Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Decline and Fall of Hillary Clinton

The last couple of weeks in American politics have offered an interesting confirmation of some of the main themes I’ve discussed on this blog. For that matter, those weeks would have come as no surprise to one of the thinkers whose work has guided these essays since this blog started a decade ago, the philosopher of history Oswald Spengler. I can all too readily imagine the hard lines of Spengler’s face creasing in momentary amusement as he contemplates the temporarily divergent fates of those two candidates for the US presidency that, less than a year ago, nearly everyone insisted would be facing one another in the general election:   Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Bush is in some ways the perfect poster child for the theme I have in mind just now. When he launched his campaign last year, it was a letter-perfect copy of the successful presidential campaigns of the last three decades. He lined up plenty of big-money sponsors; he assembled a team of ghostwriters, spin doctors, and door-to-door salesmen to run his campaign; he had a PR firm design a catchy logo; he practiced spouting the kind of empty rhetoric that sounds meaningful so long as you don’t think about it for two minutes; he took carefully calculated stands on a handful of hot-button topics, mouthed the conventional wisdom on every other issue, and set out to convince the voters that their interests would be harmed just a little bit less by putting him in the White House than by any of the alternatives.

That sort of content-free campaign is what got George Bush I, Bill Clinton, George Bush II, and Barack Obama onto the list of US presidents. What it got Jeb Bush, though, was a string of humiliating defeats. Some have suggested that his tearful exit from the race in the wake of the South Carolina primary was the act of a child who had been promised a nice shiny presidency by his daddy, and then found out that the mean voters wouldn’t give it to him. I think, though, that there was considerably more to it than that. I think that Bush had just realized, to his shock and horror, that the rules of the game had been changed on him without notice, and all those well-informed, well-connected people who had advised him on the route that would take him to the presidency had basically been smoking their shorts.

If anything, though, Hillary Clinton’s campaign offers an even clearer glimpse into the festering heart of the American political process. She did exactly the same things that Jeb did—it’s indicative that the two of them both splashed their first names across their equally banal campaign logos—and she also managed, as he never did, to get the apparatchiks of her party lined up solidly on her side before the campaigning season got under way. By the ordinary rules of US politics, she should have enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the primaries to the Democratic convention while Jeb Bush wrestled with his opponents, and then gone into the general election with plenty of money to spare, saturating the air waves with a deluge of advertisements designed to convince the American people that four years under her leadership would be ever so slightly less disastrous for them than four years under Bush.

This time, though, the rules have changed. Clinton is facing a spirited challenge from party outsider Bernie Sanders, and though she’ll still probably get the nomination—it’s a source of wry amusement that just now, the Democratic Party’s nominating procedure is significantly less democratic than that of the GOP—it’s pretty clear at this point that she’s not going to get it without a fight. Once she does, in turn, instead of facing another bland insider in a tepid race to the center that can easily be clinched by an ad blitz or two, she’ll be up against Donald Trump, whose popularity soars with every petulant denunciation the pundits of the privileged classes fling at him, whose take-no-prisoners style of bare-knuckle campaigning is exactly the sort of challenge that neither Clinton nor her lumbering campaign staff have shown the least ability to handle, and who is prepared to offer the voters something other than the very slightly lesser of two evils.

Now of course Clinton has made things considerably worse for herself by the way she’s approached the  campaign.  She’s got a whopping case of that weird mental blind spot I labeled, in a post that appeared here last year, “the delusion of control”—the notion, as pervasive as it is preposterous, that when a member of America’s privileged classes does something, the rest of the cosmos is obliged to respond to that action in a wholly passive, wholly mechanical manner. For a world-class example, watch the way Clinton’s handlers simply look blank each time they find out that most of the American people loathe and distrust their candidate, and try repeatedly to “reintroduce” her, as though they think they can just hit a reset button on the campaign machinery and start all over again.

For that matter, Clinton’s own attitude during the campaign so far reminds me of nothing so much as  what happens when someone puts money into a defective vending machine. She’s fed the thing her quarters and pushed the right button, but the desired product hasn’t dropped to the bottom where she can get it.  Now she’s jabbing the button over and over again, and in due time she’ll be pounding her fists on the thing and screaming at it because it won’t give her what she’s paid for.  I honestly don’t think she’s ever, even for a moment, considered the possibility that the voting public isn’t simply a passive, mechanical mass that will spit up a presidency for her if she just manipulates in in the right way.  I doubt it has entered her darkest dream that the American people might just up and decide to cast their votes to further their own interests rather than hers.

That analysis seems plausible to me for a variety of reasons, but high among them is the way that Clinton’s supporters among her own class-and-gender subcategory have demanded that all American women back the Clinton campaign. I’m thinking here particularly of Madeleine Albright, who made the news a little while back with a irate public statement insisting that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”  That’s a common trope among a certain well-paid class of Second Wave feminists. It’s become controversial, and for good reason, among a great many other feminists, particularly in the partly overlapping sets of women of color and women in the wage class. Listen to them, and you’ll hear at some length how they feel about being expected to help rich and influential women like Madeleine Albright pursue their goals, when they know perfectly well the favor won’t be returned in any way that matters.

What, after all, does a Clinton presidency offer the majority of American women, other than whatever vicarious thrill they might get from having a president with a vagina? The economic policies Clinton espouses—the current bipartisan consensus, from which she shows no signs of veering in the slightest—have already brought poverty and misery to millions of American women who don’t happen to share her privileged background and more than ample income.  Her tenure as Secretary of State was marked by exactly the sort of hamfisted interventions in other people’s countries to which Democrats, once upon a time, used to object:  interventions, please note, that have already been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, and may yet—especially if Clinton takes the same attitudes with her into the White House—treat a good many American women to the experience of watching their kids come home in body bags from yet another brutal and pointless Mideast war.

The reaction to Albright’s public tantrum is in many ways as instructive as the tantrum itself. A great many American women simply aren’t buying it. More generally, no matter how furiously Clinton and her flacks hammer on the buttons of the vending machine, trying to elicit the mechanical response they think they ought to be able to expect, the voters aren’t falling into line. Trump and Sanders, each in his own way, have shown too many people that it’s possible to hope for something other than an intolerable state of business as usual.  In the wake of their candidacies, a great many voters have decided that they’re no longer willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.

That’s a point of some importance.  To my mind, it’s far from accidental that for the last few decades, every presidential election here in the US has been enlivened by bumper stickers calling on voters to support the presidential ambitions of Cthulhu, the tentacled primeval horror out of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic dread. I’m sorry to say that the Elder God’s campaign faces a serious constitutional challenge, as he was spawned on the world of Vhoorl in the twenty-third nebula and currently resides in the drowned corpse-city of R’lyeh, and as far as I know neither of these are US territory. Still, his bid for the White House has gotten further than most other imaginary candidacies, and I’ve long thought that the secret behind that success is Cthulhu’s campaign slogan: “Why settle for the lesser evil?”

The reason that this slogan reliably elicits laughter, in turn, is that the entire rhetoric of presidential politics in the United States for decades now has fixated on the claim that one party’s pet stooge won’t do anything quite as appalling as the other side’s will, even though they all support the same policies and are bought and sold by the same corrupt interests. Over and over again, we’ve been told that we have to vote for whatever candidate this or that party has retched up, because otherwise the other side will get to nominate a Supreme Court justice or two, or get us into another war, or do something else bad.  Any suggestion that a candidate might be expected to do something positive—that he or she might, for example, reject the bipartisan policies that have crashed the standard of living for most Americans, consigned the nation’s infrastructure to malign neglect, and pursued gargantuan corporate welfare programs, such as the worthless F-35 fighter, at the expense of anything more useful or necessary—is dismissed out of hand as “unrealistic.”

What the insurgent candidacies of Trump and Sanders show conclusively, in turn, is that the lesser-evil rhetoric and its fixation on “realistic” politics have just passed their pull date. There are very good reasons for this. The pursuit of the lesser evil means that the best the American people are supposed to hope for is the continuation of the current state of things—that’s what you get, after all, if your only talking points fixate on stopping things from getting worse—and for most Americans today, the current state of things is unbearable. Cratering wages and soaring rents, a legal environment that increasingly denies even basic rights to everybody but corporations and the rich, an economy rigged to load ever-increasing costs on working people while funneling all the benefits to those who already have too much—well, you can fill in the list as well as I can. If you don’t happen to belong to the privileged classes, life in today’s America is rapidly becoming intolerable, and the “realistic” politics that both parties have pursued with equal enthusiasm for decades are directly responsible for making it intolerable.

Thus the reason that a large and growing number of ordinary working Americans are refusing to accept another rehash of the status quo this time around is that their backs are to the wall. That’s a situation that comes up reliably at a certain point in the history of every society, and it’s a source of wry amusement to me that Oswald Spengler predicted the situation currently facing the United States—and, mutatis mutandis, the rest of the industrialized world as well.

Spengler’s historical analysis covers a vast amount of territory, but the point at issue here appears late in the second volume of The Decline of the West, where he sketches out the immediate future of what we call Western industrial civilization and he named the Faustian Culture. His theme was the way that democracies die.  He argued that democracy suffers from a lethal vulnerability, which is that it has no meaningful defenses against the influence of money.  Since most citizens are more interested in their own personal, short-term advantage than they are in the long-term destiny of their nation, democracy turns into a polite fiction for plutocracy just as soon as the rich figure out how to buy votes, a lesson that rarely takes them long to learn.

The problem with plutocracy, in turn, is that it embodies the same fixation on short-term personal advantage that gives it its entry to power, since the only goals that guide the rich in their increasingly kleptocratic rule are immediate personal wealth and gratification. Despite the ravings of economists, furthermore, it simply isn’t true that what benefits the very rich automatically benefits the rest of society as well; quite the contrary, in the blind obsession with personal gain that drives the plutocratic system, the plutocrats generally lose track of the hard fact that too much profiteering can run the entire system into the ground  A democracy in its terminal years thus devolves into a broken society from which only the narrowing circle of the privileged rich derive any tangible benefit. In due time, those excluded from that circle look elsewhere for leadership.

The result is what Spengler calls Caesarism: the rise of charismatic leaders who discover that they can seize power by challenging the plutocrats, addressing the excluded majority, and offering the latter some hope that their lot will be improved. Now and then, the leaders who figure this out come from within the plutocracy itself; Julius Caesar, who contributed his family name to Spengler’s term, was a very rich man from an old-money Senatorial family, and he’s far from the only example. In 1918, Spengler predicted that the first wave of Caesarism in the Western world was about to hit, that it would be defeated by the plutocrats, and that other waves would follow. He was dead right on the first two counts, and the current election suggests that the third prediction will turn out just as accurate.

To a very real extent, Hillary Clinton’s faltering presidential campaign is a perfect microcosm of what Spengler was talking about in his cold analysis of democracy in extremis. Her entire platform presupposes that the only policies the United States can follow are those that have been welded in place since the turn of the millennium: more government largesse for corporations and the rich, more austerity for everyone else, more malign neglect for the national infrastructure and the environment, more wars in the Middle East, and more of the fantastically stupid policy of confrontation—there really is no gentler way to describe it—that has succeeded, against all odds, in uniting Russia, China, Iran, and an assortment of smaller nations against the United States, by convincing their leaders that they have nothing to gain from a US-centric world order and nothing to lose by challenging it.

Those policies have not brought any of the good things their promoters insisted that they were going to bring. Another four years of the same policies aren’t going to change that fact. Every American voter knows these things, and so does Hillary Clinton, which is why her campaign focuses so precisely on everything but the issues that actually concern the majority of American voters today. That’s what lends a savage irony to Madeleine Albright’s brittle demand that American women support Clinton even though, for all practical purposes, she’s offering them very little more than they got from George W. Bush.  Albright’s is the classic voice of a senile plutocracy on its way down, demanding a loyalty from others that it has done precisely nothing to earn.

I suspect we’ll see plenty of the same sort of irony as the current election season lurches toward its end. No doubt Clinton and her flacks will keep on trying to reintroduce her to voters who already know her quite well enough, thank you; no doubt we’ll hear all sorts of encomiums about what a nice person she is—as though that matters one jot to people who know that four more years of the policies she supports may well land them out of a job and out on the street. For that matter, facile claims that everything is fine, the economy is booming, and the American people are happier than they’ve been in decades are already appearing in the mass media. No doubt things look that way if you live in a bubble of privilege, and take good care never to step outside it and see how the other 80% live; for that matter, it’s true that if you take the obscene gains raked in by the privileged few and average them out across the entire population, that looks like economic betterment—but those gains are not being shared by the entire population, and the entire population knows this.

For the connoisseurs of historical irony, there will doubtless be plenty of entertainment to be had in watching the Clinton campaign as it tries one tactic after another to get that vending machine to cough up the prize Clinton so obviously and desperately craves. None of those veerings matter in any broader sense, because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have already demonstrated that rejecting the consensus of America’s dominant minority is a ticket to electoral success. It’s possible—indeed, I think it’s likely—that Clinton will manage to squeeze past Sanders and get the Democratic nomination by fair means or foul; it’s considerably less likely that she’ll be able to overcome Trump in the general election; but even if she does, others will follow where Trump and Sanders lead, and sooner or later one of them will triumph.

The more likely option just now, I think, is that the Clinton campaign will meet a crushing defeat at Trump’s hands, and the decline and fall of Hillary Clinton will also mark the end of the failed consensus that has dominated American politics for decades. That fact alone doesn’t guarantee improvement; no law requires that whatever policies replace the conventional wisdom must be better. Nonetheless, things will change, and it’s at least possible that some of the changes might remove at least a few of the worst features of the bleak era now stumbling to its end around us.

****************
Even archdruids need the occasional break, and it’s been getting on for two years since I last took one. This will therefore be the last post on this blog until April 6. See you then!

604 comments:

1 – 200 of 604   Newer›   Newest»
Whitecloak said...

I have noticed, oddly enough, that quite a few Sanders supporters I know, including myself, are more than willing to throw their lot in with Trump if Clinton gets the nod. He is bombastic and crude. He says ridiculous things that are more than a little racist. But my God, I'll take a bombastic narcissist who sees himself as an American Marius or Caesar over the corrupt classes of sneering hypocrites.

I'd prefer a Sanders, but if the choice is business as usual or Caesar, give me Caesar. Among the under 40 set I know in southwestern Ohio, the feeling seems remarkably common. If we cannot hope, we shall spite, and perhaps our pain can be felt by those who think themselves our betters.

Marcu said...

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The venue is Vapiano, 347 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria, Australia.

Please RSVP, or send queries and comments to limitstogrowth1972[at]gmail.com. For further details please refer to the Green Wizard's forum.

Just look for the green wizard's hat.

Paul said...

This links very closely with your writings in "Decline and Fall", and the themes outlined here are closely mirrored in my own country, with the rise of UKIP and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

I've been "reading" that with considerable interest as an audiobook.

This I got from Audible.com, a subsidiary of Amazon. As you pointed out a couple of weeks ago, buying books at knock down prices from the likes of Amazon puts less money in the pockets of authors.

Are there any other outlets for your work in audio format other than Audible?

Pinku-Sensei said...

"Bush had just realized, to his shock and horror, that the rules of the game had been changed on him without notice"--How appropriate that you mentioned "the rules of the game." When Jeb announced the suspension of his campaign in his concession speech, he alluded to the new rules by wishing "my competitors that are remaining on the island" well. Considering that he had been beaten, badly, by a former reality TV star, the "Survivor" reference was an apt summary of the new circumstances in which he found himself. Poor Jeb, please clap for him as he leaves the island after being voted off.

Speaking of "New Rules," the other Clinton surrogate to put her foot in her mouth was Gloria Steinem. On "Real Time with Bill Maher," she said that the young women who supported Bernie Sanders are just doing so because that's where the boys are. That made the generational divide between the supporters of Clinton and Sanders even more stark; it certainly didn't win any of them over.

Just the same, Clinton's strategy is working, at least in the primaries. While Sanders is winning the Internet, where the youth are, Clinton is winning the news media, which her supporters watch and read. The result is that Clinton is leading Sanders in Michigan.

Those same polls show Trump leading in Michigan among all demographic groups and in all parts of the state. The Republican leadership has just passed from denial to bargaining in response to Trump's success. Their endorsements are now pouring in for Rubio, but the people wagering money on the election aren't so sure. They're betting on Trump.

As a final comment on how topsy-turvey this election season has become, Vermin Supreme got twice as many votes in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary than Jim Gilmore got in the Republican Primary. More people preferred the obvious joke candidate to the supposedly serious candidate who didn't know he was a joke.

Unknown said...

Thanks for plugging away at all of this. Hopefully a time for yourself will feed the kindly spirit.

Jeffrey Williams said...

You are totally off-base. Cthulhu is a GREAT OLD ONE, not an Elder God!
Otherwise insightful.

Andy Brown said...

Enjoy your much deserved break! Maybe the commentariot here can put forth some of their own blogs to tide us over until April? I’ll put my own blog forward. It’s no Archdruid Report, but beggars can’t be choosers. Anyone else?

Andy Brown said...

I think there is one significant reason why Clinton so far has fought Sanders to a draw. It's that the Democratic party counts a large contingent of minorities who have regarded the government as something of a protector. That is, however badly the US government has treated African Americans, in much of the country they rightly suspect that they'd have been treated even worse under unrestrained white oppression. Same for gays, Hispanics, non-Christians, women, etc. Much as people would like to see the government burn to the ground, the spectacle of it being built from scratch as a Trump rally is going to give a lot of people pause. That's why I think she'll prevail - and why I suspect the big money and big influence will eventually rally to her as well. I won't be shocked to be wrong about that. Interesting times, no doubt.

pygmycory said...

I will miss your columns, but I can understand needing a break. I hope you enjoy it.

There seems to be significant political change in the wind in the USA and elsewhere, for good or for ill. Change is desperately needed, but as you said, just because something is different doesn't mean that it will be better. Hope you've got plenty of both popcorn and pocket handkerchiefs available.

Robo said...

No doubt the electoral picture will be much clearer when you return. Enjoy!

Max Osman said...

I'd argue with the belief that Trump is up in the polls at all. He's holding steady with the same demographic which followed McCain and Romney, and he lost 68 percent of the college educated vote in NH.

>http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-key-to-the-gop-race-the-diploma-divide/

>http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/02/24/why_trump_isnt_the_inevitable_nominee_129765.html

The only reason he won a few states was because of the fact that all four of his opponents split the massive opposed vote.


>http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/01/29/why_trump_why_now_129486.html

Heres some analysis on it.


I'd bet you whiskey that he'd win but I don't touch the stuff.


When's that military article coming out?

Doctor Westchester said...

REMINDER (Since this is the last ADR post until April)!

The 2016 Winter Lower Hudson Valley Green Wizard meetup will be held on Saturday, March 5th, starting at 1:00 PM at Bread & Bottle Bakery & Wine Bar, 7496 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY 12571.

To RSVP or if you have any questions, please email me at doctorwestchester42 at Google mail.

Zachary Braverman said...

I read on some major news site (NYTimes or Vox) that Jeb's downfall meant, among other things, that George W couldn't have been so stupid after all, because he succeeded where Jeb failed. This flabbergasted me, as it assumes the same environment. It is most certainly NOT the same, as any imbecile can see, and the willing blindness that this assumption represented is kind of horrifying.

Steve D said...

I'm still clinging to the last shreds of hope that Mr. Sanders can at least hang on into the convention and force a floor vote for the nomination. I can still remember the last one of those I watched as a kid during the 1980 Democratic convention (the last political convention to be anything more than a vacuous pep-rally) and would find another such spectacle entertaining.
Otherwise, sadly, I think you're dead right once again. The DNC wants Hilly as the nominee and will do whatever it takes to give it to her (At-Large Delgates indeed!). A shame really, as I've been kind of warming to Bernie; despite his New Deal delusions, he seems like a pretty good Joe, and a race between two outsiders would be downright fascinating. Perhaps he'll run as an independent once the DNC pulls shenanigans on Hillary's behalf. Watching the House of Representatives pick the next president would be an interesting watch, too!

