“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, September 09, 2005

marx and pavlov

The Bush culture has made it pretty clear that Marxist class analysis must be supplemented with Pavlovian psychology. The governing class in this country salivates to the bell that opens the NYSE every morning – and that is their only physiological/moral response to any public event, the cue that creates their entire world. The world of the dog in the cage is intentionally narrowed by the scientist. The world of the rich has also been narrowed, by self-choice, during the last twenty five or so years. Reagan’s tax cuts for the wealthy, in retrospect, signaled not just a change in a particular phase of American history (the return of a particular set of oligarchs), but looks, now, like a monument to the end of the civic sense among the oligarchs tout court. Among the governing class, the civic sense, with its complications of ritual, its sacrifices, its seriousness, its orientation to an imagined social collective, has been pretty much taken down, like an old and drafty building. In its place is a new, sleeker building – one composed of a degree of inhumanity and cultural blindness that is very difficult to reckon with if one is operating with the old tools of analysis, the old sense of some shared value system, the old responsive angers that once powered the Left, dependent as they were on a dialectical relationship with the builders of the post-war order. Dependent, that is, on a system of recognitions, however skewed.

This decade has given us the full flavor of the new order. The manysplendored disasters of Iraq and now New Orleans produce a schizoid split in assessment – for where, on the level of the cornered class, one sees failure and misery, on the level of the contracting class, one sees endless opportunity. The Bell rings, and out come the Pavlovian rich, salivating to beat the band, lining their pockets with the sweetest little contracts to come down the pike since God signed that no-bidder with Adam and said let her rip. And Adam didn’t get cost overruns. Halliburton, of course, does.

So it is no surprise that the money now pouring out of Washington (and there goes that little decline in the deficit the Bushies were so proud of – who knew that unexpected things could impact a budget?) is going to be spent largely to enrich the circle of the Bush culture’s favored companies.

This WP article about Bush’s campaign manager and ex head of FEMA, Joe Allbaugh, has been much circulated in the blogosphere. Still, there are touches of marvelous obscenity in the article. Our favorite of all is distilled in these two grafs:

Among those clients [which Allbaugh’s consulting company represents] are: the KBR division of Haliburton; TruePosition, a manufacturer of wireless location products, services and devices; the Shaw Group, a provider of engineering, design, construction, and maintenance services to government and the private sector; and UltraStrip, which is marketing the first water filtration system approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The firm's Web site quotes Allbaugh: "I carry pictures of close friends who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks as a constant reminder of what we lost that day. It's my personal commitment to always honor their memory by working to protect this nation. I'm dedicated to helping private industry meet the homeland security challenge."

A man who will pimp his dead friends is certainly a man to trust in trying times. I would bet that the upper management of the companies on the client list are going to have great Christmas parties this year. At LI, we wish them the best of luck and hope that all the delicacies they devour at those end of the year parties taste of human blood, mixed with a little toxic Mississippi river water.

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