log: ludicrous

WORMDATE: L2-2.5: 674-67,360: 35-1,081

춥네요! At -10도, we’re in a bit of a cold snap here. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the cold. Honestly, I kind of missed it. In Cali, I missed the feeling so much that I ended up working in a freezer and swimming in cold water. My skin craved cold. Now, I got it.

While, we’re on the subject of America . . .

Kind of hard to avoid talking about it, I guess. And I’m tired of saying the same things that I’ve been saying for years every single time the situation lurches towards worse. These things basically boil down to: Take it seriously, it’s gone further than you think, fascism can be combatted with a strong, militant, and intersectional labor movement, there needs to be accountability, so on and so forth. I don’t see much of that happening.

Maybe The Capitol Breach will make people take this shit more seriously than children in cages, the prison population, gun drills in schools and massacred children in classrooms, Puerto Rico, Katrina, illegal invasions of foreign countries, hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, drone killings, militarized racist police brutality, concentration camps, torture programs, so on and so forth, but I wouldn’t count on it. I still hear too many people talking about fascism like it’s an incoming threat, not woven into life. As far as resistance goes, 1 in 5 people in LA have COVID, bosses are still fucking around, workers are still getting sick, but I don’t see a strike from the unions. One wonders what it would take. Like – what’s enough? What gets them off the fucking PR media game and shutting shit down.

Some people are fighting and fighting hard. I see that. But, goddamn, too much of the population has mistaken collaboration with common sense.

So, a couple of observations, I guess.

This is just based on a sort of impression, a sense I have of things, but living in South Korea, which had its first peaceful transfer of power in 1997 and is a young democracy, there seems to be a different view of dictatorships than you get in older democracies, and it’s a view that seems pretty common in young democracies. It’s that dictatorship is indistinguishable from corruption. They’re the same thing. Corruption is the dictatorship.

Once again, just based on a sort of impression, a sense I have of things, is that the older democracies view it differently. The older democracies tend to see corruption and dictatorship as separate issues. Their understanding of dictators and how to prevent them is rooted in the age of monarchs. America is probably excellent at fending off The King of England, the British and Canadian House of Commons pretty good at doing the same. Dealing with modern dictatorships? Oligarchs and plutocrats? Corruption? Not so much. These countries and their governments were designed to do something different.

Insofar as America thinks about modern dictators, it tends to view dictators and fascism as a sort of hyper-competence. The TV Nazis are always hyper advanced criminal masterminds. Americans have absorbed an idea that incompetence is incompatible with fascism or dictatorships. You end up hearing a lot of things like “more competent authoritarians than Trump are coming.” In various forms, you hear it said that Trump’s incompetence and idiocy is his liability. Really, it’s his appeal and his strength. Incompetence is his core competence.

It’s better to think of fascism as a core incompetence. A grotesque and corrupt incompetence. It’s a spreading disaster. Things are managed badly, someone else is blamed. They’re managed worse and more people are blamed. The disasters grow larger and more frequent. The blame, violence, and conspiratorial thinking grows in ratio.

It’s a feedback loop of incompetence, blame, and violence.

So when I see something like The Capitol Breach, I think, yes, it was an absurd clown show of a coup and it failed. But it failed on a bigger scale than before. It failed upwards. And that’s what fascism does. It fails upwards. It fails on bigger and bigger scales. It looks ludicrous as it fails. It is ludicrous. Because it is ludicrous, too many people laugh it off as being unserious. As being harmless. As being contained.

But a thing can be ludicrous and dangerous.

The serious part is the ludicrous part.

We are not dealing with some evidence based process of open discourse with a goal of getting towards the truth. The lawsuits against the election were and are ludicrous. But their goal is not to win a lawsuit. They’d like it if they won one but winning is not required. Filing the lawsuit is all that matters. These lawsuits increase the scale of the failure. The filing of lawsuits shows the legal process being exhausted. Losing them shows how deep the conspiracy goes. It shows how necessary violence has become.

You may want to comfort yourself with the lawsuits being ludicrous. You may think that these lawsuits being ludicrous means you’re winning and that the threat of lawsuits is not serious. It’s the opposite. The more ludicrous the lawsuit, the worse the problem actually is. Violence is the threat. Power is the goal. Everything else is just the means. Even the ends are means.

Ludicrous isn’t the end of the thing — ludicrous is the thing.

I have some sympathy for people who can’t wrap their head around this mechanism. It requires some weird thinking to understand any of this. It’s hard to understand a ludicrous failure as being anything other than a ludicrous failure. And I’ve heard plenty of people who seem to understand this, go straight back to their comforting view of prevailing reason when they’re confronted with the new ludicrous failure. “Here it is,” they say. “Can’t possibly survive this one.” They can do that forever. Every single step of the way.

But reason will not prevail. Not by itself, at least.

It’s all just one ludicrous failure after another. Bigger failures. More ludicrous failures. More violent and ludicrous failures. The ludicrous failure of The Beer Hall Putsch becomes the ludicrous failure of Stalingrad and the ludicrous failure of Stalingrad becomes Auschwitz. Last week, let alone last year, starts to look quaint. That’s how this works. The Capitol Breach is not an end nor is it a beginning. It’s just another step along the road. Another opportunity to stop.

So was Trump’s birtherism.

So was Abu Gharib.

I would very much like America to stop. I don’t think it will. For one thing, a massive proportion of the population actually likes this shit. Much more of the population is willing to collaborate with it. Too many think a knitted pink hat is resistance. And those who are fighting are fighting hard but are basically locked out of institutional strength. They’re a frontline who keeps getting stabbed in the back. In the name of “healing.” Of all things.

I’m not saying give up. I’m rather fond of lost causes. Hell, I keep a St. Jude coin in my wallet. But one has to understand how basic the work that needs to be done is. It’s boring shit. You have to talk to your co-workers and figure out when you’re going to walk out. The fight has shrank to the very bottom – to the smallest scales. Friends and family. There’s not really any time to convert, you have to mobilize and organize those who already know. That’s hard enough. And it starts with the people around you. Not on the fucking Internet. At your fucking job. Democracy starts there. It ain’t great. But that’s where the fight is.

And the fight can still be won. But it has to be fought.

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