(One little nitpick, if you'll indulge me: Great Cthulhu is a Great Old One, not an Elder god. A fine point, I know, but still... ;) )

Thanks for another great post and enjoy your break!

OilisFinite said...

Although I agree with your sentiment that Hilary is Bill Clinton redux, or Obama jr. Her parading around with DLC centrist ideals that are essentially Republican lite. But I must demur on what is the best option but least likely to happen. What I call, the "Less" candidate. This Candidate from the Lesser Party will advocate for transition to bikes and mass transportation by regional or local means. Closing of trade deals to those countries who under price us and subsidize the manufacture and R&D of products we buy. Restricting energy production to what we actually mine, extract or can build on our own. These policies would be shot down in second. In fact, we never hear about the Green Party candidates or lesser known parties who petition a candidate for POTUS. What I'm trying to say is, yes, neither Republican moderates or Democratic candidates have a chance, but neither does the best answer to power down and transition. It will be Trumps my way or the highway extremism.

Ray Wharton said...

I will just leave this link right here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYUCiRJF3UY


At 27 my memory of healthier times in American democracy don't go back far, but each election I can remember seemed like a considerable degeneration from the one that proceeded it. I vaguely remember Dole vs. Clinton. A kid on the school bus told me that Clinton wouldn't let us run cattle on the BLM lands anymore, I remember feeling skeptical about that claim, and during Clinton's second term I remember being very conscious of the fact that each spring we would get together to heard cattle to the high country, as that community had done since my Grandmother was a little girl.

Bush vs. Gore, and most clearly the issue concerning Florida seemed like a farce, what little I knew of politics at the time gave me a sense that that election was a terrible mess. Even before the hanging chads, none of the candidates seemed to be the slightest bit impressive.

Bush vs. Kerry, at this point I was old enough to be some what active, though I could not vote I did work as an election judge. Let me say, a lot of votes get miss handled. Around this time I was very supportive of the Democrats as an alternative to the obvious catastrophe of the Neo-Cons, but also profoundly sad that a very narrow range of options was on the table at all. The fact the Democrats managed to nominate a candidate that could lose to Bush seemed pathetic. How many Democratic candidates flailed to go against Bush? I think there was a game show about it.

Obama vs. McCain. This is the only time I voted, and I voted for Obama, and was glad that he had defeated Hilary, who by that time I was beginning to see as a person with serious character deficiencies. Even with W out for good this election was still more a farce, and the fact that Sarah Palin was involved is proof enough.

Obama vs. Romney. Seriously, where did the GOP go to find Romney? Obama was despised by a wide swath of Americans who had come to understand that his 'hope' message was just a ploy to manipulate the early more optimistic resentment of the establishment.

This year's mess. This is the steepest decline I can remember.

Trump I would give 75% odds to, and most of the remainder (15%) goes to Sanders, who I think would have a very solid shot against Trump in the general election, but I think it is unlikely his populist movement can overcome the extreme conservatism of the Democratic party. That leads 10% chance to spread between any other outcome where a more establishment figure manages to brute or cheat their way into power. These are just my guesses.

Certainly Trump's aggressive tactics turned against Clinton would be viscerally effective. If it comes down to those two options, the entertainment value of watching that would be small comfort to the dread of uncertainty.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

Absolutely brilliant post, one of your best ever. Enjoy your well-earned rest.

Did you see this one about Jeb Bush's post campaign whinge, where he blamed his defeat on "outsiders" and "disruption"? My reaction was, ye gods what a pathetic and spoiled little crybaby he is!

Graeme Bushell said...

Fantastic, JMG. I was just reading the news on Trump's recent successes and thinking you were right on the money with your post of January 20th, "Donald Trump and the politics of resentment".

Thanks for your work and enjoy your well-earned break!

If you're looking for some holiday reading, I recently finished, and might suggest "Not Forgetting the Whale" by John Ironmonger. It's a collapse story with a bit of a different take on things. A very engaging read.

Cheers,
Graeme

Ray Wharton said...

As a side note, I think that Trump would be a true Cesarean; Sanders would be something of a Psudomorph. Either way, I think it will be another cycle to tell where the winds are blowing, I think that a lot of current outsiders dreaming of power are gazing into the abyss that both connects and distinguishes those two figures for what may emerge.

peakfuture said...

Glad you are taking a break. May we all bring our personal blogs up to snuff to handle some of the gap in your commentary.

My question to you, and the other distinguished members of the ADR community, when presidential politics are discussed has always been - "Forget about who is running, who would you *want* to run?"

A bit of a moot point, but the fact that you usually hear crickets after asking the question is a bit telling.

Again, enjoy the time off.

Globus Pallidus XI said...

Well said! Druidtastic!

It is indeed a shame that Hillary Clinton is probably going to win the Democratic nomination - really, >50% of Democrats are brain dead zombies? The Republicans may be a little schismatic - rebels bereft of leadership usually are - but at least most have the ability to think…

Still, don't count out the Hillaries just yet. They can always rely on arresting the opposition - that's been happening in Western Europe for a while now where populist leaders are declared 'racist' and thrown in jail and their parties broken up. Trump is an oligarch and it might be harder to do that to him but still, it could happen. That's how political assassinations are done now: not by the bullet, but by making a felony case out of some obscure footnote in the campaign finance laws…

But on a lighter note, even if Cthulhu isn't technically eligible to be president of the United States, couldn't he run as Trump's VP? Trump-Cthulhu 2016! Let's make America great and feared across the entirely of space-time!

What, you say that Cthulhu might run instead as Hillary's VP? Not a chance. Because there are things that even undead horrors from another dimension are afraid of...

Grebulocities said...

I'm really glad the presidential election is turning out the way it has. For several years, I had been doubting that the US is truly democratic, and that most European countries aren't either. Significant change by popular demand didn't seem possible; cosmetic changes (e.g. Obama replacing Bush) seemed to be the limit of what could be achieved. The only real changes that seemed to occur were ones that were in the elites' best interests.

Then Trump and Sanders came along, and now we're seeing how fragile the system of political control really is. Even if Trump is somehow cheated out of the Republican nomination (to say nothing of the general election), he's shown that a populist alternative to the status quo is possible. Sanders demonstrated this too, although I doubt that he'll get past Clinton given the massive institutional support for her.

It's fascinating to me that after such a long time hearing that Republican voters demand rigid orthodoxy, and that socialism is a toxic label, the probable nominee for the GOP is a former Democrat who has taken all sorts of populist positions over the years, and one of the two top Democrats proudly calls himself a socialist. It turns out that the American people weren't demanding neoliberal orthodoxy after all! This was pretty obvious for a long time, but it's definitely coming as a big shock to the elite class as they are finally getting hit with the cluebat. Finally, the neoliberal era is showing unmistakable signs of ending, and I'm excited about that even though what comes after it could easily be worse.

Rüdiger von Finckendorff said...

If during your break, you happen to find the time to use the Internet, you might want to risk a look at this blog I found recently:

http://crapfutures.tumblr.com/

It deals with many things that you talk about, too, but from a different perspective.

Jim said...

I'm inclined to agree with your broader asessment of the situation but have to disagree with your conclusions because I think that the voting public is more afraid of the alternative than the status quo even though many of us expect painful changes to come regardless of the election madness.

My prediction is that, barring some overwhelming scandel, that Clinton will eke out the presidency. My most likely scenario is that the big R party elites will somehow overturn the primary results and appoint some Bush clone as the candidate in which case Trump will run as an independent. If they let Trump run as their candidate he will stay at the 35% level thru the general election. Either case puts Clinton ahead.

Dennis Lisenby said...

I scrolled-down to the comments before I read the post. I might be the first one here. Given our situation, why do you invest time and meaning in this short subject?

James M. Jensen II said...

I recently commented on Michael Prescott's blog post about Trump. I think the gist of the comment is relevant here.

Basically, my comment was that Trump might help us avoid one kind of authoritarianism, Sanders might help us avoid another kind of authoritarianism, but Clinton will make sure one of those two options will happen a little further down the road.

Unlike the usual fantasies about slippery-slopes, authoritarianism of either the honest-to-goodness fascist variety or the authoritarian socialist variety seems to me to spring up very quickly in the face of certain societal and economic problems and, ironically, actually do some things to help alleviate those. Hitler saved Germany from starvation; Lenin industrialized the USSR practically overnight.

In other news, the medical malpractice industry may have claimed another victim. My father's youngest brother was admitted to the hospital Monday night, and died tonight. Word from the family is that he was diabetic but denied insulin for at least 24 hours because the hospital didn't have any, which could have exacerbated his heart condition. If this is true, as a diabetic, that kind of story leaves me a little nervous about my own future. I mean, I know a day will come when insulin will be an expensive luxury, and later on not available at all, but today any hospital in the USA worth its name should have some Humalog in stock!

Ventriloquist said...


The
Reason
U
Must
Persevere:

The
Reprehensible
Usurious
Must
Pay


Jonathan said...

Well, shoot, Archdruid, how are we going to get to Retrotopia in the meantime? Build it? ;)

Unknown said...

Clear, concise and thoroughly enjoyable. Meanwhile, here in Tasmania it is raining nicely, the fires are slowing down, the snakes are mating, and the blackberries are delicious. As long as you don't disturb the mating snakes, getting the blackberries is quite safe!

I sense a quite desperation in politics in Australia, Turnbull replaced Abbott, but has turned out to be as bland and lacklustre as Abbott was brash and incompetent. Labor is corrupt, stupid and will do exactly the same things. The greens are joining the other two in trying to disenfranchise all other minor parties and the senate voting paper is looking to be about the length of the room we vote in.

I keep banging the drum to the tune of "vote independent, at least their interests are not conflicted from the start" but in truth I am starting to think even that is a waste of effort, and that good old anarchy has a bit going for it. I will attend the voting booth this year but I doubt what I write on the ticket will be a valid vote.

Enjoy the garden, a beer, the company of your good wife, and a well earned rest.
My very best regards

eagle eye

tokyo damage said...

"Smoking their shorts?" Perhaps after a well-earned vacation you can elaborate on this obscure but evocative idiom. Have a good rest!

Mary said...

It took considerable cheating -- some caught on videotape --for Clinton to eek out that tie in Iowa and 5 point win in Nevada. Her Nevada win, by the way, was greased in large part by Harry Reid having Union heads monitor the casino caucuses to make certain their members voted the "right" way. Bernie's landslide in NH will be matched by Hillary's in SC. And then, after a brutal battleground on March 1 (where numbers have reversed in 7 states to give Bernie slim to solid leads) the contest moves increasingly in his favor.

In the meantime, however, a federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton has just opened the door to discovery, ordered Clinton aides to testify under oath and moved a step closer to Clinton herself having to testify. Mark Halperin says to have heard worried talk from inside the White House and Cokie Roberts came straight out and stated, "If she's indicted, she's done." Iow, her email problems continue to simmer in the background and threaten to erupt within a few months.

Maybe it will be Clinton vs Trump. Maybe.

Mary

Ahavah said...

If you're in the greater Lexington KY area, and you want to "collapse now & avoid the rush", please join us! The next meeting of the Green Wizards Benevolent & Protective Assn., Tower 859, and Ruinmen's Guild, Local 859 of the Bluegrass, Lexington, KY, will be @ Common Grounds coffeehouse on High Street, 7:00pm, on Thursday, February 25th. in servitio libertas! All are welcome.

escapefromwisconsin said...

Regarding that vending machine (apologies for the language): http://www.theonion.com/article/hillary-clinton-to-nation-do-not-fuck-this-up-for--38416

Rustin Gray said...

I think your Caesarisn analysis really nails the present situation. I really wish I could remember a sentiment you wrote about how bleeding heart outsiders can flip and become stalwart adherents of a new, more authoritarian order. I don't want to twist what you wrote but I feel like it really applies to me. I am quite educated and would describe myself as a socialist, but I think I support Trump, which still kinda surprises me. There are a great number of things about him that genuinely disturb me but his willingness to be blunt about the horrific waste of our failed imperial wars appeals to me very much. He seems like he would be slippery and pragmatic on most issues. I think I am going to try and make a universal basic income a part of his platform. As a response to the next financial crisis I think it's a slam dunk. I think I am going to throw my lot in with him. I really only have living in my parents garage and my junk part-time job to lose. I really hope our uniforms are more stylish than the USA Freedom kids. yuck!

Thank you so much for your enlightening blog and enjoy your vacation. I have enjoyed it very much.

Myosotis said...

To continue the conversation from last week, what are activities that would be good and still "normal enough" for groups like scouts? I really enjoyed Girl Scouts, I think it varies content more between troops than boy scouts does.

When we were brownies we made a solar oven with aluminum foil and baked brownies in it. Very fun and in hindsight, very futuristic.

What do you think would be a good activity for groups of kids?

Betsy Megalos said...

I try to stay somewhat removed from the races going on but , I really appreciate this weeks blog of USA politics..particularly enjoy the image of pundits banging on the vending machine, hoping for what always used to work.
I see it echoed in certain sectors of my experience as well, as a vintage/ antique reseller I see so many long-time Traditional Antique vendors behave- like your Hillary example-scratching their heads and pounding on the vending machine, wondering why things are not behaving the same.
Many of them fail to see how their customers lives and livelyhoods have dramatically changed... there is less income, less job security, less chance of home ownership, more debt, etc.. so who can afford chotskis, thousand dollar statement pieces, space for big furnishings? Since the stock market has dipped this year alone, NOW even the Upper class buyers are holding tight to their cash. Big changes are blowing through the economy just like this big storm blowing through N Carolina right now.

I hope I can stay a vintage/ antique scout and reseller, but my focus has moved more to useful goods. Quality clothing/woolens/ Canners/ grinders/ tools, cast iron,pyroceramic etc.. It works well with my frugal lifestyle, edible garden design business and joy of cooking. I am happy to say that many Younger people are becoming aware of vintage value. My wish is to continue so I may educate folks how to DIY - seed germination, planting, herbal use, cooking, and such- and incorporate vintage useful goods.

May you have a great break, get your hands dirty in the garden, and enjoy preparation for an Appalachian Spring.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

It looks like the American Empire’s attempt to engineer regime change in Syria has failed miserably. The Russians and their Middle Eastern allies have won and everyone knows it.

As the Saker put it “The USA had to accept the humiliation of having to agree to all of the Russian terms for the current ceasefire”.

He also notes that the Russians have managed to successfully co-opt the Syrian Kurds and the Free Syrian Army.

And this from the British press: According to the Guardian,

“Vladimir Putin has taken personal charge of efforts to turn a Syrian ceasefire into reality this weekend, holding a frantic round of phone calls with world leaders and instructing the Russian military to reduce the number of airstrikes over the past two days.

The Russian president spoke by phone to leaders in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Syria in an attempt to garner support for the ceasefire, and explain its complex details.

He has also opened a coordination centre to which the warring parties can send complaints of specific breaches of the truce. Some armed groups in Syria have already signed up to the truce, according to Russia.”

So the ceasefire is being arranged on Russian terms and the Russians will likely get the credit for its implementation if it holds. This is a huge humiliation for American foreign policy.

jessi thompson said...

Cthulhu is running? Awesome, where do I get a bumper sticker? He's eligible. He's certainly old enough. The world of Vhoorl in the twenty-third nebula isn't far from Starkville, MS. The drowned corpse-city of R’lyeh is a parish in New Orleans. (Let me clarify, I love the south and the people i it. Poking fun at the abysmal economic realities and the hell politics has created there, not the residents themselves, a hardier bunch if survivors I have never seen).

All kidding aside, great post!!! I honestly think Hillary won't get in by fair means. Foul means, on the other hand.... What are the odds Hillary (or maybe Cruz) bypasses the voters altogether and buys the machines directly?

M said...

Okay. Awesome. Spot on analysis. That Spengler guy was no slouch either. And man you deserve a break, JMG! Though of course your many loyal readers will be jonesin'.

Regarding the plutocracy, a few high-ranking, end-of-democracy bajillionaires have been making waves in the last couple days. There was Phil Knight of Nike, Just Doin' It!:

Philip H. Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc., said on Monday that he had pledged to give Stanford University $400 million to recruit graduate students around the globe to address society’s most intractable problems, including poverty and climate change...The Stanford project is meant to improve the world.

Who could argue with that? Not me. Especially considering it will further "the school’s symbiotic relationship with Silicon Valley and [increase] Stanford’s endowment to more than $22 billion." I bet the cafeteria food is to die for!

Then the Grand Pooh Bah Plurocrat Bill Gates had a go, telling environmental blogger Andy Revkin on a NYT video today, Bill Gates's Clean Energy Moon Shot, that he and a few investor buds would be throwing a couple billion at a few promising companies to, I do not kid, "invent a solution to climate change." Andy, hard-baller that he is, nodded solemnly and helpfully offered an analogy to the moon program.

Now make no mistake, said Bill. This will not be easy. In fact, it will be difficult. It also may take longer than developing a new operating system or an app. That's the bad news. The good news is, once it is "scaled" and "gigantic" there is money to be made. Because think of all those people in India!

It is a relief to hear that this is not another philanthropic goody goody tax write off, but a serious, you know, invention search, that will make money. Because Bill may want to redecorate his rec room some day.

What an interesting visual contrast too, Richer than many countries in the world Gates in his lovely raspberry v-neck, checked shirt and silvery hair, plebeian journalist Revkin looking like he just came off a hunger strike.

So, rest easy fellow Archdruid fans. Crank the thermostat to 11 and Just Drive It. The "Wow" Starts Now. Because Phil and Bill are Steppin' Up to Save the World. And how can you Trump that?

Cathy McGuire said...

Well, we'll miss you, but you certainly deserve to take a break! I hope it's a productive one. I'm glad I got my story for the Star's Reach contest in before you leave the blog - it's at www.cathymcguire.blogspot.com, and it's called "Elwus has Left the Building"... I had fun writing it.;-)

As to the election; I watch the proceedings with a mixture of dread and amusement. (It would be funnier if I didn't have to live with the consequences.)

I know I'll be clicking on this link by habit at least once a week before I remember you're not posting.:-} Happy Equinox early, since you won't be around.

inohuri said...

If you should happen to have a need for more on Clinton crimes try the lower search box at

http://prorev.com/

Sam Smith has been reporting on this family for a very long time.

Sanders is holding back. Trump doesn't have to.

Avery said...

Oh my goodness, JMG, I’m feeling shivers of Jungian synchronicity here. I was literally just about to start writing a blog post entitled “Make R’lyeh Great Again,” and now you’ve written almost exactly what I wanted to say. Some of the ideas, almost word for word. How did you do that?

Just a few things I want to drive home. The first is that we Americans often don’t understand what trade-offs are involved in “democracy”. We think, “voting on stuff, boo-yah!” But as you say, the GOP primary this year was more democratic than the Democrats, and Trump is the result. Responding to Ron Paul’s clever moves in 2008 and 2012, they removed the superdelegates and the other checks by elites on popular opinion, apparently betting that the well-oiled money-politics system would continue to work as it’s worked since 1976. This is what Spengler called true “democracy”, for precisely the reasons you explained about Hillary.

Also, living in the heart of Trump country, I think you might have missed out on the need to explain exactly why Lovecraft is relevant. There’s much more that can be said about Cthulhu 2016.

We’ve been hearing for many decades now that the country is “more divided than ever before”. This has become a cliché, and the response has been to “come together and unite” around a specific culture and specific register of speech, which was never going to happen due to the specificity involved. Our initial unity was around a single language, attitude, and ethnicity, but more important than that, a single vision.

