Hi folks – here’s another big piece of anti tribalism and once again, I had to throw out a dozen versions before I found the angle needed. Here’s what makes this one especially tricky, the basic idea is so surprising that it feels like a slap in the face, but the ultimate goal is effective compassion and less violent harm to innocents. A morality no-brainer.
For several decades now, we’ve accepted a strange cultural capitulation – that most communication should take the same basic form as advertising. A flattery and a seduction which allows the storyteller to insert a subtle manipulation into the viewer’s thinking. Of course this formula varies a lot (sometimes it’s a bully-play instead of seduction, sometimes the manipulation is obvious to us – but still so effective in behavioural terms that our awareness of their trick does not allow us to defeat it, etc).
But even though I love clever words, I really hate bullshit – and I am convinced we can all not only do better, but be a lot happier (experience and share genuine hope) if we can first face a few unwelcome realities together, and then open ourselves to new approaches which go beyond the habits patterns and rationalizations with which we’ve become very comfortable.
And even here – I’m not trying to mess with these comfortable patterns to be a jerk – but only to point out THEY DO NOT WORK! (or they would have)
I also want to make clear why I work to untangle tribalism (sure as heck is not a route to easy popularity). Over the last few decades, huge numbers of people have become convinced that the real problem with the world is the other normal people around them. I’m not only sure this is wrong, I’m sure that this error helps no one but that tiny club of assholes who have spent those same decades doing more and more to completely corrupt our governments, so that they now loyally serve corporate monopolies instead of citizens.
At this point, it is so upside-down and crazy that we actually see governments holding themselves out as the creators of freedoms and rights, when anyone with any knowledge of the history of our rights knows that at every stage, citizens have had to come together to force governments and corporations – always aligned together against us – to first allow and then finally enshrine each and every advance in our rights and our general prosperity. They give us nothing – EVER – we prize our gains from their tight fist – and only when we are determined enough to unify.
When huge numbers of citizens can no longer come together in popular fronts, overcoming what divides us to see the uncountable principles and fairnesses which we have always shared, corporations and the corrupted governments which serve them run roughshod over all of us – making everyone feel angrier, even more powerless, and thus easier than ever to goad into attacking one another – when what we need most if we want to go back to advancing the interests of regular citizens once more, is a principled general solidarity.
We are so deep into this personal-anger-first game now, that we no longer remember any other way to play. But like technology and economics – it is neither evolved or inevitable – that whole idea is a cop-out and a scam – and as long as we keep falling for that scam we are prevented from making serious sustained progress on the environment, prosperity, rights or justice.
It is no wonder we feel hopeless and frustrated lately, we have decided in advance to rule out the one established effective path to general advance, and instead use only the tools that keep us eternally confused angry and helpless (individual ego and emotion).
Now as I’ve mentioned before, even though I am a dedicated and serious anti tribalist, I still come from the left, which sometimes leads me to some rather funny and potentially illuminating contradictions. Here’s one you might recognize.
When I see a puffed-up right wing blowhard using the word “Liberal” as a sneering insult I almost always bristle, and I must admit I have repeatedly responded with variations of “Why would you heap scorn upon the idea of Liberty itself?” which is not only a bitchy but also a dishonest approach, because I’m adding-in the part of the statement that I then hate the most. They didn’t really say that.
Doing cute logical operations on similar words that we would prefer to respond to, is not ever constructing a logical argument, nor is it engagement with the idea itself, respect for the person behind it, let far alone an effective refutation. But it is lazy fun, so we all do it way too much.
Here’s the really funny thing though, when I’m reading or watching the speeches of the great black revolutionary leaders of the sixties and seventies and they use the word Liberal with no less venom and contempt, my inner revolutionary smiles and understands immediately, by translating their use of the word Liberal into “Bourgeois M@therf@ckers.”
This very real social category which does have outsize impact on the norms goals and structure of society, remains not only completely unaware of itself and its own disproportionate influence, but has, over the last few years especially, proven frighteningly eager to support extraordinary new forms of social violence to the weakest, in order to preserve their dominant status and keep their profound lack of self awareness intact.
Every study I found (not fury-promoting idiot news story – I mean actual hard science) showed very clearly that the people most likely to be vaccine hesitant were those most skeptical of authority – which we’ve long understood skews heavily poor and black, and also includes abuse and trauma victims along with those suffering many kinds of mental and physical difficulties. As an ‘enlightened’ society, we had no reservations nor any hesitation whatsoever about making these already disadvantaged groups into an instant legally excluded underclass, and then also loudly declaring them immoral and anti social. Untermenchen by official government policy – nice. Stranger still, the more progressive your region, the more gleefully the poor, nervous, skeptical and uncertain were despised by the comfortable!
