas as an invasive threat, resists the ideas, and repeat this cycle until a member of the elite comes into contact with another society that came up with a practical solution to a practical problem.

Technology doesn't make the problem go away, though. Instead, society sees the earthly problem as not of divine favor but one of divine virtue manifested in the mortal elite. The practical problem is now society becoming dependent upon elites who dominate the monopoly on thought.

@Joe Schallan, I sense the same threat of you only I don't think you will see a repeat of Germany 1933-45. (Two problems: whites don't hold overwhelming demographic advantages over nonwhites, because magas can't count on 100% of whites to their side; and guns are freely and easily available, so all belligerents will theoretically have a sporting chance).

There are more contemporary civilizational collapses that are more analagous to the social dynamics of the U.S.

Military experts say a U.S. unraveling is going to look like Yugoslavia or Iraq. When the state disappears, the next-highest social order will fill the vacuum. In Yugoslavia, it was ethnicity and religion. In Iraq, it was tribe and sect. In the U.S., it's race. (This is already how wars are waged in the U.S. penal system. It will just jump the fence.)

So in the U.S. you will see at least 5 belligerent parties, much more complex than the two because alliances can form and unravel rapidly.

As the wealthiest nation, the U.S. will also have the problem of our civil war not staying civil for long. The U.S. will be the battlefield for World War III. We have so many valuable resources and strategic assets that a civil war will be a geopolitical gold rush.

Latino and Asian diaspora communities in the U.S. will want to send an SOS to their motherlands. You could see Mexico want to reannex the Southwest. China will want to annex the port cities on the Pacific, as would India and myriad other Asian nations.

Putin has two flanks to enter the U.S. Russia will annex Alaska and western Canada. Support for Trump correlates to support for Putin, so he'll have allies by entering through the south. and head up the Atlantic and along the Mississippi.

Cuba might try to make a grab for south Florida.

Then we have the matter of non-state violent actors, like various Islamic terror groups and the Latin American drug cartels. There is also a very large contingent of mercenary fighters and adventurers.

Expect the war to last about 20 years. A whole generation.

RC,you may as well say “bah,Humbug.”Your church and phoenician’s will get what they want or maybe even deserve.

Dugnutts, Maybe. Cool rundown!
More likely, nuclear insanity rules the day and the survivors are goat herders living in Afghanistan caves!
An opportunity to create a new religion.

we're not Methodists but we have family links to Central United and I've followed what's been happening there with sadness.

I find it hard to argue with anything you say but don't let it get you down. That's what I keep telling myself.

El Kabong and Rogue, the same happened long ago to the mass and rites of the Roman Catholic Church. Centuries-old traditions, rituals, and music were tossed aside in favor of guitar masses and a dreary "modern" hymnal.

It was no accident that the great classical composers often chose the mass as a setting for music, e.g., Mozart's Great Mass in C minor (the Kyrie being especially astonishing), Bach's Mass in B minor, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (another astonishing Kyrie), and Mozart's and Verdi's Requiem masses. The mass was not just a service but a story with a coherent dramatic arc.

Though I am a nonbeliever of long standing, I still get chills from the sacred (Latin) music of my pre-Vatican Council childhood. I sang bass in the parish choir, and I and the other boys whose voices had changed were in the back, rumbling "et in terra pax hominibus" in the Gloria under the higher-lying line sung by the girls. It was a terrific effect.

@Bobson -- I've read, and continue reading, German history, and the parallels between Germany 1932 and U.S.A. 2022 are really quite astonishing. Heck, last January we had our own version of the Reichstag fire -- those people waving Trump banners actually a false-flag antifa attack, dontcha know.

I'll just say, without pejoration, that you've spun quite the variety of scenarios there. Combined Trumpist and Russian military forces advancing on Cape Girardeau? ... hmmmm. Maybe you've seen Red Dawn too many times?

@Joe Schallan, we can agree that there are parallels with Weimar Germany. I must caution that because we can read about the downfall of Weimar Germany, it does not mean America's crisis will follow the same exact pattern. We tend to look for false patterns while missing emerging warning signs relevant to here and now.

Let me temper the fall of Weimar with some contrasts to conditions today:

1. Germany was an economic catastrophe because of hyperinflation to pay off World War I debts. Germany's economic capacity was obliterated between the war period.

In 2021, we'd come off the COVID-19 lockdowns and we're dealing with an economic crisis that much of the world would envy. We're experiencing high inflation because low-wage workers are getting wage boosts, something they hadn't seen in decades. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have unprecedented ship congestion because American shoppers are pretty much clearing out the manufacturing capacity of East Asian nations. Our own Jon Talton has been a trouper providing stellar coverage of the shipping crisis for the Seattle Times.

This is also a manifold crisis, because there are all sorts of snags throughout the logistics chain: a shortage of truck chassis, an exodus of truck drivers with a dry pipeline of young truckers, and an inability of freight railroads to rapidly redeploy to coastal ports. Our trading partners in East Asia have the same issues on their end, as well as stricter COVID-19 lockdowns that can push back lead times by weeks or months.

Plus, we're in the rare situation where there are more jobs than people -- even high-paying, stable public- and private-sector jobs are going begging for candidates.

2. Demographics. The Nazi war machine was lethal as it was because German Christians were so large and homogeneous that they could overwhelm the minorities they massacred.

According to the Census, as of 2021, 60% of Americans are non-Hispanic white. (Note: Census doesn't count Latinos as a distinct race but as an ethnic category under White, Black, Asian or Indigenous).

Trump's salient appeal is rooted in white grievance. This should form the bedrock of his belligerents.

I then coupled this with Pew's recap of the 2020 voter breakdowns. (Spoiler alert: If US would enter a full-blown civil war, it would be the Trump of civil wars.)

Among white men, and women assuming they share the enthusiasm in taking up arms for Trump as the menfolk, the vote split is 3:2 GOP:Democrat. Scary, but in war the younger your belligerents the better.

Battle-age belligerents (Gen Z and millennial) tip the scales in favor of Biden voters. My age cohort, Gen X, gives a slight edge to Biden as well.

Trump is going to have to count on his AARP brigade to carry out his mission.

I actually think belligerent strength might follow the dynamics of the 1860s civil war: starting out evenly then breaking in favor of the Union. Remember, that first civil war was a race war, too. When Whites and Blacks worked together to end slavery, they won.

And you know how a U.S. civil war will attract the world's attention? In 2020, after George Floyd's murder, did you remember the massive Black Lives Matter rallies? Not the American ones. Every major Canadian and European city held one. There were vigils in Tokyo and Seoul. Mexico City had one. Brazil, with many claiming Black heritage, had several and also became an anti-Bolsonaro force.

As far as an international presence, state military intervention would likely not take up arms for the Trumpian cause.

3. State capacity. Hitler had the full loyalty of military and law enforcement, but his biggest allies were fascist affinity movements in neighboring European countries, who were all too eager to feed their small Jewish and minority populations to the Nazi death machine.

The civil bureaucracy, on the other hand, was initially less enthusiastic. A few years ago, a historian wrote a book (I forget the title) saying that the Nazi bureaucracy had sabotaged or slow-walked the initial phases of the expulsion of Jews from German society. In some cases, they forged papers to conceal their Jewish identity or gave Jews passports to flee Germany. As the decade went on, obviously the efforts stopped and we know the tragedy that would unfold.

In the U.S.? The federal government employs nearly 3 million people. They hate, Hate, HATE Trump with a fire and fury like we've never seen.

