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Monday, May 09, 2011

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The Wave is unashamedly musing over deliberate murder of an "irrelevant" man. Welcome to "the hive."

The many Daily Kos diarists who declared Obama's extension of the Bush tax cuts their personal last straw have fallen in love with him all over again after the bin Laden assassination.

Democratic partisans are no less authoritarian at heart than Republican ones.

Yeah, people who've signed on with the Democrats seem to have an endlessly renewable supply of lines in the sand. In a way it's a bit sad, because it shows that they want to have some point at which they say this far and no further--so they must know at some level that they're continually selling themselves out.

I don't mind the bloodthirstiness.

No, really, I'm cool with it.

Look, my take on it is this: we have a very low standard of human decency in the U.S. I can accept that. Any pluralistic society has to make compromises. If we all agree that the lowest-common-denominator is the best way to get us all on the same page, and that lowest-common-denominator is a bastard, then fine, let's draw the line at general bastardry.

That's not the problem. Seriously, it's not.

The problem is I don't get to exhault over killing my enemies.

See, it's not fair.

Bin Laden murdered some of my associates, so fuck him. Okay, fine. But Clinton murdered some of my associates. Fuck, Clinton murdered some friends of mine -- through policies, not personally, of course, but far more of them than (say) street crime or Osama's boys ever could. And that can go for Obama and several others as well. Bush is obvious.

My problem is that I can't be bloodthirsty whenever I get hurt. My pain doesn't mean shit. My family's pain doesn't mean shit. My friends, my associates -- they don't count.

If you pay attention to this sort of bloodthirstiness, you soon realize that it's this unfairness that's the problem. If we were an equitable society, we'd soon be sick to death of all this death-for-death. Thus, we'd soon condemn bloodthrist for all comers. But, instead, we pick one enemy and spare another, allowing the spite to continue. Inequity is the soil in which bloodlust grows. Spread the wealth and we'd all be sober pacifists.

Let me give an example. All those disgusting shitstains who despised Chris Floyd for complaining about Iraqi children being murdered: well, let's say that some of those kids have siblings, and those siblings take vengeance for their loss on our citizens. I know I would. I know virtually all humans would. In fact, we know many of them are doing it now. We're cool with that, right? I mean, can we all get a warm fuzzy about bereaved Iraqis having celebratory sex after having aced a few U.S. servicemen?

See? Equity salts that earth.

Most Democrats I know no longer wish to discuss politics. Funny, that.

The ones that do, good lord, how debased can one get? We'll find out in 2012.

My keynote Q for them in 2012 will be: "OK, so if a Republican wins the White House this year, what's the BAD thing you think will happen which hasn't happened already?'

No One - Great comment. For all of the national mythology that Americans love an underdog etc. the plain fact of the matter is that Americans usually have total contempt for a little guy who stands up and fights back.

Btw, as a general statement:

Since John encouraged us to go to that blog, I was exposed to an inordinate amount of "lesser evilism." As such, John has earned a thread derailment.

I have a saying: choosing between the lesser of two evils is choosing evil. But what's interesting is that this notion doesn't actually apply to U.S. politics.

In addition, a tremendously more famous saying is often brought up in U.S. politics: the ends don't justify the means. Again, remarkably, that statement doesn't apply in our politics.

Why? Because the ends are evil. No one chooses between "the lesser of two evils" in U.S. politics. They can choose between three options -- and two of those options is forbidden based on socioeconomic class:

a) Short-term benefits if you're of the right social class -- everyone else is fucked.
b) Short-term benefits if you're of the right social class, one slightly different than the class in option (a) -- everyone else is fucked.
c) Long-term and short-term benefits for everyone.

So if you're poor or seriously ill without insurance or of the wrong color or just plain ethical or loving, (a) and (b) are out. You can't, in that circumstance, even choose yourself. You can choose (a) or (b), but you can't win. You always fuck yourself. Politics is often called a game, but U.S. politics isn't actually a game. A game requires meaningful choice. (This is why interactive movies aren't games.) You can't actually, in choosing between (a) or (b), make a meaningful choice if you're not well-off enough to get a kickback in those two conditions.

As for (c) -- well, that's the rub. Y'see, the rightwingers calling themselves progressives hate (c). That's the wacky bit. They're not choosing between "the lesser of two evils," they are actively endorsing straight-up, vanilla evil. Think about where they'd (and you'd) be historically. Imagine all of us back in Victorian England at the height of imperial expansion. So there would be some who say we should just murder brown people and take their stuff. I'd imagine we'd all be on the anti-imperialism side of things -- so far, so good. The interesting thing is that the pseudoliberals wouldn't be against imperialsim -- they'd make bullshit claims about how the imperialsm is really good for all those brown people. We know this because they did exactly that. We have centuries of this shit, much of it scorned and lampooned by the west's greatest statesmen (though the hyperlink is an American example).

