i never found my black cinderella. but we all found our black richard nixon. really. so just listen along, replacing her with him in the lyric. what progress means is that eventually there will be a female richard nixon, a latina richard nixon, one richard nixon each for l, b, g, t, and q, etc.
yo one run through that bassline is worth all the words that have ever come out of barack obama's mouth, and much more.
dzhokhar left a note, probably in a botttle.
The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," the note added.
one thing on which all the parties to the worldwide war of/against terror are agreed is that the locus of moral responsibility is collective. so, blowing up random people on the streets of boston is attacking 'america,' which is in turn attacking islam. the whole interpretation of the event frames it as an attack on america, the city of boston, and so on. if people were not actually distinct from one another, then attacking random bodies on the street would be a rational way to wage war on a collectivity, sort of. that it is demented should show you something about the premise.
i've created the pantheon as a web page, adding emerson, thoreau, margaret fuller, and the quite amazing lydia maria child. i will begin to add links to texts by these folks and other materials, some of which i'll be typing in.
meanwhile, the paper keeps growing. in connecting the radicals to the transcendentalists, i've got emerson, from the journals, approving non-resistance and its attendant anarchism.
Of 'the principle of non resistance,' he says "Trust it. Give up the Government without too solicitously inquiring whether roads can be still built, letters carried, & title deeds secured when the government of force is at an end" (vol 1 711). He too saw Mott preach. He praises her courage and says "she makes every bully ashamed (vol 2 508-509).
you know, research can be amazingly stimulating and fun. just had a nice moment with regard to the new pantheon (see entry immediately below). so, one thing i am doing is putting emerson and thoreau (as well as alcott and fuller) in this group as a single political movement. now i think my best score up to this point has been documenting lucretia mott's anarchism; she is emerging as an important inspiration and directly linking figure. i think you could say that anarchism arises out of feminism as well as vice versa (cf. godwin and wollstonecraft). i notice that a number of thoreau's formulations in 'civil disobedence' resemble mott.
as it happens, we can document that thoreau saw lucretia mott preach, and can even more or less know the sermon she preached. he actually calls her a transcendentalist. she was born a decade before emerson.
from the emerging paper:
Indeed, the influence was direct. Thoreau saw Lucretia Mott preach in 1843, and wrote to his sister about it.
I believe I have not told you about Lucretia Mott. It was a good while ago I heard her at the Quaker Church in Hester St. She is a preacher, and it was advertised that she would be present on that day. I liked all the proceedings very well. . . At length, after a long silence, waiting for the spirit, Mrs. Mott rose, took off her bonnet, and began to utter very deliberately what the spirit suggested. Her self-possession was something to say [see?], if all else failed - but it did not. Her subject was the abuse of the Bible - and thence she straightaway digressed to slavery and the degradation of woman. It was a good speech - transcendentalism in its mildest form. (July 21, 1843, The Correspondence, 128)
'Mildest' here I believe is used in a somewhat Christian, lamb-of-God-type sense, because there is no doubt that Mott's preaching was fierce; we have a fair example of what Thoreau heard in her sermon of the same year "Righteousness Gives Strength to its Possessor" (Complete Speeches and Sermons, 35-52). But it is certainly significant that he regards her as preaching transcendentalism, throughout.
i am going to try to type in part of mott's 1843 sermon and post a link.
give it up for rand paul. it's kind of amazing that the objections to, say, homeland security deploying predator drones, are actually coming from what is thought of as the far right, and it should make you re-think the shape of the american political spectrum. rand would be saying the same about a republican admin, like his daddy did. i'd like to see the situation fall apart into several political parties; obviously the republicans are at least two even now. if they split and the dems don't, of course, then the dems will control the government for quite some time. but i personally mind that no more than the other way round, and it would certainly be worth it to compromise the two-party system. one problem is, in a world of talking points, media is completely boring when there are only two emails, two sets of consultants, two pollsters, and so on. you want the thing to disintegrate just to create a minimum standard of variety in entertainment.
