I have been working diligently on preparing for the release of my upcoming Volume II of the Goldberg Variations. I apologize for the delay, but one of the minor sources of the delay is a writers block because I can’t seem to get something off my mind unless I write this post.
As we know there have been several reports of the alarming rise of suicides, especially white middle aged men. . (e.g. Suicide Epidemic Has Swept Across American West – Rolling …www.rollingstone.com › culture › culture-features › sui…; The emergence of youth suicide: an epidemiologic analysis …www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › pubmed; https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/suicide-is-not-someone-elses-pro…)
Suicides in general seem to be up among all genders and races, the white race seems to be the particular riser, and many say it is coupled with the new white man’s burden: the opioid epidemic. But evidence does not really bear this out completely, as the linked article here from the Trust fior America’s health may indicate. (https://www.tfah.org/report-details/pain-in-the-nation-update-while-deat…) .
Nevertheless, there does seem something emblematic going on and that is the lowering prospects of economic mobility among middle class whites. Some would even say that this has lead to a ‘rise in the racism. I don’t see it that way, I am one who believes the amount of racism in the world, follows something akin to the first law of thermodynamics: it is always conserved and never destroyed (or created). What has changed is the readiness of a huge segment of the white population to act on their racism as a motor for public policy.
This rise in racist politics is a sadly typical human response to (quoting from wikipedia article on Ressentiment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressentiment) a sense of hostility directed toward an object (People Of Color) that one (white republicans) identify as the cause of one’s frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one’s frustration. This assignment is done in a completely misplaced manner that avoids targeting the real culprit of their economic woes.
One of my favorite, life affirming, philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche saw this quite clearly in his development of the concept of ressentiment [from the French word for resentment], but that’s not what I want to discuss here. Rather how the alt right media (Fox News, Brietbart, etc.) have successfully redirected frustration at the market economy toward people of color.
It helps explain the huge rise in support for such desperate people as Trump: the very personification of ressentiment, and Bernie Sanders the personfication of—not democratic socialism—but democratic New Deal-ism which aims to take down the market economy as the sole source of public policy.
Even though Sanders is no longer in the presidential race, and Biden, the Democratic establishment candidate is the only one left, it is nevertheless still a Sanders/Trump dichotomy: will people continue to support racism over attacking the root cause: the market economy. And Biden just may be more suiccessful at it, because Sanders needed a revolution in thought, but Biden just needs this epidemic.
The coronavirus epidemic has lead to a subtle radicalization of Americans. I may live to eat these words, but i think you will see a democratic landslide of epic proportions as Americans white and POC rally around not only addressing the market economy issues; but as the human toll of the COVID19 continues to rise a rally around our basic humanity and rejecting our baser racism.
This revolution is already happening globally. The powers that be, the establishment if you will, still hold reins, but even with them in charge we are noticing things such as: the Republican billionaire’s Senate approves a bailout that includes substantial money for the poor. Obviously the lion share still goes to billionaires, but still it is a profound change of direction. The French President Emmanuel Macron is offering the French auto industry bail out money but only if they move some factories back to France, another move–albeit subtle–of forcing manufactruring to consider something other than the profit motive. More and more governments are coming forward with welfare for the corporations and people and those who don’t are beginning to rebel. Bolonsaro in Brazil, Putin in Russia are among the many facing historic drops in their popularity.
This leads me to the belief that a second coming of FDR is in the offing as is a second coming for the democratic party in America. We can only hope they get it right this time, and they can put forth the agenda that places national unity ahead of racism. The net effect of which will most likely be the improvement of the suicide statistics for whites, which will no doubt leave others, mostly People of Color, wondering, “Is this why we did this for?”
For seurity reasons, I prefer using Twitter, hastag #arnoland if you have any comments or questions.