Trump has managed to alienate the stodgy, conservative federal law enforcement agencies, particularly the FBI. The intelligence agencies have had a strained relationship with the GOP since the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.

Trump, like most GOP, enjoys military support. However, the armed forces as an institution, had to face the specter that Trump would order them to turn their guns on U.S. citizens. They didn't. And they won't. As we learned from Gen. Mark Milley, Trump tried.

Trump is not a supreme leader. He has no command or control over sheriff's departments or police departments. He may have significant support among personnel, but they won't subvert the chain of command to obey him. Also, American law enforcement officers are trending in the direction of less violent interactions with civilians, not more. The high-profile killings of Black civilians has put a greater urgency for these resources.

The antipathy of the state to Trump will greatly diminish the chance of the magas' ability to wage a sustained war campaign.

As things stand today, the war-fighting capacity of the far right is low-intensity, quick-strike attacks like mass shootings, improvised explosive device bombs, or melees like the Charlottesville rally. This alone is horrible enough.

On the other hand, a sustained siege of more than a day or two does require a large, secure support network. If we're talking urban warfare like the sieges of Sarajevo or Fallujah, or a total war campaign like Sherman's March to the Sea, Trump will need weeks of supplies and probably every single one of his supporters to capture a city the size and population of Little Rock (comparable to Sarajevo and Fallujah).

Bob and Joe
Interesting statistics and historical facts and theory's.

The next "war" will be the 2022 elections.
That will give a look at what 2024 will be.
Will the criminally insane Donald Trump run in 2024?
Will Whiteness and god be the GOP platform?
Will the GOP grassroots takeover, continue?

Democrats need a strong presidential contender.
Bernie Sanders still relevant?
Biden functional?
Will the democrats get the Hispanics?

Will the planet become "City States"
ruled by Barons?
or is that already the case?
I have heard that there are only 5000 people on the planet.
They are called Bankers.
Everyone and Everything else
is a commodity.

@Bobson -- Point well taken, that is, that despite eyebrow-raising parallels among social and political phenomena in 1932 Germany and 2022 America, there are many dissimilarities. Weimar Germany and early 21st-century America took very different paths to arrive at the crisis point.

Still... it's hard to shake the pictures of armed thugs in the gallery of the Michigan capitol, of a Nazi-style torchlight parade in Charlottesville, of street violence between left and right in Portland.

I applaud your reminder that things are nuanced, and the circumstance unique to America.

@Bobson — that last should read “…and that circumstances are unique to America.”

You’ll want to read the New Yorker item called out by Rogue.

@Joe Schallan, I did read it earlier today.

And to all Rogue Columnist readers, I wish you a Happy Eugene Goodman Day!

On this Eugene Goodman Day, let us also take a moment to denigrate the men and women yearning to transform America into a kakistarchy.

In Foreign Policy, Robert A. Pape has the demographic and psychological profile of who the insurrectionists are.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/06/trump-capitol-insurrection-january-6-insurrectionists-great-replacement-white-nationalism/?fbclid=IwAR1LoTb9ehe4AFW5igI0TlU6tLJIWj_DKc0_PW8OGtiQzPgDvB5j_3XFUsQ

Sure enough, the modal insurrectionist is your status-anxious asshole boss.

Bobson, I am astonished, flabbergasted, blown away by the demographics you attached.

Let me just say this: if the criminals had been the 50 to 100 employees of the "bosses" who showed up, I would be very, very worried about the future threat of that group of individuals.

Bottom line, while these criminals were doing their thing at the Capitol, their workers were diligently at work doing their jobs.

To use your description, these status-anxious asshole jerk bosses don't scare me in the least. If they were to try something like this again, the National Guard would put them down quickly and hopefully permanently. (if you get my meaning.)

The Jan. 6 Insurrectionists Aren’t Who You Think They Are
The people who stormed the U.S. Capitol weren’t poor, unemployed red-staters. Many were middle-class professionals motivated by the “great replacement” conspiracy theory.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/06/trump-capitol-insurrection-january-6-insurrectionists-great-replacement-white-nationalism/

Jan 6: The Truth About the Traitors
https://gregolear.substack.com/p/jan-6-the-truth-about-the-traitors/comments?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo2MDI2OTIsInBvc3RfaWQiOjQ2Njg5MzM2LCJfIjoiM3g0OTUiLCJpYXQiOjE2NDE1ODEwODIsImV4cCI6MTY0MTU4NDY4MiwiaXNzIjoicHViLTIwNjk1Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.qGvG76bwarwy-A43fomN7vSO-oCyczS-mcbjA9XnMPc&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

No reflection on canine but the adrenaline and testosterone murderously intent boys and girls attacking the capitol were visually worse than "dogs in Heat." Is it possible to prosecute a criminally insane ex president?

OOPS
https://gregolear.substack.com/p/jan-6-the-truth-about-the-traitors?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo2MDI2OTIsInBvc3RfaWQiOjQ2Njg5MzM2LCJfIjoiM3g0OTUiLCJpYXQiOjE2NDE1ODE0MzIsImV4cCI6MTY0MTU4NTAzMiwiaXNzIjoicHViLTIwNjk1Iiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.4Cfpcb1l3oRPYN78lvc4DGcUbH1ojyOxPMloUrKDYzI

Criminally insane?

"After losing the election, it became pretty clear that Donald Trump had gone off the deep end. His own cabinet contemplated removing him from office by invoking the 25th amendment, and social media companies banned his accounts for fear of further incitement of violence. All of this happened merely a year ago. It has been clear for many from the start that Trump was an unhinged buffoon, who was willing to destroy longstanding American principles and even institutions, if it meant having and maintaining power. "
https://medium.com/politically-speaking/yes-trump-is-actually-more-insane-than-even-his-fiercest-critics-feared-637c1c7d74e9

@Ruben, the magas are consistently on message falsely equating the riots in the wake of the George Floyd murder with the insurrection.

There's no equivalence. The similarities end with rage and destruction of property.

Except the police-killing rioters don't get off scot free. In a riot situation, it's counterintuitive but its actually sound police strategy to not intervene to stop the arson and looting. Why?

When a crowd gets that large and angry, no amount of personnel, weapons and tactics can stop them. In fact, a confrontation will make the mob more violent, more numerous, and will make them disperse for an even more uncontrollable situation.

The riot eventually runs out of energy. It is once things settle down that the police get to work. They'll work with affected businesses and property owners, insurance companies and witnesses to track down and arrest participants. And they do, because they work within the statutes of limitations for the crimes so they have months and years to arrest rioters. The rioters never seem to realize this.

And the sentences for theft and arson are harsh. They'll spend years in prison for breaking glass and stealing what they normally couldn't afford with cash.

They'll get out and find their criminal record will freeze them out of 80% of the labor market and their socioeconomic status will only grow more precarious.

The insurrection, on the other hand, you had ostensibly high-status simultaneously LARPing and going there with an intent to capture and kill lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence. And this is an incident in which police actually died, ostensibly as the result of the actions of their allies. (Note a minority of the insurrectionists were active duty or veteran military and law enforcement).

The sentences they are getting are comparatively mild. Many who've pleaded guilty are just getting sentences of less than a year. The danger here is that they will go back to their communities, rebuild their lives ... and create a false consciousness narrative that flips the framing of insurrectionists as victims and patriots. This is already embedded in America. Southern Whites perfected this with Lost Cause mythology, and operationalized this in the form of the Religious Right.

Where do we go from here?

That comes in another comment.

