Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Revolution is Not in the Air

There is a strange phenomenon occurring these days; perhaps you've noticed. More and more, I am reading commentaries by, really, fairly mainstream “conservative” writers who are convinced that the American people have “had it”. Not only have they had it, but they are ready and willing (if not entirely able) to fight back. The word “revolution” is bandied about with striking frequency. Now, I haven't witnessed anything like this since way back in the 1960s, when talk of “revolution” was also in the air. The irony, of course, is that the purported revolutionaries of that era are now in charge – which is to say, their revolution worked, in a sense. The _real_ revolutionaries – the true radicals – are not who I'm talking about, since most of them either blew themselves up, wound up in jail or dead from a drug overdose, emigrated to Europe, or did something else of a self-destructive nature. Some of them even “sold out” and joined the opposition! (And that was not necessarily a bad thing – Ronald Radosh comes to mind as an example.) I'm talking more about the so-called “coat and tie radicals”, of whom the Clintons are the prime example. They rode the waves of revolution right up to the point when it was time to jump ship and join the establishment (and, thereby, change what “establishment” meant). Their sense of timing – unlike that of the hard-core radicals – was impeccable. They benefited from the labor and sacrifice of others, and reaped far more than they had invested. But, let's admit, it is this type that the American system rewards, and elevates, and practically worships – not the true believers, but the rank opportunists. It is, in short, the people who can take advantage of any situation – any movement, any trend – and come out on top that are the most admired and sought after. This, of course, reflects a deep sickness in the American soul, but I won't expand on that point at this time.

But, that having been said, the revolution of the 1960s was real and lasting, if you are willing to characterize it is primarily a cultural, as opposed to political or economic, revolution. Our culture has never been the same since – and neither have our standards of cultural quality, or our morals. The revolution of the 1960s effectively put anyone who adheres to “traditional values” on the defensive – and that's where they remain today. It put believing Christians and regular churchgoers on the defensive, and it turned popular culture from an expression of popular sentiment into a perpetually revolutionary act. It turned America, in other words, into a place of continual revolution – as much if not more so than Mao's Cultural Revolution in China. China has, at this point, turned the corner and is starting to reassert traditional values, even in the midst of an unmatched capitalist surge – whereas we continue to commit iconoclasm and vandalism against virtually everything that contributed to the founding and perpetuation of this country. And I don't know, as I've said before, whether this is only a blind, brutish, carnal revolutionary act or a manifestation of something deeper – a kind of suicidal tendency or time bomb that has been there from the start. This country was, after all, founded on sharply humanistic principles, taken directly out of the Reformation and the Enlightenment – which makes me think that there is some sort of fatal flaw involved. Now, granted, those principles were skillfully disguised, in most cases, as “Christian” principles (today we would say “Judeo-Christian”) -- but the question then arises, did the Founding Fathers really believe in them, or was it just good “P.R.” for what was, in fact, something much more... let's say gnostic, if not actually sinister? There is plenty of evidence for the latter, in fact, and the American paradox will always be, how could something that remained, for so long, a force for good – not only for its own people but for the world in general – have arisen from something with a heart of darkness? (The gnostics among us will reply, well, it's because there was no heart of darkness, but a heart of light – of illumination and enlightenment. Yes, but we saw the results of that “illumination” in the French Revolution and most of those that followed.)

So, as many others have remarked, yesterday's radical revolutionary is today's mainstream politician, or cultural trendsetter in some other area (academics, entertainment, publishing, the arts, etc.). So if that's true, who are today's “revolutionaries”? They are certainly not leftists, since that bedraggled, shrinking band is still being held prisoner by the Democrats/liberals. Not that they are happy campers, mind you – every four years they support the Democratic presidential candidate, and whenever he wins, it takes no time at all for them to be terribly disappointed. In Obama's case, for example, they actually expected him to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan! Talk about naivete! And their yen for universal health care is not being satisfied as easily as they expected either. Truly, these are the chronically disappointed of our time – and the main reason is that they still, after all these years, have no clue as to how things actually operate. So the bottom line on these people is that they can be written off, as the Democrats have done. Yes, they were good foot soldiers back in those exciting, inspiring days of cultural revolution – but now they're obsolete and pathetic, and we can't wait until they just die off and quit bothering us. (The parallels to the “Old Bolsheviks” who were liquidated by Stalin are striking, by the way.)

