Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wannabe Ninjas

The time: right about now. The location: these days, just about any place in the United States. The characters: an accountant, a Chevy Cavalier, a poodle, and several police dressed completely in black, just like ninjas in a cheap kung fu film.

Wannabe Ninjas: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Accountant (getting out of car): What the heck is this? (He looks down and counts all the holes in him.) You idiots just shot me 54 times! I'm not going to survive this, you know! And I've got a wife and two young daughters!

Head Wannabe Ninja: You're a drug dealer!

Accountant: I am not! I'm an accountant! See the horn-rimmed glasses, the pocket protector and the tidy little mustache? You've got the wrong guy!

Assistant Wannabe Ninja (whispering to Head Wannabe): He's right. We're in the wrong neighborhood. Hell, we're in the wrong city!

Head Wannabe: Doesn't matter. I say he's a drug dealer and that's all that counts. None of you guys worry; nothing's going to happen to us. We're cops and we're above the law.

Accountant (looking in car): You shot my poodle.

Head Wannabe: He tried to attack us.

Accountant: Seventeen years old, blind and toothless? I don't think so.

Head Wannabe: I say he tried to attack us! What do you guys say?

Wannabes: We all have toothmarks!

Accountant: Look at all the holes in my car!

Head Wannabe: You tried to run us over.

Accountant: The car's broke! I was waiting for a tow truck!

Head Wannabe: I say you tried to run us over. What do you guys say?

Wannabes: Look at the tire marks all over us!

Accountant: You guys are a joke! Where's your warrant?

Head Wannabe: Warrant? We ain't got no warrant! We don't need no warrant! We don't have to show you no steenkin' warrant!

Accountant: Let me see your badges!

Head Wannabe: (BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!) We don't need no steenkin' badges either!

Accountant: Ack! Gack! (topples over, exits)

Assistant Wannabe: He's dead, Jim. What are we supposed to do now?

Head Wannabe: Cuff him! Can't take any chances even if he is dead! It's the rules!

Assistant Wannabe: What about this dead dog?

Head Wannabe: Cuff all three parts of him.

Assistant Wannabe: Think we should put a gun in his hand to make it look like a good shoot?

Head Wannabe: Naw. Ain't nothing going to happen to us anyway. Why waste a good throw-down?

Assistant Wannabe: Think we should at least put drugs in his car? I mean, he was innocent, you know. We might get into a ittle trouble here.

Head Wannabe: Nope, don't worry about anything. Nothing's going to happen to us as long as we say he tried to run us down, or we thought his cellphone was a gun, or he made some kind of threatening move like blinking an eye.

Assistant Wannabe: God, I love the War on Drugs!

Head Wannabe: Me too! Hey guys, isn't this great!

All the Wannabes: (firing machine-guns into the air like a gang of drunken bandits): Yay!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I Despise Politics

"Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. This is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color."
—John Mason Brown, "Through These Men" (1956)

People, individually, can be just fine, but in groups—or as I like to call them, herds—are stupid, deluded, infantile, and murderous. And that's a fact. This is nowhere more evident than in politics, which more than anything else is a herd phenomenon. The enormity of these bad qualities is so destructive I wish politics didn't exist.

I've met "conservatives" who called Bush "my President" (in 1938 they would have been saying "mein Fuhrer") and who were convinced Obama was a monster who was going to give America to Muslims. Then, of course, I've met "liberals" who thought Bush was the anti-Christ and Obama was the Messiah.

Both groups are overflowing with fools. There's about a dime's worth of difference between Bush and Obama. They are, after all, professional politicians, who are lower than child molesters and serial killers, because they've killed and maimed hundreds of millions of people throughout history.

And yet, some people—far too many!—worship their political party and the politicians in it. Why in the world some people seek a leader to worship is beyond me. But when they do, they automatically see those of a different party not merely as mistaken, but as evil. And that is what John Mason Brown, among many others, has noticed.

Herds seek herd leaders. I suppose, and even though politics is based on force and fraud (and the worst get on top, as Friedrich Hayek noticed) the herd can't see this and instead idealizes and worships the worst people, the ones who century after century have started wars, taken away freedoms, destroyed societies. Talk about self-deluded!

There is no grey in politics, only the belief in black and white, good and evil. When one herd of people sees itself as good—and such goodness in a herd is utterly impossible—they are going to project all their unacknowledged badness onto another herd. "Conservatives" do it to "liberals" and "liberals" do it to "conservatives."

Politics by its very nature sets people at each other's throats. You'd think people could easily see this, considering the political wars of the 20th Century costs the lives of 177 million to 200 million people, but even with that unbelievable slaughter they still can't see it.

Perhaps some people's lives are so empty and boring they seek the quickest fix for it, which is politics. Maybe they find it exciting. I sure don't. It'd be a lot less trouble for the world if political junkies were instead heroin addicts.

After all, Chris Hedges, in his book, "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning," wrote: "The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble."

I think a good example of this quick-fix excitement is in the movie, "The Triumph of the Will," about how Germany responded to Hitler. There is a scene, right at the beginning, in which Hitler is standing in an open car as it travels down a road with thousands of worshipping, smiling people on both sides.

They are clearly worshipping Hitler. And Hitler has a smug, satisfied smile on his face, one that says, "They love me!" Just like that, one of the worst leaders of the 20th Century drives by them, and the herd turns into grinning, worshipping morons.

Maybe that's the problem with politics. It's too easy for people to get excited by it, to exalt themselves and their herd, to cast their problems onto innocent people. If this is true—and I think it is—then politics, by its nature, appeals to the worst in people. Try as hard as it can, politics cannot appeal to their best.

That is why I wish politics didn't exist.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pledging to the Monster

Several years ago I discovered the Pledge of Allegiance had been written by the Nationalist and Socialist Francis Bellamy, in 1892. (The phrase "Nationalist Socialist" is better known by the word, "Nazi.") Before this leftist's drive to support himself by selling a flag to every classroom, the flag was almost never seen in schools.

Bellamy, being a fascist, wanted to collectivize the entire nation. To this end he resurrected the Roman salute for school children--the same one as the Nazi salute--until the beginning of World War II put a permanent end to it.

Since every individual state was originally a "free and independent" nation, when children said the Pledge of Allegiance, to which entity were they pledging allegiance? The entire country?

I doubt it. It is the federal government that drafts teenagers and starts wars, that levies crushing taxes and runs up deficits. Not the individual states. I've never seen, and can't imagine, Illinois or Montana declaring war on some nation halfway across the world.

Since the country and the federal government are different things--indeed eternally opposed to each other--when people say the Pledge, they are pledging allegiance to the federal government. Not the country.

Since the federal government is composed of people, those saying the Pledge are in reality pledging allegiance to those who have control of it. So, when people are wounded or die in wars, they're fighting for a handful of people in charge of a disorganized criminal enterprise that believes it should rule the entire country. I don't see why this isn't the same in every country.

When I look across the world, at what the US administration is doing, the main thing I see is an empire not of colonies, but of military bases. Over 700 military bases in over 140 countries. Deny the US is an empire all you want,
it still is.

This empire is the main thing. There are other, secondary concerns. I see us involved in two wars about the export of leftist delusion of democracy to the Islamic world, securing oil supplies, and protecting Israel. When you look at this fruit, and follow it back to the tree, I find an administration full of oil men, and Christian Zionists and Zionists, ones who want to secure oil supplies for the US, and protect Israel because they believe it will bring Jesus back, or because it is a land for displaced Jews.

The aforementioned are the things for which soldiers are dying. It's not worth it. War, as Smedley Butler noticed, is a racket--those politically connected gain more power and money; those who are not, die in wars. "It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses," he wrote.

We can drill for our own oil in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Canada has one trillion gallons of oil in tar sands. The evidence is now that oil reservoirs are refilling themselves, since it appears oil is created deep in the earth, and has nothing to do with decayed prehistoric vegetation.

As for Jesus coming back, this belief is based on a very few phrases in the Bible. Even if He does, I don't see how it's going to come about through war and destruction, unless Biblical prohibitions against murder have suddenly been suspended.

As for Israel, it can defend itself on its own dime, not mine. Personally, I don't think the US, no matter how assured its convictions or pure its intentions, is going to put an end to war in a place where there has been war for 4000 years.

A lot of people are blaming the neocons--leftists masquerading as rightists--for the mess we're in. I do, too. They're enormously deluded people, and they're certainly cowards. But the problems go further back in time.

I do know the switches were set wrong in the 20th century when Woodrow Wilson--about whom John Maynard Keynes wrote, "He thought he was Jesus Christ"--got the US involved in World War I, even though the exhausted European countries were on the verge of stopping the war.

Wilson, whose ignorance about the world was prodigious, said he wanted to make the world "safe for democracy." That sounds familiar, even today.

Richard Maybury, in his book, World War I: the Rest of the Story, points out the US started to become a world empire in the late 1800s, when it appropriated the Philippines from Spain. Supporters claimed we were going to "civilize" the place, a claim I'm hearing today about Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. I guess we're going to impose abortion, feminism and gay marriage on them.

Taking the Philippines was the first misstep to world empire by these utopian fantastists, but there were mistakes by them before that one.

