America at a Crossroads?

Is America at a crossroads? It certainly seems that way. The relative success of Trump and Sanders, who couldn’t be farther apart philosophically and politically, attests to a general restlessness that is certainly not unique to the United States. But America still holds some surprises, it seems.

What Trump and Sanders represent is the polarisation of time, in terms of reactionary and progressive time, past and future time. That’s even inscribed in their respective slogans: Trump’s “Make America Great Again” meets Sander’s “A Future to Believe In”. Those two slogans point in different directions of time, while Hillary positions herself as the “realist” (whatever that means), somewhere in between Trump and Sanders, the past and the future. In other words, “realist” means the status quo. But Trump is the candidate of hindsight, Sanders the candidate of foresight.

Trump is the champion of the power of competitive egoism. Sanders the champion of cooperative communalism. Trump truly believes that competitive egoism (or the “pursuit of the self-interest”, rational or otherwise) is what made America great, so that all that is needed is to unleash the legislated restraints of the power of competitive egoism. Sanders, on the other hand, believes that it is precisely the unrestricted power of competitive egoism that has weakened America — the Great Unraveling of the bonds of fraternity. Gun culture, urban jungle, war of all against all are, massive inequality in those terms, the pernicious fruits of a social philosophy of competitive egoism.

All these different dimensions of the issue are simply summarised in the terms “capitalism” and “socialism”. But in more precise terms, the choice between Trump and Sanders (Hillary being somwhere in between) is a choice between Plutocracy and Democracy.

Gun culture in America arises from the philosophy of competitive egoism, which is enshrined in the mythos of the frontier and the Wild West. But the frontier has shifted from space after the “closing of the frontier” to time — futurity. America still has the sense that it exists on the verge of the frontier, which must be tamed, but the frontier is now futurity rather than than Wild West. Futurity is uncertainty, unpredictability, the unknown as once was the untamed spaces of the wilderness. Where once the wilderness was full of existential threats (wild animals, Indians, gunslingers and outlaws), futurity is now the edge of the wilderness, full of existential threats (asteroids, alien invasions, immigrants, zombie apocalypses, terminators, socialists, etc). Just as in antiquity, on the maps of the known world, just beyond the edge of the known world, was inscribed the words “Here be monsters”. Futurity is seen as the zone of lawlessness.  Time future is the new frontier.

There’s a certain irony in the correspondence between Mao’s principle that “power is won through the barrel of a gun” and the gun culture. In a regime of competitive egoism, the future is always unsafe, always threatening, something that must be defended against. But that’s just another way of saying “lack of faith”. The “leap of faith” is the confidence that the future is not unlawful, but unfolds according to a lawfulness of its own.

Competitive egoism necessarily sees potential threats and enemies and competitors everywhere, and where it doesn’t find them it creates them.

8 responses to “America at a Crossroads?”

  1. Dwig says :

    I think perhaps the candidate we need just now is a possum named Pogo, whose campaign slogan is, of course, “we have met the enemy, and he is us”.

  2. LittleBigMan says :

    Well, Hillary (a.k.a. “Billary”) is the least trustworthy of the candidates; methinks.

    I don’t know how much of what Trump or Sanders says is election year rhetoric and how much of it is meant and comes from the heart, but I like that Trump wants to bring companies back to the U.S. from overseas, and I like that Sanders keeps picking on the Wall Street. Or, these could just be hooks in the water.

    America, by the way, plays an ultimate role in Holling’s adaptive cycle (yes, that magnificent essay I didn’t really get the chance to read thoroughly) for it is America that has become the Wild Card that the ancient Talmudic-Estherian Mafia, with his head wagging in the Middle East, never saw coming. It is this great country that demands those who enter it to adapt and accept now those they considered enemies in their original countries as neighbors. It is again this great country that was bale to expedite the end of the colonial rule in India and end the apartheid South African regime.

    Oh, yes, there are parts of the Middle East that would’ve never experienced even a modicum of joy and freedom without the presence of America. It was indeed the presence of this great country that put a smile on the faces of many in that aggrieved part of the world for a short while.

    But then came the American Hostage crisis in Iran – that great plot of the Talmudic-Estherian mafia in the Middle East. And America packed up and left, leaving that part of the world, once again in the iron grips of that ancient mafia that was resurrected after Haman.

