A friend recently sent me a passage from H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895) that resonated with me. It comes when the main character journeys deep into the future. He muses about what kind of human beings he will face:
What might not have happened to men? What if cruelty had grown into a common passion? What if in this interval the race had lost its manliness and had developed into something inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful? I might seem some old-world savage animal, only the more dreadful and disgusting for our common likeness–a foul creature to be incontinently slain.
Writing in the late Victorian era, Wells put a heavy stress on manliness that is decidedly unfashionable today. Yet his description of manliness is interesting: he contrasts it to men who are “inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful.” For Wells, true manliness taps humane qualities; it values sympathy; it resists being consumed by a will to power.
And it struck me that in men like Trump, a portion of the dystopic future Wells envisions in The Time Machine is now. For Trump, being “manly” is about acquiring power, commanding obedience, forcing other men to submit while grabbing pussy whenever you can. It’s a noxious notion of masculinity, an unsympathetic, even an “inhuman” one.
Another interesting passage I came across this week appears in Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity (1980). The main female character in that book, a Canadian economist by the name of Marie, muses about the men she’s encountered in government employ, at the highest and most secretive levels:
Oh, God, she loathed them all! Mindless, stupid men. Playing with the lives of other men, knowing so little, thinking they knew so much.
They had not listened! They never listened until it was too late, and then only with stern forbearance and strong reminders of what might have been—had things been as they were perceived to be, which they were not. The corruption came from blindness, the lies from obstinacy and embarrassment. Do not embarrass the powerful; the napalm said it all.
And again it got me thinking of Trump and men like him. Trump is all about his “instincts.” He doesn’t bother to read or study, and he sure as hell is not a listener. And he lies and lies just to stay in shape.
But Trump is less cause than symptom. America produced him, and voters voted for him. Roughly one-third of Americans continue to say they support him, irrespective of his serial lying, serial infidelity, and his greedy and grasping policies that favor the richest few over the poorest many.
As Marie said in The Bourne Identity, America has too many “mindless, stupid men.” Men whose ideas about masculinity are defined in opposition to that of H.G. Wells’ concept. Men who are driven by power, who think being manly is about suppressing any sympathy for those less fortunate, men who are proud to be “tough” by being inhumane and nasty. “Empty souls,” as my wife succinctly said this morning.
18 thoughts on “Trump and Noxious Notions of Masculinity”
You might want to take a read of a The Soldier’s Tale https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-soldiers-tale/.
This is an article about Spenser Rapone by Chris Hedges. Rapone, was given an “other than honorable” discharge June 18 after an Army investigation determined that he “went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers” and thereby had engaged in “conduct unbecoming an officer.”
“You’re taught that the rifle is an extension of you. It is your life. You have to carry it at all times. The rifle made us warriors dedicated to destroying the enemy in close personal combat. At first, it was almost gleeful. We were a bunch of 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds. We had this instrument of death in our hands. We had power. We could do what 99 percent of our countrymen could not. The weapon changes you.”
I can attest to the statement, “The weapon changes you”. Even though my time as a grunt in Vietnam was in 1970/71, I would not want to have a firearm in my hands again. I have a fear I would use it.
By the time I was in Vietnam the gung-ho spirit was long gone from us draftee grunts. The warrior attitude’s Rapone mentioned were non existent in the unit I was with. I suspect this lack of a Warrior Attitude was a major reason a volunteer force was required. Any thoughts of going home and resuming civilian life are gone, since you do not have a civilian life anymore.
This volunteer force makes it easy for our elected officials, they receive no anguished letters from the parents of draftee Johnny, as to why he was killed or maimed. Nowadays, since Johnny signed up as a volunteer his or her death, or wounding in body or mind, has given the elected officials an out – We did not force Johnny or Jane to enlist.
I would find it hard to believe this Warrior Cult Attitude existed in the millions of men drafted in WW 2.
I guess my final parting shot on this today is: Rapone was cast out for among other things, “conduct unbecoming an officer”. A Second Louie gets the sack, but the Generals who fail and their civilian counterparts sail on unencumbered by any stench of defeat. – More bodies, more bombs, more drones, please – victory is just around the corner, or maybe the next corner.
I would like to hope Spenser Rapone can succeed in his life’s endeavor, but the struggle for him is just beginning. The Warrior State has it’s grip on him and there will be no mercy.
