November 20, 2010

Oh, for God's Sake. Just Stop.

Hey, whadda ya know. The God in my title isn't merely an empty locution. It's akshully relevant.

Obama as Job. Woe, for Obama was mighty, and now he is brought low! Yet hope survives: "endure in tribulation, and perhaps all may be well" -- for, as Ecclesiastes tells us, "The wise man has eyes in his head..." For the author of this piece, it appears Obama shall forever remain the "wise man."

All this from Jon Meacham, who becomes the executive editor at Random House in January. On the basis of the perspicacity evident in this li'l articull, I think God has thus delivered the final curse on major American publishing houses, or at least one of them. (And I am forced to acknowledge that, in this instance, God has done A Good Thing.)

Aw, poor Barack. My heart bleeds. Psst, Meacham: here's a superduper secret. Listening? Obama might have received a "midterm rebuke" (Meacham's phraseology), but:


He wanted that power, which includes the power to obliterate all of humanity many times over, and he still has it. Take your "Obama as Job" crap and ... dammit, I can't think of anything sufficiently crude and rude to complete that sentence.

Because Obama worked so diligently to acquire such astonishingly frightening power, and because he still has that power, I repeat the following, written in June 2008:
Reflect for just a moment about what it is they want to win so desperately. Each of these three persons [McCain, Obama and Hillary Clinton] wants to be the most powerful ruler in the world. Given the nature of the weapons that will be at their disposal, they want to be the most powerful ruler in all of history, with the power to fundamentally transform human history and perhaps even to end it in significant part. Even if you believed that you acted righteously, with justice and truth on your side (let us set aside for the moment how one can believe that the power to murder millions of innocent people can ever be thought to be right or just, although I do not believe such considerations should ever be set aside), would you want power of that kind? If you would, I hope never to meet you. For any person who actively seeks the power of life and death over just one other human being, let alone millions of people, is deeply, irrevocably damaged in psychological terms. If we use the term "normal" to designate those goals and motives that can generally be described as supportive of individual life and happiness, no one who wants to be president of the United States is remotely close to normal. When you consider the years of relentless, soul-destroying ambition that are required to approach the office of president, together with the indefensible compromises, the endless lies, and the constant exercise of power over others in less extreme forms, anyone who deeply desires to be president verges on a constant state of insanity.

Yet one of these terrifyingly deranged people will, in fact, be the next president. Many Americans are excited, even thrilled, about the prospect, which tells you a rather important fact about most Americans, actually many important facts.
The full essay has more on this and related issues: "The Triumph of the White, Male Ruling Class: One Fucking Great Country."

I do not want to be misunderstood on the central point in the above excerpt. I therefore repeat it for emphasis: "no one who wants to be president of the United States is remotely close to normal." I've already written numerous articles about the nature of power, and of political power in particular, and why the desire for power and its exercise are so profoundly damaging; in future, I shall be writing still more on this subject. I do not view my statement as at all arguable. I apply it to anyone who seeks the office of president. To a lesser degree, I apply it to anyone who wants to be a member of the national political class. To a still lesser degree, I also apply it to all those who service the national political class in various ways (including virtually all writers, commentators and bloggers who are at all well-known, and especially if they appear regularly on teevee and/or in the mainstream press).

As a preview of coming attractions here, I'll adapt and slightly rewrite one sentence from the above passage: If we use the term "good" to designate those goals and motives that can generally be described as supportive of individual life and happiness, anyone who seeks power or services those who possess power is evil; the degree of his evil is commensurate with the scope of the power he seeks (or of the power held by those he services). One fundamental and usually insurmountable problem faced by most people is the inability and/or refusal to identify evil as evil. Most people can't identify evil because the very first lessons they are taught involve misidentifying what is evil as good -- and then learning to love it. In varying degrees, almost all of us are taught to love evil; at the very least, we are taught that evil is necessary and unavoidable.

And who teaches us these lessons? Why, our parents, of course. That probably upsets many of you, even regular readers of this blog. It should upset you. I hope to trouble you much, much more before I'm done. As a general introduction to these issues, you can read my tribalism articles, especially parts two ("Creating the Next Generation") and three ("Learning to Hate 'The Other'"). Consider the numerous forms of damage that are inflicted on the young child in the story I discuss in detail (I'll be identifying many of these forms of damage with greater specificity in future articles) -- and remember that it's a true story, proudly offered by the mother. And ask yourself: is it good to damage a very young, defenseless child in that manner? If it is not, what is it? Ah, you see how you reject the implied answer. I did, too, for many years. As I said, it's usually a problem that forbids solution -- but not always.

I have much more to say about all this, probably a book's worth of essays if I manage to get to all of it. I very much doubt I'll come close to completing it given my health, but I'll do what I can.

For the moment, and to return to Mr. Obama (regrettable, but necessary), consider the following. I just recently discussed yet again Obama's claim that he has the "right" to murder anyone in the world for any reason whatsoever, whenever and wherever he chooses. As I observed, this is unquestionably absolute power. With not a single exception that I can recall, Obama's claim of absolute power was never discussed during the recent election season. If even one candidate ever said a word about it (and I don't know of one who did), it was so rare and regarded as so insignificant that almost everyone missed it entirely.

Think about that. Turn it over in your mind. The President of the United States now claims the power to murder any of us whenever he wants, for any reason he wishes. We just had what an endless stream of commentators repeatedly told us was an election of momentous importance. And the President's claim of absolute power -- the power to murder any of us whenever he wishes -- was never discussed. With very rare exceptions, no one ever discusses it, even now.

If a claim of ultimate, absolute power of that kind is not evil, the word evil has ceased to have any meaning at all. For us a country, that is exactly what has happened: the concept of evil means nothing to us, which is one crucial reason why greater and greater evil continues to be done every day.

If you can't or won't identify the nature of events accurately -- what once might have been described as "telling the truth" -- you will never alter them, even in the most minor of ways. In our culture today, we can't tell the truth about anything. If you want to stop evil, you must begin by naming it as evil.

In the future, I hope to upset you even more.