Living In The Past
All of us are living in the past in one way or another -- actually comprehensively as we live in a country and culture that inherits from the past. This is helpful for anchoring us against storms but can be destructive when we get stuck and don't continue our journeys. Cattle can't graze in one spot for long.
This Forecast addresses the twin topic of living in the past in the U.S. and in emerging countries.
We in the U.S., and indeed the entire globe, are on in the midst of a major transformation, not unlike the cultural breakout in the 1960s and early 1970s, but of much greater scope and impact. Some may recall Jethro Tull's 1969 song, Living In the Past, reflecting that era's mood. Here's a link to the video, Living In The Past. Below are the lyrics -- some irony perhaps, for the sixties cultural revolution changed a lot, but then, not so much either? Even Wikepedia is uncertain about Living In The Past, ...which was originally released at the peak of the Vietnam War, seems to be about people wishing to live in peaceful times (the "past" mentioned in the song) rather than at a time of war and turmoil (the "present").
When Living In the Past sprang to mind, I realized the song had been on the back burner these last forty years, and still I felt unease from the message. Too, when you watch the video, you'll see Jethro Tull mirrors the message with his bugged-eyed, wild-haired look and gravely voice banging out the lyrics in the music's unusual and compelling rhythm. It seems now the silences between the sounds form the disturbing message. It was the silences then that didn't stop the Vietnam War, and our later silences allowed Gilded Age greed and corruption to flourish. We baby boomers didn't speak loud enough in the sixties, and we failed that karma of personal responsibility even more egregiously as the millennium changed.
After Living In The Past was published in 1969, the Vietnam War dragged on another five years. By then, most of the hippies and other utopians had begun selling out to the lure of middle class life. Only after experiencing the horrific economic consequences of our silences yet again, are some beginning to understand we screwed up yet again. For the rest, alas, they are living in the past, just as Jethro Tull intoned forty years ago, when we allowed the Vietnam War to continue.
The Good Old U.S. Of A.
In the Red Corner!
When you really look at the Tea Party, their diffuse leadership harkens to the past. The message, though, is mainly about what's wrong now, referencing only tangentially an earlier golden era, which is mythological, not real. Was it the 1950s Father Knows Best era? Or, as the Tea Party's Mama Grizzlies are women, do they mean 1920, when women got the vote? But the movement began with the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. How about the nineteenth's century's Davy Crockett frontiersman days? Or go back even further to the true patriots' revolution against the English king? Daniel Boone is actually a better model, for he fought in the eighteenth century revolutionary war and was a nineteenth century frontiersman. Well, the Native Americans and African Americans would differ on any of these being their golden age, as would the real grizzlies, if they could talk. Daniel Boone shot a bunch of them -- both bears and red men too! Davy Crockett, though, killed more of everything! A lot of Mexicans and Mexican Americans also got shot dead, and their golden age has yet to arrive. Remember, Crockett fought for Texas' independence at the Alamo.
Continuing on the extremist right edge of the bell curve, there are bunches of these folks. The KKK, their brethren in other white supremacists groups, militias, Neo Nazis.... and don't forget the John Birch Society! Yup, they are doin just fine! Whoops! I almost forgot the NRA and DAR -- you know the guns guys and their wives, the Daughters Of The American Revolution. Those gals are true democratic patriots, except for the little problem membership is restricted to bloodlines going back to those who supported the independence movements. Aren't these the most elite of the hated elitists?
All of these too are living in the past, and some aren't very polite about hating just about everyone who isn't a WASP -- White Anglo Sazan Protestant, cause that's what they are, if you've forgotten. And, most have the blue eyes of these Northern Europeans, although what's really necessary is to be very, very white. Having blue eyes is just a plus, as is being blond.
To clear up the confusion about who is who here, these other groups' members are Tea Partiers, and some have come out of the closet to give official support. The John Birch Society promoted the Nashville Tea Party Convention, and there sure have been a lot of NRA gun-totin guys (and some gals too!) with NRA patches at their rallies. And notice how WASPy they all are? Most are even blue-eyed. So, we can add in the other right wing extremist groups and now just have to pick whether the golden era is symbolized best by Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett. I'm sure we're all glad that's cleared up!
How can this be living in the past? Well, this interpretation of Revelations is about the blue-eye people,
...the righteous will be taken to heaven while the rest of humanity will be destroyed, leaving Satan with no one to tempt and effectively "bound." The final re-creation of a "new heaven and a new earth." then follows.
How the fraternal organization fit in isn't so obvious. What the Moose, VFW, Odd Fellows, Elks, Shriners, Masons, American Legion and other fraternal organizations believe in isn't so clear. But since they are dying off fast, it doesn't matter much. Most members now are WWII veterans. The younger ones fought in the Korean War, all revering those glorious days -- living in the past. Their aging members are naturally frightened by the Millennium Contraction, and vulnerable for living on Social Security, investments failing, home values plunging and uncertain private and public pensions. With these frailties, they are naturally drawn to extremists like the Tea Party, who blame government for their plight and promise a return to the good old days.
