A Hard Place in History

by

Of all the quirks inherent in the human species the most peculiar is the recurring compulsion to collectively imagine a pure chimera and then passionately embrace it as reality.

These kinds of psycho-emotional conjurings require no basis in verifiable fact. Lack of verifiability is central to their propagation and is the attribute that, by some mysterious process, gives them mass credibility.

They appear in the earliest societies, from the monster of Gilgamesh, to the Gorgon and Cyclops of Classic Greece, to medieval Europeʼs Succubi and Unicorns, and finally our own cherished fables, Christianity and Democracy.

These latter are, of course, concepts, creeds, not creatures, but as mythic ideas they are produced in the same manner, and have the same fantastic currency in the public mind as the Phoenix and the Werewolf once did.

Christianity, with its vast catalogue of absurdities, is not the topic here. Suffice it to say that its ponderous edifice rests on the same vacuity as Nessie and Bigfoot. The claim is that faith is the evidence of things unseen. Faith, by definition, is not evidence of anything at all except deep, desperate, and undiscriminating need.

Democracy is said to be a political system in which every individual has a vote in every question decided by society. Such a system has never existed in any polity in all human history but the idea persists and in America devotion to this non-existent system amounts to a religion.

Our corrupt, vicious Power Elite–capos of the Predatory Capitalist System– are the priests of this political ignis fatuus. Like many priesthoods, they donʼt actually buy what they sell. Few, if any, in the high ranks of American governance believe in Democracy but they flog the idea shamelessly to bully and coerce other nations–and their own–in order to loot them.

To hear Obama expound in his crushingly dull mock-sincerity, on the wonders of our Democracy is to witness a High Mass of unmitigated bullshit for this exalted pipedream. His phony sanctimony is stupefying.

Americans, though, steeped in mythic exceptionalism in which democracy fantasy is dogma, genuflect reflexively to a catechism they revere as holy mystery. Small wonder: Its paradoxes rival virgin birth and resurrection.

This idiotic stalemate in which we refuse to confront the grim reality that they live in will destroy us. Courageous, intelligent people must admit that our system is a rotting fraud, dead to public will and citizen input, and call it what it is: a corporate imperialist police state run for the 1% who own it.

I know, it sounds rough and rude. Itʼs negative, harsh and provocative. It will be insulting to oligarch billionaires, CEOs, and Hedge Fund pirates, and to the political whores they install in our Congress, courts, and Presidency. It will offend friends and families, bosses and supervisors. It will get us disapproved of, disliked, shunned. Before long, it may get us arrested.

And if we admit it, what do we gain? Why should we take an action that will expose us to opprobrium? We know we canʼt change the system, right?

That kind of thinking got us where we are. Propagandized and intimidated we have ceded the rights that protected us from the State. Now, fearful and disciplined to accept any abuse our vicious system inflicts on us, we triangulate every ethical horror we face in hopes that abandoning our honor and integrity will keep Big Brotherʼs NSA, its FBI and swat teams, at bay.

Itʼs illusion. Cowering before power invites worse abuse. We are at that hard place in history where no behavior will prevent suffering. The only choice now is between our terms and those of the National Security State. We can continue to grovel morally, submit to flagrant tyranny, and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves, or we can stop lying, stop hiding, stop betraying our best selves, and take the consequences.

There will be consequences. Most will be too terrorized to risk them; some will act and suffer for all. Those who do–even buried in one of those top secret pens theyʼre building for us–will know that though betrayed, they were not deceived; and that by exposing the fraud at the monsterʼs heart, they gave it a wound that will eventually bring it down. No society built on lies and exploitation ever lasts. Truth, in the end, always trumps power.

Paul Edwards lives in Helena, Montana.

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington