Figure Zero
index2023July B
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From the New Deal to Donald Trump

TEXTS, GRAPHIC MATERIALS, & DATA SETS
(including Timelines and Maps)

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From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States
Evidence abounds in the public arena* of a widespread dissolution of language and cognition--a catastrophe of the first order (an ontological catastrophe).  Because the media performs this cognitive decline, the decay of reason is invisible within the cognitively decaying public arena.  The historicity of language and cognition, their biocultural embeddedness, and their contemporary disintegration, is one of the fundamental questions posed by this site.

Outside of this framework--The historicity of language and cognition--"Trump" becomes unintelligible.  Thus, in order to use this site, the reader must read these excerpts from

Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014): long excerpts.  A shorter summary and brief excerpts can be found here.  Read the summary and short excerpts now.  Sinha and Shilton et. al. bring us up to date.

Sinha, C. (2021). Artefacts, symbols, and the socio-cultural dynamics of niche construction, in The Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution (Oxford, 2021).
Shilton, D; Breski, M; Dor, D; Jablonka, E (February 14, 2020). "Human Social Evolution: Self-Domestication or Self-Control?". Frontiers in Psychology. 11: 134.

The Social Origins of Language should be seen as the product of the kind of thinking inaugurated by Immanuel Kant and completed by G. W. F. Hegel (The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy).  Names can be taken as signposts along the way to the current scene: Marx, Nietzsche, Dilthey, Heidegger, Foucault, Deleuze . . . 



*As distinct Habermas’s concept of the public sphere.
indexMay2023
PhiloNotebook
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Temp Storage








Donald Trump and the Adventures of
Dasein:
Figure 0.  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States
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          larger image        much larger image





This site is a rhizome.

Its principle of production is transcendental empiricism

It uses figurative elements, including  graphs, tables, charts, and maps, originally to advance an analysis of the historical trajectory: the New Deal to Donald Trump, but the events of the second decade of the 21st century, when viewed through the lens provided by The Social Origins of Language, forced me to see that there was a bigger picture.  This bigger picture is represented by Figure 0. From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States.

Figure 0,  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States, provides a narrative framework for conceptualizing a catastrophe of the first order.  A catastrophe of the first order is about Dasein, about the disintegration of the biocultural niche of modernity.

The Great Depression was a catastrophe of the second order: it did not destroy the biocultural niche of modernity.  On the contrary, Reason flourished during the New Deal.  
The Great Depression merely ruined the lives of millions people and brought into question the post-Reconstruction political-economic order (1877 to 1929).  It was external to Dasein.  Small potatoes in the context of Figure 0.

"Trump," in this context,



Figure 1.  The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies
(Five Principles of the Production of Practices)
Genetic Ontology
Sources
(Full page here)
Primate
   Dominance and Deference
Mazur, deWaal, Wrangham . . .
Paleolithic
   Dynamic Egalitarianism
Whiten, Descola, Chase, Price . . .
Ressentiment & the Mechanisms of Defense
   Despotic regime; Racism;
   Nationalism; Fascism
Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Clarke, Paxton, Knox . . .
Bildung & the Will to Power (Jouissance)
   Progressive Narcisism; Individuation;
   Progressivism, Socialism, Communism
   the UAW and the Keynesian Elite
Hegel, Nietzsche, Vygotsky, Piaget, Alcorn . . .
Nihilism & the Last Man
   Regressive Narcissism and the   
   Culture of Consumption; Repressive
   Desublimation; Disindividuation;  
   Neoliberalism
Nietzsche, Hall, Ehrenberg, Stiegler, Illouz, Marcuse . . .



The disintegration of language and cognition:
1. Trump's Meeting with the Joint Chiefs in the Tank on July 20, 2017

Trump's Meeting with the Joint Chiefs in the Tank on July 20, 2017 provides us with a spectacular example--a performative tour-de-force--of this accelerating disintegration of discursive and cognitive performativity.  We have a detailed description of this meeting in A Very Stable Genius, chapter 9, "Shocking the Conscience."*  A close reading of that chapter can be found here.  The chapter in its entirety can be found here.  The most striking aspects of the Tank meeting, as reported in A Very Stable Genius, are the primitive cognitive performativity of president Trump, his brutish behavior toward the Joint Chiefs, and the degree to which the Joint Chiefs were flabergasted by this brutish stupidity.  "He's a fucking moron", said Rex Tillerson. (Slate, "Trump's Nuclear Meltdown", October 11, 2017.)

I thought I could find a few quotes from this chapter that would give a sense of the unfolding biocultural catastrophe of which Trump is an index.  I was mistaken.  The reader must read chapter 9,
"Shocking the Conscience", in its entirety.  Then read the Miles Taylor* excerpts below.  Read carefully.   Text and texture in Dasein: reading situations and processes, sensibilities and subjectivities, and discursive and cognitive performativities.

This article by Eli Zaretsky, "The Mass Psychology of Trumpism" (London Review of Books, 18 September 2018), is the best thing I have seen so far on Trump, and it is only about 18 paragraphs long.  (If this link doesn't work, click here)

Now read FDR's speeches.

*an appointee who served in the United States Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including as chief of staff of the DHS. He was first recruited into the department by former DHS Secretary and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, serving as his senior advisor.
Richard Wolin, Hiedegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology (Yale, 2022)


A Geography of Dasein
figure 2. The UAW-Unity Caucus, 1933-1943:
Intersubjectivity, Shared Intentionality, and the Extended Mind
Bildungsproletarians and Plebeian Upstarts

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the UAW, 1933-1943: a working notebook



The disintegration of language and cognition:
Miles Taylor on Trump's discursive and cognitive performtivity:
Trump "was the most incandescently stupid and evil man I've ever encountered."

in the New York Times of September 5, 2018: "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration":

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

on Deadline Whitehouse, June 20, 2023, interviewed by Nichole Wallace:

But it's just the tip of the iceberg.  We all know that.  Now, in Trump's defense I'll say one good thing: which is that, he did bring together a pretty strong cabinet.  At the beginning, you know, you had Scarborough and others saying they were reassured that people like Jim Mattis were coming in.  And I'll tell you, first hand,  as soon as those people got into the administration they all thought Donald Trump was a fool.  I mean, we talked about it after oval office meetings, after situation room meetings, constantly.  So much so that I felt that . . .  the people needed to know that.  It was five years ago that I published that anonymous op-ed to say, listen, the president's own lieutenants think he's at best an idiot, and at worst totally unfit for the office that he's in.  It was true then; it's true now. . . . Jim Mattis . . .  said that he [Trump] was a threat to the fabric of our republic, and my old boss, John Kelly, once said Trump was so crazy, he told me he hoped Trump chained himself to the resolute desk and they had to come in and quote carry him away . . . . but I'll speak for myself and say genuinely, [Trump] was the most incandescently stupid and evil man I've ever encountered in my entire life.

Just in: CBS News, June 27, 2023, Trump heard in audio clip describing "highly confidential, secret" documents





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      PISA Test Scores (Math): 2003 to 2015
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Bildung and Literacy:
On Reading as a Transformative Process

The half century between the 1880s and the 1930s was the golden age of the book in the West
Martyn Lyons, A History of Reading and Writing In the Western World (PalgraveMacmillan, 2010)

 9. The Reading Fever, 1750-1830 ("Everyone in Paris is reading . . .  People read while riding in carriages  or taking walks . . . Women, children, journeymen and apprentices read in shops.  On Sundays people read while seated at the front of their houses; lackeys read on their back seats, coachmen up on their boxes, and soldiers keeping guard."

10. The Age of the Mass Reading Public (“Between the 1830s and the First World War . . . a mass reading public came into existence.”)

11. New Readers and Reading Cultures ("The half century between the 1880s and the 1930s was the golden age of the book in the West.")

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Cognitive Modalities: a summary of sources
Psychometrics ("Q"): Flynn, Nisbett, Ceci; Hernstein and Murray
•IQ tests
•PISA
•MEAP
Evolutionary: Donald, Mind: cognitive evolution Table 7.1 p. 260
•episodic (primate)
•mimetic (homo erectus, h. sapients)
•oral-mythic (h. sapiens sapiens)
•theoretic (required by modern capitalism*)
•post-theoretic (Foucault, Sellars, Deleuze)
Developmental: Piaget et. al.
•pre-operational
•concrete operrational
•formal operational
•post-formal thought (Commons)
Psychoanalytic: Freud-Klein: mechanisms of defense
•projection
•displacement
•reaction formation
•denial
•identification

Cultural-historical: Vygotsky, Luria, Ong, Bruner, Flynn, Tomasello.  The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014)
• zone of proximal development
• joint intentionality
• intersubjectivity
• niche construction



Cognitive-linguistic Cardinality
(orders of magnitude/index of cognitive complexity)

the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein in the context of Merlin Donald,
A Mind so Rare
, Table 7.1, p. 260 (Apologies to George Cantor)
iאindex of cognitive complexity (Ceci)
 i = 4     Internet and the Extended Mind
 i = 3     Foucault (Kant Hegel Nietzsche)
 i = 2     Formal operational
 i = 1     Concrete operational
 i = 0    Oral-mythic/pre-operational
 i = -1   Mimetic/gestural (Homo erectus)
 i = -2   Primate semiosis

The Development of Children (Sixth Edition) by Cynthia Lightfoot, Michael Cole, and Sheila R. Cole
Development Through the Lifespan, Laura E. Berk
Jerome Kagan, The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development  2013
Piaget, Genetic Epistemology
Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development (Harvard, 1996)

The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior.22

Cognitive-linguistic Cardinality (orders of magnitude/index of cognitive complexity)

the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein in the context of Merlin Donald, A Mind so Rare, Table 7.1, p. 260 (Apologies to George Cantor)
אi index of cognitive complexity (Ceci)
i=4    Internet and the Extended Mind
i=3    Foucault (Kant Hegel Nietzsche)
i=2    Formal operational
i=1    Concrete operational
i=0    Oral-mythic/pre-operational
i=-1   Mimetic/gestural (homo erectus)
i=-2   Primate semiosis
The Development of Children (Sixth Edition) by Cynthia Lightfoot, Michael Cole, and Sheila R. Cole
Development Through the Lifespan, Laura E. Berk

Jerome Kagan, The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development  2013

Piaget, Genetic Epistemology

Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development (Harvard, 1996)

The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior.22

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The New Deal:
reading situations and processes, sensibilities and subjectivities,
and discursive and cognitive performativities

The bulleted (•) speeches are required reading.  The context of their production is shown here.  The context of their reception can be imagined through a careful reading of the Murray Body minutes, looking at and keeping in mind the photo of Richard Frankensteen addressing the meeting of Murray Body workers, and a reading of this excerpt:

from Henry Kraus, Heroes of the Unwritten Story: the UAW, 1934-1939, p. 204:

Roosevelt's trip through Michigan was one continuous triumph.  In the auto centers, where we were trying so hard to reanimate the workers, those same workers put on spontaneous demonstrations of overwhelming enthusiasm.  In Lansing, thirty five thousand came out to hear FDR speak from the rear platform of his train.  Flint, with its pathetic UAW membershhip of 136, put more than a hundred thousand people along his path.  In Pontiac, where we had no members at all, there was a "tremendous gathering," according to the Detroit News of October 15, 1936.  It described the cheering crowds in the hub city as rivaling the Armistice Day throngs, those at Lindbergh's visit after his transatlantic flight, or the World Series Jamboree of 1935.  The News estimated the number of people lining the streets from Hamtramck to Detroit at five hundred thousand.  Frank Winn and I, who followed the president's motorcade in the press section, doubled that figure.

