GOP Power Grab and the Coming Backlash

The only thing more impressive than the cluelessness of the Democratic establishment is the cluelessness of the Republicans in their power grab.

I doubt the GOP actually believes they have a mandate from the American public. They simply want to force their political will onto the entire country, no matter the costs. But it is total insanity. They have already overreached and the backlash will be like nothing seen in living memory. This backlash will bring down the Republican Party, delegitimize the entire political right, popularize left-wing ideologies. and radicalize the public.

Steve Bannon is the demented mastermind behind Donald Trump. He is a student of generations theory, which he did a documentary about. So, he should know better. In generations theory, Strauss and Howe stated that whichever political party is in power when the crisis hits will be out of power for a generation. Bannon was hoping to take advantage of the crisis to seize power and force through his agenda. But it turns out that Bannon, along with Trump and the GOP, is the crisis.

Even many who supported Trump will quickly turn against the GOP. The white working class in particular is going to be even angrier and more outraged… and it will all be directed at the GOP, since the Democrats are out of power. We might be seeing a national protest movement that won’t be controlled by either party. And once it gets rolling, nothing will be able to stop it until changes happen.

Bannon, Trump, and the GOP won’t likely be happy with the results. Neither will the Dems. It’s not clear even the American public will be happy. But that is irrelevant now. The status quo can no longer be maintained and the immediate consequences won’t be likely be happy for anyone. The difference for those on the bottom is that they don’t care about happiness, as they don’t feel like they have much left to lose.

It’s a dangerous situation. The political elite are playing with dynamite.

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46 thoughts on “GOP Power Grab and the Coming Backlash

    • There will continue to be global history, as long as there is a shared biosphere, global climate change, refugee crises, mass immigration, global superpowers, international conflict, world wars, cold wars, proxy wars, foreign covert operations, non-state and state global terrorism, international trade, neocolonial exploitation, etc; along with the real world impact from the legacies of imperialism, colonialism, genocide, and slavery.

      I never had to take world history, as I recall. I don’t remember much focus on other countries on any history class I ever took. World history should be part of any basic education, assuming you don’t want a completely ignorant and insular citizenry.

  1. Here is something. In 2006 midterms Americans voted the dems in because they were weary of Bush. However, it’s not sure if this will happen in 2018; ex, Americans voting for democrats because they’re tired of Trump. It seems like the American landscape has fundamentally shifted from 2006 that one side sucking may not be enough to get Americans to vote the other side. Or perhaps Americans have lost more faith than in 2006 in the democrats, in the parties, even more than usual

    Much like 9/11 was a pivotal event in American history, I think the 2008 crash will be as well, even if more subtlely

  2. I don’t mind in the least that he doesn’t appear on the approved list. Very few of the people I’d like to see running the country are on that list. What I mind is that he’s an oaf. And a blowhard. And has no idea what he’s doing. He’s hopelessly over his head, so anything you see going on in the White House that looks even remotely competent is coming from Steve Bannon, his evil genius.
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    • There is definitely some major planned-out agenda going on. Much of the vision is from Bannon. But Republicans are acting in concert in states across the country. There is some major organizing going on, probably involving various super PACs, lobbyist groups, conservative organizations, and right-wing think tanks. Agendas don’t get pushed through this quickly and at such a large-scale without immense wealth, power, planning, and organizing.

  3. Donald Trump has a very different intelligence, different personality and different attitude than what would be required to be an actual president. He doesn’t listen to other people– not unless they agree with him. He has well-known narcissistic traits that require him to always point out how much better he is than anyone else. This would be embarrassing if he had the self-awareness to be embarrassed by it. He doesn’t know a damn thing about anything, in terms of information retention. He doesn’t even see any need for information. He’s always gotten his way through mere force of personality. Actually the guy hates information– it’s something he’s not good at. And it shows.

    And he hasn’t actually built a business empire. He inherited the real estate business from his father and grandfather. And the only thing he’s ever done is develop his brand. Far from being a bone fide billionaire, he’s owned by the banks who’ve backed his brand. It’s all borrowed money.

    I could go on. Donald is nothing special. And he instantly obtained the vote of all the nothing-specials in the country– people who were feeling resentful at having been pushed around all their lives by the elites (meaning anyone who’d been better in school than they.) Donald is their kind of guy.

    He actually has no policies, to agree or disagree with. All he has is tweets– instantaneous, uninformed reactions to stuff he sees on TV. With him as president, we’re now officially living in Bizarro World.

    • Trump isn’t all that different than the old British aristocracy. They had inherited wealth and all they had to worry about was maintaining their image, along with maintaining their political influence and crony networks. Underlings took care of all the details.

  4. The tremendous contribution of Confucius, with his teachings about responsibility (the first humanist) and his 2000 year legacy (notably the Chinese civil service) has never gotten its due in western histories. Confucius underwrote Asian values, and was the most influential member of our species, ever. China itself has been both the technical and moral leader of humanity for much of written history.

    Another dislocation historians gloss over in modern times is migration within our species, now so visible as an issue in the Trump era. Historians need to establish that the right of “free movement” does not exist and never has. Humans have both demanded sanctity in their own territory, and then been tortured by war when tempted to overstep their boundaries. Historians need to illustrate the futility and folly of describing schemes whereby humans are justified in engaging in territorial wars.

    The earth beneath our toes when we first stand up is home, get used to the concept. Take pride in your ‘village’, and exercise strong stewardship for your species, in this hour of peril. By extension, your canton will take its place within proper species governance, within the UN, when this age of militarism finally dies. Know that and talk about it now, as a new history to be written for our own kind, before we all perish in ignorance.

    • The global population has become so large and interconnected. Our societies and economies, for good or ill, have become inseparable. And the major problems we face are shared, specifically climate change. It’s possible that humans could have taken a different path. But I think it’s too late now for any other path. We either adapt some form of global governance or we will collapse back down to a more manageable size.

  5. It is interesting to note that Adam Smith, writing during the age of British Empire when seafaring merchant traders like the British East India Company – aided and abetted by British Royal Navy gunships; and privileged by Britain’s mercantilist trade policies – condemned the monopolist predations of the corporate globalists as much as he praised local and national industry and commerce. Certainly globalism and mercantilist “free trade” policies – accessible only by the transnational corporate monopolists – increased “the nation’s” total wealth. But Smith saw through the veneer of aggregated metrics like “national” wealth that support triumphalist transnational narratives, and observed that globalization enriches globalists and impoverishes local industry.

    Historians like Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) and Eduardo Galeano (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent), “disaggregate” the narrative, and tell the story of the victims of globalization. The victims far outnumber the beneficiarie.

    Chroniclers like Ferdinand Lundberg (The Rich and the Super-Rich, 1968) dispel the illusion that “Americans” are rich. Most Americans own nothing more than some used clothes, a used car, possibly some equity in their heavliy-mortgaged house, and some used household furnishings and knicknacks. Owning 10 shares of stock that generate the princely annual sum of $26 of dividend income does not elevate one into the “owning class”. Most Americans depend on ongoing earned incomes to get the money they need to pay their everyday costs of living. Most Americans are wage-serfs and debt peons, though they believe they are “capitalists”.

    Ownership of income-generating capital assets is extremely concentrated. Debt is widely distributed. About 40% of Americans have $0 net worth or negative net worth (owe more debt than the sellable price of their assets). Only the top 5% earn significant sums of capital income, by “owning” dividend-paying stocks, interest-paying bonds, and rent-paying rental real estate. The 80-95 percentile are highly paid professionals, but are “employees” (workers) nonetheless, rather than “capitalists”.

    So rather than writing triumphalist narratives of how much richer “the world” is getting, historians should focus more on the ever-widening distributional inequalities of wealth and income. Piketty’s, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is more data than narrative, but the data would support some good truth-telling historical narratives about the re-feudalization of “ownership” of the globalized industrial, commercial, and financial (banking) economy

    • https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/an-invisible-debt-made-visible/

      Pollution and environmental destruction knows no boundary. The natural world cares not about our ideological beliefs. It doesn’t matter who is fault when the costs come due. The free market is and always was bullshit. Nothing is free, even if we don’t see the price tag. In fact, capitalism is rather costly. The ultimate cost might be greater than we can afford.

      These costs are highly personal. I’ve talked many times about lead toxicity, the costs of which are numerous and yet still measurable. For every IQ point lost to lead toxicity, it is a specific amount of money lost in lifetime earnings. Multiply that by many IQ points lost for untold millions of people. The costs are devastating and that is considering just one of many costs.

