“And perhaps a great day will come when a people distinguished by war and victory and by the highest development of its military organization and intelligence, and accustomed to making the gravest sacrifices to these things, will choose to exclaim, “We will break the sword into pieces!”—and will demolish its entire military machine down to its deepest foundations. To disarm while being the best armed, as an expression of elevated feelings—that is the means to real peace, which must always rest on a disposition toward peace: whereas so-called “armed peace” such as that which parades in every country nowadays, is a disposition toward hostility that trusts neither itself nor its neighbor and, partly out of hatred, partly out of fear, refuses to put down its weapons.” Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, (my edits) http://bartleby.com/66/83/42183.html
The United States is so dualistic, it must have a rising sign in Gemini. It is at once lenient and oppressive, utilitarian and mythic, genuine and fraudulent, placid yet deeply disturbed, egalitarian and hierarchical, peace loving and jingo, brilliant yet desperately blah.
This may have a lot to do with the contrast Professor Allen C. Guelzo notes during his lecture series, The American Mind, available on CD through the Teaching Company at http://www.teach12.com. According to him, Americans are sundered between reason and will, intellect and action.
Which habit would be more worrisome to you: failing to act in time or failing to think through the consequences of your action? What do you fear most: analysis paralysis or the unintended consequences of your behavior?
Your response would pigeonhole you into one of two categories of Americans. On the one side, people like Trump and his cronies who rush in where angels would fear to tread, based on faith, gut instinct, dogma, greed or some other BS; and their mirror-images, so-called “peace and progress activists” who have never had a clue about what they are doing and could care less about their permanent state of failure. On the other hand, people like John Kerry, Bill Clinton and their supporters who never met an idea they couldn’t dissect from now ‘til Sunday without doing anything much in the meantime; and people like fellow ideologists and I buried in our own brown studies.
Each party resents the intrusion and failure of the other; each wishes it could monopolize political and economic power. The strength of these two tendencies must be meticulously balanced; pre-emption by one or the other has proven disastrous in the past and could prove fatal in the future.
America is in a permanent state of self-contradiction. Change and tradition are equally valued here; the best and worst of art and good taste are produced in vast quantities, prized dearly and then cast aside as rubbish.
America’s fruitful plains have borne the fairest harvests on Earth, bar none. Yet, both at home and abroad, the soil is strip-mined, crops poisoned, fisheries depleted, farm animals abused and family farmers ruined. As a result, much of this bounty is over-processed into a noxious sludge fit only for obesity, incineration and incrustation into the land and our bodies as layers of solid, liquid and gaseous filth.
Taking a stroll across an American landscape is like walking across the bottom of a gigantic, almost empty garbage dumpster: depressing litter is scattered everywhere, deployed there by the lowest order of sociopaths, even when the nearest wastebasket is a short toss away.
The plant beds around my neighborhood library were recently mulched with wood bark. By the next morning, this serene layout was soiled with cigarette butts, waste paper and orange peels, not so much cast away as carefully positioned for maximum visual impact. Once again, within spitting distance of a trash barrel. Thus do modern-day sociopaths “express their individuality” in the only manner they can get away with, unless they are corporate bureaucrats given magnificent opportunities and Wall street profits for polluting on an industrial scale.
Shameless scoundrels! Trash soccer targets your collective misdeeds with symbolic analogy.
American law simulates justice in sporadic fits, depending on the wealth and notoriety of the accused. Equity under strong courts is the letter of the law; self-promotion through vicious competition is its spirit. When a poor person gets swept up into the Prison Empire run for profit by reactionaries, he is dropped into Hell on Earth regardless of his real guilt or innocence. The courts offer lofty sinecures for stealth reactionaries and control freaks, and humble watch posts for a few brilliant legal minds—at least at subordinate levels where the ever-reactionary Congress cannot meddle.
