Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Win in Iraq and Afghanistan in One Easy Step

In one easy step, here's how we do it: pull out completely. That's it. Just leave. The countries will do just fine without us.

I'll use history as a guide. In the 20th Century, America won just one war: Vietnam.

What's that, you say? We didn't win? We left in ignoble defeat, fleeing in our helicopters and pushing them off of our ships into the blue deep sea? How is that winning?

I'll tell you how we won over there. We left, and the place is doing just fine without us.

If the U.S. had "won," do you know what Vietnam would be like today? We'd still be there, spending billions of dollars a year to maintain military bases. Probably to "contain China."

Ever been to a military base? I have. They are surrounded by bars and pawnshops. Oh yeah -- and lots of whores. Most are disgusting places, and are certainly no place for a young man to be.

If we had won militarily in Vietnam , we'd have military bases there, surrounded by the same things as they are over here, only worse. Vietnamese hookers (and lots of half-breed kids), gambling, drugs, alcohol, crime, theft, rape, murder.

We'd have lots of dull-witted bureaucrats over there, screwing things up in their patronage jobs. The billions of dollars we'd funnel over there would be skimmed off by corrupt Vietnamese and end up in offshore bank accounts, and right before the crooks find the jig is up, they'd flee to the French Riviera, and spend the rest of their days in luxury, on my dime. And yours, too.

That's what would happen if we had won militarily in Vietnam .

In the 20th Century, we did not win one war except Vietnam and that "win" cost us 58,000 casualties and a few million dead Southeast Asians. If we had stayed out in the first place, most of those people would still be alive and whole, and Vietnam would probably be more advanced than it is now.

We did not win World War I, which was a European War and none of our business anyway. The combatants over there had fought to a stalemate and were about ready to quit -- until we got involved.

Every country in that European war was equally guilty, yet all of it was blamed on Germany. Enter the utterly deluded Woodrow Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles, and the world ended up with Hitler, Stalin, and World War II.

After World War II, Christian Eastern Europe was delivered to Communist atheists for 50 years, Israel was founded in the middle of a 2000-year-old war, and the next thing you know, crazed fanatical Muslims are flying airplanes into our buildings to get revenge on us for supporting Arab dictators and Israel.

All those problems are what comes from the U.S. walking to and fro in the world, and meddling mightily in it, and certainly not following what George Washington said in his Farewell Address: trade with the world but stay out of their political roblems.

Every place in the world where the U.S. Empire maintains bases has big problems because we are over there and not over here. We even have bases in Portugal .

We still have bases in Germany. One of my cousins, who had been assigned to Germany when he was in the Army, said the Germans around the bases "hated us, so we hated them back." Now when did World War II supposedly end? Sometime in the middle of the 1940s, I think?

What problems do we have with Vietnam these days? None that I can think of. Why? Because we're not over there anymore!

I have decided a long time ago war is more the natural state of mankind than peace. Since at least World World I, we have been involved in a continuous war, with time off every once in a while for a breather. And none of it is necessary, if we would just pull out of other countries and just trade peacefully with them.

Fat chance of that, what with our worldwide American Empire trying to impose "democracy and freedom" on all those recalcitrant, ungrateful wogs. Mostly by killing them by the millions, like we did in Southeast Asia. Just kill enough of them, and they'll be our friends!

The only thing good that will come out of the American Empire is that sooner or later it will collapse (as all empires collapse) and we will come home. Of course, it will happen after oceans of mud and blood and folly.

Orwell had it right: when the State gets involved, it tells everyone that War is Peace. Orwell also said one of the most important things in his life was tending his vegetable garden.

As far as I'm concerned, he was right on both counts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Shame and Cowardice of the Chickenhawk

The usual definition of a chickenhawk is someone who supports war but actively avoids fighting. Whenever I think of one, what comes to my mind are Young Republicans, but also leftists, who are just as bad if not worse.

A writer, whose name unfortunately completely escapes me, said the aforementioned definition is not totally accurate. A better one is that a chickenhawk is someone who believes supporting war is a sign of his personal bravery and patriotism, and is convinced that those who oppose war, for whatever principled and thoughtful reasons, are always cowards and traitors.

Still, chickenhawks are cowards. Why, then, can they not see what they are?

There is only one reason: They deceive themselves as to what they truly are. They idealize themselves as proud, brave and patriotic, while others, more clear-sighted, see them for what they are: cowards who will do nothing except stand on the sidelines and yell, "Okay, throw the ball here! Now throw it over there!"

When people refuse to see their bad qualities (what Jung called their Shadows), there is only one thing they can do to protect their self-delusion: project those qualities on other people. Here is an example: when leftists talk about "hate" (which they do all the time), they are projecting their own unacknowledged hate onto other people.

Chickenhawks are the same: They cannot acknowledge their own cowardice, so they must project it onto others. Those Others, to the chickenhawk, are the cowards and traitors, not the chickenhawk.

Yet, the chickenhawk must know, somewhere deep inside, that he is a coward, and so has to be ashamed of himself. How does he cover up his shame? With pride. Pride on top, hiding shame underneath.

The first time I ran across that formulation of pride covering shame was in John le Carre's novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, when he wrote of Leamas' "protective arrogance concealing shame."

Plato once wrote, "The cause of all sins in every case lies in the person's excessive love of self." I wouldn't call what he's writing about "self love." Excessive pride, arrogance, grandiosity, yes, but not self-love.

The social researcher James Gilligan, who spent 35 years dealing with prisoners, wrote, "Shame . . . motivates not confession but concealment of whatever one feels ashamed of." Guilt, he writes, can on the other hand lead to confession and penance.

He also writes, “…people who feel ashamed typically attempt to diminish that painful feeling both by assuming attitudes of arrogance, self-importance, and boastfulness.”

We'll never see confession and penance from chickenhawks, because they have no guilt. And it's a lot easier to admit guilt than shame. And chickenhawks' shame and cowardice is something they will not, cannot, admit. So they project it onto others: “You should be ashamed of yourself for being a coward who’s not supporting our country and its wars.”

I believe the average chickenhawk must be exceptionally narcissistic, which is correctly defined as splitting things into all-good and all-bad – idealization and devaluation. The chickenhawk has to see himself as all good (brave and patriotic), so his own unacknowledged badness (his cowardice) has to be projected onto others.

The late M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, called this kind of projection “the genesis of human evil.” If he’s correct, and I believe he is, then what chickenhawks are doing, in their self-deception, their unacknowledged cowardice, their arrogance and grandiosity, and their scapegoating of the innocent, is evil.

I sometimes wonder if chickenhawks ever think about how they would handle combat. I think they'd do what a soldier friend of mine saw another soldier do: brag to everyone how tough and brave he was (pride), but when the first shot was fired, he turned and ran (shaming himself).

It's probably a good thing chickenhawks aren't in the military: their cowardice and incompetence would probably get innocent soldiers killed. No, not probably. Would.

There's an old saying -- and I have no idea where it's from -- that the best warriors are the least war-like. I will nod and agree with it.

Why in the world anyone listens to chickenhawks is beyond me. Would anyone in his right mind listen to any coward about anything? All of them should be laughed at and ridiculed into silence -- because the one thing no coward can stand is to be laughed at.

Natural Law and War

I believe in Natural Law. Law is discovered, not created. This applies not only to physical laws, such as the law of gravity, but also to the laws of economics, society, war, and human nature.

Apparently our coming war with Iraq is a done deal. Let's apply some Natural Law and see what we come up with.

A big strong country with a big strong military will always beat a little weak country with a little weak military.

Iraq is already one-third conquered as it is. After ten years of blockade, I don't believe they'll offer much resistance. The 22 Islamic countries in the world have a combined GNP (excluding oil) slightly less than that of Spain. Iraq has a GNP the size of South Carolina.

The invasion may not be exactly a "cakewalk," but it'll be close. A lot more of them will die than us. Most of "them" that die will be innocent.

Slave soldiers are no soldiers at all.

The conscripted slave soldiers in Iraq's army will surrender by the thousands, if we let them. It's what they did the first time, when they were surrendering to TV news crews. They don't want to die for a nut like Saddam Hussein.

Democracy is an inferior form of government that will always collapse.
After we conquer Iraq, what exactly are we going to do with it? Try to impose the silly and dangerous leftist dream of "democracy" on it? I doubt most of them know what "democracy" means ("It means...freedom! And, uh, jobs! Yeah, that's it! Freedom and jobs!") Even most Americans don't understand what it means. Self-rule? What exactly is that? The rule of the majority over the minority? The rule of organized special-interest groups busy trying to steal everyone else's money? Iraq is a country that has no understanding of "self-rule" in the slightest. Because of this...

When one country conquers another, it will be there a long time.

Because it will be trying to set up a stable government that will be no threat to the conquerors. Har har! Right now the "President" of Afghanistan has the American military as his Praetorian bodyguards because other Afghanis are trying to kill him.

Conquered countries are a financial drain on the conquerors.

I've never understood Empire. In the history of the world, not one colony has ever been a financial benefit to the conqueror. Not one. They've always sucked more treasure from the conqueror than they've given back.

