November 29, 2004
"It is written" that everything is turned upside down in the "last days." Everything that was nonsense becomes sense. Everything that was unthinkable becomes the norm.
Not long ago the word Armageddon signified the worst possible thing that could be imagined, namely, the end of human civilization through nuclear holocaust. Today, it signifies, at least to the lunatic right, the best possible thing that can be imagined, namely, yes, the end of human civilization, but with this difference: After everyone else has perished, the lunatics would be lifted up unto heaven. It is a consummation devoutly desired.
There are corollaries to this new worldview. War is good, because peace and progress can never lead to the volcanic catharsis that would necessitate divine intervention. It is best to have insane leaders, because sane ones are not likely to make the "correct" decisions that will bring on the end and the new beginning.
This has been achieved. Bush wants war to bring on the Second Coming. Cheney wants it so his former company will profit by it, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of people get killed in the process. And the rest of the gang have simply sold their souls to the devil.
So maybe I should redefine the nature of the "last days." Maybe the last days do not have anything to do with divine intervention or lack thereof. Rather, maybe the last days have to do with a human race that has become so corrupt and selfish that it looks away from the misery of its fellows, consciously and knowingly. These may be the last days. But only because we have made them so.
November 28, 2004
not a laughing matter
November 27, 2004
Fictitious state visit
His doubly-fictitious (not yet confirmed by Congress) Secretary of State will be in tow, the one who ended up on Bush's team because of the fact that she couldn't find a real (non-fictitious) job. She had been granted the fictitious job of Provost at Stanford, as her doctorate was, you guessed it, fictitious; it had been given to her despite the execrable quality of her academic work.
Now the two of them play at being powerful politicians of the most powerful country on earth. Except that real people, in their tens of thousands, are getting killed. And hundreds of thousands of others are getting maimed for life.
Like Moore, I often have the feeling the last four years have been a dream--have been fictitious. Recently, while watching a documentary on younger Dubya, I realized who that dream/nightmare's protagonist reminds me of. Dubya is James Dean, he of "Rebel Without a Cause" fame, sort of gone to college by the grace of having a very rich father, and become President of the United States, again for the same reason.
November 25, 2004
Were you conscious when it was drilled into your head that America is the best and the greatest? America uber alles? Were you awake in civics and history classes, when they told you America's system of politics and government is what the rest of the world should, and also will, try to emulate?
The propaganda system was so successful that the brainwashing took hold quite unconsciously. Now the November 2 election, like the hypnotist's snap of his fingers, has shocked some of the sleepers out of their deep slumber. They feel like they are in a foreign country. And they are right. The Republicans are the "real" Americans. The Republicans are the ones who believe that they must follow their President/Fuehrer, right or wrong, even when he is criminally insane.
The Republicans are the ones who understand "moral values." And what are moral values? They are the rules that society imposes on individuals when it has no faith in their own ethical inner light. The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is a good illustration of this point. It was never meant as an absolute maxim of conduct emanating from an individual's understanding of the nature of his/her humanity. It simply meant "Thou shalt not kill members of your own tribe." Killing outsiders was condoned, and even encouraged. The "commandment" was just a contingent guideline.
Moral values or commandments are the exact opposite of ethical values. A moral person does what he is told. An ethical person does what his sense of what it means to be human tells him to do. Moral values are society's means of controlling individuals. Ethical values are the individual's means of influencing society's development.
If American Democrats are unwilling to examine the "values" they have been brought up with, they might as well run a garage sale with the Democratic Party's assets, and get used to a one-party system.
November 22, 2004
November 20, 2004
November 11, 2004
November 08, 2004
A letter to Michael Moore
As someone who was deeply impressed by your early work, and therefore a well-wisher, I would like to offer you my thoughts on your recent work.
The way I see it, the motif of your early work was promotion of social change through raising consciousness of the conflict between capital and labor. In those days you had to struggle to be heard. And, I think, you saw yourself primarily as a social activist.
More recently, though, your work has fit a lot more securely into what Chomsky calls "the spectrum of accepted opinion," though of course near the left end of that spectrum. Simultaneously, the establishment has been showering you with awards and encouragement. I would guess they have been celebrating what they see as the success of their efforts to co-opt you.
I am no Naderite, but I would like to urge you to reflect on whether there really is any difference between the two parties as far as social change is concerned. It could not have been more obvious that both Bush and Kerry had much more in common with each other than with you and me. Yes, the election of Bush is a disaster for the world. But what is to be done now? In my opinion, the thing to do now is (to continue) to try to change the social consciousness that made it possible for Bush to be where he is. A good physician treats the causes of an illness, not its symptoms. And, I think, a good social activist tries to "treat" people's misguided conception of their relationship to power.
November 05, 2004
Hicks and City Slickers
The first one is a map of US population density.
What brought this up was that I have heard people say that they could forgive Americans for getting Dubya into office the first time, but not twice. Americans could be forgiven the first time, the argument goes, because they didn't know any better. Now that they have seen the Dubya gang in action for nearly four years, they can't plead ignorance. Therefore, the argument continues, the "American people" deliberately and consciously elected this gang of thugs and criminals to high public office. This argument ignores the fact that millions of Americans both times voted against Dubya, and hence cannot be called to account for his election. More importantly, the above argument ignores the fact that the social groupings who voted him in the second time were the same social groupings who voted for him the first time. The "hicks" love him, and the "city slickers" hate him. Is it then reasonable to blame all Americans for his rise to the most powerful political office in the world?
But now that we suspect the city vs country divide is the driving engine of politics in the US, we have to ask for the reason. How is it that the mere fact of where one lives tends to determine one's political outlook? It is undeniable that people who live in rural regions and small towns live in smaller worlds than do those who live in cities and bigger towns. What is probably less obvious is that this "rural idiocy," to borrow Lenin's phrase, affects every aspect of their worldview or Weltanschauung. The phrase "Love thy neighbour" means something completely different to one group than it does to the other one. To the rural person, who lives far from his/her neighbour, and sees them only when he/she wants to, it probably means things like helping out during harvest, and keeping one's livestock from trampling adjoining properties. To the city dweller, who lives right next door to his/her neighbour, and sees them on a regular basis, and has little choice but to see them regularly, loving one's neighbour means consciousness of the common interests that bind them together. To put it a bit simplistically, the fence around a property defines the rural person's sphere of interest, while the whole of society is the city person's sphere of interest.
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