The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

Mrs. Dinh Nhu Ngo firing .38 pistol.

 

Chapter 11.
The Huxleyan Warning

There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first—the Orwellian—culture becomes a prison. In the second—the Huxleyan—culture becomes a burlesque.

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures whose structure Orwell described accurately in his parables. If one were to read both 1984 and Animal Farm, and then for good measure, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, one would have a fairly precise blueprint of the machinery of thought-control as it currently operates in scores of countries and on millions of people. Of course, Orwell was not the first to teach us about the spiritual devastations of tyranny. What is irreplaceable about his work is his insistence that it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship equally pervasive.

What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future.

Those who speak about this matter must often raise their voices to a near-hysterical pitch, inviting the charge that they are everything from wimps to public nuisances to Jeremiahs. But they do so because what they want others to see appears benign, when it is not invisible altogether. An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We are not likely, for example, to be indifferent to the voices of the Sakharovs and the Timmermans and the Walesas. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Bacon, Voltaire, Goethe and Jefferson. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

I fear that our philosophers have given us no guidance in this matter. Their warnings have customarily been directed against those consciously formulated ideologies that appeal to the worst tendencies in human nature. But what is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. No Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto announced its coming. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change in our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not vet assimilated the point that technology is ideology. This, in spite of the fact that before our very eyes technology has altered every aspect of life in America during the past eighty years. For example, it would have been excusable in 1905 for us to be unprepared for the cultural changes the automobile would bring. Who could have suspected then that the automobile would tell us how we were to conduct our social and sexual lives? Would reorient our ideas about what to do with our forests and cities? Would create new ways of expressing our personal identity and social standing?

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. Introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerrilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress. And in this sense, all Americans are Marxists, for we believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement…

– Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Paperback (1985)

 

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

 

VIETNAM WAR: NEW KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARY DISMISSES THE ORIGINS OF THE FUTILE, DISASTROUS CONFLICT
BY JEFF STEIN
Sept. 17th, 2017

 

Anticipating the Forthcoming PBS Documentary, ‘The Vietnam War’
by Camillo Mac Bica
July 20, 2017

 

South of the Church of the Resurrection

Has Seymour Hersh Debunked ‘Russia-gate’? (super juicy)
Hersh says Seth Rich contacted WikiLeaks
by Justin Raimondo
August 04, 2017

Well, something did happen to him, but we’ll pass over that and note that Hersh mentions “the NSA report.” So the FBI, in investigating this case, turned to the National Security Agency, which has access to everyone’s online communications, and came up with evidence confirming that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he had a secure Dropbox, and that he was concerned that he might be in danger. Hersh says “the word was passed” – but to whom? There are more mysteries here than we can uncover with just these bits of information.

[…]

Apparently our brainless media, not to mention our not-very-intelligent “intelligence community,” have never heard of Occam’s Razor.

Hersh, who has been around the block several times, and is intimately familiar with how the intelligence community operates – as well as being personally familiar with the individuals involved – is onto the game that’s being play here. In his words:

“I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean [it’s] all bullshit…. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him.”

 

How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder

 

Overweight Asian-Americans Are Seen as More ‘American,’ Study Finds

 

 

A mysterious driverless minivan was spotted driving around the DC area

 

“Such was the sheer number of pilgrims who travelled from across the world to the Holy City that at times it appeared in danger of bursting at the seams. In 516, when a great army of ascetics descended upon Jerusalem a particularly rowdy demonstration of support for Chalcedon, ten thousand of them barged into a single church. A few years later, Justinian, looking to raise a monument proportionate to his self-regard was obliged to extend the ridge on which his new church was being built, so that its foundations ended up “partly on solid rock and partly on air.” Space was running out. Jerusalem, which even in the off-season had some eighty thousand inhabitants, was full to overflowing.

Yet, one part of the city — the most prominent of all — remained undeveloped. South of the Church of the Resurrection, beyond the multitude of golden crosses rising triumphantly above the crowded streets, there loomed a great, flat expanse of rubble-strewn and garbage-piled rock. Evidence, perhaps, that the site was of no great significance?”

-Tom Holland
In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire

 

 

Climate Change

click on image to view full size

 

New research suggests that large parts of Southern Asia may be uninhabitable by 2100 due to levels of humidity dangerous to humans. (National Geographic)

 

Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire

 

Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?
MIKE WHITNEY • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 2,000 WORDS

 

The Only Other News:

 Wednesday,  Aug 2, 2017

Trump vents frustration at generals over Afghanistan

President Trump reportedly criticized the military team tasked with developing a new strategy in Afghanistan in a recent meeting, and repeatedly suggested firing Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing senior administration officials. “We aren’t winning,” Trump said, according to the officials. “We are losing.” Trump, who has never met with Nicholson, also reportedly directed his anger at Defense Secretary James Mattis. During the two-hour meeting in the White House Situation Room, a frustrated Trump also complained about China making money off of Afghanistan’s rare minerals, and tasked the advisers with finding a way to get American businesses in there quickly to get rights to the minerals.  Source: NBC News

Teams of United States-based researchers, composed of American, Chinese and South Korean scientists, successfully edit a piece of faulty DNA that causes a deadly form of heart disease from cells in human embryos.  (Science News Magazine)

President of the United States Donald Trump signs a Congress bill enacting sanctions on Russia. Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev calls it a “trade war”. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Aug 1, 2017

A two-meter (6.5 feet) tall 12th century sandstone statue of a human figure is unearthed by archaeologists during an excavation of a Khmer Empire-era hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province. (BBC)

Three so-called GTA gang members are shot dead and four others are wounded, including two guards, at a courthouse in Moscow, Russia, after they attempted to escape. (The Independent)

Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma are seized at their homes overnight by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and taken to Ramo Verde Prison. They had been arrested previously by the Venezuelan government, but were under house arrest at the time of being seized. (BBC)

The United States Senate, in a 92–5 vote, confirms Christopher A. Wray as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Reuters)

 

Ministry of Love

07.25.2017

Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

 

Brennan, Rice, Power – Lock Them Up!
by David Stockman
July 24, 2017

 

EU flags alarm over US sanctions on Russia

Germany has already warned of possible retaliation if the United States moves to sanction German firms involved with building a new Baltic pipeline for Russian gas.

