Monday, November 05, 2018


Trying to think of last thoughts before the election, I find three sort of blurry categories to ponder, if not now or even if not just now, still more later.

First, thinking about rich people -- the few that I know -- I'm reflecting on how often they say they would like to do something but their accountant/doctor/manager/ wife/children /mom won't let them.  The main person's idea goes against employees or relatives own interests or diminishes the importance of the rich person (on which their ultimate interest is based) or belongs to a different generation or point of view.  This situation doesn't require a traitor or even a suck-up fake complier, but just people who look at things a little differently and might group together to influence where things go.

It occurs to me that at some point when a person is very rich, they are no longer a person but an institution, a complex of people who make their living through the fortunes of the whole, and who will try to steer the putative owner who has somehow managed to keep an interest in making decisions and to get enough information out of the complex in order to make smart ones.  So we hear that the NRA is no longer very interested in guns, but wants to contribute to Alt-Right causes.  Religious denominations can be captured and diverted this way.

In the case of Trump, he is obligated to three larger bodies: one is the persistent complex (profit-aimed in the confined and old-fashioned world of Manhattan real estate) that he inherited from his father; one is the Mafia with whom his family has historically been entangled and which has extended since the Russians took control; and the third is the specific oligarch Russians to whom he is tied through money more than politics.  Trump himself is only interested in looking good and getting cheers in crowds.  He is not capable of taking control of these elements.  But whomever is controlling senators and Republicans (one suspects by blackmail or extortion) is ironically unable to control Trump.

The second factor I think of is a part of the media that is rarely included with the other runaway Internet factors like "social media", though it should be.  These are the movies and TV series produced by "writer's rooms" according to one criteria: profit.  The idea is to capture and illustrate the outlook of the public, thereby creating a creature that winds in on itself and eats its own tail, exaggerating whatever is going on out there across the continent.  If there is a news story about cannibalism, there will soon be six narratives about cannibalism -- each taking a slightly different approach.  Then academics take up the theory and rationalization which is, in turn, consumed by the writers' rooms:  what if we did a cartoon version?  What if we did lovable little pigs and used real pigs -- and real bacon? It always comes back to sex and death in these plots.  There is no room for genius or sincerity.

It wouldn't be so obvious to me if I hadn't traded in Netflix and gone to Acorn, which confines itself to Brit shows:  Aussie, Welsh, Canadian -- often reaching back in time.  Their news cycle pursues other tropes.  Also, world wars were fought on their soil and they still remember.  Constant war was finally ended by the formation of nations instead of kingdoms only a couple of centuries ago.  

The third category is that it seems as though now everyone is young.  I seem to be the only one who remembers the John Birch Society and its love of old white rich men in elegant bespoke suits and dazzling white shirts with Minutemen cufflinks, because in those days the version of the Wall that was going to save us all from any more wars (at least on our soil) consisted of Minuteman missiles hidden in siloes throughout America.  Only recently they have been partly decommissioned.  (They are on submarines and airplanes as well.)  Then the demon was not immigrants but rather a government determined to disarm us after war without understanding that the next war might be HERE.  The ICBM's were meant to take the war back THERE.

It was like a re-institution of British gentry with admirable larger-than-life men (all men) who would direct the working men on the field of battle in brilliant victories.  It took Vietnam to make that ridiculous.  Officers no longer took tea in the tropics.

In the Sixties we didn't hear about weirdos with AK-15's going into schools to machine-gun children or into churches to kill the devout.  Back in those days the deaths were of our most idealistic leaders, assassinations of stand-outs.  When those killed today are clearly innocent and defenceless, the reaction strengthens those who love force and control, no matter what the cost.  In the Sixties it was the conviction that we had to find new ways, give up illusions about control.

But the illusions came back, at least among a few, and no new system that works has developed yet.  Some believed a marketing world would do the job, but they didn't take into account growing populations, limited resources, and mixing cultures.  Those were forces that broke apart government and allowed the sinister to creep in.  

What comes next is environmentalism because that's the only path to survival of human beings as we know them.  Keep on this way and we'll be self-snuffers.  No shooting war needed.  Famine will do the job.  Could anything be more vivid than the starving children dying in huge numbers right now? 

So far, the closest we have come to a suggested political organic solution is the reorganization from history-dictated boundaried states to trading-based mega-cities that let the stretches in between shift for themselves however they can.  This is in direct contradiction to the idea that the Internet makes population density irrelevant -- one can live anywhere and still participate.

A new force that may have even more impact than the internet is the constantly rumoured new source of energy, as unsuspected as electricity once was and -- more significantly -- possibly kindled in small personal amounts.  Without energy for electricity, the internet and our satellite system are doomed.  The political structure that supports infrastructure (when it does) will be changed and a new industry will be the stripping out of the power transmission lines and pipelines.

This is all just rambling, but probably suggestive.  For instance, if we recognize that people with a lot of money become selfish institutions, then maybe we should accommodate that with a special tax and supervision status that makes them the mitochondria of the national "cell."  This might make them transparent to themselves, so that the presumed "owner" of the group is given control and responsibility they thought they already had.

The second force, the pernicious inbreeding of narrative that glorifies exactly the kind of thugs and dictators that are real hazards should not be censored but rather crowded out by true creative work made possible by state support for the arts to removing advertising bribes or corrupt rainmakers.

Third, remembering the past, is what education is supposed to do.  Not raise people's children for them when they can't hold families together.

I am not alone.

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