Archive for the ‘World’ Category
We may well find, as we reflect on the world in which we live, that the key ideological difference is not between capitalism and socialism, which are merely two symptoms of the issue, but rather between those who want the world to die and those who want the world to live.
The logic of the industrial revolution, which takes from the earth without giving back, entails self-annihilation unless the world is seen as merely a stepping stone, a crib which can be set aside when the infant grows out of it. Therefore a prerequisite for the industrial revolution was the work of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, who moved the earth from the center of the universe (therefore rendering it special and sacrosanct) and replaced it with the sun. Subsequent scientific development rendered the earth less special still, reducing its value and the propensity for humans to maintain its well-being or even existence.
The purpose of capitalism is to kill the world and force humanity to move on. According to current capitalist hopes, Mars is the first step.
This reality enlightens many of the interactions between capitalists and socialists. Capitalists consider socialists to be cowards, not so much due to the valuation of rugged individualism but the greater cowardice of not being willing or able to wish to leave the earth. Capitalists view socialists as babies unwilling or unable to grow up.
Socialists view capitalists as somewhere between stern authority figures and psychopaths.
My view is that it defeats the value of exploring the universe if the explorers are only there because they intentionally killed their own planet. A capitalist point here is that exploration of the universe might give the means for saving the earth, an argument that began its life meager and died a little each day after.
Think about this the other way around. What would we think of an alien species who only came to earth because they intentionally destroyed their own planet. Would we want them on ours?
What would the expected outcome be on another planet when colonized by a species whose ideology is based on destruction and “progress”?
The question perhaps is not whether or not we want outer space but whether or not outer space wants us.
It’s taboo to speak poorly about capitalism in the West, and until recently was likewise taboo to speak poorly about the rich. As such, critiques of capitalism and the wealthy have to be concealed, plausibly deniable.
Prior to the 1980s, American alien culture was centered around UFOs, which were often high altitude spy planes being tested by the US government. Interest in UFOs meant interest in greater transparency of the US government toward Americans.
During the 1980s, popularized a decade later, there was a shift in alien culture from UFOs to alien creatures. This matched up with the recognition that the world’s rulers were pursuing an apocalyptic ideology and were no longer caretakers of the earth and living creatures. Aliens became a metaphor for the rulers, who act to destroy the world and it’s people.
Nietzsche blamed humanity in general and Western culture in particular for the death of God. His philosophy was one of punishment and sacrifice – he celebrated suffering and thereby killed it (suffering requires the hatred of suffering).
Nietzsche said he was living for the people of the future and not the present, and in that he was correct. His solution was to destroy the people of his present and transform them into the people of his future.
Examine the 20th century. There has never been a more irresponsible and insane time. The 20th century featured tremendous physical damage but little true suffering, because the present was so pathetic as to be deemed irrelevant. Monty Python understood this through their “tis a flesh wound” sketch.
Westerner after westerner post-Nietzsche speaks of suffering as “character-building” and “artistically creative”, to such an extent that they sought to suffer. But this perverted suffering, because true suffering always requires an opposition toward suffering. Nietzsche *falsified* suffering.
For all his claims, what Nietzsche lacked most was a deep understanding of human nature. Nietzsche assumed he could control everything. Control suffering, control human progress, control the future. The truth is very close to the exact opposite.
This desire for control in Nietzsche results from his terror – he is the most terrified philosopher in history. Unable to face his own fears, he invented “will to power”, supermen, his own persona as a sacrificial Jesus-clone, his persona as an explorer and mountain-climber, to console himself. This perverted his mind and rendered his philosophy valueless. Which, unfortunately, didn’t stop it’s influence.
One of the key concepts Nietzsche lacked that might have saved him was that human reality does not emerge out of the human soul but out of human structures. Exxon Mobil, for example, is a human structure with a set of outcomes. Nietzsche’s lack of political analysis made him use a religious treatment whereby humanity is unified with one soul with all outcomes emerging from that.
Nietzsche and others demonized their own present and the results were horrifying, so terrible that the world will never recover.
Nietzsche may well be the Great Destroyer. But… why do so? Build again? After devastating the means of doing so?
Milton – “It’s better to reign in hell than serve in heaven”
Long Live Emperor Nietzsche!
There’s a misperception surrounding the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The myth states that black people finally became fed up with their treatment and with the help of enlightened whites became integrated into white society.
Shedding the myth yields some facts about global capitalism – the 1960s and the Vietnam War ushered in the final era of global capitalism, known later as “globalization”. Capitalism requires continually growing markets, continual increases in the number of consumers.
Capitalism hates racism, in the same sense that a supermarket likes all customers, as long as they behave themselves and spend money.
This is the same reason women became “liberated”, by which is meant they too became capitalist consumers and laborers.
The “civil rights movement” provided the ideal myth so that all parties could feel good about themselves.
We may have entered the next stage of human history after late capitalism. Capitalism and everything that goes with it was created by whites. The next stage, the apocalyptic stage, is led by jews.
The apocalyptic stage will last at least 50 years and feature terrible ecological and political convulsions. Capitalism as we know it will not survive. Jews are the “chosen people” and feel that if anyone will survive these violent times, it will be them. So they are excited and energized like never before in their history.
Jimmy Cayne received $500 Million in salary and bonuses from 2000-2008. This wealth, none of which was under threat regardless of what happened to Bear Stearns (despite the fact that the bonuses derived largely from ridiculously risky speculation which fueled the crash), along with the subconscious understanding that the insane machinations of high finance would inevitably lead to a collapse and the expectation that his bank was also “too big to fail”, perhaps was why he was able to maintain a level of composure during the Bear Stearns meltdown.
He became upset not when Bear Stearns was shown to be a disastrous corporation, but rather when Bear Stearns wasn’t bailed out. That’s interesting – imagine if you’ve been working at a job for some time and are doing terribly, as a result your company crashes and you only become upset when you don’t receive corporate socialist assistance. How curious it is that when Oprah talks about “personal responsibility” she never points the finger at corporations or their leadership, rather always at the very people hurt most BY corporations. I’m sure the fact that she herself is wealthier than most CEOs has nothing to do with it.
It’s reminiscent of George W. Bush maintaining so much composure during the Twin Towers disaster. Why shouldn’t he be composed? – he expected to exploit the disaster, not be harmed by it. Of course, Ronald Reagan would have had the decency to pretend to be shaken up – I’m sure the fact that Reagan worship became so prevalent during the Bush II years has nothing to do with the incident.
People often ask me “Is something wrong with you?”
Two much more pertinent questions for them to ask are “Is something wrong with me?” and “Is something wrong with the world?” I, after all, am unimportant.
While they ask “Is something wrong with you?” the clock is ticking on the life of the world. We live in a society of insane Neros, all fiddling while the world burns. Is it any wonder that I appear troubled? I’ve noticed that my trouble eases somewhat whenever I do something particularly useful in saving the world or when I witness such a thing done by another. But trouble is irrelevant – all consolation is shunned, such as, let’s say, ice cream. We will all be troubled until we solve our problems.
I don’t so much care whether or not civilization survives – it’s still an unanswered question whether civilization has any value. I care very much however about how much damage is done to humanity during the fall of civilization. Proponents of global warming believe that if civilization falls humanity should go with it – hence the apocalyptic fantasies and the desire to increase global warming. It’s a myth that there are people who believe global warming doesn’t exist – it’s politically expedient for them to believe that they believe that since they would be socially outcast (or worse) if they claimed to want to increase global warming.
There’s a debate we are not brave enough to have – the debate over whether the world should be saved.
Long-term, lets say 50+ years or maybe even 30+ years, there’s no such thing as a good investment, since the world (with respect to human habitation) is dying and no, capital won’t be able to escape to outer space, at least in that time frame.
Disastrous garbage mega-banks are “too big to fail”, yet during the Copenhagen sham the US was only willing to give $10 Billion to help save the planet. Apparently the planet is NOT “too big to fail”. Wrap your head around that logic and continue to tell me that the elite are “rational”.
In the short to medium term, I completely disagree with those who say there’s no such thing as a good investment. Right now there is a massive India/US alliance and with US power backing India, investments look good in India. Investments are also strong in areas with positive near-future expectations, like the Western-allied Pakistan. China is a strong economy right now and with the exception of their stock market bubble which could crash this year there are many good investment opportunities.
Green technologies which are successful would be tremendous investments, at or exceeding the value of early investments in Microsoft. Much of the elite, barring big oil, big coal, etc. of course, are behind green technologies.