Thanks, ML. I first read about Rapone and his discharge at the Guardian. He made it easy on the military by being insubordinate and by advocating (apparently) for some sort of socialist/communist revolution. But perhaps this was his way of forcing the Army to kick him out. Clearly, he had had enough.
As you know, I’ve written a lot about the new “warrior” code in the U.S. military. I’m deeply opposed to it. It’s antithetical to our national traditions and our citizen-soldier ideal. Of course, I’m tilting at windmills, since this warrior code has become entrenched within the military, embraced by senior commanders as well as the rank-and-file.
Here’s a short article I wrote for Huff Post on this topic. It generated 600 comments when it appeared: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-astore/our-militarys-disturbing_b_664543.html
Our Military’s Disturbing Transition to Warriors (2010)
A subtle change has been happening right before the eyes of Americans. Our troops are being told they’re no longer primarily citizen-soldiers or citizen-airmen; they’re being told they’re warriors. Indeed, they’re reminded of this linguistic turn in “creeds” that many of them (and often their families) display with pride.
Here’s an excerpt from the new Airman’s Creed (2007):
“I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to fly, fight, and win.
I am faithful to a proud heritage,
a tradition of honor,
and a legacy of valor.”
The Army’s Soldier’s Creed (2003) makes the same point about the need to be a warrior first and foremost.
Now, some would say there’s nothing wrong with this. Our troops are at war. Don’t we want them to have a strong warrior ethos?
The historian (and retired citizen-airman) in me says “no,” and I’m supported in this by a surprising source: An American army pamphlet from World War II with the title “How the Jap Army Fights.” After praising the Japanese for their toughness and endurance, the pamphlet, citing a study by Robert Leurquin, makes the following point:
“The Japanese is more of a warrior than a military man, and therein lies his weakness. The difference may be a subtle one, but it does exist: The essential quality of the warrior is bravery; that of the military man, discipline.”
In 1942, our army cited the “warring passion” of the Japanese as a weakness, one that inhibited their mastery of “the craft of arms.” Yet today, our army and air force extol the virtues of being a “warrior” to young recruits.
Today’s cult of the warrior, as represented by these new “creeds,” may seem cosmetic, but it cuts to the core of our military’s self-image. That most Americans have no knowledge of it speaks volumes about the ongoing militarization of our language and even of our country.
After nearly a decade of war, we don’t need more “warrior ethos.” What we need are disciplined citizen-airmen and citizen-soldiers who know their craft, but who also know better than to revel in a warrior identity. We knew this in 1942; how did we come to forget it?
I had many uncles drafted into WWII after Pearl Harbor. Cognizant of thought way after, I can’t think of ONE of them desiring to be called “warriors”. They seemed most angry with Japan, not Hitler, who did not attack the homeland, nor even expound about it. “It’s Europe’s problem…” They went to both to “fight” ideals they hated: bombing a port, marching through Europe to plunder.
When it was all over, and we “won”, they went on to their simple lives of girlfriends/wives, making a family, & a living. None looked back, in “Glory” – just glad the job was done. A lot refused to buy German or Japanese products till their death – for understandable reasons – but the “war” was over. Had no problems visiting those “warrior” countries for tourism; actually enjoyed them.
The ‘Poem’, verse, etc. (you have better poets on your own site), is so bad, uncreative, and just plain stupid, means to me losing.
The REAL “Warriors” of today is Hezbollah, who scares the sh*t out of Israel.
William Lind explains ‘4GW’ (4th Generation Warriors) better than any: barehanded they overturned Israeli tanks in 2006 invasion of Lebanon!
They’re not the end folks. OK kill them all! (If you can) but it’s a new world!
Back to “Warriors”. For what? It hasn’t made America richer, in fact MUCH POORER.
What you’re describing in this article is something I like to call the “power paradox.” The more power you have, the less free you are, and more a slave to the machinery necessary to keep that power. In other words, you can ascend to the level of God-Emperor, but you can stay there for only as long as you ACT like the God-Emperor.
Speaking of the God-Emperor, I must admit that I’m genuinely surprised that you haven’t said anything about his unironic desire to make legions of space marines! Seriously, I was always under the impression that the Air Force handled space-based military operations, so what do you think Trump actually wants?
