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America is a sick society
#41
Yes, we are a sick society.

But then, what should we expect? For the last 65-70 years, we have turned over the development and maintenance of our societal values to commercial television.
[fon‌t=Arial Black]"... a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition."[/font]
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#42
The most powerful virus of our sick society, besides our racist heritage, but fully allied with it, is neo-liberalism. The article hits it on the nose, and aims right at Galen's heart. Bulls-eye!

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems
Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

George Monbiot
Friday 15 April 2016 07.00 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 20 September 2016 05.50 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/a...?CMP=fb_gu

[Image: 2304.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f...0c49ba0d03]
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the White House.

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty......
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#43
[Image: 15672899_10211551156515452_3457720658901...e=58E83CEB]
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#44
(12-26-2016, 08:38 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: The most powerful virus of our sick society, besides our racist heritage, but fully allied with it, is neo-liberalism. The article hits it on the nose, and aims right at Galen's heart. Bulls-eye!

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems
Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

George Monbiot
Friday 15 April 2016 07.00 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 20 September 2016 05.50 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/a...?CMP=fb_gu

[Image: 2304.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&f...0c49ba0d03]
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the White House.

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty......

(12-26-2016, 11:08 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [Image: 15672899_10211551156515452_3457720658901...e=58E83CEB]
An excellent article, Eric, on the definition, origin, and manifestations of neoliberalism, the most pernicious variant of modern capitalism yet.  On the now-defunct 4T forum, I began a thread titled, "No Real Regeneracy Until We Replace the Neoliberalism That Still Reigns Supreme."  Neoliberalism is the predominant political/ economic system clinging to life in much of the Western world.

I believe it is time to revisit this ideology by beginning a separate thread on this relatively new 4T forum, which I now intend to do, if for no other reason than the fact that the Trump administration promises to deliver "neoliberalism on steroids."
Reply
#45
CNN is among those reporting Fights break out at malls across United States.

I've seen nothing to suggest motive or organization.  No suggestion that race or politics are involved.  I make a point of watching for an expanding Spiral of Violence.  The size and seemingly coordinated timing of the incidents would be notable if there was a faction wearing brown sheets, white shirts, or if the battle lines were divided by skin pigment.

I wouldn't put it past the main stream media to try to censor a protest message, but there are lots of ways to get news out these days.  Has anyone heard anything about the mall brawls being an organized action with a message?

The alternative might be worse.  The country is now tense enough that a notable and wide spread wave of incidents can erupt spontaneously, driven purely on day after Christmas crowding?

I'm scratching my head.  Anyone have any thoughts?
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#46
It could be stereotypical 3T gang violence (youth gangs in the time were usually apolitical). In one case the disturbance was firecrackers set off to divert attention from some organized shoplifting

No matter what the activity, it tends to become bigger, more resolute, and more organized in a 4T.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#47
(12-27-2016, 06:47 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote: CNN is among those reporting Fights break out at malls across United States.

...
The alternative might be worse.  The country is now tense enough that a notable and wide spread wave of incidents can erupt spontaneously, driven purely on day after Christmas crowding?

I'm scratching my head.  Anyone have any thoughts?

This is where my thinking is at ... no organization behind it, but the tension is continuing to be ratcheted up. The level of urgency in everything is escalating at unsustainable levels.

On a personal level I'm seeing it at work where every issue that previously would get assessed now must be resolved immediately, usually with no understanding of why.  I've been in meetings with several senior leaders in my org & been the one to ask if a new issue really should pull resources away from other important things going on, resulting in getting looked at like I have suddenly grown horns out of the sides of my head.

The recent wave of celebrity deaths just add to the idea that boomer leaders, and to a lesser degree Xers who are new to positions of authority, only have a limited amount to time to make their mark, whatever that means.

Everyone is saying that 2016 sucked.  I don't see any way that 2017 won't suck worse.
"But there's a difference between error and dishonesty, and it's not a trivial difference." - Ben Greenman
"Relax, it'll be all right, and by that I mean it will first get worse."
"How was I supposed to know that there'd be consequences for my actions?" - Gina Linetti
Reply
#48
Just saw this ...

(12-21-2016, 01:29 PM)The Wonkette Wrote:
(12-20-2016, 05:29 PM)David Horn Wrote: Our largest area city is small by urban standards (about 180.000 in the metro area), but lost it's main industry with the railroad pulled out.  Now, they make do with an active arts scene, ecotourism, and seven craft breweries.  Two large craft brewers are in the process of adding East Coast capacity too, so it may be a lot more than that in the near future.  The area also has about 12 small wineries.  I have two within 3 miles of me.

