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A look in the mirror at America

29 May 2012

Summary:  Again we attempt to recalibrate our vision of America, adjusting for its incredible rate of decline.  People watching its power and money will find the probable future crash a surprise.  Not so those watching the decay of its vision, heart, and mind.

The future of the American dream (by Maverick Zack)

The secondary goal of the FM website is to help readers better understand our world, especially current trends and likely futures. A look at the Past Predictions (right ones) and Smackdowns (wrong ones) pages shows three things about the FM website.

(1)  We provide a stream of accurate predictions about the near future, on a wide range of subjects, such as correctly forecasting the outcome of our wars, peak oil (2005 was not the peak, but the cornucopians were also wrong), the debate about climate science (much bad analysis and failure to follow norms of scientific procedure).

(2)  We gave early attention to subjects now receiving wide attention, such as the increasing success of women over men, the college bubble, and rising inequality in America.

(3)  Unfortunately we’ve gotten the big issues about America mostly wrong, being far too optimistic. We’ve re-calibrated (eg, here and here), but inadequately.  Today we’ll try again.

America here and now

Waging war requires the State to mobilize resources, the most important resource being the people.  Since every action creates a reaction, the process of war shapes the people and the nation, its effects lasting far after the war ends.  Now, almost 11 years after 9-11, we can see several effects of our long war.  It’s exacerbated existing ailments in US society.  As a result we’re rotting, becoming a danger to ourselves and the world. It’s happening faster than I imagined possible.

So far the process has continued with few reactions from our enemies and friends.  Even in the Internet age people change their opinions only slowly.  Our actions carve away the image of America built during the 20th century, leaving a much darker remnant.  We see ourselves as the benign global hegemon, so the coming loss of both leadership and respect will hit us hard.

Rising bloodlust

Years of government propaganda about the ferocity of Islamic fundamentalists, both to the public and internal have had their effect on America, producing hatred and paranoia. We see this in the bigoted FBI training courses (eg, here and here), in the furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan (not a mosque; see Wikipedia), and the enthusiastic applause for the ever-expanding US assassination programs (including by drones). It was predictable, and predicted.

As so many have forecast (US intel experts, outside experts, anyone just paying attention), this will not end well. Blind hatred destabilizes our society and clouds our ability to see the world clearly (eg, described in these articles by Glenn Greenwald here and here).  And the world sees our increasing fleet of drones flying in defense of petty tyrants over the greater Middle East, our dispatching troops to a growing list of countries (again, most to prop up oppressive, often doomed, regimes). We’re becoming Skynet — killers in the sky enforcing the arbitrary verdicts of a foreign power, beyond appeal or mercy.

Regime Collapse

The growth of empire since WWII has weakened the foundations of America’s Second Republic (founded on the Constitution), as it did to Rome under somewhat similar circumstances.  But it appears our Republic might die more quickly.

The evolution from Republic to Empire took roughly a century (starting with the murder of the Gracchi brothers in 133 and 121 BC).  At the current rate the death-throes of the American Republic seems unlikely to take 50 years.  What replaces it might be better, but today that does not seem the smart way to bet.

For details about the process of regime change now underway see these Reference Pages:

Who will future historians say caused these things?

While we will get most of the credit, there was a single event that changed the course of America, in many ways intended by its planner.  We executed Bin Laden (probably unarmed in his home, anti-heroism dressed up to fool a weak silly people), but even in the grave he may have the last laugh.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Cromwellsheart permalink
    29 May 2012 11:16 am

    It is not the young men. It is the hypocrisy that they buy into. I did for a long time, now I spend a lot of my later life trying to help others who did the same. When we cease to serve a lie, well we see the truth. It is one thing to defend your land, your families. I am still willing to do that. It is entirely another thing to be part of an aggressive military / industrial monster.

    History will not be kind, to the US or Britain in particular. The people have ensured the continuation of global aggression by their myopic voting, by their none questioning compliance, particularly by denying histories message.

    Many serve with honour, bravery and fortitude. Some pay a terrible price. My question to them is “do you know what you serve”?

    Maybe they need to answer this for themselves first.

    Like

    • 29 May 2012 1:18 pm

      Thank you for this history.

      History — the passage of time — is seldom kind to the March of Folly that is foreign relations among States. Humanity has not yet learned to play well together.

      Like

  2. 29 May 2012 2:30 pm

    Every day brings new evidence that we sink deeper into evil. There is no other word for it.

    Today on page one of the New York Times: “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will“. Astonishingly, it reads (and probably intended to be) a campaign ad for Obama. Worse, it probably will get votes.

    Greenwald, one of America’s few remaining true journalists, is posting a series of looks at this remarkable article (in our degenerate state, we need help to see ourselves in the mirror). Chapter One: “Propagandizing ‘militants’ – Obama re-defined ‘militant’ to mean ‘all military-age males in a strike zone’.” He examines this excerpt from the NYT article:

    Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

    Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.

