Updates to Blogroll 03

Posted: January 15, 2018 in Blogroll, Culture, Debate, Industrial Collapse, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

Adding one, revising one. The added one is The Daily Impact, written by Tom Lewis, author of a couple books warning of the collapse of industrial civilization. Lewis appears to be a news junkie, so posts are often torn from the day’s headlines. He’s a good read and not afraid to be sardonically funny. The revised one is The Compulsive Explainer, written by Hal Smith. Blogs come and go, and I had thought that The Compulsive Explainer had stopped being updated last summer, but I see that the author merely switched from WordPress to Blogger without any indication. I suspect Smith isn’t much read (if commentary is a useful measure) but probably deserves to be, not least for his ex patriot perspective.

Because this entry is so slight, there is considerably more unrelated content beneath the fold.

A discussion in the commentary at Gin and Tacos regarding American character and electoral politics provides a interesting back-and-forth. Comments very slightly edited here.

Excerpted Comment No. 1 (jcdenton)

… the issue that some here have raised is that it’s a little self-serving to bitch about Trump’s racism and deportations when just the previous guy had quietly deported millions of “bad immigrants” without nary a peep from the center left.

I don’t equate Obama and Trump. At the very least they have radically different attitudes on social issues. But one problem with being angry exclusively at Trump is that he’s currently being used to Trumpwash the entirety of American history.

Trump is a symptom of American racism, sexism and class war, not a cause. He has, if nothing else, bared forth the deepest essence of the American spirit. He is the Monroe Doctrine, the Trail of Tears, the Southern Doctrine, the Red Scare, the Vietnam War, Fox News, capitalism, lynchings, ignorance-worship, warmongering, paranoia and blind imperialism all rolled into one neat package.

He’s the culmination of all the shit that’s been terrible about the U.S. since its founding. He is the country not as it sees itself, but as it’s actually behaved. Be angry at that, at the underlying rot and disease, instead of one particularly egregious pus-filled boil.

Can only agree with this, though it does tend to beg a lot of questions, some of which are posed by the following comment.

Excerpted Comment No. 2 (BLOZAR)

… I think I get it: U.S. history is not a story with morally pure good guys (D) at one end of the government control see-saw with pure evil bad guys (R) at the other end. Blame for all the morally objectionable events of history can not reasonably be laid at the feet of one political party. To do so while firing off rhetorical exhortations is disingenuous.

A) How much of a priority is it to make sure people are reminded of the above when discussing #PresidentShithole?
B) Is it VITAL to you that anyone expressing judgment towards the racist-in-chief, his gang of enablers, and his voter base be sure to include a ‘both sides do it’ or ‘whuddabout the Ds’ caveat in the same breath/sentence? If so, why?

Once the villainy of the U.S.A. has been attributed to BOTH SIDES and the fortress of moral purity on top of mount slippery-slope has had a NO ADMITTANCE sign nailed across the entrance, what are we supposed to do?

1) Disappear up into the purity vortex inside our own ass on election day with a protest vote or remain unsullied and stay home?

2) Preach cynical paralysis on the internets by equivocating, qualifying, and painting everyone as complicit in the great cycle of atrocity?

Is the goal to make ‘progressive’ people so discouraged that they turn away from politics because that is what a relentless message of ‘they’re all bad, there are no good choices, voting makes you complicit in EVIL’ does. Who benefits from that?

I think the D’s camp on mount slippery-slope is located a lot closer to the top than the R’s. I think a history of support for social safety nets, consumer [safety? protections?], labor, environmental[ism], and civil rights counts for something especially when looking at the R’s steady history of being opposed to those things. I think the R’s have an awesomely shitty moral track record on just about everything for the last 40+ years, and when anything like ‘progress’ happened it happened in spite of them.

I have no problem noticing that by voting straight ticket D I haven’t voted for knights in shining armor who do no wrong. I vote D because the alternative is being dominated by R’s who are clearly and always FAR worse. At a fundamental level, I believe the R’s to be a truly malevolent party that has ripped off their ‘libertarian/tea party/principled conservative/evangelical christian’ bullshit costumes they have been hiding beneath for 40+ years to reveal the white supremacist/oligarch bootlicking monsters they have always been (fuck that both-sides shit).

Did BO and BC lick some oligarch boots and advance some awful agenda elements? Yep, they sure did and it was painful to watch (Wall Street should have been decorated with banking and insurance executives hanging from lamp posts in 2009), but compared to Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2, #PresidentShithole, or any fucking Republican besides Lincoln they were a FAR BETTER choice. IMO that should always be the lede but instead we get a bunch of bothsiderist whuddaboutism from some quarters.

Good rant complaining about pointing left when we should be looking right. Put another way, by expanding the scope of concern well beyond the issue at hand (today’s policies and politics put into practice) to include the entirety of American history, the problem is presumptively diminished without ever really going away. Rejoinder follows.

Excerpted Comment No. 3 (jcdenton)

The issue isn’t to depress the progressive vote. The issue is that this fucking less-evil narrative leaves no room for anyone actually semi-good. If you look at our political system, a worse foe always seems to present itself, requiring you to vote for the lesser of two evils (or shall we say the “sane and competent” evil).

If you keep voting for the lesser evil (and in fact promoting the process of voting for the lesser evil), you’re letting the bar slip down by default. All that’s required is for some political shitbag to act worse than last time, and suddenly you’ve got a justification to vote for someone less worse than that, who may also be worse than the people you voted for last time.

In the less-worse race, no one is required to be “good,” just marginally more acceptable than the other guy. Where is the incentive to actually field candidates with less shitty policies? Where is the incentive for introspection? For radical policies and reform? If the next guy is worse than DJT, are you suddenly going to start fondly reminiscing about DJT in the same manner as corporate Dems are now reminiscing about Reagan and W and applauding sacks of shit like Bill Kristol and David Frum?

The ratchet of “less-evil” always winds towards one side constantly moving further and further into the shit, while the other just plays catchup. This is epitomized by corporate Dems screaming “We shouldn’t have to offer you any substantive material policies. We’re not Nazis!” Great.

Another good contextualizing remark. However, there’s no recommendation on how to act or how to vote given our lackluster options. (I note Obama had lots of luster but didn’t deliver what was expected of him beyond keeping us out of the drain we were circling.) One might say that simply observing the dynamic is enough to start, but the questions posed above are more pointed than simply asking for more context, especially no. 2 about preaching cynical paralysis.

In my darker thoughts, I’d say that if the American public has indeed recognized the general direction we’re going with worse and worse presidential candidates (as though that’s the only office that matters), then roughly half voted for the worst so far just to put a stake in his heart, to burn down the house, etc. (pick your metaphor). Maybe there will be some salvation after the revolution, but that’s awfully optimistic. In truth, I don’t believe many or most who continue to vote for the greater of two evils possess that much introspection. Rather, they’re being consistent with “the country not as it sees itself, but as it’s actually behaved” and living down to our worst impulses.

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