What Thucydides Knew About the US Today Reply

By Edward Mendelson, The New York Review of Books

On the morning after the 2016 presidential election I tried to distract myself by reading some pages of Thucydides that I had assigned for a class the next day, and found myself reading the clearest explanation I had seen of the vote that I was trying to forget. In the third book of his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides describes the outbreak of civil war on the northern island of Corcyra in 427 BC:

There was the revenge taken in their hour of triumph by those who had in the past been arrogantly oppressed instead of wisely governed; there were the wicked resolutions taken by those who, particularly under the pressure of misfortune, wished to escape from their usual poverty and coveted the property of their neighbors; there were the savage and pitiless actions into which men were carried not so much for the sake of gain as because they were swept away into an internecine struggle by their ungovernable passions.

The closest thing to a consolation that I found in the election was the catastrophic failure of almost every attempt to predict the outcome by using numerical data, instead of interpreting the passions that provoked it, as Thucydides interpreted the conflict in Corcyra. The most confident pre-election pollsters proclaimed themselves 99 percent certain of the result that didn’t happen. Even the least confident predicted exactly what did not occur.

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Is the Lebanese Civil War the Model for the Next American Civil War? Reply

When looking for historical models for what the next US civil war would look like, there are a number of interesting examples to look at like India and Pakistan during the 1947 partition, Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, or Rwanda in 1994. But the one I keep coming back to is Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. The Lebanese civil war was interesting because it pitted dozens of individual factions against each other in constantly shifting alliances with many factions doubling as organized crime groups. The breakdown in Lebanon was mostly along religious lines with Sunni, Shia, Maronites, Druze, and Alawites plus ethnic Armenians, Palestinians, and Communists all fighting each other, and with persistent involvement by the Israelis, Syrians, Iranians, Americans, and Europeans.

I suspect America’s Civil War Two (which hopefully will not happen) would be similar. The USA is roughly 50 times the size of Lebanon in terms of population and geography. It is likely a US civil war would involve dozens if not hundreds of factions at the local, regional, and national level, including the military, police, defectors from state security forces, organizations of the deep state, alphabet soup agencies, far-left and far-right groups of many different varieties, ethnic and religious factions, cults, civilian vigilantes and self-defenders, gangs, militias, and foreign fighters. Not a pleasant situation.

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The Lebanese Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية‎, romanizedAl-Ḥarb al-Ahliyyah al-Libnāniyyah) was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon, lasting from 1975 to 1990 and resulting in an estimated 120,000 fatalities.[5] As of 2012, approximately 76,000 people remain displaced within Lebanon.[6] There was also an exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon as a result of the war.[7]

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The State’s Crisis of Legitimacy Intensifies Reply

By Bill Lind, Traditional Right

As of this writing, the outcome of the Presidential election is uncertain although it appears Biden will “win”, thanks to questionable vote totals from urban areas. The Senate looks as if it will remain Republican, and the Democrats have held onto the House although with a reduced majority. The most important result of the election is, however, clear: the legitimacy of the state has taken another hit.

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The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse Reply

By Graeme Wood, The Atlantic

Peter Turchin, one of the world’s experts on pine beetles and possibly also on human beings, met me reluctantly this summer on the campus of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where he teaches. Like many people during the pandemic, he preferred to limit his human contact. He also doubted whether human contact would have much value anyway, when his mathematical models could already tell me everything I needed to know.

But he had to leave his office sometime. (“One way you know I am Russian is that I cannot think sitting down,” he told me. “I have to go for a walk.”) Neither of us had seen much of anyone since the pandemic had closed the country several months before. The campus was quiet. “A week ago, it was even more like a neutron bomb hit,” Turchin said. Animals were timidly reclaiming the campus, he said: squirrels, woodchucks, deer, even an occasional red-tailed hawk. During our walk, groundskeepers and a few kids on skateboards were the only other representatives of the human population in sight.

The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—­­to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”)

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The Impending Crisis Reply

By Peter Turchin

Something happened in the United States during the 1970s. According to a number of indicators, well-being of the majority of Americans, which had been growing for many decades, entered a regime of stagnation and, eventually, decline. The trend towards greater equality in incomes and wealth was reversed. Social cooperation within the political and business elites, and between elites and the rest of the population began unraveling. As intraelite fragmentation and conflict increased, the American political system became increasingly more dysfunctional.