    This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.

    But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.

    “It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

     

    Like

    • Leper permalink
      30 May 2012 12:45 am

      Designating approximately half the people in the target areas as militants isn’t too far away from the reasoning that allowed Al Qaeda to launch the 9/11 attacks. While the two events are distinctly and obviously different, the fact that such behaviour has become acceptable is deeply disturbing on many levels.

      Like

    • 30 May 2012 12:46 am

      Now that’s disturbing. Logical, hence disturbing.

      Like

  3. 29 May 2012 4:10 pm

    FM offers: “Every day brings new evidence that we sink deeper into evil. There is no other word for it.”

    This is a very big Statement. Let it sink in and if you have a spiritual bent or a philosophical tendency in your personality, you will comprehend the extreme nature of this use of an old-world word like “Evil” The modern equivalent could be offered as a lack of conscience.

    The vast majority of us simply cannot easily begin to comprehend what evil is nor what no-conscience may entail on a personal level.

    THAT alone is the power of evil or no-conscience. It is other-worldly and merely a concept to most of us….an abstraction with rare referential experience. And powerful, it is…..just witness how hard many decent people struggle to reconcile the seemingly conflicting views of what is continuing to happen to the USA.

    As an aging Clinician once told me, she discovered early in her career, there are mean, destructive and nasty people—-then there is Mental Illness. And evil people, those with literally no conscience defy the possibilities of help, recovery or assistance. The possibility of turning the gathering storms will be enhanced only by decent people turning aside their differences and assmebling against the Evil, FM rightly points us to.

    So be it. And I do suspect it will be possible even in spite of a very ineffective, uninvolved, corn-syrup medicated, endlessly entertained public.

    Breton

    Like

  4. Thomas Moore permalink
    30 May 2012 1:20 am

    In other news, the redoubtable fellatiast of American hubris, Niall Ferguson, has another tongue-bath feel-good lustration on PBS genuflecting to the West in general and America in particular.

    You have to particularly enjoy the unwitting irony of defining the West as “civlization.” Apparently the fact that Baghdad had two miles of public lighting on its streets when Europe was known only as a place for obtaining “swords and slave girls” doesn’t count. Nor does the little detail that China invented gunpowder and calculus. No, only the West is “civilized,” and the remaining 80% of the population of the earth are a bunch of little brown and yellow monkeys.

    This is the kind of ludicrous swaggering arrogance that has already hollowed out America’s economy and turned the U.S. army into a force less formidable than the Tijuana police department. Right now, more American soldiers commit suicide than kill the enemy in Afghanistan. That is not a military I would be afraid of, were I an insurgent in one of the world’s poorest countries.

    As Shithole America crashes into a supersonic powerdive toward collapse, I predict we’ll see a lot more of this kidn of rah-rah “WE’RE NUMBER ONE!” giant foam-finger horseshit.

    Or, as Spiro Agnew put it so memorably, “America is the greatest nation in the country.”

    This is what always happens when a society goes down the tubes. I bet the Easter Islanders had exponentially more laudatory and increasingly wild celebrations of their greatness right up to the point where they chopped down their last tree.

    Like

    • 30 May 2012 1:23 am

      The quality of writing in the comments has increased to the point where its better than the posts. Some of these phrases are worth stealing.

      Like

  5. 30 May 2012 3:49 am

    Thomas Moore offered (and many more!): “….rah-rah “WE’RE NUMBER ONE!” giant foam-finger horseshit.”

    Heavens! Do you teach night classes? I wish to learn to turn a phrase from a Master. And the History lesson was the Sealer. Thx

    Breton

    Like

  6. Cromwellsheart permalink
    30 May 2012 6:42 am

    Maybe Westpoint and Sandhurst need a new breed of academic to lecture the drones. Ones that instil a sense of true history, one based on honour and truth.

    I doubt it though, their corporate masters would threaten to develop the hallowed ground as shopping malls :)

    Like

    • Bluestocking permalink
      30 May 2012 5:31 pm

      The trouble with this is that history is, unfortunately, a less-than-exact science because it depends on people and their interpretations — I assume you’ve heard the proverb that history is written by the victors? Not only that, you’d be very hard-pressed to convince them that they aren’t already teaching honor and truth because it’s extremely difficult for human beings to consciously admit that they’re being anything less than honest and honorable — especially when they’re in the business of “defending the country” (translation: fighting and killing people). After all, anyone less than honest and honorable who’s in the business of “defending the country” is not that far removed from being merely a bully, a thug, or a berserker.

      Like

  7. 30 May 2012 7:41 pm

    I’m terrified, but at the same time I am a bit excited for what could be built in the aftermath – if education becomes aligned with reality that is. Of course this goes without saying that great change could have been established through an intelligent trasition phase, but it seems we are passed that point.

    Like

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