I can’t say this any better, so I’d just like to repeat part of one paragraph that jumped out from an introductory essay in the latest Atlantic:

“A cycle of mutual antagonism normalizes illiberal thinking on all sides. The illiberalism of progressives—still no match for that of the antidemocratic right—consists of an ideology of identity that tolerates little dissent. As a political strategy, it has proved self-destructive. Ignoring ordinary citizens’ reasonable anxieties about crime, immigration, and education—or worse, dismissing them as racist—only encourages the real racists on the right, fails to turn out the left, and infuriates the middle. The ultimate winner will be Trump.”

All that’s been fairly obvious to many rational folks for quite some time. And yet...

Willie Brown: "San Francisco is plagued with idealism." Mic drop, substitute Portland, Seattle, Democrats, etc. for SF and you have the succinct nutshell version...

Continued from above.

You hear a lot of self-help rhetoric coming from millennials and Gen Z, and the w-word does overlap with this group. Here's a concept that is extremely useful, however, for us not on the side of the insurrectionists.

We as a civilization must set healthy boundaries for ourselves. And boundaries mean excluding our abusers. If a nation is a household scaled up to culture, think of politics as dysfunctional family dynamics. The Democrats are the women and children who bear the brunt of the violence, incest (no, really) and emotional scarring from the testosterone-fueled impetuousness of daddy. And daddy is violent, rapacious and imperious because he must be.

All other daddies think this way outside of the house. Daddies must think this way because the world is dangerous and any lapse in vigilance means danger wins. Daddies also know that they are in competition among other daddies for mates and materials. Daddies also know that there are daddies, not related by blood, but above them in the workplace, in the government, and in the house of worship who are judging them. These are even higher-status daddies who need to be pleased in order to be accepted should the day come when the older daddies die and they need to assume their places within this hierarchy.

The astonishing thing is this daddy metaphor describes the history of how all human civilizations everywhere have evolved and advanced.

What's even more astonishing? We have the means before us to say this daddy arrangement is harmful bullshit.

We have sciences to give us a vocabulary of the earthly world. We have the scientific field of biology, which is the great bridge. On one side, we have the physical sciences, which give us fundamental understanding of the existence of matter and forms (chemistry) and nonmaterial quantities that are invisible but exist (physics). We also have an ability to count and measure these properties (mathematics) These tend to be essential, unchangeable except for our understanding of them (scientific method).

Biology is the great synthesis of the physical and dynamic. Biology teaches us that the essential physical properties are arranged in physical forms, they can self-repair, they can self-replicate, and they possess entropy (i.e., death).

Biology introduces us that essential complex physical forms are dynamic and can change both rapidly and gradually.

Cross that bridge and you get over to the dynamic sciences. It is in this kingdom where Homo sapiens reigns supreme. All other modes of knowledge on the opposite end of the biological bridge require the interpretation of Homo sapiens, and these modes of knowledge were authored and refined by Homo sapiens.

The one mode of dynamic knowledge most relevant to the issue of us as a society today is psychology.

The insurrection can be explained psychologically, and we have the evidence to back it up.

The people who stormed the Capitol are the beneficiaries of the male-dominated, Hobbesian, Darwinian, Calvinist interpretation of reality expressed ideologically as conservatism/fascism/monarchism and politically as Republicans. Trump and Trumpism is the connective tissue that gives conservatives, fascists and monarchists a sense of group solidarity and silences the cognitive dissonance of the sharp differences among them that will re-emerge and explode when Trump dies or if he's cut off from his base (e.g., imprisonment).

At the same time, the beneficiaries of this social arrangement have internalized these values to the point where they are incapable of imagining a different way of life or adapting to one when it emerges. The beneficiaries of order are captive to this order.

If you aren't a beneficiary of this order, you must subordinate yourself to it and begrudgingly express gratitude to your tormentors, or suffer their wrath.

Yet whenever alternatives are explored and tried, people tend to feel better about themselves. When people feel better about themselves, they do better. When people do better, they possess an empathy that they share with others by paying it forward (extending the same experiences to others who come after us) and paying it backward (never again should anyone have to suffer what we endured).

Does this sound overly dreamy, aspirational, idealistic? This thinking is also the foundation of modern therapeutic psychology. It's all but settled fact of what the problems and solutions are.

Tradition-bound, hierarchical societies replicate the challenge-and-response dynamics that are diagnosed as abuse (hitting, verbal abuse, negative affection and gaslighting).

As we become more open as a society, we take these attitudes into the sexual realm as well. Sex is seen as an obligation that must be repressed at all other times. This repression is why we're seeing so much reports of sexual abuse in schools and scouting (teacher/master-student), among churches (cleric and worshipper) and the workplace (everything #MeToo has brought to light). What all have in common are power dynamics with sex initiated by the more powerful party, and all are in communities with pre-established trust where sex is unexpected and unwanted.

The bad news: More often than not, abusers cannot be treated. Healing is for the victim, not the oppressor. Victims spend time "fixing" their oppressors. That's the wrong approach. The oppressors are fixed, as in static in their conditions and their thinking.

It's for the victims to adapt to new thinking and heal themselves.

To advocate for, or to ally with, Donald Trump, his Republican Party, and his followers is to submit to a worldview that is made in his thinking of the world. And 75 million Americans are eager to lay in his golden-shower stained bed and quench their thirst with the water in the bowl of his gold toilet.

There are 81 million-plus Americans who understand this is fundamentally wrong, and a future with magas in power is no future at all. Healing begins with magas exiled to pariahdom.

So how do we fix the structural problems that seem likely to give the power back to the magas, in particular the Senate and the Electoral College? Fixing them requires a change to the Constitution, but there, too, 3/4s of the states have to ratify such changes.

“Healing begins with magas exiled to pariahdom.”

That, or taking to heart the obvious fact that “progressive” dogma and hypocrisy (and, frankly, more than a little blatant racism and weak-kneed enabling of same) in other quarters have pushed too many reaonable and decent people in the wrong direction, and that blaming the iceberg rather than recognizing the need for course correction will simply sink the Ameritanic.

Did the Bohemian Club turn down Trumps application?

@Reality Street, let me introduce you to a fallacy known as Wronger than Wrong. It's one of the four kinds of wrong.

Wikipedia (neutral version): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wronger_than_wrong

RationalWiki (funny version): https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wronger_than_wrong

I know, it's off-putting to be challenged like this in what's supposed to be a civil forum. But these are your words and you chose to author them. Silence and observation was a hidden choice you opted not to exercise.

I will take your words in italics and point out the flaws.

That

The pronoun here is what I described as Trumpism. You've spotted me the benefit of the doubt.

Now we come to the part where the paint starts chipping and the clapboard starts falling.

or taking to heart the obvious fact

Taking to heart is another word for internalization, embracing a preconceived set of ideas as your own.

that “progressive”

The use of scare quotes is a stylistic flourish to signal to us that you are fluent in snarl words.

And you just happen to hate the same things people who have power over you hate, right? You're not just saying things to flatter authority figures, right?

Right?

(Don't answer that.)

dogma

Dogma is a top-down doctrine debated and decided upon by an elite meant to be received and enforced against the masses.

The thing is, you actually have to have, you know, real power over individuals or groups to make them comply or suffer the consequences.

Fortunately, in real life, progressives with the power to enforce dogma are so minuscule that you could go about your life without ever fearing them.

San Francisco is probably one of the most ideologically progressive cities in America. It's not Pyongyang or STASI-era East Germany.

The reason why San Francisco is so objectively awful in crime, delinquency, housing costs and public services is not because progressive dogma is being enforced. In fact, it's the opposite of dogma. It's relativism and permissiveness in all but its purest form. This happens because of a dogma vacuum. In other words, it's what sociologists call anomie.

