Sunday, January 30, 2011

No Political Promised Land

When I was teenager and dwelt in the land of Arcadia I believed life was every bit as simple as June Cleaver did. The worst I expected was another fistfight in the school yard. Maybe also getting 'grounded' for talking too late with the girls.

It was the Vietnam War and all the polemics that surrounded it that woke me up to the serious business that life is. I attended a Catholic High School for a year. One of the Xaverian Brothers there challenged my good father's Nixonian view of the world and suggested that it was a fundamental lack of Christian values on both sides of the Cold War that made war possible, and so dangerous in a nuclear world. Both sides? We debated the matter in the school's debating club. And Frère Denis made sure we understood what the issues and stakes were. Jesus was serious business for him; and he wanted us to know that He had to be serious business for us also. Little did I know that just a few years before, between 1959 and 1962 alone, Mao with his "scientific" Marxist Socialism murdered, according to the best estimates, two million of "his" own people (click). One would have been forgiven for thinking all that had ended with World War II and Joseph Stalin. With Vietnam and Cambodia I was forced to turn in my 'knickers' for more adult clothes. It was time to leave Arcadia.

Staggering

And I've been mentally piling up the staggering body counts ever since. In olden times atrocities were limited by the crudeness of weapons, laborious forms of transportation, snail-crawl communications, and the conviction that even war had to be conducted according to strict Just War criteria, whatever our failures to live up to it. At least it was there in principle; something higher than the whim of the State to acknowledge and strive for. No more. We had now, Frère Denis said, rather entered the Twilight Zone, where the will-to-power, human hubris, threatened to destroy us altogether in a nuclear cataclysm if we did not regain our spiritual sanity. The teachings of the Prince of Peace are ignored and even mocked by the State communications apparatus. The Word, Jesus of Nazareth (Jn 1:1), goes unheard on account of the unprecedented proliferation of words, images and the technology which drives them. Men (and strange womyn today) on every side play God, unphased by the shedding of blood. They think to pronounce who will live, who will die as continual wars are launched by an imperial presidency without Congressional declarations. And ever has it been that attempted universal empires are justified on the pretext of the humanitarian "liberation" of the peoples.

Kashmir

How right he was. Just this week I learned in more detail about the violence in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan, with some areas also claimed by China. According to Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, India, the land of Gandhi and the gurus, a once "non-aligned" nation is non-aligned no more. It has engaged its own "war on terror" and become as murderous as any radical Jihadists, killing some 70,000 people in Kashmir alone. "The war has left 70,000 dead and tens of thousands debilitated by torture. Many, many thousands have 'disappeared.'" (Source: NY Times)

Enlightened Modernity?

Again the numbers boggle the mind. And how could any of us think we are 'special,' exempt from all of the injustice of power run amok?

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."---Luke 13: 1-3

Almost every war-making superpower calls itself a democracy today ["all you need is the appearance of an election"] and declares its own "war on terrorism" on others. Roy says Gandhi's India has become "a vast prison-system of many nationalities" with "wars of state terrorism" spreading all over. India! Inciting wars by attacking indigenous peoples to make room for the corporate multinationals, she says. There are then inevitably atrocities on every side and endless recriminations.

Due to the ubiquity of modern weapons technology, which is in part channeled into a global arms trade for greed and profit (Click), wars have increased exponentially and in fierce intensity since the end of WWII. And this is the era that was touted far and wide as "Enlightened" modernity by its ideologues. The truth is, it has been anything but. Many powerful nations have devolved into high-tech brutes, serving not life but death, not bread but bombs.

But while we must pay attention, and never fail to propose the correct principles and directions which can lessen the suffering of so many, we also know that we can never exhaust the Christian witness in the political realm, that our Catholic Hope always exists in the Person and teachings of Christ our Savior. These teachings have political implications of course, but they are not born of politics. We bear witness in the political realm because it is right, because it is the truth, to try to save others, come what may; but we have no illusions. Political Revolution can never lead to the Promised Land, whatever the naive 'Left' or Manifest Destiny 'Right' may think. Not until we rediscover our spiritual bearings, and national self-criticism, fairness and justice, will the horrific body counts lessen, and we become better, more decent. Until then it is "an eye for an eye"---actually way more than that---until the whole world is blind. Meanwhile multitudes of the the peoples of the 'privileged nations' are largely diverted from the facts through hypnotic television, Facebook, and Arcadia's sports...---[This Post Updated 1x]

Note: If we don’t break up monopoly and also bring about verifiable campaign finance reform (with no loopholes) it will do little good to lament about Left and Right since international finance (yes, Jew and gentiles alike) buy and control all powerful political operatives. Those who control the flow of capital and information (media) run the Show.
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--->Russia has developed a stand-alone nuclear warhead capable of penetrating any existing or projecting missile defense system, informs Interfax news agency...

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