Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speaking Truth to Pouters & Doubters

It’s too bad that the main point of the pope’s recent talk has been lost amidst the willful misunderstanding by habitually aggrieved and pouting Muslims and their western mouthpieces in the MSM prick-and-martyr spin machine. This is probably perfectly understandable, because what the pope said was just as insulting to the secular left as it was to Muslims. It’s as if there is a secret affinity between the left and the Islamists--what Eisenhower* famously called the "mullah terror & nasty-old-leftist complex"--as the left riles up the Muslims so as to encourage them to act out their own aggression. The left does this in a thousand little ways, and the terrorists are fully aware of it. We even have their own internal memos revealing how much they rely upon the western media and other useful jihadiots to achieve their aims.

The reaction to the pope reminds me of my own detractors, in that they habitually take one small part of my writing that they think they understand and proceed get all emotional about it, meanwhile ignoring the much larger context that they are probably incapable of understanding. They are like the drunk who looks for his missing keys under the street light, except they are looking for an argument under their dim little metaphyical street light.

In any event, the pope’s main thesis was something that is equally incomprehensible to both the Muslim world and to the secular left, that is, “the close relationship between reason and belief. Without the right balance between the two, the pontiff said, mankind is condemned to the ‘pathologies and life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason’--in short, political and religious fanaticism.” When the Pope said “political fanaticism,” you can be sure he wasn’t talking about the creeping fascism of Bushitler, but about the actual life-threatening spiritual and cognitive pathologies of the secular left.

In his talk, the pope spoke of the truism that in Christianity, God is inseparable from reason: "In the beginning was the Word." He noted that "God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word," and that "The inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of history of religions, but also from that of world history.... This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe."

This fortunate convergence of faith and reason occurred at only one time and in only one place: the Christian west. It did not take place in the Muslim world--or at least where it did begin to take place, it was stillborn (or rather, violently aborted). But in the west--particularly in Europe--the covenant between faith and reason has been relentlessly attacked and almost completely vitiated by various secular and materialistic ideologies, with truly grave and deadly results. In the long run, it is doubtful that Europe can even survive its own cognitive and spiritual pathologies, because they are now steeped in a philosophy and a way of life that was never intended for humans. Their “spiritual environment” cannot sustain a truly human community, if only because it cannot passionately defend itself.

As for the pathology of Islam, the pope quoted another Catholic theologian, who said that "for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent, his will is not bound up with any of our categories." The writer of the WSJ piece linked above asked, “If this is true, can there be dialogue at all between Islam and the West? For the pope, the precondition for any meaningful interfaith discussions is a religion tempered by reason: ‘It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.’"

Yesterday a reader expressed bewilderment at our mention of intrinsic heresy. An intrinsic heresy is a religious idea that cannot possibly be true in any objective metaphysics, while an extrinsic heresy is one that only applies to a particular religion. The belief that God is not both radically transcendent and equally immanent is an example of intrinsic heresy.

To cite a fine example of intrinsic heresy, another reader yesterday expressed bewilderment at my pointing out that it is fruitless to affirm the great Upanishadic truth tat tvam asi--thou art that, or atman, the self, is brahman, the ultimate reality--before realizing the extent to which, in our fallen state, thou aren’t much of anything, much less that. This is simply respecting the objective metaphysical truth that, while God may be immanent, he is also radically transcendent. To emphasize only half of this paradoxical equation leads on the one hand to collective pantheism and personal narcissism, on the other hand to the type of spiritual darkness inhabited by the Muslim world, where God is radically transcendent and therefore beyond human understanding.

Orthodox Christian doctrine, like the Vedanta, gets the equation exactly right. Modern people are generally baffled by the intensity of the early Christian debates on the nature of Christ, but the stakes were actually quite high, and if those councils had gotten it wrong, the Christian world may well have gone the way of Islam. Among other things, they determined that in Christ, God was both fully God and fully human (I am not a Christian theologian, so forgive me if I get any details wrong here.) They didn’t say how this paradox could be or how they knew it (it was a divine mystery), but they rejected every possible variation--Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, etc. (look ‘em up yourself). In the end they affirmed that Christ embodied the two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably. And what goes for Christ goes for us, to the extent that we may participate in his life and consciousness. We may become through grace what Christ is by nature.

Now, secularists habitually steal things from religion and then either pretend that they invented them or presume that they can be wrenched from their sacred context without doing grave damage to them. For example, secularists benefit just as much as anyone else from the blessings of Judeo-Christian values, while at the same time doing everything possible to attack or belittle the source of those values. Again, many things we take for granted in the west developed specifically in a Christian context and nowhere else: the infinite worth of the individual, liberty, democracy, science, etc.

This is one of the primary reasons why secular progressives are so ironically named. They can never really be progressive, since their materialistic metaphysic denies meaningful progress at the outset. Scratch a leftist and you will always discern a nostalgic, backward-looking, non-friction metaphysic--the painful recollection of the lost entitlement of infancy and the desire for a romantic merger with the conflict-free eden of childhood--only projected into the future.

As I have mentioned before, in the absence of the supernatural, people will fall back onto more primitive, pre-religious and magical modes of thought, but then imagine that they are progressing beyond religion. But in my view this is impossible, for I believe that religion discloses objective metaphysics. Therefore, anything short of real religion descends into mere mythology: relying upon it to orient yourself in the cosmos, you will move laterally and eventually backwards, as we see in contemporary Europe--a fine example of trying to live off the fumes of Christian values in the absence of the Christianity that gave rise to them. This was definitely one of the main points of the pope’s talk, and one that the left will not understand because they cannot understand--partly because of the intense, mocking superiority they feel toward religion.

The vast majority of our contemporary pagan scholars would undoubtedly agree that intrinsic meaning does not and cannot exist. For a secularist, this is necessarily the case. For example, if history does not refer to something outside itself, it has to be without meaning or purpose, truly the proverbial "tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds.” While there can be limited purposes within history, there is no transcendent meaning to any of our endeavors, any more than there can be transcendent meaning to your individual goals and pursuits. It's all ultimately pointless. History is simply history--just a material process, a journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

But if this were true, mankind would never have found the exit out of its closed circle of material and instinctual existence. In the logoistic understanding of Christianity, history is witness to a literal descent of the logos into the stream of horizontal time, so as to forge a concrete link between the vertical and horizontal--between the One and the many, time and eternity. To say that "God became man" or "Word became flesh" is just another way of saying that the vertical, that is, the ultimate, timeless ground, outside time and anterior to manifestation, poured itself into material form and chronological time--not just in a single human being, but in all of humanity.

Only humans can serve as a bridge between the higher and lower planes that are manifest in the outward flow of history. Indeed, this is our purpose: to nurture and grow the seed of eternity within the womb of time. How do I know this? I don’t. I just water the plant and watch it grow.

*A persistent urban myth has it that Eisenhower warned us of the "military-industrial complex" rather than "mullah terror & nasty-old-leftist complex," when clearly, we require the former to defeat the latter.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Attacks on Truth (or Let's Play R.O.P.-a-Pope)

Truth is sacred. There can be no doctrine or religion higher than truth. It is the most important societal value and the prerequisite for any kind of growth, whether it is spiritual, psychological, anthropological, or scientific. Because of the truth-loving nature of the primordial, uncreated conscience, if you can establish a lie as the truth, the furtherance of evil will take care of itself.

This is why the Lie is satanic, because it is the great enabler of immoral violence. For example, in the Arab Muslim world, the reason why they hate America and Israel--and therefore feel justified in their aggression--is that they are inundated with vicious lies about us, just as nazi Germany murdered Jews because they were were steeped in lies about them.

I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the lies of the left, or to punish the thinker who speaks certain impermissible truths. 

Amazingly, the Pope is being attacked for uttering a banal truth about Islam. But it is not really the Pope who is being attacked. Rather, this is an assault on truth itself, abetted by the world’s major news media. For if the media were interested in truth, why would they even note the Pope’s words, except perhaps in passing? If the Pope had said something outrageous or controversial, that would be worthy of attention. But the fact that the media give so much attention to what the Pope said about Islam only underscores their belief that what he said was somehow open to doubt--as if any doubt is possible based upon the violent reaction to the Pope's words.

The psychoanalyst W.R. Bion coined the term “attacks on linking” to describe a certain pathological mental mechanism that dismantles the thinking process so as to be unable to recognize an unwanted truth (it was later turned into a virtue by leftist academics who call it "deconstruction"). The reaction in the Islamic world to the Pope’s statement is a fine example. In order to not perceive the simple truth that Islam has a long and bloody history, the mind must unconsciously “attack” any evidence that leads to that conclusion. Thus, it may look like the Pope is being attacked, but he is incidental to the deeper process of attacking and dismantling a reality that Muslims do not wish to see. And this angry attack on reality is at the very root of the problem we face with both Islam and the left.

