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Recent comments at Salon.com (June 26 2016)

If this cosmopolitan world somehow manages to keep going, we're going to see some of these Anglophiles genuinely pressed on exactly how much, truly, they're disappointed when a cosmopolitan world collapses... how disappointed they are, truly, when suddenly everyone in their own country wants to know more of their Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Wordsworth origins, rather than what the rest of the world "bursted" (good literature bursts?) with their ostensibly equally worthy literature. 
For if it somehow keeps going, Literature departments will likely be pressed on this habit of sticking to, of permitting, study according to country. Why communicate to students that it's okay to devote oneself to more or less uninterrupted involvement in your own country, when the world you're in is an interconnected reality? Why communicate that people share something in common, perhaps mystically, owing to the fact of their geography, their national heritage?
Why not instead communicate that the person who might really be most simpatico with you, could be someone living in a different culture, and this won't be the joining of two exotics but rather of two natural soulmates? And the same for literature, so you couldn't possibly devote yourself to all things English and be as equally emotionally evolved as the student who naturally wants to dabble everywhere. Why weren't YOU like that as well? Why if you love this interconnected, global world, didn't you find yourself with a rather mixed reading list... and a bunch of traditionally oddly grouped texts, to want to arrange for a class? 
Why find yourself in this unfortunate fix where all the books you're going to be redoubling your efforts to comb through, are pretty much exactly the same ones Nationalists are going to be parading as recommended or mandatory reading lists? How much are you going to regret that during this next historical period, you're not so much going to stand out but rather, sufficiently "pass." 

Slickship Gunner You make it sound like we are all blessed by this moment -- a chance for heroes; for a washing away of bulimic greed. What we need more here is some sense of what is tragically lost when an advanced and successful society regresses into nationalism. And for that we need language that lauds a society that appreciates something much quieter than grandiose heroic figures. We need praise of our commercial society, and our decades of relative peace. So much of your colourful language here works against that. 
For her own sake I don't want Clinton to "bend her course," because if it's a different Hillary who gets elected than the one we have now, it won't be simply because she adjusted -- we'd spot such a faker. It will because she herself has changed, and has begun to see some of the same version of the world that Trump himself sees: America as a homeland; herself "saving" it. 
Hillary, keep sane. It is dubious to me that any single individual "saves" civilization. What is more likely true is that the overall populace proved less insane during these shared periods than elsewhere. There were a million possible candidates for a "Roosevelt" and a "Churchill," and we would have lauded every one of them, and they'd have followed exactly the same course.   

 "I don't know, and don't claim to know. But conventional wisdom and complacency seem displaced at this historical moment, don't you think"
Good point. I wonder how many of us know what unconventional wisdom looks like? My guess, different, nutty. You all ready to look strange but also to have a better chance of contributing something relevant to the understanding our current moment of history? Hope so. 


Gert M Emporium Charming to make your acquaintance. It is an earnest attempt to add some illumination, not satire. Your explanation for Hitler's Fatherland and the creation of the Volk, is, what, economic? 

 "But they couldn't quite say why, largely because for most people the E.U. is identified less with its purported human-rights and social-justice priorities than with the neoliberal economics, crippling budgets and disastrous "free trade" deals."

So if after Brexit the economic consequences are severe, the English won't be thinking of how great it is to have their own country again, but rather of how the exit  actually crippled them, made things worse -- hey assh*les, this plan didn't deliver? For me it's so easy to imagine them so happy to once again count themselves part of their proud ancestral lineage, that their wealth even cut in half wouldn't irk so much. 
I think the idea that what is most irksome to people right now is how they have economically struggled, is worth challenging. I really wouldn't just assume it. IT IS possible to me that if what happens in England right now is a reclaiming of some kind of great, mystical union, a bonding back to Magna Carta through to Churchill, and a rejection of something seen as imposed and artificial, and it really does lead to an even worse economic situation, that people wouldn't instantly turn disappointed and angry. Could you not imagine them quite proud to endure the hardships? Proudly bearing the pain, to be part of something so "great" again? 
It isn't that they are being used, that they had no say, either. That's not quite right. But rather that they are being dragged kicking and screaming into a world they aren't prepared for. I truly believe every single one of them could have been granted a living wage, had no financial difficulties at all, through this whole period, and simply being part of this expansive phenomena of globalism would've compelled them to eventually call a stop. I also believe that the fact that they didn't have much say in this last whole period was probably to our collective good fortune -- good thing, as arrogant as this sounds, many of them wanted to go through a period where they could demonstrate their being absolved of all previous sins by overtly collecting upon themselves so many scars, pains and humiliations. Free trade -- they knew unconsciously this would deliver on that. 
This new England will use them just as much. But no grievance: they'll be happy to be its patsies. Because it'll be all done for their great, beautiful Fatherland/Motherland, and their being absolutely loyal will make them its purest, cleanest subjects.
. . .
It is true that I'm not dealing so much with Bernie here. I hope this proves a time of exciting opportunities for the left. It is nice to be provoked to think of it. 



Steven Danis Amanda argues that they are aware of this: "So, this is a fairly ugly example of people choosing to screw themselves over economically rather than accept cultural change."

kchoze But what about the example of elite universities, where homogeneity is more about the fact that all of them, regardless of where they come from in the world, are sons and daughters of professionals. They're psychologically similar, and that's key, because for this they're better able to relate to one another than people who speak the same language but are psychologically vastly disparate. 
These are their natural kin; they want to know one another; so if there is a language barrier the desire will be there to deal with it. What cosmopolitan Londoner suddenly wants to count himself part of ostensibly shared ancestral heritage that the provincials are suddenly yammering about? 

czuklz Well, they delight over parochial nationalism, so they just gave substance to the next bunch of elites who might otherwise considered different. 


susan sunflower FreeQuark I've read the book. What he couldn't acknowledge is that the liberal professional elite may have been assholes, but they really had to leave everyone else behind. The working class, who for awhile had sorta kept pace with the more evolved psychoclass leading them, had exhausted their ability to tolerate further growth. After this point, they really were just a burden that had to be shlepped off if you wanted a progressive cultural movement... if you wanted what Hedges dismissively calls, "boutique" societal accomplishments.
There are a lot of people who actually wanted to suffer, and what the hell do you do with that, even if you weren't in mind to disparage them? You don't go down in other people's sinkhole. These people knew what was going to happen to them with Reagan and NAFTA, which were compliant with their own sordid wishes -- take away the happy times that we don't feel we deserve. No betrayal occurred, that is, upon earnest working class people, too easily given to trust. 

It may not be right to say it is principally bigotry that is moving these people. I think it really is sovereignty -- possession -- and strong borders. But by this I mean... Hitler's first business wasn't suddenly to go around executing Others. He wanted to be part of inducing a populace (a populace that would have compelled him, if for some reason he proved somehow in truth uninterested) to think of their country as some kind of great parental identity -- a Fatherland or Mutterland -- that had been forsaken, and everyone else loyal "children" who were absolutely ready to die for it -- a fusion into the Volk. It is for the successful creation of such an entity that people are primarily joyous now. The body of their country is their mother again. They, part of it. They're going to be part of a mystical entity again, and are delighted by the prospect.
This returned "parent" will have her attributes split -- all the good in one's own country and all the bad outside. And the war against the split-off Terrifying Mother, as well the those who betrayed her -- liberal cosmopolitans, and their "pets" -- will wait for next phase: there will be awhile where cosmopolitans might think they might just manage their way through this, even as this madness spreads. You might even find them echoing the mandatory greeting, Hail "Hitler," but this won't spare them, for it's not something about to pass. 

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