There were 250,000 gathered in City Hall Square to hear Roosevelt's speech, to hear him lashing the auto manufacturers for thinking only of their own profits while ignoring the dire problems of their workers.  They roared their approval but they also listened intently, as I did, for I could not fault a single word of what Roosevelt said.  I had never before had so convincing a political experience.  But beyond that certitude was my realization that the UAW's fate was linked with FDR's victory, my conviction that success ws within our grasp.


but they also listened intently: Novelist Saul Bellow recalled hearing a fireside chat . . .
from Wikipedia, "Fireside chats"

Novelist Saul Bellow recalled hearing a fireside chat while walking in Chicago one summer evening. "The blight hadn't yet carried off the elms, and under them, drivers had pulled over, parking bumper to bumper, and turned on their radios to hear Roosevelt. They had rolled down the windows and opened the car doors. Everywhere the same voice, its odd Eastern accent, which in anyone else would have irritated Midwesterners. You could follow without missing a single word as you strolled by. You felt joined to these unknown drivers, men and women smoking their cigarettes in silence, not so much considering the President's words as affirming the rightness of his tone and taking assurance from it."




FDR Addresses the Nation, 1936-1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Master Speech File, 1898-1945
Campaign Address (speech file 930), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 1, 1936

Informal remarks (speech file 935), Oelwein, Iowa, October 9, 1936

Audio and Transcript of  Campaign Speech, Chicago, October 14, 1936


• Audio and Transcript of  Campaign Speech, Detroit, October 15, 1936

Audio and Transcript of  Campaign Speech, Madison Square Garden, October 31, 1936 

Fireside Chat #13, "Report to the Nation on National Affairs", June 24, 1938 ("Copperhead") p.12)

Address of the President at Barnesville, Georgia  August 11, 1938 (on the South in the bigger picture)



the Secondary Leadership of Murray Body Discuss the
Competitive
Situation in the Spring Industry, April 26, 1939
Minutes of the Murray Body Committee Local 2 at Executive Board Meeting, April 26, 1939, Toledo Ohio, Addes Collection, Box 14.11, Reuther Archives. re. the competitive situation in the spring industry.

The members of the Local 2 Committee were:

Brother Hall from Spring & Wire
Brother McDonnell from Stamping
Brothers Sanders and McWilliams from Trim
Brother Smith from Frame (Ecorse plant)
Brother Manini, Vice President
Also present was Executive Board member Walter Reuther



The New Deal:
reading situations and processes, sensibilities and subjectivities,
and discursive and cognitive performativities

There is no audio for FDR's Detroit speech, but we have Henry Kraus's description of it.  There is an audio of the Madison Square Garden speech.  Listen to the audio while reading the transcript.  Then read the transcript of the Detroit speech and the Kraus excerpt above.

Then read the minutes of the Murray Body committee.  This secondary leadership was undoubtedly present when Richard Frankensteen addressed the sit-down strikers.  And it is also undoubtedly the case that these workers were what I have called plebeian upstarts.

FDR's speeches and the Murray Body minutes are discursive and cognitive performances, as are Donald Trump's speeches and meetings.  The inner logic of these performances I refer to as performativities.  The cognitive inner logic--the performativity--of FDR’s speeches is formal operational.  The cognitive inner logic of Trump’s rhetorical performances is pre-operational and gestural.  The next two rows provide the scholarly context for these statements.




y
Richard Frankensteen addresses the workers of Murray Body Co. during their
1937 sit-down strike Detroit, Michigan.
  (Reuther Archive)



Donald Trump's cognitive-discursive performativities are pre-operational and gestural.  The discussants seen in the Murray Body minutes are high functioning concrete operational.  FDR's speeches are formal operational

Kraus referred to the--they listened intently (compare wit Trump rallies

attention span

Mattis & Coats (indexPortal)
Kant
SOOL & Lachman







The Republican Dasein
Schiller Hall in Detroit in the 1930s should be viewed as a radical salon,
a node in the discursive field/biocultural niche of modernity

1. from S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

We have seen that for 'conscous' workers in Russia and, to a lesser extent, in China, reading was an activity that was central to self-fashioning, constitutive of what it meant to be a cultured and autonomous individual.

2. Schiller Hall in Detroit should be viewed as a radical salon, a node in the discursive field of modernity, a meeting place of the bildungsproletarians.  At the right Ed Lock (proud grandson of a Civil War veteran) provides an account of the intellectual life of the bildungs-proletarians who gathered in Schiller Hall.  Saul Wellman (communist, Detroit and Flint), provides an account of intellectual aspirations of new recruits to the Party in Flint in the  immediate post-war period.  Joe Adams (socialist, Dodge Main) provides an account of such modernist sensibilities on Detroit's east side, and more generally among the socialists he knew back in the day.  Excerpts from the Wellman and Adams interviews can be found here.

3. comment on Margaret Jacob's The First Knowledge Economy: Human Capital and the European Economy, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, 2014:

Jacob's emphasis on the socio-cultural networks, circles, meeting houses of these first "industrialists"; her emphasis on the role of books as emotionally charged world-opening objects--one sees here both Vygotsky's notion of zone of proximal development broadened and historicized, and Alcorn's understanding of the development of self that can result from an an engagement with a text.  In this way Jacob expands our concept of the Enlightenment. 

This  requires a reconceptualization of what is called the Enlightenment--the Enlightenment as a cultural-historical developmental leap--an ontological leap, a cognitive revolution, a new Symbolic Order.  The superorganisism of the enlightenment . . .  from the 18th century to the New Deal.  Scientific reasoning is not merely about knowledge.  It is about functioning on the formal-operational level.  In the adventure of it, the jouissance of developmental transgression and becoming, lies the secret of the bildungs-proletarians and plebian upstarts who gave us so many Nietzschean spectacles . . .


4. from my interview with Ed Lock (CP, UAW Local 600)



I was very active in MESA --- Ford in USSR  petered out in March of 1933, and I was laid off.  Several months later I found employment in a job shop as a milling machine operator.  I got signed up in the MESA, that was a unionized plant. The  job didn't last long.
 
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In that period I would hang out at the MESA hall, Schiller Hall* on Gratiot Ave. . .  It was very much a Left hall.  I became very interested in union . . .  I was very young, 20 yrs old.  My father was AFL, a ship carpenter, but I didn't assimilate much from him.  But I became very interested in the MESA, and one of the characteristics of the time was that large     numbers of radicals of all descriptions IWW, Communist, Socialist . . . would come to this hall, and we would sort of sit around and have big bull discussions with the old timers from the IWW and the Communists and whoever was there . . .  We would all participate in these discussions, each of them would bring their literature round . . . I got involved so to speak, I was unemployed, but I would still go because I found these meetings fascinating, and I would participate in the distribution of leaflets.

I would go out with some of the leaders, and go with John Anderson or John Mack, who was a leader at that time.  I went to--not so often to Fords--but I went to the Cadillac plant, Ternstedt, places like this, and GM, and would distribute organizational . . . I got involved in the Detroit Stoveworks strike . . .  The MESA had undertaken the organization there and had a bitter strike there.  A matter of fact I had guns put in my ribs in this strike threatening to kill us.  But this was part of my education in the trade union movement.

5. 
Karl Emil Franzos, "Schiller in Barnow" (1876), in The German Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, Ritchie Robertson, ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999)




Bildungs-proletarians and Plebeian Upstarts: the extended mind of the Unity caucus
h
bildungsproletarians
and
plebeian upstarts
praxiological ratios

a. plebeian upstarts

1. the Joe Adams ratio:         10.6% (Dodge Main) PF
2. the Charlie Yaeger ratio:    7.2% (Buick) Skeels
3. the Bud Simons ratio:        7.5% (Fisher Body 1) Skeels
4. the Cliff Williams ratio:     7.1% (Pontiac Motors) PF

b. bildungsproletarians:  about one in thousand

Dodge Main: 2 ratios (21,894 members in Fall 1939)

n=34. (0.16%): Emergency Meeting of Chrysler Executive Boards and Shop Committees, October 8, 1939

n=13 (0.06%): Meeting of the Chrysler Executive Boards and shop committees, November 7, 1939




Bildungsproletarians' encounters with the "world"

1.  encounters with "the masses"
a.  patrimonial formations: gangs and grifters
b.  Masons and K of C
c.  the middle (hometownsmen): Elder,  Wainwright
d.  Polish women (Herman Burt)
e.  workhorse uncle toms
f.  Hillbillies

2.  encounters with "the middling sort"
a.  Ben Wainwright interview
b.  the Elder report

3.  encounters with the skilled trades
a.  Mazey on the skilled trades in Briggs
b.  Fagan on the "Americans"
c.  Kluck on skilled trades
d.  Kord on the colonization of the tool room

4.  encounters with plebeian upstarts
a.  Bud Simons on Toledo flying squadron
b.  Edmund Kord on guys from front welding
c.  Edmund Kord on the youth "gangs" in the
press
     rooms

d.  Bill Mazey and Joe Adams on the Italians

5.  encounters with management
a.  Earl Reynolds
b. Bud Simons and Frank Fagan
c. Murray Body spring committee

6.  encounters with fascism*
a. Bud Simons experience in Saginaw
b. Victor Reuther experience in Anderson
c. Cliff Williams vs. Bert Harris
d. Packard
e. Maurice Sugar in the elevator
f. Lindahl on 1938 meeting (letter to Lewis)

Networks of Power
o


Reformation "Roots"
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transcendental empiricism

This site is a rhizome.

Its principle of production is transcendental empiricism

It uses figurative elements, including  graphs, tables, charts, and maps, originally to advance an analysis of the historical trajectory: the New Deal to Donald Trump, but the events of the second decade of the 21st century, when viewed through the lens provided by The Social Origins of Language, forced me to see that there was a bigger picture.  This bigger picture is represented by Figure 0. From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States.

Before continuing, the reader should scroll through the four empiricities below:


This site is organized around the empiricities, and is steeped in the post-Kantian revolution in thought.  Excerpts from key works in that revolution, from the Critique of Pure Reason to contemporary thinkers like Förster, Žižek, and Emden, are to be found in the Philosophical Notebook and in Philohistory page. 

Figure 0,  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States, provides a narrative framework.  Below this figure are three excerpts from state-of-the-art scholarly works that contextualize the problematic of "Trump".

Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014) is of singular importance if one is to understand the nature of the biocultural catastrophe in which we are now engulfed.  Here I provide long excerpts.  A shorter summary and brief excerpts can be found here.  The concept of biocultural niche is especially useful for understanding the semiotic regimes of the two-party system, and the processes of cognitive development and cogntive disintegration.







the deep history of "Trump"
Daniel Dor, Chris Knight and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014), p.4

  . . . in the case of many nonhuman primates, dominance asserted through violence or threat is the internal principle of social organization . . . [Among humans] . . . primate-style dominance is periodically overthrown and then restored, only to be overthrown and restored again and again.