In the past, I have written about what I believe to be defense mechanisms against the “upper vertical.”  Broadly speaking, the upper vertical would be the realm of truth, beauty and morality.  We can also apply Bion’s concept of attacks on linking here.  Understood this way, it would involve a sort of willed stupidity that dismantles the ability to think clearly, not just in the realm of truth, but in the realm of morals (“the good”) as well. This is why any society that assaults and devalues truth is going to engage in immoral violence, whether it is the Soviet Union, nazi Germany, or the Muslim Middle East.  If any of them were capable of assimilating truth, their violence would stop in an instant.   

You will have noticed that one of the reasons you cannot debate a leftist is that they do not (and perhaps cannot) meet your argument on the plane from which it arises. Instead, they hijack that plane and try to drag you down to the level from which their minds operate. This is why they never address the content of your argument, but attack your motivations.  And this is one of the major reasons why left wing talk radio cannot succeed, as the constant attacks on truth and on motivations quickly grow tedious.

You know the tiresome drill: if you are for tough interrogation of terrorists, you are for torture; if you are against government enforced racial discrimination, you are a racist; if you are against the redefinition of marriage, you are a “homophobe”; if you are against the Kyoto protocols, you wish to destroy the earth; if you are in favor of tax cuts, you want to line the pockets of the wealthy; if you are in favor of the liberation of Iraq, you are greedy for oil; if you want to control your own retirement, you just want to give a boon to mutual fund companies; if you are against inefficient socialized medicine, it’s because you want poor children to be sick; if you want to control the borders, you hate Mexicans; etc. The list is endless, and although it is superficially diverse, the same mental mechanism is at its root: attacks on linking.

In his heart, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway) knows that he should not lie.  This is why you will also have noticed that liberals never give straight answers in interviews.  They like to say that this is because the answers are too subtle and  nuanced, and that you can't just blurt out a liberal idea the in the way that conservatives blurt out their simple ideas.  So they habitually obfuscate, dodge, dissemble.  In the words of their guru, the linguist George Lakoff, they must frame their ideas, as it is the frame that makes the lie appear true and thus eases the conscience.

Not for nothing did Jesus crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be, of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it. And oh what a tangled web we weave, compared to the spider.....

Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie. But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Talleyrand once remarked that language was given to man so as to conceal his thoughts. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying.

A cursory glance at history--or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times--establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud and his followers. Bion in particular developed a sophisticated epistemology showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology.  He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a brilliant thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.

Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked--i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free--those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own psychic substance.  And this is why Muslims wish to spread their lie around the globe, for until the entire world is caught in the same web, they will have the nagging sense that something is deeply wrong with their lives.  Out of unconscious envy for the living, they want everyone else to be ruled by the same demon that enslaves them.

The left is powerless against these Islambies, for the secular mind cannot in good faith object to nihilism. After all, a nihilist is simply a good faith atheist, humanist or secularist--someone who has drawn the implications of their impoverished philosophy to their logical endpoint. A nihilist is simply someone with the courage of their lack of convictions. They are no match for those who are passionately attached to the Lie.

Meaning--any meaning--always involves the bringing together of diverse details into a higher unity.  In reality, it is a sort of higher vision that sees through the surface to the inner unity of a mass of data. It is very much analogous to those Magic Eye pictures, which look like a bunch of random markings on the page. But when you relax your eyes, out of nowhere pops a three-dimensional image. The image was actually there all along, but was buried amidst the phenomena. You might say that it was a message awaiting a messenger capable of seeing it.

All truth is a synthesis of particulars, the reduction of multiplicity to unity. There are some truths that people, for one reason or another, do not wish to know. One way to rid the mind of unwanted truth is to attack the links that allow the truth to emerge.  In order to accomplish this feat, inchoate meanings must be beaten down, attacked, and strangled in their crib before they can emerge as a full-blown catastrophic Truth that the liar knows but does not wish to Know. On some level, knowledge of truth must always precede the lie. Such a person is condemned to living in a mass of meaningless particulars that actually make no sense. But, as always, the mind will covertly elevate this cursed condition to a courageous virtue, whether they call it "extending the caliphate," "speaking truth to power" or giving you "all the news that's fit to print."

Which is why the Pope must apologize. 

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Be Very Frightened: Krystallnacht is Coming to AmeriKKKa!

Ironic, isn't it, how just at the same time we are being threatened by god-intoxicated theological fascists from around the globe, we are facing the identical threat here at home, in the figure of George Bush?

Awhile ago on dailykos, there was a piece entitled Slouching Toward Kristallnacht, outlining all of the eery parallels between pre-nazi Germany and contemporary America. For the hundreds of frightened posters that commented on the article, it is not a matter of if, but when Bush suspends the charade of democracy and imposes a fascist state on us. As the fevered author, Maryscott O'Connor, ominously intoned, "It won't come in the same form. It never does. But it's coming. The lure of fascism is too powerful for men like the ones currently pissing all over our Constitution." (Of course, it better come soon. Bush has only two years to get the ball rolling.)

By the phrase "pissing all over our constitution," I believe O'Connor is referring to Bush's inexplicable interest in listening to telephone conversations of his fellow fascists who wish to impose a different theology than he does. Whatever. They're both motivated by the "lure of fascism."

Since the Jews are in on it this time, O’Connor concedes that Bush's targets for genocide "Probably won't be the Jews." Instead, "Maybe Arabs. Maybe gays. Maybe 'libruls.' Who the fuck knows?"

Indeed, who the fuck knows? That's the whole point of harboring a paranoid delusion. The delusion is necessarily vague at the edges, lest it be easily contradicted by reality. So she doesn't have a krystallnacht ball. What do you want, names and addresses? As another wag put it a couple thousand years ago, "Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven."

O'Connor knows only this: "It almost certainly won't be recognisable to most people until it's far too late."

Actually, it's the other way around. Once you start harboring persecutory delusions, it's too late. There's not much that psychology or even psychopharmacology can do for you. First of all, such individuals rarely seek treatment for their paranoia, because they don't know they are paranoid. Nor is there any medication for a fixed Delusional Disorder, especially a collectively held one that is reinforced by all of the members of the paranoid group. Here are just a few of some 500+ comments I harvested off the top, so this only scratches the surface of the depth of their shallowness:

"Yes, we saw a documentary last week on the Holocast and how it began -- its all true and its all happening again."

"Us non-heterosexuals have been the canary in the coal mine... and we have been singing for DECADES about what is coming down the road for us all.... Just as the communists, the socialists, the jews were all picked off one by one, we all get in the cross hairs eventually unless we stand together when the first are in that spot."

"We are not at the beginning. We have walked well down the fascist road. In my case, I woke with this rhetorical question: what is a Holocaust Denier? To my mind, the most dangerous of Holocaust Deniers are those who embrace the uniqueness of Auschwitz, who privilege the particularities of the past and all the shopworn realities of 1930s Germany and who wilfully deny its resonance to what is happening now."

"The capacity for evil must exist before the evil is done. Before there are gulags and death camps, the apparatus that sustains them must exist. We are worried because the apparatus is forming: a government that considers itself beyond the rule of law. This is not about the evils already committed, it is about the evils that may be committed in the future if the apparatus is allowed to grow unchecked. We won't know until it happens that Bush is planning a 'final solution' of his own..."

"The Patriot Act is intentionally destined to fail so that when the Globalists carry out a terror attack they can blame 'civil liberties advocates' for preventing them from keeping the general public safe and then reject out of hand criticism of all future police state legislation that they pass."

"Who else thinks September 11, 2001, was our Burning of the Reichstag? The historical parallels are obvious."

"This is where we're heading, folks. If the legislative or judicial branch does nothing, we are, for all intents and purposes living in a nightmarish version of Nazi America. And given the bullshitstorm that place has become, I think I'll be looking up the location of local gun ranges and trainers in the next two weeks along with going out to shop for a gun. I can't believe America has gotten to this point and my reaction to this new reality can be summed up in one word: Fuck."

"I'm extremely alarmed by the hate coming from FOX News. The whole 'war on Christmas' is coded anti-semitism. There is a history in this country of tying the 'war on Christmas' to the 'international Jew threat.'"

"Many conservatives will indeed start making physical threats when arguing with someone who disagrees with them, and many are happy to act on those urges. They treat their spouses and kids the same way and are too immature to see other adult strangers as any different."

*******

Isn't it odd that these lost souls are deathly frightened of you and me and President Bush, whereas I am afraid of their thoughts. Specifically, it is very unsettling that a large segmemt of the population believes things about conservatives that are not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true. They are terrified of a wholly fantasized version of reality, while I am afraid of their seemingly boundless capacity to fantasize and to inhabit their malicious fantasies.

The purpose of language is to communicate about reality. But what if it is not communicating reality, but fantasy? Somehow, these people are "successful" in communicating to one another (they all know exactly what the others are talking about, while you or I would say, "wwwhhhhaaaat?), and are even perversely emotionally "nourished" by the communication. It is a relief to them that others share the same fantasy--it satisfies them, fills some kind of need. But it is not a need for truth. It's like an anxious group of primitives who invent a spurious cure for a disease they don't understand.

