“There is no home of the brave”
Archive for the ‘Human Identity’ Category
This is a reply to an email. My reply is in regular print, the quote of the person I’m replying to is in italics.
I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but what I think I understand I disagree with. It sounds like you’re saying that many people who are suffering psychologically are actually, although they don’t recognize it, suffering from all the cruelty going on in the world that it’s beyond their control to stop. It would be pretty easy to empirically evaluate this thesis (perhaps it’s already been done). I think many more people suffer from “real” psychological problems such as manic-depression or from “real-world” problems like drug or alcohol abuse.
I very much doubt that anyone has evaluated that thesis – your stance on this matter is the status quo one. Very little of reality is ever evaluated. Systems of power have no interest in evaluation unless it serves their purpose. You said it quite well yourself in the mid ’90s when you commented about how much time was spent developing video games (unreality) – what is advertising and propaganda if not un-reality? How much time is spent on that versus analyzing truth? The Neoconservative mantra is “We create reality”. That is to say, their mantra is “Our propaganda becomes your truth”.
My thesis is based on the observation that “psychological abnormality” increased greatly during the 20th century, to the point where a shrink is on every streetcorner and the pharmaceutical industry is a behemoth.
By “real” psychological problems I assume you believe there to be primarily a genetic basis for the problems. If I’m correct about a great rise in psychological problems in the 20th century there cannot be a genetic basis for it, since the genetic profiles in question changed very little over such a short time span.
An argument against my position is that there are not more psychological problems than there used to be – it’s just that what used to be non-diagnosed now has been given a label – so what used to be a “normal” or an “unlabeled” human now might be called a “manic-depressive”.
My argument is that psychological profiles, including what are deemed “problems”, are primarily caused by the environment. My argument identifies several factors as providing major psychological and social traumas which result in “psychological abnormality”. After listing these factors I will explain why the 20th century is unique and why the problems of past centuries did not have the same psychological results.
One is the schizophrenic factor of a populace which simultaneously applauds freedom while engaging in imperialism. This factor accelerated in the mid 20th century when much of the third world gained a measure of independence.
The twin terrors of constant threats of nuclear annihilation and global environmental collapse (which boil down to the same thing) cause a kind of darkness and perpetual depression.
Massive endemic propaganda and schizophrenic doublethink, as outlined by Orwell.
More schizophrenia – support for corporations (unaccountable private tyrannies – command economies like mini-versions of the communist state) and simultaneously support for democracy.
The military-industrial complex and the notion of “perpetual war for perpetual peace”.
It’s funny how we have no problem identifying elements specific to the 20th century in some ways (like pertaining to culture) but somehow can’t quite grasp that psychology is also derived from the environment.
Propaganda derives from the rise of mass media and the public relations industry, which only became systematized by the elite in the early 20th century. Propaganda directly targets the mind – seeking to colonize it with disinformation and irrational directives. Somehow, though, the status quo position, such as outlined by yourself, which is allied with this propaganda, doesn’t seem to understand that propaganda affects psychology.
Prior to the 20th century, the major projection of power was done by force. Psychology is fairly irrelevant when facing a gun. With the “civilizing” of the state in the 20th century it switched to propaganda as the primary means of control of the populace – therefore psychological control – therefore psychological resistance by the populace – therefore psychological problems deriving from the battle over control of the mind.
Take the example of Argentina in the 1970s. This culture had perhaps the highest per capita rate of psychologists/psychiatrists in the world. It was also a fascist state which tortured and terrorized it’s citizens – and in terms of propaganda was neo-nazi. The mass media state churns out psychological victims who are then serviced by the psychology industry. It’s no surprise at all that the psychology industry and the mass media industry rose to prominence at the same time.
The role of psychologists is to control the interpretation of psychic victims – to say that “it’s all in your head” and that talking, coming to “realizations” which never have to do with the state (usually have to do with the family and/or personal traumas), and/or use of drugs is the solution. Of course the state doesn’t pay the fee despite causing the event – the fee goes to people who are accredited by the state itself (through the educational system).
There is a kind of comfort in your position. Humans always blame something they can attack – the ruling class is nearly immune from attack and therefore can’t possibly be the problem, according to the logic of comfort and convenience. However, if enough humans recognize the truth of my evaluation they will find that the ruling class can indeed be attacked, and perhaps fatally.
Learning is suffering. This process of learning can be ongoing, sporadic, or it can be turned off entirely. Most humans turn it off from an early age and throw away the key.
Criminals are those who need to change, not victims. When doctors prescribe pills for those people who “haven’t adjusted”, that’s like treating a stabbing by only focusing on the victim. Society commits crimes just as individuals do, and society must be held just as responsible as individuals for any such crimes.