i've heard many a progressive just laugh off the whole question of whether something is or is not constitutional as anachronistic. but the constitution can be extremely practically useful, because of the many good things that are in it due to, um, the intentions of the framers and, in particular, the meaning of the text. look seriously, i guess plenty of people argue that there's no fact of the matter about what any text means. i say that's just silly, though obviously questions arise. i don't know, are you going to read a jane austen novel and then say you have no idea what happened or what any of the characters are like, or that no one in principle could? well, better stop reading stuff, then,
needless to say, i am extremely opposed to universal pre-school. really i think they can get a standardized testing regime that extends from cradle to the grave: we can fully form every citizen's consciousness all day every day; that way we can compete with the chinese. you know, another way to represent universal pre-school would be this. tell me this is false: we are compelling you to surrender your toddlers to these government institutions for a certain portion of the day. it is precisely the sort of policy, for example, that religious schools practiced on indian reservations right through the 1950s; we have come to seize/retrain your children, or make them part of our culture. it was entirely a charitable project. however, unlike the indians, i believe, we will smile about it for the most part. for one thing, then parents can work longer hours. you will not even know that you are being compelled (though i think the toddler will be aware of it). and yet, read the law.
indian tribes eventually won the right to opt out of certain things; i guess they'll have to decide how 'universal pre-school' applies on reservations/nations. but few other sub-cultures (well, the amish, perhaps) could conceivably opt out. that is why each neighborhood ought to incorporate immediately as an independent nation in at least the indian/amish sense. then you could opt in if you like, and do your part to out-compete the finns.
remember what you thought about the characters in beasts of the southern wild? ok think about how they'd react to the fact that for their own good, we've come for your toddlers. one thing it is the death of: local knowledge, local centers of wisdom: it wants to make everyone the same, or we all have to have the same culture. that could be inspiring, i guess, but it is actually devoted to destroying all local cultures. and it rests on what i have to say is an arbitrary, artificial, historical contrivance: the basic cultural unit just has to be the nation state, because we are all americans. it is also almost the only culture that has to be, or that can be, actually enforced.
really obama is a pretty quintessential product of the 'meritocracy,' and one thing i'll say for such products: by and large they come out with the same opinions, expressed in the very same sentences. i don't think that this is because people with merit converge on the truth; i think they converge or coalesce into representatives of the institutions that produced them. there is less than no suspicion of power per se; something like that cannot even really be thematized by the time you've negotiated your way through harvard, with the jd/mba or whatever. one form of this is the cult of expertise that harvard just is: you keep deferring to the experts who have been created in these institutions, such as your profs, until you become one. that sounds good except it leaves you completely incapable of probing the assumptions of the discourse and institutions you're embedded in. you cannot rise unless you share these, and we inculcate them in you with every sentence for many years.
they cease to be aware of the power they are themselves exercising; they exercise it on behalf of the sheer facts uncovered by their expertise. it's the most basic things they are deploying that they can't defend because they can't be aware of them and be what or where they are. that is how they could just so effortlessly extend their sort of power - which is really them, disempowering you in quite concrete ways - right across the most intimate lives of people of every age: constantly building new, or building up existing structures of surveillance and information-control and consciousness-formation: it all flows perfectly through the rhetoric with no suspicion or even awareness of the fundamental character of their activities. it's all helping people or achieving prosperity. sometimes it might have these effects. but it is building and building the beast that will consume us, or might, at any rate, or is, bit by bit. it digests us slowly, until you don't even know you're ceasing to exist. the underside, where the power is applied, each person's or each family's or each hamlet's autonomy compromised more fully every day is just completely occluded. if foucault was around these days, he'd check out again.
see what i'm going to like about rand paul is that he will dip into this. he's not pushing everyone's interest in the sense that he's out here to preserve your benefits. he's pushing everyone's interest in the sense that he is still actually concerned with each person's liberty. that is what is worth holding onto in our tradition, but it is not even in the same universe as obama's rhetoric. (he might feel he has to wave around a disclaimer when he gets to guns, i guess.)
i have to say i kind of hate every bit of the state of the union. the pomp, the jockeying for handshakes, the laundry list: it's way too long to be some sort of meaningful single message, and it's way to short to do anything but wave vaguely at policies: 'i have a plan that will achieve as much medicare savings by the beginning of the next decade as the simpson-bowles plan.' you know, he delivered that with great passion. now it's back to 'we should do this right now, etc. i have to figure that reporters hate it; you have to cover it for days even though it is a completely staged non-event that never - never - makes actual news. and yet you have to say it's 'historic' etc. it has a certain power as a ritual or a tradition, however. i think they should read the constitution loud instead.
