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JOHN STEPPLING – Future Crimes

“Precrime Analytical Wing: Contains the precognitives and the machinery needed to hear and analyze their predictions of future crimes.”

Philip K. Dick, Minority Report

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”

Martin Luther King

“The intellectuals are the dominant group’s ‘deputies,’ exercising the subaltern functions of social hegemony and political government”.

Gramsci

There was a jaw dropping but not unexpected article at The Guardian this week. It was actually part of a series of pieces at that paper that have sought to manufacture a legacy for Obama, the outgoing president, since his actual legacy is one of imperialist foreign policy, CIA support of jihadists, right wing coups, and most acutely, perhaps, a massive subverting of free speech and civil liberties. What Robert Parry has called a ‘war on dissent’. The Guardian piece took the form of asking novelists, public intellectuals {sic} and TV hacks what they perceived to be Obama’s legacy — and even the use of that word, *legacy* is a loaded indicator of the direction this piece was headed. What struck me most was not the predictable support for Obama policy (more on that later) but the utter banality of the writing. There were writers in this group who I have admired (Richard Ford for one, Marilynne Robinson, as well) but the sentiments were so stupefyingly superficial, so fatuous and fawning that it was hard not to see this as a kind of mini referendum on the state of Western culture.

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