Psychologically, taking pills for a problem “fixes” the problem. But the problem is like a stabbing – it doesn’t fix the problem because the perpetrator is not brought to justice, doesn’t learn from his crime, and most likely continues to commit like crimes. By taking pills the victim not only ruins his own perception of the incident(s) which led to the pills, he is himself committing a crime against humanity, since he is not bringing to justice the criminal who abused him. This leads to more crimes, more victims, and more people who think the best solution is for them to take pills.
Various psychological terms used by doctors are not objective or any other kind of truth – they are explanations. Here’s a better truth than that used by anyone who proscribes pills – humans find happiness in different ways and humans respond differently to the world. Humans who “suffer” from a “psychological disease” are instead humans who are sensitive to the crimes of society. They suffer not so much from the world but from the complete lack of help they receive in the world, a world that prefers to let the criminal continue to rampage while “fixing” the victim with pills.
The final solution in this monstrous procedure is for the victim to transform his experience into normality. That is to say, for stabbings and other abuse to become normal, and no longer be considered a crime. This is always the project of the criminal class, that is to say the ruling class. Under this project taking pills is a necessity. That is to say, anyone who takes pills to “fix” the problems caused by society is collaborating with that criminal society.
People who are not sensitive to the crimes still have the crimes perpetrated on them – they just aren’t conscious of it. It’s the responsibility of those who are sensitive to stop the crimes from being committed – this is the whole point of the counter-project to the extermination of morals being perpetrated by the ruling class.
People who take pills know all of this on some level, but reject it because of their lack of power in stopping the criminal. That is to say, *they themselves* can’t destroy the ruling class and stop their crimes, so they consider the best solution to be for them to take pills, in a sense destroy themselves, and call it a day. Conveniently, the knowledge that this “solution” is itself a crime is whitewashed by the same pills causing their other sufferings to “go away”.
I agree that “you yourself” can’t stop the crimes of the criminal class. All people who have stopped the criminal class throughout history have done so through massive organizing efforts.
“I feel most alive when I am shopping”
A refrain spoken by few and felt by many
Toys ‘R Space, a Walmart superstore is the American Dream
The Good Life for the buyers, hell for the makers, power for the exploiters
Fun, fun, happiness, pleasure, always the endless smile
First for us, then for them, the American Myth
Our capitalism, our free market, our democracy, our way of life
The wage slaves see the endless smiles and wonder
What will happen to them when the myth is shown the truth?
Saw what happened to Iraq when Saudis attacked
But the truth can be ignored so long as there is a good life to lead
There are so many things in the world, and so little time to touch them
So little time to expropriate them, so little time to own them
So much need to maintain the good life at all costs
Victims, victims, the skin color really doesn’t matter
Racism is a convenience, hatred a tool
Abusing women is just good practice for the world
It feels good to ignore the poor, it feels good to ridicule them
So here America is – it’s decided Walmart is horrible
So it shops somewhere somewhat less horrible and calls it righteous
So here America is – it’s decided a war against Iraq is horrible
But a war against Iran – maybe that’s fine
So here America is – there America was – and there it will be
Deciding that vast human suffering is worth the good life
The End of History started the decade of doom
The dream of solidarity had died
Quiet warriors turned to battle the US government
A dead people consumed cheetos and television
Aliens, aliens, aliens were everywhere
Conspiracy theories celebrated despair and irrationality
Jerry Springer maintained the social nightmare
Rush Limbaugh kept Americans in a state of panic
Noone was outraged – noone had the spirit remaining
On campuses the elite walked with headphones turned on and the world turned off
The elite dreamt of wealth, and drugs, and parties, and sex
They lived their dreams when they could, self-pitied when they could not
Atomization was both a state of mind and a condition of reality
The world would collapse in 2000, so the elite told us
As businesses quickly moved to solve the “Y2k crisis”
Ebola was everywhere, but never global warming or imperialism, oh no
Global warming had it’s critics you see, and American imperialism was a conspiracy theory
So there we were at the end of the 1990s –
Depressed, abused, fearful, manipulated, and utterly exploited
And the worst would be yet to come
The greatest lie you’ll ever be told is that your soul is inside your body
Trapped there, unable to be free, unable to be shared
Only free upon your death, so godspeed your death
You’ll find your soul out there, manufactured from love
And hope, and despair, and your greatest longing
It is the deluded who are afraid, they who protect their souls at all costs
It is they for whom the “truth” that self-preservation is an inalienable prerogative was invented
If you’re a soul-seeker you’re a path-forger
You can drop off a cliff at any time, so watch your step
They who can barely breathe and never walk will call you a coward
And evil, and many other things
So good life to you as you walk always questioning
They are filled with American culture. Why don’t they ever have that kind of abortion?
