Friday, September 09, 2011

Reactionary Mush from the Imperial Wimp

This is right in keeping with our discussion of the millennial mentality: regarding last night's predictable Mush from the Wimp, a Jeffrey Kuhner observes that

"Contrary to popular myth, liberalism is not politics committed to science or rational thought. It is a substitute religion -- a secular philosophy similar to Marxism that seeks to replace Christianity and provide believers with existential meaning. Hence, it must be defended at all costs, even in the face of irrefutable evidence or logic. Mr. Obama is not an anomaly among progressives. They share his stubbornness. Reassessment is not possible. If Mr. Obama truly were to tack to the center, it would represent a fatal admission of error. The liberal faith would collapse. This is why left-wing Democrats are demanding that he defy the Tea Party --- and reality.... The problem is not Keynesian liberalism, but the lack of sufficient zeal."

As we will see, this is an extremely common pattern, for again, what is the millennialist to do when redemption doesn't come, when the cargo doesn't arrive, when the spaceship doesn't land? More stimulus!

Imagine if Obama were actually serious about helping our ailing economy. The first thing he would do is sign the repeal of Obamacare, but that is impossible. But why is it impossible? Is it only because of arrogance, narcissism, petty pride? No, it's much deeper than that.

I can fully relate, because I know how difficult it would be for me to abandon one of my bedrock beliefs. Furthermore, I know I wouldn't do so based upon some "transient" or "apparent" setback, as Obama no doubt imagines he is facing. Thought is always superimposed upon a well of deep emotion, so it's actually more analogous to switching allegiance from one team to another.

In my case, I've been a Dodgers fan since I was nine years old. My allegiance is completely irrational, or a-rational, anyway -- as Seinfeld said, since the players are always changing, it really comes down to rooting for laundry -- but that doesn't make it any less compelling. I suppose if I moved to another city I could root for a different team, but my heart wouldn't be in it, given my long history with the Dodgers, especially during the formative years.

Indeed, it was a very slow and difficult transition for me to go from 100% liberal to 100% conservative, as those beautiful and seductive lies and illusions were exposed and dropped one by one -- lies that had shaped and structured my identity and even my reality (although the two obviously go hand in hand).

A philosophy isn't just some kind of interchangeable operating system. Rather, it's a rough and ready, all-purpose economic, cultural, historical, sociological, political, and even metaphysical map of reality. It orients one to fellow citizens, to the world, to other countries, to history, everything. This is why it was always said that one should refrain from discussing religion and politics in public, or with people one doesn't know well. Religion is understandable, but why politics?

Because politics is quite obviously much more than politics, as we have been learning in our discussion of apocalyptic and millennial thought.

Furthermore -- and this is key -- if one has no (conscious) religion, then one's politics will inevitably partake of that preternatural energy as well. In my view, this is the only thing that explains the fanaticism, anger, and irrationality of the left.

And I would say the identical thing of "conservatives" who convert politics to a millennial religion or personality cult. A conservatism that is not rooted in maturity, sobriety, and (usually melancholy) experience (individual and collective, present and past), is not conservatism.

I want to continue with some of Landes' definitions before (I think) moving on to what I believe to be the actual dynamics, or deep structure, of the millennial/apocalyptic mindset.

First, he draws a distinction between hierarchical and demotic millennialism, which in many ways describes the differences between left and right. I won't speak for Landes, but when I say "right" in this context, I am referring not to American style conservatism -- which is uniquely demotic and hierarchical, hence its effectiveness -- but to European style statism, caesaropapism, fascism, authoritarianism, etc. American conservatism is as different from these as it is from contemporary liberalism.

The hierarchical "pole of millennial thinking works from a top-down model of the 'perfect' society," and often includes visions of the "messianic 'world conqueror' who inaugurates the golden age." This "emporer-messiah represents God on earth and constitutes" his "image and icon" (Landes). (See snidebar for contemporary examples.)