But what is that vision? How did that essential American vision maintain continuity from the 1600s through the upheavals of the 1960s all the way to today, and why is it under threat now? The answer is that an American politician in the broadest sense, by which I mean anyone but Trump, is essentially a Lovecraft protagonist. When Bernie Sanders is talking to the audience at a debate, he is imagining that the audience shares an American Dream with him. He imagines a moral, rational individual trying to shape his mind to a moral framework, which Bernie and his supporters just need to explain correctly so it makes sense to the common man. The other candidates have different moral frameworks, but they share that metaphysical vision of the Pilgrim’s Progress, of an individual man or woman journeying through life, gaining various experiences, becoming more perfect, and, through the communal education of their children, bringing into being a more perfect and more American world.

(Continued)

Avery said...

But there are other, strange worlds out there, and they bring with them strange dreams. These dreams are not entirely comprehensible to the mind of an American politician, in the way that opposing views are. They come from totally outside their vision of a single ideal individual working for an ideal society. Perhaps they are dreams of a Napoleon making a weak government invest all power in himself, or of a Russian politician snatching his pen back from the hand of an oligarch. All that can be said for sure is that there is no city on a hill in these dreams, no Pilgrim’s Progress. And this is the essential Lovecraftian moment. A Trump candidacy appears to an American establishment politician precisely the way it would have appeared in the dreams of Cotton Mather: as an illogical nightmare, from an unimaginable chaos realm.

“Chaos candidate” is the perfect appellation for this. Didn’t Nietzsche say, “one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star”? Why do we respect that in philosophers but are terrified of it in political candidates? We admit of philosophers a certain predictable, comforting human nature, and expect their inner chaos to take new and interesting forms. This is the reality, and I support Trump for this reason. But up until now we have not been able to admit an inner chaos for present-day politicians. We can read history books, and learn from diaries and inside sources of the torments of JFK and FDR, of the mixtures of good and evil they encountered. But in the present day, we are still the horrified moral public. When we learned of Nixon’s tapes, we were in shock; when we learn of a celebrity saying something “racist” or “sexist”, we still react with shock, or at least pretend to; Trump openly admits to his whirling chaos, and that is a violation of very ancient ideas that the American establishment has grown up around. The center cannot hold.

James M. Jensen II said...

By the way, I just noticed your new book scheduled for release, Dark Age America. Now there's a bit of synchronicity: my used copy of Morris Berman's similarly-titled book Dark Ages America just came in today. You're probably familiar with him, since he was on Kunstlercast, and his books address some of the same territory as your own.

Unfortunately, I won't be reading that copy, since it not only has the author's signature, but a personal message from the author to David E. Kelley, creator of several TV shows. All for IIRC about $10 or so! Talk about the book merchant not knowing what they had...

(I'm actually going to send a letter to CBS to see if they can forward it to Mr. Kelley, to make sure the book left his possession legitimately.)

Andrew H said...

As an outside observer in Australia, I am following the election proceedings with interest. Our voting procedures here are, of course, quite different. One result of the voting system recently is the proliferation of minor parties, mostly very minor with only one or two representatives being elected. As a result the major parties are now considering ways of altering the voting system to prevent such candidates getting elected. We aren't quite as far down the track of kelptocracy, so it will be interesting to see whether they succeed or get washed away by public opinion.

On another matter entirely, for those interested in sea levels, rather bad things are happening in the arctic just at this moment. Try
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
and click on the Daily Image Update graph on the right.

Cheers
Andrew

Repent said...

Enjoy your vacation- well deserved ! I would even suggest that you should actually travel and see the sights some. Are you meaning to travel to Europe, take that Arctic cruise, or romp through a photo safari in Africa? Better to take it now while you still can.

Today I was walking through the warehouse where I work, and someone was listening to talk radio about Hillary Clinton. I'm in Canada, and I was surprised that she'd be on talk radio in Canada trying to sell her campaign? The focus of the radio interview was 'Women are more harshly judged by their wardrobe choices than men are on the political campaign trail'. The radio show actually started to turn my stomach, and I was glad to leave it behind returning to my desk after only a few minutes of the mind numbing torture. The female radio personality was clearly in favor of Clinton winning; an odd situation as us Canadian's can't vote in the US elections. Clearly privileged women of elites all over the world have a vested interest this this election outcome.

I myself was immensely relieved however after the recent news that there won't be Bush III in the White house in January 2017. Another member of the Bush gang running the world into the ground is not a favored outcome. With Sanders the US gets the Venezuela experience of hyper inflation and redistribution collapse, with Trump the US gets Fascism. With any of the others you'd get more of the same. Not much of an outcome whoever wins it.

Mister Roboto said...

I've already decided that if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination, I am not voting. In any race, for any candidate. And if the world burns as a result of what ensues from this election, I won't feel one jot guilty about it and will instead watch the world burn as I munch on Sun Chips as The Moonlight Sonata plays in the background. Yeah, I'm feeling a little more ticked off than usual these days. What about it?

Bill Pulliam said...

In between the 20% for whom business is usual is just fine thank you, and the 30% who will vote for anyone who promises to overturn the status quo, there is the other 50%. Will they decide to give the status quo one more spin, or decide they have finally had enough? They will decide what happens in November. It certainly will be... "interesting."

John Michael Greer said...

Whitecloak, you're far from the only person I've heard say exactly that. I wonder if the plutocrats have any clue that that's the kind of feelings their activities have aroused...

Paul, not that I know of.

Pinku-sensei, Clinton may be leading Sanders in Michigan, but she's falling behind in a number of other states. I expect her to get the nomination, but that's not yet a done deal by any means -- especially if more of Clinton's rich friends open their clueless mouths.

Unknown, or the crabby and sardonic one!

Jeffrey, ahem. The Elder God/Great Old One distinction was coined by August Derleth, who is widely considered a heretic by all wrong-thinking cultists, you know.

Andy, given that Clinton started the campaign with literally every imaginable advantage, I don't know that it requires any special explanation to understand why she's been able to stay ahead of Sanders so far. We'll see what happens as the campaign proceeds.

Pygmycory, the popcorn should be enough. I figured out many years ago that I'd probably witness the end of the last scraps of constitutional government in this country, and dealt with it then.

Robo, or it may be hopelessly confused by them!

Max, the latest polls show that 75% of Americans "could see themselves voting for Trump." That's not just his existing demographic -- though I'm not at all surprised to see the voices of the salary class falling all over themselves to reassure themselves otherwise.

Zachary, yes, that's a fine example of highbrow stupidity, isn't it?

Steve, I still think Sanders has a chance to take the nomination right out from under Clinton's grasp. Her campaign is so badly managed and so inept at dealing with challenges that if Sanders just keeps hammering away, and begins to amass a decent delegate count, he might just wear her down and win it in the later primaries. Still, we'll see. As for Elder God/Great Old One, see my comment to Jeffrey Williams above.

OilisFinite, I don't really see a point about imagining fantasy candidates who don't and can't exist.

Ray, I won't argue at all. It's a sign of the decay of our republic that so few people with the least scrap of talent or integrity will run for office these days.

Sojan, I did indeed, which was part of what was behind my description of his concession speech.

Graeme, I'll certainly consider it -- thank you.

John Michael Greer said...

Ray, if Sanders wins he might just manage to do the same trick that Washington, Lincoln, and FDR did in their terms -- that is to say, break a gridlocked conflict and redefine the American project in a way that could function for another seventy years or so, without discarding what's left of the original framework. Trump? He might do that; my guess, though, is that he's more likely to do an Augustus Caesar routine, and leave the forms of democratic government in place while finishing the process by which the presidency becomes an elective autocracy. Still, we'll see.

Peakfuture, that's a good point. I don't have any specific names in mind just now, but that's because my perennial I-wish candidate, William Catton Jr., died a few years back.

Globus, my guess is that Hillary's more likely to end up facing charges than Trump is; she's made a lot of enemies, and has apparently done some very stupidly blatant things in the way of influence peddling and the like. Still, we'll see.

Grebulocities, bingo. The neoliberal consensus was never more than an agreement among the political class; the rest of the population just put up with it, until things reached a point at which doing so was intolerable -- and here we are.

Rüdiger, I'll give it a look as time permits.

Jim, fair enough. I think you're quite wrong, but we'll see, won't we?

Dennis, if you can't be bothered to read my post, why should I be bothered to respond to your comment?

James, I'm very sorry to hear about your uncle. That sort of story is much, much too common these days.

Ventriloquist, funny.

Jonathan, that's certainly my suggestion!

Unknown Eagle, thank you. Your politics won't change until they reach the point that the desperation is no longer quiet. That's where we are now.

Tokyo Damage, I got it from the "Bloom County" comic strip a long time ago. The rather unsanitary implication is that the people in question have rolled up their nether undergarments and are smoking them as a recreational high.

Mary, we can certainly hope that Clinton -- for some reason, whenever I try to type her name, it comes out "Clingon" on the first try -- will crash and burn in some colorfully legal manner.

Escape, the Onion as usual has it nailed.

Compound F said...

you do a fine job. I am grateful, and yeah I buy yer books, which never disappoint. Even my mother likes you, since I introduced you two. Enjoy your time off. Come back strong.

Mark Rice said...

I have had the impression that Jeb was the first choice of the plutocrats. Now they have to settle for Hillary -- their second choice.

Trump vs. Hillary. There are some people who want to give business as usual one last chance. There may be enough of these people that Hillary could win. I do not think I could vote for Trump. Hillary may be the establishment's last best hope to make things work for all the people with their backs against the wall.

Unfortunately it is not likely the establishment sees the need to make things work for all the people with their backs against the wall.

Ruben said...

Fear not Archdruidians!

In this time of Archdrought, there are podcasts to sustain you.

"In this episode, we talk about two of the lessons from John’s seminal book, Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, The Law of Flow and The Law of Limits.

John mentions his admiration of the taoists in this show, and recommends reading Lao-Tzu if you’re interested in exploring further. He also cites Aldo Loepold and Henry David Thoreau as influences."

The Numinous Podcast with Carmen Spagnola is about smart, soulful conversation with interesting, articulate people about the mystery of life. Episode 44 with John Michael Greer.

“Ritual is poetry in the world of action.”

In this second conversation with John, we talk about why ritual sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I ask him about the placebo effect in relation to ceremony and healing. He tells me about a Druid communion ceremony (???) in more detail, including a description of the use of solar and telluric currents of the cosmos. We talk about the impact of reclaiming the gods of nature. And then he schools us on “dissensus” and genetic drift.

It’s a broad, sweeping and thought-provoking conversation about how and why the universe works the way it does and how humans behave in relationship to the greater realms. Whew!"

The Numinous Podcast with Carmen Spagnola is about smart, soulful conversation with interesting, articulate people about the mystery of life. Episode 59 with John Michael Greer.

Shane W said...

Well, mark me down as a Sanders who will hold his nose & vote for Trump if I can't vote for Sanders in the general election. I've usually "choked the chicken" (voted a straight Dem tkt--the KY Democratic symbol is a rooster) & this would mark the first time ever that I've voted GOP in a presidential election (and one of the few times I've voted GOP at all). I just can't bring myself to vote for Hillary.
I do think that the US still has enough influence in Europe that Trump's election will benefit Farage, Le Pen, Wilders, etc., but I'd like to hear from readers on the other side of the pond as to how much influence a Trump victory would give to their own right-wing populist candidates.

bowsprite said...

Ditto! Thank you!

aiastelamonides said...

JMG,

I realize that its implications are less in keeping with the philosophy of this blog than those of "Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?", but the my favorite of Cthulhu's slogans has always been "No more years! No more years!"

I don't like a large part of Sanders' politics but I still intend to vote for him in the primary. Every state he wins sends a message.

Regarding Spengler, I have started reading The Decline of the West. It's hard going, especially compared to crisp, warm, summery (but not summary!) Toynbee. I don't personally care for Spengler's melodramatic gestures and insistent overstatement of points that would otherwise be well taken (really the whole turn-of-the-century-ish Germanic style grates on me, except for the exhilaratingly free construction of metaphysical binaries), but it certainly is interesting fare. I am eager to get to the more detailed historical theorizing, and your post makes me even more so.

I hope you enjoy your rest from blogging!

John Michael Greer said...

Rustin, again, I've heard such sentiments from a lot of people, who have trouble with some of Trump's stances but are willing to overlook those because he isn't just the same bland regurgitated politics as usual.

Myosotis, I wonder if it would be worth looking up the activities that used to be part of Ernest Thompson Seton's "Woodcraft" movement, which was a rival of Scouting back when the Scouts were even more militaristic than they are now, and which put a lot of time into handicrafts, Native American lore, and nature-centered activities. here's a copy of the Woodrcraft manual, free for the downloading -- this copy is from just before it opened its doors to girls and women, so you'll have to borrow and adapt creatively, but the principles are all there. (The Native American material in it was there with the blessings of Native American elders -- Seton was one of the first White defenders of Native American rights, and was encouraged by his many Native American friends to teach non-Native kids Native ways, in the hope that this would make the Wasi'chu a little less crazy.)

Betsy, thank you for the data point! What I'm hearing from everywhere, basically, is that the wheels seem to be coming off the economy, in the US and more generally. We may all be in for a very, very rough time of it.

Sojan, got it in one. The "cessation of hostilities" was also nicely timed to keep the Turks and Saudis from sending in ground troops to try to overthrow Assad; if they do that now, the Russians have all the plausibility they need to see how well their cruise missiles and ground-attack aircraft work against a conventional ground invasion -- a detail I think they'd be quite eager to determine. All in all, Putin and his government have managed this whole business very well indeed.

Jessi, he is indeed -- and that link has bumper stickers, not to mention red coffee cups to wage war on Christmas with. ;-)

M, oh, sure, that'll change everything. How many times has that same sort of story appeared in the media? If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten...

Cathy, got it and thank you!

Inohuri, to me the various allegations are less important than the mere fact that four years of Hillary Clinton might as well be four more years of Dubyobama.

Avery, I'd take that perspective and put more history in it. It simply isn't true that the US today is more divided than ever before; we were just as divided in 1776, 1861, and 1932; in all three of those years, the common dream shattered into fragments, and a strong and massively controversial figure took power and reconfigured those fragments into a new dream. It bears remembering that all three of those earlier figures got the same kind of hostile press Trump gets now, and none of them were anything like as genial as they've been made to look in hindsight. Will Trump repeat the pattern, or did we finally draw the short straw? Good question -- but not all of us are a horrified moral public, not by a long shot.

The fact that the media gasps when someone says something that's been defined by the bicoastal chattering classes as racist or sexist does not mean that most Americans share that reaction. That's one of the reasons why Trump's ratings go up every time he says something that's supposed to be outrageous: the rest of the country, the 80% who don't belong to the chattering classes, talk exactly the way he does. (Trust me on this -- I live in a small Middle American town, and if Trump sat down in a bar here and started chatting with the locals, unless somebody recognized him, he and his utterances would fit right in.)

Mean Mr Mustard said...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/24/donald-trump-victory-nevada-caucus-voter-anger

Enjoy your well-earned break, JMG.

cheers

Mustard

Vincent said...

After all, if we cannot have real politics — the kind there is supposed to be in democracies, where citizens collectively seek to discover and implement the common good or, failing that, to negotiate compromises within a broad framework of mutual respect and cooperation — then why not absurdist spectacle instead?

Spectacle indeed!

John Michael Greer said...

James, yes, I was reading Berman back in the 1990s. Fascinating about that book!

Andrew, I've been watching the Arctic closely. This year could be a major tipping point, no question.

Repent, nah, it's a "stay at home, catch up on projects, and get some rest" kind of vacation, as usual. As for Clinton, why, yes -- notice how the conversation focuses with laser intensity on whatever makes rich white women feel disadvantaged in comparison with rich white men, and avoids any discussion of the ways that rich white women are immensely privileged compared to most other people...

Mister R., I'd have a different piece of fiddle music on, different chips to munch, and a somewhat different attitude, but hey, to each their own. It promises to be a heck of a spectacle, one way or another.

Bill, granted! I suspect that as usual a lot of the choice will come down to personalities, and that leaves Hillary Clinton in deep trouble...

Compound F, thank you!

Mark, one of the consequences of the flaws of plutocracy Spengler analyzed is that they don't have a single opinion -- it's just whatever seems to further the personal interests of each individual plutocrat. Watch what happens as we move closer to the general election and Trump starts dangling carrots here and there to get various factions of the political class in his pocket. It'll be worth watching.

Ruben, funny! "Archdrought" is a keeper.

Shane, I know. I honestly don't think I could vote for Hillary if it came to a choice between her and Ming the Merciless.

Bowsprite, you're welcome.

Aias, thank you. I find Spengler delightful to read, precisely because his prose has such a degree of Wagnerian bombast to it -- but then I'm a Wagner fan, too. The interesting thing about Spengler's binaries is that he uses polarity the way a Taoist does: history and nature, physiognomy and systematics, becoming and the has-become, in each case both sides of the binary are equally necessary, nor can one function in the absence of a tincture of the other. It's quite elegant, in its own melodramatic way.

John Michael Greer said...

Mustard, okay, the Guardian -- or at least Jeb Lund -- gets it. It'll be interesting to see if anybody else does.

Vincent, what you're calling "real politics" is something that has never existed and will never exist in any actual human society, you know. That being the case, why, yes, bring in the spectacle!

jbucks said...

You wrote a couple of posts ago that you wanted to "turn a critical eye on a common but dysfunctional habit of thinking that explains an astonishing number of the avoidable disasters of contemporary life, from anthropogenic climate change all the way to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign." By that, did you mean the 'delusion of control' you mentioned in this current post? I'm very curious about what this habit of thinking might be, so if that isn't it, could you give us a hint as to what it might be?

Also, you might get a kick of this info-graphic someone made about how the Financial Time's economic forecasts about global GDP growth have been totally wrong.

jbucks said...

I forgot to add: I hope you have a great break, and thanks very much for all the insightful writing!

Unknown said...

(Deborah Bender)

Ruben and JMG, the two of you have given me just what I wanted for my unbirthday (podcast link and Woodcraft Manual).

My money's on "hopelessly confused", though maybe not as early as April. Two recent Presidential elections had their outcomes thrown off by third party candidates (Perot and Nader). We have no shortage of egotistical multimillionaires and celebrity activists this year. 2016 has a new option that no one has tried so far: crowdfunding an Eddie the Eagle type run for office. Faced with a choice of the major candidates still in the running, would I vote for Eddie? You betcha.

I expect at least one, maybe more than one, minor parties to be put together between now and the major party conventions in order to run an independent. If that happens and it's a close election, the outcome will be unpredictable, drawn out,and possibly violent.

Zachary Braverman said...

JMG, you can stop worrying so much!

No less a luminary than Bill Gates has declared that an energy breakthrough to save the planet will appear Very Soon Now!

http://www.vox.com/2016/2/24/11100702/bill-gates-energy

I confess I couldn't bring myself to read the entire thing, but the reasoning seems to be, "We really, really need a breakthrough, so a breakthrough we shall receive."

ed boyle said...

If we take 1980 as the base year for the current takeover of neocon neoliberal one party system then the changes are not just income based. Minorities have grown greatly in numbers. The populations continues to shift sun bellt. Women have more power. Gays, mixed racial marriages, etc. growing. Fundamentalisism, christian, islamist, leftwing all taking root. People have uprooted and moved to locales with their kind of thinking making for more pure voting blocs and gerrymandering has added to the problems. The press has become controlled. Last not least is the generational change. 1980 saw boomer hedonist dawn, now sees their twilight. Millenials and nextgenerationwith fascist/communistic extremism coming to the fore. Next step are anarchists, terrorists, seccessionists. Young people, foreigners, gays, women, minorities in power will be wanting something else than what a strongly white male ruled 1980s middle class wanted in a world where everything still was ok in terms of economy, usa power, environment.