Fortunately, most people do not live in San Francisco and most people do not want to live in San Francisco. However, many people would like to work in San Francisco and live reasonably close to their jobs or live near its many treasured landmarks. But they can't because its either unaffordable or repulsive.

(and, frankly, more than a little blatant racism and weak-kneed enabling of same)

The white man's "reverse racism" canard.

Words matter.

Do you mean prejudice, to have a preconceived bias against an outgroup? Well, progressives are prejudiced AF, but no more or less prejudiced than any other group. That's because humans are innately prejudiced. You see, prejudice is a cognitive bias that individuals have to recognize and unlearn. It's a behavior that has to be consciously corrected.

Racism is the doctrine that people are grouped together by some essential physical characteristics, and these essential characteristics make them fit to dominate or be dominated.

They both share a similar negative sentiment toward out-groups, but racism makes an explicit claim to dominance.

Here's the thing: Non-whites do not want to reverse the roles of victim and oppressor. Blacks don't want to enslave whites. Latinos and Asians do not want to capture the levers of power to lower American flags and replace them with the emblems of their ancestral lands.

They want to move beyond prejudice and settle old scores.

Words matter. Power, and who has it, matters.

in other quarters have pushed too many reaonable and decent people

Do reason and decency mean people lack agency? Are they plankton just whipped about by tides and consumed by other life forms?

Do reason and decency make people immune from judgment or error?

In America, reasonable and decent people succumb to conformity and groupthink all the time. In America, reasonable and decent people retreat from grim reality to conspiracy fantasy.

Can you be a reasonable and decent person and believe in the Qanon fantasy?

Can you be a reasonable and decent person and launch an insurrection against the very government and the very society that allowed you to thrive?

I'm going to make the provocative argument and say YES to both questions.

Reasonable, decent people embrace conspiracy fantasy like Qanon because their reasonableness and decency failed them to prepare for a reality that they cannot change and they cannot control. Reality has become sad and unfamiliar. So they invest their attention and emotional energy into an imaginary conspiracy of imaginary villainous humanoid reptile perpetrators and imaginary child victims.

The fantasy is the point. By emotionally investing in imaginary victims, they withhold emotional investment in actual victims of child sex abuse.

Reasonable, decent people sexually abuse children by gaining positions of trust as teachers, clergy, or other esteemed positions of society.

Reasonable, decent people commit mass shootings.

Reasonable, decent people defraud and embezzle. Reasonable, decent people torment their subordinates at work. Reasonable, decent people lapse into addiction. Reasonable, decent people can be physically and emotionally cruel to their loved ones. Reasonable, decent people cheat on their spouses and significant others.

People are reasonable and decent until they aren't. The thing is, very few people remain reasonable and decent at their very worst moments.

Reason and decency are admirable qualities, yet at the same time camouflage the worst impulses of the worst people.

in the wrong direction

How many directions are there? "The" implies exactly two. There is just one correct direction. In some select cases, that's essential. I mean, that's how I wish for all of us to travel on the roads and highways. But that goes without saying.

There are also some behaviors that are also widely considered harmful that the consequences deserve punishment. Stealing is wrong. Destruction of property not your own is wrong. Fraud is wrong. Sex without consent is wrong. Violence in most, but not all, cases is wrong.

We should also ask ourselves as a society how many activities should we punish, and how severely? And yes, we should examine the proportionality of crime. Who bears the punishment and how severely.

In order to do this, are there more than two ideas possible? Of course they are, but the American political system permits only two. That's not to say that the electorate is any better of thinking things through.

That's because most people think binarily. You've just demonstrated this yourself. There's only this and that. Yes and no. One and zero. And how are we informed? Mass media, which frames reality as two ideas in antagonistic tension.

However, does this mean that if politics and media condition us to think binarily, we would get it right if only we were given more choices?

Wrong. And wronger than wrong.

More choices, more complexity. If we think binarily, and we are unhappy with the outcome with 50/50 probabilities, think about how much worse things will be if we were given multiple choices. Mathematically, it means we have a greater opportunity to get things wrong and just make our problems more complex.

and that blaming the iceberg

Blaming the iceberg is what we are good at. No, seriously.

The most brilliant minds in America today are the people who have to investigate catastrophes that we shouldn't have to think about but forced to reckon with after they happen.

Think of the people at the NTSB or NASA who have to study plane or spacecraft casualties.

Or, in 2021 we saw two unthinkable disasters in the form of the condo building that collapsed near Miami, and the deadly Travis Scott concert in Houston.

Until 2021, most of us lived our lives never knowing that "concrete cancer" and "crowd crush" are improbable but deadly phenomena. There are people who know this, but we never listen to them until it's too late and unable to save us grief.

I chose these examples because the salient cause of blame was not human, though human error factored into the disaster. ​

rather than recognizing the need for course correction will simply sink the Ameritanic.


Recognizing the need for course correction does not necessarily mean the course can be corrected.


You might have the wrong people at the helm. You might even have a training and promotion regime that produces unfit, or perhaps even worse, malevolent people before the helm. You might get the right people at the helm, but they make the wrong decisions in the heat of the moment. You might even have the right captain at the right moment and avert the iceberg, only to divert the ship into the path of a hurricane, or into enemy waters patrolled by torpedo-armed submarines, or pirates. Or any combination simultaneously.


Trump got it wrong. Democrats got it wrong at the local level. But to say the consequences of both are equally wrong because political parties attracted voters deficient of reasonableness and decency compounds the wrongness of either idea in isolation. It's wronger than wrong .

This has been an interesting discussion and I will belatedly throw a few thoughts out there.

It is distressing that some here seem to "go there" pretty easily (and perhaps a bit too enthusiastically) with the the civil war talk. I'll say that I also hear occasional talk on the right about perhaps a split is inevitable, because the left seems so intent on forcing a fascism/socialism/communism construct on the county, they may become impossible to co-govern with.

What gives me hope of averting that worst case scenario is that the current environment of the last two years has woken up a lot of people from different political backgrounds to the dangers of unfettered government power. What unites them is the prospect of medico-tyranny progressing into full blown totalitarian rule. If you can't spot that process here, countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Austria, France, etc are showing the way. Biden, Newsom, DeBlasio and such leaders look at them and dream of what could implemented if our system wasn't structured with that blasted federalism.

This new convergence has formerly conventional liberals like Naomi Wolfe, Bret Weinstein, Joe Rogan, Alex Berenson and Robert Kennedy jr. making common cause with conservatives like Steve Bannon, Dan Bongino and Tucker Carlson in fighting to preserve civil rights in this country. Thought leaders like these and others speak to citizens who recognize that if this (dangerous but manageable) virus can be used to lock us in our homes or designated holding facilities, shut down our businesses, cover our faces, deplatform us, and override long-established medical ethics to block promising early treatments and suspend bodily autonomy to make us mandated customers of historically-corrupt liability-immune pharmaceutical companies, then they could use any pretense they want in the future once the precedent has been set.

I would estimate at least 30% of the population sees this as the most pressing issue. Not all of them are historically right wingers. They are more than willing to ally with people with whom they may disagree with on other issues, knowing nothing else really matters if the inalienable rights that underpin our democracy are alienated.

Another 30% are completely bought into the opposite, that if the government doesn't take all the power it needs to fight the virus, then nothing else matters because we will all be dead. They are unable to see that all the measures the U.S. (and other mostly western governments) have taken to date have done little to nothing, or even been counterproductive. Fear makes them more than willing to give up freedom for their rulers' promises of safety. This group includes many Republicans.

