Friday, November 02, 2007

The Sieg-Heiliotropists


I Rule Your World.

"Sieg Heil"
German phrase, which literally means "Hail [to] Victory." During the Nazi era, it was a common chant at political rallies.

“heliotropism”
noun: phototropism in which sunlight is the orienting stimulus

Not so very long ago I chanced to be in the company of a veritable Jeroboam of the chatty and the clever and the subject turned (as it often does) to philosophy. Specifically to the enduring problem of finding a system in which different peoples and faiths can co-exist.

I listened for awhile, sympathetically, as men and women played with the problem of building a system that
1. Tolerates differences.

2. Can be sustained by an assertion of superior morality that can survive challenges by hostile, competing systems.

3. Understands that tolerance has its limits and has exception clauses that allows the citizenry to act as antibodies when the fascists roll tanks in the streets.
I listened with kindness as I had a hundred other times and wound up returning to the same place I have returned to a hundred times before.

With the realization that this is not a software problem.

Almost any system or hybrid can be made to work on paper. You can yoke capitalism to the plow of common good and make the fields green. You can make a socialism where the gifted and the industrious still do better by virtue of their labors. And a Jesuit with a gifted tongue and naughty turn of mind can make a friendly and receptive Atheist scream “Oh. My. God.” with such sky-rending sincerity as would make Baby Jebus smile.

Because between the angelic and bestial poles implied within James Madison’s famous quote -- "If all men were angels there would be no need laws much less for government.” – you’ll find real people.

You’ll find all of us pervy, frightened little angels with flawed intentions.

And with equal helpings of humor, discipline and reciprocity, most of us can make most systems work most of the time.

But not all of us. Not all of us.

And that is the bitter, epiphanic cup which too many of us choose to let pass on by.

Because we want to believe that there must be a better tool, a more perfect voting machine, a more compelling narrative that can be wrapped around the bare, blinding facts of Evolution which will (as I have written before) compel “Conservative Christopaths to grow opposable thumbs en masse, climb down out of the Stupid Tree and stop believing dangerously lunatic trash.”

But there isn’t.

And while all of those are perfectly good ends in themselves, there are no upgrades, patches or new releases that can bulletproof a system against the malevolent intentions of those who come with fascism burned on the board.

The predicament which faces us – which has always faced us – is predominantly a hardware, not a software problem, which is why I suspect we were never promised anything but a more perfect union.

Because no matter how elegant your solution looks in the dorm room or in the Upper Room, there will always be men who will butcher, slag and pervert any system to serve the shadows.

The Sieg-Heiliotropists who strengthen only as they bask in dark energy of Authoritarianism, and bend and breed only in the direction of the totalitarian.

Those who will deliberately claw their way to the highest offices a constitutional democracy can offer in order to better rape and raze that carefully constructed system of checks and balances

so they can build a corporate slaughterhouse on its bones.

Those who will methodically debase and pulverize one of the most radically liberal, compassionate and explicitly altruistic faiths on Earth and sift the rubble to “prove” to themselves that Christ was really --



-- a lily-white, lard-assed, illiterate, queer-hating, ‘Murrican bigot whose greatest beatitude was “Blessed are the swinishly privileged, for they shall inherit…every fucking thing”

And those who will

cheer them on.

I believe that if you examine the long road Modern Conservatives have traveled to come to be where they are today, what you will find most striking and depressing is the degree to which their fundamental ideology has not changed one fucking iota over the centuries.

That the problem with America is not to be found in the -Ism of the Month – in what color Conservatives are choosing to paint their pulpits this generation, or which group they expeditiously choose to hate and blame for the misery of their lives.

The problem is deeper than that. Sadder than that.

Brief driftglass aside --
Until I finally realized that the hard-core Modern Conservative is simply not curable by facts and reason, I used to keep a copy of the “Cornerstone Speech” handy. It is the perfect Anti-Second Inaugural: one of the most famous public declarations of Confederate ideology and intent, delivered by the Vice President of the traitorous CSA himself -- Alexander H. Stephens -- on March 21, 1861.

I kept it on hand as an easy and instant rebuttal to grubby, little wingnut revisionist who wanted to blat on about the abstraction of “state’s rights” being the real cause for the Civil War, and not the concrete and evil manifestation of Original American Sin that was slavery.

Stephens obligingly laid that ridiculous notion to rest over 140 years ago when he said:
“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution—African slavery as it exists amongst us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact.
…”
The long dead and unlamented Stephens could not possibly have been any clearer: These were butchers, terrorists and fascists who were fighting for their right to remain unapologetically malevolence and to reap the substantial economic and psychological windfalls of their evil system forever.
-- end brief driftglass aside.

