Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Hate that Dare Not Speak its Name

As the United States stumbles toward the last act of its electoral process two days from now, and the new administration prepares to take over the reins of power from its feckless predecessor, the obligatory caterwauling of the losing side has taken on an unfamiliar shrillness. Granted, the behavior of both sides in the last few decades of American elections can be neatly summed up in the words “sore loser”; the Republicans in 1992 and 2008 behaved not one whit better than the Democrats in 1980 and 2000.  I think it’s fair, though, to say that the current example has plunged well past the low-water mark set by those dismal occasions. The question I’d like to discuss here is why that should be.

I think we can all admit that there are plenty of reasons why Americans might reasonably object to the policies and appointments of the incoming president, but the same thing has been true of every other president we’ve had since George Washington’s day. Equally, both of our major parties have long been enthusiastic practitioners of the fine art of shrieking in horror at the other side’s behavior, while blithely excusing the identical behavior on their side.  Had the election last November gone the other way, for example, we can be quite certain that all the people who are ranting about Donald Trump’s appointment of Goldman Sachs employees to various federal offices would be busy explaining how reasonable it was for Hillary Clinton to do exactly the same thing—as of course she would have.

That said, I don’t think reasonable differences of opinion on the one hand, and the ordinary hypocrisy of partisan politics on the other, explain the extraordinarily stridency, the venom, and the hatred being flung at the incoming administration by its enemies. There may be many factors involved, to be sure, but I’d like to suggest that one factor in particular plays a massive role here.

To be precise, I think a lot of what we’re seeing is the product of class bigotry.

Some definitions are probably necessary here. We can define bigotry as the act of believing hateful things about all the members of a given category of people, just because they belong to that category. Thus racial bigots believe hateful things about everyone who belongs to races they don’t like, religious bigots do the same thing to every member of the religions they don’t like, and so on through the dismal chronicle of humanity’s collective nastiness.

Defining social class is a little more difficult to do in the abstract, as different societies draw up and enforce their class barriers in different ways. In the United States, though, the matter is made a good deal easier by the lack of a fully elaborated feudal system in our nation’s past, on the one hand, and on the other, the tolerably precise dependency of how much privilege you have in modern American society on how much money you make. Thus we can describe class bigotry in the United States, without too much inaccuracy, as bigotry directed against people who make either significantly more money than the bigot does, or significantly less. (Of course that’s not all there is to social class, not by a long shot, but for our present purposes, as an ostensive definition, it will do.)

Are the poor bigoted against the well-to-do? You bet. Bigotry directed up the social ladder, though, is far more than matched, in volume and nastiness, by bigotry directed down. It’s a source of repeated amusement to me that rich people in this country so often inveigh against the horrors of class warfare. Class warfare is their bread and butter. The ongoing warfare of the rich against the poor, and of the affluent middle and upper middle classes against the working class, create and maintain the vast disparities of wealth and privilege in contemporary American society. What upsets the rich and the merely affluent about class warfare, of course, is the thought that they might someday be treated the way they treat everyone else.

Until last year, if you wanted to experience the class bigotry that’s so common among the affluent classes in today’s America, you pretty much had to be a member of those affluent classes, or at least good enough at passing to be present at the social events where their bigotry saw free play. Since Donald Trump broke out of the Republican pack early last year, though, that hindrance has gone by the boards. Those who want to observe American class bigotry at its choicest need only listen to what a great many of the public voices of the well-to-do are saying about the people who votes and enthusiasm have sent Trump to the White House.

You see, that’s a massive part of the reason a Trump presidency is so unacceptable to so many affluent Americans:  his candidacy, unlike those of all his rivals, was primarily backed by “those people.”

It’s probably necessary to clarify just who “those people” are. During the election, and even more so afterwards, the mainstream media here in the United States have seemingly been unable to utter the words “working class” without sticking the labels “white” in front and “men” behind. The resulting rhetoric seems to be claiming that the relatively small fraction of the American voting public that’s white, male, and working class somehow managed to hand the election to Donald Trump all by themselves, despite the united efforts of everyone else.

Of course that’s not what happened. A huge majority of white working class women also voted for Trump, for example.  So, according to exit polls, did about a third of Hispanic men and about a quarter of Hispanic women; so did varying fractions of other American minority voting blocs, with African-American voters (the least likely to vote for Trump) still putting something like fourteen per cent in his column. Add it all up, and you’ll find that the majority of people who voted for Trump weren’t white working class men at all—and we don’t even need to talk about the huge number of registered voters of all races and genders who usually turn out for Democratic candidates, but stayed home in disgust this year, and thus deprived Clinton of the turnout that could have given her the victory.

Somehow, though, pundits and activists who fly to their keyboards at a moment’s notice to denounce the erasure of women and people of color in any other context are eagerly cooperating in the erasure of women and people of color in this one case. What’s more, that same erasure went on continuously all through the campaign. Those of my readers who followed the media coverage of the race last year will recall confident proclamations that women wouldn’t vote for Trump because his words and actions had given offense to feminists, that Hispanics (or people of color in general) wouldn’t vote for Trump because social-justice activists denounced his attitudes toward illegal immigrants from Mexico as racist, and so on. The media took these proclamations as simple statements of fact—and of course that was one of the reasons media pundits were blindsided by Trump’s victory.

The facts of the matter are that a great many American women don’t happen to agree with feminists, nor do all people of color agree with the social-justice activists who claim to speak in their name. For that matter, may I point out to my fellow inhabitants of Gringostan that the terms “Hispanic” and “Mexican-American” are not synonyms? Americans of Hispanic descent trace their ancestry to many different nations of origin, each of which has its own distinctive culture and history, and they don’t form a single monolithic electoral bloc. (The Cuban-American community in Florida, to cite only one of the more obvious examples, very often vote Republican and  played a significant role in giving that electoral vote-rich state to Trump.)

Behind the media-manufactured facade of white working class men as the cackling villains who gave the country to Donald Trump, in other words, lies a reality far more in keeping with the complexities of American electoral politics: a ramshackle coalition of many different voting blocs and interest groups, each with its own assortment of reasons for voting for a candidate feared and despised by the US political establishment and the mainstream media.  That coalition included a very large majority of the US working class in general, and while white working class voters of both genders were disproportionately more likely to have voted for Trump than their nonwhite equivalents, it wasn’t simply a matter of whiteness, or for that matter maleness.

It was, however, to a very great extent a matter of social class. This isn’t just because so large a fraction of working class voters generally backed Trump; it’s also because Trump saw this from the beginning, and aimed his campaign squarely at the working class vote. His signature red ball cap was part of that—can you imagine Hillary Clinton wearing so proletarian a garment without absurdity?—but, as I pointed out a year ago, so was his deliberate strategy of saying (and tweeting) things that would get the liberal punditocracy to denounce him. The tones of sneering contempt and condescension they directed at him were all too familiar to his working class audiences, who have been treated to the same tones unceasingly by their soi-disant betters for decades now.

Much of the pushback against Trump’s impending presidency, in turn, is heavily larded with that same sneering contempt and condescension—the unending claims, for example, that the only reason people could possibly have chosen to vote for Trump was because they were racist misogynistic morons, and the like. (These days, terms such as “racist” and “misogynistic,” in the mouths of the affluent, are as often as not class-based insults rather than objective descriptions of attitudes.) The question I’d like to raise at this point, though, is why the affluent don’t seem to be able to bring themselves to come right out and denounce Trump as the candidate of the filthy rabble. Why must they borrow the rhetoric of identity politics and twist it (and themselves) into pretzel shapes instead?

There, dear reader, hangs a tale.

In the aftermath of the social convulsions of the 1960s, the wealthy elite occupying the core positions of power in the United States offered a tacit bargain to a variety of movements for social change.  Those individuals and groups who were willing to give up the struggle to change the system, and settled instead for a slightly improved place within it, suddenly started to receive corporate and government funding, and carefully vetted leaders from within the movements in question were brought into elite circles as junior partners. Those individuals and groups who refused these blandishments were marginalized, generally with the help of their more compliant peers.

If you ever wondered, for example, why environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth changed so quickly from scruffy fire-breathing activists to slickly groomed and well-funded corporate enablers, well, now you know. Equally, that’s why mainstream feminist organizations by and large stopped worrying about the concerns of the majority of women and fixated instead on “breaking the glass ceiling”—that is to say, giving women who already belong to the privileged classes access to more privilege than they have already. The core demand placed on former radicals who wanted to cash in on the offer, though, was that they drop their demands for economic justice—and American society being what it is, that meant that they had to stop talking about class issues.

The interesting thing is that a good many American radicals were already willing to meet them halfway on that. The New Left of the 1960s, like the old Left of the between-the-wars era, was mostly Marxist in its theoretical underpinnings, and so was hamstrung by the mismatch between Marxist theory and one of the enduring realities of American politics. According to Marxist theory, socialist revolution is led by the radicalized intelligentsia, but it gets the muscle it needs to overthrow the capitalist system from the working classes. This is the rock on which wave after wave of Marxist activism has broken and gone streaming back out to sea, because the American working classes are serenely uninterested in taking up the world-historical role that Marxist theory assigns to them. All they want is plenty of full time jobs at a living wage.  Give them that, and revolutionary activists can bellow themselves hoarse without getting the least flicker of interest out of them.

Every so often, the affluent classes lose track of this, and try to force the working classes to put up with extensive joblessness and low pay, so that affluent Americans can pocket the proceeds. This never ends well.  After an interval, the working classes pick up whatever implement is handy—Andrew Jackson, the Grange, the Populist movement, the New Deal, Donald Trump—and beat the affluent classes about the head and shoulders with it until the latter finally get a clue. This might seem  promising for Marxist revolutionaries, but it isn’t, because the Marxist revolutionaries inevitably rush in saying, in effect, “No, no, you shouldn’t settle for plenty of full time jobs at a living wage, you should die by the tens of thousands in an orgy of revolutionary violence so that we can seize power in your name.” My readers are welcome to imagine the response of the American working class to this sort of rhetoric.

The New Left, like the other American Marxist movements before its time, thus had a bruising face-first collision with cognitive dissonance: its supposedly infallible theory said one thing, but the facts refused to play along and said something very different. For much of the Sixties and Seventies, New Left theoreticians tried to cope with this by coming up with increasingly Byzantine redefinitions of “working class” that excluded the actual working class, so that they could continue to believe in the inevitability and imminence of the proletarian revolution Marx promised them. Around the time that this effort finally petered out into absurdity, it was replaced by the core concept of the identity politics currently central to the American left: the conviction that the only divisions in American society that matter are those that have some basis in biology.

Skin color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability—these are the divisions that the American left likes to talk about these days, to the exclusion of all other social divisions, and especially to the exclusion of social class.  Since the left has dominated public discourse in the United States for many decades now, those have become the divisions that the American right talks about, too. (Please note, by the way, the last four words in the paragraph above: “some basis in biology.” I’m not saying that these categories are purely biological in nature; every one of them is defined in practice by a galaxy of cultural constructs and presuppositions, and the link to biology is an ostensive category marker rather than a definition. I insert this caveat because I’ve noticed that a great many people go out of their way to misunderstand the point I’m trying to make here.)

Are the divisions listed above important when it comes to discriminatory treatment in America today? Of course they are—but social class is also important. It’s by way of the erasure of social class as a major factor in American injustice that we wind up in the absurd situation in which a woman of color who makes a quarter million dollars a year plus benefits as a New York stockbroker can claim to be oppressed by a white guy in Indiana who’s working three part time jobs at minimum wage with no benefits in a desperate effort to keep his kids fed, when the political candidates that she supports and the economic policies from which she profits are largely responsible for his plight.

In politics as in physics, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, and so absurdities of the sort just described have kindled the inevitable blowback. The Alt-Right scene that’s attracted so much belated attention from politicians and pundits over the last year is in large part a straightforward reaction to the identity politics of the left. Without too much inaccuracy, the Alt-Right can be seen as a network of young white men who’ve noticed that every other identity group in the country is being encouraged to band together to further its own interests at their expense, and responded by saying, “Okay, we can play that game too.” So far, you’ve got to admit, they’ve played it with verve.

That said, on the off chance that any devout worshippers of the great god Kek happen to be within earshot, I have a bit of advice that I hope will prove helpful. The next time you want to goad affluent American liberals into an all-out, fist-pounding, saliva-spraying Donald Duck meltdown, you don’t need the Jew-baiting, the misogyny, the racial slurs, and the rest of it.  All you have to do is call them on their class privilege. You’ll want to have the popcorn popped, buttered, and salted first, though, because if my experience is anything to go by, you’ll be enjoying a world-class hissy fit in seconds.

I’d also like to offer the rest of my readers another bit of advice that, again, I hope will prove helpful. As Donald Trump becomes the forty-fifth president of the United States and begins to push the agenda that got him into the White House, it may be useful to have a convenient way to sort through the mix of signals and noise from the opposition. When you hear people raising reasoned objections to Trump’s policies and appointments, odds are that you’re listening to the sort of thoughtful dissent that’s essential to any semblance of democracy, and it may be worth taking seriously. When you hear people criticizing Trump and his appointees for doing the same thing his rivals would have done, or his predecessors did, odds are that you’re getting the normal hypocrisy of partisan politics, and you can roll your eyes and stroll on.

But when you hear people shrieking that Donald Trump is the illegitimate result of a one-night stand between Ming the Merciless and Cruella de Vil, that he cackles in Russian while barbecuing babies on a bonfire, that everyone who voted for him must be a card-carrying Nazi who hates the human race, or whatever other bit of over-the-top hate speech happens to be fashionable among the chattering classes at the moment—why, then, dear reader, you’re hearing a phenomenon as omnipresent and unmentionable in today’s America as sex was in Victorian England. You’re hearing the voice of class bigotry: the hate that dare not speak its name.

522 comments:

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Ray Wharton said...

Personally one of the frustrations at this time is that I really want there to be a solid opposition to Trump. Even if his suggested breaks from the Beltway consensus make sense to me, I know that the alternatives that emerge will be ripe for corruption. I want there to be an opposition wing in government which can guide and force compromises, and give a stern looking over to the systems implemented to replace the old system. The most frustrating part of this is that I know there are a lot of folks with the capacity to respond critically but openly with Trump, and they are as of yet drowned out of the conversation by chicken littleism and wolf crying.

Considering interests I get the strong anti-Trump reaction in one way. The policies that are currently being suggested would in a very real way be opposed to millions of American's interests. The folks who were on the winning side of the ACA wealth transfer, those who benefit from cheap labor, and so on could face a abrupt slide in their wealth. Having been raised in a community which was left to die by the Globalists I don't have a great deal of sympathy with them... but then again I do, because its tough to be on the loosing side of a power swing. It is brutal actually, especially if you are an unfortunate creature which long ago forgot that you could lose, a true believer in an ideology which justified ones position is horrified by the crushing of that ideology by facts. In the horror they see Trump, and they see the imps that underlie ideology in the same glance and associate them.

Expounding my ideology of the head space of others is starting to feel sticky.

Still the rise of Trump is a real and practical lose for many... and hopefully more can be done to rebuild from that lose by those who aren't crippled by the emotional impact. I have no idea how it might affect me; but since I have spent 8 years emotionally prepping for the mortality of Western Civilization, and already had the view that the Globalist consensus was certainly lethal, I don't feel the too common panic. The time to panic (and in time get over it) was decades back!

anton mett said...

JMG, first off, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your answer is consistent with what you've written in your earlier posts, and I apologize if it came across as I was accusing you personally. I think you've done a good job of stating your expectations and reflecting on them later, in your yearly predictions for example.
I've not seen or heard a hard list of expectations from any of the analysts or acquaintance until I specifically ask for it, so my previous question was directed at our culture not at you specifically (though again thank you for your answer). If I may ask a follow up, I'd be interested to hear your theory on why is this practice of prediction and reflection so rare? Why do we not demand it?

Tidlösa said...

I suspect that the Kekists, Kekites or whatever is the correct term for Pepe´s Foul Minions won´t understand the class aspect of the situation, since they are themselves middle class!

As for the New Left, and what´s left of the Old Left, I always considered U.S. leftists slightly surrealistic. They talk about "the most oppressed" also being "the most revolutionary", and then go off to a university campus to recruit?! Judging by their racial make-up, most of them are still White! But sure, perhaps things have changed. Maybe today they also recruit privileged Blacks and Latinas...

BTW, the bizarre anti-Trumpista hatred just got worse, now CNN discusses what would happen if Trump is assassinated (under the deceptive headline "Developing Now"), and people on Twitter "joke" about an assassination. Let´s hope the chickens never come home to roost!

Of course, the best US president would be as tough as Trump and as progressive as Sanders.A bit like Bull Moose bully boy Teddy Roosevelt? :D

Kittric Guest said...

JMG,
Great food for thought as always. On another level, I find it rather funny that resilience.org didn't put this post on their website this week (they are pretty good about quickly linking all your blog posts).
Just goes to show, no one is above a little censorship of ideas. I wonder how many of their readers (me included) will be turned off by this?
R/
Kit

latefall said...

Re Le Pen etc. @armata, jmg, lordberia

I found lordberia's predictions reasonable on the whole. From a gut feeling I'd go a little longer on Wilders, shorter on Le Pen. I can't claim special insight, but it appears enough of the Moroccan community (and Erdoganists) in the Netherlands are managing to make themselves unpopular enough for it. Among other factors, in contrast to France there is much less in terms of historical failings of their hosts to point to. The Dutch seem to keep enough numbers to have a debate on this, and I think that there may be enough liberals who think a different approach to the problem is more advisable.

Le Pen I'd say is definitely in the cards, but can be a pretty complex game before they are all on the table. The fault lines in French society do not run too similar to the ones in Anglo countries. For example very many voters want to see geopolitical independence from the Anglo bloc (she claims NOT to be an Atlanticist). So much so that it is possible that Trump & May could block that development.
At the same time I don't see her as isolationist (e.g. when she defended the Harkis in France, or the pushes for Francophonie in Africa, being a Zionist, etc). I'm sure (military) involvement will look a little different though.
Lavish social systems are a specialty of France, and so far I've seen less overt indications to do something there from FN than from most other parties - because that is really a point that costs votes in many demographics, very much including FN's. This brings me to:

"Western Europe has been able to fund a variety of lavish welfare state programs because the US has covered the cost of Europe's defense*"

At the same time France spends a higher fraction of GDP than Britain on defense, has a much higher gov spending than China (how is that for neoliberal?), and is neither particularly threatened (remember the elite wanted to sell carriers to Russia - guess who called that off), nor shy about using their expeditionary oriented force.

With regard to Scandinavian countries there is an interesting discussion to be had about well intended advice from the USA. Suffice to say that the Finns are direct neighbors of Russia, not in NATO, and their highest spending (1.9%) was actually when the USSR was in collapse (perhaps an important point?).

Re central Europe I'd want to point out the main contribution to German security by the US was nuclear warheads that were intended to be dropped on German cities and the countryside by the US, Brits and partially the Germans themselves (see the tactical nukes).
Of course there were prepo conventional forces as well, but those were not with the scale or intent to secure Germany. Now the crumple zone finally moved east one set of borders and German society is really not thrilled about bringing it back.

Germany had conscription from 1956 to 2011! (which may make the numbers look low)
Most of spending post 2001 (in the West as a whole) was decidedly ill advised and Germany does not view the military as a "EDC multitool", but a more like a "safety harness". And if you're concerned with Russia I'd start looking around Rambouillet, or the British Russian expat community really.

latefall said...

continued

Currently spending really is pretty low, but already on the up-tick. But I would argue the ones who should be looking over their shoulders most are Russia's direct neighbors.
If you look at EU money transfer into that region - there is your spending on security (or defense if they decide to spend it that way).

That is the foremost point of the EU from a continental perspective. It won't help Estonia to ramp up their defense spending to 50%. A functional European defense will (EU or not, 0.5% spending or 2.5% isn't even an issue if focused on territorial protection). Germany is hardly is not exactly standing in the way of a defense integration, nor does it want to outspend others and mandate their view on everyone.

If you want to talk numbers: https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex

*A lot of AfD people would call it more loyalty than defense. Those US installations also cut down mission costs significantly, and allowed (industrial) espionage to operate much better (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON#Concerns).

I am happy to argue these points but I may need a bit to come back to you.

Dammerung said...

Shane W, so it would seem. A 4channer claiming to be the originator of the document posted a couple other excerpts. He says he's in talks with a publisher and a lawyer, and I hope he, like I do, keeps a loaded pistol on his nightstand. Playing practical jokes on the CIA is a pretty dicey game and this isn't the only one we've pulled off recently (anonymous also spoiled a CIA plot to frame Assange as a pedophile a couple months ago.)

If the 4/pol/ack is to be believed, the originating document is full of chanspeak about tendies and waifus, so it's hard to believe how anyone was stupid enough to fall for it. Maybe they just excised the bits they thought were plausible to run with. Maybe Trump's friends in military intelligence set the CIA up and made 4chan the untouchable patsy - what are you going to do, hunt down a bunch of "harmless" idiots who spend half their time arguing whether Rei or Asuka is the better grill? But that's just the thing! SEC whistleblowers dump gigabytes of dox on /pol/ when their superiors bury them under the rug. The FBI stops by occasionally, and suggests things we might want to dig into. A hobby imageboard that started because Something Awful goons banned you for animeposting has somehow become a major player in global politics, and none of us are quite sure how it happened, either.

mh505 said...


Thanks much for your response, JMG !

I was actually alluding to the fate of JFK; which - if PCR is even remotely to be believed - may well happen to Trump as well.

RAnderson said...

JMG: a link to King's famous Riverside speech, probably one of his greatest and most prescient:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC1Ru2p8OfU

Emmanuel Goldstein said...

Trumpenproletariat
A Double Dactyl, While Watching the Inauguration

He has ascended, who wears the red tie and hat,
Is he a lead(or mis-lead)er of all?
He was elected by
Trump-proletariat
Onward we must,
Though we rise, or we fall...

David, by the lake said...

Watching the inaugural address. Holy crap. Full-bore populist. I've only witnessed a few inaugual addresses, but I cannot recall one like this, even remotely.

James M. Jensen II said...

My work schedule kept me from seeing the swearing-in of President Trump but I caught the last part of his inaugural address and the closing prayers this morning.

The talking heads were saying how divisive the address was but the only part that I heard that wasn't about unity and solidarity were the jabs at the establishment. Perhaps if I get a chance to watch the whole thing I'll see what they were talking about (or perhaps not).

I quite appreciated the three closing prayers, the first by a Rabbi calling for harmony and justice, the last by a black minister quoting Mahalia Jackson, with Franklin Graham shooting off his big mouth for just a bit in the middle. The Rabbi especially was such a great middle finger to the alt-right.

Seth said...

Class vs race/identity is key. Class issues are continually being ducked by offering distracting identity issues or other hot-buttons (eg abortion, prayer in schools, etc.).

If you look closely, there's a continuity between Romney and Trump. Romney made his money by stealing workers' retirement funds. It was all done legally and Romney always made an effort to be very upper class about everything. Trump made his money by stealing from various investors, partners, suppliers, and many unwitting customers. But he kept a showy style that always came across as working class -- "blue collar billionaire" indeed.

Middle America found Romney snooty and off-putting, but thought Trump was worth a try. Now we'll see if hiring a con man to improve the lot of American workers actually does the trick. I'm skeptical, not least because his cabinet are pretty much the usual Republican crowd of not-exactly-working-class people. But one must hope for the best ;)

latefall said...

@Joe

Similar sentiment here.

@JMG

"Had the election last November gone the other way, for example, we can be quite certain that _all_ the people who are ranting about Donald Trump’s appointment of Goldman Sachs employees to various federal offices would be busy explaining how reasonable it was for Hillary Clinton to do exactly the same thing—as of course she would have."

That looks to me like a false binary.

@Ray

Thanks for your perspective - sounds reasonable, but Colorado is a bit of an outlier (to a smaller degree than Boulder to be sure) in the US isn't it?

anton mett said...

"Most of the things Trump campaigned on are already being thrown out: build a wall, lock her up, repeal and replace (Obamacare), drain the swamp, etc."
onething said...
I've seen a lot of commentary in this vein around the web, and while it appears quite possibly true, my question is, in that case why is nearly every one among our rulers so against him?

I'm not sure I understand your question. By "our rulers" whom do you mean? Trump is taking the single most important political position in our government, so I say he's "our ruler". Do you mean the Senate, Congress, and Governors? If so, the majority of them have put up very little fuss over his cabinet picks thus far, and give the impression that they'll be going along with everything he'd like. Perhaps they should be "against him" for going back on almost everything he and his party campaigned on, but they do not seem to be.
Do you mean the Democrats or the media? If so, I guess I still don't understand your question. He promised during the campaign to do a bunch of things that are the opposite of what they value. Just because he doesn't seem capable or interested in following through doesn't let him off the hook.

wolf:"I'd like to break into your house and eat your babies"
piggy:"I find that upsetting and do not like you very much"
wolf:"well considering you just hired a bunch of armed guards, I guess I was just kidding"
piggy:"I don't feel I can trust you"
wolf:"oh my gosh, that was like 5 minutes ago, don't be so sensitive"

That's just a little fun, but I'm genuinely interested in understanding your question better.

Brian said...

Sure, Hillary couldn't hide the fact that she has been bought and paid for by Wall Street, and sure, beaten-down wage-earners are very tired of being spat upon by arrogant liberals, salaried and otherwise.