40% are somewhere in the middle, perhaps oblivious to the issues or just go along with whatever those around them are doing. It's note worthy that Trump himself (and many other Republican politicians) seems to be in this group, while many of his previous supporters are in the first group. It will be interesting to see how this plays out politically if he is intent on running again.

This dynamic was somewhat in play in the recent Virginia/NJ elections. Covid wasn't directly the biggest issue, but the school closures/masking/student-indoctrination-witnessed-by-parents-in-online-school/disregard-for-parental-voices issues are a subset of the government overreach that motivated people to throw the bums out in fairly blue VA and come unimaginably close to doing so in NJ of all places. Don't mess with the momma bears.


OK, you're a genius and I'm just a 'tard, but I never stated or suggested that "both are equally wrong because political parties attracted voters deficient of reasonableness and decency," and I fail to understand how talking down to others ad nauseum should be expected to convince anybody of anything other than the exact point I humbly tried to make: clobbering people with intellectual pirouettes and self-righteous crapola ain't gonna stop Trump.

Simply blaming the "deplorables" and refusing to see anything more at work in this troubled nation strikes me as self-deluding intellectual masturbation in a closet.

I'd rather go out and try to make some friends and see where that takes me.

Your mileage may vary.

Have a nice weekend.

@Reality Street (in italics):

OK, you're a genius and I'm just a 'tard,

I never said I was a genius.

but I never

I'm sorry for that last remark. I couldn't help myself. That crack was such an open net.

Go on ...

stated or suggested that "both are equally wrong because political parties attracted voters deficient of reasonableness and decency,"

I submit evidence before the court:

That, or taking to heart the obvious fact that “progressive” dogma and hypocrisy (and, frankly, more than a little blatant racism and weak-kneed enabling of same) in other quarters have pushed too many reaonable and decent people in the wrong direction, and that blaming the iceberg rather than recognizing the need for course correction will simply sink the Ameritanic.

-- Reality Street | January 07, 2022 at 06:55 PM (in this very post)

You brought reasonable and decent people into this discussion. I rebutted that two things can be true at the same time: A person can be reasonable and decent, yet still hold terrible beliefs or trade upon society's goodwill to commit horrible actions.

These are behaviors we associate and expect from people deficient of reason and decency, and they happen all the time. But terrible things happen among the reasonable and decent, and probably to greater extents because they can walk the right line for so long and be given so many passes.

and I fail to understand

There you go. Just put a period at the end here and we've got at the nut of the matter.

how talking down to others ad nauseum should be expected to convince anybody

The breakdown in civility happened because [sarcasm]woke progressives[/sarcasm] demanded that we defund the tone police.

I have a galaxy brain edgelord theory, one I learned in college and the other from a lifetime of cynicism: All reasoning is motivated reasoning.

I'm not holding myself above any standard. This applies to me. You. Jon Talton. My reasoning is just as motivated as yours. Our motivations are at odds, is all.

I didn't come here to convince, make friends, or score a date. My motivations are to sound the alarm of our peril, and point out that thinking is really, really hard stuff.

I really hate to make this pointless declamation, but I believe in free speech. You know what's missing in this manufactroversy about free speech?

We as a society have lost Richard Stallman's gratis vs. libre distinction on the meaning of the word free, and today free speech has come to mean free speech = free beer.

Speech is like the beer found at frat house keggers: awful, poorly made, plentiful and with just enough alcohol to permit lousy decision-making and consequence-free peer pressure.

My motivation is to go to the frat house, get a red cup of that beer, look at it, ask myself "Why are they giving away beer?". I take a sip of that beer. I say to myself, "Oh, that's why." I then leave the party quietly without anyone noticing.

of anything other than the exact point I humbly tried to make:

I left out one detail from my frat party anecdote. I finished the beer.

My point is: My motivations for going to the frat party and drinking the beer were a lot different than everyone else's. My reasoning is that I am probably the only person there who can honestly say the beer is awful.

That's how to stand out from the crowd. And over time, people at that frat party will agree with me that the beer was awful. But by then I've moved on.

clobbering people with intellectual pirouettes and self-righteous crapola ain't gonna stop Trump.

I stopped Trump by voting for the other guy.

Simply blaming the "deplorables" and refusing to see anything more at work in this troubled nation strikes me as self-deluding intellectual masturbation in a closet.

Why are you watching me?

I'd rather go out and try to make some friends and see where that takes me.

If you don't wear a mask and get vaccinated, it'll be a crowded ER or a morgue.

Have a nice weekend.

Finally, some common ground we can agree on. I wish you, umm you didn't tell me your preferred pronoun so I don't know which salutation to use, Reality, a nice weekend as well.

And a nice weekend to all Rogue Columnist readers.

On a more serious tone, Rest in Peace to Sidney Poitier. He's led a long, rich life and left us an incredible body of work.

To earlier generations, he likely meant what Chadwick Boseman meant to younger generations.

His passing also silences a voice that could offer the wisdom of a Black entertainer who had to experience the shock of racism, he immigrated to the U.S. from the Bahamas, and tread a careful line as to not alienate white audiences. His thoughts on race were complex; he didn't deny it but warned that his race shouldn't define him nor anyone else. This is how many Americans of color think and feel, and it shall prevail again soon.

This topic certainly woke up the sleepy commentators on this blog.b I could not begin to compete with the big thinkers her, so I will just ask is: Bobson the return of Emil?

@ Bobson

Simply referencing "reasonable and decent people" does not equate to "both are equally wrong." Motion denied. You're laughed out of court.

But I get it, these screeds are really just parody, right? Colorful examples of the kind of overly self-assured intellectual bludgeoning that alienates common sense types and prevents the kind of course-correction that could actually save the ship. Haha, I get it. It's kind of a hoot. But I'm actually concerned about where our nation is going and I'm really tired of watching Democrats and "progressives" carve themselves up for attention and blame everyone else.

Sidney was a good guy.
But i think Chester Himes and James Baldwin better understood the big picture.

Scribbling Sumerian to AI?
I'm checking with Sonny as Susan Calvin is off planet.

Being right not wrong and decent.
Thats why the Robots will win.
R Daneel Olivaw

Me robot
"I think a lot of these networks are basing decisions on algorithms. I swear to God, I made this joke: people just want dogs and robots. Then we were driving in L.A., and I saw a billboard for a Tom Hanks movie. And it was literally Tom Hanks, a dog, and a robot."
Alia Shawkat

I think Simak covered this around `1946

Jon, Maybe a predictive column.
"A Memory Called Empire"

"In this connection I venture a prediction. When enough people begin to resist the madness and we begin to get somewhere, Cold War II will turn out to be the American empire’s last stand."
Patrick Lawrence

It continues.

@Reality Street in italics, me in regular face type.

Simply referencing "reasonable and decent people" does not equate to "both are equally wrong." Motion denied. You're laughed out of court.

Gonna leave this RationalWiki link to the straw man fallacy here: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Straw_man.

What we have here is a double wronger-than-wrong with cheese.

Go back to my 1-8-22 post and copy and paste what I wrote, not what you wished I had written.

Asked and answered. Try such dishonesty again and I'll have you disbarred.

But I get it, these screeds are really just parody, right?

Yes, you are correct. Right on the bullseye.

These screeds are parody. A parody takes a truth and stretches it to absurdity, exaggeration or histrionics. I'm transparent in my methods.

This bears repeating: "A parody takes a truth ..." Parody, at its root, must have an element of truth that must be smuggled in via comedy.