      Considering all pollution and environmental degradation, that is the cause of 40% of the deaths worldwide. Those deaths include working men and women who were helping care for family members. Those deaths represent human potential thrown away. Those deaths didn’t just happen instantly but followed years or even decades of illnesses, suffering, and healthcare costs.

      Other costs are also economic on the larger scale, which also can be measured. For a long time, I’ve suspected that many corporations would go bankrupt if they were ever forced to pay for their externalized costs. This was shown to be the case with a recent UN report:

      “The report found that when you took the externalized costs into effect, essentially NONE of the industries was actually making a profit. The huge profit margins being made by the world’s most profitable industries (oil, meat, tobacco, mining, electronics) is being paid for against the future: we are trading long term sustainability for the benefit of shareholders. Sometimes the environmental costs vastly outweighed revenue, meaning that these industries would be constantly losing money had they actually been paying for the ecological damage and strain they were causing.”

      This means these industries are environmentally a net loss to the global society. They aren’t contributing more to society than they are taking away. All the rhetoric of capitalism, meritocracy, and progress is lies built upon lies.

      We obsess about individual problems when that isn’t the real danger we face. We make people feel guilty about recycling at home while corporations throw out so much potential recyclables as to make all the rest look minuscule. Similarly, almost all the pollution comes from big biz, not from people driving their cars too much or whatever. If we wanted to make a dent in these problems, we’d tackle it at the largest level of the most major contributors to these problems, instead of tinkering around the edges.

      Meanwhile, these companies that profit from human misery, from the forced sacrifice of present and future generations lobby the world’s governments so that they’ll make even greater profit. They get tax breaks and subsidies. They hide their profits in fake businesses and secret overseas accounts. We debate about whether taxes are too high when any rational and moral person is forced to admit that taxes don’t come close to offsetting all the costs these filthy rich corporations force onto the rest of society.

  6. A border-less world is a pipe dream; neither achievable, sustainable, or desirable. That pipe dream ignores all the evidence presented by evolution that autonomy requires well-regulated borders constructed and managed by each autonomous system. We are autonomous individuals who operate from our personal priorities in a greater community. We have biological borders and informational borders as individuals which enable us to sustain personal autonomy. Businesses have physical and informational borders within which they operate to their priorities. Any nation likewise requires well regulated borders for materials, money, information, people and jobs if they are to maintain national autonomy.

    Perhaps we and historians need to admit to ourselves that human civilization is a product of evolutionary processes. Then we could learn what those processes suggest we should do instead of randomly trying out non-starters like globalization.

    Our alternative is not tribalism, although we might find ourselves back there. Tribalism cannot support more than a 2 billion people or so; and then in only in dicier circumstances. As Harrari points out in Sapiens, man became the dominant species because we learned to tell each other stories that enables large groups of strangers to cooperate. Collections of those stories become cultures. We have developed stories to enable cooperation within nation states and an unsustainable global population of over 7 billion. We need to improve our stories about how to improve cooperation among autonomous nation states on a sustainable basis.

    • Nation-states are modern inventions. They aren’t natural. The complaint made here about transnational government was once made about national governments. These kinds of complaints have been made for millennia. And yet governments and the boundaries of societies continuously grow larger and larger with no sign that this growth will stop.

  7. The devil’s in the details, Julian. Globalization, in the sense most people would understand it, involves a process by which an international lending agency lends a few billion to some developing country– with the understanding that the funds will be plundered by the governing elites. Then, these people having been profusely bribed, corporate actors can come in to appropriate all that country’s resources… while giving nothing back to its people.

    Once the despot is out of power, and the funds safely lodged in overseas accounts, the people get to repay the debt. It’s a post-colonial system of resource extraction, and a very effective one.

    ‘Globalism’, on the other hand, is a bugaboo word. It’s meant to indicate that a nation’s people don’t get to decide their own fate. So it’s a tail you pin on your political opponents. As opposed to the system we now have, where a nation’s people have only the meekest, most ineffectual of voices in deciding their own fate.

    • Most people in other countries today are international in their orientation, not nationally oriented. That’s because they have to deal with Western economic penetration. It has been suggested that everyone on earth be allowed, for instance, to vote for their choice of American president. Because that person affects the life of everyone on earth as profoundly as does their own president.

      • For a long time, I’ve argued that everyone should be able to vote on or otherwise politically influence any and all decisions (political, economic, and social) that directly impact or indirectly influence their lives, families, communities, employment, local economies, health, ecosystems, etc. What we have now is privatizing of benefits and the socializing of costs, which has led to the concentration of wealth and power along with mass suffering and disenfranchisement of the majority of the global population.

  8. “The difference for those on the bottom is that they don’t care about happiness, as they don’t feel like they have much left to lose.”

    This sounds like a very good argument for keeping these people away from others. The privileged may be selfish and unjust, but anything is better than having the rules of human society set by people who gave up on enjoying life. People who want more for themselves may not share enough with others but at least they want someone to be happy and might allow some others be happy too. But people who don’t care about being happy at all are the bitter, resentful worst of the human species. That’s the sort of people who let authoritarians into power because they see no difference between an imperfect possible and burning everything down for everyone else because they can’t have any. It’s a really ugly kind of hateful selfishness more shameful than the 1%. It’s bitter people like this who let Trump happen, brought fascism to America, and sealed the death of billions from climate change.

    It’s a sad, broken and crippled human mind, clinging to hatred because nothing is left. The most hurtful people in the world aren’t rich people but people filled up with misery, anxiety, anger, and fear.

    The thing is most people on the economic bottom aren’t like this. Statistically most of them who voted did the responsible thing, swallowed their pride, and voted for Hillary. I don’t think most poor people are this miserable either. This is about a different kind of bottom.

    • It’s not that they really don’t care about happiness. They’ve simply given up on this sociopathic society ever offering them much that would add to their happiness. Neither political party cares about most Americans.

      So, when I’m talking about the lower classes, I’m talking about the majority of the population that isn’t sociopathic. They care more about their fellow humans and their communities than merely getting their own by fucking over everyone else, the opposite of our present authoritarian political and economic elites.

      BTW you are incorrect. Most people on the economic bottom didn’t vote for Clinton. Neither did they vote for Trump. Most simply didn’t vote.

    • I’m one of those people in the lower classes. I have a working class job. I know the problems of this society because of its impact on my personal life. I don’t look to the government or either party to do me much in the way of good. I know what unhappiness is like and I know that the political evil of both parties, the sociopathy of politicians, and the authoritarianism of the government doesn’t alleviate that unhappiness.

      You sound like one of the comfortable people who don’t fucking get jack shit. If you haven’t experienced years of poverty, unemployment, underemployment, working multiple jobs for low pay, lack of affordable healthcare, debt, fear of homelessness, struggle and suffering, then just shut the fuck up and listen. You might learn something. It’s time for people like you to admit that you are part of the problem. Stop your rationalizations and instead do some soul-searching.

      Until then, you aren’t welcome around here.

    • I’m not approving any comments by BGH. But he did leave a comment. I’ll respond briefly to it.

      He said he has economically struggled at times. That makes his comment even more morally depraved. As a heartless asshole, he criticizes and dismisses those who have suffered more than he has, those who have been harmed more by the injustices of society. He admits that he has no excuse for his arrogant ignorance.

      Basically, his comment demonstrates he knows absolutely nothing about the problems in our society. He may have struggled at one point in his life. But now he is comfortable and so looks down with condescension at those who weren’t likewise lucky enough to escape the systemic injustices of our society.

      High inequality societies such as ours have high rates of social problems. And they are mostly externalized on the most poor and powerless. Anyone who isn’t a complete ignoramus knows this. So, either BGH is an ignoramus or he is being disingenuous in order to feel superior.

      One of the main social problems in a high inequality society is greater rates of mental illness, including depression. This comes from various externalized costs, such as stress and toxins. The poorest, for example, have the highest rates of lead toxicity because the wealthiest have refused to invest in infrastructure and have located toxic dumps in poor communities. This leads to a whole host of physical health problems and neurocognitive developmental problems.

      He tries to blame this all on ‘rednecks’. That is plain ignorant. These problems are found in the greatest concentration in urban areas, from inner cities to post-industrial centers. He blames the victims for supposedly embracing ‘victimhood’. He sounds like a right-wing bigot, scapegoating the victims in order to avoid responsibility. When any of the victims attempt to demand solutions, then assholes like this just want to dismiss their concerns. It’s their own fault their children are being poisoned by lead toxicity and all the rest.

