December 27, 2006


RAPHAELLE WRITES THAT I am “too much of a lone wolf -- wolves are pack animals working together for the whole,” adds that I am “a mix of contradictions” and concludes that I “spend too much time alone and have far too much to offer to succumb to bitterness.” He thus raises issues that are vital to my decision to resume blogging. Here is my response:

Thank you, Raphaelle, for the supportiveness that is evident beyond your criticism, especially for its gentle tone. I will try to respond accordingly.

Taking the matter of alleged contradictions first because it is the easiest criticism to answer, I surely understand how my writing might convey such an impression. But I believe if you will take the time to differentiate between ideological principles and more concrete realities -- chiefly history, whether personal, political or both -- I suspect you will find the riddles of the seeming contradictions are very quickly solved.

My recent ouster from a self-proclaimed “Left” website provides a succinct example of how what might be termed “contradiction“ is in fact the result of someone else’s ideological exclusiveness. Based on what I can glean from various apres-ouster comments jeering my contributions to the site, maliciously misrepresenting my views and applauding my virtual execution, it was the self-righteous and smugly irrevocable verdict of the site’s authorities that -- merely because I am an uncompromising defender of the right to keep and bear arms -- I am not only definitively excluded from the “progressive” camp (and thereby eternally denied use of the “progressive” label), I am also forever to be damned as the Enemy. Thus was I ideologically “cleansed” from that particular electronic universe.

However this was not my first encounter with the reflexive hatefulness that proves the adjectives “hysterical” and “fanatical” to be accurate characterizations of forcible-disarmament advocates. The same conflict was in large measure the basis for my far less formal but far more emotionally wrenching divorcement from the Democratic Party 18 years earlier: my Democratic adversaries spitefully claimed my ownership of firearms not only identified me as a “Republican” but proved me to be a “closet Nazi” -- never mind the Left/liberal totality of my values or even my long Democratic political history. (The other 1988 issue was my equally unyielding support for the First, Fourth and Fifth amendment rights so many Democrats were then seeking to undermine, this in the name of censorship measures unprecedented in U.S. history -- a harsh and sweeping purge of literature and art rationalized by feminists as “pornography” suppression -- yet another example of how ideological absolutism had become, especially during those years, far more an attribute of the Democrats than of the Republicans.)

Whether over the right to keep and bear arms or the rights embodied in the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments, the ensuing clashes followed the pattern of all such campaigns of ideological exclusion. It was forcefully asserted as an unarguable truth that my support for RKBA not only contradicted but actually nullified my equally impassioned support for an entire agenda of socioeconomic betterment: universal health care, universal educational funding from kindergarten through doctorate, a national WPA-type crash program to build adequate public transport, restoration of labor rights by repeal of Taft-Hartley etc., not to mention the cause of civil rights (for which I had gone to jail) -- all this and a great deal more supposedly invalidated by my recognition of the historical fact that an armed population is ultimately the only defense against individual and collective victimhood, no matter whether the victimhood is inflicted by criminals or criminal governments.

But from my perspective there is no contradiction here at all: my support for the right to keep and bear arms does not make me any less a leftist. Neither does the ouster so inflicted. Instead the entire affair reflects the fact that the people who run the website in question define themselves as militantly pacifist and therefore -- as a major objective in the achievement of their pacifist agenda -- advocate the forcible disarmament of the civilian population in the United States: a vital prerequisite to the imposition of the mandatory (be-pacifist-or-be-jailed) pacifism that would be inflicted by their favorite Democratic presidential candidate’s proposed “Department of Peace.” Moreover the same forcible-disarmament zealotry demonstrably infects all the Democratic Party’s senior leadership and the entire urban/suburban bourgeois/feminist faction of its rank-and-file. In any case -- whether rationalized by pacifism or feminism -- it is undeniably bigotry-fueled class warfare, proof of the huge fear and contempt with which the bourgeoisie -- the yuppies -- view Americans who are rural, blue collar or simply impoverished.

