Saturday, December 30, 2006


This time of the year, we tend to become aware of things accomplished and not-accomplished, and congratulate ourselves (and maybe even: give thanks) or feel regrets accordingly.

One accomplishment: Spencer Hsu reports in the “Washington Post” ( that, as the article is titled in bold print “Domestic-Partner Violence in US Fell Sharply”. Well, there at least is something to show for the significant deformations wrought in the name of at least one of the Revolutions. Any lessening of violence in this perennial violent world among our perennially violent species is a good thing.

But Hsu has no sooner expressed this happy fact in the first half of the first sentence when he quickly balances – I guess you’d have to call it – the good news with the ominous prognostication (not so much a fact) that the violence “is showing signs of a rebound”.

And he follows that up with the immediate comment that “Men benefited more from the decline than women” – which is indeed kind of disconcerting, since this entire Emergency and the enabling legislation passed to give it teeth, certainly gave the impression of being done for “women” (and when I use the term, I am not disparaging more than half of Us, I am simply using the term used by certain of the Advocacies and is now in wide use). Have we pulled out critical hull planking, broken down carrying walls, diluted the integrity of watertight doors … for nothing?

It’s more of a business thing, actually, it seems. Advocacy in its advanced stages is a business, and now that bureaucracies have grown up around it as well, it’s like coral forming a reef on the hulk of a newly sunken ship. What business wants to announce that its services and ‘product’ are no longer needed? And, as well, what individual operative wants to the first one of the ‘good guys’ to be haled before the PC court where pre-adolescent ‘logic’ insures utter ruin? ‘Excuuuuse me, did you just say that there’s no more violence against (fill in the blank)??!!’ – that type of comment delivered to any Advokist or apparatchik is the equivalent of one of the masses suddenly pointing to you as you walk out of your office and shout ‘Capitalist roader!” during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, of unhappy memory. And who wants to be the first Party member actually haled before the court of the faithful as a revisionist, running dog lackey of the oppressors? Cultural Revolutions, once stitched together, infused with the breath of life (however ersatz) and sent careening through the streets, are not always precise in their assessments – such simplisticity and ‘clarity’ is the source of their great strength, as it was for Kong. Who can argue with Kong? Deliberate with it? Persuade it? Nope, democratic process isn’t of much use when you’ve got one of these loose downtown. And when you’ve got a herd of them … well, then you have to stow democratic process and its mindset and heartset in the basement for the duration. And if the emergency bids fair to last into the uncharted future, then you’ve got an even bigger problem.

So as one government apparatchik said on the record: “It’s declined since 1993, but there’s still too much of it.” Absolutely. You could say that there has always been too much of it in this cracked and bleeding world. Too much pain, too much suffering. And as has been noted previously on this site, it was true at the time of the Founders, who still thought that of all the sources of pain and suffering in their wide grasp of human history (could any Ivy League senior today muster the knowledge of the world mastered by somebody educated in the late 18th century?) it was ‘governments’ that were the greatest predators and the animal most ‘ferae naturae’.

But this was inconvenient to the Advocacies, who were actually planning to get in bed with the government, so to speak. Or perhaps – as some of them seem now to be trying to imply – they were like the good and ‘realistic’Germans of late 1932 who calculated that they could ‘hire’ Hitler, domesticate the beast to their own constructive purposes, and thus restore the homeland of the Fatherland. Ja. That worked well. After 1945 it was a gameplan begging to be tried by some perhaps more competent team. Ah, the playing fields on which so many far more important matters are lost.

But Hsu then goes on – honestly – to note that this trend since 1993 actually “continued a decline in domestic violence recorded since 1976”. Ummmm … what? Do tell, please do. But less forthrightly – although perhaps more prudently, our modern American reality being what it is – he doesn’t follow that path too far. He does note that there are many possible explanations, which would only be news to a 5 year-old. He includes there-among, “the awareness raised by the 1994 Violence Against Women Act”. Well, but that Act was passed in 1994 and things had by that point been getting better since 1976. And “awareness” is far too modest; this wasn’t just a nation-wide consciousness-raising session, just a hootenanny with a feminist tinge. Nor was it a Norman Rockwell town-meeting held in every village and town. Serious erosions were made in due process and in the media’s concept of objectivity, and honesty, and – inescapably – the media’s ability to identify, let alone confront or even comment clearly on, Reality. And in The People’s abilities to consider, deliberate, and decide. This was not such a good thing.

And that year of 1994 was also the year of another revolution, the Republican one whereby ‘government’ would be shrunk and gotten off the people’s back. That didn’t work. It’s hard to see how it could, when you consider that one of the first Acts of that Year was to invite – indeed demand – the government’s presence at the hearth of every home and every bed in the nation.

Presently, it is being ‘mentioned’ by those in the know that the Republican Revolution, too, was a Great and Good idea betrayed by … well, something or somebody. “The corrupting influences of Washington” have been mentioned, but that’s an abstraction in a dishonest sense: “influences” don’t take actions, folks do. But what folks want to take responsibility for what happened? As Allied troops found out to their amazement in the Fall of 1943, Mussolini apparently ran the entire Fascist regime, down to the village level, by himself, with nobody else helping him with the heavy-lifting – getting the propaganda out, making the arrests, running the prisons and the secret police. A remarkable man, no? They say he only needed a couple of hours of sleep a night – some people just have a gift, it seems.