But Donald Trump is a very strange working class hero. His promises to bring back manufacturing jobs will fail. Slapping tariffs on imported products will only make them more expensive for the poor, and trying to force the dollar down and the yuan up will only make the Chinese richer - just as doing the same against Japan in the 80s made the Japanese richer.

We might get a bit of real, positive change if the Trump administration wages less war than its predecessors, but I'm not particularly hopeful. It's just as likely that they'll end up waging war because of blundering stupidity instead of Machiavellian shrewdness. And whether or not bombs are being dropped, Trump can't shut down the war economy without throwing even more patriots out of work.

What will the downtrodden working classes think when they realize their hero's given the biggest tax breaks ever to the ultra-wealthy and taken away Obama's noble but pathetic attempt at providing them with universal health care?

This isn't going to end well.

Patricia Mathews said...

Historian David Kaiser analyzed Trump's personality and temperament in terms of former world leaders. His conclusion: "Kaiser Willie."

http://historyunfolding.blogspot.com/

BTW, I have also been interested in matters of temperament for some time, and think both Hillary and Obama had precisely the wrong temperament for our times. THis is merely personality, not policies, intelligence, honesty, nor even sanity - just temperament.

Hillary is a bureaucrat/CEO type - in personality terms, if you grew up on the Peanuts cartoons, think Lucy Van Pelt - who would have done well in the late 1990s. It also occurred to me this morning that some of the votes for her were less idolatry than the sort of "magical" thinking which says "if we vote for a BAU president, we can hold back the onrushing tide of the crisis climax we (rightly) fear so much." I hate to insult a famous Danish King of England so, but call it the King Canute Complex.

Obama, OTH, in my opinion, would have made a perfect Eisenhower-type post-Crisis president, steering the ship safely into port after another captain brought it safely through the hurricane. Come to think of it, Truman did precisely that as well.

And I tuned in NPR too late to catch the inaugural address, and got, instead, a lot of opinion, speculation, and the sort of commentary one can't even call analysis, with heavy overtones of "How will we cope with this and get him to do what we want?" Including Al Gore on "maybe he'll come to his senses about climate change." I found myself thinking that, as you said, Trump not only does not give a rat's rear end about what the people who do commentary for NPR want; he would delight in flouting them.I am shaking my head --- useless. Less than useless. Ads the late Robert Heinlein put it, "puppies yapping in a basket."

latefall said...

@Mike, Prof Pan

From an outside perspective (US-German, in France) I feel your uneasiness as well. However, I would not say this is wholly unprecedented - George W Bush looked a lot like Trump from the outside.

Dubya was probably a similar distance from the "baseline presidential aptitude level" as Trump appears to be from the current. His advisors and much of PNAC are perhaps comparable as well. I fear that if Trump does to the US domestically what Dubya did for the US on the international stage then you are in for some critical damage.

Perhaps to the degree that the de Maistre quip will be uttered in its original language more often than in English: "Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite." ("Every nation gets the government it deserves." which is not necessarily something I agree with by the way).

I'd say it would probably not hurt to start shopping around for other ways of running a society in case this preliminary experiment comes to a conclusion.

Donald Hargraves said...

A word for everyone sounding warnings about how Trump's going to turn the United States into a satanic hell where the lower 98% beg for the wealthy to enslave them, promising them (an ever paltry) everything they can for the sake of a slice of (soot encrusted, poison-flavored) pizza a day with their water-tainted liquid lead:

Yeah, I get it, given the fact that Trump is putting businessmen into the various offices instead of the usual suspects. And with the 1,000 seats (just the federal and state offices, with plenty more in the local level not yet noted) that have been shifted from Democratic to Republican control, it looks like Trump is ready to sign laws that define women solely as sex objects and breeding stock just AFTER signing a version of the TPP set up to place the USA under the economic rule of China, all the while handing Europe to the Russians so that the US military can turn the drones and (rural poor, may I add) trained killers to the task of bombing and destroying our own cities, all the while setting up the court system so that it doesn't become Conservative or merely vicious, but Vengefully Corporatist until the time comes to hand power over to China (as they have the money to pay off Trump's Debts, of course...).

But the Democrats as the heroes of the working class? The party that deregulated Trucking and the Airlines in the late seventies (PATCO wouldn't have supported Reagan had they not seen what was happening in the Airline industry, thanks to Carter and the Democrats in office back then)? And when they had the chance to do something about it in the '90s, Clinton proceeded to do everything in his power to hand the nation to the strong and powerful – WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT (i.e. The Democrats Rolling Over)! NAFTA, GATT, China as Most Favored Nation status, The Telecommunications act of 1996, Welfare Reform, the Revocation of Glass-Stegel, and probably quite a few others I haven't remembered yet – all instituted so as to remove protections that helped local markets and hand power over to the powerful. This has been going on for forty plus years plus – Check out this article if you want some more details.

So if you want me to believe that the Democratic Party is indeed the Party of ALL Workers and ALL the lower classes, act like it. Fight Republicans (even when it's quixotic) and support workers when you get back in power. Until you figure that out, you'll just keep losing seats as people become more desperate (and yes, Trump was a beneficiary of desperation).

RUKidding said...

I'm on the fence re Trump and not feeling sanguine that he'll do much, if any, "good" for our nation. His cabinet choices are really off the charts, including many from the Goldman Sachs contingent that Trump so resoundingly disparaged and mocked that this is what you'd get with Clinton. Why is OK if Trump does the exact same thing that he said was wrong? On top of which is the ship of fools like Rick Perry who wanted to close down the DOE (which he couldn't remember the name of and knew nothing of what it does) but now is all keen and eager to run it. Yeah, right. That's not even getting to Ben Carson and a mega-super carpet bagger like DeVos who only wants to suck the life & money out of public education in order to enrich her Amway Pyramid scheme butt.

I like what you said, Mr. Greer, about the class issues in the USA and the fear of being working class (not exactly what you said, but that's the drift). I completely agree about how the Democratic party is totally out to lunch, off the rails and is completely worthless and beyond contemptible. Clinton very publically chose to go after the votes of rich white Republicans, while refusing to LOWER herself to campaign in working class areas of WI, MI and PA, and guess what? She lost... bigly. My loathing of the Clintons knows no bounds, and I am not sorry that they are gone from the political stage hopefully forever (and no third acts from Chelsea, please).

I don't have the optimism that you seem to have, JMG, that Trump is going to be good for the USA. I do hope I'm wrong, and certainly some of his ideas/policies are worth pursuit, such as either dispensing NATO or making Europe pay their fair share, for one example. However, I have friends who come from a range of African nations (now naturalized citizens), who echo my fears that who Trump most readily resembles is not Hitler, but some long-time plundering African dictator, ala Robert Mugabe. Trump's cabinet picks emphasize this for me, as they are clearly there to rob and plunder. Trump is STILL talking about his worthless wall, which, if somehow that useless monstrosity comes into being, will be solely about Trump (and maybe some of his cronies) making money hand over fist - off the backs of his supporters and foes alike... all while the rest of our infrastructure crumbles and falls to bits.

I am currently re-watching Michael Apted's UP series of films (google it), which follows the lives of a group of British kids from the age of 7, revisiting some of them every 7 years (up to the age of 56 now). There's a lot of discussion and highlighting of class differences amongst those in this series. Several of the children come from upper class backgrounds, where they attended the best of private schools up through Oxbridge and most went on to professional high paying careers.

What was most striking was that most of those of the upper class commented often throughout the series that they recognized that there was inherent unfairness in terms of them being born into a wealthier family and have certain privileges. However, they all commented about needing to give back to their country and other citizens because they HAD enjoyed privileges the other kids didn't.

Can you imagine rich, privileged Americans saying that? We've been trained and brainwashed by our Oligarch overlords to hate and despise the poor, hold them in contempt and view them as deserving of their fate because surely they must be lazy and disgusting.

Sad thing how things have turned out here in the USA. And no wonder there's such classism going on here... everyone is worried that they might fall off the gravy train and end a worthless working class (or worse) slob whom everyone else will hate and feel disgust for.

Ed-M said...

Hi, JMG!

Excellent post on the mass psychological meltdown by the mainstream PC/Left -Liberal/Progressive side of the political spectrum. I have to put up every day with their antics everytime I go on Facecrack! (Today I posted two items there that'll really make 'em flip!)

But I have to agree somewhat with Jbarber, in that you come off in this post as disdaining and criticizing the American left, because it is clear you said squat (or not very much if you did say something) about the mainstream pseudoconservatives who were also freaking out about Russia "hacking" the election in favor of Donald Trump, the most visible and hysterical examples being Senators John "Bad Temper" McCain and Lindsey "Light in the Loafers" Graham.

M Smith said...

JacGolf,

I was going to reply to you anyway when I saw what JMG had said: "JacGolf, remember that most people -- no matter what identity category they do or don't belong to -- take on the identities their culture assigns to them. It takes an unusual degree of self-awareness and self-knowledge to create an identity for oneself."

You said in your post that you were one of the lucky ones, in that you got a job at a commercial bank. OK, you might have been "lucky" to find a job opening when you needed a job. But most of it, IMO, is your self-discipline and focus. You're 29 now, if my math is right, and you have no children. That gave you an edge in not becoming impoverished, and probably in getting the job over some woman with 3 kids, who has alienated her family and has no friends so has to seek paid day care, but has no money for decent day care so will be calling in sick/late a lot. Don't sell yourself short. You deserve a lot of credit.

M Smith said...

Steve:

I'm stealing "instant spray-on tar and feathers" and "spaztika."

And oh yeah, we've got one on our local news site who's always deflecting the bad things his beloved minorities do with the excuses of "raising awareness" and "conversation", and above all, the "systematic racism" for which "we" "must" do penance.

Not coincidentally, he often browbeats others demanding to know whether they "caaaaaaaare"...as if that phenomenon were anything more than a certain sequence of fired synapses which improves the life of exactly no one.

Esn said...

@Phil Knight & JMG:
The US asks the Saudis to sell their oil exclusively in US dollars to keep the dollar's status as the world reserve currency, which allows the US to endlessly run up its debt because they can control the interest rate at which it's paid back to creditors (making it de facto not really "debt" but "tribute"). In return, the US supports everything the Saudis do. That's been the deal since the 1970s, after the dollar was removed from the gold standard:
https://dailyreckoning.com/u-s-saudi-relations-cracking-petrodollar/

It is indeed a bit odd that the enormous importance of this alliance remains largely unrecognized by the American public, because it is central to the entire American way of life, and it explains a good deal of the wars the US has launched, such as against Iraq (Hussein was planning to sell oil in euros) and Libya (Gaddafi was planning to sell oil in a new pan-African gold-backed currency).

Would Russia be able or willing to replace or join Saudi Arabia in that role? Maybe the US hope is that they might if they become unable to protect themselves, which may be one of the reasons that US nuclear primacy is being developed.

@JMG: "withdraw the missile shield installations to our side of the pond"

Although that would terrify Poland, it would still mean that the US could launch a nuclear strike without having to worry about Russia's nuclear response hitting anything in the US.

An interesting section of Putin's recent year-end press conference was his answer to a question that the Wall Street Journal posed about Trump's tweet about modernizing nuclear weapons. This part of Putin's answer seems to not have been widely translated into English:

Putin: "In 2001 [sic: it was actually 2002], the US unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. This treaty was, without question, the cornerstone of the entire system of international security. At that time, we were told: "We're not doing this against you, so you can..." To which I said: "We'll have to react somehow, and will need to improve our strike systems so they can overcome the missile defense systems". We were told in reply: "You do what you want, our position is that it's not against us." And so we're doing exactly that. Many prefer not to notice it, but we're simply doing exactly that to which we seem to have mutually agreed, by default, without signing any papers."
(he says it 40 minutes into the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti3FiTPi-0U )

And so while the US has been building the missile shield, Russia has been upgrading their missiles and developing plans for alternative responses: bombarding the oceans to create tsunamis, making the Yellowstone caldera erupt, etc. All pretty scary stuff. I wish there was actual public policy debate about these things.

None said...

"Listen and you can hear the sneering “elite” liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Trump administration it voted into office. Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they’ll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.
It’s true, of course, that Trump is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian “rustbelt rebellion” for Trump has been badly oversold. “The real story of the 2016 election,” the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes, “is not that Trump won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it"

From Paul Street at Counterpunch...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/20/divide-and-rule-class-hate-and-the-2016-election/

I used to be a democrat. I quit them back in the 90's. I didn't vote for The Clown or The Witch - just to be clear.

temporaryreality (Wendy) said...

I'm not sure I can articulate why I came to this conclusion, but did anyone else who watched the Inaugural speeches also feel that Schumer's (D-NY) speech was in poor taste? Maybe it's just because I'm reading The Coming Fury, but I question the impetus behind his choice of who and what to quote at a time when Americans all across the country are feeling fractious. Nothing like waving a weird 'winners are inevitably right" fake piousness in front of everyone. And that's inspiring, how? Oh, to remind us of who we're supposed to sacrifice our petty peon lives for, I guess (answer: the government). I can only imagine how southerners feel, but out here in evilly evil CA, I wasn't amused.

ick

Unknown said...

(Deborah Bender)

@Dammerung--I'm a brown-eyed brunette. My brother (full brother; there is no doubt that we have the same parents) is a blue-eyed, fair-skinned brunet. One of our grandparents was red haired. My brother hasn't had his genome checked, but I have. National Geographic says that I am one percent Neanderthal, eighty-nine percent Diasporic Jew, and the rest of my ancestry is split between Scandinavians and Western Asians. None of this surprised me. Our family was highly endogamous--that's the Jewish part of the genome. The rest makes sense because one side of the family used to live in Hungary and the other side hails from the Ukraine.

Fair skin and some recessive traits like blue eyes get passed down even in families that have no interest in preserving them. My ancestors selected mates for intelligence, good character, and Jewishness. If your justification for your politics is preservation of a particular set of visual traits, maybe you can relax about that.

Gottfried Wilhelm Melvin Hicks-Leibniz said...

JMG,

Just from a pure probabilities perspective, is it not more likely to experience future war if preparing for one now?
I'm open to data disputing that.

Thanks!

PunditusMaximus said...

I'm sorry, but leaving out the Dickensian working conditions of the top 10% misses an important part of the dynamics.

cat said...

First look at Trump's substantive policies as President:

About an hour after President Donald Trump was sworn in on Friday, his administration suspended indefinitely a scheduled cut in mortgage insurance premiums—effectively raising costs for working and middle-class borrowers by about $500 a year.

He talks like a populist, but he walks like an oligarch.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

You are probably already aware of this, but just in case you are not...

Have you noticed the German concerns about rising inflation (dismissed as temporary due to oil price hikes! Funny huh?), continuing money printing (sorry, bond buying) exercises combined with concerns over negative interest rates. If I was a betting man, you know I reckon the negative interest rates on deposits are the thing they are annoyed about the most. ;-)!

This all tells me that stresses in the Euro zone are reaching critical mass.

Cheers

Chris

Marissa said...

I would suggest class analysis along the lines of Pierre Bourdieu. In short, considering three kinds of capital: economic, social, and cultural. What you have, who you know, and what you value. Assuming that you or your interlocutor lacks all three because they lack one is at the root of a lot of the difficulty Americans have in talking about class.

For instance, I know many fellow academics who are making pennies and use this to brush off any talk of class interests because they too are "poor," but they also have much more in the way of connections -- social capital -- and attended private schools or "the right" public schools from day one, are crying over the NEA -- cultural capital. Consider how these three kinds of capital are self-reinforcing (going to the right school gives you a certain network, and your parents likely have wealth you will inherit). This can be a negative too, of course... for example, sharing cultural and social capital with the more wealthy can make one much more willing to put up with a lot of crap from those with much more economic capital. (One of my students did a brilliant analysis of how minimum-wage employment at Whole Foods involves being encouraged to feel that as a cashier you are sharing the tastes of the affluent customers.)

Unfortunately, Bourdieu also has the concept of "social field," and in my academic experience this has been used to argue that there are more solidly defined and bounded groups, fitting nicely with the rampant snobbery of academia. I find it very paradoxical that this analysis made not only my own presence, but also Bourdieu's, in Ivy League/Ecole Normal Superieure-type academia inexplicable (we share nouveau-salary class rural origins).

Bourdieu also gets very little citation nowadays, especially compared to his critic Butler, who turned his concepts to gender politics and performativity...

Varun Bhaskar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marissa said...

Also, we are seeing the fallacy of assuming if one doesn't have one kind of Bourdieusian capital, they don't have any, applied to Trump. Think of the claims along the lines of "he's not even rich." I would caution everyone against underestimating the extent and character of his networks (and there is more than one Establishment, after all).

Nastarana said...

Dear Bob. I invite you to consider the possibility that the presidential vote of 2016 may have been in large part an anti war vote. I think it was; I thought the same about the primary vote which removed Rep. Cantor from congress. By this reasoning, while one might not have much liked the new president, he at least wasn't threatening to start WWIII.

Dear James M. Jensen, you do understand that the one thing America's upper class will not tolerate is collusion between white and non-white working classes? Back at the turn of the 19thC, Wall Street openly funded the KKK, while also covertly funding civil rights organizations using their model minority Jewish bagmen. We see the same pattern today, with Soros funding BLM while the Koch's are funding the Tea Party.

Dear jbarber, please allow me to congratulate you on picking up The Tale of Genji. I am sure you will love it, just as I did. Love, eros, sex, desire are treated with all the grace and delicacy which those interesting subjects deserve and so seldom receive in the first and best of all romance novels. Tacitus is good too, and may I respectfully recommend that you provide yourself with a historical atlas of the classical world, if your library has not yet discarded it.

Kevin Warner said...

"Patricia Mathews said...
The "Pantsuit Nation" book and blog --- are you sure that isn't a crude parody"

Sorry Patricia - I wish I was. Here are good two links that should give you the background to this story. I should have included them with my original post-

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-klein-pantsuit-nation-20161226-story.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/panstuit-nation-is-a-sham_us_585991dce4b04d7df167cb4d

Vesta said...

Writer Sherman Alexie's post-inauguration radio meltdown on Seattle's KUOW 1/20/17 at noon is hysterically funny, and almost the whole hour illustrates this post (and others) beautifully.
http://kuow.org/post/week-were-translating-president-trumps-inaugural-address-you

Vesta said...

re Trumps inauguration speech and the theme of this weeks post, I'm sure that if it were edited for grammar and sensitivity, and read by Bernie Sanders, most of the salary-class D's I know would love it.

Dammerung said...

@Scotlyn - Well, that's definitely not an easy one to answer. In the course of human events there are times when a people is entitled to levy just war against its oppressors. A nation-state should have the right to define and defend its borders; define and defend its unique conception of citizenship; and, as has been said in certain more extreme forums, defend the existence of its people. National Socialist Germany did nothing that hasn't been done before, since, or in far greater numbers. I am compelled by evidence to believe that her crimes have been greatly exaggerated. Some of the claims made strike me as a "throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators"-level of preposterousness.

Had the Germans won, or had the Allies been more willing to come to a comfortable peace, I find it enormously unlikely that Europeans would be threatened in the heart of Paris, Berlin, and Oslo today by radical Islamic terrorists. I find it highly unlikely that European nations would be undergoing demographic replacement by people whose culture and genome is radically different from those indigenous to European homelands.

Or you can just believe one of my favorite /pol/ introspection quotes - "We're sincere Nazis pretending to be ironic Nazis."

@Unknown - I don't think we're going to be able to reason together effectively. After finding out as much as I have about the Israeli role in illegal organ trafficking and human slavery; PizzaGate and Marina Abramović's nasty little brand of black magic; and teaching myself as much as I could about the mechanisms of finance a couple years before the housing bubble collapse - I have come to believe that blood libel is real. As a matter of fact I know it's real. I bear a scar from it on my own body, courtesy of my credulous evangelical parents. They use the foreskin tissue in facial creams if you can believe that.

SCA Heretic said...

JMG-To clarify, this is what I was referring to when I said that it seems as though you are saying "Its different this time."

" I think it’s fair, though, to say that the current example has plunged well past the low-water mark set by those dismal occasions."

I see little to no difference.

Wendy Crim said...

(I'm late to the party this week- sorry.) I am so surprised you didn't learn anything from this. Every single post of ADR is a learning experience for me. As someone born and raised in and still completely surrounded by total left/liberal end of things, I find what you term "anti-left" to be some of the MOST educational. I am certainly learning how to learn from every installment of this blog. I honestly don't think I would be who I am today without it challenging me over the years.

Cortes said...

Our parents (dad plumber, mum - premarriage - chrome plater) brought up five of us. Two went into the military and two more to university in the late 1970s/early 1980s). None of us had any illusions that people of more fortunate economic backgrounds did anything other than hate us for being more talented. My youngest brother could not buy membership in mediocre golf clubs when he was setting out in business but now his money makes him welcome at a prestigious club.
I watched the inauguration ceremony and was impressed by the new President and his speech. The only explanation I can find for the official response in The Guardian (the "liberal " paper) is pure snobbery, AKA class hatred:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/20/the-guardian-view-on-donald-trumps-inauguration-a-declaration-of-political-war

Just shameful.

Thanks once again for the excellent article.

Jay Cummings said...

No, jmg - I would not point out that your positions in this post seem solidified as an argument against them, but rather that I rarely see you respond to a comment with a change of heart. So many responses you field are misguided (many of mine have been over the years) that mine now must seem so too.

I am saddened that you chose to normalize Trump's hideous behavior by lumping his behavior and political choices in with what hilary (or insert your [least] favorite politician) might have done in this post, but I guess I don't expect you to see the other side of a coin you've already tossed.

I really value your point of view, it brings a kind of rigorousness to discussion. Again, you're not wrong about elite leftist bigotry, you're just missing a much bigger story.

hadend said...

I'd reiterate what some other commenters have said: Trump's base is and always was middle-class whites not the working-class. That's what the numbers say over and over again. By and large, the working class and poor didn't turn out. The election really highlighted an interesting feature of the presidential election: the number of people that will turn out to vote for the Republican candidate is fairly consistent while the same thing can't be said for the Democratic candidate. It was Clinton's election to lose and she face-planted - losing counties Obama won safely.

Allie said...

Hard hitting post this week, JMG. I enjoyed it.

Had "Didn't Vote" run for president, he/she/it would have destroyed both Trump and Clinton by about 20 million votes. Trump would have been a very distant 3rd place in the popular vote. That's just how bad both candidates were.

http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/eligible-voter-turnout-for-2016-data-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-republican-democrat-popular-vote-registered-results/

I am still surprised so many working class folks really think he's actually going to go to work for them. You would think after being hoodwinked by the affluent year after year, decade after decade they would get the trick. But as you point out, the way Trump lured the mainstream media into sneering and snarling at him, it just got the working class to fall in behind him even more. In America, if a person who is wealthier than you is trying to "help you out", "do you a favor" or "hook you up"; they are simply trying to screw you and steal from you. Plain and simple.

Lastly:

"When you hear people raising reasoned objections to Trump’s policies and appointments, odds are that you’re listening to the sort of thoughtful dissent that’s essential to any semblance of democracy, and it may be worth taking seriously."

Agreed!

"When you hear people criticizing Trump and his appointees for doing the same thing his rivals would have done, or his predecessors did, odds are that you’re getting the normal hypocrisy of partisan politics, and you can roll your eyes and stroll on."

Kind of nitpicking here, but what if someone points all that out and claims that is a good reason to expect that he won't be such a change agent for the working class as they hoped?

That's personally one of my main arguments why I think his whole "champion of the working class" shtick is totally fake. All those Goldman alums and other billionaires profited handsomely from shaking down the lower middle class and working class. They are smart people too, they know that they profited more than they otherwise would have by that very class looting. So I seriously doubt they have found religion and are going to sacrifice their privilege to help that dude in Indiana working three part time jobs...

Robert Tweedy said...

Re: the Cult of Kek:
In the online computer game World of Warcraft, "kek" in the Orcish language translates as "lol". It also seems to predate today's Cult of Kek meme by several years. Hmm.

nuku said...

@anonymous,
Re “so, in a few years, forget about consumer goods purchases that actually drive an economy“:
Suggested correction/addition, its also government/tax funded infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, water supply, flood control, plus defense, border contol, various regulatory agencies, education, etc that drive an economy.
The economy isn’t just “consumers“ (boy do I hate that word) consuming new bright and shiny gee gaws.
End of rant...

Wendy Crim said...

I live in midtown KCMO and agree it's complicated out here. I think how you describe it is accurate. And I also agree it's "impolite" to talk about the rot. I am interested to see what happens over the next four years.

Bill Pulliam said...

Thinking about this more... the people I know who are sincerely and severely upset about the incoming administration are so because of things that he and his appointees have directly said about things like climate change, government lands, minorities, immigration, women, constitutional freedoms other than the second amendment, and so on. Your continuing to trivialize and dismiss these very sincere and deep feelings that have nothing to do with class warfare has actually gotten pretty offensive to me. So it seems I just have to be done here, indefinitely.

It was an interesting decade. Sorry you decided to finish it up on such a bizzare note.

DoubtingThomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nuku said...

