Human Psychology and the Deep State

In the weekly column entitled Brief Interviews with Hideous CEOs in the Sunday NY Times, a president of a corporate credential mill (Swarthmore) gives her scenario that she poses to prospective employees:

So I would probably ask you to describe a situation in which you needed to come up with a solution to a problem you’ve never seen before. How did you figure out how to get to a solution? Did you believe you were successful? And how do you understand failure in that context?

Groveling self-advertisers must wrack their stupid lives for some apposite “situation” to vault themselves over the thousands of applicants for this one corporate-academic non-job. What could count in this scenario? I had to get three bags of Doritos into a space that serves only two? I had to cadge another year of study abroad from my parents? I needed to get to level 4 in Call of Honor?

There are no good questions in the supersystem. The Deep State, in emeritus English professor Peter Dale Scott’s branded term, is alive and working on global intrigues and global killings wide and far, as it has been throughout each day of our lives.  No perceptive ability can be brought before its dimensions, its real and enduring connections, its malevolence and fundamental stupidity. The only researchers that even mount a beginning honorable effort are now outside academia where progenitors like C. Wright Mills used to ensconce, formerly protected by tenure and widespread job availability. Now, academics are groveling self-advertisers, reduced to incessant salesmanship simply in order to survive, adjuncts to the corporate ownership of scholarship. Dilettantes like Peter Dale Scott, emeritus English prof, and Noam Chmosky, emeritus linguist prof, belong to that generation of male monks who can organize a solitary life around the bookish chase after the supersystem’s traces, but as strong as these complete outsiders may be in their apperceptions, they are without social power. The “researchers” who do sit next to the captain’s wheel are the inheritors of Timothy McVeigh,- they are the right-wing crazies, the gun nuts, the Infowars racist and white Christian jackasses who are making the most of their time atop the ship of state.

Resolute humanists are forever consigned to the margins, to the disapproving mute audience, to the last rows where no guns exchange hands, where no hellfire preachers get a dime, where no leaders emerge. This social nihilism is humanity’s fate, as Hannah Arendt noted in her description of the background to the Eichmann trial:

The contrast between Israeli heroism and the submissive meekness with which Jews went to their death—arriving on time at the transportation points, walking under their own power to the places of execution, digging their own graves, undressing and making neat piles of their clothing, and lying down side by side to be shot—seemed a telling point, and the prosecutor, asking witness after witness, “Why did you not protest?,” “Why did you board the train?,” “Fifteen thousand people were standing there and hundreds of guards facing you—why didn’t you revolt and charge and attack these guards?,” harped on it for all it was worth. But the sad truth of the matter is that the point was ill taken, for no non-Jewish group or non-Jewish people had behaved differently.

No, that indeed is the “sad truth of the matter.”  There is no difference between the Jews of that time and any grouping  of “us.” In the recent movie, The Tower, the bystanders to the 1965 shootings from the University of Texas tower by a lone gun nut protected themselves behind walls as they saw two victims, one obviously alive,  prone on the hot concrete mall. For a long time. nobody did anything to come to the aid of these victims, but finally young girl walked up to the prostrate woman, who was clearly pregnant, and lay with her as the killer shot from the tower. Two more students ran, eventually, to pick up the victims and move them out of the way. What did one of these heroes, say, decades upon decades after this act? He was wracked by guilt for not having acted sooner to help her. He could not absolve himself of that failure, though the victim did, in reaching out her hand to him, fifty years later.

We humans inhabit a psychology that so well understands the command, even if fully illegitimate, of putative authority. Our public protestations are that we are heroes, that we are courageous and moral and honorable, but there is not the slightest evidence that this is so for us as species. There is the Deep State, there is gun nut anti-politics of the global moment, there is the trans-national corporate destruction of every fundamental basis of natural existence, there are idiots and malingering pestilent lying groveling self-advertisers running the empire into its last, shuddering advances upon the gains of the New Deal, and you want me to tell you how I made a “solution” for a problem in my personal life, just to be your  besuited slave?

2 comments

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