Richard Lachmann, "Coda: American Patrimonialism: The Return of the Repressed” in Patrimonial Power in the Modern World, Julia Adams and Mounira M. Charrad, eds. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,  2011:

Patrimonialism, until fairly recently, seemed an archaic social form, largely replaced by bureaucratic rationalism. That confident view of modernity, in the histories that Max Weber and his followers wrote, deserves to be challenged as patrimonial regimes reappear in states and firms throughout the world.

Understanding the Global Patrimonial Wave, July 2021 Perspectives on Politics 20(1):1-13 

  . . . the major trend in regime change over the past decade has been not simply a move away from democratic institutions to authoritarianism but, more precisely, a wave of patrimonialism spreading through autocratic and democratic regions alike.




The link between the "empirical" materials in the right-hand column and the "theoretical" materials in this column is tenuous when viewed row by row.  The empiricities (the links at the right) structure this page--that is, I first assembled these empiricities and only then began to consider what "theoretical" materials should be adjacent to them.  The "theoretical" materials are of two kinds: excerpts from state-of-the-art scholarly texts; and my own comments.  It is recommended that the reader first scroll down and become acquainted with the graphic materials and data sets in the right hand column.  Then return to this place and resume reading.  This site is really a working notebook.  "It only ever maps the real, since the act of mapping is a method of experimenting with the real: and it is always an open system, with multiple exits and entrances."

from John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)

Deleuze and Guatarri argue that the book . . . has been seen as an organic unit, which is both hermetically sealed, but also a reflection of the world.  In contrast, the rhizome is neither mimetic nor organic.  It only ever maps the real, since the act of mapping is a method of experimenting with the real: and it is always an open system, with multiple exits and entrances.  In short, the rhizome is an 'acentred' system; the map of a mode of thought which is always 'in the middle'. p 45





    concepts                               and their empiricities
a geneology of action
Bildung and the Will to Power

Enlightenment
civic republicanism
the vanguard party
The UAW in Southeast Michigan and the Lower Great Lakes

The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State
a geneology of reaction
ressentiment and the mechanisms of defence
Fascism-Racism-Patrimonialism
the paranoid-schizoid position
the sex party (the sado-sexual eigenvector of GOP performativity)
Some Arrestees from the January 6th Assault on the Capitol

Semiotic Regimes: the Two-Party System
a geneology of innaction
nihilism
neoliberalism, (commercial republicanism) liberalism, socialism
 the depressive position
the pity party
Semiotic Regimes: the Two-Party System

Elite Networks of Power/Textures of Politics


Geographies, Timeliines, and Bibliographies




On the Enlightenment

I wrote the paragraph below before Trump, and before the publication of
The Social Origins of Language


Not only did the Enlightenment not acquire a proletarian or popular embodiment (the "class with radical chains").  The ‘people’, even in its "working class" moment, became the mass base for right wing, nationalist, racist, xenophobic cognitive modalities, political cultures, and socio-culturally contextualized character formations. (Blanning, Paxton, Clarke, Sugrue)  These modalities of ressentiment are ontologically prior to the political forces that utilize, absorb, and manipulate them (see Right-wing Elites in the Postwar era; Red Scare, UAW links).  That is why answers to such questions as What’s the Matter With Kansas?  cannot be given in political terms or through political analysis. 


On the Enlightenment, from Lionel B. Steiman, Paths to Genocide: Antisemitism in Western History (Macmillan Press, 1998), p. 93-95

The Enlightenment did not deny the existence of all manner of evils but denied that these were a consequence of human nature.  It held that people are by nature reasonable and capable of good but had been corrupted by their institutions and environment.  Its rationalism assumed the universal existence of human reason and applied the criterion of social utility to all institutions, policies, and actions.  Transform or abolish corrupt institutions, improve the human environment, and human behavior would likewise improve.  Human beings were by nature rational and therefore capable of creating a rational and humane socal order.


I wrote the paragraph below
in 2023 as a comment on the paragraph above (Steiman):

This was the intellectual ethos of Progressivism, whose radical wing included the socialists and communists.  It is this ethos which now lies in ruins.  One does not simply pick up the pieces and hope for a better day.  One can no longer yearn for that "class with radical chains," that phantom of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Indeed, a stunning reversal has occured, most evident in the United States, where the deterioration of discursive and cognitive performativity is now the hallmark of our times.  Is it possible that literacy is dying even as we speak?  You bet!  And right before our eyes.  Watch MSNBC and see for yourself.  We miss this bigger picture if we focus only on trump.


The Republican Dasein
Schiller Hall in Detroit in the 1930s should be viewed as a radical salon,
a node in the discursive field/biocultural niche of modernity

1. from S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

We have seen that for 'conscous' workers in Russia and, to a lesser extent, in China, reading was an activity that was central to self-fashioning, constitutive of what it meant to be a cultured and autonomous individual.

2. Schiller Hall in Detroit should be viewed as a radical salon, a node in the discursive field of modernity, a meeting place of the bildungsproletarians.  At the right Ed Lock (proud grandson of a Civil War veteran) provides an account of the intellectual life of the bildungs-proletarians who gathered in Schiller Hall.  Saul Wellman (communist, Detroit and Flint), provides an account of intellectual aspirations of new recruits to the Party in Flint in the  immediate post-war period.  Joe Adams (socialist, Dodge Main) provides an account of such modernist sensibilities on Detroit's east side, and more generally among the socialists he knew back in the day.  Excerpts from the Wellman and Adams interviews can be found here.

3. comment on Margaret Jacob's The First Knowledge Economy: Human Capital and the European Economy, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, 2014:

Jacob's emphasis on the socio-cultural networks, circles, meeting houses of these first "industrialists"; her emphasis on the role of books as emotionally charged world-opening objects--one sees here both Vygotsky's notion of zone of proximal development broadened and historicized, and Alcorn's understanding of the development of self that can result from an an engagement with a text.  In this way Jacob expands our concept of the Enlightenment. 

This  requires a reconceptualization of what is called the Enlightenment--the Enlightenment as a cultural-historical developmental leap--an ontological leap, a cognitive revolution, a new Symbolic Order.  The superorganisism of the enlightenment . . .  from the 18th century to the New Deal.  Scientific reasoning is not merely about knowledge.  It is about functioning on the formal-operational level.  In the adventure of it, the jouissance of developmental transgression and becoming, lies the secret of the bildungs-proletarians and plebian upstarts who gave us so many Nietzschean spectacles . . .


4. from my interview with Ed Lock (CP, UAW Local 600)



I was very active in MESA --- Ford in USSR  petered out in March of 1933, and I was laid off.  Several months later I found employment in a job shop as a milling machine operator.  I got signed up in the MESA, that was a unionized plant. The  job didn't last long.
 
h
In that period I would hang out at the MESA hall, Schiller Hall* on Gratiot Ave. . .  It was very much a Left hall.  I became very interested in union . . .  I was very young, 20 yrs old.  My father was AFL, a ship carpenter, but I didn't assimilate much from him.  But I became very interested in the MESA, and one of the characteristics of the time was that large     numbers of radicals of all descriptions IWW, Communist, Socialist . . . would come to this hall, and we would sort of sit around and have big bull discussions with the old timers from the IWW and the Communists and whoever was there . . .  We would all participate in these discussions, each of them would bring their literature round . . . I got involved so to speak, I was unemployed, but I would still go because I found these meetings fascinating, and I would participate in the distribution of leaflets.

I would go out with some of the leaders, and go with John Anderson or John Mack, who was a leader at that time.  I went to--not so often to Fords--but I went to the Cadillac plant, Ternstedt, places like this, and GM, and would distribute organizational . . . I got involved in the Detroit Stoveworks strike . . .  The MESA had undertaken the organization there and had a bitter strike there.  A matter of fact I had guns put in my ribs in this strike threatening to kill us.  But this was part of my education in the trade union movement.

5. 
Karl Emil Franzos, "Schiller in Barnow" (1876), in The German Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, Ritchie Robertson, ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999)



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What is a Catastrophe of the First Order?
Donald Trump and the Adventures of Dasein
Slavoj Žižek, "only a catastrophe can save us." (Elevate Festival 2023)
Slavoj Žižek, "What Lies Ahead" (Jacobin, January 17, 2023)
Joseph Carew, Ontological Catastrophe: Zizek and the Paradoxical Metaphysics of German Idealism (Open Humanities Press, 2014)

1. The question of ontological catastrophe is hardly speculative.  This graph of PISAy Math Scores, 2003-2015, gives us a hint of what an ontological catastrophe looks like. 

2. Trump's Meeting with the Joint Chiefs in the Tank on July 20, 2017 provides us with a window into the actual unfolding of
an ontological catastrophe.  We have a detailed description of this meeting in A Very Stable Genius, chapter 9, "Shocking the Conscience."*  A close reading of that chapter can be found here.  The chapter in its entirety can be found here.  The most striking aspects of the Tank meeting, as reported in A Very Stable Genius, are the primitive cognitive performativity of president Trump, his brutish behavior toward the Joint Chiefs, and the degree to which the Joint Chiefs were flabergasted by this brutish stupidity.  "He's a fucking moron", said Rex Tillerson. (Slate, "Trump's Nuclear Meltdown", October 11, 2017.)

3. The map at the right, Auto Supplier Plant Density, was produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2005--before the financial meltdown of 2008.  If one wanted to map the economic catastrophe wrought by the regimes of financialization and globalization since the early 1970s, this map will do as well as any.

4. And of course t
he Great Depression was certainly a catastrophe; and in the popular mind the catastrophe that gave rise to the New Deal. (A genealogical approach to the New Deal demonstrates how wrong this is.)

But the Great Depression was a catastrophe only of the second order: it did not destroy Dasein--it did not destroy the biocultural niche of modernity; it merely ruined the lives of millions people and brought into question the post-Reconstruction (1877 to 1929) political-economic order.  It was external to Dasein.  Small potatoes in the context of Figure 0. 

Something much bigger is happening now, something beyond the cognitive scope
of current thought, which is economistic in character and Cartesian in its metaphysical presuppositions.  Figure 0.  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States, provides a framework for conceptualizing a catastrophe of the first order.  The graph (above) of PISA Math Scores, 2003-2015, gives us a hint of what a catastrophe of the first order looks like.  The excerpts below right show what a catastrophe of the first order looks like when refracted through the lens formed by a group of texts (n=4).  A catastrophe of the first order is internal to Dasein.  A catastrophe of the first order is above all about language as conceived of by the contributors to The Social Origins of Language

Our current catastrophe of the first order is the disintegration of the biocultural niche of modernity within the political boundaries of the United States (and maybe elsewhere).  "Trump" is a manifestation of this disintegration.

——————————————————
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* Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America (Penguin Press, 2020)









Dasein: A Synopsis of this Site
(Dasein without the Heideggerian bullshit)

Language on the threshold of gesture and reflex


Regression to infantile narcissism via processes of identification

The war against reason and the politics of patrimonialism:
why Trump loves Putin


The sado-sexual eigenvector of GOP performativity

Donald Trump and the abyss of decognification

Cognitive performativity is a biocultural historical phenomenon,
not explicable within a discursive field shaped by the
Cartesian synthetic a priori


The election of Donald Trump as a lagging indicator of the disintegration
of cognitive performativities.








