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17 January 2017

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Old Microbiologist

It is a tough challenge for them and they seem in many ways woefully unprepared and I blame my generation for coddling them too much. Both my kids graduated from University and haven't found the plethora of good jobs awaiting them. They both have realized they have to do their time in shit jobs before you can rise up and that takes time, experience, and a lot of patience putting up with leaders who are not the perfect specimens. Basically, the world hasn't changed in that regard. What has changed is that the same education we got relatively cheaply now costs a king's ransom. The population is growing so fast and the poor are flooding into every developed nation, there is now more and more competition for less prestigious jobs. The kids growing up in China, India, and Korea understand this completely and it is perhaps why they do so well when they come to the US where the relative requirements for success are so much lower. In their home countries being less than perfect means a dismal existence. It is why the suicide rate is so high for foreign college students when their GPA slips a little.

But, one thing is for certain. The world is getting smaller, people living longer, most wanting higher lifestyles with the least amount of work possible, and the earliest retirement they can afford. That is the dream and harder and harder to obtain when the wealth is being shifted more and more to fewer people on top. It is the relative wealth distribution which is going to cause the impetus for revolution coupled with the dissatisfaction about life not living up to advertised promises. This is the main subject at Davos this year and it appears the rich are finally getting it. If they don't come up with a fix then bonfires and pitchforks are the end result.

jsn

Young people since the 90s have been screwed:
ww.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/economic-hardship-young-adults.html
94% of jobs created since the great recession have been temp, without benefits: try starting a family on that.

The quality if disinformation in the US is such that this screwed generation has been largely advocating for Democrats who "foamed the runway" with them or their parents:
http://wallstreetonparade.com/2012/08/how-treasury-secretary-geithner-foamed-the-runways-with-childrens-shattered-lives/

The Case Deaton study http://www.pnas.org/content/112/49/15078.full has demonstrated the bad economic and social policy can create the same dysfunction in white families it created in the "black urban underclass" back in the day.

English Outsider


I'm not that sure that the Progressives will be having it all their own way in the Universities and the Media in the future.

It's not as bad as all that when you look below the surface though, I must confess, looking beneath the surface is something I'm not well qualified to do. That's because I don't as a rule get allegory or symbolism. I prefer it when people who've got something to say come straight out with it. Then you know where you are. I remember ploughing through the New Testament as a child, following the story with great interest - loaves and fishes for 5,000? That's a LOT - and missing the parable completely. It didn't help that my religious instructors, dogged rationalists to a man, explained that what really happened was that everyone had brought lunch along with them but just didn't like to be the first to start eating. Is that all, one thought, robbed of the miracle. Well, let'em try and explain away Moses shifting all that water. Bet they can't.

Scarcely a good preparation for the post-Freudian world, where everything in a narrative is symbolic of something else and that something else as often as not dubious. Even less a preparation for the post-modernist Rove-ian fantasy world where, provided there's an adequate supply of cookies and Special Forces and tame journalists on hand, the narrative itself is whatever the hell we choose to make it and do the symbolism yourself. I'm not up to all that.

That's me. No allegory please, I'll just take the story as it comes. So when the American film "Divergent" happened along last Christmas we settled down to watch it in innocent expectation of a rattling good yarn and nothing much else. It wasn't until we'd got well into it that I realised I was watching a straight dissident parable. Have a look at it yourself. You've got sinister NWO types using mind control to get soldiers to do things they shouldn't be doing in an attempt to subvert society. The NWO types lose, you'll be glad to know, but they have a damned good try and are only frustrated by a group of high-fiving regular guys - and fragile female recruits who end up doing the commanding, this is Hollywood after all - who could every one of them, allowing for costume, have come straight out of 50's central casting.

I suspect that next Christmas, if we get hold of the sequel, the role-model commander and the regular guys are going to have a further go at straightening things out - the society they were rescuing looked a bit Orwellian to me - but even so they've done OK to date. What they haven't done is anything remotely in tune with progressive values. Not a snowflake among 'em. Makes you think, that.

Made me think about the Christmas before last. Then it was Hunger Games. If I'd understood Hunger Games then, I might have realised what was going on in the States earlier and got Trump at 100 to 1. The film was that pointed, though with my allergy to parable I missed it completely at the time. But just examine it. The dissidents - let's come straight out with it and call them Deplorables - live appallingly insecure lives on the fringes. Flyover country. Trump land, if I'd known about the Trump movement then. They're up against the Clintonistas - sorry, got carried away - they’re up against the decadent psychotic cronies who run the show in the imperial capital, and they have a remarkably rough time of it. The Deplorables are doing reasonably well so far, but we've only watched the first episode and I'll have to wait a couple of years to see whether they make it. Even that, I suppose, is an accurate mirror of the current state of play. Those film makers must have been prescient.

The satire is Swiftian. The Deplorable heroine - same rules apply as "Divergent", solid leadership material, photogenic but let's not make a thing of it, invincible but do be careful - has to cope with a TV reality type show of stomach-churning decadence. It's apple pie moral values up against prog and we all hope apple pie wins.

