(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
As long as we don’t take it too seriously ranting may be all we have left as a productive political activity. Sure, organizing and all that is a good thing–but on what basis? On the left, where most of us here live, there is no solid intellectual framework for us to rest. In America Marxism never took hold though it provides us with an excellent frame of analysis of our current system but it isn’t the only one. I prefer our native pragmatism which can step outside of systems and allow the “data” to guide us to see patterns. Marxism is useful to orient us but I don’t think it offers, as a general intellectual framework, a system that works for the current environment. Still, I consider Marxists the most valuable contributors to the project of the left. Certainly the time for liberalism is over because reform, in all foreseeable political arrangements is now impossible.
On this the day of the full-moon I urge that we howl at the Moon and rant. Ranting is a way to find out what we really think un-censored from the super-ego which in this country is fraying anyway and won’t last too much longer. We need to touch the truth and to touch it we need to find an authentic place in each of us. We need a new dispensation and that will only be made clear by a process of de-programming ourselves from the current discourse.
Let me be provocative here. I think the time to say “it isn’t fair” is over. It’s time to stop with careful analysis of the political situation when we lack a strong framework. The criticism from the American left always comes down to some moral complaint–that the rulers are, in some way, immoral. Really? I think that’s a pointless and bootless complaint. The problem is in the system that has emerged, not in the people that run it. The system has been constructed to meet a need on the part of the oligarchs to bring stability to their power-positions (not only them personally but their families as well) on the one hand–and on the other hand the need of the vast majority of the American people to take away their responsibilities as citizens because to try and understand the world around them without a solid framework of certainties is simply too painful–thus they want to be assured that they are indeed brave and virtuous when really they are, increasingly (by historical standards) quite the opposite because their focus in life is to have their job and their cable-TV where they can live in fantasies. Most people want to live in fantasies because reality is, to most of us (myself included), almost incomprehensible. This is enforced by a system of laws, cultural practices, structures like “security” (which reflect a profound collective cowardice) which gradually are eliminating any semblance of freedom as envisaged by the Founders. In short, to put it bluntly, we have to face the fact that the majority of the American people (in my view) consciously or unconsciously want to be in chains–it is the only conclusion that I can reached based on the data in front of me.
The only answer I have is to rant.
I have thought, for some time, that the flight from reason that seems to be the spirit of the age in this country needs to be “cured” by a return to reason and intellectual discipline. But I’ve changed my mind. People, rightly, aren’t reasonable creatures. Reason is something to use not to be. We can’t be “reasonable”–just won’t work because if you are something dies in you. If you only analyze beauty through reason you can’t experience it fully. The heart rules the mind. Theology is the Queen of the Sciences–by “theology” I mean the study of God which resides, in he/she resides, in the heart. We approach God through the Cloud of Unknowing. Reason, as Dante reasoned, can only get us past Purgatory to ascend to Paradise we need something more profound–the deep experience of love that resides only in the heart.
To put ourselves in order we must base our lives in our hearts. When I say that I know that most of you know what I mean more or less but would be hard-pressed to describe it in scientific terms. Neuro-science has certainly attempted to link the warm feeling in the heart of compassion and love to the vagus nerve and it is a great thing (if you aren’t familiar with that work do check the link out) but it cannot help you in experiencing what we call “heart.” It is the experience of being that we need to connect to because our cultural upbringing has tried to turn us to something colder and more orderly and, ironically, caused disorder as any reading of the I Ching would have predicted.
The rant is a cry of the heart. A cry of pain. And, beneath the surface and indeed on the surface in many instances, I hear that cry in many of the diaries here. Perhaps we need to be more overt in that because only then, in my view, can we begin to do the hard work of disciplined intellectual analysis (which is essential to further our project here) because we will have the wind at our back.
Another virtue of the rant is that it is kind of like an experiment. We don’t know, until we say it, what we are really thinking and ranting either verbally or on paper, is a voyage of discovery. Since we are nowhere now, since there is no chance and I mean no chance of political reform to benefit any of us it seems pointless to try and come up with rational solutions to issues or to even lobby for reform. It not only won’t happen it can’t happen. We have collectively, though I’m not sure we know it, made a case on this blog that nothing can change–no one has offered anything other than pipe-dreams here, including myself. We have nothing! We have no path! We have nothing to say to others who don’t share our view–we can’t say “follow us!” because we are going nowhere. All we have is the art form of the rant on the blog. I used to think it was stupid to do that but because I realize, being in a seemingly powerless position in my life, that I was coming at my situation from entirely the wrong perspective and missing the cues and clues that I discarded as unreasonable.