Simonthakur said...

Aww man April 6?!


Have a great break sir!

Matt said...

April 6th? Nooooooooooooo

Which button was it I had to press? What's going wrong with my Thursday morning archdruid machine?

Did you see Tony Blair in the Guardian, confessing his inability to understand Bernie and Jeremy? He had it all worked out so well and then those party members starting, well, malfunctioning...

John2B said...

"...it’s at least possible that some of the changes might remove at least a few of the worst features of the bleak era now stumbling to its end around us."

Wow, you are such an optimist!

Mikep said...

JMG, thanks for another great post, "Now she’s jabbing the button over and over again, and in due time she’ll be pounding her fists on the thing and screaming at it because it won’t give her what she’s paid for." That so far must be the most considered commentary on the election that I have read. I was even forced to switch off the Chris Evans Breakfast Show (the thinking man's diazepam) and give you my undivided attention and I won’t do that for just anybody. My theory is that Trump will clinch the Presidency by punching someone in the mouth on live TV.
Have a good break and come back with more with more of what you do so well.

Mike

David from Normandy said...

I am very interested to see if you're right or wrong about this particular election.

I can't help to think that you're maybe too "optimistic", like many bloggers I know: from what I've read over the years, especially since 2008, most analysts underestimate the fantastic inertia of our societies.

Elections are won by moderate voters, or people that perceives themselves as moderate.

These people are more repelled than attracted by "extremist" candidates, or candidates who are perceived as extremists. I think that's the case of Donald Trump.

These moderate voters are the "silent majority". They are a lot less visible, less vocal, than, for example, bloggers like you and your followers. But much more numerous.

It takes really dire situations to convince these moderate voters to vote for a "Caesar", and not to flock like frightened sheep to the shepherd. You seem to think that the current situation in USA is dire enough today to overcome that psychological inertia. I don't know if you're right, being not American myself.

But like I said above, I've read many people since 2008 or earlier who are, in my opinion, spot-on about the global situation, but almost all of them are ahead of schedule of the fall.

Ultimately, I agree when you say "others will follow where Trump and Sanders lead, and sooner or later one of them will triumph."
I just don't see it arrive this time. Probably not in your country, and not in mine (France) at 99%.

Chloe said...

I was going to say that from this side of the pond, the women-for-Hillary attitude seems baffling - cultural memories of Maggie Thatcher will do that - until I remembered that Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall tried to do exactly that back in the Labour leadership election last summer. I've never heard the same applied to Merkel, Le Pen or Sturgeon, though, perhaps because they can all attract voters on the merit of stances and policies that actually mean something to their respective electorates. (Not that it's a non-issue that all of the US's presidents up to now have been distinctly Y-chromosome-enabled, but trying to change it by simply voting for the only woman in the race on the basis that she's a woman is going about the whole thing distinctly a**-backwards.)

I'm going to hope you're wrong about the first prediction (Clinton beats Sanders), because I suspect you're right about the second: there's a good chance Trump will thrash Clinton in the presidential race if that's how it plays out. As several of your commenters have already shown, a good chunk of the old Democratic base is now more anti-establishment than anything and could well be swung to Trump. I suspect Sanders' fortunes in the primaries may in part depend upon whether enough of Clinton's current support base realise in time that the rules of the game have changed; it will seem counter-intuitive to many (particularly older) Democrats to think that Sanders would have a better chance in the presidential election than Clinton, but if they do figure it out then a lot of them (being of the anyone-but-Trump crowd) will happily jump ship.

The main difference between the two outsiders, as far as I can tell, is that Sanders is standing on a platform of "the system is broken", where Trump is standing on a platform of, "the system AND the society are broken". There are a fairly small number of hot-button issues - abortion, same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, the creationism debate, gun control - where it's at least perceived that victory has gone to the left. That's not to say the project of social improvement in the form of equality and stamping-out of prejudice - which is a long-winded way of not using its own name for itself, social "progress" - has actually been successful; in material terms the lives of many minorities have not improved or are slipping again - but perception is everything. That large swathes of the right still view these changes not as "progress" of any kind but as slips down the long slide to damnation is, of course, the issue; and that's without even getting started on the question of immigration. What this means is that Trump has a much deeper well of anger to draw on, and across a wider spread of demographics - as he said himself in Nevada, he's been winning across every group, whereas a lot of Sanders' support base is young: his main draw is disenfranchisement with the current plutocracy, but Trump additionally has the advantage of the usual swing towards the Republicans after eight years of Democratic presidency. Even if the parties are all but identical in every way that actually matters, they do still differ at several of the points people put great stock in. What that means for the presidential election, I can't say. I doubt there are few generalities to be drawn about the values and views of the American population at this point and a victory for either Trump or Sanders could well deepen the wedges and accelerate the course towards break-up of the union. Clinton, of course, would simply mean drifting on until the next round.

Which reminds me: it's a popular pastime over here to laugh at everything Trump says, but if he's been running his mouth about energy, climate or the environment, then it hasn't made its way into the airwaves. In fact, everybody seems to be curiously quiet on the topic.

Chloe said...

And I almost forgot: hope you have a nice holiday and it turns out to be the chance to relax you're hoping for!

Kutamun said...

Thanks again for another unique insight , JMG , all the best for your restful break and look forward to some more retrotopia and your forthcoming book .... Cheers

donalfagan said...

"That's right. This election is like Survivor. But sadly Jeb did not run an Amazing Race. He just didn't have that X Factor and nothing short of an Extreme Makeover could make people forget his Big Brother," Stephen Colbert.

As played out on facebook, my liberal friends have splintered between Clinton and Sanders.
The Sanders contingent swears that if Clinton is nominated they will either write in Sanders, or vote for Jill Stein. My independent friends will vote for Trump instead of Hillary. My stepson notes that only Sanders and Trump offer any hope of legalizing the medical marijuana he needs to control his spondylitis pain.

Over at Science blogs, some commenters still won't admit that Trump is adeptly winning this thing. Some will vote Hillary just to get the supreme court picks they want. To me, picking a Prez for SCOTUS picks is kind of like believing in the grapefruit diet.

I'm wondering if the Sanders contingent has the dedication to defeat the Trump nativists:
https://donalfagan.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/you-will-get-the-revolution-you-deserve/

And hopefully you will get the break you deserve. If not, April Fools!

Lou Nelms said...

In the end the plutocratic technocracy defaults to Hillary. It has been selecting her for technocratic chief in the making for many years. Technocratic default to who can best keep the wheels on the machine and not who can best monkey wrench it. People are set to side with the machine.

Greg Belvedere said...

Enjoy your vacation.

I have been waiting for a post on this topic and as usual you have delivered.

While I have my reservations about Sanders (he has helped keep the f-35 project going and tows the line on Israel amongst other things) he is leaps and bounds above any other candidate. He is the first democratic presidential candidate I have been excited about and I find myself gravitating to the phrase, help us Bernie Sanders you're our only hope. I voted for Nader in my first presidential election (2000), but the fact that people blamed him for Gore's loss has contributed greatly to the difficulty of creating a viable third party. I really thought by now we would have a real third party option.

You and the other readers here might enjoy this. It is a conversation between Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader about this election. In it they give a good critique of Sanders (starting around the 15 min mark). Nader analyzes some of Sanders' campaign strategy and criticizes him for not going after Clinton, or Obama for that matter, as much as he could. As much as he is trying to take over the democratic party, he still does not want to criticize the establishment in a way that might hurt Clinton if she gets the nomination. Which might ensure that she does, especially since she seems to be co-opting his message. At this point I really hope Clinton gets indicted soon, because that would probably tip the scales in Sanders' favor.

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/video_chris_hedges_and_ralph_nader_on_the_bernie_sanders_set-up_20151110

Odin's Raven said...

Before the arrival of Caesar, don't the competing mobs of Milo and Clodius need to slaughter each other in the streets? Which of them will get to burn the equivalent of the Senate House this time?

Dagnarus said...

Forgive me and/or block this comment if it is off topic. But wasn't Gloria Steinem, the other second-wave feminist to "open mouth, insert foot" for Hillary, one of the people who along with the likes of Catharine McKinnon, played left wingwoman to the religious right in there rather insane quest to root out Satanic Cults in daycare centers, which were amongst other things hang kids up on meat hooks, and going on field trips to pimp their young charges to the Mexican army? I was in primary school around that time, and I am from New Zealand (although the moral panic came to our shores, as well as I believe to most of the western world), so I only have dim memory of the events as they happened, but that would seem to have been an instance when political correctness in the media prevented the obvious from being accepted, caused lots pain and suffering for individuals, and allowed a unhealthy paranoia to be inserted into our culture where children are concerned.

I bring this up because it seems like the crazy wing of modern day feminism seems to have started a whole new moral panic surrounding "campus rape culture", stating that roughly 20% of women will be sexually assaulted at college, for a discussion of where that stat came from http://time.com/3633903/campus-rape-1-in-5-sexual-assault-setting-record-straight/. The "National Crime Victimization Survey" says that on average 6.1 per 1000 female college students will be victims of some form of sexual assault in a year, this is compared to 7.2 per 1000 for non students. Quite a discrepancy. Based upon this college campuses have been setting up tribunals in which the accused is assumed guilty until they can be proven innocent, and instituting affirmative consent policies http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/15/us/california-high-schools-sexual-consent-classes.html, from the article, a student asks “What does that mean — you have to say ‘yes’ every 10 minutes?”, the teacher replies “Pretty much. It’s not a timing thing, but whoever initiates things to another level has to ask.” Every time, including kissing, or you're a rapist.

I bring this up because I've noticed that many people are looking at what is going on in the college campuses, with this and things such as no platforming, getting people fired for ideological reasons, and so on. They're noticing that the current establishment left appears to be fully willing to indulge this behavior, and or is actively encouraging it, and they/I, are worried. I have to ask whether this is part of what is fueling support for trump is the fact that minority ideologies such as feminism (23% of women in the US identify as feminist, 82% of Americans agreed that men and women should be equal, draw your own conclusions), are being treated as sacrosanct in the mainstream, even though most people don't agree with them.

Mister Roboto said...

Somebody may have mentioned this in your Donald Trump post, but it's clear now that the "Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare) is the exemplar of one of those "solutions" to a problem faced by working-class people that just ends up burdening those it supposedly helps in favor of the myopic and privileged salaried-class. (The medical-industrial complex pays an awful lot of those salaries these days, after all.) I have heard Trump proposes to scrap it in favor of single-payer, and if anything other than Hillary getting prosecuted for some kind of corruption does her in, it will be that!

David said...

John--

I'll add my good wishes for a restful break to those already submitted. Your weekly posts have become a staple for me. Interestingly, April 6th is the day after our spring election here and I will be able to report on the results of my city council run (one way or the other).

More and more, I am seeing how the political class is totally clueless when it comes to Trump's appeal (http://politicalwire.com/2016/02/24/running-out-of-morons/). And the Clinton-crowd is seriously under-estimating the number of Sander's supporters who will vote for Trump over her. Regardless of how it turns out in the fall, as you said, someone else will follow where Sanders and Trump have led.

I recently commented on one forum about how I plan to vote and why...and got a few responses along the lines of how much Clinton has championed the middle class, etc, etc. My reply to one of these was: "I didn't say middle class. I said working class."

Certainly, the proverbial (if perhaps apochryphal) Chinese curse is coming true for us.

Jamie Mason said...

Andy, I think you're dead on here. As part of the gay community, it's hard for me not to be greatful to Obama for his administration's support of gay rights even though I am utterly disillusioned by the hipocracy of the rest of his actions. Much of the gay community blindly supports Hillary because they see equality as their number one political concern, and she has been (apparently) a staunch supporter. I think most people either don't recognize the extent of the corruption/uselessness of the status quo politicians or they think it's impossible to change something so pervasive, and so they focus their energy on things they think can change in their favor--equality for the gay community, immigration policy for the Hispanic community etc. If wil be interesting to see how that changes as we bounce down the craggy slope of decline.

Ekkar said...

Sometimes I don't know if 1984 was a great uncovering of the workings of totarianism, or a how to manual.
In ether event it is a very good shake down and important work to be read and reread by everyone in the civilized world says I.
Have a much deserved break john Michael Greer!

Nick said...

A couple interesting observations I've made:

Trump has stated that he wants to audit the fed, re-open the 9/11 investigations, has repeatedly called the press liars and has mentioned the problems the money-handlers cause in one remark. He also got cheers (!) at a rally for suggesting the US should have a more friendly relationship with Russia. Not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I find these remarks far more interesting than rhetoric about building a wall. He's also gone after waste in the defence and healthcare industry instead of just promising to throw more tax money at them as well...

Here's some food for thought: Trump, who is a reasonable analogue to Putin, is likely to oversee a country where the material standards of living are dropping for everyone, which is exactly what Putin has been doing for the past few years. I believe Russians still generally like Putin, especially young, male Russians. If Trump manages to revitalize American nationalism and turn it away from materialism to some degree (which would be an ironic twist to be sure) he might just accomplish something incredible.

SweaterMan said...

JMG (and Mr. Roboto):

As usual Mr. Carlin had his take on voting:

No Right To Complain

and he doesn't even use any of his famous 7 words!

My reason for not voting for Hilary is this: going back to 1980, excepting the current Obama administration, we've had either a Bush or a Clinton as veep or President. Reagan/Bush (80-88), Bush (88-92), Clinton (92-00), Bush (00-08), and finally Obama (08-16).

During this time period of 36 years, nothing much has been accomplished except to make a tiny handful of people richer/more powerful/more dominant to the detriment of most all others. Why give Hilary (another Clinton) a chance to extend that kind of track record? After all, if we want a royal family, why don't we just pick one? Of course, we might just choose the Kardashians so I better hope we don't go that direction [sigh].

FYI, I couldn't pull a lever for Trump either - his attitude towards foreign policy just wouldn't work and he's too much of a fan of the military/police structure for me.

And Bernie? Can't see how his numbers would really balance out without major restructuring of our current governmental budget but he sure has been fun to watch.

Cthulhu? I can't see America going straight for so much evil either. Maybe we should all stay home (as per George's idea) and ignore them this election cycle.

Johnny said...

Enjoy your well earned break! I mention your writing often to people and lend them copies of your books. Hopefully it'll help make some sort of difference in how they think. I'll miss your weekly posts here while you are off but it's a good excuse to do some serious digging in your archives again.

Eric S. said...

I recently ran across this video from a TV comedian that takes a really interesting perspective on the relation between Trump’s campaign and the rise of Caesarianism in America that compares him to various modern African dictators. It was an interesting and amusing perspective, and one that really puts into perspective the sort of thing we may well be enjoying a year from now in a realistic way that avoids the usual distracting Godwin appeals that tend to pop up in conversations about Trump and autocracy. It’s striking just how much Trump resembles not the strictly disciplined, staunch melodramas that the populist autocracies of 20th century Europe produced, but rather the sort of colorful flamboyance that tends to show up in the leaders who rise up in the aftermath of today’s Western Industrial nations’ attempts at regime change. If I had a taste for conspiracies, I might suggest the resemblance is a little more than coincidence, as it is, it’s a particularly amusing bit of historical irony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FPrJxTvgdQ

*sigh* I suppose that when all’s said and done you can say what you want about Trump, but you’ve got to admit, he’ll make the trains run on time…

Mister Roboto said...

PS: It occurred to me after posting that I should have Googled Trump's position on healthcare rather than relying on hearsay. He would appeal Obamacare but favors some alternate Republican plan that clearly isn't single-payer. Apologies for regurgitating misinformation.

Rita Narayanan said...

what an interesting refreshing post.Thanks and enjoy that break :)

btidwell said...

There has been a LOT of gleeful talk, mostly desperate and occasionally bordering on hysterical, about the disintegration of the Republican party. One only has to look at their hold on state level government across the nation and the inordinate influence that the small Tea Party contingent has in congress to see how false that hope is. Reading your blog this morning, I find myself wondering how the Democrats are going to fair if Sanders wins the popular vote by a significant margin and the party leadership uses their Super Delegates to push Clinton into the nomination anyway. Even worse, if she then turns around and loses to Trump. Worse still, if Trump actually turned out to be a passably competent president, which is not too difficult. Bush set a pretty low bar. It seems almost certain that super delegates are on their way out now that they've become national news. I guess time will tell how much credibility the party itself will have left by the next election cycle.

btidwell said...

BTW- Enjoy your break! Your Pagan Prayer Beads book came two days ago. I can't wait to get to it!

Juandonjuan said...

JEB!
great dig from The Shovel- Australia's Onion

Heartbreaking: Jeb Bush May Never Get To Play With The Little Piece Of Iraq His Father & Brother Left For Him - http://www.theshovel.com.au/2016/02/23/heartbreaking-jeb-bush-may-never-get-to-play-with-the-little-piece-of-iraq-his-father-brother-left-for-him/

Breaking through the Identity Delusion in the target group is slow going, especially anticipating and breaking down the thoughtstoppers that block new information. Like water and roots breaking up the granite into gravel and then soil, digging out perception of self interest rather than preconceived, preprogrammed responses. NPR/FOX/CORPMEDIA providing plenty of predigested opinions.
"The haze of Bernays"

Brian Kaller said...

Your readers might not know that here in Ireland we vote a new government in tomorrow morning, and this election, like that of the USA’s, is without precedent in recent memory. It’s a bit different here because we have a parliamentary system, vote for more than one person to represent our district, and have first and second choices that factor in when votes are tallied, a system that allows for multiple parties that must work together in coalition. I prefer it to the USA’s system, in which only two similar groups run, and one takes total power by some slim margin.

Still, the mood among the populace is similar – the two biggest parties have each had a turn in recent years, and are seen as having mismanaged the prosperity, helped cause the crash, and are claiming a recovery that most people don’t feel.
The result is that both major parties, who have merely taken turns governing, are doing poorly in the polls, with third parties like Sinn Fein doing about as well as either, and independent and minor-party candidates polling better than anyone.

I don’t know what the result will be tomorrow, but there are three major possibilities: 1.) the two big business parties, rivals as long as the nation has existed, will be forced to go into coalition with each other; 2.) Sinn Fein and all the minor parties will be forced to form a sweeping left-wing coalition; or 3.) there will be a hung parliament, and we’ll have another election soon. It will be an interesting night.

One other point you might find interesting: The American Conservative, which I write for occasionally, has graded the remaining candidates on their foreign policy ambitions. Keep in mind that AmCon writers tend to be conservative, but in a more traditional sense -- they remain sceptical of America’s imperial wars, and sharply criticised the war in Iraq.

For what it’s worth, they considered Sanders to have the most realistic and healthy foreign policy, followed by Trump and Kaisch. Clinton and Cruz did badly in their estimation, with Rubio and Carson getting straight Fs. Make of that what you will.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-2016-foreign-policy-report-card/

Finally, enjoy your holiday, and we look forward to your return.

Shane W said...

My question is what the actual effects of either a Sanders or Trump presidency would be? How much would they actually be able accomplish? How much would it spook the elites/investmentariat and their economy of hallucinations? Would it be enough for it to flee the US & the US$ for something more stable? How much would a collapse in the hallucinatory economy actually affect the real goods & services economy, and how willing would a Sanders or Trump be to apply the shock paddles a la FDR to keep the real economy going?
As a gay man, Trump's Muslim comments don't move my support or lack of support one iota. I know the Middle East along w/sub Saharan Africa remains one of the most homophobic places on earth, where gay people are put to death & tortured. I've met gay refugees from Islamic nations, and know what they faced. And yes, I also know that the Muslim community is not monolithic--I went to university with a bare-headed Muslim woman who wore makeup and smoked cigarettes. Can anyone confirm that Trump got a large percentage of Latino GOP caucus goers? That would be interesting...

zaphod42 said...