Without historical perspective, anthropological knowledge, and psychological insight and maturity, one's present being will simply rush in to fill the gaps of existential ignorance. This is how primitives remain primitive--they are trapped in the now, with no accurate knowledge or history. Their cultures are simply a collective neurosis, just as a neurosis is a private culture. Now, with the rise of the internet, perhaps more than ever before we have micro-cultures or "psychoclasses" that can become echo chambers for their anxious, frightened, paranoid, and even borderline psychotic members. They are support groups which support the disease, not the cure.

We must always remember, that culture is man's adaptation to his humanity, to the frequently distressing reality of having a mind. The reason why cultures can appear so strange and dysfunctional is that, more often than not, they are an adaptation to the inner world of fears, anxieties, and emotional pain, not to objective reality. The sort of primitive tribalism of dailykos consists of omnipotent and deified knowledge that only spuriously succeeds in blotting out ignorance.

But like any mental patient, only by "unknowing" their delusional knowledge can they begin to know reality and become healthy. This is notoriously difficult to achieve in groups immersed in a paranoid world view. For they are not the victims of mere ignorance, but a motivated stupidity. In this way the paranoid left is comparable to Islamists and nazis, in the sense that they are drowning in an invincibly dysfunctional worldview. The Islamists act on their delusions. Let’s hope our reality-based community limits itself to impotent kvetching.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Fourteen Characteristics of Fascism: Is it Too Late for America?

This is pretty scary stuff. For weeks now, liberals have been trumpeting this research into the Fourteen Characteristics of Fascism, warning anyone who will listen that America is on the brink of a fascist takeover--if it hasn't happened already (just google "fourteen characteristics of fascism" and you'll see what I mean). At first, I just assumed that it was the typical hysteria and/or paranoia of the reality based community, but as I read each characteristic carefully, a cold chill wind blew across my spine.

Take a deep breath. Here we go, with my comments:
 
1. “Powerful and Continuing Nationalism; fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.”

Oh my God! This is only the first category, but who hasn’t heard liberals mindlessly chanting about how dissent is “the highest form of patriotism” or seen the countless patriotic mottos and slogans such as “Proud of My Country, Ashamed of My President,” “Dissent: Patriotism in Action,” "You Don't Have to Like Bush to Love America,” “Patriot Act Too: Dissent," and “While You were Watching the War, Bush was Raping America.” Let's be honest--who is more prickly about his questionable patriotism being questioned than a liberal? And let's not even get into their many fervently patriotic songs, like this childish work of breathtaking numbskullery by that doddering old hippie, Neil Young, who hasn't taken a new cognitive imprint since 1968:

Let's impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

Let's impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

Let's impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

2. "Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights; people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored. The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc."

Wow. I hadn’t thought about this before, but now I understand why liberals don't care one whit about Bush liberating 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq from two of the greatest human rights abusers in history. This also explains why feminists groups have “looked the other way” with respect to Bush’s liberation of Muslim women from the hideous conditions that prevailed in Iraq--the rape rooms, murdering children in front of their parents, Uday and Qsay kidnapping and raping brides on their wedding day, etc.
 
3. "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause; the people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe."

Boy, does this one ring a bell! The constant frenzied drumbeat from the left that George Bush is the source of all the world's problems, and that if we can just eliminate him, we will live in some kind of leftist utopia. The fear also extends to “neocons," a code word for some sort of secret Jewish cabal that is supposedly pulling the strings behind world events.
 
4. "Supremacy of the Military; soldiers and military service are glamorized."

This is getting scary. As we all know, and are reminded of every day, nobody supports the troops more than liberals! Indeed, some of their deepest and most emotion-provoking slogans, mottos, and bumper stickers concern just this: “Support Our Troops: Impeach the President,” “I Support our Troops: That’s Why I Question Our Leaders,” “Want to Support Our Troops? Then Support the Truth.”
 
5. "Rampant Sexism."

Yikes. Sadly, it’s “Men Need Not Apply” in the Democratic party. The left has been almost entirely taken over by the ovary tower feminist gynocracy of man-hating women and girlie men. I don’t see how an actual man has a snowman's balls chance of getting anywhere in the Democratic party. If you show the slightest signs of testosterone, they kick you out, like Joe Lieberman. If you don't toe the phallophobic feminist line, you can forget about any political aspirations.

 6. "Controlled Mass Media; sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common."

Yes! This would explain the obsession with Fox. The left has a near monopoly on the mainstream distribution of disinformation, and can’t stand the idea that there is a single populist network that goes against liberal orthodoxy. Dissenting voices like Rush Limbaugh are hounded by rogue prosecutors, while demagogues and pathological liars like Joe Wilson are held out as great patriots. And just last week we saw the frightening specter of government officials trying to pressure a major television network not to air a program critical of their point of view.
 
7. "Obsession with National Security; fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses."

Let me count the ways! If you listen to fear-mongering liberals, you'd think it was the end of the world: “I Fear Bush More Than I Fear Terrorism,” “Bush Crime Family--Using Fear to Sell Protection,” “Got Fear?--Thank Bush,” “The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Bush-Cheney," “Terror is Fear--Bush Delivers,” “Bush: Category 5 National Disaster,” “One Nation, Under Surveillance,” “I Love My Country--But I Fear My Government.” And let's not even talk about all the environmental fear-mongering--first global cooling, now global warming, China Syndrome, nuclear winter, overpopulation, running out of natural resources, etc.
 
8. "Religion and Government are Intertwined."

Wo. This explains the constant attack on religious freedom by big government, and the utter failure to protect the first amendment--you know, the important part: "congress shall make no law prohibiting the free expression of religion." But everywhere we look, we see this unhealthy mixture of church and state, as liberals try to impose their kooky secular religious values on the rest of us and interfere with the freedom to express our religiosity in the same unencumbered way Americans were allowed to in the past, without fear of the legal terrorists of the ACLU.
 
9. "Corporate Power is Protected; the industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite."

We all know that the Democratic party has many more wealthy donors than the Republican Party, and that the Republicans have many more small donors. Just a few wealthy elites like George Soros and Steven Bing are responsible for funding the nutrooots, Air America, and all those 527 groups that illegally skirt campaign finance reform. Not to mention the entrenched corporate interests of Hollywood, the trial lawyers, corrupt unions, and other powerful special interest groups that benefit by having Democrats in power.
 
10. "Labor Power is Suppressed."

Until I read this, I had never connected the dots, but now I see why the left is so in favor of unlimited immigration, as it constantly suppresses wages, hurting all working people. Why hire a union guy for $25 an hour on a construction site, when you can pay an illegal $5 an hour under the table? The left always says that illegals are only taking jobs Americans won’t do, but this is a ridiculous argument. Without the influx of cheap labor, wages would just rise until people did take the jobs.
 
11. "Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts; fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked."

Political correctness. Campus speech codes. The destruction of our primary school system by the liberal educational establishment and teacher's unions. Textbook guidelines that demand cultural and moral relativism. 90% of faculties in elite universities being radical leftists and tenured wackademics. Deconstructionists who are hostile to the idea that truth even exists. No intellectual diversity on college campuses. And of course, there is no subhuman garbage so vile that it cannot be promoted as “art” by postmodernists who have no appreciation of, or ability to, produce genuine art.
 
12. "Obsession with Crime and Punishment."

It's true! Liberals are obsessed with crime and punishment, aren't they? They just can't wrap their minds around the idea that bad people need to be punished, and that punishment deters criminal behavior. How often have we seen that perennially mystified (and mystifying) headline in the New York Times: “Crime Down Despite Increase in Prison Population”? Or how about the obsession with granting the full panoply of civil rights to terrorists, or abusing the Geneva Convention by insisting that it protects unlawful combatants? For that matter, how about the nutty obsession that President Bush is engaging in criminal activity by spying on terrorists, something he might as well be mandated to do in war time if you take the constitution seriously?
 
13. "Rampant Cronyism and Corruption."

Yes, I suppose cronyism and corruption did reach its zenith (or is it nadir?) in the Clinton administration. Think of all the dubious records set by that corrupt administration: the only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance, the most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates, the most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation, the most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify, the first president sued for sexual harassment and accused of rape, the first First Lady to come under criminal investigation, the largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case, the first president to establish a legal defense fund, the first president to be held in contempt of court, the greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions, the first president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court, not to mention the presidential pardoning of large campaign donors just before leaving office, such as Mark Rich.
 
14. "Fraudulent Elections; sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham."

Boy howdy! As John Fund wrote in Stealing Elections, when it comes to election fraud, Republicans are rank amateurs. The vast majority of election fraud and stolen elections has always come from the Democrats--illegal aliens registered to vote, corrupt urban political machines, dead voters swaying elections, etc.

As I said, I am scared. Real scared. This country is clearly in danger of becoming a left-wing fascist state--if it hasn’t already done so. As Sean Penn ominously warned us the other night on Larry King, "Fascism will come to America, but likely under another name... perhaps anti-fascism."

