Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Why despair, if everything is in God's hands?”

Thus, a recent gentle criticism of a major theme of my blog posts, which seems to be that it's, basically, too late – that the salvation of this country – its economy, its culture – will come only with the complete collapse of the current system. Or – if you agree with my theory that American sovereignty is already a thing of the past, and we are now slaves of an international banking and business cartel – it will come only with the complete collapse of that cartel, which seems a pipe dream, since it is clearly becoming more powerful every day (as witness recent events in Europe regarding national debt bailouts). It seems to me that the most likely near- and mid-term future for America, and for Americans, is that we're fated to be unwitting slaves of “higher powers” -- powers for whom our own home-grown “leaders” are no more than glorified servants. I believe that the evidence for this is overwhelming, and that more accumulates with each passing day. Americans are no longer masters of their fate – and their leaders aren't either. They serve at the pleasure of the Regime, or the cartel, or the cabal – whatever you want to call it – and as long as they serve faithfully, they retain their pathetically superficial “perks” and signs of power. Once their effectiveness goes into decline, however, they are tossed aside like so much used toilet paper. This is their fate, and I must say that it's richly deserved, since their actions amount to no less than treason.

So it's true – my commentaries seem to counsel despair, in that I believe things have progressed (if that is the word) far beyond any hope of cure within the system. And when cures within the system become impossible, one normally turns to, or waits for, cures without the system – apocalyptic ones like war, famine, and pestilence, or political/military ones like revolution or conquest by a foreign power. (Note that we have already been “conquered” by a foreign power, economically speaking – namely China.) After all, it was Russian military failures in the early stages of World War I that, arguably, rang a death knell on the czarist empire... and Germany's defeat in World War I set the stage for the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. It would seem that, most of the time, revolution, as opposed to evolution, winds up making things worse than they were before... or maybe it's just that the advantage is handed to different people – i.e., the ones who wind up writing the approved history books. Clearly, someone is always better off as the result of a revolution or other catastrophe than they were before – but those “someones” tend to be vicious, plotting schemers, not ordinary folk. Anyone, for example, who thinks the Russian peasant wound up better off after the Bolshevik revolution than he was before has got some reading to do. But the rule stands – namely that someone always profits, someone always benefits. And this is true in the present case as well. Goldman Sachs executives are happier than pigs in stuff right now – as are armaments makers and anyone else who is profiting from the current round of insanity and criminality.

So the “conventional wisdom” (as opposed to the reality) about revolutions are that they are usually good things... and the conventional wisdom about wars, famines, pestilences, etc., are that, while unpleasant at the time, they can have (paradoxically, at least) positive results. (Where is the “zero population growth” fanatic who is not secretly pleased every time he hears about a famine, or civil war, or plague, in Africa?) And I suppose that, without the world-wide revolutions that began in France and extended (over 150-odd years) all the way to China, we would not have had the opportunity to see what socialism, communism, collectivism, and totalitarianism amounted to in terms of net benefit to mankind. As it is, ideas that should have wound up on the ash heap decades ago are still alive and well, thanks mostly to human fallibility and concupiscence. Each new generation, it seems, has to learn anew that the pipe dreams of secular humanism are no more than that – and that they are destructive of the human spirit as well as of mind and body. When young people complain about the grayness, dullness, and conventionality of ordinary life and ordinary people, what they are complaining about is, by and large, the effects of socialism. They are living in a society in which most people, on a deep level, are paralyzed with fear. (Ironically, they may think that socialism is the answer to these complaints!) We hear a lot about “dumbing down”, “leveling”, and the (misnamed) “lowest common denominator”; these are all symptoms of socialism and collectivism. More than symptoms, actually – they are active, conscious pieces of the agenda. The idea is to create a gulf, on all dimensions, between the controllers and the controlled – and no one is a better exemplar of this than Our President, who, with his modest and unconventional background, has ascended to the heights (with the help of the Regime) and now delights in lording it over the peasantry. One could say that he has forgotten his “roots”, but I suspect that, in fact, he has no real roots. He was born on the road, one might say – in transit. So he fits into any situation, but is at home in none. Maybe that makes him an ideal leader for our time, I don't know. But it is certain that he is as far from ordinary people and their concerns and values as the east is from the west.