Saddam is dead. Chris Floyd discusses it in the Post “Rope Trick” on his site, Empire Burlesque. Nobody, he notes, seems to recall that while Saddam was indeed a son-of-a-bee, he was OUR son-of-a-bee. At least he was in the days of Reagan, Bush Pere, and some guy named Rumsfeld. Memory – we’re not talking the Civil War here, or even World War 2. We’re talking the early 1980s. Can it be that while there is a certain respect accorded ‘repressed memory’ – which in practice is not so easily distinguished from mild hallucination – yet we have lost the capacity for the memory of public events widely recorded that actually happened? What is happening to us? What is happening to Us? What has happened to Us? Time to have one of those Ray Milland moments in the mirror and wonder where the weekend went. Because a hell of a lot of people are dead and are still dying and the bullets seem, it is said, to be ours. Let’s hope there are no police in this town. Let’s hope that there are no Police. Or maybe we are – as some preachers assure us – Deputies ourselves … that would help. If we could remember. If we could know.

But then again, as one Iraqi gentleman said, quoted by Sudarsan Raghavan in the “Washington Post”, Saddam “is not a human being … he does not deserve to be alive”. Now if you’re going to run a democracy, you just can’t let yourself go and think like this. Secondly, there is Due Process to resolve thorny questions like this, to the extent that our poor power can add or detract at all. And if you override Due Process, then the laws are flattened and nobody will be safe (unless they arm themselves and attach themselves to tribal bands – which can be called neither ‘enlightened’ nor ‘progress’). Firstly, it is remarkably Proud, in the worst sense of the term. No human being has the right to make that decision. That is a decision for God to make – or was, until ‘God’ was declared a no-longer operative Theory. At which point, the life-space of the species thus having been flattened like its laws, then people are the only source of Justice (and we have a deep-down tendency to get notoriously impatient).

And people being kind of ‘separate’, then a more decisive decidering is required, like – oh sayyyyyyyyy – a government. A ‘gummint’. And so, like the Egyptians and the Romans, the gummint becomes the Deciderer of who is a human being and who ain’t. And who God likes (whom, actually) and whom He doesn’t. There is great historical precedent for it. But it is also sort of … pagan. Because in an enlightened society where there is no God – for any practical purposes – then the gummint gets to step out onto the stage (after some time in Make-Up, where golden-aura pancake, a wig, and the required robes are applied). Of course, in a more modest world, the gummint might simply claim to be deputized by God. And maybe that’s what the world is heading toward. Hopefully, America will give good example to the nations still struggling – as the I-Ching would put it – with their ‘inferior selves’, seeking to cling to their ‘superior selves’. Which is never bad advice and always gives you something worthwhile to do with your time.

And in “The Guardian UK” Timothy Garton Ash ( talks bout Reality striking back. It looks like we are going to be confronted with another hot-griddle conversation, wherein the flatness of the ‘space’ allowed for the world condemns us to simply scutter back and forth on the flat, increasingly hot, surface of the griddle that the initial assumption about the ‘space’ has now reduced the conversation, and us, and life to.

Realism or Idealism? Which will it be? Well it’s an impossible question to answer, and an impossible conversation to have, until you first clarify what you mean by “reality”. Do we accept that something Beyond - maybe Plato’s Ideals, maybe some Higher Power, maybe God – is real? If so then, not-believing in such a Vertical and Beyond dimension would be unrealistic; and to conduct the affairs of this world and of our lives without efficacious reference to that Vertical-Beyond would be unrealistic and, you might imagine, doomed to failure (depending on what you define as ‘success’, but one strategic problem at a time when we’re just starting out).

And if we so believe in such a Vertical-Beyond, and that such a dimension is actually a Consciousness that supports – say – the top-shelf Capital Letter Words like Justice, Charity, and such, then that takes a lot of pressure off the potboiler urge to make everything work out right-here and right-now. So we don’t have to go off half-cocked and cocky and start messing the world up, even if we’re sure we’re doing the Right thing.

Of course, we might believe that there is a Vertical-Beyond, but that instead of being a Higher Beyond, it is a Lower Beyond, and maybe conscious, so that It supports all the Capital Letter Words that are not so good – like Violence, Selfishness, Hate, and so on. If we believe that, then Peace and Charity and Justice become unrealistic.

And if there’s nothing at all, just this dimension and whatever and whoever can muster the strength to control it, then … Peace and Charity and Justice become unrealistic.

So to talk of Realism you first have to talk about what’s ‘real’. And depending on how you answer that, well – that’s a key first step, answering that. And of course you not only need an answer, but you need an accurate answer – one that actually reflects what’s true about the number of dimensions in our ‘life space’, in ‘life’. If your answer is that there is nothing Higher, at least for any practical purposes, but there actually is a Higher, and if also He takes an abiding interest, and maybe keeps tabs Bigtime … well, you can see how things might ultimately turn out.

Governments are notorious for either leaning toward the griddle answer, in which case they want to be the biggest sum-bees on the griddle, or else they declare themselves Deputized by the Higher Power, in which case they still want to be the biggest sum-bees on the griddle, but now it’s because God Wills It (or words to that effect). Deus vult! Dieu lo volt! Gott Mit uns! That sort of thing.

We’ll be hearing a lot more about ‘realism’ in the coming year, Mr. Ash predicts, and he’s most likely right. We’d better have a few thoughts of our own on the subject before we go to CNN, Fox, Mr. Bush, Mr. Kissinger, or any of that ilk to get a quick tutorial. Or our marching orders. We might go to the Catholic Archbishop for the Armed Forces, but he seems to think everything’s going OK-enough over there. And that doesn’t seem too realistic at all.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home