What’s a more pertinent question perhaps is the issue of whether one’s primary focus should be on power calculations, which is what investment is all about, versus a focus on saving the world. Power calculations are amoral. Power calculations can lead one to believe mega-banks are “too big to fail” while the planet is worth, well, $10 Billion.
Art is dead. Philosophy is dead. All that is left is politics.
Kafka and Nietzsche share the same personality – the creation of meaning through (their own) sacrifice – as plunging the knife into the virgin’s heart was meant to renew civilization for those we call “uncivilized”. But we’ve become disillusioned – the myth of culture is no more.
This disillusionment (on a popular level) occurred during the 1960s – the difference between music pre- and post- that period is that afterwards music understands it’s undead state. When people say the music of the 1960s was “alive” they mean that music understood it’s approaching death and decided to throw one last party – the party to end all parties.
Culture has been a horrific myth – it’s primary purpose and result is imperialism insofar as cultural production is “traded” for material goods – nevermind that this trade is only desired by the cultural producers. It’s death will either pave the way for global democracy or global totalitarianism.
Film critics make a critical error when they berate a film for it’s “emptiness”, such as J.K. Rowling being criticized for Harry Potter being a derivative work. All the undead can do is reference the living. That’s what modern films are – either that or they attempt to revive a corpse better off left dead.
The death of culture of course goes hand-in-hand with the “death of Western Civilization” – in the same sense that a community with nothing left to trade goes extinct. Or raises their military budget to $1 Trillion a year and tries to rule the world by force and domination, in which case the soul goes extinct and the mechanics of empire carry on.
Nietzsche has serious flaws. One is that he is abusive – he’s an intellectual bully which killed his morality and led to him being (rightfully) claimed by the full spectrum of ideologies, including Nazism. Probably the most serious flaw in his philosophy is that it’s entirely personalized – he focuses on psychology, linguistics, and psychohistory. The complete absence of any structural analysis (analysis of the state, for example) meant he ultimately is just writing bourgeois and pro-status quo nonsense. Nietzsche is the last of the individualists – no meaningful philosophy can possibly be derived in modern times absent structural analysis.
Nietzsche is utterly naive, and believes in the triumph or failure of the individual will. He offers a romantic vision for the Libertarian Right, those people who have no attachment to reality.
Orwell killed Nietzsche not only because of his profound understanding of the meaninglessness of the individual but because of his destruction of Nietzsche’s romanticization of schizophrenia. For Nietzsche, schizophrenia was a sign of strength, of the individual fighting himself (after all, what does not kill me only makes me stronger). For Orwell, schizophrenia was a sign of weakness, a fundamental break from access to objective reality (Nietzsche denies objective reality) and a kind of self-serving departure from the world.
Nietzsche is not only himself immature but he has left a devastated world in his wake – a world where adults have the minds and aspirations of children, a world of “parallel worlds”, “inner worlds”, and “trips to the other side”, a world where debate is impossible because culture no longer believes in the objective reality that makes debate meaningful. “To each his own”, “you believe what you want to and I’ll beileve what I want to” are derived from Nietzsche.
Nietzsche is a terrible error, and the world may never recover. If it does it will find other philosophers, other ways to follow.
Nietzsche is dead.
This is a reply to Tennessee-Socialist on Dissident Voice. His words are in italics.
“Brian Koontz: Americans recieve benefits if you are a conformist american. But most american workers can only eat and drive a car in America. But american workers cannot go to a university for example to study law, political science or philosophy, or cannot go to an endocrinologist doctor if they want to lose weight, because doctors are so expensive in America. So it is evident that the majority of americans are not well and *don’t* receive benefits at all.”
Education and healing should be universal rights, but there’s a massive difference between the welfare of “poor” Americans and the welfare of the global poor.
Take one huge difference – the minimum wage. Regardless of gender or race at least, most Americans can get a low-paying job. It’s not too difficult once American citizenship is attained for anyone to be a “poor” American. The federal minimum wage is currently $6.55 per hour and will be going up to $7.25 per hour next summer. The concept of a “living” wage in America* is sheer nonsense and political opportunism – it’s easy to live on the minimum wage in America.
According to even the World Bank (not exactly an unbiased organization), in 2001 1.1 billion people “lived” on less than $1 a day, and 2.7 billion “lived” on less than $2 a day. In other words, nearly half the global population makes less than a third in an entire day what a “poor” American makes in an hour. This was *before* the Bush Administration took it’s toll on the world.
