I was surprised to see last week, though not really surprised, nobody pinned Scott Walker's win in Wisconsin on Obama. And not just win, but a resounding triumph, as far as the Right is concerned. Like a death knell for the Dem's this cycle. Americans are such suckers. Obama, the constitutional law professor who has signed some of the most unconstitutional law this nation has ever seen, as if preparing to invade his own country, killer drones like his personal play things, which the Democratic party is morally and ethically incapable of calling him on, if they can even see it. And then there's the Right. It would be comical, if not so sad, when all those tea partiers lose their middle class jobs, medicare, social security and 401K etc when the Austerity they seem so to desire comes to America (and resource constraints and climate changes they so resolutely deny, kick in ever harder), and America's elite start heading for their off-shore compounds in greater droves than they already are. Comical, except I'm sure more than a few will continue to blame it on gay people, foreigners, dark skinned and poor and weak people, the devil, and women generally.
Did you hear about James Cameron, the mogul movie maker. He's getting together with Eric Schmidt and Larry Page of Google, and a bunch of other hot shot billionaires, to invest in off-site mining, which is to say, beyond the terrestrial: asteroids and the moon and such. I mean, if you wrote the screenplay, you'd have to make it a farce, because otherwise it would seem too preposterous. Wasn't Avatar against off-earth mining? I thought that movie was about not going to other places in the universe, in the way of the rape-pillage-plunder, command-control-dominate-destroy of our present treatment of the earth and each other? What precisely is the meaning of evil genius? Are they reserved for fiction only? Perhaps we are waiting for the Avengers to save us from our gullibility? Or is that, culpability? What about learning to tailor the economy like an ecosystem? That might be worth sharing, cosmically. Hey James, Eric, Larry, et al? Will you gift me with a few million dollars, to buy a thousand acres with a spring, to build a mostly off the grid village with my closest friends and their kids? Some of my friends are techie geeks too. I have the feeling the shit's commin' down hard, and I'd like a safe place for myself and the people I care about most, to model a post-collapse lifestyle. We'll plant fruit trees and big gardens, ferment wine and beer, make music. We'll keep chickens. You can come and hang out. We'll all dance with the kids. It'll be fun.
Meanwhile, high gas prices are destroying demand, while falling oil prices make all that fracking and tar sands removal uneconomic, which happens to be the only thing preventing a decline in supply: aka Peak Oil.
What about John Maynard Keynes? He's that guru intellectual economist so dear to liberals everywhere. Not only was the guy sure his economic policies were perfectly tailored to maintaining totalitarian control, he was Director of the British Society of Eugenics – during WWII, no less. Eugenics – that's population control, and men like Keynes deciding who gets to make babies, and maybe with whom. If you have any experience at all with government bureaucrats, that might give you pause for a moment, if you think about seven billion people, resource constraints, petty and not-so-petty bureaucratic control issues, and the profound separation between government policy and the actual effects of those policies. (It's not like those devotees of the Chicago or Austrian schools are any less fond of control, it's just their idea of eugenics is more about handing control from bureaucrats to plutocrats and oligarchs, population control by attrition, so to speak.) Paul Krugman, that great Keynesian polemicist, may or may not be a eugenicist, but he was given the Nobel by those bureaucratic Keynesian Europeans who are doing such a fine job leading Europe toward peace and prosperity, just like they gave that war mongering, Imperial hegemon Obama, the ultimate institutional peace prize*. It's so perfectly appropriate I feel like I'm living in a novel.
How about Bernanke? The Bernank. Did you hear about Basel III? New rules for banks about capital requirements. Liberals jumped on it like he was giving the big banks da bizness – finally! Except, it isn't any different than any other policy that has come from the Fed, or our government, the last thirty years at least, insofar as favoring elite control at the expense of everybody. I don't know much about Basel III (see aforementioned Europeans), but I know enough to expect it to result in many small banks being consumed by the biggest five, in the name of limiting the systemic threat of global economic meltdown. If that sounds like a mind-****, It's exactly analogous to federal farm policy. Hand most of the largess to the biggest, most polluting players, and then apply all regulations evenly across the board. Blind devotion to faux free-market imperialism on the Right, chicken shit liberal devotion to do-gooding, like giving all the kids the same prize, except this prize prevents most small farmers from raising, slaughtering and selling their own chickens, for want or fear of the $100,000 in capital requirements demanded by the USDA, in the name of making food safe. Like our treatment of “lesser” nations generally, debt bondage as a means to pillage and plunder. Now, instead of small, isolated outbreaks of food-borne illness, we have 34 state-wide, increasingly anti-biotic defying e-coli, cryptosporidium and staphylococcus outbreaks, there is fire retardant and ammonium in your kid's sandwich meat, real, healthy, local organic food is the most expensive on the shelf, if you can find it, and most of the food is coming from a long way away. I don't think The Bernank, or the policy makers at the USDA are malicious, necessarily, just consider Hannah Arendt's description of the great evil of Nazi fascism, that it's practitioners were in the main, utterly banal.