I was going to write something about Trump’s “space force,” but lots of people beat me to it. It’s a dumb idea — another boondoggle for the Pentagon. Trump, I think, sees this as making his mark on the Department of Defense. Look at me! I created a whole new service branch — a space force!
It’s ironic the U.S. wants to create a space force when our civilian (NASA) program is running out of oxygen. Well, at least a new space telescope will be launched soon.
We need to explore and preserve our oceans — that’s the real “space” we should be worried about.
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I have always found it a little strange that when a woman leader “acts tough” ( general language ), she is labelled to have “lot of testosterone”…. it is never that she has a strong character and courage of her convictions and hence is able to make difficult choices even at personal cost.
Here is a great write up by Pankaj Mishra…..
Thanks for the link, RS. When did being “masculine” become equivalent to being a major asshole? It’s one thing to be tough, resilient, resolute, and so on. It’s another thing entirely to be callous, vindictive, petulant, thin-skinned, and violent. That’s not “masculine,” which was exactly what H.G. Wells meant. That’s just being mean, selfish, and dickish — and worse.
Mention of The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells sets many mental wheels revolving, and then other wheels spinning up within those spinning wheels, and then … In no time at all, I find myself with a dozen books open to heavily annotated pages scattered all around my computer desk demanding that I cite them for reference. I admit that I can hardly refrain from visualizing the Republicans as Morlocks and the Democrats as their weak and easy Eloi meals, and perhaps I can come back in a later comment to the scientific, sociological, economic, and political ramifications of Well’s precient novel, as others have done. But for the present, I’ve got a gargoyle sculpture project on my hands (literally) and all over my work clothes, too: my first attempt at a full-up, three-dimensional sculpture of the Morock Sphinx that the time traveller first encounters when he arrives 800,000 years into the future.
I first saw the movie The Time Machine in 1960 during my last year of junior high school. Many decades passed before I got around to reading H. G. Wells’ little book, the first modern science fiction novel. I liked the movie so much that I saw it three times in quick succession at the old Gem Theater in downtown Garden Grove, California. Two images from the film captured my imagination and have fascinated me to this day: (1) the Morlock Sphinx — the visible bust portion of it, anyway — and (2) a ruined dome with two futuristic guardian lion sculptures, one on each side of the steps leading up to the entrance doors of the dome. An artist had drawn matte paintings of these scenes which I later located and saved for my own enjoyment. At one time or another, I probably used each of these two pictures as computer screen savers. This sort of behavior probably marks me as a “fan” …
Anyway, when I fist started trying to create high-relief sculpture paintings for my own home wall decorations after my retirement and relocation here to Taiwan, I of course set out to do a Morlock Sphinx using packing foam, discarded pieces of plywood, and other assorted refuse salvaged from the neighborhood environment. At first, I remembered elementary school back in the 1950s when we kids would cut up old newspapers into strips, dip them in a water-glue solution, and then make papier-mâché masks draped over a clay mold off of which we could pull the mask after it hardened. I tried that, but made such a mess of things that my wife suggested a switch to inexpensive paper-clay which comes in little individual “bricks” wrapped in cellophane packages. I had wanted to go full-on-recycle with my projects, but I had to compromise my environmental and poverty principles for good and numerous reasons.
My first attempt at a high relief sculpture-painting of the Morlock Sphinx turned into something unrecognizable, but still sort of acceptable in its own way. I called it “Alien Angst” and moved on to other projects, mostly inspired by Taoist Shrine gargoyles. Every so often, though, I would come back to the challenge of the Morlock Sphinx and have another go at it. I just couldn’t let it go. To date, I have three sculpture paintings nearly complete; almost good enough for one of them to qualify for the living-room wall gallery. Almost.
But about two weeks ago (and running out of available unoccupied wall space) I decided to try a small, stand-alone sculpture of at least the bust portion of the Morlock Sphinx. It took about a week from start to finish, but I got it done and my wife pronounced it good enough for display on top of our living-room china cabinet. High praise indeed from someone I trust who actually has real artistic talent. Flush with a feeling of “success,” I thought of those two guardian lions of George Pal’s film adaptation of Wells’ imagined future and thought I’d have a go at making one of those.
