from the new deal to donald trump some elementary particles
The UAW: Bildungsproletarians and Plebeian Upstarts, 1933-1943:
Detroit and the lower great lakes

kk
see list of interviews
from Immanuel Kant to Donald Trump

"Thoughts without intuitions are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind."

"Philosophy always arrives too late . . . .  The Owl of Minerva takes flight only as the dusk begins to fall."

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

History without philosophy is only a screen on which to project the shibboleths of our time.

Hitler is to Trump as tragedy is to farce.
       United States Population Density, 2000                  Midwest Auto Parts, 2006
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We are now engulfed in 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 cultural-historical developments.  Luria, Ong, Flynn, Wolf, et. al.  Critique of media re. its Cartesianism and its performative framework (synthetic a priori).  The Four Isomorphisms: Ehrenberg, Zaretsky, Clarke, McMahon: mapping onto FIG "semiotic regimes." The President Who Doesn't Read

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.").   Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment.  This is the inner logic of GOP rhetorical performativity--its sado-sexual performtivity.  The paranoid-schizoid position (Klein).  Fascism and racism.  Fascism and patrimonialism.  Fascism reconsidered as a theoretical construct.  Why does Trump refer to impeachment as a lynching?  Because it is precisely the kind of crude in-your-face racism that is the mothers' milk of the contemporary republican party.

Third, the assault on rational-bureaucratic institutions--i.e., an assault on the very idea of science-based professionalism and public service.  Max Weber's concept of patrimonialism "covers" the phenomena labeled as "corruption" in the currrent history of the Trump "administration". 

Fourth, the triumph of nihilism (
Nietzsche).  Neoliberal subjectivity; the incredible shrinking self.  The depressive position (Klein).  Repressive desublimation (Marcuse).  The Democratic Party's transformation (DLC, Cliinton Foundation (Domhoff). Nihilism.,


Figure 1. The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state
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Source: "Membership List, May 1927," in the Morris L. Cooke Papers, box 66,
FDR Library; and United States Government Manual 1937
for more info on Fig.2 click on Keynesian Elite: Career Matrix
also: the Papers of John M. Carmody
Joanna Bockman. Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism (Stanford University Press, 2011): three reviews
•The four axes of ontological catastrophe can be placed in historical contexts.  Instead of the great dream of the Enlightenment that was the core sensibility of Progressivism (the New Deal), Socialism (Scandanavian Social Democracy), and Communism, we have:

a. the wreckage not only of socialism but more broadly of Progressivism, of the entire cultural-historical self-formative project (Bildung) that grew out of the Enlightenment and gave us the Russian revolution, Scandinavian Social Democracy, and the American New Deal.  Bildunsproletarians and plebeian upstarts.  See

b. the persistence of the political culture, psychological dispositions and praxiological modalities of ressentiment (the inner life of racism and fascism)

c. the triumph of nihilism as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation.  Mass consumption as a mode of absorption and transformation of the organism.  The fiction of freedom, the subversion of individuation, the inner logic of addiction, the commodification of distress, the infantilization of public discourse . . . in short, the dissipation of the species homo sapiens sapiens into a proliferation of effects.  DSM-V as the operating manual of the post-human ontology.  The incredible shrinking self.  This is the new Democratic party  whose rhetorical vector is liberal not progressive



Bliss, the Structure  of Manufacturing
Stanback
ERC List
TS input-output
Figure 2. U.S. Political Economy by Sector, 1910 to 1939
input-output matrices: capital formations and the two-party system
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"The Origins of the "Welfare State": The Keynesian Elite and
the Second New Deal, 1910-1936" (manuscript, 1987)


Liberal Businessmen, 1936-1939 (Nat. Arch., Dept of Agriculture, RG 16, Ezekiel File)


Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy; and the Flynn effect
This first block of interviewees were all early leaders of the emergent forces that came to be known as the UAW.  Most of them were Midwestern "socialists." Others were "communists."   I refer to them as bildungs-proletarians, around whom formed the action networks of plebeian upstarts (the Unity Caucus) who created the modern UAW in March of 1939.   From the standpoint of praxis both the Unity Caucus and the Keynesian elite should be conceived of as vanguard formations within the field of Progressivism.  From the summer of 1936 to the spring of 1941 the "union" was ripped by a civil war between the forces of progressivism and the forces of reaction.  The latter (who called themselves the "Progressive" Caucus) were rooted in the craft- and status-oriented milieu of a largely Catholic (among the captive toolrooms:German, Irish, Fr. Canadian) skilled tradesmen, and were able to mobilize southern klansmen.

