Conflicting visions of masculinity in the postmodern era
Monday, 5 September 2022
Masculinity is both a noun and a verb, defined as much by one’s physical characteristics as one’s actions in society. But how precisely is it to be defined biologically and culturally? The former has become a decidedly more slippery project than it once was, now that men, in a stunning rejection of the most fundamental apophatic truth of humanity on earth, can give birth. And the latter, the focus of this essay, seems to suggest two separate and distinct propositions: the first, constrained, and the second, unconstrained.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are upon us. The Trump-Biden ticket, the cultural civil war, COVID 1984, and the slow motion economic collapse have all kicked off in earnest, each feeding off the other like a multi-headed ouroboros. The controlled opposition that is underway to address these crises is designed to attenuate the transformative energy of those seeking to address the massive inequalities that exist in this country. Taking each phenomenon in turn, one can see they represent sigils of a transition to an entirely new mode of political, economic, and social organization on a global level. (more…)
We are at war. There is an enemy, soldiers, heroes, and victims. And because we are at war, we will be subject to an unceasing propaganda effort to shape our thinking about what is happening, or should happen, and what we can do about it. During times of war and catastrophe, we must as the story goes, sacrifice some liberty for security. Power coalesces in the face of catastrophe, where large scale coordination is required to address unforeseen events, and we are told that this was an unforeseen event. This is part of what it means to live in a representative democracy, where the rule of law prevails above all else. The rule of law in America is a self-licking ice cream. Whenever new laws brought about by states of emergency are enacted, a “new normal” begins to congeal in the minds of Americans, and these new laws become part of the landscape of American life, part of a rules-based society – the rule of law ultimately prevails, regardless of the scope of its power. This means that in America, provided we are able to maintain the appearance of legitimacy in our plebiscites, the outcome of voting has the imprimatur of the people and the patina of political authority. We all have a role to play in this “live exercise”.
The most significant changes in society happen in short convulsions, where a dangerous enemy is clearly defined. This fact was well understood long ago, and was articulated with great clarity in the minutes of the Carnegie Foundation’s first meetings in the early 1900s, which were uncovered by the United States House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations (aka, the Reece Committee), when they were engaged in a grand effort to shape the future of America. Norman Dodd, the head researcher of the Reece Committee recalls: (more…)
May we live in interesting times, as the curse goes. Political change agents among the least of us have been denied once again, and those that sit at the tables of power are in the grips of a full blown effort to convince the people that the institutional structures of society are fundamentally sound, and that all that is needed is a competent manager at the helm to guide us through the rough waters we have been experiencing lately. You know the thing; we have to keep it great, lest someone come along and peer behind the curtain only to find that a revolution is brewing. The virus that plagues us may or may not be man-made, but the shape of things to come certainly will be.
As our selected officials flood the media with statements that have the phrase “war-time footing” (read: emergency extra-legal authority) sprinkled throughout, it is clear in which direction the country, and the world, is being led. And make no mistake, the war being fought on all sides of the crisis before us is an information war. We are currently in the reaction phase, which will shortly be followed by the solution phase. The solution phase will at minimum, include the following: (more…)
A brief history of the modern presidency and impeachment
Monday, 6 January 2020
What is the de facto role of the modern presidency throughout history? If we examine the actions taken by all US presidents in the modern era, and let the common denominators be the ultimate measure, then the answer would be to preside over organized violence. This is certainly true from a theoretical perspective as well, since the existence of the State is dependent upon having a monopoly on violence. Additionally, if political action rather than political rhetoric is understood as the gold standard of future behavior, then the executive branch will pursue the following policies, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election: (more…)