now on the other hand, here i am watching again. really it's a kinda twisted political life i lead: actively hostile and yet hypnotized or even obsessed. sad, really.
while we're on china, let me hit you with a bit of my amazing new take on political/economic taxonomy. i think we might say that the current chinese state combines the best features of maoism and corporate capitalism: it's all devoted to generating maximum cash and putting it on a barge. destination: the very top of the hierarchy. and yet it also attempts to bestride the earth, stomping that ass with the iron boot of collectivist totalitarianism. now, your basic taxonomy of political and economic systems or ideologies would regard this as an incoherent merger. your conventional political scientist is just going associate capitalism with john locke and adam smith and democracy: 'liberalism,' i suppose. (the political scientists on the far left do right at least to be seeing through this as partly a falsification.) on the other hand, if we socialists or whatever reject free enterprise and engage in grand redistribitivist schemes, then of course we're going to need a big, extremely powerful state. (then once you're done with the redistribution, the state either withers away, or deposits your entire country in theiir leaders' swiss accounts and absconds; i forget which.) so for a long time people (it even trickled down to bush etc) thought of the chinese system as combining opposed or contradictory elements. at a minimum, i'd say no one is so sure anymore.
we should think instead of the chinese state as a provisional culmination of both state socialism and corporate capitalism. in ideology, they are opposites. but we don't live in the textbook for your course on political ideologies. we live in a world where, from the outset, corporate capitalism completely depended on state power, and the basic practical thrust of left statism was annexation of the economy. the soviet union was a variety of monopoly capitalism. and the modern american state is a variety of state socialism. (but leftists are still trying to pit the state against the corporation, while rightists are still trying to pit the corporation against the state. this is all occurring only in their imaginations: pitting chase against the treasury department is a very odd concept and no you're not going to be pulling them apart later on, because resources always flow toward political power, and political power always flows toward resources (little crispy's big law).)
we're all headed in this direction together. it is the culmination/nadir of history! which isn't over, btw. but still i am its hegel, marx, and fukuyama. what gives me pause is how terribly mistaken they all were. and how laboriously they all wrote.
anyway, what went wrong in our thinking is that we believed the account these ideologies gave of themselves. but the scrim of philosophy, theory, ideology, the rhetorical flourishes that they laid on the reality were always thin on the ground. they were designed to rationalize or moralize what is really a single indefensible system, or to enhance the self-esteem of ideologues while pursuing the hard work of gathering up all the resources. the cold war disguised the fact that the systems were, in playing out their real essences, converging toward a situation in which state and economy are fully integrated and held in very few hands: a truly permanent, systemic, chronic, sclerotic hierarchy with the world's worst rhetoric. and then one of the meanings of 'globalization' and the various 'international mechanisms' that go with it, may be that it is a premonition of a world system of this variety, which is already emerging. (one name is 'technocracy.' i like to call it 'jurgen habermas'.) but there would be many barriers to overcome, from nationalism and tribalism to religious chauvinism and individualism/tribalism of the 'i/we dissent/withdraw/slack off/sabotage/hack' variety. (honestly i think history is, from our point of view, wildly contingent, and no one can know how such a thing comes out.)
this is also one of the reasons that the left/right spectrum is just not helping anyone toward understanding the phenomena, much less in deciding what positions to take. we should dissolve the left/right spectrum the way carnap dissolved metaphysics: it never meant anything; it was a kind of nonsense verse.
i don't know that squishy totalitarianism is really catching on as the name for the great synthesis at the end of history, or, as i like to think of it, the prelude to our richly-deserved extinction. but whatever you call it, i call it fun!
as i have been saying (and saying, etc), this kind of jive is a tribute to the industriousness of cretins. i gave you a chance to reform; now i'm launchin. zachary goldfarb argues that obama's inaugural wasn't liberal, on the grounds that most people agree with it. one entailment, of course, is that no view that most people agree with is liberal. now to determine whether zachary goldfarb is himself the sort of person who might consider himself a liberal, or that other people might consider a liberal, would require reading more zachary goldfarb, which would be indefensible. but if zachary goldfarb is a liberal, then on his own account he ought to oppose regulating greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, support cutting spending on medicaid, oppose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, support cuts in education and transportation funding, and oppose same-sex marriage. for the contradictory positions, goldfarb flatly asserts, are not liberal. or another obvious implication: it is conceptually impossible to have a liberal majority, you doink.