The minimum wage in America is an *imperial* benefit. It resulted not (just) from “democratic movement”, as Chomsky claims, but from imperial theft and redistribution of that theft. The redistribution from Mob Boss to Mob Underling is what Chomsky calls “democracy”. Third-worlders perhaps have another name for it.
Life for a poor American is not peaches and cream. But at least a poor American knows what peaches and cream *are*.
“The only folks who are benefiting from Imperialist USA is Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, the yuppie middle libertarian right wing bourgoeise elitist classes, but the majority of american employees and workers are not doing well at all. That’s why there is a need of socialism in USA so that wealth could trickle down to the masses”
The American poor are *not* the masses! The masses are the GLOBAL poor, the truly poor, those 1.1 billion “living” in sheer desperation and the 2.7 billion “living” in dire straits and the other billion+ mildly less exploited. The American poor are the Mob Underlings, exploited for sure but with a highly privileged and highly exploitive place in the global system.
A problem with Americans is that they always compare themselves to other (richer) Americans. Your examples of Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez are tragically typical. The American poor consume American media that shows opulence and the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and cry out “exploitation!” For the Mob Underling to compare himself to the Mob Boss and ignore the victims of the mob, the *true* victims, is to be blind and to not live in reality.
The American left is hardly less racist and monstrous than the right, but they have 1000 times the self-righteousness. They are the ones who “know about” Imperialism without actually knowing about it.
Don’t you think that one point of American media showing the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” is so that poor Americans will focus on that instead of on attaining solidarity with the global poor? Don’t you think that you yourself have fallen into a capitalist trap, Mr. Socialist?
“Socialism in the USA” is nothing more than the Mob Underling trying to get more imperial benefits from the Mob Boss.
* I support a “living wage” in America as well as all other transfers from the Mob Boss to the Mob Underling only insofar as they do not distract the American left away from solutions to the world’s problems. It seems for most of the Imperial left that being distracted by those transfers is the point of their existence.
This is from a reply to a Joe Bageant piece on Dissident Voice, here.
Capitalism works well as a system of control. As long as we are controlled, justice is superfluous. If we aren’t controlled, justice is inevitable. Without capitalist control there is no capitalism, in the same sense as without a bully’s fists there is no bully.
When there’s a gun to one’s head, obedience or death become the options.
The vast majority of heroes throughout history rapidly become corpses following their announcement of such. Thus many of us are heroes within ourselves – few of us are heroes in society. Even the best of us (especially the best of us) feel guilty and unmanly. And so we beat our women. And so we feel even guiltier. And so our women prefer capitalists, who feel only happy and contented at the state of the world.
We living human beings under capitalism are those who choose obedience over death. All that separates us is the degree to which we resist obedience, accept the resulting oppression, and flirt with death at the hand of the state.
Precisely because we do not accept death, we are corrupt. Most of our “hope” is based on vanity, on the thought that we can destroy the system.
Even accepting death does not defeat capitalism, since capitalists will oblige the threat in such a way to cause increased fear of death in the remaining not-yet-dead citizens. Murder is exploitable, as feudal lords and all other capitalists understand.
Martyrdom is useful, but martyrdom lacks rationality and can also be exploited. The ruling class simply subverts the meaning of the murder and the martyr becomes irrelevant (for his populist purpose).
It’s popular in the US to say that capitalism is decaying, but there’s no proof of that. It’s only true that capitalism in America is decaying – it’s doing well enough in China and India. We may see several more centuries of monstrosity with different faces, different races, but the same old shit issued from master to slave.
Even the left, which considers itself sophisticated, rarely sees beyond it’s own national borders. This myopia, this lack of a global war to destroy capitalism, this continued desire to transfer criminal blood money from American capitalists to American workers, is doing as much or more to damage the future of the world as capitalism itself.
Some of us are waiting for the right time and the right structures so that when we accept death it will not necessarily be in vain. Until we accept our destiny and build those structures we will be guilty.
We’ll all become corpses soon enough – let us be wise prior to our death. Let us be forgotten by the elite instead of being called heroes, like the vain do who partake in foolish death.
Ha-Joon Chang’s book is excellent – a must read for everyone.