Aug 142016

I have just spent a fairly lazy morning dotting about on YouTube, letting its helpful sidebar of suggestions lead me where it will. I ended up watching a few of dozen, entirely US, clips about impending world apocalypse, meaning US apocalypse, meaning the collapse of the dollar economy.

I remain unpersuaded except of two things. One is that it is always really difficult to get independent financial advice. All these people are either nakedly politically biased, or they are promoting ‘How To’ books on how to survive the imminent collapse of civilisation (by wise investments!), or they are running a non-mainstream media platform that makes them money. None of this sets us up for level-headed, dispassionate analysis. My one take away, is that it is not a good idea to fix the worst credit crisis in history by creating an even bigger credit bubble.

One other thing that strikes me is that the US-based discussion seems to be a passionate civil war between rival right wing camps. There is far more left-of-centre commentary available in Europe, it seems, or maybe I am living in too small a space, thanks to the many constricting factors in my alleged liberty to consume opinions – like guided choice sidebars, for instance. So much of what seems to be at issue, even Clinton vs. Trump, seems to be an argument pitched very far to the right of anything I grew up with. Any arguments between free marketeers and cultural conservatives seems not to be resoluble in a left-right frame, and is about clashes of priority – what those on the right used to call ‘values’ – and can only be settled by re-articulating what those values are. Freedom vs. what? Cultural homogeneity? Someone has to sort this out in plain language.

And to go with the right wing civil war, I am surprised that so many of the US commentators seem completely unable to understand the Middle East. They all seem to think that conflicts must have two clear sides, and that the US has to be on one, and that that side will be ‘right’. Sigh. Just because the CIA backed the mujahideen in the 80s against the USSR doesn’t mean that Obama backs ISIS, or created it. It really doesn’t.

The whole ISIS phenomenon is the product of a multi-stranded civil war within Islam. Most of the figthers are Muslims, most of the casualties are Muslims, the backers of ISIS, such as they are, are all Muslim, as are most of their enemies. The war with the West is a distraction and a false trail. To fall for the Islamophobic rhetoric of demagogues is to do more damage than we need to, both here and there.

 Posted by at 2:51 pm