Now maybe certain people will benefit. I think it's pretty obvious that a armchair-general chickenhawk warmongering coward like Dick Cheney will make out like a bandit on the oil money from Iraq. But the American public? They'll just expend their blood and treasure on a country halfway around the world.

It's a lot easier to conquer than occupy.

If we're big and strong, and they're little and weak, conquering is easy. But occupying is a whole different ballgame, because...

Guerilla warfare is the only way a weak occupied country can fight back against its conqueror.

Guerilla warfare is the Achilles' Heel of any occupying army. We forced the British out during the Revolutionary War through guerilla warfare, and Zionists forced the British out in Palestine the same way.

It's not possible to tell a guerilla from the innocent. A guerilla may be a cabdriver by day, then sneak into the woods at night and shoot an enemy soldier in the head. Then he goes home, goes to sleep and drives his taxi the next day.

Because of this, the only way to completely put a stop to guerilla warfare is to...

Kill everyone.

And we're not going to do that.

What's probably going to happen is the US government is going to conquer Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. We're going to be there for years, expending the American public's blood and treasure. The US military will have to tolerate casualties from guerilla warfare. But in the long-run...

Empires always withdraw.
In the history of the world, not one Empire hasn't collapsed or withdrawn from the territories it occupies. They have destroyed themselves economically trying to run the Empire. They're resorted to ruinous inflation, or destructive deficit spending. Either way, it's ended up collapsing the Empire.

So either we can withdraw now, or we can withdraw later. Of course we will withdraw later, because...

All governments are stupid.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Feeling Sorry for the Foolish

A few years ago got this email:

You are a coward. If you have a problem with this call me at ..." then he listed his name, his position (supposedly) in the Special Forces, and his phone number.

His email was in response to my article, A Rush to War

Of course, I didn't call him. He's not going to change my mind, because I'm right. And I'm not going to change his, because he doesn't know he's wrong.

The only feeling I have when I get emails like his is sorrow. I feel sorry for the guy, because he is foolish. I suspect he is about 23 years old, and I know what he thinks before he tells me, even before he knows what he thinks.

The first thing he would want to know is if I was in the military. If I say it's none of his business, he'll assume I wasn't. If I say I was, he assume I didn't learn anything in it. He'll claim I'm a leftist, because he doesn't know the difference between left and right.

He's the kind of guy who really believes Saddam Hussein was going to attack the US, even though Iraq had an economy about the size of South Carolina, and we could have nuked the place so that it glowed for the next thousand years. He probably believes Hussein was behind 9/11, and was also involved in the Oklahoma City blast.

He believes we had the right to blockade Iraq for ten years, even though hundreds of thousands of people died, many of them babies and the elderly. He thinks we were attacked on 9/11 because we are Good, and those who attacked us are Evil, not because of our support of Israel no matter what it did to the Palestinians, or the genocidal blockade of Iraq, or because we had troops in Saudi Arabia, or because we for 50 years meddled in the Middle East and supported every dictator there no matter what horrible things they did to their citizens.

He's the kind of guy who believes the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to get the Japanese to surrender, because he doesn't know Japan had been trying to surrender for months, but their overtures were rejected. He's also for the fire-bombing of Dresden, even though he doesn't know why it was bombed.

This is the kind of guy who joined the military because he believes he is a patriot, and because he wants to defend his country. That's fine; I don't have any problems with that. But he does not know the US has some 750 military bases in three-quarters of the world, making us an empire. And all empires, without exception, have fallen. But he does not know that, and if he did, believes America will be the exception. It won't.

He's also the kind of guy who believes that America is the greatest force for good in the world today. And it is sad that he believes that, because it is not true. I wish it was, but it's not.

He was no idea that in the 20th century the US attacked and bombed:

China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

I'm not including the 200,000 Filipinos and Filipinas whom the US murdered in the late 1800s when we invaded the Philippines.

How many of those countries attacked the US?

He does not know that Saddam Hussein was originally placed in power by the US, and was our ally, which is why we armed him in his war with Iran. The US did not give a damn how many Iraqis or Iranians were killed. In fact, the administration encouraged the deaths of both. The booger-eating Henry Kissinger commented, "Too bad they both can't lose."

World War I? He does not know that the US administration purposely got us into it by loading the passenger liner Lusitania with munitions. That's why it went down so fast when the Germans torpedoed it. He also does not know the German government ran full-page ads in the Eastern newspapers telling people to stay off of passenger ships. There was no reason whatsoever for the US to get involved in WWI.

World War II? WWII was a direct result of WWI. World War II would never have happened if the US hadn't gone along with the crushing reparations against Germany, allowing Hitler to rise to power. And the Great Depression - caused by State interference in the economy, not "capitalism" - also helped Hitler's rise. The Japanese wouldn't have attacked Pearl Harbor if the US hadn't cut off their oil and other imports, and sent the Flying Tigers against them in China, egging them into a pre-emptive strike against us. And the evidence is overwhelming that the Communist FDR--who called Stalin "Uncle Joe"--knew the Japanese were going to attack, and let it happen so Russia wouldn't have to fight a two-front war against the Germans and Japanese.

Korea? I don't remember Korea attacking us. I don't remember North Vietnam attacking us, either. And I certainly don't remember Panama attacking us.

Of course, he does not know any of these facts. Instead, he believes those attacks by the United States were for the Good of the World. They weren't.

The only thing that can change the mind of a man like this is what is called the School of Hard Knocks. It's what happened to so many soldiers in Vietnam, who went over there to Free the Oppressed and Impose Democracy, then later came back and realized the whole war was a scam, and all of those 58,000 Americans and 2.5 million to three million Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians died for nothing.

Maybe when he grows up he might change his mind. But right now--no, not a chance.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

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 US .

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 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 George Bush pays 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."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Delusions of the Conspiracist

A conspiracist is someone who believes every problsm in the world is a result of a (non-existent) conspiracy - and most of them are impossibly complex, i.e., remote-controlled airplanes, explosives in the WTC, thousands of traitors planning it and pulling it off perfectly, disappearing, and none of them ever saying a word for the rest of their lives.

Among the many problems of the conspiracist is that all unwittingly engage in the fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc: because possible conspiracies do exist (a few people getting together to kill Jimmy Hoffa), therefore impossible ones exist (the 9-11 Truthers).

Another problem none of them realize they have is that conspiracies are determined by whether or not the politician is Republican or Democrat.

An example: if it had been Richard Nixon in that limousine instead of John Kennedy, there would no belief in a conspiracy to kill him. Only Democrats are the victims of conspiracies, while Republicans are the perpetrators.

If it had been Nixon killed, many people would have cheered, making jokes about why it took Oswald three shots to kill him. Never mind the fact Nixon was a far better man than Kennedy -- both just happened to be lousy Presidents. Nixon was an unattrative man with a ski-jump nose and a sweaty upper lip. Kennedy, on the other hand, was a handsome, charismatic, popular man.

Need more proof? When Squeaky Fromme tried to kill Ford, not a word about conspiracy. Why? Republican. When John Hickley did shoot Reagan, again, not a word about conspiracies. Why? Again, Republican.

Had 9-11 happened on Clinton's watch, there would be no Truther movement, because no one would believe that Clinton, even though he is a cracker white-trash serial rapist who should have gotten life in prison, would do such a terrible thing to the U.S. -- because he is a handsome, charismatic, popular man.

Bush, on the other hand, is an unpleasant, unattractive, psychologically fragile dry drunk with beady little eyes...and a Republican. And there is not one word (and there never will be) that Clinton ws part of the 9-11 "conspiracy." But Bush? Of course.

In the last 50 years, one Democrat killed -- he was the victim of a conpiracy! Two attempts on Republicans -- not a word. 9-11 happened on a Republican's watch -- he was the perpetrator.

Just watch -- if anything happens on Obama's watch, there will be not one word about a conspiracy, because Obama is a charismatic, popular man.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Plague of Incompetent Demons

Pity poor Wormwood. As Screwtape's wannabe-demon nephew in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, he aspired to the depths of depravity to which Screwtape had sunk. Unfortunately, Wormwood was incompetent. So Screwtape had him for a snack.

There's a lesson here, somewhere. Incompetent demons always get done in, maybe? I hope so. It's always happened in the past, with wannabe demons like Herod, Nero, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and Pol Pot.

We have our own wannabes right here in the US. I can even give you some of their names (obviously, this list is not necessarily in order of demonic-wannabe incompetence.):

Max Boot
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Douglas Feith
David Frum
William Kristol
Norman Podhoretz
Lewis "Scooter" Libby (What kind of grown man calls himself "Scooter," anyway? It reminds me of a dog I had that used to scoot around on a brand-new carpet.)

John Bolton
Elliot Abrams
Robert Kagan
Bill Bennett
Michael Ledeen
Frank Gaffney, Jr.
These incompetent wannabe-demons (currently known by the name "neocons") are the ones stumbling into war in the Middle East, and dragging the US with them. The blind leading the blind? Yep. What's that over there? A ditch? You bet.

If I had a large enough hand-basket, I'd stuff all of them in it and toss it straight to Hell. Have a nice trip. Don't write. Speaking of Hell, Lewis defined it as a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment."

And why do these plagues of incompetent demons always come in groups? The demon that Jesus kicked out said, "My name is Legion, for there are many of us." Why could he have not said, "My name is Joe, for there's just one of us in here"?

And then Legion got stuffed into some pigs and sent over a cliff. A fitting end to all demons, I'd say. Ditches and cliffs and falling into them and over them sure do seem to figure prominently in the lives of the stupid and evil. I think I'll write that on my palm so I don't forget it. I will look at it often. Every day, in fact.

I know these neocons supporters of the "Let's conquer the Middle East" wars are blindly self-righteous to the point of fanaticism, but the truth, unbeknowst to them, is that they are a legion of incompetent (and therefore minor, and annoying) demons who are bollixing up everything they touch.

Not only are these guys not wise, they're not even knowledgeable. "My people perish for want of knowledge!" moans Hosea. Not even wisdom, just simple knowledge. "False swearing, lying, murder, stealing and adultery! In their lawlessness, bloodshed follows bloodshed." Hosea's remonstrations are directed at the local kings. Uh oh.

Something I'll write on my other palm is the fact that so many of the preachers today criticize the common people, telling them they're going to Hell unless they believe as the preachers do. Yet, these same preachers rarely say anything about the depravations of those with political power, instead apparently believing they are going to be instrumental in bringing Jesus back. But, in the past, the prophets' ire was directed almost exclusively at the really naughty guys, the rulers. And, boy, if Jesus does come back, I suspect there are going to be some really surprised people! One of which will not be me.

Let's put it this way: when's the last time Jerry Fallwell said, "Hey, George, God didn't choose you to be President and doesn't talk to you no matter how much your booze-damaged brain tells you He does. And, I might add, I think you'd better buy some flame-proof underwear come Judgment Day."

The people who are the real prophets are ignored and insulted, just as they were in the past. They are without honor in their hometowns. However, in 200 years, people won't be calling them traitors anymore. By then they'll be respecting them as the real (although dead) prophets, and the names of the real traitors will be used as insults, the way "Pharisee" is, even after 2000 years.

Although, to be totally honest about it, even in 200 years there's never going to be a quote in the Bible that reads, "And the people listeneth not to Bob the Prophet, for their heads cleaveth to their butts." (Considering "cleave" has a dual meaning, I know there's a pun in there somewhere.)

Hosea may have been around a few thousand years ago, but he knew what he was talking about, just as the true prophets today do. And what kind of knowledge was Hosea talking about? The same that is true now as it was then: false swearing, lying, murder and stealing. Hmmm . . . sure sounds like some of the Ten Commandments, doesn't it?

Obviously, in the past (as now, and in the future) the local rulers always exempted themselves from the prohibitions contained in the Ten Commandments (actually, "Commandments" is a completely incorrect translation – it's "Ten Words" or "Ten Utterances").

Notice that Hosea says "lawlessness." He's talking about Natural Law, the law of the universe, of human nature. If these are laws of human nature he's talking about, then they are imprinted right on our DNA. Some of those people on the Human Genome Project going to be surprised when they find morality at the genetic level! Ancient wisdom and modern science, shaking hands over a chromosome.

I used to wonder how these old guys got to be prophets. No more! It's easy. They tell people to follow the Ten Words. And even better, they had no exemptions for those in political power. If the local ox/cab driver couldn't/can't murder, steal and bear false witness against his neighbor, then neither could/can kings/presidents. Or their advisors. It doesn't matter how much they believe in that false god known as their own Monstrous Egos, which, as Russell Kirk accurately pointed out, is the source of all evil. (That source ain't out there, by the way. It's inside us.)

Of course, kings and their advisors never believed what the prophets said, then, or now. No matter. The Law is the Law. When the Bobby Fuller Four sang that old song, "I Fought the Law, and the Law Won," even though they didn't know it, they were singing about something far beyond all the local Barney Fifes deluding themselves they are enforcing real Law by ticketing speeders on the interstate.

All of recorded history (what, maybe 4000 years?) has shown that murder and stealing and bearing false witness and worshipping false idols has never worked. If they had worked, then we wouldn't still be having wars. It almost seems we've involved in a war a few thousand years old, with a few intermissions every once in a while.

All of this is just pretty nuts, which reminds me of the best definition of insanity I've ever heard: trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. "Hey guys! Let's murder and steal and bear false witness . . . what? We'll still be doing the same things 4000 years in the future? But it's for a good cause! And I'm the king, too. Are you really sure about that?" Oh, yes, very sure.

These guys certainly need to call "Mr. Obvious" and get a little advice. Although they won't listen, even if he told them to take the sun shields out of their car's front windows while driving. Which, for all practical purposes, is exactly what they're doing with the USA.

Demon wannabes . . . ugh. If they were lawyers, they'd belong to the firm of Stupid, Arrogant, Blind and Insane. And if anyone founded that firm, it'd be Screwtape.

Incompetent World Conquerors

Part of me looks at the world as a tragedy. Another part looks at it as a comedy. The part that sees it as a tragedy believes 90% of the problems are caused by not following Natural Law. Specifically, two of them: "Don't murder" and "Don't steal." States may think they don't have to follow those laws, but I think they do. (As an aside, several hundred years ago, a writer whose name escapes me completely made the comment that one-quarter of all the misery in the world was caused by tooth ache, a problem now essentially fixed by the misnamed "capitalism.")

The part of me that sees the world as a comedy perceives everything as a comic book. Let me explain.

There is an archetype I call "the would-be world conqueror." In cartoons it's Brain of Pinky and the Brain, or Simon bar Sinister of the old Underdog show, or Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies, or Lex Luthor, or any of James Bond's villains. All of them are representations of the same archetype.

All of them suffer from hubris, and all of them are ultimately incompetent. Dr. Evil is a perfect example of both traits. The earliest representation I am familiar with of the incompetent, hubristic would-be world conqueror is the story of Satan.

Some of the more strict-minded fundamentalist Christians I know run around thinking Satan is chasing them day and night, whereas if I believed in him literally I would laugh at him.

All of these would-be world conquerors have a problem with taking their internal personal problems, projecting them onto the world, then trying to change the world in order to fix what's wrong with them on the inside. The story of Satan is a perfect example of this. The guy's goofy. "I can't be God, so I'll try to destroy everything and everybody."

In real life, Hitler was another perfect example. Obviously he was anti-Semitic, which is a problem on the inside, so when he gained control of the State, all the sheeple went along with him trying to fix the problem "out there" so Hitler so could fix what's wrong "in here." Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin, Pol Pot, Marx...all the same. They had problems on the inside. Instead of fixing themselves inside, they tried to fix the outside.

In modern psychology, the designation for such people is Anti-Social Personality Disorder, or what used to be called a psychopath/sociopath. They're destructive people, without a conscience, who blame their problems on everyone else. This label falls under what is called a "personality disorder," which are people who blame their problems on other people. Unfortunately, to a degree, all of us have it.

Unfortunately, this "let's fix the outside because I can't fix the inside" is, to understate it, a huge problem with humanity. Stated another way, it's the same as saying, "I'm not the one with the problem; you are." You can see this one illustrated in the story of the Garden of Eden, where Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent.

The best example in the news recently of this "I'll fix you because I can't fix me" is William Bennett, an addict who seems to think everyone else in the world but him is an addict.

When you take the archetype of the incompetent, hubristic would-be world conqueror and apply it to empires, you find it explains why all empires collapse. All empires suffer from hubris, which is followed by nemesis. Therefore, all collapse. All the empires of the past – the Mongol, Alexander the Great's, the Roman – poof, all gone, completely.

Currently the United States is busy turning itself into an empire. The leftist neocons, who unfortunately have Dubya's jug ear, have apparently convinced him to conquer a large chunk of the world, in order to drag them into the 21st century and "civilize" them.

My response to all of this? BWHAHAHA! Why? Because what I see happening is a cartoon. Whenever I see William Kristol, or Norman Podhoretz, or listen to Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, I see Brain and Dr. Evil!

These morons are hubristic, incompetent would-be world conquerors who don't have a clue as to what they're really doing. I know they think they're doing good things, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

What's happening is a case of "let's fix the outside because we can't fix the inside." At home we have crushing taxes, massive regulation, an expanding State, an influx of uneducated immigrants, destruction of the value of the dollar through inflation, falling wages...and the administration thinks we can fix our problems by conquering other countries. Obviously, they're ignoring the wisdom of "Take the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else's."

The administration is completely ignoring the wisdom inherent in children's comic books! This doesn't say much for all those Ph.Ds from Harvard and Yale, does it? These blind-leading-the-blind buffoons have wasted their lives studying Leo Strauss; even they could have gotten a far better education reading Superman comics.

What should be stunning, but isn't because of the sheeple-brained imperfection of the human race, is how many people are supporting all the mutant mouse Brains in the administration. Dr. Evil is marching off to war, to conquer the world, and a lot of people are cheering him on. It's a tragedy, but it's also funny: the Brain is leading Pinky off to war and empire, and Pinky is going right along with it. But it's Pinky who's going to die, not the Brain, which is an illustration of the old saying, "He who works with the head, rules; he who works with the hands, is ruled." This doesn't mean that he who works with the head is right, or even smart.

