Tuesday, November 8, 2016

John Bennett #9 Democracy – a dangerous word or Clowntown

We burnt a guy - of Donald Trump  

Clowntown Fuck-the-World Shitshow

I was unaware of the bloody guts of the Industrial Revolution,
how slavery nourished my English childhood. Boarding school
continued the charms of empire which I’ve been unable to repay.

What Did I Do to Deserve This? I Always Tried to Be a Good Person Is This Because I Stole Candy Once in 4th Grade Please Stop Punishing Us

Germans suffered from Allied bombing, Russian rape tactics
secret police and defeat, but ordinary Germans also benefited
from an artificially induced higher standard of living.

I Don’t Even Believe in Past Lives, But I Must Have Done Something Really Fucking Terrible in a Past Life to Deserve This I’m Sorry I’m Sorry I’m Sorry

Hitler introduced huge tax breaks and social benefits,
never once raising taxes for working people. He rewarded
his soldiers with more than double the salaries of allied troops.

America’s 3-D Imax Shit-Fit Dumpster Fire

Like Greek mercenaries, looting was encouraged.
The Leningrad front sent home over 3 million packages of plunder
in the first three months of 43 alone.

The Shit-Filled Cornucopia That Just Keeps on Giving

Without conquest, a bankrupt war-mongering state, couldn’t nourish
the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, or build
the Acropolis and new Agora. Imperial tribute funded arts and poetry.

The Electoral Equivalent of Seeing Someone Puking, so You Start Puking, and Then Someone Else Is Puking, and Pretty Soon Everyone Is Puking

Perikles’ great achievement, the Athenian Age, the Classical Age
was democratic reform within the bounds of the few against
the many, and this shocked and unnerved enemies and allies.

Oh, I Get It: We All Died, and This Is Hell, and Satan Has Cursed Us to Live Out This Nightmare for All Eternity

Athens saw itself as a democracy when it was really ruled by one man,
Perikles who stripped Athena's sacred treasure for the first modern war.
Herodotus thought earlier conflicts were decided by heroes and the gods.

America’s Shit Salad Fuckstravaganza

Socrates fought bravely at Poteidaia, Delion and Amphipolis, 
was chair of assembly at the trial of the generals after the naval battle
of Arginousai and was summoned for collaboration by the Thirty.

The Fiery Two-Party Pileup on the Hellbound Fuckspressway                

Aristophanes hit the mark, Socrates was ugly, walked barefoot in rags,
argued loudly and was a troublemaker for twenty-five years.
Athens was ordinarily tolerant of such eccentric citizens.

America’s Fucktastic Cirque de Dismay

Athenian democracy had some commitment to free speech and diversity
of culture which worked against the totality of the majority. You were one
of the 500 jurors, ordinary Athenian men over 30 - no women or slaves.

A Horrifying Glimpse at Satan’s Pinterest Board

Slaves were commonplace in ancient Greece, foreign barbarians
who spoke no Greek and suited by their nature to be slaves.
The enslavement of Messenia set Sparta apart. It just takes one

Lice on Rats on a Horse Corpse on Fire


‘. . . having room for far and near,
Used to dispense with other lands, incarnating this land,
Attracting it body and Soul to himself, hanging on its neck with incomparable love,
Plunging his Semitic muscle into its merits and demerits,
Making its geography, cities, beginnings, events, glories, defections, diversities, vocal in him.’                                                                        Walt Whitman, Poem of Many in One.

The word democracy is dangerous. As of 2010, The UN claimed that ‘six countries are more democratic (Togo, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan, Thailand and Montenegro) and eight are less democratic (Gabon, Lesotho, Mauretania, Senegal, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan).’ You can see how quickly things change.

Balkin means by ‘transcendental terms like ‘justice’ or ‘democracy’:
1.    a value that can never be perfectly realised and against which all concrete examples are incomplete;
2.    a value that appears as a demand or longing. It calls out for us to enact it in our culture and institutions;
3.    a value that is inchoate and indeterminate, which is articulated through culture but never fulfilled.
                                                          J. M. Balkin, Cultural Software, Yale UP, 1998

And long before Balkin, de Tocqueville had stressed the limitation of ‘general ideas/abstract words’ arguing that an ‘abundance of abstract terms widens the scope of thought and clouds it.’
                                                          Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1840

Not everyone is a fan. Borges supported the military dictatorship of Videla and even Pinochet: "In and of itself a dictatorship doesn't seem reprehensible, one has to consider the particular circumstances. In itself empires don't seem to be wrong. The Roman Empire and the British Empire did a lot of good. . . . For a long time I believed in democracy. Now I don't believe in it; at least not in my own country.’                              Speech made in Chile, 1976 

Quotes in italics by John Oliver 2016

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