Fractal America, Kodokushi-6771, Prt.1

One of the most fundamental characteristics of the embedded American consciousness, is its rugged individualism, that is, the sovereign and heroic impulse to carve ones own path, to strike out on one’s own into the unknown darkness to there light a fire. Such is to be expected from a nation of wilderness conquering colonists, but sovereign individuality is, as many have rightly noted, a double edged blade which has contributed in no small part (though not in totality) to the scourge of societal atomization that now lies like a dunning pall over the star spangled banner. For most who speak of societal and political atomization, it is a apriori truth evidenced by lived experience, argued via anecdotal accounts of the particular social fabric (or lack thereof) of one’s known area. There are a lot of problems with these personal and locale-specific deductions; first and foremost, the alienated make-up of a particular town or city or even state does not necessarily hold true for any other states or towns within the (considerably expansive terrain) of the United States of America (though the title’s accuracy of late seems somewhat misplaced).

Anecdotes are useful, indeed, indispensable, but anecdotes alone lack scale and thus here it is extremely useful to turn to a more wide scale methodology – the opinion poll. One opinion, one tale or anecdote alone, even if from a trusted source, is unlikely to turn widespread popular opinion but if one sees that widespread popular opinion itself has turned against their conceptions then such conceptions begin readily falling to pieces. Societal atomization is, like most widespread social conundrums, largely, objectively traceable as is evidenced by the continuous results of the annual Harris Poll which finds that political alienation amongst Americans, nationwide, is at an all time high. The survey showed that US adults from the ages of 18 and up believe thus:

  • 82% of Americans do not believe that the people running the country care about them.
  • 78% of Americans believe that the wealth/class gap is growing and that this is bad.
  • 70% of Americans think that the majority of people in power are taking advantage of the poor/lower-class.
  • 68% of Americans believe that their voice doesn’t matter, politically speaking.
  • 40% of Americans feel as if they are “left out” of the major goings-on around them.
  • When broken up by political party, Republicans feel the most alienated, with Independents second-most alienated and Democrats, third. Individuals who obtained a college degree ranked less isolated than those with only high-school or college education, but no degrees (likely resulting from the increased social avenues afforded by good degrees).

When taken in tandem with the studies of the highly lauded and prize winning economists, Angus Deaton and Anne Case – whose worked showed the staggering amount of ever-rising American suicide, which they tied largely to both economic, social and political alienation – the collective data paints a profoundly grim picture of contemporary American life. A picture of disheveled living spaces polluted with the toxins of fast food and click-bait circle-jerking scream-sheets heralding unimaginable horrors, bottom of the barrel alcohol and mindless Hollywood entertainment surreptitiously pushing innumerable agendas which or orbitally drank in and processed without cognizance. A picture of the young moving out of the house to never speak to their parents again, or staying there and still not much talking. A picture of midlife crisis of gang violence and increasing political fragmentation along tribal lines. A picture of increasingly disenfranchised individuals, both young and old; the old, longing for a golden age that they envision incorrectly as the merry, halcyon days of their youth, whilst the young, looking for a tribe and a cause, are ceaselessly bombarded with the notion that the only cause is the eradication of cause and destruction of tribe and the ceaseless tremelling down of all variation. It is a picture of fear and trembling and, most pointedly, despair.

From the pre-abstract statement of Deaton and Case’s study:

Midlife increases in suicides and drug poisonings have been previously noted. However, that these upward trends were persistent and large enough to drive up all-cause midlife mortality has, to our knowledge, been overlooked. If the white mortality rate for ages 45−54 had held at their 1998 value, 96,000 deaths would have been avoided from 1999–2013, 7,000 in 2013 alone. If it had continued to decline at its previous (1979‒1998) rate, half a million deaths would have been avoided in the period 1999‒2013, comparable to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic through mid-2015. Concurrent declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, increased reports of pain, and deteriorating measures of liver function all point to increasing midlife distress.

These are, of course, but paltry samples of the total academic corpus concerning this dire and fascinating question, but they show, quite convincingly, how well and reliably these questions’s roots can be traced objectively. Of course, discerning and convincing the American populace of this is but half the battle, the other half, the reformation of a healthy and unified social modality which does not lend itself to ever-increasing rates of suicide, depression and destruction of local customs and history and the bonds formed therefrom, is significantly harder. But there is one profoundly important first step: parallel institutions and a parallel culture(s). For it was, in large part, the institutions of political power (and thus the social groups who put them there), the NGOs and “our” government that are to blame for the current crisis and thus the idea of remaining complacent at their perpetuation is tantamount to insanity. No. They are rotten and when a plant is rotten to the core there is nothing to do but tear it up by the roots!

