Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Politeness of our Populist Rage

All a lemming has to do is go over the edge of the cliff. Momentum takes care of the rest. Even if he’s wearing a parachute, he won’t pull the rip cord because habit won’t allow him to do so.

It’s no different with empires. The dynamic that made them powerful fossilizes into the habit that contributes to their downfall. The very dynamic that made success possible becomes an instrument of self destruction when it can no long adapt to changing circumstances.

John Michael Greer explains this fossilized dynamic as follows:

When failure is no longer penalized, and losing strategies are the only options admitted to discussion, changing course becomes the least likely possibility; the tighter the blinkers, the more likely that the horse will keep on galloping straight ahead, even if the road leads straight off a cliff.

You see this at work with Obama’s “change your can believe in” that really isn’t change but looks like change because he says its change. The reason Obama can get away with this is that when you are following Jack the Ripper, even rape seems like a virtue. As Joel S. Hirschhorn puts it, we have a president “with a glib tongue, a terrific smile and a deep commitment to the two-party plutocracy and corporate state.”

Progressives now find themselves in a state of paralysis as they wait to see what the “pragmatist” Obama has up his sleeve as he moves to the right. To them, criticism is heresy so they bite their collective tongues, totally oblivious to the fact that the only thing Obama has up his sleeve is more of the same. To paraphrase a Buddhist maxim, change is change when it’s not change.

We are also seeing the emergence of another of the media’s multiple roles. They do more than propagandize for the state. They also inoculates the state against change that would be both revolutionary and systemic.

For example, the media is full of stories about the “populist rage” that is sweeping the country. By putting the focus on this rage, it is neutralized and reduced to a buzz word that can be easily dismissed by our oligarchy. Meanwhile, the masses are pacified because the media has recognized their rage, and so they go home to their favorite television programs convinced that change will take place because their leaders know they’re really pissed off.

Hirschhorn sums it up nicely: “The saddest thing about Obama winning the presidency was that his change message drained what might have been sufficient national energy for true revolutionary reforms.”

This is why they’re rioting in Paris but not in Peoria.

We’re such a polite people.

--Belacqua Jones


doodleicious said...

i don't think that we are a polite people- born out by your article here- what we are is apathetic - with little or no desire to make the world a better place-for ourselves or each other- there is no capital gain in that...
and this sense that we should somehow be rioting in the streets- just fuels more people with little or no grip on how to effectively communicate to grab their trusty gun and go kick some ass. Yeah that'll show them and then I'll just go and turn that gun on myself so i won't have to own up to the fact that i am a blithering idiot who had nothing in the way of a "solution" to offer society.

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