Unfortunately, when I enlarged my matte-painting reference picture to get a better look at the lion sculptures, I discovered that the low pixel-resolution just blurred the details even more. So, with only these inadequate visual hints to go on, I thought of reading The Time Machine again, only this time paying close attention to the author’s own description of what the time traveller had recounted to him. I found no mention of the guardian lions, but a rather more extensive description of the entire Morlock Sphinx: made of “white marble,” on a “bronze pedestal,” “crouching,” with “wings,” seeming to “hover,” with “sightless eyes” and a “sardonic smile.”
So, with images and verbal descriptions blending together inside spinning wheels inside other spinning wheels, I will make my way back to what passes for my “studio,” where something has begun to take shape from inexpensive (OK, “cheap”) paper clay and otherwise discarded materials; something hopefully expressive of a certain “Morlock Aesthetic” that has mezmerized my imagination since I first saw that George Pal film producion as a thirteen-year-old boy fifty-seven years ago. Perhaps in another week I might even see some visible proof that my own travels through time have not proven entirely uncreative.
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I admit that I can hardly refrain from visualizing the Republicans as Morlocks and the Democrats as their weak and easy Eloi meals, True, True very true.
I find it impossible to believe any humans will be alive in 800,000 years. We are destroying the earth, with pollution and the natural resource extractive economy. There is the chemical -pesticide-herbicide industry attitude of – “If we did not Patent it -Kill It.”
Elegy for the Eloi:
Americnas voted the Eloi Democrats into Control of the Congress in 2006 and what did they get? The first woman Speaker of the House. “The New Sheriff in Town,” otherwise known as:
Nancy the Negotiator
Nancy the Negotiator
Gives up first; surrenders later;
Takes her cards from off the table,
Then recites her loser fable:
“We don’t have the votes we need,”
Nancy says, in tones that bleed:
“Mean Republicans will whine
If we do not toe their line.”
Nancy bows to George and Dick
While her skinny ass they kick;
Writes them checks both blank and rubber,
Then proceeds to lamely blubber:
“We don’t like what Dubya’s doing.
Still, we quite enjoy the screwing.
Masochism’s what we offer,
Helping crooks to loot the coffer”
“Sure, the squandered blood and treasure
Goes to those we will not measure.
Still, we promise you’ll adore us
If you mark your ballot for us.”
“Choices you don’t have assail you,
Leaving only us who fail you.
Nonetheless, we’ve gotten fatter.
Why, then, should we think you matter?”
Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2007
Then, in 2008, the black Eloi rhetoric-reciter, Barack Obama, melliflulously moaned: “There is no Morlock America. There is no Eloi America. There is only the United States of America.” So the American voters put their hopes and him into the White House and got:
Congenital Stockholm Syndrome
He started by giving up quickly,
Surrendering early his case.
He offered to kiss their asses.
Replying, they pissed in his face.
Their urine, he thought, tasted strangely;
Yet not at all bad to his taste.
He’d gotten so used to it, plainly.
Why let such a drink go to waste?
The people who voted in favor
Of him and his promise of “change”
Now see in his many betrayals
A poodle afflicted with mange.
Each time that the surly and crazy
Republicans out for his skin
Condemn him for living and breathing,
He graciously helps them to win.
He’ll turn on his base in an instant
With threats and disdain and neglect
While bombing some Muslims so Cheney
Might thrill to the lives that he’s wrecked.
A black man in love with apartheid
He offers his stalwart support
To Zionists and their extortion
With “More, please!” his only retort.
A masochist begging for beatings
Obama takes joy in abuse
Receiving just what he has asked for
Which makes him of no earthly use
The little brown men that he’s murdered
In homes far away from our land
Bring profits obscene to his backers
Who give him the back of their hand.
Obama seeks praise from the vicious
Republicans, no matter what.
He suffers, apparently, nothing
So much as his need to kiss butt.
Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2011
And now the Eloi Democrats want to blame “the Russians” for feeding them to the Republican Morlocks when all the Morlocks have to do is sound the old Cold War air-raid sirens and the Eloi Democrats will march, transfixed, to their own consumption. As H. G. Wells wrote in Chapter 10 of The Time Machine:
“And like blots upon the landscape rose the cupolas above the ways to the Under-world. I understood now what all the beauty of the Over-world people covered. Very pleasant was their day, as pleasant as the day of the cattle in the field. Like the cattle, they knew of no enemies and provided against no needs. And their end was the same.”