In 2014, the United States began undergoing legalistic convulsions to address its scandalous, yearly toll of female college student raped without redress. On the other hand, our particular distinction among nations is the high count of American males who get raped compared to females. This thanks to our fundamentalist Judeo-Christian Prison Empire, which locks up over one percent of this nation’s population. Compared to our nation and its grimly enforced mass rape factories (“a hardon for criminals”), the Bible’s Sodomites were mere good-time Charleys a bit too enthusiastic with their shit. How would Lot’s God have disposed of our modern-day tormentors along with we who tolerate their abuse? Besides, doesn’t the Constitution forbid “cruel and unusual punishment?” What could be more cruel and unusual than serial rape institutionalized and rendered routine by the agencies supposed to suppress it?
Add to this the insane practice of isolating violent convicts and depriving them of meaningful human contact daily for years on end, which has been proven to cause severe psychic damage in a matter of days. Add to that the remarkable Reagan brainstorm of housing the most mentally disturbed people in the country with the most criminally-minded in prison. You wind up with a textbook case of institutionalized sadism and brutality run amok: heaven on Earth for hand-picked psychopaths, hell for their numerous victims.
When the Twin Towers came down during what was obviously a controlled demolition (no building that tall and sliced into in such a random manner would collapse by accident directly onto its own footprint―anyone who asserts as much to me is a damned liar and a fool to take me for such a fool), the first thing Congress made sure of was that families of high-income victims would get more compensation. I cannot find a better illustration of Congressional slime, even though more examples pile up every day. For instance, why did Congress renounce an honest investigation of those who benefited most from that demolition?
The genocide of Native American and Black peoples by the Euro-Americans was, whether by headcount direct or proportional, as murderous as the Nazi’s massacre of their European victims, Jewish and otherwise. Yet Americans consider their country a model of peace compared to the pariah status accorded to Nazi Germany. Various pogroms and ethnic cleansings have confirmed the brutality of various fundamentalists across the religious spectrum. Along with Stalin’s and Mao’s hecatombs, national communism, national socialism, national capitalism and national fundamentalism have proven equally vicious. A trait nationalist elites share with psychopaths: neither party needs to feel guilt, repent or compensate for past misdeeds. “What we’ve done is done; what they’ve done is unforgivable. We are good; they are bad. End of discussion.”
Many green shoots of idealism spring up, here and there, across a wasteland of hypocrisy, greed and closed-mindedness. Americans have defended freedom and slavery, liberty and tyranny with equal sincerity and ferocity. Hereabouts, progressives maintain the illusion of harmony with conservatives ̶ and liberals with reactionaries ̶ by agreeing to disagree about democracy’s fundamental definition. The former base theirs on equality (meaning release from abuse); the latter, on liberty (a shameless opportunity to define “inferiors” and abuse them legally).
Orthodox politicians and media pundits maintain that “representative democracy” and the vote are sacred; yet ballots are miscounted by the millions, especially in Dixiecrat South. Recent voting scandals in Florida and Ohio are just the tip of an iceberg of Southern crypto-racism that has diffused its chill up North. Nowadays, the same people impede the vote of minorities so that they may “reduce voting fraud” that is nonexistent except in their own case. You’d think such flaming hypocrisy would turn them into pillars of salt, thunderstruck or struck from the rolls of politics.
No cares that American voters constitute a Spartan minority surrounded by a majority of idiot slaves, or that no Greek tyranny was run by such an anti-democratic minority as our corporate slave masters and their thought-police.
As long as Learner topics of passion are not given priority in public discussion, the talent pool of leadership must shrink, decision-makers, grow more stupid and unintended consequences, more disastrous. Simple arithmetic.
After throwing back a few British assaults, America’s European colonists concluded that they were secure from foreign invasion behind their oceanic moats. Blessed with vast virgin territory to exploit, they invited mass immigration that other, more crowded nations had to resist. This despite reactionaries’ nonstop complaints against waves of foreign immigrants who earned those reactionaries nonstop fortunes. Despite them and their reflex bigotry, our real-life freedoms and opportunities surpassed those dreamt-of elsewhere.
