"The great trouble with religion – any religion – is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason – but one cannot have both." ~ Robert Heinlein
Crossing the Rubicon or Jumping the Shark?
So another political season of madness has come and gone. God has reappointed Darth W. Vader and bombs are dancing in the air (and fairies--sugarplum or otherwise--aren't getting married anytime soon). Oh, what a time we live in! The voters, or at least 30% of those who voted (some mandate) have now entrusted the destiny of Americans to an unscrupulous liar and a cold-blooded, premeditated killer of women and children. But don't worry, Mr. Morality will make sure no two gays can get married before they are drafted and sent off to who knows where next. "4 More Years!" they said? Make that four more wars.
The pundits tell us that this was an historic election, not just because it defied all the previous superstitions (the Green Bay Packers, polls of children, the Zodiac) and conventional wisdom about who would win (leaving aside for the moment the real likelihood of the mundane, rather than divine, intervention of Diebold), and not just because it appears that Americans are now in the iron grip of a Republican Party majority in the District of Criminals and around the country. We're told that morality is now on the scene, big time, thanks to the marching ranks of the religious brownshirts, oh excuse me, the Evangelical Christians. Those rabid, froth-mouthed, stonehearted, deluded fools who salute the Commander-in-Chief and call tyranny, freedom. One hundred dead in Iraq? One thousand dead in Iraq? One hundred thousand dead in Iraq? Sooner or later, you're talkin' real people.
What have the religious brownshirts brought us to is the question to ask. Will their influence increase liberty? Will it increase peace? Will it reverse the galloping growth of the executive-managerial regime in Washington? No. Instead, what we get is a deluded, brain-dead reverence for a mediocre and ridiculous man, who they tell us is God's viceroy. This Republican Party majority is nothing but a cult of power, a lust for power and the will to dominate. Where is the commitment to smaller government and free enterprise? Gone, and it was likely never there to begin with.
Is this a turning point in American history? With this election and the apparent choice of a man who is incoherent, ridiculous and incompetent, has America crossed the Rubicon into tyranny? Is there no going back? The Rubicon, as you will remember, was designated by the Roman Senate to be the boundary between Italy and the conquered Gallic province of Gallia Cisalpina, and according to the law Cornelia Majestatis, no General could lawfully lead his army out of the province to which he had been assigned. Julius Caesar said "$#@& that!" and did it anyway, and three years later was Commander-in-Chief, err . . . I mean, Dictator-for-life. Has the Rise of the Fundies put liberty and individualism into a new vice-like grip from which it will expire at last?
Could be. But to hear the Brownshirts expectorate on the electoral results, one would marvel at the rise of civilization in just one election cycle. With the Messianic Masses marching in long shadows behind, offering up the Mandate of the American People (and their liberties) to the presidential god, through whom, embodying the Mandate of Heaven, even though he isn't Chinese, the neocons are actively weaving a vision of idyllic success and achievement, not only in Iraq, but in other targets of the deluded herd's liberating rage. These putative World Controllers in all their insane, world-conquering hubris are best represented by the likes of Frank Gaffney, who intoned that "[t]he reality is that the same moral principles that underpinned the Bush appeal on 'values' issues like gay marriage, stem-cell research and the right to life were central to his vision of US war aims and foreign policy." To hear him tell it, the world aches for the yoke of presidential leadership and liberated bombing. "These items do not represent some sort of neocon 'imperialist' game plan. Rather, they constitute a checklist of the work the world will demand of this president and his subordinates in a second term." China, Russia, France, Germany, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and unnamed South American regimes, all are now targets of the Gaffney death ray. And once freed from challenging certain alleged facts (like nothing that opposes the U.S. Empire shall live), the oppressed herds of the world will embrace Americana and whore for Boeing, too, just like Mr. Gaffney. "Empire forever!" shout the neocons.
Sure, Americans may have crossed the Rubicon with Bush, but it's more likely they have jumped the shark. For those who don't know what this means, here's the story. The Fonz, during a three-episode arch on Happy Days, wearing swim trunks, his leather jacket and water skis, jumped a penned-in shark, which signaled to one and all that the show had entered an irreversible decline. This has now passed into TV legend. The real or fraudulent re-election of Bush and his neocon puppeteers signals to us that the U.S. Empire has indeed jumped the shark.
The Neocons and the Fundies, united in the doctrine that spilling the blood of foreigners brings not only morality to America, but America to God, and hence millions of new voters into the clutches of the neocons, clearly do not see that an Imperial America is an over-extended and vulnerable empire. Not to mention, also Un-American.
Gabriel Kolko makes the case pretty effectively on how "Four More Years!" of neoconology applied to international relations could end up destroying the international status quo and lead to the isolation of the United States government. Bush's obvious plan for future "Broader Middle (and Far?) Eastern" wars will only accelerate this trend.
Bush's re-election has not only discredited American democracy in the eyes of others, but has also further weakened if not eventually overturned the system of alliances and the policy of "humanitarian" interventionism worldwide. The imperial personalities of Bush and the neocons are destroying the shadow empire built up over the past century.
Already, the international Dollar Standard is creaking and unlikely to survive his regime, and the Satrapies are in near full revolt as regional/middle powers realign to contain the hegemon. Russia and China are quietly allying with Iran, France and Germany and Russia are building up Europe as a counterweight. Good news, I say.
The pipsqueak Napoleons at AEI and PNAC, Brownshirt Review, etc., never learned from his tyranny. Alliances among enemies always arise to counter a mutual threat. And eventually their resources and power can overwhelm even the strongest single power, however long it may take.
With their re-election, the Cult of Power says that the U.S. Empire is rising and will last forever. We can confidently say that the Empire, at the point of seeming triumphant, has already jumped the shark and begun its irreversible decline. After all, every empire turns to dust.