Posts filed under Re-barbarization

Small-government conservatism (Facebook Macro edition)

Here is an image that was recently being passed around on a conservative, Tea Party group on Facebook.

HERE IS ALL I WANT:

OBAMA: GONE!

BORDERS: CLOSED!

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH!

CULTURE: U.S. CONSTITUTION & THE BILL OF RIGHTS!

DRUG FREE: MANDATORY DRUG SCREENING BEFORE WELFARE!

NO FREEBIES TO: NON-CITIZENS!

ALSO…

BALANCED BUDGET!

TAX REFORM!

TERM LIMITS FOR CONGRESS & SENATORS!

ONLY 86% WILL SEND THIS ON. SHOULD BE 100%.

So, just to re-cap:

Conservatarian: Here’s all I want: a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, the harshest possible BORDER FASCISM. GOVERNMENT ENFORCED LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS. A culture of CONSTITUTION FETISHISM, PUBLIC REVERENCE FOR STATE FOUNDERS and LEGALISTIC NATIONALISM. DRUG PROHIBITION and RIGHT-WING SOCIAL ENGINEERING THROUGH THE WELFARE SYSTEM. Also, SAVING THE WELFARE STATE FOR U.S. CITIZENS WHO CONFORM TO MY FAVORED LIFESTYLE CHOICES. And 100% CONFORMITY ON QUESTIONS OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL IMPORT. I’m for small government!

So, seriously conservatarians, if this is what you want, what you want hasn’t got anything even remotely to do with liberty. If you thought that this did have something to do with liberty, then you need to re-think some of your life choices.

Nationalism is the death of liberty.

As Harsh as Truth and as Uncompromising as Justice

The Rally to Elevate Tone of Voice Over Substance. On ALLiance (2010-11-16):

So Jon Stewart had his rally the other day. From what I can tell, it was a great promotional event for his TV show and a great party for a lot of college-educated people. Don’t get me wrong; I love Jon Stewart, love the Daily Show, and I love the...

As Jeremy puts it: "I suppose only a loudmouth boor would point out that these policies kill, maim, imprison, plunder, and deceive people everyday – but really, we should keep our voices down! For the country!"

The problem with the National Discourse is not extremism or severity, but thoughtlessness, and the Discourse is thoughtless because it has been Nationalized -- i.e., corralled by the limits of state policy and electoral politics, and subordinated to the ends of a thoughtless power-play between entrenched political parties. Thoughtlessness can take the form of blowhard shouting; or it can take the form of blowhard mealy-mouthed "moderation" and compromise for the sake of political comity. The last is, right now, the primary rhetorical function of liberal discourse -- to portentiously utter conventional wisdom, half-hearted excuses, and Beltway political nostrums, in Sensible, modulated tones, so as to establish a perimeter of acceptable opinion which falls roughly within the range of opinions among Barack Obama's political advisors, with Sarah Palin or John Boehner as the only recognized outliers.

Fuck that noise. Real thoughtfulness means principled thoughts, and having principled thoughts means being willing to accept, and insist on, radical thoughts when they are called for. Hopelessly confused moderation is simply the political etiquette of the status quo, and a dare-I-say immensely privileged refusal to seriously confront the problem of the entrenched power and daily violence of the endlessly self-excusing corporate liberal state. Radical thoughtfulness has no special reason to accept those excuses or defer to the conventional idiocy that limns the boundaries of political liberal and political conservative discourse alike. The only way out is a discourse that is not nationalized, but humanized; and human discourse requires some real talk about what the imperial state -- its armies, its wars, its laws, its police, its checkpoints, its borders, its political lies -- is doing to real people every single day in their real lives, while bellowing blowhards argue about Reviews of Strategy, Comprehensive Reform, Border Security, Economic Recovery, National Security, National Priorities, and the rest of the utterly dehumanized talking-point discourse that characterizes politics in all of its nationalized forms. Sometimes that will look like rudeness. Sometimes it will involve calling a politician a liar -- and a killer to boot. And all for the better: who are these assholes, that they would deserve anything more polite? Radical thoughtfulness requires, above all else, a will to honesty. And honestly, the truth right now isn't very pretty.

