Odd how things fall apart as the center folds in on itself and the falcon shits on your scrap of paper. The hell with Yeats.
I remember these many decades later listening like a good little Catholic boy as my 8th Grade teacher and the school principal, Sister Mary Louis, read Dulce et Decorum to us in class. An Irish immigrant Franciscan nun, she had lost an uncle at the Somme, a cousin at the GPO, and a second cousin to the Black and Tans. Gave her an odd attitude toward it all...which I guess I caught. She also made me read Aristotle. This was an odd punishment at 13.
So, I blame myself on the mixed influence of Kaiser Wilhelm, Winston Churchill, Michael Collins and Padraic Pearse.
New post. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Outsiders have trying that over and over and over with Afghanistan since Alexander the Great, and it didn't work all that well any of them.
I have a new piece up on the Defeatists. It will surface eventually over at Veterans Today but this one doesn't have the musical pieces just linked but embedded. As well as John Oliver's piece last night on our version of the great leap forward, the Nuclear Program. Did you know our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has been in charge while we decommissioned fewer nuclear missiles than were done under Bush? Either one? Amazing.
I'm fairly irate over a lot of things involving the various wars we're not fighting but are definitely invested in. What the hell? The one way to guarantee Sunni-Shiite peace is through blowing up Christian and Shiite shrines...this is obviously a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis funded al Queida (just never stopped sending the checks they sent the Muhajadeen, I suppose) and are probably funding the current loonies. Malaki is the classic American puppet who really turns into a bad boy as soon as he can. Unfortunately, the bad guys were perfectly ready to smash his ass; so, blood bath.
And so it goes. Gaza is horrifying; both Jon Stewart and John Oliver have laid out how insane that mess is becoming. When you can arrange to give the moral high ground away for generations to a bunch of missile firing terrorists, you've done something pretty amazing. Ukarine is dumbfounding. We're cowering behind our fence wondering what to do about 50000 children fleeing terror, hatred, violence, oppression and slavery, and we're questioning whether or not they deserve asylum? They deserve fucking medals; give them 40 acres and a mule, and Mom and kids will make that desert bloom...
well, the apocalypse has occurred, and our lives and world have been completely transformed in every aspect. a new world has replaced the old world. but amazingly enough, the new world is indistinguishable from the old world. we escaped into the same. everything, even you, has been replaced by itself. i think the idea was to teach us that we better learn to like where we are. only then will god show us something else.
the argument below is not to the effect that we ought to decentralize; it's that we inevitably will, as every big immobile thing will explode. but since i also think we ought to decentralize, i'd worry about the argument. marx is a terrible case: thousands of pages devoted to the notion that my wishes are destiny. it doesn't matter whether you agree with me or not: my whim/pathology/theory is your fate! meanwhile for whatever useless reason i'm still trying to persuade you about what ought to happen, though normative theories are non-scientific. well christianity too etc: it's a particular self-serving pathology. oops!
so here's a little train of thought. one way to understand 'islamism' or 'terror' as it works in the mental economy of our rulers is that it performs for now the function that communism performed for a few previous generations; it unites what we oppose into a monolith, or returns us into history understood as a clash of forces, an opposition, a dialectic. leave aside the bullshitty quality of this whole (hegelian) structure of thought for a moment.
now there is one big way that islamism is not like communism: communism took the form of mega-states, squaring off against our mega-states: huge militarized institutions, immobile as mountains. islamism consists of rag-tag tiny groups of weird fanatics, hiding in caves somewhere. now one might think that islamism on that ground is a poor opponent, inadequate to drive history: the conflict is too "asymmetrical" etc.
however, the conflict is not that asymmetrical after all. they can knock down our huge buildings. the soviet union could vaporize our capital in a few minutes. al-qaeda can do that too, if they can work up the nuke. we could have vaporized moscow in retaliation, but now - as is extremely plain every day - we don't know who or what to vaporize, exactly; the enemy is diffuse, elusive, mobile.
now one thing to ask yourself: who invented all these means by which bearded weirdos could smash the pentagon? who unleashed nuclear weapons on the world, e.g.? well, liberal democracy etc: or more widely the modern mega-state. but when the technology becomes mature, it becomes cheap and commonplace and easy. i just bought an iphone for $49.99. and if the united states government were to be vaporized by its own terrible inventions, that would be justice, true?
at any rate, here's the deal: the means of destruction invented and deployed by the mega-state end up making the mega-state impossible. there could be hundreds of tiny angry groups out there bent on destroying this or that; controlling nuclear technology or the anthrax organism etc is getting to be like record companies controlling intellectual property: over.
in a situation like that, the megalithic state is impossible. you can't build pentagons: they just sit there gigantically, begging to be blasted. you can't build skyscrapers, etc. the supersize that shows your endless power is the way you get transposed into the role of victim.
so perhaps the modern mega-state really is at the edge of its end. not because of globalized capitalism or the fact that we're all uniting to save the himalayan glaciers through international regulatory regimes, etc, but because with the diffusion of the capacity for destruction, nothing really big can survive: the dinosaurs were impressive, but their hugeness made them extremely vulnerable to extinction.
al qaeda etc are taking us down a road to necessary decentralization. you put all the power in one implacable, albeit unbelievably inefficient and ineffective institution, or man. right. then you're utterly vulnerable to a thousand strange pissed off freaks. you have to distribute power. you have to respond to the mobile, distributed, multiple threats of a thousand tiny groups with mobile, distributed, multiple institutions.
so that, more or less, is how we go from the hugeist welfare/military nation/state to something resembling anarchy. however, the process is going to be unbelievably difficult as we cannot even imagine or want this sort of decentralization: the concentration of extreme power over ourselves in the hands of huge institutions seems to us inevitable. we love it and want it and cannot imagine our world without it. and yet it is becoming impossible.
the twentieth century was the era of the infinite state, of an architecture as big as nature. the destruction of this architecture is a nightmare of pain and death, and of feeling lost. but that idea, those people, that approach, destroyed itself: it purposefully but inadvertently created its own destruction, as in a greek tragedy. its end is going to suck. but it itself sucked: the modern mega-state was a holocaust, now finally being re-visited upon itself.