Saturday, September 21, 2002

We Are In the Age of Unraveling, Yet We Think We're In Control

How will the end come? I think for humanity, as for individuals, it will be "with a whimper and not a bang," and furthermore, it will be a predictable downslide.

Very few deaths are truly shocking, or unexpected. Cancer runs its course, old age leaves little doubt that the end is on the books and will "be here shortly," and even war is a question of which bullet, not that a bullet enters the forebrain and liquefies it, banishing life to a memory from a separate observer. Similarly - it seems to me - a society in degeneration will not blink when the decay has run its course, but will shrug with a release of tension that could approximate relief, and say "So it goes."

Insert photographs of AGM-109f units penetrating buildings, soldier hurriedly applying field dressing in order to realize it's too late and move on, another family looking into the pit and trying to ignore the cracking gunfire behind them until the last possible moment.

Will our end be by war? I think not: I think instead it will be a gradual unknotting of ability for a society to take care of itself, resulting in a breakdown both sublime and eventually, profound. The only conflict will be the continuing problems which we stifle to end the loss, in effect ending debate on vital issues and thus smashing portions of our necessary social and intellectual infrastructure. Symbols will replace reality. Reward will replace motivation. Control will replace autonomous agreement on values. And when those linchpins are pulled? The guts will fall out.

We are in the age of unravelling, yet we're still in control. I suppose all we need to counter this trend is what kills any trend: enduring values and something to believe in, something to work for. All it takes is for one strong voice to speak up against the suicide. But already, it may be that none of us are motivated.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Vegetarianism Is (Usually) Just Moral Posturing

Oh, yeah. Just a brief word about vegetarianism. Controversial philosopher F.W. Nietzsche expressed a dislike for vegetarians because he saw them as being unwilling to accept life as it necessarily is, including the concepts of dominance and predation, and thus they were creating an artificial world based on morality or a "looks like it should be" motivation instead of a natural impulse. In his view, they were Christians of a secular type.

Recently PETA served up some Christians with a notice that the Church's annual pig roasts were raising not only funds but dander on animal lovers.I recalled N's comments and had to laugh a bit. How can one group of Christians contradict another? Well, because they're both predatory, and grandstanding for attention off of each other's backs. "I am most moral! None others have the same righteousness - nor right - to rule as I! My subjective universe triumphs over the outside world!"

It'll be interesting to see if they eat each other. In the meantime, for those that like meat, we wish PETA would do something useful like forming a rating scheme for which companies that produce meat products treat their animals like animals, and which treat them with a dishonorable degree of pointless cruelty and dangerous quick-growing schemes like hormones and artificial nutrient boosting. But that probably won't happen - they're more concerned about public image as the "most moral."

And those of us who lay no claim to being moral wish we could just eat them.

What Is The Bush Doctrine?

Every president has a doctrine of some sort named after him, for the way he handles certain problems in his republic. In Bush's case, he has the unenviable problem of dealing with post-coldwar nuclear politics. Now that there is no longer a balance between the two major forces of nuclear power, proliferation is spreading, and there is a split between the major methods used to fix these problems.

One method is to find a way to get along with your neighbors. The other is to dominate them. While the first creates short term disadvantages, such as having to buy your oil at the same rates other nations have to pay, it doesn't have the major long term disadvantages of the second option, in which muffled resentments worldwide guarantee an unending stream of terrorism and rebellion against the more fortunate in the dominating nation.

The Bush doctrine is of the latter category, and at its core is an attempt to coerce others through fear. "We won't hestitate to make a first strike if we think you're a terrorist nation, or harboring terrorists," he says, opening up the possibility of a first strike on anyone -- terrorist bodies can always be found in the ashes. And since his document addresses general military solutions, it is not long before this first strike will be extended to any country other than the US, Israel or NATO which develops nuclear weapons.

The consequence of this is that nuclear diplomacy on the national level is dead, and politics is now returning to the organizational status of tribalism. What first brought about terrorism was the need to be exempt from retaliation upon a national base, and now that that threat is raised, terrorists will only be outlaws in other countries. And now that they know retaliation will come swiftly, and possibly in nuclear form, they will not bother to announce their politics or even give any information before attacking. Since all of America's cards are on the table, they know what must be evaded. Thus the Bush doctrine will not prevent terrorism, nor does it hope to.

It hopes to limit the ability for countries to mount dissent against the USA. If they are unable to tell when an attack will come if they step out and become criticial of the USA, thus becoming possible "terrorist nations," they're going to do what Iraq and others may be doing: sponsor smaller, nationless groups who take a "multicultural" approach toward tearing down the USA. With no target toward which to retaliate, the USA will then lose its detente factor of terror versus terrorists.

When that happens, the Bush doctrine will come into play for what it really is, a law which benefits from selective enforcement. Those who need to be conquered for our global imperialist neoliberal ambitions will be, with the words "terrorist" and "evil" on the lips of our leaders. And soon, in the name of being "good," a totalitarian world empire will crush all dissent in the name of convenience.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Between Good and Evil, I Side With Nature

I read a lot about the war in Iraq -- I mean, the coming slaughter of the untechnologized natives -- and it makes me grin slightly sadly to think of the humor of declaring oneself "moral" and therefore going after "the bad people." Who could live up to that, dealing with more than a few people; rephrased, this question is, who would want to make themselves that yardstick? Not I - "evil" republics and "good" republics, like people, are each a mixed bag.

Of course, this has the virtual Jerry Springer Audience tamatoguchi screaming, "But why does 'evil' exist then?" Having been an expert on evil for some time, my answer snaps back like a punch at an ARA rally: evil is our way of characterizing what doesn't go our way. No lollipod? Bloody hell. In America, we've been taking what we want and making insane profits for so long that we think 'evil' is anything that threatens our ability to make millions from oil futures.

Evil is just another mental justification, a symbol that's religious because you have to believe to think it's real. Illusion, as Buddhists might say. There are no evil republics and our inner sense of 'morality' is rotted to the point where it pursues only appearance. It's easy to talk shit about GWB, but is he any different than Clinton the comical criminal? Are either of these guys doing anything but a job? Their job is to keep the wealthy industries happy.

And it makes me laugh to see the right-left split keeping you all baffled. I run into these pie-eyed leftists who assure me that inegalitarianism is the greatest evil, that a White Supremacist empire runs the united states, and that there's a crazy group of elites who have a holy war to keep down the more talented, impoverished brown peoples of the third world. The right as known to most of America seem to me to be slightly hardboiled liberals, and the far right -- despite their correct identification of religions like Christianity and Judaism as an insane part of the problem -- often become tied up by their own doctrinaire approach. What's a boy looking for truth to do?

The first thing I'm doing is dropping any kind of pro-human viewpoint I have, and by that meaning anything that assumes humanity is any different from any other animal. We do what feels good, including what benefits us. Our greed is self-preservation. We aren't good or evil, but we are in competition, so it becomes useful to characterize each other as absolutes:stupid, gay, evil, good, ally, enemy. Oh, and we respond to self-programming, so given healthy values we respond and build healthy societies.

As I'm watching the USA spin and twist to justify its Judeo-Christian war against all that isn't capitalist Christian and allied with Democracy in the middle east, I'm sitting back and siding with nature. It's not a he or a she or an it, but a series of principles that control the equilibrium of this universe. Whatever those are however, they're going to in time start bringing down that which claims too much moral authority by the very nature of power that moral authority must wield. My final metaphor is this: power is like a drug. The more you can get, the better it is, but the more intoxicated you become, the less likely you are to see the thug in the corner with your name on his bullets.