(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The contrast, stylistically, of the two Party Conventions stuck me very powerfully. The Democratic Convention had each evening main speakers offered one brilliant speech after another. These speeches were well-put together, well-delivered and proved to me that the Democratic Paty (DP) is fit to rule the Empire. Here are people with skillz–compared to the lame-ola speeches the Republican Party (RP) trotted out that could only appeal to the very stupid or the very greedy. The contest should be over right here right now but it isn’t. Why? Because we live in an authoritarian society that is in danger of devolving into tribalism and this seems to be the historical trend.
The contrast was clear. Exclusivity and tribalism on the right, inclusion and a constant plea for unity and civilized behavior on the “left.” Yes, I believe much of what the Dems were saying was clear bullshit but it was bullshit based on some facts even if they were cherry-picked. The Republicans had no argument to convince anyone to vote for them unless you were one of “them.” The Dems offered good reasons (even if most of those reason hid deep corruption) why any of us should vote for Obama and the Dems and this coming from someone that genuinely mainly revulsion for the DP.
There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.
What Vidal describes has been the case for much of our post-WWII history. But quite honestly, I think the quote no longer quite works for today’s Republican Party (RP) has changed dramatically since Vidal wrote the above though the essential political arrangements are the same-both are part of the Property Party and very specifically the Property Party of the very, very rich, not any of the rest of us who happen to won a little property. The Property Party is the only political party and will always be the political party barring environmental disaster of the worst kind with galloping positive feedback loops which is possible.
Both parties have moved us into a post-Constitutional and post rule-of-law society. Not that we still don’t have a mainly rule-of-law society when we apply the law to the average person. But the corner has been turned and there is no going back and gradually the idea of equality before the law will disappear. Right now both parties accepted that: 1) habeas corpus could be suspended as well as international treaties (the Geneva Conventions on War) could be just tossed in the trash; and 2) obvious violations of numerous statutes by politically connected corporations would, henceforth, never be prosecuted such that these entities are now virtually untouchable by the law.
Some form of authoritarianism is the natural way for humans to live. There has been much social science research on this and I refer you to the most spectacular, the Milgram Study and the Stanford Prison Experiment-these studies have been replicated and I think we can say that we do have a tendency towards authoritarianism. The eighteenth century “Enlightenment” produced a notion that human beings acting rationally could come up with a system of checks and balances to create a livable system of relative freedom from coercion. But the sort of government the Founders instituted depends on a population interested in being responsible and reasonable citizens-when that moral strength, for any reason, becomes diluted we then revert back to the natural state of affairs. That state, to put it simply, is reflected in the sort of arrangements we saw in the Godfather. A strong person dispenses justices receives favors and dispenses favors and is the force of order and unity within a community-people give up their independent freedom of action for the security of a strong social order. For whatever reason, Americans clearly chose order over freedom, conformity over critical thinking after the events of 9/11.
We can see the tendency towards authoritarianism in the increasing incapacity of people to entertain contrary opinions and to debate different views civilly and constructively. Everyone believes they are right and that political debate has been a matter won or lost on the basis of insults-I learned that at DailyKos that appeared civilized and intelligent (well that might be stretching it) on the surface but the minute you opposed the Party Line they came at you viciously and suddenly the mask of reasonableness is off because you violated orthodoxy. But this is not just an issue with Orange. It is something I see all over the internet-this search for orthodoxy this suspicion of dissent from the group. It’s even been a problem on this blog at times when participation was at its height. For us to arrive at something like the truth we need to understand the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. We each have different perspectives; if we take in other people’s pov without automatically dismissing it then we can arrive at something more true than if we just trusted our own limited perspective. The fact we are unwilling to argue our positions and defend them rationally makes democracy utterly impossible and since this trend because clear it became only a matter of time before the oligarchs would figure out how to game the system and crash it big-time. This happened after 9/11 the date the country disappeared and a new nation took its place as if it had always been there. Remember we are in a permanent state of war against an abstract principle and that we use that abstract principle (terror) as our chief method to “defeat” it. An on one questions any of it except those of us on the edges. If we were ever able to listen, share and be willing to change our minds based on new ideas and new information the left could, once again, be a force in our society.
But first we must survive and voting for the DP may be the best way to do it. I could be wrong-if I am please let me know how I’m wrong. Obama does offer this promise, and I believe him. He offers us, his subjects, or more accurately the subjects of the Empire some minimum of human dignity-he tells us that we are not mere cogs in the industrial machinery but all part of a larger design who are born to work hard for their masters but nurtured and rewarded with some measure of security and with some hope that there is a government that will try to better our condition in some way, maybe not in the most efficient or human way but some way. He and the Democratic establishment are serious about the fact we are not just dispensable objects that are kept until no longer useful and then thrown out in the trash. Instead we get left by the side of the road with some food, water and shelter and some care.
The DP believes that “education,” training and minimal health-care is something that will help the oligarchs’ bottom line. We should vote for this faction of the oligarchy because it allows us to live better and create conditions for a new form of progressive culture which will, in turn, influence the oligarchs. I am saying clearly that I don’t mean that we will be able to significantly re-create the old USA, no that door is closed permanently-but we may be able to, at least, convince most of our masters that we’re all in this together.
The alternative is a hard neo-feudal world where we will be owned by the aristocrats and, as Biden accurately said, we will find ourselves in chains if we don’t belong to the right tribe–and, in fact, even if we are. The depths of depravity the Republican Party has sunk to is so dramatic, so negative that it doesn’t matter than once they get into power they won’t really do what they say they’re going to do (even they know they’re bullshitting) but the idea that such a despicable bunch would be elected in this country would mean that “the people” (assuming the election isn’t stolen which it could be) actually voted to say yes to moral evil.