@JMG,
Re upward mobility and the American Dream:
The rest of my story and how it might relate to the topic I raised;
I did indeed go to University (UC Berkeley and San Francisco State in the 60’s and boy was that an experience!), got 2 degrees and dropped out to be a “tradesman” building replica harpsichords for 14 years. Then I spent 2 years in law school in a futile attempt to be the “professional” my parents always wanted. I eventually made enough $ to retire and cruise the world on a small sailboat through the combination of lucky investing of the proceeds of my craft, some “green weed” gardening, being incredibly frugal with my funds, and choosing not to have kids.
The point is that I did voluntarily give up the American Dream of getting “rich and famous” in favor of creating my own life, and I did it before the death of the American Dream. Maybe I dimly saw the writing on the wall beginning in the 80’s. That, plus what’s personally important to me is creativity, looking for the bigger picture, simplicity, and the freedom to shape my life and my time, not wealth as an end in itself and status in the eyes of others. Call it “early social collapse” if you will.

onething said...

Dear Pundit Maximus,

I, too, have benefitted from Obamacare. I sometimes say it saved my life, not because I didn't have health insurance, but because it allowed me to afford it while working fewer hours; that is, it decoupled it from my job which kills me with stress.

But the whole shebang is a boondoggle that will, WILL bankrupt this nation if it is not pruned way back. The boondoggle of course predated the ACA, but seems to have perhaps only worsened it. I'm talking about the corrupt pricing and monopolistic practices which, according to the blogger on Market Ticker (a rather pugnacious fellow that I hardly like) are already illegal. I'm talking about price fixing, pharmaceutical monopolistic practices and nontransparent pricing which leave the populace helpless. Also, it is apparently already illegal to take advantage of people in extremis. I would say that someone lying on the side of the road needing to be life flighted to the nearest hospital is in extremis. So I called a helicopter company in my nearest city and found out that a flight for 4 people for an hour, a joyride over the city, would cost 1499 if booked in advance but about 2000 if done on the spur of the moment. How much do you think my patient's flight cost her? Would 30 grand surprise you?

onething said...

One of the two strong Trump detractors listed among his upcoming sins the repeal of the first amendment. But wasn't it under Obama that a new law was just passed, or at least presented to congress, to restrict free speech because of "fake news"?

Bob said...

Dear Bob. I invite you to consider the possibility that the presidential vote of 2016 may have been in large part an anti war vote. I think it was; I thought the same about the primary vote which removed Rep. Cantor from congress. By this reasoning, while one might not have much liked the new president, he at least wasn't threatening to start WWIII.

I believe most people are opposed to war. Most are opposed to excessive military spending and aggressive foreign policies. I believe this is common sense. The "leadership" believes otherwise.

Scotlyn said...

@Dammerung - thanks for taking my question seriously. You've tendered three responses to my question.
1) Hitler didn't do anything others haven't done. (You know this doesn't add up to "not doing anything wrong").
2) what Hitler is accused of isn't *entirely* true or is exaggerated (so which is it? no worse than others or not at all? What do you accept he did do? And was *that* wrong or not wrong.)

3. Europe would have been different now if he had won. Indubitably, but neither you nor I can say how it would look. (But this also does not begin to address the claim that what Hitler did was "not wrong").

That is to say, I am still not clear as to whether you actually believe "Hitler did no wrong" or do you just want to disseminate that meme because you have sympathy with his ends, and are therefore willing to give his means a pass.

When you say "In the course of human events there are times when a people is entitled to levy just war against its oppressors"

I presume you have present day references in mind for "course of human events" (which events?) "there are times" (now, I presume?) "levy just war" (what war do you propose to levy? what makes its cause just?) and "oppressors" (who are they?)

Like I say I can't think of any other forum where I could ask these questions with a hope of a serious answer. I thank you, and the Archdruid for making it possible.

Scotlyn said...

@Onething, I don't dispute your larger claim re industry price gouging, but you've twice mentioned the helicopter example. I live in a fishing port, worked as a ships agent and am somewhat familiar with the workings of rescue helicopters that serve fishermen in time of need.

The cost does not surprise me. Your patient was presumably not on a pleasure trip, but in a helicopter ambulance staffed by paramedics You need to pay their salaries, not just the pilot's. You need to keep their training and skills up to date. You need to kit out the helicopter with all necessary emergency response equipment. You need to have admin back up to maintain quality and safety systems and pay to have them audited and certified. You need surgixal cleaning and disinfectiom staff between trips. Regulatory compliance adds more costs. And then you have to maintain and pay for all of that even while stood down between emergency calls. So, yes, there is more to a helicopter ambulance than a joy ride. I can't say whether 30 grand is reasonable, but it isn't as far out of line as you suggest.

Fred the First said...

I've been reflecting about distraction lately. Its clear the main media channels focus on unimportant details fill their stories with many "what if's". I appreciate this blog even more because you deal with what is actually so, not many possible futures. Even when you make a prediction, like Trump as President, it was all based in what had been happening for the past few decades or longer.

What remains of the Democrats and this protesting, anarchist mob that they won't disown, is deep into the distraction of Trump. Trump and his team continue to bait the left with words, "I can't believe what Trump just said", and they fall for it every time. Its the classic magician's trick, isn't it? Watch the hands flutter, the arms wave, the cape swoosh and you miss how the trick was done.

Somehow in the left's thinking, one must respond to every word said that is offensive and out of line. Wouldn't just ignoring Trump be more powerful? Especially Trump since he obviously can't stand to be ignored. Go out and build something in opposition rather than burning down stranger's personal property.

I've been in arguments with my friends on the left. Their position is Trump must be opposed, we must be on the street protesting. I asked "about what". And it comes down to who he is and what he represents. So I say "isn't that intolerant and racist to protest someone for being white and having money? He didn't set any policy. He just said words, mostly about himself." And the argument comes back that we can't allow people like Trump to be in power.

The left is obsessed and distracted by Trump and they don't even see it. It is a convenient reason to use for why they don't accomplish anything though. Its must easier to complain and comment about someone else, rather than go build something or make something on your own or with others.

Ray Wharton said...

@Bill Pullman
I hope you come back around, for most of the time I have read this blog its been a toss up between you and just a couple others for commentator I find most interesting. Especially the fact that more than most regulars you have repeatedly shown capacity to present effective counter points to Greer.

August Johnson said...

JMG - quick comment - I think you're far from correct when you say that this time the left has set the new low. When Obama was running and elected for the first time you lived in Ashland, OR (A place, now that I've seen it, I consider to be a liberal bastion of hippie wanna-bees but with lots of money) and I lived in Lakeside, AZ. This is in the middle of a very rural, conservative part of AZ. The crying and wailing you now see from the left is nothing compared to the incredible threats of "we're gonna take our country back from that damn Muslim fake." I'd dare you to walk into the feed store and confront the armed jackass sitting on the stool and ranting about how that Black Muslim will never make it to the White House, he'll be stopped. There was plenty of this stuff going around, you just never heard it in Ashland. I'd far rather face one of today's "enraged" Liberals than even one of the conservatives I saw back in 2008-9. Today it's just downright disgusting, those days it was freakin' scary!

I do have to agree with Bill and others that you seem to be going on a rant against the left of a kind that you've never done against the right. I usually enjoy and agree with your rants against both "sides" but the last few seem to be all about slashing Clinton and, if not justifying Trump, certainly excusing all his lies and and other massive failings. His entire cabinet is populated with those who not only caused the 2008 crash, but profited highly from it. This won't end well.

I saw nothing worthy of either candidate in this election, I was more than totally disgusted that neither party had a candidate that actually represented anybody but the tiny minority elites. I like some of the things that Trump "said" during his campaign, but I have not even the slightest expectation that the tiniest fraction of them will turn out to in any way actually benefit the working class that need them.

EnergyLens said...

I haven't had the chance to read the comments yet, so apologies if this has already been referenced... I experienced a bit of synchronicity today as a friend in another medium posted the article "Trump's Jews and Obama's Jews" which outlines the class divide within the Jewish community... not really discussed or acknowledged in the mainstream media.

http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/trumps-jews-and-obamas-jews/2017/01/17/

I also wanted to note that in my experience the multi-ethnic liberal elites of Silicon Valley are typically upper-class (wealthy) elites in their country of origin and with very few exceptions don't recognize economic class as a dimension of their privilege (they're just "smarter"); they don't see the unwashed masses and have been culturally conditioned not to.

Bob said...

This is how you stand up to Trump:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/trump-inauguration-scotland-golf-course-1.3946016

Nastarana said...

Dear Mr. Greer, I would like to add a few observations with apologies for lack of coherent order as I am still sorting out what I think about the election just past and the Democratic Party in particular.

First, I do find it heartening that members of the up and coming generations are not being intimidated by Conservative rhetoric. Nor do they seem to be retreating into the helplessness of lets all be civil here. Can it be that rightist scorched earth name calling tactics might have become ineffective?

Second, I would like to point out that the old left is not the new left. The new left, "committed radicals" as they called themselves in the 1960s had an intellectual background steeped in Marx, as you said, Freud and classic Russian novels. It never occurred to them that their intellectual preparation might be an inadequate basis for understanding, never mind changing, an Anglo-Saxon society. Contrary to what is believed in some quarters, Protestantism in all its variety is not an updated form of Judaism, and American society owes as much to its' inheritance of law and custom from the Middle Ages as it does to later influences. The English Reformation may have discarded Rome, and the Pope, but English Common Law remained.

A large part of New Left, SDS, membership, and nearly all of its' leaders, with the possible exception of Mr. Haydon, were children of first and second generation migrants from various parts of Central Europe, like Senator Sanders for example. The problem I have always had with this group then and now, is that they can't seem to figure out what country they are living in. The USA is not and never will be Europe West, just as it will never become the northern extension of Mexico or an eastward province of China. Life in even NYC will never resemble life in Vienna or Paris for the simple reason that American cities are not a thousand years old.

From the time of the Port Huron Statement to the present, the New Left and its' latter day descendants have always had a profound and unshakable urban bias. For this group, cities are good places, especially multicultural cities with a vibrant arts scene, and the countryside, home in their minds of uncultured bigots and racists, is to be avoided. When leftists began to acquire some political power, they were quite content that farm policy could be left to the tender mercies of multinational agribiz, just as a hereditary nobility had ruled in the countryside in their family's countries of origin. Besides, multinational is good, remember?

onething said...

Again, one of the strong Trump detractors scolded JMG to the effect that this new presidency is not like any other. I agree. (From my posts one would get the impression I really like Trump. That is not the case. I'm one of those people who voted for him with my eyes wide open.)

It is not like any other, not because Trump is truly more heinous, but because of the new low of hysteria, frank dishonesty and propaganda that the media is engaging in. And the new hagiography of Obama (and Hillary) reminds me of nothing so much as the "our dear leader" type designations of some communist countries.

I think the article previously linked is a must read:
https://newmatilda.com/2017/01/17/john-pilger-the-issue-is-not-donald-trump-it-is-us/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium:

"That the menace of rapacious power – rampant long before the rise of Trump – has been accepted by writers, many of them privileged and celebrated, and by those who guard the gates of literary criticism, and culture, including popular culture, is uncontroversial...Across the Review section of the Guardian on 10 December was a dreamy picture of Barack Obama looking up to the heavens and the words, “Amazing Grace” and “Farewell the Chief”... a line from a Marvin Gaye song, describes seeing the Obamas “rising out of the limo, rising up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity”. The Ascension, no less...
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, who expanded America’s favourite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.

Every Tuesday – reported the New York Times – he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones.

Like the fascism of the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent media whose description now fits that of the Nuremberg prosecutor. “Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically…. In the propaganda system… it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons".

Obama, the constitutional lawyer, prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in history...
In 2011, Obama said Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew… that if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
This was the known lie of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. It became the media story; and Nato – led by Obama and Hillary Clinton – launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed]were under the age of 10”.

This is why I now have such contempt for the left, perhaps for Americans in general. They whine about drivel while supporting the killing of other people and will not care.

onething said...

Anton Mett,

"I'm not sure I understand your question. By "our rulers" whom do you mean?"

I meant the deep state, and the entities you mention are more visible minions.

Nastarana said...

(continued from above) that brings me to my third observation.

The party of apparatchiks, nomenklatura and the various sycophants and social climbers who surrounded the Clintons throughout this last campaign have not only discarded traditional religions in favor of fervent belief in Progress, they are consumed by a particular variant of the Religion of Progress. If I had to put a name to their ideology, I would call it the Cult of Multicultural Internationalism. Adherents of this cult believe beyond any possibility of doubt or recantation that they are the fortunate members of an elite vanguard, the favored of history, that their peers are Socrates and Shakespeare, not the slobs and ignoramuses who happen to inhabit the buildings or gated communities wherein they have their merely physical existences.

A little thing like loosing a national election won't shake the faith of True Believers. As recently as yesterday, I found myself being told in earnest accents on another forum that nation states are a thing of the past, that the US is no longer a nation but the hub of a multinational trading web--something like that. Think Venice in the 13C I guess. That such a trading empire must be upheld by massive military installations and interventions around the world, is either ignored or cynically suppressed by the cultists.

The USA, of course, is not a city state, but a nation of continental dimensions which can live quite comfortably on its own resources, if not with the waste and luxury of recent decades. The parts of the oligarchy which are backing the new president seem to have done some calculations and figured out that the overseas empire will have to be scaled back if one wants to get Americans shopping again. Me, I think they waited too long, spending on infrastructure, which benefits them, notwithstanding. I think that current and coming austerity and destitution are having and will continue to have so emotionally and psychologically devastating an effect on Americans as to banish the pleasures of happy shopping for at least another 80 year cycle.

Caryn said...

When Trump's "Grab-em-by-the-p****" tape 'scandal' broke - the 'gentry' were astonished and up in arms at how ANYONE could support such a horrid oaf. "THIS must SURELY end it for him". I was among them. At the time I was working 2 low paying retail jobs and was very enlightened to hear 3 of my female co-workers explain (simply spouting off - they didn't mean to explain) that this is how all the men in their lives talk and act. "So (effing) what?" "We girls talk trash too". They've been grabbed and worse. "So What?" "What kind of special little snowflake are you, think this is crude, wrong or anything to blow a gasket over? This is real life, Get over yourself!"

Incidentally - Both at my retail jobs and now in my daycare/preschool, I've heard within my first 5 minutes of meeting co-workers: and consistently since; openly and casually dropped details of how they were sexually abused as children, battered by boyfriends or fathers, family members in and out of jail, which one died of an overdose, their own illegal addictions, etc. Things that in most of my previous experience would be considered horrid skeletons one tries to avoid or at the very least keep in the locked closet. Their lives and worlds really are, what I would consider, brutish. I don't know if they are the minority, but their world-views an mine are galaxies apart. This IS their real world.

Now, I grew up in a poor working class and military family, we were not isolated. This was not OK, none of the men (or women) in my family or neighborhood would have tolerated such 'low', 'dirty' behaviour or talk. It's not a purely economic issue. I've spent a chunk of my life amongst very wealthy expats and globalists - some would not tolerate it, some would shrug, some would express, (just like my working-poor retail co-workers) "Thank God, FINALLY a politician who's keepin' it REAL!"

I also think that some people simply WANT a strongman, a warlord to carry them - equal opportunity, democracy, sharing are mamby-pamby, weak and effete. The more brutish and bullying he presents himself, the stronger he seems. Maybe they're on to something in our collapsing world. IMHO the only thing Trump could do to lose his supporters is to appear weak or compromising. (The theory that Putin has a golden showers sex tape to blackmail him with is laughable. "Who cares?")

Yes, this brutish world-view or maybe just the open acceptance of it is probably more common and a result of lower economic life, but IMHO, it is the world-view, not the cash on hand that makes the difference, this also explains the overly-educated, under-employed Starbuck's baristas and Uber drivers.

THIS intellectual/cultural divide is far more important and influential than economics and yeah, in America it cuts across income lines. To ignore this is simply putting blinkers on.

I'm not even going to bother with the weird, Byzantine, fake divide of political 'lefties' vs. righties'.

Lastly: Bill Pulliam: I do hope you'll reconsider and drop in from time to time. I've enjoyed your contributions here.

onething said...

Doubting Thomas,

"I could ask why didn't those "working/middle class" get off their back sides over the last 40 years and create a new party or candidate that they funded grassroots style ?"

Actually, Ron Paul was such a candidate, But he could not overcome the sidelining by the media.

Glenn said...

"Bill Pulliam said...
Your continuing to trivialize and dismiss these very sincere and deep feelings that have nothing to do with class warfare has actually gotten pretty offensive to me. So it seems I just have to be done here, indefinitely.

It was an interesting decade. Sorry you decided to finish it up on such a bizzare note."

I'll miss you, Bill. You have been a consistent voice of of reason here.

Glenn

in the Bramblepatch
Marrowstone Island
Salish Sea
Cascadia

glennwoodbury(at sign)gmail(dot)com

Caryn said...

Not sure if my first comment, (part 1) didn't go through. I'll try to recreate it, but if the first one did go through, please delete one. :)


Thank You again, JMG & Fellow commenters, for another enlightening discussion.

I'm in the camp of social and cultural divide theory - far less, the economic divide. This explains the statistics of more middle-class and comfortable Trump voters outnumbering the poor working class ones. In today's America, incomes are too fluid to establish a culture/income pecking order. IMHO, It also explains the intense visceral apoplectic hatred hurled at 'the other side', from both sides - especially the losing one. It explains the over-educated under-employed baristas and Uber-drivers. As I tried to illustrate in my post above, it explains 'grab-em-by-the-....." gate non-scandal. It explains the sheer horror at those golden toilet bowls coming soon to the White House.

Ypu. It's all about the gold toilet bowls.

Yes, I would enjoy a future discussion on education, the education system and intellectualism. I do think this subject is at the heart of the cultural divide. The 'Gentle Folk' who value education for it's own sake, knowledge it's own reward; and 'The Great Unwashed' who see it as, at best, a hurdle to higher paying jobs/more money/security/creature comforts; at worst a cudgel to beat them and keep them down with. It is not even who is educated and who is not. It is who values education and who does not. The arts, sciences, humanities and other markers of 'culture' are included in this. 'You can take the bum out of the gutter, but you can't take the gutter out of the bum', 'You can take the toff out of the mansion, but you can't take the mansion out of the toff'.

In such a discussion, I highly doubt I will agree with you, as you've already made clear that it is something you see scant value in; another 'Emperor's New Clothes'. OTOH, even when I totally disagree with your essays, the discussion and commentary provide great food for thought for me. Great learning - and for it's own sake. I appreciate that.

Jason B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl Dolphin said...

JMG,
Richard Spencer of Alt-Right fame, got sucker punched in the face as he was talking to an Australian reporter on the streets of DC yesterday. He's ok but probably has a concussion. His assailant had a mask on and ran away after hitting him like a coward.
Predicable that most of the comments from the left are that he deserved it, though he's never hit anyone on the street and in his white identity talks, he doesn't mention any kind of violence towards other people. So much for Anti-facist left being peaceful.
Carl

Matt said...

Scotlyn (and JMG)

it seems to me that Dammerung is being give way too much latitude. He is self identifying as a Nazi and laying on a bit of an ironic smile or the impression that he's not really made his mind up to give us pause. I don't buy it.

What, he's suddenly started thinking that race is more than skin colour? You don't say. And notice, nowhere making explicit the connection between that and the other 'genetic' characteristics he happened to mention. This is dog whistling with an actual analogy to dogs!

Hitler didn't do anything particularly bad? And then read on... He's coming over as a shy Holocaust denier, who's done his research but doesn't really want to share the view he's formed.

And Hitler would have stopped those darned Islamic terrorists in their tracks - good grief. How much terrorism might we encounter as he and his chums try to carve out their Aryan enclave?

I like the breadth of the commenters here, but that's leaving a bad taste.

Matt

Varun Bhaskar said...

Archdruid, Bill Pullinam, Shane, Dammerung, Justin, Bob, and others...

With the heated discussion of class, ethnicity, and political identities taking place on this forum I thought I would offer an outsiders perspective into the alt-right and their racially tinged rhetoric.

From my perspective the alt-right represents the emergence of a clearly defined working class white political identity. Don’t mistake my meaning, all racial identities are political identities. Black, Latino, and Indian are not ethnic groups rather they are groupings of ethnic group advocating for mutually beneficial interests. These ethnic groups largely do not advocate for themselves in exclusion to other political groups, but it just so happens that certain policies they advocate can negatively impact another group.

If the alt-right is the first stirrings of the political identity of the working class whites, then it is a major break from American historical standards. Working class whites traditionally relied on upper class whites to advocate for their common interests. Since the election of Regan the mutually supportive relationship between working class and upper class whites has broken down, leaving the working class white population largely adrift without any advocacy of their own.

To people in minority political groups this is a strange development, because of the way working class whites were traditionally linked with the upper class whites, they were, that is the working class whites, were the face of a very oppressive system. Black, Latino, or other works rarely interacted with upper class whites, but the majority of their interactions were with working class whites.

Compounding that position as face of the system was the fact that working class whites were the primary market for much of the cultural output of the country. Arts and entertainment, ideas of beauty, virtue, and many other facets of cultural life were directed toward and based on white cultural standards. The remains of that are still evident in Hollywood where the main target demographic is the white working class, or the under representation of Blacks and Latinos on Wall street, and etc…Admittedly those two locations are elite dominated, but they are also the most visible representation of the connection between upper and lower class whites. Since the white working class were attached to the privileged they are still seen as guards and beneficiaries of those centers of power, although they are often quite the opposite.

In the last eight years the privilege of the whites was under direct assault, even where is did not exist, and often by the privileged themselves. The response of the white working class is the emergence of a political identity, and their language a direct response to perceived or real oppression. Similarly the language of black political identity was a direct response to perceived or real oppression. In this sense the nationalistic tones, the absolutism, the exclusionary ideology basically mirror each other. The only difference is that a black politician dare not utter similar sentiment if they only have the support of black political groups.

What is frightening to many people, myself included, is that the sentiment of the nascent white working class political identity is blatantly exclusionary of other political identities. Meaning that there seems to be little space in the world they are trying to create for the existence of Indian, Black, Latino, or others. Even worse their sentiment is echoed by people who have the power, both legal and financial, to implement this exclusive system. Those of us in minority communities do not know if this new political identity is a threat to us, or is just finding its place. Until we know we are going to be on guard. It would be much easier to know the intentions of this new political identity if its members didn’t insist in parading around in the symbols and rhetoric of a group of people who were violently xenophobic.

Regards,

Varun

Twinruler334 said...

College is a waste of money! I agree with Owen.

Clarence said...

it seems, whether intentional or not, to be one of those essays you run when you want to prune back your readership. you're unlikely to lose me.

clarence

escher said...

I'd chalked the anti-Trump hysteria up to the typical media diet that the liberals I've known tend to consume. That said, there's no denying that an ugly streak of class hatred runs through the heart of present-day American liberalism. At this point, I don't think it's going too far to say it practically defines it.

As for possible realignments, my guess? In the foreseeable future, any policies recognizable as populist will come out of the Trump faction of the Republican party, not the Democrats. The Democratic Party will ride special-snowflake liberalism and identity politics (and, apparently, now absurd anti-Russian jingoism) all the way into history's dustbin.

I do hope Trump catches wind of the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy again. (Any Trump staffers reading this, do pass the idea along!) It seems like the kind of common-sense, centrist reform he could get behind. (Would it have happened under Clinton? Not in a million years.)

Peter VE said...

@ Cat
"... About an hour after President Donald Trump was sworn in on Friday, his administration suspended indefinitely a scheduled cut in mortgage insurance premiums—effectively raising costs for working and middle-class borrowers by about $500 a year."
What's missing from the story is when the cut was enacted: last Tuesday. If I were a cynical person, I would suggest it was enacted by the Obama administration just in time to be suspended by the incoming administration. The result would be howls of indignation, without affecting the fees earned by the insurers. If I were a cynical person...

I went to my local Wimmyn's March today. It was a lovely mid January day, 55° and sunny. Three quarters of the speakers were salary class women and men, decrying the evil thoughts of the incoming administration and its racist and bigoted supporters. No one seemed to realize that decrying people for what you think they are is a lot less likely to win friends and influence people that convincing them to change what they do.
Only one speaker, an immigrant women from Jamaica just elected to the RI legislature, included class among the problems the liberals face.
I didn't notice any of my Tea Party acquaintances amongst the crowd. ;-) I did notice an enthusiasm for using "Hamilton" motifs: I suppose no one got the message that Hamilton was the architect of much of the financial system we live by.

donalfagan said...

Assigning anti-Trump feelings to class bigotry sounds about the same as chalking up pro-Trump feelings to white supremacy.
https://donalfagan.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/life-during-trumptime/

onething said...

Scotlyn,

"Your patient was presumably not on a pleasure trip, but in a helicopter ambulance staffed by paramedics You need to pay their salaries, not just the pilot's. You need to keep their training and skills up to date. You need to kit out the helicopter with all necessary emergency response equipment. You need to have admin back up to maintain quality and safety systems and pay to have them audited and certified. You need surgical cleaning and disinfection staff between trips. Regulatory compliance adds more costs. And then you have to maintain and pay for all of that even while stood down between emergency calls. So, yes, there is more to a helicopter ambulance than a joy ride. I can't say whether 30 grand is reasonable, but it isn't as far out of line as you suggest."