*****

All kidding aside, philosophically and spiritually, it actually does make much more sense that fascism would come from the left, because that is the source of its intellectual genealogy: Modern Fascism. It was communists who defined nazism--which was actually an alternative and competing form of socialism--as "right." But relative to classical American liberalism, both communism and fascism are left.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Aloha, Mr. King, I am So Wasted! And What is a Conservative, Really?

Conservatives thoroughly understand liberalism for the simple reason that most conservatives probably started out liberal, as did I. But the reverse is not true. Only now do I realize that all of my received ideas about conservatism--from the MSMistry of Truth, from the looniversity bin of academia, and from the culture at large--were not just wrong, but crazy. Similarly, when I hear liberals describe the secret motivations of conservatives today, it’s almost always kooky talk, bearing no relationship to reality. After all, they’re talking about me, and I know me pretty well.

For example, we recently had a liberal visitor to One Cosmos who has repeatedly called me a jack-booted nazi who wishes to murder people with whom I disagree. He is annoyed because I will not debate him on the matter. But how does one respond to such unalloyed mooonbattery? One cannot respond, because this is an apperception, not a perception. In other words, it is pure projection, a type of thinking that is not based on any actual facts about me or about conservatism. I am by definition what he says I am, which is another way of saying that, for whatever reason, he has an emotional need to experience me in the way he does. Again, I understand this process because I was the same way when I was an untutored moonbat in the clutches of conventional wisdom.

Last night a representative of this kind of pseudo-thinking was on Larry King Live, Sean Penn. I rarely watch television, but I watched the entire program because I was fascinated by the prospect of a prototypical moonbat mind being given free rein to air his views in an entirely uncensored manner. Larry King was the perfect interviewer, because he is so utterly vacuous that he lulls the guest into free-associating in an unguarded manner, whereas even a raised eyebrow or cocked head might have reminded Penn that reality exists. It’s the same technique a therapist uses with a paranoid patient, except consciously. If you betray your understanding that the patient is crazy, they immediately clam up.

If you actually read the transcript, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but in the course of the interview, Penn accused President Bush of bringing fascism to America, of “devastating our democracy,” of doing “enormous damage to mankind,” and waging a bogus war on terror to “distract us from reality.” In 2002 it was to distract us from Enron, whereas now it is to distract us from “another situation” (although in classic paranoid fashion, he didn’t say what the situation was; I think he means that Bush is waging the bogus war on terror to distract us from the fact that he is waging a bogus war on terror). Penn also discussed his friendship with Fidel Castro, who confided to him over dinner that he thought sanctions against Iran were a bad idea, because the American sanctions against him had helped keep in in power (I know, it makes no sense).

Since I admire President Bush, it stands to reason that I am either hopelessly naive, or else I too am a fascist who wants to wage a bogus war in order to conceal my real agenda of destroying democracy and damaging mankind. Never mind that I and President Bush specifically want to create a democracy in the Middle East so that human beings in the Islamic world actually have the opportunity to achieve their potential instead of living as slaves.

Penn suggested that he too would pick up arms if the United States were invaded. First of all, if he is correct, the U.S. is being invaded by fascists, and yet, he somehow feels safe enough to verbally attack the fascists on national TV. Probably not very smart. But Penn is also saying that if he were an Iraqi, he would side with the fascist insurgency against the democratic liberators. Really stupid.

(Mr. Hand: "Am I hallucinating here? Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?" Spicoli: "Learning about Cuba. Having some food. Rappin' with Mr. King.")

*****

Penn and my moonbat commenter have their own implacable fantasies about conservatism, but what is it really? I am of the view that conservatism is an inclination, temperament, or “cast of mind” as much as it is any set doctrine. And this is why the movement is so diverse, containing ideological factions that may lack superficial commonality, say, traditionalists and libertarians. But on a deeper level, it has been said that conservatism is “an inclination to cherish the permanent things in existence,” which I think is as good a definition as any. As such, conservatives are naturally distrustful of radical schemes to alter society and perfect mankind. As Robert Frost wrote, “Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

Temperamental conservatives also have much more of an appreciation of the dark side of mankind, and an understanding of the fine line between civilization and barbarity. You don’t have to literally believe in original sin to appreciate how much wisdom there is in such a view, especially when compared to the inveterate liberal naiveté about human character. Evil is not merely an “accident of history” or “the creation of a few antisocial men,” but the “immemorial tendency of man to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing” and to “define value in terms of his own interests” (in Nash ).

Liberals tend to view human being as basically good, which is why they are so naive about human evil and impervious to real-world feedback about the failure of their ideas. For most liberal programs to be effective--say, pre-reform welfare--you must assume at the outset that people are basically good and won’t abuse the system. But liberal programs typically put in place a structure of incentives that encourages people to act out their greed and selfishness in antisocial ways. The whole point of free market capitalism is that it acknowledges self-interest and greed at the outset, providing it a with pro-social outlet without anyone having to force the issue from on high. Yes, tinkering at the edges of capitalism is fine, so long as you think things through and realize that most of your tinkering will make matters worse, not better (which was true of the vast majority of FDR's counterproductive ideas--not to mention LBJ).

The conservative mind is also more likely to be endowed with a tragic sense of life, which spurs the transcendental imagination. In the absence of this transcendental reality, we are reduced to a horizontal, secularized mind “for which material existence is everything and spiritual life is nothing” and “all that is symbolic becomes ever more incomprehensible” (Lindbom, in Kirk). And without the tragic sense of life, one will be much more inclined to think that life should (or could) be fair; in short, it nurtures the victim mentality.

Russell Kirk summarized the six canons of conservative thought as

1. Belief in a transcendent order; and that most political problems are moral problems resulting from bad values. (To cite an obvious example, if Hispanic or Black Americans adopted Asian American values, they would be just as successful--unless you are a liberal who believes that intelligence is a function of race.)

2. Appreciation of the mystery of existence, and with it, opposition to the tedious uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of of most radical systems.

3. An understanding that liberty and equality are contradictory aims; a belief that there are distinctions between men and that classes will emerge naturally and spontaneously in a free society. “If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum.”

4. A belief that property and freedom are intimately linked. “Economic leveling... is not economic progress.”

5. Distrust of radical schemes by liberal intellectuals “who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs” that simply mask the intellectual’s lust for power.

6. Recognition that change and reform are not synonymous, and that “prudent change is the means of social preservation.”

Contemporary liberalism has entirely different assumptions and attacks the social order on the following grounds:

1. “The perfectibility of man”; the belief that education, environment or legislation “can produce men like gods; they deny that humanity has a natural proclivity towards violence and sin.”

2. Contempt for tradition. “Formal religion is rejected and various ideologies are presented as substitutes.”

3. Political leveling: “Order and privilege are condemned,” accompanied by “an eagerness for centralization and consolidation.”

4. Economic leveling: “The ancient rights of property... are suspect to almost all radicals.”

I used to believe the latter four points. I now affirm the first six. But only because I secretly wish to destroy mankind and put more holes in Sean Penn's aluminum boat.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rock Music and Progressive Emotiology

How did rock music--and rock music criticism--get appropriated by the moonbats? What is it about the medium of rock music that makes it the ideal vehicle for unhinged moonbattery?

Awhile back, powerline published an excerpt from an article by Edward Azlant on the ideology of rock, entitled Who stole the Rollin' Stone? In it, Azlant writes that

“Rock and roll lyrics may stray anywhere, but they are everywhere soaked in adolescent rebellion and the quest for identity. The bigger question is: where does all this come from, what are the roots of rock and roll and how did it develop?”

He points out the truism that rock music “derives from the blues, from the Delta through Chicago; from gospel, through R&B; and from hillbilly music through country and western. The various contributions of the key figures and precise mixes of these elements constitute the enormous library of rock history, but there is little dispute that these are the basic ingredients.” But these forms of music are hardly adolescent, much less politically "progressive" in content. Rather, they are adult music with adult concerns.

As I have noted in the past, what makes the diverse forms of American roots music so great is that no one invented them. Rather, it is as if they emerged spontaneously from the earth, making their appearance in various human communities. The way I think of it, just as there are “celestial revelations” in the form of various authentic scriptures that have been vouchsafed to mankind, there are “earthly revelations” that emerge from the body and from our collective experience--not our ideological experience, but out of a much more primordial, archetypal matrix of universal human experience: man-woman relations, the clash between reality and our unlimited desires, and just the toil and trouble of day to day life. Roots music is very much existential, not ideological. And it is anything but politically correct.

Rather than thinking of the blues as an exclusively African American idiom, you might say that each American community developed its own form of the blues. Early country or "hillbilly" music is structurally and lyrically no different than the blues. Likewise, there is a more sophisticated form of blues that emerged when blacks migrated north to the big cities, reflecting a new urban sensibility instead of a rural one. I would even suggest that something like doo wop, the early form of a cappella rock that emerged from the streets of New York, was just another spontaneous form of blues reflecting its time and place.