Before the Philippines, Abraham Lincoln had put an end to the "free and independent" states with the War Between the States. It wasn't a "civil war," because a civil war is about two or more groups fighting for control of the government. Since the South was trying to secede, it was, quite correctly a war between the states, and not a civil war.

You can make the argument the problem goes back to dumping the Articles of Confederation, the loss of which led to the creation of the federal government. It turns out the critics were right: the federal government has turned into an ever-growing, ever-menacing Leviathan.

The late, great Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, in his amazing magnum, Leftism Revisited, claims the problem runs back to the French Revolution, with its belief in democracy and equality. "For the average person, all problems date to World War II; for the more informed, to World War I; for the genuine historian, to the French Revolution," he wrote.

Whenever the problem started, I do know it's been going on for a long time. Here, since right after the founding of the country. It's only now coming to fruition.

I do know this: we have a mere handful of people, ones who cannot tell leftism from rightism, running the US government. Unfortunately, enough people think the federal government represents the country--which it does not--so they follow those running it. It's now clear to me what the word "sheeple" means. The sheeple don't realize they're the ones who are going to be sheared and slaughtered.

The problems get worse because of the enormous power the President now wields. I think we'd be better off if the office didn't exist. Certainly a handful of trouble-makers are leading the US down the road to Hell, but it gets much scarier to realize that merely one man can do it.

Politically, the problem is leftism, a pseudo-religious crackpot cult that has a belief in the creation of an earthly utopia through government violence. Unfortunately it's now infected the right. Because of this, the neocons, who claim to be conservatives, are instead leftists. Democracy, which the Founding Fathers despised, is leftist. As Kuehnelt-Leddihn pointed out, you can't have the equality of democracy and liberty at the same time, because under liberty there are always natural elites. In a democracy, the envious mob always want to bring the elites down.

Ultimately, the problem is imperfect human nature. Theologically, as far I'm concerned, the problem is hubris. It's the sin of Satan: the lust to rule, the lust to destroy, and the lust for attention. It's the problem of every politician, and therefore the problem of every government.

We'd be better off if the entire federal apparatus didn't exist. Too bad it's not in the Constitution that every 50 years the federal government has to be dissolved and started over from scratch. It wouldn't be perfect, but then, what is? I certainly could live with it. Ideally, and easily, we could live without the federal government at all.

If the federal government has to exist, then it, right from the beginning, should have been dissolved every 50 years. There would not have been a War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam...or 9-11. There would be no world empire meddling in the rest of the planet, bringing blowback our way not because of our values, but because of the federal government's actions.

It is because the always-swelling federal government has, like a cancer, metastasized into every individual state, and now across the world, that New York City, in the state of New York, was attacked on 9-11. It wasn't that individual state's fault it was attacked. It was the federal government's fault.

In the long run, the federal government will be dissolved. All in the past have fallen, without exception.This one will, too. The country will survive. At what cost, I don't know. I hope not a bad one.

In a little over 200 years, the federal government has gone from non-existence to taking over the country, and is now trying to take over the world. It's turned into a monster. And no one in his right mind should pledge allegiance to a monster.

Life, Liberty -- then Property

“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” -- Adam Smith,"The Wealth of Nations."

The Constitutional phrase, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” came from the writings of John Locke, specifically his long essay, “Concerning Civil Government,” although Locke wrote (and I paraphrase here) “life, liberty and property.”

I have been unable to find out why Locke put those qualities in the order he did. I doubt it was purely coincidental, since without life, liberty and property mean nothing.

What I find interesting it that Locke put property in third place, after life and liberty. This means that life and liberty are more important than property (which he defined as “mixing” your labor with something).

Locke’s sequence makes a lot of sense to me, considering the fact one of the most serious problems this country had when founded is that some people were slaves, i.e., someone else’s property. Their rights to life and liberty were ignored, and in fact the courts (including the Supreme Court) ruled for some 150 years that slavery was legal and that slaves essentially had no rights.

In fact, the Supreme Court (and the lesser courts) consistently ruled that property was more important that life or liberty. These appalling rulings of course led to violence and death – and a lot of it.

During the early 1900s there was a lot of violence between “capital” and “labor.” I am especially reminded of Matewan, in which coal company “police” evicted families from company housing (the miners were also paid in scrip, which could only be spent in company stores).

The chief was police, a 28-year-old ex-miner named Sid Hatfield, told these armed men they were under arrest. They told him he was under arrest, and violence broke out – the mayor was shot and killed, and Hatfield killed two of the “police.” Armed miners killed five more of the “police” and the rest retreated.

Over 20 miners were put on trial – and all were found not guilty by a jury of miners. This kind of violence was endemic in those days, all of it caused by the courts ruling that the “property” of the coal companies was more important than the life or liberty of the miners.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that courts often don’t rule correctly until violence forces them to. This is incompetence at its worst.

Locke believed in Natural Rights, and so do I: the law is discovered (like the laws of physics and chemistry are discovered), and not created. Natural Law works: created law is Political Law, based on force and fraud.

When the difference between discovered law and false created law is understood, it’s possible to predict the future, if only in a general way. The Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street Movement are eruptions based on people finally starting to understand, even if imperfectly, that the State is not their friend.

I also wonder how long it’s going to take the courts to do the right thing: declare the Federal Reserve Bank illegal, along with corporations (which are creations of the State), which exist only to crush competition and exploit suppliers.

When courts rule that property is more important than life and liberty, then people are not people, but things to be exploited and enslaved, and if need be, killed. Unfortunately, this has been the history of the world.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Amazing Wackety Wackety Money Machine

Alan Greenspan: Wackety! Wackety! Wackety!

Pizza Deliverer: Hello? Did someone here order --- AHHH!! What the hell are you?!

Greenspan (chuckling): Scary, ain't I?

Deliverer: Dude, you look like an reanimated corpse! Kinda like that guy with all the knives in "Hellboy!"

Greenspan: Been like this all my life. Even Ayn Rand said I looked like an undertaker, and she was pretty much a catastrophe in the looks department herself. But I have some consolations. Like this! (points to machine) Know what this is?

Deliverer: I have no idea.

Greenspan: It's the Federal Reserve Bank printing press. See, I turn the crank, it goes wackety! wackety! wackety! and billions of paper dollars just pour out into these laundry baskets here. Then we put the money into helicopters and dump it onto crowds of people.

Trolls: ARGH!

Deliverer: Jesus! What's going on here? A zombie and now monsters!

Greenspan: These guys deliver the baskets to the waiting helicopters. I find it poetic justice that monsters are destroying the value of your money. (Chuckles again) But then, for all practical purposes, the Federal Reserve is a monster since has it destroyed about 98% of the value of your money since it was created in 1913.

Deliverer: That doesn't sound right, dude.

Greenspan: It's not.

Deliverer: Then why do you do it?

Greenspan: Oh, I'm kind of a weakling when pressed by politicians. Politicians and the public and corporations just love easy money. The public is so stupid they think they're getting richer when in reality their wealth is being destroyed by my inflating the money supply. Also, politicians want to stay in office by promising jobs and all kinds of benefits to the retards that up the mass of voters.

Deliverer: Sheesh! The things you learn delivering pizzas!

Greenspan: Then there's the allure of money and fame. You'd be amazed at the number of people who are seduced by money, fame, power, sex. Especially politicians, who are sort of a subhuman form of life, anyway. Unfortunately, in my case, being over 80 years old, the sex angle doesn't work on me anymore. The only crank that works for me these days is the one I'm turning on this here printing press.

Deliverer: How in the world do you get away with this? Sounds like you're a counterfeiter.

Greenspan: I am a counterfeiter. Kind of funny, isn't it? People think the government is their friend. It's not. It benefits only those who have captured it. You know what inflation does? It transfers wealth from the majority of people to a very small minority. The rich gets richer and the poor get poorer. That's what the purpose of government is, and unfortunately it's ultimately the peoples' fault for letting us get away with it.

Deliverer: Doesn't seem like you should be telling me this stuff. Aren't you afraid something bad might happen to you if I went out and told everyone?

Greenspan: Nope, not at all. There are thousands upon thousands of people yelling about what I'm doing, and no one's listening. The public won't pay any attention until the money completely loses its value and collapses, as all paper money does when it's not backed by gold and silver. In the meantime, I'm being celebrated as the greatest head of the Fed ever. You know what? I'm the worst. The dollar has lost 30% of its value under my watch. And even though I should be put on a horse and given a last cigarette before the horse's rump is slapped and I'm allowed to dangle, not a damn thing is doing to happen to me.

Deliverer: Damn! You've got a great job! You can be a big-time criminal if you are part of the government, violate every one of the Ten Commandments, slaughter, lie, steal -- and people praise you!

Greenspan: Yep, you got it. That should be in the Bible. (Looks pensive) Now that I think about it, it is.

Deliverer: Say, do you mind if I take one of these baskets of money?

Greenspan: Go right ahead. Not too long in the future it might take a basket of money to pay for a pizza, anyway. It happened in Germany before World War II, when the government hyperinflated the money supply to the point it was completely worthless. Everyone lost their life's savings.

Deliverer: Hey, thanks, Mr. Greenspan!

Greenspan: Don't mention it.

Deliverer: Bye, Mr. Greenspan!