What made this whole site possible is the literary and cognitive capabilities of the bildungsproletarian whom I interviewed

Michael Tomasello, Becoming Human: a Theory of Ontogeny (Harvard, 2019): Shared, Collective intentionality; the cultural intelligence hypothesis

Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994)

Simon Jarvis, Wordsworth's Philosophical Song (Cambridge, 2007): Beyond the transcript

Jerrold Seigel, The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience since the Sesventeenth Century (Cambridge, 2005)




A.  Donald Trump as Performative Complex
The election of 2016 occured in the context of the situation indexed by Figure 1, and is inconceivable outside this context.  Many have commented on the cognitive performativity of the candidate and then the President, but don't take seriously the historicity, fragility, and reversibility of cognitive development as a cultural-historical phenomenon; and thus, the significance of Donald Trump.  Figure 2 is an effect of cultural-historical developmental processes, of which schooling itself is only one of several key inputs affecting the cognitive and cultural development of situated organisms (not Cartesian selves).  Cognitive development is not a normative, inevitable process (Wolf).  It is an effect of history and politics, as well as evolution, and can suffer reversal or collapse.  This indeed is what is happening, and on a colossal scale.

Cognitive development is also not a solely ontogenetic process: the contextual and embedded character of mind; the social character of mind and agency; and the institutional and historical contexts of cognitive performativity must be borne in mind. (Jan Derry, Vygotsky, Philosophy, and Education, Wiley, 2013, pp. 17, 24)

Figure 1 suggests that a catastrophic decline in cognitive performativity preceded and made possible the fascist-patrimonial victory of November 2016. 


Focusing on the person of the Chief Executive and his various performative moments obliterates the cultural-historical dimensions of history.  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.  To understand this, thinking must first emancipate itself from the Cartesian presuppositional matrix--the ontological presupposition of the Cartesian self and its associated rhetorical elements of consciousness, belief, motive, ideology and interest.  Failure to do so has the effect, a priori, of blocking conceptualization of questions of ontology, agency, intentionality, habitus, networks and contexts.  And thinking must approach the question of "ontology" as a question of genetic ontology (see below): the performative dimensions of ontology.




                    Figure 4.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 to 2015:
         21 Developed Nations & East Asian Cities and City-States
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the consituting of cultural-historical bodies: the body Trump

I proceeded immanently, from within the cultural-historical discursive fields generated by KE New Deal and UAW Det and SE Mich
on human nature

Chase
Dupre
Sahlins
Renfrew

on the cognitive-linguistic gulf between oral and print culture

Luria
Ong
Rosenfeld
Flynn
On December 2 1851, followers of President Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon's nephew) broke up the Legislative Assembly and established a dictatorship. A year later, Louis Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III.

Frank Fagan and workers wanting him to drive a fancy car (Proto-Dorian convention/patrimonialism)
the mid-nineteenth century turn

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)

Christian J. Emden, Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (U. of Illinois, 2005)

Philippe-Joseph Salazar, "Reconnaissances of Marx", Philosophy & Rhetoric, Vol. 48, No. 4, 2015