Landes notes that "the evil forces that hierarchical millennialists target come from 'below' (the unruly masses) and from 'without' (foreigners)." Substitute "reactionary statists" for "imperial government" and "tea party" for "unruly masses," and you get the idea. These statists are offended by "commoners who do not know their place, women who talk back," and general disrespect for aristocrats and elites.

As the Sultan so accurately describes it, "When liberal pundits accuse tea party protesters of longing for the good old days, it is in fact the pundits themselves who in true reactionary fashion long for the good old days," specifically, "when the common people kept their heads down and listened to their betters. To hear the MSNBC talking heads bewail the danger of the armed mobs at Town Halls, you might think that you were listening to royalists bemoaning the French Revolution. But theirs is an equally elitist worldview in which power comes not from the voice of the people telling their representatives, but from the people listening to their representatives telling them what to do."

Our state masters forget -- if they ever knew -- that "The American experiment was based on the radical progressive notion that the people as individuals were best suited to conduct their own lives. Socialism by contrast is a reactionary ideology that rejects individual freedom in favor of a rule of the enlightened elite" (ibid).

And Greenfield is writing of and from the same attractor we are, in observing that "To hear the adulation wash over Obama, is to hear an echo of the slavish worship of the Sun King or a divinely appointed emperor. It is not simply messianic, a vein of political mysticism long common among liberals, but royalist in nature" (emphasis mine).

Having said that, its inverted cousin, demotic millennialism, is hardly better, and often worse. For one thing, demotic movements have a way of becoming hierarchical: the people's revolution soon enough becomes the vanguard of tyrannical elites.

In conjunction with my research for this series of posts, I have been reading the classic account of our constitutional convention, Miracle at Philadelphia, and it couldn't be more obvious that this was one of the dualities the congress was trying find a way to get past: monarchy at one end, and at the other, democracy (which in those days wasn't any kind of ideal, but rather, another word for mob rule).

How to construct a system that was both "aristocratic" -- i.e., drawing upon the disinterested wisdom of virtuous citizens who had the time and inclination to think and study, unquestioned geniuses such as Barbara Boxer or Al Franken -- but also fostering in people a sense that they too were participants who had a stake in the government?

The second distinction drawn by Landes is between restorative vs. innovative millennialism. Here again, this is generally reflected in the differences between left and right, but only in Europe, not America, since our unique combination of limited government, free markets, and Judeo-Christian values was harmonuiously innovative (as evidenced by the "creative destruction" of the free market and the development of science) and restorative (we are by far the most religious nation on earth, if one presupposes the freedom to choose one's religion or no religion at all).

A true "restorative" or "conservative" revolution would be like that of the Islamists, who utterly reject modernity and want to return to an insanely "pure" form of Islam. Ironically, conservative Americans are routinely accused by the left of having a similar agenda, when the opposite is true. Rather, the left wishes to impose its religion on the rest of us, since one cannot be a leftist without a huge and intrusive state. Again, Greenfield describes it perfectly:

"While the Tea Party protesters are fighting for a fundamentally progressive cause, the right of individuals to lead their lives as they see fit, liberals are fighting for a reactionary cause to impose an overriding government on the people against their will.... The socialist dream is the ancient dream of a supreme state, that is somehow all-wise and all-benevolent, whose rulers are somehow more enlightened than ordinary people, and who supply everyone with their needs."

Lastly, Landes describes two main types of apocalyptic scenario, the cataclysmic and transformational, which further divide into active and passive versions. I'm running out of time here, but let us just say that the "passive transformational" is the most benign of the four possibilities, while the active cataclysmic is the most destructive (for example, the Islamists are active cataclysmic, as apparently was the recent Norwegian mass murderer).

And unfortunately, all secular millennial scenarios are activist. Why? Because there is no God to bring about the transformation. Rather, we're on our own.