By the election year of 2016 the trends of declining well-being and elite fragmentation have become glaringly obvious. One only needs to look to the surging presidential campaign of Donald Trump (and, to a lesser degree, that of Bernie Sanders).

At the same time, the deep structural forces driving both the long-term negative trends and their culmination (so far) in the 2016 presidential campaign, are not understood—neither by the public, nor by the politicians, nor indeed by the social scientists. In fact, what we see today in the United States is a general social dynamic that all complex societies share, ever since they arose some five thousand years ago. As we explain in Secular Cycles, all large-scale complex societies experience periodic waves of political instability. Although the US today is very different from, for example, Late Roman Republic, the structural-demographic forces driving political instability—popular immiseration and intraelite conflict—are the same.

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No Matter the Liberal Metric Chosen, the Bush/Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump. 1

By Glenn Greenwald, Subtack

That the liberal belief in and fear of a Trump-led fascist dictatorship and violent coup is actually a fantasy — a longing, a desire, a craving — has long been obvious.

The Democrats’ own actions proved that they never believed their own melodramatic and self-glorifying rhetoric about Trump as The New Hitler — from their leaders joining with the GOP to increase The Fascist Dictator’s domestic spying powers and military spending to their (correct) belief that the way to oust The Neo-Nazi Tyrant was through a peaceful and lawfully conducted democratic election in which vote totals and, if necessary, duly constituted courts would determine the next president.

The motives for concocting this Wagnerian fantasy about coups, dictatorship, concentration camps and civil war are numerous. Politics is boring, and your life unspectacular, if it’s dedicated to a goal as banal and uninspiring as empowering a septuagenarian career-politician — the centrist-authoritarian author of the 1994 Crime Bill, the credit card industry’s most loyal servant, and key Iraq War advocate — along with his tough-on-crime prosecutor-running-mate who always seems as if she just left a meeting of the Aetna Board of Directors where massive hikes in deductibles were approved.

Glory is available only if one can convincingly herald oneself as a front-line warrior risking it all to courageously battle unprecedented evil and a Nazi-like menace. But working to do nothing more than elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the rest of the painfully ordinary and mediocre corporatist and imperialist Democratic Party politicians through a standard American election? There’s no glory residing in that, no courage needed for it, to put it mildly.

Posturing as a courageous soldier in an existential battle for freedom, democracy and the survival of the marginalized against Nazi despotism is far more exciting and psychologically satisfying (and financially profitable) than being an obedient liberal drone marching in perfect tune to the dreary, McKinsey-scripted musical theater produced by Tom Perez and the DNC. That is therefore the delusional storyline adopted by many.

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The Task of ‘Sleepy Joe’ is to Put Liberal America Right Back to Sleep Reply

By Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch

At birth, all of us begin a journey that offers opportunities either to grow – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually – or to stagnate. The journey we undertake lasts a lifetime, but there are dozens of moments each day when we have a choice to make tiny incremental gains in experience, wisdom and compassion or to calcify through inertia, complacency and selfishness.

No one can be engaged and receptive all the time. But it is important to recognise these small opportunities for growth when they present themselves, even if at any particular moment we may decide to avoid grasping them.

When we shut ourselves into the car on the commute to work, do we use it as a moment to be alone with our thoughts or to silence them with the radio or music? When we sit with friends, do we choose to be fully present with them or scroll through the news feed on our phones? When we return from a difficult day at work, do we talk the issues through with family or reach for a glass of wine, or maybe bingewatch something on TV?

Everyone needs downtime, but if every opportunity for reflection becomes downtime then we are stagnating, not growing. We are moving away from life, from being human.

Dried-out husk

This week liberal Americans reached for that glass of wine and voted Joe Biden. Others did so much more reluctantly, spurred on by the fear of giving his opponent another four years.

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Dark Clouds of Uncertainty Hover over the American Society Reply

This is an absolute must-read.

By Randi Nord

The United States is in for some dark times and I find it hard to be optimistic right now. Over the past four years, neoconservative and neoliberal factions of the ruling class previously at odds (at least publicly) have put aside their subtle differences to form a united front against Trump.

