From the Belly of the Beast

Why nothing in Trump’s America is what it seems

by Mike Meyer

From deep in the belly of the beast, all parts of our institutionalized media can do nothing but pretend the this is normal. Even if they are critical and recite the official statements indicating dementia and approaching psychosis, they will never acknowledge that this is deadly. It is only a slight problem that will be corrected in the next election. How that will work is never stated.

Our formal media no longer matter except as indicators of the depth of the disease. The best that they can do, and ‘they’ are human with good intentions, is show the absurdity of the situation. Behind this is the unstated proviso, what can we do?

We have a mentally ill person who is also, almost certainly, a criminal, individually dedicated to the elimination of representational government, and completely dismissive of law and any moral or ethical standards, but nothing can be done. That is because it is all too complicated.

Behind the scenes, millions of words are written or spoken explaining discrete elements of political, economic, and social collapse generated by or exacerbated by the gross incompetence of the Trump regime. But these words do not penetrate the cloud of illusion surrounding all official communication in the country. There is smoke but no fire. The steadily rising temperatures and charring of the Constitution and laws is unrelated and incidental. We can’t see it so it must not be there, they say.

How can this be? Even in the most politically progressive publications the illusion is maintained by the simple tool of treating each article or story as a discrete, isolated, and distinct object. Brutal racism and white supremacy are discussed in one, new policies to attack and deny LGBT people their rights in another, blatant criminal corruption in a third, Trump’s worsening dementia and psychotic behaviour in yet another, but none of these cross reference.

At the same time political coverage of the 2020 national campaign assumes that this is just another election and how many people are committed to Trump for president. No mention that he is mentally ill, criminally corrupt with major questions on the validity of his election, or seeking to destroy our planetary climate while ending representational government.

Even for those of us actively involved in analysis it is a confusing mix of contradictory viewpoints. All of this is happening while we know, objectively, that human society is changing rapidly and those changes are toward diversity, openness, secularity, sustainability, a newly expanded commons, and a new economic system because the old one is killing us and our planet quickly.

Again, objectively, based on extensive reading and analysis in many fields it is obvious that the violent reaction of fascist/nationalists and their minority of followers have already failed. Despite vast financial resources among the oligarchic elite the significant majority of the planet’s population are appalled by these people and recognize the irrationality of what is happening. But the constant pretense that this is some kind of evenly matched race drags everyone down while encouraging the most dangerous believers to kill and destroy.

We know this is a product of late stage capitalism desperate to maintain profits with fear and loathing. Knowing this doesn’t help. The pattern needs to be broken and the alienation of every statement and every situation into discrete, unconnected events is a social and mental disease that we must overcome.

But what we are dealing with is only understandable in the context of the failure of what we have known as the Modern World. That failure is not complete and sudden but a paradigmatic shift in response to drastically changed social, environmental, and intellectual factors. The extent of those changes are becoming clearer by the day and making much of what is being discussed irrelevant.

Much of the confusion and alienation discussed above can now be identified but it requires significant changes in attitude to see what is happening from the new perspective. First you must see a problem, correctly, before you can begin to deal with and solve it.

Put simply this is a question of freedom. We have been moving into an increasingly free world for the last fifty years. This has been patchy and difficult to identify while not being evenly distributed. This is also not the old “freedom” notoriously shouted about by the very people attempting to create a 20th century police state on the fascist model wherever they can get away with it.

What has changed is the nature of society and the nature of our practical economic system. In the US we have spent decades attempting to better integrate our diverse people. The growing population and decades of open trade and movement along with decades of US wars has changed our population. They are diverse and bought into the concept of individual liberty and the freedom to live as they want.

At a broader level we have long traditions in the western US of people defining freedom as the ability to move and work where they can. This is now, almost always temporary work in the gig economy. Traditional jobs with high pay, benefits, and retirement are gone. The disappearance of those jobs has a long history that is little understood in the capitalist and post capitalist world. That lack of understanding is a major factor in creating the wannabe fascists among those who had those jobs and lost them and want them back. And are willing to believe their failure is the result of someone else horning in.

Those jobs and their world are no longer to be had. Our planetary economy is now structured on international supply chains with all objects, including people, converted into interchangeable components that are outsourced so they can be ignored. This is the result of creating scalability as the critical element of efficiency in manufacturing and sales. Raw materials, design, manufacturing are sourced where cheapest or nearest to target markets. Everything must be scalable and interchangeable. There is no room for personal involvement or value.

This is, of course, well known and traditionally claimed as the great American success of the 21st century while actually being a planet wide model that evolved from Japanese zaibatsu and keiretsu in the 20th century. We are living in the world that came from that with two generations who have accepted that and figured out how to find freedom within it.

These generations including many immigrants move from job to job or to entrepreneurial opportunities as sources of income. But they have no need for the constraints of an inforced work society. They are permanently living with precarity. Learning the skills and having the connections to do this is another form of freedom. Many immigrants to the US have chosen this because the sales pitch of the US to our military allies in areas of conquest for years was freedom as the ideal and residency in the US as a reward.

With the world as an open market and the stated right of all to formally defined human rights we have millions of people who are taking advantage of this and making it their own. Their precarity, a precarious life, is based on the essence of early capitalism and that is transactional and cross border where values are translated, that is where a profit is to be made from skills or knowledge. The entire planetary economy of automated supply chains created this reality and moved people to the interstices.

The inevitable social evolution as been to find freedom and opportunity with happiness in the environment you have. If impersonalized supply chains is the world you may chose work in those wherever you can and you must to meet needs but you may also opt out for direct entrepreneurial activities that may make more money for a time.

Your community is your family and friends and that is how you live. But these are not people who spend their lives working for the same company. The precarity of how they (we) live now means that you are continuously moving from assemblage to assemblage of people with diverse ethnicities, resources, animals, plants, and opportunities. It is not the old American middle class and will never be mistaken for that.

Most of this, particularly the immigrant communities (legal or not), has been almost completely ignored in the traditional US self image. This is the emerging planetary culture. The need is for support, medical care, education, and a living when all the opportunities disappear. This is, by definition, a precarious position but can be satisfying and free. But it needs a solid and extensive commons that supports all who need it.

The Green New Deal is the creation of that new Commons.

The failure to see this as our future creates a dyslexic era where things don’t match up and cannot even be seen so are confusing everyone. The opportunists who are playing by the old rules of control can gain followers by seeing only foreigners and threats and promising to return everything to the old ways but those ways are no longer possible. They have been gone for years not because of immigration or other people but by the choice of America’s corporations to turn people into scalable objects.

The young and the immigrant are finding ways to live and be free in a place with opportunities and natural resources. They will not, in fact cannot, see the America that people who would follow a Trump assume. There is nothing left of that world except distorted memories of those who were left high and dry when it started to disappear forty years ago.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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