But what makes the speech an epic American tragedy is how its loathsome themes have remained a clear and constant refrain for the same people, fighting for some mutation of the same cause, with the same fervor almost a century and a half later.

It is, for them, always a crisp, pre-battle dawn on the Plaines of Meggido, Georgia.
“I was remarking that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new.”
And God is always on their side of their filthy enterprise.
“They [The North] were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”

“With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator.
As with Bush and his delusional “history will vindicate me” alibi for both the catastrophe he has unleashed in Iraq and the unwavering Nixon/Watergate level of loathing he has earned from the majority of Americans, the traitors of the South also argued that the tidal force of history was on their side and they could therefore safely disregard all criticism:
“As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo—it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy. … May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. …With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system.”
And as with all blood-caked tyrannies who swaddle their malevolence in the mantle of Heaven, they make loud and preemptive assertions that everyone else on the face of the Earth disagrees with them is simply insane.

Consider that the people who hunted Clinton like a wild boar for seven years and cheered hysterically for his impeachment over trivial are now exactly the same people screaming “Bush Derangement Syndrome” whenever anyone even questions their Dear Leader’s infallibility.

Now note how eerily similar those philosophical grandchildren of the degenerate Confederacy sound to its Vice President as he dismisses anyone and everyone who believes that slavery is not a noble institution ordained by God:
“Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics…

“All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind—from a defect in reasoning.

“It is a species of insanity.

“One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics.”
Same as it ever was.

Same as it ever was.

Because, in the end, our problem lies not on our stars or systems, but in ourselves.

In the end, our problem is not that democratic institutions themselves require any substantive modification, but simply that around a quarter of the inhabitants of the United States desperately want to get rid of our pesky Constitutional republic and replace it with a nice, tidy, white, Christian police state.

That around a quarter of our fellow citizens are intractably Sieg-Heiliotropic, and as such are fundamentally and permanently unfit to be Americans.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

So we're talkin what, 50, 60, 75 million people?

Give em Utah and the east half of Nevada!

End of story.

Um, with travel restrictions, too . . . I don't want them runnin around the country interfering with our beer drinking, vibrant sex lives, music festivals and general liberal behaviors.

Great post, Drifty.

Along with the Phelps' gettin whacked off a bit this week, I continue to remain morbidly hopeful of a better life before we all die and ascend.

Punkster said...

Every once in a while I make the mistake of clicking on the comments at the Huffington Post and almost immediately want to move to another country while I read the ignorant, cruel, psychotic responses of people - not just a few people, either - TONS of them. We are ass-deep in folks who can only feel good about themselves if they can crush the life out of those around them. I only wish I was a believer - then, at least I could hope that they would be Raptured out of here and leave the reasoned folks who don't get their jollies pulling wings off flies behind to maybe, just maybe, begin the process of putting back together what they have rent asunder.

I mean, we are now in a situation where any hope of a decent future relies on the actions of the ex-head of the KGB and China to rein in the psychopaths in our current Administration. Cognitive dissonance, anybody?

WereBear said...

...this is not a software problem.

Ah, man, that nailed it flush to the board with nary a dimple.

This is where I am reminded of the sad truth of how the liberated concentration camps of the Third Reich were filled with starving people, and the liberators discovered that they could not feed them as much they wanted, that food had to be introduced slowly and carefully so their digestive systems could ramp up and handle it.

Or the starving ones would die. Of food.

So it is with far too many who are so starved of love, from their family, their culture, their ideation and their daily lives, that they curse themselves for craving what, they think, hurts them.

But, starved, they do not know that.

US Blues said...

Beautifully written, and another googlewhack shall be presented unto you.

skunqesh said...

DG, damn that's some fine writing. The same frankness of Stephen's indignant delusions is often casually repeated around my own (extended) family's 'campfires'. Usually after they've consumed a beer or two. And to try to reason in any shape or form is to mark oneself a heretic, or the proverbial skunk at the picnic.

It is with great irony that the old family patriarch was a Tennessee boy, purposely marked with the infamous name of a scurrilous rebel general (think "Run Forrest, Run"), a real 'pulled himself up by his bootstraps' southern man, went on to become a humongous admirer and amateur scholar of A.Lincoln.

Heck, even Rev. Foulwell's forbears were adamant atheists.

The apples sometimes fall from the great tree, into a ditch, and just putrefy.

I hate to say it, but I think they're a lost cause. Werebear says it well, although I'd liken the 29%rs to a sludged carburetor - if you feed 'em too much reason at once, they lock up or back fire.

(and if i ever have a boy, he's gettin' Lawrence for a name)

Russ said...