but really, you see this everywhere every day: these are examples of the fact that our political discourse is dominated by meta-level 'analysis' that has no connection to any sorts of policy, or any practical matters of any sort, whatsoever. even the mere labeling (of a policy as 'liberal' or 'conservative, much less 'extreme'), even if someone were doing it coherently, is without any practical weight in the sense of reasons to do or believe anything about the issues of the sort goldfarb suspends in it, like mini-marshmallows in a bowl of turd-flavored jello. what turns on whether more education funding is a liberal policy or not? does that help you figure out whether it's a good idea? aw just spitballing here but you might want to look at the effects and costs of the policy and stuff like that. but at any rate, it cannot possibly be a liberal policy, according to zachary goldfarb. so, if you you are, sadly, the sort of person who evaluates policies according to whether they are or are not liberal, and tends to endorse those that are, you should oppose increased education funding with every piece of your big liberal heart. and you should not engage your mind at all.
but really, merely giving ideological labels to particular policies etc is the least of it, though zachary goldfarb cannot manage to do even that with even superficial coherence. the meta-discourse consists entirely of deciding who counts and who doesn't, who's extreme and who's not, according to who is doing well in the polling this week. same sex maririage, goldfarb points out, is polling at a bare majority. the moment it got to 50.1 was the moment it ceased to be a liberal policy. should that poll have a margin of error, or oscillate slightly, then it will, day by day and hour by hour, cease to be and then become again a liberal policy. so another lovely entailment here is that you are a liberal only if you are constantly changing your mind about this. the polling isn't used to lend weight to the actual positions, as 'ultra-brite is the best-selling toothpaste in toronto' might be held vaguely to provide some reason to buy it. all it says is: most people agree with me, hence, my opponents are wrong. ponder that inference. the polling is used to develop the ridicule, and none of it has a damned thing to do with anything even in competent versions.
just an absolutely minimal standard of consistency: if polling shifts, you've got to own your own crazy, anti-american, evil extremism. when jim crow segregation or anti-communist witch hunts or screeching homophobia were polling well, then of course all of your basic ideals were the views of extremists. that, by your own account, is what you yourself were the day before yesterday, and what you'll be again the day after tomorrow, and it is on your account a fundamentally important way to evaluate how plausible or morally good an opinion is. a decent person would just say 'so what?', which is precisely what martin luther king or harvey milk did say when people said (which they did) that they were extremists.
however, zachary goldfarb does provide a stunning argument that educational funding ought to be cut, or perhaps elminated entirely. the people who are basting the world with irreason on this scale are people who emerge from our educational system with advanced degrees. (right i am speculating that zachary goldfarb has undergone this sort of training; finding out for sure would require googling 'zachary goldfarb,' which would be wrong.) we like to think of education as imparting knowledge or something, but we probably ought to regard it as a systematic, intentional corruption of possibly-promising minds. evidently, the better your training in statistics or whatever it may be, the more ignorant you become, or the more boldly you endorse glaring fallacies or contradictions. it appears that whatever institutions zachary goldfarb emerged from pursued a policy of systematic neurological damage, which is a liberal policy, because it is not polling well. certainly it suggests that the whole educational structure from which goldfarbs emerge is entirely counter-productive. folks like this would be better and wiser people, they would have more reasoned positions - or at least they might have positions - if they were, for example, illiterate.
as on all such occasions, i feel that the best revenge against zachary goldfarb would be to take his 'arguments' at face value. don't assume that he is deploying them as clever manipulative strategies. that is particularly plausible in this case because goldfarb so signally fails to be clever in any dimension. if you take goldfarb to be sincere, or to mean what he says, the piece provides a devastating reflection on himself and his like. (on the other hand, if you assume that he is not sincere - and also on the plausible assumption that he is not some sort of master of irony - that is also a devastating reflection.) we should assume until shown otherwise that folks who put these sort of items forth are sincere, or would be sincere if they had said something. treat them as being precisely (as roget, consulting his excellent thesaurus, would put it) the sort of blockheads, dimwits, dolts, dullards, dunces, ignoramuses, imbeciles, and morons who would believe that they just made a good and important argument. assume that they believe that they are saying something and assume that this is the best they can do, until they actually display competence. then see that what they're saying is both completely empty and obviously incoherent, a stunning combination.
