Sunday, October 16, 2016

It Ain't Me, Man

A lone man refusing to do the Nazi salute, 1936
I.  Modern Nationalism

It is not universally recognized that academically, nationalism is a modern phenomenon:
Nationalism, ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests.

Nationalism is a modern movement. Throughout history people have been attached to their native soil, to the traditions of their parents, and to established territorial authorities; but it was not until the end of the 18th century that nationalism began to be a generally recognized sentiment molding public and private life and one of the great, if not the greatest, single determining factors of modern history.
(Nationalism, Encyclopedia Britannica, emphasis added). This is one reason why some people are blind to the reasons that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel for Literature, and thereby became the first singer songwriter in history to become a Nobel Laureate (Congratulations To Bob Dylan).

And on top of that, he is "the first American to have won the prize in more than two decades. Not since novelist Toni Morrison won in 1993 has an American claimed the prize" (NPR).

He has been like the person in the photo above who refused a perverted nationalism and wrote "It Ain't Me, Babe" about it (see 1st Video below).

II. Nationalism Is A Strong American Sentiment

As modern as nationalism is internationally, it is really modern in the now and then.

It produces offspring such as jingoism, and to the contrary, the rejection of jingoism (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 4).

Various authors have discussed the two brands of American nationalism:
In this controversial critique of American political culture and its historical roots, Anatol Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our nationalism.

Within that nationalism, Lieven analyses two very different traditions. One is the "American thesis," a civic nationalism based on the democratic values of what has been called the "American Creed."
Love it or Leave It

These values are held to be universal, and anyone can become an American by adopting them. The other tradition, the "American antithesis" is a populist and often chauvinist nationalism, which tends to see America as a closed national culture and civilization threatened by a hostile and barbarous outside world.

With America Right or Wrong, Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in U.S. responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel.

This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.
(Good Reads). Currently, the understanding of what it is to be "American" is not a unified concept in what the Canadians call "the"

III. It's The Economy Plutocratic Neofeudalism Stupid

As economics professor Dr. Reich pointed out, some aspects of economy is a point of agreement in the rhetoric of voting republicans and democrats alike (Banker Jekyll Will Hyde Your Money - 12).

After all, both of those groups of voters have substantial numbers in the middle class, which is suffering.

I mean economic suffering caused by the now quite-obvious-and-naked degeneration of a robust economy into a plutonomy (The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy, 2, 3, 4, 8) characterized by feudalism (American Feudalism, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

IV. It Is Ok To ReMake America

The conservative Wall Street Journal really does agree with the liberal Dr. Reich about the economic issue of income disparity:
According to economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, the top 10% of earners captured about half of all income as of 2007.
The second reason is that those people in the middle- and lower-income groups are struggling to pay off debt and stay afloat amid rising unemployment, as today’s data remind us. That has crimped their spending.

The data may be a further sign that the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy–an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption. “I don’t think it’s healthy for the economy to be so dependent on the top 2% of the income distribution,” Mr. Zandi said.
(U.S. Economy Is Increasingly Tied to the Rich, WSJ). The agreement that inequality in access to the economic life of the nation has led to a plutocracy is not the end of the matter.

How to fix it is the place of contention.

For one thing, conservatives have been lowering the tax rates of the uber rich but not doing the same for the working classes, while liberals want to tax the uber rich more so than the working classes.

The Speaker of The House of Representatives is an ideological fan of Ayn Rand:
In a 2005 speech to a group of Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group.
(Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy - 3). Ayn Rand was a died in the wool ideological believer in plutocracy:
Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats ...

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt.
(Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy). It is a perplexing reality that "prosperity gospel" aficionados, within the religious conservative evangelical voting bloc, are ideologically aligned with her:
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel or the health and wealth gospel) is a Christian religious doctrine which claims the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians.

The doctrine teaches that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always increase one's material wealth.

Its proponents teach that the doctrine is an aspect of the path to Christian dominion over society, arguing that God's promise of dominion to Israel applies to Christians today.

The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be happy. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith.
(Ayn Rand: Patron Saint of The Plutocracy). Can you fathom that there is a cold, heartless, and pathological dynamism in the

See you in the camps (Pentagon Warning).

V. Conclusion

by John Lennon

"You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out"

Yep ... it ain't me babe ... it ain't me you're looking for ... it ain't me man ...


  1. "In July 1992, while driving back to Hartford with a friend after the "Tribute to Woody Guthrie" concert in Central Park and listening to Bob Dylan, my companion made some comment about the song "It Ain't Me, Babe". It seems that somehow his remark and the lingering inspiration from the concert set me thinking, because a couple of days later I suddenly came to an startling insight into the meaning of the song's lyrics." - link

  2. We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities,” Cunningham said. “For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
    (National Police Group Apologizes For Past Racial Injustices, But Not Current Ones).