Establishment Democrats and Republicans view both Trump’s right-wing populism and Bernie Sanders’s left-wing populism as threats to their globalist trade, the surveillance state, and imperialist ambitions.
Bernie Sanders was the most popular Democratic candidate in decades because he offered things the working class needs like healthcare, higher education, a living wage, etc. Instead of embracing aspects of Sander’s platform, Democrats actively chose to move in the opposite direction by embracing anti-Trump Republicans — and it worked.
This united front now preparing to take power includes notorious neocons and war criminals like Dick Cheney, Jeff Flake, John Kasich, John McCain’s family, and Collin Powell among many others. But that’s not all. Intelligence organizations such as the FBI, CIA, and DHS have also joined establishment Democrats and Republicans against Trump. Nearly 300 members of the intelligence community penned a joint statement of support for Biden during his candidacy.
While people rightfully rejected Trump’s far-right rhetoric, they fail to acknowledge the fascist superpower forming right before our eyes under a Biden-Harris administration.

Against Atlanticist Hegemony Reply

I generally consider 4PT to be more counter-imperialist than anti-imperialist but this is spot on.
New Resistance
Image may contain: text that says 'The great ability of those who.are in control in the modern world lies inmoking the people believe that they are governing themselves René Guénon'
Once again the American left proves it’s completely blinded by Eurocentric racism as it gleefully applauds the reassertion of American liberalism as the head of the modern, Eurocentric, world order. At the heart of even the most avid “anti-imperialist”, “Marxist” is a tyrant ready to force Eurocentric values on the people’s of the world under the guise of “liberty”, “human rights”, “progress” and “democracy”. They do not see this in themselves but today it shines brightly for the wise to see.
America must develop a fourth political theory that will break the American people free of liberal modernity and into a new renaissance. In turn, the world will be able to follow its own path free of Atlanticist hegemony. A new anti-liberal synthesis is on the horizon to lead us out of the darkness. Reject universal, Eurocentric myths of “progress” in favor of multipolarity in America and the world. We must free America from the global oligarchy which uses the American state to oppress the world and the American people. Only a fourth political theory will unite us against our common enemy.
Freedom! Justice! Revolution!

Democracy as Mental Illness: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Cross 2020 Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

It’s early November in the dark heart of my Rust Belt swing state and I am getting dangerously close to the end of a very short rope. Or maybe it’s a lit fuse. Attached to a dangerously explosive skull. Either way it’s burning and I find myself in desperate need of drugs. Hard drugs. Schedule IV narcotics. Name brand benzodiazepines. I’m talking Valium, Xanax, Halcion, Ativan, Klonopin, Rohypnal. The kind of Halloween candy they feed senator’s wives after they’ve learned about the fourth underage mistress. That’s the good stuff. That’s my poison. Two or three weirdly shaped elephant pills and I’m fucking sailing over mountains and valleys. To some corner of this fucked up country where that incessant swarm of super PAC fueled adds can’t fucking find me. That’s what I need now. Where the fuck did I put my pills? Take me away, Joey Ramone. I wanna be sedated.

I haven’t felt this unhinged and desperate for oblivion since the first weeks of the lockdown and that shit was kid stuff compared to the last weeks of the 2020 presidential abortion. The most important election of my life, I’m told. I’ve been sold that bill of goods every four years for the entirety of my short and painful life and it’s beginning to ring a bit hollow. Then again, there does seem to be something extra special about this years campaign season. It’s never felt more unhinged. Both sides have adopted the tactics of the Manson Family to get their chosen mentally depraved scion of scumfuckery in the White House. Scrawling their names in blood across suburban doorways with subtle threats to take back America and make it heinous again. I’m starting to believe them. I can feel the fear and loathing closing in.

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Do Not Vote! 1

The Ax, National Reformation

  1. The problem

Once again, the quadrennial dog and pony show under the rubric of “elections” rolls out 3 November 2020 demonstrating the fraud of democracy. It is fraudulent because to work as intended, democracy assumes the equal ability of the voters to make decisions. A generic example is a knowledge of science required in deciding scientific affairs. If an electorate of persons believes in the pseudoscience of astrology, homeopathy, and witches, ___ … well, I think you can fill in the blank. Another fraud is about choice; there is none. There are other reasons, as in the structural defects of the US Constitution, the Electoral College an obvious one.

