Saturday, August 04, 2012

Reality Therapy Courtesy of Morris Berman



From a review of the documentary Heist: Who Stole The American Dream? 

Second, the movie tells us that Americans have the drive and initiative to change things, to “take back” our country (whatever that means), and to challenge the power elite. I’m not sure Frances and Don are living on the same planet I am, if I can level with you here. Even a casual observation of Americans, and of American behavior, will tell you that we have no such drive and initiative—we seem exhausted, spiritually spent—and truth be told, we are not very bright, as a people. I remember marching against the invasion of Iraq in DC in 2003, and noticing how many of the signs were misspelled. Friends tell me of conversations they had with the OWS folks, and how out of it these people were—with beliefs such as “all we need to do is switch to solar energy, and our problems will be solved” (one example among many). A good friend of mine, a prominent journalist, gave a talk at OWS in DC on U.S. foreign policy last October, and all of fifty people showed up (only two of whom were under sixty, by the way); the majority weren’t interested and had no time for serious intellectual analysis. The number of books that have appeared over the past decade, providing massive statistical evidence of the sheer ignorance and stupidity of the American public, has been quite impressive (Just How Stupid Are We?, Idiot America, etc. etc.); and if you look around at young people today—our supposed future—they can’t read. Their lives are comprised of cell phones and Twitter and Facebook. I am frequently in Mexico City, and I can’t tell you how often I’ve had conversations with taxi drivers about history, literature, and philosophy—all initiated by them. Try having similar discussions with a taxi driver in New York, see how far you get. Or just go out into the street of any American city, and ask the first person you run into how many justices there are on the Supreme Court, or what nation we seceded from in 1776, or where Europe is, or if they can define “retrograde” or “trachea.” If that doesn’t wake you up, my friends, nothing will. Bottom line: we are a collection of dummies, and dummies cannot “take back the country” any more than they can discuss the implications of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If Americans don’t actually have fried rice inside their heads, they are doing an excellent job of imitating people who do; and with that level of cranial impairment, there will be no reversal of the disastrous downhill slide in which we are now engaged.


Found here at the blog of Morris Berman.  Professor Berman's thinking will not lead me to despair because of my 95% personal philosophy, but I will be buying my son a couple of his books to enlighten him and prepare him better for the collapse that we are living through right here and right now.  


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