I'm pretty sure it is very unreasonable. What a reasonable cost might be, I'd like to know, but it isn't possible to run up 28,000 dollars to pay a couple of medics who probably make in the range of 30 dollars per hour, and as for the infrastructure you mention, that is also overhead the regular helicopter company doesn't have, but all of it is part of the structure of staffing at the ER. They don't do anything different, they attend the same CPR and ACLS renewal classes as other nurses and EMS personnel. There is medical equipment to be sure, but not as much as you might think. Mostly a few meds, IV equipment and oxygen. And it's true that you have to pay for the down time, but that is also true of the joyride company, and they must be making some profit or they wouldn't be in business.

I tell this story because I want the American people to wake up and get mad. We are being taken advantage of big time, and many people are only dimly aware of what's wrong. We are approaching 20% of the entire GDP going to medical expenses. That is not sustainable. I'm also wanting people to realize that just because they may have insurance does not mean their care is paid by magic.

DoubtingThomas said...

@onething

Obama, the constitutional lawyer, prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in history...

A president doesn't get to decide who does or doesn't get prosecuted does he ? I thought the idea of separating judiciary from executive was to prevent such favouritism. I can't really see how Obama got to choose which Whistleblowers were prosecuted. Isn't that decision making process out of his hands?

I read a Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/16/whistleblowers-double-standard-obama-david-petraeus-chelsea-manning) article that tried to paint a similar picture but it was a bit vague on specifics of how Obama got to dictate law. I'm a fan of whistleblowers. ;)

On the other hand, according to reports, Obama, did choose to exercise his executive powers and commute one of the Whistleblower's (Chelsea Manning's) sentence. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38659068 - I'm glad Chelsea got his sentence commuted. Obama did a good thing there.

Actually, Ron Paul was such a candidate, But he could not overcome the sidelining by the media.
Isn't Ron Paul a Republican ? If so wouldn't his attempts be restricted by the two party system dynamic and their respective selection mechanisms? Also, you say he could not overcome the media. That's kind of my point, its not Ron Paul or Bernie Saunders role to overcome the media its the role of the "disaffected working/middle class" who needed to overcome their default programming of buying in to messages from the media. To stop expecting to be provided a hand crafted set of options to vote for that spout pledges (lies) and then repeat the process every years expecting a different outcome.

[ god I detest class taxonomy but JMG used it so lets stick with it for now. I don't subscribe to any class. ]





John Michael Greer said...

Before I get into comments, I'd like to remind my handful of alt-right commenters that Nazi Germany, Holocaust revisionism, and similar subjects aren't topical for this blog, and they're also the kind of subjects that make people on all sides of the various debates stop thinking and start screaming. I'm therefore imposing a moratorium on further discussion, until and unless I do a post on the subject -- which I doubt I'll be doing anytime this side of the twelfth of Never. Thank you, and we now return to our regularly scheduled Archdruid Report.

Unknown Eagle Eye, yes, I saw that! To my mind, the slow rise of that kind of reflective (rather than reactive) response is a very good sign.

Phil, hmm again. That really does sound worth considering.

Crow Hill, thanks for this! It sounds to me as though Switzerland has its head on straight...

Scotlyn, of course! Just as the two-year-old calls all four-legged animals "goggie," and only later figures out that there really is a difference between dogs, cats, horses, et al., the human mind falls very easily into huge overgeneralized categories, and only with time, experience, and education -- well, not modern education, but that's another matter -- realizes that the world is more complex and less easily categorized than all that. That's why it's helpful to point out when extreme overgeneralizations are being used to dump hatred on entire categories of people -- the more often that's done, even in the face of pushback, the more likely that at least some people will back down from their bigotries.

Nestorian, because election fraud isn't omnipotent. Since both sides do it, to roughly equal degrees, there's still some chance that your vote will still make a difference.

Doc Tim, fair enough; as I noted in my post, there's a lot more to social class than how much money you make.

Bob, I never said that working class voters are immune to self-delusion; I've simply pointed out that my own experience, and a great deal of other evidence I've cited, shows that the reasons people voted for Trump were not the reasons attributed to them by the mainstream media and the affluent left. I'd also point out that it wasn't the right that was smashing windows, setting fires, and beating up their political enemies over the last two days! We will indeed see how things work out; as I noted in my post, there are plenty of good reasons why people might object to Trump's policies and appointments -- but there's also a great deal of frankly hysterical demonization going on.

David, that's the way it seems to be shaping up.

Bill, if your sample contains one person who makes half a million a year and nine who are scraping by on ten thousand a year, the average member of the sample is middle class -- even though not one person in the sample fits that definition. For heaven's sake, you have scientific training -- you know how slippery averages are when you have a complex multimodal distribution!

NZ, exactly. That's just it -- all sides have valid points to make, and forcing every political choice into the kind of rigid dualism you've described makes it impossible to get past the kind of deadlock we've got in place right now.

Owen, I've given that advice to young people, and never regretted it.

Redoak, glad to hear it. I'll definitely do a post on the end of the academic industry soon -- and yes, one on the parallel trajectory of the medical industry should also be in there.

Bob, the US is engaged in constant warfare because it's trying to maintain a global empire, of course. Have you noticed, though, that the nations it chooses to pick on all have substandard militaries?

latheChuck said...

Perhaps this will lighten the mood for a moment... In today's comics section, the "Sally Forth" cartoon lightly addresses the larger theme of this blog.
1st panel: daughter says "Mom, it's cold in this house!"; Mom replies "Put on a sweater."
2nd panel: "But we have a heater." "We also have heating bills. Put on a sweater."
3rd panel: "I feel like that by putting on a sweater instead of turning on the heat I'm going against all civilization has been building towards." "Civilization lost. Put on a sweater."
(emphasis added) It goes on for three more panels, and there's a nice nod to parliamentary procedure, but that's the part that resonated with me.

"Civilization lost. Put on a sweater." (OK. So I lied about lightening the mood.)

Justin said...

JMG, I see you deleted my post. That's fine, I just wanted to clarify that Nazi Germany did murder Jews, Gypsies and other people on an industrial scale, I was only arguing that this did not take place at Auschwitz and explaining the fallacies behind modern holocaust denial.

latheChuck said...

I got an appeal from The Sierra Club this week, which asks: "Will you kick off the New Year by joining the team who'll block Trump in every way we can?" I understand the concerns about the new administration's favoring energy development over environmental issues. But this strategy statement doesn't even mention environmental goals.

I am reminded of the story that ran in a recent Washington Post about the Jewish college student who cultivated a social relationship with an anti-Semitic white separatist student, and simply gave him personal experiences to contrast with his theoretical indoctrination. The separatist ended up "separating" from his racist parents. I am reminded, that is, by the contrast between a strategy which can be ignored, and one which was effective.

When a mere teen, I ran across Eric Berne's book on interpersonal dynamics: Games People Play. I can't tell whether the Sierra Club is inviting me to play a round of "Ain't It Awful" (how our problems never get solved), or "Let's You and Him Fight" (while I hold your coat). Either way, I'll pass.

Ray Wharton said...

I think that Gergory Bateson's observation about rivalry in hierarchies is important to untangling the mess of how factions are separating. Specifically he observes that the strongest rivalry in a hierarchy is between levels of neighboring prestige. The paradigm case he gives is of a society with a series of initiation grades where the odd levels in the hierarchy tend to support each other against an alliance of the even numbered layers in the hierarchy; even comparing it to fraternities where Freshmen and Juniors are paired against sophomores and Seniors. Similarly there is a very rough and imprecise stereotype of the Welfare and Salary class sharing one party against another party of the Working and Investment classes. Speaking very roughly of course.

How useful do y'all think this schema is to the current situation?

The other Tom said...

Ever since the election I've been considering why I have such a deep instinctive distrust of Trump, apart from his bizarre behavior and capricious tweets.
What sets Trump apart from any other politician I can think of is that he is a man who has never had to face consequences. He is a rich man's son who has always had a wall of bodyguards or good lawyers to protect him from the consequences of grabbing women, blowing off contractors by not paying them, or declaring bankruptcy through one of his Limited Liability Corporations when things go wrong. He has never had any reason to think of anyone but himself and at age 70 he is not going to change. Sorry, all you Trump supporters and apologists but I think your intuition is impaired here. This is not even so much a matter of political positions but of entrusting our security to someone with a cool head and knowledge beyond his own interests, because his bodyguards and lawyers cannot protect US from his actions. This is what sets Trump apart from the Clintons, the Bushes, Dick Cheney, or anyone else you care to loathe.
The thought of an impulsive, overconfident man who does not have to read briefings being Commander in Chief scares the hell out of me.

John Michael Greer said...

Ray, granted. The people who've benefited from neoliberal policies over the last thirty years or so are facing real losses, and not all of those people are among the affluent; as with any major political realignment, people are going to be hurt who haven't done anything in particular to deserve it. What's more, I agree wholeheartedly that there should be a coherent opposition to any administration -- that's essential. I wish there were more of the thoughtful opposition I discussed in my post and less of the hysterical demonization.

Anton, that's a complex question that I'm going to have to think about, hard, before I can suggest an answer. Reflection and prediction, as opposed to reaction and the projection of wish-fulfillment fantasies, are hard work -- but I'm not at all sure that's all of it. Hmm...

Tidlösa, I rather like Pepe's Foul Minions; what's more, I suspect the Kekists will like it, too. ;-)

Kittric, they've been letting a fair number of my posts slide recently. I don't greatly mind, as their audience and mine don't have a lot in common.

Latefall, that's kind of my take on Le Pen, too, but we'll see. With regard to defense expenditures, when European nations start covering more than half of NATO's expenses, I'll gladly amend my views! The crucial point here is that we can't afford to keep paying for Europe's safety -- the US is falling apart economically. Europeans are going to have to step up to the plate, because we're broke.

Mh505, we'll see. I tend to suspect the situation with JFK was rather more complex, and ugly, than either the Warren Commission or its opponents tend to think.

RAnderson, thank you!

Emmanuel, funny. If you gave it wings, would it become a pterodactyl?

David, yep. It's rather pleasant to hear a politician talking in forthright terms about the reality I see around me every day. Every. Single. Day.

James, the alt-right may end up less than happy with the president whose victory they cheered. Still, we'll see.

Seth, I certainly don't consider Trump a particularly virtuous person, or what have you. My take, though, is that he's realized -- and more importantly, the interests who are backing him have realized -- that the working class vote in this country is potentially the backbone of a massive political coalition that could keep them in power for a good long time, so long as they give working class voters what they want. I'm perfectly willing to see a scoundrel do the right thing for a selfish reason!

Latefall, okay, that's a fair call. I should have said "many of".

Brian, the downtrodden working classes didn't get health care from the ACA -- they got mandatory double-digit cost increases every year for plans with deductibles and co-pays so high they couldn't afford to use the coverage they were required by law to have. People out here in flyover country are already celebrating Trump's executive order suspending the penalty for not having insurance -- that means they'll have some hundreds of dollars more this year to try to make ends meet. As for whether Trump's attempts to bring jobs back to America will fail, we'll see, but the US built its industrial economy behind trade barriers, you know; there's at least some chance he'll succeed -- and if that happens, and we see a significant improvement in economic conditions in non-coastal America, what will you say then?

onething said...

Hello doubting Thomas,

About prosecuting whistleblowers, I thought the president actually had a lot of choice but most of that comment was quotes from the article I linked to. I'm not entirely sure how it works.
As to Ron Paul, yes he was a Republican and even a libertarian. I don't get the point about him being therefore restricted by the two party system? And I agree with you that the people in general are too given to default programming, but to discount the power of the media would be to hold a very high bar – perhaps almost a revolutionary bar. He did incredibly well with the young who had a relationship with him via internet and who also supported his campaign financially in a grassroots way. There were lots of excellent youtube videos of him speaking. He and they took it pretty far. But to be excluded from debates meant he simply didn't have the ability to get his message out. And when he was doing well in the primaries, as we watched the actual returns on some website, the media simply didn't talk about it, more or less ignoring him. This made it very difficult.

I sometimes have this eery feeling that “they” (ha, ha) have been doing an ongoing experiment in societal control in which they played hardball in the USSR and softball here. Here, it's like the proverbial frog getting into pleasant water and the heat is turned up exquisitely slowly. It is true that our media was controlled even 100 years ago, but nothing like now and it must be disconcerting for the older generations to come to terms with how unreliable it has become.

Shane W said...

I just want to chime in to agree with Matt and Varun's comments regarding Dammerung and white working class identity. I also want to agree w/those who feel that they are politically adrift right now.

onething said...

While I'm pontificating on the media, I've decided it is useful to dust off the old theory of projection which, in this case, seems to manifest out of a deep soul need to speak truth or something. Take nearly every accusation and simply realize that they are speaking about themselves.

Interfering in the elections and government of other countries? Check.
Have leaders of other countries who are our puppets? Check.
Russia threatening aggression toward little nations? Hmmm. Who does that?
Engaging in terrorism? Check.
Hate speech? Check.
And so on.

Dammerung said...

@Scotlyn - When I say "Hitler did nothing wrong," I'm not trying to make a statement of fact. Indeed, I'm not even making a value judgment. I say it because it's a memetically powerful idea that's survived for over a decade on the most brutal proving ground for propaganda in the history of the world. I was a student of Scott Adams over the course of the past year. He did teach me a lot, but what he really did is help me put into words unconscious ideas that I already had from being immersed in chan culture for so long. Saying that is a cognitive dissonance trigger. It puts people momentarily off-guard because you don't expect anyone to ever say anything like that. To put it in hacking terminology, it puts people into buffer overflow, and you can run unsigned code on their hardware while they're busy trying to emotionally process the gall.

To try to answer the rest of your question, I am deeply unsatisfied with the way my nation handles citizenship, and I have a great deal of talent to propagandize against it so I do. I'm sick of illegals running for the border so they can give birth on our side of the line and have me and my tax dollars go to pay for it. These are people who have no roots in this country, whose ancestors did nothing to build it, and whom are not of our blood and whom have no claim to our soil. I'm tired of diversity. I'm tired of diversity bidding up rent; depressing wages; and breaking into my car. I think the benefits of diversity belong in the same garbage bin as the myth of progress. What we believed to be a panacea was actually a poison.

I'd also like to thank our host. Very, very few venues are willing to allow a discussion like this to take place nowadays. It's not politic. I've got this funny idea that anything that isn't said somewhere might as well be illegal to say, and the more I see talk that used to be common sense 100 years ago and common-place 40 years ago pushed out of the national conversation entirely, the more I think that there's something in it that needs to be said. Chan culture is a kind of Samizdat. We live in a society that has made the everyday feelings of regular folk, in all their majesty and their prejudice, into something people are terrified to express.

John Michael Greer said...

Patricia, that's an interesting analysis. I'm not sure I buy the Kaiser Wilhelm comparison, all things considered -- Trump is far better at shameless self-promotion of a kind that suggests a very different kind of big ego -- but I won't argue at all about Obama; he'd have made a much better president in a time of relative peace and stability. As for the faux-magical thinking surrounding Hillary Clinton -- yeah, I could definitely see that.

Donald, thank you. I've been trying to point that out for a while now, with no apparent success; maybe they'll listen when you say it.

RUKidding, the reason I'm feeling relatively confident about Trump just now is that the bar is so low. The last three presidents we've had have done so much damage to this country by their pursuit of neoliberal economics and (in the last two cases) neoconservative foreign policies that a president who did nothing would be a noticeable improvement. As it is, Trump has already axed the ACA mandate penalty, which was hurting a lot of working class Americans; he seems to be quite serious about backing away from a war with Russia over Syria, and letting the nations of Europe pay for their own defense for a change; and if he follows through on his promise to impose import tariffs, the kind of sensible trade barriers that helped create the US industrial economy in the first place, why, he'll have done much more to help ordinary Americans than all three of his predecessors put together.

Ed-M, fair enough. I've spent so much time battering the pseudoconservatives over the last ten years that I figured it wasn't necessary to reiterate that this time; still, I could certainly have included some stunning examples of Republican class bigotry while I was at it.

Esn, if I understand correctly, the reason the Russians are on edge over our missile installations in eastern Europe is that those same missiles can be used offensively as surface-to-surface missiles, for a first-strike capability aimed at the Russian nuclear arsenal. If we move them back to our side of the pond, they're far enough away that Russia's missile-defense systems would have a good shot at taking tham out -- while they could still provide antimissile defense for our side. To my mind, moving them to North America is a win-win situation, and if Trump can include that in a grand bargain that cuts both sides' nuclear arsenals to a few hundred warheads -- still more than enough to cause the other side to cease to exist as a functioning nation, which is why China's kept their arsenal at that level -- that would be a win-win deal for everybody on the planet.

None, all I can say is that I live in the rust belt and what you're saying doesn't match my experience. What's more, has it occurred to you -- or to the people who are making those claims about Trump and the working class -- that Trump and the people who are backing him know perfectly well that they have to deliver on at least some of their promises to the working class in order to win the 2018 and 2020 elections? To my mind, the Democrats are whistling past the graveyard when they insist that "of course" Trump will betray his supporters. If he doesn't, after all, they're facing massive headwinds in their attempt to reverse the steep decline in Democratic Party office holders since 2008.

Wendy, I didn't see it; I'll see if I can find a transcript. I'd be surprised, though, if anything Schumer said wasn't in bad taste!

Bob said...

JMG, I've noticed that the United States has been losing the wars it engages in. Perhaps a substandard military is less of a problem than having to control the outcome of a war. This is a lesson the US seems unable to learn, but perhaps China, Russia and Europe can avoid making similar mistakes.

There is no global empire to defend, merely spheres of influence. It is possible to strengthen and maintain these spheres through economic development and trade. This is a more sensible approach than laying waste to other lands in a futile attempt to dominate them militarily. The US has become, in the eyes of many people around the world, a rogue state. You have become a threat to peace.

I have not seen a pledge to reduce American military spending. You're supposedly broke and unable to provide for Europe's "defense", yet there's every indication that any savings from cutting NATO will be redirected towards new projects, such as expanding the navy.

John Michael Greer said...

Gottfried, not at all. Remember that your country's actions don't take place in a vacuum; there are also neighboring countries, which may be inspired to consider invading you if you let your guard down far enough to make that a paying proposition. Just at the moment, nuclear weapons put sharp limits on the possibility of invading those countries that have them, but non-nuclear nations have to consider the possibility of war with their neighbors.

Punditus, "the Dickensian working conditions of the top 10%"??? Come out to flyover country sometime and let me show you what real Dickensian conditions look like!

Cat, that cut in mortgage insurance rates was part of an ongoing attempt to reinflate a housing bubble like the one that popped in 2008-9. The last thing we need right now is another incentive for people who can't afford real estate to buy it anyway!

Cherokee, no, I'd missed that! Thank you -- and I think you're quite right about the Eurozone. Long messy implosion beginning in 3, 2, 1...

Marissa, I haven't read Bourdieu. Can you recommend a good work of his to start with, in either English or French?

Vesta, yep. You really can't make this stuff up, can you?

SCA Heretic, fair enough. To me, it seems even more shrill than the caterwauling of the GOP when Obama won, but I suppose that could be a matter of what I've seen compared to what you've seen.

Cortes, class bigotry is a large part of it, but it's also relevant that many of the people who make up the Guardian's main audience have done very well by the neoliberal consensus of the last thirty years or so, and they've got to be in shock that the gravy train is coming to an end so abruptly.

Jay, what can I say, other than that I've considered the claims you've made, and find them unconvincing?

Hadend, the numbers say that when suitably massaged, sure.

Allie, as I've noted here already, the thing you need to keep in mind is that Trump and the people who are backing him are capable of learning from Obama's mistakes. They know what happens if you win the presidency promising change, and then don't deliver. That's why I think we're going to see the Trump administration go out of its way to make sure at least some of its major promises are kept. Of course they're not going to do anything that will cut into their own profits, but there's a lot of room for change even with that stipulation. Steve Bannon in particular seems to be up on the cycles of American history I've discussed here using the old Greek terminology of anacyclosis -- he's supposed to be using Strauss and Howe's generational theory as his template, in which case he'll see this election as the opportunity for a massive realignment in American politics which could leave the Democrats and the Republican pseudoconservatives alike hung out to dry for decades. If Trump just does another four years of business as usual, that's not going to happen -- and all the evidence I've seen suggests that both Bannon and Trump are aware of that. But we'll see, of course...

John Michael Greer said...

Robert, yep. You might find this article useful.

Wendy, yep also. It's going to be colorful.

Bill, well, I'm sorry you feel that way; you've been an asset to the commentariat. That said, I noted in so many words that there are valid reasons to criticize Trump, and tried to differentiate that from the hate speech that's being flung at Trump and the people who voted for him by the privileged end of the left; if you can't or won't hear that, then yeah, you should probably go somewhere else.

DoubtingThomas, thank you for finally commenting on my current post; as I note above the comment box, I respond to comments to the current week's post only, so your various comments on old posts are going to go unanswered. It's always possible to dismiss an essay of modest length as "simplistic," meaning that it doesn't cover every conceivable detail of the case it makes; you might want to go back and read my earlier posts on politics and Trump's rise to power if you want to understand what I'm saying here. As for your substantive points, sure, it's always convenient to insist that the people on the losing end of a political-economic shift are responsible for their own predicament; so? Other than distracting attention from those who pushed that shift and profited from it, this doesn't seem useful to me. As the pendulum swings the other way and the classes that benefited from the global economy lose out in the years ahead, will you agree that they, rather than Trump et al., are responsible for their own difficulties?

Your other comments have been answered in previous posts already and I don't propose to rehash those points here.

Nuku, I'd say you collapsed well ahead of the rush!

Onething, yep.

Fred, good! That's a very good point, of course -- and it also shows that another of Spengler's predictions has come true. He argued that as Western ("Faustian") culture fossilized into its final form, ideology would give way to personality, and the final struggles of our culture would be fought by people who had no idea why they were fighting, and were simply for this person and against that one. Here we are...

August, so noted. I saw a lot of vitriol flung at Obama online, but you may be right that I was missing the worst of it. As for singling out the left, though, I've belabored the pseudoconservative right at great length here; it so happens that the idiocies of the one side have gotten more recent attention than those of the other, but that's the nature of a commentary on current events.

EnergyLens, fascinating! Thanks for posting that.

Nastarana, hmm! Fascinating. That does make a lot of sense of things.

Onething, I know. Eight years of watching Democrats excuse Obama for everything they denounced in George W. Bush left me unable to believe that the American left actually takes any of its highly touted values seriously.

John Michael Greer said...

Nastarana, good! The nation-state's a very resilient structure, which is why it's replaced every other form of human political organization. No doubt it'll eventually be displaced by some other, even more resilient form in the future, but we've already seen what happens when multinational corporations go head to head with a nation-state that's well enough armed to keep regime change off the table -- think Russia in Putin's first term -- and it's not especially promising for the multinationals. One thing that's often forgotten is that we had an earlier era of free trade and open borders in the late 19th century, and plenty of people were convinced that it was the wave of the future and such inconveniences as war had been rendered impossible by the pervasive power of business. 1914 showed just how much truth that claim had...

Caryn, as I said in my post, there's a lot more to class than income, but income makes a workable ostensive marker. I'm a bit unsettled that you would label the women you talked to "brutish," by the way, just because their attitudes differ from yours!

Carl, here again, it's impressive in a bleak sort of way how quickly the left ditches its supposed ideals under stress. That said, punching an alt-right activist in the face may not be that wise an idea; I suspect the alt-right will respond in kind, and escalate.

Matt, understood. I tolerate a very wide range of ideas here, but as you'll have noticed, I've asked the handful of alt-right readers here to stay a little more on topic and a little further away from the issues you've indicated.

Varun, I hope you're wrong -- and I note that the alt-right people I've met aren't working class at all, they're the same sort of downwardly mobile middle class that usually produces disaffected intelligentsia. Still, we'll see.

Clarence, every time I post an essay that has people yelling at me, my readership goes up, and so do donations to the tip jar. The people who get offended by the kinds of things that I like to talk about are a much smaller fraction of my readership, and of blogosphere readers in general, than I think they realize.

Escher, that seems sensible to me. My guess is that by the time the current round of political realignment is over, the Democrats will be the conservative party, demanding a return to a neoconservative imperial foreign policy and trickle-up economics to benefit the salary class, while the GOP will be a populist party advocating trade barriers, less foreign entanglement, and economic policies that put the wage class first. As for discharging student loans by bankruptcy, absolutely -- that would be the simplest and most effective way to let air out of the student loan bubble and get money back into the productive economy.

Donalfagan, now go back and read the places in my post where I explicitly said there were valid reasons to criticize Trump.

LatheChuck, that certainly improved my mood! Thank you.

Somewhatstunned said...

@ Bill Pulliam @ Ray Wharton

Can I second Ray's comment? Please don't go away, you're always interesting (and I'm also a fan of Big Whiskers!)

John Michael Greer said...

Justin, so noted -- but it was still off topic. (And your attempted repost was also deleted. When I say that a topic is closed, I mean that, and will enforce it.)

LatheChuck, excellent! Yes, Berne's book would be a very helpful introduction to contemporary politics; I also recommend Claude Steiner's Scripts People Live, which covers a great deal of closely related ground.

Ray, to my mind that makes a huge amount of sense. Thank you.

The other Tom, and just how does that differentiate him from Hillary Clinton, or the rest of the US political class?

Shane, so noted. I hope you don't feel any particular interest in drifting in a Kekward direction, though!

Onething, true enough!