Greenspan: That's what you think. What I've done to the country will be around for a long, long time.

Trolls: ARGH!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Loss of Our Ancient Wisdom

The human race possesses knowledge but little wisdom; what little we possess we ignore, because we think we know so much. It’s what comes from self-delusion and arrogance, the two main flaws that create the blind leading the blind.

Much of that wisdom is contained in mythology, the painfully distilled experiences of the joys and horrors inherent in being human, in the form of stories that entertain and educate.

We’re in the process of forgetting those stories. We’re already regretting it.

At one time in the not-so-distant past, Americans know their Greco-Roman myths, because they were aware these stories were one of the foundations of Western culture. These days, with these stories so unknown, many Americans don’t even know where they came from.

Let’s use, for an example. Hermes. Hermes was the original name of the Greek god, although most people today know him by his Roman name, Mercury.

Hermes was, paradoxically, the patron of both merchants and thieves. Some might argue merchants are thieves, but it’s not that simple.

None of the Greek gods were simple. They were as complex and contradictory as people, which isn’t surprising, considering that while the Greeks gods don’t exist, people certainly do. The Greek gods are just illustrations (or archetypes) of kinds of people and their relationships.

Hermes, in his not-so-admirable aspects, although likeable and charming, was a liar and a thief. What does that tell us? Although someone may be charming (which means "to cast a spell") it doesn't mean he is a moral person -- think of the charming, likeable rogue Bill Clinton.

Hermes did something very note-worthy and very disturbing -- he broke Ares (Roman: Mars) out of a bronze vessel he had been imprisoned in for a year.

Ares, the Greek god of war, was a coward, a whiner, and a mass slaughterer who loved death and destruction (two of his offspring were named Panic and Terror). He was also incompetent, as war-lovers are always incompetent -- Saddam Hussein, for a good example, ordered his generals to capture hundreds of American soldiers and tie them to the front of Iraqi tanks.

Hermes, in his better aspects, was the protector of merchants. Zeus, law-giver and enforcer of oaths, who ruled not only through force but also through wisdom and justice, ordered Hermes to clean up his act and not only protect merchants, but also travelers. He was also charged with promoting trade and negotiating treaties.

The story of Hermes is a profound myth. There is a saying by Bastiat (and it's a mighty important one): "If goods do not cross borders, armies will."

Hermes, when a liar and a thief - and when he protected thieves - unleases war on the world. In other words, when ther is no just, fair, free-market trade, war is very likely to erupt.

When there is just, fair, free-market trade, Ares ends up bottled for years. When merchants and traders are liars and thieves, Ares is let loose to walk to and fro up and down in the world.

Unfortunately the United States does not have just, fair free-market trade. It has instead globalization -- managed trade -- which enriches a vanishingly small minority at the expense of everyone else.

Many "merchants" have turned into liars and thieves, and the court intellectuals who support them (and banksters) haven't turned into liars -- they always have been liars, in addition to being whores.

The United States considers itself to be Zeus -- the fair and just lawgiver imposing order on the world. Since the West is Christian -- even if nominally -- the United States perceives itself as the indispensible nation, the shining city on the hill, chosen by God.

Yet Zeus punished blindness and arrogance -- what the Greeks called Hubris. It was always followed by Nemesis.

For that matter, Pride, (the worst sin in Christianity and the same as Hubris) is always followed by some kind of destruction: "Pride goes before a fall, and a haughy spirit before destruction."

The ancient Greeks believed in prophecy. (Apollo, the first person Hermes stole from and lied to) was among his many talents the god of prophecy.

It's no wonder the Greeks believed in prediction. The future -- if you have some understanding of human nature -- isn't that hard to foresee.

The international merchants of today (I call them Cosmodemonic Transnational Megacorporations), with their stealing and lying, are going to again unleash Ares. As to whether or not this unleashing will be in the U.S. or without, that remains to be to seen. Perhaps, it will be both inside and outside.

But he will be unleashed, in one degree or another, as lying, stealing and Hubris always does.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Modern Day Molochs

The Greek word, "sophrosyne" ("seh-FROS-eh-knee") is the opposite of another old Greek word: hubris. Hubris, or as the Bible puts it, "pride," is, I believe, the only true crime that exists, because it is the basis of all other crimes.

Hubris is conceit, arrogance, grandiosity, the belief that one is god-like and can transcend human limitations, usually through violence. Hubris devalues other people into mere things. It is the sin of Satan, as described in the Bible.

Sophrosyne can be described as understanding the limitations and imperfections of human nature, of "knowing yourself," of doing nothing in any great excess. It's a type of "humility," if humility is understood as an awareness of the flaws inherent in people. It reminds me of another Greek word, "metanoia," which means to "change the heart and mind, to turn around and go the other way."

Hubris always leads to scapegoating, which the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck correctly identified as the "genesis of human evil." He was right, but did not point out it's based on hubris, and that scapegoating always leads to human sacrifice.

That's the sequence as I see it: hubris to scapegoating to human sacrifice. The Greeks saw the sequence as koros (stability) to hubris (arrogance, insolence) to ate (madness) to nemesis (destruction). I think it's more accurate to say that right after hubris comes the belief in the fairy tale of pure good and pure evil, splitting everyone into all-good or all-bad. That leads to ate, to madness, to scapegoating and human sacrifice. Then nemesis follows.

Scapegoating is when one person or a group projects problems onto another person or group, then tries to destroy them. One side says, "Since we are good, then you must be evil. Being evil, you are the cause of our problems. If we destroy you, evil will cease to exist and our problems will disappear."

Scapegoating requires splitting groups into pure good and pure evil, into grandiose and devalued. That splitting -- indeed that belief -- in pure good and pure evil automatically leads to scapegoating and human sacrifice.

In the 20th century, the best-known practitioners of scapegoating and human sacrifice were the Nazis and socialists. They weren't the only ones, just the best-known. All societies do it. The U.S. did it to alcohol users during Prohibition and does it today to drug dealers and sellers.

You can see the sequence I outlined in any serial killer. Or, in any murderer. They start out stable, then, somehow hubris afflicts them. Then comes the split, with them as good and someone else as evil. They project their problems on the other person, then scapegoat and kill them, engaging in human sacrifice. They do it in the hope they can become "whole." Since it doesn't work, they have to repeat their crimes. That makes serial killers serial scapegoaters.

On a much larger scale, with the Nazis and the socialists, each projected their problems on to others, then scapegoated and sacrificed them. Historians estimate 177 million people died in wars in the 20th century. I've seen estimates of up to 200 million. All scapegoated, all sacrificed, because of hubris -- we are good, and you are evil. You are the cause of our problems, so we must destroy you.

The function of the scapegoat, according to Rene Girard, a French Catholic academic who did his work in the U.S., are two: social cohesion, and the attempt to renew society by doing violence to the scapegoat. He wrote two works, Violence and the Sacred, and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.

Both the Nazis and socialists thought if they scapegoated and human sacrificed their opponents, then a new, better society would arise. The U.S. tried the same thing with alcohol and drug prohibition. Get rid of alcohol, and drug sellers and users, cast all problems onto them, see them as evil, then once they are eradicated, a new, better society will arise. Only it won't. It never will.

All, like serial killers, do violence to the scapegoat in an effort to become whole.

Scapegoating and human sacrifice, which is always through violence, will never create a better society. Yet all societies continue to try it, to no avail. None are even aware of what they do. All approve of it and consider it a good thing.

In the U.S., you can see this scapegoating and sacrifice in any election. A politician who fails is scapegoated and then sacrificed by being voted out of office. A better country -- especially a better economy -- is supposed to result. If things get too bad, politicians can be sacrificed the way Mussolini was. All politicians would do well to keep Shirley Jackson's famous short story, "The Lottery," in mind.

The novel that most clearly shows the sequence of hubris to scapegoating to human sacrifice, and the function of the scapegoat, is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In it we have her god-like heroes, whose problem are due to "looters" and "parasites," all of whom Rand describes as subhuman. Her heroes are all-good; the villains, all-bad.

Rand, by casting all problems, all evil, onto her villains, has them function as scapegoats that must be sacrificed to assure the creation of a better world. Her heroes withdraw into Galt's Gulch to await the destruction of all evil through violence and death. Then, they plan on returning to a fresh, new world. It works in fiction. In real life it wouldn't.

Girard believed one of the most profound importances of the Gospels is that for the first time in history a voice was given to the victim, to the scapegoat. To a lesser degree, a voice was given to Socrates, who along with Jesus, are the two most important deaths in Western culture. But for all practical purposes, it was the death of Jesus, detailed in the Gospels, that showed the function of the scapegoat in society, and how scapegoating leads to human sacrifice.

The fact this function was brought to light in the Gospels is why Girard titled one of his books, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.

In no other literature I am familiar with has scapegoating and human sacrifice, for society, been considered a bad thing. Only in the Gospels. In my opinion, the fact the scapegoat function was brought to light, and finally seen as a bad thing, was supposed to put a permanent end to hubris, scapegoating and human sacrifice.

And it did work, for a while. But today, we seem to be going backward. You need look no farther than a nation that claims it is good, has God on its side, has a leader who, afflicted with hubris, believes God chose and talks to him, and who believes he has the right to murder thousands of innocent people on the other side of the world. By scapegoating and sacrificing them the United States shall be made "whole." This is hubris, to be followed by nemesis.