but i'm not at all angry! like jesus, i love your stupid ass.
i have been doing research and working on the wikipedia entry for my great-grandfather, herman bernstein (he's my mother's mother's father). what an unbelievable life! i thought i wrote fast. for one thing, the dude was super-jew. for example, henry ford, with whom he locked horns for a decade, called him 'the messenger boy of international jewry.' he was rolling across russia during the revolution, interviewing john reed and leon trotsky.
even a superficial skim of the list of his correspondence (housed at the yivo center for jewish research at the center for jewish history) reveals letters to and from Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain), Sholem Aleichem,Andrew Carnegie, Leo Tolstoy, William Howard Taft, George Bernard Shaw, Max Nordau, Louis Brandeis, John D. Rockefeller, Louis Marshall, Israel Zangwill, Henri Bergson, Arthur Brisbane, Mordecai Kaplan, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franz Oppenheimer, Felix Frankfurter, Warren G. Harding, William Randolph Hearst, Herbert Hoover, Constantin Stanislavski, Leon Trotsky, Arthur Balfour,Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Arthur Goldberg, Adolph Ochs, Romain Rolland, Julius Rosenwald, Benjamin Cardozo, Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and Franklin Roosevelt.
as herman might have put it: jesus a vehicular christ.
when my mother (joyce abell, b. 1925) was 5, she was sent by her parents, alone, on a ship to albania, where herman was the ambassador. she still remembers the spectacle, the dresses etc., at the court of the magnificently attired zog, king of albania.
here are a few of the other writers in my lineage, on both or all sides, whether they arrived with the puritans in 1637 or came to ellis island from the russo-german border in 1893. some were protestants, some were catholics, some were jews (100% on my mom's side). most were atheists, though, whatever their heritage. some were communists and some were republicans and some (well...) were anarchists. novelist and short story writer grace sartwell mason (my great great grandfather's sister; one of her books is women are queer); herman's brother hillel bernstein, novelist and new yorker contributor; novelist etc murray gitlin (my grandfather and herman's son-in-law); my grandfather franklin sartwell, columnist for and editor for the washington times-herald and the washington post; my father franklin sartwell, jr., reporter and editor at the washington star, national geographic, science news, and defenders magazine; herman's son david, writer and editor for, and owner of, the binghampton sun. there are others!
honestly, i have no idea what's supposed to be at stake in the currently raging individualism/collectivism debate. it's not like i can choose not to be an individual, and it's not like i can cease to be in relation/connection to other people. i can't become everybody, but on the other hand i can't cease to be part of everybody or indeed everything. maybe we basically mean selfishness vs. generosity? oh i am for generosity. or maybe we mean liberty against coercion? i am for liberty. anyway, i actually don't think that practical politics can turn on these gigantic woolly abstractions, and if you make, say, your position on 34.6% or 39% in the marginal tax rate turn on your view about fundamental ontology or the locus of human consciousness, you are being very silly. but it does make a seemingly relatively minor debate like that insanely fraught, so that corporate and personal identities are apparently at stake in every little adjustment. that's one reason you have so much trouble compromising.
but really, we're chumps to be throwing around these categories without trying to get clear on what they could possibly mean. they have the typical qualities that gigantic abstractions display when they enter the discourse of politicians and pundits: neither has any clear or non-contradictory content, and if you'll excuse my saying so, you need philosophers (specialists in big woolly abstractions) to try to set up an actual taxonomy or at least provide some clarifying definitional/historical work that would lend the debate some meaning aside from the evident power of these terms as manipulative tropes.
it's not like you could achieve the collective good without doing good for any particular person, and it's not like you could do good for each particular person and not help everybody. there just cannot be this opposition as it's being framed right now. any position that tempts you to deny the existence of individuals or the existence of groups is obviously ridiculous, and then the work is to try to figure out the relations in some realer or thicker way that doesn't expunge either of these realities.
if you removed the individuals there would be no connections, and if you removed the connections there would be no individuals. for that matter, individuals are not atoms; each of us is a complicated web of relations as well. indeed, each of us is individuated precisely by our connections: no one else has the same relations to the same people and other things in the world as i do, and when you do this over time, each of us is massively unique precisely by the history of our relations. well that's the metaphysics of my big next book entanglements.
