First, I’m not sure there’s any point to writing this. Aside from the fact this blog has fallen off rather dramatically, the subject of 9-11 is not a big favorite her or anywhere. However, I was taking a nice walk this morning and the though came into my head to write a diary on this subject. It may be one of my last ones–I’m kind of through being concerned about the political and cultural situation in this country. It has gone way too far into fantasy such that any kind of intelligent discussion is almost impossible since we have, even if we don’t admit it, lost sight of the foundations of Western Civilization which is the rationalistic “Great Conversation” as Mortimer Adler called it. Reasonable arguments go nowhere and are, in fact, automatically discounted usually as “conspiracy theories” since it is almost illegal to parse data and seek patterns. I will make absolutely no case for alternate explanations of 9/11, there’s no point–my beef is not with arguing the patterns that present themselves on the basis of available evidence–that’s a worthwhile argument. My beef is, as I’ve indicated, with the fact that any argument based on facts that goes contrary to beliefs that make people feel good is not only discounted but is utterly out of the question.
I want to examine, briefly, just how different the world is now than it was ten years ago. Frankly, if I think about it too deeply I want to weep not just for our political situation but for myself who is now living in an irrational world. I feel I am falling with no place to plant my feet and the sad part is that I see other people in the same situation only they don’t even know it. If you turn off your consciousness, if you devolve, morally, spiritually and intellectually then you are fine–that sense of “falling” I describe is not perceivable unless you are sensitive to the historical and spiritual dimension.
The changes in this decade have been the most drastic of any decade I’ve ever seen except maybe the sixties. But even then the actual political situation wasn’t all that different. We had a Constitution, the working class had some say before and after the 60’s. We had, to the extent we ever had, due process of law and a pretty good regulatory system that became quite extensive and rational during the 70’s. The society, despite the problems of racism, chauvinism, ignorance etc. was sustainable. Income disparity was pretty good the economic situation was fairly fluid–enterprise and experimentation was possible. People did not have the luxuries we have now but basic needs were largely far easier to meet in that time than they are today. Non-rich families were not always on the edge of disaster before and after the 60’s.
In contrast we have a situation today when the future is bleak and I maintain hopeless in terms of sustained growth in the economy. We live in a situation when there has been a dramatic growth in the prison population, and in those people working in “security.” We live in what is pretty nearly a police-state. Habeas Corpus has, essentially, been suspended officially in certain cases. The Executive branch has the right to go to war at any time without even consulting Congress. It also has the right to execute at any time for any reason anyone in the world. It can also seize someone without any evidence or due process and torture and kill that person without any oversight from either the courts or Congress.
The idea the we are a nation of laws has gone out the window with the fact this Justice Department has specifically absolved major actors in the financial crisis of any wrongdoing due to the fact they have a President who appears to act as a paid agent of the main Wall Street firms. There’s always been corruption here and there but nothing on this scale–at no time that I know of has such a gargantuan fraud been perpetrated and no one has been brought to trial. We are now, officially, on an Imperial project that knows no boundaries–we invade and interfere with the internal affairs of any country at any time. There are also now no sanctions whatsoever in breaking U.N. rules, international law, domestic law–there are, in short no boundaries other than the limitations of propaganda and Public Relations.
We have a cultural situation in which it is clear to me that the vast majority of the American people WANT to be lied to so that they don’t have to think about this complex and intricate world. Everyone wants to keep it simple, i.e., bad guys (them) and good guys (us). If you have a bad guy like OBL you kill him. Never mind the evidence, never mind the facts, never mind that nothing has ever been proven about OBL’s involvement in 9/11–it has all been assertions by U.S. intel services–and does anybody wonder who these people are? How do we know they want to protect us? Any intelligent look at the history of CIA and other agencies shows a clear pattern over decades and even before CIA was ever created. No one wants to know about these people or the fact there is virtually no oversight over their operations because most of the operations have been privatized precisely to avoid any oversight–and even if Congress were allowed to view were every penny went any Congressperson who blew the whistle would be at the mercy of an organization that can kill you in 200 different ways or destroy you, your family, and so on through any number of ways–why do people not believe that people do these kinds of things when they can. Why do Americans not understand that power is addictive and intoxicating?
I often say that there is no possibility of major reform of any major part of our society. I often say that if there’s a rational idea about energy, health-care, international relations, housing, jobs and so on it will automatically be thrown right away into the garbage like all the State Department policy papers on Iraq after the invasion. All rational methods of reforming and ruling Iraq during the occupation were discarded because they were rational (go ahead ask me why). Rejecting a rational analysis has proven, in this decade, to mean that any rational analysis to anything is impossible.