The worst scapegoating and human sacrifice of all is war. We may shake our heads over primitives who rolled infants into the fires in the belly of Moloch, but they didn't incinerate people with nuclear weapons or firestorms, as was done at Dresden. Who exactly are the true primitives? Do we not believe in scapegoating and human sacrifice, to save society, to make it "whole," just as much as people thousands of years ago?

There are five archetypes I have identified that are associated with all societies' attempts at scapegoating: the Mob, the Leaders, the Exaggerated Threat, the Scapegoat, and the Human Sacrifice. I got these from my readings of the Gospels, all of which contain some of the most practical wisdom I have encountered.

Jose y Ortega Gasset referred to the Mob, which is Mass Man, as "without direction, self-satisified, and preoccupied with his own well-being..." In fable they are known as the Sheep, the ones at the mercy of the Wolves. Today, they are often called Sheeple -- part sheep, part people.

Jesus' threat to the leaders of his time was exaggerated by them (even though they truly believed it), so they were able to convince the mob to unite, turn against him and call for his death. The end result: he was scapegoated and sacrificed. " is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not," said Caiaphas, fearing the Romans.

What existed then, still exists today. It'll exist in the future, too. The U.S. was attacked on 9-11. The threat was, as always, exaggerated by our leaders, who apparently truly believed that Islam could conquer the world or Saddam Hussein would fly Drones of Death across the Atlantic. Fearing a mortal threat, and believing their leaders, the mob, mass man, united, as they always do when they perceive a threat. Seeking a scapegoat, everyone first fixated on Osama bin Laden (and exaggerated his threat, turning a man in a cave into an Evil Genius), then later turned to Saddam Hussein. Finding and destroying these scapegoats was to allow the creation of a new, better, safer United States, even if it cost us our liberty.

Obviously, our opponents are doing the exact same thing to us. That's why they refer to the United States as "the Great Satan." Each group says God is on their side and the Devil on the other. Each group scapegoats and wants to sacrifice the other to save themselves. Nothing good can come from this. It never has in the past. It never will in the future.

The exaggerated threat, the irrational, emotion-driven mob united by the leaders, the scapegoat and the human sacrifice through violence, cannot create a better United States, only a worse one.

The first step is overcoming hubris, scapegoating and human sacrifice is to be aware of them, and to understand they never work for any society that tries it. Girard was right about that. If it did work, then there would not be millennia after millennia of war. As long as this law -- if it is a law -- remains hidden, it cannot be dealt with. And until it is dealt with, the human race will do as it always does -- repeat the story of Satan over and over.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

War as a False Religion

The last several years of wars have been enlightening to me about how some people react to them. The last few wars the U.S. was in – the first Iraq war, the "wars" on Serbia, and Panama – were so short I couldn't draw any conclusions. We haven't been in such a long conflict since Vietnam – and for people born since then, for all they know about it, it might as well have been the War of 1812.

I was a kid during Vietnam, too little to pay that much attention. I do remember the now-in-Hell ghoul Robert McNamara, who'll be washing several million gallons of blood off his hands for a long time to come. He was such a catastrophe, and so incompetent, he made Rumsfeld look like a tactical and logistical genius.

I also remember the power-mad Lyndon Johnson, who, if I had a time machine, would gladly replace with Barak Obama, who would be a decided improvement. LBJ, a pathological liar (as all true politicians are), said he would get us out of Vietnam and instead escalated the war. Then after his first term he ran away, dumping the war in Richard Nixon's lap. Close to two-thirds of the casualties in Vietnam occurred during Johnson's administration.

But now, I've had some some ten wars of war (and will have several more for observation), so I've had plenty of time to think about the effects of war on some people. The conclusion I've come to is that war is a religion.

Admittedly it is a false religion, but it is a religion nonetheless. The word "religion" means "to tie, fasten or bind." That is exactly what war does to some people – it brings them together into a community. It gives meaning to their lives. And that makes war a religion, albeit a ghastly one.

Robert Nisbet, an influential conservative sociologist – and "conservative sociologist" almost sounds like an oxymoron – wrote in his book Community and Power (republished as The Quest for Community), "The power of war to create a sense of moral meaning is one of the most frightening aspects of the 20th of the most impressive aspects of contemporary war is the intoxicating atmosphere of spiritual unity that arises out of the common consciousness of participating in a moral crusade."

The book, indeed all of his books, is about the alienation that comes from the loss of community. Such loss always happens with the expansion of the State. As it expands, it destroys all the intermediary institutions such as religion, neighborhoods and families. Finally, what could be left is nothing between people and the State. There are various names for such a condition – fascism, communism, Nazism. The State becomes everything, and people become absorbed into it. Think of the Borg.

Writers such as Erich Fromm and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn have pointed out many people want to be absorbed into a group as an escape from their alienation. It gives them a sense of community and security. Nisbet adds there is something else – such people don't give up their individuality in such groups, but instead exalt their selves, as they now believe they are part of something they think is much larger than they are.

They become, as I call it, "a community of gods." They believe the group itself is god-like, or blessed of God, so they partake of that "divinity" by being part of the group. They are literally worshipping their selves, a worship that always means those outside of the group are devalued into sub-humans whose murders are considered justified, necessary, and dismissed as "collateral damage."

As Russell Kirk noted, "the monstrous self is the source of all evil." The Nazis, the communists, and the fascists were that monstrous self writ large. I believe this is why Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote, "'I' is from God and 'We' is from the Devil." That "We" can only be of the Devil when the State destroys the intermediary institutions, and the only "We" left is the combination of the people and the State.

During long-term warfare society becomes militarized and in doing so damages, destroys or absorbs such intermediary institutions as churches. Then we end up with disgraces such as Jerry Falwell claiming "God is pro war," which of course means God supports only the wars of the United States.

When the interests of religion and the interests of the State coalesce into supporting the same unjust wars, what we have left is no true religion at all. The State instead becomes God on Earth. War then becomes the fist of that god, one to smite the "wicked."

"When the goals and values of a war are popular," writes Nisbet, "both in the sense of mass participation and spiritual devotion, the historic, institutional limits of war tend to recede further and further into the void. The enemy becomes not only a ready scapegoat for all ordinary dislikes and frustrations; he becomes the symbol of total evil which the forces of good may mobilize themselves into a militant community."

In short, war can give meaning and community – and the intoxication of blood and power – to some people's lives. That makes it a religion, a false one based on hubris and being drunk with power. Power does more than just corrupt; it intoxicates. In The Lord of the Rings, it was that power that turned Smeagol into Gollum. The same thing could happen to people in reality.

Always ignored, of course, is what war does to those on the receiving end. If not ignored, then rationalized. "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them," noticed George Orwell.

This meaning and community – this religion – is a false one, destined to bring disillusionment and destruction to those who believe in it. War is a false god. Perhaps sometimes war is unavoidable, but it is an idol that can never give true meaning to a peoples' lives.

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to Assemble a World Domination Kit

According to the 1990 movie, Spaced Invaders, you insert Tab A into Slot B. If that doesn't work, you can look at the archetypes in the movie. They give instructions that, in the Western world, run back to the Bible, and before that, the Greeks.

People used to educate children with classical myths, fables and fairy tales. They still do, but not as much as they should. If they did, everyone in boot camp would know what a Myrmidon is.

Today, what has for the most part taken the place of the aforementioned trio are movies, books, cartoons and comics. The same archetypes, themes, plots and wisdom that existed thousands of years ago in an oral tradition still exist today in cartoons, comic books and other entertainments. This is why I rarely say anything bad about them. A few thousand years ago he was called Ulysses; today he's called Luke Skywalker. Both are the archetype of the Hero on a Quest.

For an example of ancient wisdom that has made its way into cartoons, the Greeks noticed the sequence of koros (stability) to hubris (grandiosity) to ate (madness) to nemesis (destruction). Hubris, the god of arrogance, lack of restraint, and insolence, was followed by Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance.

The Hebrews wrote something similar: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Then we have the comment Jesus made in Luke: "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled..." (He also made a telling comment about "the narrow path to life" and "the broad path to destruction.") Later, foolish pride became one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Pride, or more correctly, hubris, was the sin of Satan. He started out as an angel (stability), then became afflicted with hubris (thought he could be God), then became insane (wished to destroy everyone). The story should ultimately end with either nemesis or metanoia (to change the heart; to turn around and go the other way).

In real life, the archetype of Satan is illustrated by people like Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. In Shakespeare, it would be someone like Richard III. In movies, it would be (as humor) Dr. Evil, or any number of James Bond's villains -- Goldfinger, or Dr. No. In comic books, it would be Lex Luthor. In cartoons, it would be Brain (of Pinky fame) or Simon bar Sinister.

All of these villains are the same -- grandiose, hubristic, satanic. And ultimately, incompetent. Looked at this way, those who created Pinky and the Brain are just as wise as the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare. What was in Shakespeare then (who in his day was pop culture, as movies are today) is now in cartoons today. Brain, for example, started out as a lab mouse (stability), was afflicted with hubris (thinks he can conquer the world, becomes insane (keeps trying to conquer the world), then is whacked by nemesis (conks his head). This sequence also applies to all the villains mentioned above, which is why SPECTRE (or for that matter, KAOS) never Conquered Over the World.

