The share price of liberal freedom is frankly falling. If it falls any further, we will all be flat on our faces. I think we all know by now that the problem is capitalism as we by now know it all. It is stumbling ahead, winning victory over victory mostly without putting up a hard fight. This is one of the harsh qualities it has acquired over a long time by taking the moral high ground of liberal freedom and human rights. I will not be far off the mark when I say most people have grown used to holding liberal freedom and capitalism as synonymous.
This pamphlet tries to do two things. It separates freedom and capitalism by exposing the collapse of humanity in the heartland of the free world. Evidence for this collapse is the unhappiness of free people as expressed in them voting for tyrannical cultural pessimism. People unhinged by the insecurity that is essential to capitalism are always too easily exploited by nut cases of various brands, specifically those graduating from the Harvard of sociopathy. The pamphlet further proposes three measures for a capitalist society to move on. I say move on because moving back is not only not an option, it is simply backward. As a cultural optimist I am convinced we can only move on by building on what makes us strong, not by reversing history toward a time of melancholy that never was.
The cul-de-sac of blind capitalism
Liberals promoting capitalism don’t promote freedom. The reason is simple: their view of mankind is that it needs more and more money. On this view progress is a necessary by-product of society accumulating capital in a market that, itself, is free. This is defended religiously. It’s a religious point after all. Its central tenet is that man’s original sin is laziness. In the capitalist case we can only “work it off”. If we work hard enough it will redeem generations to come. Every American Dream is just a story of redemption where an individual shows us how to atone for the evil void inside all of us. Continue reading
If Quick is a boy then Perky has to be a girl. As a matter of fantasy, Perky can’t but be a girly-girl and Quick a girly-boy. This is something that makes Quick cross with Perky as her being a boyish girl would have been linguistically more elegant. Now he can’t even feel double crossed. Perky hides in a closet. She is quite small so the closet doesn’t have to be big. She shouts: “Try to find me!”. Time elapses. It always does. Quick lets silence speak for himself, his sound is silence.
Perky sulks when Quick finds her, not quick enough for her taste. He sulks too, it’s just what people call him. Quick gets in the closet too for, even if it didn’t have to be big, it is more than big enough for two. ‘How can we get past sulking?’, both of them think. They can’t but time heals and soon it makes them forget they were sulking. He is still a boy and she still a girl. And they’re both in a real fantasy closet. And they don’t have to come out.
Time elapses but it does it quietly without informing Perky and Quick of it. Time can be as gentle as it can be brutal. Quick is gentle too, nothing like a man. “I found you.”, he whispers to Perky. Perky knows she has only one mention left and she wants to use it well.
Nothing is perfect.
I hate useful work. If there is any point to humanity it is to get rid of useful work altogether. One of the secondary benefits of getting rid of useful work is that we would be rid of the useless concept of useless toil as well. In fact, in the here and now the only useful work for human beings is the kind of work that brings humanity closer to there being no useful work at all in any place, for anyone. One of the primary benefits of approximating this blissful state is that less and less people need to endure the meritocratic ritual of having one’s performance assessed. Performance is so 20th century!
I wonder whether any of the experts of GDP’s, debt/capital leverage & the markets’ efficiency is measuring how much of our economic activity is related to us having a rocking good time. I guess none of these productivity freaks is concerned with such whimsical things as the outcome of a mostly intellectual process (note that the outcome of a mostly intellectual process may well be appallingly stupid, for reference just turn on your television). The reason for this is simple: the only measurable thing predicting both the outcome of the process as well as its success is the level of education of producers and consumers alike. Which means that the equation is simple: more education is better. Economists can simply not risk getting this truth out. It is very much like Goodyear and Pirelli having invented an indestructible tire or Tepco a riskless alternative to nuclear power: the only solution is to call Rick Santorum and tell him to denounce the very idea as one not only un-American but positively inspired by the devil.
Anyway, the ratio of things like Britney Spears and movies about Pina Bausch (sorry, Pina) to things like pushing as much stuff as you pushed last year plus 10% is unavoidably going up and, although it may never quite be one, it is getting closer by the day and there is no meritocratic a**hole that can change that simple fact. Unless he’s called Dr. Strangelove that is (and unfortunately the probability of there being an actual Dr. Strangelove is not zero as long as people persist in keeping the option open to give human beings the opportunity to destroy nature whether by big bang or by silent suffocation).
So in summary: the more education the better. Education is the 21st century thing. The first thing to learn is that learning something is a good in itself & a true sovereign in that it cannot serve any worldly purpose outside of itself. With many people stuck in stupid discussions on sovereignty I hereby offer them a face-saving way from the 19th century to a future that is still all too distant.
I could say I hate rambling like this but that would simply be a lie.