I hope you like this poem
I hope you learn a lot
I hope you become a better person
But even if you do
Keep your wallet in your pocket
I don’t want your money
I don’t want your respect
I don’t want your gratitude
I don’t want your fancy words
I don’t want you
All I want is dignity
All I want is to do what I want
All I want is to avoid starvation
To share love, to maybe have a family
To live well, and to live free
Stop honoring garbage times
Stop honoring garbage men
Your choice is not Lennon or Limbaugh
Stop imagining all the people
Start living your own life
Must make my hair pretty, my eyes sparkle, my lips curve upward
Now to draw some meat into my comforting warmth
I like those violent men who bring me riches
My baby needs everything
I love rapists, the legal rapists they call “businessmen”
Do your raping out there, I demand to be treated with the utmost respect
Societal problems? Poverty? I’m just a sweet woman
I do no harm. They call me righteous and I agree
My baby deserves everything
My baby will receive everything
Every day a new start, every shower a new day
Every smile greets the day, every day fades that smile
They cannot see the dark, cannot feel their pain
Cannot experience unhappiness
They are blessed, they are special, an exception
Their smiles indicate their permanent success
Always selling themselves, their face their PR agent
Their cynicism knows no bounds – strangers are met with a mask
In society they calculate their profit
At home they use their profit – they finally live
Until it’s time for another day, another shower, another smile
I’m a very unhappy person. The list of reasons is not exactly short. Most Americans are very much like myself in many regards, except they are smiling. They smile all the time. Furthermore, Americans smile much more than any other people. Furthermore, after exposure to Hollywood other people, especially Europeans, smile much more than they used to (not nearly up to American standards though). This incessant smiling does not extend to cultures not affected by America.
There is an obvious discrepancy between the state of America and the state of the faces of Americans. This makes it seem as if Americans are schizophrenic. Reality on the one hand, the expression on their faces on the other.
I sense that once Americans begin to frown, America will begin to improve. Once Americans let their reality extend to the reality they want to project to the world they’ll begin to find their strength.
Why has noone answered the question of why Americans much more than any other people in human history want to project a smile to the world? Look at Ronald McDonald. Mickey Mouse. BIG-ASS fucking smiles. George W. Bush grins all the time. It’s a condescending leer/grin rather than the maniacal giddiness of the other two, but it’s still a smile.
American culture at this point may in fact be insane. Maybe it always was.
I like you. I’m happy to be your friend. I’m happy to continue to hear from you in any way you’d like. However, I’m not your friend unless you treat me like you treat your other friends.
It’s curious to see someone “playing the retard” in a movie. Or “playing the homosexual”. Or “playing the black man”. Or “playing the sidekick”. There’s a reason they call them “roles”.
And we wonder why stereotypes are so common. That we boil human identity down to one trait is quite possibly related.
What’s behind this necessity to see humans in terms of one trait? Humans never see themselves in these terms. A white man recognizes he’s white but if society didn’t treat that as important he hardly would. Humans care about their entire lives, not one trait of their identity. How many black people define their most important trait as “being black” rather than “being kind” or “being strong” or “being part of a family”? Why are so many movies with black people about them being black instead of kind, strong, or familial?
Why do people “play the homosexual” regardless of the content of the movie but only if the movie is entirely about sex do they have the ability to “play the heterosexual”? Heterosexuals can do things in movies that have little or nothing to do with their sexuality – for homosexuals however everything has to be related to their sexuality.
Retardation and physical deformity is probably the most clear example of this. These defects are typically exploited into making “feel good” movies about overcoming adversity – nevermind that every human has adversity and frankly, it’s enjoyable watching just about anyone overcome it. If you only watched movies you’d think everyone with a mental defect was utterly narcissistic.
So retards are good for feel good movies, homosexuals are good for breaking sexual taboo movies (nevermind that homosexuality is the lamest of all possible sexual taboos), how can black people be simplified and exploited?
For being victims of racism – this serves the dual purpose of making white people feel good about themselves. However, even this mundane topic is often too squeamish for the exploiters. “Magical negro” is always a good one. Playing them as mystical creatures. Or “bestial negro”. However, it appears that blacks are slowly moving off this list. More and more they are appearing in movies where they are complete human beings, rather than being caged and simplified. That’s not progress, that’s doing what should have been done all along. Progress is if we went beyond that to a greater reality.
Many others are on the list as well. Political radicals, transvestites, indigenous third worlders, free thinkers, warriors, just about any trait mainstream culture finds “interesting”. I find the corpse of mainstream culture “interesting”.
When will the slavery end? When will culture stop putting “interesting specimens” in cages and treating them as objects to be studied?
When will movies start being about humans? That’s the only role that should ever occur. Humans with all of their varying traits treated as just that – the many traits within each human identity.
Beginning in the early 1990s and mostly occurring in the late ’90s to present, I’ve asked many people to debate me. None have accepted. The total asked is around a dozen. At first this really bothered me, since to me debating is kind of like breathing. A world without debate is zombie-esque. To be fair, some people do debate me, but never in a formally acknowledged debate setting. Only by stealth-debate do they debate. Mention the word “debate” and they flee.