For some reason 99% of American intellectuals cannot face the dramatic change of world-view that would required to doubt the official story. We are, both as an intellectual culture and as a culture doomed–we can live with the American Dream if we know it is a dream but we cannot live long in it if we believe the dream is reality.
To sum up: I don’t think there’s any point in discussing political-economy (economics and politics–I don’t believe there is the slightest difference between the two). We are wasting our time worrying about the shit we hear and read about if for no other reason than it is either false or misleading. I don’t even care to find out if it is. Did the real OBL actually die last week? I don’t know–I’m pretty sure that OBL is a symbol and may even, from the photos I’ve seen, been several people. From the scanty evidence I’ve seen it is doubtful he was the “mastermind” of anything much he has all the apperance of being either a patsy or a fictional composite like al-Zarqawi the alleged leader of Al-qaida in Iraq who just seemed to neatly to fit into the propaganda needs of the time.
If we have discussions it might be to see how we can break the spell of this dramatically false narrative most of us live by–cultural commentary is I think a more fruitful thing to discuss. Politics is done–we no longer live in a Democratic Constitutional Republic as we will see as time passes. Increasingly we will live under what are, in fact, a system of decrees generated from an entrenched and now very robust oligarchy. All political movement will come from various factions within that oligarchy–fortunately for us (I hope) there are many rivalries in that oligarchy and the only positive thing we can do is align ourselves with factions that might be more favorable and less destructive. Maybe writing about reading the tea-leaves on how surface events indicate movements and variations in the internal power struggles. We live in an Empire now and the drama is in the Imperial court what we think and believe is largely irrelevant because the whole system including elections has been totally gamed and removed from any possibility of reform. We also know that our jobs and livelihoods will be in danger if we dissent too loudly–of this have no doubt. BTW, writing in blogs like this I don’t think will put us in any danger–what we are doing here is harmless.
I actually don’t know for sure. I could be living in a dream world. Actually, I’m not arguing that rationality is ultimately that important–there’s a deeper reality that I know for sure but if we want to continue the Western tradition we are obliged to at least use reason a bit more than we seem to be doing now.
One thing I noted, is that the NYT claimed that in one of the video tapes, which I guess they released without audio (?) OBL ranted against capitalism–I mean a millionaire ranting against capitalism? Maybe. But, maybe he’s just the boogie man for all things.
Yes, I’ve been rating about this-but few really are going to believe it.
This I quibble with–I don’t think the Oligarchs care about our siding with them. I say oppose them all.
I wish I had some comfort to offer you or anyone here – but this I know. Random events happen when we least expect them and we can only hope that good events will give us another chance to strengthen our country and constitution.
You are not alone in your feelings, in your intellectual teasings.
You chrystalized my own inchoate feelings about OBL. And thank you for that.
I have had three (yes, 3) careers, my first was in the military and, now, trying to save as many lives as I can in disaster Emergency Medicine.
You are not irrational and you are one of the reasons I convinced buhdydharma to give me the “keys” to “keep the lights on”. You all are.
Who will be the next one proclaimed guilty without due process (and will everyone cheer for that too)? A lot of money has been made off of Bin Laden (i.e. military industrial complex). It must be a nice for a government to have the power to declare suspects guilty without trial (especially when so many “democrats” say they are opposed to indefinite detention without trial, but seem to be ok with guilty verdicts without trial). Corporate sponsors must really like controlling that kind of political power. Terrorists are bad, but going back to pre-Enlightenment (i.e. no Habeas Corpus) Dark Age human-rights/legal standards is worse.
The establishment’s “fear of trials”. We’ll go into another Dark Age if the American people dumb enough to fall for this kind of crap.
and I feel pretty much the same way. However, rather than despair, I choose to deplore and subvert. I find it is still possible to talk to people, introduce them to books and blogs and documentaries, and have serious discussions. I can only do it one-on-one with friends and family, but I’ve make a few skeptics, maybe made a few cracks in their trances.
Oligarchs have a great historical track record of success, but we know the system is unsustainable. Build community, whether or not the end is near.
is a skill that can be honed with practice. TV & internet aren’t face-to-face, tend to keep us isolated. I’ve run for local office 3x, won once in a gerrymandered district. Try door-to-door campaigning for an office or a cause. It’s fun to engage people on issues. I’ll be going out soon again to get signatures to recall Rick Snyder here in MI. And I spend some time & coin with friends in taverns, sorta like I imagine was done before 1776. Don’t hesitate to try to engage people you’d label as conservative. Lots of folks are pissed, and you’ll find some common ground. Anyway, when the SHTF, knowing your neighborhood folks will be worth gold.