We expected computers to challenge us, as in Terminator: The Rise of the Machines. Susan Blackmore warned of a teme takeover, where memeplexes would control all phases of their own evolution and cast aside their human hosts. We didn't anticipate a world domination bid by mind viruses organized by Dominator Culture, memeplexes with evolutionary roots deep in primate socialization. Instead of pack domination by an alpha male, we're getting global human domination by a power virus system. We're on a tipping point in which a memeplex system, a large complex mind virus, approaches world domination. 


What's a power virus? In Virus of the Mind, Richard Brodie describes three components (p 204-206)

- Each individual commits to some mission or higher purpose not chosen through personal, conscious reflection.

- There are serious consequences to leaving.

- Some form of evangelism.


Cults, religions, and megacorporations are his examples of power viruses.


I began to understand the basic viral components of this Super-Memeplex reading Mike Logan's Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult. He said, "... the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:

1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors."

2. They're dedicated to war.

3. "Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP."


In other words, the flow of capital from the economic sector into the political arm is top priority, with warmongering and Christian Fundamentalism as critical components. Look at the viral system's functioning in terms of capital and information flows, aConstructal Theory perspective. This particular memeplex system systematically breaks down barriers to faster high volume flow of money to the megacorporations at its heart. Media aquisition, political influence in both parties, corporate-friendly Supreme Court appointments, everything must maximize their profit.


Dominator Culture, described by Riane Eisler in The Chalice & The Blade, is the perfect viral container. It utilizes our domination/submission instincts, which override higher thought when emotion runs high. It's based on violence and is pro-war. Chris Hedges says in War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,  "In wartime the state seeks to destroy its own culture. It is only when this destruction has been completed that the state can begin to exterminate the culture of its opponents. In times of conflict authentic culture is subversive." (p 63) So, war is the perfect excuse for the Super-Memeplex to wipe out its viral competitors. And of course, Fundamentalism is as Dominator as religions get. Unquestioned obedience to a supernatural overlord is a handy rhinestone leash for use by the real mind virus overlord behind the curtain.

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Mike Logan writes:

1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors."

2. They're dedicated to war.

3. "Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP."


I would disagree with the last point.  Yes, there is evangelism, but it doesn't take the form of pandering to religious fundamentalists, as he is suggesting.  The GOP undeniably panders to religious fundamentalists, but that is exploitative, not simply being missionaries for their cause.  Privately, the GOP elites refer to the fundamentalists they ruthlessly exploit as "the wackos."


The evangelism in which the GOP's underlying ideological movement engages is more accurately taking the form of 1) media control to make sure their message not only gets out, but gets so endlessly repeated that it becomes accepted by the vast majority as undeniable truth, whether actually true or not, and 2) shouting down any opposing ideology's advocates.


We see this evangelism most fervently pursued in terms of economics.  The Austrian School of economics has come to dominate the field, not because it works, or there is even any evidence for it, but because it serves the interests of the economic elites, disabling as it does, any opposition to the concentration of wealth at the expense of the lower classes.  The reality is that the economics pioneered by John Maynard Keynes and amplified by John Kenneth Galbraith has been proven time and again to work, and work well, but since it does not serve the elites, it is not taught.  Indeed, corporate think-tanks allied with the GOP have endowed professorship chairs at virtually every major school where economics is taught as a degreeable discipline, simply to make sure that Austrian School economics gets taught, and nothing else is allowed to compete.  Keynesian economics has become anathema.  Even the Federal Reserve has gotten into the act of shouting down Keynes - virtually every professorship of economics is occupied by an Austrian School alumnus of the Federal Reserve, and they also occupy virtually every economic position of power in government - Secretary of Treasure, Fed chairman, SEC chairman, etc.

The macroeconomic problem with our economy has come in that they have begun to believe their own propaganda.  Even the Austrian School economists agree that the macroeconomic problem is a lack of aggregate demand.  Nobody's buying anything.  But while the Austrian School demands more austerity, because the "poor are poor because they make bad decisions and need to be disciplined" with austerity programs, the Keynesians argue that you can't sell something to someone who has no access to money.  And because nearly all of new wealth generation is going to the rich, we've got to redirect the flow of new wealth back to the middle class if we expect them to buy anything - and hence to see any improvement in aggregate demand.  That doesn't sit well with the elites, so they shout down any significant tax increases on the rich and corporations (who are currently enjoying record profits and cash positions), to be spent on government programs that result in job creation.  But that's exactly what is needed right now.

This is an example of how the GOP memeplex evangelizes.  By monopolizing the education of the rising generation of economists, the GOP ensures that the Austrian School and only the Austrian School economics gets taught.  And then by controlling the media - not just Fox News, but all the corporate media - any dissenting voices pointing out that the economics emperor has not clothes, gets immediately shouted down. 