Because it is the yuppies and their corporate masters who control the language of American political discourse, our stance toward forcible disarmament has been carefully positioned as the signal issue that not only determines whether we are “progressive,” but often whether we will be allowed to call ourselves “Democrats.” Not even the reproductive-rights conflict carries such significance. But then the presence or absence of reproductive rights does not determine -- as the future of the right to keep and bear arms unquestionably does -- whether we are a nation of citizens or a nation of subjects and victims.

In truth then my fervent defense of RKBA is not a contradiction but its diametrical opposite: RKBA supports the agenda of true democratic social reformation by its recognition of the distinctly American, distinctly revolutionary constitutional principle (later adopted by Marx) that an armed working class is the final defense against aristocratic tyranny (whether an aristocracy of money or an aristocracy of ideology): the same commitment to liberty that prompts my (admittedly belated) recognition of the historical truth of class struggle and the fact that political democracy is meaningless without economic democracy.

You might be more likely to consider my voting history as contradictory -- perhaps flagrantly so. But given the absolute sameness of the Republican and Democratic parties -- even the Democrats’ oft-boasted commitment to reproductive choice is proven a Big Lie by the Democrats’ knowing and deliberate support of economic policies that increasingly shrink reproductive freedom to merely another of the special privileges of wealth -- where is there any real contradiction in the fact I voted Republican from 1988 through 2004 and straight Democratic in 2006? This year (unlike the other years in question), the Democrats promised to ameliorate economic troubles the Republicans would not even acknowledge, and I took the Democrats at their word -- gambling they would keep it in a bet I have already clearly lost. Not that I am surprised; since the 1970s, both parties have methodically collaborated in the destruction of the New Deal, thereby brazenly flaunting their contempt and even hatred for the poor -- of whom I am one. As it is said often in rural Washington state: “Ain’t a rat turd’s worth of difference between the two parties any more -- but at least the Republicans will (maybe) let us keep our guns.”

Speaking of contradictions, I can think of nothing more contradictory -- absurdly contradictory at that -- than the mistaken, hypocritical and patently self-serving notion that economic security can somehow be achieved without altering the present-day reality of tyrannosauric capitalism. However the maintenance of capitalism may be rationalized -- and in the past 18 months I have been truly astonished by the number of self-proclaimed “leftists” and “progressives” who believe that capitalism represents humanity’s ultimate economic achievement -- the core purpose of this belief is clearly to ensure its proponents the uninterrupted supply of all the trinkets and gadgets essential to their yuppoid lifestyle. Never mind that capitalism is destroying the planetary ecosystem and thus bringing down on us an apocalyptic disaster without any human precedent; never mind that that since the Industrial Revolution, capitalism has been the sole source of war and by far the primary source of all less organized violence as well. The party goes on, even as the party-goers try to ease their guilt by adorning their trophy BMWs with bumper-stickers that command us all to “visualize peace” -- as if we could somehow sloganize ourselves to liberation.


I am indeed a “lone wolf,” but it is because I am thrice isolated: first by the ideological exclusion imposed on me by fanatics; secondly by the alleged sin of my poverty; thirdly by what is allegedly a far greater sin: my defiant refusal to surrender to those who insist that poverty is always the fault of the impoverished and never ever the fault of capitalism itself.

But blaming the poor for poverty is a definitively fascist viewpoint; America’s headlong rush toward fascism is clearly demonstrated by the fact this notion -- now also the cornerstone of our national welfare policy -- is as commonplace amongst those who anoint themselves New Age “progressives“ as it is among the traditionally Hitler-harsh plutocracy of the capitalist ruling class. Because I will not abjure -- because I will not make the my-poverty-is-entirely-my-fault public act of contrition the United States demands of all us poor -- I am considered “uppity”: white trash who does not know his place and is never sufficiently grateful even for the begrudgingly doled-out crumbs of Social Security and Medicare Part D, the latter the DemoPublican Prescription Drug Lord benefit that more than tripled my annual prescription drug costs merely to increase the already obscene profits of the prescription drug magnates.

