April 29, 2008

Messiahs Just Aren't What They Used to Be

Once upon a time (I do like that phrase), a genuinely revolutionary messiah challenged every aspect of the beliefs and practices of the ruling elites of his time, even when that challenge ensured his own death. Alas. In 21st century America, many of those in our intellectual class (I use the words "intellectual" and "class" with a degree of carelessness meriting severe and cruel punishment) enthusiastically make themselves into laughingstocks by wildly applauding the cheapest, emptiest, most obviously manipulative of charlatans.

I have pointed this out for over a year. One of my first posts on the subject of The Divine Obama was this one. Of course, that was of zero interest to the major "progressive" bloggers. It interfered with their "narrative," doncha know. Most of those privileged, comparatively affluent, comfortable, protected fat asses didn't care all that much (if at all) when faggot insults were hurled by The Divine One at The Pretty One. (I use the phrase "fat asses" to denote an almost complete lack of intellectual seriousness, discipline and depth, not to describe any physical attribute. Perish the look-ist thought!) After all, most of these fat asses and all of their major Democratic candidates actually do think that faggots are freaks. They'll lie about it, as do all major politicians, but their willingness to disregard the plain meaning of Obama's vacuous and not infrequently vicious machinations reveals that lying comes as naturally to them as breathing.

Obama is so intelligent! So uplifting! So extraordinary! A once in a generation (or two or three) kind of political leader! Such commentators are beyond pathetic, and beneath contempt. Now -- now, after a close, intimate relationship with Jeremiah Wright over a period of a few decades -- now Obama realizes what Wright actually thinks. Because Obama is running for president, he denounces his "former pastor." (He should have saved himself some time, and followed my advice on this point from over a month ago.)

Wright has said nothing new. He's repeated what he said many times before. The only difference is that Obama's campaign is flailing. The heat got to be too much. So now Obama finally understands what Wright thinks, and he denounces it. This means one of two things: Obama is one of the stupidest people in America (and that would be an achievement of some note), or he is a liar of the first order. It's probably a combination of both, with a huge dose of pathetically desperate and obvious strategizing thrown in.

It should be emphasized that, on the points of greatest significance, what Wright has said and continues to say is true. More than that, it is critically important. (I specifically exempt from this judgment Wright's remarks to the NAACP about "right-brain, left-brain" issues. I am unable to watch that speech, since I don't have television and only have a dialup internet connection, and I've been unable to find a transcript. But from the reports I've seen, those particular comments appear to be profoundly, dangerously wrong. But, even though I am aware of no evidence at all to support Wright's views about a government "conspiracy" with regard to AIDS, an appreciation of the relevant history makes even those comments understandable, as I have discussed.)

Of course, no one who buys into the mythology of American exceptionalism will consider the possibility that critical parts of what Wright thinks are true. As I wrote in "Obama's Whitewash":
Obama speaks of "views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike." This is a lie: Wright's views express the truth of our history, and of our present. No, it is not all of the truth, but it is an absolutely essential and major part of the truth. It is the part of the truth that our fictionalized, mythologized history denies, the truth that many Americans will not permit themselves to understand or acknowledge. You are profoundly wrong if the truth "offends" you. If you remain determined to cling to the lies that sustain you, you may certainly make that choice. But that does not make it right, or true.

Obama speaks of "a profoundly distorted view of this country -- a view that sees white racism as endemic..." But white racism has been endemic to America's history, and its effects are still painfully visible in most aspects of American life today. Indeed, a good portion of Obama's speech itself details the effects of that "endemic" white racism. Wright does not "elevate what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America" -- he demands acknowledgment of the part of our history drowned by the propaganda that inundates us every day. For those who remain wedded to the mythologized America, such acknowledgment cannot be tolerated. Truth must be destroyed.

Obama states: "I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy." What Obama has "condemned, in unequivocal terms" is the truth -- the truth that is forbidden by the fictions that feed the myth of American exceptionalism. Obama has fully embraced the lies at the heart of mythologized America -- an embrace that is underscored by his inclusion of this phrase: "a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam." In this manner, Obama confirms that he will continue our policy of global interventionism including our endless interventions in the Middle East, which have been unceasing ever since World War I. Obama embraces all the lies that support that policy, and he will challenge none of them. (See "Songs of Death" for many more details concerning Obama's embrace of this murderous policy.)

