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Examples of America’s broken vision. Here’s why we cannot clearly see our world.

21 October 2012

Summary:  I’ve written thousands of words about America’s broken Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) loop. Here we have examples of broken observation & orientation in action. These are the mechanisms that prevent us from seeing the world clearly, a precondition for acting effectively.  The comment section is open for analysis of this problem.  How did we come to this?  How might we recovery our vision?

Contents

  1. Problem: too much civilian control of the military
  2. We’ve learned nothing from our failed wars
  3. The GOP exploits the gullibility of its followers
  4. Evil Iran might reply to our attacks
  5. Conservatives supply the lies, the US government will supply the war
  6. The instinctive response of a US courtier to ugly facts
  7. For More Information

I intended to label each section, describing the specific method used to deceive or channel our thinking.  But I left that pleasure for you, the readers.

Bonus question: should I have broken this post up into individual, shorter posts? If so, how many?

The image is embroidery on muslin with acrylica from Jafabrit’s Art.

(1) Problem: too much civilian control of the military

Why civilian military secretaries are no longer needed“, Harold rBown (Carter’s SecDef), op-ed in Washington Post, 18 October 2012 — Brown describes how the uniformed service chiefs have grown in power, now largely superseding the civilian service secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force — who have become “redundant appendages” who are ” little more than a mouthpiece” for the military. So civilian control has atrophied. Solution: abolish the civilian secretaries! We’ll save money, and slide even faster towards our new political regime.

Brown was the SecDef of that radical leftist Carter, nicely showing the range of political opinion among America’s elites. For more about this see:

(2) We’ve learned nothing from our failed wars

Afghanistan: Why America’s Longest War is NOT a Campaign Issue“, Robert Dreyfuss, The Diplomat, 19 October 2012 — Sound analysis by a smart guy, but he operates within the bubble of America’s elites — as seen in his conclusions.

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… neither candidate should be expected to answer {at the debates} the hard questions left over from America’s longest war.

Those questions include both tactical and strategic ones. The tactical ones are: Since the United States is leaving, what are your thoughts about how to assemble a rebalanced Afghan government that includes all elements of society, including the insurgents? What can we do about Pakistan, which continues to harbor, support and encourage the Taliban and its allies, including the Haqqani group and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s organization? And what steps will you take to bring Russia, China and Iran to an agreement with the United States and Pakistan to reduce political conflict among their allies in Afghanistan?

The strategic ones, however, are more troubling: What have we learned about America’s ability to engage in counterinsurgency and nation-building in countries like Afghanistan? What does America’s failure in Afghanistan say about its ability to take action in countries as diverse as Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Iran? If you claim that the US is “exceptional,” and that American “exceptionalism” still prevails, are you deterred by our exceptional failure in 12 years of war in Afghanistan?

I would like to learn more about Dreyfuss’ answers to his strategic questions, but the phasing of his tactical questions suggests he retains the imperial world-view. The US should “assemble” the Afghanistan government. The US should “bring Russia, China and Iran to an agreement with” us “to reduce political conflict in Afghanistan. America is the decided, the leader, the prime actor. Others must follow and conform. This is the essential element in our failures since 2000.

(3)  The GOP exploits the gullibility of its followers

It worked before; eventually they’ll make this is a standard technique:  “How to Make the Administration Sound Like It Lied About Libya: Edit the Tape!“, David Weigel, Slate, 18 October 2012

Conservatives have started sending me links to the newest of American Crossroads’ long web videos, arguing that it provides proof that contradicts my piece about Obama and Libya: That there’s no video of Obama denying that terrorists attacked in Benghazi. Readers, I have to ask you to brace yourselves: The video is at least partly bogus. Watch it below, and notice the exchange between U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and David Gregory. … {He compares the video with the actual transcript}

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(4)  Evil Iran might reply to our attacks

Washington Times, one of American’s foremost distributors of right-wing propaganda: “Iran may hit U.S. with first cyberattack“, 17 October 2012.  A skillful concoction, portraying a small, surrounded, low-tech nation as a cyber-threat to the largest, most technically advanced nation in the world — one that spends roughly the on defense and intelligence as the rest of the world combined.  One gets to the end of the article before seeing this:

From the Iranians’ point of view, however, attacks against the United States may be justified because they have been hit hard by American sanctions leveled on their country because of its suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran also believes that the United States and Israel were behind the Stuxnet cyberattack that forced the temporary shutdown of thousands of centrifuges at a nuclear facility there in 2010.

