Wednesday, January 10, 2007

disassociation nation

one of the best posts I've seen in quite some time(in 2 parts) is by Ian Welsh at The Agonist:

America is damn near the most opaque nation in the world. I can predict what will happen in Africa, in Canada, in most Asian countries, far better than I can in the US, despite having grown up immersed in American culture.

Something is really off about the way Americans react to stimulus. It's like the rest of the world doesn't really exist for Americans; heck, it's like other Americans don't even exist for most Americans. The entire society verges on sociopathy at a communal level. Sure Americans can be sweet and kind to people they know and they donate to charity... blah, blah, blah, but the public policies they tolerate - no healthcare for tens of millions; awful healthcare for half the remaining people; getting rid of welfare; lousy education for the entire underclass; locking up the largest number of people in the world; bombing and starving other nations into submission; invading nations based on lies and propaganda; are simply pathological...
the rest is here- "American Schizo" and

here: "American Schizo II: Hard Medicine"

I don't know Ian Welsh, and barely know Jay Taber, and I suspect they don't know of each other's work. For this reason I think it's interesting that a couple of Jay's recent posts run along a sort of parallel course with the above items, although I'm guessing that in Jay's case my pairing them is simply a gestalt on my part. Nevertheless, these kinds of synchronicities are sometimes tantalizing, because it just so happens that when I first saw the earlier of the two Taber posts, "Mindbender", I decided that I'd appropriate the title and make it one of three for a new venture-- which I'll discuss in the following HZ post.

from "Mindbender", 4 January:

I’m always amazed at how difficult it is for Americans to get their minds around the fact the US Government has always been a criminal enterprise.
The task before us is to dismantle the system of concentrated power in the central authorities that continue to corrode our societies. Autonomy of the people–not the government or aristocracy–is what we’re ideally about; plus it’s the only way we’re ever going to get what we need.

And showing our fellow citizens how to go about it is the only effective antidote to widespread cynicism and despair.

"Fatal Attraction", 6 January:

[regarding] the role of media in public mental health associated with collective trauma, my colleague Paul de Armond noted that repeated exposure to disturbing incidents or news has severe psychological consequences. Applying this phenomenon to weblog communication, I think that the accumulated frustrations and sense of helplessness generated in part through the belaboring of our horrible state of affairs and absence of social leadership, has induced a collective state of disabling depression.
The only answer I have for people is to become involved in their communities where they can talk with and work with others. They don't have to take on criminal networks like Paul and I, but they do need to experience success in meeting some social need.