With the exception, of course, of dispossessed Native Americans, Blacks abducted from their African homeland, as well as Mexicans and those who should have been their Latin American confederates: the innocent victims of a continuous series of military and police assaults by the USA, because of their Catholic faith and slightly less pale complexion, therefore “inferior.” All three sets of victims – numbering millions – were denied the right every American citizen values most: free welcome into fellow citizenship. A welcome everyone on Earth deserves; the same welcome that held the Roman Empire together, wherever its citizens came from—at least until born-again Huns took over and wrecked everything.
Can’t you see the same thing happening here and now? Shall we sit pat for this Vandal scandal, as did the lead-dummied Romans, or resist it with all our might? True, our poisons are much thicker, more toxic and widespread. Will we prove strong enough to overcome them?
American business, art and science – even organized religion – benefited from massive peace inputs. Nonetheless, without really knowing why, Americans nursed racial bigotry, mass poverty, ethnic genocide, slavery and civil war. The main reason they subsidized weapon mentality, in blatant defiance of the Constitution, was to retain a razor-sharp weapon technology against outsiders. This in keeping with the Old World tradition of instant cutthroat by government command.
The proliferation of biological, scalar and nuclear weapons has confounded America’s moat defense. Thus is fading our sense of strategic invulnerability along with collateral prosperity and liberty.
From the Korean War to those in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, each became more expensive, unjustifiable, corrupting and harmful to our best institutions. Since such military adventures were bound to end up in failure and disgrace, American reactionaries made their way home to hunt among their own people for their next prey. Indigents, immigrants, minorities, women, children, drug users, victimless criminals, the homeless, mental patients, natural ecosystems— targeting anyone and anything that seemed vulnerable enough. The most obvious target in the near future, the elderly: numerous, ugly, wrinkled, smelly, feeble, decrepit, selfish, non-productive and not too bright. Perfect victims.
Remember, growing apprehension of outside threat multiplies homegrown reaction and poverty as each weapons elite pledges to protect its info proletariat from elites abroad (allegedly alien and horrid but actually identical in their shared humanity).
Radicals and reactionaries misbehave with boring predictability. Regardless of their origin, ideology, race and other cosmetic distinctions, they believe their society won't cohere unless it confronts a horde of potential enemies. Internal or external, make-believe or real, it matters little who those Others really are.
To leftists, the ultimate foes are the rich. Centrists’ favorite bogeymen are surly foreign powers and crafty criminals. Reactionaries define the enemy as anyone weak enough (in control of few votes and little wealth). All three of them esteem brutality as a cure-all.
These enemies often turn out to be illusory. When real threats emerge, they tend to do so from out of the blue. Many aggressors, (Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Osama bin Laden, for example), were initially funded by the same authorities hired to keep an eye on them.
When a new threat sets off alarms emplaced long ago to trigger vigorous defensive measures and checkmate them, jingo politicians plug their ears to early warnings of impending disaster and let them happen anyway, seemingly through sheer incompetence. In fact, they go to great lengths to provoke the violent reaction their real plans require.
In one sense, America’s strategic immunity based on oceanic moats has come to an end. According to our praetorians, we must submit to permanent weapon mentality – even in times of peace – and accept its overheads. Otherwise, we risk being relegated to second-class status. The question is: second-class to whom? When the United States sneezes, the other powers get pneumonia. During the 1970’s, the OPEC nations reversed their oil embargo; not because their chokehold had crippled the Great Satan, but because it was throttling the golden goose. They realized, a little late, that the real victims of their petroleum price hikes turned out to be the poorest of their allies and trading partners.
Rising crime and prisoner statistics, as well as the unemployment rate (double or more what is officially reported) sum up the raw deal of American weapon tyranny. These nightmare sums are nothing compared to the hell we may expect if we let smooth-talking Wimps and Prisms con us deeper into the Armageddon of their choice.
Just as peace management would seek to make life as productive and rewarding as possible, weapon management incites inequalities of wealth, creativity and security. Life must become so uncertain that military recruitment appears to many poor children like they’ve finally caught a break. Weapon mentality turns a vast labor pool of human drones into willing codependents of repression, warfare and criminality.
