Saturday, December 29, 2018

THE HIDDEN TRIBES OF AMERICA - A FASCINATING REPORT


On Twitter, in a thread about how political pundits seem to be misinterpreting pretty much everything about the direction(s) in which the US population is heading, Jeffrey Sachs recently linked to a fascinating--and ongoing--research project that deserves the attention of any and all American citizens, whether they consider themselves politically engaged or not.

Called The Hidden Tribes of America, this project, initiated by the "More In Common" research group, introduces some interesting new ideas, and continues collect data about the American public via a pretty comprehensive questionnaire in which you can still participate. I, myself, declined to do so because I didn't want to pollute the results with my dirty, socialist Canadian attitudes.

Anyway, I urge y'all to check it out. I got a lot out of it... including a tiny blinking ray of hope for the future.
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If you're looking for some more interesting stuff to read, you can surely do worse than this Economist interview with Adam Curtis, one of yer old pal Jerky's favorite documentary/educational filmmakers, responsible for some of the most illuminating programs of the last 30 years, including his most recent, HyperNormalisation, to his most controversial (and revealing), the three-part series The Power of Nightmares. In fact, it is my deeply felt personal opinion that if you haven't seen, at the very least, all three episodes of The Power of Nightmares, then you aren't fully qualified to discuss American history circa 1992-2003.


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George Packer's recent article for The Atlantic, entitled The Corruption of the Republican Party, seeks to explain how the GOP is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start. He explains:
I don’t mean the kind of corruption that regularly sends lowlifes like Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic former governor of Illinois, to prison. Those abuses are nonpartisan and always with us. So is vote theft of the kind we’ve just seen in North Carolina—after all, the alleged fraudster employed by the Republican candidate for Congress hired himself out to Democrats in 2010. 
And I don’t just mean that the Republican Party is led by the boss of a kleptocratic family business who presides over a scandal-ridden administration, that many of his closest advisers are facing prison time, that Donald Trump himself might have to stay in office just to avoid prosecution, that he could be exposed by the special counsel and the incoming House majority as the most corrupt president in American history. Richard Nixon’s administration was also riddled with criminality—but in 1973, the Republican Party of Hugh Scott, the Senate minority leader, and John Rhodes, the House minority leader, was still a normal organization. It played by the rules. 
The corruption I mean has less to do with individual perfidy than institutional depravity. It isn’t an occasional failure to uphold norms, but a consistent repudiation of them. It isn’t about dirty money so much as the pursuit and abuse of power—power as an end in itself, justifying almost any means.
Keep reading, because "The More You Know" and all that crap.

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