For example, although the left supposedly believes in evolution, they do not trust it. Rather, they want to force their preferred outcome, but in ways that are certain to fail, which brings us back to last night's ridiculously stale Mush from the Wimp.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Obama: From Heaven's Gate to Hell's Portal in Four Short Years

Back to those definitions promised in yesterday's post. No, don't surf away! They're quite interesting.

First there is the important distinction between apocalyptic and millennial. For Landes, the former has to do with the End Time, not only that it exists -- which isn't really a problem -- but that it is imminent.

Or, as the Rolling Stones interpreted the mindscape in 1968, a storm is threatnin', a fire sweepin', and war a-comin', all just a shot away. It's like a backdraft situation. All someone has to do is open the door -- or, more likely, kick it in -- and the world is consumed in the purifying/punishing conflagration.

So the apocalyptic involves "a sense of immanence about the great upheaval and the scenario whereby we now go from this evil and corrupt world to the redeemed one" (Landes).

Although the Book of Revelation is all over the apocalypse, Christianity -- in fact, Jesus himself -- also explicitly teaches that one is not to waste time trying to determine when it will occur. It's like trying to figure out when you're going to die. First, you can't do it. Second, it's a waste of your brief allotment of time. Third, if it's fixed in time, you can't do anything about it anyway.

For example, we don't really care if a Mohammedan happens to believe that the 12th imam is going to come down here someday and straighten it all out for us. Fine. Whatever. We only have a problem if they think they can shorten his work or hasten his arrival by, say, acquiring nuclear weapons and blowing Israel off the map. (Speaking of which, I'm not sure if our new Persian cat is working out. See picture below.)

Which makes no sense anyway, because Islam, like Marxism, is completely fatalistic. It never made any sense for Marxists to foment their revolutions, since their own metaphysic insisted that the Revolution would occur necessarily and scientifically, as a result of the workings of the Dialectic.

But as we shall see, the apocalyptic has a deep structure with its own form and momentum. It doesn't matter what kind of intellectualized nonsense people come up with to explain it to themselves, whether "scientific" or religious. From this deeper perspective, scientific Marxism is exactly like a UFO cult, a cargo cult, or even the bizarre Ron Paul cult.

One might say that millenialism is the theory, apocalypticism the application. Thus, apocalyptic believers "tend toward hyperactivity. Indeed, the more impending the end, the more frenetic their behavior" (Landes).

These are people who literally burn their bridges to the past, to the present, and to any future other than their apocalyptic scenario. And I say "literally," because normally we are aware of an implicit temporal bridge that connects one moment to the next.

For the apoplectic apocalypter, it's a zero-sum game. Allah or nothing. Go big or go to hell. Sinner take fall. It is, as Landes says, "totalistic," in my opinion because it again partakes of the symmetrical logic of the unconscious (discussed in yesterday's post), in which past, present, and future are all intermingled, interchangeable, and copresent, as in dream consciousness:

"If one event is before another, then the principle of symmetry states that to the unconscious the second event is also before the first. 'Before' and 'after' thus become meaningless -- all time is simultaneously present" (Bomford).

There are different apocalyptic scenarios: "some are violent and envision cosmic destruction," others "transformative and call for a change of the heart" (Landes). Some are active and "involve human participation," while others are more passive.

Nevertheless, even the passive variety places radical demands upon the believer. Think of the Heaven's Gate cult from a few years back, in which the members auto-raptured themselves in anticipation of being beamed up to the awaiting spaceship.

In this context, eschatology has to do with the specific end envisioned by this or that apocalyptic scenario. In other words, where does this all lead? What's the point?

In secular forms, such as Al Gore's climate hysteria, millions if not billions of ecological sinners perish as a result of our greedy use of fossil fuels. Religious versions often come down to God's final judgment, both of individuals and of the world they made. It is the radical application of cosmic justice, in which everyone finally gets what he deserves, right in the kisser.

