"It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men." ~ H.L. Mencken
Morals, Morale, Morons and Morosity
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"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." ~ Donald Rumsfeld , Dec. 8, 2004 'Think about the troops that are there and how that sounds to them.' ~ Donald Rumsfeld, Nov. 20, 2005 I remember the agony of enduring the Slick Willie years. I used to be continuously astonished that anyone could ever look or listen to that man and have any faith in him at all. Yet, for eight painful, never ending years, Democrats rallied around their man as saint, not sinner. He was a classic sociopathic deviant, and it was painfully obvious to anyone with eyes or ears. It was simple to see through that sappy smile and folksy demeanor and understand that for him, it was all about him. It was easy to ascertain that if there was anything upright about him, it surely wasn't his morals. As if he and his idiotic antics weren't enough, his overbearing wife insinuated herself into the picture at every turn. Who elected her, anyway? It was pure torture to endure the sickening, self-righteous smile of Hillary, the ex-Republican, and her know-it-all, collectivist attitude. If the monarchy had long ago been abolished and God was said to be dead, how did her royal highness escape? I remember and retain my revulsion as if it were yesterday. When Law of the Jungle George with his promise of a humble foreign policy and compassionate conservatism finally stole the election, I confess I was more than slightly relieved that at least I wouldn't have to listen to four, and possibly eight more years of wanna-be Liar in Chief Goofy Al Gore (GAG). Oh, but that guy was pathetic! My respite from near terminal nausea was short lived, however, and I can confirm that endless morosity and morbid exasperation are excruciatingly slow and hideously painful processes. Now we have the cowboy king, George, and the neo-clowns spewing lies that would make the Clinton cast of characters blush. Anytime they open their mouths, they reek of hypocrisy and a maddening lack of self-awareness. The arrogance and contradictions flow from their mouths like the awful offal of gutters. Not content with lies, forgeries and fabrications in a rush to war, they continue mouthing worn clich's and simpleminded, often contradictory catchwords to continue it all. We are subjected to an endless stream of puerile platitudes, raunchy rationalizations, and sanctimonious sermons about everything from liberation to supporting the troops. In a never-ending spiral of bad to worse, the latest insult to decency and common sense is the nauseating specter of Mr. Combat Boots, Bombald Dumsfeld, treating us to a lecture on troop morale. Spare me. Does that mordant moron really believe anyone is listening except for amusement? If so, does he hear himself? Is this the guy in the famous picture shaking hands with his former buddy and prot'g', Saddam? Kinda reminds me of Roosevelt and his butcher pal, Stalin. What does Dumbsfeld understand about morale? Does this mendacious megalomaniac have a clue that the words, morale and moral share more than similar sounds and spellings? In the likely event he doesn't know, which I have no way of really knowing, though I do know that he appears not to know, which means that you know and I know that he at least knowingly acts as if he doesn't know, whereas he really ought to know because knowing is knowledge and we need knowledge to know, ya know, that there are knowns, and there are also unknowns, let me tell the know-it-all so he will know all about what's known about the subject. The word moral derives directly from the French word, moral. That in turn is derived from the Latin moralis signifying mores, manner, and custom. If you are shocked that a word like moral, connoting good, is derived from a word for that which is expected or is customary, you are not alone. I too see little good or moral about the customs, especially the political ones, of today. Nevertheless, the original Latin word referred to the good and proper behavior of men in society. The word morale shares similar derivations. Etymologically, the two are virtually the same word. Synonyms for moral, and thus morale, are ethical, virtuous, righteous and noble. The word virtuous is also interesting in that it's derived from the Latin word vir, which translates to man. Ultimately it is manly to act morally. And to act manly and morally is to nourish morale. What quaint notions. Righteous is also worthy of comment in that it is related to the Latin word for king (rex, ruler) and in ancient times kings were thought to be gods. They were even worshipped as such and given special treatment and privileges as a result. Although kings were rarely righteous, just or good, they were still worshipped. As proof that people are still primitive, similar attitudes remain to this day. The concept of privilege endures, only the label has changed. We now call our masters "presidents" and pretend they're our servants and imagine them our leaders while in reality they're our rulers. Just as in the old days, their authority is unquestioned and their crimes go unpunished. Noble was originally associated with knowing, (g)noscere, but today the naff, nabob nobility not only know nothing but are not held accountable for not knowing. Too bad for us prols. It should, therefore, be evident that high morale is based on moral behavior. If the cause is just, morale is more likely to be maintained. If the war on Iraq were a moral endeavor, we wouldn't need to listen to sermonettes on the subject, especially from someone so senseless. Can't we do better than that?
Many thanks to my friend and teacher Tim Case for introducing me to the concept of kings as gods and for inspiration and encouragement.