Patrick Lawrence asks some pertinent questions of the American people.

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

Are Americans going to sit around indefinitely eating potato chips while the State Department and Treasury starve Venezuelan children? 

Are Americans going to play video games while Israel fires U.S.–made missiles into Damascus from Lebanese airspace—two violations of international law?

Are Americans going to sit around watching corporate sports while the Pentagon drone-murders entire families and Congress votes to increase its post–Afghanistan budget?

Are Americans going to sit on their sofas while the United States condemns several generations of Cubans to lives of desperation because they have chosen to live in a socialist republic?

Yemeni children play in the rubble of buildings destroyed in an air raid. (Peter Biro, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Are Americans going continue stuffing their faces with Cheetos, Hot Pockets, and Bac–O’–Bits while the Saudis use American–supplied bombers and bombs to drive Yemen into a state of famine and reduce its people to  Dachau-like skeletons?

Are Americans going spectate on their sofas while the CIA and other rogue intelligence agencies subvert the Republic of Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic, and any other nation that resists American hegemony?

Are Americans going to sit around silently while no-neck generals push the U.S. relentlessly toward military confrontations with China and Russia, two nuclear-armed nations?

Are Americans going to shop on Amazon while The New York Times, CNN, and the rest of the monstrous propaganda machine cultivate their ignorance—purposefully, knowingly, and with malign intent—by way of gross omissions and outright falsehoods as to America’s international conduct?

Are Americans going to sit around worrying about their lawns while climate change burns half the country, floods the other half, and a federal judge tells the Biden administration it is obliged by law to auction new oil– and gas-drilling leases on hundreds of millions of acres?

Are Americans going to read The New Yorker and The Nation while mainstream journalists cheer the creeping suppression of independent media and post-adolescent know-nothings in Silicon Valley are authorized to censor their speech, what Americans read, and—it will come—what Americans think?

Are Americans going to sit around dribbling on their shirtfronts while Julian Assange, Daniel Hale, Steven Donziger, and other courageous people acting in their behalf are made victims of extravagantly corrupted judicial systems?

Are Americans going to remain silent while millions of them are malnourished and evicted from their homes in the name of the market god?

Evicted from their homes. (Joe Lauria)

Are Americans going to sit around while millions more get sick because they can’t afford perfectly ordinary medical care and those who could remedy this crisis are paid by insurers, hospitals associations, and drug companies to refuse to do so?

Are Americans going to sit around while Big Pharma treats a global health crisis as if it were simply an eternal profit center?

Are Americans going to sit around stuffing their faces with chlorinated chicken, Velveeta, and Pepsi while corporations colonize every minute of their lives and every cell in their bodies?

Are Americans going to sit around soporifically watching television while Rachel Maddow takes home $30 million a year for turning news into a Barnum and Bailey circus?

Are Americans going to sit around watching Walt Disney movies while Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez and other such “progressives” betray every voter who got them into office?

Are Americans going to sit around talking about their IRA accounts while a dense web of mind-manipulating institutions, corporations, corrupt pols, and the national security state totalizes its grip on power?

Not one year into the Biden presidency, the mind regurgitates. The mind dreams of exile in the way all those principled anti–Cold War people expatriated during the 1950s, having had enough.

And the mind wonders.


When are Americans going to stand up?

When are Americans going to clear the litter millionaire bums have left on their village greens and reclaim their public space?

When are Americans going to stop indulging the weak-minded fiction that they are powerless?

When are Americans going to transcend the atomization of American society systematically inflicted upon it since April 30, 1975, and learn again to speak and act for the commonweal?

When are Americans going to present themselves with dignity to show they have regained their self-respect, their respect for those who have to look at them, and their respect for their reawakened civic selves?

When are Americans going to figure out that a global class war rages and that race is a subset of class and not the other way around?

When are Americans going to stop bickering about pronouns, gender preferences, bathroom doors, bronze statues, identity politics, and all such distracting rubbish?