Landes draws an important distinction between the secular and religious eschaton. In the former, people either create heaven on earth -- i.e., immanentize the eschaton (Voegelin) -- or face the complete destruction and the annihilation of everything.

If you are old enough to remember, this is how the left attempted to undermine Ronald Reagan's successful strategy of defeating the Soviet Union, by propagating apocalyptic rhetoric and appealing to the "apocalyptic unconscious," so to speak.

Ironically, a big part of this involved an indiscriminate projection of their own apocalyptic fantasies onto Reagan, as if he intended to engage in a nuclear exchange in order to trigger the millennium. They did the same thing to Goldwater in 1964, with their infamous "daisy ad."

Reagan was, like most any Christian, a millennial believer. But he specifically wanted to defeat the Soviet Union by spending them into oblivion, not going to war with them. Obviously, he made the secular apocalyptic scenario less likely, not more likely.

Landes reserves the word millennialism for "the belief that at some point in the future, the world we live in will be radically transformed into one of perfection -- of peace, justice, fellowship, and plenty."

These elements were transparently present in the Obama campaign of 2008. Interestingly, I believe we will see him go from the hopeful millennial script of 2008 to a ferociously apocalyptic one in 2012. Note that until recently, Obama had been able to project the apocalypse into the past, into Bush; now it will have to be projected into the future, but it's the same old apocalypse.

Meet the new Kos, same as the old Kos.

In short, just as in the 1980s, the left will accuse the Republican candidate of wanting to end the world as we know it, of wanting to reward the greedy and evil, overturn justice, set back the clock, chain women to the kitchen, lynch blacks, force back alley abortions, have the elderly eating cat food, and generally impose our Fascist Theocracy™. In other words, the very mirror image of Hope, along with a kind of totalistic Change, only all bad this time.

When lost in the dream time of apocalyptic thought, going from heaven to hell is a matter of the flick of a switch. Obama's doing so is a scandal, really. Let's call it Heavengate.


As promised, our new Persian:

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wake Up Morons! The End is Not Near!

No movement that takes power can sustain the hallucination that the new world is indeed messianic for more than a short while. Most burn out quickly, in months or years.... --Richard Landes, Heaven on Earth

And hopefully they do this without inflicting too much damage upon the nation. There will always be damage, to be sure, since damage results any time there is a severe disjunction between thought and reality.

Think about it: in our case, for the brief time Obama has been in office, we and our children's [fill in the blank] will be paying for the rest of our lives. For what, exactly? For the privilege of having this insufferable cipher lead us for a few years?

It's like surveying the wreckage the morning after a huge drunken party. And for what? We didn't even get drunk, since we weren't one of the party pretendees.

In fact, it's not unlike the 1960s. What did we get out of that intoxicated spree? Whatever it was, we're still paying for it -- not just monetarily, but much more problematically, culturally.

This cultural hangover is not a problem for the left, since it is their implicit -- and often explicit -- goal to destroy the existing culture, being that it is so fundamentally and irredeemably flawed: patriarchal, racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally oppressive. Frankly, economic Marxism was on the way out before the rise of Obama, but cultural Marxism was as strong as ever.

Ironically, for the Marxian-inspired thinker, existence precedes essence, which is a fancy way of saying (among other things) that economics trumps culture. But since they were unsuccessful in (completely) overturning the economic order, they shifted the focus of their long dreary march by infiltrating every cultural institution, questioning its premises, and delegitimizing it.

Meanwhile, the fundamental issues at the root of our civilization had been settled so long ago, that conservatives forgot how to defend them with fact and reason.

The attempt to redefine marriage is only the latest and most radical assault, but if the left succeeds, they will have managed to erode the sacred, pre-political foundation of civilization itself, the trinitarian man-woman-child bond.

The results will be much more dramatic than, say, the collapse of the state-sponsored economic bubble, but people will not see it, for the same reason they do not see the baleful cultural effects of the new deal and great society, even though they are right before our eyes.