Enjoy your break, good Sir. Well earned.

Craig

Dammerung said...

I knew it was going to be a brutal takedown, and so it was. Hillary jamming her fat finger onto a button that doesn't do anything anymore, over and over again and expecting a different result - stamping her foot and getting red in the face - it's a great mental image.

It's breathtaking how corrupt the DNC political process is. I mean, Bernie and Hillary are almost neck and neck on the popular vote, yet she's utterly trouncing him in delegates thanks to DNC proceduralism. I expected something like this to take down Bernie but I never guessed they'd be so thoroughly shameless about it. Those 6 coin tosses in a row... does anybody really buy this story?

Of the liberals I know, half of them are going to hold their noses and vote for Hillary, but the other half are completely disgusted by the political process at this point. They're either going to vote for Jill Stein or another 3rd party outlier, or they're just going to stay home. That just doesn't add up to presidential numbers by my calculation. It looks like Trump is going to coast into office without any meaningful resistance at this point. Since underneath the bluster and bombast he seems like a fairly middle of the road Democrat, maybe we can hope for some getting our house in order under his reign; of course, Obama also seemed like an outsider at first, and then turned out to be the consummate Beltway Consensus politician. Do you think there's any reason to believe that Trump is genuinely different in anything but rhetoric?

Shane W said...

One fear the Democrats & the pseudo-left have dangled over captive minority constituencies is the idea that equality & civil rights are transient things, that they, and the official organizations claiming to represent various communities, are all that's standing between a return to 1950, 1920, or 1860 social mores. I, for one, am not falling for that Pavlovian bell anymore. I don't see how you put that toothpaste back in the tube and undo equality, and honestly, the way to insure that groups aren't scapegoated is to insure that you don't create a society as stratified and impoverished as ours, whereby people go out looking for scapegoats.

John Crawford said...

Bravo! Well written and long overdue.

Wayne A. Shingler said...

Hear, hear! I'm an over-40 Sanders supporter in central Ohio, and I feel the same way. Until reading your comment, though, I thought I was the only Sanders supporter who saw Trump as a lesser evil than Clinton. Good to hear that there are more of us in this important swing state!

I really don't like Trump; his similarities to Hitler are disturbing. But I remember the 1990s. Hillary's worse. I think the worst Trump could do is bankrupt the country and hasten the breaking up of the United States (not entirely a bad thing, in my view). What Hillary would bring us is "progress" as JMG has talked about here: further movement in what's already proved to be a bad direction.

Steve Morgan said...

"Mustard, okay, the Guardian -- or at least Jeb Lund -- gets it. It'll be interesting to see if anybody else does."

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone gets it, too, at greater length and more graphically. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-unstoppable-20160224

Enjoy your well-deserved blog break. There promises to be no shortage of ripe topics when you return, and I look forward to more adventures of Mr. Carr. Thank you for your consistently thought-provoking and enlightening prose.

peacegarden said...

Hope your time away is restorative and enjoyable. Happy vernal equinox. Enjoy every minute of the gardening you are bound to do.

Peace,

Gail

thriftwizard said...

Have a wonderful break!

peacegarden said...

PS JMG

Thanks for the link to Dust in the Wind...sigh.

Peace,

Gail

Kyoto Motors said...

Well said. Concise as usual. I'll share this as widely as I am able...
Have a great month off!

Jennie said...

Enjoy your break JMG.
I don't comment often, but I'm a dedicated reader.
My little lifeboat community masquerading as a vegetable farm has it's first CSA boxes sold for this year. :-D
That's the good news.
The bad news is that I'm one of the folks up against a wall. My day job as a computer engineer literally doesn't pay all the bills. And living modestly in Iowa means I don't have a lot of fat to trim.
I literally don't have the time to wait for business as usual. Savings is empty. Retirement fund is empty. We can't afford to get sick, and we *have* insurance.

I was in for Bernie before he'd even committed to run. I was a precinct captain for him here in Iowa and delivered 5 of my 8 precinct delegates his way.
I won't vote for Hillary and I'm a woman. Having a vagina does not make me blind or stupid.
Either things turn around quickly, as in a couple of years, or me and my family will be headed to the little "vegetable farm" to wait until the rubble stops bouncing.
I'll not sit here at my computer engineering job, getting sicker and poorer with every passing month waiting for the plutocracy to drop me a crumb.

As another data point, my husband. Good, hard working man, hasn't been able to work in months now, and it was spotty for the couple of years prior to the total cessation. He literally can't find a job that will pay enough to cover the expenses that job would bring with it. (Transportation, child care, clothing/tools.)
He used to tell me (6 years ago) he didn't want a house here in Iowa, he wanted to see other places, work bigger cities, retire someplace warm.
He now tells me, just in the past 6 months this has changed, "Iowa is ok, anything you can arrange for us to try to live a stable life, will be great honey."

Isaac Hill said...

Hello JMG & ADR community, I don't post very often, but I read every week. I wanted to share a video of my band performing a song I wrote that has some relevance to the general themes of the blog, though maybe not so much this particular post, but anyway, here it is, hope you watch and like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy2LSXek3ZQ

pygmycory said...

James M Jensen II,
I'm sorry to hear about your brother. That is appalling.

Grim said...

I suspect that the Democratic nomination is already rigged for HRC. If the super-delegates don't look like they will carry her, they have a dirty trick playbook that goes all the way back to Lee Atwater. They'll make something happen.

Trump will get the nomination because his steam roller is picking up momentum and the opportunity to coalesce "the base" behind a non-Bush establishment candidate has passed.

This will produce the greatest political irony of my 55 years. The right wing media spent most of the 90s demonizing the Clintons. Even with the Clintons out of the whitehouse, they have hammered Hillary at every opportunity. Now, because the Republican leadership knows that Hillary will continue BAU, and they have to stop Trump at all costs, they will have to convince their voters to support the woman they have been taught to hate.

Just my dirty basement window view.

Enjoy your vacation Jim, I'll be looking forward to your return.

Ben said...

JMG - I have to finish editing my stories for the Star's Reach contest. Can I assume you'll be checking the Meriga Project for entries?

william fairchild said...

JMG-

It is really funny, in a sick kinda way to watch the horror and sheer panic from the establishment in reaction to the rise of the Donald and Bernie. They really are clueless.

Hillary could learn a lesson from my teen daughter. She is a feminist, artist, liberal, little millennial, and has no use for Hillary whatsoever. The fact that they share the same genitalia means nothing to her. She has said on several occasions that the Boomers started a house fire, now they want the Millenials to clean up the mess,rebuild, oh and by the way maintain the Boomers in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

The anger is palpable. They know the system is rigged. Therefore they turn to Sanders. As those on the right turn to Trump.

So, HRC may well win the nomination. But she needs the people to put out yard signs,phone bank,volunteer. They may pull the lever for her reluctantly,but I don't think they will burn the midnight oil for her. I think she will lose. She cannot replicate the Obama map. VA, IN, WI,IA, CO, NV, NM. They seem all out of reach.

This may be the season of the death of the Washington Consensus.

Fred said...

The mental image of Hillary at a vending machine is just perfect!

Donald Trump has support because he tweets things like this -
"Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!"

He pokes and attacks the Republican Party schmucks and the other candidates all day long. It's fantastic theater and is just so spot on true.

Shane W said...

I'm glad the whole Steinem/Albright thing is bringing the whole privileged Silent/Boomer cluelessness/millennial rage/disenfranchisement fault line out into the open. About time!

pygmycory said...

In some ways I'm kind of glad I can't vote in the US election. If it comes down to Hilary vs. Trump I'd be pretty unhappy. How do you make a choice between the evil you know and the one you don't? Maybe there will be some independent candidate to vote for. Or Bernie could get in. I like him, though I'm not sure his ideas are workable given the economic situation in the US.

I figure that the next few years are likely to be a mess no matter who gets in. If Bernie gets in, I'd feel sorry for him. Trump, I figure he'd deserve whatever he gets, and Clinton... she helped design and make that bed so it is only just that she gets stuck with lying in it. It won't be a comfortable bed. Maybe events will so thoroughly discredit the people in power that the US will pick something better next time.

As it is I get to watch without whoever ends up in power in the USA being my responsibility.

Of course, I still have to deal with Canada's system, and we have plenty of problems of our own. We're still very much the status quo, and they don't know how to deal with the world's concatenating problems. I wonder how hated Trudeau will be by the time he leaves power.

Jim Dandy said...

1. No one is allowed to run for president unless they've first been vetted by our political masters and betters. No. One. Bernie Sanders is no more revolutionary than Obama was. He's even running Obama's '08 "Believe" campaign.

2. What did Barack Obama's candidacy offer black people, other than whatever vicarious thrill they might get from having a president of African decent? And what makes you think women will be any different?

3. Do you really believe that rich people haven't learned anything since Caesar? Really?

Karel said...

Dear JMG,

people in the Czech Republic had already elected their own version of Trump, president Milos Zeman, in 2013. He certainly ended long period of post-1989 political consensus. Now CR is slowly becoming extremely xenophobic, especially islamophobic, but also antisemitic, protofascist statelet - and moreover, anti-European Russian colony again. You certainly know about Trump`s Russian mafia connection, so good luck with this kind of president.

However enjoy your break - and many thanks for your posts.

rising-moon said...

Enjoy your rest, sir! And thank you.

Edde said...

Greetings John Michael,

Enjoy the break!

Bloomberg? How does he fit in?

Best,
edde

Unknown said...

A minor point perhaps, but Caesar was not the first Roman emperor's family name. His full name was Gaius Julius Caesar, Julius being the family name and Caesar being the cognomen, a kind of nickname.

SLClaire said...

I am one of the women who has to sit on her hands to avoid giving someone like Madeleine Albright the smack across the face that she richly deserves for assuming that because I'm a woman, I have to vote for Hillary. Hillary has never said or done one single thing to show that she has the faintest conception of what it means to live involuntarily or voluntarily poor. Sanders, on the other hand, runs a frugal campaign. That right there will earn him my vote in Missouri's primary, because it suggests he might know something about what it's like to not be able to use money to get whatever you want, whenever you want it.

Oh my, I'd love to see Sanders win the Democratic nomination. He and Trump might actually talk about something worth listening to. But if Hillary wins, I won't vote for president. I'll vote the other offices as long as there is someone worth voting for, and I'll vote on any other questions that might make the ballot here, but I WILL NOT vote for Hillary or for Trump.

Enjoy your well-earned break! I'm writing my next blog post now and will endeavor to continue to post at least while you are taking a break. It will be good practice in my continuing attempt to write shorter posts more often. Can't get much of an audience if I don't post something.

avalterra said...

Have a great break JMG. I know it is looking like Trump is moving ahead but I am still holding to my prediction that the ruling class holds back the revolution at the voting booth at least one more round. I predict that Trump goes to the convention short of a first round win and gets pushed out by the party. He either runs independent or just tells his followers to stay home. Result - Hilary by default (I think she squeaks by Bernie as well).

If Trump takes Texas and Florida he is the nominee. I will still put my money on HC but it could be *really* close. If HC has a melt down or has to testify or is indicted then it is Sanders and I think Trump beats Sanders.

I think you are right - if Sanders gets in he has a *chance* at holding back a revolution (my money is on the Social Justice/BLM/Occupy remnants coalescing into a serious force but it could be the right wing/constitutionalist/gun rights). Any other candidate will likely strengthen those movements.

In any case the spectacle will be incredibly entertaining.

MIckGspot said...

Have a great vacation Arch Druid! Its good to take a break now and then. Get away from become and move back to becoming in a Spenglereese kind of way. Thank you for your excellent analysis. Michael

hapibeli said...

Thanks JMG. Another concise history lesson as it happens. You've allowed me a respite from the 5 stages as I accept what is to come and wish only for me and mine to mitigate as much as we can from the coming dissolution/devolution.

hapibeli said...

6 weeks without "Fresh JMG" !!!! Horrors! Have fun! :-)

Patricia Mathews said...

You have a good vacation. I'll miss you and am looking forward to your return.

will said...

Speaking of Cthulu and politics - I noticed that author Steve King, who's written at least one Lovecraft/Cthulu-inspired short story that I know of, took a snarky shot at Trump and followers recently. What you'd expect, a reference or two to angry, scared low-info voters too thick to know what's good for them, plus a condemnation of the "ugly underbelly" of the American soul as exposed by Trump & Co. 

As for Bernie - is he a socialist-lite in the Euro-style? I might add that the prez of Denmark, responding to Bernie's claims that he'd like to install a socialism similar to Denmark's, denied that Denmark is a socialist nation. Sure, we have a wide social safety net, said the president, but we have a thriving free market economy, and we intend to keep it that way.

The two drawbacks I see in the Sanders campaign are his proposing an expansion of government in a time when the majority of Americans have basically lost faith in government and other established institutions. The other is Sanders' acquiescence, to a degree, to the realm of modern Democrat political correctness. I think an understated albeit major reason for Trump's popularity is his refusal to kowtow to PC. He shakes it off like he was flicking dandruff off his lapel, and with a laugh. 

Nastarana said...

Dear Jim. there is also the possibility that Sander's supporters will simply stay home, in which case Mme. Clinton looses. Or, that they might vote for whomever the Republican party bosses manage to install at the convention, Kasich would be my guess.

I am going to venture on a modest prediction, which is that Clinton, if elected, will be the first American president impeached AND removed from office. She seems to be wholly unable to curb her warmongering lustfulness--observe her voice and demeanor when discussing the possibility of invading some helpless country--and I doubt that the American public will tolerate any more overseas military adventures. I have no doubt that the Republicans in the House, who hate her even more than they do Obama, are even now assembling a case against her, not that would be very difficult. I think Mrs. Clinton is an indictment waiting to happen, and I can only wonder what the DLC thinks it is about. Have we ever before had a major presidential candidate under investigation by the FBI?

A personal note; my twenty-something daughter has announced on FB that she will donate another ten bucks to "Bernie" every time she hears another aging feminist telling her she has to support Clinton. BTW, Steinem is a known CIA asset; she went from directing a foundation funded by the CIA, (and being the subject of adoring Glamour Mag profiles) to being inserted into second wave feminism for the purpose of diverting that movement which was beginning to cost important interests too much money. On account of feminists not being very interested in living room sets, weekly hair appointments, new wardrobes every six months and so on.

This election puts me in mind of events during the last centuries of the Roman Empire, when various numerically small groups decided they got to select the next emperor. Instead of a Pretorian Guard, we have Angry White Men, Black Lives Matter, Aging Second Wave Feminists, Evangelical Christians Who Have Never Read the New Testament, and so on.

Wendy Crim said...

I like what you have to say. I haven't thought of it like that before. I too think the break up of this country could be a positive.

Hugo Costa said...

What happens in the US influences Europe so I really hope Bernie Sanders beats Clinton. He seems to be the last humane alternative to Trump-style populism. She can't beat Trump, he will be much less delicate than Sanders in the debates, making her look like a puppet (which she is), arguments that he can't use against Sanders. It's really astonishing the cluelessness of the establishment. It appears that they really believe that Clinton is more 'electable' (a word that has been thoroughly used in the last few months) than Sanders, as if they were the ones electing the rulers. Yesterday, Tony Blair said he was "baffled" by the rise of Corbyn and Sanders due to the question if 'electability). There was an article recently in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/02/17/hillary-clinton-donors-hear-concerns-about-nevada-outcome/?_r=1) telling how Clinton's donors didn't understand how she was losing so much ground. These are the signs of a terminally senile elite.

Sanders doesn't look like another Obama. He has maintained the same position on these issues for decades and criticized Obama regularly in the past few years, except on the overall situation of the economy. He has now largely refrained from doing so as too many Democrats still think he brought change and he fears he may alienate the black electorate. His criticism of the US foreign policy has been consistent and accurate (most notably about the Iraq War and recently about Kissinger). Though he has some things that do trouble me, it's either him or someone much worse. It's hard to believe how many Democrats still vote for Clinton. They are commiting political suicide and they don't realize it, it's incredible.

Wendy Crim said...

Very good points. I totally agree.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

Looks like this post has hit a nerve and is getting traction on the internet. Check out these posts (here and here in the comments section).

Nastarana said...

Dear William Fairchild, Oregon is out reach for Clinton as well and I wouldn't care to place a bet on her taking Washington State either. Oregon activists are furious over losing their anti-GMO initiative by about 800 votes amid a $20M expenditure and various dirty tricks from the biotech industry, whose anointed candidate Mrs. Clinton is. The former governor, having pushed a biotech friendly bill through the legislature is only the first casualty of their ire. Clinton gave a major policy speech to a biotech convention two weeks before announcing her presidential candidacy and an infamous Monsanto lobbyist is bundling contributions for her. That lobbyist is apparently the same operative who managed to get the DoJ to shut down its' anti-trust lawsuit against Monsanto back in 2010. In OR, when the dippy hippy gardeners stay home, Republicans win. The limousine liberals of Ashland and the Willamette Valley cannot by themselves win the state for Mrs. Clinton.

It amazes me that no one at Democratic Party leadership is counting electoral votes, and seems to assume that Clinton can carry the same states that Obama did.

Kevin Warner said...

Enjoy your well earned rest - you deserve it. Personally I do not understand how each week you are able to belt out a quality essay or story over such a long stretch of time. March is shaping up to be a bleak month!
You may very well have Biff Tannen as President this year but everybody seems to forget the role that Black Box voting plays in modern American elections (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/6/16/1100628/-It-s-the-Voting-Machines-Not-the-Voters) so there is that.
Just to send you on your way here is a short clip that has much to say on modern voting practise, especially here in Oz - enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=440l8poSQiA

rapier said...

"His theme was the way that democracies die. He argued that democracy suffers from a lethal vulnerability, which is that it has no meaningful defenses against the influence of money. Since most citizens are more interested in their own personal, short-term advantage than they are in the long-term destiny of their nation, democracy turns into a polite fiction for plutocracy just as soon as the rich figure out how to buy votes, a lesson that rarely takes them long to learn."

The problem with this analysis is most citizens think of "the nation" in terms of its global standing and all the things that denote its power. What is good for "the nation" in the minds of the populist right is perfectly aligned with the political and national security elites. That is in a nutshell the eagerness to bomb anyone anywhere anytime, to show our strength. The thing is the results are at odds with not only the neoliberal ideas of the corporate and financial world but also the yahoo populists. Still the economic elites stand aside as we bring chaos to more and more places and the yahoos cheer and want more.

So it isn't just about money and self interest. I suppose Spengler covered the fact that Caesar was all in on empire too and it was the draining of empire more than the loss of democracy which sealed Romes fate. At any rate as toxic as money is to democracy so too is empire. In our case money and empire are now working at cross purposes and one can suppose a loose cannon like Trump may very well throw a monkey wrench into the financial economic status quo but embrace war and empire because he is part yahoo and in part because it is popular.

sgage said...

@Shane W said...

"I'm glad the whole Steinem/Albright thing is bringing the whole privileged Silent/Boomer cluelessness/millennial rage/disenfranchisement fault line out into the open. About time!"

I wish you would stop harping on 'fault lines' and generational politics and find allies where you can. You are massively over-simplifying things, and I don't think it's particularly helpful.

A sizable chunk of the Silent/Boomer demographic is neither privileged nor clueless, nor even silent, and it grows tiresome to hear this over and over. Yes, I'm 60 years old, and I, and many, many of my generation, are not the problem. Nor are we privileged or clueless. Plenty of Boomers experience more rage than you can imagine - we saw a dream and a trend get totally co-opted, which seems to be what our system does best.

I get tired of being insulted, frankly.

