Monday, January 24, 2011

My Favorite Malcontent

I love quoting James Kuntsler. He's a man after my own heart. Pretty positive about what he thinks and not afraid to say so. He's got what I consider a tremendous gift for words which means I not only agree with him, but I relish the man's sinewy vocabulary, his highly metaphorical approach to the writer's craft, his slashing sarcasm, and studied cynicism about politicians and corporations. Here he is in his regular Monday jeremiad about our general state of affairs.
  The bloodbath in Tucson completely obscured a momentous development in Mr. Obama's executive sphere, when he brought on JP Morgan factotum William Daley as White House Chief of Staff, for Gawdsake, and nobody in the news media so much as coughed into his (or her) sleeve. He also hired recent Goldman Sachs errand boy Gene Sperling to direct the National Economic Council. At Goldman, Sperling was charged with running self-esteem workshops for Third Worlders - an obvious public relations ploy. You wonder now whether he'll be carting American "99-ers" off to the Aspen Institute for weekends of buffet line cruising and "ideating" - to use a popular new vapidity from the lexicon of Big Business.
     Last Thursday, Mr. Obama actually flew up to my home territory to visit the headquarters of General Electric and sign on its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, as yet another White House special economic advisor. Notice, by the way, that GE was the recipient of untold billions of TARP pixie dust. I wonder if the president got a good look at GE's home base, Schenectady, New York, a once-vibrant industrial dynamo now so sclerotic that it makes the former soviet Magnetogorsks and Traktorgrads sound like El Dorados.
. . . .
  The appointments of Daley, Sperling, and Immelt show not just the total "capture" of Obama's government by sociopathic corporate interests (which, after all, have the sole mission of rewarding their shareholders, boards of directors, and executives), but it also shows the astounding poverty of imagination at the center of American political life. This is a fatal vacuum that invites something like revolution, because the only thing this vacuum seeks to do is suck things outside of itself into its own darkness. 
Now there's a substantial portion of our population . . . I should say a massive majority of our population who consider guys like Kuntsler (and me) old fuddy-duddies at best (and thus by definition too addled by years to offer judgment worth considering) and hopelessly-out-of-touch pessimists and nay-sayers. Why, don't you realize that American know-how and technology are going to solve all our energy problems? That the USA is Number One? That God loves us more than any other country? That if the whole world were more like us, we would not be having all these difficulties (which are temporary anyway). Well, I don't mind being called either, or anything in between. And all the protestations and shouts of "USA! USA! USA!" ain't changing a damn thing. We're on a downhill slide. The future for our children and grandchildren is frightful. And wishing otherwise ain't gonna make it so.

Post a Comment