There is, however, yet another group, the Neoconservatives, the old money and big money guys who brought us G.W. Bush to starve the beast by creating huge deficits. The beast here is FDR's New Deal -- minimum wage, social security.... These guys are very clear about that, giving us the period before 1933 as Americans true golden age. But in reality, their target is the the entire First Progressive Age, which reestablished the shared democratic values lost during the First Gilded Age in the 1880s. They hate, not just F.D.R. but also Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson for their reforming administrations. Well, yes, via Karl Rove, these folks, and some of them are very, very rich, are the money behind the Tea Party, but that's just a tactic in their strategy to preserve their ill gotten gains during the recently ended Second Gilded Age. Ayn Rand is their hero -- and Atlas Shrugged their bible. After all, most of Rand's characters have blond hair and blue eyes, including the towering John Galt.
And In The Blue Corner!
This left edge of the bell curve is even harder to define, but then the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is well known for being a rabble -- all the rest of the poor people, whiners, unions, socialists, communists, minorities, New Agers, spiritualists, old hippies. Many of these last are cult believers, usually utopian, for which the U.S. has a long and history. In the sixties, we used to call their communities communes, but that smacks of communism. Intentional community is the hip term now.
A lot of the original utopian cults were in Upstate New York, some fled from religious persecution, like the Shakers. Others were locally grown -- the Oneida Community (silverware), Mormons and the Millerites. This last is an interesting group, for having been the first fundamentalists in the 1840s. I wrote about the Millerites in The The United States Through Its Planetary Cycles, Part 1, in the Mercury cycle discussion. Many of these groups are long gone. The Shakers didn't make it because they were celibate, and only maintained their numbers by conversions and orphanages. By 2009, only three Shakers survived.
I asked my parents about it. My father said, just enjoy the music. My mother quietly replied, Jesus never left Palestine. It sure was spectacular though and terrific music, much better than somber sermons the droning hymns in our Presbyterian Church! No joy there, but those Mormons, they sure were happy!
Much later my mother came down with ALS -- a degenerative nerve disease -- and one day my country doctor father said he felt there was a heightened level of neurological illness in Upstate New York. He said this resulted from the chemical discharges from the many factories along the early nineteenth century Erie Canal -- e.g. Love Canal. With so many having visions there, who became the visionary creators of religious cults, perhaps there is something in the natural environment affecting peoples' minds? (Have the Canadians been poisoning the Niagara River?) Of course, Upstate New York doesn't have an exclusive franchise here. The Palinites are Alaskans.
We fished for bass and threw the carp back, joking that some folks shipped the carp to New York City as Italian bass. We weren't intolerant, really more unaware of other groups and peoples. A Jewish doctor practiced in nearby Seneca Falls and talked often about donating trees to Israel. And, there were a couple of black kids in school from the nearby army base. Mexicans harvested the fall apple crop, but we didn't see much of them.
A lot of New Age ideas about returning to the earth by farming, using barter... to attain a simpler and more pure lifestyle, came from this utopian heritage. This was abetted by Indian gurus bringing Hindu philosophy, Buddhists and an arising recognition of Native American spirituality. The New Age movement is a classical case of the American melting pot. It's a blending of the Don't tread on me independence with newly found eastern spirituality and the rediscovered Native Americans asceticism. And don't forget Henry David Thoreau -- an American original advocate for simple natural living and civil disobedience. These all advocated non-materialism, detachment and honoring the earth. However, isn't this an agglomeration of utopian idealism, another case of living in the past?
Just like their red brothers, the blue folks believe in their own golden age, which is tied to those earlier nineteenth century utopians. Is it BC -- before cars -- or BF -- before vaccinations, or BP -- before pesticides? With vaccinations popularly rejected because of mercury and other poisons, do we now also reject others, like smallpox the polio vaccine in 1955, or insulin in 1922 for diabetes? And since longevity has increased dramatically in just a generation since 1960 from advances in science (including nutrition), how can abandoning these not reduce health and longevity? Yet, we shouldn't shortchange this movement. There is real value in rediscovering natural remedies, organic foods, understanding the harms of pollution and man made chemicals, the benefits of seeking a higher consciousness, meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Indian Ayurveda... These lifestyle changes enhance our lives, both in quality and longevity. (Yet, to be fair, studies have shown that devote Christians who pray and attend church regularly are also happier and healthier.) Spirituality/religion certainly is a two-edged sword!