This -- my brazen lack of contrition for my poverty -- was almost certainly the unacknowledged, under-the-covers issue in my recent ouster from that allegedly “Left” discussion board: just as they say in the fraternity house, at the country club and in the executive suite, I am not the "right kind." And the damning "not" is not merely my support for the right to keep and bear arms (and thus for an armed working class), but the fact I make no secret of being poor white trash and thus too, in the case of the recent ejection, clearly offended not only the board-member bourgeoisie in general but especially their most aggressively authoritarian factions: the coterie of militant pacifists, forcible disarmament advocates and other would-be despots clustered around Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a politician who (as the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio), was very credibly accused of myriad “Nixon White House” tyrannies -- tyrannies that provide a deeply disturbing suggestion of an utter contempt for the Bill of Rights and American liberty in general -- a contempt that is unquestionably shared by the forcible-disarmament/mandatory-pacifism cult at the core of his supporters.

Finally there is that fact that we poor in the U.S. are utterly despised even if we cravenly comply with the most degrading demands of humility and shamefacedness: after all, our poverty is living proof of capitalism's tyrannosauric nature, and in the Britney Spears superficiality of Moron Nation, the great reflexive unspoken mass-mentality terror is that the mere sight of our misfortune is somehow contagious -- that our fate will magically spread to others merely by our proximity. Which is, of course, the hateful truth behind U.S. socioeconomic policy, whether Democratic or Republican, whether in post-Katrina New Orleans or in Iraq: we poor -- especially those of us who are also disabled -- are very literally not considered worthy of any “help” save extermination.


Actually I am not totally alone in my isolation, though it often feels as if I am. This is because I am cut off, almost certainly for the rest of this life, from the intimacy with nature that is my sole source of spiritual sustenance; because the housing regulations under which I now live (and under which I will no doubt spend the remainder of this life) deny me the sweet blessings of canine companionship; because geographically I am so impossibly far removed from the very few surviving kinfolk who do not find me repugnant, I will probably never see any of them again; and because I am always terrified of wearing out my welcome among the few genuine friends with whom I live in geographical proximity -- faithful, longstanding and deeply close friends, but nevertheless fewer friends than I can count on a single hand, and one such friend already years dead of cancer.

Moreover my isolation, though surely not absolute, is absolutely inescapable: I never learned to be comfortable around strangers unless I was shielded by the self-assurance granted by press credentials (or bolstered by the bombast of booze), and in any case poverty now and for the rest of my years limits my socialization to the acquisition of necessities -- trips to the supermarket, the pharmacy, the clinic, sometimes to a book store or the library for source material I cannot access online, very occasionally to a neighborhood saloon frequented by collegial folk I knew in better times but whose successes in contrast to my lack thereof make genuine friendship impossible. To aspire beyond those limits -- to entertain even the faintest hope of making more friends -- is to court disappointment if not rejection: for one thing, my friendships have always taken decades to evolve, and I rather doubt I have that many years left. For another there is what I have increasingly come to recognize as an impassible class barrier: the fact that the inescapable nature of my poverty -- no matter my obvious talent (or that it was permanently thwarted by disasters completely beyond my control) -- marks me indelibly not only as white trash but as particularly worthless white trash at that.

And no friendship will ever compensate for the permanent absence of love in my life.

Though I have surely loved, and deeply, only once in all my years was I ever loved back, and I understand now I was doubly doomed, once by the personal and once by the political, doomed first by the personal fact I am hopelessly “damaged goods” (emotionally crippled by the incurable afflictions of a malevolently dysfunctional childhood -- enough emotionally disfigured I always suspected no woman could ever find me lastingly attractive); doomed next and again by the political and socioeconomic fact that hopeless poverty is synonymous with pariahdom. The latter condition is the unavoidable byproduct of another undeniable political/socioeconomic reality: the fact heterosexual American women are conditioned from birth to be the ultimate arbiters of materialism -- as Madison Avenue discovered nearly a century ago, the final decision-makers in terms of what will be accepted and what will be rejected. For that reason -- the fact that from my 23rd year on I never had any demonstrable "prospects" -- I see now in the clarity of age there was not the slightest possibility any woman would have chosen me as a long-term mate.

Nevertheless, for most of my life I remained vaguely hopeful I would someday be lastingly loved -- hopeful, that is, until a welfare bureaucracy's 1989 proclamation I was "permanently unemployable" condemned me to an even deeper kind of poverty -- poverty so ragged-sleeve, beater-car obvious, that from my 49th year onward it was quite simply unthinkable I would ever again know even the brief blessing of a woman’s momentary passion, much less anything more enduring: an infinitely hurtful wound of banishment the emotional pain of which will haunt me all the way to the grave and perhaps even beyond -- never mind that its physical counterpart was long ago wiped away by the advancing infirmities of old age.

