For years I have had a Survivalist tendency, which regularly embarrasses me. There are few things more humbling than to predict the end of the world, and have the world keep right on going.
To be blunt, I just don’t see how the world does it. I try to be generous, and see the good side of people, but the fact of the matter is that people aren’t perfect, and when push comes to shove all people, (including myself), can have their imperfections make them be fools. When I was young I felt the grown-ups were fools, and when older I felt my peers were fools, and now that I at long last have grown gray, I deem young whippersnappers fools. During elections I feel I’m voting for the lesser of two foolishnesses. Fools always are running the show, and it seems no good could possibly come of it, but the show goes on.
It occurs to me that there is no possible way such fools could be responsible for the fact humanity hasn’t destroyed itself, and therefore someone else must be running the show.
And No, the “someone else” isn’t big-shot fools with piles of money who think they can avoid public scrutiny by pulling strings behind-the-scenes. Why not? Because such blowhards are more blatant than they think; they think others are fools and they are wise, but even fools see through their craft; they are transparent to even the slow-witted, given time; their duplicity catches up with them, which has given rise to statement’s such as Sir Walter Scott’s,
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”
And Abraham Lincoln’s,
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
In other words, the people who may think they are “running the show” are perhaps the greatest of fools. They think they are “in control” but in the end they discover they are not, which proves they are fools.
The Assyrian king Sennacherib was certain he was “in control” when he marched on Jerusalem with perhaps 185,000 troops, but for some reason Jerusalem is the one city he never captured. Sennacherib didn’t like to admit there was anything he didn’t control, and later he bragged he had caged the king of Jerusalem like a bird.
Of course the Jew’s had a different version. As Isaiah tells the tale, Sennacherib got too cocky, and said no city’s gods had been able to save any city’s citizens from his armies, and Jerusalem’s god Yahweh was no different, whereupon Yahweh killed his army in their sleep overnight, sending Sennacherib home like a dog with his tail between its legs, where he was later assassinated by his own son.
Many secular people dislike giving God any glory, and seek scientific explanations. They pooh-pooh the idea of some hocus-pocus bringing an authority “in control” to a screeching halt, and search for a scientific explanation. One idea is that the king of Jerusalem, Hezekiah, had diverted all the clean water through tunnels into Jerusalem, and the Assyrians were forced to drink dirty water and contracted Cholera.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judea remained an island of independence midst the vastness of the Assyrian Empire (and, in the end, Sennacherib indeed was murdered by his own son). So history demonstrates we are not the first people who have seen our confident plans derailed by some invisible germ. Nor does such derailing need a germ like the Corona Virus; (a tsunami will do, if you are the king of Atlantis).
The 1954 Polio Epidemic was the invisible germ which derailed my father’s confident expectations. He was a surgeon who had developed his dexterity to an amazing, almost ridiculous, degree. When he stitched a severed artery together he sewed twenty tiny stitches, tying each knot with one hand. It’s a pity there is no film of his fingers at work. It’s also a pity some mindless germ could come along and paralyze such fingers.
Events like that tend to test our faith. We lose faith in ourselves when we see we are weak, and we lose faith in the world when the world hits us with cruel fate. So what is left to have faith in?
It is at this point there is a great divide. Some say there is nothing but the world to have faith in, and some say there is an Other-worldly Creator.
Those given to worldly desires are prone to slipping into a might-makes-right mentality, a survival-of-the-fittest which sees brutality as acceptable, as it gets you what you want, whereas kindness gets you nothing but kicked, and is seen as weakness. This brutality becomes a test of faith in and of itself, as the brutal mock those who differ, and torture those who believe in a loving Creator, in a sense attempting prove creation isn’t loving, with hate.
It must have been a bit disconcerting to the might-makes-right mentality when they threw St. Euphemia to the lions, and rather than mauling her the lions tended to her wounds, however, because eventually she did die, as far as might-makes-right was concerned they had proven their point. They saw no angels nor “other side”, and death was a finality to them, and in a sense was what they were (and are) ruled by, and what they have faith in. In the long run they may be wrong, but they see things in terms of the short term.
One has to admit that it is a bit of a drag to have to die to see there is something other than might-makes-right, which is worthy of faith. One prefers to see evidence without needing to be a martyr. I suppose that is why we like movies where the good guys win. And the poet-king David did assert that if you live long enough, and can survive a great deal of betrayal and hardship, you will see the Creator’s kindness this side of heaven. In Psalm 31 he sings,
…The wicked plot against the righteous
And gnash their teeth at them;
But the Lord laughs at the wicked
For he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword
And bend the bow
To bring down the poor and needy,
To slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
And their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have
Than the wealth of many wicked…
And later in the same psalm David reassures,
…I was young and now am old
Yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
Or their children begging bread.