Parody has been the tool and the weapon of both intellectuals and fools alike. It's for people who have a lot of pain but not a lot of power. For people who can laugh at others because they've had to laugh at themselves for so long.

You've unintentionally walked into my stagecraft. You make a fun, useful straight man to set up unexamined earnestness that I comically knock down.

It's parody, all for show for the benefit of the Rogue Columnist commentariat. But as a showman, I recognize that I have range.

With you, I play the buffoon. With others, though, I can dive into sociological, philosophical or critical knowledge and life experience to, as I put it, point out that the frat party beer is awful.

Colorful examples of the kind of overly self-assured intellectual bludgeoning

The intellectual bludgeoning you've just witnessed is by trained professionals. No one was actually hurt, and you should not try this at home.

There was no intellectual bludgeoning. It was all simulated.

Ever watch pro wrestling? Welcome to the world of kayfabe.

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Kayfabe

that alienates common sense types

The problem with common sense is that it's thick on the common and thin on the sense.

"Common sense types" don't get enough share of the blame of why things are so horrible right now.

Hannah Arendt, as an intellectual, had to come up with a complicated explanation and thesis of what common sense is and its discontents. She coined the term "banality of evil." Same phenomenon, dealing with people of the same personality type.

There are even older interpretations of the dark side of common sense. There are the proverbs "No raindrop believes it's responsible for the flood" or "No snowflake thinks it caused the avalanche."

and prevents the kind of course-correction that could actually save the ship

And you have the gall to accuse me of self-assured intellectual bludgeoning?

Fiddle-dee-dee.

I didn't come here to say I have the answer to saving a nation teetering toward political and societal collapse.

And my nom de plume comes from a bad Japanese translation of American athletes for a baseball video game. I didn't come into the room declaring my first name was Reality, as though all of us here were coconut-banging primitives who needed you to interpret a truer understanding of our world and our conditions.

It's better to set a low bar and clear it than ...

Moving on ...

Haha, I get it. It's kind of a hoot.

Only kind of? The backhanded compliment stings more than an insult.

Am I clowning us too hard? Or not clowning us hard enough? Let's workshop this thing before taking the show on the road.

But I'm actually concerned about where our nation is going

This is the denouement. We get to the seriousness of the matter.

I'll tie the loose ends together from our interactions. These are all words and phrases that you have volunteered.

Reasonable. Decent. Intellectual (twice). Pirouette. Humbly. Crapola. Masturbation. Common sense.

I get it now.

These are all concepts that are instilled in children in Sunday school.

You array both good qualities, and contrast them with bad qualities, at least good and bad in the eyes of the Sunday school teachers and your parents.

You get a dualistic sense of good (reasonable, decent, humble, common sense) and bad (intellectual, dancing, crap, masturbation), and you derive a second set of principles of cause-effect.

This is how children learn to think binarily at an early age. Good-bad. Cause->effect. Behavior-consequence.

Bad behavior consequently leads to bad outcomes, so good behavior must be performed to either be rewarded to ward off bad behavior.

Thing is, many if not most children never really grow out of this binary, dualistic thinking into adulthood.

I'm beginning to understand why you think what you think and say what you say. You lean back on your childhood knowledge and think that individual behaviors consequently give us bad outcomes, and the bad outcomes like American society and government collapsing because ... I chose dancing and masturbation over common sense and decency?

I can't convince you otherwise. Not for a lack of trying. I can't convince you because you cannot take your mind to the place where causes and effects often are layered with complexity, have multiple factors, and might be well beyond the reach and grasp of human agency.

For now, I'll offer myself a happy ending by pirouetting into my closet.

@Bobson

Suit yourself, but when you're done washing your hands you might want to take a step back, look in the mirror, and realize that the whole "wronger than wrong" thing was based solely on your own indulgent fantasies.

I'll break it down real simple so even a masturbating genius can understand:

1. I never drew equivalencies or made any proclamations that both sides are equally wrong. That's your fantasy, not mine.

2. I don't like Trump or his core crowd. I would hate to see him re-elected because I seriously wonder if this nation could remain intact.

3. Simply labeling Trump supporters, or potential supporters, as this or that and blaming them for his rise and continuing popularity without acknowledging that some may have some legitimate grievances, or offering them a far-better alternative to Trump, is polarizing, not intellectually honest or, more importantly, very effective, since it tends to make those supporters more committed and drive decent and reasonable people who were on the fence toward Trump, the "wrong direction" to which I alluded earlier.

4. Democrats, liberals, wokesters, "progressives" and the rest of the rest ought to do a better job at bringing people together rather than seizing the presumed moral high ground, forming circular firing squads, and indulging in an endless barrage of woke bombs. That is, if they're really interested in defeating Trump and making "progress" at healing a divided nation.

5. Sucking air out of the room and talking down to those who attempt to make these points is entertaining but not effective at much else. Wile E. Coyote would probably figure that out after a couple of good anvil drops.

But most common-sense folks recognize that geniuses can be too preening and self-absorbed to care what's real or effective because they find life pirouetting in a closet of illusions more satisfying.

What a waste.

Hey Reuben can you translate for me?

Cal, sure reminds me of Emil. I got a funny feeling in my peepers as I read the posts.

Thanks Ruben.

Harry Reid gravestone

"I was a good man elected to Congress.

I stayed too long. Greed and power ruined my legacy. "

I kinda liked Harry, he wasnt a
"Jack Mormon" but a reasonable LDS member much unlike the kooks.
Harry was "a Democrat because he was a Mormon."
Many liberal Mormons identify with
Jesus Christ and his actions with the poor and downtrodden.
Today a Jesus Christ in congress would quicky be nailed to a cross.
Rueben your god will probably give Harry a pass.

The fact that the new wave of republican candidates feel they have to out-crazy the preceeding generation of republican crazies, gives you an insight into the current state of the AZ republican party and even more, the current state of mind of AZ republican voters.

These voters are beyond mental, beyond demented. They are so voluntarily stupid that they form the best culture to grow every dumb conspiracy imaginable.

There is only one person in AZ dumber than the dumbest republican voter, Sinema. The blond, blue, purple hair colored idiot thinks she can reason with these brainless fools.

There’s a great new comment in the I-11 column.

@Reality Street, I don't think there's much more to say. The room has moved on.

I will praise you for what you said in point 2. I completely agree.

I do take this firm stand, and I cannot be moved from this place. It is impossible to be reasonable, decent or have any quantum of positive personal quality or virtue and be a supporter of Donald Trump, full stop.

Positive qualities and Trumpism are mutually exclusive.

Donald Trump's failures as a president, as a business person, and as a mention of the human species are well-documented and go without saying.

But you know what? Before he descended down the escalator, and we descended as a nation ... Republican party members and voters alike had agency.

More than five years later, Republicans through their actions are actively at war against democracy. With the power they have, they are destroying democracy from within. As a culture, Trumpism from the man himself to anyone who feeds him power, money, votes or attention, represents a war on truth, modernity, science, law, progress and humanity itself.

That's an attack on 75 million Americans, all of whom failed the history test. They failed so abjectly they bring down the curve for all of America, and democracy as a whole. The pandemic was practice for a global community to come together to stave off climate change, a very real harbinger for ecocide and Earth's next mass extinction event. America failed badly once again.

Future -- not a future, not even the future, but the very possibility of human awareness within spacetime -- is only possible when 75 million Americans are restrained from being a part of it.

There are moral and psychological frameworks for the necessity and propriety of keeping Trumpism's human agents from being part of the American conversation, the American identity.