In bitter truth my life has never been more than a constant struggle against one obstacle after another -- the vast majority of its pleasures the ephemeral (i.e., “worthless”) but actually priceless gifts one is given by intimacy with Nature -- and now that I am old and resigned to the inescapable barren my life has become, I no longer feel any need to hide from its wretchedness or deny its bottomless disappointments. My hope for a successful journalism career -- in my youth, even my harshest detractors believed I was destined for The New York Times -- was destroyed by a 1963 civil rights incident in which I was arrested in the newsroom of The Knoxville Journal and charged with “disorderly conduct” for my refusal to write a racist lie: an absurd accusation -- speedily dismissed by acquittal -- that nevertheless forever afterward damned me as “insubordinate” and “untrustworthy” and thus eternally limited me to second-rate newspapers or worse: never mind the undeniable achievements of my reporting. When the 1983 house fire literally destroyed all the rest of my life’s work -- one nearly finished book, the completed research on another -- it was obvious I would never achieve even one of the goals to which, since my 16th year, I had dedicated my entire being. The 1989 blow from the welfare bureaucracy was the final nail in my metaphorical coffin: the end of any and all rational hope I would ever find even an alternative route to a minimally comfortable old age -- the terminal shove by which capitalism (in this instance with the help of its feminist class-warriors and their gender quotas) flung me into the bottomless cesspool of inescapable poverty.

Several acquaintances over the years have expressed their astonishment I am still alive, noting correctly that such unrelenting misery and hopelessness might have driven a weaker or less purposefully defiant person to suicide decades ago -- which is, of course, precisely the rationale behind how capitalist society is structured: to hide the evidence of its infinite malignance and toxicity by marginalizing, exterminating and thus eradicating its prey, whether institutionally (as by aid deliberately denied the victims of Katrina or life-sustaining drugs deliberately cut off via Medicare Part D) or psychologically (as by the despair that leads to self-destruction, slowly by drugs and alcohol or quickly by self-inflicted mortal injury) -- genocide no matter how inflicted, and always the hideous truth behind my assertion that, in this time and place, survival itself is a revolutionary act.

Survival is therefore resistance. And it is precisely by resistance I fulfill my duty as a pack animal. Never mind Marx; my totem is Wolf, and the closest companions of my life were dogs, and though I am now inescapably caged by poverty -- indeed as if I have been isolated from so much I love in what my very isolation suggests is surely to be my terminal kennel -- I am nevertheless doing my best to follow the breathtakingly pure examples set by my canine spirit guides: despite my tainted humanness, working as diligently as possible for the good of the whole. Thus -- and also because it is literally the only pleasure I have left -- do I write.

Posted by Loren at 04:52 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006


AT LEAST ONE PERSON, stumbling upon the autographical material accessed by clicking on “About the Author” (above right), seized upon my 2004-vintage self-descriptions not as evidence of how much I had changed in the intervening years and months -- how much (if I may be excused the employment of that hateful New Age usage) I had “evolved” -- but rather as the basis for denouncing me as a liar, an imposter, a false-flag operator, a genuine Typhoid Harry of in-group disharmony and perhaps even an infiltrator clandestinely dispatched by some agency of the Great Oppressor -- in any case a dark force who sought to undo all her efforts toward the propagation of enlightenment.

The truth was never so grandiose. Never mind my critic’s implicit rejection of any notion that humans -- especially elderly humans like myself -- might change and grow; I had simply forgotten all about those 2004 autobiographical statements -- absolutely accurate descriptions of my state of mind at the time but utterly invalid today -- and thus, in the process of gradually and little-by-slow resurrecting this blog (which I began late last summer), I not only overlooked them entirely but (of course) also neglected to revise them.

Thus too my heartfelt apology for the part my unintentional negligence played in the unpleasantness that resulted -- a circumstance about which I shall say no more simply because those to whom it is relevant will fully understand (at least presumably they will), while those to whom it is not relevant have no reason to trouble themselves about it.