Who, then, are the alleged revolutionaries – or those with pre-revolutionary “tendencies” or “attitudes” -- of today? Why, they are none other than the good, old, reliable American middle class – you know, those folks who avoid confrontation and controversy like the plague, and who have never expressed an “opinion” in their life that wouldn't easily come across a back yard picnic bench at a Sunday afternoon barbecue. And these are the potential revolutionaries of our time? Excuse me while I seriously injure myself laughing. But wait! What about the “tea parties” -- that are so derided and regretted by the mainstream media? And what about those “town hall meetings” that are not, for once, full of unemployed liberals there only to pay homage to some Democrat (and pick up some free grub)? Well... the way to sum up these phenomena – which are sending the liberal press (given that that's a redundancy) into tizzies of indignation – is: “Too little, too late.” My reaction to these events – other than thinking about how hopeless they are – is always along the lines of, “Where were you when...?” And the “when” part can include any of a long list of government incursions on liberty, none of which was ever objected to – not a peep of protest! -- until Obama took over the helm, and people finally started to realize, this could be serious. Where, for example, were they when we undertook the first of our totally bogus wars, namely Vietnam – one that set the stage for all that has happened since? (They were waving flags, of course -- and "supporting the troops" by voting for politicians who were sending them off to get killed.) Where were they when we pledged allegiance, loyalty, and support for Israel at all costs – up to and including our own national survival? Where were they when Congress passed laws establishing all of the economic land mines we're currently shaking in fear of – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, prescription drug benefits for seniors, etc.? Where were they when we undertook the insane “War on Drugs?” Where were they when the Bush administration did its massive coverup following 9-11? Where were they when we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan – and where will they be when we invade the next place – Iran, Yemen, wherever? Where were they... in a hundred other places, at a hundred other times? Can it really be possible that, after giving the government a pass all of these decades, and electing the same crooks to office over and over again, they are “fed up”? Have they never, up until now, counted the cost to our national prosperity – and their own – of all the corruption and squandering of national wealth? Have they never reflected, up to now, on the fact that the government is always and invariably on the other side – working against them, their interests, and all that they value and believe in? Have they never looked in the mirror and realized that they have been used, for generations now, as tools... dupes... suckers... chumps? Has their thinned-out, pathetic, latter-day patriotism so blinded them to reality that they still believe in something called “America” -- even when the powers that be don't (assuming they ever did)? I'm sorry... I just can't believe that people who have been successfully duped, deceived, and exploited by the Regime for all these years have suddenly awakened from their slumbers, cried “I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore”, and resolved to take action, or “do something”. I think, rather, it is the cry – a death rattle, if you will – of a people, and a culture, taking its last breath. It is that strange surge of energy that occasionally overtakes a person just prior to dying... a re-assertion, perhaps – maybe even a bit of enlightenment – but futile nonetheless. It is, in other words, the sound (and sight) of people who have already lost – not just a skirmish or a battle, but the entire war. Do they fear the government? Yes. Is their fear pathological? Yes – not because they are pathological, but because the government is. Do they have more to lose by taking action than by staying quiet and living with their fear? They think they do, and that's what counts. All the Regime has to do is convince people that action is unwise and dangerous, and that apathy is their best bet, and the deed is accomplished. And this view of things does not remain stable, but continues to be ratcheted up from one occasion to the next, to the point where yesterday's unthinkable government intrusion into people's private lives becomes today's “necessity” -- always for reasons of “security”, of course – that ever-present buzzword that covereth a multitude of sins.

And when it comes to this last generation with a living memory of something like liberty -- their kind is soon to vanish from the earth... and their descendants will be willing slaves, because slavery will be all they ever knew. In this, they will be more fortunate then their parents, who at least have some vague, lingering memory of freedom. But it is also their parents' fault for having sold out their freedoms, one at a time and piece by piece, for a bogus sense of “security”. Were the people who founded this country obsessed with “security”? If so, we'd still be a British colony. Were they obsessed with political correctness? The Declaration of Independence is one of the most politically incorrect documents ever written. Were they trying, at all costs, to avoid confrontation or controversy? Well... not really. Were they, in short, the exact opposite of most American citizens today? Well... yes, and “hell, yes”. The greatest fear of our citizenry is that one scrap – one small, tiny, insignificant crumb – of their treasured “security” -- entitlements and what not – might be taken away. We have an entire society of, in effect, bribed people – bribed by the government to “shut up, or else”. And it's not as if the administration is writing down the names of the tea partiers and town hall meeting attendees and canceling their Social Security checks... at least not yet (but who is to say it might not come to that?). There is no need – because the Regime has the media on its side (actually, they are the same thing) – and the media are merciless when it comes to accusing the tea partiers and town hall meeting attendees of every form of insanity, hysteria, treason, and perversion under the sun. And this, in itself, is a bit of a puzzlement – why pile on, and persecute those who have no power anyway? Why obsess, the way Keith Olbermann does, day after day, about the tea partiers and town meeting attendees, calling them rude names and questioning their patriotism (as if liberals ever, in all of history, up to this moment, cared a whit about patriotism)? Well... it's not because those people constitute any sort of real threat – I mean a threat to the power structure -- because they don't. As I said, the war is lost, now and into the foreseeable future. But the liberal mind set is calibrated for maximum intolerance. Not only do they not welcome opposing views, but they feel those views must be suppressed, thoroughly and with rapidity. And why is this? I think it's because, on some deep level, liberals are very insecure, and very uncertain as to the validity of their views... of their “values” (or anti-values, more like). And this, in turn, is because they are insecure and uncertain about everything. They have no anchor, no moral base, and therefore are in a constant metaphysical and epistemological dither. Their beloved university professors told them that one cannot ever be sure of anything – that one can never “know” -- and that, therefore, it's always “a matter of opinion”, which means that it's all a matter of politics, which means that it's, ultimately, all a matter of power. So when you question a liberal by voicing an opposing point of view, you knoweth not what you have wrought. You think you are just asking him to compare his point of view with your own, with the goal of determining which is more valid. But no! You are threatening his entire world – his very being, in fact. And that is why they fight back the way they do; for them it's a fight for survival. On some level, they think that if their world view dies, or is forced to change, then _they_ will die – because their very life is, after all, “just a matter of opinion”... and “it's all relative”, don'tcha know... and “physics has proved” that it's all a matter of uncertainty and randomness and chaos. (Plus, "we're all just animals", and "it's nothing more than sex" -- thanks to Darwin and Freud respectively. This just adds to the absurdity.)

