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America's Descent Into Madness


Society & Culture  (tags: usa, activists, corruption, politics, religion, gayrights, environment, education, health, government )

Lynn
- 462 days ago - alternet.org
The American public needs more than a show of outrage or endless demonstrations. It needs to develop a formative culture for producing a language of critique, possibility, and broad-based political change.



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Comments

Lynn Squance (232)
Friday August 16, 2013, 11:17 pm
"Why are millions not protesting in the streets over these barbaric policies that deprive them of life, liberty, justice, equality, and dignity? What are the pedagogical technologies and practices at work that create the conditions for people to act against their own sense of dignity, agency, and collective possibilities? Progressives and others need to make education central to any viable sense of politics so as to make matters of remembrance and consciousness central elements of what it means to be critical and engaged citizens."

Why indeed? Have we become complacent? Have we lost that pioneer spirit? To me it is clear, if people want change, they have to be willing to take bold steps. After all, isn't that what the first colonists did --- take bold steps away from Europe into a land that they had the opportunity to develop.

Want change? 'Get your shit together' as the saying goes and step out to create.
 

Nyack Clancy (447)
Friday August 16, 2013, 11:32 pm
It is, indeed a culture of cruelty- and you have to pick your own battles.

I fight it at the level of animal cruelty- because it is the only "truth" I can rely on at this time- that animals are completely innocent and without an agenda.

The same cruelty is extended to people. But the planet is filled with BILLIONS of people caring about other people- because it is ALWAYS the selfish human that thinks it is more important and worthy than anything else on the planet.


 

Nyack Clancy (447)
Friday August 16, 2013, 11:36 pm
Perhaps what we "need" is a broad-based SPIRITUAL change.
 

TomCat S. (234)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 1:55 am
To a large extent, I agree with him, especially the part about the use od stories. My favorite quite comes from Homer's Iliad: "We are the stories we tell ourselves. Day by day, I try to bring stories that exemplify what tghe Republican Party and their 0.1% owners are doing to this nation.
 

Danuta Watola (1210)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 3:05 am
noted
 

Susan Allen (218)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 6:59 am
This was an excellent article. Thanks Lynn. Noted and shared.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (447)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 8:30 am
A lot to take in-thanks
 

Arielle S. (316)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 10:09 am
Great article. Every time I hear someone say they don't pay attention because things are too disturbing, I want to slap them silly - just perhaps they got that way because people weren't paying attention. I know I wasn't. But now we either start fighting back or make up our minds to live in the Dark Ages once again. Thank the goddess for Care2 and all of you....
 

Helen Porter (40)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 12:16 pm
Dark, dark is the darkness.
Deep, deep is the pain.
Yet out of the darkness,
a light is born.
It's glow is faint
and flickering,
but there is light.

Hold out your candles,
though the wax
burns your arm!
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 5:20 pm
Madness is definitely not too strong a word. Though perhaps how did we get here is less important than how do we get back? Can we get back? Will it take a violent revolution?
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 6:17 pm
"We live now in an era where normal values have been displaced. The good is called bad, the bad – good." Anna Politkovskaya Assassinated Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist
 

Liliana Garcia (92)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 6:24 pm
Wow! Great article. I still have to think it over. My overall impression, and following the author's suggestion, the storytelling needs to start precisely at the turning point in which things were decided (or not decided) and the consequences were unseen then. How to decide which was the turning pt? That's one of the things I still have to think about. Thanks!
 

Pat A. (116)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:04 am
Deeply disturbing, fascinating and incontrovertible article - thanks Lynn! Stars all over the place - though I desperately hope it will not take a violent revolution to turn things back.

It also worries me that despite the fact that Care2 has 23 million members - what are most of them doing? The Daily Action, if left overnight to carry on into another day usually has only about 3,000 people signing it in 24 hours - 3,000 people out of 23 million - doesn't seem much. Ditto for many petitions - most have a few hundred signatories, some a few thousand and rare ones tens of thousands of signatures - but none have a million let alone several million! And yet one might have thought people join Care2 because they care!