Almost every politician lies, and most politicians lie repeatedly. Yet in one sense, Obama's speech is exceptional, rare and unique -- but not for any of the reasons offered by Obama's uncritical, mindless adulators. It is exceptional for this reason: it is rare that a candidate will announce in such stark, comprehensive terms that he will lie about every fact of moment, about every aspect of our history that affects the crises of today and that has led to them, about everything that might challenge the mythological view of America. But that is what Obama achieved with this speech. It may be a remarkable achievement -- a remarkable and detestable one, and one that promises endless destruction in the future, both here and abroad.
Most people completely failed to grasp the breadth of Obama's commitment to America's mythologized history in his "nuanced," "historical" speech on race, or his unbreached determination to lie about anything and everything. They were -- and are -- incapable of understanding this issue for the simple reason that they, too, embrace this mythology. If they are deprived of their belief in America's, and their own, claim to being "unique" and "special" in all of history, they will die psychologically. Our mythologized history has become a crucial part of their own identities. Obama's condemnation of Wright today amounts to an emphatic postscript to his earlier speech: "I meant it. I will lie to you about anything you want. I will lie about everything."

This troubles almost no one, for this is how we live now.

At the opening of "Obama's Whitewash," I set forth this excerpt from an earlier piece ("A Culture of Lies, and a Desperate Need for Action"):
For this is where we are in the United States, nearing the end of the Year of Our Lord 2007: the truth is not merely unpleasant, an uninvited guest who makes conversation difficult and awkward. Truth is the enemy; truth is to be destroyed. To attempt to speak the truth on any subject of importance requires a deep reserve of determination, for to speak the truth requires that one first sweep away an infinite number of rationalizations, false alternatives, and numerous other failures of logic and the most rudimentary forms of thought -- as well as the endless lies. On that single occasion in a thousand or a million when a person overcomes these barriers and speaks the truth, he or she discovers an additional, terrible truth: almost no one wants to hear it. This is how we live today: lies are the staple of our diet. Without them, we would die, certainly in psychological terms.
This is politics as it is practiced in the United States now. It is the result of political developments over more than a century -- see "Blinded by the Story," "It's Called the Ruling Class Because It Rules," the entire "Dominion Over the World" series as well as the series entitled, "A Nation on the Edge of the Final Descent," and numerous other essays here for the details. This state of affairs will not be miraculously transformed by any single individual, no matter how conscientiously and irreparably you damage your brain and destroy your capacity for coherent thought, and regardless of how desperately you search for a savior. If this reality is to be altered, a searching, comprehensive reevaluation of the nature and role of government would be required, and government's increasingly oppressive, intrusive presence in our lives would have to be systematically rolled back. Such an effort would take decades, at least. It is much more likely that a major realignment will be forcibly brought about by widening war, and/or significant economic weakening or collapse. However it happens, such a transformation over time will represent great, heartbreaking hardship for a huge number of innocent individuals. That's the hopeful outlook.

The authoritarian-corporatist system of government in the United States is thoroughly corrupt. It is virtually impossible to reform it "from within," and history offers not a single example of such a fundamental alteration. Those who delude themselves that it is possible reveal a deplorable ignorance of the past and its many lessons, as well as an inability to understand cultural-political developments over a period of more than a year or two. But most people who speak of "reform" aren't actually interested in reform in any fundamental way. Their only concern is acquiring control of the levers of power for themselves and for their political gang. Keep this principle in mind:
Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system.
I set forth that principle in a post with a title that some might consider rude, but which is entirely accurate: "Most of You Will Eat Shit Until the Day You Die." This much is certain: with only a few exceptions and never with regard to a person in a position of great authority, anyone who devotes his life, or a significant portion of it, to acquiring power in our corrupt political system is a manipulative, detestable, lying son of a bitch. Yes, that includes many (probably most) commentators and bloggers of any prominence, of any and every political persuasion.

Tell yourselves and everyone else it's not true. That will be a lie, too. But then, you're used to lying. It's like breathing.