A State of Exception . A State of Grace . A State of Denial


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How are we to make sense of this ongoing war of words?  How do we understand the cocky swagger, the egoism of this continuing and unabated national self-importance of American Exceptionalism? The bobbing-head-doll leading this parade — our charade of international self aggrandizement — continues to demonstrate why such an attitude is so very dangerous — for our own health and the health of the planet.  To take oneself so seriously as to thoughtlessly LORD it over the rest of the globe is dangerous in any hands and in any framework. True, we may be exceptional at misreading how the rest of the world perceives us.  And we are exceptionally ignorant of the terror we unleashed on the original inhabitants of the Americas, as well as the torture we inflicted on those tribal peoples from Africa we abused in order to create human-livestock to perform our unskilled labors. We are exceptional in our ignorance of the world we inhabit, from the subtleties of cultural and linguistic variation to the gross identification of  geographies.

We believe, in keeping with the Abrahamic tradition grounding this nation, that we are a chosen people; chosen to lead the rest of humanity into some promised land.  Of course, for decades that self-delusion was kept in check somewhat by our alter ego, the Soviet regime, which also thought itself exceptional in some critical respects.  After all, they too wanted to convert the world to their specific view of human relations, marginally less hierarchical than our own, and perhaps more assertively aggressive, but no more authoritarian in its intention.

We need to give up this delusion of exceptionalism, just as surely as we need to give up the illusion that we are a democracy.  We are neither exceptional or democratic in any meaningful sense of those terms.  And while our leaders continue to feed us on the fairytale about living in some state of grace — that no matter what we do it must be right, righteous and good because of who we are — the facts before us tell a different tale altogether.  But we cannot give up this fairytale, just as we cannot give up the myth of democracy or human progress, which we have been chosen to lead.  At least, those running the show and reading the polls will work overtime to insure that we never give up such illusions. They have too much to lose.  At the very least, they need us to watch television and buy whatever it is they are selling now.

They have honed and refined the tools to keep us in check and enslaved to their fairytale. Not only with the strong diversionary tactics provided by the propaganda of consumer economics, but, now with the enriched tools of the security state covertly built on the foundation of new ‘terrorist’ propaganda, one perhaps created in large measure by their own prior machinations, in order to justify the build up under the guise of safeguarding our exceptional lifestyle.  

Yet, who is the target here, and who, the protected?  It is becoming increasingly clear that we are as much a target as are the ‘others.’  The revelations of Manning, Assange, and Snowden are just a few who give body and voice to that intuition. We, The People, can not even step back far enough or long enough to see, let alone admit, that this lifestyle they are seeking to maintain is itself unsustainable — fleeting, destructive, and ultimately unfulfilling because the fulfillment of one desire leads to more, ad infinitum, until all efforts and all resources are focused on and dedicated to achieving one goal, maintaining the system itself.  

And they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to achieve that goal, whether it requires decimating all who refuse to accept their terms, depleting all available resources, or even reducing human existence to a virtual life lived in underground cities on another planet. And when a small cadre of compatriots tries to question them (like with the OWS movement), it must be snuffed out before it gains traction. If a regime needs to be changed to gain better access to vital resources, so be it. Finally, they will keep exploiting the sciences and technologies of control and manipulation in order to maintain the upper-hand on all social, political, and natural forces.  At least they will try.  It is a perverse manifestation of the ‘will to power’ unique to a State (a people) that believes it is unfettered, no longer bound by the intersticies and the intertwinings to which all natures must adhere, human and nonhuman alike.   It is a community living in denial of itself  (its connectedness) by believing it lives in a state of grace, and therefore elevates itself above those who live daily in fear and trembling.  It is the mistaken self conception of a would-be Superman.


24 Responses to A State of Exception . A State of Grace . A State of Denial

  1. Malthus says:

    “They,” as in the rat bastards that are doing this to us are us. Our leaders are a reflection in the mirror and we are dumber that rocks and twice as predictable. It was and is inevitable that we have found our self’s on this path of glory as our definition of glory is that very exceptionalism you write about. Others call it greed, and stupidity.

