Archive | April, 2015

[ Safe Inside the Establishment Vivarium ] or/

20 Apr
Why The Extreme Center Cannot Hold


“We have seen the development of a form of government I call the extreme centre, which currently rules over large tracts of Europe and includes left, centre left, centre right and centre parties.”  (Tariq Ali, writer, journalist, filmmaker.)
Although Ali bemoans this situation throughout Europe, it behooves Americans to insist upon ownership and originality. We invented it: we live it, perhaps we have exported it abroad but above all, it’s part of our “exceptionalism”.  Give us our due! “Engineering consent” was born here and morphed into “manufacturing consent”, the matured production of a century of effort. We must not be denied our handiwork.
It is now embedded in our very DNA. The last time there was even a slight lapse was during those awful sixties. You remember: sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Tune in and drop out.  Off the pigs! Love Ins. Black Panthers. Weathermen.  Well, that’s all gone for good. We have our ways of dealing and they work. Left wing-nuts, peace liberals, “Nelson Rockefeller” conservatives, and old style mugwumps are now safely maintained within the Establishment Vivarium.
Establishment; (ecology) the process by which a plant or animal becomes established in a new habitat.
Vivarium; (Zoology) a place where live animals are kept under natural conditions for study, research, etc.  The Free Dictionary
Within this virtual vivarium the inhabitants embrace fondly the extreme centre.  In the following Tariq Ali references Europeans, but substituting Americans is easily warranted:
” A whole swathe of the electorate, young people in particular, feels that voting makes no difference at all, given the political parties we have. The extreme centre wages wars, either on its own account or on behalf of the United States; it backs austerity measures; it defends surveillance as absolutely necessary to defeat terrorism, without ever asking why this terrorism is happening – to question this is almost to be a terrorist
oneself. “
A byproduct of that busy century of  engineering and manufacturing consent is the corruption of language that accompanied a synchronized effort to sell soap and ideas with the same tools. An early casualty: the word war: as in war on poverty, drugs, cancer and the latest victim, war on terror.
Where did that last one come from? Not from history, apparently.  We considered our Indian foes as warriors. We fought the Red Coats from behind trees as militias or irregulars.  Campaigned against guerilla fighters in this Continent and elsewhere.  Now any perceived enemy, anywhere, even at home is a terrorist. A meaningless, catch-all phrase.  Tagging a shoe bomber as equal to an army in uniform, with a flag, representing a State such as ISIS, is nonsense. We’re still trying to tag the Russian Federation with that amorphous label.
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” George Orwell.
And that is why the Orwellian concept ‘double speak’ has settled in our fair land. Losing or relinquishing precise meanings of words renders clear thinking impossible. If a conversation or dialogue, at best difficult to successfully accomplish, has a corrupt element in language, all meaning is suspect. Laws, treaties and contracts and intentions are subject to suspicion.
Here again Tariq Ali focuses on the conduct of various governments as proponents of extreme centre activities and attitudes.: 
” Why do the terrorists do it? Are they unhinged? Is it something that emerges from deep inside their religion? These questions are counterproductive and useless. If you ask whether American imperial policy or British or French foreign policy is in any way responsible, you’re attacked. But of course the intelligence agencies and security services know perfectly well that the reason for people going crazy – and it is a form of craziness – is that they are driven not by religion but by what they see.”
 These clandestine operators are quite skilled in keeping us from understanding what the others see and perhaps doing something about it.  What may be overlooked is that to a degree all of the above players are democracies, at least in form.  So their policies must be at least token representation of the various peoples’ tacit approval.
Can we expect anything different to arise from such a base? Is this not the essence of what “consent of the governed ” professes to mean? Have not the governments gotten their fondest wishes by manufacturing that consent?  Have we not created the very people who now huddle for safety in the bosom of the extreme centre but are perhaps incapable of understanding the price they have paid to embrace that centre? 



The Little Cult That Could…

9 Apr
 (Apologies to Watty Piper. ‘The Little Engine That Could’)
After the birth of the new Judaic messianic/resurrection cult, a faithful band of zealots and seekers languished in the desert for decades until a stroke (un-stroke?) of genius courtesy of Saul of Tarsus. In a flash of insight or bad nerves on a desert road, Saul discerned what was needed for recruitment beyond the believing few was to eliminate male circumcision as a requirement for membership. The movement speedily metastasized.

With the removal of this hurdle all sorts of pagans, barbarians and converts are gathered into the flock. Even a few… (whisper) females.
I think I can – I think I can –  I think I can – I think I can puffed Saul, now called Paul, as he thundered about the countryside with his pious little engine called ‘The Proselytizer’.  As Paul, his zeal for the new sect ablaze; his former orthodoxy and persecution of those filthy apostates abandoned, he rides the crest of his new found cause.
2 paul 
“I am a very important engine indeed. I won’t carry the likes of you!” cried the Apostle.  Summarily dismissed from the pilgrim train were women who refused to submit to the authority of their husbands.
Along with the other acolytes Paul spread the word from city to city throughout the Hellenized portion of the Roman Empire as far as Eastern Africa and South Asia. By the end of the first century over forty church communities were established as distant as Italy, Greece and India.

In an historical blink of an eye, actually in 392 AD,  Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. I thought I could! I thought I could! I thought I Could! I thought I Could!

In the seventh century another group of descendents of Abraham wrote large on the desert sands. These fellow travelers look to Genesis and Ishmael, his oldest son for kinship. Islam views the others as “People of the Book” but insist on following the ancient founder in his surgical requirement for membership, unlike Saul’s carnal apostasy.

The folks were thriving and prospering steadily but one day in 1054 there was a spiritual train wreck. Things came apart and remain that way still. The Church of Rome and the Eastern Church were rent asunder by power struggles and the role of the Pope.

The Little Cult That Could blossomed in time into a universal phenomenon with millions of faithful as did the other; the followers of the Prophet.  Alas, in less then five decades another spiritual derailing.  The First Crusade. This was followed by two hundred years of on and off slaughter attempting to gain sovereignty in the Holy Land.

Almost a millennium fast forward.  The Sons Of Isaac are ensorcelled in the Holy Land doing a year round Masada Pageant.  The Sons Of Ishmael are at each others throats again, all over the place. Legions of understudies wait quietly in the wings for the principals to fail. Hushed strains in the far background whisper I really thought I could-I really thought I could- I really thought I could…I