This has gotten much worse in recent years. There’s a kind of pall over any kind of thinking – it’s as if people look to some authority or another for their position, which they can parrot effectively but never understand in depth. It’s almost as if Americans are afraid of thought itself. This is curious because these same Americans sometimes acknowledge the fascism in America, which would seem to make them especially eager to debate and establish a democratic pattern of behavior.
I sure hope America starts to debate soon, before it’s too late.
Communicating fear is what gets me called evil and shunned by pretty much everybody.
We live in a time of a fear so vast that people cannot express it. Only after World War II, when nuclear holocaust became a constant threat, does everyone smile. Now everyone is happy, or should I say “happy”. This “happiness” began in America, and radiated outward (as you might expect, Europe caught on next, and Japan). Before World War II people smiled much less often – you can verify this by studying old pictures of Americans. There are parts of the world where the people still don’t often smile – they are called “uncivilized” by the apparently “civilized” people who are so fearful of modern life that they suppress it.
While most humans place happiness on their surface and despair below the surface, for me it’s just the opposite. Because I communicate despair and great fear people believe I’m encouraging them to despair and be fearful – little do they know that I already know they are despairing and fearful. What I’m encouraging them to do is to bring despair and fear to their surface, to express it, to communicate it.
My approach is not only outside the mainstream, it’s outside the appreciation of all but a very small number of people I’ve met, and none of those people really had an understanding of what I was doing (they just had a kind of sense of comraderie).
Try to understand what it’s like to have to decide when you meet a person whether you’re going to help them and be shunned by them or leave them to their surface “happiness” and inner despair and be welcomed by them. That’s the choice I am met with every day – and people then wonder why I seem to not like people sometimes.
What humans really hate about me is that I poke and prod and recognize and bring to light things about their own emotions that they would rather not deal with – they worry that the fear will consume them.
I’m nothing special, and the fear that I live with constantly does not consume me. There is no need to smile. There is no need to be “happy”. It’s precisely because I communicate fear that I live a life of hope and happiness. That is to say, it’s precisely because I don’t live a life of fake happiness that I can live a life of real happiness.
But every time a human shuns me, it causes me greater despair. Because by shunning me they are rejecting hope, they are rejecting the bringing to their surface all of their fear and unhappiness.
Humans have no idea how much trouble they are in. They have no idea what tremendous damage they are doing to themselves and to society by this fake happiness, this constant smiling. Take a look at George W. Bush to see the future of America – the future of a society so self-deluded, so invested in the concept that they must be happy at all costs and for any reason that they lose all concept of Rationality and true reality.
I hope that on my gravestone it can be written that I taught the world how to frown. But perhaps, if the rest of my life is any indication, my gravestone too will be shunned.
Stop taking your happy pills, America.
One reason is as a legacy of imperial expansion concerning the extermination of the indigenous population. However, I see that as itself a mere application of the underlying issues.
In America everyone is self-righteous. Every American sees himself as “good”. Jostle someone off-balance in a crowded area and you often get an angry response, as if the jostling was a personal affront. To Americans I guess it is. Americans act as if there is no solidarity, and they therefore have to constantly defend themselves against an aggressive or at least uncaring world. Ironically, this process and pre-consideration *creates* an aggressive and uncaring world.
There is tremendous insecurity in Americans. They act as if tomorrow they could wake up to a shattered life, that their destiny is entirely out of their hands. This feeds into greed, the feeling that one always has to have more more more, to secure oneself against the considerable possibility of having less, less, less. The Hoarding instinct is strong with them.
The combination of Individual Goodness and Insecurity is a fatal mix for society. While Americans inevitably believe themselves to be always good, they have no such feelings about the rest of Americans, especially ones with obvious differences from them (such as a different ethnicity). They are more than ready to interpret any action they don’t like as being *Evil*, and more than ready to show their Good selves by taking matters into their own hands. This is done for an obvious reason: they are the only ones they are *sure* are Good. Maybe the police won’t see the evil for what it really is and let them go. Maybe the police will be too lenient on them when Evil always deserves a horrible fate. Maybe a tolerant jury won’t exact the right justice. Maybe a rich lawyer will get them off, and then the Evil will return to destroy the Good (themselves). Evil is devious… maybe their hesitation in not immediately destroying the Evil will allow it to continue.
The Bible’s influence should not be neglected: American culture is steeped in religion and Christianity. God is schizophrenic, but God can certainly be vengeful, and there are no limits to the ways in which Evil is treated. Evil, one can say, brings out the Evil in God.
So they, necessarily Good Americans, need to be agents of good, agents of God. And they are honored by God when an opportunity arises, when Evil emerges, to display their Goodness and ease their insecurity regarding their morality by exterminating the Evil. Killing Evil is like taking a really good shower. Cleansed in God’s love.
Exterminating evil then serves two purposes: fulfilling the will of God and securing one’s own moral and material status. Calvinism links the moral with the material – a poor life is necessarily an immoral one.