      BGH has absolutely no excuse for defending such a system. He apparently now benefits from the system and so defends the status quo. Well, fuck him. I hope BGH suffers so horribly that he comes to realize his own moral depravity. I hope he one day understands what injustice means. Until people like him are forced to feel uncomfortable, they won’t take any of these problems seriously.

    • BGH got his and so fuck everyone else. I find that sad.

      In another comment, he says that suffering doesn’t improve people. He should know. He claims to have struggled and all it did was turn him toward hatred and prejudice, indifferent to the suffering of those who have struggled more than he has.

      It is true that suffering doesn’t always improve people, as is proven by BGH. Yet no one has ever been improved by becoming disconnected from the suffering of others, as is also proven by BGH. One thing is certain. No one has ever developed compassion without first having suffered. That doesn’t guarantee compassion will be the result. Still, suffering is the necessary even if not sufficient condition of compassion.

      What bothers me more than anything, though, is the ignorance. And in this case, if he is being honest about having struggled, it is willful ignorance. Assuming that he has seen struggle firsthand, he should know that he is spouting bullshit. But it is always possible that he is lying about ever having struggled or that such struggle was only a brief period when he was younger.

      Whatever is the case, he states that he is now living a comfortable life. He probably is one of the people who wasn’t harmed by the 2008 recession, that wasn’t harmed by the Clinton/Bush/Obama neoliberalism and neoconservatism, and that won’t be harmed by Trump’s policies. As part of the comfortable class, whether or not he struggled when he was younger, all of this is an abstract intellectual debate to him.

      He is a Social Darwinist. He believes those who don’t escape suffering and struggle, oppression and injustice deserve their fate. And he frames this in terms of bigoted stereotypes about ‘rednecks’. It really matters little if you blame all the problems on poor rural whites or poor urban blacks, as it is the same mentality that combines authoritarianism and sociopathy, a disconnection from our shared reality and our shared fate, our shared society and our shared humanity.

      Anyway, most of the people who struggle and suffer never fit these kinds of bigoted stereotypes, as anyone knows who has bothered to look at the data and the research, or who has simply personally known such people. Most of the lower classes aren’t ‘rednecks’. Heck, most of the people who voted for Trump weren’t ‘rednecks’. As far as that goes, not all ‘rednecks’ are poor. My best friend in high school would be called a ‘redneck’ by bigots like BGH, but that friend was simply working class and was a hard worker who is now raising a family.

      Why do these bigoted stereotypes comfort people like BGH? There is no good answer to that, other than a dark character flaw. There is no way to respond to such lack of compassion other than to hope that one day life will force him to learn why compassion matters so much, but that inevitably would require him to suffer in a way that allows him to understand the suffering of others. That is unlikely to happen, though. When someone like BGH has allowed their mind to be ruled by such darkness, there is rarely any hope of redemption, although it does happen on occasion.

      Anyway, I’m glad he commented, so as to demonstrate exactly what I was talking about in my post. People like BGH are part of the problem that we are facing. They have benefited from externalization of harm onto others. As long as they can get away with this, they will continue to do so. As part of the majority who aren’t comfortable and oblivious, our common enemy isn’t poor whites or poor minorities, isn’t those ‘others’. No our common enemy is those, like BGH, who wish to do us harm. This is why MLK and the early Black Panthers reached out to poor whites in common cause, as they understood that we had to fight oppression together or else be ground down by it separately.

    • BGH, in another comment not approved, complained that I’m obsessed with lead toxicity. Well, I am of a generation that had among the highest lead toxicity rates in world history. So, it is personal. But obviously the implications are societal.

      In the US and around the world during the last half of the 20th century (exact period varies a bit in particular countries), there was a large spike of lead toxicity rates followed by lead regulation and then a major drop in lead toxicity rates. Even so, many cities in the US and in other countries have old lead pipes used for water and old houses/buildings with lead paint, mostly located in poor communities.

      Millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people worldwide have to varying degrees been negatively impacted by lead toxicity to the degree of having problems with their health and/or neurocognitive development, which research shows that with each less IQ point correlates to large loss of lifetime earnings, not to mention increase of social problems, incarceration rates, and general misery.

      I’m obsessed. Anyone who isn’t a sociopath should be obsessed, until this problem is resolved. That is what concerns me. The attitude of those like BGH is sociopathic, in a very basic sense. (BTW I realized that this is probably Bitch-Geek Hybrid who I earlier banned for being an asshole and so I’ll refer to her in the feminine.) She lacks the ability, desire, and willingness to understand, appreciate, sympathize with, and care about the lives of others. It’s not just suffering. There is so much more to the lives of the lower classes than that. These are just people trying to go about their lives.

      There is something severely wrong about our society that such basic sociopathy is so common. It isn’t just seen with internet trolls like BGH. Research has found that sociopathy is even more common among the economic and political elite. The reason why those who have the most power and influence in our society act like they care so little about their fellow citizens. They simply don’t experience or comprehend the world in the way normal humans do. They live not just in a reality tunnel that cuts them off geographically (suburbs, gentrified downtowns, walled communities, etc) but also cuts them off psychologically. When people become disconnected from other humans in their society, they become disconnected with important aspects of their own humanity.

      There is another possibility as well. If we have a society that has come to value and prioritize sociopathic traits. Some have noted that corporate personhood, if corporations were actually people, would describe sociopathy. In that case, it isn’t just that people become more sociopathic as they become more successful. Those who are the most sociopathic in the first place are those who are likely to be the most successful.

      That is the whole point I’ve made in many posts, especially this past year. This is problematic on so many levels. Even ignoring the issue of sociopathy, such disconnection can’t lead to positive results for a society. It undermines culture of trust, the public good, and the legitimacy of social and political institutions. We are talking about the social fabric that holds a society together.

      The US is experiencing growing inequality and new forms of segregation, more economic than specifically racial. This goes hand in hand with worsening problems of concentrated poverty, unemployment, and mass incarceration… at the very time the middle class is shrinking, upward mobility is lessening, well-paying jobs are becoming rare, healthcare is becoming cost prohibitive, higher education is leading to greater debt, etc. It doesn’t take a genius to see and understand that this isn’t good. But it does require someone not be either cynical or sociopathic to care about the consequences.

      The consequences are very much real. It is not healthy or natural for a society, specifically the economic inequality and concentrated poverty. Many have warned about this going back to the beginning of the Western tradition with the likes of Aristotle and back to the beginning of Anglo-American modernity with the likes of Adam Smith and Thomas Paine. Smith warned that a free society and free markets couldn’t be maintained with high inequality and so required government intervention. Paine pointed out that poverty is an artificial creation of civilization and not a natural condition born out of human nature.

      It turns out these great thinkers were right. Decades of research have proven the severe problems (economic, social, political, and biological/health-related) that are found in every society with high inequality. This is because inequality is never just about income and wealth accumulation. More importantly, it is about access to rights, legal protections, class privileges, political influence, opportunities, resources, and much else.

      Maybe even worse is how it tears apart at the seams of society, as the poor become increasingly desperate and as the comfortable become increasingly disconnected. It is a recipe for disaster, even if you are obtuse enough to only care about your own self-interests. As research shows, even the upper classes are worse off in high inequality societies with worse rates of health conditions, violence, crime, etc. No matter how much the wealthy try to isolate themselves, they can’t escape the society they live in and the consequences of the social order.

      If BGH believes suffering doesn’t improve people, then her worldview is completely irrational and self-sabotaging. She is promoting an ideological system that has been proven to increase suffering and worsen that suffering for those already suffering the most, while also worsening the suffering for everyone else as well. It creates a plain crappy society. Either BGH has not the slightest grasp of how the world works or she doesn’t actually believe what she says. What scares me is that the underlying belief is eugenics. BGH is one of the comfortable class who would support any authoritarian who promised to defend the social order from the scapegoated underclass: Jews, blacks, poor whites, or whatever powerless group is convenient.

      There is another angle to consider. It’s not just a general disconnection that is problematic. BGH, as with many others, is so disconnected as to not know she is disconnected. She exists in a reality tunnel that is sealed off from the rest of society. She doesn’t share the lived experience, the views and values of most Americans.

      Such total psychological disconnection from the reality of societal disconnection verges on the psychotic. The psychotic is a break with reality, which relates to the sociopathic as a break from core aspects of human reality. This isn’t just to pick on BGH, as I see this throughout our society. It’s dissociation pushed to an extreme, something Derrick Jensen explains to a depressing degree in his early books (specifically “A Language Older Than Words” and “The Culture of Make Believe”). The saddest part of all is how the societal and political failure, the systemic and institutionalized injustices get projected onto scapegoats, which is one of the ways psychological dissociation gets played out on the large scale of entire populations.