But parallel cultures and institutions require, axiomatically a very rare commodity – the parallel individual. The et ferro.


Sources:

Harris Poll: Americans’ Sense of Alienation Remains at Record High

Rising Morbidity & Morality in Midlife Among White, non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century.

Nautilus: Alienation Is Killing Americans and Japanese

Jisho

An Empirical Analysis of ‘American Exceptionalism’

I would like to briefly cover the notion of ‘American Exceptionalism’. This topic has become progressively more and more contentious and now hovers like a spectre of death over public discourse within America like the malevolent khefts of Egyptian folklore. Public opinion has clearly, unquestionably turned. In place of the heroic nationalism of old the public now prostrates itself upon the alter of diverse corporatist internationalism. This paradigm shift has led most, normally level-headed and parsimonious US citizens to believe that to hold the United States of America as exceptional is to call for a return to the dark ages or some kind of jingoistic fascism. This is manifestly untrue.

Indeed, it is not even the crux of the argument. To argue against American Exceptionalism one must assess whether or not the idea holds water. We must endeavor to see if this notion is empirically true. It should here be noted that exceptional does not necessarily mean better or worse, in either a moral, spiritual or material dimension, just wildly, notably divergent. Thus, let us tackle the topic along four main lines, that of military might, economic success, scientific advancement and cultural development. These four attributes are widely held as those most important and crucial to accurately discerning the totality of a nation, state, empire, ect.

 

First up, then, is the united states military which is currently the largest and most powerful in the world with a massive budget of 601 million dollars, which is larger than the next nine nations listed on the Credit Suisse’s index, combined together. In terms of troops the US boasts an active military personnel roster totaling 1,400,000, as well as a formidable array of technologically advanced armaments including 8,848 tanks, 13,892 aircrafts, 72 submarines as well as 10 air craft carriers and the most airpower of any other nation in the world. Not to mention the enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons, which is, again, bigger than any other single countries nuclear arsenal. But not only is America’s military prowess dominant, currently, it has also boasted world wide military dominance since the end of World War 2.

Next let us look to economics. Currently, the United States of America has the world’s largest economy in terms of GDP with a aggregate value of 17.9 trillion dollars total. This accounts for 24.5 percent of the world’s total gross product, a staggering sum which is widely disproportionate to the actual size of the country and it’s relatively small population density. It should here be noted that though China does indeed produce a slightly higher gross national product, in general, sitting at 19.4 trillion dollars, the united states still has a far higher rate of GDP per capita, with 55,805 dollars per capita in the US as opposed to China which offers only around 14,107 dollars per capita. Thus the United States, which accounts for approximately five percent of the worlds total population creates nearly 25 percent of the world’s total wealth.

So what about science? Well, according the Scimago Journal & Country Rank, a popular aggregating website dedicated to the analysis of the dissemination of scientific journals by country and density, as of 2015 the United States of America has published 567,007 scientific peer reviewed papers, far more than China, the second highest ranked via the website, which has released around 416,409 during that same year. But, of course, scientific research papers are not everything, what about actual technological advancement? Well, here the US is still quite manifestly exceptional both currently and historically. For instance, US researchers, innovators and scientists are responsible for the creation of such technological marvels as: high yield disease resistant crops, nearly all of the life saving pharmaceuticals currently being used all around the world, the invention of refrigeration, the electric telegraph, anesthesia, the airplane, the bull dozer, deep space astronomy, the liquid fueled rocket, the integrated circuit, EEG based brain topography techniques, nylon, trans uranium elements, the transistor, nuclear weapons, the laser, as well as the personal computer. The US is also to thank for completely mapping out the human genome. The list of empirically useful and often life saving scientific advancements just goes on and on. And again, this was done by only five percent of the world’s population.

americanexceptionalism
Add “Proposition Nation” to the list of exceptions.

So lastly, let us look to the most difficult of the four attributes to quantify: culture. Art is a potent signifier of culture so let us begin there. The top fifty highest grossing films of all time were all made by American studios, the top six best selling albums of all time are also all american. The United States is also still heavily relied upon as a basis for the still developing “international culture” which arose out of post enlightenment values. Also, contrary to the popular opinion held by people such as Bill Maher, who state that the world quote “hates america” the global opinion of america is still highly favorable as numerous polls, such as those done by the PEW research center have shown.

We could go on for days but all I really want to convince you of, my fellow Americans, is that the exceptional nature of the united states, whether you love it or hate it, is largely, objectively traceable. So I would encourage you, my fellow countrymen, when next someone says that they are quote, so damned tired of American Exceptionalism, end quote, to tell them that, in essence, what they are really saying is that they are tired of manifest and empirically demonstrable reality.

 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published earlier this year, exact figures and budgets may have altered slightly since the writing of this piece.

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