Shred from Facebook. Please read this.
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My favorite expert on “when nations fall apart” has written another BAM essay, and I think this is one we ALL need to read and remember — he is pointing out that we are IN THE MIDST of efforts to destroy everything the American Constitution and way of life has been, is, and is rapidly being destroyed by the GOP and it’s army of MAGAts. The message is that this is NOT our country any more — we are IN a perpetual series of mass killings with NO response from the GOP in red states, nearly constant low-level civil conflict – a type of conflict where one side always prefers violence, and the other side rejects violence. The “freedom” these people are imposing is the freedom to consistently demonstrate their power over everyone else and their intentions to force everyone to adopt the MAGAt way of thinking that only white Christians have any rights and no way to change any restrictions will be tolerated.
The GOP and MAGAts first remove “personhood” from existence – ultimately that you cannot even leave your state without permission. Sound familiar? They’re going to have to destroy the middle class first — we are the class “invented” to keep “the masses” thinking that they will eventually have better lives. “Soft targets” are identified and hit hard — public spaces, bars, clubs, libraries, schools — easy to “control out of existence”. The GOP/MAGAts are quite advanced in terms of ignoring threats while carrying out threats.
Parts of our nation have become a war zone – targeting the least powerful people in our nation with the most outrageous of claims about the damage those people are doing to everyone else — rapidly becoming messages of “you do NOT deserve to exist” while, at the same time, encouraging those locally-created fascist groups to act as “God” wants them to and get rid of all of these people claiming rights that God never gave them, along with the political party that insists every human has these rights.
Wake up — prepare yourself, and demand DEMS fully address ALL of these anti-human and inhumane thoughts, claims, actions, and laws.
If America Feels Like a Warzone, That’s Because…It Is
If You Ever Wondered What You’d Do When the Nazis Showed Up, You’re Doing It
Take a hard look at the numbers above (I put it in the first comment box). Shocking, no? Yet somehow unsurprising. How do we make sense of what’s happening in, and to, America? The eruption of ultraviolence as an everyday affair? Two massacres happened in 24 hours this weekend. It’s Tuesday. They’re already being forgotten. That’s…profoundly abnormal. There’s something wrong with that, isn’t there?
So how do we make sense of all this?
Imagine I told you that there was a country where all the following was true. Massacres, sectarian ones, carried out by militants, were becoming commonplace. They had political motivations — to cleanse the promised, the homeland, of the impure, the invaders, the subhumans. The President had led a bloody coup against the seat of government, which had — through sheer chance, almost — failed, marching an army of said militants down the streets of the Capitol. His party was focused on annihilating people politically — taking away the rights of whole social groups, and goaded, encouraged, and incited militants to take matters into their own hands.
You’d say something like — at least if you were into social science — “that country’s in a state of low level civil conflict.” And then, reflecting, you might add: “and things are escalating, fast.”
In other words: if America feels like a warzone today, that’s because…it is.
Now. All this is hard for Americans to think about well. I don’t mean that in the way of an insult. It just is, for a whole lot of reasons. Americans are taught that America’s exceptional, that it’s above the rules of politics and economics and society, beyond history’s lessons. Furthermore, there’s the long shadow of the civil war — which makes people think that “civil conflict” means armies raging against one another. So seeing through those warped lenses, it’s become hard for Americans to really understand what’s happening to their society.
It is now in a low-level civil conflict. One which is escalating rapidly.
When figures like me say things like that — and we don’t like to, because, sigh, it provokes every kind of fanatic and lunatic under the sun — there’s another misinterpretation which springs to mind. “Sides can’t settle their differences peacefully, so they’ve take to violence instead.” That’s not really what civil conflicts are. Maybe in rare cases, sure — but what’s far more common is this.
One side revels in violence. It doesn’t “use” violence as some kind of means. Violence is the end in itself. Think about the kinds of fanatics that like to behead people on video — or maybe strangle them to death in subways. Am I making an unfair comparison? Umm… Normal people don’t do things like this. What happens in most civil conflicts is that one side is violent, and the other one isn’t.
This is what’s happening in America. It’s not “two sides unable to resolve their differences.” That’s a completely, almost pathetically, inaccurate description. The accurate one is: one side does not want democracy to exist. Not just as in “voting,” but as in a set of values, that people enact. It does not want equality. Truth. Justice. Freedom, right down to the basic ones of expression, association, speech, privacy, movement, intimacy. And it isn’t just “using” violence to make those politics real — those politics are fundamentally about replacing each and every one of those democratic values with violence.