So my long-winded point is this: Obama isn't the lesser evil. Pseudoliberals weren't intending the lesser evil. They don't give two damp shits about the people he hurts, anymore than the teabaggers care about anyone but themselves. As such, when they say "[Democrat X] is the lesser evil," they're not mistaken or misusing rhetoric, they're just lying. Or, most accurately, redefining the word evil, as so:

They get fucked: evil.
You get fucked: an imperfection.

So I strongly suggest not getting caught up in "lesser evilism" with these folks. Remember, the central problem isn't relative evil. Even if Obama was Bush-lite and less bad than Bush on everything, it wouldn't matter. They'll choose whatever gets their rocks off, just like the tea party, just like any self-aggradizing, unprincipled voting population.

That's not theory. They did it before.

Do recall that during the last presidential primaries, Edwards was fronting policies that were easily the most liberal of the bunch -- but you wouldn't know it from the reaction of well-heeled rightwing Dems. Remarkably, the media -- that whore of whores, that hated institution that "The Left" had learned to hate (we thought) with the passion of a wronged black activist -- the media granted Obama "rock-star status." Now, if we had a "Left" that contained tons of principled, upper-class white idealogues, the media's love for Obama would have given them pause. Instead, our well-heeled neighbors relished the chance to be mainstream again and rushed to back him. It was a popularity contest, as snide and petty as any the Republicans throw. Good and evil never entered into it.

So when they claim to like Nader but vote for mainstream asshole #74, don't be deceived. If the current asshole du jour wasn't giving them a kickback, they wouldn't touch him. Nader will get well-off establishment whites on his side the moment he stops doing what crippled Edwards: stop talking about poor brown people.

(Actually, all Edwards did was talk about poor people, but I think whites heard the word "brown" in there automatically. Poor white people just can't get a righteous break.)

Mx. No One of Consequence

I agree and I thank you for the insightful commentary.

Excellent comment, No One of Consequence.

I'd also point out that the Dem apologists don't even really mean "lesser evil" by their own standards. I think an argument can be made, for example, that a guy like Gary Johnson is a "lesser evil" than Obama. Now, Johnson would fuck everyone hard economically and in other ways, so I'd still call him evil. I mean, the guy's a libertarian, which is pretty much the definition of "I got mine, fuck you!" But he'd also end the wars - both the drug and the foreign kind - and I think an argument can be made that that would, in fact, make him "lesser evil" under the standard the Ds so often apply, if they actually cared about policy. Because Obama and the Ds are going to fuck everyone hard economically, too, and their going to continue to kill and mass incarcerate people in all the wars. But for some reason none of these good progressives talk much about Johnson. Hell, you'd think they'd at least be interested in seeing him get the GOP nomination or causing some ripples, if only because he's ostensibly got a couple of big policies "progressives" claim to like and so he'd at least be "less evil" than, say, their favorite target, Donald Trump. But somehow, I don't think there's going to be much discussion about the GOP candidates to the left of Obama on the drug war and foreign wars. Somehow that "lesser evil" won't count for much because it has an (R) after its name.

BDBlue -- I don't know much about Gary Johnson, but I'm looking him up now.

I do know a little something about Ron Paul, though. And I sincerely believe that Ron Paul is sincerely anti-imperialist -- and I sincerely believe that Ron Paul is a selfish bigot who'd happily let the "free market" drag institutional racism to new heights.

And guess what? Ron Paul is still too ethical for Republicans.

Howard Dean works out the same way. I was ranting on this blog a few weeks back: noblesse oblige is too righteous for our aristocracy. Our government looks like a medieval morality play: utterly over-the-top demonic villains parade across the stage. It's so foul it can't tolerate even a little light.

So, if there were a set of primaries and you had to vote for candidates like Paul and Dean and Johnson, who would you vote for?

Answer: who cares? Those wretched assholes still display too much humanity for the Powers That Be to even let them onstage during a debate. It Will Never Happen. I mean, we're all pretty intellectual here and we want to talk about this sort of thing, but I'm telling you It Will Never Happen. Did Dean make it? Nope. Paul's son made it because he compromised the two or three principles he espoused -- Paul himself is a bit of a relic from a time where less than pure vileness was tolerated. I'd seriously love to be wrong here. If any of you can give me an example of a serious "lesser evil" election, I'd love to hear it. I'd bet money that the election always boils down to "well, he's a prick, but he kinda helps me out. . ."

Oh, but you just reminded me, Blue. Y'all out there who know lots and lots of Good Democrats, especially Quizmaster:

Could you tell me something?