Team sport

Thomas Friedman is a Very Serious Commentator.

Here is Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times’s resident global brain, commentating on defense spending and other government monopolies.

China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say moon shots I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.

Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.

This contrast is not good. . . . We’re out of balance — the balance between security and prosperity. We need to be in a race with China, not just Al Qaeda. Let’s start with electric cars.

— Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times (2010-09-25): Their Moon Shot and Ours

Fuck yeah, electric cars! We need a dream team for them. If we aren’t assembling a dream team of 16 state-owned enterprises — by which is meant, of course, giving away $15,000,000,000 to politically-connected monopolistic corporations — in order to produce our own electric cars, how is Team U.S.A. ever going to get into the Civilizational Play-offs? And if we — by which Friedman means they — aren’t going to the Civilizational Super-Bowl, who are you going to root for? The European Union? Haw, haw, haw. And without American electric cars, how would you even get to the game? Certainly not in a Chinese-made electric car — who ever heard of buying things that were made in China? In any case, Chinese electric cars will no doubt be too small to fit our giant American We’re #1 foam fingers into the passenger seat.

In all seriousness, far be it from me to complain if somebody suggests that U.S. military spending is out of control, or points out that every dollar seized by the government and used to build bombs and killing machines and to pay for perpetual military occupation, is a dollar that is taken away from peace, progress, and from meeting the needs of ordinary people. But if the only alternative to imperial war that you can think up is imperial political economy — if the only alternative on offer is to have the money keep on getting seized by belligerent national governments and their bureaucratic dream teams of political capitalists, for the purpose of beating other belligerent national governments and their favored political capitalists in an inane Cold War-style technological race — if the only alternative on offer is to encourage this psychotic identification of people with the governments and state-capitalist predators who oppress and exploit them, as if the triumphs of this hostile and parasitic minority were our triumphs, as if the profit margins of our corporate-welfare firms were more important than human achievement, as if the important thing about a technology is not what it does for people but where it is made (and which belligerent government gets to tax it) — if, I say, the only alternative you have is to have the government turn its massive violence from warfare abroad to taxation and class warfare at home, in order to conscript us all into making world trade the arena for the continuation of war by other means — then you, sir, are talking with a corpse in your mouth.

(Story via John @ Blagnet.net 2010-10-02.)

This is why I spy on people.

For those who have been following some discussions elsewhere, this one goes out to dukemeiser. Because Axe Cop is the world’s greatest defender of the Bush-Obama doctrine of surveillance and Homeland Security:

Ask Axe Cop #31: Q: Dear Axe Cop, I think my girlfriend might be a villain. How can I tell? A: Has she been acting kind of strange? ... Acting like she wants to punch you? ... This is why I spy on people. Axe Cop: "Yep, she's a BAD GUY.&quot. ... [AXE COP crashes through the window with his axe out, yelling:] "STOP!" [GIRLFRIEND screams as the axe is swung over her head.] [CHOP!] Boyfriend: "You... CHOPPED my girlfriend's HEAD OFF!" ... Axe Cop: "She was on my list of ALL THE BAD GUYS." ... Axe Cop: "I just SAVED YOUR LIFE."

What I like about the comic is that it really does seem to be a pretty accurate representation of how War on Terror-hawks think the world ought to work. Why shouldn’t it? To hell with courts and civil liberties and all those other chickenshit liberal axe-blocks. Since the government has a list of ALL THE BAD GUYS, wouldn’t you want them to chop their heads off?

And I’ve got to say, the kind of police-state and assassin-state policies that they insist on as simple common sense really do sound like something that you get when some bright policy wonk comes up with some legal verbiage and precedents to trick out an idea which, at its core, is something that he got from the ideas and fantasies of his 5 year old little brother.

Wednesday Lazy Linking