Nevertheless I urge all readers to the take time to read my new statement of purpose, and not just its summation here:

This site is a journal of political and philosophical evolution, a work-in-progress by an old, impoverished, cast-off and therefore presumably broken white-trash man: a person who nevertheless remains defiant -- a solitary human being who recognizes that, in this time and place, survival itself is a revolutionary act.

To read the full text, click on “About the Author” and then on “By Way of Introduction.”

Meanwhile, the very brightest of Winter Solstice blessings to all of you -- even the aforementioned critic.

Posted by Loren at 01:13 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006


I AM BACK, and I am rather not quite the same person who last posted here.

For the past 18 months I have wandered in a wasteland of on-line U.S. politics, its cultoid demands for lockstep conformity befouling whatever fresh air it might formerly have offered, its once-presumably fertile realm now a toxically anti-intellectual barren, its most apt description the oft-quoted William Butler Yeats line -- the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity -- a condition that seems at least as dreadfully true of humanity today as it was in the era of Nazi ascension Yeats so accurately described.

But my odyssey actually began not with the advent of my long silence 18 months ago but three years beforehand in 2001. A writer as much by inclination as by trade, I was looking for an on-line home, a virtual family. Instead, on both Right and Left, I found superficial acceptance that -- once the unorthodoxies of my views became clear -- was invariably followed by venomous personal attacks, deliberately hurtful rejection and, in two instances (both on the Left), the virtual execution of electronic banishment. Thus my quest has taught me that in today’s United States, my very independence of mind makes me an ideological pariah and dooms me to political homelessness -- a condition I may as well embrace, solitude and all -- because it is now obvious it will accompany me to death‘s door if not beyond.

Nevertheless, as I better absorb the lesson I learned, I will tell more about my travels -- particularly why my own former (leftist) values had by 1988 deteriorated into a (rightist) politics of retaliation (for that is precisely what happened), but then, beginning in 2004, evolved into reconciliation with those original (leftist) wellsprings. The result is a new and abiding clarity based on the historical truth of class struggle: the Occam’s Razor of political analysis -- the genuine missing link in U.S. politics -- the principle that among other things explains precisely why my life was destroyed by the Washington state welfare bureaucracy 19 years ago: the victimization for which, from 1988 through 2004, I voted Republican in revenge.

Alas, though my experience is an extreme example of the contradictions woven into the devil’s bargains served up by our political system -- we are allowed only the narrowest of choices, either Democrats who falsely promise they will provide us with a desperately needed socioeconomic safety net even as they forcibly deny us the right and means of self-defense, or Republicans who make no secret of their intent to reduce us to slavery but claim to preserve our right to defend ourselves against crime and apocalypse -- the same impossible dilemma ultimately confronts all of us who must sell our labor to survive. While I foresee no escape from the dilemma itself, perhaps my own struggles toward political understanding will at least help others grappling with the same crazy-making reality.

Meanwhile, to illustrate a much larger dimension of what is at stake, here is an infinitely sad and endlessly saddening report of an especially gentle species of dolphin now harried to extinction.

Dolphins are as intelligent as we are -- there are many true stories of dolphins saving sailors' lives, and there is even some suggestion the ancient Minoans regarded dolphins as uniquely symbolic of the co-mingled elements -- earth, water, fire and air -- characteristic of all earthly life. Because intelligence is also capacity for emotion, it is at least arguable that dolphins possess the same range of feeling as humans. Thus if we have ever known (as I surely have) the pangs of genuine isolation and absolute loneliness, we might be able to empathize, just a bit, with that last surviving Baiji, who no doubt spent endless hours desperately searching for kindred before finally dying in the ultimate despair of loss and abandonment.

Such is the genocide implicit not only in capitalism but in what H. sapiens sapiens attempts to rationalize as "civilization" -- an escalating atrocity for which I do not believe our planet will ever forgive us. Therefore as an Act of Contrition -- and as a small prayerful foreword to what will be another of my recurring themes -- I offer this fragment of a Cheyenne Ghost Dance chant:

The white man’s god has forsaken him
Let us go and look for our Mother...

Posted by Loren at 04:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack