Archive for the ‘ Political comment ’ Category

People are No Longer Able to Govern Themselves

I continue in my attempt to understand the people of my time and place – Americans in the 21st Century.

Democracy assumes that people are able to govern themselves – and no one else can do this better than they can – since they understand themselves better than anyone else. But recent history is showing us that in our time (a very strange time, to be sure) – this is no longer the case.

Everyone can see this – but, at the same time,  they cannot see this. Because they do not want to. The very principles their society was built on – no longer apply.

These were: that the world is governed by laws, such as those discovered by Newton. And similar laws apply to political behavior – people behave rationally, and in their own best interest.

But it is abundantly clear, that in some situations, people are not rational at all – and are perfectly capable of destructive behavior. They are governed by their passions – not by their minds.

And these passions are easily manipulated by dictators, assisted by the Media.

I will use an example from my own family – Mormonism. Which amounted to people following (without question) Joseph Smith – and after he was killed by an angry mob – his son Joseph Smith III.

Back then, in the 1820s, the Media was the Printing Press – and when Smith published his Book of Mormon – people could see he was a Prophet of God. A role that he adopted easily.

Since then the Media has been greatly amplified – by Radio, then Television, then the Computer.

People can see they are no longer in control – something else is, and they are willing (indeed, eager) to be governed by it. Whatever it is.

Trump has stepped into this vacuum, and proclaimed himself, as its embodiment. Not all Americans believe him – but enough do to keep him in power.

The Future of the Liberal World Order

This is a downloadable book produced by Foreign Affairs, available for free to its subscribers.

It also has an online article here, that gives more historical depth.

Here are quotes from the book:

In the 1940s, as they suffered through yet another round of destruction and turmoil, policymakers in Washington and other major Western capitals finally decided that enough was enough. They recognized that the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century had emerged because their countries had hunkered down in the face of economic and geopolitical crisis, passing the buck rather than fighting together against their common enemies. So they swore not to repeat their mistakes and designed a postwar order based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

The new administration in Washington takes a different view, of course. President Donald Trump never mentions the order and seems not to understand what it is or why it is a good thing. He appears to see the world in zero-sum terms—international politics as a Hobbesian war of all against all in which there are only deals, not relationships, and in which only relative gains matter. He combines this, moreover, with an acute sense of grievance—a conviction that everybody is winning at the United States’ expense. “Every country takes advantage of us,” he says, and notes that he intends to reverse the process. No U.S. leader has talked this way in several generations, and most responsible officials in most countries, including the United States, are flummoxed—for they understand that if the White House actually tried to turn its more extreme ideas into policy, the entire system on which global security, stability, and prosperity is based would collapse.

This is a huge book, covering everything since WWII. The Liberal World Order has some huge faults, it admits – but they can be fixed.

Underneath all this, however is something even more ominous – people everywhere have become destructive, instead of constructive. That is why they elected people like Trump.

I can think of many reasons for this (they may be reacting to painful experienced in their past – or being destructive is much easier than being constructive) but they hardly matter.

We have to realize that this is the way it is.

And Fear No Darkness

This guy is saying something different – and deserves to be heard. But few are listening.

He describes our problems very well, except for one – the human race has decided to disappear, and let other forces take over. He may be saying this, but if he is – he is not saying it very clearly.

To me, it all hinges on”What is in control?” I don’t mind admitting that I’m a control freak. And I always look for what has its hands on the controls.

The most potent example here is the Automobile – with a person at the controls. He (or she) has enormous power – and is backed up by an entire culture devoted to it – and its roads.

What is the hidden message here? So plain, anyone can see it – but hidden in plain view? It cannot be put into words – but has to be experienced in our unconscious minds and bodies.

Let me remind you, that most of what goes on in our bodies is entirely unconscious. We have to deduce what is going on there – from the actions it causes. A sphincter muscle relaxes, and we urinate.

The same thing happens in our minds (and brains). Pressure builds up, and we have to relieve it. How pressure builds up in the brain, we do not know – but we can feel the results in our bodies.

Jordan Greenhall is right when he notes that the pressure in our times has become unbearable. And that we are headed into an explosion and collapse.

Most people cannot feel this – but it can be easily deduced from their actions.

The Decision to Not Decide

The Great Society was a conscious decision by LBJ, and his allies, to build a better society. But this failed miserably.