EU diplomats are concerned that a German-US row over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom could complicate efforts in Brussels to forge an EU consensus on negotiating with Russia over the project.

 

Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism
by Justin Raimondo
July 24, 2017

 

The material contained in these two articles alone is enough for an Oliver Stone movie script.
Todashev reports detail a confession, then chaos

Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Terrorist. Murderer. Federal Informant?

 

“Someday This Army Is Going to Leave”
Korean farmers face off against the US military’s largest overseas base.

 

Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
DEAN BAKER AND BRIAN DEW • JULY 20, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

The case against human drivers

 

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk became the first non-franchise film to top the weekend box office this summer and the first since March of this year as it delivered over $50 million this weekend.

Christopher Nolan’s Wartime Epic
“Dunkirk” is a harrowing look at a barely averted British catastrophe.

‘Dunkirk’ is a good movie and one of the better ones this year in a time when there is almost nothing worth seeing. It is a movie. It is neither a war movie nor an epic. You never see the Germans. Spoiler alert: Tom Hardy spends the rest of the war in Hogan’s Heroes.

 

 

The big news NOBODY is talking about!!!
Elon Musk says he has received federal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground 760mph Hyperloop that will connect New York City and Washington, D.C..

 

Incompetence

04.19.2017

Yet compromise and negotiation with Hitler’s Germany were impossible, because the policy objectives of National Socialism were irrational and unlimited. Expansion and aggression were built into the system and, short of accepting German domination in advance, i.e. choosing not to resist the Nazi advance, war was unavoidable, sooner rather than later. Hence the central role of ideology in the formation of policy in the 1930s: if it determined the aims of Nazi Germany, it excluded realpolitik for the other side. Those who recognized that there could be no compromise with Hitler, which was a realistic assessment of the situation, did so for entirely unpragmatic reasons. They regarded fascism as intolerable on principle and a priori, or (as in the case of Winston Churchill) they were driven by an equally a priori idea of what their country and empire ‘stood for’, and could not sacrifice. The paradox of Winston Churchill was that this great romantic, whose political judgment had been almost consistently wrong on every matter since 1914 – including the assessment of military strategy on which he prided himself – was realistic on the one question of Germany.

Conversely, the political realists of appeasement were entirely unrealistic in their assessment of the situation, even when the impossibility of a negotiated settlement with Hitler became obvious to any reasonable observer in 1938-39. This was the reason for the black tragicomedy of March-September 1939, which ended in a war nobody wanted at a time and in a place nobody wanted it (not even Germany), and which actually left Britain and France without any idea of what, as belligerents, they were supposed to do, until the blitzkrieg of 1940 swept them aside. In the face of the evidence they themselves accepted, the appeasers in Britain and France still could not bring themselves to negotiate seriously for an alliance with the USSR, without which war could neither be postponed nor won, and without which the guarantees against German attack suddenly and heedlessly scattered around Eastern Europe by Neville Chamberlain – without, incredible as it may seem, consulting or even adequately informing the USSR – were waste paper.

– Eric Hobsbawm
The Age of Extremes (1994)
p.154

 

What Russia-gate Has Wrought
April 16, 2017

For five months, there was a daily drumbeat on Russia-gate, the sprawling conspiracy theory that Russia had somehow put Donald Trump in the White House, but suddenly the “scandal” disappeared.

 

Is Our Political Class Mentally Ill?
Sadistic commentators hail death and destruction
by Justin Raimondo, April 17, 2017

 

Thomas Friedman’s Perverse Love Affair With ISIS
By Adam Johnson

 

Ann Coulter: Lassie, Come Home

 

Pompeo vs. WikiLeaks: It’s No Contest
by Thomas Knapp
April 19, 2017

If I have to choose between believing WikiLeaks or believing Mike Pompeo, I’ll believe WikiLeaks six days a week and twice on Sunday.

Over the course of more than a decade, WikiLeaks has built a sterling reputation for delivering the real goods on various governments (including Russia’s). The next document it releases which is shown to be fake will be the first. WikiLeaks has earned the trust of the public – and moreover, it has shown that it trusts the public with information about what our governments are doing in our names and with our money.

The US intelligence community, on the other hand, spies on us, lies to us about it, and expects us to pick up the check even after decades of irrefutable evidence of its dishonesty and incompetence.

 

The Great Western Economic Depression

Growing economies use more energy; shrinking economies use less energy. And if the Corrupt West wasn’t using its energy-intensive war machine so regularly, the collapse in energy demand in the Western world would have been even more pronounced. No economy with flat energy demand can pretend to be growing. No economy with its interest rates set permanently at near-zero levels can pretend to be growing. Both of those preceding statements are economic tautologies. Absolute proof. Western economies are not growing because two absolutely unequivocal economic fundamentals indicate such growth to be impossible.