Deeply worrying.
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:59 am
noted
 

Arielle S. (316)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 7:00 am
You make a great point, Pat - Like everyone else, I love getting stars and when I do, I most often go to the site to see what that person had to say - many is the time they haven't said anything. It would be nice to have more people simply speaking up and saying "yes, this is so" or even "you're full of beans". 23 million members but a mere handful who are dedicated - why is that? There is great power in numbers - 23 million could make a huge difference all over the world....
 

Avril Lomas (0)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 7:15 am
Michelle Bachman..Living proof that "YOU CAN,T FIX STUPID"
Worrisome thought. How about the morons who voted for some of the idiots like her in Washington.?
I never fail to be AMAZED at the lack of understanding,knowledge or even awareness of both current and international events displayed by the American public at large,isolationism,xenophobia,bigotry and just plain stupidity rules(apparently!!)
 

Peggy A. (0)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 10:56 am
Noted a lot to think about!
 

James Maynard (67)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 12:54 pm
Excellent article. Much to ponder. Thanks!
 

Birgit W. (150)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:02 pm
Very good article. Thank you.
 

Roger Garin-michaud (105)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:38 pm
noted, thanks
 

Lauren Kozen (163)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:38 pm
Great Article!
Noted & Shared. Thanks Lynn.
 

Muriel Servaege (48)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:52 pm
Noted, Lynn. Thank you.
 

GGmaSheila D. (170)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 2:47 pm
Noted with thanks...Madness...Fear...Paranoia - yep, I got them all.
 

Michael M. (58)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 3:31 pm
To Pat A:

Most of the 23 million care2 members were only active for a short period. Many are not now members or do not return to the site.
A few use(d) it only as a social website, and a considerable number only joined to troll against issues. Some of those last were doing so on the job for entities fighting against change. Longtime care2 members know this well, having encountered those people, and sometimes uncovered them. The subject trolls then ceased care2 activity.
I even have a few on my "friends" list, and check to see if they are still aboard.

But most are exhausted by the time and emotion involved with issues they felt deeply about, and no longer revisit the groups, petitions, news, or discussions.

Care2 is a movable feast if you will, and such areas as news have changed utterly in character, sometimes repeatedly. For instance, now the most noted and popular "news" are actually petitions; a few members are extremely competitive in posting news, and use their friends lists to get their articles on "popular news." It appears to be a competition, and such indicators as the extreme spread of issues from frivolous to all over the mapof possible issues point toward this.
As a result very important articles and issues disappear far too quickly in the rush to post as much as possible by those competitors.

I really did want to comment on the great essay Lynn posted here, but
I'll just remind you that neoliberal definition includes laissez-faire economics and is rather libertarian with all the flaws of that thoughtless philosophy. Unrestrained market economies have been the greatest evil of the industrial revolution/age.
 

Deborah W. (6)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 3:56 pm
How about this ideology ... the U.S.A. now having won enough freedoms can no longer control its people by force and so has switched to modes of deception and manipulation. Pretty much sums it up, don't you think?
 

Michael M. (58)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 8:21 pm
Nope Deborah,

Force is stil the default.
Check the Bradley Manning maneuvering and coming sentence Wednesday, check the rhetoric used by politicians and mainstream concerning Snowden and Assange.
Check the pressure toward violent intervention espoused by the above players.
Check the language of those who feel that the US is something they imagine, rather than a mere fiction agreed upon for public good, as all governments in fact are.

Focre is the default, the final resource, and is still used as first response most of the time.
Force is not used only when possible repercussion might be inadvantageous.
Should you ever take a college political science class, you will discover that the definition of government is "the sole legal user of force." Oddly, in this nation private contractors and racist stalkers have now been granted the legal use of force through judicial decisions, and this aberrance is even promoted by juries of civilian women.

Force is the first and last response.

in an animal such as we are, the forebrain areas last to develop, through which we strategise and imagine, we quickly (so quickly that it escapes many that they are consciously evaluating the event, situation, and players) assess the usefulness of alternate strategies, and only employ force or threat when it seems that it will gain our end most completely and safely. Although that is called "human nature", it is also a capacity of many other social animals.

