Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Doom Blogging

Let the Hanky Wringing and "Oh, dear, noes!" continue. Things are going to get worse for the vast majority of Americans in 2011, there's no two ways about it. The question, as always, is what -- if anything -- Americans will do about it but take to their fainting couch and have another Take and Bake while watching the Game on their Big Screen.

As a rule, I'm not into Doom Blogging, one of the most popular genres in the field. The Aga Saga Woman can make me laugh uproariously when she goes off on one of her panics:

"Run for your lives, Children! We're all going to diiiiiiiiie!!!

And we see Doom Blogging everywhere; it was especially prevalent during the BP Gulf Oil Blowout, when it was just accepted as common knowledge that the Gulf was "dead" and could not be restored; there was no point in even considering an alternative.

Now that the Batshit Republicans are about to be restored to power in the House of Representatives, it is widely understood that we're doomed as a nation, as a people, as a self-governing society. That's as may be, but if it is true, the proximate cause of our doom is not the Restoration of the Batshit Party to to power in the House of Representatives. It's been in the cards for quite a while, in other words, and all the political factions have had a role to play.

Yet there is a sense of palpable dread that has been a-building relentlessly since the Impeachment Circus of 1998 and following. That's when the notion of Self-Government in the United States went off the rails, and it has never been restored. Without that mooring of promise and responsibility, the notion that at least some of us are doomed has a growing resonance.

The Impeachment Circus was followed by the casual, lawless intervention of the Supreme Court to install the Court majority's favorite on the White House Throne. This was recognized at the time as a serious breach of Constitutional authority by the Court, and yet, all the Powers That Be acceded to it. Those who were paying attention knew that the lawless installation of George Bush the Lesser and the submission of the entire Ruling Class to this usurpation would not work out well, and most were sure that it would lead to unprecedented levels of corruption, looting, and aggressive war. Sure enough. That's exactly what happened. But it happened on a scale and speed that surprised even the most gloomy doom-sayer at the time.

Now it almost seems as if Doom has been delayed. Repeatedly. And when Doom is delayed so often, one's expectations of Immanent Doom grow greater and greater.

The transition of Congressional power next year will have an influence on everyone's sense of well-being, and because the White House is not about to move off its Hooverite "Progressivism", most people's sense of well-being will go into a further tailspin. On the other hand, it wouldn't have been any better for most people if Democrats had stayed in charge of the House.

The question will be just how bad it will get.

As I've said before, we're likely to see the complete paralysis of regular government function and the substitution of something else again, which most people will welcome as better than what was going on before. In the Koch series, I suggest that we are already living in their future, with the semblance of institutions still functioning, but they don't actually work, and real rule occurring well behind the scenes involving a shrinking cadre of Owners and Stakeholders. But next year, I suspect, what's still somewhat hidden will come out of the shadows, and we will see clearly, perhaps for the first time, that Our Rulers simply have no interest in We the People, and do not intend to gain an interest.

What Americans ever do about it is anyone's guess. The only crypto-Revolutionary movement this country has seen in decades are the TeaBaggers, and they are going to be in power. So... if things get worse on their watch? They'll double down, of course. It's what they do.

For those who haven't seen it, I recommend (Astro)Turf Wars for an idea of who the TeaBaggers are and who runs them -- and what the intent is.

I recommend The Century of the Self to understand how Americans are so easily hoodwinked.


  1. Americans will do about it but take to their fainting couch and have another Take and Bake while watching the Game on their Big Screen.

    See, if they still have the following things:

    A couch
    A place for the couch, presumably with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer
    "Take and Bake" (food)
    Cable TV
    A big screen TV

    Why would they revolt? To have the opportunity to enjoy the inside of a prison cell? The feel of rubber bullets? The scent of tear gas?

    Seriously, if people have it that good they are either already in open revolt (perhaps as a successful member of the Bloods or the Crips, for example) or they have things so good that they aren't going to risk it.

  2. Risks.

    Yes, that's a key to understanding the almost preternatural apathy of so many Americans.

    They don't want to take the risk of losing what they still have -- or think they have.

    Revolts happen fairly consistently when expectations for "something better" go unmet or when something previously taken for granted is precipitously taken away.

    Of course, this is a completely materialist view of the nature of rebellion. But it is nearly always the rise of a middle class and their intellectual ferment that leads to open revolt against the Entrenched Powers.

    There is no such rising class now, however. Not in this country. The middle class and the intellectual ferment it might have are being excised from the population. There is no rising; it is instead a surprisingly rapid -- but "soft" -- decline. Instead of revolting against the Entrenched Powers, the remnants of the middle classes are desperately holding on to what they can, and they are doing so not by revolt to preserve what's theirs but by cleaving ever closer and bowing ever deeper to the Entrenched Powers that are robbing them or are disinterested in their plight.

    This is basically what happened in France during the reign of Louis XV; it set the stage for the Revolution, but the Revolution itself wouldn't come for many years, until the Ancien Regime simply shattered from its own internal contradictions, AND the trigger of the American Revolution (which was an outgrowth of the English Civil Wars of the century before) had been pulled.

    Americans by and large will probably stay as apathetic as they are now for the rest of this century, no matter how dismal their material state becomes. They won't want to risk losing whatever is left... on the other hand, if they see an example of a successful revolt against the Entrenched Powers elsewhere, things might change in an instant.