  2. the Heretick says:

    the artificial entities called corporations are larger than most countries, trans-national tentacles strangle the entire globe; what we are seeing now is competition between power blocs, hence the kerfuffle in the middle east, war by proxy.
    the interesting thing is that the support of varying regimes by varying players puts the lie to the posturing over various human rights. i hope that is non-specific enough.
    way back when i first posted here i pointed out that government exercises force, that there will always be a trade off, and that very few want to face up to the truth of what govt. is and does.
    denial, isn’t that a river somewhere?
    it’s really hard, and rather disingenuous, for the supposed left in any country to criticize the powers that be when most if not all of their political philosophy flies in the face of observable reality.

    we in the “civilized” industrial world have had the leisure to entertain our flights of fancy, our intellectual conceits, while much of the world has never experienced such luxury. i find the study of primitive tribes, of people living on the edge, to be much more illuminating than so called advanced societies.

    • Ron McCafferty says:

      Heretic. I too, find it fascinating that tribal life existed for millenniums. They had to rely on personal strengths and apply those strengths to the group to survive. They honored the ground and the water. They didn’t pollute it. Nothing that they had would necessarily pollute. Slash and burn was probably the most devastating weapon they had. When did this all change? When did the psychopath come to rule? Did Jared Diamond have it right? I think his book provides us with a possibility. I am truly worried for our children but feel helpless in the face of such an immoral use of technology to maintain power and control. What happens when Nano technology is wielded? Or has it already? Use it for good or maintain the status quo?

  3. Disaffected says:

    A friend of mine claims it’s all about Currency Wars, which is probaly true as far as it goes. But currencies are all just manmade exchange mediums and have no intrinsic value whatsoever. The real battle going on here is over remaining resources, specifically oil, which is the lifeblood of our current civilization. Without it, everything collapses and people starve. Our leaders are definitely greedy, but they’re smart enough to know the basic truth of the matter. When the oil runs out the better part of the current 7B people alive today are gonna have to make “other arrangements.” Imagine campaigning on that! Throw in the unparalleled hubris of the US/European money masters and you’ve got what we’re witnessing today. An out of control leviathan that has no choice but to continue on with its destructive ways. Any turning back at this point will just pull forward future events that are already locked in, whereas maintaining the current illusion at least preserves the status quo for a little while longer.

    It is interesting to note, however, that the subject of American Exceptionalism seems to be coming up a lot in the media and blogosphere the past few weeks. Apparently the illusion is getting a little threadbare of late for a lot of people. That’s a start I guess.

  4. the Heretick says:

    so, i’m watching a few minutes of meet the depressed while eating my bacon and eggs (that’s right, bacon and eggs, not kosher at all, nor halal, or Buddhist, or vegan, so sue me, the checks in the mail) and they’re talking about the ACA, and how the pukes are “terrorists” and anarchists, and ruling by fear, and then the advert comes on…………….

    this is the kind of disconnect, the kind of thing that highlights the abysmal ignorance the prevailing dialectic represents, it’s friggin hopeless.
    right, the kindly Democrats, are just looking out for everyone’s best interests, it’s social justice, nevermind the facts on the street, that corps will keep raping the populace, that the basic equation has not changed one damn bit, just swallow the snake oil, it’s good for what ails you.
    not that i am against social justice, however that is defined.

    smoke and mirrors, a house of cards, one lie propping up another, a truly exceptional bunch of bullshit.

    which brings me to the point after jogging all around robin hoods barn, what is the point? nature abides, nature just is, when the Sun goes red giant and all of this is reduces to constituent parts, what is the point then?

    do we care because of some abstract moral code which is a human invention?
    do we care because we are genetically prone to do so?
    do we care because of a desire for personal survival?
    (which pretty much tosses our precious morals out the window, or, is that the only moral code that makes sense? that can actually be justified? hell i may as well join the Republican party! praise god and pass the ammunition.)

    or, is there such a thing as the human spirit? are we all connected on some mystical level?

    what? what’s that? i sense a disturbance in the Force.

    • Malthus says:

      The confusion this all is causing is unbelievable. No one knows what is coming next or what to do about it if and when. We are all sitting on the hill watching the water rise and damn all we have is a leaky boat. And hope. Lets not forget hope, which is as useless as having faith in technology to save the day. This is not going to end well for many.