Bob, imperial overstretch is a commonplace of world history. A military that's more than adequate to dissuade other countries from hostile acts may not be enough to win wars of choice against other peoples on their own ground. As for America's bankruptcy, I won't argue that an oversized navy is a bad place to sink the funds saved by letting Europe pay for its own defense; the fact that I see some reason to hope for some positive changes out of the new administration doesn't blind me to its adherence to policies I see as deeply mistaken. (As I noted many times during the campaign, there are tens of thousands of American citizens better suited to be president than Donald Trump; it's just that Hillary Clinton wasn't one of them.)

Cherokee Organics said...

Bill Pulliam,

You and I have had our differences in the past. Fair enough, we can't all get along and we will never all agree. That is life. However, I value your input, your point of view, and your voice.

Mate, I don't want to belabour an issue and it is definitely not criticising the point that you made, but very few people talk any sense at all about the issues surrounding: climate change, government lands, minorities, immigration, women, and constitutional freedoms. So of course, we are not all going to agree and sure I don't agree with everything written here either.

Like you, I live in a small rural community. Most of the people I like, however a minority of them I don't really care for that much and I'd be happy if them and their opinions were elsewhere. But you know what? I've learned how to get along with them. How to disagree with them. How to fight them. And basically how to live with them when I know they mean me no good. That is what it is like to be an adult.

Taking your bat and ball and sulking your socks off in the corner is something else altogether. And despite our differences I for one would miss your erudite opinions.

Chris

Scotlyn said...

@dammerung - thanks for giving such a refreshingly honest account.

You say: "These are people who have no roots in this country, whose ancestors did nothing to build it, and whom are not of our blood and whom have no claim to our soil. I'm tired of diversity."

I put it to you that the last line of your quote invalidates any claim you yourself might make to "soil" "ancestors" "building" or "roots" in America. Unless your ancestry is 100% native, then it is plain that your claim rests among those of immigrants (like my own immigrant ancestors who settled in New England in 1640 and in Virginia in 1659). And no immigrant ethnicity or race in America has a claim greater than any other. The immigrants who built the US, and their descendants, were and are ethnically, racially, religiously, and culturally diverse. If you dispense with diversity, you may as well dispense with any just claim to your stake in American soil. You simply can't make that claim.

As to people "dashing across the border" are you aware that before there were borders, there was a settled Spanish-speaking colony that comprised what is now Mexico, California, New Mexico and Arizona as a single cultural linguistic entity? Those people and their connections with each other, and with that "soil" predate several iterations of that border, and the fact their connections and movements survive despite the border's current configuration is another one of those quirky American realities that *make us who we are*.

You are positioned to make good propaganda, and I hear you saying you wish to make war on who we are, and I foresee your war may ultimately be prosecuted against any red-haired, white-skinned daughters or granddaughters of mine who shall presume to choose a mate from among men of different so-called "phenotypes"?

Have you asked yourself whose freedom you are prepared to restrict in order to breed your blue-eyed progeny?

Scotlyn said...

@onething Like I said, I am broadly in agreement with your assessment of the state of play in what passes for a healthcare system. I just think examples you use should be robust enough to survive scrutiny.

DoubtingThomas said...

@onething: As an external observer it seems to me that the two party system is so corrupted and manipulated that any attempt of a break away movement would be stillborn. That is what I meant by being restricted by the two party system.

MichaelK said...

I don't think RT is all that different from the western media, but being a Russian news source, it is, different, but should one expect anything else, is there only one 'right' way to see or report on the world?

Isn't it just a little bit arrogant to assume that RT is pure Kremlin propaganda, but the BBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times, aren't full of 'propaganda' too? The main difference being that we agree with it and don't define it as state propaganda? The best programmes on RT are made by Europeans and Americans and have a host of Americans on as guests and they have very lively debates. But it's true, these Americans could be described as 'dissidents' and critics of aspects of US society and foreing policy, but does that label automatically mean they aren't 'real Americans' or stooges of the Kremlin?

I take RT with a large pinch of salt, but I do that with all news media. RT's real 'crime' can be boiled down to the fact that it doesn't accept American leadership and the American 'framing' of news and current affairs. Don't people have the right to disagree with the way Washington sees the world? Doesn't the election of Trump indicate that tens of millions of ordinary Americans are probably just as critical of Washington's agenda as many Russians are?

DoubtingThomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scotlyn said...

@dammerung One other thing, if I may. It strikes me that if you make propaganda war on who we are, it is because you do not know who *you* are. You do not know who you can be. You don't know your own potential, whether for good or evil. Until you know that, you will be futilely possessed by defining who you are not.

You have potential, therefore I have hope.

Fred the First said...

So the women's marches on Saturday....does it occur to you as "we just don't like this guy" as the reason for the march? I read some of the coverage and it sounds like the reasons to protest were diverse and people just came out in their pink pu**y hats to be seen. It was only my white salary class friends who went - mostly doctors interestingly - and marched with hats. Maybe all those years of medical school they enjoyed a body part knitted cap. Anyway the women's march looked like the upper 10% protesting that they just don't like Trump.

It stirred a long conversation between my husband and I about what was happening. My husband doesn't like Trump and it comes down to his apparent lack of intelligence, inability to talk like a president, and not surrounding himself with experienced political types. He's convinced Trump will get us into WW3 be sending the wrong tweet. My husband doesn't read ADR, along I've shared with him and read aloud some of your thinking. He works at a major financial services firm and all the hours spent there has his brain awash in politically correct corporate thinking and its hard for him to see Trump in a different light.

It was a good discussion and I pointed out that with Trump its important to separate what he says from actual actions. He says a lot of words and they are like fireworks for people. But look at what he is actually doing and stay focused on that. When he spent most of his campaign time flying in the Trump jet to rural cities, and just talking to people in regular words, that sealed the election for him. He talked to regular people and didn't surround himself with political operatives. No wonder Washington hates him.

In other random news, Disney World has added Imperial Stormtroopers marching down the streets of ones of its parks as entertainment. I can't help but think Disney is making a political statement with that.

DoubtingThomas said...

@JMG: Yes I would agree that everyone ( including Trump not "rather than Trump et al." ) is responsible for whatever happens next, just as they are all responsible for what lead to now. I doubt I would ever agree that one side is completely responsible for anything. It takes the participation ( and non-articipation ) of all parties for a situation to manifest. I tend to stay away from losing/winning/victim/abuser language since it leads to disempowered/victimised ways of thinking [ i.e. ways of thinking that promote inaction of an individual to effect change in their situation or much more crudely put people who do nothing to help themselves and blame their abusers/the winners for their lot. ] Absolutely, there has been deliberate actions taken to attempt to engineer the current situation but I am also saying that those on the receiving end of those actions have allowed it to come to pass - over a long time line. If someone doesn't like their situation then I feel it is much better for them to look at what they can do to improve it perhaps with the help of like minded people ( and whatever support systems are available ). If someone wants a different situation for themselves then they need to change their way of thinking rather than expecting someone else to change for them.

I did read some of your earlier Trump related posts and as I said in my comment I agreed with ( so liked ) a lot of it. I'll go further now and say they gave me pause for thought and much useful material with which to refine my own perspective. Not to worry about my earlier comments on prior posts I wasn't really expecting any responses. 😀 I appreciated they were old but I still felt the need to respond :) - it must be a job of work to keep up with just the latest material. I am still working my way through your time line. There is much I like and some I don't but thats ok - life would be rather dull if we all agreed.

My responses are also simplistic John. I have to operate within the limits of 4096 characters and as I tend to the verbose I struggle to nuance appropriately. It often takes me 10-20 attempts to get a comment to post - frequently running in to the size limits or blogger http error responses on a white screen... I remember one of your prior posts you mentioned the possibility of migrating to a new provider. Happy to advise if you wish 😀 you already have my email address. I recently emailed you about your books via the aodb.

DoubtingThomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Mathews said...

@JMG - I know why Caryn thought of her co-workers as "brutish" and not merely "because their attitudes differed from hers." Because she saw their attitudes as a gut-level danger to her physically. If women consider sexual assault and beatings as normal, and objecting to it as being a spoiled snowflake, then it's open season on not only them, but her as well. And she was not reared to it being open season on any woman, any more than I was.

I remember a survey once which asked men and women what they were most afraid of from the opposite sex. Which side said "physical violence" and which side said "being laughed at"?

And remember, even women with combat training are, on the average, at a disadvantage against men determined to hurt them. Especially men who think it's their right. And if the women around those men think it's their right ... I, for one, would be scared witless to be among the males of that culture. Or sub-culture.

Lower-middle-class-reared time-traveling snowflake who realizes why liberal women are terrified of working-class men - if this is indeed their attitude. Which in my day was a stereotype .... aaah, too many ins and outs to deal with at this hour. But do realize where a lot of women today are coming from, and why it matters.

David, by the lake said...

John--

It is interesting to note the proliferation of the idea that "when Trump fails and his promises prove empty," all of those "unthinking" (to use the more charitable language) working/wage class voters will come back to the Democrats. Is it not a fundamental axiom that if your strategy is premised on your opponent failing, then you've already lost? It is way early yet, and perhaps a leftward populist movement may develop, but so far, I am not seeing the kind of acceptance of the facts-on-the-ground (with corresponding realization for the need for change) necessary for an effective response.

Nastarana said...

Dear Bob, about anti war, I have seen what I consider a quite remarkable change in attitude on the rightward end of American politics. You may not remember that the same sorts of people who were voting for the likes of Reagan were flag waving proponents of American interventionism; now the many of the same kinds of voters are all for staying home.

About an expanded navy, what I have seen referenced are proposals to discard carriers in favor of smaller, more mobile vessels which would be deployed mostly in American waters. We do have a right and necessity, as a sovereign nation, to defend our own borders, including from the murderous drug trade and from uninvited migrations.

Mr. Greer, the posting of outrageous statements is a familiar rightist takeover tactic. I, and I am sure, you and others here, have seen this movie before. This peaceful little erudite backwater of a blog seems to have ruffled a lot of feathers in many different quarters lately.

chemalfait said...

I've come to a new definition of politics- "one group complaining about another group for doing the same things they do"

August Johnson said...

JMG - Why is it that almost every time I read your blog, I find another book that I have to read? :-)

I don't disagree that some things will happen during Trump's term that need to happen, but that they'll be pretty much accidental. You're right, that it's completely unnecessary to start re-inflating the housing bubble. It may seem like it hurts some people, but it prevents a bigger mess in the near future. But I really don't see that the motive for the action is to achieve that end result, after all Trump has announced major increases in Military spending and I think any savings are intended to be spent there.

It was really disappointing (disgusting?) to hear that Trump had requested a major Military Show of Force for the Inauguration Parade, tanks and all, luckily that he was turned down by the Military both on the grounds that it wasn't such a good idea to see tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue and that the tanks would do major damage to the pavement.

You said " I'm perfectly willing to see a scoundrel do the right thing for a selfish reason!" I wish I could be as "hopeful" about this as you but, at least in my experience, those hoping for this usually get royally screwed by the scoundrel. At least unless you're one of the scoundrel's crooked buddies!

Scotlyn said...

@JMG to continue with my earlier thought, this post, and the general trend of anti-bigitry discourse, tends to assume that fear and hate are drivers of oppression, whereas I see them as consequences, or symptoms of the process of divide-to-conquer. Fear and hate are expressions of impotence, and when they are being stirred up, someone, somewhere is stirring, purposely using stereotypes you can always find lying around, to weaponise a mob mostly aware of its impotence. Those who are moved by fear and hate are more likely to be the gun than the shooter.

August Johnson said...

JMG - In addition, it's Trump's comments like this that don't make me hopeful that we'll see much of the things necessary to improve the lot of the working class. The working class will be the ones paying for this, like all similar past "adventures". When I see this I keep thinking it's like us saying "What's our oil doing under their land? How dare they want it!"
---
In unprepared remarks introducing his pick to lead the intelligence agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Trump told CIA officials that when the United States went into Iraq, we should have “kept the oil.”

“Now I said it for economic reasons,” Trump said. “But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place, so we should have kept the oil. But, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

Caryn said...

JMG:

Thank You for your response.

But to clarify: "I'm a bit unsettled that you would label the women you talked to "brutish," by the way, just because their attitudes differ from yours! "

I wrote: "Their lives and worlds really are, what I would consider, brutish.", "...this brutish world-view..."

1) I never labeled THEM as brutish, but I'm sorry, I cannot think of any other word that can describe what these women have lived through, so consistently and ubiquitously that they display this immune nonchalant acceptance of it. Incidentally, have become fairly good friends with 2 of these women, (1 not-so-much, for unrelated reasons.) The 2 that are my friends I know are strong, generous, humorous...all the things one could hope to look for in a friend and I support them whole-heartedly. I cannot feel acceptance, only intense rage and sadness at all they've been through.

2) "... a bit unsettled..." Well, YES! I found more than a BIT unsettling not only that they had gone through these abuses and witnessed more abuses around them, to such a degree that they seem to find it normal.

3) "...just because their attitudes differ from yours! " I'm a little flabbergasted here. OK, I'm the first to admit, I've been away from the USA for 21 years and it's changed a LOT since I lived here, (I'm less than 6 months back and this happened in 2 different states); but are you actually indicating this is just another alternative lifestyle? That they've suffer these multiple traumas, that this abuse and behaviour is so ubiquitous, they've come to accept it as ho-hum and normal?
I do understand it happens, and across any socio-cutural-economic spectrum. I've just not experienced it being so accepted as 'differing attitudes'.

I mean - IS it normal? Or do you mean something else that I'm just not getting? It's kind of freaking me out and I'm trying to understand. I don't get it.

Karen said...

If what I'm about to ask has been addressed already, please forgive me. My greatest fear with the Trump administration is Mike Pence, particularly his role as transition team leader. He is stuffing the cabinet and advisory positions with Christian fundamentalists. Betsy DeVos, sister of Erik Prince, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, etc. Their domestic and foreign agenda(particularly regarding Islam and Jerusalem) seems to be taken from their interpretation of the Bible. Admittedly, several of the other Republican candidates would likely have had similar cabinet picks. I am interested in your thoughts on how their influence might play out with Trump's stated goals.

Bob said...

JMG, by the same token there are thousands of people in Europe who would make better leaders than the current lot. Ditching NATO and restoring relations with Russia could be an opportunity to change geopolitics for the better. Europe shrugging off America would limit the number of wars of choice by the world's remaining overreacher. Sorry to say I don't expect Europe's leaders to rise to the occasion.

In retrospect, it is Trump's slogan of boosting America's military that disturbs me the most. It makes little sense in light of his focus on domestic issues and disentanglement from foreign debacles. Hopefully it is just bluff and bluster. What is truly breathtaking, from an outsider's perspective, is the belief that America is god's gift to the world.

Owen said...

As a counter thought experiment, I suggest you try to bring up a class-consciousness discussion on one of the /pol/ boards and see where it leads you.

And perhaps you'll understand why the denizens of /pol/ don't really talk about class that much. They just don't think in that way. These are not the people who sit in cafes and endlessly smoke tobacco and drink endless cups of coffee while talking about political theory. Different era, different way of thinking.

Keep in mind in the *chan world, it's the memes that matter and talk about class just becomes another meme. And if nobody's willing to propagate the meme, then it quickly gets dropped.

Who knows why certain memes propagate and some - do not. But there's no point in trying to force a meme - people quickly pick up on forced memes and shun them even more once they're perceived to be such.

In some ways the overt and explicit offensiveness and taboo celebration is a defense against commercialization and corporatization. No megacorp wants anything to do with what goes on in /pol/, and for that reason you can be guaranteed a measure of authenticity that's absent in most other venues. If /pol/ was sufficiently inoffensive, it would be co-opted in fairly short order and then become uninteresting to most.

Moshe Braner said...

Scotlyn: all those additional expenses help explain some of the extra cost of an ambulance ride ($1500 or so around here) relative to, say, a taxi. Add another $2000 or so for helicopter maintenance etc. That still leaves $26,000 unexplained... Greed, on the other hand, can explain any charge, even the $84,000 pill.

Owen said...

>punching an alt-right activist in the face may not be that wise an idea; I suspect the alt-right will respond in kind, and escalate.

Actually no. They respond asymmetrically. What they did do, to the guy who punched him was to track down and publish who he was and find every picture of him they could get on the internet.

They *know* that the SJWs are expecting them to respond with violence. Remember, the whole world is watching in this era. And everyone has their camera phone out.

I think the guy who did the punching was a bit on the old side, and probably doesn't understand the realities of the present. Younger people on both poles of this new duality do understand - and when they engage in conflict, they tend to get out their camera phones and then proceed to yell at each other without engaging in violence. Again, the world is watching...

jeffinwa said...

Trump Inaugural Address transcript available here:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-and-remarks

Have to admit it was most refreshing imo.

onething said...

Ray Wharton,

Very interesting. Your schema seems to fit.

Other Tom,

"What sets Trump apart from any other politician I can think of is that he is a man who has never had to face consequences."

Funny that. I'd say the whole elite cohort that have gotten away with illegal doings have set things up amongst themselves so that they don't have to face consequences, and Ms Clinton is very much one of them. In fact, it is an accusation against her I've seen written many times. If it's not the way she was raised, so much the worse for her.

"protect him from the consequences of grabbing women, "

I don't really know but I don't guess he has anything like the history of real aggression toward women that our Bill has, but as far as that comment, I'm up to here with it. What Trump actually said was (paraphrasing) "Holy cow! When you're a rich and famous TV celebrity, and IN THAT MUILEU, you can do anything to the women and they don't get offended!" Which is, uh, true. I'm sick of the male bashing and women can do whatever they want. Men like good looking young women, ain't nothin' gonna change that, and women like money and power. NOT everyone - but enough to make a fair stereotype.

If that's all you've got he's pretty clean. Compared to the scuttlebutt on Ms. Hillary, they're not even in the same league. And now a bunch of them went and wore pink pu-kittyhats on their heads in a parade about nothing. I am so ashamed.

"Sorry, all you Trump supporters and apologists but I think your intuition is impaired here."

Actually, my intuition is pretty nervous. But there was no one else.

"This is not even so much a matter of political positions but of entrusting our security to someone with a cool head and knowledge beyond his own interests,"

I agree he's volatile, but Hillary was called extremely reckless by the FBI. And in my opinion, although I am sure she was also speaking for her handlers, her intention to bait Russia into war was not exactly a cool head.

"The thought of an impulsive, overconfident man who does not have to read briefings being Commander in Chief scares the hell out of me."

I heard that Hillary fell asleep right during the Bengazi affair when she was supposed to be handling it. Her competence is a myth I'm afraid.

Kimberly said...

I agree that classism is a major factor in American political discourse right now, and it is one that no one dares name. However, class encompasses an entire culture of its own. Donald Trump may be extremely wealthy, but he has retained the tastes of a blue collar person, like eating McDonalds. Therefore I think the issue is much more complex than one's literal socioeconomic class. People have a class identity beyond what their income may determine.

I disagree, however, that class bias is the motivating factor behind the outrage and protests. Most of the people I know personally who voted for Trump are middle class or upper middle class, or even extremely wealthy. They do not represent the aforementioned blue collar culture at all. Many of them are one-issue voters or devoted Republicans who have fully bought into the Red Team vs. Blue Team mentality. I work in a high-poverty area, and quite frankly, I can't blame them for voting for the person who claimed he might bring the factory back to their town from Mexico. That alone would be the logical thing for anyone to do under the circumstances, and I can even understand turning a blind eye to some of Trump's flaws.

However, as an earlier commenter posted, there is a real tendency in rural manufacturing communities to see the "other" as the problem, and to direct prejudice downward rather than upward. It is the Mexicans coming for our jobs who are the problem, they would claim. (In the 1930s, it was African Americans.) I think what frustrates many observers is that the economic forces at work are far more complicated than people with a different skin color showing up and wanting a job. Blowing out someone else's candle is not a good way to make your light shine brighter, as they say. The answer is not simply to create another class below the ones we have so that everyone gets a higher rank. I am not suggesting that the Democrats advocated a better solution -- they didn't -- but the mentality on the right that anyone outside the center of the bell curve of society is responsible for our problems (essentially xenophobia) is frightening and illogical. This is why people are allegedly "biased" against the blue collar class.

Then there is the issue of Trump's very evident mental instability and his moral bankruptcy, both of which were papered over or excused by people who claim to believe in "family values." If he had been a typical, mentally stable Republican campaigning on a populist platform, and he held a consistent set of values, I do not think that you would see this degree of backlash, regardless of class considerations.

Ed-M said...

JMG,

Well I'm going to have to add another qualifier to my first comment in this thread. The shock and reaction to Trump's minority popular vote electoral majority election wasn't just among the salary-class liberals -- their captive constituencies, i.e., most of each of the LGBTs, Blacks, Latinos, East and South Asians, American Indians, Women, Scientists (not JUST Climate Scientists -- the rest science not marginalized by the government will now be TOTALLY corrupted by the large corporations or as if it's not bad enough already), etc., have expressed a lot of fear from the results of this election and Bill Pulliam had to remind you of this, as he closed the screen door on his way out.

"Ed-M, fair enough. I've spent so much time battering the pseudoconservatives over the last ten years that I figured it wasn't necessary to reiterate that this time; still, I could certainly have included some stunning examples of Republican class bigotry while I was at it. "

Could have? SHOULD have included BOTH, JMG! You should also have addressed the fearful constituencies. The angry hatred of the pseudoliberals/pseudoprogressives unfortunately has taken front and center because the Lamestream Media has put the fears expressed by their captive constituencies I mentioned above under a cone of silence.

Two post-mortems on the Democratic Party -- they are the new Whigs for they have not learned a g-----n thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02uhSjrkcDM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epD4G_DfPGI

Ed-M said...

Varun (1/21/17, 1:06 PM),

"What is frightening to many people, myself included, is that the sentiment of the nascent white working class political identity is blatantly exclusionary of other political identities. Meaning that there seems to be little space in the world they are trying to create for the existence of Indian, Black, Latino, or others. Even worse their sentiment is echoed by people who have the power, both legal and financial, to implement this exclusive system. Those of us in minority communities do not know if this new political identity is a threat to us, or is just finding its place. Until we know we are going to be on guard. It would be much easier to know the intentions of this new political identity if its members didn’t insist in parading around in the symbols and rhetoric of a group of people who were violently xenophobic."

I hear you. The white working class (well those who didn't stay home or voted Dem) are also Christian and the Christian Right, b/c The Donald pick Pence for impeachment insurance, are in the catbird's seat to appeal to their values in order to exclude us Gays, and the LBTIQs, too. I was actually impressed with Trump's overtures after the Pulse shooting and the RNC convention, but now that the White House has deleted all mention of LGBT issues from its website, I am not so sure and very wary. This will be an ugly four years no matter what. Worse if the GOP gets 2/3 majority in each house of Congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures, because then they can do whatever they want, and they'll do it, too.

M Smith said...

Doubting Thomas,

The president gets to pick the head of the Department of Justice as well as the head of the IRS (and they can really put 'em in a vise if they don't like you). Those appointees probably think as he does in the first place, and they know if they rock the boat, their lucrative positions are gone. So yes, he does get to pick and choose who gets prosecuted, though it's supposed to appear impartial and nonpartisan.

This president got special treatment, though, because of his skin color. Anyone who spoke against his policies was deemed a racist.

windjammer said...

You missed the mark on that bit about "fire-breathing activists" of the Sierra Club. It was John Muir that got that club started, and there probably wouldn't be many national parks or wild areas left without his passion, and his ally Teddy Roosevelt. Back in those days, loggers were blithely dropping ancient Redwoods 20 feet in diameter and whooping as they shattered into fence posts and kindling.

Sierra Club was also an early voice about overpopulation and uncontrollable immigration in the American southwest, since water is quite unreliable. Sensible foresight if you ask me. The "firebreathing" came from those who cannot comprehend or accept limits to growth.

M Smith said...

About the mortgage insurance, aka PMI:

First, thank you, JMG, for noting that it was passed Tuesday. I didn't know that it was even discussed, much less that it was smacked down. I think you nailed the reason, too.

But 0bama's move made no sense. PMI is supposed to protect some of the bank's investment in case of default. The banks are indeed courting the people who should not be homeowners for one reason or another. They are likely not to have a 20% down payment, and they are likely to dump when they default because they do not make good decisions like, "We should sell the house because we can't afford it," and instead have been trained to whine to Big Daddy Govt to "hep" them.

So why in the world is anyone trying to do away with PMI? I borrow Dave Ramsey's phrase and call PMI "a tax on stupid." Except for a change, the decision maker, not strangers, has to pay for the stupid.

donalfagan said...

"Donalfagan, now go back and read the places in my post where I explicitly said there were valid reasons to criticize Trump."

That's not relevant. I can't think of anyone I know who is objecting to Trump on the basis of class bigotry. I think they are generally afraid of change, but only Humpty-Dumpty would equate one with the other.

nuku said...

@Caryn,
Re your thread about abused women accepting their abuse as normal:
Some years ago here in New Zealand I went to a movie called “Once Were Warriors” which depicted contemporary life in the Maori under-class (the Maori are the Polynesian settlers of NZ who predated European colonisers). Most of the audience were young teen Maori of both sexes. The movie contained a lot of domestic violence against women and children by the main male father character.
Given my middle-class Western values and world experience, it was an extremely sad upsetting movie and I came out of the theatre in tears.
To my utter surprise, the majority of the Maori audience came out laughing, pumping their fists in the air, and talking about how cool the father was “wow, did you see the way he punched her up”. In essence they saw it as an “action” movie which truly reflected their day to day experiences; to them it was a kind of celebration of their culture. So yes this acceptance/normalization of abuse does occur and not just in the USA.

kalaloscope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Mathews said...