When are Americans going to read the scholarly definition of fascism and then look at themselves in their mirrors?

When are Americans going to dismember the scam economic “model” that produces and reproduces billionaires and an ever more impoverished majority?

Pentagon: ‘It’s our money.’ (Joe Lauria)

When are Americans going to tell the Pentagon, “That’s our money.”

When are Americans going to admit to ourselves that America’s nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, drones, bombs, and landmines are the root reason all these weapons proliferate globally?

When are Americans going to demand radical action to counter the climate crisis and change their lives—joyfully and with commitment?

When are Americans going to impose civilian control over the CIA and the other appendages of the “national security” octopus?

When are Americans going to say, No!” to subversive “democracy promotion” interventions in other nations?

When are Americans going to reject the Russophobia and Sinophobia their “leaders” and their clerks in the press malignly stir up?

When are Americans going to object that the U.S. started and prolonged the Cold War because the Pentagon needed it and defense contractors profited from it?

When are Americans going to turn off their televisions?

When are Americans going to stop eating Fritos?

When are Americans going to stop bothering to write their congressmen?

When are Americans going to stop pretending their political process is intact and voting matters?

When are Americans going to stop pretending Joe Biden is mentally competent?

When are Americans going to stop pretending Joe Biden is the second coming of FDR?

When are Americans going to stop pretending Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Ned Price are anything more than programmed robots?

When are Americans going to recognize that The New York Times is now a propaganda organ and the future of journalism lies in independent media?

What remains of the republic is a moonscape of unreality, of pretending and forgetting, of many wandering emperors with no clothes. “When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain?” Remember that?

To go back in time, to make use of the past to understand the present: Shall America try it for once?


The generation of ’68, les soixante huitards as the French named it, stand rightly accused of much foolishness, juvenile posturing, selfish indulgence, and all-around unseriousness. But that generation, mine, put essential questions before the nation. They are still with us; I have hinted at a very few of them as they are in their time.

Aug. 10, 1968: Protest against the Vietnam War as Chicago was preparing to host the Democratic National Convention. (David Wilson, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

They come to one large question, all of them taken together. This is the question of power.

This is what the ’68ers did that was of great worth: While they were pickling their vegetables in Mason jars—de rigueur, those jars—bonking everyone who moved, and sewing folksy patches on their blue jeans, they challenged power. “Hell, no, we won’t go!” Remember that? There was seriousness in that stand. Remember Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night (a phrase borrowed from Matthew Arnold)? They knew what history was and what it meant to make it, those armies.

Then, realizing what they had done, most of them, of us, flinched. Americans got lost in greedy consumption and “me.” And most Americans have flinched and gotten lost ever since.

The enormity of the task the ’68ers had put before their republic, the task of making it honest and true to its ideals, of putting a lot of people on trial and into jail cells (and getting a lot of others out of jails), was simply too much to take on. It would require too much. It would impose responsibilities and sacrifices. Very few wanted to make them.

Be impeccable. I have told you many times. To be impeccable means to put your life on the line to back up your decisions, and then to do quite a lot more than your best to realize those decisions.”

Remember that? Carlos Casteneda’s Don Juan? The old brujo continued, “When you are not deciding anything, you are merely playing at roulette with your life in a helter-skelter way.”

Most chose roulette after the catharsis of the 1960s. So do Americans find themselves retreated to their sofas and their Cheese Doodles and their chrome hub caps and their 50 different kinds of salt and their vulgar “refinements” such as only some can afford them.

To maintain their righteousness Americans raised high their various banners—of identity politics, of their private preferences, of the primacy of race—anything to ward off all suggestions that Americans are living “in a helter-skelter way.” How militant it makes one feel, how “progressive,” as Americans scurry fast as they can from the question that matters—the question of power and who holds it in the name of whom and what.

I offer a pencil sketch, nothing more, of what happened to America after 1975, when voices were raised and raised voices mattered. I propose it as a guide to America’s present condition, to see itself in the past by seeing what America is no longer.