    I don’t think any of the candidates really know what they’re up against. Even if they do, they are doing a great job of pretending that they don’t. But of course, Netanyahu, thanks to his arrogance, reminded everyone in Congress (in his March 3, 2015 speech?) that he would celebrate Purim the night after his speech and read from the book of Esther.

    No, really, evil is much more farsighted than good. And I give it to that Talmudic-Estherian mafia that they have achieved their most evil ambitions:

    1) destroy that once a great civilization in Egypt.

    2) disgrace Persia into an international pariah with stupidest things, like naming the country: “Islamic Republic.” If that country’s people were Islamic – which they are not and they will never be beyond empty false pretenses – what need would there be to call it “Islamic.” Even Saudis don’t call their country “Islamic Republic of Saudi Arabia.” No, this is the deed of that Talmudic-Estherian mafia that controls that country, Iran, and have committed the country to acts that bring to that country and its people nothing but disgrace and humiliation; such as attacking and ransacking embassies…..Look! Look! What shameless people! Animals!

    3) Use the unity of the great people of Europe against them through dubious means like the “European Union”, and mess with the poverty stricken people of the resource-rich regions of the world through lending organizations like the IMF and the World Bank. This is a martial arts tactic, really.

    4) and finally, own and devalue this Wild Card called America, this enantiodromatic product that has risen against their ancient evils. No love lost between the United States and those who lost a substantial portion of their profits from India with the end of the colonial rule, and while they were enjoying committing atrocities there in the name of the British people. By the same token, it was America that put a substantial dent into their lucrative diamond business in the apartheid South Africa by pressuring that regime to end its policies of marginalization of its indigenous people. And in between, and for a few decades, America was on its way to infuse joy in the lives of the people in the Middle East, too. Alas, that Talmudic-Estherian mafia had another trick up its sleeves by creating the hostage crisis that guaranteed the departure of blessings that were beginning to take root in that country with America’s presence.

    Oh, no no no, none of these candidates really know what they’re up against. But as Sherlock Holmes told his good friend Watson in the 1944 motion picture “The Pearl of Death”:

    Holmes [referring to the recovered stolen pearl in his hand: “There are the blood of five people on it.”

    Watson: “Anyhow, Conover was one of them.”

    [Conover was the fellow who was adamant in stealing the pearl from the start.]

    Holmes: “What’s Conover! No more than a symbol of greed and cruelty and power that have set man at each other’s throat down through the centuries. And the struggle will go on, Watson…… for a pearl…..a kingdom……perhaps even the world dominion until greed and cruelty have burnt out of every last one of us. And when that time comes, perhaps even a pearl will be washed clean again.”

    Yes, America – IS – that symbol of enantiodromia against ancient evils that are sufocating this planet. But of course, that ancient evil has its “Agent Smith(s)” all over Washington, lobbying for its bloodsuckers.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I think the real question is whether the “seed of Abraham” has actually done more harm than good — and by that I mean the offshoots of Abrahamic religion — Judaism, Christianity, Islam. This is the question that is circulating today in terms of “militant atheism”. I think the record shows a mixed bag, on balance.

      A lot of people are fed up with “religion”. But the anti-religious are deluded if they think that inordinate will to power and fanaticism will suddenly disappear if only the religions dissolve. This will to power will simply find another vehicle for its expression, even as “militant atheism”.

      In some intriguing ways, the conflict amongst the seed of Abraham follows the very same pattern as the conflict between Blake’s “four Zoas” of the divided “Adam”..

      It seems to me that the time is very ripe, over-ripe maybe, for some new revelation. That’s what’s behind all the “New Age” memes — the sense of waiting for a new revelation, a.k.a. “new inspiration” because frankly the old one has been expired. No one wants to trust one that is “man-made”, even though many are desperate enough to be misled into cult and sect and ideology etc, etc. But it’s also found in the “apocalyptic thinkers” — Yeats, Gebser, Rosenstock-Huessy, Blake, and so on and so forth — the sense of NEED.

      There aren’t too many “religions” that haven’t now been completely discredited or have fallen into disrepute. But even Dawkins with his militant “religion” of militant atheism craves a “mystical experience” (as he put it). Secularism is also discredited. There really isn’t much that hasn’t been discredited at our “end of history”.

      That’s really why these times are so dangerous. People grasping at straws, or life-preservers — anything that floats. But, as Rosenstock put it, it’s one thing to survive as an individual, but another thing to survive together.

