Monday, September 9, 2013

Chortles!

Every now and then, something slips past me that I really should have taken up and filleted. In the usual case, it's something "cultural" -- sorry, Gentle Reader, but I can't see or hear the word "culture" without thinking of Petri dishes and "nutrient Agar" -- because, in these latter, overly crowded years of my dotage decrepitude life, I put too much of my time into creating "culture" to have much left over for consuming any of it.

So something like this novel tends to sneak past my radar:

“They said what they would do, and we did not listen. Then they did what they said they would do.”

So ends the first chapter of this brilliantly readable counterfactual novel, reminding us that America’s Christian fundamentalists have been consistently clear about their vision for a "Christian Nation" and dead serious about acquiring the political power to achieve it. When President McCain dies and Sarah Palin becomes president, the reader, along with the nation, stumbles down a terrifyingly credible path toward theocracy, realizing too late that the Christian right meant precisely what it said.

In the spirit of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, one of America’s foremost lawyers lays out in chilling detail what such a future might look like: constitutional protections dismantled; all aspects of life dominated by an authoritarian law called “The Blessing,” enforced by a totally integrated digital world known as the "Purity Web." Readers will find themselves haunted by the questions the narrator struggles to answer in this fictional memoir: "What happened, why did it happen, how could it have happened?"

Mike Hendrix comments thus:

All mockery aside, this sort of thing is exactly why there were will never be another conservative president: way more of the populace than most of us care to admit has been brainwashed just as thoroughly as the idiot who wrote the book and the clueless drone who wrote the Amazon review. They deeply, fervently believe this absurdist horseshit–not just about Palin but about everyone who professes concern for how far this country has strayed from its Constitutional moorings–and there’s no persuading them otherwise. And there is absolutely no circumstance that will lure them into even considering voting for a conservative, be he (or she) a Republican or anything else.

A rather pessimistic estimate. Mike is usually dead on target, but let's look at some snippets of the book:

What was new here was the remarkable cognitive shift required for the states’-rights and individual-freedom-loving opinion makers of F3 to now show unbridled enthusiasm for federal usurpation of fundamental state prerogatives, suspension of the Bill of Rights (including, notably, their precious Second Amendment), and an unprecedented projection of Beltway power into the heartland. Not two years before, F3 itself speculated that, faced with a far more limited projection of federal power, the “bubba” and Christian militias would rise up and defend the Constitution and the people from the threat of tyrannical abuse. This time around, there was no talk of militias or tyranny.

My wife Emilie was not surprised.

Can you see conservatives turning against the Second Amendment?

But Karl Rove, Steve Jordan, and the other brilliant political strategists of the republican far right had made their reputations and fortunes doing just that.

“Emilie is right,” said Sanjay. “I think it is that simple. Power is good if it is in your hands and bad if it is in the hands of the enemy. And by the way, the corollary rule is that once extraordinary power is in your hands, risking that same power transferring into the hands of your enemy through free and fair elections is difficult to accept.”

Is Karl Rove a strategist of the "far right?"

“San, dear,” Emilie interrupted. “if you are going to protect us from Christian extremist knuckleheads, you are going to need to speak more plainly. No one knows or cares about ‘cognitive dissonance.’ Just say what you mean. Most Americans will believe almost anything—golden tablets from God buried under a hill in upstate new york, alien souls bouncing around the universe and inhabiting our bodies, getting to fuck seventy-two virgins as a welcome present when you arrive in heaven—it’s all the same crap. If you are raised to believe it, or are dumb enough and desperate enough, then you’ll believe anything.”

Sanjay, unusually, seemed both amused and annoyed. “You, Emilie,..

Do most Americans believe in "golden tablets from God," Scientology's cosmogony, or afterlives that feature seventy-two virgins?

“Theocracy. It’s where all roads lead. Our karma.”

“Not necessarily. But do you not see? The imposition of Christian values by the federal government violates fundamentally the conservative principles of individual liberty, states’ rights, and limited government. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is an absolute barrier to a conservative embrace of theocracy. But it is not. these values, what some conservatives call ‘process conservatism,’ will always be thrown under the bus if they conflict with ‘substantive values,’ such as the right to life. Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas, was at least frank about it. He just shrugged and said, ‘There’s a larger issue in play, and that is the whole issue of the definition of life.’ So there you have it. Personal freedom, states’ rights, and limited government—all pushed aside in a moment when there is a ‘larger issue.’”

Isn't the right to life a fundamental matter -- the bedrock upon which individual freedom is founded? Or would author Frederic Rich regard the laws against murder as infringements upon "personal freedom, states’ rights, and limited government" -- ?

The readers of Liberty's Torch tend to be well above average in intelligence and general erudition. More, I'd bet the mortgage money that they know far more conservatives, Christians, and Christian conservatives than author Frederic Rich. Does any of what the above snippets from Rich's novel depict / suggest strike you as plausible?

But let's return to Mike Hendrix's somber assessment:

... this sort of thing is exactly why there were will never be another conservative president: way more of the populace than most of us care to admit has been brainwashed just as thoroughly as the idiot who wrote the book...

Somehow, I just can't see it. Yes, there are...persons who would swallow Rich's depiction as credulously as Mike suggests. But are there really that many? Are Americans who incline politically to the left really that gullible?

I've known one or two such, but then, I'm old and much traveled. Most of the liberals / Democrats / liberal Democrats of my acquaintance have known far too many conservatives / Christians to swallow Rich's nightmare scenario. Atop that, there's this: persons on the political left don't bother to disguise their opinions or their biases. Dissimulation is not necessary to them in this age of Political Correctness Regnant. If there were as many such rubes as Mike fears, we'd have no trouble naming them. They'd be "proud and out loud."