They are generous and lend freely,
Their children will be blessed…
This seems an extraordinary thing for David to assert, considering he went through the agony of seeing his son Absalom attempt to usurp his throne in much the same manner that Sennacherib’s son attempted. David definitely paid his dues to sing his blues. The testing of one’s faith is no child’s play, but once one is “tried and true” there seems to be a powerful assurance given to one that a Loving Creator watches over them; an assurance which appears to be nonsense to believers in might-makes-right.
In the eyes of might-makes-right any faith in a Loving Creator is a sort of con artistry. They roll their eyes when they see a priest waving belching incense-holders and speaking Latin, impressing the ignorant with their mambo-jumbo. In fact priests raising communion crackers, and stating “Hoc Est Corpus”, may be the derivation of “Hocus Pocus”, which in turn may be the derivation of “Hoax.” In the eyes of might-makes-right, religion seems purely an act, to trick suckers with.
Such sophist cynics feel the common man is ignorant and superstitious, nothing but “Deplorables” and “Useful Idiots” and “Bitter Clingers”, mere fools who are easily swayed by glitter and stampeded by fear, which may be why they create their own hoaxes involving Global Warming and the Global Pandemic. However the people see through such hoaxes, given time, and the creators of the hoaxes then become desperate, and make their hoax a sort of requirement, a false god such as the politically-correct worship of Aries which St. Euphima was martyred for not kowtowing to. Some things never seem to change. The politically-correct of our times become equally furious at those who do not kowtow to their modern politically-correct hoaxes. They feel they have the might and it gives them the right. However they are not truly the ones “in control”, though they may think they are.
A hoax cannot exist independently; it depends upon a Real Thing it is pretending to be. In some ways it is a copy, an imitation, and even a flattery of the Real Thing, up to and until the moment it attempts to replace the Real Thing. From that moment on it suffers in comparison, and people cannot be stopped from comparing.
This brings me back to where I started, looking around myself and seeing the lunatics are running the asylum. It has looked that way to me for decades. Of course, I am a fool to be calling everyone else a fool. But at least I’m not pretending I’m in control. I acknowledge that, though I may be creative, I am not the Creator. I feel I am walking about in the pages of a magnificent epic written by an Author who was there before page one, and will be there after the last page. If anyone is “in control”, it is the Author who wrote the plot.
Lastly, I feel this Author is compassionate. The point of his epic is not that “might makes right”, but rather the point is a beautiful mystery called “Love”. Also, because the Author sees ahead, death has not the sting to Him it has to us who live in the moment. We live in this world, and are horrified by the fact six million Jews were led into gas chambers. The Author is less horrified because he sees six million Jews walking out on the other side.
Even so, one wonders what is so compassionate about allowing a might-makes-right madman to kill six million, and the answer seems to be that the Author feels freedom is a beautiful thing. He allows fools to be foolish, (up to a point). He wants the characters in his epic to figure things out for themselves, and this involves “free will”. If He wants absolute obedience he has his angels. However we mere mortals are apparently made to be more than robots to God’s majestic will (which is what His beautiful angels are), and this involves the freedom to disobey. Because we are fools, our freedom blunders into various forms of addiction and slavery, and bogs us down in the evil tendencies of might-makes-right, including even mass murder, until our foolishness finally wises us up, and we come to understand true freedom involves love, respecting the dignity of all, caring for the unfortunate and freeing others from all forms of slavery, until at long last we figure out that true freedom is obeying God’s majestic will, like the angels do, only we don’t do it like robots; rather we freely do it because we’ve learned to want it, as it merges us with the absolute freedom and independence of the Author, and we perhaps even cease our wandering in the pages of His creation’s plot, and vanish outside the epic’s covers.
I’ll flatter myself by stating the ideas in the above paragraph are somewhat profound, but I know from years of experience they are sheer foolishness to the politically-correct might-makes-right crowd. To them it is just another one of my lame poems. I’ve wasted years intimating to the overbearing, attempting to hint control may be in Hands more capable than theirs, and I am all too familiar with the jeering push-back of the politically-correct. And this again brings me back to where I began, which is my perception that those who think they are “in control” are fools.
While I am no prophetic historian-poet like Isaiah, I can relate to what he describes in the sixth chapter of his book. Eager to bring God’s message to his people, he learns God’s message to his people is basically, “You are too deaf to hear the message.” Then, when Isaiah wants to know when the people of Israel will stop being so deaf, he learns it will only be after the land has been reduced to a wasteland.
I thought about this event, which occurred roughly 2750 years ago, when I walked into the market around two months ago and saw there was abruptly no toilet paper. There was really no reason for such a shortage in a land as wealthy as the United States, but the corona-virus-panic was making people behave like fools. I confess I felt a certain nervousness, for I wondered, like Isaiah, how long my homeland would persist with such foolishness. I wondered if my homeland might even become a wasteland.