      “Grasping at straws” could be said to be the prevailing mood. But I can’t see how any of this mess is going to be resolved short of a new “revelation”.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “It seems to me that the time is very ripe, over-ripe maybe, for some new revelation.”

        Yes!! Precisely! Like a 3000 – 5000 year old Redwood tree, we are dealing with an ancient weed that knows no one likes him. This ancient enemy of all is the Talmudic-Estherian mafia; an ancient global powerhouse that hides under the guise of religion or politics or both, banks and lending and European Union and such, corporations and multi-nationals, or as doctors/psychologists or treasurers to kings and rulers, and on and on and on.

        When will the leaders of America, present and future ones, wake up to this threat? When? Do they need more evidence than when, in 21st century, Netanyahu stands at the Capitol and summons and resurrects Esther? In 21st century?

        These people – in their ceremonies like the Purim – have enshrined and immortalized their grudge against nations that tried to stand against their destructive greed thousands of years ago.

        When will the leaders of America see that this ancient mafia respects no national identity? Loyalty to a nation is like Kryptonite to the philosophy of this mafia.

        When will the leaders of this superpower see that the Talmudic-Estherian mafia was the brains behind destroying ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia (manipulated and used Persia to destroy Mesopotamia), Persia (manipulated and used Arabs to destroy Persia), and now, that same mafia is taking a stab at the West by destroying its middle-classes year by year (using banking, lending, privatization, and the corporate state)?

        By the way, it seems to me that it is also a plot of this Talmudic-Estherian mafia to publicize gun violence in the United States (they own the media so they can do that) in order to push for anti gun ownership legislation in the United States.

  3. Elbe says :

    An inability – or refusal – to align oneself properly with the Necessity, a deficiency of SOWF (substance of ‘we’ feeling) plus the immersion in toxic emotional atmospheres leads to the often fatal condition of Undulating Rhetoric:

    “I did not take Agent 23 with me to visit Ormarin. He reported unmistakable symptoms of Rhetoric and asked to be put into curative custody, and then showed that the disease had indeed set in seriously by ceasing to see that he was ill and announcing with much emotion that the elevated language of the Constitution of the Volyen “Empire”, which promises happiness, freedom, and justice to everyone of its citizens as inherent, inalienable rights, seemed to him the ” most moving” thing he had ever encountered. He is drying off in Mild Rhetoric and will soon be normal.”

    ” His contempt for the people he operates, his always growing amazement as he promises and persuades, leads him into statements about sums of money that never existed, statements that so and so said something which will turn out to be untrue; behind this real, actual, to-be-felt-and-touched thing, the organization, the meetings, the sponsors, the aims, is a whole mirage of lies.
    Lies, lies, lies. Flattery and sycophancy and lies.
    At some point or other, sometimes not till years later, the victims will suddenly find themselves muttering, Yes, that fellow – what’s his name? – the fact is, he was crazy, wasn’t, he? ”

    “It is the hardest thing in the Galaxy, if you have been the plaything of words, words, words, to become independent of their ability to intoxicate.”

    From Documents Relating To The Sentimental Agents In The Volyen Empire, Canopus on Argos:Archives. (Doris Lessing)

  4. abdulmonem says :

    It is for the peoples of our time to have new revelations, as Scott said and I am sure they will have. We already have so many revelations of warning voices pointing to the coming doom if we do not change course. It is our responsibility. It is no longer the story of Abraham or of his offspring or any other lineage. It is our story detached from those of the past. Each generation has its own unique task and responsibility. No one can verify his ancestry specially those who had died thousand of years ago. Who are running our world. Are not the bankers and their team of politicians. Who are they. Till when shall we continue to speak in abstracts. We have to stop misusing history. Do you think the people of Israel have any relation to the original people of the book. Do you think they are behaving justly in the region. Do you think they deserve the support they are getting from the West. Why do you think the inner moral code and not the external legal code, has been emphasized for the humans. Free choice demands accountibality. What is the problem we are facing. Is it not the ubiquitous matrix of lies as it is called by Eisenstein who went against his race of bankers, the bankers who have shackled the people of the world with debts. The earth is quivering everywhere, reacting to the atrocities that have been committed and still being committed by those crooked who are walking on it. We talk about the law of reversal yet we continue in complete disregard until we see its actual revelation. I feel the quivers and I can not remain silent. It is the message of all those who have passed and got a flash of the bounding truth. The cosmos is not without rules.

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