By comparison, Asheville NC has about 20 breweries and the winery at Biltmore Estate.    Ii assume there are other wineries as well.  Susan Brombacher would know better than me.

Lynchburg or Roanoke?

I was thinking of Roanoke, since Lynchburg seems determined to be the center of the Christian College universe.

The Wonkette Wrote:According to Google, there are a number of wineries near Asheville.  There is also quite an arts scene.

Yes, Ashville has really learned how to leverage the arts, wine and beer, and the great outdoors better than any other city its size.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#49
(12-25-2016, 07:05 PM)TnT Wrote: Yes, we are a sick society.

But then, what should we expect?  For the last 65-70 years, we have turned over the development and maintenance of our societal values to commercial television.

Good point!
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#50
(12-27-2016, 12:44 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote: I believe it is time to revisit this ideology by beginning a separate thread on this relatively new 4T forum, which I now intend to do, if for no other reason than the fact that the Trump administration promises to deliver "neoliberalism on steroids."

Every success holds the key to its own undoing.  I would have preferred another alternative than the GOP dominance we're about to endure, but it's the solution that happened.  The blame?  There's plenty to share, but fully 90% of it resides with the Democratic Party, and its habit of excessive self absorption.  Now, they get pulled into the street, and have to find their way.  If they fail, then they dissolve and are replaced.  In the end, the neoliberal model will fail, because it has no structural integrity, but in the interim, we will suffer the indignities we fully deserve.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#51
(12-25-2016, 07:05 PM)TnT Wrote: Yes, we are a sick society.

But then, what should we expect?  For the last 65-70 years, we have turned over the development and maintenance of our societal values to commercial television.

I had a merry little Christmas.  For the most part, I spent time with my Nephew’s family.  They have three kids, aged toddler to third grade.  Nice kids.  As it is easier for the world to travel to the kids rather than move kids and all their Christmas stuff about, everyone goes to the kids.

One of this years notable gifts was an iPad tablet computer for the toddler, with earphones for everybody.  As my nephew explained it, the toddler really doesn’t need a tablet, but car travel is so much easier when there are no fights over who gets the iPad.  The earphones are similarly not as much a gift for the kids as a gift for the adults in the front seat.

I tell you, we Boomers never had a computer for everybody when we travelled in the family car.

But the true function of iPods is to repeatedly play “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen.  In the midst of Christmas morning, the kindergarten aged girl held up a small plastic slender doll and called out to the toddler.  He of a very small vocabulary cried ‘Elsa!’ and rushed to take possession of the poor helpless piece of plastic.  Meanwhile, I was getting a bit tired of the constant replaying of ‘Let It Go’, usually on only one iPod at a time.

I might have gambled, but I have a copy of Frozen on my computer at home.  Once or twice a week I’ll open up iTunes and play the video myself.

But still.

The reason for having a sister who is a retired first grade teach is to ask the pertinent or silly question… why are kids so obsessed with ‘Let It Go’?

It turns out that kids at the age of Disney are displeased by constant discipline.  Elsa in the movie has great power, and with that comes a great responsibility to keep it under control at all times.  Her parents regularly push her to keep it all in.  In the song, as Elsa is singing “be the good girl you always have to be” she shakes a finger at her imaginary self.  The oppressive concept is of always toeing the line.  Let it Go is about releasing the discipline, enjoying the use and abuse of power, about being able to ignore the rules, do as one wants, enjoy the power while forgetting the discipline and responsibility.

My teacher sister noted than when most kids sing the song, they will shake their fingers at that point of the lyrics too.

So why am I telling this story in a post about America as a sick society?

I don’t see it as just the kids who want to let it go, who want to disregard virtues and responsibilities in favor of playing with the neat toys our culture can provide.  The planet is warming?  Frack it.  The deficit is growing?  Cut taxes.  A lack of regulation contributes to economic collapse?  Cut regulation.

Somewhere near the bottom of things is a childish desire to disregard discipline and virtue, to build a snowman under the pretense that there won’t be repercussions.

In the movie, love is the answer.  Maybe.  Maybe no.  Still, if love is the answer, we need to work on that too.
Reply
#52
(12-28-2016, 02:16 PM)David Horn Wrote:
(12-27-2016, 12:44 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote: I believe it is time to revisit this ideology by beginning a separate thread on this relatively new 4T forum, which I now intend to do, if for no other reason than the fact that the Trump administration promises to deliver "neoliberalism on steroids."