So while I may counsel what seems to be despair – in the short- and mid-term – I'm perfectly willing to say “all is well” in the ultimate sense. I believe in divine justice, but I also believe that God is long-suffering... too long, in the opinion of those who want to see fire rain down from Heaven on the unjust before the night is over. Religion typically counsels patience, and waiting on God's pleasure; politics counsels impatience and impulsiveness. And when you combine the two, well... then you get the Evangelicals, who want nothing more than to accelerate the timetable for the “end times” by getting us to fall on our sword for Israel. They spend every waking hour nagging God to get on with it, and then proceed to ignore most of what the New Testament teaches.

And it may work, in a twisted kind of way. If our exertions on behalf of Israel wind up destroying our military (well underway) and our economy (very well underway) and our morale and self-respect (very well underway), we will eventually collapse, and then it will be Israel against the entire Arab/Islamic world... and even if they do fire off all of their nukes, I think it will be a suicide gesture on their part. So maybe the prophesies about the end times will, in fact, be aided and abetted by our foolish actions, who knows? Crazier things have happened down through history. (Think of all the examples in the Bible where something bad led to something good. This almost seems to be a kind of rule of history.)

So, in the light of all this, I say again – why bother? Well, it's not just because we deserve a better world than the one our leaders are providing us. There is such a thing as salvific suffering, and I think we're about to get many more opportunities to experience that than we have in a long time. But there is also the human mind and the human spirit, both of which thrive on truth, and grow sickly and die with a constant diet of lies, deceptions, and con games. Even to march to the gallows knowing the truth would be preferable to sitting on silk cushions in a state of delusion, it seems to me. The besetting sin of Americans in our time is not that they are fat and lazy – although there is plenty of that. It's that they are morally negligent and intellectually slothful; in other words, they simply refuse to use their brains for anything other than base activities and ephemeral amusements. The, um, “literature” available at grocery store check-out lines should be enough to convince you of this. And I don't expect people to be, or want to be, “intellectuals” -- heaven forbid! All I ask is the occasional thought based on reality rather than fancy... the occasional use of logic... the occasional sobering meditation on the Four Last Things (or if that sounds too abstract, then how about the dangers of empire?). People in the past were no smarter than we are, in terms of innate intellectual ability – but they had better intellectual habits, and better life habits. They had a level of independence and integrity that is almost inconceivable in our time – and yet we continue to benefit from their thoughts and actions. We benefit, but since we know not where those benefits come from we have no immunity against the people who are determined to take them away. And sure enough, the erosion of liberties in our time is nearly complete; in other words, we are living in what amounts to a totalitarian society, even though the way it is manifested is, for most people most of the time, “low-impact”. The government could do more to us, but usually doesn't; I don't consider this a compliment. “Soft” socialism – or, more properly, fascism – is still socialism. Soft tyranny is still tyranny. There is nothing in principle preventing the government, on any level, from turning up the heat; the fact that they don't is a testimony to a kind of pragmatism and nothing more.

So the truth really will set us free – intellectually and spiritually if not physically or economically... and that is what the saying means anyway. We must still “render unto Caesar” every April 15 (and most days in between), and we are still subject to countless restrictions on our actions. But “mind control” is still... well, let's say it remains on a voluntary basis. If a person wants to become an unthinking, unblinking, brain-dead clone of the Regime and the mainstream media, opportunities abound. But no one is forced into that situation against their will. And while I detest mob rule and the tyranny of the majority, it is still gratifying to, on occasion, encounter kindred souls – the way partisans would encounter each other in the dark of night in a World War II movie. To be truly a lone thinker – a prophet without honor, and even without a listener (or reader!) must be a trying thing. And yet, even then, it would be better to stand on the shore and shout at the waves than to remain silent.