That is why you are not hearing hardly any sane voices in economics these days (other than Michael Hudson, Joseph Stieglitz, Robert Reich and a small handful of others).  It is because the propaganda taught by the GOP for generations, has come to be a religion for them which they actually believe in and now practice.  And it is rapidly destroying the American economy, and with it, American prestige and influence. 

Aristotle observed that "Perhaps it is true that every great empire is brought down by the greed of its aristocracy."  That is certainly true of the American empire today.  And the GOP's memeplex is how that greed is being manifested.


sounds like we lost. if i look at comments on any recent astatement by our president all i see is from the left even, nothing but picking it apart with shouts of it doesn't go far enuff so it wont work.  i havent seen any statement by a democrat that gathers support from left wing commentry. has even the left been taken over by the right wing?      its scary as hell.    i fear that all the fundy teaparty need is a leader with charisma, and we may well go the way of the weimar republic.

The Democrats started depending on corporate donors under Clinton. I'm in the Green Party now, which depends on member fees. When I hear "Democrat" I think "For evil to triumph only requires good men do nothing."

heh.actually, i think the dems have been depending on business long before clinton was born. but at least some democrats vote for things that i want sometimes, and i dont think they want to destroy our nation.

Decades ago, Gore Vidal observed that the United States is a one-party state, with two right wings; the Republicans and the Democrats.  Of course he was correct.

Even three decades ago, neither political party would have dared propose what is needed to fully rectify the thoroughly dysfunctional medical system in the U.S.- a British-style "socialized" system.  That proposal would gore so many oxen in corporate America that no matter how much more efficient and effective it is, a proposal to implement it in the U.S. would go nowhere.  Witness the heavy, constant, repetitive propaganda against it - all that "socialized medicine" bugaboo.  So the U.S. goes on paying twice as much for outcomes only half as good as anyone else - including the British.  And where are the Democrats?  Forcing us to buy into our badly dysfunctional, inefficient, ineffective system, that's where.  Just as Vidal would have predicted.

It is why I cast the only vote that actually changes anything - I voted with my feet years ago.  I live in a country (Costa Rica) with a fully-functioning democracy, real honest-to-goodness political parties - and a functioning health care system on the British model.  Just after I arrived here, I was hospitalized for a week (they saved my life), but, not being in the "system" at the time, I had to pay full cost.  The total cost was $2736.  I put it on my credit card and walked away.  Now, I would pay nothing.  If a third-world country like Costa Rica can do "socialized medicine" and make it work, the U.S. certainly could. 

But that would require a functioning political system.  That's another thing the U.S. doesn't have. The root problem in the U.S. is private money in politics.  Money is the mother's milk of politics, and as long as private money is permissible, the U.S. will NEVER solve its political problems. 

On the #2 and #3 GOP priorities


Great cartoon! That is so true of their mindset.
heh scott, i live in japan. things aint perfect here but we do get fair med reasonably, thanx to McArthur.  of course yer right about money in politics.  i still have a little sliver of hope for the future.
In What Awful Reality TV and Suburban Living Have to Do With the Tea P... Amanda Marcotte makes the point that suburban living generates social isolation, and people fill the social void by watching TV. Considering how this is true in my own life, I compared TV's virtual social life to real talk with friends and it hit me that this substitution integrates me into the global information and capital flow. At first I compared the positive aspects, that with TV you never have to suffer other people's drama or boring talk, because you can switch channels instantly. In real life it's not so easy to evade negative or boring connectivity. But then I realized the down side ... ads. In real conversations we aren't inundated with advertisements. Satisfying our primitive need for human connection with the boob tube integrates our consciousness into that global information and money flow. Here I am, sucked into the megacorporation profit stream, voluntarily, night after night, as if addicted.
I subscribe to the the theory of cultural growth that there exists a supra-organic nature of culture in which Human Beings are the synthesizers of existing technological into  new innovation. Those new innovations will precipitate a societal change and eventually an ideological change . The new synthesis will, in turn, allow for new innovation. – and the culture adapts and grows.
I also subscribe to the idea that productive cultures exist in a balance between rigid stability and complete chaos. Those cultures locked in a rigid stable culture can not respond to change – the Soviet Union is an example. OTOH, those cultures in a high state of chaos are failed states – Somali is the example.
A society with well defined realistic laws, regulations and ordinances that also allows the freedom of the chaotic fringe to innovate outside of the constraints of the “common wisdom” and fosters scientific, literary and artistic unorthodoxy, will be a productive society.
And a third thing I'm convinced is valid is the eventuality of a complex system to give rise to and emergent quality that can not be explained by the complexity of agents that creates it. That complex system is the internet and it's attendant tentacles. What properties the emergent quality will have is as unpredictable as long term weather forecasts but I'm convinced something will emerge.
Hopefully it will create a greater commonality of all humans on this planet that has the will and ability to change the course of humanity and the planet we live on for the better.
I'm not willing to speculate on the downside of such an emergent entity.
Soooo, you're opting for the rose-colored glasses, Jim?




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