Every success holds the key to its own undoing.  I would have preferred another alternative than the GOP dominance we're about to endure, but it's the solution that happened.  The blame?  There's plenty to share, but fully 90% of it resides with the Democratic Party, and its habit of excessive self absorption.  Now, they get pulled into the street, and have to find their way.  If they fail, then they dissolve and are replaced.  In the end, the neoliberal model will fail, because it has no structural integrity, but in the interim, we will suffer the indignities we fully deserve.


I am tempted to believe that the GOP 'happy time' of political lockstep in which solutions not offered from outside the GOP are rejected completely will become a political disaster. People who will get hurt or left behind in the transformation of America into a "Christian and Corporate State" will go to the street, and they will organize politically.

The success of the Tea Party demonstrates that successful causes do not require well-honed politicians to change the majorities in Congress. It is about time for younger politicians in their 30s (by 2020 almost entirely Millennial adults) to have success in reaching high elective office. If Boomers like Hillary Clinton cannot excite them, then a Boomer like Donald Trump can offend them. Oh, so America is to be 'great' by becoming a high-price, cheap-labor country in which education is derided and partisan politics of one side shapes everything?

I see little evidence that Millennial adults would on the whole make political choices that hurt their children.

I expect that Donald Trump will replace the Awakening  ditty "All you need is Love" with "All you need is Work"... there will be plenty of work, as is the norm in any fascist society. The problem is that the pay attached to the work is a travesty, and that the work becomes destructive of human qualities.

If there is a dark side to the Millennial Generation is that it could morph into the reason-is-everything ethos of Jacobins and introduce the 2020 version of the guillotine (nitrogen asphyxiation?) as the solution to the presence of people unduly connected to the discreditable past.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#53
You have a point there about the Millennial Generation. I think they will upend neo-liberalism (libertarian economics) soon, but their rationalist solutions may leave out much of the human element, and restraint toward enemies could be lacking as the 4T climaxes.

The blame for the failure of the Democrats lies mainly with the people who vote Republican. There's no way to sugarcoat it. They fell for the deception of neo-liberalism. The people now wake up, or enter permanent sleep. It's our choice. Democrats have made mistakes, and lots of lousy Democratic nominees have been put up. Still, nothing can ever justify or excuse voting for any Republican in our era. Absolutely nothing. If people vote Republican, the responsibility for the problems of our country and our time rest upon themselves. They should know better; it's that simple.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#54
(12-28-2016, 06:09 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: You have a point there about the Millennial Generation. I think they will upend neo-liberalism (libertarian economics) soon, but their rationalist solutions may leave out much of the human element, and restraint toward enemies could be lacking as the 4T climaxes.

The blame for the failure of the Democrats lies mainly with the people who vote Republican. There's no way to sugarcoat it. They fell for the deception of neo-liberalism. The people now wake up, or enter permanent sleep. It's our choice. Democrats have made mistakes, and lots of lousy Democratic nominees have been put up. Still, nothing can ever justify or excuse voting for any Republican in our era. Absolutely nothing. If people vote Republican, the responsibility for the problems of our country and our time rest upon themselves. They should know better; it's that simple.

Eric, the reason the Dems lost is clear: the offered nothing.  You can't beat something with nothing, even something as cockeyed and half-baked as the 2016 GOP freak show.

Don't blame the voters.  Blame the losers.  They had all the advantages Trump lacked: vast amounts of money, GOTV operations and every flavor of expert, and they still managed to lose.  They simply sucked.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
Reply
#55
(12-29-2016, 10:48 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(12-28-2016, 06:09 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: You have a point there about the Millennial Generation. I think they will upend neo-liberalism (libertarian economics) soon, but their rationalist solutions may leave out much of the human element, and restraint toward enemies could be lacking as the 4T climaxes.

The blame for the failure of the Democrats lies mainly with the people who vote Republican. There's no way to sugarcoat it. They fell for the deception of neo-liberalism. The people now wake up, or enter permanent sleep. It's our choice. Democrats have made mistakes, and lots of lousy Democratic nominees have been put up. Still, nothing can ever justify or excuse voting for any Republican in our era. Absolutely nothing. If people vote Republican, the responsibility for the problems of our country and our time rest upon themselves. They should know better; it's that simple.

Eric, the reason the Dems lost is clear: the offered nothing.  You can't beat something with nothing, even something as cockeyed and half-baked as the 2016 GOP freak show.