Does that make sense? Let me put it even more clearly. The violence is the point. When societies begin to grow consumed by civil conflict, it’s usually because one side grows openly annihilationist. Think of genocides from Asia to Africa to Europe and beyond. That side begins to openly say that there are those among us who don’t deserve to exist.
And then its levels work in tandem. From the top, demagogues begin the job of political annihilation — they remove personhood from hated outgroups, one right at a time. Sorry, you can’t leave the state. Can’t read those books, or write them. Nope, you can’t associate with that kind of nonperson. This is dehumanization.
With a wink wink and a nudge nudge, the demagogues imply: it’d sure be a shame if someone just finished this job. This job of annihilation. Sure would be a shame if someone just got down to business and did the dirty work once and for all. From the bottom-up, militants hear the message. They organize themselves into paramilitaries — the Army of the Pure, the Soldiers of Faith, the Sons of Truth — and…
Then the violence begins.
Think about what’s happened in America over the last few years. Doesn’t that describe it almost perfectly? And yet what I’m detailing for you is a textbook way that societies collapse.
I talk about “social collapse” a lot. Some people think I mean it as some kind of sci-fi hyperbole. I don’t. I mean it in a technical, formal way. Economic collapse: America’s once-vaunted middle class doesn’t really exist anymore. Downward mobility’s now the norm. Etcetera. There are many facets of social collapse, many forms of it. The one we’re discussing here? It’s social collapse from the democratic politics of peace…to civil conflict.
In that way, we aren’t overusing the term collapse. We’re talking about it almost literally. A democracy implodes into a thing of conflict, brutality. How does that happen?
Let’s go back to the top-down and bottom-up groups working in tandem. The demagogues preach hate. Those subhumans mustn’t exist! They’re corrupting us! They’re taking our jobs, women, families, land! We’ve got to annihilate them politically!! And then hate becomes violence.
Isn’t that what’s happened in America over the last few years? Think about how much hate is now normalized in America. It’s perfectly normal for Members of Congress — the fanatical ones — to get up there and send death threats to their colleagues. They walk it back as a joke. But the lunatics have gotten the message. Hate has been legitimized by the GOP — and I don’t just mean that normatively, I mean it politically: think of how so many bills have been filed and passed against everyone from women to the LGBTQ to kids to teachers that it can only be described as a blitzkrieg.
This is a process of sociopolitical collapse. Norms shatter — hey, it’s not OK to just…hate people. To smear them as groomers and pedophiles and child molesters and so forth. Then politics shatters, too, and becomes consumed by hate, and legislation is purely about that.
Now think of the GOP. It has no agenda — none — whatsoever for America. Beyond hate. No economic plan. No plan for insfrastructure. Climate change? LOL. Nothing to resuscitate the middle class. Nothing on inflation, stagnation, falling real incomes. It offers nothing. Nothing but hate.
That’s not a jeremiad — a moral condemnation. It’s an observation, one which should chill you. How do societies plunge into civil conflict? When do you know a society’s in a civil conflict? When one side offers nothing — nothing — but hate. Over and over again. In more and more vitriolic, open, abusive, crazy forms, every single day.
When a political side does that, what follows is obvious. Militants pick up the message. Hate has been legitimized. Hey, our leaders want us to go out there and annihilate these people! They might say it’s just a joke, but come on — we all know nobody’s kidding. Why else are they legislating to take all those hated peoples’ rights away? LOL — not a joke at all. We’ve got a social license now, from the very top. Hate becomes violence.
In civil conflicts, hate becomes violence in a certain pattern, too, in a predictable way. What’s targeted? “Soft targets,” in military-speak. Public spaces and public places. Bars. Clubs. Shopping malls. Restaurants. Schools. Why? Because that’s precisely where all those hated people are exercising those very freedoms that the demagogues are trying to take away. And so the militants get the message — hey, sure would be a shame if someone just took matters into their own hands, and finished the job!
If you take one thing away from all this, let it be that. Because you need to understand what’s coming. What should we expect to happen to America over the coming years and months? Something like the following.
Now that hate has been legitimized by the GOP, its militants will escalate in violence. There will be more attacks on public spaces and institutions, to terrorize people, to kill them for enacting the very basic freedoms the GOP’s demagogues are trying to take away politically — expression, association, speech, privacy — to send the message: don’t every try to enact this kind of freedom. Nobody’s safe. We can end your life for it, anywhere we choose. Societies need to be taught lessons, in this way of thinking, with blood and death.
