[-empyre-] FW: Welcome Byron Rich to the September discussion

Alex Young info at worldshaving.info
Mon Sep 10 11:34:19 AEST 2018

Greetings Byron, Paul, and those reading (and thank you Byron for inviting
me to participate in this discussion);

First, I'd like to thank Paul for beginning with that description of
embodied experience regarding corporeal and spatial relations to the
boundaries of abstract political entities.

In response to Byron's prompt, with consideration to Benedict Anderson, the
modern nation state is nothing if not the product of technological
mediation (print media).  That said, perhaps what we are perceiving as a
modification in the form of nationalism in the present is a symptom of how
it may share less with prior periods of heightened expression of national
identity such as the 19th C's rampant imaginary identity formation and
consolidation of power, late 19th/ early 20th C imperial expansion and
subsummation of territory, and 20th C conflict of geopolitical epistemes
than its retrogressive appearance might suggest.  The current climate of
nationalism--and the attendant hatred and discrimination of those
determined to be 'other'--is more a product of a defense of the idea of the
nation-state in the form of individual nation states.  In this sense the
nation-state operates as a successful meme (in the Dawkinsian sense) that
has mutated into its current form and will continue to struggle to survive
and replicate itself until another socio-politico-technological system
forces it to cease.  However, given the proliferation and power of
non-state organizations that operate platforms that do not exist solely
within any particular sovereign territory, the nation-state looks more and
more atavistic... this has almost certainly fueled a degree of fear and
uncertainty particularly among those indoctrinated in beliefs that are
pretty much incompatible with (or antagonistically in denial of) current

As for my current research-practice, I have found myself revisiting
Bateson's 'ecology of bad ideas' paired with Dawkin's conception of the
'meme' in an excavation of the development of environmental movements in
the 19th and 20th C and particularly as they intersect with ideas of
Neo-Malthusian and anti-human population growth... which, in part, began in
response to some of Donna Haraway's more recent essays.  While many who
lived through the 1960-70s will likely recall elements of Hugh Moore's
Population Bomb and Paul Ehrlich's book of the same name after him or
perhaps The Limits to Growth... there are seemingly countless lines that
can be drawn through State, NGO, and activist organizations that
simultaneously exist on all ends of the conventional political spectrum.
Of particular interest to this discussion may be the way in which planetary
concerns of 'carrying capacity' have been muddled (beyond their original
intent) and outright co-opted by conservative anti-immigration and
white-nationalist groups in the 70s by figures like John Tanton--a former
Chair of the Sierra Club Population Committee and President of the Paul
Ehrlich founded Zero Population Growth who would later found and take on
lead roles in a veritable who's who of anti-immigration hate to
hate-adjacent groups including Federation for American Immigration Reform,
NumbersUSA, and numerous others.  Of course, Tanton is by no means an
isolated incident in a realm most  associate with left politics but rather
merely a somewhat easy named example.  I will leave it there for now, but
there is a whole different spectrum coming from Deep Ecology and far-right
environmentalism that I have also been excavating through the lens of
Norwegian Black Metal celebrity Varg Vikernes' activity as an alt-right
YouTube vlogger... but that is a story for another day...

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