Remember, every suppressed demonstration, illegal arrest, unresolved act of police brutality and Banana Republican snarling for “Long live repression!” reveals a panicked elite lashing out against political nightmares more frightful to it than any real mob or insurrection. Picture zombie movie monsters as sick and starving proletarians to be massacred as soon as possible. You and your loved ones turned into a Catastrophe that requires the Final Solution.
Conservatives share a common weakness. They may sustain old values but cannot nurture new ones. Faithful to weapon mentality, they lack peace mentality’s creative spark.
It took three hundred years, from the 1200's on, for conservative European elites to adopt the zero in arithmetic.
Progressives cannot propose a new approach to abundance without conservatives resisting “to (someone else’s) death” beforehand. Conservatives cannot make themselves believe that everyone would be so much better off once wealth were shared more evenly; they refuse to picture the abundance they might achieve by unrestrained sharing. So they feel compelled to misappropriate wealth and creativity on a zero-sum basis. “What I gain, you must lose.”
This despite history’s most persistent lesson: societies remain poor insofar some minority misappropriates wealth. The smaller, in proportion, this wealthy minority remains, the more restricted and thus stupid its decision-making, the simpler its social structure and the poorer the host nation.
The genetic heritage of a restrictive elite must also suffer. The children of the elite, genetically weaker than sturdier crossbreeds, will suffer higher infant mortality in direct proportion to this restriction of worthy mates among their parents. A closed elite may eliminate itself entirely this way during the next natural stretch of heightened infant mortality.
Ancient wealth trickled like a mountain rivulet from a god-king to his tiny court hermetically sealed from the unwashed masses. It bubbled along creek-beds of medieval nobility and priesthood carefully walled off from their inferiors. It then streamed between the Victorian upper-bourgeoisie, clerics and general staff. These worthies held the masses at bayonet-point outside the magic circle of wealth.
Today, this wealth meanders along tributaries of professionals and officers/bureaucrats. They try to buy off the underclass at minimal expense, with factory-farmed burger-buns and idiot television (bread & circuses).
Before long, all the wealth on Earth will flow into the most deserving of seas, that of every Learner worldwide. At each stage of redistribution, as if by magic, everyone’s wealth (including that of the rich) increases exponentially.
Natural disaster and warfare weaken peace management. Social harmony is a delicate fabric woven from many strands of mutual trust, cooperation and good will. This web is fragile; it frays under stress and soon parts. During disasters, the distribution of necessities breaks down. That incites people to looting, personal vengeance and other forms of lawlessness. “Civilization is just a question of fodder,” Berthold Brecht. Facing unaccustomed overloads, routine protocols become sporadic, unfair and inadequate; rigidity, uncertainty and centralization set in. Opportunistic Conspirators of Greed proliferate, as does the synergy of their ill effects. Tyranny re-asserts itself as peace technologies whither. As the situation worsens, traumatized societies shift from marginal peace to climax weapon production—voila (vwahlah! “There you are!”) true war fever.
An intermittent pandemic appears to afflict entire societies. While majorities sink into economic and spiritual decline, a dwindling minority amasses unearned riches. Traditional values and sources of security are uprooted until combat itself begins to look promising.
This pandemic of social degeneracy was most apparent during the Great Depression. Even though the carnage of World War I (sic) may have converted most info proletarians into ardent pacifists; it had just as certainly converted key elites into fanatical weapon sectarians who made sure this Depression would so pummel info proletarian sensibilities that World War II came as a relief.
The best kind of mass military recruit is a slum child or one from a poor village. This Golden Rule of weapon mentality applies just as well to bitter ghetto berserkers as to the sweet majority of street urchins. The lucky ones survive their inevitable abuse. Their parents and guardians do their utmost to help them despite their limited means. Nonetheless, awash in self-loathing, slum children are driven to join something greater than themselves. Hardened survivors, they can handle grinding adversity, harsh discipline and the terrors of combat. Their gang leaders have been street-tested in armed combat. Those children who fail to adapt, die young.