All the neocons need a little bit of repentance ("to turn around and go the other way"), or the word repentance is based on, metanoia ("to change the heart and mind").

Criky! What we really need is Austin Powers to show up and fix the neocons' clocks. Better yet, Superman! At least he really knew what "truth, justice and the American way" meant. And it doesn't mean invading other countries and conquering them.

I take comfort that in the long run the neocons will be exposed for what they are. Right now they are trying to hide from the light by claiming there are no "neocons," but it won't work. They'll be dragged out for the American people to see. It'll take a while, but it'll happen.

After all, Brain and Dr. Evil always got conked on the head sooner or later. It's a law of nature, one that always makes me smile.

Killer Ants from Space

The Greeks had a myth about what the State considered the perfect soldier – an ant. These ant soldiers were called Myrmidons. They didn't question orders, they didn't think, they just fought and died.

Every portrayal of soldiers I have read in all those dystopian science-fiction novels I read all the time are just updated versions of that old myth. Portrayals of the military didn't used to be this way.

We can use as an example Robert Heinlein's novel, Starship Troopers, which was made into a movie that, although it has the same name, has little in common with the novel. In fact, it is a degenerated version of the book.

The late Heinlein was strongly libertarian in his writings, although his support of the military has caused some to label him fascist. They're wrong. Heinlein was far from a pure libertarian, but he was in no way a fascist.

In his novel he supported a purely voluntary military, easy to get out of, but very hard to stay in. Why? He only wanted the most motivated soldiers. The book supports the old military virtues of honor, pride, loyalty and patriotism.

In some ways it is a silly book, with depictions of terribly wounded soldiers who aren't supposed to make a sound, but overall, Heinlein's world is one in which I could live.

Then there's the movie. It shows the difference between Heinlein's 1950's idealized view of the military, and Paul Verhoeven's mocking, satirical 1990's one. The society in the movie is what I call "soft" fascist – the world is starting to become politicized and militarized. As a result, the military has started to degenerate.

I suspect the more politicized and militarized a society, the more fascistic it becomes, and the more its military will degenerate, because of the loss of the true military virtues, which are contrary to fascism. Heinlein's strongly libertarian novel was some 40 years later turned into a fascistic movie. Such is the change in the view of artists toward the military, in a short time.

Most artists are, in a way, prophets. They have a sensitivity, and an imagination, that oftentimes allows them to predict the future, not specifically, but in a general way. Science fiction is specifically about predicting the future. In its history it's done a pretty good job. It's usually about 50 years ahead of society.

I think another reason is that most writers, and especially science fiction writers, are somewhat anarchistic. The imagination, the sensitivity, and the anarchism together gives them a leg up on everyone else, because they have a pretty clear view of the State and the damage it causes to whatever it gets its tentacles into.

Currently, science fiction's depiction of the military is very disturbing. There are three trends in modern science fiction that all should pay attention to: nanotechnology, designer drugs, and genetic engineering. Especially when the military-industrial complex gets its paws on them, because it will try to use them to produce Myrmidon supersoldiers – killer ants from space.

The first example that comes to my mind is the movie Blade Runner, which was about artificial, genetically engineered humans called replicants. The movie, which is very subtle in many ways, suggests the replicants have animal DNA inserted into them. One is part turtle, one raccoon, one wolf, one snake, and one fish, probably shark.

Could such DNA insertions be done? I have no idea. I do know that unholy mutant that is the marriage of Big Business and the State will try, in order to create supersoldiers. You can take that one to the bank.

What comes after Verhoeven's view? The Borg, a futuristic group of Myrmidons that use genetic engineering, nanotechnology and probably designer drugs. I consider them to be the scariest soldiers ever.

The Borg comprises humans (and aliens) who are kidnapped and, through nanotechnology and genetic engineering (and I suspect drugs), turned into Borg soldiers. The soldiers are true Myrmidons – they are without fear of anything (including death), without anxiety, without mercy or conscience, indeed without self-consciousness. They follow orders without questions and die without hesitation. They have no honor, no pride, no dignity. They don't even really have loyalty or patriotism, because they have no choice in the matter, no more than an ant does.

Any degenerated military in the world would love them. They'll all trying to create them. And the essence of a degenerated military culture is to treat soldiers as expendable things – although the upper echelons are always taken care of.

As a personal example, my last year in college a smirking Army officer tried to get us to join, telling the class we would be made officers and "taken care of." The enlisted men, on the hand other, he said, "We don't care about." I didn't join.

I also received offers through the mail from every branch. All of them, except the Marines, were interested in certain degrees such as computer science or engineering. Every other degree was listed as "other," except for the Marines, which only wanted to know if I had a degree. And from what I've been able to gather, it is only the Marines that still have some understanding of a true military culture. The other branches, obviously, are starting to degenerate.

The Borg also show something rare in fiction, but which always exists in the real world – the welfare/warfare state. Writers in general are very good at protraying warfare. Few understand the other side of that coin is welfare. One never exists, in the long run, without the other.

The Borg are on perfect welfare. They're literally babies in the Borg cube. Every need is taken care of. Unfortunately, to protect that welfare, they are always at war with whatever comes their way. Welfare at home, warfare abroad. It's a law of fascism, no matter what name fascism is called.

The Borg are also always trying to absorb whatever race they encounter. Obviously, they consider themselves so superior to all other races they believe it gives them the right to "civilize" them by force. They certainly do sound familiar.

Good fiction is always a cautionary tale, usually jammed right up the reader's nose. It says, "This is what can happen unless you stop it." Currently it's saying, "A fascist society can be recognized by the attempts of its degenerated military, along with State-supported degenerated Big Business, to use science and technology to create expendable Myrmidon supersoldiers, even if it costs them their humanity."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Guns and the Dumb

Since I was raised with firearms, I've never been afraid of them. They're just tools to me, not much different than a hammer or a saw. I do, however, to use a phrase told to me by an electrician about electricity, respect the hell out of them.

I'm more afraid of a power saw or a nail gun than I am of any firearm. Actually, I'm quite a lot afraid of power saws. Actually, I dislike them a lot and never use them. I used to be a carpenter and have seen people run power saws over their hands. One guy accidentally nail-gunned his boot to a plywood deck. Twice. Each time the nail went in between his toes, which greatly relieved him after we pried his shoe from the deck with a crowbar and he developed the courage to take off his boot and look at his foot.

I got very good at putting Band-Aids on wounded carpenters.

When I was 12, my neighbor next door took me skeet-shooting, which was the first time I fired a shotgun. It wasn't a big one, just a 20-gauge that I used to blow up a bunch of clay pigeons. None of the men there gave a thought to a 12-year-old blasting away with a shotgun. At that age, I thought it was about the coolest thing I had ever done, even if the kick did hurt my shoulder.

When I was 13, my father bought me a single-shot .22 rifle with a telescopic sight. I would have preferred a semi-automatic with high-capacity magazine, but he wouldn't spring for one because of the cost, which would have been a lot more than the $15 for that boring bolt-action tifle he did buy me.

One of my friends and I used to walk across the field near my house, carrying the rifle, a box of ammo, and a bunch of empty milk jugs. We'd fill the jugs with scummy green water from a pond, then sight in on them from 100 feet away, and blow them with up with .22 hollow-point slugs.

We didn't shoot each other, or anyone else. We just blew up a lot of water-filled jugs that probably had some innocent bugs in them. There were no accidents with the rifle, or anything close to an accident. We didn't shoot ourselves in the feet or hands. That rifle was a lot safer than the power saws and nail guns I came to despise a few years later.

My friend and I were very, very careful. We respected that rifle. And we never thought a thing about carrying it in public. The police never bothered us, either.

I've known exactly one person wounded by a firearm, unlike the 20 I've known hurt by flying nails that bounced off hammer heads. I saw one guy get a flying nail stuck in his chest. When he pulled it out, a thin stream of blood jetted out about a foot every time his heart beat. My father stuck the tip of his index finger on the hole for a minute, until it clotted.

Another time I found the tip of guy's finger, when he fell off of a ladder and grabbed some metal flashing. I buried it in the back yard of house we were working on.

I've never personally known anyone killed by a firearm. That one guy I know who was wounded was what I will politely refer to as a "career security guard." He had a drunk in a headlock and was beating him over the head with the butt of his .38 pistol when it fired, sending the bullet into his forearm (the fight instantly stopped). He has a heck of a scar, about six inches long, on the inside of his left forearm. I'm sure he learned that pistols are not billy clubs. He was a dumb guy, one who is now a little smarter.

I have known two people killed when they fell off of tractors, one who drowned when he waded into a lake wearing heavy boots which filled with water and pulled him under, and one who got hit by a car while changing a tire on an interstate. Each one of them died because they did something stupid, just like the security guard did something stupid. Fortunately, he lived. The others weren't so lucky.