      It is because of this kind of profound disconnect that someone like BGH can pretend (make believe) that it is all the fault of some small group, in this case ‘rednecks’. Authoritarians could eliminate all ‘rednecks’ from the general society by eugenically sterilizing them, putting them into internment camps or segregated ghettoes, or deporting them somewhere. It wouldn’t lessen the collective problems we face and certainly would worsen them. The problem is the authoritarian mindset that already rules our society and that allows such problems to become so overwhelming that scapegoating is used as distraction and misdirection.

      Until we deal with that disconnect or until it disappears through collapse/revolt, it will be near impossible to do anything that improves our society or the lives for anyone within our society. If there are those who think they are going to escape the coming storm, they are naive and will suffer the consequences. We can only hope that suffering, if not exactly improving these damaged and dangerous people of the upper classes, will at least motivate them to finally take seriously the suffering of others.

    • https://underground.net/aristotle-and-the-middle-class/

      But why does a disappearing middle class matter? “Why should I care about this thing called ‘inequality’?” you might ask.

      The reason why you should care was clearly laid out by a Greek philosopher, Aristotle, 2,400 years ago.

      Aristotle pointed out that if the middle class disappears, then the poor will become the majority. The poor tend to be less educated than the rich, and they tend to struggle just to make ends meet. If the poor are the majority, then in a democracy they will vote to take away the money from the rich!

      So, what are the rich to do?

      Well, do away with democracy of course! Democracy, at that point, becomes too much of a threat to the elite, and the elite start taking steps to limit the power of government. (Moves to limit voting by the poor, anyone?)

      Therefore, as the middle class disappears, democracy disappears with it.

      On the other hand, with a MAJORITY middle class, democracy works, and it works well. Why? Because the middle class tends to be educated and has just enough prosperity that members of that class can see themselves becoming rich some day, so they don’t punish the rich, and they have compassion for the poor, being that many of them came from poverty. The middle class stands between the two extremes, the poor and the rich, and you end up with a well functioning democracy.

    • This same person commented with a new username on another post. I have no interest in approving any of her comments. But I thought it might be useful to respond to some of the allegations.

      She says she is fairly economically progressive across the board. And also strongly libertarian. She did note that, according to the political compass, she is more libertarian than progressive. That might explain a bit. Libertarians tend to be less interested in issues of injustice, which is one of my primary concerns. Libertarians like this often refuse to even acknowledge injustice, which I consider problematic to an extreme degree.

      For some reason, she accuses me of advocating identity politics for poor straight white males. That is odd because she has commented on a number of my posts. I’ve always made clear that I despise identity politics. And I’ve always made clear that I’m in line with MLK and the early Black Panthers, in seeing poverty and oppression as a problem that crosses the racial divide. What it rarely crosses, sadly, is the class divide.

      Anyone who has read my blog much knows that I’ve written far more posts in defense of blacks than of whites. I regularly have been attacked for defending the issues of blacks and other oppressed groups. And I’ve discussed much about intersectional politics, which covers multiple issues such as that of gender. The thing is I’m not a poor white, although I very briefly (for about a year or two) lived below the poverty line. I am working class. But I have a well-paying union government job with great benefits.

      I was raised by upper class parents in a gay-friendly church. And I now live in a multicultural middle class college town, the place where I spent part of my childhood. One of my closest friends is bisexual and I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve had many friends over the years who were of different gender identities, races, classes, etc. I grew up in some places that were racially and ethnically diverse. Growing up, I had many friends who were minorities. I even went to public schools that were half black. As an adult, I interact with and work with minorities on a daily basis, including immigrants and non-Christians. There is nothing special about any of this. It’s just my life.

      This person doesn’t know who I am. Her mind is stuck in stereotypes. Everyone has to be put into the proper stereotype. Obviously, she is coming from a place of immense bitterness. She wants to attack and hurt all those who she perceives as being the kind of people who have made her life difficult, as someone who is queer. Well, guess what? Most people, including most poor whites, don’t care that you are queer or want to take away your rights. Sure, bad people exist in the world and they are out to do us all harm. But in fighting monsters, what good does it do if you become what you are fighting, if you also become a monster?

      In her thinking I’m a poor white, she stated that, “I hope I at least get to watch you die from a lack of medical care.” Considering that she identifies with the liberal class and says something like that, she shouldn’t be surprised by why people are so outraged at being fucked over by people like her with greater privilege. It must be nice when your greatest worry is your gender, not whether you can afford food, shelter, and healthcare for your children.

    • I do find responding here useful, even if for my own purposes.

      The thing I is totally understand what it is like to feel bitter and outraged. Many people feel the same way, no matter the gender, race, or whatever. We live in a shitty society that fucks over a wide variety of people in many different ways. And then the social control system divides the population, turning various groups against each other. It is pure evil, at a mastermind level.

      BGH, from her last comment, seems to imply that she may have been beaten up at one point. I assume that she was beaten up by some poor whites or at least by people she perceived as poor whites. Now she hates all poor whites, because of some bad experience. A thousand positive and neutral interactions with poor whites become meaningless, as her mind will forever obsess over that sad incident.

      That is the power of fear and hatred, consuming the mind of its victim, leading them to victimize others in turn. That is how the victimization cycle goes round and round, passing from one generation to the next.

      It reminds me of another guy I used to debate. We had an ongoing debate for several years. Like BGH, he had a bad experience one time. Some black guys beat him up and, I think on the same day, some other black guys beat him. It was one very bad day and so for the rest of his life he has made it his mission to argue that all black people are bad people. Yet, also like BGH, he is a progressive and supports economic liberalism. They both probably vote Democrat as well, even as each is bigoted toward a different demographic, the two of the most hated demographics in fact: blacks and poor whites.

      I find this strange. I spent years in the Deep South. I’ve lived around, went to school with, and worked with probably thousands of minorities in my lifetime. Yet it wasn’t until I returned to this Midwestern liberal and multicultural college town that I experienced an incident of violence. Specifically, I was mugged one night while walking home from work. Guess who I was mugged by? Some white guys.

      So, am I supposed to hate all white guys now? Or I could get more specific. They were clean cut white guys. Should I hate all clean cut white guys. They probably weren’t liberals, just some punks, maybe even kids that grew up in the rural areas outside of town and just came in to drink at the bars. I don’t know. Who am I supposed to hate? And why?

      Why should that incident of violence define the rest of my life? There are assholes in the world. And some of those assholes can be dangerous. I already knew that.

    • This was on my mind while at work.

      BGH said that the liberal class saved her. I’m not exactly sure what she meant by that. It’s not as if the liberal class is an organization that goes out saving people. Obviously, to the degree they save anyone, there is an even larger number of people the liberal class doesn’t save nor even attempts to save. That is the problem.

      I wonder why people like BGH never think through the implications of their bigotry. Apparently, anyone who isn’t of the liberal class or queer is evil. I suppose minorities have a questionable position in the scale of morality, since minorities are among the least accepting of non-standard gender identities.

      Anyway, why is she attacking me? I was raised in a liberal class church. And I live in a liberal class city. Much of my life experience and values have been shaped by the liberal class. The only thing that differentiates me from many in the liberal class is that I take these values more seriously and refuse to be a hypocrite. So, BGH attacks me for pointing out hypocrisy? Would it be better if I embraced hypocrisy?

      Here is the problem. BGH is expressing this hypocrisy. Not all LGBTQ people are in the liberal class. In fact, most people who are LGBTQ are not in the liberal class. Why don’t all those other LGBTQ people matter to BGH? Why do I care more about most LGBTQ than does someone like BGH?

      Consider this. The majority of Americans are white. And the majority of the lower classes, specifically the poor, are white. LGBTQ people are found in all races and classes, which means one of the largest populations of LGBTQ is found among poor whites. When BGH hates poor whites and hopes to watch them die horribly, her hate also falls on the LGBTQ population within that demographic. Her hate knows no distinction, as it is built on an ignorant stereotype.

      That is what bothers so many about the liberal class. The only people who matter are upper class liberals, mostly white Protestants and atheists. Minority and/or poor LGBTQ, feminists, etc don’t matter to the liberal class that is mostly middle-to-upper class white LGBTQ, feminists, etc. This is why radical intersectional politics was developed, specifically by those activists who had no voice in the liberal class activism.

      If BGH really is queer, I’d hope she would understand something so basic as this.