photo credit: jane sartwell
so republicans today are talking about the 'far-left agenda' promulgated by obama yesterday. it's extreme, they say. it's out of the mainstream. (i leave aside that i myself regard 'extreme' and 'out of the mainstream' as compliments.) to which all sorts of people on the left, many of whom are well west of obama, are going, 'what?!' or maybe they'll say, with an amazing failure of basic reflection, that that's just factually false. well, you know i heard many people describing mitt romney as a radical right-winger with an extreme agenda. mitt fucking romney, who had absolutely no actual positions on anything.
now i have often argued that the left-right political spectrum is a ridiculously bad way to think about politics, though one i guess we're stuck with. but a good thing about it: obviously whether something is to your left or right, or way far away or very close, depends on where you are and which way you're facing. it's like you're asserting china is way far away, but you don't mean from here; 'from where' doesn't matter: china has, you assert, the intrinsic property of wayfarawayness. it's just an objective fact, even to the folks in beijing, that china is wayfaraway. sadly for this magnificent idea, 'wayfaraway' or 'extreme' pick out relations (really, more or less the same relation), and they are symmetrical relations. x is exactly as far from y as y is from x. if you are saying that someone is wayfaraway or extreme (from where you are), you are also saying equally that you are yourself extreme (from where she is). so you are, as a matter of strict logical entailment, always accusing yourself.
the overall effect of each side of our stupefyingly banal mainstream politics calling the other extreme, and (what seems impossible for quasi-rational creatures) their followers buying it or at least repeating it, is to whittle the political spectrum down to nothing. if obama and romney are extremists, then no creative or interesting ideas are possible, because any sentence that you haven't already heard 2k times is just too freaking weird. this is one reason that american political discourse is so unbelievably repetitive, and one reason neither the dems nor the reps has had a new idea in decades. obviously, the politicians and their followers don't want any. the obama and romney campaigns consisted largely of empty catch-phrases: often exactly the same ones ('balanced plan,' e.g.). anything that is not a mere cliche is dangerous and radical and weird.
this whole thing is just silly name-calling, and all it means is: he's not like us. it's like your little clique of cheerleaders or whatever, who all agree, you know, that shelley is just so weird. they experience shelley's weirdness as an objective fact. well, cheerleaders are not cheerleaders in virtue of their reasoning abilities. shelley and her goths, of course think the same about the cheerleaders, though thinking has nothing to do with either attitude. so i'd recommend that both sides just shut up with this 'extremist' crap. if you want to see actual extremist positions, read my books. this will of course entail that the democrats and republicans are extreme from my point of view (admittedly in tension with their milquetoastiness), and indeed that they are all together at the far-extreme edge of the spectrum. there i overcame your supposedly partisan divide.
this column by charles blow is ridiculous. first of all, it's just an exercise in manipulation and propaganda. "extremist extremist extremist': it doesn't engage the opponents or characterize anything about their positions; merely hurls insults at them, in an attempt to join a bunch of people together into a gantlet to spit on, dehumanize, and degrade their enemies. it's amazing that people who, say, could endorse the occupy movement, just uncritically use words like 'revolutionary' in a completely pejorative sense. as soon as your people get power, everyone does the same thing: our noble protests have won the day, and now disagreeing with us is illegal. sentence after sentence is quotation from hundreds of other columns by hundreds of other columnists: blow can't even write his own shit, despite the fact that he has been entirely liberated from cognitive or empirical content.
this, let's say, is the difference between individualism and collectivism as applied to op-ed columns: blow's column was written by a vast committee of people whose collective identity is founded on (1) hatred of their enemies, and (2) sentences that they all chant in the same order. the first move in establishing a collective consciousness is to stop thinking or trying to formulate ideas on your own. just kind of look sideways at what the folks around you are saying, and say it too, even if you're a bit late. for us all to flow together like the waters, each of us will have to be submerged. for us all (or at least, or rather necessarily, everyone except the Enemy) to become one thing, each of us must cease to be anything. i hope charles blow's people have celebrated his annihilation/expansion, as he has become one with all that is, or at least with his portion of the political spectrum.
one slight loss connected with the emergence of collective consciousness is that the voice of all us is very non-distinctive, as it has to be. well, art is going to be impossible in these conditions. they're incompatible with any sort of stylish or distinctive prose. that is a small price to pay for the ecstasy of unity, however.
