Thursday, January 27, 2005

Moving to Italy

GORE VIDAL: I don't see much future for the United States, and I put it on economic grounds. Forget moral grounds. We're far beyond any known morality, and we are embarked upon a kind of war against the rest of the world. I think that the thing that will save us, and it will probably come pretty fast, is when they start monkeying around with Social Security: that will cause unrest. Meanwhile . . . the costs of the wars, the cost of rebuilding the cities immediately after we knock them down -- if we didn't knock them down, we wouldn't have to put them back up again, but that would mean that there was no work for Bechtel and for Halliburton. We are going to go broke. The dollar loses value every day.

Gore VidalPortrait copyright by Stathis Orphanos.
I live part of the year in Europe, which is always held against me. What a vicious thing to do, to have a house in Italy; but I also have one in Southern California. We are a declining power economically in the world, and the future now clearly belongs to China, Japan, and India. They have the population, they have the educational systems. They have the will. And they will win. And we only survive now by borrowing money from them in the form of treasury bonds which very soon we won't have enough revenue to redeem, much less service. So, I put it down to economic collapse may save the United States from its rulers. [radio interview with Democracy Now!]

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Seymour Hersh: I'm trying to be optimistic. We're going to see a bottom swelling from inside the [army] ranks. You're beginning to see it. What happened with the soldiers asking those questions, you may see more of that. I'm not suggesting we're going to have mutinies, but I'm going to suggest you're going to see more dissatisfaction being expressed. Maybe that will do it.

Another salvation may be the economy. It's going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. And the third thing is Europe -- Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I'm talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. . . . there's going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, our credit, our -- we're spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of dollars. We're going to see enormous panic here. But Bush could get through that. That will be another year, and the damage he’s going to do between then and now is enormous. We’re going to have some very bad months ahead.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger dean said...

I read every post on this page today. It's quite depresing to agree with what I understand of it. Half of my best friends are "right wingers" and we have great debates about Bush era polotics. I've been wondering about my own righteous indignation/hatred for the "far right" and how I've been hearing how our country is so polarized with both sides having such disdain for each other and HOW I may help bridge the divide and who is doing it succesfully or at least with some glimmers of hope, so I may work on those ideas and help develop them. Any advice?
Thank you for your consideration.
michael dean

At 12:51 AM, Blogger E. Heroux said...

[What follows is our correspondence between M. Dean and myself.]
M. Dean:
Thanks for your interesting comment on my blog --
I don't have a Really Good response for you, alas. I know what you mean though. I have to find ways to open channels of communication more with my own extended family members. Insults don't get very far. And when I visited the US around Christmas, I noticed that talk radio had upped the volume level into more polemical name calling. And I saw a lot of cases where folks are victims of propaganda -- like where they voted for Bush _because_ they're concerned about jobs and the environment! That's just basic misinformation, yet it is very common.
So in a darkening time, it is necessary to point out the obvious. For example, things like the emperor is wearing no clothes, etc. I've operated for a long time on the assumption that if you just get out the facts, then any reasonable person would agree. But sadly this seems not to be true. I still try to operate that way most of the time, but then you realize after repeatedly being slammed into a wall that you are dealing with an entire class of people who don't care what the facts are. Instead, they say things like "my country right or wrong" and, "well, that's just a theory, but I base my truth on my faith in God's word..." And then it's been shown that people tend to hear only what they already want to hear. Anything else is merely gibberish to them.
So it becomes difficult to have a reasonable debate leading toward some mutual consensus. Another tactic then is just to insist that something is intolerable, that you're not going to quietly go along with it. People won't necessarily agree, but they are confronted with the sudden realization that someone else out there isn't accepting their bull.
Again, thanks,
--E. Heroux

E. Heroux:

Thank you very much. I hope to not bore you with my thoughts after reading your email. I did a quick bit of research and found something heartening; an article about how the polarization of America is more of a media thing along with the two political parties useing it to stir up their core activists non-polarized article.

Before I go on, should say that my more cynical side would say "uh huh, just like us to try to keep our heads in the sand, buying whatever rhetoric would bail out our tired convoluted logic", but, on the other hand the typical American media needs to have a bumper sticker type
of battle to talk about to sell soap, so "right vs. left" fits the lot.

Just as poloticians used to say that crime was getting worse to get
elected even though the statistics were opposed, it wouldn't surpise me
the least to think both parties would participate in a somewhat contrived hype to whip up thier hard workers while being perfectly happy to keep half of the voting populous disenfranchised. I just don't know for sure but it's something to seriously consider.

I understand what you mean about how many people find it even more difficult to even consider opposing opinions. In a way I hope it's propoganda/polotics/media that's driving people to feel more polarized.

I've spent many years working on a socratic approach/better timing and
very carefully picking my topics and introducing them slowly and with more examples/analogies etc, encouraging thought vs. "the emperor has no clothes" though I definately have an iconoclastic nature. I just hope the world survives another four years of Bush because beneath my left leaning attempts to encourage some of my basic principles which I beleive is/are more important now than strategic ballot casting, there is a core that knows the human race is slowly growing up to the facts that war is insane, greed doesn't work, everything isn't expendable, we CAN feed the world NOW etc etc.

I obviously also speak with people about considering changing how and who we chose to be the most powerful person in the world-our president.
America is great but there's a big BUT(T) here that needs tolerance and
acceptance of the things we are really doing and what we've done, in order to effectively evolve. Our fervant patriotism, political muscle and media mindlessnes can be/is decieving. The fundamental wisdom of tolerance takes time, hope we get it.

Thank you for your consideration. If you like, I would be honored if you posted this email on your blog (despite the mistaken grammar/spelling).


michael dean

M. Dean:
Yes I'm happy to post this on my blog, since it enacts a dialogue of the sort that we both hope to see more of.
Keep up the Socratic thing -- which is an appropriate model in another way too, since he used to hang out in the "agora", the marketplace, attracting passersby into a discussion. He didn't like the idea of writing, but I think he would have liked using IRC chatrooms. He used to stay up all night talking too. His friends would wake up in the morning with hangovers, and they'd find Socrates standing still. Hush, he'd say, I'm still thinking about our discussion....
E. Heroux


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