Azlant notes that the ingredients of rock music “are all deeply rooted, traditional folk materials. Gospel is spiritual music; soul means the presence of belief and inspiration. To listen to The Soul Stirrers or the Dixie Hummingbirds, who would contribute basic elements and lead singers to R&B, is to listen to black fundamentalist Christian music. Country music is but a couple heartbeats from the old Celtic lyric and instrumental traditions that were preserved in America’s back country. To listen to C&W music is to listen to the Scots-Irish mountain music the Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers reworked and recorded. The Blues, while evolving from field hollers and work songs and containing the pain of servitude, derives much of its furious beauty through the tangled duplicities, angry melodramas, and tragic endings of the ancient war between men and women....”

However, “there is little in rock’s early ancestry to support a ‘progressive’ sensibility, hardly a sliver of grand historical perspective, little mention of a benevolent natural world, nary a social heaven on earth.” There is no Marxism, feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, or queer theory in any of the tributaries that contribute to rock music.

The question is, “How does all this get so turned around, appropriated?” How and why did rock music get hijacked by moonbats? Unfortunately, Azlant’s article has yet to appear in its entirety, so I can only speculate.

One factor that readily comes to mind is the emotionality of rock music. There is no correlation whatsoever between musical virtuosity and rock & roll greatness. Bad, even unlistenable, rock music is routinely produced by highly schooled musicians (e.g., "progressive rock"), while most of the greatest rock music was produced by musical primitives--Elvis, John Lennon, John Fogerty, The Clash, Keith Richards. Likewise, lack of complexity is no barrier to producing transcendent rock music. Most of the greatest songs--say, Gloria, by Them--probably have only three chords, and some--like Eight Miles High, by the Byrds, or Tomorrow Never Knows, by the Beatles--have only one.

Therefore, since contemporary liberalism is largely rooted in feelings rather than the intellect, rock music emerges as its ideal medium. What could be easier than affixing a simplistic and primitive political message to a simplistic and primitive musical vehicle?

Still, it can get awfully tedious. I am a somewhat serious collector and amateur scholar of pop music trivia, and one of the most annoying aspects of this is wading through liner notes that routinely contain obnoxious and gratuitous political asides. For example, just a couple of days ago I picked up an otherwise outstanding compilation of R.E.M.’s early work on the independent IRS label between 1982 and 1987, long before they became such insufferable musical and political loads. I think this string of early albums is among the finest body of work produced by anyone in the annals of rock.

But the portentous and vacuous (yes, it is possible to be both) liner notes by rock critic Anthony DeCurtis are torture. To place the music in context, he writes that “the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 had marked a seismic shift in the political consciousness of the U.S. Compassion, community and the utopian dreams of the Sixties were out.” Yes, this awful reality had been foreshadowed by “the murder of John Lennon in December of 1980,” which “seemed a frightening premonition of the harsh, unforgiving world being born.”

Yeah, right. It's bad enough to get murdered by a psychotic nut, but Lennon had to go and get killed by someone who, for moonbats, represented a frightening symbol of Ronald Reagan. Talk about lack of perspective. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, “progressivism is deeply ahistorical, for it merely examines the now, pronounces that it does not like the now, and proposes radical policies to change the character of the now.” Can anyone with a shred of historical awareness even compare the world of the 1980’s to the harsh and unforgiving world reflected in early blues and country music of the 1940s? Whose fault was that? FDR?

But all was not lost with the ascendancy of Reaganism: “Suddenly, but in a quiet way, R.E.M. suggested a smarter, sweeter, more generous alternative.” This is such a pathetic analysis. I mean, back then I was as much an anti-Reagan moonbat as anyone else, but it never occurred to me that I enjoyed the music of R.E.M. because they were a “sweet alternative” to Ronald Reagan--or that Reagan was a "harsh alternative" to R.E.Mism, for that matter. Rather, I liked them because they were good. They were probably the best band to emerge from that decade, and I knew at once that their music--like all true art--had a universal and transcendent value, not some sort of time bound, ideological value. The latter type of didactic art is almost always disposable--think “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire. But if you listen to those early R.E.M. albums, they do not belong to any distinct time or place. They are very ambiguous, mysterious, and dreamlike, which is a big part of their charm.

And in fact, their fourth and fifth albums began to suffer because of the increasing politicization of band. (You can definitely say that the quality decreased as Michael Stipes' previously mysterious lyrics became increasingly intelligible.) Naturally, the morally preening left always describes the descent into mooonbattery in a self-congratulatory way, as an ascent into higher consciousness, “political awareness," or "social responsibility." Not coincidentally, this “ascent” marked the beginning of the slow descent of the music into pandering, mass-market arena rock. DeCurtis calls it their “sharpened political sensibility”: “By the mid-Eighties, Reaganism was in full swing," and Stipe, in particular, became determined to “summon a new generation to activist ideals" and "indict the failures of that ideology.” What failures would those be? Oh, for example, “environmental and Native American issues."

Again, the pretentiousness and lack of historical perspective are stunning. Blaming Reagan for “Native American issues?” What, they had no issues before Reagan became president? Ironically, primitive Native Americans most certainly had some serious environmental issues of their own, as they had no word for “environment,” much less “environmentalism,” and simply despoiled whatever environment they happened to inhabit before moving on the the next pristine campsite. And why no indictment of communism for producing Chernobyl? For that matter, why no indictment of Jimmy Carter's harsh and unforgiving (but progressive) economic policies, which produced a staggering 13.3% rate of inflation, usurious mortgage rates of 20%, and unemployment at 8%, not to mention a crime rate that increased 50% during the 1970’s?

Memo to Michael Stipe: the evolutionary journey from primitive kinship structures to the classical liberalism of Reagan is called “raising consciousness” or "gaining political awareness." Also known as "growing up," or "dealing with reality."

But in any event, don't let the bad liner notes and silly politics stop you from enjoying this superb music. Otherwise, it's as if the errorists have won.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Progressives: Marching Forward Into the Past (9.13.08)

Who can hope to obtain proper concepts of the present, without knowing the future? --Johann Georg Hamann

When we inquire into the meaning of history, facts alone cannot help us. This is because what we specifically wish to know is whether history means anything other than the numberless facts it leaves in its wake. As such, the meaning of history can only be found in the present, in an imaginative vision. But even that is not quite right, for we can only really understand the meaning of something by discerning where it is headed--by its direction and end.

As we have said before, this idea of history having a direction was a Judeo-Christian innovation, as all primitive and pagan cultures (including Islam) saw time as either a cyclical or degenerative process. But all of us in the west are so saturated with historical consciousness that we all believe in the directionality of history, even if we deny it.

For example, Josef Pieper writes, “Whoever says ‘historical development’ has already said and thought that history possesses an irreversible direction; this applies all the more to anyone who says ‘progress.’ In the most innocent use of the words ‘already’ and ‘still’ (‘the Greeks already knew...’)--such turns of phrase always contain the implication that history is leading up to something, that a particular state--of perfection or of impoverishment--is the end state.

“It therefore appears impossible to reflect upon history in a spirit of philosophical inquiry without at the same time inquiring, in some sense or other, as to the End. This question cannot be ‘left alone.’”

In the west we have two divergent political movements that would seem to define themselves in terms of their historical ends, “progressives” and “conservatives.” The progressive obviously believes in the a priori sanctity of the word “progress,” as if it is self-justifying. But there are many kinds of progress--for example, a progressive disease that has an inevitable end state called “death.” More often than not, what the progressive means by “progress” is merely change.

In a sense, progressivism is deeply ahistorical, for it merely examines the now, pronounces that it does not like the now, and proposes radical policies to change the character of the now. And this is why the policies so frequently end in disaster, for as Thomas Sowell has written, they never take the time to “think beyond stage one” and calculate the actual effect of their policies.

Welfare, for example, was a deeply “progressive” system. And yet, look at all the progress that has been made since it it was radically reformed a decade ago, thanks to “conservatives.” “Between 1965 and 1995 we spent more than $5 trillion on Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, while welfare rolls, chronic unemployment, and illegitimacy rates all steadily grew” (National Review, 9-11-06).

But since Clinton signed the Republican reform into law, “welfare rolls have shrunk by more than 60 percent, the number of poor children has fallen by 1.4 million, and illegitimacy rates have stopped growing. Black-child poverty is at its lowest in history.” In order to achieve this end, it was necessary to overcome the compassion (what Buddhists call "idiot compassion") of all the usual progressive suspects--academics, government bureaucrats, the media, liberal church groups, etc.--but “the poor are richer for it.”

But do conservatives get any credit for helping the poor? Of course not. Again, by hijacking the word “progress” and incorporating it into their very name, everything progressives do is.... progressive, no matter how regressive--high taxes, redefining marriage, multiculturalism, moral relativism, appeasing terrorists.

Conservatives--at least this conservative--are interested in conserving the very conditions that allow progress to occur (especially psycho-spiritual progress), while progressives simply assume those historically rare conditions and try to tinker with the outcome, both in the micro realm (e.g., the family) and the macro realm (economics, foreign policy).

When it comes to economics, for example, conservatives are interested in the conditions that allow for the creation of wealth to occur, whereas liberals simply assume that the wealth is there, and that it is merely a matter of fairly distributing it. But by doing so, they unwittingly undermine the very conditions that allow the creation of wealth to begin with. Likewise, by appeasing terrorists in the name of "peace," they undermine the most important condition of peace, which is f*** with us and you are dead.