Because the law deems all Americans non-evil (or at least to have equal rights), most Americans fear to act on their own assessment of the evil of some of their neighbors, that others will not see the evil as they do. So they take out their wishes vicariously, by watching righteous violence on television or at the movie theater. How lucky these people are, Americans think, to not have an oppressive law to stop them from fighting evil. When Americans know the law is weakly enforced, such as in the American South with respect to black people, there’s no need to applaud for violence on the movie screen and they can take on a more pleasing role. The blood can be on their hands.
It should be obvious at this point that the American culture I’m describing has no hope of solidarity. It’s a culture quite directly opposed to solidarity. Which means that before we can have socialism in America we need to transform the culture into something conducive to it.
When I was on a messageboard called Quarter to Three I was always amazed at the many stories of neighbors doing something the speaker didn’t like, but instead of talking to the neighbor about it the speaker would plot some sort of revenge, or wring their hands about what to do. It was apparent that their view of the neighbor was very negative, with some mixture of fear and antipathy, perhaps hatred for this bad person, Evil person. They considered talking a kind of quaint notion which only served to display their own ignorance regarding evil and their weakness at displaying this ignorance would just make the evil person more aggressive.
God bless America. That is to say, God, you’d better fucking bless America to try to make up for all the shit you’ve caused it.
Niles, Michigan is a small town near the southwestern corner of Michigan, information provided here. It’s a white ghetto, inspiring a generation of youth to want to leave. In that way it’s very much like most small towns in the Midwest, I strongly suspect. As I relate these stories you’ll see what I’m talking about. These are stories from my youth. Each of them focuses on one person I know from growing up in Niles.
I think I met Chris Alford in 9th grade upon entering Niles High School, although it’s possible I met him in 7th grade upon entering Ring Lardner Junior High School. He went to a Catholic elementary school called St. Mary’s in Niles, and along with friends comprised a social group that I more or less joined through high school.
Chris probably more than anyone else I knew in high school changed over the course of those years – or became revealed. For historical perspective my high school years were 1988-1992.
Chris was perhaps the most tragic figure of a town steeped in tragedy. He began high school, as far as I could tell, a fairly happy person. Either that or I was just ignorant, which is entirely possible. In any case, over the years various troubling events and facts began emerging to and around Chris:
There was a dark despair present in his household. His mother was perpetually worried – his father was sullen, depressed, and angry. At least the one time I saw him – I did not often visit Chris at his house. He lived off a dirt road in a kind of modified farm house – large tracts of open land all around – miles away from the town’s center. I first saw an Amiga at Chris’s house, which was playing Sim City, a game he enjoyed immensely. Chris was very intelligent and highly adept at games of skill, which we often played at his house along with other friends. He was, generally speaking, the best player at these games and often won. There was a certain tension present during these games which I did not understand at the time, but would become apparent later.
Chris’s state of mind was tenuous due to his clearly unstable home life. His biggest problem during those years however was most likely his friendship with Brian Malone. The two grew up together at least as far back as their early St. Mary’s years. The Malones were perhaps the most malevolent family in Niles. From lack of data I can’t piece together the exact situation, but Brian had serious social problems, again deriving from his home life. It’s sad to think that I treated all of this as normal at the time, and everyone else treated it as normal as well. We were all fucking ignorant. I may cover Brian in more detail in a separate post.
There were two highly memorable events which occurred late in Chris’s high school years. In Calculus class he told me (convincingly) that he had recently beaten up a younger black kid for no good reason. After school one day he gave me a ride home and turned the channel to Rush Limbaugh, which was my first exposure to that. The reader can decide whether the two events were related. This experience left me so angry at him that we had a minor altercation later.
The other notable memory I have of Chris is his very high level of insecurity regarding a dating relationship with Julie Blair. This goes beyond even a shy kid’s or virgin’s insecurity.
Chris and I went to the same college after high school, and a couple memorable events happened there. He stated that he only wanted to make money, and that he was going through a religious change (I’m not clear on my memory of the latter). He also told me that beggars are professionals who profit from it (kind of like con artists).
Once I complete a few of these pieces I’ll start putting together the “big picture” of Niles.
In a corrupt world the only rational approach is one of anguish. Anguish, struggle, conflict, victory, and finally an end to the corruption. And then the vigilance to make sure it never, ever, happens again.
I’ve closely examined the human reaction to my anguish over the years. It began with ignorance in the ’80s, and one could chart the progression of knowledge and awareness as human culture gained experience of the conditions that produce this anguish. People moved from ignorance of me to calling for me to “get help” to finally responding to me positively by helping themselves.
Today, I have more hope than ever that people will solve their problems. Culture is starting to recognize the crises that produce the anguish that I display and they conceal. People are starting to realize that they need to fix the world, not exploit the world.