As those attacks escalate — as massacres become even more commonplace — America’s leaders are likely to do…LOL…more of nothing. The GOP’s goading all this on for a reason, because it accomplishes their political objective of ending democracy. The Democrats, though, think about it. What should they be doing? In a sane country? They’d be leading a general strike, some kind of action that brought society to a standstill, until the violence stopped, and the weapons of war were off the streets. The GOP offers thoughts and prayers — and the Democrats offer tepid frustration. It’s not good enough. It tells us that escalation will happen, almost inevitably.
As we approach the next election, this civil conflict America’s already now in is going to into overdrive. Fascist massacres — let’s just call them what they are — are going to become even more commonplace. Public space after public space will be targeted — gay bars, libraries, LGBTQ havens, women’s healthcare centers, seats of government. To send the message: this isn’t your country anymore. Now it’s ours. We rule it, with bullets and bombs, with chokeholds and rage. None of this belongs to you anymore. Voting? LOL. Don’t even try it. Forget about it.
Sadly, much of that is likely to work. You see, like I said, it’s profoundly unhealthy for a society to do what Americans do. Are forced to do. Forget. Forget about this week’s massacre, because, well, you’ve got to go back to your bullshit job, and pay the “bills,” meaning, the made-up numbers that billionaires demand from you for food, water, energy, housing. But that’s what Americans have to do, and it’s made them a silent majority. Yes, the majority of Americans abjure this violence — but at the same time, they are largely powerless to do much about it. At least without leading figures in opposition, well, leading them to. Demanding and creating the space for civil disobedience, to demand real change, to reject the violence and hate and brutality.
Meanwhile, as all this goes on, American media will go on doing the abysmal job it’s been doing. I don’t need to say much about that, do I? Every time there’s violence, mostly, American media, LOL, basically defends the killer. He was crazy, he was a lone wolf, he was mentally ill. The last one has SS tattoos and was a fan of Adolf Hitler. How much does it really take to connect the dots here, to a politics of annihilationism, to the legislation of hate, to the removal of personhood as the only political agenda the GOP has?
And yet America’s media mostly…flatly…refuses to do it, and that leaves too many Americans unsure. Confused. Dazed and baffled. About what’s really happening to their country. But it hardly takes a rocket scientist. To tell you that when fanatics with SS tattoos are massacring people…the very same people…that demagogues are calling unpeople…whose personhood they’re removing and stripping away, legislatively one lost right at a time…that this isn’t an anomaly, it’s a militant politics of violence.
First, the fascists tried a coup. It didn’t work. Then, they tried a hundred coups — taking over local governments and offices. That worked better. Now? They’re down to open civil conflict, meaning, the militants and demagogues are working hand in hand, to destabilize society, with open violence, like massacres. The removal of personhood operates at the legislative level — but not just that one, also, now, at the street level, at the point of a gun, as a bullet rips a kids’ head off. A kid who was never a real person to this side, these lunatics, these fanatics, anyways. The militants are just finishing the job the demagogues started. And the demagogues don’t just have a job in mind — but a crusade, a Reich, a society authoritarian from top to bottom, where every last choice is controlled, and the entire point of social and personal existence is supremacy, the reign of the pure and true over the hated.
If America feels like war zone, that’s because it is. It’s in a violent conflict now. One side is violent, because to it, violence is the point. It’s how you prove you’re pure, strong, true, real. The other one is largely nonviolent, unless you see kids who just want to read books shooting up anyone or anything. The violent side has decided now that it’s open season. The gloves are off. The bullets are in every fanatics’ gun. Stand back and stand by has become: lock, load, and open fire. America’s now in a civil conflict against fascism.
You can pretend, like the New York Times, that’s not the case, when militants with SS tattoos are blowing kids faces’ off. Kids they consider subhuman. Just like the demagogues in the GOP tell them. Just like the GOP’s demagogues do, prove, illustrate, legitimize, when they not just adopt the language of annihilation towards such groups — but literally legislate the politics of it, too. You can pretend none of that’s connected, that it’s not happening, that it can’t happen here. But I think when you do that? You are dishonoring the life of that poor kid who died without a face, because the demagogues said they weren’t really a person, and the militants shot them like they weren’t even an animal.
And sadly? This is all what was predicted, because this is how societies collapse