This is astonishingly false on many levels.  First, the US has in effect admitted involvement in the Stuxnet attack on Iran.  Second, this ignores the campaign of assassination and sabotage conducted against Iran. But the WT’s owners presumably know that their readers want to be lied to, so these methods bring both commercial and ideological success.

(5) Conservatives supply the lies, the US government will supply the war

Another engine of right-wing propaganda:  “Report: Iran Sanctions Have Failed“, The Washington Free Beacon, 18 October 2012 — Opening:

Economic sanctions on Iran have failed in their “principal objective” of preventing Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, according to a nonpartisan study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Compare with what the report actually says.  “Iran Sanctions“, Kenneth Katzman (Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs), Congressional Research Service, 15 October 2012 — Opening:

The principal objective of international sanctions—to compel Iran to verifiably confine its nuclear program to purely peaceful uses—has not been achieved to date. However, a broad international coalition has imposed progressively strict economic sanctions on Iran’s oil export lifeline, producing increasingly severe effects on Iran’s economy. Many judge that Iran might soon decide it needs a nuclear compromise to produce an easing of sanctions … sanctions may be slowing Iran’s nuclear program somewhat by preventing Iran from obtaining some needed technology from foreign sources.

The Beacon’s headline is especially nuts because the latest round of sanctions were signed by Obama on 10 August 2012. They took time to implement, and are just now having severe effects on Iran.  But although false, the Beacon knows its audience, which demands lies that feed their preconceptions (this also drives the flood of conservative email chains, a large fraction of which are bogus).

(6)  The instinctive response of a US courtier to ugly facts

A typically powerful, fact-rich article by Glenn Greenwald: “US justice likely coming soon to Benghazi with extrajudicial executions“, Guardian,19  October 2012 — “If the Obama administration identifies suspects in the consulate attack, should they simply be killed without a trial?”

The instinctive, immediate response of Michael Cohen (New America Foundation; bio here):

He’s a courtier to our power elites, and a skillful, smart one (IMO, one of the best of the younger members in that potentially lucrative service).  As such he automatically knows what worldviews are acceptable — what facts can be seen — and still remain respectable.  His automatic reply is not to dispute Greenwald’s facts, reasoning, or values — but to deny.  A courtier to US elites must master crimestop — the refusal to see heterodox ideas, or even discuss thoughtcrime. From Orwell’s 1984:

The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. .. not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted {Party dogma).

(7)  For More Information

For all posts about this see the FM Reference Page Information & disinformation, the new media & the old.

About the mainstream media

  1. A time-saving tip when reading the daily news, 2 January 2008
  2. Only our amnesia makes reading the newspapers bearable, 30 April 2008
  3. “Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham, 26 August 2008
  4. “The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism”, 23 December 2008
  5. The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2009 — About sea ice
  6. The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents, 19 February 2009
  7. The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
  8. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
  9. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
  10. Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
  11. We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009 – About mythical numbers
  12. Journalists, relying on anonymous government sources, attack anonymous bloggers who correct journalists’ errors, 25 July 2010
  13. The Raymond Davis incident shows that we’re often ignorant because we rely on the US news media.  There is a solution., 18 February 2011

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 October 2012 12:27 am

    It is called arrogance and American Exceptionalism.

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 1:12 am

      Agreed!

      Now — How did we get here? How do we get back on track?

      Like

    • Gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 2:58 am

      Now — How did we get here?

      Elevate a people with liberties and sucsess creating in them confidence and security, then take it away quickly. They will quite naturally gravitate to their leadership while in this state of insecurity, believing every word spoken. As a people we have bought into rhetoric like “integrity first” or “the few the proud”, whats there not to trust? These are our heroes!