Concentration of U.S. Parts Plants

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Key Texts.  Read Now

The bulleted (•) texts below should be read immediately.  This will make the summary of findings in the next row more intelligible.

The Zaretsky article is the best thing I have seen so far on Trump, and it is only about 18 paragraphs long.  
Eric Weitz on the Nazis and the context of their emergence should be read in conjunction with Zaretsky.  Regarding Trump as grifter, Fraser poses a depressing but inescapable question: the enigma of how these con artists and grifters become folk heroes.  Fraser and Zaretsky should be read contrapuntally. 
The Social Origins of Language is Dasein without the bullshit.  I follow Sahlins on the relationship between "culture" and "biology".

•Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014): long excerpts.  A shorter summary and brief excerpts can be found here.  Read the summary and short excerpts now.  Sinha and Shilton et. al. bring us up to date.

•Marshall Sahlins, "Hierarchy, Equality, and the Sublimation of Anarchy: The Western Illusion of human nature."  The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at The University of Michigan, November 4, 2005

•Eli Zaretsky, "The Mass Psychology of Trumpism" (London Review of Books, 18 September 2018).

•Eric D. Weitz, Weimar German: Promise and Tragedy (Princeton, 2007/2018), chapter 9, "Revolution and Counterrevolution from the Right" (pp. 331-360), Excerpts 

•Steve Fraser, Every Man A Speculator: A history of Wall Street in American Life (HarperCollins, 2005), pp. 72-73 and 94-96.

Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb, Inheritance Systems and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (Cambridge, 2020)

Sinha, C. (2021). Artefacts, symbols, and the socio-cultural dynamics of niche construction, in The Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution (Oxford, 2021).

Shilton, D; Breski, M; Dor, D; Jablonka, E (February 14, 2020). "Human Social Evolution: Self-Domestication or Self-Control?". Frontiers in Psychology. 11: 134.

Jane Schneider and Peter Schneider, "Mafia, Antimafia, and the Plural Cultures of Sicily." Current Anthropology, Vol. 46, No. 4 (August/October 2005), pp. 501-520





More Adventures of Dasein:
what a catastrophe of the first order looks like
(refracted through the lens formed by selected texts)


Nicholas Kristof, "McDonald’s Workers in Denmark Pity Us," New York Times, May 8, 2020

Think of it this way. Workers at McDonald’s outlets all over the world tend to be at the lower end of the labor force, say the 20th percentile. But Danish workers at the 20th percentile are high school graduates who are literate and numerate.

In contrast, after half a century of underinvestment in the United States, many 20th-percentile American workers haven’t graduated from high school, can’t read well, aren’t very numerate, struggle with drugs or alcohol, or have impairments that reduce productivity.

from Philip Roth unbound: interview transcript (Daily Beast, October 30, 2009)

Tina Brown: You said in an interview that you don’t think novels are going to be read 25 years from now. Were you being provocative or do you believe that to be true?

Philip Roth: I was being optimistic about 25 years really. No, I think it’s going to be cultic. I think always people will be reading them, but it’ll be a small group of people—maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range. . . .  To read a novel requires a certain kind of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. . .  I think that that kind of concentration, and focus, and attentiveness, is hard to come by. It’s hard to find huge numbers of people, or large numbers of people or significant numbers of people who have those qualities.


from Maryanne Wolf, Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World (Harper Collins, 2018), p. 179

The seriousness of the current reality means that at the present rate, the majority of eighth-grade children could be classified as functionally illiterate in a few years' time.


from Edward Frenkel And Hung-Hsi Wu, "Republicans Should Love 'Common Core'.  National standards can revive the way we teach math and science," Wall Street Journal, 5-6-13

Mathematical education in the U.S. is in deep crisis. The World Economic Forum ranks the quality of math and science education in the U.S. a dismal 48th. This is one of the reasons the 2010 report "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" by the National Academies warned that America's ability to compete effectively with other nations is fading. . . .  [The report refers to] the current lock-step march to the bottom of international student performance in math and science.





What is Missing in Zizek and Varoufakis:
The relationship between catastrophes of the first and second order.
The historicity of language and cognition--their biocultural embeddedness, and their contemporary disintegration--is one of the fundamental questions posed by this site.

Evidence abounds in the public arena of a widespread dissolution of language and cognition--a catastrophe of the first order. Because the media performs this cognitive decline, the decay of reason is invisible within the cognitively decaying media sphere. The historicity of language and cognition, their biocultural embeddedness, and their contemporary disintegration, is one of the fundamental questions posed by this site.

We are now engulfed in is the implosion of neo-liberal "society." The term "society" is bracketed because, in the conventional use of the term, an ontological stability is implied, whereas in reality this society is in the process of blowing its brains out, and that along four axes of ontological catastrophe.

•First, the disintegration of the cognitive performativities of modernity itself: the "human" side of "capital." (decognification, disindividuation; Trump's rhetorical performances seen from the standpoint of literacy and cognition as contingent not normative).
This is a catastrophe of the first order.

•Second, the explosion of fascist performativities within the orbit of the GOP (Robert O. Paxton, Anatomy of Fascism: "The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism."). 
This is a catastrophe of the second order.  The post-war development of West Germany is evidence that the biocultural niche of modernity can survive fascism.  Fascism in the United States, however, feeds off the disintegration of the biocultural niche of modernity and also accelerates it.

•Third, the patrimonial assault on rational-bureaucratic institutions, an assault on the very idea of science-based professionalism and public service.   Why does Trump get along so well with the alpha males of other patrimonial regimes, especially Putin? Not simply because he is one of them. The inner logic of such regimes--especially in the case of Trump--is the objective necessity to destroy the entire culture of science-based administration in agency after agency as an existential imperative.  This is the significance of the demonic shibboleth: "the deep state".  This is a catastrophe of the second order that feeds off the disintegration of the biocultural niche of modernity and also accelerates it.

•Fourth, the triumph of nihilism (or as it is known today, neoliberal subjectivity). This nihilism is manifest in the victim culture of the Democratic Party's appeal, which defines "self" not as citizen but as consumer and victim. The New Deal's civic republicanism is dead.  According to Nietzsche, this is a catastrophe of the first order.

On the emotional side, the brutishness in language and behavior that are the chief characteristics of Trump's mass-oriented performances must be understood as manifestations of something of great ontological significance. The sado-sexual eigenvector of “Trump” performativities goes back to the Know-Nothing roots of the GOP (Gniepp), later 19th century anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic political rhetoric, the lynching for rape discourse, the southern strategy, and the infamous Willie Horton episode in George H.W. Bush’s 1988 campaign. Trump's performance coming down the stairs ("They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.") and the plaint of one of his supporters ("He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting") should be placed in this broader context.

It is already clear that in the U.S. large numbers of unchurched as well as fundamentalist whites and blacks (and many working class Catholics) have been disgorged from the project of modernity, and now constitute, by twenty-first century standards, a barely literate mass, concentrated in central cities, inner suburbs, small towns, and rural areas, and removed in toto from the possibilities of cognitive development implied by the term "education."   Their
disgorgement from the project of modernity is a catastrophe of the second order.  The consequences of that disgorgement, as we can now see, is a catastrophe of the first orderThis disgorgement from the project of modernity is evident in Some Arrestees from the January 6th Assault on the Capitol.




Analyzing Power Relations: Six Frameworks

Max Weber

Deleuze & Guattari
 
Vincent/McMahon

Piaget/Vygotsky

Michael Mann

This site

Three regimes (charismatic, patrimonial, rational-bureaucratic)

Three regimes (primitive, despotic, capitalist)

Left vs. Right: (topologies of the two-party system)

Cognitive modalities (topologies of the two-party system)

Four networks of power

Five genetic ontologies (topologies of the two-party system)





What we call societies are only loose aggregates of diverse, overlapping, intersecting power networks.
from Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power.  Volume II: The rise of classes and national states (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

It is a basic tenet of my work that societies are not systems.  There is no ultimately determining structure to human existence--at least none that social actors or sociological observers, situated in its midst, can discern.  What we call societies are only loose aggregates of diverse, overlapping, intersecting power networks.  p. 506

America has not so much been exceptional as it has gradually come to represent one extreme on a continuum of class relations.  America has never differed qualitatively from other national cases.  Differences have been of degree, not kind. . . .  Explanations asserting an original and enduring American exceptionalism . . . have only a very limited truth.  p. 638




Today, many of our socials tensions have been expressed in terms of implosion and
depressive collapse or, in a similar way, its flip side: explosions of violence,
rage, the search for new sensations.

Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age (McGill-Queens University Press, 2010)

We are changing, of course, but that does not necessarily mean we are progressing.  Combined with all the forces that today exhort us to look into our own private lives, the “civilization of change” has stimulated a massive interest in psychic disorders.  It can be heard from all quarters, and it takes form in the many marketplaces that offer inner balance and tranquility.  Today, many of our socials tensions have been expressed in terms of implosion and depressive collapse or, in a similar way, its flip side: explosions of violence, rage, the search for new sensations.  pp. 185-6

As addictive explosion reflects depressive implosion, so the drug-taker’s search for sensation reflects the depressed person’s lack of feeling.  Depression, that crossroads of pathology, serves as a canvas upon which to sketch out the changes in modern subjectivity, the displacement of the hard task of being healthy.  In a context in which choice is the norm and inner insecurity the price, these pathologies make up the dark side of contemporary private life.  Such is the equation of the sovereign individual: psychic freedom and individual initiative = identity insecurities and the incapacity to act.  p. 232






This site uses figurative elements, including  graphs, tables, charts, and maps

This site began fifty years ago as a project which at the time I called an exercise in phenomenological marxism, and resulted in the publication of my book The Emergence of a UAW Local, 1936-1939: a Study in Class and Culture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975).  Edmund Kord, who was the key organizer in this plant, was one of the bildungs-proletarians* who was part of the Reuther circle at Wayne State University in the 1930s. (see the Bildung page).

The plant layout at the lower right (figure 2) was drawn by Kord in the course of our discussions. 

Figure 1. The UAW-Unity Caucus, 1933-1943, emerged out of my discussions with a number of veterans of the formative years of the UAW (59 of whom are listed here).  This map was only constructed in the time of Trump, although the interviews that produced it were conducted in the mid-1970s.  Thus, it is only recently that I realized that the Unity caucus
h was a fusion of bildungs-proletarians and plebeian upstarts, was the vanguard of modernity in the factories of southeastern Michigan, and was organically related to the Keynesian elite in the New Deal state.  The faction fight between the Unity caucus and the (fascist) forces of Homer Martin, was actually a specific manifestation of the fundamental battle lines that emerged following the French Revolution, summarized by Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightenment: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford, 2001)

The bildungs-proletarian component of that fusion was made up mostly of communists and socialists.  It was these bildungs-proletarians around whom formed the action networks of plebeian upstarts who created the modern UAW in the late 1930s.  When placed in the contexts of Figure 0 and the periodization of the History of Reading and Writing provided by Lyons, the extended mind of the Unity caucus becomes a cultural historical base camp from which observations can be made regarding the historicity of language and cognition.