I hate drama. I wish people could have realized this twenty years ago, when things were less desperate. It may be true that it’s “better late than never”, but hopefully people will take the phrase “better sooner than later” more seriously in the future.
Pills don’t fix the world. Humans understand that now.
My first “project”, beginning many years before my official intellectual life, was to penetrate the psychic, emotional, and intellectual barriers of individual humans and to learn their identity. By this I mean that every person has a kind of individual barrier around himself, by which he regulates his interactions with the world, by which he controls his actions, regulates incoming stimuli, etc. Collectively this is called someone’s “personal space”. Humans very much value this space (that is to say, having the personal remain personal) – transgressing it is an intimate act with all the dangers and benefits that holds.
Extremely early in life I recognized a deep void in many if not all humans i met. the most accurate single word for this is “nihilism”. Most humans are incapable of recognizing this void, and even if they recognize it they seem helpless to do anything about it. As I became more and more alarmed which then turned to sheer panic as I saw more of it and more of its effects (such as social disintegration) I took on the project of transgressing against people’s personal space in order to learn more about them in order to help them.
I of course immediately recognized this as abusive, but I also recognized that the nihilism itself was abusive to both the individual and society, and I felt I didn’t have the time (or rather, that the world didn’t have the time) for an approach more respectful of personal space or individual will.
One intellectual crisis I’m currently going through is the debate of whether or not America is starting to effectively deal with this nihilism, at which time it will no longer be necessary for me to continue this project.
I am most likely reaching the point of ending the project.
My understanding of the Neoconservatives is controversial to say the least. It’s becoming more clear to me that I’m correct, and it’s thus fairly critical that my position be addressed since it has serious implications. Watching these will help…
It’s controversial really in only one respect: I believe that the Neocons did not abandon their Trotskyist roots. From this belief derives a completely different understanding of what the Neocons are all about. My belief accounts for more reality, for more facts than the standard line. It accounts for everything.
The standard line is this: the Neocons were Trotskyists in the 1960s who abandoned the left and became conservatives in the 1970s, forming right-wing think tanks, manipulating the White House during the 8 years of the Reagan Administration and the 12 years of the Bush white houses.
There are some problems with that theory. The most critical is that throughout the Neocon years capitalism was highly respected, and with the fall of the Soviet Union capitalism was top dog. The corporate world was getting massive profits. Everything was joyful for the corporate elite.
But at this time of massive joy for the right in America, the Bush II Administration went bonkers, well beyond anything they had done under Reagan or Bush I. They never would have dreamed of things like the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, or destroying Habeas Corpus under Reagan or Bush I, so what changed?
The standard line has a response for this: what changed was 9/11, fear in America, and the manipulation of that fear into what they wanted to do all along… quest for world domination, execute a totalitarian state, and all the rest.
I’ve taken a clear look, free from all propaganda on all sides, at the actual emotions of Americans following 9/11. I did this intentionally. I completely agree that there was fear and rage for the first six months or so following 9/11, and a lot of successful manipulation occurred by the Bush Administration by means of this. But Americans returned to normal after that period, with one minor exception: they became more despondent. They knew on an emotional level if not always on an intellectual level what the government was doing, and they recognized the terrible repercussions it would have.
So the standard line made one critical error: they believe that there is a continuing culture of 9/11-fueled fear in America.
Because things were relatively normal emotionally in America, the argument that the Bush Administration successfully prosecuted the Iraq war and all the rest by means of fearful Americans is false. So then, what’s actually going on?
People who are joyful want to maintain their status. It doesn’t make sense for capitalism, at such a good time for itself, to push things to the limit. If capitalists want one thing it’s for nothing to stop their profits. Why then try to foment a revolution?
Why install the Patriot Act? Why implement the Military Commissions Act? Why remove Habeas Corpus? Why continue to lie, manipulate, deceive, and invent totally new and monstrous ways to run the executive branch of the US government, at the very moment of capitalism’s peak? Why seem to know no bounds of ambition?
The standard line is again wrong: it says that these people believe themselves to be untouchable. That they see 9/11 as their justification for everything. They they see themselves as the saviors of the world.
It’s all wrong. I have a different view, one that is much more reasonable and much better fits the facts.
The New Left of the 1960s, which included the Trotskyists who would later become the Neoconservatives, saw themselves following the collapse of the New Left in the 1970s as a terrible failure. They blamed themselves, and they blamed the world. Their overriding reason for this failure was in their approach: they naively believed they could change the world. According to them, the world was too entrenched, too fatalistic, too lazy, too weak, too cowardly, to respond to their revolutionary talk. The world had failed, but they had failed to understand the pathetic world. Their mistake was in believing the world to be noble.
They would, they solemnly declared, not make the same mistake again. So they became something mistakenly called cynical. In fact they became an absolute horror, something the world has never seen before. They have the darkest view of humanity that any political force has ever had. They believe humanity to be doomed. Not by some outside force, but by their fundamentally flawed inner selves.