How many times have I heard a half-bright leftie insist “Hatred stems from ignorance and fear.” So, yeah. Don’t ask me where all the damn mirrors went, I swear they might always have been a little foggy – but they didn’t used to be completely absent altogether.
What the creaky leftie in me finds unutterably sad (though by no means specific to me) is that I can no longer deny that the firebrands on the left and the right are talking about the same self-centred gang when they say Liberal with a righteous and furious sneer.
Many if not most of my dearest friends are still liberals in this most frustrating and incredibly destructive sense. Has to be said, we can no more claim they are morally defective individuals because of their collective costs and blindness, than we can with any other group. What makes the Bourgeois M@therf@cker name still appropriate, and talking about them crucial, is that they – the very centre of social privilege by definition – no longer have the decency to show gratitude and try for some noblesse oblige – the responsibility to others, that comes with. (Which starts with getting over yourself, to truly see the needs and lives of others as valid – that is, earning and also showing RESPECT).
Instead, in their epic narcissism and lack of self awareness they have decided they are the source of all good things, and are therefore entitled to steal every meaning cause, struggle and principle which has emotional appeal to them (what they would themselves call cultural appropriation – on a scale so unbelievably vast, they are quite incapable of seeing it). We could almost be amused and call them philosophical magpies or well meaning amateurs, but in their infinite indignant entitlement, they don’t just steal meanings and causes which belong to poorer others who have fought and sacrificed for many hard years to win them, they bring the law corporations and corrupted government itself in behind them as their backup.
They might smile and tell us they just want to ‘tell the world the good news’ – but I say they really just want to make sure no genuine non-indoctrinated originals are left powerful or organized enough to note their grotesque theft in future.
Social workers are not revolutionaries.
I think the best quote I ever heard to make this clear was a line a dear friend got from a welfare worker when his cheque was stopped for some reason that no one was able to tell him, and he was in extreme danger of homelessness. “Well I really don’t know about your cheque sir, but I get paid on Friday either way.” Indeed.
There are people who our society routinely leaves behind, and others to whom it does outright and protracted damage. Many don’t understand this, but for decades now our governments have worked their economic levers to carefully preserve what they consider an optimal level of unemployment in their own citizenry (who are supposed to be their bosses) to keep labour costs and demands low, for the sake of the corporate class (their actual bosses). It isn’t crazy to think that if the plan is the deliberate mass sacrifice of potential, we owe our “outs” some minimal dignity for their service to the rest of the economy. (NARU – ‘natural’ adjusted rate of unemployment – look it up)
Then again – why leave the damage in place, as if that anti-citizen plan is a law of nature and just keep adding better bandages? Why not try a plan designed to create enough activity for everyone to have a useful place and role? Citizens with plenty of life options are what make our rights realities. Decent jobs are what give citizens at large those options, and then let us prove our ideas viable by living them.
I’ve written a few times about how important white liberal guilt really was in the formation of modern social programs – a gift from the Dutch, the first western middle class which felt acute Christian guilt about their relative prosperity, and acted upon it by forming lasting governmental institutions to help the poor. (though I must here note that all of this has nothing to do with whiteness or protestantism – since state institutions to care for the unfortunate arose in advanced non-white non-Christian civilizations many centuries earlier).
And still – to confuse the challenges or the moral clarity of the class which enjoys a steady career (including government unions and pensions) with the hurt millions they are tasked to aid, is beyond dishonest – again a theft and a great offence against those who don’t just feel empathy (at best), but actually LIVE IT.
They Just Don’t Know What’s Good For Them
This phrase and way of thinking is the most common sign of the malign Liberal mindset (and again I have to note – I am not talking about John Stuart Mill LIBERALISM philosophically – which I consider both key and beautiful). It has been nothing less than hilarious for working class intellectuals to watch bourgeois liberals of this type spend the last few years turning red in the face about imperialism and racism – while showing these exact same qualities of contempt for their own once-respected working class (gleefully categorizing many millions as effectively sub-human) – an amoral willful blindness and ingratitude of truly dazzling scale.
Racism is really horrible stuff (and apple pie is nice) but the word is not the thing, and the intentions of the ignorant righteous and powerful (Liberal/Bourgeois) have nothing to do with the needs dignity growth potential or reality of that ‘great unwashed’ they so patronizingly (and profitably) wish to bandage, one by one, endlessly, until the end of time, to prove their moral ascendancy (and get paid on Friday).