      Mean while the government (while we lay in a state of disasociation) is able to play on our fears and institute new laws that they will pass off as being for our own safety.

      How do we get back on track?

      Great question, how does one convince someone else their red has been changed to blue. Generally, if that difficult task is accomplished, those responsible have gotten so far ahead of the game there is no going back.

      Like

    • robnaardin permalink
      21 October 2012 3:19 am

      Fabs, America will get back on track when it’s oligarchy/plutocracy embraces sociopathic values rather than moralistic values. Anyone who is not sociopathic enough should be thrown into a special prison.
      .

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 4:42 am

      Robnaardin:

      That is an absolutely fabulous Idea! My only complaint, when did our government start running on moralistic values?

      It would seem more likely a fix, to place your suggestion in reverse.

      FM:

      America has already got “back on track”. When circumstances change in a peoples lives, they make the necessary accommodations for those circumstances. People have done just that. And now thinking of going back seems harder then just continuing to push forward. They either can’t see the situation getting worse, or refuse to see.

      I equate it as thus; have you ever been having a dream, that though awkward or uncomfortable, it still remains preferable to that which awaits you when you wake up? How much do you appreciate the alarm, that though it wakes you up in time for work, it has none the less returned you to a reality you weren’t quite ready to face.

      You, as well as others who write on these topics, are the alarm. America is going to keep hitting the snooze button. Because, I believe, they know its not getting better, problem is for them to stop hitting snooze it is going to have to get worse. Wake them up to quickly, you run the risk of destabilization.

      So how do you get them up quickly, without causing more damage? Go the slow route, and like I said above there is no going back. It is sort of like ouroboros

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 5:04 am

      All good points, to which I have no real replies — let alone answers.

      After trying many things, here’s my answer (with respect to this website): Re-envisioning the FM website, becoming soldiers in the war for American’s future.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 5:28 am

      “Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”

      Why does Aristotle always get all the good lines? And where are people like this when you need them? If only we had all the philosophers of greece to sit down with, we may then arrive at a way to solve the issues we now face.

      But, at least Rome has stepped in and sent us Fabius Maximus, frustrating as it might be your articles are at least providing fuel for a fire that desperately needs to spread. It has taken time for the issues to metastisize, no one is going to radiate them over night. (double entendre there “radiate” bring to light:).

      Like

  2. Thomas More permalink
    21 October 2012 1:10 am

    The soft coup by the U.S. military-police-surveillance-torture complex that began on 9/11 proceeds apace. Bit by bit, America is becoming militarized to the point where it will soon be an armed garrison camp with internal passports and daily curfews enforced by paramilitary units on the streets. All in the name of “protecting us,” of course. Colonels in mirror sunglasses need not stage a coup, since they already control the United States behind the scenes — with the eager help of congresscritters desperate to show themselves “tough on terror” and spineless citizens who bill and coo with delight at the latest American shows of brute force.

    in 1861 the watchword on the Rhine was Am Deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen (“The German way will cure the world”) courtesy of Emanuel Geibel in Deutschlands Beruf. The result? WW I, gas attacks, trench warfare, blister agents, aerial bombing, and the long road to Mein Kampf. Now we’re getting The American way will cure the world.

    Such escapades do not end well.

    Like

  3. Thomas More permalink
    21 October 2012 2:06 am

    FM asks “How did we get here?”

    50 years of Cold War militarizing American society to the point where the state as a tiny host supporting a gigantic military-industrial-police-surveillance-prison complex becomes the norm.

    FM asks “How do we get back on track?”

    By depriving the military-industrial-police-surveillance-prison parasite of its sustenance — namely, hard cash. How we do that remains to be seen. Perhaps increasing economic hardship will do the trick. Time will tell.

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 2:53 am

      OK, I can imagine that 50 years of Cold War — including the threat of atomic annihilation — might have so serious warped us. But why would downsizing the military-industrial complex restore vitality to America’s citizens? Many processes in nature work only in one direction, due to the arrow of time. If I stop squeezing the tube, the toothpaste does not flow back in.