@Doubting Thomas and Scotlyn - AMEN!~says this very, very late immigrant to Aztlan. Most everyone in Northern New Mexico has a longer history in this country than we Anglos and can tell you at great length if they so choose. And that's just the region I know best. Though Albuquerque is, at heart, a Rocky Mountains city, with Denver as our Big City and Los Angeles as foreign territory.

And you all know how Texas became part of the United States? A bunch of Anglo carpetbaggers kept moving in and moving in, buying property, marrying daughters of the old Mexican families, and flooded the region until they outnumbered the original inhabitants - and had more money - and then essentially took over. Which makes me wonder when I hear about how They are flooding over our Southern Border with intent to outnumber Us, if there isn't a cowboy face looking back at the speaker in the mirror. Friends, the Alamo is only part of it.

Patricia Mathews said...

@Jeffinwa: This is not a transcript. This is a video. A transcript is in print and can be taken in by the eye, put on a page and pasted into a notebook. A video is directed at the ear, of which I have two low-functioning specimens. I need to get hold of yesterday's WSJ, which I had a chance to do and didn't.U

Oh - everybody - the weekend USA Today published a series of "The Constitution in 140 characters" intended as a civics lesson for the president in his native language, I think. Samples: "You can be impeached." "Congress makes the laws. Congress makes the laws. Congress makes the laws." Not only amusing, but I'd give it to my youngest grandson in a moment if it were more complete.

Robert Mathiesen said...

@windjammer:

Teddy Roosevelt may have felt that he was John Muir's good buddy, but Muir (ever the canny Scotsman) was doing his level best to use TR in the service of his cause, and largely succeeded. Lots and lots of Californians opposed what Muir was doing. Look into the history of California water politics and the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley, which Muir thought was an even more sute than Yosemite Valley. Californian opposition to Muir went far beyond the lumbermen and the redwoods.

August Johnson said...

OK, we've learned a new synonym for Lies today. The White House calls them "Alternative Facts". From this point on I don't believe anything the White House says. Nothing.

If they'll lie on something as inconsequential and obvious as the Inauguration crowd size, and then doubles down on it when called on it will they tell the truth on anything? Will you believe the given reason when we're told we need to go to war? Need to give some more tax cuts to the rich? Build a bigger Military? Trump sure seems totally unable to tell the truth. Now we're told he never will release tax returns. That's devolved from a promise to "when the audit is done" down to a "Hell No, you're not interested"!

OK, I'm done... Trump has settled it. He's blown any chance I've given him. He's a far bigger liar than Bush/Cheney. The consequences for the country are going to be far bigger too...

I'm sorry JMG, but even though I know politicians are congenital liars, carrying the campaign lies into the day-to-day White House briefings and basically everything emanating from the White House has done it for me. He doesn't give a d**n that we know, either. We're fracked. You may hope for something positive to come from this scoundrel, but I think you're far, far too much of an optimist.

I'm spending my time on far more worthwhile things like community building here in my local area. Lots more fun and lots more productive. A group of us spent time putting insulation in our new Ham Radio clubhouse/workshop/shack.

KG7BZ

DoubtingThomas said...

@msmith: I recognise the risks of cronyism and general sucking up in any hierarchy but if someone fails to hold to their oaths of office ( I'm guessing the head honchos in Justice for example have to swear an oath ) then they would be committing a crime of some kind. I'm sure it happens from time to time but unless there is specific actionable evidence of cronyism it seems a bit of a stretch to simply assume that all 8?? ( is it ) whistleblowers during Obamas terms in office were specifically prosecuted at his request rather than being prosecuted because there was evidence that could not be ignored requiring a judicial process to be carried out.

I'm afraid you lost me though when you said "This president got special treatment, though, because of his skin color. Anyone who spoke against his policies was deemed a racist.". I'm fairly certain the members of the House of Representatives/Senate and the media had no problem blocking or speaking out against Obamas policies. Is it possible that there were examples of people who reached for the racism card? Sure. No doubt just as likely as those who played the card in ernest or just to muddy the waters. However, as an encompassing general rule, i can't see that as being valid. I would need a lot more evidence to support such a generalisation.

Shane W said...

@Caryn,
yes, it really is THAT bad in wage class America, and yes, it has fallen THAT far in the 20 years you were gone. May I make a suggestion? You live in Wyo., which is close to the northern border. You shouldn't be that far from either Alberta or Sask., Can. Make plans to take breaks from America, and when you cross the border, exhale, b/c you're not in the belly of the beast anymore. Follow JMG's other blog and make your acquaintance with disembodied spirits, etc., b/c the embodied ones around you are going to be there for you. The bottom really has fallen out from under the wage class, and they really are at the grab-a-gun, start shooting point. The social support networks are gone. Civility is gone. Substance abuse amongst my coworkers is sky high. We're all at each others' throats and nobody trusts anyone, and everyone throws everyone else under the bus. Being well adjusted makes you a target. This Trump thing BETTER work out and bring some relief FAST (and even then, it might not be enough) to avoid a repeat of 30s-40s Europe.
Things aren't any better amongst the salary class elite, either. I feel no more comfortable around them than I do my wage class coworkers, they really have totally lost it and gone batshale, padded cell crazy over this whole election. I was saddened by Bill's leaving, though I didn't find it unexpected, b/c it just goes to show how far some people have lost their marbles over this election. Zombie apocalypse indeed, it feels like I'm losing people right and left to insanity. I wonder if this is what it felt like in the run-up to WW II in Europe...

DoubtingThomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Mathiesen said...

Dammerung, you wrote:

"I'm sick of illegals running for the border so they can give birth on our side of the line and have me and my tax dollars go to pay for it. These are people who have no roots in this country, whose ancestors did nothing to build it, and whom are not of our blood and whom have no claim to our soil. I'm tired of diversity."

Unfortunately, your own view of how the United States was built is profoundly false, especially where Mexicans and the Southwest are concerned. From Texas to the Pacific Ocean, Mexicans were there first, and Mexicans started the process of building a new Spanish-speaking nation on North-American soil about two centuries before the Declaration of Independence was signed, and even some decades before the Mayflower made land at Plymouth in 1620. (The oldest known Christian Church on North American soil is in Santa Fe, and it was built by the Spanish.) Similarly, the French were starting to build permanent settlements in what is now New England and the Mississippi River Valley throughout the 1600s and the 1700s. And northward from the limits of the Spanish settlements in California, the Russians had claimed and started to settle the coast all the way up and down the coast as far as Alaska and the Bering Strait.

So even from the standpoint of European law, none of these territories counted as "no man's land" (nullius terra), open for colonization, by the time English-speaking colonists muscled their way into them over the strong objections of the nations that had been colonizing them. In point of fact, English-speaking adventurers simply stole those territories, pure and simple, though they regularized their thefts later through treaties forced on the original colonizers under economic and military duress. (My own ancestors were among the thieves here, so I claim to speak with some authority about this.)

The border in the Southwest was variably drawn during the 1800s, and it was wholly open until the early 1900s. The Spanish-speaking families in that region have been going back and forth across it for centuries. So when some Mexican parents cross the border to give their child birth-right United States citizenship, it is by no means unlikely that some of their grandparents and great-grandparents had birthright United States citizenship, and they remembered that fact. Indeed, when by treaty Mexico ceded the territory now called New Mexico to the United States, that treaty provided that New Mexico's government would be officially bilingual, in Spanish as well as in English. Unless something changed recently, it still is a legally bilingual state.

In a nutshell: Mexicans do have a legal and moral claim to that part of "our" soil (as you call it). Many of them have family roots in that soil that run deeper than any Anglo's roots ever can there.

And I would not be so sure that the "blood" of any old English-speaking family there is as pure, as free of Mexican input, as you appear to suppose. Unless you are of recent immigrant stock, you yourself may well not be as pure-blooded as you think.

As one old man said to me in my youth, "When an ugly fact kills an elegant theory, it is not a murder, but a praise-worthy assassination."

Kevin Warner said...

A small data point here though probably off-topic. A few months ago I read the account of a Los Angeles reporter that went to the New York Times. He was surprised to discover that instead of editing the news and putting in their newspaper, a central office would each day come up with a narrative of events and reporters would be expected to shape, omit or make their stories fit that narrative. You know that I am not making this up. I think that I am now seeing this concept in wider use.

Yesterday they had the women's marches and the theme was unity of, mostly women, around the world marching against Trump. OK, fair enough, though a few months late. I realized that nothing was going to be allowed to spoil this narrative in the news by what happened during the women's march in Sydney. In a case of epic trolling, or just an Aussie sense of humour, a group of blokes coughed up the money to have the word TRUMP placed in sky writing above the women's march (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/21/out-of-the-blue-trump-skywriting-appears-above-sydney-protest). And yet there was no mention of this from what I could see in the news on TV and little in the newspapers. Hmmmm. Narrative intact.

Also, it was almost with a sense of betrayal that it WAS announced on the news that Trump was deep-sixing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal which was bad, m'kay, because free trade is good - right? There has been no coverage of just what this deal actually is here in Australia. Hint - it is not about free trade. No wonder more and more people are getting their information from the net and it is no wonder that the west and the fourth estate want to have the net censored with them determining what is 'real' news. Certainly you will not see talk about class being a thing at all that might be accounting for the tide of 'populism' sweeping the west. If ever JMG gets bored and want to post something that will get people's dandruff up and generate a lot of comments, I can think of no finer topic than the state of the 21st media.

onething said...

Michael K,

"The best programmes on RT are made by Europeans and Americans and have a host of Americans on as guests and they have very lively debates."

I've got a spouse who listens daily to programs in Russian and I have no idea if he ever listens to RT (probably not) but the thing that strikes me is that I often hear some sort of debate or discussion which may go on for ONE OR TWO HOURS!!! and in which I hear the same speaker going on and on - making their points and taking as long as they need to without being interrupted! As if there were enough time for such things! Like actual intelligent human beings who have complex ideas to convey...I am so jealous.

Dammerung said...

If JMG is right about the stress we've put on our environment and its approximate effects, I really don't see how you're going to prevent an ethnic war on the American continent, not even in theory. I don't know how it is in rural areas, but urban blacks do 0 minutes of introspection on why their communities are in such poor shape and why there's so much violence, the overwhelming amount of it committed against each other. Everything is whitey's fault. And not some generic whitey fat cat in a suit, you, personally, you right there, regular ol' white guy reading a book on the bus. I don't really see any way that mentality is going to be begged, bribed, or educated away. And if the economic situation is going to keep getting worse through resource depletion and the like, they're going to blame us more than ever.

The thing about an ethnic war is that nobody cares in the slightest what you believe. You're in a uniform you can't take off. You can be the most tolerant, loving, vegan hippie moralist and if anything it'll only make your enemy hate you more. I don't know if this vision of the future is inevitable; it might be. I certainly think white people ought to start preparing for it. Once the phenomenon we somewhat humorously call "history" starts moving, it doesn't brake for anyone's personal convenience.

Carl Dolphin said...

They haven't found him yet but there's a photo of him with his ski mask on. There's a web site where people are crowd sourcing for a reward to get him arrested. Last I saw it was up to $1400. I think he'll get caught.

Bob said...

Nastarana,

I remember the Reagan years as a time of hope. The US and USSR had reached an arms agreement and their were clear signs that the Cold War was ending. I remember American involvement in Nicaragua, the hearings involving Oliver North, and shady deals between the CIA and Iran. I don't remember seeing much in the way of pro-war or anti-war sentiment until the First Gulf War. Ultimately it didn't matter as those movements were unable to stop the war drums.

Trump is not the first candidate to question the purpose of America's foreign policy. And even he seems reluctant to speak too harshly of the military and its strategic planners. But it was clear that Hillary was a proponent of actions that were more dangerous.

The navy article I read linked the expansion to the China/Pacific theater. It may well have multiple purposes; China will need to be reassured of this.

Karen said...

@Caryn, @Patricia,

Your comments about women and “brutishness” reminded me of a work situation I found myself in 30 years ago. As a newly graduated Architecture student one of my first jobs was to be the on-site inspector during major re-roofing of several buildings at a Reserve Air Force Base near Kansas City. Most of the roofers were hard core bikers. My job was to just watch them work and fill out various reports on the work progress. I overheard their conversations. I was appalled at how easily and frequently they talked about beating their women. During one of the conversations, some of the men seemed uncomfortable about it and tried to get the others to quit discussing that topic when I was around. The roofing foreman and apparently head biker, tried to ridicule me into saying it was no big deal. I coldly stared at him and in an unusually calm voice for me, told him that if a man ever beat me, I would cut his throat as soon as he fell asleep. I’m not sure what that said about me, but it stopped that topic around me, and they were much more respectful towards me thereafter.

My dad was the first in our family to graduate from college; his and my mom’s people were laborers and farmers. It was a huge family and they never beat women, that I knew, and we knew through whispers who was cheating, who was having drinking or financial troubles, all of the other stuff families try to keep secret. Same way in my neighborhood and with my school friends when I was growing up. Domestic physical abuse was not acceptable, period. I, like you Caryn, hope this is not being considered normal or just a new differing attitude. This also makes me wonder if there is an age cohort that tends to accept domestic violence because they’ve grown up seeing so much more of it on the screen.

Marissa said...

JMG, on Bourdieu I would recommend Distinction, Homo Academicus, and Ball of the Bachelors. Distinction is often assigned and, parts of it at least, more prone to the problematic uses I noted, the other two much less so on both counts.

PRiZM said...

This has definitely been a divisive political season! Differences in opinion have manifested themselves everywhere, from the Thanksgiving dinner table to even marriages. This blog, and it's author, thankfully helped prepare many of us for the changes that were coming so that we could approach the changes with an open mind, and further be prepared to make the changes needed to be made ourselves. There's no one who will make those changes for you.

So it is with some sadness, dismay, and a bit of anger that I see so much angst in the comments here. Especially with a valued member of our community, in Bill Pulliam. Many of us have appreciated your comments and insights. But now you've chosen to leave because ultimately, you didn't get your way. That has been the general attitude of many on the left. Don't listen to the points being made, then throw a temper tantrum, or threaten to leave. It's only serving to strengthen the aggression from the more right leaning. These sort of actions are ultimately more polarizing. If we really want to see some positive, beneficial changes, we must be willing to have discourse, to sometimes agree to disagree, and "be the change we want to see", but not to turn our back on our brothers and sisters.

So I can only hope more people can approach the coming changes with the intent to try to understand why they are happening and why the people who have asked for these changes asked.

Those who keep saying "look at what Trump is doing to climate change", and several other issues have a very important question to ask: "what have I done myself to change my lifestyle to help live in unison with the environment?" The reality is, most people have done nothing, and that is why both left and right parties have done nothing. The left has offered lip service. The same is said of nearly all other issues people raise.

Do you know who has pointed these things out for a decade? The author of this blog. Consistently. Without siding one way or the other. He's only asked for people to approach things with an open mind.

Candace said...

@ Onething

I am also tired of the corporate feminists conflating "they LET you grab..." With sexual assault. Not even close.

And yes, women who live on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale have bigger concerns.

Rita said...

ON Third Parties -- I will explain a little of the reality of third party politics in the US. In the 80s and 90s, while I was still a libertarian, the major job that the party had every election year was to get ballot access. Every state has different rules, some require petitions, others require a previous candidate to have obtained a certain percent of the vote, and so on. So immense amounts of time and money went into getting petitions signed and so forth. Then the party would try to get into the debates, which were then run by the League of Women Voters. The standard excuse for exclusion was that they would only admit candidates who were on the ballot in all 50 states. Then came 1992 and Ross Perot's candidacy. Perot was allowed in the debates, but the Libertarian candidate, who was also on the ballot in all 50 states was not. I don't recall what excuse was used. At some point they started holding a second round of debates, the first round between the Republican and Democratic candidates, the second round between the various "third" parties: Libertarian, Green, Peace and Freedom, etc. In short, it is practically impossible to break the two party system. In California the constitution has been amended so that anyone can vote for any candidate in the primary and only the top two vote getters are put on the November ballot. The result was that this election two Democrats contended for the vacant senate seat and the Republicans had no candidate at all.

I have unfollowed two people on Facebook over the Nazi punching incident. The level of self righteous inability to see the ultimate results of one's logic was too much to take. Decide that someone's political views are repugnant and you are entitled to punch them in the face. What could possibly go wrong?

The elite have always worked to divide the working class into hostile factions. The current white working class seem to have been convinced that they work and that black and brown people are the welfare class. Except when the brown people are stealing jobs from white people. This results in weird behavior as reported on the "Not Always Right" site, such as a white person screaming about "lazy who need to get a job" at the clerk or waitress who is trying to serve them. If you started talking about the Black working class people would probably give you funny looks. In truth, of course, most of those on various forms of government aid are working class, they just can't get work, or they do work but for poor wages, or they are disabled or old and unable to work but were, or would have been working class if able.

I have been completely unable to pin my liberal friends who worry about the immigrants down on what they believe the immigration policy should be. I suspect they are actually for open borders but are afraid to say so. They simply can't seem to understand that you can't conduct rational public policy on the basis of individual hardship stories. The current situation is immensely unfair to everyone concerned. Illegal aliens are in limbo, those applying for legal immigration face lengthy delays, citizens see exceptions made to give their jobs away to holders of special visas and so on. But where is the reasoned debate on how many immigrants the nation can absorb and how immigrants should be selected or banned? The Democrats seem completely tone deaf on the subject and continue to make statements that sound as though they care more about a DREAM child than the unemployed fourth generation American. If I were more cynical I might begin to suspect that the men behind the curtain want to increase the hostility between groups. I used to have a friend who would remark "ah, cynicism ill befits the young." Guess I am too old for it to apply any longer.

The Big Rant said...

I got my taxes mostly-done today. My husband and I make about 60 grand in combined income. Because we have both been clawing our way up the income ladder this year in a desperate bid to buy a cheap house in which to live out our years.

From what we have calculated, because of our jump in income, the Affordable Care Act requires us to pay approximately ten thousand dollars in unpaid subsidies. We were paying $211 a month, so when I started expanding my small business and my husband got a series of promotions at his blue collar job and went from 20K to 40K, the ACA responded in kind by cutting off our subsidies and insisting the money owed must be paid back. If we find out we have to pay it, we'll have to do it in installments over six years or so. As it is, I cannot afford health insurance at all in 2017 if I want to have nice things like groceries, toilet paper, and employee payroll. I am in perfect health and I think I have bragged about it in the comments here before, so please forgive the indulgence. My husband's not doing so well. Humans are easy to sicken and hard to kill.

So, at any rate, I hope there is some truth to this whole thing about Trump overturning Obama's ACA fines for my own sake.

Also, for the record, though I believe there were seeds of good within the Women's March, such as drawing awareness to the casual misogyny females face in this world, I still think think the march was very ill-timed and ill-conceived. It ended up being exclusive, mostly white, and representative of the top 10% who benefit at the sometimes-direct expense of the poorer classes.

It was very much a march of the upper-middle class against everyone lower than them. Telltale sign of this is that it happened on Saturday, which is a day the working class does not typically get as a day off because they are so busy serving the upper middle class their after-dinner drinks and cleaning their toilets.

livingstone said...

I admire and believe in your well-articulated vision, including the fecklessness of American liberalism. You are my go-to. But you too easily give a free pass to those on the other end of the specturm, who either willfully or stupidly embrace the hateful and careless mendacity of Trump and the Republican party. You never seem tone deaf in the least, so I have been trying to work out how it is that I am the one in this case. But on this particular theme that you pound again and again--that liberals are solely to blame for the mess we are in--leaves me shaking my head. You are not the only commentator who points out that it is unfair or condescending to say that all Trump voters were racists, or sexists, or that they hate foreigners. All right. I get that. (And btw I'm not one of those who condescends in this way; these voters are my family, and I love them). But if these Trump voters and the party hacks who enable his reckless abandon are not so bedeviled, they are in fact willing to accept an awful lot of racism and sexism and xenophobia and general disrespect for anything other than Trump's own precious ego. In the deal they made with their champion, Trump, and they have demanded precious few particulars in return. Their dismissive humanity and shallow spirituality have paved the way for the rocky road we are now walking. You have been making a big point the past couple of years painting the portrait of a leftist demagogue who would be the one to rise up and lay waste to the Republic. And I really did receive your point. But those green-tinged stories always seemed to me a feint, a woodshedding for liberals to learn a thing or two, rather than an actual prediction of things to come. And now we see that you were wrong all along about the end of the American political spectrum from which the demagogue would rise. Yes, it's true, you spotted Trump a mile away. But he wasn't wearing the colors you expected. Your long vision is sound, but your short game can be off. That's fine, as it goes. But I do fear that perhaps you are missing something important here. And if that's so, that frightens me, because I depend upon your vision. In my view it was always going to be the fact-loathing, worker-exploiting, anti-science, crypto-religious, violence-hungry, bigoted nativists who were going to run us into the bank of history. (This is my family, people I love.) True, the Democratic Party screwed up twelve ways til Tuesday. They dropped the ball in this election. But blaming them for the disaster that awaits us--the next acute angel of the long descent we are now sliding down-- is like blaming the haughty child for the beating he will now endure at the hands of his vengeful blood-thirsty father. Sure, maybe the child had it coming... but the violence at the slight is what we must attend to right now. Violence to the truth, to working people, to sick people, to women, to minorities, and perhaps most of all the vision of America that is now fading from sight.

jbucks said...

Off topic to the post, but on topic for the theme of your blog: the New Yorker just posted an article about Silicon Valley and financial industry types who are preparing for a collapse.

Phil Harris said...

JMG
Trump is America’s outcome and I was not going to comment from Britain, but matters cross the Atlantic and easily get personal, even enough for instance to disturb our family. This seems no ordinary politics despite my earlier attempts to see it that way. ‘Hissy fits’ on the part of ‘bad losers’ are not the issue here. I can make my point perhaps along the lines of narrative fantasy fiction.

Whatever the power is that the pumped up Man has kept in his Castle, it has broken loose now. I call it ‘Trump’s Bane’ (TB). He may think he controls it, but I guess it will control him and probably already does. Other dangerous beasts that have long inhabited American power structures are stirred up mightily and contribute their own energy. Indeed their reactions were meat and drink to Trump’s Bane during the campaign. Given the number of neglected chickens waiting to come home to roost and given the venal hierarchies, TB had a field day. I thought the successful campaign and the perfunctory but effective inauguration could be described as wholly cynical except for the personality of the man upfront – ‘possessed’ might be a better word, speaking non-literally of course.

And what of more ordinary human beings? Given our normal imperfections and our very imperfect collective structures (though we might normally expect to get along with these somehow), we are highly susceptible to corrupt power. Grievances and such, especially those of whole segments of the populace, can so easily congeal into hatreds. Even if personally we try to hold a sensible line, disagreement degenerates under subtle influence into a failed forum; from family and friendship groups to core social institutions the small cracks open up. (I am sorry ADR has been affected and Bill has gone.) Most importantly in my view, a very wide range of people fear quite rightly the growing, it has to be said ‘fostered’, active ill will of fellow citizens. TB grows a certain delight in its own volition.

‘To avoid war, prepare for war’. Hmmm … I’m not sure that applies to civil war. Sadly matters go so easily beyond the scope of analysis or fair negotiation. And we can forget the sociology statistics. But we have closed the potential cracks in our family without needing to come to terms with TB. We have made a choice for ourselves. We declare we do not side with ill will. This one in particular is wrong and is fed from a toxic source.

best
Phil H

Tyler August said...

You know, I'm surprised that the Alt-Right's embrace of Nazi imagery has been met with such shock, here. JMG predicted a rise in young Marxists due to overuse of the snarl word 'communist'-- and here, at least, there was a flowering of Hammer-and-Sickle iconography at the local university.

When we choose to demonize 'cis-het-white-male scum' as 'literally hitler'... well. Cis-het-white-males and those who love them are going to take another look at Hitler, just like campus leftists are taking another look at Lenin. "I hate you, and you hate that guy, so..."

Ugly? Sure is. That Wiemar America now seems on its way to end with Communists and National Socialists fighting in the streets is as distressing as it is surreal. "Once as tragedy, twice as farce"? We can only hope. Admittedly, the street fighting so-far seems to be limited to sucker punches, but.... The way the vitriol online seems to be spreading into face-to-face interactions, I do worry the second time will be tragic, too.

David, by the lake said...

All--

I, for one, still believe in the usefulness of reasoned compromise between people of sincerely-held but differing perspectives. Perhaps I am in a minority.

This is not to say that we will necessarily be able to find sufficient common ground to remain as we are. It may be that a looser, less centralized structure is needed to allow for regional differences. Or it may very well be that the only agreement that can be reached is that there needs to be a divorce, because the marriage just isn't going to work. This can still be done in a reasoned and reasonable manner. I would certainly prefer that to the alternative.

Mean Mr Mustard said...

What Brian Eno, late of Roxy Music, reckons...