      • I was talking to an army guy this morning who served in Afghanistan and lived in India. He was describing the poverty there. I mentioned I know this autistic guy in Indiana who spends all his time complaining about being poor online. He wasn’t impressed.

        Personally I don’t agree with him and completely believe you are in immense pain. Because pain is what you feel and what you feel is real. I just think your unhappiness is at least half being unrecognized. Because you should be a tenured professor of history or sociology at an Ivy League quality college but instead you’re feeling yourself constantly demeaned and undervalued by intellectually mediocre middle class people who think they are better than you.

        I notice you hate the middle class more than the upper class and the liberal class more than equally wealthy conservative economic sectors. You resent the people around you who let you know you’re socially downwind. Human enough, but not the stuff of moral righteousness.

        Anyway I’m just back from a walk to the supermarket. I thought of you because I was listening to my music with these new high end headphones I bought. Was listening to Arlo Guthrie sing “When the Ship Comes in” and just loving discerning sound textures I’d never heard before. I really want to listen to my entire music collection again because it all feels so new and interesting.

        I also bought $50 extra groceries for my partner today cause it keeps him happy and that basically guarantees I stay happy until he dies. You know the best thing about having more money? You have so much energy, so you can make not just throwaway material gestures but act bubbling with energy and smile at people. The funny thing is it actually does make you nicer to people. You brighten their lives and make them happier, which may come back to you. As opposed to for instance the blunted affect of unipolar depression where you lack both the spare energy and the subjective experience of empathy.

        • I’m not from Indiana, although my parents were. I’m not poor nor were my parents. And I’m not trying to impress anyone. I also write about the poor in other countries. The issues of inequality within specific countries is inseparable issues of inequality between countries.

          There is a long history of imperialism, colonialism, slavery, foreign resource exploitation, wars of aggression, covert operations, puppet dictators, etc. None of this exists in a vacuum. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’ve written about this kind of thing on a regular basis over the years.

          I’m not in any more immense pain than many people in the world. I regularly point out that my suffering is nothing compared to the struggles of so many other people. I don’t pretend to be special. I have severe depression, but so do probably millions of people in the world.

          I actually don’t feel demeaned by middle class people. I get along fine with middle class people. I spent the first half of my life as a middle class person in a middle class family, neighborhood, and church. I’ve lived most of my life in middle class communities. My blog maybe falsely portrays a greater antagonism or rather what antagonism I feel isn’t personal.

          I’ve often identified with the liberal class, in specific. I’ve actually had a hard time thinking of myself as working class. My parents were professionals with college degrees. I went to college before dropping out because of depression, not because of feeling inferior. My brothers both now have degrees. All my closest friends, even those with working class jobs, have college degrees.

          It’s been a very slow process for me to even understand what it means to be working class. I did have working class friends growing up. And I went to public schools full of working class kids. It’s not like I was disconnected from it. But I’ve always thought of myself as liberal and in the US liberal culture is identified with the liberal class (i.e., middle class professionals).

          The reason I talk about the middle class and the liberal class so much is simply because it is the world I know intimately. It is my world, in that it is the world I live in. I don’t feel demeaned by the people around me. One of my coworkers who is also a parking ramp cashier has a PhD. And I have multiple friends who are published authors.

          Still, if you look around my blog, you will find that I have written hundreds of posts criticizing the conservatives, right-wingers, the upper classes, plutocrats, corporatists, big biz, etc. My criticisms are equal opportunity. Maybe you are new to my blog and aren’t familiar with what I’ve written about. My recent focus on the liberal class is only a small part of my blogging.

          As to your last comment, money does not equal happiness. It can make you more comfortable and less frustrated, but not more happy in any basic sense, at least beyond a very minimal level of wealth for survival. That is what research has shown.

          Don’t forget that I’ve never been particularly poor. I was briefly below the poverty line after high school, but that had to do with depression and not opportunity. I’ve always had the opportunity to work more hours than I do. I’m extremely fortunate to live in a community with plenty of jobs available, including jobs with decent pay and good benefits. I grew up middle class and I know what it is like to have nice things, but I never put much value in that. The middle class value that I embraced most was the love of learning and reading.

          I’d also point out that my depression began to show most clearly when I was in high school. That was when my family was doing economically well. I needed nothing and was provided a good life. My depression isn’t related to economics, except in the sense that societies with high inequality have higher rates of depression.

        • I would be interested to get a response from you. Did my comment change your view of me and where I’m coming from?

          Our worlds aren’t far apart. I’m working class, but in a highly atypical situation. I live in a multicultural liberal college town that has (or at least used to have a few years ago) the highest per capita of residents with college degrees. And it has the second highest per capita of doctors.

          I didn’t just grow up middle class. Much of my early life was upper middle class. When I lived in Ohio where I was born, I was the kid of one of the factory managers, not of one of the factory workers. After that, we moved to Deerfield IL which is a wealthy Jewish suburb of Chicago. That was before we moved here, Iowa City. After that, my father became a professor at the University of South Carolina where we lived in a house that previously was owned by a judge.

          My parents have moved back here. They live in a nice upper middle class house and I visit them on almost a daily basis. I’m not an outsider to the middle class world. I’m not outside looking in. I may be working class by the work I do and the amount of money I make, but I’m in the heart of the liberal class. It is my world. It is what I know most intimately. I’d feel out of place in a poor working class community.

          I love being surrounded by bookstores, libraries, and a university. I’m not criticizing the world of the liberal class. I wish everyone could have such well-funded community to live in.

          I’m not depressed because I’m surrounded by poverty. I’ve never lived anywhere in my life where I was surrounded by poverty and certainly not severe poverty. Still, I’ve spent much of my life around the working class, in public schools and in jobs and simply in friends I keep. My mother’s family is working class and so the working class is part of my world as well. Even growing up middle class, my mother raised me with working class values.

          This is why I’m a bit class confused. When I was middle class, it was hard for me to realize that was the case. I was oblivious to class when younger. When in high school in SC, I’d drive my father’s brand new Buick LeSabre to my job at McDonald’s, a place in the Deep South where only the working class work and mostly blacks. I’m a Midwesterner by heart and so I have a different relationship to class. For me, class is a mentality.

          These days, I’m most definitely not middle class. I don’t make that much money, but I’m far from desperate poverty, although a single health problem could put me into poverty quite quickly. I don’t have much savings. I can visit my upper middle class parents and enjoy their house. Still, their house isn’t my house and their money isn’t my money. My parents have always made me take care of my own finances.

          Also, I don’t lack empathy. If I have a problem, I have too much empathy. It is extremely easy for me to empathize. Even as I criticize BGH, I feel empathy. I hear the pain and suffering in her words. I understand it completely. I know how easy it is to turn mean and hateful, as has happened to her. I can empathize with her to such an extent that it overwhelms me, on a level of experience that is both emotional and visceral.

          It’s why I criticize the liberal class. It is what I know. I tend to criticize most what I understand best, both intellectually and psychologically.

          Anyway, my writings about poor whites and so many other issues is rarely personal. I can feel it personally because of how I empathize, but I don’t have to be a certain way in order to care about it. For example, I’ve written more about directly about blacks than about whites. It doesn’t matter that I’m not black. I can empathize with people simply on the basis that they are human and I am human.

          Problems like inequality affect us all, even you. Research has shown that social problems are worse for everyone in a high inequality society. That includes the middle class and the wealthy. This isn’t just a problem of poor people. That is the disconnection that I’m constantly talking about. Many in the liberal class don’t undertand this.

          • No, our worlds aren’t far apart. I was also raised middle class, and I’m also presently in a highly atypical situation. I’m middle class in some ways and working class in others. I’m more fortunate than you are, but I’m not wealthy except in the sense that nearly all first world citizens are. I also have a close but critical relationship with the liberal class. I agree with the substance and understand the tone of your critiques. As stated, I’m at -5,-9 on politicalcompass.org, which places me significantly to the left of center. I supported Bernie in the primaries and voted Hillary in the elections.

            Please listen to me. My problem with you is that you politics condemn me to a life of subhuman status, complete social ostracism, permanent misery, and/or death. Not deliberately, but by a lack of comprehension of the circumstances and social dynamics that would work out that way. If you honestly desire to try resolve differences between us, I’m certainly open to listening. But you would have to be seriously willing to examine yourself for cultural and political blindspots, including dropping defensiveness at the idea that subconscious prejudices as well as harmful ignorance may be influencing your value framing (I’m not interested in guilting or blaming you).

