Something that's been bouncing around in my head a lot during the past few months is a quote (attributed to Franklin Leonard - “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” Which, I think, goes a long way towards explaining why the US is imploding right now.

@lightweight that covers the business owners, cops, and firefighters at the Capitol, but doesn't have anything to do with the unemployed fentanyl addicts in formerly industrial areas who swung the election in 2016.

@alrs I'd say it covers poor suffering uneducated white folk who feel that the system has let them down and who now seem to feel like they're oppressed.

@lightweight Does "uneducated" mean "bad," "less," or "unworthy?"

@alrs no. It means uneducated. That could be due to lack of personal application or lack of opportunities. It's not judgemental, it just reflects a lack of personal awareness and the right intellectual tools to rise above it.

@lightweight Also missing from this analysis, if you have 1/6/2021 in mind, are all of the participants waving flags for MEK, ARVN, Falun Gong, and Likud.

@lightweight People were flying flags of RVN (Republic of Vietnam, defunct since 1975), MEK (CIA-backed Iranian opposition), and Israel. None of that is about dwindling privilege, it's about the hard-right ideologies of American imperial projects showing up in domestic politics as textbook "blowback."

@alrs I think disaffected poor white folks who've fallen on hard times (who, having dropped out of highschool/got no uni education have few rewarding employment opportunities) looking for someone to blame for their lack of prosperity are, sadly, aligned with privileged (but also ignorant and sometimes psychopathic) white folks who're keen to use hate/fear to rally people looking for someone to blame. Trump was one of their leaders. Together, they're the ones that I believe got him elected.

@lightweight My grandparents didn't finish high school, and didn't die broke. To think that people who didn't finish (or start) college deserve to live in their cars is, to me, twisted. Someone is to blame for the lack of prosperity in Michigan and Ohio, and it isn't the working people of Michigan and Ohio.

@alrs misallocation of blame here. I live in NZ because, having grown up in the US, I could see the social/political trajectory made the current situation likely (I left the US in '94). The people who voted for Trump (there were a LOT of them) should've voted for Sanders. He was the one who would've made a material difference for them. But, I suspect, many of them don't have the intellectual perspective required to understand that. They were exploited by Trump.

@alrs the blame falls squarely on US multinational corporations, aided & abetted by the US federal gov't they've run for decades, hollowing out the country. That's the problem. Trump gained power because his supporters don't have sufficient intellectual tools to appropriately allocate culpability.

@alrs Trump as like an auto-immune disorder. The US body politic was tricked by its own cultural defences to attack its best source of healing while poisoning itself from the inside, hastening its demise. I hope it's not too late for them to realise it.

@lightweight I think the decline of educational standards in the US plays a role, but it's not controversial to point out that Trump ran left of Clinton: Repeal NAFTA, No TPP, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn't deliver, and they didn't vote for him a second time.

@alrs I'm a committed opponent to the TPPA - which is a corporate power/sovereignty-grab, but I'm not convinced that Trump lost many votes. There's a whole lotta dumbfuck among US voters today. Like 70 million of them.

@lightweight you're on the other side of the planet, so it's not really your responsibility, but I think that "hey dumbfucks, stop being so fucking stupid all the time" is a losing recruitment strategy.

@alrs heh - rest assured, I'm not recruiting - NZ's full :) - but let's face it, despite everything Trump has done in 4 years, turning the once broadly admired US into a simpering object of pity around the world, 70 million (nearly half!) still voted for Trump. There's no way that can be considered intelligent.

@alrs unfortunately, the conservative right of the US has so intellectually inured to good arguments by their pastors (mostly) that they'l die before they let that "socialism" stuff happen (because they're ignorant of political systems and don't know the difference between social democracies and communism).

@lightweight There are forever-Democrats, there are forever-Republicans. Neither matter, they always vote the same way. What matters is the swing voters, the people who voted for Obama twice, got nothing, and then rolled the dice on Trump.

@alrs the issue is that a LOT of them (most of them) voted for him twice. That's almost literally insane.

@lightweight Joe Biden promised to veto M4A, should it clear Congress. Who should they have voted for?

@alrs to my mind, the US screwed itself almost completely by not selecting Sanders as the democratic candidate. That was utterly disastrous. I have no love for Biden. The only thing he's got going for him is that he's less dangerous/psychotic/narcistic/anti-intellectual than Trump. But there's little to recommend him otherwise.

