“Sam Harris Vs. Abby Martin”

Interesting to listen to them express their views on Islam, jihadists, and U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

“Why Political Correctness Must End | Milo Yiannopoulos and Stefan Molyneux”

“Brad Lomenick: Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle”

Really appreciated that conversation. Will re-listen to it again probably later today.

Rebel flag drama

Okay. I keep hearing about this stuff though I’ve been actively living under a rock and not looked into the news story that has everyone freaking out. Heard the gist of it. Sounds like a situation that has occurred in various forms over the years, carried out by a member of yet another supremacy movement. That much I’m clear on.

Now, people keep coming up to me in public and bringing this topic up, perhaps because they realize I’m a Southerner. Though plenty seem to want to hear me denounce the confederate flag and are of the opinion that its relevancy is restricted solely to extremists and those belonging to hate movements. I staunchly disagree and have stated my case on the matter many times dating back several years since this topic isn’t really new. It’s understood that a lot of Midwesterners accept the victors’ story about the Civil War and refuse to delve any deeper into the subject, which quite frankly irks me, particularly if they’re going to keep coming at me looking to argue the matter. These arguments do nothing for me, so I tend nowadays to just walk away. Nothing really there to discuss, IMO. I feel as I do and don’t need others to validate that stance.

The flag is merely a symbol, and symbols mean different things to different people. A good number of us out here view the rebel flag as a symbol of rebellion and Southern pride and old agrarianism (most of which wasn’t dependent on slave labor since most people could not afford slaves — helps to look into the economic realities for the majority of people alive in past centuries in this country before blowing a gasket and making everything about race relations). If ever I decided to get another tattoo it’d likely include the rebel flag, because that’s a symbol of my Southern heritage, as someone whose maternal side of the family has lived in Mississippi for at least 150 years. I’m not here to debate this matter with others. Their opinions are their own and not of my concern.

Actually did get into a good discussion last night with a couple guys who supported people’s right to appreciate that flag and who were familiar with a lot of the history surrounding all of that back then. Always refreshing to stumble across such individuals who are willing to be open-minded despite lacking Southern roots. But even there I don’t have a whole lot to say on the issue. It’s a symbol, which makes it a highly personal matter so far as one’s preferences go. Shouldn’t be some huge, recurring national discussion, or at least if it must be I’d prefer to stand on the sidelines.

What people don’t have the right to do is ban others from sporting such a symbol. You don’t have to like it, certainly, but we still do not have the right to censor and restrict others over such matters. And I don’t care if the symbol in question was a swastika. Makes no difference. People have a right to free expression and there’s no good reason for this new witch-hunt to go off the rails and to lead to demonizing people just because they happen to see things a bit differently than you might.

It helps to ask a person what a symbol means to them instead of aggressively coming at them and projecting onto them your own assumptions. Ask and listen instead of going on the attack. The latter only creates more unnecessary drama and causes people to feel unfairly alienated.

This situation has gotten dumb enough to where some folks are raising their eyebrows over Southern music even, particularly some of the tunes of Charlie Daniels. Get a grip, people. The history of the South is far more complex than the fact that slavery existed there. Those who refuse to accept that truth I have no time and patience for. Slavery existed damn-near everywhere dating back millennia. And that also includes the Northern states of the early U.S., much as folks like to pretend they forgot that. Our entire nation has a legacy built on slavery, as do most nations. Welcome to human history.

And the Civil War was about more than just slavery. People don’t want to hear that for some reason, probably because that complicates their narrative, and so they dismiss such talk as mere apologetics. No it is not. It was a war fought over shifting economic and political paradigms of that time. The industrialization process embraced by the North called for a large and cheap labor pool. Freeing slaves helped in providing that. But if you think exploitation ceased at that point you’re woefully naive.

As I keep repeating: slavery never ended, it just changed shape. Sit with that for a while and conduct some research and take the time to really ponder how free you imagine yourself to be in this day and age. Or don’t. No skin off my back either way (and no pun intended there either).