What made this whole site possible is the literary and cognitive capabilities of the bildungsproletarians and plebeian upstarts whom I interviewed.

I had no idea at the time (the mid-1970s) that these interviews would prove to be critical to a reconceptualization of modernity as a mode of lingusitic and cognitive performativity, nor that they would provide a framework necessary if not sufficient for understanding all that we subsume under the term "trump".

All of us historians who interviewed these workers back in the nineteen seventies and eighties were not only struck by their powers of mind, but also by what can only be described as their strength of character.  They were the very model of republican citizenship, the embodiment of civic republicanism.

it was these bildungsproletarians who embodied the biocultural niche of modernity within the factories of southeastern Michigan.  For this reason it was possible to co-construct a discursive web incorporating all the interviews that, in another context, could be referred to as the extended mind of the Unity caucus.  Since I participated in all of these interviews, that extended mind is still active.  It is from the standpoint of the still
living extended mind of the Unity caucus that "we" now address the question: What happened to the New Deal?

*Bildungs-proletarians.  Highly literate workers who participated in the public sphere, embedded especially in the biocultural niche of Progressivism.  See Kraus interview on Wyndham Mortimer.  Read Mortimer's letter to Chas on the factional situation in the UAW in the spring of 1938 for an example of what Kraus is talking about.  (Also interviews of Adams, Lock, Wellman, Williams)





figure 1. The UAW-Unity Caucus, 1933-1943:
Intersubjectivity, Shared Intentionality, and the Extended Mind
Bildungsproletarians and Plebeian Upstarts
j
the UAW, 1933-1943: a working notebook




figure 2. Layout of Michigan Steel Tube (UAW Local 238), circa 1937

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Thermidor: What Happened to the New Deal?
Donald Trump and the Adventures of Dasein
The Cliff Williams page

From January 7, 1974 to August 21, 1974, Cliff Williams* and I had a series discussions about the situation in the Auto plants in Pontiac and Flint during the 1930s.  Among other documents, he gave me the Detroit News clipping at the right.

Leftists of various stripes have viewed the Flint sitdown strike as a dramatic victory for labor (see Occupy Detroit: A Look at 90 Years of Auto Strikes).  Yet immediately following the strike's settlement the fascist forces around Homer Martin and Jay Lovestone (sent to Detroit by David Dubinsky of the ILGWU) unseated by administrative means the first elected leadership that had led the sitdown strike of local 156.  The disintegration of the local can be followed in the Bob Travis reports to the Executive Board  of the UAW, first in April and the second in September, 1937.From the summer of 1937 to the Cleveland Convention of March 1939 the UAW was riven by a civil war.  No mere faction fight, this battle was actually a continuation of the civil war of 1861-65.

As can be seen in the excerpt at the right from the Charlie Yaeger interview, at the time of the Cleveland convention in March of 1939 the union in Buick included only 500 dues paying members out of a plant of 7,000.  The situation was far worse in Fisher Body and Chevrolet.

*Yellow Truck and Bus, Pontiac






Thermidor: May 1937
Detroit News, May 2, 1937
kkk
Detroit News, May 2, 1937 click here for full text

the state of the union: Buick, March 1939

from Charles Yaeger (Oral History: p. 12, Reuther Archives)

Finally the CIO group, the Addes and Reuther forces in the union at that time, called a special convention with the blessing of the parent CIO in Cleveland, and there we organized what became the UAW-CIO.

We attended the Cleveland Convention [March 27, 1939], and it was there that the union was born after all this factional problem.  Then, of course, we had to go back and reorganize the plants because as much as the International was torn asunder the locals were, too.  We took over the local union with(in) our unit of the old amalgamated [Local 156], which became [local] 594.  We took it over with about 7,000 people working in the plant and 503 or 504 members.  This was all the membership we had.  We did not have the union.



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bildung and literacy: On Reading as a Transformative Process

state-of-the-art scholarly text
The half century between the 1880s and the 1930s was the golden age of the book in the West
Martyn Lyons, A History of Reading and Writing In the Western World (PalgraveMacmillan, 2010)

 9. The Reading Fever, 1750-1830 ("Everyone in Paris is reading . . .  People read while riding in carriages  or taking walks . . . Women, children, journeymen and apprentices read in shops.  On Sundays people read while seated at the front of their houses; lackeys read on their back seats, coachmen up on their boxes, and soldiers keeping guard."

10. The Age of the Mass Reading Public (“Between the 1830s and the First World War . . . a mass reading public came into existence.”)

11. New Readers and Reading Cultures ("The half century between the 1880s and the 1930s was the golden age of the book in the West.")

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state-of-the-art scholarly texts








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Bildungs-proletarians and Plebeian Upstarts:
the extended mind of the Unity caucus
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bildungsproletarians
and
plebeian upstarts

think Chartists
praxiological ratios

a. plebeian upstarts

1. the Joe Adams ratio:         10.6% (Dodge Main) PF
2. the Charlie Yaeger ratio:    7.2% (Buick) Skeels
3. the Bud Simons ratio:        7.5% (Fisher Body 1) Skeels
4. the Cliff Williams ratio:     7.1% (Pontiac Motors) PF

b. bildungsproletarians:  about one in thousand

Dodge Main: 2 ratios (21,894 members in Fall 1939)

n=34. (0.16%): Emergency Meeting of Chrysler Executive Boards and Shop Committees, October 8, 1939

n=13 (0.06%): Meeting of the Chrysler Executive Boards and shop committees, November 7, 1939




Bildungsproletarians' encounters with the "world"

1.  encounters with "the masses"
a.  patrimonial formations: gangs and grifters
b.  Masons and K of C
c.  the middle (hometownsmen): Elder,  Wainwright
d.  Polish women (Herman Burt)
e.  workhorse uncle toms
f.  Hillbillies

2.  encounters with "the middling sort"
a.  Ben Wainwright interview
b.  the Elder report

3.  encounters with the skilled trades
a.  Mazey on the skilled trades in Briggs
b.  Fagan on the "Americans"
c.  Kluck on skilled trades
d.  Kord on the colonization of the tool room

4.  encounters with plebeian upstarts
a.  Bud Simons on Toledo flying squadron
b.  Edmund Kord on guys from front welding
c.  Edmund Kord on the youth "gangs" in the
press
     rooms

d.  Bill Mazey and Joe Adams on the Italians

5.  encounters with management
a.  Earl Reynolds
b. Bud Simons and Frank Fagan
c. Murray Body spring committee

6.  encounters with fascism*
a. Bud Simons experience in Saginaw
b. Victor Reuther experience in Anderson
c. Cliff Williams vs. Bert Harris
d. Packard
e. Maurice Sugar in the elevator
f. Lindahl on 1938 meeting (letter to Lewis)

Networks of Power
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Reformation "Roots"
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Dasein: Bildung, Ressentiment, and Nihilism






Figure 0.  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States
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      larger image        much larger image



Bildung and Dasein: a Critique of Heidegger's Cartesianism
From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Authenticity

Heidegger's conception of human Dasein echoes Kierkegaard’s description of a “self”. On Heidegger’s account, Dasein is not a type of object among others in the totality of what is on hand in the universe. Instead, human being is a “relation of being”, a relation that obtains between what one is at any moment (the immediacy of the concrete present as it has evolved) and what one can and will be as the temporally extended unfolding or happening of life into an open realm of possibilities.

Chris Sinha's critique of Cartesianism: Chris Sinha, "Niche construction and semiosis: biocultural and social dynamics", in Social Origins of Language

It is increasingly recognized, in theories of distributed cognition, that human cognitive processes extend ‘beyond the skin’, involving intersubjectively shared mental states and cultural-cognitive technologies.  This presents a conceptual problem not only for psychology, with its traditional individualist assumptions, but also for biology, which assumes by default that the organism as a behavioral and morphological individual is identical to the organism as bearer of genetic material. 44-5

h


Midland Steel, UAW Local 410
The AFL Faction: the Non-Production Craft and Service Sector

name
nationality
religion
year of birth
classificationdepartment






Oran Snyder
German
Catholic

repair weld
assembly
Glen Snyder
German
Catholic

repair weld
assembly
Anton Boll
German/Kashub?
Catholic

die maker
tool room
Frrank Carr
Irish
Catholic

crib clerk
tool room
Joseph Bergeron
French-Canadian
Catholic

tool welder
tool room






F. Bieske
German
Catholic

plumber
maintenance
Fred Kraus
German
Catholic

pipefitter
maintenance
F. Mathews
Irish
Catholic

millwright
maintenance
A. Dumais
French-Canadian
Catholic

electrician
maintenace
Carl Brendel
German
Catholic

plumber
maintenace






J. Killala
Irish
Catholic
1899
crane operator
transportation
William Babcock
German
Catholic

crane operatortransportation
Junius Pruitt
Black


tractor driver
transportation






Pete Olshove
Kashub
Catholic
1898
hyd. press die set
press room
Agnes Baaranski
Kashub
Catholic
1900
press operator
press room
Marie Budna
Czech
Catholic

press operator
press room






H. L. Harris
Black

1891
Hannifin op.
assembly
A. M. Smith
Irish
Catholic
1910
arc welder
assembly
u

The link 

h


Midland Steel, UAW Local 410
The CIO Milieu: Bildungsproletarians  and Plebeian Upstarts
name
nationality
religion
year of birth
classificationdepartment






North European











Thomas Dyer
Ky. Mason


die maker
tool room
Sam Brear
Scot//Czech

machine hand
tool room
A. Barton
Indiana WASP


diie maker
tool room






Ben Wainwright
Pa. English


arc welder
assembly
Bud English
WASP RR Okla

1906
arc welder
assembly
Norm Green
French-Canadian
Catholic
1912
arc welder
assembly
Bud Berkey
Pa. WASP

1904
arc welder
assembly
John Fisher
Scotch

1897
spot welder
assembly






G. Watson



press operator
press room
Mac Mackelvey
Scot


press operator
press room
A. Fritche
German

1899
large press op.
press room






THE LEFT











Bill Sumak
Russian

1897
press operator
press room
George Borovich
Serb

1913
press operator
press room
Fred Cini
Maltese

1905
press operator
press room
James Dinkle
Germ/Kashub

1910
press operator
press room






John Kazmierski
Polish

1912Proj. welderassembly
Peter Borovich
Serbian

1914arc welder
assembly






Peter Kotenko
Russian

1915
labor
transportation






THE SECOND GENERATION











John Kazmierski
Polish

1915
arc welderassembly
Ed Grabowski
Polish

1915
arc welderassembly
Ted Maciag
Polish

1915
arc welderassembly
Frank Kusz
Polish

1896
arc welderassembly
Chester Podorski
Polish

1917
Hannifin op
assembly






Oscar Oden
Black

1909
assembler
assembly
Henry Warfield
Black

1896
assembler
assembly
Nelson Merrill
Black

1909
assembler
assembly
Henry Patterson
Black

1902
assembler
assembly
Edgar Hicks
Black

1891
hannifin op
assembly






h


Pontiac, Michigan
Aug 3, 1938

Mr. John L. Lewis
Washington D.C.

