If you’re acquainted with Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, Trump is the Mule and Gates is Hari Seldon. From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:
“Excellence, he is known as the Mule. He is spoken of little, in a factual sense, but I have gathered the scraps and fragments of knowledge and winnowed out the most probable of them. He is apparently a man of neither birth nor standing. His father, unknown. His mother, dead in childbirth. His upbringing, that of a vagabond. His education, that of the tramp worlds, and the backwash alleys of space. He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical strength, and stubbornness of purpose.” ― Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire
“The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop.” – Isaac Asimov, Foundation
Is humanity the subject of a giant human-scale experiment equivalent to a famous one done on rats in the 1950s and 1960s. There are definitely some similarities. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:
Not long after the last of the last American soldiers returned home at the close of WWII, a little-known ethologist named John B. Calhoun set up a quarter acre pen somewhere on the outskirts of Rockville, Maryland and populated it with several dozen Norwegian rats. His experiment was meant to see just how large the population density would become if they were provided with adequate food, water, shelter and protection from predators so that all of their needs were met. Fellow researchers dubbed his experiment rat utopia and before long he had discovered the answer to his question.
When his research caught the eye of bureaucrats at the National Institute for Mental Health, they approached him with an offer of unlimited funding for another project along the same lines under stricter conditions than the bucolic environs of a pasture just north of Washington, D.C. By 1954 he had devised a complex interior setup for his rats to inhabit that divided the environment into four cells, each configured to provide a continuous supply of food, water and bedding with plenty of space for nests and open areas for social interaction. Into each of these he placed an equal number of both male and female rats and simply watched as they began to at first explore and then to colonize and dominate their surroundings.
A reader brings up a subject worth examining at length regarding the willingness of people to perform the various rites of the Sickness Cult even in the absence of enforcement – as in the case of people who wear their Holy Rag everywhere they go, even within their own vehicle. He brought up the related cult – the Climate Change Cult – and asked why so many people eagerly embrace these faiths, even to their obvious detriment.
Last week, Bill Gates appeared on 60 Minutes and talked about climate change, and said something like “every aspect of our lives will have to change” to combat global warming. (Sort of like the “new normal” for WuFlu?) The next day people at my workplace were talking about how “smart” Gates is about so many things and how it’s so good that he wants to “help people” with his money. They also were looking forward to when they’d be “eligible” for the WuFlu shot.
So . . . a multibillionaire with the influence to do so wants to completely change your life to suit his ideals? And the government wants to inject you with a substance that changes you at the cellular level? This didn’t seem to raise any alarm whatsoever — in fact, they were cheering it on! This brought to mind your article about the “wolves and sheep.” Obviously these people are sheep — but do they even know they’re sheep, and why can’t they see that Gates, Fauci, and Biden are just playing them? And can they ever be “brought around” to be wolves? I don’t care what the likes of Bill Gates, Fauci, and Diaper Joe think — much less want them decide how I “should” live my life. But why can I see this and all these other people can’t? What makes “wrong thinkers” (the wolves) different in that we see though the BS?
The answer is as simple as it is frightening. These people do not want to see. They want to believe. Deeply, in the religious sense. In the sense of the religious fanatic; someone not content to just believe but who insists everyone else also believes – and behaves.
Now, stop right there. Normal people don’t have this problem. Normal people think, aww, how nice, and start thinking of ways to return the kindness. But normal people are not Harvard-educated New York-based liberal journalists. Hence Heffernan’s revealing column. Excerpts:
Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job.
How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness?
Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks?
These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood.
This is also kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing.
Sadly, the lives of most people are defined by the matrix that the vast majority of us are connected to on a daily basis. In most cases, your income and status in society are defined by whatever “job” has been given to you by whichever corporation you are currently working for. We like to call ourselves “employees”, but in essence we are basically corporate servants.
Of course most people feel like they can’t quit their corporate jobs because each month they have to make payments on mortgages, auto loans and credit card debts that they owe to giant corporate financial institutions.
And most people also feel the need to constantly “prepare for retirement” by pouring money into corporate securities in the rigged game that we call “the stock market”.
But what is going to happen to all of them when our economic and financial systems completely implode?
During this current economic downturn, millions upon millions of Americans have already lost their jobs, and it is being reported that millions of Americans could potentially be evicted from their homes in 2021.
When things go bad, it is the little guy that gets crushed first.
But you don’t have to wait around for that to happen.
If we wish to grasp American life in the 19th century, it’s probably best to start by understanding that when America was young, it had no myth. Once we really understand that, the rest falls into place fairly easily. Here’s how Alexis de Tocqueville (in National Character of Americans) described it in the 1830s:
Born often under another sky, placed in the middle of an always moving scene, himself driven by the irresistible torrent which draws all about him, the American has no time to tie himself to anything, he grows accustomed only to change, and ends by regarding it as the natural state of man. He feels the need of it, more he loves it; for the instability; instead of meaning disaster to him, seems to give birth only to miracles all about him.
