November 8, 2008
A middle class man from one of the Pascack Valley\'s oldest and finest families repeatedly referred to my writing and A/V style on PP.com as haranguing my audience. My visitor was telling me he views my work as long, pompous and marked by strong feeling (according to a Webster\'s II New College Dictionary copyright 2001, 1999, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Co.). Once again, I found myself paying to be insulted. The visitor was a contractor being paid an hourly rate to perform a service.
This particular contractor is a middle class man born and educated in the Pascack Valley. As I approached the subjects of history, philosophy and what my visitor referred to as "political science," the visitor told me he didn\'t know anything about these subjects. Earlier today, the visitor graduated from a major university with an advanced degree. He will soon become a teacher. While our man will be a teacher, he will be unable to offer his students perspectives essential to forming a world view. How can one form an educated world view without history, philosophy and political science?
The visitor did not dare to know. Political thought was rubbed out in the McCarthy era. Our man will not know about the McCarthy era because he voluntarily exists without a sense of historical perspective. In order to remain safe in his cocoon, the middle class man refrains from thought. When middle class man interfaces with the history of ideas, he becomes very uncomfortable and defensive. In the end, the contractor who repeatedly used the word harangue to describe my writing style,withdrew into the wise guy anti-intellectualism that is the style in the New Jersey suburbs.
America\'s finest historian, Professor Richard Hofstader of Columbia University, wrote a book entitled: "Anti Intellectualism In America." One needs to live in any almost any other country in the world to appreciate the power of American anti intellectualism. Without easy going open intellectual inquiry and debate, Americans live in a vacuum. Without the history of ideas, there is only a desert.
The visitor seemed to be under the misimpression I seek change in society. Sadly, this is not the case. Given the anti intellectual climate in America, change of any sort will not happen as a result of thoughtful Americans using Yankee know how to build a better America. We live in a vast wasteland where possible solutions are not discussed due to anti intellectual irrational fear. Therefore, I would not waste time seeking change. Rather, I am always trying to improve my world view with more perspectives. Without a well thought out world view, man remains a schmuck or what Columbia Professor C. Wright Mills referred to as a "cheerful robot." While Americans continue to try to be cheerful, it is a facade to hide the stress of middle class life. In fact, the robots are very angry.
America is in the midst of a monster fear campaign waged by the government and main media. The fear induces stress and concomitant anger. Without a world view or what Germans refer to as weltannschauung, there can only be fear, stress and anger. Some call it a mass malaise (Wilhelm Reich), others see depression on a societal scale.
The robots without a world view, displace or transfer their anger to whoever or whatever the government and it\'s media direct - illegal immigrants, terrorists, etc. Rather then adopt a world view based on independent study and research, the anti intellectual robot allows himself to be programmed by government and main media with it\'s world view. Rather live a life of reflection, the robot takes direction from Lou Dobbs.
The middle class man lives in the high hope of attaining the unattainable. Without a world view, there is only a large assortment of confusing mixed messages. Mixed messages cause the stress referred to above. Middle class life has but one mercenary measure.
A father of sociology, Max Weber, offers us his thesis in "the Protestant Work Ethic." Both Weber and Freud believed man was seeking immortality. Successful men are seen as closer to God in Weber\'s thesis and Freud sees middle class man and the wealthy as seeking some great accomplishment that will justify their existence and provide immortality. Unfortunately, it is possible to become very successful without a world view or weltanschauung. In fact, many successful folks will proudly present their anti intellectualism. It\'s as if anti intellectualism is the cornerstone of the successful life. The absence of a world view certainly allows the robot to focus.
One might even say the American ethic of Heroic Materialism discounts the value of thought. In the end, we must conclude our best and brightest achievers have become successful because they were without thoughts - thoughtless. Certainly, todays middle class contractor was assiduously without thoughts on almost any subject: history, philosophy or political science. Yet, he could spend hours describing the life and times of a termite.
When I suggested Socialism as a weltanschauung that would allow him to avoid being schmuck, our man misunderstood me. As a teacher (i.e. control freak) he thought I seek political change. My weltanschauung does not allow me to imagine the impossible. It is impossible to change a robot. Only the programmer (gov\'t. & main media) can change the program that drives the American robot.
Rather, Socialism is a personnel weltanschauung that allows a man to avoid being a schmuck. How so you say? Socialists are folks who simply take sociology seriously. All sociologists believe all modern societies are composed of layers in society called classes. All sociologists, Socialists, Communists and Anarchists believe what Alexander Hamilton and all rich folks know. They all understand the top tier or highest class controls all societies. Only Liberals and Conservatives believe ordinary folks (working class and middle class) have any power in democracy or fascist state run by a dictator. Conservatives and Liberals are living in a web of illusion - the ultimate robots.
In the end, the middle class contractor offered the same critique as my friend"The Professor." Both assert Socialists and Communists are inherently totalitarian. This was a reflection of the lack of insight into the history of Socialism. Here I suggest "To the Finland Station" by one of America\'s finest minds, Edmund Wilson.
Again, this is not a threat because America will never be in the hands of a Socialist or Communist. The very real, but unseen, threat is American Democracy. The American democratic fascism Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis ("It Can\'t Happen Here") and Jack London ("The Iron Heel") worried about is now a reality unnoticed by the robots. Preemptive war and routine torture spells fascism folks. Without a Socialist perspective, the robots fail to notice. They don\'t see their complicity in and responsibility for mass murder.
Americans must remain robots to avoid the retribution of workplace fascism. Can you imagine the middle class teacher getting a job or staying employed if he were to become critical in any way?
The middle class contractor sought to combine Socialism and Communism. There isn\'t much difference between the two. Both seek to redistribute income and wealth in favor of ordinary folks. The teacher was using the "C" word (Communism) as a way defame Socialism. Certainly, there were mass murdering Boleschvik Communists in Russia. Then there was an Iraqi Communist refugee I met in Holland and all he wanted to do was dance. Iraqi Communists were mass murdered by Saddam Hussein\'s Baath Party. This is why America loved Saddam in the 1970\'s and 1980\'s. An Irish Communist named James Larkin was one of the finest men to have lived. So, there are Communist fascists and there are American democratic fascists (Wilson, Nixon and Bush come to mind).
Most important of all, it is important to the world view of the oppressed to know they are being systematically denied social justice in America and America\'s Imperial dominion. American propaganda blames the victim of social injustice for any problems the oppressed encounter along the way in life. The Socialist takes that psychological burden off the backs of the oppressed by offering a world view that says social injustice is planned and implemented by the Power Elite. Who are the Power Elite? They are members of unions of rich folks known as the Bilderberg Group, the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Rockerfeller funded Council On Foreign Relations.
The role of American Socialists is to offer those whipped by social injustice a world view that will sustain them in their oppression. Incidentally, Socialism is also of value to a middle class or upper class man interested in becoming something more then a schmuck.
More long pompous remarks tomorrow.