These are two of the more important essays I've read this year. I got tired of tweeting them separately, so this post will make it easier to distribute them as a pair. I urge you to read them both because they each offer a fresh perspective on the root causes of our growing global socio–political dysfunction. Flying cars may always have been a fantasy, or they may simply not be something our plutocracy run amok cares much about.
Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?
by @root_e(armchair economic thinker and all-around smart dude.)
David Graeber wrote the first old school left wing essay I have seen in years and it makes the flabby, stale quality of much of what passes for left-wing analysis all the more apparent. Graeber asks what happened to the optimism, the technical ferment, the rapid changes and extensions of prosperity that people in the first world used to assume were inevitable:
A lot of people have missed this excellent little movie about the history that brought us here. People mock Mike Huckabee's ludicrously partisan history texts, but those people are educating a new generation to think like they do. Progressives should be spending billions on short educational blips like this one that get their message across with an economy of words and ideas. They are dirt cheap to produce, but just look at the page views. That's how it's done, folks. We need to fight this culture war in the trenches, and videos like this make great bullets.
So I was out trying to locate some new voters to register on the next to last day for new registrations, when I came across this street corner populated by some dedicated Teaparty/Romney voters keeping it classy. They had signs for just about every hysterical conspiracy theory that existed for Obama to date. They would rotate the different messages every few minutes, sometimes marching into the center of the street disrupting traffic when they could get away with it. I decided to ask them what one of them meant.
I apologize for the primitive nature of this little movie. It’s the very first I’ve edited on my own. I promise to get better if I ever decide I need a new hobby.
Cloward–Piven strategy — the teaparty activist in the video is not making-up this bit of strategy, but it never became the lynchpin of anything, as Glenn Beck has suggested. Legions of teaparty activists need these conspiracy theories, half-rooted in reality, so that they have a reason to get up each day.