He flat out forgot what he wanted to write about. The only thought that came to him was that ‘flat out forgot’ had quite a nice ring to it but that ‘that ‘flat out forgot’ had a quite nice ring to it’ didn’t (have a nice ring to it). That thought was disappointing he thought. “Keep it simple!”, so he was told; and he wondered whether that was what they said to his son’s friend, who killed himself the other day. It must have gone splash. That would have been simple enough, comic book simple. Not that it wasn’t well meant advise or anything. He was sure it was even good advise. Like ‘show, don’t tell’ which he got from some literary agent website advertising master classes for aspiring writers. He was an aspiring writer but he didn’t want to be taught, let alone recognize a master.
Maybe they both overcomplicated things. Maybe only one of them recognized it was due to aspirations that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. He felt like a one armed pole vaulter but he knew this was just complex self-deception covering up simple self-deception. Diversion was needed. Like when you are in a moving vehicle and you wonder what the person living over yonder in that house beyond the grazing cows is feeling like. She could have talent without aspiration. It was easy for him to fall in love with her because she Continue reading
I could be hating the fact that I woke up with breaking news that many public institutions finally listened to The Markets. But instead I will keep it light and just hate that after drinking my evening coffee I spent the best part of a minute looking to what was left in my coffee cup without getting any the wiser on whether The Wife would want to stay in or go out. I hate that just asking her what she wants somehow breaks any potential magic of an evening without The Kids.
I could also be hating that most of the news in West Europe about the disaster in East Africa is about how little the citizens of one nation or donating to charity with respect to how much citizens of another nation are donating. But instead I’ll just keep it light and hate that grass grows everywhere in my garden except where you tend to walk and hence need it most.
I could finally be hating that many think-tank-y people (and with people I mean white men in suits) are complaining about rating agencies not being accountable to anybody. But instead I’ll keep it light and hate that it’s a difficult choice between losing a substantial amount of time pumping up my bicycle tires once and losing a little time in riding with semi-flat tires for yet another couple of days (or weeks, …).
What I do hate is that with all these think-tanks listening to The Markets nobody is hearing the obvious & convenient truth which is that, as long as rich people have enough money to spend on their charity foundations or election campaigns or benignly inspired trust funds, RICH PEOPLE ARE NOT (remotely) TAXED ENOUGH.
I don’t hate all commenters. Although fear and self-loathing is not foreign to me, I don’t usually hate myself too much. But I do hate many if not most commenters. I hate them mostly because they remind me of myself at my worst, adding endurance to occasional obnoxiousness. It takes a tendency to being occasionally obnoxious to enable one to be commenting at all but it takes a whole lot of unselfcritical endurance to enable one to believe that one rarely makes obnoxious comments. I’d think most of us know that, in real life, we’ll tend to be wrong in about one out of two of our statements (before you feel personally addressed by this statement, let’s assume this follows a Gaussian distribution; probability really is a life saver in these binary times). But take our asses on-line and we ‘ll tend to spontaneously believe that every single utterance we make is spot on. The merest suggestion of fallibility is enough to bring out Mr., Ms. or Mrs. Obnoxious. You would not drink a beer with somebody like that but the internet finds out the Jekyll in you flawlessly.
I hate commenters who can take the above to be self-evidently true but who nonetheless have never conceded anything – let alone an argument – in any thread.
I hate commenters who do not take the above to be self-evidently true and who believe in any case that, if it were true, it would in any case not be applicable to them.
I hate with a vengeance those commenters that form the union between the above two sets intersected with the set of the commenters who comment full-time with a strong desire to win every argument (I suspect the latter set is identical in its membership to the former union of two sets but I have no time to prove it).
I specifically hate commenters who present themselves as experts in the implicit belief that any layperson with access to the internet and a shitload of time to find factoids in support of their contentions is, indeed, an expert. By the way, I also hate experts who believe that their expertise is so special that it defies the possibility of being explained to laypersons in a way that would allow these laypersons to make valuable observations.
So this is my theory & I would really hate it to be true: the internet as we know it brings out the most obnoxious character traits in those who comment and, as most of us don’t enjoy being obnoxious, over time only the persistently obnoxious survive long term in on-line discussion forums. Just like society needs more women in power, the internet needs lurkers to be more in charge of where things go.
I hate being pronounced dead, certainly if the dying is the result of being beaten to it.
Via IMDB, I stumbled across the following fun fact: Shane Jones’s Light Boxes, published by Publishing Genius, recently had its movie rights purchased by Spike Jonze. This is a huge deal for Publishing Genius, which my friend Adam Robinson founded a few years ago, and will hopefully give PG and small presses more generally closer to the amount of credibility they deserve.
It’s easy to start a new creatively-driven blog, but another thing entirely to keep it going. As Adam & I learned last year, the new paint can start to peel before it even dries. My point: new blogs need love. Barring that, they just need traffic.
Long time friend of the Weblog, Pat Rock, has started up a brand spanking new online comic. Stabbing Plato, we wish you well.