“Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t know that the evening news was funded primarily by Big Pharma. You would actually believe the stuff that they’re saying. You might even think those are the stories that matter. “ - Douglas Rushkoff (Source)
Once upon a time, political observers fretted that the free press, the government and the democratic process itself were under threat of being overwhelmedRead More
Over the past 250 years, as the industrial revolution progressed and was then superseded by the modern technological age, an epistemological crisis began to fester and grow quietly in the shadows. Our ability to obtain, disseminate, and – most importantly – apply knowledge, has been severely hindered by our industrial and technological success and our response to that success. We have achieved great feats with little or no perceived negative ramifications, thus establishing a false sense of stability in ourselves, our place in the natural order, and the way in which we process and use knowledge. Our ability to shoot for the moon – literally – meant that we presumed we could do no wrong. A precarious place to be to be sure.
And, as the decades rolled on, each continual success served to confirm our superiority over all – even the truth was manipulated. Responsibility fell to the way side. And, if a negative ramification presented itself, we quickly waved it away with the simple justification that the world and everything within it was ours to do with as we wish, and profiting from it was a natural act. Our birthright. It never occurred to us that building an economy based primarily upon a single finite resource – oil – would some day place our entire civilization at great risk of collapse.
Adolfo Doring‘s excellent documentary Blind Spot, contains an interview with Jason Bradford, who explains this epistemological issue very succinctly and eloquently as it relates to our inability to see reality and deal with the responsibility of our massively consumptive society.
We have lost the ability to deal with the concept of responsibility in a proper manner both as individuals and as a society. It’s quite important because lack of responsibility, and its consequence of not confronting reality, leads to the inability to solve complex problems and establish consistent ethical boundaries. Both are the cornerstones of a successful society. A society that is unable to deal with important issues responsibly, and use that knowledge to its advantage in a way that is beneficial to a majority of its citizens is a society that will die. We see the results today in the current culture war. Everyone senses that something is wrong, we simply can’t agree on the truth. It’s as if we’re entrenched in a form of madness.
Which brings us to Charlie Sheen.
As the mass media exploits and the public gorges itself on the ever-unfolding tragic life of actor Charlie Sheen, it has become apparent that Sheen is a practitioner of this epistemological disconnect. So is the mass media. They are by no means alone in this endeavor. It’s widespread. We are all in some way or another, practitioners of the epistemological disconnect from responsibility.
We now face the challenge of rebuilding how we think, how we acquire knowledge and information, and how we apply that knowledge. It is, as Douglas Rushkoff has said, a new renaissance.
Jules Marshall posted a must watch animation from RSA Comment:
…radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane.
Very much worth watching. My comments are below the video.
The trigger to the financial mess is greed. The idea that the system is open-ended, that the sky is the limit, is simply irresponsible. All systems have limits. We’ve reached the limit of capitalsim. And, to be sure, many will simply dismiss this argument as “socialism”. But, as Harvey’s argument posits, there are important points to be gleaned from a socialist approach. You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on this issue. This doesn’t mean that people don’t have the right to pursue financial success. What it does mean is that the way that success should be measured needs to change. Warren Buffett has the right idea. There’s a responsibility that comes with financial success. It’s good economics. And, Buffett understands that. The problem is, it’s become a political football.
The tragedy for the USA is that the political atmosphere is super-charged with partisan political nonsense. True discussion is almost impossible. At the moment, Conservatives have shown themselves to be more interested in refuting their core beliefs, at the expense of the stability of the country, for political power. Liberals are lost in an over reactive loop of fixing failed Conservative policies with overreaching programs that miss the big picture. The result is inconsistent economics. Add to this the polarized atmosphere of the poltics of fear that dominate, and it’s a mess.
Engaging in a coherent debate under these circumstances is impossible, let alone implementing a cogent economic plan.
I fear that something truly horrendous will have to occur for people to break free of their ideological constraints and deal with the issues at hand properly with intellect and maturity.
We shall see.Read More
The more things change, the more they stay the same:
Mayor Vaughn: [to reporter] I’m pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But, as you see, it’s a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time. Amity, as you know, means “friendship”. – From the movie “Jaws“.
But we haven’t had, really, any impact. I mean, we haven’t had enough oil hit Mississippi’s beaches to fill up a milk jug. Now, we’re prepared and we’re prepared for the worst. But thus far, we haven’t had any kind of incursion, except the news coverage is killing our tourist business. – Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
More on Barbour’s links to big oil over at Think Progress.Read More
If you haven’t watched Bill Moyers on Real Time with Bil Maher, it’s worth watching. The point that conservatives are simply employing a scorched earth campaign to insure that Obama fails is important, and has to be confronted. And, he covers corporatism as well.Read More
A few links worth reading:
- Five Symptoms of Republican Schizophrenia – Lots of illogical minds out there… that’s what happens when hate dominates….
- Revealing Hate: Inside White Supremacist World – Much of the current political atmosphere in the USA can be traced to the increase in hate based thought…. It’s more common than you think….
