Sunday, December 5, 2021

Revenge of the Real, for Real

Remember way back when, during the AIDS crisis, when the evangelicals tried to pin the disease on the sinning of the afflicted? What a strange perversion of the Christian religion that was. We are all sinners and can all be saved. Don't cast stones. Read about Job.

Now we have this wonderful virus. You can be saved from sin, but you can't fix stupid, says the white comic. So those caught up in crazy denials of truth are the ones dying. Sure, they're also infecting the rest of us, but, well isn't denial of reality a kind of sin? Ultimately, inevitably the truth will out.

I'm very caught up in Ibram X. Kendi just now. He makes perfect sense to me, and I strive to be an antiracist. I still think Dave Chappelle is funny and that cleaning up my gender pronouns is like sorting recyclables. Meaningless in the greater scheme of things. Kendi relieves me of the equation between discrimination and racism. Discrimination is a part of anti-racism, if I read him right. Which maybe means we don't all get to claim intersectional oppression all the time.

Nobody wants to be oppressed. I am certainly in the category of people who decidedly have no cards to play. But I don't think that forces me to feel guilt. Just like a wealthy black doesn't automatically have a claim on the race card. I'm guilty if I don't strive to be anti-racist.

So yeah, just like it would be tempting to suggest that those dying of COVID-19 now have brought it on themselves by their denial of reality, it will ultimately also be true that those who fail to dismantle capitalism will have brought on the end of the world as we know it. Which is all of us.

Kendi is really helpful about how to be antiracist. The trouble for a white male protestant loaded with social capital like me is how to be an anticapitalist without bringing down the whole house of cards. Surely, there are parts of the capitalist project worth saving?

Take art and film, for instance. Well, OK, so I would need an equivalent of a Ph.D. to grok what's going on with the incredible proliferation of film that I can see for nearly nothing. Even just to sort through how and where to get it. And now that art is a better way to launder money away from taxes and monitoring and maybe even money crashing, I would need a Ph.D. to understand the difference between real art and commercial art.

So these things too are part of the superstructure that I must struggle against.

It goes like this: Capitalism depends on reliable title. Makes no nevermind whether your title is to property, human or real, or to slave-labor employment contracts, or to the corporate entities which embody stolen labor or stolen identity. It's all one, where the construction of the black race is identical to the construction of a subjected subjectivity which we all suffer as powerless individuals, potentially raging against the very machinery that we depend on. 

As basic as race is to the operations of our capitalistic machinery, so are the opioids, virtual or real, which prey upon our pleasure centers in our hopeless powerlessness as subjects.

Race provides an entire population as "other" made at least as grotesque as the bad folks in film, or the garbage we send to the landfill. So when we're not pleasuring ourselves to death, we can target stuff to rage against. Deflected from the power structures and their overlords.

Racism is actually relatively easy to fix. All it would take is to legislate voter suppression out of existence, and Trump would never have won. All it would take is to get rid of the electoral politics which have now allowed (mostly, but not all, Republican) politicians to be more brazen than even KKK grand wizards in their deployment of code words like "socialism" to protect the structures of power. 

Though perhaps they are not more brazen than they have ever been. Something may have changed which will prevent them from getting away with it this time. The real is invading our imperial spaces. Whether that is global warming or the exposure of false merit or deaths from prescription opioids surpassing deaths from accident of other sorts, the real is exposing our limits.

Wouldn't it just be great if all those pederastic corrupted cheating racist capitalists were done away with instantly by an explosion of God's wrath? No matter how many times they claim Him, God is not on the side of the liars. The inventors of cartoon insanity, like the planting of fossils by a Trickster and jealous anti-science God, or a Great White Jesus who promotes capitalist wealth for those who mouth the right words.

Wouldn't that be just great! Truth will have prevailed.

No matter how excited you are to spread the truth by way of social media, that sort of truth is not what sets us free. As Kendi makes clear. It's your actions that matter, and just like the platform economy sends most of the value of those things to which you hold amortized title to concentrate in the hands of the callow craven and mostly white kidlets who thought up the platform - when you Uber your car or AirBnB your home or share your joys and sorrows - the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.

Racism is not resolved by enlightenment. Racism is resolved by antiracist action to dismantle the policies by which racism benefits the wealthy oligarchs. The guilty are the ones who benefit. The holders of capital. 

And so how do we find a way to invest our own holdings in community? How can we assure that community will pay us back? I mean this is my guilt. I have retirement funds invested in stocks and bonds managed by someone else, supposedly on my behalf, since to manage funds myself would require yet another Ph.D. 

