08 December, 2016

The Digest—Thursday, 8 December, 2016

[The Digest is a collection of articles, videos, and other media I've viewed and found significant throughout the day. It is a way to divest myself from other social media that is more reliant on likes, click-bait, and peer-approval rather than quality, intelligence, and diversity of opinion, which are the qualities I find important. It is also a way to devote myself to daily contributions to this space...at least in theory.]

-=Summary: The age of anger, Trump's non-decency, & The Untold History of the United States=-


Welcome to the age of anger
Pankaj Mishra from The Guardian

Will we never learn the lessons of history? 
“One gets the impression,” Freud wrote in The Future of an Illusion (1927) “that culture is something imposed on a reluctant majority by a minority that managed to gain possession of the instruments of power and coercion.”
What is imposed on the many by the few is the narrative they wish to be told, facts be damned. It's the lie of American goodness and exceptionalism, condemning the tyranny of elected governments while staging coups across the globe, imposing its will on foreign populations and the oppressed. It's the lie that something called a "market" has a "will" or any sense of "fairness" instead of unmitigated hunger for endless consumption. It's the myth of "limited government" apostles using government to undermine, oppress, imprison, and criminalize anyone and anything perceived as a threat to their economic and political goals.
But this vanity, luridly exemplified today by Donald Trump’s Twitter account, often ends up nourishing in the soul a dislike of one’s own self while stoking impotent hatred of others; and it can quickly degenerate into an aggressive drive, whereby individuals feel acknowledged only by being preferred over others, and by rejoicing in their abjection. (As Gore Vidal pithily put it: “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”)
And these lies fed people the myth that they, too, could achieve such opulence, and thus such control, and thus safety and recognition and validation, all of which lead to one inevitable outcome: failure to achieve. And on failing to achieve, there cannot be blame lobbed in the direction toward which they, for so long, strived, but instead placed upon those perceived to be taking that dream straight from their hands and gifting it to the undeserved, those grubby takers who play victim for handouts instead of toiling, like them, in ceaseless humiliation and impotence. 
Issues of social justice and equality have receded along with conceptions of society or community – to be replaced by the freely choosing individual in the marketplace. According to the prevailing view today, the injustices entrenched by history or social circumstances cease to matter: the slumdog, too, can be a millionaire, and the individual’s failure to escape the underclass is self-evident proof of his poor choices.
They have receded because of the public and government-sponsored attack on dissent as "Communism" for 40 years, which froze the ability to conduct discourse and debate. They have receded because those in power continue to believe, as did the founding fathers, that you can't trust the citizenry with their own futures, with the truth of fact and history, with the power that might affect that elite's political and economic monopolies. So public will is thwarted, those trusted to maintain their status quo installed at levers of power and control, and the mythologies spun that it is those who want to give that power back who have caused their misery and pain.
Rich and poor alike voting for a serial liar and tax dodger have confirmed yet again that human desires operate independently of the logic of self-interest – and may even be destructive of it. Our political and intellectual elites midwifed the new “irrationalism” through a studied indifference to the emotional dislocation and economic suffering induced by modern capitalism. Not surprisingly, they are now unable to explain its rise.
I want to know to which "elites" this author is referring, as those I relate to have been railing for years against unregulated global capitalism that has shipped jobs overseas, condemned "liberals" who embraced the neocon economy, which then became the neolib economy, too, recognize the realities of oppression and white privilege and misogyny not to hurt the lives of this supposedly forgotten, white working man, but to lift more lives out of poverty and powerlessness, to promote assurances and policies that check unrestrained power and greed, and tear down the establishment forces who think they know better than the people what those people want. This lumps intellectualism with power-hungry cronyism, and the two are not one in the same. 
What Robert Musil called the “liberal scraps of an unfounded faith in reason and progress” have yet again failed modern human beings in their all-important task of understanding their experience. We once more confront the possibility, outlined in Musil’s great novel about the collapse of liberal values, The Man Without Qualities, that the characteristic desolation of the modern human being – his “immense loneliness in a desert of detail, his restlessness, malice, incomparable callousness, his greed for money, his coldness and violence’ – is “the result of the losses that logically precise thinking has inflicted on the soul”.

Robert Reich: Has Trump No Decency?
Robert Reich from CNN

No, he doesn't. Attacking individual citizens for their disagreement and criticisms of his words, actions, tactics, appointees, nominations, business dealings, ethics, and aforementioned attacks is the mode and method of despots and dictators.


The Untold History of the United States
via Netflix

Unraveling my reactions into a coherent response would take...a long time, so I'll just publish my raw thoughts and reactions while watching. 

--DNC subversion of Henry Wallace to install Harry Truman and changing the course of history forever
nuclear bombs, betraying russia, ignoring Japan's calls for surrender, bullying Russia into defensive postures, causing exactly what they said they were trying to prevent by making up its existence ensuring it occurred, allowing paranoia to envelop US and creating the CIA & NSA and overtthrowing democratically-elected governments to install dictators "friendly" to US interests and turning the word "communism" into a catch-all label for ANYONE who simply disagrees with US policy as US policy crushed democracies and vulnerable populations across the world, and Eisenhower continuing this and escalating nuclear proliferation and threatening countries with nuclear attacks to get his way and refusing to condemn Joseph McCarthy and his tactics and the attacks on Americans and further coups and then demonizing Russia for protecting its national interests (doesn't make tactics OK but lack of empathy and demonization amazing). so infuriating. the bullshit wars of korea and vietnam and the prices they cost, the long-term and systemic and government-sponsored suppression of left-wing ideas and liberalism in general and any support of people actually governing themselves instead of the wealthiest determining whose lives matter and whose do not since the ascent of Truman and the utter fucking lie of liberal control of anything in this country, except in cases when such politicians capitulate to basic right wing needs like NAFTA and unregulated capitalism, the reality is that the far-far-right has pulled the left to its spherehillary clinton's stand would be seen by someone like "extreme-right" barry goldwater as a moderate republican stand.

and then reagan's dismantling of any government control on unfettered self-interest wreaking havoc on this planet, the safety net, sending millions of jobs overseas, all those workers so pissed they elected an unabashed sociopath to office need look no further than their greatest freaking hero, rewarding the best liars with most power, disempowering the self. i feel sick. 

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