“Election” means generically, “…the formal process of selecting a person for public office or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting.“, i.e., a special type of selection. To meaningfully select something, you need a real choice, each with substantial consequences. Logic instructors routinely teach their students informal fallacies, a main one “false dilemma”, either-or. More often than not there are more choices than two, or even more than immediately specified. Such is no different in elections, but the ones controlling the election process ask voters to buy into the fallacy every election cycle.

This not so funny circus is a public display of Tweedledee Tweedledum, the last act of which is the so-called debates put on by the media-orchestrated (Commission on Presidential Debates, sponsor of all of the presidential debates since 1988, an exchange clearly demonstrating the vacuousness of US politics. I marvel at the millions of people gawking at these Wall Street totem poles, like a person staring endlessly for hours at a chicken egg, thinking an elephant might emerge. The level of stupidity is the same. Or, it could be insanity, Einstein having supposedly remarked (never said it, but 1938 mystery novelist Rita Mae Brown did), “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Right out of the box, we have a scam in that, although it purports to support “democracy”, the “elections” are no such thing; they are brought to you by two factions of the Big Business Party, the Democrat and Republican parties. A third party need not apply, as Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb in 2004, and presidential nominee Jill Stein in 2012 found out. Don’t even entertain the bizarre idea of a socialist, communist, fascist, vegetarian, or anyone else having a voice. Even before in 1996, Ross Perot was excluded. Dutifully, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) went along, upholding the tight grip the Big Business Party has on the US electorate. In essence, the “debates” are part of the fraud of democracy, confirming the fact there are no real alternatives choices of candidates at all. I chuckle at the hypocrisy of politicians and their capitalist backers perpetrating the scam attacking other countries for their elections allegedly offering only candidates beholden to the established order. Then, the idea of members of the general population directly asking the candidates real questions about social philosophy or policy simply is not on the table for discussion.

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How Could Everyday People Stop a Coup? 1

My take on the present situation is both presidential tickets are (roughly) equally dangerous.
Trump is a narcissist and a megalomaniac but so are most politicians. What is most dangerous about him is his complete fealty to the KSA, UAE, and the state with whom the US has a “special relationship.” And his running mate is another George W. Bush waiting to happen. Biden is clearly experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia which means that his running mate, who appears to be a clinical psychopath, will be the acting president and merely a frontwoman for a ruling class unity regime, which is what a faux “Biden” administration would be.
The Republicans are a combination right-wing plutocratic party (like El Salvador’s ARENA) and an ultra-militarist party (like Likud). The Democrats are a far-right imperialist party and a center-right neoliberal party (and on the right end of neoliberalism). The various far-right/far-left streetfighter groups are de facto gangsters operating in either direct or indirect service of the parties. None of these groups would create a better society than the one that exists now (which is a pretty low standard).
Even worse is the fact that the neocons and their allies have more or less gained direct control of or substantial influence in ALL of the campaigns, parties, and factions, from top to bottom, and are engineering chaos from the top in order to prevent any unified resistance to the state, ruling class, and empire from developing.

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The New Jacobinism: America as Revolutionary State Reply

A must-read for those who want to understand the ideological framework of US foreign policy. A primary reason why the “woke” ideology is so easily co-opted by the US state and its junior partners.

The New Jacobinism : America as Revolutionary State - Walmart.com -  Walmart.com

“This strongly and lucidly argued book gave early warning of a political-intellectual movement that was spreading in the universities, media, think-tanks, and foreign policy and national security establishment of the United States. That movement claims that America represents universal principles and should establish armed global hegemony. Claes G. Ryn demonstrates that, although this ideology is often called “conservative” or “neoconservative,” it has more in common with the radical Jacobin ideology of the French Revolution of 1789. The French Jacobins selected France as the savior of the world. The new Jacobins have anointed the United States. The author explains that the new Jacobinism manifests a precipitous decline of American civilization and that it poses a serious threat to traditional American constitutionalism and liberty. The book’s analyses and predictions have proved almost eerily prophetic. President George W. Bush made neo-Jacobin ideology the basis of U.S. foreign policy, and it continues to exercise great influence in both parties. This new edition of a modern classic contains a thought-provoking afterword by the author that brings the book up to date.”

Available here.

