Wed Jun, 15 2005
(A comment, here. Hit all the links. Lots of people are talking about the general subject.)
straightarrow -- "I explained to her that no matter the justification for such, the man who did those things would be vilified and have his character assassinated and those close to him would be tarred with the same brush."You know you're talking about Carl Drega, right?
Every now and then, I see someone going on about "totalitarianism". The misgrapplings surrounding this subject are rife. All the classic literature has gone far to foster them. (Arendt did damned fine work on it, but...) It just about never occurs to anyone that the root of that word can descend on any given individual, to the effect that "political scientists" always project over the whole culture, but without destroying the whole culture.
The destruction of Carl Drega was, nonetheless, "total", and it was only the logical end of the very first claim that the state ever laid on his life. After that, it was all only degrees of application until the end.
And what difference did it make?
I've been so near the end of my goddamned rope that, for years now, I've harbored a half-baked plan to set myself on fire on the steps of the Capitol. Go ahead and make fun of it. Am I any more far-gone than the rest of you? What difference would it make if I was? Here is the central problem surrounding what you people are talking about:
There is no coherent and cohesive philosophy underpinning it. Everybody's pissed off, but you all have your varying degrees of what you'll settle for. Someone like me comes along to suggest something like starving the Beast out of existence by not paying for it, or withdrawing the overt political sanction by not bloody voting -- like I've been doing for years to general laughter -- and, suddenly, nobody is so pissed off anymore. There is something everyone can agree on: "Beck's a kook."
Ayn Rand once pointed out: "This country, as yet, cannot be ruled." I should think that, for instance, the rampant failure of the war on drugs would make the point, but I'll concede that it's debatable. She went on, however: "But it can explode. It can blow up into the helpless rage and blind violence of a civil war.
If America drags on in her present state for a few more generations (which is unlikely) dictatorship will become possible. A sense of life is not a permanent endowment. The characteristically American one is being eroded daily all around us. Large numbers of Americans have lost it (or have never developed it) and are collapsing to the psychological level of Europe's worst rabble."
She wrote that thirty-four years ago. Look how far we've gone. (How many people here were alive and politically conscious thirty-four years ago?) Me? I call it thirty-four years of appalling compromise with a steadily degenerating political culture in which quietly desperate people only wanted to hang on to something of the original promise of American life, if they might be allowed to. Which they haven't been. And these questions about "when the bullets start to fly" occur with increasing regularity, all while the philosophy that should drive the debate continues to rot right out from under everyone's feet.
When I think about it, I just light up another cigarette. One of these days, some croaker or other is going to read an X-ray and let me know that I can qualify for a government program to take advantage of your kind generosity by way of the nice federal men to whom I've been telling you -- forever -- to say "No, goddammit," when they squeeze you every April, in order pay for a chemo run or whatever in order to ward-off a cancer for another worthless year or so. When that happens, I'm going to smile and tell him, "No thanks."
And maybe you'll see me on CNN, at some point after that: burning alive, while fucking Judy Woodhead or her assignee sneers pretty at the camera for you. Maybe not. We'll see.
But you people are talking about blowing the place up, whether you know it or not. That's the only way it can go, as things are now, because there is no philosophy at the bottom of what you're talking about. Once the shooting starts, all bets are off.
I'm pretty damned sure I'd rather not live to see that.