We all know that national leaders promote myths about their glorious nation: one or more “uniquenesses” that give the people of their nation a fast, easy and noble identity. And assuredly American myths have been promoted all through our lifetimes. But in its early years, America had no such myth. America was a rebellious upstart; a collection of violent and uncivilized farmers who made so much trouble for the British that they eventually pulled out. Some Americans saw themselves as heroic, but educated and powerful people worldwide considered them semi-barbaric.
And so, Americans couldn’t claim glorious ancestors or much anything else to gain fast and cheap self-esteem; they’d have to earn it… they’d have to show the rest of the world that self-governing peasants could out-produce nations guided by enlightened aristocrats. And so the minds of Americans were focused on actual production, education and progress instead of national myths.
Secession is not just a Southern thing anymore. From Larry L. Bean at lewrockwell.com:
The old saying: “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God” certainly applies to me.
I’m an ethnic Southerner who was raised in the north – but who, for the past 25 years (with the exception of my three year educational exile to the permafrost of Fort Wayne, Indiana) has lived in the Deep South. In fact, for the past 17 years, I have lived so far in the Deep South that it is really barely Southern at all – being south of the South. But we were graciously permitted membership in the Confederacy, given the tolerance and ethnic diversity of that particular manifestation of American federalism. Moreover, only two other states suffered as long as we did in the so-called Reconstruction as did Louisiana. So we – my state and my person – have earned the bona fides to consider what it means to be Southern, though perhaps by means of a circuitous route.
So permit me to ponder – while pondering is still permitted in our Reunited States.
The South is an embarrassment to many in the various other regions of America as it is constituted today. We are especially anathema to our Betters on the coasts.
Indeed, we talk funny. We’re slow and dumb and backwards and conservative. We cling to our Bibles and guns. We got Donald Trump elected. That alone should make our separated brethren in the Disunted States to want to retroactively secede us. Typically, our kids say “sir” and “ma’am” and, shockingly, we treat men and women differently, and hold comically to the long-since discredited fantasy that only women bear children. We still put flags and flowers on our ancestral graves – especially those of our our veterans – which is apparently why some folks come South for the winter in their black socks and sandals, wagging their heads, and honking nasally and incredulously: “Look Martha, these people are still fighting the civil war.”
To try to mentally prepare one’s self for one’s eventual death is one of the most difficult but most worthwhile things a person can do. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:
“Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life.” –Naguib Mahfouz
Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer prize winning philosophical masterpiece The Denial of Death published in 1973 is an attempt to make sense of Mankind’s irrepressible need to create what he dubbed Immortality Projects; a means to deal with our knowledge of the ultimate end to life. The central theme is that our duality of being, as a physical being in the natural world and as a symbolic creature that inhabits a world of his own creation, where reality is what can be conceived. In times past structure rose to explain this conflicted sense of being.
Churches and Divine leaders that could explain why there should be no fear of oblivion. The stories they constructed served to maintain stability in interpersonal relations of larger groups, to focus energies and direct efforts to goals in the future. Our entire civilization, he said, was built to serve as a bulwark against death, or more to the point, our awareness of it, to protect the fragile psyche of our species with an emotional and reasoned armor in the same way we clothe our soft and vulnerable bodies against the elements.
Over seventy million people are considered an irredeemable and deplorable underclass because they supported Trump and they despise their self-anointed betters. From the Bionic Mosquito at lewrockwell.com:
Paul VanderKlay commented: “The underclass knows the overclass better than the overclass knows the underclass.” I replied, in the comments to the video (modified slightly for clarity):
Something really worth considering in understanding the political and world events (and the media that has covered these) that have played out over the last years.
This, in the context of events at the capitol, etc.
I have been thinking about when the political division in this country took such a toxic turn – not just toxic between and amongst politicians, but toxic toward and between some multiple number of tens-of-millions of people.
I would point to the roots of it in the political strategy of Antonio Gramsci, who knew that communism would not come to the West via a division between the workers and the owners/capitalists, but only through the creation from below of a new culture – one that by design would crush Christianity. And this would be true enough; we are living it.
I would also consider the manifestation of this strategy in the 1960s and the cultural revolution that was plainly visible at the time. Certainly, by the 1990s, the toxic ideas of critical theory would begin to permeate academia to the point where today the various disciplines of the liberal arts are all lost to corruption (with STEM now being dragged through the wreckage of their wake).
1910 was well before my own time, of course, but I knew at least ten people who lived through it as adults, and discussed the era at some length with one of them, my great uncle Dave. And so this is an era I feel I can still reach out and touch.
One of the more interesting things about this era regards our separation from it. The great event that forged this divide was World War I, which is greatly under-appreciated in modern discourse. Schools cover World War II in great depth, but run through World War I fairly quickly. World War I, however – “The Great War” – changed human affairs and human consciousness far more than World War II did. The world before and the world afterward were very different places.
Bear in mind, however, that in 1910, people lived very similarly to the way we do. They (particularly in the cities) lived in houses with central heating, refrigerated their food, and ate the same foods we eat today. They had newspapers, affordable and rapid transportation, access to medical care, telegrams (delivery in an hour or two was common) and so on. Even movies and radio were starting to spread. Cars were arriving, as were electricity and telephones. Airplanes were starting to appear in the skies. Railroads went almost everywhere.
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