As a kid in junior high school in 1960, I had little awareness of political life in the United States other than the fundamental life-lesson that my widowed, working-class mother passed on to me back in elementary school: namely, “A vote for a Republican is a vote against yourself.” As Forrest Gump would say: “Mama always had a way of explaining things to me so that I could understand them.”
Even so, in the fall of 1960, my social studies teacher, Mr Cristensen, showed our class a film of the Army-McCarthy hearings in the U.S. Senate wherein “Tail Gunner Joe” got his own red-baiting shit (which he borrowed from California Congressman and Eisenhower Vice President Richard Nixon) thrown back at him. Said our teacher after the film: “He doesn’t like it when people do the same thing to him.” Then, with the election coming up between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, Mr Christensen selected Jan Fetzer and me to debate the case for the Democratic party’s candidate. I don’t remember much about what we “argued,” except that the “new” and the “young” and a “Catholic” seemed to us preferable to the same old Eisenhower-Nixon commie-punching and general lethargy. “Time to get the country moving again,” I think exressed the Democratic party’s campaign that fall. We kids didn’t really know anything but what we heard our parents’ generation talk and argue about. We — the boys at least — had more juvenile concerns to absorb our time and attention, like girls growning bigger butts and bags of fat on their chests; surfing; sports; rock-and-roll music. We “thought” about stuff like that. Science fiction could aim low and seldom miss us.
But in August of that year, a film version of The Time Machine had come out and I think it made more of an impression upon me than all the other stuff happening in the real world outside my little concerns. In those ostensibly literate days, the “Bookmobile” — a converted Bus/Library — would stop at the local park and we kids could check out books as long as we returned them in a week. For some reason, I determined that I would read eight (8) science fiction books a week until I had exhaused the available offerings. Mom got mad at me for staying indoors all summer instead of enjoying the outdoors and a little brief freedom from all that studying at school. But I pretty much did as I had planned. The stories blended together and I can’t remember any titles except “Galactic Derelict” and “The Time Traders,” by Andre Norton (a pseudonym for Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005). I don’t remember reading The Time Machine, but another book (whose title I forget) told the story of a man to travelled to the future and returned to tell his story — a common theme. When asked about the form of government practiced in the future he reported: “They have only two laws. (1) You must not annoy other people. (2) You must not allow yourself to become annoyed too easily. Moral of the story: You can allow people a great deal of freedom if you know they won’t abuse it.” That stuck.
I don’t remember much else about that science-fiction summer and only a little more of the social studies class that followed it once school resumed in the fall. Still, the George Pal film somehow brought it all into focus and left me with two enduring images that would nag at me for decades — and still do. Now I have all these open, heavily annotated books lying all over the place, each one demanding: “Say something about Time and me!” If only I had the time …
I would like to elaborate more on this subject: namely, Time and our travels through it, but before I attempt to do that, I need to run a little test to see if I can display some graphic images that visually illustrate what I first saw on a theater screen in August of 1960 and what I have tried to do with that inspiration, in terms of physical sculpture over the past fourteen years or so. I can’t insert the images directly into my comments here but I did manage to upload them into a subdirectory of images on my own web site from where I can refer to them by Internet link. Not ideal, but the best I can do for now. So, for example:
(1) The Morlock Sphinx as the time traveller first sees it in the film.
(2) The ruined dome with two sculptured lion guardians flanking the steps up to the entry way doors.
If this works, I’ll know how to supply further visual references. If not, I’ll have to figure out some alternative. Here goes …
OK. That seems to work. Now for my first attempt — about ten years ago — at making a high-relief sculpture-painting of a Morlock Sphinx to hang on my living room wall. Something went horribly wrong, so don’t laugh.
(1) Alien Angst
Still, I didn’t want to let all that work go to waste, so I hung up the piece anyway. My wife said that I could.
I tried three more times over the past several years, and have one of the three efforts almost done. Almost. Something about the angle of the chin and line of the mouth seems just a little off. Perhaps I’ll get closer with the next two. I think I did better with this one:
(2) What Happened?