I agree...there are humans amongst us that do not deserve to be tolerated or listened to. We have allowed our progressive penchant for tolerance, compromise, & reason to be used against us. We do not have to tolerate the intolerant, nor reason with the unreasonable.Until we're collectively willing to stop being polite to the assholes and call them out for the idiots they are - loudly and at every opportunity - they will continue to talk like they have something of import to say. I say, Be Rude, By Any Means Necessary. Qui tacet consentit (Silence conveys consent).

slowbob said...

A friend introduced me to DG a few months ago as his favorite site, and I was an instant convert! Drifty, you never fail your fans! Amazing writing. Terse, topical and true!!
Slowbob

Dee Loralei said...

Drifty,

I have to reiterate what slowbob said.You are often eloquent and lyrical and speak truth to power. You hit upon truths we all know, but you do so with such verve and vigor and vitality. It harkens my heart and soul when I read you.

You give my soul a voice. And for that, I am grateful.

Dee

Sandman said...

Excellent work again. What the ones who came before said.

I come away from these readings conflicted. Not because I disagree with anything written — my attempts at Devil's advocacy come to naught again — but because I still, naively or stupidly, want to believe there's a way past this defect in these people.

Like the guy who likened them to Auschwitz' starving liberated, if relief (or reason) is just doled out properly, they will respond positively. Would that it were true, despite them having so amply and consistently demonstrated their brutish imperviousness to reason.

I shrink from speaking of them in the eliminationist terms of unfitness and irredeemability, because it is a staple of their own rhetoric, and the habit of seeking higher moral ground, no matter how dire the situation or ruthless the opposition, dies hard. And because they want the fight. They're spoiling for it, sharpening their knives and polishing their guns in gleeful anticipation of the Great Christalopithecan Dobsonian Jihad, when the rigteous might of Nathan Bedford Forrest and New Jesus™ will cleanse the universe of all commie librul scum and deliver the uppity darkies back into everlasting bondage.

One needn't look hard or far to see them already exchanging their masturbational end-times fantasies about "having to" blow away some helpless, latte-sipping hippie pinkos. Of course, much of that make-believe involves an emasculated stereotype of librul girly-men powerless to defend themselves against the white, Christian, male onslaught, of evil, IKEA-furnished urban trash begging for their worthless lives in the face of the thrusting assaults of God's Chosen Good-Old-Boys.

But forewarned is forearmed. I don't want to spend time discussing the flaws in those fevered revenge fantasies, and my habit is to discourage others from it as well. Because it's important that some things be surprises.

I think my point has gone ahead and left me here. I'll have to catch a cab. Continue fighting the good fight. You're one of my heroes, right up there with Superman and that Captain-wotsisname.

PhysioProf said...

So eloquent, so true, and so sad.

gay veteran said...

"...That around a quarter of our fellow citizens are intractably Sieg-Heiliotropic, and as such are fundamentally and permanently unfit to be Americans."

and what percentage of the populace brought Mussolini or Hilter to power?

now the Democrats will roll over so Dear Leader gets his attorney general

you still think the Republic is alive?

Sandman said...

"The Emperor has dissolved the Senate. The last vestiges of the Old Republic have been swept away."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

(Act II, Scene 7: An Intersection of Geek and Gallows Humor)

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I am arriving, reluctantly, at the bitter conclusion that Drifty is correct; our authoritarian brothers and sisters [more brothers than sisters, I would think] cannot be saved, and are simply so many Kruges to be kicked away into the lava.

"I--have had ENOUGH of--YOU!!!"

LLAP, IBW

driftglass said...

larue,
We might have use of those states later on. This is our country and the can love it or leave it :-)
And I will take "hopeful" any day, even of qualified by "morbid".


Punkster,
This is why writing good, near-term science fiction is nearly impossible. Because reality is cornering the market on weird.

WereBear,
Thanks. That was a beautifully apt, sad analogy.


US Blues said...
Thank you, amigo.

skunqesh,
Thanks. I've got hillbilly deep in my blood, and the parts that I like I like a lot.
And the parts that I don't, I don't.


Russ,
we are required to say "No".
Occasionally "Fuck No!"

slowbob
Welcome, Slowbob, and thanks for the kid words.


Dee Loralei
Thanks. I'm glad I can lend you some words as they were lent to me.
In the end, I'm just some guy typing when I can find a few minutes between obligations.


Sandman,
Thanks, but the praise far exceeds the product :-)


PhysioProf
Thank you.

gay veteran,
You and I and all of these nice people and millions other just like us are alive.
So, yes, the Republic is alive.
But it desperately needs a few years in Liberal ICU.


IBW,
Always a pleasure.

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