As I reflect on this, it occurs to me that I can name a few...but they're all paid shills for the Democrat Party or the pro-abortion lobby.

The great political challenge for conservatives remains the Left's skill at assembling coalitions of special interests, each element of which hopes to use political favor to gain subventions or privileges from the disfavored portions of the electorate. In recent years, the Democrats have added to that strategy a new and disturbingly effective adjunct: inducing divisions among voters generally inclined to vote Republican. These weapons must be countered for the Right to have a significant chance of returning to power before the country collapses into a poverty-stricken liberal-fascist state.

Were books such as Christian Nation a significant component of Leftist strategy, I might worry more about them. However, before that could come about, there'd have to be a lot more of them, a lot less risible and more plausible than the one cited here...and a lot better written, to boot.

9 comments:

  1. You posted one snippet of which the accuracy appears to have escaped you.

    “I think it is that simple. Power is good if it is in your hands and bad if it is in the hands of the enemy. And by the way, the corollary rule is that once extraordinary power is in your hands, risking that same power transferring into the hands of your enemy through free and fair elections is difficult to accept.”

    Free and Fair elections -- and the Obama DOJ. Chortles? Or, better, an opportunity to expand. "Fascism will come to America in the name of antifascism."

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  2. A point Mike and the author both miss: one reason for the growing hysteria of the Left is the recognition and admission (however reluctant) that they are a diminishing minority of We the People.

    The crookedness of Democrat electoral policy notwithstanding, I predict a future increasingly one in which individualism, free minds, and free markets hold sway -- and quite probably despite government power and the abuse thereof.

    I would remind anyone who cares of the ending of Samuel Delany's Babel 17.

    M

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  3. "Yes, there are...persons who would swallow Rich's depiction as credulously as Mike suggests. But are there really that many? Are Americans who incline politically to the left really that gullible?"

    Take the third paragraph of the book description - "constitutional protections dismantled; all aspects of life dominated by an authoritarian law called “The Blessing,” enforced by a totally integrated digital world known as the "Purity Web."" - and change it to read progressive:

    "...constitutional protections dismantled (no change needed); all aspects of life dominated by an authoritarian law called “Political Correctness,” enforced by a totally integrated digital world known as the "NSA"

    It's already happened. No imagination required. Somehow, though, I bet the irony is lost on the left.

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  4. Weet: At the higher echelons of the Statists, it's not irony to them but projection. My series beginning with Overt Fascism: the Projection demonstrates it. They tell us what they are going to do (by projecting it on us) and then do it. Jeesh. Right out of the dialogue of this novel. And it matches that quote (in my first comment) of Huey Long to a Tee.

    One more comment to follow to add to Mr. Alger's insights.

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  5. Mark, "that they are a diminishing minority of We the People" has to get there inevitably, and their leaders know it even if the rank and file hasn't figured it out despite Solzhenitsyn's warning to them.

    There was a time where you, Fran and I were the only ones I knew who spoke of the Malthusian Sustainability nuts. Last week I spotted 3 in as many days calling attention to their goals. At some point something has to give as the majority realizes that the Statists' are playing a game of musical chairs totally divorced from traditional morality. Our difficult job is to find a way to prevent Helter Skelter and have the monster turn on its Frankensteins. And do it despite so many on our side who are resigned to the wider bloodshed.

    The Sus movement is a new but still undeclared religion. My namesake who wrote "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." -- Pensees 894

    Fran: If that pensee sounds familiar, it's because you've quoted C.S.Lewis saying much the same. The two quotes together provide another good reason to sustain my judgment that those two men are our Bookends to the Age of Reason

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  6. Those were exerpts from a novel that found a publisher? I know providing exposition gently can be hard, but I don't see any attempt at subtlety here. This hack laid it on with a snowshovel. I would have thought I were reading a blog post.

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  7. Pascal - I must admit up front that a surfeit of current projects has undermined my normal willingness to research - have you any links to further explain the "Malthusian Sustainability nuts?"

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  8. That is even too long for a single post, but I need try at least this once, written as I tried to write a shorter response to you. Are You a Target of the Susnuts?

    It begins with links as you requested.

    For my recent thoughts, the Sustainability label at my blog will provide you many examples of news that spurred me to note the connection.

    Our host, Fran, beginning in 2004, ran an exhaustive series called "The Death Cults." The participation of mainstream elected leaders were much less brazen then. But they did permit non-profit status to be bestowed upon a load of Malthusian extremists. (Two Fran didn't mention were the Church of Euthanasia, and The Georgia Guidestones Foundation.) The same IRS that blocked TEA Party groups from (c4) status lets those guys thrive under (c3).

    I've a not too complex theory that has withstood my tests over time. It is time to let others take some shots at it. If it only needs some adaptations and it can be refined, maybe there is hope that can be snatched from the knowledge. Know thy enemy and know thyself, and you will win every war said Sun Tsu.



    Thomas Malthus' theories arose about 50 years after Pascal's death. The Age of Reason was beginning to undermine the Angien Regimes. Many rulers saw and welcomed the benefits of liberty. But two kinds, both powerful, hated it. Those who hate the common man, and those who love concentrated power. Sometimes they're the same, and sometimes not. Malthus provided a "moral" cloak to hide both the explicit and implicit hatred of humanity -- even from themselves. By being able to convince even themselves that their vision is righteous, they can remain calm and seemingly benign as they convince large numbers "Leave to us boys. We know what needs be done. Really."

    That is already too much for this comment. Continued at the link.

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  9. I haven't read this book, but I have read about it elsewhere.

    Like Pascal Fervor said, it's projection by the Left. Those Christians are so evil and power-hungry that whatever it takes to stop them is justified.

    It's sort of a modern-day Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

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