It is the strangest thing. Joe Biden, two steps from the taxidermist, imposes all the old questions upon the country once again. Americans have a mentally incompetent president; clods such as Secretary of State Blinken are simply too ridiculous to take seriously even as they bear responsibilities far, far beyond their capacities. The charade is all that remains.

Do you think Americans will muddle through these next three and a half years and then go onto something more sensible? I can’t imagine it. Power, at this moment, is very wayward. I can’t see how Americans can ignore this but to their great cost.

Guy Debord, among the most acutely insightful of the soixante huitards, made us see a long time ago: It is all spectacle in the Western “democracies”—there is no recourse left in their orthodox politics and political processes. Is this anywhere more so than in America?

The most stupefied presidency since 1945—can anyone name another?—stands to prove one of the most momentous, having put Americans face to face with their questions. If they flinch from answering them this time, Americans will have answered them in the worst possible way.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

52 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Power

  1. Albert Hall Wilson
    September 8, 2021 at 13:44

    I have the same questions. When are Americans going to wake up? A lot of people are waking up, but it is pretty slow because the corporate media is bombarding us with a lot of Oligarchy Propaganda. You guys help a lot, to wake people up, but I bet that no even 10% of the american people know about Consortium News, or Robert Parry’s Books about the Bushes. Keep up the Work.!!!

  2. September 8, 2021 at 09:27

    How does America make decisions and who makes them. How should America make decisions and who should make them. Trying to deal with the decisions that effect us without answers seems a futile exercise which is the case at present.

  3. John Galt
    September 8, 2021 at 07:51

    When are Americans going to stand up for what is going on around them?

    When they can no longer play video games, eat Velveeta cheese, or they can no longer maintain a green lawn. That’s when, and it will be some time before the powerful corporate interests behind video games, cheese and fertilizer allow that to happen.

    Americans are blissfully protected geographically by its land mass, psychologically by a massive media and government machine of deception and control, and commercially by corporate interests that provide comfortable food, mind-numbing entertainment, and, among many other things, the fantasy of products to think we are younger than we are. Over the years, the interests in corporate cash has aligned the government with the interests of business. Business and government are now true partners working together to wring every drop of power and money from the system.

    In short, we are excessively indulged with comfort because it is profitable for the politicians, media and commercial interests to do so. That blanket of comfort, in turn, allowed us to become the narcissists we now are, concerned only about ourselves and the exogenous amelioration of our fears.

    It’s going to take an extraordinary measure, like simultaneously nuking all the Velveeta factories to get Americans concerned about anyone but themselves. We know there are more important things than Velveeta, but we don’t want anyone to remind us. We are where we want to be and will fight with apathy to stay that way.

  4. Aaron
    September 8, 2021 at 04:12

    Profound questions indeed. Seems like this morbidly obese nation has given up on everything when they look in the mirror, physically, intellectually, and every other meaningful, conscientious way imaginable, it’s sad as hell tbh. I think we need a good, motivational kick in the ass, like David Goggins style – hXXps://

  5. MLT
    September 7, 2021 at 19:10

    Are Americans going to sit around watching Walt Disney movies while Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez and other such “progressives” betray every voter who got them into office?

    This is a very serious statement and it is fair to expect from the author an explanation

  6. Michael Lucey
    September 7, 2021 at 18:05

    A very thought provoking article but maybe lacking in doable solutions!

    From a non US citizen perspective, more an Irish perspective. Turning off the TV sets would be a great start and doing a bit of in- depth reading/research, on the Net, might just open the average US citizen’s eyes to what’s actually happening to their once great country.

    Ike said it all in his presidential farewell address. I wonder how many US citizens of today have watched/listened to what the man warned about. JFK also warned the US citizenry of similar dangers in his April 27th 1961 address.

    The problem for most US citizens is, how can they make a difference when the choice is tweedledee or tweedledum? Rather than back an alternative party maybe the answer is to look around at what works in other countries? With the current system should a low ranking party gain power, the ‘powers that be’ would quickly have them in their back pockets.

    A country worth looking at is Switzerland. It’s a rare example of a country with instruments of direct democracy (at the levels of the municipalities, cantons, and federal state). Citizens have more ‘real’ power than in a representative democracy.

    Ireland had the beginnings of such a system in place in the Free State Constitution but the politicians that wrote the current Constitution pulled the Article (48) that insured ‘real’ power to Irish citizens.

  7. Em
    September 7, 2021 at 15:16

    Voice of people to the power!

    The short answer to the first 18 enlightened questions is:

    YES! This is, and has been, for too many years, the commonplace response of the many, “living lives of quiet desperation” chasing ‘educationally’ inculcated, delusional, fantasy narratives.

    The plutocratic owning class of Americans, today couldn’t give a damn how many ‘people’ have to die internationally in order to bring about their “New World Order”

    White neo-liberal South African corporatists, who never cared a jot for the country and all of its people, were the breeders of the phenomenon being expressed today, as ‘State Capture’ in the corporate controlled and directed mass media. But it is nothing new, globally.

    However, the term is being thrown about, by the bigoted corporate American media to divert attention from what has been going on, and is still going on, in our own backyard, for generations now.

    The fact is that the elites of the American global hegemon itself, long ago captured American state power.

    As already stated, by another commenter, the French in Algeria only began to care when “the chickens came home to roost”.
    And therefore, as we, supposedly enlightened Americans, all ought to see, ‘State Capture’ is not alone a South African phenomenon. By now, it is global, with the American imperial hegemon leading the way down the slope, to total implosion; if not extinction.

    The closest answer to the WHEN questions is:

    When those particular Americans and their shortsighted cohort finally become aware enough of themselves to recognize that no mortals, throughout all of humanity, are the exceptions.

    Yet so far, in human history, the fact is that ‘we’ have not found a way to induce ‘them’ – the greed mongers – to be more amenable to cooperation in challenging the power of individual human self-deception, and its proclivity for overtly manifesting individual self-importance above all ‘others’ away from this fallacious concept of being extraordinary.

    This deficit in wisdom has eluded every aspect of our combined ingenuity, throughout the ages
    Cooperation is not conducive to the enforcement strategies of the extant hierarchical power structures, and therefore, it is anathema to the Capitalist enterprise.

    The one trait that the vaunted civilization of homo-Sapiens has not been able to improve on, with all of its evolutionary sophistication it has made, in the material, scientific and technological fields, is a lack in ability to raise its spiritual and emotional consciousness of itself – its attribution of ‘being’ human, rather than ‘doing’ human, to itself, en masse.

  8. Eduardo Cohen
    September 7, 2021 at 14:47

    “When are Americans going to stop bickering about pronouns, gender preferences, bathroom doors, bronze statues, identity politics, and all such distracting rubbish?” Spoken like a true condescending white man. Distracting rubbish? Really?

  9. Cratylus
    September 7, 2021 at 14:37

    BUT “What Is To Be Done”?, as another man asked at the 20th Century’s beginning, a question too few of the Counter Culture gang of the 1960s and 1970s, forerunners of today’s potato chip munchers, asked.

  10. David Otness
    September 7, 2021 at 14:05

    It is just so as described. An ugly, corroded, self-absorbed and ignorant but ever-bellicose population—its ‘sound and fury signifying nothing.’ Except perhaps fear of realizing what we have become—and what you well describe—but we cannot muster the gumption to acknowledge our own plight. And failure.
    Do Americans even have gumption anymore? All of the poison eructating from the mob (left and right) directed always with malice aforethought, a national steady-streamed stark invective emanating from a trans-generational psyop directed (by the Owners and their agents Hannity/Maddow, the Narrative-Makers) against themselves / ourselves of the same economic class—rather than those who bedevil us—and imperil the innocents of the entire world.
    Well put as always, Patrick. I only differ with your date, a date my own brother was clubbing terrified Vietnamese with his M-16 rifle butt from his Huey on top of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. No, sir, my date remains November 22, 1963.