Jerrold Seigel, Modernity and Bourgeois Life: Society, Politics, and Culture in England, France and Germany since 1750 (Cambridge, 2012)
Progressivism and Liberalism are opposites, not twins.  The genetic ontology of Progressivism is Bildung and the Will to Power; The genetic ontology of Liberalism is Nihilism.  Today's liberalism is referred as the left, covering over the genetic-ontological transformation of the post-war years (see Hall et. al.)  The New Deal is not represented in the above figure and table, The Two-Party System: Semiotic Regimes.  Donald Trump is a result of this genetic-ontological transformation.
Donald Trump and the sliding scale*

the Sapient Paradox
the Gutenberg Parenthesis
the Flynn effect
the Wolf premonitions

*Juan Carlos Gomez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2004)
The possibility that, at a reduced scale, the mind of an ape can be upgraded by giving him, on the one hand, a regime of socally controlled attention and interactive experiences with humans, and on the other, a new, more explicit form of representing the world, would confer dramatic support to the Vygotskian notion that higher cognition can be created through cultural processes of develoment that change the nature of cognitive ontogeny. (pp. 262-3)
This election result was decades in the making. On the one hand, a variety of fascist and ultra-nationalist currents worldwide found fertile soil in the displaced and discarded "white" populations that were the enormous if unintended by-product of post-industrial capitalism's truly explosive development. On the other hand, the FF-TS networks in Franklin D. Roosevelt, which in its heyday (1935-1947) understood and attempted to deal with this underlying dynamic of human capital liquidation and the need for a global trading regime that was subservient to the objective of national development--this party, over a period of decades, ceased to be.  (Block, Wolfe, Misruchi)  Thermidor graphic

The remnants of that party of FDR (Bernie, Sherood Brown) were eliminated by the Clinton revolution--the taking over of the Democratic Party by the forces arrayed around the Democratic Leadership Council. In place of the social democratic orientation of yesteryear,and more, general systems orientation

The transformation of Porgressivism into Liberalism (Clark, Ehrenberg, Zaretsky)

we got globalization uber alles. In place of an appeal to working class needs and recognition of the life experience of working people, we got, in this election, an appeal to college-educated women, a variety of life-style groups, and minorities. Democratic surrogates and media talking heads actually showed contempt for those stupid white people who lived, for example, in my state of Michigan.

The polls were wrong because the ground had shifted (and the cartesian trap exposed).

But also consider the role played by the Democratic Party in producing this electoral result: In place of an appeal to working class needs and recognition of the life experience of working people, we got, in this election, an appeal to college-educated women, a variety of life-style groups, and minorities. Democratic surrogates and media talking heads actually showed contempt for those stupid white people who lived, for example, in my state of Michigan.

Racism is real but also mutable, a psychological resource exploited by right-wing politicians but dependent on context: globalization, and the failure of the Democrats to address this existential threat to my rust belt neighbors.

The four axes of ontological catastrophe can be placed in historical contexts.  Instead of the great dream of the Enlightenment that was the core sensibility of Progressivism (the New Deal), Socialism (Scandanavian Social Democracy), and Communism, we have:

a. the wreckage not only of socialism but more broadly of Progressivism, of the entire cultural-historical self-formative project (Bildung) that grew out of the Enlightenment and gave us the Russian revolution, Scandinavian Social Democracy, and the American New Deal.  Bildunsproletarians and plebeian upstarts

b. the persistence of the political culture, psychological dispositions and praxiological modalities of ressentiment (the inner life of racism and fascism)

c. the triumph of nihilism as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation.  Mass consumption as a mode of absorption and transformation of the organism.  The fiction of freedom, the subversion of individuation, the inner logic of addiction, the commodification of distress, the infantilization of public discourse . . . in short, the dissipation of the species homo sapiens sapiens into a proliferation of effects.  DSM-V as the operating manual of the post-human ontology.  The incredible shrinking self.  This is the new Democratic party  whose rhetorical vector is liberal not progressive

                   United States Population Density, 2000                        Midwest Auto Parts, 2006
hhuu

      the Two-Party System: Semiotic Regimes           
                             w

 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

1.  pro- and anti-war demonstrators' signs

from CNN newscast, 4:00 to 6:00 PM, 9-15-07: pro- and anti-war demonstrators' signs (applying the concept of cognitive regime):
                                                                                                                                      
           pro-war demo signs:     "Traitors Go to Hell!"
"Deport Anti-war Protesters!"    
"Treason!"                                   
     
           anti-war demo signs:    "End the War Now!"
                                                 "U.S. Out of Iraq!"                                                     
                                                 "Support the Troops!  End the War!"
                                                                                                                                     
