Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The Bravery of the Yappy Little Dog
When I was in college and driving a taxi, I learned quickly that whenever a Little Old Lady invited me into her house or apartment and then immediately closed the door behind me ("Ha ha! Now he's trapped!"), it meant I was going to be forced to drink a glass of buttermilk, eat a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, to be washed down with the buttermilk), or carry a broken motorized wheelchair – equipped with 200 pounds of dead batteries – outside to my car.
Once, while trapped in an apartment full of flowered slipcovers and potpourri, a very fat cat waddled over and pawed at one shoe until he pulled the loops out of the laces. Then, after repeating the process on my other shoe, wandered away, leaving me standing there with two partially-untied shoes. I was in awe of this awesomely talented cat. "Oh, he does that to everyone," the Little Old Lady explained, as if that made it okay that the cat had mangled my shoelaces. If he had retied them, then I would have really been impressed.
Another time, two of those little yappy dogs, the ones the size of softballs, charged over and latched onto my pant cuffs (one dog on each cuff), growling and tugging all the while. I lifted one leg off the ground, with a dog attached and dangling in the air, still growing. "Oh, he does that to everyone," the Little Old Owner told me. It was like being attacked by tiny little canine versions of the twins in The Matrix Reloaded.
If I had given those dogs a smack, they would have run yipping away, probably to hide under the owner's bed. Instead I just stood there with the dogs attached, praying there would be no buttermilk involved.
Those little yappy dogs remind me of armchair-warrior chickenhawks who write abusive emails to me. People like them never say anything to me when I'm in what we hacker-types call "the meatbody." But when they hide behind an email address, safe a thousand miles away, then it's "grr! snarl! woof! woof! grr! snarl!" One guy even made fun of my squinty (but cute) little eyes, as if that has any relevance to anything.
To me it is curious that these people think they are brave and patriotic, and I am a coward and a traitor. I think it's the other way around. If I was to define their beliefs in a few sentences, it would be these:
"It is patriotic to not criticize whatever our leaders do during wartime. It is brave to join the military and not question what they are doing. We should go where we are sent, and if we have to, fight and die. We must stand as One."
That is not my definition of bravery or patriotism. It's my definition of fascism. Here are some of Mussolini's writings: "Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose from the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people."
And here one is probably his most famous sayings: "Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people."
The late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who has influenced me more than I can possibly say, wrote in his magnum opus, Leftism Revisited...that there is a continuum with anarchy on the Right and communism, socialism, democracy and fascism on the Left. Even though most people think fascism and national socialism (Nazism) are "Right," they are not. They're Left.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn referred to himself as a (Catholic) "anarchist of the far Right." He also wrote, with absolute accuracy, that "'I' comes from God, and 'We' from the Devil" (as in "My name is Legion, for there are many of us").
"We" is the one word that best describes the Left. "We" as the State, a nation of people all thinking and acting as One. But just as the body is ruled by the head, a nation is always ruled by a small group of people who lead the sheeple around, often to their deaths. The blind leading the blind, as the saying goes.
The Devil as "We" explains some of the bizarre happenings of the 20th century, such as brave, patriotic Germans and Russians slaughtering each other at the Battle of Stalingrad, in which more soldiers were killed than America has lost in all of its wars combined.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn points out, and I agree completely, that religion is on the Right, and atheism on the Left. There are atheists and agnostics on the Right, but all are sympathetic to religion. The rabid hatred of all religion exists only on the Left. (This is one of the reasons why Objectivists do not understand that Ayn Rand's militant atheism puts her squarely and permanently in the Leftist camp). Both Hitler and Stalin were atheists. Hitler intended to not only eradicate Judaism, but also Christianity, which he called a "Jewish religion."
When religion moves over to the Left it loses all legitimacy. It cannot support the "We" of the Devil and call itself true religion. A combination of fascism and this false religiousness leads to "God and Country" and "Gott mit uns." People think such combinations are patriotic and Godly, but in reality it's Satanic. Religion and the Left are absolutely and eternally opposed to each other, no matter if you call the Left communism, socialism, fascism...or democracy.
If you think the above is not backed up by the Bible, remember that Jesus never said a good word about the State, and insulted and abused its minions. His opponents – the combination of supporters of the State, pseudo-intellectual "elites" and the perverters of the "organized religion" of his day – are the ones he referred to as murderers, liars, thieves and hypocrites. And his death – like Socrates – was at the hand of the State, the mob, the "We."
