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Attacking Seriousness Itself

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

"Our world” is neither sane or insane, good or evil. It just is.

Whether we like it or not, sanity and goodness are human concepts subject to constant redefinition and reorientation based on OUR related proximity, interdependence, and mutual obligations. Those mutual obligations transcend individual conscious apprehension, but not in a mystical way. Those mutual obligations stem from collective and institutional choices.

Some people, whether they admit it or not, are almost all about “the self”.

Others are more grounded in their immediate or extended family.

Then there are more abstract identifications or “sources of commonality” such as tribe, race, religion, nation, species, or common sentience (the ability to feel pain or exchange affection for examples). But given our proclivities for carelessness, self destruction, and mutual predation, those commonalities can only be protected by the creation, shaping, and reshaping of laws and institutions.  Institutions are the imperfect human creations that can allow us to transcend pettiness, parochialism, opportunism, and savage forms of atavism.

That is what the trimpers are attacking whether they realize it or not. They are attacking the institutions of self government and constitutional democracy. 

One of the fundamental ideas to arise out of The Enlightenment is that human freedom and decency is always imperiled by concentrated power unchecked by countervailing interests.  Starting in the 1600s, wealthy Europeans who were not of royal or noble descent worked hard to limit the power of government (kings and parliaments). These efforts grew out of efforts to constrain lawless robber barons and to end internecine slaughters fueled in part by misguided religious fervor. Yes, they did this to protect human freedom and decency. But also to protect their own private wealth. No human or human institution is entirely pure in their motivations or make-up.

The language used then and now about freedom and protection from tyranny are all focused on the power of the state, but tend to ignore the power of concentrated wealth outside of direct government control.

Corporate (ultimately “private” in today’s legal system) wealth now exerts undue influence over laws, institutions, and governments — and the results are the current ongoing circus cesspools of which trimp is just one vile symptom.

There definitely should be power centers outside of state control (no matter how “democratic” the government), but those power centers still need to be held accountable to other interests (workers, consumers, families, communities, the environment etc. etc). It may sound vague and unworkable but such structures of control and accountability are slowly evolving although their development may not be sufficient given the potential for major political, economic, and environmental crises that we can neither satisfactorily ignore nor contend with right now.  

All this is under attack from the trimpers.

The trimpers now have at their disposal one the the major established political parties in the US, still the most powerful polity and empire ever to have existed

The trimpers and the GOP have access to certain religious and mass entertainment sentiments which have been rudely cultivated over recent centuries coincident with the development of state capitalism. Other sentiments they have access to are racism, jingoism, and economic insecurity.  And, of course, they are able to exploit a source of resentment and frustration that all of us share which stem from the stubborn fact that no individual or institution is purely good  or sane.

Additionally trimpers and the GOP have access to many institutionalized (habitual and class based) techniques for exploiting these sentiments for the benefit of a tiny elite which has grown increasingly powerful and immune from political checks and balances.

It is this unchecked and unaccountable power of a tiny and irresponsible elite that animates trimpism and the current configuration of the GOP