      • the Heretick says:

        well, the world called for it, hadn’t you heard? why, i just walked out my front door, and there was a voice on the wind, “give me speed, stealth, intelligence, endurance, affordability, and adaptability!” must of been old Mother Nature, after all it’s the cutting edge of evolution…………….

        it’s all so 1984-ish, upside down, this wizards words stand on their heads, as Gimli would say; but we can’t quote him, politically incorrect, all that Tolkien stuff, very cutting edge criticism these days.

        it’s the next stage of evolution, and if you don’t support it, why you are at odds with the very natural processes of the planet, that’s the way it’s framed, the happening people, they’re bringing the future, soon, to a neighborhood near you.

    • Disaffected says:

      Starting to feel to me once again like we’re approaching some kind of terrible inflection point. Bad juju all around these days.

      • the Heretick says:

        i feel it also, been feeling it for a long time. it’s the economy, people are insecure, scared, so they are getting pissed.
        them that have are afraid of losing what little they have accumulated.
        those w/o are finally snapping to the realization that they will never have doodly-squat.

        value comes from provision, food, clothing, and shelter, all else is a means to an end.
        trans-nationals have shipped value-added jobs to lower wage countries.
        the stimulus scam is just that, roads do no good when they aren’t used to foster industry, the profits of which stay in-country.
        we burn energy as if there is no tomorrow shipping gadgets around the globe while able bodied people go begging, sell drugs, join gangs, and generally terrorize the population.

        i shall say no more, i don’t want to start trouble, i don’t care enough anymore to want to fight.
        suffice it to say this is one tiny facet of the slow motion train wreck that is our society.

        the federal govt. can’t pay it’s bills, political change is going to have to happen, you can’t have such a large, ignorant, violent population as we have become and keep the peace. our country is broke but some think we can keep up the pretense of solvency, all while we gallivant about the globe starting trouble.

        i agree with you about the resource wars. i make no moral judgements, but it’s the dishonesty that gets me, if we are going after the oil then we should admit it, admit what we are, be upfront about the fact.

        cognitive dissonance only goes so far, people stop buying the lies, that’s what we are seeing here.

        • Ron McCafferty says:

          Heretick, I am again in your corner. I am a people watcher. I listen to what they are saying. They sound like parrots. Whether the talking points are from the left or right that is what they are saying. No depth, no reasoning and too few are questioning what they are hearing or seeing. I am so sick of hearing the term “spreading the wealth”. Does anyone stop to think that maybe it is about “controlling the greed”? I used to voice my opinion every chance I got. Not so anymore. People are on auto pilot. No veering to the left or right. It is all engines full ahead. It sickens me. Do we literally have to have our backs to the wall? In the end, the Earth will rid itself of the human disease or at least knock us back a few centuries.

        • Malthus says:

          people are insecure, scared, so they are getting pissed. So what are we told. Meditate and relax and be calm. It’s going to be Ok. When we really need to storming the ivory towers and wall street and putting the slime ball criminals in chains and make them shuffe all around the country begging forgiveness before we bury them all in a deep hole. Get losses really losses..

      • Disaffected says:

        Looks like we’ve crossed the rubicon again budget-wise. Surely a portent for things to come from here on out. Obama’s pretty much a lame-duck now and the GOP “opposition’ has lost all fear. There’s blood in the water, and it’s more than likely ours. This is all going to end very badly, whether it’s this time, the next, or the next… Government shut down only hurts the people who can withstand it the least (notice that Congressional paychecks keep on coming like manna from heaven), which will further dry up demand, which will lead to more job losses, and so the vicious cycle goes. The US is apparently now simultaneously an empire and a failed state. Quite an accomplishment!

        • outsider says:

          Obama’s second term is looking more and more dire. Blocking dying WW2 vets in wheel chairs from seeing the open air monument created for them – not a smart idea. Great that the old codgers had the chutzpah to knock the barricades down. Something tells me that the old master communicator Slick Willy would have understood how to defuse this situation instead of making it worse. With Obama up against the wall on the home front, hope it’s not time for him to change the conversation and wag the dog. He can always go back to that Syria thing. After all, our feckless congress, unlike the British parliament, never took an official vote to stop him when they had the chance.

  5. Disaffected says:

    Music for an empire in decline from a time it’s apparently already forgot:

  6. GF says:

    An Open Letter to Mr Wall Street

    We would just like you to know Mr Elite,
    Mr Wall-street, Mr Politician,
    how you should interpret the protests
    on your greedy little street.