In reality, you have to be blind to miss them, which is sort of the point: leftism blinds one to the reality of the vertical, to the enduring structures that make us human -- or which activate and guide human potential toward its proper end.

An acquaintance pointed out to me that young people apparently have no problem with the state forcing a new and idiosyncratic definition of marriage upon the rest of us. I responded that this should not be surprising, given the secular soulwash children receive as a result of the failure to separate ideology and state.

Here in California it is not only against the law to teach any unpleasant truths about homosexuality, but children are mandated by the state to cultivate positive feelings about the love that won't shut the fuck up because there are children around, pervert!

I mean, can we not agree that THERE IS SOMETHING DESPERATELY WRONG WITH SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO TELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN ALL ABOUT ANYONE'S WONDERFUL SEX LIFE?!!!! How sick does something have to be before people recognize it? Are they really that numb to the centrality of preserving childhood innocence until the appropriate time? It has nothing to do with homosexuality per se, just rudimentary judgment and discretion, not to mention separation of crotch and state.

When we say we don't want to establish a state religion, it is because there is a larger principle involved. Ultimately, it means that we don't want truth and power conflated, because power has a nasty way of propagating only the truths that legitimize its present structures and current beneficiaries.

Moreover, we are a nation founded upon liberty, and liberty is strictly impossible in the absence of transcendent truth (including the truth of our transcendence). Existentialists are correct that without truth, liberty literally degenerates to nothing, since it renders thought and action meaningless.

Which is again the whole point of a secular miseducation that fosters relativism in all its noxious and soul-deadening forms. Once relativism is internalized, then anything is possible because nothing is real.

Pope John Paul II, in his struggle against socialist tyranny, did so in the belief that culture was prior to economics. He knew that by awakening and strengthening the culture, the economic order would fall.

This is because man is man -- because human nature is real -- and it is cruelly unnatural to impose upon man a political order that doesn't reflect this fact.

Likewise, prior to our disagreement with the left over a free vs. centralized economy is the culture war that ultimately comes down to truth or relativism, man or beast, intellect or anti-intellectualism.

In a recent essay, Mark Steyn cites Laura Ingraham, who writes that “Even if our economic and national security challenges disappeared overnight, we’d still have to climb out of the cultural abyss into which we’ve tumbled.”

Like me, Steyn would go "a little further than the author on that. I’m a great believer that culture trumps economics. Every time the government in Athens calls up the Germans and says, okay, we’ve burned through the last bailout, time for the next one, Angela Merkel understands all too well that the real problem in Greece is not the Greek finances but the Greek people."

Americans are different, or at least they are supposed to be. Where Europeans cherish equality, collectivism, and centralized control, we celebrate liberty, individualism, and limited government.

Or did, anyway. As Steyn correctly points out, Americans -- as a group, not necessarily the innocent individuals -- have no right to complain about the economy, since "Any society eventually winds up with the finances you’d expect."

So don't ask how we ended up in this awful place, for we have the economy we so richly deserve, after so many decades of magical thinking. And more magic -- the kind we will hear from Dear Leader tomorrow evening -- will not undo the magic.

In addition to the usual fare, I am always reading something on the lighter -- but still instructive -- side, currently David McCullough's 1776. It ties in with our present discussion, because it goes to the question of how the American "revolution" ended up being "millennial" -- i.e., being at the leading edge of a world-historical transformation -- without being millennial, i.e., ushering in a radical overthrowing of the existing order, and creating the New Man.

I'll undoubtedly get more into this later, but one of the key points is that ours was by no means a revolution.

Rather, it was a war for independence. It was not a war for dependence upon the state, much less a struggle to create a radically new order, but to preserve the existing one.

Thus, it was the opposite of a revolution. If asked, both "officers and men in the ranks" would have said they had taken up arms "in defense of their country and of their rightful liberties as freeborn Englishmen. It was to 'defend our common rights'" (emphasis mine).

