Barry Commoner, in 1972, which is now fully 45 years ago, wrote in The Closing Circle that humanity was violating four rules of ecology on its way to ecological catastrophe. His book was completely right on its science, a masterful, best-selling warning to America, though the next 45 years of supersystemic disavowal of its precepts prove that scientists are wonderful scientists, but they are not sociologists, and neither are sociologists sociologists, not today.
What was Barry, and 99.09% of scientists and writers and thinkers wrong about, these earlier generations of seers and gurus and pundits? Number one, they were not social nihilists – they retained, and do retain to this day and through the next, a touching, naive faith in the alleged social powers of humanity to control its destiny through knowledge-based social policy. 45 years of not climate inaction, not social inaction, but real, horrific, exponentially greater social action and and climate destruction proves the essential falsity of their intellectual powers.
Commoner was a brave and worthy political actor in addition to his perspicacity, but can you explain the current regime of the supersystem to his ghost – the collection of Reprehensible Morons on all sides of the aisle in the Rusted States, the matching groups of Reprehensible Morons in other countries, all united by stirring levels of anti-human religion, anti-human economic hatred, anti-human disinterest in self-limitation. A real sociology would see the endemic immoral corruption in the institutions of the supersystem, from it mass media to its pathetic universities to its vanishing jobsites, but instead this culture gets Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2.
This disgusting Hollywood excrescence was fine education for an entertainment-starved 7 set of boys, but there were adults in the theater. The boys were alternately entranced and bored by the stupefying, fully stupid over-wrought space opera, updated with enough special effects to fund the arms race of a few small nations, but within a few idiotic scenes one of the boys was whacking around his theater seat, thumping his 4 year old self repeatedly on the cushioned seat. The full theater of adults sat rapturously through this asinine bloated waste, in utter attentive silence, and many clapped at the end. The movie was made by technologically competent, who couldn’t have fashioned anything more trite in its pop ant-psychology, or any dumber for its waste of electrical budget.
This isn’t to say there was any Golden age of the US and A to re-summon. In the 1970s, the empire would only make shows of complete white casts and white themes and white actors. This was a purely racist, stupid, malevolently offensive society – where were the black sailors on McHale’s Navy? Why not one black F-Trooper? Why were all the Minnow passengers whiter than white? Why was there but one Hogan’s Hero, and what did he think of living in such a lily-white, racist world that continues it racist legacy in more broad, and now White House-emblazoned modern racial criminality?
The mistake is to think that writing social criticism is going to “affect social change,” as one professor misspelled the ridiculous concept in “The Conversation.” The supersystem cannot accommodate actual social change, at least none that any of living mortals can be said to effect. The election of a neoliberal banker is not an social change effect, nor is it to effect social change. All that we can play with is rising CO2 levels, and the Watergate drama of a party defending the fraudulent election of a Russian spy/stooge to the presidency, looking instead for “leaks” by “unmaskers.” Writing, in this era of the supersystem’s total capitulation, is self-therapy, which it should have been all along. What did any of you think would become of our human social world?