            When I say you lack empathy, what I mean (depression-related blunted affect issues aside) is cognitive empathy. I believe the suffering of others can matter immediately and intensely to you, but I think you fail to recognize it to the point you are effectively dismissing torture as harmless because you don’t understand why it’s torture. I think some of this is probably neurological and some of it is cultural, related to straight male privilege-blindness (which works just like class and disability privilege-blindness) and disconnectedness from women’s lives and LGBT reality. I don’t think you understand what patriarchal cultures like those of red state America can do to women and queer people, and how intensely “class only” politics betrays the survival and human dignity needs of others.

            I am quite willing to listen and be respectful and courteous if you are willing to do the same. I’m more than open to an approach which sees social justice and class justice as complementary. I think it’s unfortunate our politics work out to place people who need each of these things is opposition (and thus completely fail people who need both). However, if you insist on sacrificing my survival issues to yours, I will treat you like anyone else who relates to me as an expendable casualty.

            I strongly believe your current politics do a disservice not merely to me but to women and LGBT people generally. You would be by your own standards a better person if you were to become more progressive on cultural issues and would find it easier to find common ground with others on the left.

          • It just occurred to me that you are Bitch-Geek Hybrid, BGH, and AFG. Now you are CHI. I’ve lost track of your various usernames. Anytime I see a username with three letters, I’m going to assume it’s you.

            I’ll give you credit for being persistent. But obviously, you aren’t a mere troll. You are passionate, no doubt about it. In fact, you’re so passionate that you’re willing to be an asshole about it. I actually respect that. It’s one of the traits I admired in Thomas Paine, a willingness to fight for what one believes is right no matter what others think.

            At least, you’re not attacking me anymore. So, let’s call a truce for the time being. I’ll allow your comments.

            “Please listen to me.”

            Sure, if you’ll listen to me. I haven’t so far felt like you’ve listened or else heard much of what I’ve said.

            “My problem with you is that you politics condemn me to a life of subhuman status, complete social ostracism, permanent misery, and/or death.”

            The same back at you. What people like you don’t understand is that an alliance is a two-way street. You can’t expect others to help you when you won’t help others. Instead, in your bitterness, you’ve condemned those who have struggled and suffered even more than you. It’s this kind of disconnection that I’m constantly railing against.

            “Not deliberately, but by a lack of comprehension of the circumstances and social dynamics that would work out that way.”

            You’ve so far shown no evidence that you understand me at all. You’ve been projecting your issues on me and projecting them on large sectors of the society. I understand you’ve had some bad experiences with specific people, but scapegoating others based on stereotypes isn’t helpful. You were read to celebrate my slow suffering death when you thought I fit your stereotype of a poor white guy. Is that how you plan on winning allies?

            “If you honestly desire to try resolve differences between us, I’m certainly open to listening. But you would have to be seriously willing to examine yourself for cultural and political blindspots, including dropping defensiveness at the idea that subconscious prejudices as well as harmful ignorance may be influencing your value framing (I’m not interested in guilting or blaming you).”

            You have yet to show you know enough about me to even suspect what might be my cultural and political blindspots. Your accusation comes off as empty. Maybe you should first remove the plank from your own eye.

            “When I say you lack empathy, what I mean (depression-related blunted affect issues aside) is cognitive empathy.”

            Quit pretending you know jack shit about me. It’s unbecoming, not to mention arrogant.

            I don’t have depression-related blunted affect issues. It’s funny that another regular commenter a while back accused me of being neurotic, pretty much the complete opposite of blunted affect. What you both misunderstand is that frustration is simply frustration. My range and expression of emotion is well within social norms. I’m just less tolerant of bullshit online. I don’t know you and, on a personal level, you mean nothing to me.

            Also, you have no rational reason to think I lack cognitive empathy. I understand other people just fine. This is actually an area where I’m far above average. My critical nature isn’t an indication of a lack of empathy, either affective or cognitive. As for lack of cognitive empathy, maybe you aren’t so talented in this department, considering your vast misunderstanding about me and your tendency to project personal issues on others.

            “I believe the suffering of others can matter immediately and intensely to you, but I think you fail to recognize it to the point you are effectively dismissing torture as harmless because you don’t understand why it’s torture.”

            That is bullshit. And specifically the kind of bullshit I won’t tolerate. You are pushing beyond a moral threshold. If you were honest, you’d have to admit that I’ve never dismissed torture. You’ve never before even mentioned ‘torture’. Yet you dismiss the suffering of others, even when their suffering is greater than yours. You are being disingenuous to an extreme degree. Push this bullshit one inch further and you will be permanently blocked. I don’t tolerate lying assholes. You can gladly go fuck yourself, if you are going to be so self-centered as to think all of the world revolves around your personal issues.

            “I think some of this is probably neurological and some of it is cultural, related to straight male privilege-blindness (which works just like class and disability privilege-blindness) and disconnectedness from women’s lives and LGBT reality.”

            Considering your endless ignorance and dishonesty, you are one of the most disconnected people I’ve ever met. You see all of reality through the lens of identity politics. Common humanity doesn’t exist to you. Any suffering, no matter how great, doesn’t matter to you if it isn’t your personal suffering.

            “I don’t think you understand what patriarchal cultures like those of red state America can do to women and queer people, and how intensely “class only” politics betrays the survival and human dignity needs of others.”

            I know you don’t understand the evil you are complicit in. You have the same condescension toward everyone else that is common among the liberal class, even if you don’t identify as such. You don’t understand the oppression of poverty, inequality, police brutality, mass incarceration, and on and on… all the stuff that poor whites experience and of which your privilege protects you.

            “I am quite willing to listen and be respectful and courteous if you are willing to do the same.”

            Not particularly. You already crossed and burnt that bridge. I’m willing to listen. But I will call your bullshit each and every time. I’ll treat you in the way that Thomas Paine responded to the bullshit of Edmund Burke. That is a promise.

            “I’m more than open to an approach which sees social justice and class justice as complementary.”

            Then do so. I’m not stopping you. It’s not I who separated these two issues. I’ve been talking about their being inseparable, not just complementary, for many years. It was you who argued for privileging one over the other. If you’ve finally changed your mind, I support you in coming to this understanding that the problems and suffering of other people also matters.

            “I think it’s unfortunate our politics work out to place people who need each of these things is opposition (and thus completely fail people who need both).”

            Our politics don’t do this. Your politics do this. That is precisely what I’ve been criticizing. You’ve presented your argument as an either/or scenario, where one group can only win by other groups losing. To your mind, any concern for those who struggle and suffer more than you takes away from the importance of your own concerns. Only your issues are ‘torture’, not the severely poor white whose entire life is fucked over far worse than you could imagine in your worst nightmares.

            “However, if you insist on sacrificing my survival issues to yours, I will treat you like anyone else who relates to me as an expendable casualty.”

            However, if you insist on privileging your survival over all others, you will find yourself alone. And you will deserve it. An evil mindset brings evil onto the one who wields it.

            “I strongly believe your current politics do a disservice not merely to me but to women and LGBT people generally. You would be by your own standards a better person if you were to become more progressive on cultural issues and would find it easier to find common ground with others on the left.”

            I’m a thousand times more progressive than you. Compared to me, you come off as a reactionary. As soon as you catch up with me in giving a fuck about anyone but yourself, we can fight a common cause. But not before then. I wish you luck because you’ll need it. You’re either on the side of the oppressed or the oppressors. Don’t ever forget that.

          • I change my mind. I’m just blocking you. It’s obvious you simply aren’t capable of discussion that is self-aware, honest, humble, moral, and rational. Don’t try to use a different username either.

            I know your style now. Besides, I truly have come to the point of zero tolerance toward bullshit. It doesn’t matter the username. Even a hint of bullshit will lead to automatic blocking of any and all commenters. I’ve played that game for too long.

            It really matters little that you aren’t a troll, since for all intents and purposes you essentially act like a troll. I respect your passion, but combined with ignorant bigotry it isn’t a good thing.

          • I was recalling the comment you made last year and to which I responded:
            https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/the-stories-we-tell/#comment-22501
            https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/to-give-voice/

            Your accusation was that I was too broken to be taken seriously. But what has become unavoidably certain is that you are far more broken than I am. You are defined by your suffering victimhood. And you lash out at the innocent, seeing the face of those who hurt you in the world all around you.

            I empathize with your state of brokenness. I understand it all too well, on a level of both affective and cognitive empathy. In response, I feel compassion for your suffering. And I pity you for the darkness this has brought you to, a fate I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. But there is nothing I can do to help you. Nor do you want help. You just want to blame, scapegoat, and attack.

            You should listen to your own words, as they apply to yourself:
            “Labouring to influence others with ideas which bring torment in one’s own mind is philosophically incompetent, cruel, and toxic.”