I've had teachers tell me children should be forced to read "classic" literature. I tell them the kids should watch Pinky and the Brain and then have it explained to them how it relates to ancient Greek myths. They don't believe me, which is why I would tear down the public schools, then salt the ground. Then I'd pepper the teachers, since a lot of them are pretty bland.

How does all of this relate to the movie, Spaced Invaders? In this comedy, we have five loony dwarf Martians, soldiers for the aggressive and expansive Martian empire, who land in the idyllic, Ray Bradburyesque town of Big Bean, Illinois. (And being originally from Illinois -- as is Bradbury -- I had to smile at the small-town life portrayed in this movie.)

Our intrepid but goofy warriors believe they are joining an invasion force of Martians. In reality, they are responding to a Halloween night broadcast of "War of the Worlds." They don't have a clue. Actually, neither does anyone in the town. And that's before the Martians show up.

Our Martian friends turn out to be soldiers who really don't want to fight. To make sure they do, all Martian ships have an enforcer drone, a very sinister spiderish-looking thing, that appears to be wearing a shower cap, and which can powderize those who might take exception to poorly-thought-out invasion plans.

Predictably, all sorts of comedic mayhem breaks loose. The children think the Martians are in costume, and take them trick-or-treating. The farmer, Old Man Wrenchmuller, along with his trusty and remarkably intelligent dog Jim (who can change the film in a camera -- offscreen, of course) attacks the Martians in his barn with the time-tested cartoon tools of dynamite and mousetraps. Now that I think about, the dog was the brains of the duo.

One trick-or-treater, Brian, is not only dressed like a duck, but sounds exactly like Daffy when he talks. Then we have Vern "Zorro" Pillsbury, who ends up with a Martian brain-zapper stuck on his head. Oddly, this is not such a bad thing for him.

Fortunately, in the end, everything turns out well for everyone. It's a zany and unbelievable movie, full of silly quotes such as, "How can they not know we're Martians? We're little green men with antennae!" and "Prepare to die, earth scum!" There is a also a lot of fancy advanced Martian technology, never seen but often referred to, such as "Doughnuts of Destruction."

This lunatic movie also contains wisdom that is thousands of years old.

The first universal truth it teaches is that people are imperfect. Martians, definitely so. If there is life on other planets, they're not aliens billions of years advanced over us, as Carl Sagan postulated in Contact. They'd be knuckleheads, just like us. Lovable ones, to be sure, but knuckleheads nonetheless. Everyone in the town is imperfect, from the idiot sheriff who catches the alien craft doing 3000 mph and yells at it, "you might get the chair for this" to Wrenchmuller having a dog smarter than he is.

The second truth is that some people, however imperfect, are smarter and wiser than others. Only one Martian has any sense, and that is Blaznee, who wears a bomber jacket, aviator glasses, and sounds like a Barsoomian version of Jack Nicholson.

As always, the State is no one's friend. An example:

Martian Political Officer: "I have assumed command. This battlegroup has consistently suffered the greatest casualties of any attack force in the fleet. For this reason, His Majesty has sent me to take direct control of our attack on the Arcturus system. To ensure our complete success, all ships throughout the galaxy have been equipped with enforcer drones, to remove any weak links in the command chain. Any deviation from the Master Invasion Plan will result in immediate disciplinary review. "

Martian Fleet Commander 3: "This is outrageous! The tide of battle can change in seconds, making battle plans useless. I'll not sent my boys out to Arcturus with an Enforcer Drone breathing down my neck."

[Enforcer Drone vaporizes Martian Fleet Commander 3.]

Martian Fleet Commander 2: "I will."

Martian Fleet Commander 1: "Me too, no problem."

All States are not only based on the threat of violence and violence itself, they are also always handicapped by bureaucracy.

The eternal archetype of the horror story is Order invaded by Chaos. That's what exists in this movie. Big Bean, for all its wacky inhabitants, is essentially a civilized town. The Martians, however accidentally, initially bring mayhem to the place. The humor, however, transforms the horror into something funny. Still, the archetype is there: civilized society is just a thin veneer, easily damaged by war and destruction.

Some more wisdom from the movie: empires are not good things. The Martian empire is sinister. Ultimately, all are.

I am not familiar with any old story, no matter what the shape it takes, that has anything good to say about empires, Martian or otherwise. The old poem that springs to mind about this is Shelley's "Ozymandias":

I met a traveler from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

How does this movie teach us to Assemble a World Domination Kit? First, gain control of the State. Second, threaten everyone with death, and rub out some people as an example. Third, start wars and become an empire. Dang, that sounds just like Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung!

Unfortunately, one eternal truth that doesn't exist in this movie is that all empires fall. They all withdraw.

What am I supposed to make of all of this? How about: true artists are wiser than Ph.Ds from Yale and Harvard? It was those "the Brightest and Best" boys from such colleges who started the Vietnam War. Now, they're doing it again, only this time a lot worse. Now they've started War III, and plan on turning the United States into an empire!

Good Lord, have these morons no understanding of history? They certainly have no understanding of wisdom. Maybe I should send all of them a copy of Spaced Invaders, along with a detailed explanation of what it means. I'd even use small words, so they can understand it.

Nah, I'd be wasting my time. To quote Oscar Wilde, "The truth cannot be told so as to be understood but not believed." They'll never understand, so they'll never believe.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Lust for Money and Religions of Hate

The United States is a empire. Some cheer that fact. I'm not one of them, and I consider such people deluded, since all empires fail, and it's going to happen to the United States , too.

There are several reasons why all empires fail, but there are two that stand out: the financialization of the economy, and an intolerant "us vs. them" religion.

Those two reasons brought down the British, Spanish and Dutch empires in the last several hundred years. If you want to go a little further back, those reasons also brought down Rome . Edward Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, went so far as to blame Rome 's collapse almost completely on an intolerant Christianity.

Developing countries start out as agricultural nations, then they become industrialized, then in their decline the economy is mostly "financial services." Sound familiar? It sure does, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to have the smarts -- whom I refer to as "high-IQ idiots" -- spout nonsense from their offices at Harvard and Yale and Princeton about how this financialization is the "new economy" and how it will enrich all of us, instead of the truth -- that it will impoverish all of us.

This financialization always follows the same pattern -- the outsourcing of industries, shuffling money around instead of making things, massive debt, the devaluation and manipulation of the currency, and stagnant or declining wages. This is exactly what has been happening in the U.S. And I'm going to repeat what I just said -- the court intellectuals tell us these bad things are somehow going to make us richer.

It never has in the past, it won't now, and it never will in the future.

(As an aside, I'm amused by "libertarians" who worship Wal-Mart as 'free market' and cannot see it for what it is -- an example of corporatism and the financialization of the American economy).

The second sign of national decline is an intolerant, "us vs. them" religion, as exemplified by the Evangelicals who believe in the Rapture, support Israel, and look forward to the slaughter and destruction of Muslims as signs of the End Times. (Before Islam, it was Communism, before that the Nazis, before that . . . ad infinitum, ad nauseum).

As Kevin Phillips writes in American Theocracy, ". . . while religion has generally served humankind well . . . there have been conspicuous exceptions . . . bloody religious wars, malevolent crusades, and false prophecies."

These End Times beliefs, which fit all of the last eight words in the above paragraph, have never been part of traditional Christianity, and have only gained credence in the last 150 years, in large part due to the malign influence of people like John Darby and Cyrus Scofield. These days, one of the main proponents of these perverse doctrines is the Elmer Gantry huckster and ravening wolf John Hagee, along, of course, with his simple-minded sheeple followers.

This type of close-minded fundamentalist religion generally arises when the believers think their society is under assault to the point of extinction. These people unwittingly believe in the archetype of the horror story -- Order attacked by Chaos. Yet in their delusions, they support Chaos -- they somehow think supporting war, slaughter and destruction (approved by their God) is somehow going to bring peace.

In other words, the financialization of the economy, and the resulting impoverishment of the middle classes, feeds into fundamentalist religion -- because it gives their troubled members great comfort to believe in a coming better world.

As Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby write in Fundamentalism Observed, "Fundamentalisms arise in times of crisis, real or perceived . . . the crisis is perceived by those who fear extinction as a people."

As I see it, the financialization of the economy is based on greed, and fundamentalist religion is based on self-righteousness. Both are based on what I consider the only true crime -- hubris, which I like to define as cheerfully and without guilt seeing millions of other people as disposable pieces on your chessboard.

Hubris, as the Greeks noticed, is followed by Nemesis. I see it exactly the same as the Biblical saying, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

In a nutshell, the arrogance and blindness of hubris and overweening pride always leads to some kind of a collapse. It doesn't matter at all how convinced people are that their economic policies and their religion are absolutely true. Reality always trumps their falsehoods.

We can of course save ourselves economically. It's not hard. The financialization of the economy is not free market: It's corporatism, using the State to enrich a very small number of people at the expense of everyone else. So all that is needed to fix that problem is a return to the free market.