      As for hardship, economic or otherwise, as in the previous comment, that’s a popular (if dark) source of hope. Anything is possible, but in my reading of history that seldom works. Under pressure peoples become less rational. Social cohesion decreases. People’s tend to ally around strong centers of influence — not build their own.

      It’s not a relevant analogy for the US today, but illustrates this specific point: the late Roman Empire faced many threats. It collapsed, followed by the dark ages. Don’t hope for bad times to bring salvation.

      Like

  4. Thomas More permalink
    21 October 2012 4:00 am

    FM’s criticisms seem wise and well founded. Well, then, it’s not obvious to me how we get out of this fix. Perhaps the military-police-surveillance-prison complex will overreach itself and provoke a massive non-violent civil disobedience backlash. For example, if juries simply refuse to convict people of non-violent drug violations, that would be a game-changer.

    If hundreds of thousands of people non-violently sat down in the corridors of congress and shut everything down until our foreign wars are ended, that might change things. Police can arrest people, but there aren’t enough jails to hold hundreds of thousands of people. At some point, if the entire population simply refuses to go along with some government edict, it will become a dead-letter law and disappear, as with Prohibition.

    Perhaps those are naive dreams. I remain hopeful.

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 5:09 am

      I agree with More’s comment, but in a different context. He shows that we can be strong. That is, he describes things a people can do to gain control of the State.

      But that’s a more advanced stage than the US today. We are not a people wanting to govern themselves, or at least willing to exert ourselves to the degree necessary.

      Saying NO is the collective action of citizens. We can run a Republic when we recover that strength; until then we are and will remain sheep. The question IMO is how to revitalize the America people.

      Like

  5. 21 October 2012 5:28 am

    Answer to the bounus question. The first 6 topics in your list could have been broken down into an individual post for each topic and that would have been easier to respond to. A viable 3rd party is about the only way to truly change America IMO.

    Like

  6. Duncan Kinder permalink
    21 October 2012 5:28 am

    Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad.

    Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 3:30 pm

      The gods need not drive us mad, just tempt us with apples.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 3:52 pm

      I’ve always found the apple story in Genesis quite problematic. Us Gnostics easily understand it as the typical cruelty of the demiurge.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 3:58 pm

      That’s ancient wisdom, source unknown (often wrongly attributed to Euripides). Thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten that, and perhaps it well describes America today.

      I speak of our broken OODA loop, but perhaps that’s over-analysis. Perhaps we’re just mad. There’s plenty of historical precedents for that.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 4:44 pm

      FM:

      It is problematic when trying to squeez it into one of the many religious ideologies that try to use it as the premise for which “evil” was brought to the world. However, if one takes it at face value, it can easily be used as a metaphor for a wide range of human interactions. In our current situation the “serpant” can be replaced by either of our current presidential candidates. Adam and/or Eve the American people. The apple, any policy they want to sell us by first convincing us it will benifit us in some way.

      “Ye shall not surely die: For god doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”.
      — Genesis 3:5

      It could easily be a historicl discription of when man encountered his/her first politician.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 5:14 pm

      You might even take it one step further and say God is also a politician. Let us again, use our current situation

      I like Romney as God (for his unequivocally ubsurd belief in magic underwear), and Obama as the serpant (for his ability to convince the fickle mob he is one of us).

      As such, Obama uncovers Romneys lies (ye shall not surely die) only to replace them with his own (then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods).

      Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      21 October 2012 5:33 pm

      Broken OODA loop = madness

      Modern techno-babble / ancient wisdom => same thing.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 5:35 pm

      Now that’s a brilliant insight. I’ll refer that for comment to someone who understands OODA loops at a high level.

      Like

  7. david j michel jr permalink
    21 October 2012 4:15 pm

    I don’t care if we manufacture wars against iran ,all of islam needs to be destroyed .and the obama administration needs to be voted out now.