Life is complicated. If you’re handed an easy answer you can bet that a whole lot’s been left out of the equation, 9 times out of 10 (if not more so). There are various angles to any conflict, most especially those which lead to war. People didn’t just serve and face death so as to keep slavery going, particularly when you consider how many of those who died were too poor to own slaves. And those fighting on the Union side weren’t doing so purely for humanitarian reasons, no. Economic and political was the name of that game, at the top at least, and then the common people are sold on propaganda so as to be willing to do the bidding of those in power. As normally occurs in warfare, anywhere and at any time in history.

So, people can continue on blathering about a topic that most probably don’t even truly care that much about. Folks just feel the need to align themselves one way or the other when the media drumbeat gets going. And this is why I don’t usually watch the news or hardly anything else on television. Dumbs people down by oversimplifying complex matters and then browbeating us into picking a side. That’s a futile endeavor, so I will leave you people to it.


“Joe Rogan Experience #634 – Abby Martin”

REALLY enjoyed that podcast. Very worthwhile.

Tangled paradoxes

In each corridor I go in search of answers another paradox shows itself. Was just chatting last night with a buddy and this topic arose, since I can’t shut up about it. I’m always left frustrated by how all seemingly good ideas still wind us humans up in what appear to be unwinnable conundrums.

If we fight some other power to keep it from overtaking us (as in the cases of countries waging war), we risk our own society becoming damaged in the process. In the case of warfare: through maintaining standing armies and the risks (and empire-building) that go along with that; through attacking foreign nationals who very often are mere civilians not belonging to the extremist groups said to be presenting a direct threat to us (which then diminishes people’s respect for our nation’s military actions and gives rise to protests among our own citizens); through the exorbitant costs associated with waging war and how that impacts our economy overall, including how the military wound up transformed into a permanent employment sector in its own right; through soldiers potentially winding up psychologically or physically impacted as a result (and how that then impacts their families and the morale of the nation); through corporations finding ways to cash in on the war games via State contracts, which then provides them with an incentive to further lobby to keep us engaged in war where it can prove profitable; etc.

That’s just a cursory look at how ongoing warfare has led to negative consequences with lasting impact on a nation and its people and their way of life. And that’s not even going into how militarization has seeped into domestic police forces and influenced their tactics used.

See, the problem here for me is that I cannot figure out how we’re not ultimately going to wind up in a totalitarian setup eventually, somehow, some way. All roads appear to lead in that direction, regardless of people’s good intentions or what great ideas they might originally be operating with. Because technologies have changed the way the whole game of Life is played anymore, as have modern economics. The complexity is inescapable at this point, and yet history has taught us that the devil is in the details. What this might mean here is that the means employed determine the end outcome, unrealistic utopian fantasies set aside since they hold no real bearing. And it also means that any highly complex setup is vulnerable to corruption and ‘siphoning’ at various levels therein (as in the case of corporations getting into the mix and seeking ways to profit, even though through doing so they add greater complexity, which then further obscures the total reality of the situation, making it all the more cumbersome to apply necessary and effective checks and balances). Economic efficiency becomes a high priority, which comes with its own drawbacks in terms of how we humans are expected to mold ourselves to fit these demands. Before we know it, maintaining the system in question at all costs becomes a primary focus, because we’ve come to depend upon it and are accustomed to it and basically form an irrational attachment to it, even when it’s demonstrably creating more problems than it’s capable of solving.

The dog days are over…

If we minimized the size, scope and roles of our government, we’d potentially leave ourselves open and vulnerable to other nations that fortify and strengthen their own. And if we further strengthen and enlarge our own, this cycle of ramping up never ends — forward to totalitarianism. Can’t truly opt out or escape since the problem’s gone global and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. This places us in the precarious situation of forcing all other nations to stand down against our demands, lest we wind up being made to stand down to theirs. MAD (mutually-assured destruction) is still with us — it never left and it likely never will.

