Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Nifty Pocket Guide to World Domination

I doubt it takes more than a quarter-page of instructions to conquer the world. Heck, if the Ten Commandments (technically, "Ten Words" or "Ten Utterances" are pretty much the basis for a free and prosperous society, why should it takes a book/books to learn how to conquer the planet? Aren't they are just really several easily-memorized rules?

So here they are:

First Rule: The leaders count, the masses are expendable.

Second Rule: War is Good!

Third Rule: See Rules One and Two.

Shoot, that wasn't even a quarter-page.

Okay, how about a movie that illustrates my point? Fight Club will do nicely. Even though it came out in '99, I didn't see it until recently. Got to love those DVD players!

If nothing else, the movie has generated a line that nearly everyone knows: "The first rule of Fight Club is, you don't talk about Fight Club."

That's a very interesting line, and one that contains truth. Right now we have two groups in the US which are causing a hell of a lot of trouble: Christian Zionists and Zionists/neocons. While it is acceptable to talk about the first (crackpot) group, it's not acceptable to talk about the second (crackpot) group, if you point out they're overwhelmingly Jewish.

The obvious is not supposed to be pointed out, or you'll get accusations of anti-Semitism. The first rule is, "You don't talk about the truth." What's that old saying, "Truth is the first casualty of war"?

Fight Club is not a great film. It's a very good one, and certainly a very bizarre one that requires a suspension of disbelief that is rare even for a cult movie. But it has a lot of truth in it, and truth is always applicable.

It points out how emotionally dead people seek violence and thrills to make them feel alive. That path is, unfortunately, the shortest one for the human race to get some kicks. Chris Hedges wrote about it in his book, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

"The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life," he wrote. "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."

Yep, that's Fight Club all right: a bunch of bored, emotionally dead people seeking meaning in violence. At least in the movie, the guys fought; in real life they won't, instead vicariously cheering on those who do.

Critics have claimed the movie is pro-fascist. No, it's not. It's anti-fascist. It does illustrate how the quest for community -- the very human desire to belong to a group -- is the basis for fascism, and how it can degenerate into it, especially when coupled with the love of violence.

The movie is not truly anti-capitalist, either. It just points out you'll never get any true meaning to your life by collecting things, by being strictly materialistic. In fact, the ending of the movie points out one of the few worthwhile things in life is love.

Then we have the problem with leaders. In the movie, and in real life, one of the main problems is the ubiquitous tendency for groups to worship leaders. I was astonished to find Americans referring to Bush as "my President." What exactly is the difference between someone like that and someone who 60 years ago said, "Mein Fuhrer"? For all practical purposes, there isn't any.

The movie, however, is leftist-anarchist: destroy everything and a better world will arise from the ashes. In that sense, it is anti-capitalist. But then, there are a lot of leftist-libertarians who really are nothing more than leftists masquerading as libertarians, and who want to destroy society, thinking something better will automatically rise to take its place. Hardly.

The problem, ultimately, is alienation. In the movie, the unnamed protagonist was alienated from his work, his society, and most of all, himself. The same problem exists in life, and that meaningless and alienation and boredom is why too many people cheer war. Do happy people support war? I really can't imagine it.

So, in several nutshells, here is now you conquer the world: You take the natural desire for community and turn it into fascism. You get people to worship a leader. You teach them war is life-affirming. You'll invariably end up with what Iris Chang wrote about in The Rape of Nanking: the group is everything, the individual nothing, especially individuals outside our group, who are less than nothing, and who should be annihilated.

Of course, no one has ever conquered the world, and neither will America . We'll just expend huge amounts of blood and treasure, then withdraw. About the best I can ask is that those responsible for this mess are held accountable.

1 comment:

breezmister said...

Pinky and the Brain will