We saw this backward approach to economics in its naked form in communist countries, but it it is also happening in virtually all of the socialist countries of western Europe, which have stagnant economies and cannot sustain their huge government outlays for various welfare programs. The more progressive they are, the further behind they fall.

Likewise, countries that have abandoned socialist doctrine, such as India and Israel, have experienced phenomenal growth (imagine what an economic and technological powerhouse tiny Israel would be if it didn’t have to exhaust so much of its resources defending itself from Islamic barbarians).

What is the real end of history? How do we measure actual progress? Again, progress-which is relative--can only be measured in terms of some absolute, whether it is explicit or implicit. In the purely horizontal world of secular progressives, I suppose it can mean only one thing--material equality, as if it were somehow possible for everyone to be above average. But by definition, half the population is below average in whatever it is you are measuring. Therefore, to enforce equality in the name of progress might be fine for the lamb but is tyranny for the lion. No wonder “job one” of the Democratic party is converting people into lambs, otherwise known as victims.

The most important victims for the Democratic party are blacks, for the Democrats would no longer be a viable party in something like 26 states if they did not garner 90% of the black vote. So naturally they were against welfare reform, for this reduces the number of victims that can be both created and rescued by progressives. It probably also explains why they are against school choice, for it is obviously neccessary to maintain an intellectually crippled population that adheres to "progressivism" even after biological maturity has occurred (for progressivism is probably a normal condition for the ahistorical and emotion-driven adolescent psyche--see dailykos... or me when I was a post-biological adolescent in need of a progressive doctrine to justify my lack thereof).

And this also explains the implicit--and sometimes explicit---alliance of progressives and Islamists, for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Islamists wish to march backward into the future, while the left wishes to march forward into the past. Different route, same end. Especially after the Islamist allahgator eats the progressives last. And then sheds q'rocodile tears.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

More Thoughts on Metahistory and the Cosmic Path to 9-11

All our destinies are interwoven; and until the last of us has lived, the significance of the first cannot finally be clear. --Hans Urs von Balthasar

I was trying to place the controversy of the 9-11 movie in a larger context, when I thought of the great historian Christopher Dawson, who made the provocative and yet axiomatic assertion that being an eye witness to history is of no consequence whatsoever to historical insight. Obviously, most of us lived through the Clinton years, so we think we know what happened. We were there. But were we really, at least historically?

Dawson uses the example of the Battle of Hastings, which every British schoolchild evidently knows: “A visitor from another planet who witnessed the Battle of Hastings would possess far greater knowledge of the facts than any modern historian, yet this knowledge would not be historical knowledge for lack of any tradition to which it could be related; whereas the child who says ‘William the Conqueror 1066’ has already made his atom of knowledge a historical fact by relating it to a national tradition and placing it in the time-series of Christian culture.”

Similarly, an eye witness to the crucifixion of Jesus would have undoubtedly taken as much notice of the two criminals who were crucified beside him. Only in hindsight was the centrality of Jesus’ death recognized. It is fair to say that no one who witnessed it thought to themselves, “Hmm, interesting. This is the center and still point of history. Yesterday was BC. Tomorrow will be AD.”

As Dawson writes, “Behind the rational sequence of political and economic cause and effect, hidden spiritual forces are at work which confer on events a wholly new significance. The real meaning of history is something entirely different from that which the human actors in the historical drama themselves intend or believe.” A contemporary observer cannot have imagined that “the execution of an obscure Jewish religious leader in the first century of the Roman Empire would affect the lives and thoughts of millions who never heard the names of the great statesmen and generals of the age.”

Thus, there is an unavoidably eschatological aspect of history. Events cannot be fully understood without reference to their finality, that is, what they point toward and reveal only in the fullness of time. As Dawson says, “The pure fact is not as such historical. It only becomes historical when it can be brought in relation with a tradition so that it can be part of an organic whole.” Another historian, Dermot Quinn, writes that “The fact does not tell the story; the story, as it were, tells the fact. It is the latter that gives pattern and meaning; it is the former that lacks a meaning of its own.”

Therefore, in order to be a proper historian, you had better have your story right. And what is the story? Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it? For it is fair to say that left and right are operating under the umbrella of vastly different stories--politically, culturally, economically, psychologically, theologically, and in just about every other -ally way.

If history involved nothing more than the accumulation of facts, it would be of no use to us. Detail alone does not constitute history, any more than randomly played notes constitute harmony and melody. Only by knowing what history is for can we know what is of importance in history. Since history as it happens consists of unique and unrepeatable events, it is unintelligible unless bound into a larger scheme of order.

As Quinn puts it, “Randomness has no meaning. Yet to give meaning to events in time is to remove them from time itself, to deny them the singularity that makes them historical.” Likewise, as the philosopher Michael Polanyi argued, to see meaning beyond the local is to see it in the local. A fact does not and cannot speak for itself. Depending on your nonlocal understanding of history, you will see completely different facts and regard them very differently.

For Dawson, it was the incarnation of Christ that gave history its center and therefore significance: “Viewed from this center the history of humanity became an organic unity. Eternity had entered into time and henceforward the singular and temporal had acquired an eternal significance. The closed circle of time had been broken and a ladder had been let down from heaven to earth by which mankind could escape from the ‘sorrowful wheel’ which had cast its shadow over Greek and Indian thought, and go forward in newness of life to a new world.” On the other hand, people outside the Judeo-Christian tradition tended “to solve the problem of history by a radical denial of its significance."

Thus, Dawson admits his metahistorical prejudice at the outset. And whether they admit it or not, all historians operate under a similar “metahistory.” Without one, they could not “see” or imagine history at all. I know I have my own metahistory. It is outlined in my book, where I did my best to take into consideration all of the facts of existence--scientific, biological, psychological, anthropological, historical, and theological--and weave them into a tapestry of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution. Based on this model, I know what is of historical significance to me. It is those things that either facilitate or impede the cosmic evolution of which human consciousness is the leading edge.

In ether worlds, I attempted to place history in the ultimate context, for in the absence of an ultimate context, secular history really is a dark prison from which there is no hope of escape: “It is a prison in which the human spirit confines itself when it is shut out of the wider world of reality. But as soon as the light comes, all the elaborate mechanisms that have been constructed for living in the dark become useless. The recovery of spiritual vision gives man back his spiritual freedom” (Dawson).

The radically secular culture of the left can only exist by keeping us in the dark. So don’t ever be surprised when they attack the Light.

When the prophets are silent and society no longer possesses any channel of communication with the divine world, the way to the lower depths is still open and man's frustrated spiritual powers will find their outlet in the unlimited will to power and destruction. --Christopher Dawson

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Day and Night Time History

I really like Jonah Goldberg. He’s a guy who wears his intellect rather lightly, but is actually quite brilliant. If he wanted to, he could be just like those pretentious academic windbags of the left, but he just seems to have a pleasant and unassuming temperament.

In this latest editorial, Analogy vs. Analogy, Goldberg touches on something I’ve been thinking about, the question of what lessons, if any, we can really draw from history. Human beings cannot help being historical, for the simple reason that we exist in time, whereas animals essentially exist in the passing moment. But what is time? More on that below.

Here is an excerpt from Goldberg’s piece:

“’Example is the school of mankind,’ proclaimed Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, ‘and they will learn at no other.’

“Burke was disparaging the folly of French revolutionaries who believed that man could break the iron chains of history and create utopias through willpower and planning.

“This argument about whether history has anything to teach us has been the essence of the left-right debate for most of the last two centuries. Conservatives said: ‘There's nothing new under the sun.’ The left said: ‘Until now!’

".... [M]y favorite summary of this mindset comes from Stuart Chase, the intellectual often credited with coining the phrase ‘New Deal’ for FDR. ‘Are our plans wrong?’ he asked. ‘Who knows? Can we tell from reading history? Hardly.’”

Goldberg then goes on to point out that in the present divide between left and right, each side is guided by a different historical analogy. For the right “it is 1938 in Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Hitler,” whereas for the left it is always Vietnam: “For many liberals of a certain generation, Vietnam is a universal peg, fitting perfectly into analytical holes of any shape. Indeed, the closest thing we get to a neat left-right divide on foreign policy these days is between those who see Vietnam as the Rosetta stone of international conundrums and those who see early 20th-century Europe as the universal translator.”

But are either of these analogies ultimately useful? History clearly has a phenomenal aspect (i.e., that part which we may know) and a noumenal aspect (whatever it is in itself). And of the phenomenal aspect of history, only a small subset of that is available to us in the form of written history. In other words, as Goldberg points out “we have a tendency to look for our car keys where the light is good. Our usable past is the past that is illuminated to us.”

“But what if there are historical parallels lurking in the shadows of our ignorance? What if the jihadists are more like the Muslim Barbary pirates made famous in the Marine Hymn with the line about 'the shores of Tripoli'? Or maybe they're more like the Thugees, an 18th-century murder cult in colonial India. Or the Panslavist Black Hand.... The point is, we don't know. But surely the ocean of historical experience cannot be summed up by the tributaries of Vietnam and Nazi Germany.”