Just imagine if Hillary Clinton had won and we’d been business as usual, the whole structure she’d inherited, the whole Clinton family myth. I don’t know that’s a future I would particularly want. It just seems that was grinding slowly to a halt, whereas now, with Trump, there’s a chance of a proper crash, and a chance to really rethink.”

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jan/23/brian-eno-not-interested-in-talking-about-me-reflection

MichaelK said...

I found the women's march a bit disturbing. I was particularly disturbed by Madonna, an entertainer who's sold her 'P' in almost every video she's ever made. What a role model she is for young girls and women. A few decades ago he antics would have been outlawed on tv and confined to Las Vegas strip joints. Times change, but for the better, I sometimes wonder.

Hearing her shouting about her terrorist fantasies of blowing up the White House because the wrong guy won it after a democratic election, made me feel really uneasy. But the screams of crazed approval from the huge crowd made things far, far, worse. Okay, some will say it's only rhetoric and Madonna was carried away by her emotions, but other people, Muslims, have been imprisoned or even killed by US drone attacks, including US citizens, without due process of law, for expressing similar thoughts. I suppose because it's Madonna, she won't be prosecuted for incitement to commit an act of terrorism like an ordinary person raving on-line? But I wonder if she isn't helping to legitimize the thought that terrorism aimed at an illegitimate President is justified?

Perhaps I've mentioned this before. When I was last in the US visiting my family in the South, I felt like I was in a country riven by a deep-seated religious schism with a visceral irrational hatred just hidden below the surface. I really began to feel like this was what the build-up towards the American Civil War must have felt like. It was scary how angry people seemed. But don't even get me started on the Civil War! What was that all about? I've often wondered. I know my own ancestors were paid an absolute fortune in compensation by the British Parliament, millions in todays money, to agree to free their Jamaican slaves, and they did. So I speculated about why one didn't follow a similar strategy in the US, rather than going to the expense and terror of fighting a war to end slavery? Or was it, and now I go out on a limb, really a war to 'end the South' and the rest was merely a powerful peice of state propaganda that turned a war of aggression into a holy crusade for freedom?

Whoops! What a digression, sorry. The point is, one can release feelings and passions today, which are difficult to control and understand where they might lead, especially when one demonizes the other side and calls them fascists and Nazis. Where does it end? What do the left/liberals want to do with all the Deplorables if they refuse to shut up and do what they are told and they keep voting 'wrong'?

Scotlyn said...

@dammerung - the uniform I can't "take off" is red haired, white skinned, green-eyed and freckled.

Nevertheless, I have to tell you plain that I consider you yourself more of an existential threat to me and my freedom and that of my people, than anyone involved in the work of anti-racism. They are only asking me to budge up and make a bit of room at the table which they (your uninformed caricature notwithstanding) helped build and stock.

Whereas, you (or those moved to action by your propaganda memes) might kill me for even *thinking* of doing so. Solidarity is apparently your enemy, and so, apparently, is the truth of our shared, and diverse history. My white skin will not save me from the likes of you.

Your views, if translated into effective action, threaten my freedom and my life, and the freedom and lives of those I care about. Do you really expect me to overlook, or brook, such a threat?

Scotlyn said...

@Varun - I just want to add my voice to those who appreciate your astute insights both in this week's comments and last week's.

@Patricia and Caryn - I hear you both.

DoubtingThomas said...

@damerrung: I don't know how it is in rural areas, but urban blacks do 0 minutes of introspection on why their communities are in such poor shape and why there's so much violence, the overwhelming amount of it committed against each other.

That's a sweeping generalisation that serves simply to bolster your prejuduce. It's as false as trying to make a similar case that urban whites do 0 introspection. It's meaningless and readily disprovable. People of every shade of colour introspect. There are many who even put words on paper and write at length about their introspections. Some of those introspectors are black, famous for their introspections and internationally acclaimed while others make it to high office.

The thing about an ethnic war is that nobody cares in the slightest what you believe. You're in a uniform you can't take off. You can be the most tolerant, loving, vegan hippie moralist and if anything it'll only make your enemy hate you more. I don't know if this vision of the future is inevitable; it might be. I certainly think white people ought to start preparing for it. Once the phenomenon we somewhat humorously call "history" starts moving, it doesn't brake for anyone's personal convenience.

Your attempt to reclassify resource wars as ethnic wars falls flat. Oh your personal desire to use your prejudice as an excuse to justify violence towards others in order to improve your flagging self-esteem is plain as day. In this instance I would suggest that it is you who needs to learn to introspect and work out what's going on in you rather than looking to blame others for your situation. There are plenty of psychology books & case studies about the psychology of hate & prejudice to consume that would educate you. You are doing exactly the same as you accused urban blacks.

You don't speak for everyone else. There are generations of mixed-race marriages and their open minded offspring that disprove what you believe. I think you will find that they don't care about your need for hate or your projections. I think you also will find plenty of the younger generation are thoroughly disgusted by the tired playbook of hate as well.

I hope JMG is wrong about his predictions of further resource wars and while there may well be those individuals like you who allow their prejudice to justify the demonisation necessary to kill others in order to steal from them but don't think for one minute that there won't be people shining a light on that uncomfortable truth all the way.

MichaelK said...

What strikes me is that the hatred is manifest on both sides of what we call the political spectrum. I'm especially critical of the media, showbiz, Hollywood, and the music industry, television.

It's just so easy, and I think lazy, to go after Trump and the Deplorables. I also think it's dangerous. Calling Trump an idiot means one thinks the people who support him and voted for him are idiots as well, doesn't it?

It's bad enough that the Deplorables have seen their dreams and aspirations vanish as mass-employment has ravaged huge swathes of the country, good working-class jobs replaced by a huge rise in temporary and low-paid work in the various service sectors, but then to add insult to injury liberal millionaires on television ridicule you night after night. Satire was supposed to be about humour aimed at the pretentions and views of the powerful, aiming downwards from a great and privileged height, is something else. It's distasteful. Being poor is one thing, but then being told you're a fool as well, is something that's hard to take.

I'm not really sure that Americans appreciate how dangerous this kind of 'cultural warfare' or cultural stimatization can be and what it can lead to, because the US has been so peaceful a place since the carnage of the Civil War. Americans have gotten used to watching people overseas slaughtering each other in civil conflicts that the thought that it could happen in the United States again seems absurd, fanciful, impossible. It can't happen here.

August Johnson said...

Oh, so now it's back to "will release taxes after audit is completed". Total B.S. I don't believe a fracking thing that this White House says.

@livingstone - Yes, I have to go with your post, I'm not very good at putting my thoughts down into writing, but you've expressed my disappointment very well. Something seems very different about JMG's theme the last few months. It's like all the fault is on the left, no matter what Trump does or says, if there's any hope that he'll do the smallest thing that might help the working class, everything else is totally excused. It's so true that the left is massively at fault, but come on now, lies and threats and total BS'ing isn't a proper response from the Right. Just today there are new threats by the White House of punishing the press if they don't cover Trump the way he feels they should. This truly looks like we've entered the Twilight Zone of a new Banana Republic.

Dammerung said...

@Robert Mathiesen - I've seen this point made by a few people, so I'll give a response, to you and the others.

Each generation writes its own history out of the available facts. What you're telling me is Boomer history, an interpretation that allows you to be blithe to the tens of millions of illegal aliens who are here, sucking down our resources at a breakneck pace and crowding our cities with alien people and an alien culture. My generation feels the economic effects of this acutely. Yours appears not to. I don't care what the Third Fifth Treaty of Hidalgo signed 150 years ago says. I want them gone. Hoover them up, dump them into refugee camps on the other side of the wall, and let Mexico sort it out. That's my opinion when I'm feeling compassionate rather than ruthless. My generation is rapidly coming to conceive of its history like this: "We murdered our way into ethnonationalist dominion in the United States once; we can do it again."

The thing is, nobody's in charge. Nobody is in a position to dictate attitudes on /pol/ or otherwise. You've got a generation of white youth on your hands who think the Nazis are breddy good guys who doesn't afraid of anything. Data point - yesterday, PewDiePie, the world's most popular YouTube personality with 52 million subscribers, most of them young people, became the toast of /pol/. How? He dropped a video with 2x "Hitler did nothing wrong," a "Death to all Jews," a "I want the shekels because I'm a greedy reptilian Jew," and more. Sure, it was presented as a joke, but that makes it all the more - insidious, if you like. Millennials respond to Boomer hand-wringing over morality with contemptuous laughter. I have no particular advice for how you might bring them back into your program.

Raymond Duckling said...

@Bill Pulliam,

You will be sorely missing. You were first amongst us to call JMG when he overstepped the line. I can tell this forum will be at great risk to go down in sycophancy with your departure, and we will must work harder to predict that outcome.

Raymond Duckling said...

@Dammerung

Thank you for your exposition about what the alt-right meme magic is all about. It's been very instructive.

Still, I think you are on the wrong side of history. You are clearly inner-proletariat, yet by building an identity around "aryanness", you are identifying (and aligning) yourself with the Empire's elites, while opposing the brown skinned outer-proletariat. It makes me think you may be among the number of loyalists that take the brunt of the hit once a coalition is formed between inner and outer proletariats and they go to take down the Empire and its elites.

You also seem to have a vibe, as someone already said, as of some decent people talking themselves into doing some pretty indecent, violent deeds. You can deceive yourself that you are suceeding that way, but that will not be the case. It is relatively easy to commit attrocities against unarmed civilians, but once the warlords get moving into your land, you wont know what hit you.

Your emasculated army has to rely on drone strikes because the sight of returning bodybags is too emotionally taxing to your people. You are routinelly fought into a standstill by underresourced irregular forces by exploiting that fact. You'd be the laughting stock of the world if the whole matter where not so tragic.

On the other hand, we come from a race that routinelly fought wars of choice with sublethal weapons; so that lots of able bodied men would end up maimed and brought back to the pyramids for human sacrifices. They literally believed the Sun would stop comming out in the morning if the War God would not be fed with still beating hearts. Christianity tamed this wild, wild Spirit up to a point; but just in case you are getting undue hopes, I have two words for you: Spanish Inquisition.

You simply don't have the capacity of sacrifice to fight an all out war of anihilation with us. Or the Chinese, for the matter. I think it was Mao who said you'd run out of bullets before he ran out of Chinese men, and it was several hundred millions ago.

Scotlyn said...

Now here is a good story. And like all good stories, it shines a light. There is hope. Always.

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1446-5-things-i-learned-as-neo-nazi.html

I offer it to you, especially, @Dammerung. While I do put you on notice here and now that neither you (nor your magic meme factory) shall choose my enemies for me, decide who I may or may not associate with, nor control who my daughters or sons choose to marry unopposed, yet I say to you, I have hope. I have hope of you.

Juhana said...

I have wrote here, in the comment section of ADR, about rise of Second Religiosity and how it eats away humanist, secular world order from periphery inwards. Spengler was right, again.

That Islamic world has abandoned secularism is already fact that has happened, and to which rest of the world just has to adapt. Only delusional Western elites and their groupies can fool themselves to believe otherwise. No honest person living in Turkey, Pakistan, Sudan, Malaysia, or any Muslim country can say that religious matters have not started to merge with political ones a long time ago after "peak secularism" from 50's to 70's. Fight is over. Religiosity won.

But this phenomenon has gained ground in Christian lands also. Large parts of Eastern Europe have already began their slide into theocracy, away from "godless liberalism". I believe that we can wait same legitimating factors which defined legitimate power before Great War to have established themselves again in minds of people in one generation. In those areas where traditional way of culture has already corroded away, core areas of secular Western Europe, it shall be replaced by more virile, patriarchal cultures from without and within. If nukes don't start to fly. Then it is game over for everyone.

Chance of mood in large parts of eastern Europe is very concrete, real thing. Yet, it is hard to describe, especially with language alien for me. Here are some clips from Russia, which until '91 was atheistic state based on absolutist form of humanist thought (socialism), highlighting the rise of the Church. Even Mr. Putin is shown here, paying his respects to One True King above earthly rulers, like all other czars before him.

Wind is blowing, blowing from the past, and it shall tear down rotten edifice of secular humanism. Good riddance. Even US electorate seems to be tired and rebelling against their globalist puppet masters of "secular humanism", monsters in disguise.

Putin attending ceremony in Valamo, old Finnish monastery now in Russian territory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0wWREPyd8o

Church parade in Petrograd. Look at the flags!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T73goaqLUU

Army and Church, together:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwHLxwR9Joo

pygmycory said...

@JMG "the same sort of downwardly mobile middle class that usually produces disaffected intelligentsia. "

That's a pretty good description of me as well, even if I'm emphatically NOT alt-right.

pygmycory said...

@ Dammarung,
the main result of you're 'Hitler was right' comment on me was to make me feel physically sick, resolve never to take anything you say without a heap of salt the size of a mountain, and take a couple of days off from reading the archdruid report comments.

Ray Wharton said...

It is appropriate that this country is called the United States, and not the United Peoples. For though 50 states, and more political entities beside, are united by a system of Government there are still here many peoples and herds. The sign is clear, and well described before by Fredrick Nietzsche: where there are peoples and herd each speak their own tongue of Good and Evil, and do not understand their neighbor's tongue, looking upon it with an evil eye.

This blog, more that other forums of discourse I am aware of, is a meeting and debating place between many peoples and the proof is that in these discourses attempts are made to articulate several different and not entirely comparable moralities. Beyond this forum there are few such gathering places where peoples with differing tongues of Good and Evil attempt to understand in good faith their neighboring tongue. When the topic is philosophical and the meaning is projected into an image of the future this conversation goes well, but in recent events the abyss of uncertainty has become neck deep to the tallest souls, and above the nostrils of most. And as more uncertainty flows in, who among us can learn to swim?

The same writer who observed that peoples each speak a tongue of Good and Evil all it's own, not translatable into the terms of another because it grows upon a different soil of different experiences, also observed that the State speaks in all tongues of Good and Evil, but in doing so lies. The lie cannot be avoided for the State as a captor of many peoples must obscure the differences so as to take an appearance of Goodness to the diverse observers.

The danger of our era is this, for a Generation the State has lied very poorly, and has more and more only made the bother of stealing the tongue of Good and Evil from ever shrinking circles of peoples under its aegis... and the values of the rest has turned ever more resentful and reactionary against that state, unaddressed as those who refused to speak as the state speak were seen as inconsequential and beneath contempt. Even contempt is an honor to those who long lived beneath it.

Though always the actions of our Government only hold up as moral in the sense held by a tiny clan, it has honored many to speak flattery of their morality, and captured their hearts with flattery. Now the voice of the Government flatters a different people, or a different union of peoples. Those who are deprived of their flattery are flooded with a new fear, and project what is most frightening onto this uncertainty, that is to say their demons. It is easy to see what demons haunt a people, they show themselves as that peoples object of fear. Those who have long been beneath contempt are long desensitized to Evil speech from the State, and even where it seems evil to them today that is a familiar sensation, and provokes only the fear of unreliable times, mixed with the hope that their morality might rise at least to the level of contempt, and who knows how much further.

Marissa said...

Thanks for sharing that New Yorker article jbucks... first couple of paragraphs in and already caught... Telling that this guy trusts his laser surgery over glasses! I have made the opposite call myself...

Dammerung said...

@Raymond Duckling - You understand my signalling at least, so that's good. I don't really consider the US military representative of the military strength "we" wield. Our military strength comes from a couple million riflemen, some of whom have combat training and experience, many of whom are quite ingenious when it comes methods of committing violence. We're also very talented at certain forms of persuasion and certainly media manipulation. Getting rid of an overwhelming percentage of illegal immigrants is something I consider an achievable goal and it's one /pol/ is already working on through reporting people they know to ICE and doing various kinds of records searches. Expelling some or most Mexican-Americans is also possible, though current political conditions don't favor it. Actually conquering and depopulating Mexico is a project for which I see no consensus at all so you're probably good on that. Of course, it can always go the other way as well. If America starts to really Balkanize large numbers of whites might cede territory as lost in order to maintain racial integrity. The NorthWest Front proposes exactly that.

@Scotlyn - You may well find that preferences change "organically," depending on how well Trump steers us through the numerous opportunities for politically-motivated violence over the next 4 years. Really digging into the civil war in Iraq is a good example of how a multi-ethnic society can slowly dissolve down racial lines. I doubt a lot of Shia were getting the hots for Mosul Sunni when wandering over there as a Shiite was an awfully effective way of getting your throat slit.

Wew! What a frank exchange of views. I know that the idea that society is going to break down along class lines is a pill that goes down a little easier, but I think both history and recent events suggest that a racial breakdown is more likely.

Vicky K said...

When your most intelligent commentator decides it is time to leave my impulse is to join him. You seem to have missed an opportunity to improve your model, but chose to instead impugn Bill's ability to do statistical analysis. I also recall that the demographic that overwhelming voted for our current President was middle to higher income males. My memory seems to hover in the 80% realm. Actual working class men (by income) voted in smaller percentages. Given the squew towards higher incomes for white men, that meant that the same demographic that is the core of alt.right was the same that voted overwhelming for the egomaniac.

Working class voters lined up for reasons that Joe Bageant chronicled. Not a new phenomenon related to our current problems.

Dismissing the pink pussy hat push back as leftist and meaningless is premature.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

The German response is interesting isn't it?

If it means anything to you, I reckon you were right to write this essay. As my mind floats over most of the comments here, I noticed that there is a simmering anger. People of all stripes don't seem to realise that none of this was even remotely sustainable and of course they have built their lives around the lies that it was sustainable. Most of the futures and wishes that people have written about here are not sustainable either... It is mildly surreal. Our culture which stresses the perquisites of the individual - even when those perquisites runs contrary to that individuals self interest - is now attempting to double down on formerly successful strategies (eg. via the process of escalation). It is clearly a dysfunctional response.

The arbitrary and abstract models that people are running in their heads are failing to meet up to the reality that people are experiencing and of course this leads to stress. They know no other story and refuse to accept the possibility of loss on theirs and their children's investment.

The funny thing is that I've also noticed that people who consume a lot of programming by way of television seem to be even more dissatisfied and angry than usual. I worry about that.

Of course reality will provide the best dispel in the long run.

Cheers

Chris

John Michael Greer said...

Fred, the coverage I saw suggested to me that there was a pretty fair mix of the three kinds of disagreement with Trump I mentioned in my post. There were marchers who had serious disagreements with Trump's policies and appointments, or with what they believed he was likely to do; there were marchers who would have protested any Republican; and there were marchers who seemed to fit your description of the 10% denouncing the rest of us. As I've been trying to point out -- apparently with little success -- it really is a mixed bag.

DoubtingThomas, here again, I tend to think that the opposite of one bad idea is another bad idea. The opposite of blaming someone else for someone's predicament usually amounts to blaming the person in question for their own predicament, even when the blame is nicely giftwrapped in language of empowerment. Sure, there are times when it's worth pointing out that people are often complicit in their own oppression, but there are also times when it's worth pointing out that others may be heavily involved in making the situation what it is -- especially when the latter are preening themselves on their moral virtue.

Patricia, I'm not trying to justify or condone violence against women. I'm finding it uncomfortable that Caryn would use so loaded a term as "brutish" when talking about the coping mechanisms other women use to deal with the ugly realities of their lives.

David, yes, I caught that. What's more, I'm sure Trump's advisers have caught that, too, which means the Dems have just broadcast their entire strategy to the other team and told them how to win. Sigh...

Nastarana, yep. We'll be veering in a different direction this week, which will doubtless ruffle a different set of feathers.

Chemalfait, certainly that's a good definition of American politics these days.

August, I won't argue at all about the stupidity of a major military buildup at this point. I'm pretty sure that's the bribe the Trump team offered the military in return for its support, but it's still wasted money.

Scotlyn, from my perspective, neither of the two alternatives you've sketched out are complete in themselves. While fear and hatred can be deliberately stirred up, they also spring up all by themselves, especially under conditions of rapid change and economic stress. Which came first, the demagogue or the emotions he manipulates? It's a chicken-and-egg question.

Caryn, as I commented to Patricia earlier, I'm not condoning the violence these women have suffered. I'm raising an eyebrow at the very pejorative label you've put on the coping mechanisms they've found appropriate to use in response.

Karen, it's a reasonable concern. As an outsider to the GOP power structure, Trump has had to take steps to conciliate some of the important GOP power centers in order to build the support he needs to push his own agenda. Choosing Pence as VP was part of that, a reaching out to the evangelical wing of the party (which was feeling pretty humiliated, as their pet candidates got their backsides handed to them in the primary). To cement the deal, Trump will probably have to give them some of the things they want; the question is which things. Effective political pressure from the opposition -- that is to say, grassroots organizing, not just mediagenic protest marches -- can draw red lines around important issues; I'm not at all sure, though, that the left can get it together and get those lines drawn.

Vesta said...

@Raymond Duckling et al, regarding Bill Pulliman,

I too will miss Bill, although I expect him back.

However, I call BatShale on the idea that Bill was valuable because he called JMG out over crossing some sort of line. One of the many reasons why this blog is so great, and especially why the comments are so fantastic, is exactly because our host draws essentially no lines for anyone to toe, beyond the admonition to stay on topic and be polite.

The discomfort I'm seeing in the comment thread this week is especially interesting to me, in an unhappy and ironic way.

James M. Jensen II said...

This week's comment section is the closest thing I've ever seen to a train wreck on this blog. You know, the kind of hung that's a regular feature of every other blog on the planet.

Major props to our host and everyone here for keeping things much more civil than I could expect from anywhere else online.

John Michael Greer said...

Bob, I won't argue at all about what I've called American delusionalism -- this bizarre cult of national messianism, in which the US somehow substitutes for Jesus as the salvation of the world. I hope we outgrow it one of these days.

Owen, I'll leave discussion on /pol/ to the inhabitants thereof. Fortunately memes are not the only game in town. As for symmetrical vs. asymmetrical responses, so noted and thanks for the clarification.

Kimberly, now go back and read the passages in my post where I said explicitly that class is a great deal more than income, and that class bigotry is only one of the things involved in the reaction against Trump.

Ed-M, again, I noted several times, in so many words, that there are people who have valid concerns about Trump. It's been educational, and not in a good way, to watch so many commenters here pretend that I didn't say that.

Windjammer, I'm speaking of the Sierra Club as it was in the 1960s and 1970s, not as it was in John Muir's day. I thought that should have been obvious from the context.

M Smith, yep. The PMI insurance is there to cover the costs of default, and in a time of serious economic turmoil, it's a necessary precaution. Cutting it right now makes zero sense, except as a way to try to reinflate a speculative bubble -- which is the last thing any of us outside of the Too Rich To Fail class need.

Donalfagan, sorry, that won't wash. You accused me of claiming that everyone who objected to Trump was doing so out of class bigotry. I demonstrated that you were wrong. Care to try again?

August, er, moderate Syrian rebels? Saddam's weapons of mass destruction? The Tonkin Gulf incident, for heaven's sake? US administrations have been manufacturing their own "alternative facts" en masse since before I was born. The one difference this time is that the mass media aren't playing along the way they used to.

Kevin, can you find that article by the Los Angeles newspaper person? That would be well worth following up on.

Dammerung, once again, you're conflating race and ethnicity, which is another form of the same simplistic thinking that lost Clinton the election. Will there be ethnic strife? Sure, and I talked about it in an earlier post. But there will also be struggles between regions, between social classes, and -- as Spengler points out -- as things proceed, more and more of the strife will be between undifferentiated masses following charismatic figures. Attila the Hun's army -- in fact, all the armies, Roman as well as barbarian, of the Empire's last years -- were motley hodgepodges composed of anyone and everyone willing to carry a weapon.

Marissa, thank you.

Prizm, thank you. With all the shrieking going on, it's good to hear that somebody's noticed what I've tried to do.

Ray Wharton said...

@Dammerung
Thank you for sharing your perspective, I think that conversation across wide gulfs is useful, and that... well if you cannot talk, you fight.

That being said, I should mention that I hope that your movement doesn't gain footing in my neck of the woods. I work closely with Ute, Navajo, African, Asian, Jewish, and Mexican friends and any threat to their peace and prosperity would as a consequence be a direct threat to me. So, knowing more about your ideology it is fair that I warn you I am minding your thoughts as one spies on an enemy, listening for tells I might find useful to undermine ideologies like yours from gaining power in my area.

Perhaps there are moderate forms of your ideology where the identity you love can be preserved with out posing a danger to my allies, and if that is so, then I needn't have any opposition to some group making a breeding project of itself, and would even wish you well in preserving a living fossil. Though personally I think very highly of intermarriage of groups, even my vegetable seeds I cross pollinate, and the arrival of new genotypes thrills me; and my eyes do enjoy the look of people born from crossed heritages.

Most of the people I have known in my life are white, and most of my friends are as well. But a much higher fraction of the non-whites I have known have become friends. Truth be told I am very slightly skeptical of whites, in so far as there is specifically white culture it seems to me thread bare. At its base it is viscous and its summit is snowed in with hubris. Of the new and vital and living culture today, I feel most inspired by the products of Japan, Latin America, and Africa. A disproportionate amount of kindness has been shown to me by Mexicans and Asians than any other groups, though I don't know why.

So, if your ideology sees much more growth it will be a threat to me, even now I am making preparations to oppose white nationalism and any influence it tries to cast over my region, and to that end I thank you for sharing your ideas.

If I may ask, how do you feel about whites such as myself who thrive by collaborating with other races, how intractable is our opposition?

Izzy said...

