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."