I will repeat myself here. Political and cultural change is impossible! There is no way change, i.e., reform of the current political/economic situation, can occur. I have yet to see a realistic path presented by any critic of the situation. There is a growing chorus of very good critiques coming out even in the mainstream media (echoing criticisms that, when it mattered, the MSM refused to air) but no suggestions or descriptions of possible scenarios under which substantial reform would be instituted. We all need to understand and help convince liberals and progressives that it’s over and that we need to change the entire system starting with ourselves. No more calls for reform! The only calls we should be making is for destruction of the system.
Keith Olbermann is waxing indignant on DKOS today about what one right-wing Congressional candidate (Stephen Broden) said:
We have a constitutional remedy. And the framers say if that don’t work, revolution.
This attitude pretty much sets the stage for either a violent or quiet revolution (since violence is a threat in the background). If anyone on the left had said anything remotely like that they would be in prison today or at least drummed out of whatever party or respectable social position or job they held. But if you are on the right you can carry weapons to Obama speeches, you can give death threats to prominent office-holders, and you can threaten violent revolution with impunity. On the left you can do none of these things. Guess which political faction will thrive and get traction? The MSM actually reports on the most absurd right-wing fictions and lies as if they were matters of debate. The MSM does not vet lies, fabrications, absurd statements to the effect the earth is flat are presented as equal to the scientific fact that it is not flat.
At the end of his essay KO states the DKOS creed.
Not really committed to getting one more Democrat to the polls for the mid-terms? Take a number. But as The Right Reverend Treason of the Texas 30th proves, this is no longer about timid Dems or unheard Progressives. This now boils down to keeping the nutjobs out of office.
Here’s the problem I have with him and other progressives. First, the politicians he describes are not necessarily “nutjobs” they usually, like Carl Rove, Machiavellians who understand the nature of power and what it takes to get it. Also, to suggest that progressives (essentially reformists) will get anywhere voting for a party that still is moving steadily to the right with every passing day is kind of absurd. He is saying, in essence, if you don’t vote for the non-fascist party of the center-right you will get a disaster. Well Keith, maybe that’s what we need. Maybe we need a fucking disaster because it already is a fucking disaster. Sure, that may mean, ending up in a re-education camp for me but at least we have a chance in the chaos that will follow the official destruction of the USA. It’s going to happen anyway and it is happening. No justice, not even good center-right practical good and honest government. What is left of government that is honest and well-meaning is beginning to fade, frankly, as government moves from being a buffer between the corporate oligarchs and the ordinary citizen towards directly serving the oligarchs. I’m not discounting the existence of legit gov’t functions and agencies that do a great job but their work is not sustainable and, in fact, may even to harm by lulling us into the feeling that the socio-political-economic culture can be modified, and as some say, provide capitalism with a human face–increasingly hard to do.
This phase of predatory capitalism cannot be reformed in the sense we mean reform. We are moving towards capitalism and anti-democratic authoritarianism. In this country it looks like we are on the path towards classical fascism, i.e., nationalism, American Exceptionalism, the glorification of force and violence, the obsession with the “other” who is always mysterious, threatening, and even inhuman, and, of course, the rule by a corporate oligarchy which asks the state to keep the people amused, fearful and aroused and at war for the direct profit of members of that oligarchy who are insured a permanent and hereditary position in society. The people, thus, feel protected by the Daddy (as opposed to the Mommy) state, take comfort in a national life cleansed of disruptive and degenerate ideas that foster doubt and so on. Thus Obama, a center-right politician, becomes a socialist, someone who favors Sharia law, the anti-Christ, not an American and so on. With that sort of mentality the right can and does say anything no matter how absurd. They make whatever threats they want so that what is left of the left will simply retire, as it has already decade in, decade out, from the political field. I’d rather be forced into a concentration camp than live with an American left wing that still, despite the reality of the de facto death of the USA, seems to harbor dreams of national health care, government policies that favor ordinary people and so on. People: it’s not going to happen, it’s over.
The American people, if there is such a thing any more and I’m not sure there is, don’t want truth, don’t want democracy, don’t want civil liberties, don’t want anything other than what their bosses want to give them. So there’s nothing we can do is there? What we should be doing, maybe, is speeding the destruction along and maybe even joining the absurd Dadaist “Tea Party” movement.