Monday, July 17, 2017

Neoliberal Elite Believe They are Immune to Sixth Mass Exinction Underway

There is a zombie-like quality that distinguishes the U.S. deep state. Two stories over the weekend illustrate this stumbling, brain-dead behemoth. Mujib Mashal's "Back in Afghan Hot Spot, U.S. Marines Chase Diminished Goals" describes preparations by the Marines to re-invade Helmand Province, "The Marines are simply trying to keep Lashkar Gah from falling to the Taliban, and to help the Afghan forces come out of their barracks and put up a fight." Tim Arango's "Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’" is a tendentious brief for a re-invasion of Iraq to cleanse the country of Iranian control.

How long can it go on? That's the question. Monthly Review's July-August issue is devoted to the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The essays I have read are all quite good. Samir Amin's "Revolution from North to South" is the last one; and in his last paragraph, he has this to say:
In conclusion, I will again point out that the system of neoliberal globalization has entered its last phase; its implosion is clearly visible, as indicated by, among other things, Brexit, Trump's election, and the rise of various forms of neofascism.
From the land of Brexit, William Davies, writing in the London Review of Books, "Reasons for Corbyn," explains why the young have turned their back on neoliberalism. Despite its clearly visible implosion, the elite show no signs of changing course:
Reacting to the breakdown of the vote on 8 June, business leaders and conservative commentators have expressed their disquiet at the fact that young people are so enthusiastic about an apparently retrograde left-wing programme. ‘Memo to anyone under 45,’ Digby Jones, the former director general of the CBI, tweeted: ‘You can’t remember last time socialists got control of the cookie jar: everything nationalised & nothing worked.’ To which the rebuke might be made: and you don’t remember how good things were compared to today. Speak to my undergraduate students (many of them born during Blair’s first term) about the 1970s and early 1980s, and you’ll see the wistful look on their faces as they imagine a society in which artists, writers and recent graduates could live independently in Central London, unharassed by student loan companies, workfare contractors or debt collectors. This may be a partial historical view, but it responds to what younger generations are currently cheated of: the opportunity to grow into adulthood without having their entire future mapped out as a financial strategy. A leader who can build a bridge to that past offers the hope of a different future.
I have come to believe that this elite inability to make a course correction is not based on ignorance. For instance, last week there was a story by Tatiana Schlossberg "Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn":
From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.
Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.
The elite know this. My sense is that the inability to make a course correction is intentional. The elite believe they will be able to survive the sixth mass extinction underway. If asked the old question "Socialism or barbarism?" the elite are answering, "Barbarism!" out of a hubris that they can wire the barbaric life much as they have capitalist mass consumer society.

I believe what is happening here is that the elite are consciously if not articulately rejecting mass society in the mistaken belief that they will be able to jet to a sylvan glade somewhere post-apocalypse.

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