    • September 7, 2021 at 19:32

      I thank all who have commented for taking the trouble to do so. reatly appreciated in all cases. David, the 1963 date is indeed v key. I used to refer to the three assassinations of the 1960s–the two Kennedys and Martin. Now I refer to four, including Malcom X in the group. However, in the matter of the conservative offensive against the consciousness of the 60s, 30. 4. 75 remains my date. It spooked them in Washington, and they got on their bikes. So successful were they over time that we now have to listen to “progressives” and “liberals” as they open wide and swallow whenever the CIA speaks.
      Marie-France, you are very right to single out the word you have. If we hyphenate, it become quite clear: We must be dis-illusioned, and the sooner we are the better, as Aaron’s Pop says.
      Best to all.
      Patrick Lawrence.

    • Spring River
      September 8, 2021 at 11:53

      1963…an American was born and by age of three received Rolling Thunders in mid of nights.

      I too remember those years, as that child was me.

  11. Ted Tripp
    September 7, 2021 at 14:02

    Mostly all good questions, although I generally disapprove of arguing by question. I recall the one big question, “Who Am I?”, or “Who Are You?” that works to create the consciousness that sees through all the others.

    I am not sure why Patrick Lawrence questions “Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez and other such ‘progressives’ betray every voter who got them into office” as I fail to see the betrayal. Mr Lawrence seems to confuse lack of skill with betrayal–maybe the same effect but without the motive.

    • torture this
      September 8, 2021 at 10:02

      Coordinating the “Squad’s” votes on the additional funding for capitol police so that it could pass by one vote is an obvious example. There are so many more if you read more than the MICIMATT sources. They are truly traitors to the causes they got elected for.

    • Larry McGovern
      September 9, 2021 at 06:16

      I am an admirer of Patrick Lawrence (is there anyone who was on to the perfidy of Russiagate sooner than Mr. Lawrence? And his opening statement on “tragedy” in his recent article on Afghanistan is so on point.), but to be critical of “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other such ‘progressives'” (“betrayal”? really?) without offering any evidence, and when she and and other progressives are our only hope right now, bespeaks a purity that will get us nowhere.

  12. Marie-France Germain
    September 7, 2021 at 13:32

    Dr. Gabor Maté, who speaks extensively on addictive behaviours in the global west and the reasons for it, describes a sense of disillusionment that often accompanies what we call addictions (any addiction whether drugs, shopping, alcohol, nicotine, money, etcetera) as a good thing were it not for the addictive practices that fill the void. He explains to have illusions is not a good thing for the publics to hold whereas, being disillusioned opens our eyes to the reasons behind the addictions. The reasons are simply that we are feeling alone, individualized and atomized to the point of no longer seeing ourselves as a collective of individuals and thus the need to fill a yawning emptiness through some feel-good activity, a denial of reality, whether it is physically or mentally healthy. So as disillusioned persons, we have the possibility of reconnecting as humans, correcting the course where our western cultures have deviated from the humane and bring life back to its place of true meaning – of community (to commune together), of social responsibility rather than corporate rapaciousness, of truly caring for humanity and our one and only home. Maybe enough of us can actually become disillusioned together with the understanding and acceptance of our individual faults and foibles to actually lay the ground work for change in the long slog back to our true natures as global social beings who need each other to survive in the future.

  13. rosemerry
    September 7, 2021 at 11:58

    I don’t know how many of you see the DAILY speeches online by Alexander Mercouris, who writes for CN but is marvellous in person , and every day he regales us with the news really worth listening to. He has the knack of hitting all the main points, uses humour and careful wording to avoid being “removed” from his channel, while quoting directly from official meetings , somehow making them interesting to us listeners!!
    All of the recent events are covered, in much more detail and relevance, than any of the other media so repetitively cited.
    Americans, British and lots of other people can learn a lot and delight in his technique.(I am an Australain living in France.)

    • Nathan Mucahy
      September 7, 2021 at 19:41

      I have been watching Mr.Alexander Mercouris on Duran and have been impressed by his knowledge and analysis. Check him out . This is not an endorsement of Duran – about which I do not have any opinion so far. That’s because a lot of other people post their pieces too, which I do not have any time to view. But Mr. Mercouris is good, who BTW writes here on CN occasionally

  14. county Kerry
    September 7, 2021 at 11:40

    So many questions and so very few answers.

    Thank you Patrick Lawrence for an excellent article .

  15. September 7, 2021 at 11:32

    Phew….too good

  16. george mcglynn
    September 7, 2021 at 11:31

    Human history, rather than a chronicle of freedom and democracy is characterized by ruthless domination. Our elites have done what all non-democratic elites do. They have found sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep people passive and make them serve their interests. The brief democratic opening in our society in the early 20th century, made possible by radical movements, unions and a vigorous press, has been shut tight. We are now mesmerized by political charades, cheap consumerism and continuous lies and misinformation as citizens are ruthlessly stripped of power.

  17. SH
    September 7, 2021 at 11:07

    “When are Americans going to stop pretending their political process is intact and voting matters?”

    Perhaps the issue is not so much that our voting process is dysfunctional, as much as what WE are using it to do – when you keep voting for duopoly candidates over and over and over …. of course your vote doesn’t matter because nothing changes – as even Biden recently stated “Nothing will fundamentally change”

    So perhaps the more relevant question is – When are Americans going to stop voting LOTE?

    • Skip Edwards
      September 7, 2021 at 11:57

      SH, yours is a good cooment and a very pertinent question, “when are Americans going to stop voting?”

      Only when Americans stop voting for this charade will things change, imho. When Americans stop voting in sufficient numbers, those who rule the American empire will begin to get the hint that their days are numbered.

      • SH
        September 7, 2021 at 19:44

        That is NOT what my comment said -“When are we going to stop voting LOTE?” (lesser of 2 evils) is NOT tantamount to “When are we going to stop voting?”

        Simple fact – we will not stop having elections – the ones who win are the ones most of the people who vote, vote for – folks who don’t vote have no say in that at all. By continuing to restrict our choices to D/Rs we are simply perpetuating this “charade” as you put it. Their days won’t be “numbered” until we make it clear that we, in large numbers, will vote for them no more – there are other choices out there, on the ballot, who are on record as opposing “the American empire” – THAT’S the “hint” we need to send them

      • Tim Slater
        September 8, 2021 at 16:52

        “… in sufficient numbers…” — I suggest you take a look at the absolute figures for the proportion of the electorate that did not vote in recent Federal and State elections!

    September 7, 2021 at 10:28

    Great essay.

  19. Linda Lewis
    September 7, 2021 at 10:26

    Polls say Americans no longer believe in democracy. And why should they? Few have actual experience with it. Today, autocratic corporations run everything, including Congress and the media that fawns over them as more “efficient” than the constitutional republic we inherited—a large, antique cabinet created for a purpose now forgotten, now gathering dust in the nation’s attic. “Influencers” tell us it is longer fashionable, and advise turning it into kindling along with the rest of our national heritage—particularly events that involved anti-establishment behavior: the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the women’s suffrage movement and the 1861 secession.

    Today’s rallying cry is not “Liberty!” but, “Look forward, not back.” Besides giving elites a pass on misbehavior, it is a call to erase our collective hard drive and allow a clean installation of the new operating system that promises poverty and early death for the masses; unlimited wealth and power for the few. Sadly, that path leads to worse horrors than we have yet seen.