Subterfuge is strongly evolved in primates, and we see clear evidence of its occurrence in the actions of some ungulates, carnivores, and even in hunting spiders. That, too is built in nature from way back. We are here speaking of cognitive subterfuge, which is why I limited some of my examples. You will have to explore the scientific literature on those and other animals to find examples; you can, however, critically look in your own experience with humans and other animals
 

Edith B. (143)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 8:44 pm
Thanks, Lynn, for posting this. It is a thought provoking article and I will need to read it again. The dumbing down of American has worked very well, too many have gone to school but not been educated. Until we can change that so that we have people who think and try to solve problems, we will see no improvement over our current conditions. Michael M. has stated the problems very well in both his comments.
 

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil (467)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 9:19 pm
We see a STRIKING example of this, at the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014.
Instead of a "Story" of NATIONS COMING TOGETHER, idealistically co-operating and sharing common Human Values and Ideals -
Sochi is already foretelling to be a HOMOPHOBIC MADHOUSE, with VIOLENCE, not Co-operation, being its Keynote. As the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, has ABANDONED ANY SUPPORT of any "out" Gay Athlete or Gay-friendly Supporter.
This makes CLEAR that THE OLYMPICS ARE NOW SOLELY ABOUT MONEY, NOT ABOUT "SPORT".
The Olympics USED to be seen, as a "respite" from "bad news" as we all could admire the sheer grace and stamina of the "Best" each Nation had to offer.
After February, and even before, even now as we can SEE what's coming, the Olympic "Story" will no longer be one we'll want to tell ourselves with joy...
 

Lona Goudswaard (72)
Monday August 19, 2013, 5:29 am
Thank you, Lynn, for posting this exceptional article. Lots to think about and agree with, including the worrisome thought that a lot of this is true for my own country. Not so much the cruelty, yet, but enough other similarities to lose sleep over.
 

Edwin M. (356)
Monday August 19, 2013, 6:07 am
Thanks Lynn, sadly we have allowed ourselves to become a nation of sheeple that allow others to think and speak for us and apparently are no longer capable of becoming outraged at what we are expected to endure
 

Kathleen R. (138)
Monday August 19, 2013, 2:37 pm
noted, read & shared
 

Phillipa W. (199)
Monday August 19, 2013, 8:55 pm
thanks. sadly, it's not just America. and a lot of people don't even realize it's going on until they start getting actively involved, as it's happening enough for people to be affected, but for people to just simply assume there was more to the story, and resort to victim-blaming without even realizing it. Faith in the system tends to only be shaken when you are intimately familiar with various details. As for the dumbing down and shift in conscious it amazes me no end that people are so willing to stay blinded and in denial and explain away what they're seeing
 

Pat A. (116)
Tuesday August 20, 2013, 12:22 am
Thanks to Michael M for confirming what I had feared all along - Care2 is not 23 million people who actively care - it is a few thousand people who actively care.
 

Sherri G. (113)
Tuesday August 20, 2013, 7:22 am
Yes this is a lengthy article and thought provoking. I have children and grandchildren and I see how little promise they have for retirement with dignity. Some will never own homes (fewer everyday), education is moving further and further away from access by anyone in the 99% and then handicapping them with student loans. But that isn't going to make this a society that cares for those who are poor, disabled, veterans, seniors, the sick and all the other disenfranchised people in this country and world wide. It is not going to stop fossil fuel energy dependence, or planet erosion from gas fracking, tar sands pipe lines, and deforestation making this planet uninhabitable. We must stop corporations from dumbing down Americans.

Many brave young Americans tried hard to stand firm with the 99% occupy movement but were put down when anarchist sent in by corporations and the 1% to join the demonstration by destroying the movement from the inside. Now CA wants to put RFID (radio frequency ID chips in drivers license allowing anyone to steal our personal "private" information from 50 feet away and track us) under the guise of border security? Right! Laws are on the books now to prevent “quiet, singing, and/or sign: peaceful demonstrations. The American Legislation Exchange Council (ALEC) is slowly eroding our constitutional rights (Patriot Act and mineral rights) Instead “We” as a body of Americans must stand up to the media, boycott these corporations, find our Martin Luther King Jr., and stand firm that our public education must be available to all. There are two paths those who "can't do it" vs. those who "won't do it". We must each look inward to determine which category we fit in.