The perversion of religion is a bit more difficult. The dangerous simpletons who believe in it generally have to learn their lessons in the School of Hard Knocks (would that it happen only to them and not the innocent). The rabid fundamentalists of the now-defunct English, Spanish and Dutch empires are long gone, along with their empires.

So, there is a good chance that when the American empire comes home and we return to the free market, these people will be relegated to the lunatic fringes as the Bible Thumpers and Holy Rollers that most Americans have traditionally perceived them. To expand on what I wrote before, get rid of the Chaos of the American empire and statist economics, then fundamentalism will greatly diminish, and Order will return.

The one thing I can say, though, beyond all doubt, is that the American empire will collapse abroad and come home. I just can't say when. But I don't think it will be all that long into the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Land of Let's Pretend

The pleasant thing about good fiction is that it does all the intellectual and imaginative heavy lifting for me. I can take advantage of someone else's work and thoughts, for just several dollars. They can spend a year or more creating a novel, and I get all of it for a few bucks. It almost seems unfair to them, since most don't end up like Stephen King, who once bought a radio station so it would play the music he likes, and the purchases didn't put a dent in his wealth.

That's the funny thing about ideas: if someone has some, and shares them with me, it's an increase, because then we both have them. It's not a zero-sum game, or a pie when if I take one piece there is one less for the person who gave it to me. It's more like they give me a huge pie, one they've baked for years, and not only do I have it, they still have it for themselves.

A good writer can create an entire world, one I can move into and take advantage of. He does the creating and all the work; I do the enjoying. All I need is a little imagination and knowledge to discern whether his world makes sense or not. Imagine how slow and cumbersome the world would be if all of us couldn't share ideas and inventions, and had to do everything on our own. We wouldn't have progressed far beyond drawing bison on cave walls.

Not all fiction is good, unfortunately. The good stuff is based on what the world would be like if human nature is taken into account. Writers engage in a "what if" scenario and try to predict what would happen if their ideas were implemented in reality. Sometimes we get Karl Marx, who was a fiction writer, and an incredibly bad one at that. He took all the bad in human nature -- which he thought was the good stuff -- and thought its expression would make a Utopia.

Other times, we get Neal Stephenson, one of my favorite authors.

Stephenson writes massive, lovingly detailed novels such as The Diamond Age and Snow Crash. Both are fine science-fiction novels in which he deals with extrapolations of what the world would be like, among other things, if all governments collapsed. Do I think the future would be exactly as Stephenson imagines? No, I don't. Predicting the future exactly is impossible. But in general outline, I believe Stephenson is right.

The Diamond Age, published in 1995, won the Hugo Award, science-fiction's highest award, in 1996. It deals with many of the same themes as Snow Crash -- ubitiquous nanotechnology, encryption, and the collapse of governments and nations and their replacement by racial and cultural tribes (which he calls "phyles").

He correctly zeroes in on really the only way to permanently collapse all governments -- starve them of their lifeblood, money. Not revolution, not taking over governments and shrinking them -- just starving them to death. He doesn't engage in libertarian fantasies of "somehow" the State just disappearing, or it "somehow" being reformed through legislation and then everyone living in a libertarian Utopia. He just kills them off by starving them of the main thing they are interested in -- Other People's Money.

In both novels, this collapse happens because of advanced technology, specifically encryption. Everyone, and every business, is is able to hide their finances from the prying eyes and fingers of the tax collectors, which cannot break the codes because they are complex beyond the ability of the most powerful computers. Without taxes, without money, all governments collapse. That's one of the main reasons today all governments are so terrified of encryption: maybe if they had a computer the size of the universe they might break one encrypted message.

To make things more interesting, he also throws in the collapse of nations. For the very large ones, those with many different tribes, I suspect this would happen. In fact, there is a great diaspora of tribes throughout the world, briefly alluded to, not because of the collapse of large governments, but because of the collapse of countries.

What takes the place of all these collapsed governments and countries? Do people suddenly turn into what I call "disconnected libertarian atoms" and move around the world in a Utopia of No More Borders, the way open borders crowd thinks? Not on your life.

Instead, they do what they've always done in the past, do now, and will do in the future -- they form cultural and racial tribes. Some of the tribes are large and powerful because they are intelligent and work hard; others are small and weak because they are lazy. Some tribes are "artificial," that is, they are composed of people who got together because they share common interests. There is even sort of a Nerd/Trickster phyle, of which most of the world is terrified because the members move around the world as individuals, and no one can tell who they are. Most, however, are tribes that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years.

All tribes have sentries to guard their borders from intrusions by other tribes. These sentries aren't people -- they're nanotechnological guards, literally curtains of floating microscopic nanobots which guard against the incursions of other, dangerous nanobots sent from other tribes.

Stephenson is taking old ideas of tribes and sentries, projecting them into the future, and dressing them up with a lot of fancy (and so far non-existent) technology. He's taking some very old stories and imagines how they would be told in the future. He's taking human nature into account.

People will always form racial and cultural tribes; there is no way around it. And these tribes get along very well as long as each stays on its own territory and engages in trade with the others. The ending of the novel is about the violence that happens when one huge phyle attempts to move smaller phyles off of its traditional territory.

Curiously, in his societies those who do not belong to tribes are invariably criminals, an illustration of Aristotle's comment, "He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god." In Stephenson's mind, such people are beasts, and even though he does not come out and say so, he obviously does not believe in the leftist/leftist-libertarian fantasy of everyone in the world holding hands and living in a Barney the Dinosaur episode.

Stephenson is not explicit about the distinction between the Political Means of States (theft, murder, etc) and the Economic Means of Society (liberty, free trade). But he clearly does know the difference, and it shows in his novel.

Each phyle is self-governing; there is no State, per se. But those who do not conform to the customs of the tribe suffer the fate of being expelled. And they are given a lot of leeway before this happens. Those who are murderers, muggers and thieves are executed. There are no prisons mentioned in The Diamond Age, although jail is. Expulsion or execution -- there appears to be little in between except an occasional caning as a warning to change your ways. The worst, violent criminals -- those who belong to no tribe -- end up executed. In fact, the book starts off with the execution of a tribeless armed robber who badly injures one of his many victims.

Like most (if not all) good writers -- and especially science-fiction writers -- Stephenson is rather anarchist/libertarian. Yet, because he takes human nature into account far more than leftists do (who I doubt take it into account at all), he's somewhat conservative. I can't remember who said it (it might have been T.S. Elliot, but I can't find the quote), but whoever said it, made the comment that all the greatest writers have been conservative, in the sense of understanding what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things."

Stephenson understands that people will always form themselves into tribes. It's human nature. It's one of those "permanent things." In that sense, he is "conservative." J.R.R. Tolkien was the same way: he's best known for creating the tribes of Men, Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs, all of whom stayed on their own territory, and because of this, got along just fine with their neighbors...with the exception of the Orcs, who didn't respect anyone's territory.

I suppose you can say that Stephenson is a conservative libertarian. At least he appears to be one from his novels. He understands there are bad people --tribeless Orcs, if you will -- who will trespass on others. He clearly does not believe in the borderless Utopian fantasies of some libertarians. He understands that as important as the individual is, we are group beings, and will always form ourselves into tribes who will always occupy a certain territory. It's perhaps the main reason the Iraqi tribes are trying to throw the American tribes off of their land.

This tribal characteristic of human nature is something the open borders crowd will have to come to terms with, contra their borderless, tribeless fantasies of disconnected individuals united by nothing but the free market. Those who do deny it are idealists courting tragedy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bad Daddy and Bad Mommy

Everything has a story. Indeed, perhaps everything is a story. Too bad
cabbages can't talk, or mountains. I'm sure they'd have interesting things
to tell us.

Not only are there stories, there are stories behind those, and even ones
behind them. How far back do these stories run? Is there an infinite
regress? Perhaps. Maybe it's stories all the way back -- and all the way
forward, all the way up, and all the way down. It could be they never end.

Let's take society today, and the wars in which we are involved. There are
many stories to explain them. The three I hear are: Oil, Israel, and Empire.
They may be true, or they may be not true, or they may be partly true. Are
there other stories about what's going on? Stories that might help explain
the U.S.'s march into Empire?

What I find interesting is that today we hear much of the Mommy State at
home. That's where Mommy has traditionally been: at home. Where has Daddy
been? Out working. Could it be Daddy is still out working, abroad? Could it
be we have the Mommy State at home, and the Daddy State out working in other
countries, to protect Mommy at home? Could that be why George Bush truly
believes the best way to protect America is to impose democracy abroad?

Events never make any sense unless you take human nature into account.
Societies, which comprise individuals, are expressions of that nature. All
societies are derivative of it. Understand human nature, and you will in
some measure understand the societies that people create. As such, it must
always be taken into account, for want of better words, that all people
contain "masculine" and "feminine" aspects. Perhaps "archetypes" is a better

These archetypes always project themselves into society. In fact, they're
some of the major influences in society. That's why we end up with such
terms as "the Mommy State." It's just Mom writ large.

Generally, Moms are overwhelmingly concerned with safety at the expense of
liberty. Ruled by their feelings, they are only vaguely familiar with
reason. Those ruled by their feelings can only see the short term. To be
totally accurate, I should say these are the worst characteristics of Mom.
In other words, we're dealing today with Bad Mom, now enshrined in law.