  20. Peter Loeb
    September 7, 2021 at 10:15

    THE WORKERS OF THE WORLD WILL NOT UNITE!!!! his is preaching to the choir.
    For a more profound understanding of the intricacies, complexities of power politics
    see, for example, Gabriel Kolko, Francis Jennings etc.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston

  21. Jon McCoy
    September 7, 2021 at 06:45

    This may sound crazy, but apart from volunteering in our communities(in order to help re-build them), perhaps one of the best forms of resistance is to refuse to work. Or, at least, to work as little as possible. One of the things this pandemic has shown us is that the ruling class, all the way up to the billionaires, is literally terrified of we the people not going to work. You can literally see and feel the horror it invokes in them. Because we do everything for all these supposedly “self made” men. Of course, everything is easier said than done and this idea is no exception. All I’m saying is it has the potential to be a very potent weapon. And thank you for the excellent article!

    • Alain
      September 7, 2021 at 14:05

      Refusing to work, for the vast majority of individuals, would mean no income and, hence, a life of destitution. However, a general strike in which tens of millions of people simultaneously refuse to work would definitely get the attention of the owners of our society.

      • TS
        September 8, 2021 at 16:46

        That would only apply to a one-day token strike. A real political general strike would not only “get the attention of the owners”, but would be an act of revolution, and would no doubt be met with all the force of the warfare state.

  22. Pierre Guerlain
    September 7, 2021 at 03:30

    I am afraid the answer to all the initial questions is: “yes” and this is true of all peoples, the French did not care about what was done in Algeria (except when French soldiers died), Israelis are in the same mindset and white South Africans before 1994 too.

    But, as usual, a very smart piece by Patrick Lawrence.

  23. James Simpson
    September 7, 2021 at 02:04

    It can be argued that the US antiwar protestors of the late 1960s were not at all altruistic. Most of them, I suspect, didn’t want to risk dying in Vietnam, and who can blame them for that? Given that the movement collapsed as soon as Nixon ended the draft, it seems to be true. There has been no comparable antiwar movement since then. Here in the UK there was no such movement and there has not been. We are a complacent people, enjoying our unearned privileges at the expense of the Global South.

    • Ted Tripp
      September 7, 2021 at 13:57

      At first there was an anti- Vietnam war movement. Then, we all saw that if young men did not go to war, the war would have to end, so we formed the anti-draft movement. This worked well until Nixon ended the draft and the anti-war movement was stuck with no place to go.

  24. Nathan Mulcahy
    September 6, 2021 at 23:40

    Thank you Patrick Lawrence, for putting out the right questions to us Americans. Nothing can and will change until we Americans first recognize that for everything going wrong in our country, the buck ultimately stops with us citizens.

    I have no patent solution but do have suggestions. Hopefully others will come forward with more. So here we go:

    1) recognize that ultimately the buck stops with us citizens

    2) almost everything that is wrong in this country came about through bipartisan collusion

    3) both parties can continue to wreck havoc only because we continue to vote them in

    4) ….

    Green Party continues to disappoint on many fronts (I am not discounting the significant hurdles both pasties have created for third parties).

    Anyone knows what’s happening with the People’s Party?

    No savior will parachute down to save us. We are on our own.

    I know that I am thin on forgive as far as solutions. What other ideas do the rest of you have?

    • Nylene13
      September 7, 2021 at 09:58

      One thing EVERYONE can do right now TODAY is to STOP EATING MEAT.

      Meat is not healthy for our Health, our Environment or the poor Animals, many of whom are raised in small cages.

      This does not have to be a complicated process. If you are concerned about protein, you can still eat eggs, milk and cheese, while you learn more about this issue. Meanwhile there are grilled cheese sandwiches and veggie burgers.

      Become a grilled cheese sandwich expert.
      Sourdough bread, tomatoes, onions, olives, chilies, artichoke hearts, endless yummy veggies.

      And don’t forget Pizza! Load it up with enough delicious veggies and you won’t even miss the meat!
      And there is vegetarian pepperoni too.

