So It Begins


Enroute to Vienna, connecting through Copenhagen airport on an SAS flight out of Washington, Dulles, I slept badly because of a the onset of a gout attack in my right ankle…

I come staggering off the plane, limping heavily and head toward the customs line for inter-EU travel. When I get to the nice swedish guy, he looks at my passport and says, “So ‘congratulations’ on your new ‘president’.”

As nicely as I could manage I said, “it’s not even my country.”

Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen Airport

This morning I did the keynote for a security conference here and I think it was well-received. Journalists afterward wanted to talk to me. What did they want to talk about? “So, ‘congratulations’ on your new ‘president’.”

The last book of Kurt Vonnegut’s that I read was entitled (2005) “A Man Without a Country” and I wish I could write well enough to do a book entitled “Kurt Vonnegut, You Were So Damn Right.” The problem, as Vonnegut so damn rightly identified it is that humanity has problems that are larger than nations, and nationalism isn’t going to be able to cope with them let alone solve them.

I bet the brits are the only people that are happy about this, because now nobody’s going to zing them about brexit anymore.

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Administrivia:

I am going to try to cheer up a bit. I’m reaching the end of my crazy travel season and ought to be able to post more often, and more thoughtful pieces soon. I’ll probably start avoiding specifically american politics in favor of continuing my low-level attack against nationalism in general. Critiquing US politics feels almost like beating up a blind kid and stealing its crutches. Oh, sorry, that’s too old-school a metaphor: it feels like shooting a hellfire missile at a bunch of blobs on a screen that are presumably hostile but what the fuck kill them all anyway. At this point we don’t need sophisticated anarchist arguments from Paul Wolff; everything he had to say is now writ large in 20 foot high letters in red paint on the walls of the forum.

Comments

  1. says

    I had a post scheduled last night, went up at 7am this morning, with the title “So It Begins…” :D And like you, in my Day of Mourning post, I said I have no country. So, we’re on the same page. Enjoy being out of uStates for a while, and travel safe!

  2. says

    Caine@#1:
    Yeah, I’d say we appear to be sharing a brain-wave but if that was possible it’d mean the NSA was tapping us both, so let’s avoid that thought.

    You probably have more of a country than I do, Caine – it’s yours but it’s under occupation. Twists of fate have made me part of that occupation and I’m deeply sorry.

  3. cartomancer says

    I won’t deny that there is something slightly comforting in not being the only ones whose countrymen made an awful decision at the polls this year. Not nearly comforting enough of course. Mind you, I am still hopeful that the High Court’s insistence that Brexit plans must get through parliament and the Crown Prosecution Service’s legal challenge to the leave campaign’s ethics will scupper the whole movement entirely. With Trump all you can look forward to is him getting convicted of child molestation and Mike Pence taking over.

    But generally we see it as a further kick in the teeth. In Britain we like to think that other countries will look at us and learn from our mistakes. Trump’s election just demonstrates that we can’t even be an example to the world.

  4. polishsalami says

    I suspected months ago that Trump was trying to revive his brand to pass on to his kids in case he croaked it. Then came the talk of ‘Trump TV’, and it all started to make sense. I’m still not entirely convinced that he actually wants this job. (The power? Yes. The responsibility? No way.)

  5. says

    polishsalami@#4:
    I’m still not entirely convinced that he actually wants this job. (The power? Yes. The responsibility? No way.)

    Irresistable opportunity to loot. Considering how much the Clintons lined their pockets, Trump’s probably going to be having a field day. Corruption that would make Tammany Hall weak in the knees with envy.

  6. Varun Kharwadkar says

    I can see you are proud that you ‘do not have a country’. You are a proud globalist. Obviously it suits you personally very nicely not to have a country. Trouble is most people – most americans, in particular – cannot up stakes and jet off to Copenhagen and give a talk. They are stuck where they are. And naturally they would like where they are to be a bit better for them. You can call them ignorant nationalists if you like, but you clearly have zero understanding of – and presumably zero empathy for – them. Maybe one day you will. Depends on your level of intelligence I guess. Peace out.

  7. says

    Varun Kharwadkar@#6:
    I can see you are proud that you ‘do not have a country’

    Where do I say I am proud of that? Actually, I am disappointed in nationalism, and the US. I don’t feel proud about that at all; I think it really sucks.

    You are a proud globalist.

    That would be a strange thing for an anarchist to be. While I do agree that humanity’s problems are bigger than nations (per Vonnegut) I dont necessarily think globalism is the right answer. Specifically because globalism has come to mean “global banking, global economy, global capital” more than it means something like Leviathan.

    Obviously it suits you personally very nicely not to have a country. Trouble is most people – most americans, in particular – cannot up stakes and jet off to Copenhagen and give a talk.

    Well, yeah, it’s so fucking glamourous to go out of the country on someone else’s schedule, not sleep at all, stand in security lines, sit in taxis and trains, hotels, and conference rooms, then go home and do it all over again. It’s not like I just get bored and hop on a jet to someplace glamourous when the urge hits me (though I could, if I actually had time – for me “vacation” is when I get to stay home) I get to go to great places like Moscow in February and I manage to steal a few hours here and there to maybe walk around and see the area surrounding my hotel. I probably could have stayed at home and pocketed a nice profitable consulting gig but instead I went to go speak at a conference; I’m such a decadent fucker aren’t I?

    You seem to be making an awful lot of assumptions about me, and so far they all seem pretty wrong. Maybe you should try to assume a little less.

    You can call them ignorant nationalists if you like

    I guess that would be an interesting comment if I actually did call them ignorant nationalists. But… Where have I done that?

    Generally my feelings towards the victims of nationalism is a sincere hope that we can somehow destroy the left-over legacy of medievalism and tribalism so that people can be more equal. If that equates to calling anyone “ignorant” I’m baffled.

    but you clearly have zero understanding of – and presumably zero empathy for – them

    Where do I show zero understanding or zero empathy for the victims of nationalism? In fact, part of the reason I am blogging is to help try to plant some seeds of moderate political anarchism – i.e.: trying to help, not looking down on or showing no empathy for.

    Given that your comment appears to be a mass of unwarranted and inaccurate assumptions about me, my life, and my attitudes, I suggest you be a little more careful about accusing people of showing zero understanding – given that you’ve just shown zero understanding.

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