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 4:27 pm

      Michael Jr speaks up for hatred, religious bigotry, and war. The pure voice of evil.

      “Jesus wept.”
      — The Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 35

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 5:06 pm

      david’s comment is the absolute appitamy of the disease that plagues humanity. That being, the common belief that your Ideas values and beliefs are superior to those with opposing ideas values and beliefs.

      What people like david fail to realize (or lack the intellegence needed to realize) is that at the end of the day, people are people, regardless of the cultures to which they conform.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 5:32 pm

      For us older folks, “appitamy” is (I think) gamer slang for “epitome”.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      21 October 2012 7:46 pm

      re: “I don’t care if we manufacture wars against iran ,all of islam needs to be destroyed .and the obama administration needs to be voted out now.”

      Change a few words (iran/islam = slaves, obama = lincoln), and you get the same stuff that the leaders of the Confederacy were saying 150 years ago.

      Like

    • Duncan Kinder permalink
      22 October 2012 6:16 am

      David: Obviously you are pulling our chain with that; but just in case you are not:

      • Islam has been around for more than 1,300 years; we have been around for less than 250.
      • There are 1.5 billion Muslims; 350 million Americans.
      • The only reason the American military exists is because China is currently 1) willing and 2) able to fund it. Neither factor is apt to remain certain.
      • While you focus on the Muslims, Mexican drug lords wax on the southern border.
      • Guerrilla armies, since the time of Mao and Tito, have repeatedly demonstrated remarkable success against conventional armies. Iraq and Afghanistan are but the latest examples.

      As I said, I think you are just pulling our chains. But this is a concise summary of why I do not share Fabius’ apprehension that the United States is going fascist. It may very well turn out like Rwanda. But fascist? – No.

      Like

    • 22 October 2012 12:18 pm

      Even if David is “pulling our chain” (ie, troll), his comments represent a widespread view — commonly found in comments elsewhere on the Internet.

      Like

  8. gaiasrequite permalink
    21 October 2012 5:51 pm

    Error as well as correction noted. There is another I made in the post above. Problem is we can’t revise after hitting the “post comment ” button.
    Thanks for pointing it out:)

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 5:53 pm

      I get to fix my errors in comments, of which there are many. What I really need is a “recall” feature to spin back time on intemperate comments.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 6:57 pm

      How fantastic would that be, like an easy button. Who doesn’t need that.

      Like

  9. WTF permalink
    21 October 2012 6:02 pm

    re: totalitarian humanism. The american people no longer understand how to smash evil in the face in service of The Good. (The Military-Industrial-Complex has supplied a faux “enemy”.)
    The underlying problem was explained by the superb anarcho-libertarian writer Keith Preston: Should Libertarianism be Cultural Leftism without the State?, THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE, 12 February 2012 — excerpt:

    … what kind of state will we be facing in the future of the United States and what will be its guiding ideological principles? Historical and demographic patterns indicate that the Republican coalition that emerged triumphant in 1968 and in subsequent decades has just about run out of steam. It is likely that the Democrats and, by extension, the center-left will emerge as the dominant national party in the years ahead with the support base of the Democrats rooted in expanding racial minority and immigrant populations, the soon-to-be elderly 1960s generation, the increasingly powerful feminist and gay movements, an expanded class of educated urban professionals, environmentalists, urban blue-collar Catholics and white ethnics, and enough WASPish middle class centrists and liberals to maintain an electoral majority. 25 At the same time, the American political and economic system has become increasingly militarist, imperialist, corporatist and police statist in recent decades and there is no sign this will discontinue under Democratic rule. There was certainly no discontinuation of these trends under the reign of Bill Clinton and there is no evidence that a ruling party composed of the likes of Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein will be any more benevolent, competent, restrained or fair-minded that the Bush Republicans have been. In other words, what we will soon have in the United States is a multiethnic, multicultural, secular, feminized and gayized political class presiding over a crumbling imperialist empire and decaying corporatist economy. This ruling class will have at its disposal a massive police state apparatus that has been built up in recent decades under the guise of the wars on drugs, crime and terrorism. Further social and economic deterioration will likely generate increased social unrest, and the ruling class will respond by attempting to tighten the grip. We can expect that the state will continue to become increasingly pernicious, and justify its actions in the name of supposed liberal ideals, given center-left ideological dominance. Remember how Janet Reno justified the massacre at Waco in the name of combating child abuse and right-wing, religious fundamentalist, gun nuts? This synthesis of liberal ideology and fascist methodology might be properly described as totalitarian humanism. …

    Like

  10. WTF permalink
    21 October 2012 7:02 pm

    re: “Broken OODA loop = madness” There is a deeper layer of madness, which is that the dominant paradigms currently in effect can not satisfy the “coherence needs” of the emerging edge of cultural evolution. The result is “paradigm regression”. “Unhealthy” versions of postmodernism/leftism, modernism/liberalism and conservatism result.

    The solution is a “Third Way”: Integral Politics, Holistic culture. Integral Politics looks “back” on the earlier paradigms and sees that postmodernism has failed because it became the “mean green meme”: extreme narcissism/nihilism. Integral/Holistic culture turns the “unhealthy” (mad) version of intense “self” toward contemplative “realization”.

    (Gnosticism is one of many spiritual traditions that provide valuable tools by which such contemplative self realization can be learned. e.g., the Axial traditions share a common basis in Unitive Mysticism as a path to Transcendence.)

    Like

    • WTF permalink
      21 October 2012 7:06 pm

      re: “Integral Politics looks “back” on the earlier paradigms and sees that postmodernism has failed because it became the “mean green meme”: extreme narcissism/nihilism.” And: in the MGM, political correctness, thought policing, etc., are “paradigm regressive” versions of pluralism, relativism and multiculturalism.

      Note: de Tocqueville ‘s warning about a multicultural America becoming “weak and servile” to statism.

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 7:30 pm

      De Tocqueville’s become a well from which people extract words without attention to his context. The “weak and servile” quote is one of the best known. It’s a paraphrase (I’ve used it), but not a quote. Also, he used that in a specific context. I am not familiar with a reference to multiculturalism making us weak — can anyone give a cite on this?

      Here is the best-known example from Volume II, section 4, chapter 3: how political power concentrates in the government (becomes master instead of servant):

      “As in periods of equality no man is compelled to lend his assistance to his fellow men, and none has any right to expect much support from them, everyone is at once independent and powerless. These two conditions, which must never be either separately considered or confounded together, inspire the citizen of a democratic country with very contrary propensities. His independence fills him with self-reliance and pride among his equals. His debility makes him feel from time to time the want of some outward assistance, which he cannot expect from any of them, because they are all impotent and unsympathizing. In this predicament he naturally turns his eyes to that imposing power which alone rises above the level of universal depression. Of that power his wants and especially his desires continually remind him, until he ultimately views it as the sole and necessary support of his own weakness.”

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      21 October 2012 8:27 pm

      de Tocqueville warns us not to become weak and servile, 21 July 2008

      Quote from the above page (De Tocqueville Volume II, section 2, chapter 5: How religion supports democracy”)

      “When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the higher powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others.”

      Comment/interpretation: In a polyglot/multicultural society, the unitive/conformist function of “religion” becomes weak. (Critics of religion would of course point out that religion has usually been a tool of tyrants.)

      Additional background from Americans, now a subservient people (listen to the Founders sigh in disappointment), 20 July 2008: The following reply was added at the end of a comment by “Nic”:

      “After all, the US is rapidly becoming a multi-ethnic society — and these seldom show high degrees of cohesion. This is a well-established fact in the social science literature.”

      The above quote is from none other than FM!

      Like

    • 21 October 2012 9:08 pm

      To repleat my previous comment, it’s important not to read our concerns onto past writers — like de Tocqueville.

      (1) When de Tocqueville writes about the religion of a people being destroyed, he was not not discussing evolution of a multi-ethnic society. The full passage, to which this is a conclusion, shows he was worried about the decline of churches — and loss of the dogma or religious othodoxy they provide. As a good Catholic of his time, he saw the prospect of each person pondering his own faith leading to disorder.