    You see, we’re not really there
    expecting any change as a result.
    We’re not there to suggest legislation.
    We’re there to offer you one last chance,
    One last chance to do this the easy way.

    Just to let you know
    how to interpret things,
    we’ll give you a clue:
    If sooner or later a day comes,
    where you see us packing up to go home,
    empty handed, quietly,
    perhaps looking somewhat resigned,
    you might not want to celebrate just yet.

    You see Mr Wall-street,
    it means you failed the test,
    and the next time you hear from us,
    you’re not gonna like it.

    Disclaimer: This is rhetoric, you know, tough talk? Morale boosting? Inspiration?

  7. Disaffected says:

    Another staged shock doctrine event in DC yesterday. Wow! These guys really have begun to run out of ideas now. A mild-mannered dental hygienist “postpartum depression case” goes crazy in downtown DC with her kid in tow and gets herself killed? They need to hire HBO to write some better scripts.

  8. Disaffected says:

    Given the dysfunction in DC these days and the worn out adrenals of Americans for shock doctrine events in general, it comes as no surprise that this one got surprisingly little public attention, even though it made all the media headlines. No one I know at work even mentioned it, and I of course work in a pretty damn conservative and DC-oriented place. That said, its main purpose was just to take the focus off the budget standoff for a media cycle or two, so it probably served its purpose. A (black) woman who was probably genuinely at least marginally disturbed lost her life – oh well! It’s all good in the larger scheme of things. No doubt in my mind whatsoever that this was Black Ops sponsored/facilitated. And rather amateurishly at that, from a PR standpoint at least. Me thinks the numb nuts in charge are getting a tad desperate in their attempts to mold public opinion.

  9. the heretick says:

    dunno about that DA, doesn’t have to be false flag, just living in this country is enough to send people over the edge.
    it’s the lies, the half-truths, in today’s virtual world nobody has anywhere to call home, and with the economic vagaries, a big house in a gated community is really no more secure than some dive in the ghetto when the water goes off.
    the most secure people may be some of the most marginal, tribes living in the arboreal forests who have some knowledge of the old ways.
    but then our society doesn’t want to take chances anymore, we want it all fixed, immunity from chance, from chaos, and the more we grasp for that security the faster it slips thru our fingers.

    i’m going to get slightly technical here. wealth, where does it come from? the sun, we know that, but on the ground, thru labor, thru molding raw materials to serve our needs, food, clothing, shelter.
    use value, surplus value, commodity, etc. econ. 101 which i never took.
    when corps. control the money, the media, literally thru artificial entities, and they are not limited somehow, profit percentages, some sort of limit, we wind up where we are today.
    the lie of the right is that it’s a win/win, rising tide, ho-hum
    the lie of the supposed left is that we can tax corps. to help the poor, which to me is the more pernicious.
    if i own a corp. and the govt. raises my taxes, especially if i am a trans-national, why, i just raise my prices or deliver an inferior product, or i work my employees harder.
    so, we have grocery clerks working for $8/hour, factories paying 12, etc.
    the lie of the left is that the corps. can ever be constrained, the right that they are benevolent, you see where we are stuck.

    this latest budget crunch is just the product of offshoring labor, using machines, cutting payrolls, but more-so the loss of the profit produced by crafting value-added durable goods.

    only reason i’m going into this is because i have given up, hence the nom-de-plume, the supposed left is too friggin dense, or stubborn, to see that all they are doing is stripping wealth from the working to support the non-working, the wealthy are damn sure not paying it, oh yeah, on the books, but then see the strategies listed above.
    this is a fine point, but a most important one in today’s political climate, wealth comes from labor, labor pays for all, so the dems, by bumbling along never lift the poor out of poverty, while putting the workers ever closer to the welfare line.

    i dare not speak such heresy on any other forum.

    it’s the successful famine theory, if you aren’t going to solve the problem, then let it blow up, if you aren’t going to fix it, then quit trying, you may be hurting more than helping by tamping down the very impetus for change.

    this is why my essay spoke of la-la land, we have run trade deficits for 40 years, deficits for as long, and the glaring problem is the artificial entities called corps. which have subverted govts. around the globe.

    this is why i have said my fear is not collapse, but success as it is currently known, if there is any sort of mystical connection between people, a group mind, zeitgeist, the human spirit, it must be at a particularly low ebb, hence the crazy lady smashing her car into the barricades.

    who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

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