        • BGH created yet another username. It seems to me that she even had at least one earlier username that I’ve forgotten about, prior to Bitch-Geek Hybrid. I don’t recall what it was now, though. I vaguely remember the discussion I had with someone just like her, obsessed with her own suffering as a self-identified queer and attacking anyone who wouldn’t submit to her privileged identity politics.

          She assumes I’m like her. That I’m a one trick pony looking to privilege my personal identity and issues over that of everyone else. That I’m demanding all others to bow down and worship my suffering as the cause célèbre of identity politics, the defining concern of comfortable class activism or some equivalent to it. But I’m not like that. Nor am I declaring, “All Lives Matter!” I’ve long been clear that not all suffering is equal, even as I’ve been clear that the problems we face are far vast beyond separate identity politics.

          That is the problem I have with BGH and those like her. She dismisses and attacks even those people who aren’t as privileged as she is. I get that privilege is a relative category, as there is always those who are more and less privileged. I get that BGH is less privileged than some others.

          That doesn’t change that she has a life that is a thousand times more comfortable and safe than most other Americans, certainly more than most other people in the world. She admits that she has a nice life where she can afford to buy nice things for her partner, not a perfect life but still comfortable and safe, unlike so many others. She has had serious problems in her life, no different than most people. Still, she doesn’t live in fear and misery involving daily real world threats of unemployment, poverty, economic segregation, homelessness, police brutality, mass incarceration, lead toxicity, food deserts, untreated physical and mental health conditions, etc.

          Yet she can’t recognize her own privilege. Instead, she attacks the underprivileged because she sees them as competing for a limited supply of SJW attention. If her personal problems and worries aren’t prioritized, then she assumes that someone else’s will be. There is no such thing as common cause and win-win scenarios, in her mind. Everything is about her comfortable class queer identity politics, upon which her entire sense of reality revolves. She can’t understand why the suffering and struggle of others matters, why those who suffer and struggle more than she does deserve greater moral and political concern or at the very least equal concern.

          BGH claims to not be of the liberal class. But she is probably of the liberal class and doesn’t realize it, only because it doesn’t fit her identity of victimhood. Does she have some combination of working an entry-level wage job, living from paycheck to paycheck, being stuck near or below the poverty line for all or most of your life, lacking accessible and affordable basic healthcare and other benefits, being without a college degree and professional training, etc? If the majority of those things doesn’t apply to her, then it is likely she is part of the liberal class. Certainly, she talks like someone who is fully trapped in a liberal class mindset, unable to see outside of it.

          It puts me in an odd position. I’m simultaneously more radical and more moderate than BGH. Her narrow identity politics of privilege is pushed to an extremist degree, but it is also highly conservative and reactionary. This kind of identity politics is what the political right loves to co-opt because it is perfectly designed for right-wing agendas. Those on the political right will always be better at identity politics than anyone else and will always win any battle fought on those terms, as these are the master’s tools.

          Worse still, anyone on the political left who fights that battle long enough will find themselves increasingly becoming right-wing, in attitude and often ideology as well. There is a long history of leftists becoming right-wingers. That is where fear and hatred leads one. BGH is already showing signs of that when she attacks poor whites and openly wishes them to suffer horribly and die. It’s interesting that poor whites are also a favorite target of criticism by many right-wing libertarians and social conservatives. Poor people, in general, are a favorite target across the political spectrum. This is the class war fought by the privileged.

          And no, that doesn’t make me a ‘brocialist’ (bro socialist), as she accused me of being in a comment I didn’t approve. That is about as meaningful as someone dismissing BGH as a ‘feminazi’. Such empty rhetoric is intellectually bankrupt and morally bankrupt. It further expresses BGH’s attitude of divisiveness, of her against the world.

          Anyway, I’m not even sure what is my ideology these days. As I’m an equal opportunity critic, I’m also equal opportunity in where I seek good ideas and insight. This is why I can take stuff I like from socialism (specifically in terms of municipal socialism and anarchosyndicalism) while also take stuff I like from feminism (specifically radical intersectionalism). Apparently, I’m both more socialist and more feminist than BGH, as she doesn’t seem to take either of these seriously on their own terms beyond how an ideology serves her self-interest. As such, instead of belonging to a common cause of justice as the great civil rights activists of the past sought, BGH wants everyone else to submit to and follower her cause. The first priority is to secure her own position of privilege.

          Her suffering is ‘torture’ while everyone else’s suffering, even those who suffer more, doesn’t matter as much or is simply what they deserve. Even other LGBT maybe don’t matter, if they don’t fit her narrow identity politics. Poor white LGBT are out of luck. They must suffer for the sin of having been poor whites. One suspects she thinks the same way about poor minority men, cisgender females, and almost everyone else who isn’t a comfortable class queer activist.

          http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2013/11/being-a-feminist-is-a-privilege/
          http://www.heartfield.org/intersectionality.htm
          https://imperiumadinfinitum.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/feminism-vs-brocialism-more-like-romantic-frustration/
          http://bennorton.com/identitarians-say-elect-people-regardless-of-their-policies-exposing-inherent-conservatism-of-identity-politics/
          http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/22/the-assassination-of-jeremy-corbyn-operation-ridicule/
          https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/bro-bash/
          https://thisishell.com/interviews/877-jeff-dorchen

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/black-feminism-and-epistemology-of-ignorance/

          The Meaning of Freedom
          by Angela Davis
          Kindle Locations 170-174

          “More than once I have heard people say, “If only a new Black Panther Party could be organized, then we could seriously deal with The Man, you know?” But suppose we were to say: “There is no Man anymore.” There is suffering. There is oppression. There is terrifying racism. But this racism does not come from the mythical “Man.” Moreover, it is laced with sexism and homophobia and unprecedented class exploitation associated with a dangerously globalized capitalism. We need new ideas and new strategies that will take us into the twenty-first century.”

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/there-are-no-allies-without-alliances/

          “There are no isolated issues and problems. There are diverse areas of marginalization, victimization, oppression, suffering, etc. I see it as disempowering when people separate their issues and problems from everyone else’s issues and problems. Everyone wants people to ally with them, but not enough people are willing to go to the effort of allying with others. This is the failure of so much advocacy and activism.

          “Most of us are ‘victims’ of some kind of marginalization/oppression or other, for those who hold most of the power in this world are few. The lack of functioning democracy in most countries, the US included, doesn’t only impact minorities or other small demographics. If everyone fights for their separate identity politics and sees themselves in competition with everyone else, then divide and conquer will always win.”

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/inequality-divides-privilege-disconnects/

          “We don’t objectively compare ourselves to the larger social reality. And we don’t base our perceptions on intricate demographic data and comprehensive surveys. What we usually do is create a sense of our place in the world through personal anecdotes and vague media-filtered experience, through narrative frames and political rhetoric. This causes us to compare ourselves to the distorted and often fictionalized narratives portrayed in MSM news reporting and Hollywood movies—not to mention the influence of now near endless political campaigning and the subtle class war rhetoric that is drilled into our psyches. Besides that, it is human nature to focus on and, when possible, aspire toward what is above us. Even the wealthy will look with envy at the even wealthier. This is exaggerated in a high inequality society, where the gap between the rich and super-rich is as vast as the gap between the upper classes and all the rest, and such gaps continue to grow ever more vast. Only those near the bottom might bother to spend much time looking down upon those below them in the social pecking order, whether the differences are real (class) or perceived (race).

          “I’ve pointed out how this plays out for liberals—the privilege of the liberal class, the bias and benefits inherent to greater wealth and status, opportunities and resources. The liberal demographic is among the most economically well off and well educated. And, related to this, the wealthier of any demographic (race, ideology, etc) the more liberal people tend to be, often both in terms of social liberalism and classical liberal economics. It’s not only about those who self-identify as liberals. A similar pattern is found among libertarians and other right-wingers, from objectivists to anarcho-capitalists. It’s true of the Republican political elite and activists, the conservative pundits and think tank intellectuals, the business managerial class and inherited old wealth. But it’s also true of most people on the far political left: Marxists, anarcho-syndicalists, feminists, etc. Even the typical minority activist and politician is going to be far above average in wealth and education. To hold and defend any particular ideology or identity politics largely depends on a privileged status in society. It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to commit to such activities—especially if one makes a career out of it. The poor, whether working or unemployed, whether white or minority, don’t have this kind of luxury.