The best preparation for surviving the Apocalypse would be to be born like Jesus: as a homeless child.
By following this simple formula, weapon management can harvest an enormous crop of fine infantrymen at an instant’s notice. The more brutal their childhood, the greater the number of valuable recruits and invaluable small unit leaders. The end products are countless regiments of fine infantry; a sprinkling of elite commandos manned by certifiable sociopaths; a handful of sterling leaders like Booker T. Washington, M.L. King, Jesse Jackson, Cornell West, General/Secretary of State Collin Powell and their high-merit peers; and throngs of poverty-, ignorance- and crime-crippled victims. They are the massive human tailings of a rarefied ore from which – at great wastage – precious battle elites and expert weapon technicians may be refined.
“The first quality of a soldier is constancy in enduring fatigue and hardship. Courage is only secondary. Poverty, privation and want are the schools of good soldiers.” Napoleon, taken from Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman’s On Killing: The Psychological Costs of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Back Bay Books, Little Brown & Co., Boston, New York, Toronto, London, 1995. Printed by permission.
Weapon management imposes long-term destitution on any society that accepts it. This fact is papered-over with standard weapon myths we have been conditioned to admire for ages. Anything and everything – bad weather, hostile gods, heretics, magicians and witches, druggies, drug lords and petty criminals, an aging workforce, welfare moms, inferior minorities, guerrillas and now terrorists – can take the blame for shriveling economies that should be thriving inside and out but never manage to.
How is it that after thousands of years of urban, civilized experience, we still suffer periodic economic collapses for no good reason, as if an Olympic runner would keeping tripping over his shoelaces? And nobody but me finds this strange?
For mature societies, mass poverty is never the cheapest way to go; on the contrary, it is the most expensive social policy. Let me repeat that for emphasis, since we’ve been told it so rarely in the past (never).
Poverty is by far the most expensive social policy.
No society ever grew rich by fostering poverty. Info elites waste enormous amounts of wealth as they cultivate poverty along with many other anti-profit weapons overheads.
By rights, that wealth should be ours to invest in peace. You would be amazed by the quality of peace that Learners could buy with it, along with the amount of violence Learners could buy off with a tiny fraction of it.
However, higher living standards breed spoiled, argumentative and self-indulgent people: totally unsatisfactory cannon fodder. Social decadence is not bad per se, but it would be unwise to maximize prosperity and pacifism in one’s own people while the rest of the world keeps meeting its needs at gunpoint.
Mass poverty is never some stupid policy failure; it is not the outcome of selfish greed, insanity and corruption. Those are mere symptoms of the underlying illness: weapon mentality.
In fact, all money – the entire growth-dependent, zero-sum shell game based on compound interest so dear to politicians, business people, academics and reactionary parasites who make up info elites – money is merely a system of accounting for the huge sums of labor and resources wasted to feed global weapon technologies without profit. “Lack of money” is our favorite excuse to rebuild anti-profit slums in the wake of our completely destructive wars.
Paraphrasing the late, great Ian M. Banks: the predominance of money betokens the poverty of a society that enslaves itself to it.
There is a chicken and egg problem here: what came first? When orthodox economies go into decline, for whatever reason, reflexive militarism becomes an irresistible means to reassemble wealth at the top. When massed humans become poor, all of a sudden, their first instinct will be to dust off ancient military protocols.
When I speak about Americans further on, I am also referring to all the others on Earth who’ve lost their soul in the naked embrace of weapon mentality. Make sure you are not suffering from the same disorder while you gleefully slam those Americans benighted by it.
Americans have suckled on a toxic pap of obsessive materialism and vapid self-gratification gushing inexhaustibly from the ample bosom of television and its commercial advertising. By such means, they’ve been taught to obey their conscience only when it’s convenient, common sense only when convenient, good taste only when convenient. Political and social transformation will never take place until it is convenient―or never at all, better yet.
They act as if their misdeeds, apathy and lousy decisions had no consequences. “If you don’t like the way we dumb-down the news, just change the channel. Better yet, sit still and wait for the next meaningless commercial. Nothing of significance will change, regardless what you do—and insignificance will proliferate, regardless of what you do.”