In criminal law, Trump supporters are accessories and/or accomplices. After World War II, there was of course the Nuremberg trials, where we established a universal moral order and crimes could be committed against humanity itself. To wit, following orders is not an alibi. You could infer from that principle that before the passions of war and the pressures of the German regime from 1933-45, all Germans had agency of a moral standard that was restored once the Allies won World War II.

Agency is important.

I largely avoid social media, but I scan Twitter for a very prescient dialogue between Bari Weiss (then of New York Times until her famous flounce) and Jane Coaston (a journalist then of Vox and now with New York Times; Weiss exited before Coaston was hired). This was the "Amoral Pudding" tweet exchange from 2018:

https://mobile.twitter.com/janecoaston/status/995021881899089920

You can read the exchange, but I'll pull out some important tweets. Boldface type is mine.

BW: Hi there. What I'm saying that failing to draw distinctions between people like Sam Harris and people like Richard Spencer strips the designation "alt-right" of its power and meaning. That has two main effects, as I see it.

...

BW: Second: When conservatives, classical liberals or libertarians are told by the progressive chattering class that they--or those they read--are alt-right, the very common response is to say: Screw it. They think everyone is alt-right. And then those people move further right.

JC: Again, if you move further right because someone on Twitter said something you don’t like, you were always going to move further right.

JC: Also, again, if you join the alt-right BECAUSE OF A VANITY FAIR ARTICLE, you were already on your way there.

Very similar arguments Reality and I made here, though they were more civil.

I'm sympathetic to Coaston's view. The phrases I bolded come from a psychological framework known as ideation-to-action.

Clinically, it was developed for suicide prevention. However, federal and local law enforcement as well as military interrogators have used the framework to find patterns in people like mass shooters and jihadi terrorists, where rage is first directed outward.

BW: I'm sorry, but that's not the point and never was. It's not about any particular article or publication. It's about a tendency to label people as alt-right, fascist, etc who simply are not. That has serious repercussions.

JC: If you’re not, then you’re not. People get labeled stuff they aren’t. Life is challenging. If people respond by then joining the alt-right, they were already there to begin with.

Weiss correctly raises the point about the hazard of labeling. Coaston also correctly raises the counterpoint that the response to emotional slights is not to escalate into seeking out toxic ideologies. Again, the individual has to self-regulate.

Now we get to the dessert.

BW: I'm talking here about an emotional response. What happens to you when you are called deplorable? Is the response to say to the accuser: Actually, hey, you're right! I hadn't realized that about myself. Or is it to maybe consider voting for Trump?

JC: Bari, perhaps the issue here is that this hypothetical person is made out of amoral pudding.

BW: I'm not sure what amoral pudding is. I'm talking about every Trump voter I know.

JC: Amoral pudding is who you are when your reasonings behind not great decisions are all based on your feelings being hurt.

The United States is in a far worse place than it was before Trump, and the perseverance of Trumpism is an annihilation of hope. There are about 81 million Americans who weren't turned into pudding, yet there are 75 million little Donald Trumps -- and a few potentially far more able to finish us off -- who pose a danger to us.

On the individual, psychological level, some marriage and family counselors have a dark joke: "The best thing that could ever happen to your marriage is a divorce."

That's contrary to professional ethics, but we are captive to this reality in 2020s America. Yet our family dynamics are one where the best course of action is for mom to grab the kids, run off into the night and go into hiding away from the abusive spouse's reach.

Healing is for the victims of abuse, and the healing process involves getting away from the abuser to get away from the abuse.

I want to heal, along with 81 million other Americans. But 75 million other Americans don't want to heal. Their loyalty to Trump, the GOP, neo-Confederate churches, Fox, AM radio, social media echo chambers is evidence they can't. They won't. And no one will be here to protect us when they have power over us.

@Bobson

For the most part, I don't disagree.

But it's a vast overstatement to proclaim that "75 million other Americans don't want to heal" and are loyal to the string of reactionary entities you cite.

And I also disagree that "If people respond [to being labeled as alt-right or fascist] by then joining the alt-right, they were already there to begin with."

There is no hope for Trump, his core supporters and enablers, or committed delusionists. But actively pushing anyone else in his direction, especially at this juncture, and then claiming that polarization was inevitable anyway is simply a reactionary, self-righteous, and self-defeating shortcut to ideological and political, and perhaps actual, warfare.

The issues this country faces are just not that simple, and writing off anyone who's not enthralled with the disorder and dogmatic hubris of the opposition will not solve them.

Folks who oppose Trump, fascism, and the destruction of American democracy can and should do and be so much better than that.

Perhaps that sounds idealistic, but it's also a realistic and pragmatic path to an actual future.

Peace.

"Perhaps that sounds idealistic, but it's also a realistic and pragmatic path to an actual future." Said Chamberlain to Hitler.

@Reuben
The pertinent point to extrapolate is that Hitler could have been prevented from coming to power in the first place, negating a subsequent reality that included any compromises by Chamberlain and the rest of the nastiness. Get it?

I'm sorry Reality, the vermin are already in the barn. We have an Oath Keeper in the AZ senate. She just raised $2.5 million from like-minded vermin across the country. Among her first words once she took office were "WE ARE AT WAR".

You'll have a better chance negotiating with a rattlesnake than that traitor.

In today's Payson Roundup newspaper, a Trumper wrote a letter to the editor saying that Independents should not be allowed to vote. Message: only votes that count are republican votes. Think you can reason with him?

Pandora lives.
Her jar open.

I’m sorry too, Reuben, and I certainly have no illusions about reasoning or negotiating with vermin or rattlesnakes, which I’m not advocating here, but I urge you to also consider the bigger picture that includes the rest of the country outside Arizona, and its challenges and opportunities.

Consider also the Spanish Civil War and the ways in which constant factionalism, utopian nonsense, and other excesses of the Left, including reprehensible destruction and violence, ultimately played into the hands of the reactionary Right and provided in many minds that had not been predisposed to fascism a “justification” to “restore order” through violent repression. To this day, plenty of Spaniards insist that Franco saved the nation. I disagree, but I don’t ignore those sentiments and the history that fueled them.

Have you all talked to any "Spaniards" whose people came to the US and Arizona and New Mexico around 1900?
I seem to recall that Franco was supported and recieved military aid from Mussolini? As did Hitler!
"Hitler could have been prevented from coming to power"
Like Trump could have been prevented from becoming president?
Like whats next?
Next that we can prevent?

Trump’s no longer president. I’d like it to stay that way. Yes, he could gave been prevented.
Not sure where you’re going with the rest of it.
But this thread has clearly jumped the shark.
I’m out.

Jumped a shark? WTF IS THAT?

For clarification.
I have talked to SW Spaniards from 80 plus to over a 100 years old. They put Franco, Mussolini and a few Popes in the same basket.
Hope is not in my vocabulary.
Without massive turnout in 2022 and 2024 opposing the insane GOP'ERS you can count on a right wing religious zealot White Male led country with stage performances of Second Amendment superiority. There will be Blood.

@Cal Lash, jumping the shark refers to something that has peaked in popularity and has overstayed its welcome.

There was a website, JumpTheShark.com, that stimulated discussion about when TV shows reached this point. It referred to an episode of "Happy Days" where the Fonz was a daredevil who had to jump over an actual shark tank while water skiing.

TV Guide bought the JumpTheShark.com domain, so the URL redirects to its site.

The Jump the Shark community largely migrated to TVTropes.org.

Seldom watched TV in 82 years.
Havent turned it on for 46 months.
Thanks for the update.