Feeling a little more confident about my abilities and technique after over a decade of trying everything I could think of, I decided to get away from relief sculpture paintings and try a small, stand alone sculpture. It took about a week, start to finish, and my wife said that I could set it on top of our living room china cabinet. If The Boss says so …
(3) Morlock Mussolini
Finally, something about that angled-backward, upturned face and jutting chin hit home when I went out upon the Internet and found
Four links ought to just about do it for now. I do believe I’m getting closer to capturing the essence of “Morlock Aesthetic.” It has certainly taken me long enough.
Love the Morlock Mussolini, Mike. And comparing Republicans-Democrats to Morlocks-Eloi is a stroke of genius.
Thanks for the kind words, Bill. As both you and KAJA above have commented upon our President’s lunatic idea of a “Space Force” (no doubt commanded by Yoda wearing a badly fitting Darth Vader outfit) and as I and others have noticed Donald Trump’s eerie resemblance to Benito Mussolini (the most pathetic of fascists), I find it appropriate to mention the photograph which accompanies Professor Andrew J. Bacevich’s recent article in the Los Angeles Times (Jun 21, 2018): Trump’s ridiculous Space Force is — sadly — an extension of America’s existing national security strategy. I mean, does The Donald not have his “Il Duce”/Morlock-Sphinx pose down-to-the-letter perfect? At the risk of lapsing into enlisted-sailor vulgarity, I would suggest “Ill Douche” as perhaps the most appropriate moniker for this particular oxygen thief: a still-breathing (I almost said “living”) monument to vapid, vainglorious vanity. As Professor Bacevich concludes, with heavy, but perfectly justifiable, irony:
“That a nation unable to pacify a single impoverished country like Afghanistan after 17 years of trying should contemplate attempting to control the infinite expanse of outer space will strike any sensible person as madness. Trump’s proposal that the United States should do just that suggests that in Washington, the hubris embedded in Wolfowitz’s Defense Planning Guidance is never-ending.”
I must admit: the words “defense,” “planning,” “guidance,” “never-ending,” and “Wolfowitz” — when used in relation to the fuck-up-and-move-up U.S. military (busy, as usual, pounding peasants from three miles above harm’s way) — simply refuse to coagulate into any sort of recognizable sentence for me. And the ancient Greek word “hubris,” while a reasonable and literate substitute for “pride,” scarcely comes close, in my estimation, to capturing the vast sense of Entitled Error assumed by America’s Vaunted Visigoths, dogs-of-war mercenaries, and corporate camp followers (who now build, staff, and service the “camps,” world(s) wide, to the utter ruination of the American working-class taxpayer). Nothing that these credulous cretins do — nothing — has any consequence for them other than further enrichment and limitless “career” possibilities. These mediocre minions and their bungling bureaucratic institutions serve no “country,” but only a global class of oligarchical patrons who could give a shit less about which nominal “nation” the put-upon proles think they inhabit instead of the various and shifting “marketing territories” in which they actually “live” (meaning, “borrow and buy”.) Personally and poetically, I prefer the notion of the Lunatic Leviathan, which — with all due humility — I prefer as the descriptive and dispositive term for maniacally militarized America.
“Ill Douche” will now perform his relentless Republican rendition of Morlock Mussolini for the easily entranced Eloi “establishment,” surrounded and backgrounded by photo-op puppets dressed in military costumes; standing rigidly and obediently at attention; visually saluting and pledging and swearing and vowing and promising to, like, you know: obey whatever insane and needless orders come down to them from … uh … somewhere (it doesn’t matter where). Meanwhile the virtue-and-“values”-signalling Eloi “establishment” continues doing that “Chickens Resist Colonel Sanders” thing that has, by now, become — thanks to the likes of Bawl and Pillory Clinton and Barack Obama — the defining characteristic of the useless and pointless Democratic Party.
“All Clear”? Hardly.
Hi Mike: What I admire (grudgingly) about the Morlocks/Republicans is they know exactly what they want, and are shameless about it. They want to eat the Eloi/Democrats. Yet our Eloi seem to think that “we can do business with them.” Well, even Little Red Riding Hood knew the wolf was trouble.
But the primary victory of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the usual Eloi/Democratic incumbent in New York shows that some Americans, at least, are tired of the same ol’ same ol’. Here’s hoping more Progressive candidates (and spirited women) run and win this fall.