It has become a frenzy among them, to pursue mere indulgence to extremes and exult in their blind impunity. Thus do American crooks and bigots thrive, protected by a slapdash definition of personal freedom.
The “balanced” reporting of American journalism? That just means that evil will always be granted a head start. Whoever can pay more is entitled to lie, cheat, steal and get away with it indefinitely, more so than anyone who pays less. The end product of “balanced American reporting” is dollar democracy: one million dollars equal one vote, and one voter equals nothing.
Someone else is always to blame for downstream disasters, not us Americans. We never tire of telling ourselves those disasters were aberrations and not the toxic reflux of our rotten habits and institutions. No need to change!
Bismarck remarked that God seems to favor Americans, drunkards and crazy people. So Americans seem to get away with their shit storm, more often than not. As a result, America has become nation of spoiled brats: the ultimate outcome of every empire before its dissolution.
But the moment God looks the other way, duck and cover! From New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, disasters of biblical proportion emerge. At that point, Americans feel so sorry for themselves. And, of course, it must have been someone else’s fault. How could it not be so?
This nation’s business would not be so appalling if its citizens just matured a little—without going straight from childish petulance to churlish senility in the process.
But they are, after all, only babes compared to Europeans’ deadly lunacy a dozen centuries senior and that of the Middle East and China older by millennia. All we have to work with are toddler Americans plus everyone else end-stage infantilized, supposed to transform this world straight away. It will only be a few short years before annihilation overtakes the lot of us unless we grow up miraculously in the mean time. Good luck with this Children’s Crusade!
Until then, Americans (including do-nothing Democrats) are acting like a bunch of GMO corn fed Republicans, which means fascist wannabes who haven’t quite got it perfect yet. Just give the USA enough rope to hang itself. Ronnie Raygun wasn’t quite perfect, but nearly so. What with the Bushes and Nixon and Trump and their toadies in the Supreme Court and Congress; let’s just elect another Weimar Democrat, a plaster figurehead. Decorative but ineffectual, his relative honesty and competence are all that we can handle. Then his replacement can promote Hell on Earth. We are taking one step back and three forward, blindly, into the Thousand Year Reich wrapped in the red, white and blue!
In Iraq and Afghanistan, an American Army of mercenaries (anathema to the spirit of the Constitution) is practicing “pacification tactics” with the military occupation of Buffalo, St. Louis and Seattle in mind. But don’t worry, boys and girls, be happy! Just sit on your hands and watch it happen.
Nowadays, Americans may only hearken to arrogant nihilism and dogmatic Puritanism―moral vacuity or empty moralism for their own sake. Mere profit, dogma, fad and convenience: those are the only ethical bearings we are allowed to take. Might as well try to breathe in a vacuum.
There is a golden mean, a middle ground of fine morality this country and WeaponWorld despise. Is the road to Hell paved with good intentions? In your dreams, maybe. In reality, it is paved with Halliburton stock certificates (a Best Buy!).
Conscience, idealism, just plain doing good and shunning evil: those things merit reverence and emulation, if only because they cause fewer unexpected disasters. Obey your conscience – even if it seems uncool, inconvenient and unprofitable – and achieve unforeseen miracles. Violate good conscience, good sense and good taste, and suffer more often from surprise disaster. Good ethics and enlightened self-interest as the most likely behaviors to result in a good outcome. Ignore them at our peril.
After this jeremiad of American failure, I must emphasize a central point.
Given our Gemini commonality, we Americans share more power, glory and genius than any other nation. For centuries, America has been settled by the cream of the rest of the world―the very best and the very worst. If we chose to make wise, heroic and generous use of our advantages (in the typical American way) we could neutralize all our other liabilities.
Americans! Relax and let it all hang out. If we exercised our strongest sinews and nerves to their utmost practice of peace, we would find our efforts supernaturally graceful and unpredictably elegant—and their reward, mind-boggling compared to the mess we are coping with today.
The other alternatives will be no fun at all.