How about all those prisons we are building, here in America, particularly in Arizona. Most are ostensibly to be filled with illegal aliens, otherwise known as Central and South American people looking for a better life, often running from the capital-infused pillaging, plundering and tyranny where they live. If America's economy goes into full-on Seneca-style collapse mode, or even the catabolic, it's hard to imagine Latinos continuing to cross the border looking for jobs, particularly if the military is repositioned domestically (anyone remember the NDAA?) But once you build it, your creditors and investors are going to make you fill it – all around good for the economy, you know. Parts of Arizona would make an excellent gulag archipelago, for, say, those “terrorists” who talk and write about conspiracy theories like peak resources, industrial decline, and advocate for things like local economic autonomy and the health of ecosystems. But this isn't Soviet Communist Russia; America is the light of the world, the city on the hill, the home of the free and the brave. Arizona isn't Siberia, either, but it might as well be, if you are a political prisoner. It would be perfectly in keeping with conservative America's obsession with hell. Half the people in the penal system now, are non-violent drug offenders – it's not like we haven't set a precedent for the sadistic, in the name of security, for profit. We already have the largest prison population per-capita on earth. But why worry about a domestic gulag when Obama says the military can ship you to any one of our thousands of military and detention facilities across the globe, and never tell anyone where you are, why you were taken, or even that you were?
I check in to the Huffpost every day, for a key barometer of American crazy. I could go to other mainstream news sites, but most of them are like falling into a black hole, and the Huffpost is at least capable of pushing some boundaries, however slight, and mostly inconsequential. I like the three column structure: the column on the left, social and political punditry, most of it trapped in the dualism of Liberal/Conservative, most of it oblivious to resource constraints; The middle column, mostly news, much of it slanted to favor the idea of government control, and in no way designed to seriously question Western habits of consumption, American's especially; The column on the right, side boobs, fashion fawning and faux-pas', links to the myriad entertainments, endless examples of gruesome, ugly behavior. Cannibalism has been popular lately, in all three columns. Consumerism, coming to it's logical conclusion.
Western Civilization as a paradigm is like a psychological assault, from the moment of first consciousness, demanding I participate in a system that makes some multi-billionaires, leaving billions in abject poverty. It encourages some appetites - the pursuit of money, the accumulation of wealth, the consumption of resources and the exercise of power - while condemning or subsuming into the greater consumer culture, any appetite that might advocate for a simpler, more harmonious approach to living, tailoring the economy to ecosystems, as example. The Western mind is instead tailored for control, to administer or to yield, and every institution operates according to that Western ethos, obfuscating information in a way tailored to maintain the power of said institutions. None has the true intent, nor are they in any way capable of making this world a better place for everything in it, but only exist to maintain whatever control they have, and to acquire more. The institution exists to maintain control of resources, to be consumed and controlled by the people dependent on that institution. And just about every one institution is hostile to the existence of every other, the vast majority are hopelessly corrupt, often in the most banal sort of way, and they are equally, hopelessly intertwined, domestically and globally.
I'm going to pick on the Catholic Church and Christianity, in the next post, because the Catholic Church and Christianity as institutions are easy targets, and I was raised evangelical. But I reiterate, they are all, every institution in the West, hopelessly corrupt, because they are hopelessly and inextricably dependent upon hostile dominator/dominated dualism, as a defining paradigm. Humans as dominator, nature as the dominated, and it all pretty well efficiently trickles down from there, into just about every relationship, into our very worldview - and the vast majority don't have a clue.
* The Nobel; the ultimate institutional peace prize, with the possible exception of the office of the Pope.