If we don’t secure our borders, we risk being invaded, if only by an onslaught of immigrants who then wind up dramatically impacting our culture. But if we close our borders, we’re trapping ourselves inside every bit as much as we’re working to keep others out. And, realistically speaking, how does one truly and sufficiently go about securing a nation’s borders? The most determined will likely still find a way, especially along coastlines. This leads back to a massive top-down operation which is only possible under a powerful government. Which then, again, helps pave the way toward totalitarianism.

Another buddy and I were discussing the other day his concerns over climate change and what possible options people have at this point for reversing this trend (if one accepts climate change as a human-exacerbated phenomenon). He speaks of wind and solar power and people growing their own food and living simply. That all sounds well and good, BUT, again, climate change is only one concern among many that humans face today. We can’t put all of our energy toward addressing that, not when that’d leave us wide open in other areas. (See what I said above already about warfare and immigration.) Not to mention that the vast majority of people, here in the U.S. and elsewhere worldwide, don’t view this issue as being the numero uno concern to tackle. Plus, plenty of people are open to nuclear power because they’d rather that than accept drastic changes to their lifestyles and be forced to make sacrifices. Beyond that, these massive wind turbines and complex solar panels are sophisticated technologies requiring corporate manufacturing. Keeps us tied into the money game, which then keeps us supporting this global economic situation, whether we want to or not and likely to humanity’s detriment in the long-run. But it’s inescapable at this juncture.

In continuing our conversation on the matter, I told this buddy that if it came down to jumping on board with a top-down scheme that claims to be capable of handling administering such an undertaking as retooling our energy infrastructure, I’ll personally have to side with not. Not that I don’t care about the environment and not that I don’t think renewable energy is something worth striving toward (or getting back to), but the top-down scheme is yet another avenue toward totalitarianism. It helps pave that road to hell, all good intentions aside. This depresses him to think about, understandably so. But consider how China behaves as if its manufacturing base doesn’t care and how our nation cannot do much to change that. Even if we boycott their products, at this point they’re too powerful and it’s already too late (Thanks WALMART and other big-box stores). Probably shouldn’t have shipped so much of our manufacturing infrastructure to that country in the first place. But what’s done is done — our lack of foresight has screwed us once again.

This all ties in with conversations on how “Leftists” talk the talk when it comes to “green living,” but in reality they’re as tied in and dependent on the current status quo as the rest of us. Driving a Prius doesn’t really change a thing. Small drops in the bucket might make us feel better, like we’re at least doing our part to try to improve environmental conditions, but very often it’s just another illusion. Why? Because we live in a massive infrastructure, a concrete jungle, powered by heavy dependence on oil and coal, and even if we switched over to nuclear power that wouldn’t imply our biggest worries are behind us. Possibly Chernobyl-izing more arable land sounds every bit as folly as anything else humanity has managed to step in thus far.

Sound pessimistic? Yeah, I know. Yet another reason for why I’m not having kids.

Any and all attempts to reverse these trends or to take an alternative path is fraught with equally bad, if not much worse, consequences. We have a massive global population and must contend with the competition that arises over resources as a result. And the complexity of the technologies we in developed nations rely most on are fueled by the big money game. One way or another, major corporations are here to stay (unless we manage to across-the-board knock ourselves back into the Stone Age somehow). Government can either attempt to regulate them or become enmeshed and intertwined with them, the latter already being the case. So big government’s here and big business is here and neither are going anywhere. Any ideas we come up with to try to overhaul life as we know it will depend on these entities aiding us. Because asking them to stand aside and not obstruct us just isn’t realistic anymore. All possible solutions will be handled by some sort of centralized power, top-down system. These entities indeed intend to maintain the power they have already and to expand it where possible. That is their driving goal, for better or worse.

And this is where someone like me can’t sufficiently adapt. Have to so long as I’m here, but really resenting where it all appears to be heading. What other alternatives are feasible? Split this country into several sovereign communities (as it once was intended to be) where each does as it wishes and no centralized power can dictate, and we’ll probably wind up invaded by both Mexico and Canada by next week. Simply because then they could. We’d be rendered defenseless. So the “traditional” dream is dead, folks. I too like the idea of people living on the land and staying out of the muck so long as they’re able. Best of luck to them! I don’t begrudge people for doing what they think is best during what time remains that they can get away with it. But I see limits on the horizon. Eventually the old ways won’t be allowed to fly any longer, and they won’t prove sustainable or practical for most. Not in this setup.