This evening in a private hall rented for the purpose of having George Addes and Ed Hall state their positions in the turmoil in International Union u.a.w.a. a concerted effort was made by Martin adherents to break ??? meeting.  Stop.  This in violation of rights guarnteed undfer U. S. Constitution.  Stop.  Glad to report effort was unsuccessful.  Members who called meeting have been told they will be summarily expelled from u.a.w.a. Stop.  Seems Martin forces are determined members shall not know boith sides of controversy.  Your intervention appears necessary.

Chas. L. Barnes
Kathleen Henson
Cliff Williams
L. H. Kay
R. A. Marriott
C. B. Archer




Interviews (Skeels, Friedlander, Leighton): Lower Great Lakes Industrial Region

Detroit-east side
interviewees



Murray Body
UAW Local 2
Pody, Fagan, Jones
Dodge Main
UAW Local 3
Frankensteen, Watson, Ross, Harris, Adams, Ptazynski, Reynolds, Zaremba
Plymouth
UAW Local 51
NLRB, Sweet, bus.hist.,
Packard
UAW Local 190
McDaniel, Kujawski, Matthews, Poplewski,Lindahl
Michigan Steel Tube
UAW Local 238 Klue
Detroit Steel Products
UAW Local 351
Silver
Midland Steel
UAW Local 410
N=24
Chrysler Highland Park
UAW Local 490
Jenkins



Detroit-Connor Ave
interviewees
 Chrysler-Jefferson
UAW Local 7
Zeller, Carey
Hudson
UAW Local 154
Anderson, Moore, Pody
Briggs
UAW Local 212
Bill Mazey, Ernie Mazey, Morris, Vega
Budd Wheel
UAW 306
Bauer



Detroit-west side and Dearborn
interviewees
Ford
UAW Local 600
Lock, Llewelyn, Tappes
Fleetwood
UAW Local 15
Anderson
Ternstedt
UAW Local 174


UAW Local 157




Flint


Fisher Body 1

Genski, Simons
Chevrolet

Jones
Buick

Bully, Case
A.C. Spark Plug





Pontiac

GM Truck & Bus

Williams et. al.
Fisher Body
Williams et. al.
Pontiac Motors
Williams et. al.



Toledo


Auto-Lite


Chevrolet

Ditzel, Roland
Willys-Overland

Addes
Spicer Mfg.


City Auto Stamping


Logan Gear Co


Bingham Stamping and Tool





South Bend


Bendix


Studebaker

Rightly



Milwaukee


Allis-Chalmers

BOOK
Seaman Body

speth



Cleveland


Fisher Body


White Motor

Mortimer







state-of-the-art scholarly texts
excerpts from The Social Origins of Language
v

state-of-the-art scholarly text
The human mind has been drastically changed by culture
from from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare: the Evolution of Human Consciousness (W.W. Norton, 2001), pp. 301-2 (emphasis added)


The human mind has been drastically changed by culture.  In modern culture, enculturation has become an even more formative influence on mental development than it was in the past.  This may be a direct reflection of brain plasticity, rather than genetic change, but that does not in any way diminish the importance of the change from a purely cognitive standpoint.  The human mind is so plastic in the way it carries out its cognitive business, individually and in groups, that the core configuration of skills that defines a mind actually varies significantly as a function of different kinds of culture.  This is especially true of the most conscious domains of mind, such as those involved in formal thinking and representation.

Let me be very clear about what I mean here.  I am not speaking of trivial cultural changes, such as variations in custom or language use.  These are by far the most common and have no proven cognitive impact.  The most important of these is literacy.  Literacy skills change the functional organization of the brain and deeply influence how individuals and communities of literate individuals perform cognitive work.  Mass literacy has triggered two kinds of major cogitive reorganizations, one in individuals and the other in groups.

To become fully literate, the individual must acquire a host of neural demons that are completely absent from anyone who lacks literacy training.  This involves massive restructuring.  There is no equivalent in the preliterate mind to the circuits that hold the complex neural components of a reading vocabulary or the elaborate procedural habits of formal thinking.  These are unnatural.  They have to be hammered in by decades of intensive schooling, which changes the functional uses of certain brain circuits and rewire the functional architecture of thought.  This process can be very extensive. Consider the impact of twenty or more years of schooling on the brain of someone who has acquired full symbolic literacy in several different technical, mathematical, scientific, and musical fields.  These skills encumber neural resources on a vast scale and change how the person's mind carries out its work.


from Lionel Bailly, Lacan: a Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld, 2009)

The human child needs no training, or even teaching: human beings acquire language by simply 'crossing the bar' in the relationship between signifier and signified; and once the bar is crossed, the human psyche is in the entrance hall of the Symbolic realm, with all its vast possibilities. (46)

The associations between signifiers and their high mobility allow for the immeasurable complexity of human psychological functioning, both conscious and unconscious. (47)

The signified concepts are already present in the child’s mind, and it is the exercise of these concepts, via the vocalization, that produces pleasure in the game.  In this case, jouissance is derived from the functioning of the psychological apparatus . . . .  This process of symbolization is the means by which drives may be enjoyed in a sublimated form: ‘Sublimation is nonetheless satisfaction of the drives, without repression.’ [Sahlins] (120)

There is just as much, if not greater jouissance in the functioning of the mind than in the functioning of any other bodily part.  The ability to cross the bar of metaphor, to operate in the symbolic realm—to conceptualize, to analyze, and to rationalise—are all libidinal functions, which entail enjoyment of the mere functioning of the intellect. (124)
g




Textures of Politics


Murray Body Committee Local 2 discusses the competitive situation in the spring industry, 1939


Minutes of the Murray Body Committee Local 2 at Executive Board Meeting, April 26, 1939, Toledo Ohio, Addes Collection, Box 14.11, Reuther Archives.

The members of the Local 2 Committee were:

Brother Hall from Spring & Wire
Brother McDonnell from Stamping
Brothers Sanders and McWilliams from Trim
Brother Smith from Frame (Ecorse plant)
Brother Manini, Vice President
Also present was Executive Board member Walter Reuther


FDR Addresses the Nation, 1936-1938
Campaign Address (speech file 930), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 1, 1936

Informal remarks (speech file 935), Oelwein, Iowa, October 9, 1936

Audio and Transcript of  Campaign Speech, Chicago, October 14, 1936

Audio and Transcript of  Campaign Speech, Madison Square Garden, October 31, 1936 

Fireside Chat #13, "Report to the Nation on National Affairs", June 24, 1938

Barnesville, Georgia  August 11, 1938 (Leuchtenberg/"Copperhead")


Novelist Saul Bellow recalled hearing a fireside chat . . .
from Wikipedia, "Fireside chats"

Novelist Saul Bellow recalled hearing a fireside chat while walking in Chicago one summer evening. "The blight hadn't yet carried off the elms, and under them, drivers had pulled over, parking bumper to bumper, and turned on their radios to hear Roosevelt. They had rolled down the windows and opened the car doors. Everywhere the same voice, its odd Eastern accent, which in anyone else would have irritated Midwesterners. You could follow without missing a single word as you strolled by. You felt joined to these unknown drivers, men and women smoking their cigarettes in silence, not so much considering the President's words as affirming the rightness of his tone and taking assurance from it."

Modernist Sensibilities in Flint circa 1945-48
from my interview with Saul Wellman, Michigan State Chairman of the Communist Party in the post-war 1940s.

Saul Wellman: Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint, and they came out of indigenous folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

PF:  to me that's one of the most significant processes of people becoming radicals, is this . . .

SW: but you lose them in their area . . .

PF: right.  You lose them, but I think something is going on there that I think radicals have not understood about their own movement . . .

SW: right . . .

PF: something about the urge toward self improvement . . .

SW: right . . .

and cultural advancement . . .

SW: right, right . . .

PF: and not to remain an unskilled worker in the asshole of the world . . .

SW: right, right.  But there are two things going on at the same time.  The movement is losing something when a native indigenous force leaves his community.  On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here.




The Southern Strategy: the Lacan-Atwater Signifying Chain
from Wikipedia: (Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy)

As a member of the Reagan administration in 1981, Atwater gave an anonymous interview to political scientist Alexander P. Lamis. Part of the interview was printed in Lamis's book The Two-Party South, then reprinted in Southern Politics in the 1990s with Atwater's name revealed. . . . Atwater talked about the Republican Southern Strategy and Ronald Reagan's version of it:

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now you don't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a by-product of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."



Trump's Meeting with the Joint Chiefs in the Tank, July 20, 2017
A close reading of chapter 9, "Shocking the Conscience," can be found here.  The chapter in its entirety can be found here.

The most striking aspects of the Tank meeting, as reported in A Very Stable Genius, are the primitive cognitive performativity of president Trump, his brutish behavior toward the Joint Chiefs, and the degree to which the Joint Chiefs were flabergasted by this brutish stupidity.  "He's a fucking moron", said Rex Tillerson. (Slate, "Trump's Nuclear Meltdown", October 11, 2017.)

"He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting"
from "It’s Just Too Much: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane," New York Times, 1-7-19.

I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” an employee of the Federal prison in the Florida Panhandle said. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.








Semiotic Regimes: the Two-Party System



The figure to the right combines cognitive and emotional processes. Deployment of a concept of semiotic regimes enables making sense of media productions as a moral theater of ressentiment and complaint. So-called "conspiracy theories", when apprehended in the context of this figure, become intelligible as instances of the political mobilization of the paranoid-schizoid position.  It is within this context that a concept of the sado-sexual eigenvector of GOP perfomativity emerges.  (Clarke and Zaretsky; Nietzsche & Marx on the Cartesian myth (the myth of the "Individual")


state-of-the-art scholarly texts

from Friederich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (p. 51, Penguin)

To this extent media discourse* is never to be taken literally: as such, it never contains anything but nonsense.  But as semiotics it remains of incaculable value: it reveals, to the informed man, at least, the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did not know how to "understand" themselves. Media discourse** is merely sign-language, merely sympomology.

from Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age ( (McGill-Queens University Press, 2010)

We are changing, of course, but that does not necessarily mean we are progressing.  Combined with all the forces that today exhort us to look into our own private lives, the “civilization of change” has stimulated a massive interest in psychic disorders.  It can be heard from all quarters, and it takes form in the many marketplaces that offer inner balance and tranquility.  Today, many of our socials tensions have been expressed in terms of implosion and depressive collapse or, in a similar way, its flip side: explosions of violence, rage, the search for new sensations.  pp. 185-6

As addictive explosion reflects depressive implosion, so the drug-taker’s search for sensation reflects the depressed person’s lack of feeling.  Depression, that crossroads of pathology, serves as a canvas upon which to sketch out the changes in modern subjectivity, the displacement of the hard task of being healthy.  In a context in which choice is the norm and inner insecurity the price, these pathologies make up the dark side of contemporary private life.  Such is the equation of the sovereign individual: psychic freedom and individual initiative = identity insecurities and the incapacity to act.  p. 232


 *     "moral judgement" in the original
**     "morality" in the original



The two-party System: Semiotic Regimes I
Cognitive Performativities and Emotional Configurations

h


 LEFT*
RIGHT
Topology
depressive
     paranoid-schizoid
Political style
progressive
         proto-Dorian
Cognitive mode
     concrete & pre-op
    pre-op and gestural
Regime type
   rational-bureaucratic
patrimonial
t
ihhhi

Analysis of comments sent to the Connecticut Post, August 31, 2006 regarding
the Jonathan Edwards murder case

h

The original impetus for this analysis emerged from a reading of the comments published in The Connecticut Post of August 31, 2006 re. the Jonathon Edington murder case (Rabids/Thoughtfuls).  I noticed the deep similarities between this set of comments and the pro- and anti-war demonstrators' signs in a CNN newscast, 4:00 to 6:00 PM, 9-15-07.