- Health Care Reform: Sorting Facts From Fiction…. – Good facts versus fiction… much needed in these times…
- Why the deficit hysteria? I only wish we’d borrow more… – Robert Reich’s interesting take on the deficit…
From Glenn Greenwald – It’s time to embrace American royalty:
…all of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.
From Motorman Mark – Why Middle America Must Be Crushed:
There are a large number of US citizens, traditionally referred to as “Middle Americans,” who are engaged in small, private industry-jobs that have an uncertain future and that live and die on the prospects of a marketplace that is unhindered by taxes and government regulation. Even if they live in a rental unit, they live in communities dominated by the concerns of low-income home owners-people who do not know how to get along with more than $500 a month spent on housing costs-to whom the yearly property tax bill is a very big deal. They can’t spend too much breath decrying the expense of the local school system, or the roads, or the courts and emergency services-each of which provides them an obvious benefit. So what do they get mad at?? “Government.” Whatever that means.
A pattern emerges. We worship an ideal which most of us will never attain and deny what we truly are in order to insure at least the fantasy that we are part of the aristocracy. An aristocracy that devours us as we cheer it on in the hope that they will let us in the door.
It’s a perspective that is enforced and propagated by advertising and marketing as well.
Something better lay ahead to be sure… Break free.Read More
While conservatives can’t seem to govern, they know who to sling propaganda with the best of them. The current theme is twofold: right wingers are the victims, and anything bad that happens, liberals are to blame for it. A few examples plucked from the interwebs…
- Beck and Goldberg team up to claim that James von Brunn was a left-winger
- A ‘PRESCRIPTION’ FOR A MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY….
- White “Separatist” Turns “Bad PR Lemons Into Lemonade” In TV Interviews
- Toil And Trouble…. – In case you were wondering what Glenn Beck thinks about all this right wing violence (and who doesn’t?) here it is…
- Sarah Palin’s Politics Of Grievance Are Back!
- Beck: ‘[W]e’re in the same situation here’ as in Iran.
- Bill O’Reilly Selectively Edits Joan Walsh Interview
Links of the day:
- Why So Scared of a Public Plan?
- Miranda On The Battlefield
- So… Now It’s A Pandemic?
- Bill O’Reilly wonders why Dr. Tiller’s supporters want to protect their anonymity
Douglas Rushkoff on how to take back our world by seeing the current economic crisis as a great opportunity.Read More
Over the past several months, I’ve helped shoot a short film that does an excellent job of introducing the important ideas in Douglas Rushkoff’s new book Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back. The first chapter of the book is over at Boing Boing, where Doug is guest blogging. Watch the movie!Read More
Best quote on the GOP’s budget shell game debacle:
It’s hard not to notice that there are no actual numbers therein.
From Charles Johnson, king of the stink pile over at Little Green Footballs.Here’s the link, but Chuckie has a bad habit of diverting links to his mistakes.Read More
Those are the two competing perspectives. It says a lot about where the USA is at, and where it is headed in the days to come It should be said though that those who support the new president are being positive, and forward looking. Those who do not support President Obama are being negative and whining a good deal. Draw your own conclusions.
While the media treats the economy like it treated the Iraq war – swallowing disinformation whole -there’s also plenty of advice for the new President floating around. What not to do, what to do. There’s hopeful statements that look forward to success, and statements hoping for failure. (Hard to believe, but true.)
It’s important to remember a few things: If we are going to climb out of the hole we are in, we have to be united. We can’t do it splintered. Yet, there are factions among us who plan to do nothing but stoke partisan divisions. They aren’t interested in solutions, only power, and the way they obtain power is by creating hatred, fear and divisiveness. It’s what they do. They know nothing else. They are incapable of seeing past their hatred and ideological blinders.
After 9/11 George W. Bush had a golden ticket to unite and rally the nation behind him. But, he and his Administration and the GOP chose instead to divide the nation through fear, intimidation and disinformation in order to solidify power. They chose bipartisan bully tactics rather than solve problems. They chose to dismantle government, and when that government was needed to do the peoples work (Katrina for starters) it was unable to do the work. And, today, we need the government to work.
So, the road ahead is pretty plain: Those that do not join the discussion, engage the process and participate should have the temerity to take the bench. But, they do not. So, they must be marginalized, because that is the only language they understand. If you don’t have the intelligence and insight to pull yourself from the game when you’ve fumbled the last two plays and it’s 4th and long, the coach will do it for you.
That’s life. And, whining about it only solidifies just how incompetent and marginal you’ve become. So, bitch away. We’re listening.
And, when you’re ready to rejoin the world of ideas, problem solving, non-partisan discussion and negotiation, and hard work that lay ahead, we’ll welcome you back.
But, no one is holding their breath.Read More
Sure to be the main theme of all right wing intellectual thought the next four years (and beyond) the jingosphere gets to whining early and often so as not to be caught without forks and knives once Obama is duly sworn in. The current completely made up scandal du jour?
” …the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama’s inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush’s”
Sadly, it will be stated as the 100% truth within the hour and at a thousand dining room tables by supper tonight.
(via Digby, who notes how it’s part of the larger “big spending liberals” meme that conservatives will be peddling ad nauseum.)Read More