Whenever we're playing the "lesser evil" game, how come I can't ever take the arrogant (it's true, he's proud and it's caused him to fuck up in ways that madden me sometimes) and annoying (not really a vice, but there it is) Ralph Nader and call him a "lesser evil?" I mean, he's evil, right? We know he is because the Good Democrats tell us so.

So, why can't I choose him as the "lesser evil?"

P.S.:

Btw, I don't care if you go to Klan rallies so often that your entire wardrobe can be washed safely in the harshest bleach: if you get into significant public office and stop the "War On Drugs" in even one state in the union, you've done more for brown people than every Dem put together in the last 20 years. Black incarceration rates are just that bad. I want to shower now.

There was a high school class president election, probably.

"I'd bet money that the election always boils down to 'well, he's a prick, but he kinda helps me out. . .'"

It's worse. People buy into the propaganda and seriously believe the lessor of two evils or legitimately good arguments. People don't have to base their actions in what is true.

"All those disgusting shitstains who despised Chris Floyd for complaining about Iraqi children being murdered..."

I've found that it's pointless to try shaming Obama supporters by reminding them of the thousands of civilians he has killed. Because, no less than Republicans, they have a fundamental belief in the right of the American government to dispose of non-American lives in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.

Mr. Floyd's disagreement with that belief makes him a lunatic fringe in the left-wing blogosphere.

No One -

Since you asked... I hear that a vote for Nader or the Greens or a Libertarian or anyone without the "D" is a "selfish" vote because it's a "waste" of a vote when you get a tiny bit of relief (so runs the BS) in choosing "D" over "R." It's also "unrealistic" to expect anyone other than a D or R to win.

Don't ask me to make that a cohesive argument, I can't.

I love it too when Nader is "selfish" and "conceited" and "just wants the spotlight" in running, as contrasted with let's say Obama. Obama as we know shuns self-promotion and is the model of humility.

I think a lot of these people just watch too much TV, and want to "participate" by "choosing" Brand X or Brand Y that we're told are the two options that don't count on the telemibishun.

Sorry, that *do* count.

I'll add that during the Obama campiagn I did have two actual conversions (a married couple) via email away from the Dems and in '08 to Nader, and hopefully beyond that to anyone decent who comes after. Tiny, tiny victories. These are people who were riding me on behalf of Kerry in '04.

From what little I've read (Johnson gets very little MSM coverage and I frankly don't care enough about either main party to go looking for much info), Johnson seems less overtly racist than Paul. He's certainly less sexist, supporting abortion rights (and in the story I read he didn't even use the weak "safe, legal and rare" bullshit so many Ds do, he just said he was for abortion being legal until the 3rd trimester). But he would, like Paul, straight up permit "the free market" to not only crush people of color, but pretty much everyone else, too. Which is why I'd consider him still evil and would never vote for him. I just think given his war and drug war stance, there is an argument he is the "lesser evil", but somehow that discussion doesn't really happen. Because if you assume whoever is elected the next President is going to let the "free market" destroy us, then at least you get drug decriminalization and an end of the wars with Johnson (assuming he could accomplish such things if elected), which yes, would do more for people of color - and really all poor people -than any president has done in quite a long time. Certainly more than the current president is going to do for them.

But again, none of that is to say Johnson isn't evil or is worthy of support. Because I don't think that's the case.

Quiz --

That "official brand" deal was exactly what I was thinking. We, as a species, really want to be a part of the group, so buying a third party is like buying a generic brand of cereal.

Here's the fucked up part: within the, er, "left" -- I think that word needs less salvaging than liberal, the latter which I still claim, against the rage of a harsh reality, still means something -- the left is obsessed with being an individual free thinker (just as the right is obsessed with individualist market decisions -- as if there was any human behavior truly independent of economic behavior, but that's a different rant). Given the former compulsion, the need to pick an Official Candidate is downright absurd. "I want to stand out of the crowd, just like everyone else!" Saturday morning cartoons have been written around such concepts.

Blue: thanks for the info.

And oh:

Obama as we know shuns self-promotion and is the model of humility.

Not that he's my favorite person or anything, but do recall that the main complaint pundits have about Jesse Jackson was that he's always hogging the spotlight. One of the bizarre things was that he always seemed to be doing said hogging whenever he was doing something right. That is, if he was selling out to business interests, I didn't hear a peep from the MSM. If you want to hear about his "moderate" -- of course, read rightwingish -- trickle-down initiatives, you're best off hitting wikipedia and going from there. But if an unarmed black man had been murdered. . . by cops. . . again. . . well, there he was, again, "hogging the spotlight."

The dog that didn't bark in Obama's case was that I never, not once, heard that complaint about him.

I guess Mr. Jackson just isn't all that well-spoken.

Or so hygienic, either. As The Real Jesse once said of GHWB, a text without a context is a pretext.

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