Welcome to modern life.

I don’t know what to say to us right about now. Feels like nearly all advice is pointless. People are going to do what people are going to do. And I suspect some of those unable or unwilling to adjust will turn destructive as a result. That’s to be expected from obstructed people whose lives feel devoid of meaning, made to compete with machines that grow more sophisticated by the year, made to play a game that not everybody can win at (or even nominally succeed at). Such is modern life. Some will give up before even leaving the starting line. And I won’t be surprised if a growing number of people choose not to have children as well…kind of like caged animals in a zoo reacting to being kept in captivity. Won’t surprise me a bit. And there’s where we get into another arm of what will pave the way toward totalitarianism. The trend is already being labeled as “domestic terrorism,” though I prefer to simplify it by calling it what it is at root: insanity.

Insanity, as I prefer to refer to it as, can (and will) take many forms. People today sure do love to diagnose one another with various psychiatric labels, but in truth we’re all struggling to various degrees, pseudo-scientific explanations aside. Some cope better than others, but it’s mostly a matter of putting on an acceptable facade. We really have no idea what goes on behind the masks others show to the world, much as we love to speculate. Some insanity plays out in rather benign ways and is being catered to and exploited by Big Pharma. More severe cases warrant lock-up in mental institutions or prisons (which are fast becoming the same thing). All of that already plays into the power-structure-that-be. And when someone flips out and decides to go psycho on some random group of people, this reinforces the necessity of expanding domestic police forces and is then also used to justify them beefing up their security measures. Which corporations exploit by peddling wares to law enforcement agencies that allow for greater surveillance of the citizenry. This paranoid panic drummed up among the citizens through the popular media encourages us to turn on one another and to snitch to authorities, seeing as how we’re not all on the same team and regard one another more often than not as strangers worthy of suspicion. So we feed the beast, through our own actions or through alerting authorities to “questionable suspects,” and around and around it all spirals.

Where it ends, nobody knows…

Sound like a happy and productive future? Sound like something worth celebrating? Sound like a cause for optimism?

People say that we somehow need to regain the reins of this System, to figure out a way to subdue it and overhaul it, but time for that has passed. We’re now committed to it. We necessarily depend on it while simultaneously fearing its scope and power. The System is entrenched, and we’re entrenched within it, both as employees and citizens dependent on everything it offers in order to maintain our livelihoods. And what alternative is there?

Fight it how? Lobby to change a few laws? ha  Go for it, folks. Try that. As was brought up in a recent conversation, the moderate people do indeed wind up making concessions and compromises that inevitably just dig them deeper into this mess. The so-called “radicals” on the fringes, misguided as they may seem and indeed be, are the only ones willing to make a big stink, and how many do you imagine will wind up imprisoned for their troubles? But, then again, what alternative can the radicals bring to the table either? Thousands of communities going their own ways apparently won’t work anymore. A break in law and order would just result in opposing groups taking advantage of one another and seizing key resources for themselves. Because that’s where we stand today — saturated with several decades of easy living, forever seeking the easy way out, competing and pushing boundaries where we think we can get away with it — yet still up against other powers-that-be.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of good people in the world. But it only takes a calloused, self-serving, social-contract-dismissing minority interest to fuck it up for everybody else.

So there we have it. Where can we as individuals go from here when this is the outlook? Is this merely a problem in my own perception? What is still worth looking forward to and striving toward?

Anyway, my break is over and I need to head back to work.

[Lightly edited since for punctuation and greater clarification.]

The End – The Doors

Set to fairly graphic war footage:

Honestly, I know people don’t like to hear it, but so far as someone like myself is concerned, this is indeed the end. Obsolescence. No country for those harboring old ways of thinking and out-dated dreams. I’ve had little choice but to try my best to come to terms with this.