It's why we get weird things like kids being arrested for drawing "violent"
pictures in school, or getting expelled for bringing fingernail clippers. A
misguided desire for "safety" -- in this case a non-existent safety --
trumps freedom. We no longer have a Good Dad at home, in society. I haven't
seen him for a long time. Instead, Bad Dad is out meddling in other

Unfortunately, Bad Dad wants to do something very strange: he wants to
impose Bad Mom in other countries, in the form of democracy, by violence.
That seems reasonable to him -- kill people until they give up. Under
democracy, everyone is supposed to be equal, like little kids in a family.
It's leftist, and if one word can describe Bad Mom, it's leftism.

Bad Mom at home, and Bad Dad abroad. Uh oh. This is very, very lopsided, and
very, very dangerous. My impression is that description applies to all
Empires: Mommy and welfare at home, Daddy and warfare abroad, to protect
Mommy. If that's true, welfare and warfare are opposite sides of the same
coin, and always will be. The clearest and best-known example of this is the
Roman Empire.

Those who whine we should have welfare at home and not warfare abroad, are
deluding themselves, just as those who claim we can have warfare without
welfare are deluding themselves. Think of the Borg (which, by the way, had a
Mommy Queen has a ruler). These days, the first kind call themselves
liberals, and are almost always Democrats. The second claim they are
conservatives, usually Republicans. There's about a dime's worth of
difference between them.

What we've got then, is Bad Mommy attempting to take over the US at home,
and so far doing a pretty good job of it. Another way you can describe it is
as the Evil Feminine of leftism. It's what I mean by saying our country --
our culture -- is lopsided. Here's Mom in the home. But where's Dad in the
home? He's almost nowhere to be found.

As New Agey as it sounds, I don't think people or societies can be whole
until they find the right balance between the Feminine and the Masculine. I
think it's the reason men and women seek each other out; they're trying to
find in the other what each lacks. It might explain why Kings always have
Queens, and why Presidents always have a First Lady. The mass of people
demand it of them.

I find it interesting that during World War II Russians were supposed to
defend the "Motherland," but Germans were supposed to fight for the
"Fatherland." Russia was Communist -- a perfect example of the Bad Mother.
The Germans were Nazis, perfect examples of hierarchy, bureaucracy,
rationality, and suppressed feeling -- many of the characteristics of the
Bad Father.

Roughly speaking, you can say the masculine is competitive, the feminine
cooperative. The masculine is rational, the feminine emotional. Each has
good and bad aspects: the masculine can be violent, the feminine deceptive
(it's the reason men tend to kill violently, while poisoners are almost
exclusively female). It might explain why the Communists were far more
deceptive than the Nazis.

Most unfortunately, these masculine and feminine archetypes can move whole
societies in ways in which they are unaware. Some people, of course, can see
it. But there never seems to be enough to stop it.

How did we end up like this? I don't quite know. Perhaps it was because of
the mostly deluded belief in the oppression of women by men, and the attempt
by "feminists" to shame men and make them feel guilty. Somehow, they
retreated in the face of this, to the detriment of society. So, this
lopsidedness, this unwholeness, with Bad Mommy at home, and Bad Daddy
abroad, will in the long run cause nothing but trouble.

We are, all of us, well aware of Bad Daddy and what he has done throughout
history: violence and wars. But Bad Mommy, with her deception, destruction
of liberty for a false safety, and irrational belief in subjective
"feelings" determining what is right, with little recourse to objective
reason? We are in deep denial about that Feminine Evil. We are still in
denial about the Masculine Evil, when we see it as protecting Bad Mommy when
she is attacked. Some are not only in denial, they support it.

Bad Mommy, at home today, is trying to coerce everyone "for their own good."
Most of it means trying to destroy the good masculine, the Good Dad. It also
means trying to feminize little boys, a sure prescription for disaster. If
you don't believe me, how many men today can actually give a description of
what it means to be a man? We've not only lost Tarzan, we've lost Cary
Grant. Ward Cleaver? Forget it. That's how far the problem has progressed.

Supposedly "feminism" was to correct the excesses of the masculine. Perhaps
it was, at first, a hundred or so years ago. But today, the Evil
Feminine --leftism -- does little more than proclaim its superiority over
the masculine. It's why the US, in little ways, becomes more and more
socialist every day. And socialism, in all ways, is abusive. And we thought
Communism and socialism was gone? Hardly.

If things continue in the US as they are now, we aren't going to end up with
fascism or Nazism or Communism. But we will end up with a "soft" socialism,
one that smothers everyone and takes all the fun out of life. Wear your
seatbelt, lose weight, don't smoke or drink, don't read "bad" things that
will "damage" you. Instead, just be a little kid scolded all the time.
Little kids also expect privileges -- they don't want to work, they want
rights without responsibilities. In the long run, a society composed of
children won't stand.

The archetype of the horror story is relevant here. Being universal, it is
always relevant. It can be described in several ways: bad attacking good,
the unholy attacking the holy, chaos attacking order. All are different ways
of describing the same thing.

Both the Feminine Evil and Masculine Evil are a perversion of the good. As
such, they fall under the archetype of the horror story. Each will only have
a bad effect on society. An added problem is when people can't see them as
evil, and instead defend them as good.

A definition of evil is in order, too. It can be described as what C.S.
Lewis called "bent" good. This implies a continuum from good to evil, which
I believe. Otherwise, you end up with pure, unadulterated good and evil,
both of which are exactly what people are not.

When evil is analyzed, the first thing found is political power, the desire
for power over others. The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote, "I define evil,
then, as the exercise of political power---that is, the imposition of one's
will upon others by overt or covert coercion..."

Since the definition of the State is the Political Means (as opposed to the
Economic Means of society), this means the State is an evil thing. The
second thing found is some sort of stealing, be it a person's belongings,
their freedoms, or their lives. It can be, as Peck wrote, either overtly or
covertly, either openly or by deception.

Stealing means to take what is not yours to take -- and that taking is what
makes people or things "unwhole." Another trait is self-deception, or
rationalization: you convince yourself what you are doing is right. All of
these traits might be subsumed under what the Greeks called "hubris," and
the Bible, "pride." Both are the sin of the mythical Satan, the prideful
fallen angel who lusted for power over others, and who wished to replace God
and rule in his place.

When will the U.S. find its way back to the right balance between the good
masculine and the good feminine? Probably when things go so far they break,
when we become so Mommy socialist at home and Daddy Empire abroad that both
collapse, and finally, we return to our senses. It is indeed sad. Entire
societies can teeter on the edge of a cliff before they go "whoa!" and turn
around. Until we turn around, we appear to be heading into a socialist US in
which people are both children and slaves.

But always, in the long run, reality will trump ideology. Fantasies, as
always, evaporate.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Resistance is Futile, Underpeople!

Resistance Is Futile, Under-People!

"Under-People" is the English translation of the German word "Untermenschen," made famous by Hitler in Mein Kampf. And of course, if you've got Untermenschen, you've got to have Ubermenschen, too. At least in fantasy.

And fantasy indeed is what we're dealing with in Thomas P.M. Barnett's book, The Pentagon's New Map: Peace and War in the Twenty-First Century. Only, the Over-People are what he calls "the Core," and the Under-People he refers to as "the Gap."

If you've watched Star Trek: the Next Generation, you'll realize the Over-People Core are the Borg, and the Under-People Gap are all those unassimilated races who puzzled the Borg Queen so much. "Why do you resist us?" she complained. "We only wish to improve the quality of your lives."

Unfortunately, her idea of an improved quality of life meant everyone belonging to a hive-mind, never questioning orders (because they couldn't, having been transmogrified into unconscious Borg drones), and engaging in an Orwellian perpetual war for perpetual peace, to protect the Borg from all those war-mongering aliens who were plotting to attack the Borg Cubes, but somehow never did, except in self-defense. Obviously, a little dab'll of pre-emptive war will do ya, not only for the Borg, but the U.S.

The Core refers to the West, with Japan tossed in. The Gap is what Richard Maybury calls Chaostan, that section of the world--about one-third of it--that never developed Western values. It's everything that isn't the West.

Maybury, much more realistic and clear-headed than Barnett, subscribes to the views of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington: Stay out of the world's political problems and just trade with them, understanding that only the free market will improve their lot. Barnett, an unwitting believer in the old saying, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions," thinks we should Borgify the non-West, using the Big Giant Fist against their recalcitrant Gap heads. That'll drag them into the 20th Century, all right, he tells everyone.

He considers it bringing "freedom" to them, but I prefer the much older and wiser views of Aristotle,Aesop and Jesus: All tyrants call themselves benefactors.

Barnett uses non-Borgian terms, but it's still the same tune, just different lyrics. He thinks the Core should invade and conquer the Gap, and force it to conform to the West's--or rather his--values.

Barnett's ideas are what Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, in Leftism Revisited, called "false but clear," like Marxism. And like Marxism, Barnett's Core/Gap ideas can be taught to a ten-year-old in about five minutes. They're about as valid as Marxism, too.