Those uninitiated into human nature think the way to stop accidents with guns is to remove guns from people's possession. Since guns will never be gotten rid of (everything you need to make a machine-gun can be stored on a closet shelf), it'd be better to teach people, as children, to use firearms properly. Just the way I was taught. It's a lot easier to minimize stupidity (possible) than ban firearms (impossible).

I've known several adults who were not raised with firearms as children. When they became adults and bought guns, some of them didn't understand how dangerous they were. Their ignorance caused problems that were scary at the time, but can be laughed at in retrospect. At least most of the time.

I remember one of my friends showed me a 9mm pistol that was given to him to clear a debt that he was owed. He was in his 40s, and it was the first pistol he had ever owned. He informed me that he was told it was worth $600. I was skeptical that anyone would give him a $600 pistol for a $100 debt. I wondered what it was. A high-quality pistol like a Glock or a Sig Sauer?

What he showed me was one of the cheaply-made, beat-up pistols I've ever seen. Even from across the room I could see that it had been banged around a lot.

I asked him to do what I always ask people to do when I'm around firearms: take the magazine out and rack the slide back so I would know the pistol was empty It was, but I wasn't going to trust his word. I never trust anyone's word about a gun being empty until I see it with my eyes. People have been killed by guns the shooters were convinced were empty.

I had a woman tell me one of his son's friends was killed when a grown man bought a pistol, took the magazine out, pointed it at a teenager's head, and pulled the trigger. He later told police he didn't know there was a round in the chamber. I'm sure this was no consolation whatsoever to the boy's brother, who was in the room when the shooting occurred. This man had never handled a gun before in his life. That one wasn't funny in retrospect. It never will be.

When my friend handed the pistol to me, I looked at the manufacturer's name stamped on the side. It was one of the worst guns manufactured in the US, and possibly the worst in the world – a Lorcin. I've read cases where they blew up in people's hands. Brand-new, they cost $125. Used, they're worthless.

Once I saw a brand-new one at a gun shop. When I asked the owner why he was selling such a piece of junk, he answered that he knew only 100 rounds would go through the barrel before the pistol was worthless, but "poor people need self-defense."

I've seen Glocks that had 100,000 rounds put through them, and this guy was selling a shiny chrome-plated piece of garbage that you probably couldn't put a magazine through it without it jamming.

If anyone tried to give me one, I wouldn't take it. Even brand-new.

When I told my naïve friend that his $600 pistol was worth exactly nothing, that he couldn't pawn it even for $5, and that worst of all it was a very dangerous gun, he got mad at me. He didn't believe me.

When I saw him a few weeks later, he sheepishly told me he had gotten rid of it. He said when he put the magazine in, the pistol fired. In his apartment. He didn't pull the trigger; the pistol fired when he gently inserted the magazine. It blasted a neat little hole in his wall, which we spackled. The round is still in the wall. He told me he had no idea there was a bullet in the chamber.

Dumb? Dumb. Very, very dumb.

Later, I met another man, in his 30s, who knew exactly nothing about firearms. I saw him raise a .44 Magnum over his head, cock it, and when he was lowering it the weight of the pistol moved it slightly forward in his hand, causing the trigger to pull against his finger. The pistol fired upward at a 45-degree angle. Since we were in the woods, the bullet landed harmlessly, unless it plonked down on some poor unsuspecting rabbit or squirrel.

The look of shock on his guy's face was priceless. Too bad I didn't have a camera. He swore he didn't pull the trigger. I knew he didn't. But in his ignorance he made one of the cardinal mistakes: he cocked the pistol when it was over his head, then lowered it.

At least none of the guys out there were a whoopin' and a hollerin' and guzzling beer. I would have been gone in a second.

None of these people were raised with firearms. They didn't encounter them until they were adults. As a result, they made mistakes that could have been tragic.

I will, guaranteed, trust a 13-year-old raised with firearms over a 40-year-old who wasn't.

From the Government, Here to Help You

From conversations, from emails, and from articles I've written, I encounter people in whose opinion my continued existence is solely dependent on the military protecting me from the big bad world out there, a world which in their view is full of slavering homicidal tyrants. It's as if I'm a naïve and helpless puppy being guarded by wise, noble and heroic attack dogs. Ones who are much smarter and more worldly than I am.

I don't think it would be too far off the mark to call such a view "the Nathan R. Jessup Delusion," after Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men. Jessup's courtroom explanation captures this view accurately:

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you don't want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post."

Jessup's opinion is a variation of what everyone dreads to hear: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." It's a modern version of an old observation, one that runs back to Aesop and Jesus: tyrants always present themselves to the oppressed as benefactors.

And there's the rub: when people suggest to me my (to them) soft, foolish life is solely dependent on the protection of hard men making hard choices, they are supporting, whether they know it or not, the view that tyranny is acceptable if it "benefits" the public.

Is this not fascism, the utilitarian view that the individual can be involuntarily sacrificed to the group? Is that not exactly what Jessup did in the movie, and what many self-defined patriots believe they have the right to do with other's lives?

What these people are doing is making excuses for bad behavior, which is one of the main traits of criminals. As Robert Heinlein pointed out, people are not so much rational as rationalizing. And they will rationalize anything, no matter how bad it is, to make it look good and pure and noble.

When exactly was the last time the military actually defended the United States? The last time the U.S. was invaded was the War of 1812, which happened when the U.S. tried to grab Canada while England was at war with France. It was an unnecessary war.

The War Between the States, caused more than anything else by the North's attempts to economically exploit the South? The Philippines Insurrection, in which the U.S. invaded the Philippines and killed up to 200,000 Filipino civilians? All those Filipinos were going to swim the Pacific and hop that wall that Jessup spoke about?

How about the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the war against the Serbs, the war in Afghanistan and the Iraqi wars? In all of those, we were attacked only once by another country, at Pearl Harbor, after FDR tricked the Japanese into attacking us. 9-11 was not an attack by a country, but a group. And that was blowback, caused by U.S. meddling in the affairs of other countries.

In Vietnam we claimed the Vietnamese attacked our warships in the Gulf of Tonkin (which they didn't), then invaded their country and essentially destroyed it. Robert McNamara, who is now in a very warm place indeed, estimated the U.S. killed 3.4 million Southeast Asians. Even today, the Vietnamese are suffering greatly from birth defects from the millions of tons of Agent Orange we dumped on their jungles. And all of it was to defend America?

In over 200 years as a country, we've been invaded once, attacked twice. All were avoidable. Otherwise, it's been us attacking other countries. Some of those "others" have included China, Lebanon, Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, Grenada, Libya, and Somalia. I probably missed some.

Our bad behavior throughout the world is either ignored in our history books or white-washed as an attempt to bring freedom to benighted and backward savages. The victors write the textbooks, as always. I wonder how our current attempts to impose "democracy" on recalcitrant wogs will be portrayed in the future in our schools?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not anti-military. Some men, the Kshatriyas, are natural-born warriors. The late Col. David Hackworth was one. They're identifiable by seeing war as a last resort, unlike the sofa samurai who see it as the first choice. As long as they don't have to make their way to the front lines, of course.

I am not so naïve and foolish as to believe that the U.S. having troops in over 140 countries has anything to do with defending America. More than anything else, it'll breed resentment and hate, leading to more blowback against us.

From the American Revolution through the War of 1812, through the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf, the U.S. has suffered over 652,000 battle deaths and 1,430,000 non-mortal woundings. The count now climbs daily. How many were unnecessary? Almost all? All?

Although the Col. Jessups of the world will continue to believe they are defending me, I disagree with them. I'd be happy if they really did defend the U.S., and stay out of the rest of the world. It would save more trouble than they can possibly fathom.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Never Let Anyone Tell Your Story for You

Some years ago a historian told me, "Never let anyone tell your story for you." I was also told this again a few weeks ago, which reminded me of the first time.

This hostorian didn't explain, but he didn't have to: I instinctively knew the unstated rest of his comment: "Because if you do, they will destroy your culture. They will destroy the myths and rites and rituals that hold it together. They'll destroy your community, and the meaning and importance that supports it."

I also thought of this saying when a friend, very much a history buff himself, told me he had read the textbook given his 16-year-old son in his Advanced Placement history class in high school. He had expected to tear the book apart, but found, to his amazement, that it was a very accurate text. He said the author had even put the word "neocon" in quotes, suggesting, quite correctly, they are neither new nor conservative.

The reason my friend thought he was going to shred the book is because he had read the textbook given to the non-AP students. It was terrible, he told me, so terrible he visited the principal to complain about it, because he wanted it removed.

He gave to me as an example the fact the book listed how many Japanese were interned in the U.S. during WWII. and how many Jews were killed in every country in Europe, but did not list how many Americans were killed in the War between the States, World War I, World War II, or Vietnam.

When my friend asked the principal what percentage of Americans died in Japanese POW camps in WWII (an easty-to-remember 50%), the principal, whose Ph.D. was in Psychology (which I consider a worthless degree) did not know. He had heard of Audie Murphy was but had never heard of Dick Bong.

The principal also told my friend he was the first parent to come into his office to complain about a textbook.