If there's a fault line, it's within the Boomer generation, between those who sold out in the 80's and those that didn't. I know plenty of both. And if you don't think there are similar fault lines in every generation, think again. But try to be a bit more discerning, please, rather than going for facile 'generational' characterizations.

Bruce Turton said...

So you get to have spring and a break!!! Up here at 53.5 degrees latitude we get to wait well beyond the time you get back! Who is now publishing your newest book please?

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

Oswald Spengler has had a huge influence on my thinking ever since I read The Decline of the West for the first time. I also read everything else of his that I could find online.

For those who are interested, here is a a site from Oz with a decent introductory collection of Spengler's works.

Also, here is an interesting essay I came across about some of Spengler's later speculations on the origins of civilization. Apparently, Spengler was working on a "prequel" to the Decline of the West he tentatively titled "The Epic of Man", but died before he got very far and only left some research notes and fragments.

Kate said...

Thanks so much for putting this post out before you head out for a break. Excellent post for us to think about as we go into Super Tuesday. Have a great time off!

By the way, I did not know that August Derleth was the original publisher of the H.P. Lovecraft books or that he wrote this type of fiction himself. I grew up in Sauk City WI and went to high school with his daughter, April. Locally, we all knew him as an anthologist and writer about our local folks and goings on. And he was seen as a kind of a Bohemian, the only one in town in the 1960's to wear sandals (shocking stuff). People didn't talk about what he was doing, except to say it was not something we kids need to know about. :) It's nice that you could use his term and mention it came from him. He passed away before I graduated from high school.

Donald Hargraves said...

Because my job makes me meet different people than the usual gang of idiots I usually choose to meet, I've gotten into quite a few discussions about Trump. And since I can say I saw him coming from the get go, we have good discussions. I can even talk up Sanders and not get raised eyebrows.

Sanders I hear about on the Internet - and the difference in the news between the Internet in the mainstream media is startling. The mainstream media says Clinton wins, and the alternative media says Sanders is running very close. Both true, but but the biases are very clear on both sides.

onething said...

" As for Clinton, why, yes -- notice how the conversation focuses with laser intensity on whatever makes rich white women feel disadvantaged in comparison with rich white men, and avoids any discussion of the ways that rich white women are immensely privileged compared to most other people..."

Problem is, that's a rather small demographic.

Luke Jumper said...

Mr Greer, something I can't help but muse about is this:

I vaguely remember reading in one of your works that some Cesarean messiah was inevitably bound to rise up and overtake the Wiemar Republic, but that it was anyone's guess as to who that person would actually be, and that it is the responses of the individual that presents the largest variable in predicting the otherwise easily foreseeable course of history.

For example, if it had been a man of different temperament that had taken control of the fatherland, then critical decisions that were made may have been made differently and altered the course of the war.

however, since we now have in the case of our current election, a reduced number of variables to choose from between Trump, Clinton & Sanders I was wondering if you would indulge in taking a hit of melange with me to help shed some light on the differing paths before us and how these individuals and their reactions will be the fulcrum on which the flow of geopolitical events (such as the future American reaction to the impending failure of the Saudi Kingdom) will be leveraged.

Ozark Chinquapin said...

I have a few thoughts about the longer-term ramifications of this political shift.

Since the establishment can't shut out competition by controlling both parties and giving people a pretty useless "choice" anymore, they will have to try another strategy. They are in danger of losing both parties as it is, but a strategy of unifying the establishment Republicans and Democrats around a single candidate/party could buy them more time if the populist left and right are still largely separate. Hillary is unpopular enough among establishment Republican voters that few will cross over to vote for her in order to oppose Trump. Bloomberg may be the test run of that idea, if Sanders pulls ahead of Clinton. I don't think Bloomberg could actually pull off a win from coming in this late in the game, but the same strategy in the future after the establishment has more time to cope with their new predicament could buy some time for them.

If the establishment forces crumble in both parties without uniting, populist forces could overtake both, populist left on the Democratic side and populist right on the Republican side. If however, the establishment is able to maintain its grip for a while longer, it becomes more and more likely that the populist left and right will unite in its opposition to it. Not that they won't still have plenty to disagree about, rather that uniting against the common enemy of the establishment will become more important than their own differences. It's already starting to happen, a decent number of people would vote for Trump or Sanders against an establishment candidate, but there are still plenty of Trump or Sanders supporters that wouldn't ever vote for the other candidate. As of now, neither one is the uniter that I'm talking about, its possible that may change if one takes office and does enough things that both left and right approve of, but I'm still skeptical of that. Trump's personality and comments have upset enough on the left to the point that they'd always hate him even if he changed his tune after being elected. Sanders's socialist leanings won't get him far with most of the populist right. I do think it's more and more possible every year that someone (or maybe not one specific person, but a political movement) could come around who knows their way around the hot button issues in a way that speaks to both the populist left and right enough to get plenty of enthusiastic supporters from both sides. That is when things will really get interesting, with the possibility for positive change or something nasty like fascism.

continued on next post

Ozark Chinquapin said...

Another important factor I'm considering is that things have gotten worse in America for sure, but not nearly as bad as they're likely to get in the next couple of decades if not sooner, no matter who has political power. The actions of politicians and voters will still make a big difference in just how bad it gets, but I can't help but think that people will be mad enough when America faces a time such as in "Twilight's Last Gleaming" that whoever is in power will be a scapegoat however much they deserve it or not. If the establishment is still in power when the U.S. loses its status as an imperial power, that will just accelerate its demise, but if some other political movement has taken over by then, it may fall apart as well. Neither Trump nor Sanders will be able to avert collapse of our empire and a fall to third-world status, although they could possibly do some things to soften or forestall it, and it's possible that a four-year term could see improvement within the general context of decline.

However, the majority of Trump and Sanders enthusiasts (and the supporters of the establishment candidates as well) won't be satisfied with a softer decline, they want things that are only possible in a rich and powerful nation. The right uses more obvious language of American exceptionalism, but the left is just as attached to America's imperial wealth. Bernie Sanders' massive spending proposals might be feasible in a first-world economy, assuming his tax increases were also implemented, but won't be possible at all in a third-world America. I have a lot of doubts that any political movement will last long until America reaches the bottom of its current stairstep decline phase. If something extreme like fascism pops up, however, it won't need to last long in order to do a lot of damage.

Ares Olympus said...

Happy break until April 6th John!

Perhaps these puzzling primaries will be more clear by then. I'll go with "Caesarism" as a good explanation of populist candidates like Trump and Sanders. Sanders is more of an insider, but calls himself a Democratic Socialist, daring to be a party of one since he was elected.

I'll be attending my March 1 caucus for the Minnesota DFL next Tuesday to support Sanders, just in case it matters, not that I believe for a second his biggest talking points will happen - free college paid for by Wallstreet gambling, and universal health care, but at least it'll be a test to see if the word socialism itself can be recovered.

But if this is true Caesarism, then only entertainer Trump fits, while Sanders "free stuff" is a poor fit, more of a Gorbachevism reformer perhaps.

I'm perhaps with President Carter, and see Trump as malleable, not an ideologue like Cruz but rather someone who really wants to "make a deal" and who knows if wall-building isn't going to be the big industry of the next 20 years seeing all the refugees flowing around. And Trump can make walls "Classy", which is important, even if Mexico won't pay for them.

A bigger question for me is whether Trump's success inspires some new political power, we'll call it "Wallism" that breaks from the Republicans and Sanders might inspire a new generation of Socialists to split from the Democrats.

I saw today that Nader's VP, Minnesota's Winona LaDuke endorsed Sanders, and stated her reasons for resisting oil pipelines through tribal lands, and you almost imagine a president Sanders might surprise and advocate for states (and reservation) rights that decentralize power like the Libertarians always claim they want. So that's the Gorbachevism at work - seeing the limits of central power, he might call for States to reclaim necessary sovereign powers that will be needed as things start to fall apart, and the federal government finds itself divided and disabled from acting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEbCNEAa-70

So we might expect the federal debt will sky rocket under "Liberal capitalist" trump, and shrink under "Conservative socialist" Sanders.

Anyway, I'll take my bet on Sanders and hope for the matchup, whatever it means.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

I hope that you have an enjoyable break, and I look forward to your next blog entry.

Your essay was quite thought provoking. My best guess at this stage is that Trump will reduce the size of the salaried class and lift the burden a little bit off the wages class. My intuition tells me that he is motivated to protect his own wealth from the senile elite and he also has firsthand experience with the salaried class so he knows all too well their weak points and vulnerabilities - and that the large majority of those that remain in that class from that reduction process will provide passive support as long as they're continually drip fed.

I'm sorry to say that Sanders has not shown up on my radar. At all. Just sayin. There is no easy path away from the current policies.

Oh! Before you go, I noticed some interesting articles: Russia sends 10,000 automatic rifles to Afghanistan as a gift to fight insurgency. What a gift! My those Russians have a sense of history, humour and pragmatism.

And you'll laugh at the sheer cheek of these two lads - who have taken a short position on the Australian property market. In this instance the word "short" refers to a gamble that the Australian property market will fall at some stage in the future. All I'm saying - and at the risk of annoying my fellow citizens - is that if it looks like a bubble, it smells like a bubble, and roars like an annoyed Cthulhu on a bad day, then it probably is a bubble. I mean what sort of story do you have to tell yourself that it is reasonable on an average income to spend over $1m on a small house? It just makes no sense whatsoever and the young and my generation are really doing it tough.

And why would anyone want to take out an interest only loan, just because a financial planner reckons it's a good idea as you're apparently making an active investment decision. It's a house people! It's meant to keep the rain of your head, not provide a path to wealth...

Oh, I feel much better now! Hehe! I thought, I'd say “see ya later until after March” with a fine rant on some serious silliness going on down here. Unfortunately, when the property bubble pops it is going to be a world class mess... I think that pop may be a better outcome than a much later violent reaction from the adults who are excluded and have nothing to lose. Sun Tzu warned not to back opponents into a corner (and you rightly pointed that bit of common sense works in the political sphere too).

Cheers

Chris

Unknown said...

(Deborah Bender)

While we are on the subject of facile generalizations, I'm getting tired of the implication that Aging Second Wave Feminists are a solid bloc for Clinton.

My mother was born five years before women got the vote in Federal elections. She joined NOW and was a strong supporter of the right to a legal abortion, an issue that was relevant to our family history. During Bill's first term, my mother entertained the fantasy that Hillary was Co-President. Very likely she was remembering Eleanor Roosevelt.

Second Wave Feminism was radical. I gave up on Ms. Magazine after the first few issues because it was always about three years behind in covering anything that feminists had been writing about and simply repackaged those discussions in a watered down safer version. Total waste of time if you lived in a university town and had access to zines. I have respect for Madeleine Albright because she did a serious job pretty well, but I've never had an interest in what Gloria Steinem thinks.

John Michael Greer said...

Jbucks, the delusion of control is one very common expression of it. I'll be talking about it at length when I return from break.

Unknown Deborah, I think it's quite possible that we'll see at least one new party come out of this year's presidential debacle. We may also see the death of one of the older parties -- if the Dems manage to hand the nomination to Clinton in the teeth of their own voters, the Democratic Party may go the way of the Whigs in short order. More on this in a future post!

Zachary, too funny. Bill Gates was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never in his life had to do without something he wanted, thus the logic -- if that's the word for it -- to be found in that article.

Ed, I never said the division by income is the only one that matters. What I'm trying to say is that the distinction between salary class and wage class matters much more than most Americans like to admit.

Simonthakur, thank you.

Matt, why, yes, I did -- if I was writing from your side of the pond, I'd have quite a bit to say about why it is that the man who talked Labour into cashing in its ideals and throwing the British working class under the bus would be unable to figure out Corbin's appeal...

John2B, oh, granted -- hope springs infernal, or something like that. ;-)

Mikep, depending on who Trump punches, yes, that might do it for him!

David, well, we'll see. You may be getting an unduly positive image of conditions over here from the media. A very large number of Americans are up against the wall, facing financial ruin if something doesn't change fairly soon; that kind of desperation, historically speaking, spawns Caesars.

Chloe, exactly. Whether or not you like Merkel, Le Pen, or Sturgeon, they actually stand for specific policies which they can be counted on to try to enact. They're not just saying "vote for me because I have the right genitalia."

Kutamun, you're welcome and thank you.

Donalfagan, one way or another, it's going to be interesting.

John Michael Greer said...

Lou, I find it interesting that so many people who think the way you do respond to challenges to that credo by simply repeating it over again, as you just did. Did you consider addressing the points I made, challenging your beliefs, or did you simply think that chanting the same litany over again would somehow convince anyone?

Greg, the two mainstream parties have been doing everything in their power to keep the existing third parties out of the media and the election debates, and to prevent any new third party from getting going at all. It'll be interesting to see how long that holds up -- in particular, if the revolt against the mainstream politicians keeps going and control over one or both main parties begins to slip out of the hands of the apparatchiks, some mainstream figures may found a third business-as-usual party in an attempt to stay on the ballot. Interesting times!

Raven, nah, those are details, and subject to the usual quirks of historical contingency.

Dagnarus, I don't recall whether Steinem was involved in the "Satanic ritual abuse" witch hunt. I'll want to look into the statistics on campus rape before making any kind of call on the current situation.

Mister R., as you noted further down, Trump hasn't gone for a single payer scheme, but he does want to get rid of Obamacare, which would certainly be a step in the right direction. Obamacare is to medicine what the F-35 is to military aviation, a grossly overpriced corporate welfare scheme incapable of doing the thing that it's officially supposed to do, and the sooner both of them go into the scrapheap, the better.

David, exactly. Nobody wants to talk about the working class -- the people I've called the wage class. That's because the middle class, meaning here people who earn salaries, have profited mightily by slamming the wage class face first into the gravel for forty years now.

Ekkar, Orwell's 1984 is indeed something everyone ought to read. I'd also put Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here on the same list.

Nick, I won't argue. As I noted in my post on Trump, the man is very, very clever, and he may have realized that there are things he could do quite easily that would win him the overwhelming loyalty of a lot of Americans.

Sweaterman, oh, I think Sanders would be a refreshing change -- certainly that's the way I'm minded to vote, as Cthulhu doesn't seem to have gotten onto the Maryland ballot this year.

Johnny, thank you!

Eric, one of the consequences of Hitler's overwhelming presence in the collective imagination is that very few people remember just how campy and undisciplined other fascist states of the 1930s, such as Mussolini's Italy, actually were. That is to say, I think you're right, but Donito Trumpolini is as good an icon for that as anybody else.

Rita, you're welcome and thank you.

John Michael Greer said...

Btidwell, I think there's a real chance that the Democratic Party could implode completely if it forces Hillary down the throats of its rank and file, and she then either loses or gives the nation four more years of the same Dubyobama consensus. If a third party emerged in the spring of 2017 after such an election, my guess is that it would be ready to put people in Congress by 2020 and to take the White House by 2024.

Juandonjuan, thanks for the link to the Shovel! Solidly funny stuff.

Brian, I did happen to know that, but thanks for reminding my American readers, most of whom won't. Yes, I saw that in AmCon; if that magazine wasn't engaged in an ongoing effort to ram one particular subset of Christian social policy down the throats of everyone else, I'd probably be a subscriber.

Shane, those are indeed questions. Does anyone know the answers to them here and now? Nope.

Zaphod42, thank you!

Dammerung, I wish I knew. I think, for what it's worth, that Trump genuinely has his finger on the pulse of the public, and recognizes that some things have to change to prevent a massive social explosion of the financiers-dangling-from-lampposts variety -- a recognition that his clueless rivals lack -- but that's a guess, not any kind of certainty.

Shane, that's another form of the lesser-evil argument. Notice that nobody in the Dems is seriously talking about doing something to improve the situation -- no, it's all just "we have to keep those bad people from doing that bad thing, so you have to vote for us!"

John, thank you.

Wayne, you're far from the only one. In the last month or so I've heard from scores of people, many of them way over to the leftward end of things, who are going to vote for Trump if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination. I wonder if anybody inside the Beltway bubble has any idea just how deeply she and everything she stands for are loathed.

Steve, the Taibbi piece is pretty good. The more the media are willing to talk about the real reasons people are rejecting a status quo that has brought them nothing but misery, the more likely this whole business is to resolve without civil war -- and I'd greatly prefer that.

Peacegarden, thank you! March is early for gardening here; I may get a few early crops in if the weather warms up, but we had snow showers today and we usually get snow on and off through the beginning of April.

Thriftwizard, thank you.

Peacegarden, that was far and away my favorite song in my late teens, so yeah, it comes readily to mind.

John Michael Greer said...

Kyoto, thank you, and please do!

Jennie, sorry to hear that you're up against the wall with so many other Americans. I hope you can squeeze by.

Isaac, thanks for the link!

Grim, well, we'll see. Atwater didn't have to sell a lemon like Clinton. You're right, though, that it'll be fascinating watching the media insist that Oceania was never allied with Eurasia...

Ben, I will indeed.

William, please tell your daughter, from me, that one of the very few things that gives me any hope at all for the future of this country is that so many members of her generation get it; they realize just how badly they've been screwed, and just how many of the opportunities they should have had were wasted in order to pay for the wretched excess of the last forty years. I watched it happen, as one of the very few Boomers who didn't sell out; in my own very small way, with the limited resources I had at the time, I tried to stop it, and failed; and the fact that so many people in her generation understand at least some of the implications of the Great Betrayal of the Reagan years gives me hope that something can be saved out of the wretched mess of a future we're facing. Please tell her I said that.

Fred, exactly. When the parade of naked emperors walks by, Trump's the one that points and laughs.

Pygmycory, no question, whoever gets the US presidency this time around is facing a world-class mess. I'm not sure Trudeau is in much better shape, though, all things considered!

Jim Dandy, 1. Reiterating a common bit of folklore with extra periods doesn't make it more true, you know. 2. Plenty of women have already pointed out that they're not going to vote for Hillary, so the cases aren't comparable. 3. The rich have forgotten everything they learned in the Great Depression, so the likelihood that they would retain any lessons from Caesar's day is small enough to be ignored.

Karel, I'm not saying that I favor a Trump presidency, just that we're almost certainly going to get one, and that it may well be less of a disaster than a Clinton presidency.

Rising-moon, you're welcome and thank you.

Edde, if he actually runs, that means that a faction of the rich are in a blind panic over the thought of a Sanders presidency, and are going to run a spoiler candidate to sink him and hand the election to the GOP. My guess is that Bloomberg isn't going to run, because his backers are just as horrified by the thought of a Trump presidency.

John Michael Greer said...

Unknown, you're right, of course.

SLClaire, from what I'm hearing, you're far from alone. I wonder if it will ever occur to Albright that her outburst may yet cost Clinton the nomination.

Avalterra, we'll see. My guess is that because Trump is himself a plutocrat, he'll be marginally acceptable to enough of the other plutocrats to get in. Keep an eye open for Trump dangling carrots in front of various sectors of the 1%, in an effort to convince them that he really won't be that bad.

MickGspot, thank you!

Hapibeli, good. The five stages do get tiring after a while...

Patricia, thank you.

Will, of course! King is a New England liberal, so shares in the inherited loathing New England liberals have for those uppity rustics in the flyover states -- and the sneering mockery I mentioned in my post on Trump is, of course, very much on display. As for Sanders, nah, he simply stands for what the Democratic Party used to stand for before it sold out.

Hugo, to be frank, I'd prefer a Sanders presidency to any of the other options; though I have serious doubts about some of Sanders' positions, he's a good deal less clueless and corrupt than the others. (The lesser evil, I suppose!) A Trump win will unquestionably strengthen the hand of nationalists across Europe -- though I really don't think that tide can be turned back at this point, not after the ghastly mishandling of the refugee situation.

Sojan, thanks for the heads up!