Getting back to the blue left edge of the bell curve, we can throw in the Green Party and the Libertarians too, the authentic Don't Tread On Me folks -- who basically want to be left alone. Ron Paul was their presidential candidate in 1988 and brought in a lot of donations in 2008. However, his son, Rand Paul is actually a Tea Party candidate for the Senate in Kentucky. Unlike true Libertarians, who are against big government of all kinds, the Tea Partiers like big military, big business, big wars and fundamentalist Christian values imposed by a Christian government -- prohibiting abortion and gay marriage, anti gay rights, anti marijuana, anti science (evolution, global warming...).
I wrote about the Don't Tread On Me movement in the February 10 Celestial Wheel and again the the March In-depth forecast, Tug Of War. This is the Gadsden Flag, which actually precedes the Declaration Of Independence and is known as the first U.S. Navy Jack. The Tea Party has hijacked this flag from the real Libertarians.
Yes, it does get a little messy with some blue folks looking like red folks and visa versa. But then, we are talking here about extremists seeking to survive by living in the past. And only in America can you have opposing survivalist groups as neighbors in the forest -- the reds praying for the right shoot to kill their attackers, and the blues praying not to be shot by their attackers. The former usually look to Jesus as the only savior. The latter are often devotees of Buddha, or a Hindu or Chinese deity, yet also including them all. The red white and blue flies above the red camp. Prayer flags fly above the blue camp.
Other Free Radicals
There are other groups in America Living In the Past who don't neatly fit into red and blue camps. They are rather special interest groups, and adherents can be either red or blue or simply individual isolationists, trusting no one.
There are the gold bugs, who believe currency became worthless when Nixon completely eliminated gold and silver as backing for the dollar in 1971. Some believe the dirty deed occurred when FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard in 1932. In the nineteenth century, the Financial Panic of 1893 was the collapse following the first Gilded Age, during which there was a run on the gold supply and a policy of using both gold and silver metals as a peg for the US Dollar value. Some gold bugs believe that was the beginning of the end. (See, Silverites Versus Goldbugs.) Edgar Allen Poe first coined the term in a story title in 1943, and, In 1896 the US presidential election hinged around whether the US would remain on a gold standard or adopt a bimetallic monetary system. Here's one,
The gold bugs, then, are also living in the past.
The paranoid gold bugs are, of course, alive and well these days. Well that makes sense, since we are living now in the collapse following the Second Gilded Age. Claims of astronomical gold prices have been blazing on the web for years now, as the fiat currencies (not backed by gold or silver) are claimed to be worthless. Try Googling "$5000 gold." (Also trying Googling: $36,000 DOW, if you really want to see how excitable investors car!)
And here's an amazing fact -- the 1900 Wonderful World Of Oz was a allegory of late nineteenth century money policy. The yellow brick road was the gold standard and the ruby slippers in the movie were silver in the book.
Then, there are the conspiracy theorists, notably those who believe the Federal Reserve is the root of all evil and the Illuminati is a secret group of mostly Jewish bankers intent on a new world order. Of course, there are many conspiracies, including, of course, Mulder's in the X-Files. Well, that brings in aliens, and my favorite is reptilians. These folks live in the past, before the aliens began invading us. Carl Jung made an interesting observation here, stating, Aliens are technological angels.
The conspiracy theorists who believe the elections are all fixed deserve their own paragraph here. They've allowed their fearfulness to swallow-up their karma of personal responsibility that democracy doesn't work unless people vote. They live in the past when votes were honestly counted. When that was is a great mystery, however.
Finally, there are the racial bigots. Certainly the civil rights movement in the sixties didn't wipe out white superiority/fear/hate of African Americans formed during three centuries of slavery and another hundred years of segregation following the Civil War. They can't stand Barack Obama, making him the scapegoat of all that is wrong in America today. These folks too are living in the past. Most are red of course, though there must be many closet blues as well. By extension, all people of color are included here. And don't forget the evil Muslims!
If I've missed any groups here, my apologies. There certainly are a lot, and any omission is unintentional, really! Well, I did miss the Scientologists, for I try not to think about them.
Remembering The Past But Living In The Present
There's a curious dichotomy here, arising out of what I've termed, America's mystical paranoia. This was described most recently in the March In-depth Forecast, Tug Of War,
The dichotomy is that America's deep-seated fearfulness brings our vaunted independence, the belief in individual freedom, insuring no group dominates another. This expresses itself in both brave action to resist authority and fearful action to regain freedom through living in the past. Yes, we all need heros, and I remember well treasuring my Davy Crockett coonskin cap when I was ten or so. As an adult, however, I came to learn that to protect freedom in the present and insure it for the future requires looking ahead, not back. That's like driving your car by looking through the rear view mirror.