What on earth is Hollywood, or, I suppose, the sub-sub-contractors who stand in for Hollywood these days, doing putting out subversive stuff like this? Do they know they're doing it? Why aren't they being sat on hard by the progressives who are supposed to rule Hollywood? In England, when they did Harry Potter, the film makers turned it from a neat little version of Enid Blyton with broomsticks into an extravaganza with progressive overtones so heavy they almost fell off the screen. Mind you, I think the author helped there. But in America, and that at a time when, with any luck, we're at peak prog, they've gone back to normal.

I don't reckon, therefore, that the picture is as gloomy as all that. Naturam expellas furca, if I've googled the quote right, tamen usque recurret. These films have a wide circulation here and in the States, so for millions upon millions of our children normality's coming back with a vengeance.

Tunde

Fred,
How would you categorise the activism of Occupy Wall Street 5 years on, many of the anarcho-libertarian viewpoints that many Trump supporters now espouse ? Not trolling just asking.
Also, what differentiates activism in the "information age" to the activism of CND or that or Arthur Scargill for the miners in the UK in the 1980s; activism that warned of the dangers of outsourcing and unregulated corporatisation at a time when Trump was more likely trying his damnedest to be part of the establishment ?
I'm only focusing on the activism part because I think there is still an important place for it. As to the fickle nature of "yoffs" these days, surely this is a generational observation imho.
I'd be interested in your opinions or observations about the western welfare state and how this pandered generation will come to terms when it cannot deliver anything near what they were made to believe it could provide.
There is crisis of confidence in western public institutions (here I mean banks,academia and its curricula, the press, government representation,the profit motive that powers multinationals, judicial systems, the surveillance state etc).
I personally don't see any politician, Borg or not who can provide reasoned, rational answers to any of these....anxieties.
To continue your metaphoric nod to the Duke of Gloucester, what confidence should the younger generation have that their "winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of......Trump ?"

Tunde

Hollywood's take ? Perhaps Hollywood presaged Trump with Out of the Furnace. So-so script but beautifully capturing "deplorable" country. There's even a scene of the late Ted Kennedy declaring Obama's second candidature. V ironic.

Tyler

Tunde,

Why don't you explain what this "activism" is instead of begging the question?

Old Microbiologist

EO -I hadn't thought about it in this terms but agree with you. It baffles me that they put out this stuff then rebel at the results. I think few Americans read any more but they do watch movies. For, the most prescient film to date, was Elysium which I fear is the US in 30 years. Actually, I believe it will be much worse than that.

We have several parallel paths for humanity occurring simultaneously. We are only at the beginning though. The first is genetic engineering foe health, longevity, and enhanced capabilities. The second is artificial enhancements adding in memory storage, real time video, inside the brain digital storage, brain to network communications etc. then we have AI becoming alive sometime in the near future. The last is to upload conciousness into a computing environment and possibly run multiple copies of yourself in robotic extra-matrix environments. The final group will be the luddites and religious nuts resisting all of this. IMHO all of this will come out o fruition over time more or less simultaneously. We are not even close to being ready for this and it is going to happen within the next generations life cycle. They have already figured out how to repuair telomeres do we just might see a fountain of youth, assuming you can afford it.

Fred

Tunde,

CND was a unilateral nuclear disarmament group. Scargill's counterpart now would probably be the head of SEIU, especially since Obama's environmental regulations (via EPA) put thousands of miners out of work (at zero cost to the greenies in the coastal enclaves) and forced the mothballing or decommissioning a number of coal fired power plants. Occupy Wall Street? They were co-opted the same way as the WTO protesters were in Seattle when Bill Clinton was president. All of these are traditional labor based protests. As an example nobody in the UAW leadership really cares much about LGBT "marriage" etc. they care about wages, benefits and working conditions in the memberships workplace. Those are the whole reason for being of labor unions. Unions and disarmament protesters are not the culturally changing social activism groups of I wrote of above.

Fred

jsn,

"try starting a family on that." All it takes is some belly slapp'n and nature does the rest. (Unless you visit a planned parenthood clinic) That's when you see the 1000 yard stare on the face of the clerk at Whole paycheck who realizes he/she/zhe has "responsibility" like the granddad ignored talked about and all that organic ecofriendly yada, yada stuff doesn't pay the bills and was that degree in underwater basket-weaving really worth anything other than keeping a few professors and college administrators employed?

Fred

English,

“Hunger Games … The dissidents … “No. I disagree. Katniss and her bow and arrow replace Theseus to defeat the Minotaur and end the slaughter of the innocents. Just like Rouge 1 and the Force Awakens it’s the dawn of the age of the woman and we’re gonna lead because, well- biology. It's all role reversal and not much else (other than computer generated special effects) especially not the hard work and unrecognized self-sacrifice that is needed to keep a civilization going.

Fred

OM,

The cost drivers of that King’s ransom is never discussed- especially when it comes time to set a University’s budget. “…. poor are flooding into every developed nation,….” We have no Constitutional need to commit economic or cultural suicide.