Kevin, US election fraud is a long and well-established tradition, but most of it is managed at the local level, where local politicians sell votes to the highest bidder or extract specific favors in exchange for handing over an electoral district to one or the other party. The outcry about those black boxes was mostly a reaction to the fact that state officials were taking away the opportunities for corruption from local officials so they could exercise it themselves. Every US politician plays that game, Trump and Sanders just as much as Clinton and Bush -- and Trump, at least, has the money and the realism to play it well.

Rapier, that analysis seems highly simplistic to me. Trump is soaring in the polls in part because he criticizes the bellicose foreign policy of the US and talks about a rapprochement with Russia. Sanders is even more opposed to the mainstream's war mania, and that's helping to drive his campaign, too. The interests of the masses have diverged sharply from those of the plutocrats, and Trump and Sanders are both cashing in on that by proposing policies that make sense to the common people and challenge the consensus politics of the last few decades.

Bruce, oh, it'll be spring in name only until I get back to writing posts. As for my newest book, well, which one? I've got a book forthcoming from New Society Publishers titled Dark Age America, the fourth After Oil anthology coming out from Founders House, and The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth, the first book in a Lovecraftian epic fantasy series from Miskatonic Books. (The second volume in that latter series, The Weird of Hali: Kingsport, is finished in draft, and the third volume, The Weird of Hali: Chorazin, is in process.)

John Michael Greer said...

Sojan, many thanks for the links! I didn't read Spengler until 2005 -- not at all sure why it took me that long to get to him -- but he wielded a mean clue-by-four. I spent weeks after that first reading, brooding over his ideas and fitting them into everything I already knew about history.

Kate, thank you for sharing the story! August Derleth was most of the reason why anybody's heard of H.P. Lovecraft today; he was a friend and correspondent of Lovecraft's, and after HPL died, he took a massive gamble and started a publishing house just to keep HPL's work in print. I know very little about his non-Lovecraftian work -- will have to look into that.

Donald, I've had the same experience with people I encounter here in the north central Appalachians.

Onething, true, but a lot of privileged people never quite realize that they aren't the only people who matter.

Luke, I'll consider that for a future post. I ain't no Kwisatz Haderach -- if anything, I resemble the parodic version from National Lampoon's Doon, the Kunquatz Haagendazs, "He Whose Fruitlike Essence Has Mellowed To A Smooth, Creamy Consistency" -- but I'll give it a try.

Ozark, no argument there at all. To some extent, what we're seeing is the inevitable result of the abject failure of the neoconservative agenda to do what its proponents said it would do; this sort of thing happens regularly in American political life, when a failed political-economic consensus has to be junked in order to deal with a rising spiral of national problems, and it's very common when that happens for one set of power centers to be replaced by an emerging set at the ragged pinnacle of the pyramid of power. That said, there's always the chance that things could go haywire in a big way, and an age of decline makes that rather more likely than it would otherwise be.

Ares, that all seems plausible to me.

Cherokee, yes, I heard about the rifles! It'll be interesting to see if Russia can duplicate its Syrian feat in Afghanistan. As for the property bubble where you are, yeah, it's going to get ugly -- ditto Canada, which is facing a similar bust. Keep your head down when the fighting starts.

Unknown Deborah, I trust you don't think I was implying that. Au contraire, the fact that Clinton and her flacks seem to take that for granted is one of the things I consider most telling about her campaign.

Phil Knight said...

Very, very good article on Trump and Sanders by Andrew Sabisky here:

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/donald-trump-not-idiot-he-could-be-next-us-president-1540654

I particularly like the pay off:

"Fundamentally, the distinction between Trump and Sanders and the rest of the candidates is that Trump and Sanders are standing for the idea of America as a true "nation state" that places the welfare of its own citizens at the core of its identity. The others have, I believe, tacitly or openly accepted the idea of America as an extended global marketplace, a home of essentially unrestrained free-market economics with quasi-open borders.

A "market state" that places the opportunity of its own citizens at the core of its identity – and, in its fullest conception, aims to maximize the opportunities of all marketplace participants, even non-citizens.

The distinction between "nation state" and "market state" is explored most fully in Philip Bobbitt's superb books The Shield of Achilles and Terror and Consent, which I cannot recommend highly enough. The distinction between opportunity for the individual and welfare of the whole is key. Prioritising the welfare of the whole, in practice and theory, implies the limitation of the opportunity of the individual to live their life the way they want, and to make near-limitless wealth.

Evidently, both nation state and market state have their strengths and weaknesses. At this point I'll leave the debate to the American electorate, and make no serious comment here, other than to ask this question: why should anyone fight and die for a market when they can simply move to a new one?"

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

Yes, it will be very interesting indeed. Maybe they learned something from their previous activities in that country - they would be hard pressed to say that it ended well for their empire? I personally would break that country up into minor fiefdoms held by war lords accountable to a central authority and let them manage their business locally, but that is perhaps an unpopular view. Most likely it would work though.

Thank you for that advice, and you know me, I very much plan to keep out of harms way - as much as possible anyway and I do have a plan B in case the worse case economic scenario strikes. I avoid debt like the plague. My gut feeling is that it will impact those that are the most heavily in debt and they may quickly find themselves unable to service that debt and try and sell into a falling market which is an experience many here would not know. Certainly it will bring about an abrupt halt to expenditure in this country and of that I'm fairly certain. It may actually bring about a benefit to the young as property prices fall, so it is not all doom and gloom. Most of the trinkets and toys people consider as necessities aren't actually that necessary to a persons existence so a lot of easy savings can be made without too much personal hardship.

As an interesting side note, I went to the films yesterday and watched a beautiful film with the title: "Brooklyn". The film followed the story of a young lady who emigrated from Ireland to New York in the early 1950's. It really was a great film. Anyway, at one point in the story the young lady quipped that although the winters in New York were colder and the summers hotter than Ireland, it wasn't such a bad experience, because everyone heated their houses in New York during the winter and it was funny to hear that line spoken because it provided such a strong contrast.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

Oooo! I loved the story Doon. Very, very silly, but very funny.

Cheers.

Chris

Rebecca Brown said...

JMG, I just want to let you know that your prediction about renewables being the next fracking is already starting to come true. I've been noticing lots of ads lately for renewable energy companies (such as Wonder Capital) promising "diversification" and "better returns than the stock market."

Damo said...

The same establishment tin-ear syndrome is happening here in Australia. You see, thanks to China, Australia managed to side-step the GFC in 2008. One side effect of this is our house prices have continued to skyrocket for another 8 years. Now, the median house price in Sydney is over a million dollars and 50% of all new home loans are interest only. An entire generation (including myself) is locked out of affordable shelter.

Belatedly sensing this anger, the opposition party revealed earlier this week that if it wins the next election, it will remove special tax concessions on property that many believe have helped contribute to our property bubble. Some say our bubble is so fragile that this will be enough to prick and burst it. The government has declared this is an attack on mum and dad investors and vows to keep the tax concession in place. The latest polling gives the opposition a 50-50 chance of winning the next election, an amazing result when they were generally considered un-electable just a few weeks ago. Clearly there is a ground swell of popular anger at the 'system' even in Australia which has generally done pretty well the past 20 years.

In other news, I wrote an essay and would love to hear what other ADR readers think. Its themes will be familiar, although I give a spirited defence of the Mad Max movies, they may be more subtle then commonly given credit:
The Future Belongs to the Mad

Unknown said...

(Deborah Bender)

JMG, my grumble wasn't prompted by anything you wrote, nor by any individual comment. What's bothering me goes back farther. I was well into my forties before I understood that my mother was a feminist. The fact that we were both feminists and that she had tried her best to support my autonomy and success based on her understanding of what was required did not prevent us from having conflicts.

It's natural that younger feminists will take for granted some of the hard won advances their mothers and grandmothers struggled for, and that their priorities will be different. Women do not automatically share interests simply because they are women. On the other hand, setting women against each other is an old, old tactic. Those wicked stepmother stories in fairytales are based on real life. When I read journalism about younger women resenting and being dismissive of Second Wave feminism, I wonder whose interests are being served.

Allow me to add my good wishes to what others have written.

Ben said...

JMG - OK I'll post my entries at the Meriga Project.
Looks like Sanders has such a legit shot (down by 2 points in the polls) at winning Oklahoma (or at least splitting the delegates), the Clinton campaign has sent the former Prez to campaign for Hillary. My parents are Boomers who liked Bill, but I get the feeling at least one, maybe both, will vote for Bernie. Rough guess, among my cohort that will be voting in the Democratic primary, about 3/4 of us will vote for Bernie. Clinton just doesn't offer our generation anything worth voting for.
My comments always run long here for some reason. I lot to think about I suppose?
Enjoy your vacation!

Nick said...

To contribute to what Dagnarus said, the leftist PC-censorship culture in universities was disturbing enough when I finished my undergraduate degree 5 years ago, I can only imagine that it has gotten worse since then. The left's disturbing notion that They Are Right and that the arrival of whatever wave of feminism and racial equality we've gotten to must now be protected by the rule of law is mildly disturbing.

I followed the occupy movement fairly closely and even went to some protests - where I was it fizzled organically due to a harsh winter, but my understanding is that the larger and more durable occupy groups were torn apart from the inside by feminist and racial politics - a lot of the leaders were silenced for not being black or female enough, and once the discussion turned to gender inequality and racism - which could only be discussed in terms that would be permitted in the most liberal 'safe space' imaginable - the movement fizzled. Considering that the authorities in the US (and elsewhere) have a long track record of turning populist movements against themselves by fracturing them on racial and more recently gender lines, it would not surprise me in the least if an alphabet-soup agency or two was behind that. (Isn't it ironic that Google rebranded itself as Alphabet...?)

However, something interesting happened recently: When a conservative personality (Milo Yiannopoulos) was speaking at an American university, the usual leftist suspects showed up to shut down his talk with air horns, etc. They were shouted out of the auditorium by people chanting... ("TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP"). Trump might make a good Mussolini after all. I think the average American (especially the young, who are more exposed to it) are quite tired of the leftists, and it's not because they want to go back to racism and homophobia.

Patricia Mathews said...

Interestingly enough, I woke up in the wee hours with Monkey Mind running over the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the time of Henry VIII. Where not only the monks and nuns, but their servants, students, dependents, the sick in their infirmaries and poor travelers in their guesthalls, orphans and other dependents were turned loose on the Tudor economy to beg or starve or find jobs among a flood of competition. And at the time - as also in the time of the Enclosures (which did the same thing for the villages) - WHO was treated as criminals and sluts? Why, the "sturdy beggars" and "wenches" who were whipped through the town at cart's tail for being on the road and unemployed.

The more things change .... especially when the powerful smell a profit. The term "Standing in the Way of Progress" had not yet been invented, of course. Oh, well, it made yesterday evening's attack of the Bug That's Going Around seem trivial.

Patricia Mathews said...

P.S. All those books coming out this spring! My book budget is going into overload!

Tidlösa said...

If we are really lucky (sort of lucky - whatever that means in 2016!), both parties may split before the elections. We might get Clinton, Sanders (or somebody taking up his fallen mantle), Rubio (?) and Trump. Unless one of them wins in a landslide, the shady intrigues in the electoral college or in Congress, if the election of a president ends up there, might be something to behold...

A question. What are the possibilities, in your opinion, that the Democrats at the very last moment (through the super-delegates?) stops both Clinton and Sanders, giving the nomination to a third person, perhaps Joe Biden? In the same way, what about the Republicans at the last moment giving their nomination to Bloomberg? Is it too late in the race to stop Clinton and Trump, or can it be done? It can be done technically, of course, but can it still be done politically? Or is the stage already set for the final Trump-Clinton showdown?

Otherwise, I agree with your points. Clinton seems to suffer from "Marie Antoinette syndrome", to coin a phrase - completely clueless. Trump could be either a proto-Caesar or the man who (temporarily) stops Caesar by defusing the anger vote and then move to the center... Sanders´ success is a paradigm shift - I mean, a "socialist" getting almost half of the Democratic vote?!

I also agree that Trump is capable of winning Sanders´ voters, perhaps by promising to crack down on the student loan fraud, or some measure to that effect. It will be interesting to see if he takes that step!

Zachariah said...

Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal might be a reader of yours:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-rise-of-the-unprotected-1456448550

Shane W said...

@sgage,
I really don't know why when I repeat pretty much the same thing JMG says about the Boomers & the failure of the late 20th century, it gets such a different response. Please see JMG's response above to William regarding his daughter. I can't really discern a nuanced view of the Boomers & their failure in his response. In fact, if you can't go back through any of JMG's posts and find where he's taken a nuanced view of the failure of the Boomers since the 80's, please quote it in a post here. Really, all I'm asking is for once, for you to take one for the team, to put younger and future generations first. Taking a balanced and nuanced view of the failures of the late 20th century and the people who were of age and involved at the time is self-serving for older generations, it certainly doesn't benefit younger and future generations. The meme that the time was a time of unspeakable evil that must never be repeated benefits younger and future generations. So, take one for the team.
Privileged: here's my idea of privileged: anyone who has lived most of their life in what used to account for a middle class American lifestyle, and who expects to maintain such lifestyle until they die based on retirement savings, Social Security, & Medicare. That's my idea of privileged, because it's all but off limits to the vast majority of people under 40.

Shane W said...

@sgage,
I don't know that I've ever encountered, in person, someone who didn't sell out and cash in their values starting with the 80s reaction. Most everyone I've ever met kept a facade and veneer of 60s-70s counterculture while economically living lives indistinguishable from their more conservative counterparts. All the people I ever knew from the leftward end of things kept all the social mores of the 60s-70s era while living rigidly neoliberal economic lives. But that's just my experience.

Nick said...

One point regarding intergenerational politics in the west: It occurred to me that I cannot name a single person, other than my family and coworkers, who I interact with in any significant way who is more than 5 years younger or 5 years older than me (I'm 26). I suspect that my experience is not unique.

It does seem natural that one's elders are there to be learned from and generally listened to, but in the context of the modern workplace, the relationship is thrown way out of whack by the fact that there is no real trust or common interest other than the company's.

Kyoto Motors said...

To follow up on what I said, I will spread the word because I feel this argument of yours goes a long way to erode Hillary's support in the nomination process. I really want to see Bernie in the White House -- though I don't sense that this is necessarily your intention here. As a Canadian, I'm like the hair on the tail that's trying to wag the dog, but I'll do what I can!
If indeed Bernie Sanders does become president, there are probably many pitfalls that await him -- but that is true of all the candidates. And the potential for divisiveness seems to be very intense no matter who emerges from this circus...

william fairchild said...

JMG-

I will. I share your hope. I think the young people are often given short shrift. Labled as "entitled" or "self-absorbed", in fact most millenials I interact with have their heads screwed on. And they are very, very smart.

@Nastarana-

OR? How interesting. If she loses OR because the base sits home, she is toast. Yes it all comes down to the EC. Obama expanded the map. HRC returns us to a Clinton/Gore map with FL, OH, and PA as battlegrounds. That does not bode well for HRCs prospects.

"All politics is local" -Tip O'Neil

Violet Cabra said...

Has anyone else noticed a shift in discourse recently around the presidential election and United States politics in general?

In Massachusetts where I live, everyone seems on page that we are in a potentially revolutionary situation, and that the neoconservative consensus can't hold. There is also a seeming sobriety that what is likely to replace the status quo is tyranny. These are conversations I'm having with my parents, friends, which is a small sample size for sure, but these are conversations that I can't imagine having a year ago.

Also, from my perspective within what many would describe as a SJW scene, I've observed a considerable softening - it seems that awareness of the logical inconsistencies is growing more pronounced and different conversations that would have been unthinkable a year ago. People seem more willing to stray from "the party line" and engage more logically and openheartedly in discourse. This is a major shift, and one I'm delighted to see.

Of course my rather eccentric identity as a trans herbalist and bookworm (not to mention reader of this blog!) perhaps lets me say things in leftist circles that others would be shot down with, but that being said, I've still noticed a marked increase in receptivity to ideas in general that until recently were taboo.

I'm not sure what this all means, it's certainly refreshing now. I imagine that a good deal of this openness is from the sobering influence of the actual political situation. This video by VICE does a good and entertaining job of investigating the phenomenon of the patriot movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOBJsZOgN14 I am, of course reminded of TADR essay "The Suicide of the American Left" and shiver http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-suicide-of-american-left.html

Thank you JMG for your essays as always! Your recent class analysis of Trump has helped me enormously in talking with people about politics. The magic that you work with your blogs is beautiful, and has certainly changed my consciousness and helped me clarify my will. While I don't post as much as I used to that is because I'm chest deep in herbals putting together classes for next season! Best wishes on your break and heartily look forward to reading your analysis when you return.

pygmycory said...

On another topic, Canada has pulled out of bombing Syria in favor of training the Peshmerga and some humanitarian aid. It's also leaving some reconnaissance aircraft and a refueling plane for other nation's fighter jets. This is interesting because I understand that Russia is also reasonably fond of the Peshmerga, who are hated by Turkey, who is one of Canada's NATO allies. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

So Canada is against ISIS, but appears confused as to exactly what it is doing in the proxy war between the West and Russia. Next question: are we trying to hedge our bets with Russia and China, or do we simply have no idea what we're doing?

Jeanne Labonte said...

As a 61 female wage earner I cheerfully voted for Mr Sanders in the NH Primaries. It was entertaining to watch the reactions of the Hillary supporters who did a door-to-door last minute blitz the weekend before the primary. Two hemmed and hawed for a moment after I told them I was voting for Bernie then wished me a nice day and hurried off. The third one hemmed and hawed and recovered with a lame suggestion that Bernie would make a great running mate for Hillary. Yea, right. I didn't vote to her as she gives me a case of the 'eeyucks' whenever I see any of her advertisements. Given the sclerotic power structure of Washington and Wall Street it's debatable if Bernie will be able to accomplish anything should he manage to get in. The Slow Democracy movement http://slowdemocracy.org/ looks promising but one wonders if it's too little too late. Time will tell of course.

Enjoy your vacation. I really hope the weather in your corner of the country will be less crazy than its been up here in Northern New Hampshire. This past weekend was up in the forties, then it dipped down into the teens Monday (this is Fahrenheit by the way). Then it warmed up into the twenties by Tuesday in order to snow a bit. But then Wednesday night, the wind began roaring and thunder showers came barreling through raining cats and dogs as it did so. The sun came out Thursday morning spiking the temperature up into the low sixties. Then it clouded up, rained more cats and dogs causing a number of wash-outs and closed roads. Today the temperature has dropped back down to 18 degrees with a blustery wind. I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything as wild as this.

sgage said...

@ Shane W

" Taking a balanced and nuanced view of the failures of the late 20th century and the people who were of age and involved at the time is self-serving for older generations, it certainly doesn't benefit younger and future generations. The meme that the time was a time of unspeakable evil that must never be repeated benefits younger and future generations. So, take one for the team."

I find this attitude to be pernicious in the extreme. Basically historical revisionism for political expediency. But since your self-absorbed cartoon view of history is that the time was one of unspeakable evil that no one of that age spoke up against or tried to do anything about, you demonize (and insult) a whole generation. After all, every last one of us sold out, according to you. Of course, trying to point out otherwise is just self serving.

What were we fighting for back then, if not for the future? We put up with ridicule and a lot more for trying to do something about the stuff coming down, stuff that had its origin well before we were born.

Evil stuff happened in those times. Evil stuff is happening in these times - why doesn't your generation, or the X, or the whatever generation, just stop it? After all, it's so easy. Or did your generation just sell out?

Of course, I have good friends in every generation, and some give up, and some fight the good fight - 'twas ever thus. I still say you might be a bit more nuanced in identifying your allies...

David from Normandy said...