Because they cannot even imagine a world in which they don’t continue to relentlessly exploit workers here and overseas, as a class and raw resource!
But back to what I was saying before – why do we always think the damage inevitable and a bandage the best we can do to fix it? Why gift endlessly (and just as endlessly undermine the dignity of the unfortunate) when most of us would much rather build our own way out of whatever trouble has pinned us down, and will begin the project at once, when we are given even the most basic means and hope?
Do we actually care more about preserving the careers of social workers than we do about ending THE CAUSES OF poverty?
Adding the Bit We Hate the Most
If there is one thing that all sides could work on harder in order to make the chances of citizen unity much better, it has to be principle itself. Kind of like the presumption of advertising, which has crept into so much of our communications, the presumption of a death match overhangs the tone of most arguments – hyperbole and trash talk are everywhere. Respect between opponents is now so unusual it is shocking and inspiring when we do see it (and thus even on tactical grounds alone, surely worthy of new consideration). ;o)
I’m going to give you an extreme example here (slap in the face) but only because it is painfully clear and true.
Many liberals feel very comfortable asserting that anyone who voted for Donald Trump is a racist.
So I have to ask – do Americans still get taught Geography? Can you find Libya? Did you know the citizens of Libya had the second highest standard of living in Africa? Women were doctors and lawyers and professors. Now it is a failed state – not thanks to the help of Donald Trump – he was still busy preening on TV and failing to pay his subcontractors back then. Hillary Clinton personally spearheaded the project to bring NATO “Help” to Libya in the greatest violent act of white supremacy in recent history. Did you know that the vast weapons stockpiles of the former Libyan army have now spread far and wide across Africa causing new and deadly trouble and terrorism in many places previously peaceful and untouched? The lady screwed the whole black continent with a bayonet – and to this day she remains sneeringly grinningly openly proud of it.
Trump definitely evicted plenty of people over the decades, an especially intimate cruelty, and as president he tasked the genius behind the arming of the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua (in contravention of a specific congressional ban) – Elliot Abrams himself – to run creepy tricks against Venezuela and Iran (but don’t worry about poor Abrams the demented war criminal, Biden is bringing him back into the fold so he can bring even more violent devastation to more innocents in future – because Biden is completely different, or um, that is…)
And hey, what about Scranton Joe – known for decades as “the senator from mastercard” – who personally created a prisons for profit industry and made sure that black people got sent away long term for a little rock, while white liberals like him (and their kids) who preferred powder, mostly skated with maximum judicial mercy and minimal time. This, my friends, was work with such sustained destructive multi-generational racist impact it is surely worthy of an honorary dragonship and his very own custom peaked hat.
So – in what way would it be unfair to say that anyone who voted for Hillary or for Biden was brutally gleefully or murderously racist?
And here it is – the key problem with the dominance (and lack of self-awareness) of the liberal delusion of morality. As long as we live in a world with a Liberal/Bourgeois/Corrupted/Warmonger media, we easily ignore mass violence and yet absolutely hate disruptive rudeness.
Trump was rude – over and over again, uncouth disrespectful and sometimes just plain nuts. He also pulled some of the power levers in scary and destabilizing ways, but what really bothered smug liberals most was the way he gave voice to real working class anger which has been building for almost half a century – anger which the comfortable liberals (in this case very clearly serving corporate interests instead of feeling compassion for their fellow citizens) very badly want to continue to deny or else condemn as illegitimate. (Hint – missing the decades of general union worker prosperity which once meant a steady job would get you a house and a pension – is really not the ‘secretly evil’ working class missing a vanished age of white supremacy).
Hillary and Biden smiled and used the good buzzwords and shook the right hands – and did untold damage to real cultures and people.
Liberals are the people who can say destroying Libya doesn’t matter. Who text hashtag black lives matter on cellphones which have so far funded the murder of five or six million innocent civilians in the eastern Congo – and are kept affordable for us to this day, because our most profitable corporations rely on child labour. What we really mean is – I wish I cared about black people – isn’t that wish nice?
Now let me make clear – I despise Trump. I think he is wrong about the world and what to do about it. But he did scare the crap out of the smug inbred incompetents who assume they are entitled to run things, which was very satisfying for many working class people who have been squeezed harder and harder by corporate monopolist corruption of the state for the last half a century. Of course Trump was also obviously and even overtly corrupt – just in a weird and different way that didn’t respect the usual structure of “Mob Payouts” everyone was used to (I mean that sort of as analogy, but it you look at the staggering figures for corporate welfare, it actually isn’t that funny).