I decided years ago the way to destroy a culture is to take over education, the government, the media, and the churches, and attack the dominant culture. Bit by bit it can be destroyed. It's letting your enemies tell your story for you, And without stories about themselves, and a history, they are reallly no people at all.

There are two main institutions I see as enemies of the United States: Hollywood, and Washington, D,C,, and the schools that support D.C.: Harvard, Princeton, Yale. D.C. is the home of the genocidal behemoth that is the federal government, and Hollywood is home to every possible imaginable perversion,

The people who live in these two places -- the East and West Coasts -- refer to everything inbetween them as Flyover Land -- the main purpose of which is to produce cannon fodder for D.C.'s wars. I consider it the Real America, and see Hollywood and D.C. as trying to destroy this America and impose their "culture" on it,

Here's an example: when Michael Medved writes a book called Hollywood vs. America, he's not really talking about Hollywood vs. America, even though I'm sure he thinks he is. Medved supports the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the America Empire. He supports D.C. against Hollywood, and tries to convince people the "real America" supports the U.S.'s current wars for oil, empire, and Israel. In his world, the Real America supports D.C. Indeed, the Real America is D.C.

The culture that D.C. wishes to impose on America is one in which everyone is "patriotic" and supports its endless wars to "improve" the world. I am reminded of the sayings of both Jesus and Aesop: all tyrants call themselves benefactors.

This culture in D.C. claims we are the Good Guys under attack by the Evil Ones who wish to Do Us In, and will stop at nothing to acheive their goal. Anyone who believes otherwise, in this worldview, is unpatriotic and indeed a traitor. That's the "culture" that D.C. tries to impose on the U.S.

That "us vs. them" mentality reminds me of a comment by Hermann Goering: "All you have to do is to tell them [the public] they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Hollywood, on the other hand, tries to impose on America a worldview which is anti-white male and pro-anyone- who-isn't-white-male. To it the worst place in the U.S. is the South, which is full gun nuts, ranting Bible thumpers, and people who pine for the good ol' days of the KKK.

Hollywood tries to impose, more unpleasant things on Ameria, such as the movie, Brokeback Mountain. Unfortunately, whatever passes for "Walt Disney" these days allowed a convicted pedophile to direct a creepy little film, Powder, which contaned scenes of half-naked, muscular, hairless teenage boys showering together.

Holllywood seems to think everyone in Flyover Land is almost exactly the same. I once saw a movie in which the banker is a small Illinois town wore a cowboy hat and a string tie, had a Texan accent, and listened to horrid country music. Such people don't exist in Illinois, a state in which I was born and spent many years.

But to Hollywood, a Texan is a Midwesterner is a Southerner. Almost all the same; there is almost no difference. Only the East and West Coasts reallly count. Flyover Land is peopled with....who knows exactly what?

Hollywood and D.C. have succeeded so well with their Gramscian march through the institutions and their capturing the culture that many Americans now have little understanding of the original beliefs on which this country was founded -- that of small government, decentralization, freedom, and a military to protect the country, not create an Empire.

How many people these days have heard of the America First Committee, which attempted to keep the U.S. out of WWII? Charles Lindbergh, anyone? Hello? 800,000 members, 135,000 in Illinois alone?

Find anyone in D.C.,or Hollywood, or any grade school, middle school, high school, or college, who knows about this committee. You will find only a handful.

I wonder how many Southeners these days know about the Southern Agrarians, with their critiques of what is essentially materialist and mercantilist Yankee culture? Or that the main propronent today is the 74-year-old poet and novelist Wendell Berry, who is currently fighting fighting the blowing up of mountain tops in Kentucky by coal companies?

Berry also said, "We'd be nothing without stories." He's right about that. It reminds me of something Ray Bradbury said: "Metaphors are the center of life." Any story that truly resonate with us has to be metaphorical, which is essentially the manipulation of images.

Everyone needs myths to live by

l define "myths" as "the stories that give meaning and structure to life". The French theorist Jacques Rancière calls them its "dominant fiction," society’s ideological “reality, ” a way that society uses images and stories to give members of a social structure, a consensus in how they identify themselves.

People need these myths, and will have them, even if they claim they don't have them and don't need them These mythic beliefs give order, meaning, importance, and community to people's lives.

Even libertarians have them. I've know libertarians who are believers in such "myths" as Techno-Paganism, Discordianism, Objectivism, and various forms of German Neo-Paganism such as Asatru and Odinism. Some have gone so far as to worship the free market itself, including such non-free-market corporate mercantilist entities as Wal-Mart, and believe harmony (perhaps even Utopia) will flow from everyone in the world being united in their desire for McMansions, SUVs, and big-screen plasma TVs.

These kind of people believe fanatical Christians, fanatical Jews, and fanatical Muslims can peaceably share the same land,, ignoring the history of the world, and humanity tribal nature.

This (always non-existent) Utopia will never happen, because people with other cultures, in other countries, don't want foreigners telling their stories for them, and trying to destroy their myths, and impose other, unwanted ones on them. The U.S. government is trying that today. and before them, for some 300 years, the British.

The people who believe in the various myths I listed are trying to come up with a history, and something to believe in, because their original beliefs have been destroyed by D.C. and Hollywood -- by those who have captured the culture. Who have captured education, the media, the government, religion.

Since many people don't like what this country has turned into, they are rebelling and seeking new beliefs to live by, It's a reaction to the imposition of cultures they don't like. It's a fascinating thing.

People are going to have to take back their culture, to tell them own stories, to not let others do it for them. That means taking back the schools, the media, the churches, the government. It will, unfortunately, take a generation or more -- the same length of time it took to lose everything.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kill Them All and Let God Sort Them Out

Glad to say, I'm not a highly-paid court intellectual, or don't have three words in my name, or a Ph.D from some effete eastern university. So, I am reduced to using what creakingly passes for my common sense. Compared to the aforementioned groups, though, I'm a genius.

My common sense notes with great dismay that there is only one way an army can defeat guerillas: kill everyone. I don't mean an amateurish one million or two million or three million people, the way the US did in Vietnam . I mean go all Genghis Khan on them--waste everyone.

It's impossible for an army to tell who is a guerilla and who isn't. They're always befuddled, no matter what glowing reports they feed to the masses back home. Stripping people naked and stacking them into pyramids might help a tiny little bit, but it's not going to put an end to the guerilla problem. Moving up to pliers and fingernails would be much more effective. Cigarette lighters, too. They won't put an end to the guerilla problem, either, but they sure are an awful lot of fun if you're a sadist.

A guerilla might be a cab driver by day, and at night shoot an occupying soldier, even if he's a lousy shot and only gets one a month. That makes him a guerilla, right? Or is it a terrorist? Or is it a dead-ender? I wish the propagandists would make up their minds.

Since armies cannot tell who is and who isn't, the only way to put a permanent stop to guerilla warfare is to rub everyone out--men, women, children, babies. We don't need to go so far as they did in the old days and bump off the goats and sheep. They can't use mortars.

Ancient amoral pagans--which is what they were--rubbing everyone out put a permanent end to attacks. Remember what Rome did to Carthage ? No one can fight if everyone is dead.

So, I think we should use the Romans’ lesson plan! No more pussyfooting around with those Iraqis and Aghans! Forget imposing the wacked-out leftist dream of democracy on them, or dragging them into the 20th Century. It won't work, and besides, it's for wusses. We need some more blood and iron, or, in the case of FreeRepublic, making water and weak knees.

We should do like National Review's nancy-boy Rich Lowry suggested--nuke Mecca and Medina ! Admittedly, nuclear weapons can be pretty dirty. Those two cities might be uninhabitable for a while, but you know the old saying, can't fuse the desert sand without vaporating a lot of people.

Besides, those two cities are surrounded by a couple of zillion square miles of sand. Who wants to live there, anyway? Just be precise with those nukes and make sure the oil wells remain untouched. All the soccer mommies with the SUVs and cellphones glued to their ears will be elated.

Maybe instead we should just set up death camps. Those Nazi blueprints must be lying around somewhere. I'm sure William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Max Boot, Douglas Feith and similar traitorous vermin would happily be the kommandants of such places. Kristol looks like Simon Bar Sinister, anyway.

Round up all those ragheads and march them right in! What was that Stalin said? "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of a million men is a statistic"? Let's make all of them statistics.

And you know what? The guerilla problem will be ended permanently.

Okay, maybe not. My common sense tells me croaking everyone is a short-term solution, indeed a Pyrrhic victory. A people, a culture and a country that would off everyone would have to be so degraded and immoral they would collapse. Maybe that's why all those empires in the past that engaged in such activities are no longer around. The communists, the Nazis, the fascists--hey, where are those guys, anyway? I don't think we want to follow in their footsteps.

As Ernest Hemingway wrote, "You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly, you become eligible for being wiped out yourself."

Ah, shoot--we are following in their footsteps, albeit not perfectly. Instead of setting up death camps, the US blockades countries for 10 years, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. We get rid of our nuclear waste by making it into depleted uranium rounds and polluting other countries. The bloodthirsty sheeple cheer from the sidelines. We all know they have no intention of making their way to the front lines.