Figures 1 is what resulted from this line of thought.

In the figure above right I characterized the differences between the two parties as topological the topology (where there is a structure on a set of elements) and the topography (which is simply descriptive) of the two-party system.

By topologies I mean the following: take the set of all statements made in a well-defined bounded discursive space (the two-party space). 

First, the rhetorical elements form two disjoint sets.

Second, there is a structure on each data set: a left structure and a right structure. Each data set has both a psychoanalytic and a cognitive dimension.

These psychological-semiotic structures are provided by Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).  The Clarke text is deployed as interpretive grid.  Without this psychoanalytic framework it is impossible to understand the rhetorical performances of right-wing political actors--and the responses of their right-wing audiences.

Note also how the work of Clarke, Zaretsky, Ehrenberg

The cognitive-semiotic structures are provided by standard developmental theory (page, bibliography).  Pre-operational and gestural cognitive modalities dominate the right rhetorical set.  More abstract (formal operational) and factual (concrete operational) dominate on the left.  Indeed, the fundamental character of the left is its committment to science, explicitly, and bildung, implicityly.


Rabid
Put me down for 100.00$ for this guys defence. He was kind. In Texas they would have never found the body. I tored of all the nambepambe judges letting these monster room free. I tell my kids not to worry about whats on TV, worry about you neighbor! I don;t want to tramatize them but damn the world has just changed for the worst. Nothing new, its alwas been there, with media we haer more of it. You'd thing a good judge would use it to their advantage and really knock these type of creep down and lock them up and trow away the key. email me Jon, and Thanks Allen
Allen Winn | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:09 pm | #
This father is hero. Hopefully, those of us who feel the same will continue to lobby the law makers to pass laws making any indecent contact with a child AND dealing in any way with kiddie-porn, a felony, carrying HEAVY jail sentences. The fact that this dad is an attorney and knows the watered-down, perp-favored laws, says volumes. He meted out justice, swiftly and fairly. God bless you, Mr. Edington!
c | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:07 pm | #
About time someone takes the law in their own hands, So what did the FFLD PD do when they had the compliant about the perv standing naked in the window, FFLD PD get off your ASS and start working instead of worrying about traffic voilation.....
I hope i am a jurer for this trial, FREE FREE FREE
chris gallo | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:06 pm | #
I've always thought I would do the same if any person harmed my son. Thank you Mr. Edington from fathers everywhere. I wish this happened everyday. Perverts would think twice.
Anton | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 11:51 am | #
This man should be lift on the shoulders of every father in this country and given three cheers. What he did to his neighbor is nothing compared to what that little girl will have to live with. We should all rally to let our voices be heard and help this man out. He is no danger to anyone except the man who harmed his daughter and that is very well taken care of.
Chris | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 11:44 am | #
Wow I was expecting to chime in with the exact comments expressed here. Earlier when the death was reported I said it was probably going to be over something silly since nothing was reported about the reason.
videophotog | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 11:35 am | #
This guy should be given the key to the city. The only thing the guy did wrong was that he should have just gotten rid of the body so the tax paying people of conn. wouldn't have to pick up the bill for the trial. This is the way it should be done until the laws on sexual predation are corrected.
Joel | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 11:07 am | #
I have heard many a father say that is exactly what they would do to any sick man who would dare....The tragedy is not that he killed a sick man the tragedy is what was done to that little girl and what their family will have to endure in the future.
Diane | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 11:06 am | #
I hope he gets off and doesn't serve one day in jail because he got rid of a low life useless person a pediphile pig!
B | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 9:34 am | #
















Thoughtful
I heard the child was 2. Most 2 yearolds barely talk and most not capable of making up a story. How did the child tell the mother about this incident?
lisa | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 1:31 pm | #
So many are making comments without knowing the facts. What really did happen?? Think about both families and how they are both feeling. In the USA we are supposed be to innocent until proven guilty. And does being convicted of driving under the influence make this an automatic assumption of guilt. Learn the facts before you judge............
Susan | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 1:07 pm | #
I find it extremely disturbing that a man can be tried, convicted and executed without one shred of evidence, in the court of public madness and extremism.
Has our paranoia become so intesified that we are reasy to commit cold blooded murder merely on speculation and rumor?
The article stated: MacNamara said James did not have a criminal record and was not under "any investigation alleging inappropriate activity regarding children."

On May 1, 2001, James pleaded guilty in Superior Court to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was sentenced to six months, suspended after two days, followed by 18 months probation. He was also fined $500.

If people think the above charges warrant the death penalty by stabbing, then the real danger to society are the majority of the posters here.
TL Myers | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:59 pm | #
Im glad your all so quick to judge. Do you know the facts? To me something as important as molestation of a child should not been done by a phone call. Where was the parents when this 2 year old child was left alone? That just seems strange to me. people need to question that.
anonymous | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:37 pm | #
I am an empty nest father of two, a daughter and a son. I too would have the urge to hunt down and exterminate anyone who hurt either of my children or my wife. Crimes against children are the very worst and are why these types of people have to be protected from other lawbreakers. Nevertheless, it seems strange to me that he would take the action he did based on a phone call and not speaking with his daughter himself. I would have got myself to my daughter's side first to talk to and comfort her and my wife. There were already hard feelings with this neighbor and the phone conversation after a long day at work was the spark. This man is no hero to me regardless of the evidence that may come.
Charlie | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:19 pm | #
I am a bit dismayed at the comments here. If this guy did molest the little girl then I have no problem with the father walking away. However, every comment so far has convicted this man of molestation on the word of a 2 year old, and the phone call of a wife. Did the 2 year old just come out and say this to her mother? Did her mother bring this revelation out of the child? We don't know, yet you are ready to convict a man that you do not even know. The police have not confirmed anything. How can anyone condone killing of another person based on rumor, and at this point that is all that it is.
Joe Duh | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:15 pm | #

Being the mother of a murdered daughter, you might think I would approve of this but I dont..We have due process whether or not we think t he process is just or not..This man is innocent until proven guilty..A two year old child has to be questioned carefully..We cannot as a society take the law into our own hands..Change the laws pertaining to molestation, and violent crimes..Pay attention ,contact legislators because it could be you or someone you love one day..Put these people away, but do it in a legal manner.
gail addenbrooke | Email | Homepage | 08.31.06 - 12:10 pm | #


XXX
X
X
X
modernity as a mode of lingusitic and cognitive performativity




from Friederich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, (I 2).

All philosophers have the common failing of starting out from man as he is now and thinking they can reach their goal through an analysis of him.  They involuntarily think of 'man' as an aeterna veritas, as something that remains constant in the midst of all flux, as a sure mesure of things.  Everything the philosopher has declared about man is, however, no more than a testimony as to the man of a very limited period of time.  Lack of historical sense is the family failing of all philosophers

from Friederich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (p. 51, Penguin)

To this extent media discourse* is never to be taken literally: as such, it never contains anything but nonsense.  But as semiotics it remains of incaculable value: it reveals, to the informed man, at least, the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did not know how to "understand" themselves. Media discourse** is merely sign-language, merely sympomology.

from Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age ( (McGill-Queens University Press, 2010)

We are changing, of course, but that does not necessarily mean we are progressing.  Combined with all the forces that today exhort us to look into our own private lives, the “civilization of change” has stimulated a massive interest in psychic disorders.  It can be heard from all quarters, and it takes form in the many marketplaces that offer inner balance and tranquility.  Today, many of our socials tensions have been expressed in terms of implosion and depressive collapse*** or, in a similar way, its flip side: explosions of violence, rage, the search for new sensations.****  pp. 185-6

As addictive explosion reflects depressive implosion, so the drug-taker’s search for sensation reflects the depressed person’s lack of feeling.  Depression, that crossroads of pathology, serves as a canvas upon which to sketch out the changes in modern subjectivity, the displacement of the hard task of being healthy.  In a context in which choice is the norm and inner insecurity the price, these pathologies make up the dark side of contemporary private life.  Such is the equation of the sovereign individual: psychic freedom and individual initiative = identity insecurities and the incapacity to act.  p. 232


 *     "moral judgement" in the original
**     "morality" in the original
***   liberalism/nihilism
**** fascism (see Roper and Walzer)






the big picture: 1mya to 2023


Geographies, Timelines, and Bibliographies


The President Who Doesn't Read
"The President Who Doesn't Read," The Atlantic, January 5, 2018

Ironically, it was the publication of a book this week that crystallized the reality of just how little Donald Trump reads. While, like many of the tendencies described in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Trump’s indifference to the printed word has been apparent for some time, the depth and implications of Trump’s strong preference for oral communication over the written word demand closer examination.  “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense,” Wolff writes. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate.”

Wolff quotes economic adviser Gary Cohn writing in an email: “It’s worse than you can imagine … Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”

 . . . amid the hype over Wolff’s book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough wrote a column Friday saying that in September 2015, he confronted Trump over poor debate performances, saying, “Can you read?” Met with silence, Scarborough pressed again: “I’m serious, Donald. Do you read? If someone wrote you a one-page paper on a policy, could you read it?”



x

Figure 0.  From the Origins of Language to the End of Print Literacy in the United States

tt
larger image
h
state-of-the-art scholarly texts
Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014), p.4

  . . . in the case of many nonhuman primates, dominance asserted through violence or threat is the internal principle of social organization . . . [Among humans] . . . primate-style dominance is periodically overthrown and then restored, only to be overthrown and restored again and again.


Richard Lachmann, "Coda: American Patrimonialism: The Return of the Repressed” in Patrimonial Power in the Modern World, Julia Adams and Mounira M. Charrad, eds. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,  2011:

Patrimonialism, until fairly recently, seemed an archaic social form, largely replaced by bureaucratic rationalism. That confident view of modernity, in the histories that Max Weber and his followers wrote, deserves to be challenged as patrimonial regimes reappear in states and firms throughout the world.


i
Map of Homo Sapiens Migration (from Wikipedia)


on cruelty:
state-of-the-art scholarly texts + one New York Times article
two commentaries on Victor Nell, "Cruelty’s rewards: The gratifications of perpetrators and spectators," Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2006) 29, 211–257

1.  from Mika Haritos-Fatouros, “Cruelty: A dispositional or a situational behavior in man?” Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2006) 29, p.230

The basic question remains, however: How far are aggression, violence, and cruelty in humans today the result of predisposition factors, or biological or archetypal processes, and how far are they the result of cognitive/emotional processes evoked by situational factors?

2.  from Albert Bandura, “A murky portrait of human cruelty,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2006) 29, p. 225

At the macrosocial level, Nell greatly exaggerates the prevalence of human cruelty.  There exist wide intercultural differences representing both warring and pacific societies with large intracultural variations and even rapid transformation of warring societies into peaceful ones.

