The Talking Dog

February 10, 2010, Reality (bites) check

Well, I had an entire post planned telling us how Professor Krugman, in pretending there was still hope "if only" the asinine little structural problem called "the United States Senate" could be unclogged from its deliberate indifference to actually accomplishing anything, in a post he titled "America is not yet lost," was deluding himself.

While it is perhaps pessimistic, I am actually heartened that he (finally) recognizes that, in fact, America is lost, in his case, with the recognition that the President is utterly "clueless"... it, as always, pains me to acknowledge that my Columbia '83 college classmate (in the very same international politics concentration of the very same political science department, no less) is... entirely out of his depth... but we would be deluding ourselves to think otherwise. To have the Nobel Prize winning economist validating my view of the world is, though troubling, somehow reassuring. After noting an interview with Bloomberg news in which the President likened the significance of the performance and excessive pay of bailed-out financial executives with that of major league baseball players, the Professor comments:

The point is that these bank executives are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state. There’s good reason to feel outraged at the growing appearance that we’re running a system of lemon socialism, in which losses are public but gains are private. And at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening.

But no. If the Bloomberg story is to be believed, Obama thinks his key to electoral success is to trumpet “the influence corporate leaders have had on his economic policies.”

We’re doomed.

Honestly, there is so much sad, raw truth packed into just that little quote (and in the entire Krugman post)... that I'll just let it simmer in your minds, while it depresses the bleep out of you. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was as depressed as I am reassured by it.

Hopefully, by presenting you with all of these rather depressing facts (and I admit that they depress me too) I can disabuse you that "our betters" are capable of solving our problems... at all. And not merely, our "government" betters, but our corporate betters, or our media or cultural betters, or our religious betters... any of our betters, upon whom we might seek anything. Because folks... we're on our own. "If it's going to be it's up to me" is no longer a platitude: belief in that statement is going to be the difference between those of us who survive, and those who do not. In short, the only difference between where we are now and aboriginal peoples is (1) it is at least possible that lesser development and hence spoliation has been inflicted on the aboriginal people's environment, and (2) the aboriginal mindset has, hopefully, not been nearly as crippled as ours into the dependence on "our betters" for technology, "security," money, meaning... self-reliance as a mindset is going to be an important life-skill. But a key element of this is probably antithetical to the purpose of blogging-- certainly to a great deal of what I have been doing now in this space for the last 8 1/2 years. Don't get me wrong: I'll still comment on injustice and the like, and try to bring you interviews and perspectives and all... and it may even appear I'm talking in "right" or "left" terms... but while "injustice" has a real, quite undeniable meaning with terrifying human consequences... "liberal" or "conservative"... not so much. In some sense, Barack got me good, into actually believing in the hype, or at least, hoping I believed it. OK, man... fool me once, and all that.

As the late great I.F. Stone said, "you can be consistent... or you can be honest." Like Izzy Stone, I'd rather be honest. I was wrong about Barack: he's part of the same system that's the problem, and ergo, he's part of the problem. A big part. And any of the other idiots in the political class are part of the problem too. As to the government, It cannot provide any "solutions," because it is now entirely captured by those who care not a jot for what happens as late as next quarter, including whether or not they destroy all life on this planet, as long as doing so appears profitable. And while capitalism itself could once provide some good (for a price, mind you) that was once when there was a sense of self-correction and limits caused by, if nothing else, the threat of angry mob,s that kept the excesses of capitalism from reaching the insane degrees they have now... those limits have been destroyed by my baby-boom generation and its belief in Ayn Rand selfishness as if it were saintly virtue (instead of the badly written children's literature that it is). A generation of pampered children who never grew up have turned the human race into those ferile Hawaiian cats, who, without any moral compunction (because they're cats) managed to decimate unique native species with the same gusto we are despoiling our entire planet and everyone on it. And we can't forget the masses themselves, who remain content to take whatever they are served, enabling their betters to exploit them in whatever way they are needed.

Anyway... "right" and "left"... don't mean so much anymore's what I'm trying to say. Let everyone else delude themselves into thinking that these little peeing contests between the hard right Democrats and the very hard right Republicans actually matter: Barack has freed us from this delusion, by showing us the utter irrelevance of it all. 51 votes... 59 votes... 92 votes... who cares? You and I know better.

We know that, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau told us so long ago, man is born free, but is everywhere in chains. We have the freedom-- if nowhere else, within our crania-- to see reality as it is, and not as it is (self-interestedly) presented to us by our betters. We have the power not to feel oppressed-- by politics, by sex, by money, by social position, by whatever else it is that we believe is oppressing us... because it's only in our heads, and if we chose to be free men and free women... we will be.

If it's going to be it's up to me.