One thing we do know--and this is without historical parallel--is that, thanks to technology, “second-rate powers like Iran, as well as basket cases like North Korea and modern-day Thugees like Bin Laden, can quickly attain destructive power Hitler only dreamed of. As science proceeds, this reality will loom ever more frightening.... It's ironic that just when the left has come to admire the utility of history, history may be offering us a blank page. The sobering question is: What kind of analogy will we provide for future generations?”

In my formulation--borrowed from Valentin Tomberg--I find it useful to consider history as having a “day” aspect and a “night” aspect. For example, the 9-11 movie that will be shown on ABC this Sunday night gives us a glimpse into the night time of history between the two Twin Tower attacks in 1993 and 2001. This is why it has the left so hysterical, for it completely undermines their clean and simplistic “day time” narrative of those years. But clearly, during the bright and carefree Clintonian daze, sinister events were incubating in the night time womb of history. And I’m not even blaming Clinton. We all wanted to ignore the gathering threat and sleepwalk through history at the time.

In fact, the majority of the country--and virtually all of the left--would like to return to the undisturbed slumber of daytime history. George Bush, on the other hand, is vilified for confronting threats head on while they incubate in the dark. Is a nightmare real if you wake up before it happened? This is the problem with the immature and anti--intellectual left. They chide Bush because Korea developed nukes on his watch, but also for preventing Saddam from developing them. Let’s be honest--anyone who thinks that Uday and Qsay would not have developed nuclear capability is just kidding themselves.

History, according to Tomberg, “is not to be understood as something which plays itself out on one level, but must be comprehended also in its dimension of height and depth.” Furthermore, “the key concepts for understanding the night aspect of history are ‘degeneration’ and ‘regeneration.’” Degeneration involves a gradual, step-by-step descent from a higher level, while regeneration is the opposite: re-ascent to a higher level. This is why, both personally and collectively, in the absence of periodic “booster shots” from above, things will simply degenerate below. Our much-rumored "fall" didn't just happen once upon a timeless, but is repeated on a moment-by-moment basis.

These periodic booster shots often enter history like depth charges from above. An avatar is not merely a human embodiment of the logos, but anyone--whether political, scientific, military, artistic, or religious--with a divine mission. For example, I consider the American founders as celestial emissaries par excellence, charged with a divine mission to regenerate a literally exhausted mankind. Subtract these and similar avatars from history, and history becomes a dark place indeed: imagine history without Abraham, Paul, Lincoln, Churchill--all people who saw into the night of history and altered its course.

As Tomberg puts it, “All movements of a social, political, artistic, intellectual, and religious kind may indeed have different speeds of devolution, but one thing they have in common: if no reinforcing impulse is given after a certain time, they will inevitably exhaust themselves. A thing of motion or or of life becomes a corpse unless 'reawakening impulses' intervene.”

Now the reactionary, illiberal left has repackaged itself as “progressive,” when the very nature of leftist assumptions prevents it. Because they are wholly horizontal and “live by day,” they can only regenerate themselves on their own excrement, so to speak. If you have any understanding of Freud’s developmental model, you will appreciate this in a quite literal way when reading, say, the explosively anal missives of dailykos. Talk about a historical rearguard action.

But in its own fumbling way, the conservative movement is clearly oriented to the “above,” always mindful of looking for regeneration outside the things of this world. The inspiration of the American founders did not come from the visible world. Indeed, they even say so: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men...”

History is a circle, but it is an open circle, or spiral. However, it can only maintain the upward spiral if it is specifically oriented to the finality of spiritual ideals that are not located in the field of time. These revivifying impulses from above eventually exhaust themselves unless we keep them alive. This is the esoteric meaning of conservatism. In its absence, gravity takes over and human nature takes care of the rest. Grace is to hitch a ride on one of the ubiquitous spiritual streams that course through the arteries of the cosmos, luring us toward our deustiny.

The historian of the future... will not compose a history of civilization--that is, the story of technological progress and sociopolitical struggles--but will trace the path of mankind through the stages of purification and illumination to its ultimate attainment of perfection. His narrative will detail mankind's temptations and their vanquishment, the standards set by particular individuals and groups, and the progressive lighting-up of new insights and the awakening of spiritual faculties among human beings. --Valentin Tomberg

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Struggling With the Issue of Faith (updated 9.05.07)

That’s the title of Dr. Sanity’s thoughtful post today. Being in this somewhat murky state of mind, I decided to just steal it rather than come up with my own title.

In an interview last year, Siggy asked Dr. Sanity if she believed in God, and her response was, “I guess I have to say that I’m an agnostic and don’t take a position on whether God exists or not. I am aware of a very strong emotional part of me that wants very much to believe in an all powerful and all good deity that cares about me and all of humanity. But I also a very strong scientific and rational part that demands objective evidence of the existence of a Supreme Being. These two parts of me exist in a sort of dynamic tension right now and I expect that some day I might find a way to integrate them. Or, maybe not.”

Today, a year later, she says “That dynamic tension remains and the struggle continues unabated. I don't seem to have progressed too far along in resolving that conflict, but I have progressed. And, it is reassuring to realize that Siggy is correct when he says, “To struggle with faith is as much a part of faith as anything else.”

I think that last statement is very accurate, in the identical sense that we could say “To struggle with knowledge is as much a part of truth as anything else,” or “To struggle with love is as much a part of relationships as anything else.” Humans, by definition, are fated to inhabit--or at least span--the vast middle realm between being and nothingness, the absolute and the relative, matter and spirit, time and eternity. The paradoxes of human existence are impossibly difficult if you give them even a moment’s reflection.

Despite all of our scientific and technological advances over the past 300 years, I see no evidence that human beings are any happier than they have ever been. If anything, happiness might be even more elusive, because life is so much easier than it was for past generations, in that we expect things to go well and are devastated when tragedy and disappointment hit, which they inevitably do. No one in the past felt they were entitled to the things we take for granted--health, plentiful food, absence of physical pain, a long life, thriving children. Thus, it was no doubt easier not to become overly attached to the temporary and transient. Death was a constant reminder of the fragility and fickleness of existence. (In fact, this proximity to death probably conributes to the fact that the Islamists are willing to die for their idiotic beliefs, while so much of the West cannot muster the enthusiasm to defend itself.)

You could probably even say that this attitude prevailed in the West--let alone in undeveloped nations--through the great depression and World War II. As recently as the 1970’s, inflation was completely misunderstood by economists, and therefore untamable. The “boom or bust” business cycle really only began to seriously flatten after the Reagan revolution, in that our inevitable recessions are far less severe than in the past.

LIkewise, I am blessed to have diabetes at a time when it is so easy to control it with different types of insulin and instantaneous digital readouts of my blood sugar, but my mother, just one generation before, had no such control, with devastating results. My father died at 57 of an abdominal aneurysm that is easily detectable today with a $35 dollar exam at a health fair.

Given these profound existential changes, I think it is natural that humans began to focus on this side of the “time-eternity” divide, and look for our spiritual sustenance in the things of the world, so to speak--relationships, children, possessions, experiences. But does it work? I suppose for some. For others--perhaps we’re just neurotic, I don’t know--there is nothing in the field of time that will suffice or answer to this deeper call of the Spirit. It is a part of us that cries out for something that is not found in the objects of the world, and is only satisfied by one thing.

Is it real, this part of us that cries out for transcendence? I don’t know if that is the proper question. It’s somewhat analogous to falling in love and asking yourself if love is real or just an illusion, a trick of the nervous system. I’m imagining the Gagboy 10 or 20 years down the line, when he is at the peak of his enchantment with the opposite form of the complementary gender. “I know it looks like women are attractive, but don’t be fooled. It’s just Darwin playing tricks on you, trying to get you to reproduce. In reality, woman aren’t attractive or unattractive. To the extent that you find them beautiful, just remember that it’s an illusion programmed into you by evolution.”

“Gee, thanks, Dad!”

But isn’t this the same kind of “sophisticated” advice we might receive from the typical college professor regarding religion? “God? Probably nothing more than an illusion programmed into our nervous system. You can ignore it.” But doesn’t that just beg the question of whether everything isn’t just an illusion built into our nervous system, including the statement that everything is? That way madness lies. But also tenure, so there are compensations.

If we consider religiosity on a continuum from extreme atheism on the left side (“zero”) to mystical union on the right (“one hundred”), let us suppose that Dr. Sanity is at 50. Well, probably more like 49. I myself started at closer to zero, or at least veered in that direction after an initial interest in Eastern religions prompted by the Beatles’ (especially George’s) adoption of yoga. But I became seriously interested in philosophy during my college years, and virtually all modern philosophy is essentially atheistic, whether existentialism, positivism, phenomenology, what have you.

Just recently I have begun to think of religiosity as simply “the right way to live,” so to speak. After all, these are traditions that somehow nourished the human soul for hundreds and thousands of years, almost as if we were made for them and they were made for us. Regardless of whether or not we may attribute these traditions to a creator, I find that there is a wisdom in authentic religion that far surpasses what any single mind could have come up with.