          “There is an odd dynamic here. The middle-to-upper class are more ‘liberal’ in many ways, including for those on the political right. Those far down the economic scale are less concerned about defending liberalism in any of its forms, whether leftist standard liberalism or right-wing classical liberalism. In Western countries, even radical left-wingers who often are critical of ‘liberalism’ are more culturally liberal than the poor. On the other hand, the lower classes (i.e., the majority of the population) are more liberal/leftist in concrete ways than the political elite that claims to represent them—supporting: higher taxation of the rich and corporations, stronger social safety net, more effective regulations, less wars of aggression and military adventurism, etc. The supposed conservatism of the lower class majority is primarily symbolic, not necessarily based on specific political principles and policies. But it could be seen as genuinely conservative in the lower class’ demand for more emphasis on social capital and culture of trust, family and community—the very things that are undermined by upper class politics and economics, especially neoliberalism. Anyway, it’s a class divide more than an ideological divide, as the differences between partisan/ideological elites is negligible in terms of practical politics and actual results.

          “The main thing, anyway, is that there are these fundamental divides in our society. They lead to endless disconnections and conflicts. Our thoughts are distorted and our vision narrowed, causing endless confusion and misunderstanding. This is why privilege is so hard to see and understand. We rarely ever get the sense of the full context of our lives. This has worsened because of the segregation of not just ghettos, housing projects, and rural isolation but also of suburbs, walled communities, and gentrified neighborhoods. Physical distance leads to psychological distance.”

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/the-dying-donkey/

          “Democrats have given up on fighting for the American public. They betrayed and abandoned Southerners, rural residents, poor whites, immigrants, and organized labor. Everything has become identity politics that has splintered the Democratic Party. Identity politics has simply become a cover for the neocon and neoliberal politics that now rule the DNC, what basically is Republican Lite. The American public have come to understand that and it isn’t what they want nor is it what they will tolerate.”

    • There was one intriguing detail that suddenly occurred to me in its significance. BGH uses one email that has in it “tompaine”. That is surely a reference to Thomas Paine.

      The thing about Paine is he was a lower class white guy. In fact, he spent much of his life poor. He is one of my personal heroes. But he represents the specific demographic that BGH wants to suffer horribly as punishment for some kind of collective sin of all poor whites.

      I still had the issue of poverty and gender on my mind. I’ve made a point to an earlier commenter, maybe to BGH. Most LGBTQ people are lower class. And most of them aren’t activists. Their gender identity is just one part of who they are, probably not the most important part. Like anyone else, their main concerns have to do with basic life problems, difficulties, and struggles: family relationships, employment, conflict with bosses and coworkers, paying the bills, healthcare costs, etc.

      Also, consider that LGBTQ are probably more likely to experience poverty, homelessness, and such. It’s not easy being LGBTQ. Why don’t those people matter, even if they are poor whites? I really don’t understand. People are just people.

    • @BGH/CHI – When you are complicit in the social, economic, and political evil committed against others and wish horrible suffering upon them, why do you think they will consider you as anything more than a threat to their lives and well-being? When you make it abundantly clear that you don’t give a shit about other people who are different from you, why do you think those who are different from you will fight for your cause? When you refuse to be an ally to others, why do you think they will be an ally for you?

    • I read BGH’s original comment again. This part stood out to me.

      “It’s a sad, broken and crippled human mind, clinging to hatred because nothing is left. The most hurtful people in the world aren’t rich people but people filled up with misery, anxiety, anger, and fear.”

      That is a perfect description of BGH. I guess that is why she is so full of hatred toward what she projects out onto the world. She fears what hatred can do to others because she knows what it has done to her, left her with a “sad, broken and crippled human mind”.

      I’ve long believed in the following: Comfort the afflicted. And afflict the comfortable.

      Apparently, BGH doesn’t share that attitude. She identifies with her own affliction and lashes out like an injured animal. She believes only in comforting those who are like her and afflicting everyone else… or at least everyone else who doesn’t agree with her opinions, submit to her agenda, and serve her interests.

      She hates those who hate her or who she perceives as hating her. To those people, deserving or not, she wishes punishment and suffering, based on the assumption those not like her are guilty until proven innocent. Meanwhile, some of those she hates surely hate her in return and everyone they see as being like her.

      Both sides are mutually justified in their mutual hatred. And neither side considers all of the innocents caught in the crossfire.Instead of removing the plank from one’s own eye, it is an eye for an eye until the whole world is blind.

      I understand on a personal level what leads to such bitterness and cruelty. Bad experiences can so easily harden our hearts, if we allow that to happen to us. I get that, intellectually and emotionally. I’ve seen that dark hole and peered down it many times.

      Here is what I don’t get. All of the rationalizations. If BGH chooses hate, she should take responsibility for that. It is what she thinks she wants because she sees it as her only protection against a threatening and dangerous world. That is a choice she is free to make. I don’t agree with that choice, as it isn’t a choice I’d personally make. But it doesn’t matter what I think.

      I can’t reach someone like BGH. She doesn’t want to be reached. That would require her to open up and allow herself to be vulnerable. It would mean admitting that her pain and suffering isn’t special, that the world is full of pain and suffering. A better response would be compassion. But as she has admitted, pain and suffering too easily shut people down, instead of opening them up.

      It makes me sad on a personal level. I honestly don’t know how to respond to someone like this.

    • This is probably my last response. I realized I didn’t emphasize what I think is most important. The last paragraph of BGH’s comment makes this clear:

      “The thing is most people on the economic bottom aren’t like this. Statistically most of them who voted did the responsible thing, swallowed their pride, and voted for Hillary. I don’t think most poor people are this miserable either. This is about a different kind of bottom.”

      It’s not just BGH’s anger and hatred, bitterness and bigotry. It’s clear she despises poor white people, unless they do what she thinks they should do. Their only moral excuse for existing is if they support the agenda, privilege, and comfort of the liberal class. But the sad part is that it is a fantasy.

      All that BGH demonstrates is her ignorance. Most poor whites, like most other eligible voters, didn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump. Between those who don’t vote and those who vote third party, neither major party candidate won the majority of eligible voters. Clinton barely won the majority of registered voters, but that still is a minority of eligible voters. The fact of the matter is most Americans don’t vote in most elections and that is even more true for the lower classes of all races.

      How can someone like BGH not know this? It should be common knowledge. BGH has apparently read my blog a fair amount, considering she has commented on multiple posts over a period of time. During the time when her comments were posted, I had written blog posts about this very issue about eligible voters, the actual numbers of who does and doesn’t vote. Yet BGH goes on repeating the ignorant talking points of the DNC and corporate media.

      That precisely is the problem of the liberal class that BGH claims she isn’t a part of. This is so, even as she openly identifies with the liberal class while advocating for its interests and defending its worldview. She seems fully entrenched within the liberal class or, if not, at least aspires to be. Is she hoping that by sucking up to the comfortable classes that they will allow her to join their ranks of privilege, as the rest of society suffers in oppression? Or is she a lot more comfortable than she lets on?

      I don’t get the sense that she is a member of the low wage working class. She certainly has little understanding or sympathy for the low wage working class.

    • It is rather pointless. A racial bigot looks at an old photo and thinks most of the people look white. But racial bigots back then would have noticed all the ethnics in the photo which they likely wouldn’t have considered white, such as Jews. A photo taken now will be looked at by future racial bigots and they’ll see all the Hispanics as white, not realizing that many of the racial bigots saw Hispanics quite differently when the photo was taken. The perception of whiteness constantly shifts. Give it a couple of centuries and white, if it still means anything at all, will probably refer to all lighter shades of brown.

  9. This seems relevant here, both in terms of the blog post itself and in terms of the comment by BGH:

    http://www.nationofchange.org/2017/03/15/bernie-sanders-cheered-trump-supporters-declaring-healthcare-right/

    “Senator Sanders told a crowd of President Trump supporters that “healthcare is a right.” The crowd cheered.

    “Sanders’ other views, such as the reality of climate change and free higher education, were also well received. This is coming from a rural county where 75 percent of its voters voted for Trump.

    “During a particular segment, Sanders talked about climate change in relation to coal mining, a hot topic in a county with a high population of coal miners. Sanders stated that he didn’t hold individual coal miners responsible, stating that even he had depended on coal in his “rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn.” He went on to state, “You guys are my heroes.”

    “Sanders said that there needs to be better development and job creation in the renewable energy industry in order to move coal miners to work in an energy industry that won’t contribute to climate change. “We can do this,” he said.

    “When asking one coal miner, “Do you believe that healthcare is a right?” the Trump supporter responded, “Yes, I do.” This was also greeted with cheers.”

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