And if the truth has intrinsic value, regardless of “results” -- and if that value is amplified in a gathering of like minds – is that the only reason for speaking out? It might be if we were sticking to a strictly materialistic model, but what if we adhere to a moral model as well? What if our politics is predicated, as much as possible, on moral principles and not only on ethical concepts (as noble as they can be)? And furthermore, what if our moral principles include not only concepts as to what ought to be done – let's say in the name of charity – but of what ought to be done in the name of faith? And what if we believe that our very salvation may be at stake depending on decisions we make in what appears to be a totally material, secular political realm? There is, then, value – infinite value, perhaps – in trying to conform our political actions (including words) to moral principles. And what if we believe that it might also be possible to save, or at least be an occasion of grace for, others based on our words and actions? What if their salvation is at stake as well as our own?

Now I know that this sounds a bit grandiose... but think for a moment. What if, for example, we could convert enough people to the Just War teachings of the Catholic Church? It would result in a complete reformulation of our foreign policy... and, most likely, doom the Republican Party (and who can say that's a bad thing?). And how about abortion – an issue where souls are at stake (not the souls of the victims but the souls of the perpetrators and their facilitators)? This would seem to be a most urgent piece of business... and simple charity would dictate that the truth be told, and repeated as often as need be. These are very straightforward issues requiring no egghead, intellectual, wonkish ruminations or advanced degrees. They are things, in short, that nearly everyone can understand – and there are plenty more similar issues. In fact, I would venture to say that all the really important political and economic issues can be made understandable to the average person, despite what the “experts” would have us believe. And it goes without saying that mistaken beliefs, and grievous errors, are not confined to the masses, but are almost a specialty of the intellectual elite.

So yes, there are plenty of good reasons to speak up, and not to remain silent, cowed, and fearful. There can be hope behind apparent despair. Pure cynicism and misanthropy are one thing – but has anyone ever accused any of the saints of those failings? I don't think so. The wildest, wild-eyed preacher on the street corner may ultimately have the good of mankind at heart, even if everything he says sounds like a Jeremiad. Is he more “negative” than the guy who sits at a cafe table all day sipping espresso and not offering a coherent opinion on anything? I think that despair – true despair – is the ultimate negativity. But simply living during a time of decline and fall of an empire is an accident of personal history – and pointing it out may well be a duty.

1 comment:

Andrew McCauley said...

Excellent analysis. Couldn't agree more. What I've noticed just in my own personal relationships or in watching some facebook conversations is there is a great hesitancy among some to put forth an opinion that is not sanctioned by some sort of authority figure. Somehow having an opinion that is not part of the state/institutional narrative is the apex of arrogance. I see many people who absolutely abhor Ron Paul and accept the media characterization of him as a quack. These are people who consider themselves good Catholics and counter-cultural to the spirit of the age. Yet, there is something that has been culturally/spiritually ingrained in these people that allows them the room to hold a dualistic approach regarding politics. For example, they would theoretically ascribe to the just war theory, there just hasn't been any violations of it by the USA (there probably will never will be either).

Also, great line about Evangelicals....

I believe in divine justice, but I also believe that God is long-suffering... too long, in the opinion of those who want to see fire rain down from Heaven on the unjust before the night is over. Religion typically counsels patience, and waiting on God's pleasure; politics counsels impatience and impulsiveness. And when you combine the two, well... then you get the Evangelicals, who want nothing more than to accelerate the timetable for the “end times” by getting us to fall on our sword for Israel. They spend every waking hour nagging God to get on with it, and then proceed to ignore most of what the New Testament teaches.

Unfortunately, I know many Catholics who fall into this category as well....

Nice piece. Look forward to more!