It’s a bit like marriage and the family. No one “invented” either, but for most people it is simply the “right way” to live. Sure, you can experiment with other ways. Like Bill Maher, you can date porn stars, substitute dogs for children, and worship gaia, but is this really the way we’re built? Does he look happy or well adjusted to you?

I didn’t actually dive headlong into religion until 1995. In my case it was yoga, but once I did, the part of me that was hungering for transcendence all along began to “grow.” It reminds me of what they say about babies--”sleep begets sleep.” That is, if they nap more during the day, they sleep better at night. Likewise, faith begets faith. Just by taking that leap and living in the way humans have always lived, something automatic seems to kick in.

I don’t mean to trivialize it, but it reminds me of sports. I think it has to do with the arrival of the Gagboy last year, but before that, I was an absolutely fanatical Dodger fan. To be honest, the spell started to be broken when they were purchased by Fox from the O’Malley family, but from the age of nine, I lived and died with each win or loss. And yet--especially as an adult--I would sometimes reflect on the absurdity of my devotion. As Seinfeld said, when it comes right down to it, since the players constantly change, you're essentially rooting for laundry. But was I any happier when I thought this way? No, not at all. In fact, it just spoiled the fun.

There’s an old saying in baseball: “Don’t think, you’ll hurt the ballclub.” I think most philosophy falls into this category. There are ways to think that will be metaphysically fruitful and add to your fulfillment, other essentially circular forms of thought that are spiritually barren and go from nowhere to nothing (and certainly won't help you hit a curveball). To be honest, they aren’t worthy of man, itself a statement that touches on the mystery of what man actually is.

The "good news" of religion is that the world is not a closed circle, that it is not an eternal prison, that it has an exit and an entrance.... "Perdition" is to be caught up in the eternal circulation of the world of the closed circle... [whereas] "salvation" is life in the world of the open circle, or spiral, where there is both exit and entrance. --Meditations on the Tarot

Monday, September 04, 2006

One Cosmos Under a False God

Regarding yesterday’s post, Grant has graciously conceded that, as Will put it, “obnoxiousness in the defense of the Spirit is no vice" (it certainly can be, but it is clearly not always).

“However,” notes Grant, “there remains the sticking point of unity. In most credible spiritual systems, and as implied by the title of your own book and blog, everything that exists is of one piece, making Springsteen, moonbat that he is, contiguous with you, me, and everyone else. There is an appearance of division among people into separate beings but it seems clear that there is no actual division at all on a deeper level.

“The implication I am making is that everyone is the Self, and therefore it is logical to treat everyone as least as well as one would treat oneself. Following this line of thought, would you call yourself a moonbat or a spokeshole if you found yourself wrong about something? [Er, yes. I have many times made reference to my youthful jackassery.] Suppose you were mistaken about certain things, and you wanted to firmly correct your own behavior or beliefs--wouldn't you handle your self-correction with love, consideration and respect, even while being firm and severe? [Not really. In these matters there is no higher consideration than truth.]

“People are harsh on themselves sometimes--they may have inner dialogues that are terribly cruel. As rocker Graham Parker put it, ‘nobody hurts you harder than yourself. This self-inflicted pain is counterproductive. Therapists inculcate self-regard whenever possible, along with an ability to critique oneself honestly but without rancor or shame. [This is not true. Self-regard is worthless, if not harmful, if it is not based on an accurate view of reality, both internal and external. Both spirituality and good therapy aim at truth, not “self-regard.” Likewise, we should not treat others as they want to be treated, but as we--and by extension they---deserve to be treated. ]

“To finish my argument, I just have a lingering 10% suspicion that obnoxiousness, while effective for fostering changes, is unhealthy for the human corpus at large, the group Self, and the purposes that obnoxiousness serves could be accomplished in healthier ways. Could not Springsteen be seen as a mistaken friend rather than an alien entity to be belittled and discounted? Does Self love preclude severity and the ability to critique others?”

There are several points to be addressed here. First of all, you are confusing the meaning of “one,” something that new-age types generally do (although I have no idea whether you are in that category). As Coleridge put it, "two very different meanings lurk in the word, one."

As I wrote some time ago, “it cannot be forgotten that the positing of the One is not merely a dogma, but an experience--an experience vouchsafed to Moses on Sinai, as well as others before and since. In this regard, it is very similar to Vedanta, in that the Upanishads simply record direct encounters with the ultimate Mystery.”

“Allegorically, we enjoyed a continuous oneness with the Creator in Eden. However, this was not unity but oneness, something clearly not as lofty as unity, for unity requires our separateness from God, but then reconciliation at a higher, more complex and differentiated level, not a lower one of mere undifferentiated blending.... The name of God is the Name of the Unity of All Being. (Unity, not oneness.)”

The analogy with your body is exact. Your body, with all of its inconceivable complexity, is somehow a unity (in fact, disease, both physical and mental, may be thought of as a breakdown of this unity). If it were merely one, then it would simply be a pile of undifferentiated protoplasm.

In another post, I wrote that

“The difference between spiritual progressives and secular reactionaries is that they worship different gods--or more accurately, they have entirely incompatible understandings of the meaning of One. There is an antinomy between these two Ones: there is a left one and a right One--or more precisely, a higher One and a lower one.

“The Christian hermeticist Valentin Tomberg uses a visual image to conceptualize the problem. Imagine two cones placed base to base. At the top there is a point, in the middle an ‘equator’ where the bases meet, and at the bottom another point. Now imagine this as a sort of crystal. At the top is the white point where pure light, which is the synthesis of all colors, enters.

“As the light moves down toward the equator it becomes more and more differentiated into the various colors of the spectrum, until they reach their maximum degree of separation and intensity at the equator. Moving further down, the colors begin to merge until, at the bottom point, they once again lose all of their distinction and become black, which represents the blending and confusion of all colors. There is one sort of synthesis or Oneness above (the white point) and an entirely different kind of oneness below (the black point).

“The white point is analogous to wisdom, for it represents the underlying unity of all the different types of knowledge available at the equator, where all of the individual colors represent various disciplines and sciences.

“Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this, for it touches on the central point of my book and of this blog. The synthesis of all our seemingly contradictory truths lies ‘above,’ toward the white light of wisdom. If two seemingly contradictory things are true, say, the Book of Genesis and the theory of evolution, then their common source of truth must be found above, not below. There is a way to resolve the contradiction, but not by finding a compromise between the two at the "equator" or by simply confusing and blending them together below.

“For example, teaching intelligent design as an adjunct or alternative to natural selection is simply adding another color to the equator. Even worse, teaching it as the only truth would take both the Creator and science down to the black point, merging and blending science and theology in an unhealthy way. In fact, this is what is done in the Islamic world. Yes, they have intellectual and spiritual unity there, but it is the bad unity of the black point: One Nation Under God’s Boot Heel, so to speak. The identical thing happens in secular totalitarian states, or on leftist college campuses, where intellectual diversity is not permitted. What we want is to allow maximum diversity but to synthesize it on higher level, not eliminate it on a lower one: this is the meaning of One Cosmos Under God.

“Ironically, the secular left in America regard their fellow religious citizens as an incipient Taliban that wishes to enforce a black-point unity, when the opposite is true. That is, to the secular left, there is no white point above or black point below. Rather, there is only the equator, where we all live in our beautiful, diverse cultures and subcultures, none better than any other: multiculturalism, moral relativism, no objective or ‘privileged’ truth. And yet, multiculturalism and diversity are enforced from on high despite the fact that the left supposedly does not recognize the existence of morally superior cultural perspectives. What’s going on?

“In reality, the left is enforcing their absolute black point god, but simply denying it. They don't really care what culture you're from, so long as you are committed to diversity itself, and intolerant of any other view. This is nothing less than the unholy god of the black point flexing its muscle while pretending to be just another beautiful color in the reignbelow.

“In reality, there is no absolute system at the equator that can synthesize knowledge and explain our existence. There is only diversity and contradiction there, which is as it should be. Otherwise there would be no creation, nothing separate from the Creator. However, it is only the white light above that illuminates and unites everything below. We must maintain a commitment to that absolute white light that is reflected in all the relative truths at the equator, not to this or that relative truth enforced absolutely from below.

“Or we may simply affirm the trinitarian root of all goodness that is found on any coin: Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum.”

On this Middle Earth plane we inhabit, God’s very purpose--or so we have heard from the wise--is to create a Unity starting from scratch, or from “bang,” if you will. Human beings are central to this task, as we embody the full spectrum of cosmic existence, and serve as the very link between above and below, the celestial and the mundane, the one and the many. There are forces opposed to this evolutionary progress, and it is our task to correct them, occasionally with divine severity. So yes, ultimately I am “one” with Bruce Springsteen and other moonbats, only on a level of reality that is inaccessible to them by virtue of their own benighted philosophies.

For it is written, "sometimes you have to crack on a bad egg to make an Om alight." Zen masters do it all the time. WHACK! Speaking of which, here's a koan: who's buried in Grant's duum?