Americans took note of this and decided on a better plan – to not have a plan at all, but to let things work out on their own. And let powerful people be the strongest force in their society. There would still be programs to help the rest of the people, but their funding would be limited.

The result was that America became much less powerful! This was hardly surprising, since these powerful people were only interested in themselves – and they were only a small percentage of the population. But Americans in general did not understand this – and they decided the solution was more of the same!

Their logic was simple, but defective – and was allowed to stand, because it was never put into words, and examined. Instead, Americans decided that – no thinking would be allowed at all – and they enforced this decision vigorously. The worst decision possible.

And the rest of the world followed its example – giving power to a few, and leaving the rest to fend for themselves. The rest, however, demanded strong men to rule over them – making the situation even worse.

There were a few (like me) who pointed out these fallacies – but we were ignored, and still are ignored. They have decided only power is important – and their decision to not decide for themselves, was not important at all!

The Masochism that Destroyed Personal Growth

Personal Growth was one of the watchwords of the Sixties – that amazing time that held such promise – but soon ended. The Hippies had Flower Power – but the Business Economy had the jobs.

This became a personal tragedy for me and my wife – who lived in Santa Barbara, California, in the Sixties – back when lots of people retired there, because it was so beautiful, and so cheap. We thought the good times would last forever. They didn’t.

The bad times arrived, and never left.

It is hard for Americans now to understand what happened – how anything so thoroughly bad – could have happened. And how irresistible this change was at the time. It felt wonderful – when, in fact, it was terrible.

People ask “How could anything bad, feel so good?”

I cannot answer that question – but can only point to what happened. Reagan destroyed California, and then the entire U.S. – and the American people loved him for it! For showing them it could be done – and done easily. All you had to have, was the will to do it – and they had that will, in abundance.

It’s hard to explain how easily this happened. It was made possible, first of all – because people decided not to notice what was going on. This was a tragic decision – but it felt like the right decision at the time. Big things were happening, and people thought it best, not to question them.

Let me repeat that. People felt things bigger than they were taking over – and, due to their religious nature – they had no objection to this. If it was bigger, it was better.

This habit, of not knowing, became impossible to shake off. And it has become integral to our way of life.

Destructive and Insane

What He Could Do – NY Review

It is clear, a month into Trump’s ascension, that we are all his prisoners, held fast in the projected drama of his mind. As the battle over that new political order is enacted on the national stage, we have all become the dragooned antagonists in the play. This is what it is to live in the realm of the Big Man: his drama perforce is ours. Relentless political struggle, permanent revolution, shattering of norms, scandal and controversy, the capital hip-deep in broken crockery: this is what his supporters signed on for and this is what he is determined to give them; perhaps he knows how to give them little else.

Four weeks of the Trump ascendancy have been an ongoing seminar on where norms end and laws begin, on how much of what we had relied on when it came to the president’s conduct rested largely on a heretofore unquestioned foundation of centuries-old custom. That the president would express respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the judiciary, that he would acknowledge the country’s need for an independent press, that he would generally tell the truth and hold in respect the public record: in little more than the time it took to recite the oath of office much of this has been swept away. Donald Trump is a proud shatterer of these norms, and the louder the crash and splatter the better: for to his supporters such norms are nostrums, antiquated excuses for the elite’s own self-protection, and the wails of outrage and protest mean their hero is doing what they sent him to Washington to do.

One might call the resulting tactics “shock and opportunity”: Trump uses chaos to shock his opponents into varying crouches of outrage and contempt and then lunges forward amid the tumult wherever he sees an opportunity presenting itself. No wonder he thinks of himself as the supreme “counter-puncher.” His virtuosity is in his opportunism.

In other words – he has raised the art of destructiveness to a new level.

This is made possible by the American public’s ignorance and stupidity, at the conscious level – and its reckless destructiveness (or insanity) at the unconscious level.

To put it bluntly – Americans hate America – and their election of Trump proves this.

Why they hate America, I do not know. But I do know for a fact – that they do.

Starbucks Responds to Trump’s Immigration Ban With a Controversial Move


The last time I was in the States, visiting my cousin, who lives in the DC area – we visited a local Starbucks, at my insistence. I wanted to taste their latest coffee blend. I liked it, because it had a distinctive taste.

My cousin took an instant dislike to the place – it was too elitist for his taste. And not really American. He bought his coffee next door at a fast-food drivein. He got a lot of coffee for his money, and he didn’t have to get out of his truck.