Yes, Bill. I agree. One has to give the shameless, boundlessly cynical Morlock Republicans their due. They have read George Orwell’s 1984 and regard it, not as a dystopean nightmare, but as an Operations Manual, especially the book-within-a-book, “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.” Their night-vision eyes may find the light of day (i.e., Honesty and Truth) painful to behold, but they work exceedingly well in the dark, subterranean caverns of the human mind where the lizard of sub-cortical animal instincts lurks. As one of their chief hired-gun word magicians, Dr Frank Luntz, cheerfully acknowledges in his book Words that Work: “It’s not what you say, it’s what others hear.” Or, as his advertising-consultant colleague Clotaire Rapaille says: “I don’t care what you’re going to tell me intellectually. I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins”. The effete Eloi Democrats think that what they say to each other about their own “virtues” and “values” matters, while the Morlock Republicans only care which direction they can stampede the Eloi every time they they sound the old 1950s Cold War air-raid siren. As the late great Professor Sheldon Wolin wrote in Democracy, Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2006):
“The genius of the Republican Party is to perceive the possibilities present in [technologically innovative] systematizing and dynamic institutions and to combine them into something entirely new in U.S. politics, a dynamic reactionary movement professing to be a party of conservatism dedicated to small government, fiscal austerity, and a return to our Ur-myth, the ‘original Constitution of the Founders.’ Not least a party that has developed an impressive system for recruiting future apparatchiks” [emphasis added].
Professor Wolin goes on to elaborate on the systemic nature of Morlock fast-food management practices:
“The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes to be the opposite of what it, in fact, is. It disclaims its real identity, trusting that its deviations will become normalized as ‘change’ [emphasis added] Again, exactly the opposite of classic totalitarians who, far from disguising their break with the constitutional system of the past, celebrated it.”
In more specific, practical detail, taking note of the deliberatrely schizophrenic doublethink at work below surface appearances:
“The Republican Party is not, as advertised, conservative but radically oligarchical. Programmatically it exists to advance corporate economical and political interests, and to protect and promote inequalities of opportunity and wealth” [emphasis added].
… and, regarding the self-celebrating Eloi Democrat “opposition” or “resistance” to Morlock Managerial Corporatism:
“While the Republican Party is ever vigilant about the care and feeding of its zealots, the Democratic Party is equally concerned to discourage its democrats [emphasis added].
“The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts points to the crucial fact that, for the poor, minorities, the working class, anticorporatists, pro-environmentalists, and anti-imperialists, there is no opposition party working actively on their behalf. And this despite the fact that these elements are recognized as the loyal base of the party. By ignoring dissent and by assuming that the dissenters have no alternative [“Look forward, not backward”], the party serves as an important, if ironical, stabilizing function and in effect marginalizes any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans.”
Again, and most importantly, the Democratic party exists, not to champion, but to dismay and deflate any working-class movement that might possibly cause the Republicans the slightest difficulty as they Hoover up increasing wealth and power to those corporate interests who own most of everything already, but who still operate on the basis of Atilla’s admonition: “It is not enough that I succeed. Everyone else must fail.”
Buy some Republicans, they’ll shout “Gawd Bless!”
Rent a few Democrats, they’ll lose for less.
Pardon the length of this reply, Bill, but I wanted to set up the basis of my response to your mention of recent Eloi primary contests. In states like New York and California, for example, Eloi candidates can pile up huge majorities in winner-take-all elections that only count 51% of the vote towards the Electoral College allotment for those states. 99% of the vote would get no more. Yet, personality and gender obsession aside, the Eloi never seem to focus on the systemic causes of their political impotence. Until I see these virtue-signalling “winners” open a full-frontal-assault demanding Constitutional prohibition of (1) gerrymandered Congressional districts, (2) winner-take-all elections, (3) the Electoral College, and (4) unlimited corporate campaign funding, just for starters, I will remain unimpressed with the “Democratic” party that once got my impoverished grandfather his first regular job with the WPA during the Great Depression in the 1930s. I don’t think the Morlocks care much about the gender or personality quirks of their Eloi meals. A rooster or a hen (or a capon) to them would taste the same.
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Mike: I think you are right. We could sure use a second political party, for as you know, the current Dems are just the Eloi version of the Repubs. But I’m hopeful there are real, Progressive, candidates with the courage of their convictions. We need to support them.
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