Now, you would think that people with this sort of world view would, because of the uncertainties and ambiguities involved, be extra tolerant of other people's opinions about things – kind of like the Buddhists. (The Dalai Lama, after all, described Chairman Mao as “my greatest teacher”.) But this would be to overlook human psychology – you know, that pesky thing that liberals simply love to overlook, on any and all occasions. Human psychology says that if you formulate a world view based on mush – on thin air – where everything is relative and nothing is absolute – that, far from being, therefore, “enlightened”, you're going to wind up stressed and oppressed, and ultimately despairing, or even suicidal. The human psyche – the Human Being – needs a base... an anchor point... a base of operations, epistemologically and metaphysically. Most people don't think in those terms, but they manage to create one anyway – or at least a rudimentary version of one – out of sheer survival instinct. But it is this very survival instinct that has been fatally compromised by generations of helplessness and dependency on Big Brother – the way a substance addiction compromises one's resistance to disease and therefore physical survival. We are, in other words, a nation of junkies – and the government is the pusher. So what do you suppose the pusher does when some of the junkies threaten to go cold turkey? It either gets rid of them or offers them more – as we see very clearly in recent actions of Congress. And what does the pusher do about those few remaining outliers who are not yet hooked? It gathers its harem of junkies around in a campfire circle and points out what a mean, nasty person that outlier is, and how they should be ignored, banished, and shunned. And this, basically, is the main – perhaps the only significant – project of the mainstream media of our time... to assure the slaves that their lot is not only good, but the only one available, and that anyone who claims otherwise is... well, you know the litany by now.

So – after this long diversion, allow me to reiterate the bottom line. There is no revolution afoot, and there won't be one. The people who think there is are either dreamers or paranoid, and the people who know there isn't but keep harping on the matter anyway are just committing overkill on behalf of the Regime. All you have to know, really, about the situation is the percentage of people who really are up in arms (figuratively at least)... who are not only consistently indignant but have been since way before Obama ever took office. This percentage is tiny – minuscule. And the people in question have, basically, zero power. And yeah, I know, every great social or political movement started with a true-believing handful of fanatics – Bolshevism, Nazism, and so on. True enough. The difference is that they had something that our present-day remnant does not have, namely the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time. Russia in 1917 was ripe for revolution, as was Germany in 1932. (And Hitler's rise to power wasn't even revolutionary, in fact; he was voted into office. Think about that, you “democracy” buffs!) And this country would be ripe as well, if all you took into account was the economy, and corruption, and foreign policy, and so on. But when it comes to the attitudes of the citizenry, it's just the opposite. The people of Russia and Germany had “itchy ears” when it came to revolutionary rhetoric and calls for direct action – whereas our own citizenry are anesthetized... comatose... brain-dead. They only wake up long enough to mutter, “There's no problem... all's right with the world... don't bother me... let me go back to sleep.” Then they sink back into their slumbers. This is not a blank slate primed for the revolutionary pen – this is an impacted, soporific society that makes the old Chinese Empire look like Times Square on amphetamines. And granted, this generation will pass away, and another will take its place... and perhaps, by some miracle, that generation will be ready, willing, and able to take serious action and make serious changes. But in the meantime, the few with eyes have to put up with living in the country of the blind.

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