The enemy here is the concentration of wealth and power resulting from the Second Gilded Age. The battle is reforming the system to restore shared democratic values in a Second Progressive Age. We need another trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt. Monopolists like Bill Gates and the criminal enterprise banksters need to go. Too powerful multinational corporations, who act as oligopolies must be broken up. The monied aristocracy enabled by tax shelters and trusts to avoid inheritance taxes must go. Corporate lobbying and political campaign support, often secret, must end. Bailouts must stop. When a business or industry fails, it must be allowed to fail. The concept of Too big to fail only perpetuates incompetence and greed concentrating wealth and income in the hands of a few. The black heart of all of these are the banksters. Only then will Americans regain economic freedom, which is the very basis upon which our democratic capitalist system works and thrives. See, The costs of rising economic inequality .
In other words, American must reclaim is classless quality. And remember, escaping rigid class-dominated societies is the reason the earliest and latest immigrants have come here. It is the lack of the rigid class system that makes America different, enabling the full expression of human creativity and ability and thereby social/economic mobility. The right to win only works if there is also the risk of losing. And a society that advances must allow that which is no longer effective and efficient to be destroyed to make room for the new.
Considering the above listing of groups living in the past, one stands out for representing the concentration of power and wealth which is the very antithesis of the American experience -- the neoconservatives, who are WASPs, believers in the upper class.
As we approach the midterm elections, there is great uncertainty about whether the Tea Party extremists, funded both openly and secretly by the neoconservative WASPs will prevail. I've predicted the Tea Party will fail for their extremism ultimately protects to old WASP culture and is rejected by the moderate middle -- although many incumbents will also lose. The great middle of America's bell curve will vote with brave wisdom, not succumb to the fear mongers. However, it is possible that the fearfulness of those living in the past will prevail. The march of history is never in a straight line. Yet, as economic collapse resulting from a Gilded Age that stimulates a Progressive Age, that sequence can not be avoided, only slowed or postponed.
There is one bright line here -- the emerging mortgage documentation scandal. Now, not only has the common man been beaten up by the banksers' greed, but the purchasers of their mortgage securities are screaming. This includes the pension funds, hedge funds and other institutional investors and the government agencies. Here are current articles describing what is becoming a national revolt against the banksters,
This is good news for two reasons. First, blame properly shifts from the democratically controlled government to the those who wrecked the economy -- the banksters. This takes the wind out of the Tea party's blame government agenda, reducing their appeal and favoring Democrats. Second, the banksters are finally being held accountable in their pocketbooks, where it counts, for their misdeeds. Some may even go to prison!
Although this is off-topic, it's worthwhile nothing the economic consequences of this latest bankster chicanery will likely hit during the upcoming Mars/Rahu conjunction introduced in the October 3 Short-subject Commentary,
December, then, could signal the death knell of the banksters, as they are forced to take responsibility for the massive and growing losses from the real estate bubble. This would be an involuntary breaking up of that concentration of wealth and power, which is both odious and has caused so much damage to the U.S. It's a peculiar way for a Second Progressive Era reform to actualize, but since another government bailout is politically impossible, it may very well happen.
December, then, promises to be the fifth crisis in the unfolding Millennium Contraction. See the July, Mars/Saturn Conjunction Summer 2010 for a listing of the previous crises.
China and India
The media's endless and often confused reporting about the fate of the global economy focuses upon emerging economies dominating the globe.
Remember during the late eighties there was similar concern about Japan? But then in 1990, its real estate bubble burst, and the country has been in a deflation ever since. See, Economic history of Japan and Japan Goes From Dynamic to Disheartened.
Despite Japan's post WWII modernization, it remains a traditional society, with a class system imposed and maintained by an autocratic culture. Shifting into a modern democratic capitalist society takes many generations. Hitting this glass ceiling was inevitable.
China and India are also traditional societies. Qualities can be presented to prove this point, but it must be true on its face, for only a truly free democratic government with capitalist economy can provide the framework in which economic interests are balanced and checked and the people are not subject to a class system that strangles economic/social mobility. A large, vibrant and mobile middle class is an imperative. These societies, then, live in the past by never having come into the present.
However, one recent example of the harms of social and economic stratification is too hard to resist, The World’s Most Expensive House. It took seven years to complete the Ambani's 27-storey dream mansion, built in the middle of downtown Mumbai. ...There will be 600 full-time members staff to maintain... ...It has been reported in the media to have cost between US$1 billion and $2 billion. This article cites a lower price tag, India's richest man Mukesh Ambani moves into £630m home and ends with this telling sentence, Ambani does not appear to be influenced by calls by the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, for business leaders to be "role models of moderation." I first reported on this home during its construction in the June 10, 1997 Commentary. A few days later, I saw a rich East Indian/American at the post office and mentioned this economic atrocity. Her British upper class accented reply was burnt into my mind, Oh, I wouldn't know what is in his mind. Then she turned and sauntered away, dismissing me entirely.
The November, 2009, Global Economic Outlook Into 2012 And Beyond, stated,
Let's just hope this isn't just undue patriotism.