Terminal America: Our “Spudnut Moment”

2011 March 20
by Ando Arike

“So I listened to that Sputnik moment talk over and over again, and I think, No, we don’t need one of those. You know what we need is a Spudnut moment. … The Spudnut shop in Richland, Wash., it’s a bakery, it’s a little coffee shop that’s so successful, 60-some years, generation to generation, a family-owned business, not looking for government to bail them out and make their decisions for them. It’s just hard-working patriotic Americans in this shop. We need more Spudnut moments in America, and I wish that President Obama would understand in that heartland of America, what it is that really results in the solutions that we need to get this economy back on the right track. It’s a shop like that.”—Sarah Palin on President Obama’s State of the Union Address, to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Jan. 26, 2011

World-historical irony lurks in the fact that just when the American people need real leadership, it seems that our political class is crawling with every con man, huckster, Ponzi schemer, petty grifter, and three-card monte shark in the land—and what’s worse, it appears that many of these people are either psychotic, hopelessly deluded, or pathologically stupid. Historians have often noted that past imperial collapses have been marked by a sort of madness taking hold of elites (see, for instance, Caligula or Nero)—could it be that our own rogues’ gallery is compelling evidence that the increasingly evil American Empire is in its death-throes? Will the U.S.A. soon be swept, like the U.S.S.R. twenty years ago, into the dustbin of history, bankrupted by continuous war, hollowed out by industrial offshoring, and cannibalized from within by unbridled greed?

Many people today will answer “Yes!” and tell you that the best response is to get out of the way and watch the mother come down, perhaps nudging it along where possible. This is a viewpoint for which I have much sympathy. But, sad to say, it is far too hopeful a scenario…

Unfortunately, collapse will probably not come to the U.S. as easily as it did to the Soviet Union, which had the remarkable decency to dissolve more or less peacefully; our rulers have built the most expensive and far-reaching military machine in history and seem unlikely to relinquish their Empire without a fight. The S.U. was never all that cohesive, and in retrospect, never the monstrous threat it was alleged to be; in contrast, the U.S. government is a Leviathan that grows more grossly obese every day—never mind that all politicians since Reagan kow-tow to the notion that “government is the problem, not the solution.” But perhaps they speak more honestly than they realize; for it would seem that our Leviathan will soon have no other purpose than (1) funnel tax dollars to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, (2) insure corporate pillagers’ unrestricted access to publicly-owned assets and natural resources, and (3) manage a national security/police state apparatus that would’ve made Stalin green with envy. (When our politicos say they believe in small government, this only applies to the benevolent things government does.)

Barring divine intervention—or a resurgence of the sort of left-wing agitation that roiled the Sixties and Seventies—it’s likely that the collapse of the U.S. will drag along painfully for many years, with our political institutions becoming ever more flagrantly useless and parasitic.  “Leadership,” in any honest sense of the word, has long been impossible here—too much our economy’s functioning is based precisely on “mis-leadership,” i.e., PR spin, hucksterism, and Big Lies—and so in the coming decline we can expect some pretty bizarre displays of demagoguery from our political class, as the “national discourse” grows increasingly hallucinatory and hysterical.

Remember, that we are also seeing the decline of the Empire’s ideological and psychological supports—its “superstructure,” in Marxist terms. Soon, like over-ripe fruit or decomposing flesh or topped-up Port-O-Potties, the rotting ideas will begin to emit ever more pungent and repulsive smells as they fester and ooze across the devastated American landscape of burned-out suburbias—homes stripped of plumbing and wiring, cracked vinyl siding dangling in the breeze—abandoned shopping malls, food courts swarming with rats, homeless people huddled in shipping crates—the deserted highways lined with wrecked cars and fill-up stations long emptied of fuel…

Already the rabid, feverish rants of the Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs have burrowed like spirochetes into the brainstems of millions Americans, lodging there to flower into a malignant rainbow of seething, lunatic hatreds and lurid taboo desires. The pale young men masturbating in their bedrooms to serial murder video games soak up the miasmatic air like sponges, dreaming of the massacre that will make them famous, each bullet and head wound a token of fame… Harder, faster, harder, faster, the blood-soaked fantasies swirl into a phantasmagoria of carnage and dismemberment, the young men shoot their loads… In severely deranged states like Arizona, they’re handing out pre-loaded automatic weapons to any madman that asks… “Do you hear voices in your head? Take this Glock, you’ll need it…”

One Response leave one →
  1. 2011 March 23
    Carl Watson permalink

    Palin’s being invited to meet with Netanyahu, on her visit to Israel, is a sad sign of her credibility in the eyes of certain groups. Christian fundamentalism loves Israel right up until the rapture eliminates the Jews. Netanyahu is a Class A Fool for even acknowledging the Fool Palin. But fools rule the world and people love them. I recently went to a film “No Dinosaurs in Heaven,” in which I learned again what I already knew—that 60% of Americans believe in Biblical Creation. Therefore I agree with the “Let the Mother Come Down” philosophy. My Crosshairs are centered on Reason. I am stocking up on canned goods now. Palin in 2012! Let’s Do It!

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