Lyndal Roper, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany (Yale, 2004):

The hatred and terror that drove people to such violence were shaped by social tensions and religious beliefs, but the passions themselves derived from deeply rooted fantasies, extravagent in their evocation of demonic lovers and Satanic revels.  These fantasies shared, for the most part, a standard structure and a similar set of primary themes. p. 7

rabids

from "It’s Just Too Much: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane,"
New York Times, 1-7-19.

I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” an employee of the Federal prison in the Florida Panhandle said. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.



on "conspiracy theories": state-of-the-art scholarly texts

F. Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (p. 51, Penguin)

To this extent media discourse* is never to be taken literally: as such, it never contains anything but nonsense.  But as semiotics it remains of incaculable value: it reveals, to the informed man, at least, the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did not know how to "understand" themselves. Media discourse** is merely sign-language, merely sympomology.

 *   "moral judgement" in the original
**  "morality" in the original




on cruelty:
Trump is "not h
urting the people he needs to be hurting":
reading elite media in the context of state of the art scholarly texts

from "It’s Just Too Much: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane," New York Times, 1-7-19.

I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” an employee of the Federal prison in the Florida Panhandle said. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.

u

Map from Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (Penguin, 2012).  This should be supplemented by Daren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt (Norton, 2011), and by the map below.

u

modernity as a mode of lingusitic and cognitive performativity


from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare: the Evolution of Human Consciousness (W.W. Norton, 2001), pp. 301-2

Literacy skills change the functional organization of the brain and deeply influence how individuals and communities of literate individuals perform cognitive work.  Mass literacy has triggered two kinds of major cogitive reorganizations, one in individuals and the other in groups.

There is no equivalent in the preliterate mind to the circuits that hold the complex neural components of a reading vocabulary or the elaborate procedural habits of formal thinking. . . . Consider the impact of twenty or more years of schooling on the brain of someone who has acquired full symbolic literacy in several different technical, mathematical, scientific, and musical fields.  These skills encumber neural resources on a vast scale and change how the person's mind carries out its work.


from Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University, 2007)

Discourse is not a synonym for language.  Discourse does not refer to lingusitic or signifying systems, grammars, speech acts, or conversations.  To think of discourse as mere spoken or written words forming descriptive statements is to enact the mistake of representationalist thinking.  Discourse is not what is said;  it is that which constrains and enables that which can be said.  Discursive practices define what counts as meaningful statements.  Statements are not the mere utterances of the originating consciousness of a unified subject; rather, statements and subjects emerge from a field of possibilities.  This field of possibilities is not static or singular but rather is a dynamic and contingent multiplicity.  146-7

. . . the primary ontological units are not 'things' but phenomena--dynamic topological / reconfigurings / entanglements  / relationalities / (re)articulations of the world.  And the primary semantic units are not 'words' but material-discursive practices through which (ontic and semantic) boundaries are constituted.  This dynamic is agency.


from Christian J. Emden, Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (University of Illinois Press, 2005), p. 75


In Die fröliche Wissenschaft (1882) Nietzsche proposes that language enables us to “produce” things, to shape our conception of reality:  “This has given me the greatest trouble and still does: to realize that what things are called is incomparably more important than what they are . . . it is sufficient to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create, in the long run, new ‘things’” (GS 58).

Sometimes a text is an excerpt from a from a state-of-the-art scholarly work.  It appears in column A, or, if long, there is a link to it.  But texts can be presented as named datasets (language, bildung, and the Civil War).  They then appear in column B.

When in column A a text is treated as representing state-of-the art scholarship. 

A text may also stand alone in column B.  Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph N. Cappella, Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2008).  When a text is treated as an object of analysis, it goes in column B, even if it is a state of the art scholarly work.  Thus, a text can be an analytical framework or an object of analysis.  In this I follow Sellars-Brandom*.  See proximal processes.

My own comments appear as in boxes of this color.

Before I discuss the above citations, the reader should scroll down and look at the lists of auto workers circa 1930s; the lists of arrestees from the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol; and the lists of personnel in the Roosevelt administration.  Texts, such as those listed at the right, all deal with the problematic posed by these lists and the events and processes they are associated with.

Finally, the reader should constantly bear in mind Fig. 0, upon which I have superimposed the periodization of the history of reading by Lyons.

One last note: not only is this not a book.  It is by its very nature unfinished and unfinishable.  I am writing this in Feburary 2023, and I am 81 years old.  Therefore the question arises, is this just an interesting way to while away my years of retirement, or should I "publish" it?

*from Robert B. Brandom, "The Centrality of Sellars's Two-Ply Account of Observations to the Arguments of 'Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind", in Robert B. Brandom, Tales of the Mighty Dead: Historical Essays in the Metaphysics of Intentionality (Harvard University Press, 2002)
 . . . according to Sellars's view, the difference between theoretical objects and observable objects is methodologcal rather than ontological.  That is, theoretical and observable objects are not different kinds of things.  They differ only in how we come to know about them. (362)

language
*Christian J. Emden, Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (University of Illinois Press, 2005)
Levi R. Bryant, Difference and Givenness: Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence (Northwestern University Press, 2008)
Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, The Social Origins of Language (Oxford, 2014): Excerpts
Sinha, C. (2021). Artefacts, symbols, and the socio-cultural dynamics of niche construction, in The The
The Oxford Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution (Oxford, 2021).
The Oxford Handbook of Languge and Race (Oxford, 2020)
Planer and Sterelny, From Signal to Symbol: The Evolution of Language (MIT Press, 2021)
Shilton, D; Breski, M; Dor, D; Jablonka, E (February 14, 2020). "Human Social Evolution: Self-Domestication or Self-Control?". Frontiers in Psychology. 11: 134.

bildung (republicanism)

**Frederick C. Beiser, "The Concept of Bildung in Early German Romanticism," in Beiser, The Romantic Imperative (Harvard, 2003)
Frederick C. Beiser, Schiller as Philosopher: a Re-examination (Oxford, 2005), esp. “Schiller and the Republican Tradition,” pp. 123-6
Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before its Triumph (Princeton, 1977)
Harold Mah, Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750-1914 (Cornell, 2003)
Jerrold Seigel, The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience since the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 301- 4
Philippe-Joseph Salazar, "Reconnaissances of Marx", Philosophy & Rhetoric, Vol. 48, No. 4, 2015
Jóhann Páll Árnsason and Björn Wittrock, eds., Nordic Paths to Modernity (Bergham Books, 2012)
S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)
Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994)
Margaret Jacob, The First Knowledge Economy: Human Capital and the European Economy, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, 2014)
Marina F. Bykova, "Hegel's Philosophy of Bildung," in The Palgrave Hegel Handbook
(palgrave macmillan, 2020)
Kristin Gjesdal, "Bildung," in The Oxford Handbook of German Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford, 2015)

the civil war/bildung

Group I: books that address the problem of agency

Bruce Laurie, Rebels in Paradise: Sketches of Northampton Abolitionists (U. of Mass. Press, 2015)
Bruce Laurie, Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform (Cambridge, 2005)
John Donoghue, Fire Under the Ashes: an Atlantic History of the English Revolution (Chicago, 2013)
Kenyon Gradert, Puritan Spirits in the Abolitionist Imagination (Chicago, 2020)
John L. Brooke, "There is a North": Fugitive Slaves, Political Crisis, and Cultural Transformation in the Coming of the Civil War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019)
Zachary A. Fry, A Republic in the Ranks: Loyalty and Dissent in the Army of the Republic (U. of N. Carolina Press, 2020)
James Brewer Stewart, Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery (Hill and Wang, 1997)

Group II: books that do not address the problem of agency

Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (Knopf, 2007)
Richard White, The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 (Oxford, 2017)
James L. Huston, The British Gentry, the Southern Planter,  and the Northern Farmer: Agriculture and Sectional Antagonism in North America (Louisiana State University Press, 2015)
Simon P. Newman, A New World of Labor: the Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)


x
x
x
x
x
rhizome

This site is a rhizome.  Its principle of production is transcendental empiricism.  (see also philosophy and history). 

from John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)

The rhizome is a figure borrowed from biology, opposed to the principle of foundation and origin which is embedded in the figure of the tree.  The model of the tree is hierarchical and centralized, wheas the rhizome is proliferating and serial, functioning by means of the principle of connection and heterogeneity.

Deleuze and Guatarri argue that the book has been linked traditionally to the model of the tree, in that the book has been seen as an organic unit, which is both hermetically sealed, but also a reflection of the world.  In contrast, the rhizome is neither mimetic nor organic.  It only ever maps the real, since the act of mapping is a method of experimenting with the real: and it is always an open system, with multiple exits and entrances.  In short, the rhizome is an 'acentred' system; the map of a mode of thought which is always 'in the middle'. p 45

"Texts" and "data" coexist in a plane of immanence governed by consilience, attunement, and affinity.  The Brandom-Sellars observation is borne in mind:

" . . . according to Sellars's view, the difference between theoretical objects and observable objects is methodologcal rather than ontological.  That is, theoretical and observable objects are not different kinds of things.  They differ only in how we come to know about them."*

Concepts are not brought in from outside the phenomenological field, but rather emerge immanently.  Concepts are not meant to subdue the empirical material, but to illuminiate it.  For example, the word fascism as deployed by talking heads in the two-party discursive field is either an epithet or a label.  It is evident that they have no concept of fascism.

The map is not the territory.


*from Robert B. Brandom, "The Centrality of Sellars's Two-Ply Account of Observations to the Arguments of 'Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind', in Robert B. Brandom, Tales of the Mighty Dead: Historical Essays in the Metaphysics of Intentionality (Harvard University Press, 2002)



I just have found these two paragraphs that I wrote in the time before Trump:


Marx, and the enlightenment ethos of which he was a part, was indeed wrong, and in more ways than one.  Not only did the Enlightenment not acquire a proletarian or popular embodiment (the "class with radical chains").  The ‘people’, even in its "working class" moment, became the mass base for right wing, nationalist, racist, xenophobic cognitive modalities, political cultures, and socio-culturally contextualized character formations. (Blanning, Paxton, Clarke, Sugrue)  These modalities of ressentiment are ontologically prior to the political forces that utilize, absorb, and manipulate them (see Right-wing Elites in the Postwar era; Red Scare, UAW links).  That is why answers to such questions as What’s the Matter With Kansas?  cannot be given in political terms or through political analysis. 

I suggest here that there is a persistent existential catastrophe manifested in fascism, or better, to use Nietzsche's term, ressentiment. Usually something that is catastrophic is seen as a cataclysmic event rather than a persistent condition.  But that all depends upon the level of analysis chosen.  At the level of the organism homo sapiens historicus--post-paleolithic man--life is a series of catastrophes--eternal recurrence, repetition compulsion, mechanisms of defense . . .  The perpetual work of adaptation to power, and the tremendous range of possibilities opened up by the increasing symbolic and institutional complexity of Dasein, give us our being in the world, fractured, dynamic, creative, sadistic, stagnant, withdrawn, depressive, bold, fearful, anxious, petty, ecstatic, explosive, gregarious, autistic, etc.


j
3.  Joe Bidinger, Pete Olshove, and Chester Podgorsky in front of one of the large presses that produced
the siderails for the frame.  In this
interview Joe Bidinger describes the step-by-step movement of metal
from raw input to finished output.


yyyyyyy