This bit will still sound extreme to some – but the facts really are in – the Trump Russia election link was always purest crap (the CIA even briefed Obama on the Democratic party’s intention to create and publicize this lie to play upon and amplify racism, BEFORE the dems finally pressured the FBI into saying it was “investigating” the paid-fiction Steele dossier). The media and the establishment wings of the democrats and republicans united against him around this cluster of BS and proceeded to spread grotesque election disinformation with no evidence for literally years on end, mostly because his particular brand of chaos represents a unique danger to their grift.
If it was his disruptive and bellicose foreign policy they hated, Biden would have changed course – calmed things with China and Iran especially – but he has instead doubled down at every turn, and given teeth to many bad policies that Trump threatened, but never bothered to implement.
Everyone hated Trump for threatening trade war with China. Biden very clearly wants a shooting war. This is better?
The tricky part comes when we want to be mentally lazy and simplify. Use one polarity to flip another.
Was Trump reckless and disruptive? YES. Does that automatically make Biden stabilizing and peaceful? REALLY NOT
Is Trump racist? His own hand picked race consultant (a former contestant on his game show) thought so, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who hesitates to hurt anyone’s feelings on more or less any basis which might occur to him. High elbows and no apologies.
Does that make Hillary or Biden an anti racist? ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME? They both believe absolutely in the right of corporations to destroy black lives here and especially elsewhere in industrial quantities for American profit – up to and including destroying entire sovereign black nations. Make no mistake, when Biden gave public speeches about Libya as vice president he boasted that for a cost of only three billion it was a great value for money, which made that Libyan model of regime change (which resulted in the collapse of nationhood and civil society in huge areas) “the way we should do this kind of thing in the future.”
Honestly folks – have we been turned into computers? Can we only do binary now? Yes/No Up/Down Hero/Fascist
We are very upset, and we do get much dumber and narrow-down our priorities when we’re scared and angry. But that kind of oversimplification and elevation of our ignorant righteous anger above all humble witness and principle is a path directly to dissolution, Babel style. Do you want to be fighting for food in a year or two? Maybe ask someone who actually has, before you embrace the idea.
Does Trudeau, the smuggest (and last?) toxic Liberal of all, care about our first nations partners? Well, he’s found billions right now for stealth attack planes that Canada does and could not need (we don’t need to attack anyone, and those planes don’t even work properly anyhow). He’s found tens of billions to give to foreign auto companies to build battery factories which might create a few dozen jobs, maybe, and from which we will never collect a dime in corporate tax. Drinking water for every first nations community? Sorry – that’ll take five MORE years – back of the line. (And this after he promised it was a priority and he’d do it in five years, back when he took power, eight years ago).
Liberals like and applaud polite speech – even if it is a lie. They adore their own contempt for other people who they are sure are beneath them. They love nothing more than to hate and feel good in doing so, and yet they consider the hatred of others so disgusting that it must now be muzzled by forms of state and corporate oppression which are guaranteed to harm and limit the aspirations of every single worker in future.
This kind of bourgeois m@therf@cker liberals truly are a deeply mis and dis heartening bunch.
Not because they don’t contribute to society – they do.
Not because they don’t want to do good – they do that also (want).
But because they refuse to step in front of a mirror every now and then and recognize in themselves a flawed but forgivable human animal – with incalculably more in common with every one of the other eight billion of us human animals, than our modern self-involvement, insecurity, loneliness and isolation can now easily reveal. (Again – there is no app for this, folks – and there won’t ever be).
What can we do about it? How do we challenge our own blind spots and bring more light and heart into our day to day?
Honestly? Make more friends – preferably from those very same streets (and or countries or cultures) that we used to be a little bit afraid to even check out. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people overcome their favourite bigotry, only to find fantastic and sustaining friendship on the far side of that bogus mind-fence.
The world grows more interesting and worthwhile with every heart we allow close enough to teach us.
Life gets better every time we love a little more.
And the tiny club of bastards who really are a threat to ALL of us in common, aren’t going to be scared of US, until we can feel like a people who are united by principle again. Which means reminding these entitled contempt-filled bourgeois navel gazers – sorry guys, but we’ve actually been at the barricades this whole damn time. You want to bring some great big fancy theory and some paradigm shattering papers along for the march?
That’s fine – please do – we will almost certainly need paper for writing down badge numbers, wiping up blood, asswipe and kindling.