Anyhow, my holdings in stocks and bonds means that I am screwing community and enriching the overlords. But I still need a return on my investment if I am to live beyond my ability to work. Which I could almost barely do before the stock market started tanking again.

Now I really really hate to explore in this direction, but what if blockchain, and a decentralized Web3 is part of an answer? What if that's how we can rebuild community and pull the rug out from under racists and corrupted politicians?

Right up front, I think that anti-fiat bitcoin and all the other digital so-called currencies are evil giant Ponzi schemes to leave the great unwashed masses out of the game. Not to mention that the model incorporates unsustainable expenditures of heat to power the incredibly shrinking and therefore exploding computational noosphere. God help us if China finds its way down to seven nanos of ultraviolet lithography! What a crock!

We have to separate the human noosphere from the machine noosphere if we are to survive. Which means that we have to recapture title to ourselves. And that requires a government, which is cheaper to run than a bitcoin farm on the scale that we require. 

Bitcoins are an engineered guarantee of trust. Or more properly, they engineer away the need for trust. People are dying now because they don't trust authority of any sort. Except like stupid which can't be fixed, they end up trusting almost any dipshit guru type who makes them feel a certain way. 

So far, post-Trump, I trust my government to share the truth about the virus more than I do the ever-more sensationalist click-bait media. That doesn't mean that our government's globally racist and imperialist underbelly doesn't need to be exposed. 

But I already trust with my social security and healthcare, and would like to trust them with my voting by way of blockchain and almost all the rest of it, certainly including my vaccination status to get me into bars and football games. I think they've been trying it all out in Estonia or someplace whose whereabouts we don't know, and now can never find since it's all gone virtual . . . 

We already trust the web of private and public banks and exchanges and regulation with our money. Why not remove the need for mining altogether and actually enforce the democratic trust that we were founded on? Fiat currency is only a problem for those now getting away with murder by gaming the tax system, the citizenship system, the banking system, and certainly the rigged stock market. We could fix this overnight.

First we'd have to want to.

But the kind of libertarianism that motivates all this tech is just racist anarchy. By Kendi's definition, it's racist because it casts itself as neutral while it takes advantage of privilege. So we can't do bitcoin. Sorry. Bitcoin only deepens capitalism and can't fix it. And capitalism only deepens racism. I'd say that's definitional. The distinction between title for things and title for people is graded [degraded] and not a boundary. 

Bitcoin has yet to become a meaningful unit of exchange, and the trust that it represents works as well for drug dealers, tax fraud, arms sales, sanction avoidance as it does to ensure that my own most personal coinage is preserved.

Prisons are used, perhaps even primarily, to disenfranchise and to enslave. That's the same legal infrastructure which protects the validity of all titles. The same infrastructure which spends and awards bejillions of actual dollars trying to decide if the sex abuse possibly suffered by the blond Grace Slick of blood testing overpowers her Svengali hold on wealthy and powerful men.

The problem to be solved here is to ensure that money is productive, which would mean to remove making money from money from all equations. Benefits could be localized if one's personal investments were stipulated to accrue locally. The global south would keep its own investment, instead of that investment draining to where it finds the best global return. Blacks could ensure that their investments benefit their community. I could invest my retirement where I live. 

If only I could be assured of some caring coming back my way.

The problem to be solved is that all the money is concentrating in a very few hands, and that individual people are nearly powerless. Money is no longer a means of exchange, but has rather become a token of power in the mystified guise of merit, where losers are chumps and the winners are sociopaths. It is a virus on the body politic.

And it's powered by our tiny local amusements and our projected dreams of making it rich and living the life, which, oddly enough, we actually get to witness each and every day all around us.

My ownership stake would be my stake in government. Isn't that how we designed democracy?

Or did we really design it so that some very few could be served and pampered and live in fantasy housing on the top of peaks and preen their individual merit?

We can apparently subpoena cellphone tracks to determine that you were where you said you weren't. I see people readily handing over their phones at the border now to prove that they've been vaccinated. What, really, would be so bad about relinquishing our capitalist fantasy land in favor of something real?

I mean I was in China when they were installing cameras everywhere and the people shrugged. I don't think we want that. And blockchain identity might be the only way to prevent it. Maybe. 

I don't know. I only know we've got to do something different from what we've been doing. If, as I suppose it is, tech has exposed the extremities and absurdities of capitalism, isn't it still possible that tech can fix them?

Of course we have to get beyond the insane notion that tech will do this all by itself.

Basta already basta!

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