Bare Life

The GOP’s current political ritual of collective lobotomy is not the result of a regressive uprising of autocratic mad villains, but a consequence of the flattening of politics by money. Their apparent suicidal tactics are in reality just posturing meant to serve as a surrogate for commitment. The ritualized loyalty oath to their rejected and defenestrated ex-leader is nothing else but a money-raising scheme. It is a plea of an increasingly marginalized ideology, deemed futureless, running out

Get the best daily market and macroeconomic commentary anywhere for less than $7 per month.

Subscribe today

Already have an account? log in

Speak your mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

11 thoughts on “Bare Life

  1. This is an excellent article thank you very much Walt. I would however add a cornered animal in it’s death throws is a dangerous beast indeed.

  2. “A madman who is plotting to nuke a large American metropolis in a doomsday suspense drama is no longer a deranged psychopath, driven by madness of revenge against humanity or dreams of establishing ex-nihilo a new world order, but a rational investor who has a short position in commodities, which would be driven in the money by the underlying catastrophe of his design.” Wonderfully, darkly hilarious

  3. And yet…outside of specific Trump-touched (everything he touches turns to NightSoils, reverse Modas-like but just as deadly) areas–like the Presidency, Georgia Senate run-offs–the ‘Republicans’ gained seats and power.

    Unfortunately something is resonating.

    Perhaps ‘the People,’ in contrast to established political orthodoxies, are Fiscally liberal and Culturally conservative?

  4. Recontextualisation may be different for college students and political parties. The former grows up after binging on drugs and sex for a few years. The latter violently destroys the existing social order before rebirth.

  5. University is a fun example but you are dealing with young individuals easily malleable. With multi-generations imbedded in a historically rigid society, you need to think of Napoleon or Hitler. Obama should have been the university – and felt like that to millions – but no breakout came. U.S. history was too overwhelming. The opposite happened – the ‘thermidor’ was Trump. The U.S. went backwards. We woke the crazies.
    I wish I saw your progress.

    1. Not all rituals have the progressive path towards integration. Even college doesn’t work for everyone. Probably, a good example for the problem at hand is the Amish ritual of Rumpsirnga: When they turn 16, Amish kids are released into the outside world, the Devil’s playground, where they get a taste of the “English” world and confront its temptations. During that time, which can last several years, the rules of the Amish are suspended. Young Amish teenagers are not fully prepared to deal with life in the outside world and an extremely high fraction (almost all) of them return back to their communities etc.

      Although Rumspringa and the American college rituals have the same formal structure, they differ by directionality of their integration and re-contextualization. Rumspringa is a regressive (centripetal) ritual with forces that pull the participant back to the original social structure after spending the liminal period in, what by Amish standard is considered as, structureless environment. Clearly, college years are in most cases centrifugal, nominally rejecting relapse to the pre-liminal structure and embracing an adult life.

      Now, about the constituents and their malleability. In the times of crisis (e.g. Amish inability to make it in the outside world or the loss of privileged position of the marginalized white MAGA sub-proletariat), when normal order of things is traumatically interrupted, there is a discursive competition for an explanation that gives the best summary of the events. Crisis, as a rule, triggers return to the basic premises of the ruling philosophy/ideology, worldview, or system of values, which in that process become further reinforced. This is the backbone of both the Amish and American political Rumspringa.
      In both cases there are three common elements: Refusal to understand or engage with the complexity of the situation; Conviction that there must be an external agent responsible for the situation of crisis; Refusal to know, i.e. ignoring facts and clinging to the underlying fetish.
      You could add 1920s Germany to this as well. All three points check.

    2. “Obama should have been the university – and felt like that to millions – but no breakout came.” The problem, aside from continually underestimating the other party’s media machine and abilities as propagandists as Democrats had been doing for decades, was that Obama’s chief skill in that regard was in producing that feeling, while quietly pursuing an agenda that actually undermined many of the end goals that would have made the breakout really happen. Obama, by his own admission (look it up on youtube, you can find him saying it himself in a 2012 interview), was by 1980s standards a middle-of-the-road Republican in terms of policy. He maintained or expanded many of the most damaging programs of his previous few neocon predecessors, and didn’t actually serve the people he would have needed to in order to effect the undeniable positive changes that would have created a real course correction. TL;DR: Underneath his charisma and rhetorical abilities, Obama was more of the same, so nothing changed.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints