Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Ur-Fascism and American Fundamentalism
It took me a moment to understand the lead into the book, an excerpt from "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt" by Umberto Eco, an essay originally published in 1995. All of the points from Eco are worth reading and considering but here's one:
Hedges points out that the Christian values he learned from his minister father and from attending seminary are vastly different from the values espoused by the peculiarly popular and selectively fundamentalist preachers of today.
9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.
The Eco quote is perfect because the reader can't help but draw the parallels between the arrogance and will to power of these kinds of fundamentalists and political fascism between the World Wars. Eco's essay ends with this paragraph:
Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, "I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares." Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt's words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: "If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land." Freedom and liberation are an unending task. (emphasis mine)Indeed.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Dualism and the "Other"
In the USA, this regularly expresses itself in some Christians* inability to recognize the legitimacy and/or validity of philosophies and viewpoints other than their own. These Christians view all non-Christian (and much that is Christian) events and actions through a rigid binary system of good and evil. In their world, there is no in-between, no gray areas. Disagreement with their designations immediately marks you with the Sign of the Beast™.
This neat and tidy system comes through dualism. If you fall on the bad/evil side in their judgment, then they are not bound to treat you with compassion or humanity. You are, at best, an unwitting pawn of Satan and any tactic is allowable to draw you to their cause(s). At worst, you are actively aligned with Satan and cannot be tolerated.
This brings me to the example which spurred this brief meditation, Brainwashing the Children Part 5 by Jill Cohen Walker.
The indoctrination into a morass (as in sludge) of mystical powers did not begin with J. K. Rowling’s opus. Over the last century, there’s been a general softening of the nation’s stance against witchcraft, and that softening has infiltrated mainstream Christianity. This was, in part, a backlash to the Salem Witch Trials of the seventeenth century, but one only has to investigate the beliefs of the Lucis Trust (originally The Lucifer Publishing Company) to know how steeped our government and the United Nations are in witchcraft. And what about our Founding Fathers, many of whom were Masons, a fraternal order steeped in witchcraft and the occult.The second paragraph is particularly interesting to me. The declaration that "humanity is evil" neatly dovetails with the acceptance of "the redemptive work of Christ." In logical terms, if you aren't doing the "work of Christ," you are evil. Q.E.D. Any endeavor or work undertaken "absent God's grace" is evil.
The truth is that humanity is evil, made so through the fall of man. We willingly turn our backs on God and believe the liberal lie that man is redeemable by his own actions or good choices. That lie is in direct opposition to the redemptive work of Christ. Our “good choices” absent God’s grace got us into the mess we’re in now.
Now I realize I could be accused of taking this snippet out of context or that this is just one person's opinion. However, this is representative of a position I've seen often over the years. This is why I'm very scared about what would happen if people like this got into positions of governmental power. This is the sort of philosophy that asserts that they might have to kill you in order to "save" you. These are the sort of people who believe they can do no wrong because they are imbued with "God's grace." People who think themselves infallible or unquestionably "righteous" are prone to atrocities and history is littered with examples.
I wonder whether "Pride" is still a sin.
*As I consistently stress: I have no grudge against Christians. However, those Christians who focus almost exclusively on "evil" and finding groups of people or ideas to burn are in a separate category. I continue to maintain that, despite calling themselves "Christian", they are essentially consumed by hatred and the elevation of Satan to the status of a god. There is little in their philosophy I recognize as "Christian" as I understand it. My perspective may offend some Christians and I apologize but this is what I see manifest in some fundamentalist groups and philosophies. I refuse to call hatred "love".
Labels: Bad Christians
Friday, February 02, 2007
Friday Random 10 Songs: Glam Psychobilly Edition
- You Ain't Nothin' But Fine, Rockpile
- Bye Bye Baby, Johnny Otis
- Motherless Children, Steve Miller Band
- I'll Let You Know Before I Leave, Jorma Kaukonen
- Starstruck, The Kinks
- Hello There, John Cale
- Sometimes, Grin
- Mystery Plane, The Cramps
- Dragula, Rob Zombie
- Main Man, T. Rex