Maybe we should turn around and go the other way. And fast, too. Now that's a common-sense idea! Close down our over 700 military bases in three-quarters of the countries in the world, and bring all our soldiers home. Maybe the US shouldn't overthrow the governments of other countries and install tyrants who are our puppets. Like the late Shah of Iran. Or Saddam Hussein, for that matter. And quit siccing our military on other countries for the flimsiest of reasons.

Heck, at the end of World War I, after the Ottoman Empire imploded, the people in the Middle East asked America to administer the area. Surely they didn't think the US believed in Truth, Justice and the American Way ?

Maybe in those days we did. Now, we believe in empire. Instead of having colonies, we have military bases. That still makes us an empire, and empires always collapse, no matter what the soccer mommies and the chickenhawk sheeple think.

The State never has any common sense. I'll bet that saying was on the first tablets Moses broke.

If the State did have any common sense, we'd never have the problems we have now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Perfectly Wrong Enemy

C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, made the interesting comment that "Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite not of God, but of Michael."

He has a point, although I'm not sure it's the one he meant. But he continues: "Now if by 'the Devil' you mean a power opposite to God, and like God, self-existent from all eternity, the answer is certainly No. There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite [my italics]. No being could attain a 'perfect badness' opposite to the perfect goodness of God, for when you have taken away every kind of good thing (intelligence, will, memory, energy and existence itself) there would be none of him left."

Those are some interesting comments by Lewis. It almost sounds as if he doesn't really believe in evil. I don't. I think what people call 'evil' is what the Greeks called "hubris," and the Bible calls "pride": believing one is god-like. That, of course, is the sin of Satan.

There are some very unfortunate things associated with Satan being the opposite of God. Probably the worst is that most people seem to think God and Satan are of almost equal power. They may say they don't believe it, but they generally act as if they do.

Believing God and Satan are of equal power is an old heresy known as Manichaeism. It's the belief that there are two gods of equal power, one absolutely good, the other absolutely evil.

Manichaeism is alive and well, even today. If it wasn't, people wouldn't think Satan is the opposite of God. Even people who have no religious beliefs still often believe in absolute good and absolute evil, even if they claim they don't. Even if they insist they don't, they still often define their opponents as evil and imbue them with great, almost magical powers that they will use to "conquer the world."

Manichaeism, whether ancient or modern, is based on the belief in absolute good and absolute evil. When people believe in such concepts, this is what happens: they think they are good, and those who disagree with them are evil. Being evil, they must be destroyed. Generally, they scapegoat those they define as evil: since we are (absolutely) good, we must project our imperfections onto others, who then are considered (absolutely) evil, then annihilated.

The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck called scapegoating "the genesis of human evil." And he's right on the money. Scapegoating always comes from the belief in an absolute good and absolute evil.

"Evil," in and of itself, would have no meaning unless it had some kind of power. Without power, it would be harmless, just a mere attitude. In my view, we not only create "evil" by projecting it onto other people, we then give it power, which really means power over us. We create Satan and give him power over our lives. "Power is the horse that evil rides," as the old saying goes.

For some literary examples, there is Gollum in The Lord of the Rings who became degraded (what Lewis called "bent") because of the combination of evil and power--in his case, the Ring of Power. Then, of course, we have Sauron. Gollum is a retelling of the story of Lucifer, who "fell" from goodness into degradation. The opposite of goodness is not evil, but hubris.

Now just how asinine is it to create a horrendously destructive concept and give it power over our lives? How many fundamentalists run around in hysteria thinking the Devil is after them? Or don't they really believe they are completely safe, courtesy of the God they profess to believe in so fervently?

During the 20th century, the Nazis and Communists, who were modern-day Manichees, slaughtered up to 200 million people. Both groups saw everything in either black or white: we're the good ones, the chosen of God. Our opponents must necessarily be evil, of the Devil. Each group immensely exaggerated the power of its opponents. Each group created a Satan and gave him power. The end result: horrendous slaughter.

Some people are literally being run in circles by nothing more than ghosts in their heads. It's happening even today, with the wars the US is involved in. Each side thinks it is good, chosen by God. Each side sees the other as absolutely evil. Each sees the conflict as between God and Satan, between absolute good and absolute evil. The end result will be a long war.

It is an understatement to say that it is unfortunate that the monotheistic religions have chosen to see the opposite of God being Satan. I don't see such an opposition in Buddhism and Taoism. Nor do I see such warfare as we are engaged in, in those religions.

The cure, of course, as it always is, is to eradicate those ghosts in people's heads, to give up the belief in absolute good and absolute evil, and the scapegoating that inherently is a part of that splitting. They must, as the old saying goes, "change their hearts and minds."

I don't see any of this happening anytime soon, unfortunately. Satan is alive and well, if only in our heads. Sadly, there's no slave like a willing slave. Or someone who doesn't even know he's a slave.

If Satan did exist, I bet he'd be chuckling at the way so many people have conned themselves into believing he's nearly the equal of God. I bet it would be exactly what he wants.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Worst Dream I've Ever Had

I knew I wasn't the only one to have to this nightmare. Steve Sailer's had it, too. He writes:

"If my dreams are representative, then the real American Dream is that you're in the classroom for your final exam but you haven't attended a class or opened the book all semester, and for some reason you're wearing your pajamas, and you really have to go to the bathroom."

In my dream it's the last day of high school, and I realize I'm not going to graduate because of a class I have not attended. I'm desperately trying to find the room and I'm consumed with tenseness and anxiety. When I do find the room everyone is speaking some unknown language. The teacher sounds like the one in "Charlie Brown": "Wah wah wah!" The test makes no sense. With a horrible sinking feeling I realize I have to attend high school for another year.

Obviously, there is a Hell, and it's right here. And there's a Nightmare Factory in it churning out variations of the same dream. My, those demons must be chuckling.

I have this dream about once a year. One time it was such a nightmare I woke up disoriented and ran to the front door and stuck my head outside, trying to get some air.

What causes dreams like these?

The answer: public schools. There was something toxic about the public schools when I attended - and oh was I relieved to graduate--and they are still toxic today.

I sometimes wonder if I have brain damage. Something's wrong in there, the way I still dread public schools. Or may it's just some Pavlovian thing, like that drooling dog.

There are only two other institutions in American society that you are cannot leave: prisons and the military. And then there are the public schools. You have to go, and you cannot get out...just like prisons. Ergo, public schools are prisons!

Sit, march, sit, for eight hours a day. No wonder we have such a high drop-out rate.

I was nearly bored to tears being forced to sit like that. So, I retreated into my imagination, which was a lot bigger than my school.

The teachers didn't like my attitude. I still have my reports cards claiming I wasn't doing my homework and not paying attention in class. And how I was "capable of doing such good work."

Sorry to disappoint you, ladies and an occasional man, but I was too busy dreaming I was Tan Hadron of Hastor, rescuing damsels in distress and killing four-armed apes. At least the teacher never found my copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Fighting Man of Mars. The one I still have.

I also had a note sent home to my parents because I went all gnarly and was chewing on my report cards in class. The note politely suggested there was something wrong with me, and how something - never specified - should be done to me. Maybe either a doctor or else else a good beating over the head with a shoe.

I guess my chewing on the report card was the only way I could strike back, except for wishing horrible agonizing deaths on Dick and Jane and Spot and Pony, all of whom put me off of reading for many years.

These days I'd be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity and forced to take Ritalin. As bad as it was back then, at least we didn't have any of that.

Of course, some public school are better than others. Still, some are downright horrors, and for some students, no matter how good they are, they're still horrors. And none of them are geared for the most intelligent, sensitive and imaginative students - the ones you can recognize because of the glazed, dreaming look in their eyes.

When I look back on my career in the public schools, I don't think I learned a thing past the fourth grade. In middle school I wondered why I was in classes with Neanderthals, and in high school I partied all the time.

I graduated with a D+++ average. I was supposed to not be allowed to graduate, but I had already been accepted to college, and it was obvious the high school administration was glad to get rid of me.

The only people I've ever met who enjoyed high school were some cheerleaders and some athletes. In fact, it was the high point of their lives, like Al Bundy in 'Married with Children", and for most of them it's been downhill ever since.

I occasionally have this fantasy of burning all the public schools down and salting the ground. And peppering the teachers, too.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean. And don't tell me you haven't had the same fantasies, because you have.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Myth of Redemptive Violence

The theologian Walter Wink (author of The Powers That Be) writes of what he calls the Myth of Redemptive Violence. This myth, he writes, is the belief that violence, especially administered by the State, is necessary and restorative to make people whole. Violence equals health, you might say, or in Orwellian terms, War is Peace.

He believes this myth is one of the oldest known, and runs back to the Babylonian creation story, (the Enuma Elish) from around 1250 B.C.E. This story, he tells us, keeps reappearing, even today, even in something as innocuous as children's cartoons.

According to the myth, in the beginning Apsu, the father-god, and Tiamat, the mother-god, give birth to all the other gods. But the younger gods are so rowdy in their partying their parents decide to murder them so they can sleep. Their children uncover the plot and kill Apsu. Tiamat, also known as the Dragon of Chaos, swears vengeance.