The Neocons want the same thing they’ve always wanted: socialist revolution. But since their view of humanity radically changed after the 1960s, the approach they needed to take radically changed as well.
Instead of the straightforward optimistic upbeat strident approach of the 1960s, those who are called the Neoconservatives went underground. They, like the spies they essentially are, set up right-wing manipulation machines, created the far-right and horribly abusive neoliberal global economic model, and implemented a military policy so extreme that the domestic US budget was gutted to fuel it, probably irreperably harming the educational system, health care system, and all other domestic programs.
So… what’s the point of all of this? Think about it. What’s the point of the constant escalation of abuse of Americans… that would actually destroy a fundamental principle of human rights from 1215? Why do it?
These are people who believe that optimism is unwarranted. That humans are simply incapable of responding positively to what’s in their best interests to pursue, that is to say a socialist revolution. But… there is another way to achieve socialist revolution besides that implemented by the 1960s optimists.
In 1976 the movie Rocky was released. This was a mere three years after the first of the right-wing think tanks was formed in America. Rocky shows a man beaten horribly in the boxing ring. He takes blow after blow after bloody blow. He can barely see due to the swelling. He is in tatters. Yet just when all seems lost, when it seems that even he must fall, he EXPLODES in a flurry of violence and aggression.
So, there is indeed another way to achieve socialist revolution. Simply beat up the American people to such a degree that they too will explode in violence and aggression. Then they will either die or achieve success.
Everything the Neocons have done has been with this goal in mind. They began with manipulation of the media and political discussion in America with the right-wing think tanks. Then they brought in the Christian right to the political fold, and executed many manipulations and anti-populist policies under the Reagan years. After that failed to rise America, the Bush II years saw much more dramatic attempts. And here we are today.
People often express confusion about why the Bush II Administration is so incompetent. There’s an easy reason: they don’t really want to succeed. Too much success and they’ll actually destroy the will of the American people (they believe). Too much success and Rocky will be knocked out instead of exploding. It’s much more valuable for their goals to make the American people believe they are super-effective rather than be effective. It makes more sense to turn Iraq into a total mess rather than take the country over… which makes the American people angrier? It makes more sense for Bush to sneer at the American people than to soberly go about his duties… which makes the American people angrier? It makes more sense for Tony Snow to act like a total prick than to be respectful, etc.
I give the American people a kind of credit: they haven’t fallen for the trap. There hasn’t been even a hint at a violent socialist revolution. Thankfully, the American people have merely turned against the Neocons themselves (finally!). Fuck – it only took three and a half decades.
Part of the American inaction and seeming stupidity about the Neocons is that they just can’t figure these guys out. That’s for good reason – there has never been a political movement even remotely similar before. The Rocky Syndrome is unique in human history as far as I am aware.
So – that’s the Neoconservatives. The true version. Just to clear up one point: there is no conspiracy. The Neoconservatives believe themselves to be on the right, just like Bush believes himself to be a spiritual cowboy. Neither is actually true.
You might say: wait a second, how is this different from the Neocons actually being on the right, given that they implement rightist policies?
It’s completely different: corporations for example are actually on the right. That is to say, they are effective rightist agents. Corporations don’t want a socialist uprising, they don’t want to do insane things like eliminate Habeas Corpus unless they can be confident it’s not going to cause problems. The reason the elite in the US has turned against the Neocons is just that… the Neocons make corporations uneasy… the Neocons make the right uneasy.
But again – the calculation is not simple. Corporations are greedy after all, and the Neocons pursuing rightist monstrosities has made more than one CEO grin. The Neocons hope that the corporations’ greed gets the best of them in the end.
This whole Neocon project has energized non-violent socialist agents like Chomsky, Zinn, and all the rest. After all, it’s not that difficult to funnel violent socialist tendencies into non-violent socialist action.
This entire thing is tragically absurd. Welcome to your reality. The true motto of the Neocons: we take a swing at you, hoping you take a swing back at us.
That’s pretty much it. If you see any flaws in my understanding point them out. The solution of course is to permanently expel the Neocons from power. They should probably be jailed as well.
Covert operations are continuously ongoing and are the primary means by which the US government gains war-related intelligence. Again, the primary purpose and overwhelming purpose of torture is to terrorize the populace that self-identifies with the actual people being tortured (who are not, unlike what the Bush Administration claims, often terrorists or “evil-doers”). The US government doesn’t mind when it seizes a random Arab-Iraqi citizen for torture, as long as the media doesn’t acknowledge it. It counts on the tormented family to spread the terrible news in the community, fueling a kind of underground fear that any fascist government thrives on. As long as the media continues to be “properly” controlled, there’s no reason that behavior can’t be transported to other countries, including the U.S. Create enough fear and it no longer even matters if the media does report it, but we’ll know before that happens because “security forces” will be patrolling throughout America.