I’ve been wondering that for a half century. That is how long it has been since I felt the general public moved from sanity to foolishness. Back in 1969 a sort of revival occurred, which some called “The Summer Of Love,” and it seemed people briefly saw how beautiful life might be, and behaved as if such a sanity was already here. I felt a very real hope at that time, but since then my faith has been tested by foolishness after foolishness.
What did I see back then? Well, people spoke of “Truth, Love and Understanding”, and it wasn’t insincerely. People really seemed to believe it, and what’s more to live it, albeit briefly. Only later did hypocrisy set in with a vengeance. “Truth, Love and Understanding” were cheapened.
Not that “Truth, Love and Understanding” are any less beautiful, but they also can be mere words, words which have been used by people to sell breakfast cereal, or to seduce another person’s spouse, or to gain votes, until the true meaning of the words have been adulterated by low lusts and greedy desires and blind hate, to a point where they have lost their real meaning, as words. They have shrunken to hoaxes, pretending to be The Real.
That which is beneficial to the human spirit has been dirtied by the corrupt. To deprive the human spirit in such a manner is a prescription for a poverty worse than physical poverty (which can be a blessing), for it is a spiritual poverty, and can even be a worship of death and a hatred of life and of life’s true “Truth, Love and Understanding.” Such changing-of-the-meaning-of-words is called, “perversion.”
To “pervert” is, “to cause to turn away from what is right, proper, or good”. But what is it that causes people to turn away? Many weaknesses, but largely it is fear of losing stuff, or losing the position which enables one to get stuff. With the fear comes a sort of blindness, the mindless behavior seen when shoppers get out of hand at a department store’s sale, and fight each other over flimsy garments ( or the infamous “Cabbage Patch Dolls”), which they don’t really need. Dignity is disheveled into frothing foolishness which cares more for worldly rubbish than the One who made this world possible. And they call this behavior, “political correctness.”
No good can come from such nonsense, which is why I’ve been confidently predicting the end of the world any day now, for fifty years. It is a good thing I never became rich, for if had I the money I would have built a bunker in the hills, and only come out once a year like the ground-hog to be spooked by my shadow. It is also a good thing I’m not an Old Testament prophet like Isaiah, for the punishment for false prophesy back then was to be led to the edge of town and stoned to death. By now I’d have been stoned to death around fifty times. The only ones worse at forecasting the future have been the weathermen.
Coincidentally “Weathermen” was the name we used for a radical group during my youth, a fringe of the leftist SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) officially named “The Weather Underground”. Disgusted with the world’s foolishness, especially the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, they decided the appropriate response was to blow up the “establishment” with bombs. The only people they managed to kill were themselves, when a bomb they were constructing blew up, but their activity did make people uneasy, especially if you happened to live next door to the bomb factory, like the young actor Dustin Hoffman:
The foolishness of thinking blowing things up solves problems was likely a consequence of a sort of despair my generation felt, facing the problems of our time. (This despair may have been in part due to the fact marijuana doesn’t solve problems.) I thought the group “Ten Years After” captured the despair well with their song, “I’d Love To Change The World.”
The more extreme radicals were not willing to take Ten Years After’s advice, “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll leave it up to you.” They wanted to take power into their own hands, and “gain control”. Out of this foolishness came professor Saul Lewinsky’s teaching, distilling the need for control into eight basic areas:
1) Healthcare– Control healthcare and you control the people
2) Poverty – Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
3) Debt – Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
4) Gun Control– Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
5) Welfare – Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income)
6) Education – Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.
7) Religion – Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools
8) Class Warfare – Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.
What I see in such a foolish and destructive desire to control others is a distrust of others approaching paranoid derangement. The sense others are fools is not extended to the self; there is no true sense of brotherhood. For example, while Stalin may have called many “comrade” before the Russian Revolution in 1917, the definition of “comrade” became narrower and narrower, as the definition of “enemies of the state” became broader and broader, until by his death he had “liquidated” nearly every person his own age who he had originally called “comrade”. When he “reorganized” agriculture it was not aimed at feeding Russia and in fact millions starved; it was all about control. Food must not be produced by independent farmers, but by the “collective”, which was a disaster.
In fact a couple of attributes of the paranoid mindset that must “control” others is its failure to produce, and its amazing inefficiency. The less freedom is allowed the less people have. It is all well and good to propose a “five year plan” that sets goals, but the goals are seldom achieved, and often the consequences of “control” are poverty and famine, such as has recently (2019) been seen in Venezuela. Society as a whole becomes poorer. This explains the question mark in the lyrics of the Ten Years After song I referred to earlier:
Tax the rich, feed the poor
Till there are no rich no more?