Likewise, for Washington it was "a defense of all that is dear and valuable in life" (emphasis mine). The operative word is is, i.e., the present tense. It was not a war for some kind of fantasied "was," "could be," or "ought to be" -- i.e., a past paradise or future utopia -- but simply what is, for human reality.

At the same time, these warriors were not unaware of the millennial implications of the struggle. McCullough cites an editorial in which the writer proclaims "Never was a cause more important or glorious than that which you are engaged in; not only your wives, your children, and distant posterity, but humanity at large, the world of mankind, are interested in it; for if tyranny should prevail in this great country, we may expect liberty will expire throughout the world."

And if the Sons of Liberty don't defend man's cosmic birthlight, who will?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

An Important Bulletin from the Millennial Vortex: We Have Defeated the Racist Tea Baggers!

Let's begin with some definitions, because there are distinctly different types of millennial thought and behavior, some of which are terribly -- apocalyptically -- destructive, others of which are quite benign, constructive, and in my opinion, in conformity with reality (which is why they are constructive, precisely).

Landes first draws a very helpful distinction between "apocalyptic time" and "normal time." Normal time is, well, normal. For most people, if that's the only time there is, it's rather boring. All of us like to dilate time, jump in, and abide in the sanctified real estate of nonlocal slack. Nothing wrong with that.

But something else happens to time when we are "plunged into the vortex of messianic expectation." In my opinion -- and we'll get into this in more detail later -- two things happen.

First, this is when there is a transformation within the self, resulting in the millennial dream containing us, rather than vice versa. It is no longer something we can think about, because we are in it. Compare it to the mob mentality, in which people become ecstatically disinhibited and do things they wouldn't do in the absence of the mob.

But secondly -- and more importantly -- there is an intoxicating transition to a more right-hemispheric, symmetrical mode of consciousness that partakes of various categories of transcendence, including timelessness, magical thinking, great strength and power, and a special closeness to the very forces and levers of history.

I'm not going to go into detail at this juncture -- mainly because I haven't yet explicitly worked it all out in my head -- but this follows the ideas of the Chilean psychoanalyst and mathematician Ignacio Matte Blanco, especially as interpreted by Bomford in his Symmetry of God.

(And if any Raccoons have been discouraged from purchasing this book because of the price, I see that amazon has a number of used copies available for under $8. I don't want to oversell it -- the author's theology is on the liberal side -- but there is simply no other book that explores these important ideas. It serves as an accessible introduction to Matte Blanco, who is a major influence, and opens up many fruitful avenues of contemplation and study, providing a way not only to "think about God" but to "think about thinking about God" -- and why it is both necessary and unavoidable that human beings do so.)

(To put it another way, if one doesn't think about God in the proper manner, one will inevitably do so in an improper manner -- which is precisely the problem that infects millennial thinking, irrespective of whether one's religion is Christianity or leftism or atheism. In fact, history proves that atheistic millennialists are by far the more destructive, and that both Judaism and Christianity, properly construed, are mankind's most effective defense against raving millennialists of every stripe. "Indeed, if the last two centuries have told us anything, it is how dangerous those who would perfect the world become when they seize power" [Landes].)

In any event, the plunge into symmetrical logic helps to explain the psychic transformation that occurs when we are pulled into the phase space of the millennial attractor -- when the "inspired prophet" resonates with the "receptive community"; when, "in the expectation of an immanent and radical transformation of the world, [the group] 'burns bridges' to the 'normal future' and 'goes for broke,'" and we "participate in the glorious End of History" (Landes). (Remember James Carville's 2009 classic, 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation? Nor will anyone else.)

Again, I don't want to push the evidence too far -- in part because it's just too easy to do -- but I cannot help interpreting Obamania in this light, as millions of Americans -- now finally including the MSM -- are returning to Normal Time, and for the first time seeing Obama as those of us who never left normal political time have always seen our dear leader-in-the-headlights: as an inept, incurious, rigid, self-absorbed, inarticulate, and unqualified mediocrity of slightly below average intelligence and zero charisma.