      What’s happening in US society is far more complex. We have immigrants bringing in new religious perspectives, including Islam, while our domestic religions lose their hold on natives. The same thing is happening even faster in Europe. This might diminish these societies’ social cohesion, or even increase social conflict. It’s too complex to forecast, IMO.

      (2) My reply to Nic’s comment was topic drift, not based on what de Tocqueville said.

      Like

    • WTF permalink
      22 October 2012 2:07 am

      Please correct me if wrong. In 1830, the USA was far more “multicultural” than anywhere in Europe. There were whites, blacks and native americans, with many subgroups in each. Each culture influenced the others. That fact would clearly seem to have informed de Tocqueville’s statement about religion’s role in creating social order (cohesion).

      The motivating factor in Protestantism was non-conformance to the High Church and the subsequent forms of individual achievement that followed, such as scientific and technologicial advances, free market capitalism, and democracy.

      FM: “After all, the US is rapidly becoming a multi-ethnic society — and these seldom show high degrees of cohesion. This is a well-established fact in the social science literature.”

      I quoted your earlier statement (above) in support of my main point, which is that Holistic/Integral culture is one of the ways that has been proposed to bring unitive spirituality and some “larger sense of purpose” back to a society that has no little or no idea that salvation or redemption are possible, or even exist. Again, it is in things like Integral Transformative Practice (Esalen) that narcissism/nihilsm can be turned toward spiritual self-realization, without descending into “thought policing/PC” and violating the “principle of non-exclusion”. Background: “A Brief History of Holons, Mark Edwards, (undated, probably 2002?)

      Wilber maintains that any future over-arching model of knowledge will have posses the main principles that define an IMP. These principles are non-exclusion, enfoldment/unfoldment, and enactment. Wilber defines non-exclusion as follows:

      Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e. the truth claims that pass validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. (2002b, ¶52)

      Like

    • 22 October 2012 3:08 am

      “In 1830, the USA was far more “multicultural” than anywhere in Europe. There were whites, blacks and native americans, with many subgroups in each. Each culture influenced the others. That fact would clearly seem to have informed de Tocqueville’s statement about religion’s role”

      There is no need to guess. Tead the passage; it’s quite clear.

      As for your description, that’s how we see colonial society. But was that how a French Aristocrat saw it? He probably saw people (ie, white people) and others. I very much doubt those others were relevant to his analysis of religion in colonial society.

      Like

  11. Jim permalink
    21 October 2012 10:02 pm

    Maybe the first step is to acknowledge what we have become (not rage at what we have become). What are the methodologies, techniques and processes by which such insights can be gained on an individual level? Are we talking about techniques of self-reflection? It has been my experience that such a turn to deeper self-reflection is not something we happily choose but is rather often forced upon us by some type of crisis.

    Maybe the next step is not anger but gratitude for new insights about oneself? Can gratitude like anger be a spur to action and simultaneously be a good master? Can the process of seeing and accepting the worst in ourselves give us the strength to become responsible?

    When we discuss a program to stand upright — are we still talking about politics? Does part of our acknowledgment have to with individual hubris as well as the hubris of our nation?

    Like

    • 21 October 2012 10:10 pm

      Interesting questions, alternative paths!

      In two hours a post goes up describing the psychological processes we’ve choosen instead of following Jim’s suggestions.

      Like

    • gaiasrequite permalink
      21 October 2012 10:27 pm

      “Maybe the next step is not anger but gratitude for new insights about oneself?”

      I don’t believe that Americas current situation, has led the masses to greater appriciation of self actualization.

      For example, I highly doubt the thousands of people who have lost their jobs, houses and way of life, are standing around remarking on how wonderful thier new insights on self are. “hey honey look, we and the kids can survive just as well under this bridge as we were in the house we used to own. We should feel fortunate in our greater understanding of self”.

      Im not seeing it.

      Like

  12. 10 July 2013 5:00 am

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    you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

    Like

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