The same kind of people who existed in his time exist in ours. The same kind of trouble they caused then they are still causing now. Today they are Leftist empire-building neo-pagans creating amoral philosophies out of their heads, ignoring a few thousand year's work of Rightist theologians and philosophers who spent their lives discovering Natural Law – laws built into human nature and the universe. An example: all empires collapse.
Every primitive tribe in history has called itself "the People" or "the Human Beings." Every one of them has believed God has smiled on them, only them, and no one else. When these tribes get big enough to be called nations, they still believe that God smiles on them, only them, and no one else. No matter how much they break His laws by murdering and stealing (even if it's justified as war), they still think He smiles on them and protects their soldiers. All it needs is just a little prayer to push things along.
I don't believe in these ideas one iota. German soldiers marched into battle with "Gott mit uns" inscribed on their belt buckles. Not surprisingly, these pagan talismans didn't do a bit of good to stop artillery and machine gun rounds.
Patriotism can be Rightist, to support liberty and freedom. It can also be used by Leftism, to support the State, which always claims it is the same thing as the country. True patriotism is supporting freedom in your country, not slavery. The false patriot supports the "We," the State.
Obviously there are Christians, Jews and Muslims who sincerely and completely believe that God supports them, has given them eternal title to some speck of land, and will slaughter the other as apostates. Personally, I think they're all nuts, and I plan on staying out of the whole fight. After a thousand or so years of war you'd think those involved might get it though their heads they're doing something wrong.
Why do people have this eternal tendency to be collectivist, to be, as Norman Mailer has claimed, naturally fascist? Is it the desire for security, even at the expense of liberty? If it is, it won't work. Benjamin Franklin was absolutely correct when he wrote, "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." And they'll lose both liberty and safety.
The "security" of the State leads only to chaos. As Proudhon wrote, "Liberty is the mother, not daughter, of order." For one thing, the "security" of the State leads to a crushing, Brazil-type bureaucracy, in which everyone is reduced to a cog – and, worse, a slave, living eternally in fear.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn, again in Leftism Revisitedwrote that, "viewed from a certain angle, we are all subject to two basic drives: identity and diversity." Identity he calls "a herd instinct, a strong feeling of community that regards another group with hostility." He believes "identity and its drives tend to efface self, tend towards an 'usness' in which the ego becomes submerged." This quote helps to explain humanity's natural desire for fascism.
Erich Fromm, a confused socialist with occasional flashes of brilliance, wrote in his book, Escape from Freedom, that people will, in order to escape the (Rightist) burden of freedom and responsibility, even turn to (Leftist) dictators. They will bring their freedom to them and lay it at their feet. "The person who gives up his individual self and becomes an automaton," he writes, echoing Kuehnelt-Leddihn, "identical with millions of other automatons around him, need not feel alone and anxious any more. But the price he pays, however, is high; it is the loss of his self."
In the famous "Grand Inquisitor" scene in The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky has the Inquisitor say, "For centuries...we have been wrestling with...freedom, but now it is ended and over for good." He was commenting on the fact that many people want to give up their freedom to "authority." The Inquisitor goes so far as to claim, "they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet."
The quotes above is why "We" is the Devil. And the "We" are always led around by their noses by a tiny group who use, to quote Dostoevsky again, "miracle, mystery and authority" to wow the masses.
If patriotism can be used for Rightist or Leftist purposes, so can courage. Contrary to what most people think, courage is not rare and almost priceless. It's common, and built into us. Everyone has the ability to be brave, and everyone can easily be a hero.
When bravery is used in the defense of freedom and liberty, it is always opposed to the State. When bravery is used in defense of slavery, it is always used to support the State. (When I saw "State" I don't mean the always-minimal government based on Natural Law; I mean what is created when government ignores the Law and starts making up fake "laws" on its own.)
One subset of the Leftist pseudo-brave is the Little Yappy Dog. These are the armchair-warrior chickenhawks who avoid military service but expect others to serve in their place. They yap and yap and yap, gang up on those who disagree with them, and call them traitors, cowards and Leftists. The irony is that the Little Yappy Dog is the traitor, the coward and the Leftist. And when kicked, they always turn tail and run. If they have beds, they'd hide under them.