by William Skink
The blog Moon of Alabama is one of the best blogs I have ever been turned on to (thanks Uncle $cam!) and it’s not just because of the monumental efforts of the host, Bernhard, to keep the lights on.
Somehow this blog has maintained a vibrant comment culture comprised of international perspectives (mostly western) that makes wading through a 60+ comment thread worth it.
For a little context, here’s a bit of the history from the About page:
This site’s purpose is to discuss politics, economics, philosophy and blogger Billmon’s Whiskey Bar writings.
Some time ago, the commenting at Billmon’s Whiskey Bar became a bit excessive. Billmon therefore closed the comments at his place on June 29, 2004. The community of commentators was left behind to search for a new place.
Moon Of Alabama was opened as an independent, open forum for members of the Whiskey Bar community.
Many of the old regulars have moved on or just lurk these days, but the quality of the commentary continues to justify using my limited time to scroll through and scan for tidbits, like this comment about Capitalism from Allen:
“America” is the leading edge of history’s experiment in capitalism. This is it. This is the laboratory and the test model. If you don’t start the analysis from that framework, you won’t come up with the right answers.
The first thing to be jettisoned in capitalism is compassion. Compassion would be an extraneous cost, and has to be eliminated. Next is solidarity. Capitalism is the ultimate expression of individualism. Just check the pseudo intellectualism of a nut like Ayn Rand.
The machine you are sitting in is not what you think. This isn’t a “society” as the word is generally understood. You are part of a lab experiment. Your life satisfaction is unimportant, only your kinetic energy, which can be captured, is important. The effects you see around you are just theatrical.
Capitalism is a cold algorithm set loose on warm blooded people.
It is a measure of how successful capitalist propaganda has been that most people are unaware of the ongoing holocaust that attends the globalizing and the deepening of the capitalist system. Capitalist rationalization of the accumulation process (today called “austerity”) has always left a vast train of mortality and misery in its wake. This was true in 18th England, 19th century Ireland and in late 19th century Bengal, where millions died under the genius of British rule. It was true in Latin America after World War II, when the US state set out to “defend capitalism” from a whole hosts of evils. The Green Revolution in the 1950’s and beyond killed a fair number of people by destroying subsistence agriculture all throughout the global south. And the National Security State took up the slack and killed many more thousands. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s World Bank “structural adjustment” programs in the so-called “Third World,” sent countless indigents to an early grave. It’s worth noting that as “superimperialism” took hold through various financial mechanisms, countries of the global south began to experience rapid ecological devastation, as in order to exploit their “comparative advantage,” they had to capitalize their wealth of natural resources, including forests, minerals, oil, monocrops, etc. It was also about this time that epidemiologists began to notice the resurgence of old tropical diseases and the explosion of new ones (which probably had to do with the collapse of ecosystems). And now, in a world gone mad with poverty and war, the barbarian rulers propose “austerity,” which really means starvation and homelessness for some, and certainly unemployment, despair and hopelessness for many. But the barbarians couldn’t care less.
When you realize that the dominant religion in the Capitalist Dictatorship of America is Business Enterprise and the Holy Grail is Profit, then actions like these which steal from the poor and give to the rich become clear. People who have succeeded at Business Enterprise and have made a lot of Profit are the Blessed, and they deserve all the good things that our labor can provide. People who are poor and elderly are today’s equivalent of heretics and sinners. Congress is the Inquisition, and its function is to damn, condemn, and punish the poor and elderly for their sins and heresies. Denial of food (Meals on Wheels) and medical care is the modern equivalent of being burned at the stake. An early death is the inevitable outcome. Whereas the Inquisitors wore ecclesiastical garb, Congress, today’s Inquisitors, wear suits, ties, and flag pins.
What a gem of a comment. Thank you, Allen, and thank you, Bernhard, for over-seeing one of the last quality online communities to persist amidst the commonplace toxicity of most online discourse.