Terrified, the rebellious gods turn for help to their youngest, Marduk. His price is dear: he wants to be undisputed ruler. Having gained this promise, he catches Tiamat in a net, drives an evil wind down her throat, pierces her belly and heart with an arrow. He then smashes her skull with a club and scatters her blood. From her corpse he creates the universe.

In this myth, creation is an act of extreme violence. Life comes from death. As the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur has pointed out, order is established by means of disorder. Tiamat (the Dragon of Chaos) is prior to the "order" imposed by Marduk by violence. The gods themselves are astonishingly violent. Evil precedes Good; in such a case only great violence by the latter can control the former.

Now contrast this Babylonian myth with the one in Genesis: Good precedes Evil. Creation is essentially good, but has been corrupted by Man, overwhelmingly through a combination of his awakening to self-consciousness and narcissism that leads to the scapegoating based on envy. The result was the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

What we have are two diametrically opposed stories: Evil precedes Good, necessitating violence to impose "order," or Good precedes Evil, meaning violence, however well-intended, will never return us to the Garden. In the first instance existence is inherently corrupt; in the second it isn't, but has been corrupted by us. In the first, Good grows out of Evil; in the second, Evil is twisted (or as C.S. Lewis called it, "bent") Good.

The first story is not only un-Christian, but anti-Christian. It is the most pagan of pagan horrors. In the first, existence is inherently a horror, in the second the horror is secondary, caused by the corruption of an inherently good cosmos. In the first the preferred response is revenge.

In the first story people are by nature incapable of peacefully co-existing and must have order imposed from above by strong rulers who, according to the myth, are motivated by little more than a lust for power and violence. In the second the need for a powerful authority, and the lust, are themselves the corruption. The first is an excuse for slavery and fascism; the second, an argument for freedom.

It can be argued (and I would agree with it) that a conservative is one who believes human nature is corrupt and that society represses or transforms the imperfections in it. In the latter case it would, for an example, attempt to turn envy into admiration.

But notice that it is a voluntary society that does these things, not the coercive (and inherently pagan) State. I'd argue that a true conservative believes there is much good in human nature, but it has been corrupted. To believe this is to believe people can redeem themselves, can change for the better. Unless there is some goodness in us – and because of that we instinctively know what it is – we cannot "return" to it. And that return, that true change of heart and mind, can only come about voluntarily, through persuasion. That, to me, is the Christian view.

The pagan view, on the other hand, believes might makes right, the violence is necessary and redeeming, that the Good (and order) imposed on Evil (and chaos) is usually motivated by vengeance and the lust for power. Whatever philosophy it hides behind, whatever ideology is used to justify it, underneath all of them it is the belief that the gods smile upon conquerors, that peace can only come about through war, that security not liberty is the highest good.

That ancient myth does not exist in its pure form today in the Western world. It was ameliorated by the influence of Christianity, although Christianity today has been influenced and therefore perverted by it. But in whatever form it exists, that Babylonian myth is far from finished, even today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Ever-Present Warrior

Some people are born to be certain things. I've known singers who knew they were going to be singers at the age of five. I'm a natural-born comedian, much like a Pug dog, and even though I don't remember it, have been told by my relatives I used to crack them up at the age of five or six. I certainly remember being 13, by which time I was a class clown.

Some men are even born to be natural warriors, no matter how many deluded leftists think that banning squirt-guns will change human nature and make these guys grow up to be Hugh Grant-watching girlie-boys. Unfortunately, libertarians have pretty much ignored the natural-born warrior, and since they don't know about the problem, haven't thought about it and therefore don't have a clue what to do with these guys.

Mythology gives us a hint as to how to deal with them.

I pay quite a lot of attention to myths. If they weren't true, and didn't have universal wisdom in them, they wouldn't have lasted for thousands of years.

Let's take a look at the myth of Hercules. He certainly is a natural-born warrior--he strangled two snakes which attacked him while he was in his crib. Significantly, he's not only a protégé of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and civilization, he's her half-brother. The point? Natural-born warriors are part of society, and we can't get rid of them, no more than we can get rid of singers or comedians.

Hercules was also tipped over a bit toward the insane side, since in a fit of rage he murdered his entire family. He then had to atone for his crimes with his Twelve Labors, feats which took many years. What does this mean? That natural-born warriors may not be the most stable people in the world? Or that when they murder the innocent in war, they must repent and atone for it? Or both?

Things get even more interesting when we find the Greek god of war, Ares, is the half-brother of Athena, meaning that war is part of society, and we can't get rid of it, either. We never have in the past. We can only reduce it as much as possible, which is certainly a reasonable goal.

Ares, who was a coward who delighted in murder and destruction, was hated by all the other gods (including his parents), but he was especially despised by Athena. Since she was the goddess of civilization, and he was the god of war, it is no wonder she hated him, since war and civilization are eternally at odds with each other.

Now here's an important question: Why was the warrior Hercules a follower of Athena and not Ares? Shouldn't it be the other way around? In the stories, Hercules often fought Ares, always beating him (but never killing him), just the way in the long run Society will always beat the State. Societies may survive; States never do. Hercules also rubbed out probably half of Ares' murderous offspring.

The myth is telling us these natural-born warriors must be accepted by society and used in some way against the State. These days, mythologically, Ares is the god of the State, and Athena should be the goddess of society.

Since the State tries to trick the masses into thinking it is not only the protector of Society, but indeed is Society, it is no wonder these Oliver North-types goes into State militaries, since they, like most people, can no longer tell the difference between the State and Society.

We'd be better off if in some ways we lived as we did in the past, when the King would take his Hercules warrior-types and go to war with another kingdom while leaving all the citizens alone. Personally, I'd like to see all the politicians fight each other with swords in an arena. I'd not only pay to watch it, I'd bring a couple of camcorders. I suspect most of the world would, too.

Instead, today we have standing militaries. The Founding Fathers understood the dangers of these standing armies. They wanted nothing to do with them, since all States are followers of Ares, no matter what they say. They then use the militaries, with its natural-born warriors, to advance its interests. Which are rarely--possibly never--the same as Societies'.

Stories about Hercules show up, however unwittingly, even today. I don't mean silly cartoons or silly movies. I mean excellent movies like 1986's “The Mission.” In it, Rodrigo Mendoza (played by Robert De Niro) is a slaver and murderer with an unstable, violent temper. Then, in a fit of rage, he murders his brother. To atone for his crime he drags his armor up a mountain. After that, he protects the people he had formerly murdered and enslaved. In the end, it costs him his life. Under the circumstances, he had no choice.

Mendoza was a natural-born warrior. At first he had been a follower of Ares and the State (the State which gave him license to be a murderer and slaver.) Then he repented and atoned for his crimes, became a Jesuit, and began to defend the Society he had once exploited and tried to destroy. He was a Hercules who, in the end, became a follower of Athena, not Ares.

We can see this Hercules myth (in part) in lesser movies like “Rambo.” In it, Rambo engaged not only in State-sponsored military killing, but murder. He never atoned for it; as a result, he came back to Society unable to cope. (The book, First Blood, by David Morrell, is a serious novel far superior to the movie and is in no way pulp-adventure. In it, Rambo--who had no first name--was far, far more disturbed that Stallone's portrayal.)

When I was in college, we were shown movies in class about "primitive" cultures in which two rival tribes would gather in opposing lines and throw spears and shoot arrows at each other. They were so far away there were very few injuries and rarely any deaths.

At the time, I thought the tribes were amusing. Yet, they never had real wars. Throwing spears from 100 feet way was their idea of war. When they were done, everyone went home and bound up their minor wounds.

Right now our Politically Correct Society is in a bind. On one hand, the liberals are trying to get rid of these warriors by frothing at the mouth about little boys playing with G.I. Joe. On the other hand, we cheer these men for joining State militaries and engaging in fantasies about "defending their country" and, worse, making "the ultimate sacrifice."

Both views are wrong. Leftists are not only wrong about human nature, they don't understand it at all. They're literally blind. And those who support the State and State militaries under the guise of "patriotism" are nearly as deluded, if not just outright scoundrels wrapping themselves in the flag while insisting others fight and die.

Society has to evolve methods to deal with these men; they can't be imposed from the top down. I am reminded of Thomas Berger's wonderful novel, Little Big Man, about the Cheyenne . They had two chiefs: a War Chief for battle and a Peace Chief otherwise. None of the people had to listen to them unless they wanted.

For them, the greatest, bravest feat in battle lay not in killing the enemy but taking coup, i.e., whacking him on the head with a small stick as they rode by. Perhaps we, too need mock battles, as did the tribes I watched. We seem to be evolving them, with something like paintball fights.

These natural-born warriors are an extremely small minority, just like great singers or comedians. When they become enamored of the State, and join its militaries, horrendous problems can result. Therefore, they must be kept away from the State. These men must defend Society against the State, not the State against Society.

The libertarian view is that there should be no State, only Society. Since these men exist, and always will, Society has to learn how to deal with them and give them a place in it.