For some reason I can't quite fathom, many people fall for the simplistic view of splitting things into either good or bad, with nothing in between. Of course, they always consider themselves good (Core) and other people bad (Gap). Since they consider themselves "good," all badness must lie elsewhere, with others. Then the "bad" must be eradicated or changed. In Barnett's world, the Core must assimilate the Gap, otherwise the Gap will destroy the Core, just the way all those wogs of the galaxy (say, humans), have to be Borgified, even if it's unnecessary.

This either-good-or-bad, either Hero or Villain view of things is bad enough when an individual perceives the world that way, but it's a catastrophe when it afflicts groups. While individuals can think, groups cannot. They can only feel, and given the chance, they will invariably engage in Dionysian orgies. Watch Triumph of the Will sometime.

Of course, in Barnett's mind, the Western Core is the good group, and the Gap, populated by all the Fuzzy Wuzzes of the world, is the bad group. This is a modern-day version of Kipling's "the white man's burden," jazzed up a bit with some pop-culture terminology. It didn't work in his time, either.

Since individuals can think, but groups cannot, it is one of the reasons why Kuehnelt-Leddihn said, "'I' is from God, and 'We' is from the Devil." The hive-mind "group" is the basis of fascism in all its forms, whether you call it fascism, Communism, or Nazism.

As Mussolini wrote in 1932: "The State not only is authority which governs and molds individual wills with laws and values of spiritual life, but it is also power which makes its will prevail abroad . . . For the Fascist, everything is within the State and . . . neither individuals or groups are outside the State . . . . For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative . . . everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State."

Barnett must have read Mussolini. I hope he has. If he has, does he think the definition of fascism does not apply to his ideas? Apparently not. He also appears to disbelieve that "War is Peace" applies to his writings. Or "Lies are Truth."

In Barnett's cheerful little fantasy, the idea of the wogs fighting back doesn't really count for very much. I suspect he's as puzzled as the Borg Queen, wondering why they don't welcome us with open arms and flowers strewn in the path of our tanks. If we have to, he tells us, we can whup 'em but good with our advanced technology. We sure whupped the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians good, to the tune of 2.5 million to three million dead. Afterward, we and our technology went home.

Perhaps Barnett is just today's version of Robert McNamara, the megalomaniacal high-IQ idiot who was the architect of the Vietnam Non-War. Only in this iteration, he wants to extend war to the entire world.

Perhaps the main problem with all empires is that they are invariably welfare/warfare. They're two sides of the same coin; the first can't exist without the second, no matter how many people would like to see the former without the latter. You can't have the fascist Borg Cube/Womb without wanting to protect it, even if the threat is non-existent.

So what we're stuck with in Barnett's confabulations is bringing welfare to the world through warfare. In essence, "We're going to kill you to save you," is what he's saying. I'm sure I'm not the only one going, "Huh?" It's exactly what people are accusing those "Islamofascists" of doing: murdering us to convert (and therefore "save") us.

Of course, we're going to kill about 10,000 of them for every one of us they kill. Not that our soldiers' deaths really count, since they're drones sacrificed for the good of the Hive. I suppose that's why the last few American Presidents paid no attention to the deaths of American soldiers. As for the "enemy," they're just Under-People, so who counts how many of them we rub out?

I have for a few years thought the main problem of the human race--the main sin, if you will--is hubris, thinking one is god-like, believing one has the power to move millions of people around like pieces on a cosmic chessboard. Barnett's book has not disabused me of that notion, only confirmed it.

Barnett obviously believes he is a prophet, maybe even a messiah. But how do you tell the difference between a false prophet and a true one? Maybe true ones don't support mass murder, destruction and theft, even if it's for the "good" of those on the receiving end. Whatever happened to "Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God"?

The book reminds me of Pinky and the Brain. Brain is the charismatic but slightly daft--or maybe just insane--leader who wants to conquer the world, although he never said he wanted to conquer it for its own good. Then we have Pinky, his essentially brainless follower, who worships Brain. Pinky, who in my opinion represents Mass Man, is ruled by his feelings, too.

Scary to imagine a cartoon about two escaped, mutated lab mice applies so neatly to the real world. Like Barnett, Brain is eternally optimistic, always thinking that if he didn't conquer the world today because he conked his head, well, there is always tomorrow.

Or, as it was best said by Terrill, the murderous idealist Redleg in Clint Eastwood's great The Outlaw Josey Wales: "There ain't no end to doin' right."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Smart and Lazy...Mostly Lazy

The writer Jerry Pournelle writes that conventional wisdom among the military used to judge officers by two variables: by smart and stupid, and by active or lazy. Of course it's an oversimplification, but I have found using those variables is a good rule of thumb.
The list would be like this:

Stupid and Active

Stupid and Lazy

Smart and Active

Smart and Lazy

The active and stupid are to be eliminated. That combination is so obviously dangerous it doesn't really need to be explained. But if it does, let's just say they'll get many men killed in battle, or even in training.

Lazy and stupid are the heart of the army, the kind who work their way up from the bottom. They are most of the officer corp. They aren't dangerous, because they want to do as little as possible.

Smart and active make good staff officers, but aren't to be promoted, and they are never to be given supreme command. They're always coming up with bright ideas, but that doesn't mean they're good ones.

To my surprise, the highest command goes to the smart and lazy. They come up with good ideas, but get others to carry them out.

As best as I've been able to discover, it was Count von Bismarck who discovered these variables, when he realized the two most importance things in soldiers were their intelligence and their propensity to take action. Things got simplified over the years to "smart" or "stupid" and "active" or "lazy."

I was a bit surprised, since I'm smart and lazy. My idea of a good time is to sit in the backyard in a lawnchair as the sun goes down, smoke my pipe and watch my pug (who is very stupid and very active) run in circles. Or to spend an hour soaking in a bath. My idea of sports is fishing. Yet I'd make it to the top in the military? Hard to believe. But then, I did try to build a robot when I was 12, figuring if I succeeded it could do my housework.

I operate on the assumption the military, having been around for thousands of years, knows what it's talking about. Since human nature doesn't change, you can take those variables and apply them to other fields. What about politics? If you do, you'll encounter something pretty scary.

George Bush was stupid and active. And as the years of his Presidency went by, he got dumb and dumber. Is this what political power does to people? Make them stupid, make them think they can get away with things no one in his right mind would think he could get away with? Make them lose their conscience? I am reminded of the saying, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I think a better saying is, "Power intoxicates, and immunity corrupts." Bill Clinton became stupid and active, and almost got booted out of the Presidency.

As for Barry Soetero, he is also stupid and active. As hard as it is too believe, he's worse than Bush.

Such stupidity and activity has lead to the U.S. being involved in six wars, and the severe damaging of the economy.

Apparently almost all politicians are stupid and active. That's why they cause so many problems. An example of a man who is smart and lazy (lazy as a politician) is Ron Paul, who is an exemplar of what every politician should be.

Hitler, for example, was a consummate politician, one who was described as half-genius, half-insane. Half-genius and half-insane makes him stupid and active, so it's not surprising when he was in the military his commanding writers wrote of him that they could not detect in him any qualities for being an officer. Although people think he never made it beyond corporal, he really never made it beyond private, first class.

I once wrote an article a few years ago about what I would do if I was the King of America. I'd gamble, chase women, drink wine, grow roses, and do several other things, almost none of them political. I'd get rid of most laws and let the free market take care of itself. In other words, I'd actualize my smart and lazy self even more than it already is. And I'd make a good king.

The problem with politics is that it always attracts the active, whether they're smart or stupid. The public is the one that pays for their activity. If we have to have politicians, we need lazy ones. The best, of course, would be lazy and smart.

Don't look at me, though. I'm not interested. I am, of course, much too smart – or is it lazy? – to fall for the con job known as politics.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Death by a Bazillion Little Lizard Bites

Fairy tales, fables and myths have outlasted almost every other kind of story, and certainly will outlast heavy tomes written by Ph.D.s from Ivy League universities, because they're easy to understand, and make their point simply and clearly. Here's an example:

This is a story with which everyone is familiar, even unto a four-year-old child: a village is menaced by a dragon, so the hero rides out, slays it and saves the village.

True, it's a simple story, but, in different versions, it's the basis of many stories all over the world. Look at the great Japanese film, The Seven Samuri: the village is menaced by bandits, so the villagers hire samuri to slay the attackers. Village, Dragon, Hero. See? Simple!

Now imagine what people would think of this story: the kingdom is under attack by what the inhabitants think is a dragon. None understand the reason the dragon is attacking them is because the king, his advisors and their soldiers have been kicking the dragon for 50 years.

So the king sends his soldiers out to kill the dragon. What they find is not a dragon, but some tiny and not very dangerous lizards. Still, the king uses up his soldiers and the kingdom's wealth chasing the lizards all over the world so they can kill them in order to impose democracy on them.

At the same time, the king and his advisors throw open the borders of the kingdom so tens of millions of lizards can move into the kingdom and eat up the kingdom's wealth, impoverishing the people. The lizards want to kill or expel the people in the kingdom, so they can take over the land, somehow thinking the wealth will still be there even after they've devoured every last scrap of it.

Could not even the youngest of children see though this? Of course they could.

The moral: the real attacks in any kingdom come from the inside, from the king and his advisors, not from the tiny little lizards outside, that everyone has magnified into being a dragon.