“This is the main subject at Davos this year and it appears the rich are finally getting it.” The disintegration of Mexico, its culture and its future is because of people like Vicente “I’m not paying for that f’n wall” Fox and politicians like him who helped make Carlos Slim the richest man on Earth. I’ve commented here before that the NYT and the rest of the MSM never, ever pointing out the inequality of wealth that made that man rich, or the powerful politicians of Mexico rich. If we as a Republic want to do some actual R2P based regime change and nation building maybe the new President can send Mad Dog’s boys back to the Halls of Montezuma and help the Federales South of the Border clean out all the gangs. They can use Vicente and Carlos’s money to rebuild their countries. I think there are 8 or 10 million Mexicans here who would like nothing more than to return home and Make Mexico Great Again. The Davos crowd better take note of that fact before some loose cannon with a Twitter account does. They might not get in on "the deals" to come.

Tunde

Tyler,
Sure. I define "activism" as a systematic attempt to bring attention to issues that are unreported, ignored or considered unnewsworthy by traditional news organizations, political institutions or society. Hence my highlighting of the Occupy movement. I lived through the Scargill era in the UK and many union concerns wrt unregulated corporatism, an erosion of manufacturing and its baleful effects on the sense of community and country, though raucously delivered and in the backdrop of the Cold War, seem very pertinent today. I am in no way glorifying the UK's miners unions of the 80s but history may be more sympathetic to their activism (and Occupy's) than many contemporaneously credited them with.
I consider Tea-party republicans activists as much as advocates of neocon policy, R2Pers et al.
Campus activists of what ever stripe are as activist as those that voted for Trump in the "hope" he will fundamentally alter the established order/status quo in foreign affairs, global macroeconomic policies, domestic environmental policy, Congress, the media, immigration policy and a whole host of other electoral promises.
I wish him luck but I hold out little hope. That's a heck of a to-do list in 8 years.

English Outsider


http://www.transhumanistparty.org.uk/

Otherwise called posthumanism, according to the site.

Er, these Luddites you mention. Not looking for new members by any chance, are they?

English Outsider


Of course you're right. But sometimes I like whistling in the dark. Keeps the spirits up.

On a more serious note, would you call the identity politics you excoriate in your article "displacement politics"? Stuff we're encouraged to play around with so that real politics doesn't get a look in? And the Trump movement, and to a lesser extent the enthusiasm for Sanders, as indicating real politics elbowing its way back in?

Tyler

Tunde,

So massage a word to mean whatever you want it to mean whenever you want it to mean it in spite of whatever the reality is. Gotcha.

Fred

EO,

Some politicians use this as distraction but the Utopians want to "displace" the traditional Americans and the Western ideals that are the foundation of our culture.

kgw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PcolKSlQ3g

ISL

Ah, come now Fred, what about all the expense of those Clinton training programs to become web programmers and embrace the economy of the future.......

Oh. never mind. SWMBO notes the great sucking sound of internet programming (and any programming) to India at $1 per day. you can do better than that here in California picking up bottles on the highway side.

At least the coastal types are celebrating the newest future: the sharing economy.... Uber alles.....

oh that is going to be automated?

hmmm, I recall in Hitch-hikers guide to the Galaxy, the universe ends with a flush.

BTW, I enjoyed the writing style

Fred

kgw,

They don't teach things like this in our schools any more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_York_(1692)

kgw

Well, that knowledge won't make anyone much money...

FourthAndLong

Very much enjoyed Fred's essay. Very high quality comments.

Off topic but link below takes the reader through Steele's Dirty Dossier as is presumed a professional reader of Intelligence might so do:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2017/01/17/arthur-snell/how-to-read-the-trump-dossier

Cee

kgw,

Yes.

VietnamVet

EO

I religiously watch SyFi’s science fiction TV shows. Right now, I am watching “Incorporated”. Since most of the shows are filmed in Vancouver BC, they probably will appear in England sooner or later. The series takes place in a dystopian Milwaukee in the year 2074 ruled by the corporate elite.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorporated_(TV_series)

The show is quite explicit that climate change and corporate seizure of power is the cause of mass migration and the walling off the elite into Green Zones. From the script of the latest show a character said “I'm supposed to be taking my kid to the Scott Walker exhibit at the state capitol today.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Walker_(politician)

This is beyond subliminal. Youngsters watching this should be able to recognize what is happening to them now. If corporate media ignores this “subversion”, it is because this is the last thing they want the public to pay attention to.

Correct me if I am wrong; but, the domination of foreign global corporations and the adverse impact on Midlanders is a primary cause of Teresa May’s Hard Brexit; no matter the adverse consequences.

Cee

English Outsider,

Don't watch the movie The Road

Richard

That you can interpret the Hunger Games as a commentary on contemporary society is a great, and potentially very subversive, point. For example, watching the reports about the celebrity outfits at the annual Met Gala (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/fashion/what-is-the-met-gala-and-who-gets-to-go.html) always makes me think of the the Hunger Games' decadent Capital District obsession with over-the-top glitzy costumes.

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