As a leftist feminist etc etc etc, I have some sympathy for the Trump voters who are actually working-class and often older. I think they're wrong about what a Trump presidency will produce, but I don't think they're bad people.

*However*, the alt-right and the younger population of Trump voters I've encountered have largely been middle-class white men in their thirties, often with CS degrees, who are puling and whining because women won't go out with them and their favorite media now includes women and minorities in active roles. (Also something something manly libertarianism something something masturbation to Ayn Rand.)

I marched because the current administration is actively trying to limit women's reproductive rights (and access to effective birth control and abortion is one of the best tools for improving women's economic status), because health care is a human right and also one of the things that screws over the working class*, because I'm fed up with risking multiple lives so that people can indulge their paranoia and overcompensation, and because I have no patience with fragile masculinity, among other reasons.

There are issues where I could have compromised with the conservative rhetoric I saw in the eighties and nineties. The agenda I see coming out of the GOP (and this is not Trump, this was the agenda at the convention, although Bannon etc are not doing a great job of representing any non-Republic-of-Gilead views Trump has) is not okay on any level.

*And yeah, Obamacare is flawed and I'd much prefer single-payer, but at the moment it's also one of the things keeping a bunch of people with pre-existing conditions alive. I'd certainly be up for a better alternative, but I need to see one before I support abandoning what we've got.

John Michael Greer said...

Big Rant, I get that. My wife and I, even after a trickle of subsidies, would have had to pay more for health insurance each month than we pay for our house -- and that includes property taxes and mortgage insurance -- for a plan with a $6K deductible and 40% co-pays. It'll be nice to skip the fine this year.

Livingstone, if you think I've said that liberals are solely to blame for the mess we're in, then either you haven't been reading this blog very long or you really need help on your reading comprehension. I've been hammering on the pseudoconservative right for a decade now. I'm the guy who pointed out that the evangelical wing of the GOP has for all practical purposes taken its social policies from The Satanic Bible, remember? It's ironic, and not in an amusing way, that so many people on the leftward end of this blog's readership have been screeching about how I only pick on the Left, when that demonstrably isn't true; it makes me think that Donald Trump isn't the only person out there with really, really thin skin...

Jbucks, fascinating. Thank you.

Phil, that's just it -- I don't think it's Trump's Bane. I think it's America's Bane, and it's equally present and active on both sides. The mendacity and anger on display in the new administration is equaled by the mendacity and anger being displayed by its enemies. I hoped, after the election, that the shouting would wind down after a while; at this point I'm less sure of that. It's been a very dispiriting week, all things considered.

Tyler, and of course you're quite correct. The return of the repressed comes to mind.

David, I'm inclined to agree.

Mustard, good to hear a reflective response to all this. Thank you.

MichaelK, the wave of glorification of violence on the part of the left, Madonna among them, is just one of the things I find troubling about all this -- though it's nothing new.

Juhana, has it occurred to you that your reasoning here is identical to that of the jihadis you've denounced on this blog?

Pygmycory, it's a good description of me, too, and I'm not alt-right either. I sometimes think it might be a good idea to start an alt-center -- a movement that takes its stand on the old ideals of civility, community, equal protection of the laws, and democratic process, and tries to fend off attacks on those things from right and left alike. So many people on both sides seem to be committed to tearing those things down in order to have more room to beat up their enemies!

Ray, Nietzsche is really one of the few useful guides to the present mess, isn't he?

Vicky, I pointed out the fallacy in Bill's comment, which is also present in yours. The figure you're quoting comes from precisely one statistically dubious analysis of exit polls, which are themselves notoriously inaccurate. As for the protest march, I've been saying all along that protest marches are meaningful only if the marchers follow up with grassroots political organization and the rest of the tools of practical politics. So far the left has shown embarrassingly little awareness of that fact, which is one of the reasons it loses so often. Will they learn their lesson this time? Believe it or not, I hope so -- because grassroots political organization would take the Democratic Party out of the hands of the self-regarding clique that's been running it and put it back into the hands of its constituents, who have their own ideas about how the country ought to be run.

John Michael Greer said...

Cherokee, thank you. It's been educational, and not really in a good way, to watch people repeatedly insisting that I said things I didn't say, storming and sulking and pounding their fists. Still, I suppose I should have expected it, given the comment in the post about Donald Duck meltdowns.

James, thank you. Yeah, it's been an experience.

Izzy, and as I've said repeatedly, there are certainly valid reasons to object to the policies and appointments of the Trump administration. (And there are also valid reasons to make fun of guys whose major political motivation seems to be their inability to get laid.) Now that you've done the march, though, I hope you'll follow it up by getting involved in grassroots political organizing, if you aren't doing that already -- because Trump can afford to ignore any number of women in funny pink hats walking through Washington DC, but he can't afford to ignore a sustained political mobilization on the part of his opponents.

BoysMom said...

There is a good deal of schadenfreude among the Libertarian/Republican/Constitutionalist/Alt-Right types right now, and I confess to be enjoying it as much as anyone else. 'Alternative Facts' were just fine when it was Secretary of State Clinton blaming a you-tube video for the death of our Ambassador in Benghazi, but they are a problem now? Really? Sauce for the goose and gander, and all that.
But I'm also trying to keep fences mended with a couple cousins right now, so biting my tongue, well, fingers, since we communicate over the internet.

I know the alt-righters I've hung out with online for years are and always have been big into martial arts--not chan or /pol, I'll say that much--also concealed carry, open carry, etc. They are the sort of folks who find improving themselves pleasurable. The attack on Spengler was thoroughly addressed and the suggestion to take a buddy to watch your back, as always, reinforced.

Justin said...

JMG, I'll agree that ethnicity is the fundamental thing, but of course, what would you say to say, a fourth generation white American who's descended from people everywhere in Britain and Europe? I don't think anyone would claim that because they're largely regarded as different ethnicities, that say, Poles are equally different than Swedes as are Danes or Norwegians. Anyway, true ethnicity formation requires extreme bottlenecks - you can't get an entire country of people who look as alike as say, Japanese people, or who all have recessive genes for hair and eye colour, without some seriously small seed groups.

However I also have noticed that media manipulation of opinion is very effective in homogeneous countries and leads to absolutely toxic social forms like Jante law - a good thing perhaps, sometimes, but when the national conversation is controlled by um, hostile, actors it is incredibly destructive.

JMG, I agree about the alt-center. If anything though, much of Trump's rhetoric is decidedly alt-center, and although that center is definitely white and middle class, well, aside from the basic unsustainability of the middle class, I don't see much wrong with that as long as it isn't exclusionary. If america, or parts of it, are to exist as multi-anything (where anything is race, religion, ethnicity, basically anything more important than sports teams), there has to be one common identity with subgroups within that identity, not warring identities of any kind. And white people are not going to go along with that in any number if it involves endless nauseating guilt trips and a complete erasure of anything but the darkest moments in the history of the European diaspora. I do think the alt-right is factually right about some things which we aren't supposed to talk about, and I think not talking about them is a perfectly viable option, but if there's going to be a detente about these things then all parties have to respect it. Right now the modern left insists on breaking the terms of the detente, and I see the alt-right as a response to that. Not the right response, but Pandora's Box is full of a lot of nasty stuff. Unfortunately, I think elements in the modern left see this as a valid political strategy to create division and strife.

Dammerung, I think you especially know exactly what I'm talking about - the detente was good, we put something truly horrible but very real in the box, and unfortunately it's been opened - and it seems like the way we get rid of it is by ignoring all the demons - including the ones that give 'us' power. Of course, the left has their own demons from inside the box that empower them, so we have to find a way to fight fire without fire, so to speak.

Izzy said...

@JMG: Oh, definitely. I'm in super-blue Boston, so calling my reps only does so much, but I'm going to keep working. One day feels good, but you have to sustain it. My feeling is that the march was there for morale (and to annoy people like Piers Morgan*) and to make connections--now people are breaking into smaller groups to focus on individual issues, picking our battles as we can.

On a bipartisan note (and as someone whose family lives in former-coal-mining country) I'd love to see some action on the RECLAIM act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4456.

* Who says that men are being creepingly emasculated by feminism. I didn't know it was so easy to do: have y'all considered wearing cups of some sort? ;P Seems like a girl can't order pizza these days without destroying someone's manhood.

Bob said...

Jimmy Dore is a comedian who is reminding his listeners that corporate Democrats have to go, else the Democratic Party will never change. The 'traditional' left may not have a choice but to form a 3rd party. Built it and they will come...

M Smith said...

Ray Mathiesen,

Just so you know: not all whites are Anglos. Not all people of European descent are Anglos. There's such a thing as diversity among whites, though you'd never know it from the way we're dismissed as a monoculture. It's no less insulting to call all whites "Anglos" than it is to call all latinos "Mexicans", and white people are no less deserving of respect than nonwhites.

wbricex said...

JMG,
Maybe this has already been said and I’m a little slow on the uptake, but it kinda clicked for me today. Besides class bigotry, another reason that so many people are upset is that Trump’s victory represents serious damage to identity politics. Sexist cards, racist cards, homophobic cards, etc. have been effectively taken off the table or at least placed in the discard pile. All of these were played hugely during the campaign and those card players still did not win. Cue the tantrums.
PS - Thanks for maintaining this forum.

Kevin Warner said...

"John Michael Greer said...
Kevin, can you find that article by the Los Angeles newspaper person? That would be well worth following up on."

I think that this is the article that I found once-
https://deadline.com/2016/11/shocked-by-trump-new-york-times-finds-time-for-soul-searching-1201852490/

There was another article that I found once that I cannot find anymore. It describes an office at this newspaper where this narrative is actually made. Editors come together with say, the Syrian opposition, to make the fall of Aleppo sound like the Fall of Rome (forget the fact that most of those fighters were the local franchise of Al Queda). I suspect that the deals are made elsewhere by interested parties but here is where plans are actually coordinated. And this makes the New York Times different to Pravda how?

Dammerung said...

@Ray Wharton - Naturally, and of course I'm doing the same. All diplomatic meetings are at best two steps removed from a knife fight.

The very threadbare nature of white American culture might have a great deal to do with why so many people are quietly cannoning up to preserve whatever can be said to be left of it. Someone overhead mentioned Wiemar America, and that's a persistent meme on /pol/, as well. Many people have become revolted by the decadence and perversion that's being marketed to us as "culture." Exactly where we draw the line differs, even among ourselves, but there was recently a commercial for some Fox "comedy" that elicited hundreds of comments of raw, untempered revulsion for featuring a little boy in BDSM gear.

As for how intractable we are, that's a question that I myself have wondered at to no avail, despite the sheer amount of time I've been immersed in it. There's no right-wing opinion too extreme for representation on our board. Sarcasm, irony, and absolute sincerity are blended together to such a degree of sophistication that it almost doesn't make sense to try to talk about them as a separate intentions. Were I to try to express this feeling in the form of a meme, here's the one I'd choose (don't worry, it's G-rated)
http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/578024-lets-keep-going-and-see-what-happens

There's a certain sense that we're all in it to see what we can get away with at this point. I've heard the game expressed as follows: to get on as many government watch lists as possible without getting v& - ie, hauled off by the FBI. Clearly this translates into real world action - /pol/ made the news again for showing up at Shia Le Bouef's "He Will Not Divide Us" cam and praising Hitler; regurgitating /pol/ memes; and throwing up Roman salutes. I got numerous responses to a comment suggesting that we're practicing militant Dadaism; that's usually a fair indicator of a comment that has broad community appeal. But /pol/ has a kill count and we're quite proud of that fact. Several times this year, a bunch of guys would watch ISIS training videos, pick up on unique terrain features, triangulate the location of the facility, and then send it to the Russians only to see the sites in question bombed a week later to the childlike glee of all. Then, to celebrate, the /pol/sg/ crew took our web URL and logo, stylized them to look like an ISIS flag, and set the flag as the background to video with an ISIS Nasheed for audio accompaniment. If you can figure out how many layers of irony that is operating on, you're probably in high demand in the Intelligence community.

August Johnson said...

JMG - I understand your point, however the difference between the previous "Alternative Facts" and the ones that Trump has are that the evidence is in front of his and our eyes at the moment that he says them. He's gone as far as to deny that he said something that he said on tape just a couple days before. We didn't have the direct evidence in front of our own eyes as Johnson, Bush or Obama said them. Trump is saying these things as he and we see that they are false. And then doubling down and saying those who didn't see the Emperor's New Clothes are the liars.

All previous versions of these "Alternative Facts" gave the person presenting them some "credibility" as the reality wasn't available for us to see and dispute at the instant they were being presented. This one was. How does anyone who is insisting, for example, that you are being attacked by a Grizzly Bear when you are actually eating an Ice Cream Cone, have any credibility? This is what Trump is asking for.

BTW yes, I think that the Mortgage Insurance, ACA, TPP and NAFTA orders he signed desperately needed to happen. But many other very bad heads of state have done some things that were needed also. As Cherokee Organics said, none of this is remotely sustainable. When I look at it from this angle, maybe it's better to get the collapse started in earnest... The fall won't be quite so sudden and steep, still gets to the same place, but better to get going...

I guess what's gnawing on me about this time, is that the lying is totally out in the open and it's made clear to everyone who is able to see the lies that nobody in the government gives a **** that we see them. Maybe I have to look at it from a different perspective, like I said before that one of my Father's associates from the UNAM in Mexico told him in the early 1970's. "What's the difference between Mexico and the U.S.A.? We admit our politicians are liars."

It's just not easy seeing such bastards.

Raymond Duckling said...

@Dammerung

An honest and civil exposition deserves a response in kind. Thanks for engaging in the discussion. It was probably too much to ask to see the quagmire of American Empire to be settled peacefully.

I personally do not wish ill or harm to you, though you will understand that my simpaties are with the victims of *any* side's witchhunt.

You styled yourselves as warriors; may you have worthy opponents.


@Vesta

It is sad to see you dismiss Bill's contribution as one of the elders of this tribe. Even the kings of yore were in need of their jesters to tell it as it is and not pull any punches. Our host, as bright as he might be, can be a bit ham fisted when dealing with contrarian views. I am yet to see malice there, but that does not mean counterweights are not needed.

onething said...

Big Rant,

"From what we have calculated, because of our jump in income, the Affordable Care Act requires us to pay approximately ten thousand dollars in unpaid subsidies. We were paying $211 a month, so when I started expanding my small business and my husband got a series of promotions at his blue collar job and went from 20K to 40K, the ACA responded in kind by cutting off our subsidies and insisting the money owed must be paid back."

Yes, you got caught in a vise. I can imagine that people in Europe or Canada would be horrified. We also had to pay back 800 dollars our first year on Obamacare because I underestimated my income. Having to estimate your income is quite difficult sometimes. But those subsidies are given based on low income, and yours jumped by 20 grand or so. I sometimes think that this kind of thing, hitting hard at "normal" people who have always had insurance that was reasonably affordable, is actually a good thing. Because Americans just don't seem to think about where the money comes from when they don't have to deal with the bills. And when most customers don't deal with the bills, no one pesters the person behind the desk about just what this procedure is going to cost, and no one balks at not being told in advance what it will cost. When you've got 1700 dollar ER visits that constitute a bag of IV fluid,(that you have no clue about while you're incurring that cost) and 30 thousand dollar helicopter rides, insurance can't be affordable because medical care isn't.

Ray Wharton said...

Yeah, my annual reading of Zarathustra going on right now is very helpful. Tarantulas, know what I mean! By the way, I want to mention Seung's 'Nietzsche's Epic of the Soul: Thus Spoke Zarathustra' just discovered it, and I glowingly recommend it to Nietzsche nerds. Since college I have argued that TSZ needs to be read as a novel, a work of fiction with a changing main character and a plot. But it is also one of the most difficult books to actually sort out the plot. Seung's book is a companion that offers his take on what is going on with Zarathustras development and epic adventure in the soul. I disagree with large parts of Seung's version of the story, and I have my own take on the plot, but he has a lot of jems too in making sense of details I had never noticed. Sorry for being off topic, but its worth saying so for down thread.

Back on topic. Greer, you have been emotionally preparing for something you knew not what for a long time, and have said well in the past how much hard work there is in it. I think that your diagnosis in this post failed to reach the depth of the distress currently circulating. When I posted my guesses about what may happen earlier one option I would currently emphasize more is that the rejection of Trump will cripple the country. Maybe that's not in the cake yet, but I am concerned a mindless mob of problems might persist long enough to really ham string things. To avoid this Trump needs to play a very top game, I don't know. Under the best of circumstances the amount of hens coming home in the next few years would be difficult, but if Trump gets blamed for the chickens that were already in route that will be a mess.

Trump needs to be help accountable to a very high degree, not out of unfairness to him, and not compared to the dead end path of the last generation, but because a high level of performance is needed.

Now that you have chased off the people I don't want to say this in front of, even with current events I am more fearful of left wing authoritarianism, even though I am naturally predisposed to liberalism. The key sign that Trump is not a Fascist is that he has no ideology or youth movement.

But, on the other hand, I still need to think more carefully about Spengler's suspicion that the end game of the west will be under charismatic instead of ideologic leadership... I have meditated to some degree about ideology and its dangers, but it occurs to me at this very moment that ideology may no longer have the power. That the impotence of ideology is the lament of the left, which on its fringes has never really let go of the dream of Marx. Still, I think that Trump is an early and still hazy image of the rule of personality. The meaning of ideological rule is now known, in its horrors. But, I know not the nature of personality as law... though in effect it is the superseeding of the rule of law in the long run.

I think for a very large group of people this is a real religious crisis, which of course is the disadvantage of a this-worldly faith, one must be ready to be wrong! The prejudices that this post lampooned are I think much deeper than matters of class. They go down to epistemological roots.

DoubtingThomas said...

@JMG: I try not to think in terms of opposites at all at least not in this sort of context. I am not a fan of blame culture [ or the ego's need to punish but thats a different topic ] so I assign no value to the blame game. I come at all of this from the perspective that we are individually responsible for what we attract in to our field of experience ( a bit like the LOA ) and that we are all one so what happens to someone else happens in some way to me.

I have no problem with pointing out "oppression" or challenging it or going after it but I prefer that to be accompanied with "and this is what someone hasn't done or can do in order to not be oppressed". [ I'm sure I have said that before but perhaps not as clearly and perhaps on one of the old posts I commented upon or perhaps even on your other blog.. I don't remember. ]

If highlighting the oppression comes by itself then it can encourage people to simply do the endemic thing of "oh it is their fault, I can feel superior|better because it is something over there's fault and there is nothing I need to do.". That is kind of how oppressors get away with using demonisation of minorities by trigger latent prejudices and fears ( for example ).

You might have made the mistake of "assuming" something I did not intend. I, like you, do try to be clear in my communications but I'm not perfect at it. As an aside, and perhaps to facilitate understanding I quite like the 4 Agreements ( by Don Miguel Ruiz ) - one of which is "Make no assumptions" - not always easy but I try.

So this [ "I tend to think that the opposite of one bad idea is another bad idea." ] and [ "The opposite of blaming someone else for someone's predicament usually amounts to blaming the person in question for their own predicament, even when the blame is nicely giftwrapped in language of empowerment." ] are both way off base in the context of my comments.

I did use a turn of phrase above akin to "people getting of their backsides and doing something about their problems" but that wasn't intended in a blame game punitive fashion but more of an attempt to get them to recognise their own power so yes "empowerment".

I think empowerment is a great word especially around the oppressed who might be inclined to believe that they lack power because they feel oppressed. Other useful concepts are humility ( which leads to true understanding ) & forgiveness ( releasing old negative patterns ) as they are the tools that need to be employed to break cycles of abusive relationship dynamics.

You lost me somewhat towards the end where you referred to "especially when the latter are preening themselves on their moral virtue". I'm not sure what you are referring to there. You seem to want to apply it to the abusers but I'm not sure what you are relating that to. Please explain. I'm curious.

When I point out the role of the individual in their situation quite often they reach for "blame" and then I go through an explanation like this. [ I apply the same rational to health or dis-ease but again a different topic. First time I discussed that with mother who has had cancer 7 times she said "Oh so my cancers were my fault were they". It took me about a year to shift her from "blame" to "empowerment". ]

Dammerung said...

@Izzy - It took me a little while to figure out why your comment filled me with visceral hatred. Then I finally realized it. See, the thing is, everybody knows that the price of a woman nowadays is a couple drinks, especially if you're a Level 2 fascist and lift weights or have a ruggedly manly hobby or something. But when it comes to having a family - the age of marriage; divorce rates; STD infections; and below-replacement level childbirths tell a story all their own. Your comment was a grim reminder for just how degenerate our society has become.

DoubtingThomas said...

@Ray Wharton: You had me in fits with one of your comments above. It related to fossils. Thank you. I had started to get a bit grumpy given the tenor of some of the above.

@Damerrung: No offence intended. Really. I say what I think especially in this arena. It needs it. I appreciate that you need to big yourself & your alleged affiliated "millions?" of cohorts up in order to feel powerful. It is of course just trash talk for now. Something to massage the ego. It's quite a normal response. Don't worry. Nothing to feel bad about. Certainly not a criticism just an observation. No doubt the people you want to blame your problems upon and expel also have their trash talkers who would rise to your psyching out challenge. If John's visions of a future post oil comes to pass then you can obviously say good bye to your weapons & machine transport. As I recall the Vietcong managed to do a lot with much less. I suspect the gangs of Mexico, Central America & South America, who seem to be well versed in low tech tactics, would be up for a challenge. They are not big on forgiveness and have no problem with wiping out lots of people while they sleep. Machismo seems to be a popular pastime down that way as well. Still, its up to you of course how you choose to be. Thank you for sharing your perspective. It has been educational watching you interact. Good luck.

@PatriciaMatthews & AugustJonstone - Thanks to you both too. I appreciated your comments.

Armata said...

Wow, I am gone for a couple of days and things get really interesting. Glad to see Juhana is back. The reality is that "Winter is Coming", to paraphrase George RR Martin, and people need to decide which side they are on. It seems to me the secular liberals and leftists are on the losing side of history, they just haven't grokked it yet.

Speaking of the points Juhana made, Spengler made a couple of specific predictions. One was that the Second Religiousness would appear in the West, probably taking the form of a resurgence of Christian traditionalism reminiscent of Medieval Christianity. I think we can already see that in Eastern Europe and we will probably see that trend spread into the rest of Europe in the future as the Long Descent, the failures of secular liberalism, the Islamic invasion of Europe and the rise of radical Islam become too obvious to ignore.

Another is rise of Russia as an emerging civilization. According to Spengler, Russia is still in its late Pre-Cultural phase of development and its Springtime is probably some ways off. Still, as Spengler points out, civilizations in their Pre-Cultural and Early Cultural phases are intensely religious by nature. In the case of Russia, this took the form of Orthodox Christianity, followed by a Christian heresy known as Marxism-Leninism, followed in turn by a huge revival of Orthodoxy after the Soviet state collapsed.

So we have two related trends: the resurgence of traditional Christianity in Eastern Europe and the rise of an Orthodox Christian civilization in Russia. Spengler believed the next great civilization would emerge out of Russia and the next great spiritual movement would grow out of Russian Christianity. I think its pretty clear from watching recent events that he was correct, once again.

To add to the videos that Juhana shared, here is the Easter Sunday service from last year in Moscow, attended by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Its quite an impressive display and well worth taking the time to watch, even if you don't speak Russian. The other link is to a blog post by the Saker, discussing the ties between the Orthodox revival in Russia and the VDV (Russian Airborne Forces).

The VDV even has portable churches that can be airdropped to units in the field, complete with icons and jump-qualified clergy. And check out this video of a pro-Russian insurgent artillery battery during the Battle of Debaltsevo in Eastern Ukraine. Notice the banner flying from one of the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers.

The Saker pointed out in an another blog post that during the Chechen Wars, Chechen insurgents would yell "Allahu Akbar!" and Russian soldiers would respond by shouting "Christ is Risen!". Like it or not, the post-modernist West is dying and ancient, atavistic forces are coming back to the fore. The religious and ethnic conflicts that will dominate the foreseeable future have only begun.

latheChuck said...

Dammerung - Assuming that you believe in evolution, you probably understand that your transparent skin (and mine), commonly referred to as "white", is a mutation which allowed our ancestors to populate cold northern climates when dietary sources of Vitamin D were scarce. It will persist, of course, when dietary sources of Vitamin D once again become scarce. You don't need to defend it. It will take care of itself, in that part of the world where it is needed.

And, speaking of evolution, this idea of trying to combine racial purity with territorial expansion is a social mutation which was driven practically to extinction when it competed against a diverse social order which recognized the value of sound science, effective medicine, and cooperative behavior when challenged. The problem, as has been discussed here in the context of political purity, is that the purification process leaves a small fraction of the original mixed substances behind. You may have heard that "quantity has a quality of its own."

Have you thought about the logistics of war-band operations? Your folk may need bread, and sauerkraut, for starters. Have you thought about figuring out how to produce them yourself? If you can stuff your own sausage, you have a meal. As empowering as it is to see one's words reproduced on the Internet, there's another kind of power one enjoys when sharing good food from your own hands before the mouths of others. Bread (especially whole-wheat) takes a few hours, sauerkraut takes a few weeks, and growing food takes months to years, so you'll need patient persistence; but the emergency is not yet upon us. The more self-sufficient we are now, the more resilient we'll be in the future. What have you done for the soil lately?

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