the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world
THE SEMI-REGULAR DOGMATIC, 5
The infrastructure of modern society is nothing but paper and promises. As such, it will last as long as we want it to last and not an hour further. Paper has only imagined power, and promises have only imagined existence; when reality catches up with us, and it will, we will no longer be able to afford these imaginary playthings, and that will be the end of our infrastructure. Of course, we could prevent such a crisis by preempting. As I have said, it is high time for us to get real. What if death came knocking and no one were home?
The recent dubious war of principle (inconsistency makes this claim unconvincing) provided invaluable insights into the Yankee character. Whoever thinks this is a land of freedom-loving, peaceful, tolerant people must have been elsewhere during the conflict. No, indeed. We like to congratulate ourselves, or be congratulated by our cheerleader-in-chief, on our virtues, and our elected spokesbags speak of our devotion to certain principles and inalienable rights, which we believe in so much that we had them written into our constitutional document. (Not that the written constitution is the supreme law of the land; it is routinely ignored in favor of an uncodified common law existing in the minds of the judiciary and the electorate.) “Founding fathers”-worshipping lawmakers love “free speech”. But speeches are cheap when a majority of them are too cowardly to speak out when ultra-nationalists attempt to sanctify a symbol in that most lip-served of documents. Are these ultra-nationalists just a vocal minority? Who can tell, if, when they start their reactionary maneuvering, no one does anything to stop them? This should begin to sound familiar. And yes, the unspeakable can happen here. I would guess that roughly a quarter of all Yankees (or humans, for that matter) are the kind who will be led gleefully al fascismo, and another half are those who will follow for reasons of prudence, pragmatism, loose agreement, or unconcern. Most of the remaining quarter will be justifiably terrified out of their senses.
In hard times, a movement will instantaneously generate for the purpose of national salvation (in Yankeeland, it would be called “the American Party”). For a cause of such importance, many sacrifices must of course be made. Freedom and tolerance are luxuries which, frowned upon now (rhetoric sometimes withstanding), would necessarily be dispensed with. We already have a national religion, a blend of patriotism and “Judeo-Christian” theism, an officially-sanctioned belief system despite the denials. After the American Party takes power (democratically, no less), it will invalidate the constitution, and perhaps, depending on how it views formalities, write a new one. The foundation for the new reign will be militant statism and that very religion so many Yankees are comfortable with today. Any heresy will be suppressed. The in-valves to the country will be stopped and the heat under the melting pot will be turned up. Perhaps certain Un-Americans will be deported or imprisoned, or maybe they’ll just be killed. All efforts must be directed towards the betterment of the nation-state, but most will do so voluntarily, as true patriots. There will be scapegoats, as usual, perhaps communists again, arbitrarily accused of subversion with disregard for facts. There will be the inevitable secret police, zealously insuring internal security, and, finally, there will be the military, using its force to secure resources which it will use to bolster its force. Anschluss with Canada! Blitzkrieg with Mexico! Who’s gonna stop us?! We’re number one!
Think I’m joking? I’m deadly serious. The sentiment for Nationalsozialismus exists already; all that is missing is desperation. We have been living beyond our means for a long time now, and it is too late. The federal debt will not be erased because the government will never pay. The government is not to blame; it is only taking orders from the electorate, which will never get sucked into such responsibility. When this becomes clear, the lending will cease. But the debt will remain. Of course, domestically-held bonds can be cancelled with little risk, but not so those foreign-held. After being forced to cut back (to levels which the rest of the world will still find opulent), we will be in no mood to start exporting value, but our creditors will have their own problems, and a stand-off will result. Consider, then, that the world already is grossly overpopulated and impoverished. As the resources dry up, all peoples will begin seeking a way out. It will become a matter of survival, which will of course make the peoples belligerent. Another case of world depression and world war. Why, this time, will Yankeeland be hit? Because it is the most guilty of living on paper and promises. And why do I count out the indomitable human spirit, whereby we will close ranks and strive together to survive? I don’t count it out; I count on it. It is in fact what I’m afraid of.
I can’t rely on persons I don’t know, and from what I know of most people I couldn’t rely on them anyway. I want nothing to do with some supergroup of a quarter billion individuals whose beliefs I don’t share. Skepticism is prudent, blind trust is foolish. I may take a chance in trusting anyone at all, but at least I take that chance only when necessary and then only with the confidence of experience. I do not trust Hoosiers, or Yankees, or humans in general. I don’t even trust my friends with abandon, but I’ll seek any help I need in them, and keep my eyes open.
Casting my lot with the Americans would be the easy thing to do, but I like to think myself capable of making painful decisions. In the dilemma of order and freedom, I will always take freedom. I have enough emotional security to live without stability, and I certainly don’t want the stability of a situation which demands change. In fact, it is probably in direct reaction to the conservative advocates of “law and order” that I advocate anarchy, anathema to them. For some reason “anarchy” is used as a charge, a word describing a situation that is so undesirable that its very mention justifies any countermeasures. What is the problem with anarchy?
Anarchy is the absence of rule. But rule requires coercion, and coercion requires violence. And the absence of violence is peace. So, by contraposition, if rule implies violence, peace implies anarchy. Doesn’t everyone want peace? Anarchy should not be interpreted selectively. Anarchy does not mean mafia rule, or mob rule, or neighborhood-thug rule, or foreign-power rule. It means no rule. It means sovereignty in fact lies where sovereignty in principle lies ― with the individual. Of course, if the individual has sovereignty only over itself, that means that the ridiculous notion of material property is seen to rest not on some divine right but on sheer force. Well, no great loss. Acknowledgement of sovereignty over land will no longer be able to cause starvation or ecological damage (though incompetence, ignorance, and conservatism will persist in those capacities). Life will revert of necessity to the simple, and it will have the accompanying instability. It won’t be easy. Is it now?
The tyranny of society makes life more than difficult. It makes life itself oppressive. Am I sounding the alarm prematurely? I hardly think so. I see fascism right here, right now. By the time a majority can identify it, it will be too late. I speak of more than the difference between an ounce of prevention and a pound of cure. I speak of the difference between a healthy diet and a painful bleeding.
© BISHOP FORD
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and O.T. Ford