@alrs I characterise Biden as a tourniquet on the arterial wound that is Trump. But stopping the bleeding is only slowing the inevitable descent. The US needs real, progressive leadership. The possibly intractable challenge is to overcome the aforementioned multi-generationally indoctrinated completely irrational aversions a substantial proportion of voters clearly hold.

@alrs the US needs to dismantle the entire 2 party electoral oligarchy and scrap both the DNC and GOP for an egalitarian (and actually representative) form of democracy. I can recommend STV and maybe even MMP as substantial improvements. Also, and just as crucially, the US must remove the role of business in deciding who can even run. To wit: The US gov't needs real sunshine on every aspect of federal gov't because the "checks and balances"... aren't.

@alrs they won't even be influenced by the fact that *every other modern economy in the world* has a strong social welfare system, public health, and (mostly) free schooling, and they're *all doing way better than the US* by just about every metric that matters.

@alrs sorry, I'm convolving intelligence with ignorance, because I'm angry at what the US has become... When I'm calling people stupid/dumb, they're not really intellectually inferior... but they are provincial and ignorant, in part due to a dysfunctional educational system.

@alrs I should expand on my rationale for moving to NZ: having visited here, I realised that it was the place that the US *could've* been if it wasn't a) cursed with the burden of "blind faith as a virtue" (religiousness), b) corporate domination of the 'faux-democratic" system, combined with c) multi-generational exploitation of large portions of the population. The US was, in my view, screwed. NZ, on the other hand, was - though far from perfect - rightfully optimistic.

@lightweight The US had a choice as an empire in decline: become another Australia, or become another Argentina. We chose the latter.

@alrs I'm not very familiar with the political history of Argentina, although I know it's very unpleasant. I'm more familiar with Oz, due to my proximity here in NZ... and I must say, AU is rapidly following in the US' footsteps. It's built on a similar history of unconscionable exploitation (actually, genocide) of its indigenous people... politically, it's a cesspit of corruption. It's only saving grace, so far as I can tell, is that it's way less religious than the US.

What's surprising in your analogy is that you have an immediate neighbor country with a measure of social programs without being "socialist" that you could inspire yourself from. Much of what Bernie was pushing for, we've had for two generations. Our system is far (FAR!) from perfect, but the inequalities aren't as great here.

We did, and still mistreat our indigenous people. And Canadian mining companies shamelessly exploit Africa... ☹️

@normand @lightweight The US is going to be the regional hegemon even after it leaves Europe and Asia, so even then Canada won't be able to choose its own foreign policy to any real degree. Australia is going to be a client of China, the US, or part of some hail-mary BRICS non-alignment thing. They won't be able to go-it-alone, but they will be able to choose their senior partner.

@alrs @normand as long as the US is a viable nation, that's probably true... although I'm uncertain how long that'll continue to be the case.

Ok, I understand better your argument now. It's true that Canada has no choice but to align its foreign policy with its bigger neighbor... Sometimes our prime minister takes a stand, Chrétien refused to follow GWB in his Irak war. (As did Pearson for Vietnam). But he did engage Canadian troops in Afghanistan...

@normand @lightweight @alrs

So instead of empowering your indigenous people to forge their own path in a new economic system unfamiliar to their culture, you decided to just keep raping and disappearing them, then on behalf of your country, you would like to compare it to our country and say it's better and has less inequalities.

Yeah, I think our natives are better than your natives because we treat them like humans capable of independent thought.

LOL. Sure, buddy. Natives are so well treated in the USA...
@lightweight @alrs
In the whole country, suuuuuure. Yep. No genocide there two hundred years ago right?
@alrs @lightweight

@normand @alrs @lightweight

Anyone ever tell you that you're like their ex-girlfriend who couldn't stop bringing up the past? No country is without fault, but you postmodernists will be quick to evade the compare and contrast, because the USA set a precedent for treating indigenous peoples. A legal precedent which today is being used in Australia to help guarantee their aboriginal people's rights as well.

@normand @alrs @lightweight

History lesson, because nobody asked: the word slave comes from slav, as in Slavic. The Slavic peoples inhabit mostly Russia, and were influential in the United States of America's choice to set a legal precedent for a first world country by ending slavery. Not only am I in the greatest country on the planet, I'm also in the most virtuous one. Farewell!

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