We interrupt this blogcast to bring you the following public service link to Patrick Blanchfield in the Baffler on the New Praetorianism.
“But the New Praetorianism runs even deeper, and is baked into bipartisan dogma of American exceptionalism. It manifests in David Brooks’s arguing for America as the fulfillment of human destiny and freedom like a half-pint Hegel praising Hohenzollern Prussia as God’s gift to man. But it is also revealed in ugly statements that, formally speaking, leave ostensibly #woke liberals looking indistinguishable from unreconstructed reactionary racists. Gasbag-at-large Keith Olbermann rails that “the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum who are beholden to scum, Russian scum,” “anti-racist educator” Tim Wise pronounces that “when your contribution to the world is Faberge eggs, autocracy and pogroms, no one should much care what you think,” and MSNBC’s Joy Reid invokes the threat of “Comrade Vladimir” and marvels that “for most Americans it’s shocking to see an American presidential candidate openly touting authoritarian, communist Russia” a word-salad, history-free composite of scary ideologies as coherent as any Tea Partier’s jeremiad against “Islamo-Fascism.” If such idiocy is meant to steer us away from Trump’s supposed threat to international peace, we might as well just throw a switch and go to DEFCON 1 already. After all, CNN breathlessly reports, there is a Russian ship “lurking” off the coast of Connecticut right now.
Here’s the hard truth: There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers. Maybe he will get his way, maybe he won’t. Maybe one of the parties will produce a more telegenic, more reasonable, and more “moderate” leader down the line. Any of these scenarios, though, skirts ever closer to disaster, and all take as unspoken that the essential business of the American state is a fundamental orientation toward war.
This is something other than some enigmatic ancient prophecy. It is an all-too-modern self-fulfilling one. We have already crossed the river with Croesus, and though we may refuse to admit it, our empire is already lost. The question is only whether or how we will burn.”
That’s a summary I’m in whole-hearted agreement with. If the people on both sides, Republican and Democrat, don’t pull back from the political correctness simplifications of complex problems on one side and simplistic authoritarian fascism on the other we’ll go right over the cliff, perhaps taking the entire world down with us.
It’s no joke. It’s no laughing matter. This isn’t late-night comedy and it isn’t reality TV. This and the final destruction of the planet’s resources in a gluttony of corporate avarice in the service of consumer avarice in all countries face us with near certain extinction without a sharp change of course.
That’s the way it is. The entire Neoliberal structure has to come down and we need to enter a new era with an entirely new set of values. Survival of the planet as opposed to survivial of the fittest. Because the fittest in the Neoliberal model are total sociopaths along with the corporations they run.
My prediction is that those who believe in a Deus ex machina that saves us (as we are brought to our senses by the Second Coming or ET and his enlightened alien buddies) are in for a big surprise and the joke is going to be on all of us if, on the single individual level we don’t take some kind of action, any kind at action in whatever way possible, that is in every way counter to all this anger and rage and power lust driving us all to destruction.
As I see it from my lone outpost here we’re either all going to hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately, to quote the words of Ben Franklin.