Don't blame the voters.  Blame the losers.  They had all the advantages Trump lacked: vast amounts of money, GOTV operations and every flavor of expert, and they still managed to lose.  They simply sucked.

I blame the voters. The Democrats offered plenty. They didn't have the best possible candidate, and didn't pay enough attention to the Rust Belt and other red-state places. Of course. But I still blame the voters. We could have had a very good president, much better than she was as a candidate. The voters couldn't see that. They wanted the freak show instead. Well, 77,000 voters in 3 states did, for an electoral college win, that is. I am very well aware of whom Americans vote for; I've studied that, remember? Americans often simply do not vote properly; that is, when they bother to vote at all. It's always the peoples' fault if the wrong choice is made. That's democracy.

And it's not just the freak show. It's the continuing dominance of libertarian economics in all its aspects, that has us entrapped.

The Republicans managed to hire an appealing and entertaining freak, and his base of voters would have supported him even if he went out on 5th Avenue and shot someone. Sometimes it's just the breaks of who you have to run. Hillary was well-respected and had high approval ratings in 2014. I don't blame Democrats for going with her. They could not have foreseen Trump and his appeal, or even if Sanders had any chance (and he might have lost too anyway). Even I only foresaw what might happen after Trump and Sanders announced in the middle of 2015, and looked up their horoscopes. Sometimes it's just destiny, and in this case destiny is the character of the candidates. And that, my friend, to a large extent, is written in the stars.

I wonder if anyone will pay attention to what I say about the candidates for 2020.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#56
(12-29-2016, 06:32 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(12-29-2016, 10:48 AM)David Horn Wrote: Eric, the reason the Dems lost is clear: the offered nothing.  You can't beat something with nothing, even something as cockeyed and half-baked as the 2016 GOP freak show.

Don't blame the voters.  Blame the losers.  They had all the advantages Trump lacked: vast amounts of money, GOTV operations and every flavor of expert, and they still managed to lose.  They simply sucked.

I blame the voters. The Democrats offered plenty. They didn't have the best possible candidate, and didn't pay enough attention to the Rust Belt and other red-state places. Of course. But I still blame the voters. We could have had a very good president, much better than she was as a candidate. The voters couldn't see that. They wanted the freak show instead. Well, 77,000 voters in 3 states did, for an electoral college win, that is. I am very well aware of whom Americans vote for; I've studied that, remember? Americans often simply do not vote properly; that is, when they bother to vote at all. It's always the peoples' fault if the wrong choice is made. That's democracy.

It's not the job of the voter to sell a political agenda.  That's all on the politicians.  The Dems have sucked since the DLC took over in the '90s, and they only gotten sores with time.  I thought BHO would be the change agent that reset their thinking, but obviously not.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#57
(12-30-2016, 11:35 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(12-29-2016, 06:32 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(12-29-2016, 10:48 AM)David Horn Wrote: Eric, the reason the Dems lost is clear: the offered nothing.  You can't beat something with nothing, even something as cockeyed and half-baked as the 2016 GOP freak show.

Don't blame the voters.  Blame the losers.  They had all the advantages Trump lacked: vast amounts of money, GOTV operations and every flavor of expert, and they still managed to lose.  They simply sucked.

I blame the voters. The Democrats offered plenty. They didn't have the best possible candidate, and didn't pay enough attention to the Rust Belt and other red-state places. Of course. But I still blame the voters. We could have had a very good president, much better than she was as a candidate. The voters couldn't see that. They wanted the freak show instead. Well, 77,000 voters in 3 states did, for an electoral college win, that is. I am very well aware of whom Americans vote for; I've studied that, remember? Americans often simply do not vote properly; that is, when they bother to vote at all. It's always the peoples' fault if the wrong choice is made. That's democracy.

It's not the job of the voter to sell a political agenda.  That's all on the politicians.  The Dems have sucked since the DLC took over in the '90s, and they only gotten sores with time.  I thought BHO would be the change agent that reset their thinking, but obviously not.

We can agree on that much. Democrats need to do their job, and haven't done it as well as they could have.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#58
(12-28-2016, 02:42 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(12-25-2016, 07:05 PM)TnT Wrote: Yes, we are a sick society.

But then, what should we expect?  For the last 65-70 years, we have turned over the development and maintenance of our societal values to commercial television.


So why am I telling this story in a post about America as a sick society?

I don’t see it as just the kids who want to let it go, who want to disregard virtues and responsibilities in favor of playing with the neat toys our culture can provide.  The planet is warming?  Frack it.  The deficit is growing?  Cut taxes.  A lack of regulation contributes to economic collapse?  Cut regulation.