I keep having to repeat the purpose of torture because even respected public figures like Seymour Hersh don’t acknowledge it… I have never ever heard the purpose of torture spoken even by anti-war dissidents or by anti-torture advocates… all they say is “torture doesn’t work”, as if the debate was about whether or not torture works. YES, it doesn’t fucking work (usually), but that’s not even the point of torture. Until we start addressing the real issue the torture debate will go nowhere.
In serious fascist regimes that torture people they follow-up the torture by killing the tortured, and then leave the bodies to be found by the populace. Again – the point is to terrorize – granted, killing someone is terrifying but when you show the public the terrible pain someone goes through prior to death it multiplies the terror. And hey, if they happen to gain some intelligence before killing the guy then that’s a nice bonus, but it’s quite rare.
If you wonder why the propaganda of “intelligence gathering” exists as the ostensible motivation for torture, it should be obvious. Every citizen who is convinced that torture “protects us from the enemy” is one citizen that isn’t objecting to torture. Every citizen who is convinced that torture doesn’t protect us from the enemy but who thinks that the government’s motive is to do so thinks their best course of action is to argue against that motivation – not understanding that it makes little difference at all even if they win the argument.
(An unfortunate truth: torture can make us safer, but not because of intelligence gained. If we can torture so many people in such terrible fashion that our enemies, instead of multiplying are cowed, are terrified into inaction, then indeed we will be safer. Of course, at that point the world will become a Fascist state, which is the only way to maintain that terror and the inaction of our enemies.)
Now, you might say: wait a second, if torture is a conspiracy to terrorize the self-identifying populace why hasn’t the secret come to light? The easy answer is: there is no conspiracy. Just like George Bush really does believe himself to be a spiritual cowboy, the torturers at Abu-Ghraib and everywhere else in the world really do believe the point of torture is to collect information – they try very hard to collect information! Torturers are under the thrall of “torture as information collection” propaganda more than anyone else is, just like George Bush is more propagandized about his nature as a spiritual cowboy than is anyone else.
There’s a pragmatic value to this deception of the torturers themselves – since it’s so incredibly difficult to collect valuable information from prisoners torturers believe they have to go to extreme lengths in their torture… and when once again they fail they have to get even more extreme… in the case of American torturers who try to be civilized they get more and more psychological – more and more eager to control the mind of the tortured. This sort of ego-driving of the torturer really allows the propaganda to sink in – he only gets an ego-boost and has success if the tortured yields valuable information – he therefore becomes convinced that this purpose, which has the potential to give him such a happy rush of pleasure and a possible raise in pay, is the real purpose of the torture. You see… he gets nothing, no ego-boost, no raise in pay, if he believes that the purpose of torture is to terrorize the self-identifying populace. All he gets then is the pain of acknowledging his self-delusion. All he gets then is shame at what he has done. All he gets then is the truth.
You might say: wait a second, then there’s still a conspiracy – it’s just a conspiracy to delude the torturers. No, no, no. THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY.
Why do you think people go to work at organizations they know are Fascist? Millions of Americans after all work at Corporations, and they often seem fairly happy about it. Why do you think the leaders of Western civilization in the 1920s and 1930s, the highly civilized people of the nation of Germany, quickly descended into barbarism and Fascism? Were they transformed? Or are you willing to admit the truth: that they weren’t willing to pay the costs required of dissidents and resisters?
Truth actually has a cost. For the torturer, the cost of self-realization means he can no longer justify his job. He loses his identity – he loses his job – he becomes lost. For George Bush, the cost of self-realization, of believing he is a Ivy League flunkie instead of a heralded cowboy, is that he no longer can convince other people of sharing in the cowboy-belief and hence becomes less popular, quite probably not being electable as President of the United States of America.
The Neoconservatives were the first to truly appreciate this. Liberals still don’t get it. When someone says something, some new “truth”, neoconservatives analyze whether or not they can use that “truth” to benefit themselves. Maybe it’s a friend of Bush talking to him about how noble cowboys are. Maybe it’s a soon-to-be-torturer hearing about how torturers can “save America from the terrorists” by collecting information. Regardless of whether the “truth” is the truth, the “truth” is FUNCTIONAL. “Truths” can be used, and precisely because they aren’t the truth they can give a kind of competitive advantage, especially when stupid liberals aren’t able to respond because they don’t understand what’s going on.
What liberals need to understand is that the enemy is “truth”, and the ally is truth. Truth has to be imposed on society. It cannot be assumed that truth will be accepted… there must be a war against “truth”.
What we need to do is make sure that “truth” is expensive, and truth is cheap. The only reason that there is a war in the first place is that postmodernism made “truth” cheap.
Stop calling Bush a moron. Stop underestimating “truth”. Do that and you create horrors, of which the many US-run or supported torture centers around the world are merely one.
Destroy “truth” with truth. Make sure you’re willing to pay for truth to be victorious.
It won’t be cheap.