However i did buy the complete DVD set of Becker and the First Ten Years of SNL and of course I have Charlie Chaplin, Lennny Bruce, George Carlin and Richard Pryor on DVD. Just ordered the Latest DUNE dvd in a Pain box.
However the coat hanger tv antenna works pretty well. My current position brings in both Phoenix and Tucson.
I have friend that insists on watching
60 Minutes when here.

I do miss Dick Cavett

Reality Street has left this discussion, but he offered a presentist view of the Spanish Civil War. He thinks Franco won because of thermostatic politics. Lol.

Presentism is the fallacy of trying to interpret long-dead historic events as we would understand them through modern modes of knowledge. It's also why comparative politics is very hard. Ideologies are seldom consistent across time and space.

Wikipedia is usually a good place to start if you wish to research the Spanish Civil War (check the annotations and footnotes for sourcing).

At least two casus belli escalated into the war. One was the land reform of the Spanish countryside that produced social upheaval. The other was political instability in cities. The movement that would become the Republicans -- again, who have no overlap with the American GOP -- was very anti-clerical. The government took on the wealth and power of the Catholic Church, but by actually expropriating church property, closing schools and universities and persecuting priests and bishops. You also had then-mainstream movements that are non-existent today, like a declassed nobility and monarchists. Spain was neutral in World War I, but the transnational movements of fascism, communism and anarchism were taking root within the nation.

After the military broke away from the government, the Civil War as we know it began in earnest. Franco's side prevailed and controlled Spain for four decades.

Franco died in 1975, and the Spanish rulers decided to join the European community by transitioning to democracy.

It seems the intellectualism during Franco was away from the power, Franco.
Certainly a number of intellectual folks like Hemmingway were opposed to Franco.
So not sure what Reality was saying.
I find it interesting that a number of the Spaniards i know are Trump supporters.

Meanwhile i saw a rabbit make it to safety to day after it Jumped the Coyote.

Cal, intellectualism and political power tend not to mix. When they do, intellectualism in the service of power ends in evil.

Power abhors competition in wealth, culture or intellect. Power must control its competition, or eliminate it.

Not only has this thread jumped the shark, but it's landed in a bog thick with swamp gas.

I'm really rolling my eyes here but I'll make one last guest appearance to clear the air since Bobson has seen fit to foul it and badly misconstrue things once again.

"[H]e offered a presentist view of the Spanish Civil War," later defined as "trying to interpret long-dead historic events as we would understand them through modern modes of knowledge."

Actually, Bobson is 180 degrees wrong on that. Some aspects of the Spanish Civil War were invoked not to revisit them and explain them through a modern lens, but (pretty obviously) to help illustrate some fallacies of the present.

"He thinks Franco won because of thermostatic politics. Lol."

Clearly wrong again. I don't think that, and never wrote anything close to that. In fact, I never opined at all on why Franco WON, but simply stated that leftist missteps "provided in many minds that had not been predisposed to fascism a 'justification' to 'restore order' through violent repression." The reasons for the fascist victory in Spain are much more complex than that observation alone, obviously, and that wasn't the point to begin with. Obviously.

But Bobson doesn't do complexity and reality and careful thinking and detail. He does grandiose philosophy, sweeping assumption, and ego-soaked polemic.

The lesson from this exchange is that some folks are so turned on by themselves that they can't stop rubbing themselves blind.

That's not going to beat Trump in the midterms or beyond, and you really have to wonder if Bobson is seriously concerned about that situation at all.

Out again. Cheers.

"Research ship to Landing parties, please report."

"Landing party Alpha reporting, at our location an animal called a calf was born with three eyes and four nostrils. Humans from miles around are converging on the calf and worshiping it as a god. Over."

"Landing party Beta reporting, at our location and around the planet, a deadly virus is spreading. Approximately half the earth population are ignoring the advice of medical authorities and following the advice of politicians. This is reminiscent of our visit 1000 earth years ago when they were advised by men they called shaman. Not as much progress as we had expected."

"Landing party Gamma reporting, since our last visit there are major changes in earth's atmosphere and in ocean temperature and currents. These changes are similar to what occurred on the fourth planet in this system several million years ago."

"Research ship to landing parties. Return to the ship. With intellect stalled and living conditions going backwards, we will need to look elsewhere for a sustainable species with potential for survival. The galaxy is very large and intelligent life is very hard to find."

Some aspects of the Spanish Civil War were invoked not to revisit them and explain them through a modern lens, but (pretty obviously) to help illustrate some fallacies of the present.

Literally, presentism.

"In literary and historical analysis, presentism is the anachronistic introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past." Copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentism_(literary_and_historical_analysis)

But Bobson doesn't do complexity and reality and careful thinking and detail.

Except for offering explanations rooted in psychology, sociology, history, etc. When necessary, I support my ideas with linky bits for reference.

In fact, I never opined at all on why Franco WON, but simply stated that leftist missteps "provided in many minds that had not been predisposed to fascism a 'justification' to 'restore order' through violent repression."

That's you conceding, Reality.

You've made the "amoral pudding" argument about the Spanish public, that they became fascist because of hurt feelings.

First, you presuppose that we could get inside the minds of the populace -- in the midst of war, no less.

Second, it was an actual war, not an election between two choices. There were more than two partisan factions. Franco's side was able to prevail and he consolidated power among the Phalangists, the institutional Catholic Church and the monarchists. The losing partisans were executed, imprisoned or fled Spain. Franco's coalition defined political reality for Spaniards through 1975.

What Spaniards were thinking were bound by the realities of war and authoritarian culture after it.

That's not going to beat Trump in the midterms or beyond, and you really have to wonder if Bobson is seriously concerned about that situation at all.

The only legal, nonviolent options at my disposal are voting for Democrats (primarily to sever a link between Republicans and power) and contributing time and energy to get them elected.

I could say this now in the comfort of my computer. I still have work, food in the fridge and the pantry, a working cell phone and internet access, non-white friends and acquaintances, vaccines against COVID-19, electricity, clean water from the tap, mail that still gets delivered, gas for the car and very good mass transit when I don't wish to drive, a library card, cable TV, etc.

I don't say this to gloat. I don't even want to ever call attention to what I have. That's because I do have a lived memory of poverty, and I see firsthand on how poverty debilitates people psychologically. I'm also aware of being born in a culture in which most people believe in a just world (i.e., people deserve what they get and get what they deserve). This squares blame on poverty on the individual as a moral deficiency.

So I am tormented by not only by my individual life circumstances, but also of the world around me.

President Barack Obama told Americans a sobering truth when he said "You didn't build that." The speech is quite ennobling, and it concealed a harsh truth that strips the bark off of the rugged individualism myth.

We, as citizens and humans, can be only be as good as our systems allow us. Our political systems. Our economic systems. Culture. Religion. The interaction of matter and energy that underpin the physical universe across time and space.

My own behaviors don't have consequences beyond individual decisions. My one vote alone does not matter. My one purchase will not marginally alter the success or failure of a business, let alone the framework of global capitalism.

Consequently, I realize trust and "doing something" are necessary but insufficient to make systems produce beneficial outcomes as intended. They also need resources, capability and management.

I can't say what will happen 10 months from now in the November midterms. Heck, I cannot say what the U.S. will look like 10 days from now.

I do see systems that made the America possible to produce economic opportunity, political participation and positive social cohesion in states of decay or swift collapse.

I realize that I have no answers on how to fix things. I'm not keeping a secret, nor do I wish more harm upon the world. I see conditions as out of our hands, and the urge to "do something" has the probability to exacerbate misery.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)