Right now "doing anything" mandates making tough decision, working outside the corporate 2 party political system inclusive of a President who will lead in the best interest of the weakest among us, while promoting upward mobility for all. Public Service is now, effectively, an oxymoron in Congress with few exceptions. It is more accurate to call them Self Interest Servants and Sell Out Public Servants. Our politicians are lobbyist for special interests (again with few exceptions). We have to vote with our dollars, the media we watch, the candidates we support, the letters we write, the corporations we boycott, and let every politician know we are watching them and there will be consequences. Then we must follow through on those consequences. We must never threaten and follow through. Politicians need to see our letters, petitions and articles to the Media that will report their performance relative to their campaign promises. Then we must back it up by voting congressional members in or out based on their legislation, voting record, and the legislation they do or do not support.

It is going to take determination. We must not be deterred or destroyed by corporate infiltrators who want to destroy our movement from the inside out. We either take the tough line now or we leave our children and grandchildren a planet with little hope for a better life, dignity, health care, security, home ownership, constitutional guarantees, and a fragile planet. Then if we are lucky enough to still be alive we can tell the young "I remember when" but be prepared for them to ask us "why didn't you do something?"

One of my children has a liberal arts and master's degree in non- fiction creative writing but struggles to get a job in anything but administrative work. Another child has a BS in mechanical engineering earning mid six figures with equivalent middle class buying power of 40-70k in the 1980s. We must stop labeling parties and create a free and independent party with social media organizational power equivalent to Barack Obama's election team (NOT the tea party).
We can do this but it requires academia, young and old, disabled, veterans, unions, seniors, and small business. YES these are tough objectives, yes it requires timely research, yes, we must make a commitment, and yes we must unify a voting block inclusive of anyone wanting to promote service for the greater good of ALL Americans. I applaud John le Carre’s “America’s Descent Into Madness independent of whether I agree with him on everything he says:
‘It is crucial that all Americans push back against the coercive forces shaping U.S. culture, before it's too late. America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War”.

He forces all of us who will read it and take the time to think about what we believe and what we don’t. If it leads any of us to think about the madness and changing it for all children his article is a success.

TY Lynn for Posting Noted. I tweet it to @followers@barackobama@senatorSanders@alangrayson@nancypelosi@HuffingtonPost
 

Rana Sinha (0)
Wednesday August 21, 2013, 8:53 am
Noted. Very worrying.
 

Mitchell D. (130)
Thursday August 22, 2013, 10:20 am
Noted, worrying, scary.
The article is so on target about so many things!
How often have I urged people to read "Democracy for The Few," by Michael Parenti, or "Capitalism Hits the Fan, " by Richard Wolff?
How many times will the populace elect, and re-elect, clowns like Bachmann, Perry, Scott, Inhofe, etc???
Thank you, Pres. Reagan, for bringing fundamentalist religion into politics. I believe that without this having happened, so much of the idiocy we see would never have had a platform. Thank you Pres. Reagan, saint of the right, for pushing the idea that "You can have it all," and injecting the re-distribution of wealth upwards, with steroids.
Yes, I know this may seem like old history to many, and yes, I do go on about him, but we need to stay aware so that we can work against the forces of meanness that he unleashed, and hopefully keep the more extreme examples of his type out of office.
 

Mitchell D. (130)
Thursday August 22, 2013, 1:02 pm
Also, it seems to me, the idiocy, and stupidity within this culture, the inability to think rationally, is reflected right here, on the Care2 site, in the fact that it has a home for Astrology, for which any tests of its merit come up negative! But, people must be spending their time and energy with it. The Spirit site, seems, likewise to be full of superstition, with a lot of Deepak Chopra's postings, in particular, seeming like little other than book promoting hooey.
 

DaleLovesOttawa O. (192)
Sunday September 1, 2013, 9:38 pm
A fascinating article about many of the social ills besetting society - including many societies across the world. A frightening time for many, especially those who are poor and disadvantaged.
 
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