i just might say: it's amazing what people say about white guys these days. if you tried that with any other group, the pc police would tar and feather you and run you out of town on a rail. stereotypes, profiling, a string of sheer generalized insults hurled at the group: all acceptable in this case. there are some reasons for that, of course. that doesn't make the structure of thought plausible or decent. 'thought,' however, might be inapt: the idea is to find a slogan or a word and then recite together like maoist schoolchildren.
really, i think that the idea of collective consciousness is basically a fiction or a simulation. but it is a fiction that has to be enforced by myriad social pressures and, as its real enthusiasts have known, if not said, by pervasive coercion. and i do think that you cannot have even the simulation of a collective consciousness that does not rest fundamentally on exclusions; our unity is proportional to our hatred, and there are just no clearer examples of that than the approach of people like blow, in fact just exactly like blow or indistinguishable from him. if someday he condemns partisanship or says all americans need to pull together, just snicker.
the favorite trope of leftists these days is condemning 'individualism,' which is self-evidently the essence of evil. but they need in the process to square up to the various dark sides of their own position, for example that solidarity is proportional to extrusion. we're all in this together, and that's why these monsters among us with the incomprehensible temerity to disagree with me must be silenced and exiled. this is completely obvious from their own expressions of their own positions: their plea for togetherness starts by attacking as evil idiots anyone who disagrees or who resists complete incorporation.
squishy totalitarianism: the political/economic/aesthetic/psychological system or syndrome shared in common, for instance, by contemporary china, the european union, and the united states. it is characterized by a complex so-called 'technocratic' merger of state and capital; large-scale mechanisms of subject-formation such as compulsory state education and regulation/monopoly ownership of the media; a relative tolerance for some forms of diffuse dissent and scope for individual choice, particularly in consumption, combined with pervasive state and corporate surveillance; overwhelming police and military force and sprawling systems of incarceration; entrenched extreme hierarchies of wealth and expertise (plausibly declared by such authorities as spode to be the purpose of squishy totalitarianism); regulation of the economy by monetary policy in cooperation with banking concerns; an international regime of national sovereignty combined with international state/corporate mechanisms for the circulation of wealth.
hopeful note: st is no more difficult to resist than any other 'system'; every expansion opens up new interstices.
"No, no, we are not satisfied, and will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." and this mighty stream consists of 35% to 39.6% in the marginal tax rate. we have committed ourselves to this profound transformation toward justice. this is what occupy was for. it is obama's biggest idea, his only idea, and he pursues it with all the passion of a great soul. 35 to 39.6 was what the election was about, a turning point in the history of this great or whatever nation. rejecting it is why democrats think republicans are insane dolts; endorsing it is why republicans think democrats are socialists. 35 to 39.6 is what divides this country along totally irreconcilable partisan lines. i will accept no compromises on this, a matter of the most fundamental principle! let me sign a pledge or something: we can accept nothing less for our children's children. 35 to 39.6 is what stands fast for me, like a lighthouse in a storm; it is the moral beacon by which i navigate. it's a matter of what kind of a people we want to be, about the very essence of america. i guess it's sort of symbolic or something.
well i will say the way the obama administration publicly portayed the benghazi killings is at best a royal screw up. the very idea that they supposedly have no idea who developed the sort of false information purveyed by rice, carney, and others is bizarre. but there was no way some false cover-up story was going to hold up; no one could have seriously entertained that idea. nor, really, do i see why they should have; you pay tribute to the heroic dead and vow to do better on security in the future. so i think there's just some element we don't know about yet. at any rate, initially the acting director of the cia said the 'talking points' were redacted or falsified by the fbi. then they settled on the dni, etc. it's him; 'it's not my fault' would be a good replacement for 'e pluribus unum.'.
now here's a juicy possibility. note the rift between the fbi and the cia exposed in the petraeus scandal, where fbi agents are literally scrounging around in the director of the cia's emails as his fantasy world comes unglued and he prepares his resignation or tries to figure out how he can hang on after all. while that is happening, petraeus is distractedly watching susan rice on meet the press, like a soundtrack. i'm telling you we have no idea of the factions in this security state, and people could even be hanging other people's people out to dry, or sabotaging the other faction, or setting off suicide blackmail bombs, threatening to end careers. no doubt the factions were formed around different adultery/fine liquor/cialis/blackmail networks, etc. anyway, you can see how everyone might have been a bit bewildered right about then.