"A very large number of Americans are up against the wall, facing financial ruin if something doesn't change fairly soon; that kind of desperation, historically speaking, spawns Caesars."
What you said made me think about an argument I had forgot: in our democracies, the more you are face down in the mud struggling to survive, the less you vote. It lessens a bit the voting impact of that social category. Which delays even more the possibility of a regime change by election.

On the other hand, desperate people are more likely to riot... and sometimes riots big enough spawn revolutions. But you spoke about all that at length a hundredth time, I won't start that conversation all over again.

I am just not in a hurry to witness first-hand that kind of event. Really not.

Ekkar said...

JMG thanks for the book suggestion. Also I Wikipedia the f-35 fighter jet. My god. The empire is blatantly insane an suicidal at this point ( to use some genteelisms), cause they just might be just good old fashion evil!

pygmycory said...

Shane,
I'm on the leading edge of the millenials age-wise and like you am often angry with the more privileged end of the baby boom generation. That said, they really do vary a lot.

I've met plenty, including some of my own family, who are not privileged, and/or do a lot of the kind of things we talk about on this blog. It was one of them who introduced me to this blog, as a matter of fact, and taught me a lot of what I know about growing food. He and his partner grow much of their own food, and doesn't own a car. They have a woodstove, and their house is usually downright cold in the winter. He is heavily involved in his local Transition Town, which he helped found and run. Another was proudly working class, spent a significant portion of their life poor and then died young of cancer.

Then there are the two who have money, fly entirely too much, and seem to think I should be trying to be just like them. And if I decide on another path since I CAN'T go down theirs if I wanted to, then I ought to be miserable and ashamed of my failure. As you can imagine, we argue a lot when we happen to be in the same room.

pygmycory said...

As for the whole 'what is Canada doing in Syria' thing, I think I'd better admit I don't know what we're doing, I don't think the government does either, and the whole thing seems like a confused mess. The sort of situation that shouldn't be poked with a 10 foot pole, much less waded into without overwhelming power AND a very good reason.

Shane W said...

I find that people my age and younger are very receptive to the "failed by our 'elders'" meme, you just have to make sure you're not w/in earshot of older people when you discuss it, else you'll get loudly and defensively shouted down.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

I have also started reading Arnold Toynbee as well. The local public library where I live has a wonderful collection of classic history, including the full 12 volume set of A Study of History. I am currently most of the way through Volume I. It's turning out to be an intellectual adventure, like reading Spengler, Lewis Mumford or Eric Hoffer for the first time.

I am just as amazed with A Study of History as I was with The Decline of the West. It seems to me that even though Spengler and Toynbee had very different outlooks and personalities and Toynbee rejected Spengler's philosophy, the two works complement one another quite nicely. Each seems to fill in the gaps and shortcomings of the other.

David said...

(formerly buddhabythelake)

My vote is for the latter.

onething said...

Rapier,

How do you see money and empire working at cross purposes?

Sgage,

THANK YOU.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

Looks like Europe is close to the breaking point when it comes to the refugee crisis, with the Norwegian government threatening to lock down its borders and abrogate EU rules concerning asylum seekers and immigrants.

Sol concludes by saying:

"My prediction of combat in the streets of Europe this summer is spot on I think....I might have missed on the scale of it though. We could see the entire continent on fire....from Greece up to Norway we could see citizens in the streets stomping on immigrants. It will be ugly, it will be messy and no one will care."

Yikes...

Phil Harris said...

JMG
I wonder what kind of wind will blow across the Atlantic from your side. We always get something. If globalisation and a new cold-war become no longer the obvious way of arranging the world, and we all – I stress all, not just the ‘advanced market countries’ (what a term!) – run out explanations for financial crashes, then perhaps Britain in particular is going to feel very peculiar.

A lot of people here I guess still think we can pull out of the EU “because we are nearer to America”. And all our ‘business schools’ and IT seem to rely on American business models as well as on actual IT kit. America ‘comes naturally’ to modern Britain: a good part of our elite has been ‘schooled’ in America: the present government and Blair / Brown Labour people all have strong links with American politics, and the key member of Cameron’s present cabinet, Chancellor George Osborne is known to link with American neoconservatives.

I guess if America really seriously changes we will very soon find big consequences over here.

best
Phil
I will put a note in the calendar and look forward to April. I hope the time and stars and whatever smile on you and yours.

Shane W said...

Selling out:
IDK, as best I recall growing up in the 80s, there was a lot of residual, real 60s-70s resistance to Reaganomics, neoconservatism, & neoliberalism. It wasn't a cemented fact until Reagan's reelection in '84, and gasoline actually peaked during the '82 recession, and throughout the whole decade there was a lot of real leftward resistance to the Reagan counterrevolution. Mondale & Dukakis, I don't believe, was part of the neoliberal consensus. I don't really think that many on the leftward end fully sold out until the Clintons made it acceptable for people on the left to adopt neoliberalism, too. That, I think, marked the collapse of any significant resistance on the left to the neoliberal consensus. Whatever resistance was left was reduced to a small remnant after Bill Clinton's two terms.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

As a follow-up to my last post, it looks like the ethnic warfare in Europe might have already begun.

There have been reports from Germany that after the gang rape of a 13 year old Russian immigrant girl by Muslim immigrants, the Russian immigrant community declared it would respond to future threats against Russian immigrants with force and there have already been street fights and vigilante incidents between Russian and Muslim immigrants in Germany, including Berlin.

Here is some appropriate theme music, courtesy of Hawkwind...

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7FDZzqztjI

onething said...

It seems to me that both Sanders and Trump are offering unrealistic goals from the past. Sanders wants European style socialism but we probably cannot afford it even if he does knock back the oligarchs, and Trump wants to make America great again, which I suppose means he wants to go back to the 50s or 60s, but that ship already sailed.

I suppose one thing Trump might have going for him is that I suspect he actually cares about this country in a way that the elite have long since ceased to do. But I'm pretty sure he's no Putin.

Nicholas Carter said...

He's just an Okay Old One

Varun Bhaskar said...

Archdruid,

The fear and loathing from the salaried class about the rise of Trump is audible. Most of the people I know, who belong to the salaried class, sneer at me whenever I mention his name. The wage class folk get it, they don't like Trump but they hate Clinton. I think the wage and profit class will be my customer base when the paper launches next month. I don't know what to make of all this sneering, it honestly makes me angry and disrespected. People who know how well read I am, how well travelled, people who know my background are starting to treat me like some kind of uneducated chump. What is with these people that they can't see the tides of anger washing away everything around them?

Have a good vacation, sir. You deserve it!

Regards,

Varun

Totara said...

As somebody who observes US politics filtered by the distance of living in another country, Madeleine Albright's outburst seems entirely clueless. Some of us remember that Naomi Klein had this to say about Albright in her book, The Shock Doctrine (page 273):

"It was in this context that the U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, visited Thailand in March 1999 and saw fit to scold the Thai public for turning to prostitution and the "dead end of drugs." It is "essential that girls not be exploited and abused and exposed to AIDS. It's very important to fight back," Albright said, filled with moral resolve. She apparently saw no connection between the fact that so many Thai girls were being forced into the sex trade and the austerity policies for which she expressed her "strong support" on the same trip. It was the Asian financial crisis's equivalent of Milton Friedman expressing his displeasure with Pinochet's or Deng Xiaoping's human rights violations while praising their bold embrace of economic shock therapy."

Stu from New Jersey said...

Thanks for the analysis of the goings-on here in the U.S.

I would consider either Trump or Sanders for my second-place vote, but then thanks to their parties, we do not have choice voting in the U.S. So I'll have to stick to a Green Party vote. (If either of the major parties pushes through choice voting in my state - NJ - they will get my second-place vote until I die.)

Anyway, a happy Equinox to you and to all the readers, too. See you in April.

Nastarana said...

Dear unknown Deborah Bender, don't forget that the wicked stepmother stories of European folklore are set against a backdrop of severely limited resources, and at a time when in most countries, the eldest got, not just the estate, but the best of everything when growing up, for the very good reason that the eldest son might have to take on responsibility for the family at any time.

Dear Tidlosa, party conventions nominate candidates by a succession of ballots; since 1960 all candidates have been selected on the first ballot, but that need not be so. Convention delegates are required to vote for the person selected by their state primary or caucus on the first, or perhaps second, ballot ONLY after which they can vote however they like This is where the legendary smoke filled rooms come in, in which party bosses negotiate and then pass on instructions to the underlings(delegates) in return for various favors. Among the Democrats, for example, all Sen. Sanders really has to do is arrive at the convention with enough delegates to deny Mrs. Clinton a first or second ballot win. This is why the media is falling over itself calling her "ahead" when the race right now is in fact a virtual tie, and why, as the Archdruid pointed out, Sanders' supporters are unlikely to accept Mrs. Clinton being forced down our throats. No party unity this year I think.

Shane W said...

@Violet,
glad to see you back! I've missed hearing from you, and am glad you're still here & following the blog!

onething said...

Shane,

AS you may have noted, I agreed with Sgage. I'd like to know just how you think I sold out and committed unspeakable evil. I've been barely middle class, although I identify as a member of the salary class by family culture, I've never had a salary. I was offered one once though, at 19, by General Telephone even though I had not been to college. I turned it down because I was about to get married and have children. My husband was one of those who had an engineering job without an engineering degree (he now has one). We struggled because we had one salary. I chose to stay home with my kids. After I got divorced I struggled as a single mother with a secretary job and got little child support because he had issues with cocaine. My uncle helped me go to school and I got a two year degree because I really didn't have more time than that. But none of that has to do with selling out or not. It was just the vicissitudes of my life.

You say that those who save for retirement or expect social security and medicare are evil. I don't believe for one minute that another generation would turn those down, it's just that our system is going down and those might not be there. I may not get social security, or I might collect briefly. I haven't had much chance to save for retirement, partly because even when my wages got better I was helping my children go to college. So did their dad. They got grants and one got scholarships, but they still graduated in debt. Is that my fault? Is that the fault of other baby boomers? Most of the financial problems have been brought about by the machinations of the oligarchs and their lobbyists. Most baby boomers' children are struggling. You think they are not aware of that? Other than helping their kids or having their kids living with them, what were they supposed to do to head this off?

I got my first job at 15. Social security is not a choice. You are about 40. Haven't you paid into social security? Do you think you deserve a return on that? I've been scolded for not having savings, and my answer is that I have paid off my house and will be able to make it on social security. Medicare is govt health care and we should all have it. But when boomers were coming up, medical insurance or seeing a doctor without it for that matter, were reasonably affordable. So things made sense. The whole medical industry is in a bubble and has been corrupted like everything else, but I don't think the average middle class boomer saw it coming or devised it. No one is happy about it except those who are getting rich from it. Me and kids were without medical insurance for lots of years, but I can't say I worried about it much.

to be continued...

onething said...

next...


I was clueless about peak oil, and financial matters are opaque to me as well as boring, so in later years when I was offered the chance to participate in 401Ks I have always turned it down because something about it doesn't sit well with me. I'm afraid it might not be ethical. I might be wrong, but although I did not understand the wealth pump I've been aware that corporations are oppressing the 3rd world and making a lot of money for nothing seems impossible to me without that someone somewhere is getting the short end of the stick. So, I have little savings. But is saving for retirement evil? Isn't it a sensible thing to do? Some employers match savings. Why turn that down? Lots of young people are on medicaid, by the way.

You think when the economy is decent and you need to make a living and take a job that somehow you are a bad person because over the decades the democracy becomes corrupted and life gets worse?

One unfortunate tendency in this country is people being divided from each other who ought not to be divided. It serves the oligarchs well.

I can agree we have used too much energy, but until I came to this blog I hadn't really considered peak oil. I don't know that most people did. I was just about old enough to vote when Reagan came in, but I did not see any of these things clearly. I did see that the dems and repubs were a lost cause since about the age of 30 and have not voted for one since then, with just one exception. But really, McCain scared the bejeezus out of me.

Caryn said...

JGM: Thanks much again for a fantastic analysis. Wishing you a joyous Vernal Equinox and a happy, restorative break.

By April, I expect, (and kind of hope) to be Stateside again. My husband, the main bread-winner, is jobless again and our funds and time are running out; so I will no doubt be flooding these threads and Green Wizards with practical and social questions on re-integrating. A heavy dose of reverse-culture-shock awaits my family and I. I am reading these comments about suiciders with a massive lump of paralyzing fear in my throat and heart.

On a happier note: I watched the circus of the Republican debate last night - holy Idiocracy! Reality TV has some way to go to catch up with the craziness and manufactured drama of this! I think due to the clarity your essays have brought me, In a few segments, I could spot with crystal clarity the secret: wherein The Donald was winning votes from viewers at home, even as according to standard debate pundits he was 'losing' or misstepping on practical debate grounds. On healthcare reform, he offered no solutions or plan but kept repeating "No one is going to die on the streets under my reign", as the approved establishment candidates blindly pushed forward with their 1/2-measure complicated plans to appear reasonable, anti-Obamacare and still 'free-market'. They had solid plans. He didn't. Yet, I could imagine an overwhelming number of voters out there for whom dying on the streets is a real threat - that's all they want to hear. No other Republican candidate had a plan that could claim that. He 'gets' it, they don't.

In regard to this week's post, I've puttered around some internet blogs/sites/discussions that have also left me a bit bewildered until this weeks post re: Madame Clinton and why I as a woman should feel compelled to vote for her. This finger-waving has indeed come exclusively from women all of a higher end salary-classed, comfortable background. Usually executive women. Shocking to me, but no: They really don't see that there are a multitude of other people, (including other women), who are in far more dire straits than they are, for whom 'breaking that last glass-ceiling' is very low on their list of concerns. They don't seem to see that they although not on the very highest branch in the tree, are really quite high up there and that without the support of those multitudes below - they will fall. *to my fellow commenters:I realize this is a judgy, possibly snarky generalization. I still think it stands - not for EVERYONE, but for many. Certainly for those Hillary supporters I'm talking about on Salon, True Activist, my HK Moms FB group, etc.

I am also voting for Bernie in the Primary, not sure what I'll do if/when the super delegates stuff Madame Clinton into the slot for the General. I too have more immediate concerns.

Again, Happy Vay-Cay. Will pick up again in April.

Sojan Shieldbearer said...

Speaking of Great Cthulhu and the War on Christmas, check this out...

Caryn said...

About the Boomer/Silent/Millennial debate:

Born in 1961, I think that makes me a Silent. (right?) I was 18 in 1980, my first election. I won't pretend to have been prescient enough to have voted for Carter because I saw through the BS of 'greed is good, or could extrapolate enough to predict what would come. In my family we swore like sailors, but were not allowed to say the "R" word. I also had some hazy idea about anti-nukes, solar=good, oil=bad, So I voted for Carter; but as a young artsy fashion-y type coming from a poor family and middling public school education, I really had no clue. On the one hand: My own ignorance is my fault, the information was surely out there if I was motivated to look. OTOH, understanding civic responsibility was not only not promoted, 'not a thing', it was discouraged as anti-progress, anti-capitalist, retro-hippy-dippy…. This is why I so love 'The Century Of The Self', in the last 2 segments, it describes EXACTLY what I lived through.

So I read these discussions and these indictments by millennials and try to think back on how I and we Oldsters collectively dropped the ball. Maybe we should have seen and felt that if such heady prosperity flaunted everywhere were too good, they were most likely too good to be true. It was a time of unfettered optimism for most people. In retrospect, I was one of the kind of 'left-out' that Bruce Springsteen songs were about. I embraced that Springsteenish working class cool as well as punk music and culture, but even for me and those like me - it seemed like we had some duty to better ourselves as we could and climb up the ladder to at least self-sufficiency within the existing establishment. That rejection of society, counter-culture happy hippy stuff had clearly failed, mired in a haze of dope.

I'm happy to own my part in the failure, but if I could go back in time, I'm not sure even knowing what I know now, how I could have effected much societal change. To go back and do it again - with what I knew then - I cannot imagine making much better decisions at all. So I don't know what the answer is. Get angry at us all you want - I do believe if you collectively were plopped down in that time and place with the knowledge we had, (and hadn't) you wouldn't have done any better - neither would any collective generation. Sad and infuriating as it may be, it just kind of IS. Like every civilizational collapse. Maybe young collapsing Romans, Mesopotamians and Mayans also hated their elders for eating up all of their potential. I'm sorry we failed. I guarantee you, to ruin the world was not a deliberate choice.

beneaththesurface said...

JMG, I'm glad you're taking a break -- you deserve it! As much as I enjoy reading your blog, the break will give me a good excuse to spend less time in front of a computer. Every week I read your post and usually all the comments. I want to spend less time online, but because your blog is so enticing, sometimes that's hard : ) In any case, I'm going to spend more time reading physical books.

On the topic of book-reading: I'm one of the library staff selected this year to write on topics of my choice, each post containing 5-10 short book reviews, that will appear on the reading suggestions area of our website. I had to create a profile outlining my reading interests, and I, of course, put down one of your books (it was hard to choose just one, but I picked the one I most recently finished) among my five favorite books (truthfully I probably have several hundred): dclibrary.org/rachelw

There are a number of themes that I want to write about, and many of them will probably relate to topics discussed on the Archdruid Report. In some small way I hope to promote high-quality but lesser-known books such as yours.

Question for anyone here: In a few months I intend to write about the growing subgenre of deindustrial SF. Besides Greer's books (which I will certainly include), do you have any recommendations of good deindustrial SF that I should consider including in my discussion?

Justin said...

I think the "why vote for a lesser evil?" joke with Cthulhu started around 2004 but really shone in 2008 and 2012 - even here in Canada I saw a Cthulhu bumper sticker in 2012 - but the Eldritch Horror party has been distinctly absent this time around. Blame Sanders and Trump.

Today most people in my workplace went out to lunch to celebrate a coworker's voluntary departure. The conversation turned to Trump. We're all distinctly salary class individuals. I mentioned that Scott Adams (who has been writing a fascinating commentary on Trump) of Dilbert fame thinks he'll win. It seemed to be a popular opinion among a bunch of Canadians who are paid a lot of money to touch computers in a nice way that Trump's election would cause a second American revolution... which is kind of darkly amusing, seeing as how the Trump side of the whole exchange is far more likely to own guns and have used them for real in the Middle East.

Regarding Trudeau, it is not going to be pretty. The photo-op PM is likely to be the final stake in the heart of the Liberal party - the interval of time required for the Libs to recover from Trudeau's idiocy will involve so much change that none of the 3 major parties - everyone except the the Bloc Quebecois - will be relevant anymore.

Have a nice well-deserved vacation!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi JMG,

Apologies, please indulge me one last comment!

It just dawned on me today that the reason that the inflationary effect of the money printing process hasn't been felt is because it is occurring in lock step with the most recent bubble booms and busts. In fact it appears to me as if the bubble booms and busts are a necessary component of the whole process (a relief valve of sorts) and if they weren't there then you would well be witnessing an inflationary surge. A truly cynical person would suggest that perhaps the reason no bankers have been charged for any incident recently and the bail-out was actually provided willy-nilly when it shouldn't have been was because the whole destruction of paper money during the bust is now part of your economic cycle and there is little easy way to step out of that cycle.

The implications - if this is the case - are profound.

Anyway, enjoy your holiday and I shall not hassle you again (unless of course you wish to discuss this fascinating insight).

Cheers

Chris

James Bodie said...

Looking at the polls, it seems Hillary won't have to cheat to get the nomination. Democratic voters will hand it to her. I am a Sanders supporter and dread the inevitable. I could never vote for Trump because of his party affiliation. I have read the platform of the Republican party and am staunchly opposed to every plank that deals with social conservatism. That party will never get my vote in its current form.
Tarheel Lovecraft fans know that R'lyeh is correctly pronounced as Raleigh, so yes, Cthulhu is constitutionally eligible.

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