Naysayers pop up routinely to try to argue with me on this point, as if logic and reasoning alone might do the trick. It cannot. I’ve looked far and wide, up and down, inside and out — the reality is we live in rapidly changing times that not all of us can or will adapt to. I assume acknowledging this bothers others because they feel most secure when the rest of us help reassure them it’s going to be all right, that it’s going to work out in the end. But I cannot offer you that. Only my sincere apologies.

But we still work with what we’ve got in the meantime, for however long we are here. And we still work with whom we’re able on what we’re able. Recognizing one’s own limitations needn’t lead to apathetic despair, at least not entirely. Because I can’t do that either — I can’t pretend I don’t care when I very much do. Love matters, compassion and empathy matters. Lest we cease striving to live up to our human potential.

But I honestly don’t know where we might go from here that will be any better than where humans have been before. Nobody promised us it would work out all right in the end, and indeed there are no such guarantees. All we have are our individual choices in the face of options and opportunities, though not all (or perhaps even most) dreams are capable of being brought into fruition at this stage in the game. But be careful what you wish for, because you just may wind up getting it and it might not be all you hoped it’d be.

And that’s life. In a nutshell. Not a rose garden, as I keep repeating. Might can make something good of it for yourself and your loved ones, possibly. And that’s a wonderful thing if you can. Be very grateful, because that’s a blessing all unto itself. Even if you’re poor or having a tough go at life, being loved and genuinely appreciated is paramount, at least in my book. But we still can’t necessarily keep others from barging in and destroying what beauty we have found or carved out in this life. And that’s just another piece of reality we must contend with, whether we want to or not. The dreams of easy living were just that…shallow dreams built on nothing, guaranteed by nothing. Welcome to modern life. Or perhaps it’s always been this way, I won’t claim to know.

One critique of the Political “Right” and its fascist potential (part 3 of my inquiry into “Leftists” vs. “Rightists”)

In continuing my look into the American Political “Left” vs. “Right” concern, today I’m offering up an excerpt from Chris Hedges’ book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2006), in which at the beginning he includes a segment written by Umberto Eco titled “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt”:

In spite of some fuzziness regarding the difference between various historical forms of fascism, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.

.    .    .

1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition. Traditionalism is of course much older than fascism. Not only was it typical of counterrevolutionary Catholic thought after the French revolution, but it was born in the Hellenistic era, as a reaction to classical Greek rationalism. In the Mediterranean basin, people of different religions (most of the faiths indulgently accepted by the Roman pantheon) started dreaming of a revelation received at the dawn of human history. This revelation, according to the traditionalist mystique, had remained for a long time concealed under the veil of forgotten languages—in Egyptian hieroglyphs, in the Celtic runes, in the scrolls of the little-known religions of Asia.

This new culture had to be syncretistic. Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, “the combination of different forms of belief or practice;” such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and although they seem to say different or incompatible things, they all are nevertheless alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.

As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores, are labeled New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine, who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint Augustine and Stonehenge—that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.

2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism. Both Fascists and Nazis worshipped technology, while traditionalist thinkers usually reject it as a negation of traditional spiritual values. However, even though Nazism was proud of its industrial achievements, its praise of modernism was only the surface of an ideology based upon blood and earth (Blut under Boden). The rejection of the modern world was disguised as a rebuttal of the capitalistic way of life. The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake. Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering’s fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play (“When I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” and “universities are nests of reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.

5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.

6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old “proletarians” are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is to appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside: Jews are usually the best target because they have the advantage of being at the same time inside and outside. In the United States, a prominent instance of the plot obsession is to be found in Pat Robertson’s The New World Order, but, as we have recently seen, there are many others.

8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies. When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers of Ur-Fascism must also be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.

9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. Thus, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such “final solutions” implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.

10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak. Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people in the world, the members or the party are the best among the citizens, every citizen can (or ought to) become a member of the party. But there cannot be patricians without plebeians. In fact, the Leader, knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically but was conquered by force, also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler.

11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero. In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte (“Long Live Death!”). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.

12. Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since even sex is a difficult game to play, the Ur-Fascist hero tends to play with weapons—doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirely have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view—one follows the decisions of the majority. For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of humans can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.

Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against “rotten” parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.

.    .    .

Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances—every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt’s worlds of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: “If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” Freedom and liberation are an unending task.

[All emphases his, both the bolding and the italics.]

That was basically included as a forward in this book by Chris Hedges that goes on to critique the Christian Right and how it’s manipulating American citizens, most notably those within the working class since they feel especially disenfranchised at this point in history. And this new Christian Right movement is nowadays being headed and/or funded by major corporate entities and the wealthy families who derive wealth through them and who also tend to be very well politically-connected. That all matters and is a huge concern worthy of examination, no question.

First reading this book by Hedges probably back around 2008 or 2009, but now re-skimming it for blogging purposes, I have to say that the excerpt I transcribed above does give me pause, because I can clearly see how it presents a “Leftist” slant in its attempt to critique those considered supportive of the Political “Right.” So that presentation bias hasn’t escaped me here. Especially #13 where I must wonder what Mr. Eco expects people to do when we are in fact confronting the reality of a corrupted parliament that does not adequately represent the voices of many of us out here. How are we to engage in the public discourse if our concerns in that arena are viewed as evidence of us being “fascists” in our own right?

That right there leads me to question what isn’t fascism by this stage in the game. Because by that man’s estimate, we’re all potential fascists, and then the word winds up losing its meaning. According to that author, the traditionalists and anyone who could be said to belong to some sort of “cultish” group are all fascists, as are those who are critical of the so-called “liberal intelligentsia” and the current state of our political system. Hmm…  I don’t like that. That’s far too ambiguous to do us much good here. Plus, it gives the impression that the “liberal intelligentsia” nor our politicians are truly deserving of serious scrutiny, when surely that can’t be what the author had in mind. It’s almost as if that assumes that fascism is a “Rightist” phenomenon specifically, whereas I see this trend occurring in both the Political “Right” and “Left.” Neither can claim a monopoly on this tendency.

A deeper question is what isn’t fascistic in this day and age. What could counter fascism; what are its real alternatives?

I’d like to eventually provide more excerpts from Chris Hedges’ book when I feel up to it, because he later on does make some good points that help illuminate the “Right’s” version of this phenomenon. My view has become that both the Political “Right” and “Left” actually share a great deal in common, at least in terms of both supporting the rise of Corporatism and in creating a political atmosphere in this country where ongoing warfare is tolerated and deemed necessary to bolster our own economy. Plus, they share in their desire to engage in what we can refer to as our “culture war” where both sides like to believe they will eventually dominate and subdue those who disagree with their own ideals and preferences. It promises to be an ongoing affair due to irreconcilable differences, though neither side seems interested in accepting this is indeed the fate they’re pushing for.

How does a “culture war” like what we have in the U.S. ever come to an end? What would it take? Would one side have to criminalize and possibly even eradicate the other for it to claim to have won? That presses us eerily closer to the notion of genocide if either side gained enough political power, though I do not think what’s on the horizon will simply be a repeat of what came before back in the WWII era. I doubt this will devolve into trench warfare or even a bonafide civil war — no, I get the impression that this time around technologies will be employed in much more subtle ways that allows for plausible deniability on the part of the offending political camp in question. That might sound odd to some, but that’s where my imagination has been taking me over the last few years. And I personally assume that it will likely be the Political “Left” that winds up “winning out” in this domestic battle, because they hold claim to being more “progressive” than their “traditional” foes, the former holding a great deal more appeal to people of today.

But I’ll keep unraveling my thoughts on this as time goes on.

“There is NO HONOR in this shit!” . . .

“Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine”:

A very worthwhile video I recommend to all, most especially my fellow Americans.

A comment was left on the video’s comment section if anyone cares for my elaboration on the topic.

Thanks to Janet (known on YT as Janet OntheSpot) for bringing this channel to my attention through her feed.

“Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts …”

Back to heaviness…

A song I’ve long adored, “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones (set to footage from the Vietnam war):

The song’s lyrics:

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back

I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black

Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love will laugh with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I wanna see your face, painted black
Black as night, black as coal

I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

The depths of our human inclination toward destructiveness appears to be bottomless. For these reasons I consider us all to be living in “end times” (for all intents and purposes), whether we care to grasp the severity of the Situation or not. It doesn’t please me, but it is what it is, apparently so. Been coming a long time, and now technologies enable us to kick it into hyper-drive, and so we have. Think we’re going to slow down? Think we’re collectively going to expand our minds and learn to pause and think more carefully before advancing? Think again.

I won’t rule out the possibility entirely though…

Almost seems like the more we drive toward strict rationality, the more irrational we become.

Does the soul not wither, bit by bit, day by day, as we live and confront what’s become of us and how we’ve impacted the rest of life on Earth? We didn’t necessarily mean to — it happens. We’re prideful apes-of-sorts who take actions that throughout time lead to a narrowing of possibilities going forward.

What meaningful action is possible and could prove effective without tons of consequences of its own? There are so many of us, too many — competition rules the day. People awaken to this and can choose to do what? Passively resist like I do by opting to remain relatively poor? Continuing to learn what I can, piping up about what I see as I go, but in the big picture it’s a small drop in the bucket. I don’t shop much anymore (aside from groceries). Feels like the right choice to at least not feed the beasts much more than what’s already being finagled out of me.

But eventually I’ll pass on, leaving no offspring behind, and other people will continue doing what they think they ought to be doing, whatever which ways that shakes out. It’s the trajectory, and I don’t see it changing unless people want to start making a lot of sacrifices, which I am pretty certain they’re not hearin’.

Actively resist with street protests? Sure, I’m down with that, though an arrest could screw up my job. Probably true for most folks. Plus, getting tased or smacked with a nightstick leads to medical bills and lost time at work (in what I do, I don’t get sick days — gotta fulfill my obligations regardless). But we don’t even have big street activism taking place here.

So what then?

(I’d personally love to impeach the president [that goes for any president we’ve had in the last 25 years, at minimum] and at least 75% of Congress and start anew, but the vast majority of my fellow Americans say nay and continue supporting duopoly politics, having convinced themselves that they must select a “winning team” or else they’ve wasted their votes. Just a pipe dream by this point…)

Modern life is all we know. We grew up in this and most of us can’t even begin to get back to basics. And even if we did, up flies the legal red tape to impose property taxes and whatever else to find a way to force people to continue trading in U.S. currency. Which means you have to earn it their way. Which forces you to be somehow tied into the System by some means. How do you sidestep that? Create a group and call yourselves a “religious organization” so as to qualify for tax breaks on property purchased — sounds great, but indoor plumbing still keeps you tied into supporting the System since you gotta pay for that somehow. Same with phones and internet and electricity. Generators require fuel (and most states continue to ban hemp which could be processed into a bio-fuel source).

Though I admire those who do step away from the bullshit as much as possible and produce for themselves.

But even so: Welcome to The Grid. Have fun trying to escape this maze.

‘Round and ’round I go on these topics, and these thoughts are just where I keep winding up at…

Utopian dreams don’t determine actual outcomes.

We’re going on this hand-basket ride whether we like it or not. No one asked our consent, and we’re not required to grant it. But so long as we remain alive in the U.S., we’re going to continue witnessing it all unfold. I can’t see a way around that. Sorry folks.

Also, as relates to the future of humanity… Sincerely wish people would cease producing so many kids. Greater numbers are proving to be a burden on us all. Please have a lot of love in your heart before bringing any child into this world. PLEASE. It’s better for all involved. Beyond that, with too great of numbers comes a consequent reduction in value (as perceived by Society) of each individual. We become too replaceable, too interchangeable. And we know this. We see evidence of this all the time nowadays. That happening in itself leads to a declination in one’s power, and this is observable in the amount of depression and anxiety so many people today report experiencing. We tend to comprehend it on a visceral level prior to exploring the causes.