      Start now today.

      • Skip Edwards
        September 7, 2021 at 12:42

        All goo except the eating eggs part. Have you ever seen the conditions in which egg laying chickens live in and must endure!

        • Skip Edwards
          September 7, 2021 at 12:43

          Make that “all good”.

      • Alain
        September 7, 2021 at 14:11

        This is exactly the sort of narrow issue politics that Patrick Lawrence warns us against. If everyone in the western world goes vegan tomorrow, the power dynamics of society will not change a whit.

        • Eduardo Cohen
          September 7, 2021 at 19:02

          You appear to underestimate the power, the reach and the pervasiveness of the meat and fishing industries.

          • Alain
            September 8, 2021 at 13:14

            I stand by my comment. Killing off the meat and fishing industries might have positive effects, but their lost power will immediately be taken up by Big Agriculture. The balance of power in society will not fundamentally change. That is the problem with getting hyper-focused on particular issues or grievances, legitimate as they may be. The ultimate issue of class gets lost in the noise of competing interest groups.

            • Pat
              September 8, 2021 at 18:16

              “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

              ? Einstein

            • Alain
              September 9, 2021 at 11:11

              @Pat You do not seem to appreciate that the main point of Patrick Lawrence’s article is the inversion of power in our society. Changing dietary habits may have genuine benefits, but it will not alter the power structure. I suggest that you read Sheldon Wolin’s book “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism”

      • Tim
        September 8, 2021 at 16:27

        What has this got to do with the critical problems Lawrence raises? Damn little!
        (I agree with the suggestion, but that is another kettle of fish.)

    • SH
      September 7, 2021 at 10:54

      Why does the GP “continue to disappoint”?

    • fritzi cohen
      September 7, 2021 at 12:43

      Well as someone who was part of that protesting 68 group, I’ve been trying to get people to read Patrick Elder, (Military Poisons)
      check out Civilian Exposure, and others who are exposing the disgraceful pollution that affects everything in the US, the pollution that is coming off of Military Bases that causes cancer and other diseases.
      The peace dividend if there really is such a thing should be in bringing our troops home to
      serve us, and clean up the mess that the Pentagon has created here. We are all being poisoned, and the Pentagon is not interested
      in dealing with this, and neither are most of the enviros and other groups that should be looking at this. Yes there are many
      things that need to be cleaned up, but by far in my humble opinion the worst is the mess that the Pentagon has made here.
      And we’ve funded all of this, perhaps involuntarily because we fear the repercussions of not paying our taxes.

    • SH
      September 7, 2021 at 19:48

      Should have said – In what way goes the GP “continue to disappoint” from your perspective? Need some details …

  25. firstpersoninfinite
    September 6, 2021 at 23:16

    Great article from Patrick Lawrence. It hits every nail in our self-made coffin while also making it easy to see those nails we need to pull out to free ourselves from dissolution. As Chris Hedges recently commented, our only hope is a “sublime madness.” This article makes it plain why we need that to happen sooner, rather than later.

    • SH
      September 7, 2021 at 10:56

      And what does, in practical terms, “sublime madness” look like?

  26. Dfnslblty
    September 6, 2021 at 22:58

    Bravo! for jostling the comfortable consumers, Mr Lawrence.
    The first set of questions gets a resounding Yes — we’ll die clutching our animation dvd-s, unaware of our communities’ needs.

    To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, “Your end of the boat is sinking.” H. Downs

    Keep Writing!

  27. John Ressler
    September 6, 2021 at 20:52

    From this piece : “The most stupefied presidency since 1945—can anyone name another?” Yes, I can – the Trump presidency, although, the current one is number two (pun intended) IMO. In any case, none of them represent the people – they represent our corporate owners like they always have.

  28. Carolyn L Zaremba
    September 6, 2021 at 20:44

    You had me until you praised Guy Debord. Apart from that, great article. The worst thing to happen to public discourse was post-modernism.

Comments are closed.