Somewhere near the bottom of things is a childish desire to disregard discipline and virtue, to build a snowman under the pretense that there won’t be repercussions.

An observation about something that startled and amazed me over the last ten years that relates to this:

The meme that's out and about tells us that our soldiers all suffered greatly from many deployments into the Middle East.  I know several firefighters and paramedics and EMTs who have been deployed.  Then return and go back to work at either one of the local fire services or EMS providers.

Then, surprisingly, they can't wait to be deployed again!!  Yes!

When I chat with them they tell me how much they enjoy the relative freedom, the cameraderie, the simplicity of life.  The "rules" are straightforward.  You work, you blow stuff up, you shoot stuff, you fly stuff, you eat, you sleep, you drink, you enjoy one-another's company.  And then people call you a "hero."  And you get to be a part of something that seems much larger than yourself.  

Quite a lot of self-actualization of a type that's rare and very hard to find in domestic society these days.
[fon‌t=Arial Black]"... a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition."[/font]
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#59
(01-02-2017, 04:43 PM)TnT Wrote: An observation about something that startled and amazed me over the last ten years that relates to this:

The meme that's out and about tells us that our soldiers all suffered greatly from many deployments into the Middle East.  I know several firefighters and paramedics and EMTs who have been deployed.  Then return and go back to work at either one of the local fire services or EMS providers.

Then, surprisingly, they can't wait to be deployed again!!  Yes!

When I chat with them they tell me how much they enjoy the relative freedom, the camaraderie, the simplicity of life.  The "rules" are straightforward.  You work, you blow stuff up, you shoot stuff, you fly stuff, you eat, you sleep, you drink, you enjoy one-another's company.  And then people call you a "hero."  And you get to be a part of something that seems much larger than yourself.  

Quite a lot of self-actualization of a type that's rare and very hard to find in domestic society these days.

This is a story well worth telling and I doubt not at all its truth.  You might want to pick up On Killing by Dave Grossman, a book on the psychological aspects of war.  Comradeship under fire is extraordinary.  Doing one's duty and being considered heroic can be ultimately satisfying.  Humans evolved in a high conflict environment, and the instincts for handling conflict are still there.  Killing is sometimes cost effective in the heartless Darwinian world of the survival of the fittest, and yet killing can also cripple a breeding group if done in excess.  We evolved with a complex set of check and balance instincts that encourage certain behaviors while discouraging others.  Alas, modern weaponry and tactics have changed how war is experienced.  A fighter pilot and a swordsman have very different experiences of conflict.  Instincts that evolved for hunter gatherers sometimes work well today, and sometimes not.

Remember, not all people are the same, and not all war experiences are the same.  Not all our soldiers suffered greatly, but that is far from saying that none have.

Grossman provides a good outline for how the military handles combat stress and tries to extend it to police work.
Reply
#60
(01-02-2017, 04:43 PM)TnT Wrote:
(12-28-2016, 02:42 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(12-25-2016, 07:05 PM)TnT Wrote: Yes, we are a sick society.

But then, what should we expect?  For the last 65-70 years, we have turned over the development and maintenance of our societal values to commercial television.


So why am I telling this story in a post about America as a sick society?

I don’t see it as just the kids who want to let it go, who want to disregard virtues and responsibilities in favor of playing with the neat toys our culture can provide.  The planet is warming?  Frack it.  The deficit is growing?  Cut taxes.  A lack of regulation contributes to economic collapse?  Cut regulation.

Somewhere near the bottom of things is a childish desire to disregard discipline and virtue, to build a snowman under the pretense that there won’t be repercussions.

An observation about something that startled and amazed me over the last ten years that relates to this:

The meme that's out and about tells us that our soldiers all suffered greatly from many deployments into the Middle East.  I know several firefighters and paramedics and EMTs who have been deployed.  Then return and go back to work at either one of the local fire services or EMS providers.

Then, surprisingly, they can't wait to be deployed again!!  Yes!

When I chat with them they tell me how much they enjoy the relative freedom, the cameraderie, the simplicity of life.  The "rules" are straightforward.  You work, you blow stuff up, you shoot stuff, you fly stuff, you eat, you sleep, you drink, you enjoy one-another's company.  And then people call you a "hero."  And you get to be a part of something that seems much larger than yourself. 

Kind of illustrates just how little freedom we have left and how much progressive regulatory regimentation has infiltrated all aspects of everyday life.
Reply


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