America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire Reply

Claes Ryn on the enemies of mankind, some of whom and their proteges and offspring are still around. The neocons have recolonized the Democratic Party at this point, continued to control the Republican Party in every essential area, embedded themselves in the Trump administration, and co-opted the Left with anti-Trumpism, i.e. working every angle.

America the Virtuous : The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire -  Walmart.com

“Urged on by a powerful ideological and political movement, George W. Bush committed the United States to a quest for empire. American values and principles were universal, he asserted, and should guide the transformation of the world. Claes Ryn sees this drive for virtuous empire as the triumph of forces that in the last several decades acquired decisive influence in both the American parties, the foreign policy establishment, and the media.

Public intellectuals like William Bennett, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Michael Novak, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoretz argued that the United States was an exceptional nation and should bring “democracy,” “freedom,” and “capitalism” to countries not yet enjoying them. Ryn finds the ideology of American empire strongly reminiscent of the French Jacobinism of the eighteenth century. He describes the drive for armed world hegemony as part of a larger ideological whole that both expresses and aggravates a crisis of democracy and, more generally, of American and Western civilization.
America the Virtuous sees the new Jacobinism as symptomatic of America shedding an older sense of the need for restraints on power. Checks provided by the US Constitution have been greatly weakened with the erosion of traditional moral and other culture.

America Does Not Tolerate Losers Reply

This is one of the best critiques of American culture I’ve seen to date. The problem with ruling classes that adopt a “Let them eat cake” attitude is that they tend to not come to a happy ending. Ask the Bourbons and the Romanovs.

By Alex Bash

(academiccomposition@gmail.com), www.academiccomposition.com

America Does not Tolerate Losers!

As General George Patton prepared the Third Army for the invasion of Sicily, he famously observed “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser!”. While Patton’s speech was well-regarded by the troops, some of his colleagues judged him to be vulgar and unprofessional.

Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Patton was a uniquely American character. America was founded by people who were courageous enough to leave the comfort of their old life in Europe. To do this, they had to abandon the aristocracy, tradition, and order of their European country of origin. Upon arriving in the colonies, Americans not only claimed their independence but also pursued a relentless Westward expansion, which forms a key component of America’s core identity: manifest destiny. Galvanized by this belief, Americans aggressively pursued an expansionary foreign policy, as they continue to do so today. Questions about whether this is right or wrong aside, an aggressive foreign policy is a core component of the American identity: that cannot be changed, nor should it be.

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Idiocracy Is Here Reply

From a post on social media:

“The issue of war is mostly a non-issue for most voters these days. I even talked to one guy on here who rabidly hates Trump and when I brought up the issue of neoconservative/neoliberal warmongering, his answer was basically “what’s with your hang-up over wars?” Lol I have also noticed that Biden voters especially are against the idea that the problems with the US government isn’t solely Trump’s fault, but rather a structural one. I’ve been called irresponsible, a Russian tool, and a defeatist for even considering such an idea. One of the most frightening things in this country is the amount of ignorance amongst the US populace. The lack of education, the inability to see political events and policies in a larger historical context, and the fact that each individual lives insulated in their own political bubble with a complete lack of awareness of differing perspectives is a bigger problem than whatever administration is supposedly running the country.”

AMERIKA!: The Horror Story Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

No one seems to be quite sure where this creature first lurked from. What foul crypt lays claim to the title of the beast’s cradle? Most trembling fingers point towards Europe, to the land of Caligula and Vlad Tepes. In a haunted stammer they say Rome, Athens, London. But there is evidence of it’s existence going back thousands of years and stretching from the peaks of the Andes to the shores of the Orient. Perhaps it has always been with us. Perhaps it clawed its way from the loins of our darkest nightmares. From the fevered visions of landless peasants who in their weakness starved and thirsted for unspeakable power. A thousand whispers screaming ‘more’ like a howling wind. We may never know, and if we did, we may very well wish we hadn’t. But regardless of the womb of such a wicked force for human havoc, whether it gestated beneath the English thrown or nursed itself upon Vatican wine, its name stands tall and unobscured. The beast called Imperialism. It’s shadow stretches across the entirety of this savage planet. But today it stands tallest, perhaps taller than it ever has before, upon the shoulders of purple mountains majesty and the graves of Wounded Knee. Today, imperialism is pronounced AMERIKA!

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