2.  rabids vs. thoughtfuls

Analysis of comments sent to Connecticut Post, August 31, 2006 re. Jonathon Edington murder case (article no longer accessible)

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strike a pose: Heine



This is an elementary particle: a momernt in the unfolding of the Absolute

Here are the sources for this conceptualization of the
Two-Party System: Semiotic Regimes:

Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan; 2003)

Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009)

Eli Zarestsky, Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis (Vintage, 2005)

Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightement: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001)
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*Note on use of the term "Left."

Progressivism and Liberalism are opposites, not twins.  The genetic ontology of Progressivism is Bildung and the Will to Power;
The genetic ontology
of Liberalism is Nihilism.  Today's liberalism is referred as the left, covering over the genetic-ontological transformation of the post-war years (see Hall et. al.)  The New Deal is not represented in the above figure and table, The Two-Party System: Semiotic Regimes.  Donald Trump is a result of this genetic-ontological transformation.






the performative complex of the Southern strategy


*from Dan T. Carter, From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994 (Louisiana State U. Press, 1996), pp. 8-9.

The depth of Wallace’s racism—the degree to which it was part of his core beliefs—was always unclear.  He sometimes manifested an air of apologetic cynicism; when forced to break away from informal gatherings because of a speaking engagement, he would often turn to his friends and ask to be excused with a sheepish grin and a half-embarassed explanation: “I got to give ‘em a little nigger talk.”

Seymour Wolfbein, a Labor Department expert in the Kennedy administration, was convinced it was all an act. . . .  Wolfbein found Wallace fascinating and amusing, but hardly sinister, a kind of roguish political con man eager to let him in on the joke.

When confronted with the question of whether Wallace was “sincere” in his racial views, a Montgomery attorney who knew the governor well said it best.  “If George had parachuted into the Albanian countryside in the spring of 1962,” reflected John Kohn, one of Wallace’s advisers in the 1960s, “he would have been head of the collective farm by harvesttime, a member of the Communist Party by midwinter, on his way to the district party meeting as a delegate by the following year, and a member of the Comintern in two or three years.”  George, said Kohn, “could beieve whatever he needed to believe.”

the political construction of identity

from Joseph E. Lowndes, From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism (Yale Univesity Press, 2008)

Politics is not merely the realm where preexisting interests, grievances, and passions are given expression.  Rather, it is in and through politics that interests, grievances, and passions are forged and new collective identities created.  Backlash, the ideological cornerstone and justification for modern conservatism, masks what was a long-term process whereby various groups in different places and times attempted to link racism, anti-government populism, and economic conservatism into a discourse and institutional strategy through linguistic appeals, party-building, social movement organizing, and the exercise of state power.  In the process, the very interests and self-understanding of these groups were continually under construction as they moved from coalition to collective political identity.  As opposed to being entrenched and traditionalist (or reactionary, depending on one's politics),  the Right that developed is better viewed as contingent, mobile, and highly adaptive, constantly responding to changing conditions on the ground. 4-5



from What are some examples of Kant's synthetic a priori knowledge?

Kant thinks that there lie in the human cognitive faculties certain forms which are necessary for things to become objects of our cognition. If this is true, then synthetic a priori judgments are possible, for since the forms are necessary for there to be any experience whatsoever, we know a priori, i.e. independently of any particular experience, that all objects will conform to these forms. That is, the objects will have all those properties that the forms impose on them. This Kant calls transcendental idealism." 

Just so.  Below--elaborating on Kant/Hegel--I present several graphemes that not by compulsion or immanent necessity, but rather by varied atttempts to construct usable "synthetic a priori": here are some of them.  I call them elementary particles (ha ha)."