Obviously, he has always been this. He hasn't changed. How can one go from awesome to pathetic with the flick of a switch? The only way is projection followed by its sudden withdrawal. Of course, it is hardly a crime to be a nonentity. The crime is in trying to con the rest of us into believing in this emperor's new empty suit.

More importantly, what was the real and enduring source of the misperception, which happens again and again, throughout recorded history? As Landes asks, "How many times... must apocalyptic prophecy fail, before it loses its promise?"

More on that question later. Suffice it to say that all around us, and at all times, there are "hidden transcripts" which, "under the right -- apocalyptic -- conditions -- ... can spread at epidemic speeds and breach the public transcript with explosive force" (Landes).

This is an irruption of unconscious into conscious -- or an obliteration of the boundary between them -- but the important point is that this ingression is structured in a very specific way. It is not as if one is immersed in a world of unstructured psychotic chaos.

Once one enters the vortex of apocalyptic time -- which, in my opinion, partakes of the symmetrical time of the unconscious -- "everything quickens, enlivens, coheres. [Believers] become semiotically aroused -- everything has meaning, patterns. The smallest incident can have immense importance and open the way to an entirely new vision of the world, one in which forces unseen by other mortals operate" and "they can make connections and intuit relations at levels that escape most of us with pedestrian minds" (Landes).

Here again, Matte Blanco's theories apply, for they explain how time becomes eternity, how the small becomes immense (a kind of insistent misinterpretation of "blessed are the poor in spirit"), and how anything means everything (and vice versa).

"Semiotic arousal" is one of Landes' frequent terms. It basically means a kind of self-reinforcing hyper-alertness to signs that confirm the basic premise -- which is not so much a premise, but again, a specific state of mind. It is essentially identical to the manner in which the paranoid mind operates, which sees complex and meaningful connecting links where there are none.

Rather, the paranoid person is specifically engaged in an indiscriminate projection of the contents of his own mind, which provides a kind of relief. But the relief is short lived, because now he is persecuted by the environment, i.e., by his own exteriorized mind. He then attempts to force all of the disconnected bits to cohere by organizing them into a monolithic conspiratorial entity. Once one reaches this stage, "everything" is proof of the theory, which simultaneously renders the person systematically stupid and omnisciently arrogant. But enough about Al Gore.

As Landes describes it, the semiotically aroused apocalyptic believer is privileged to have a special understanding of, and insight into, the world (this strikes me as similar to Voeglin's ideas about left-wing gnosticism). They are "convinced of the superiority of their perceptions, convinced that the uncomprehending masses... will either soon join them or get shredded in the coming cosmic upheaval" (Landes).

Indeed, Landes describes such a movement as analogous to an Indian rope trick, in which "believers climb up on something anchored only in hope." To which I would add, Change! -- which is no joke, because Radical Change! is what it's all about. Which wouldn't be so bad if it didn't involve the attempt -- which is by definition doomed before it starts -- to change what cannot be changed, starting with human nature.

Now, because the millennial movement is at odds with reality -- including the reality of human nature -- it can never last. Such movements are inherently unstable, so there will necessarily be a kind of frantic activity which masquerades as thought, but which is actually a kind of "papering over" logical contradictions and intrusions from that annoying Mr. Reality.

Again, Landes calls this apocalyptic jazz, which we are presently seeing in those dead-enders who still hold fast to the Obama fantasy. These are the professional "Baghdad Bobs" of the left, and it is sometimes difficult to know if they actually believe the crap they're shoveling. Most of these Wolfes are presumably too cynical to believe it, but they swiftly throw the memes out there and rely upon their dinghy little sheep to float them to their fellow gullible travelers.

There is no presence of Tea Party infidels in the city of DC. None. We have killed most of the son-of-bitches, and we will finish off the rest soon. Next question.