Much of the inefficiency is due to people without experience writing the rules and regulations which “order” the people who have actual experience. Bureaucrats who have never run a business order about businessmen, spinsters who have never raised a child order about mothers, men who have never had dirt beneath their nails order about farmers. It is a recipe for disaster. The inherent distrust and paranoia which distrusts others is a self-fulfilling fear; if you distrust the ability of fellow fools to produce, production plummets.
It is amazing how different things become when you allow fellow fools freedom. Rather than merely calling them “comrade” you treat them like they actually are comrades. It involves true brotherhood and true sisterhood, the awareness that although we are all imperfect, God is in everyone. It gives up control to a higher ideal, a Power beyond our scope. It puts faith in the motto on the coins of the United States, “In God We Trust.”
That is the reason for number seven, in Saul Lewinsky’s eight areas necessary for complete control of a culture: Abolish God.
Faith in God and in fellow man results in astonishing productiveness, which goes against number two in Lewinsky’s madness, which deems poverty necessary for control.
Number five, which demands “control of welfare”, includes control of food, and jumped out at me because of the shortages I saw, not merely of toilet paper, but also of some food supplies, which occurred as the Corona Virus Panic swept my homeland, followed by demands by some that the government immediately seize control of food supplies.
I have studied the famines that occurred in both Russia and China when the might-makes-right mentality sought to “improve” food production and food distribution, and it is blatant that the “old fashioned” people, experienced at farming and marketing food, did a far better job than eager bureaucrats and the new-and-improved farming of collectives. (In the final days of the Soviet Union some freedom to farm outside of the “collective” was again permitted, even though such farmers farmed for “selfish gain”, and, despite the inherent selfishness, 5% of the farmers promptly produced 50% of Russia’s food.)
As I looked around during the so-called “pandemic” it seemed, to this old fool, that I was witnessing a naked grab for power by some who operate by the Saul Lewinsky playbook. They have been frustrated in their efforts to steer the United States to the “left”, for Americans want to be “straight”. Having seen a non-leftist elected by the people, the “left” sought to seize power in other undemocratic ways, utilizing falsehoods promoted by a blatantly biased media to attempt to impeach President Trump, and then, when that failed, attempting to use fear to panic people with an ordinary virus, into giving up their Liberty. As I watched this occur I found myself rapidly become just as paranoid as the might-makes-right mindset. The question then became, could I be a fool who behave differently than the might-makes-right fools, or would I be a fool dragged down to their level?
I thought , first, I should be honest. The “left” isn’t, preferring propaganda. Much of any “panic” is due to a sort of blindness induced by fear, with the fear aided and abetted by a sort of intellectual slight-of-hand which isn’t honest. In my years of combating the Global Warming Panic I’ve seen honesty is the best policy, and like to say, “Stand by the Truth and the Truth will stand by you.” While it may be true that “A lie will travel around the world as Truth is just putting on it’s pants”, Truth is like the turtle in the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, whereas lies are as flighty as a rabbit, (and while the life expectancy of a rabbit is short, turtles endure.) Aesop was quite correct, 2600 years ago, “Slow and steady wins the race”. Hoaxes will wilt like shadows, under the light of Truth.
Second, I should be brave. While honesty compels me to confess I do fear, one need not run like a rabbit and hide in a hole. Nor should one be shamed by mindless political-correctness into cowardly retreats. Once it became obvious the virus wasn’t going to overwhelm the hospitals, the reason for the quarantine of healthy people vanished, and healthy people have every legal and constitutional right to resume going about their ordinary business, which includes the risk of catching a cold every day of their lives. So I have gone back to work. If people want to make new laws, the laws need to be be legislated in a constitutional manner. We need to be brave enough to tell certain power-mad governors and mayors that they are the ones breaking the constitutional law, and they are the ones who need to obey. Have courage.
Third, I should be kind. It is hard to be kind to might-makes-right people who deem me a fool, and who are full of hateful, paranoid distrust. But they are pitiable, for they are basically frightened fools. Talk to them, and ask questions, and get them to confess who and what they are afraid of, and reassure them that there are civil ways of defeating feared consequences.
Fourth, I should keep the faith. I may not have control, but I am not in control of the seasons and they still function wonderfully. I can’t build a bird’s nest, but the birds build wonderful nests and still have time to sing. Do not dwell on despair when there are as many reasons for hope; do not take the worm’s view when the robin feeds its young. Faith takes some effort, so be disciplined, and go out of your way to see the beauty. Joy is not illegal.
Lastly, control that which is given to you to control. While I believe the final control lies in the hands of the Creator who created us, and while I don’t believe I need to control others and that they deserve the liberty they are given, I too have been given my realm to govern. I need to garden my personal plot of earth, whether it be a physical garden, or the plot of a story I’m writing.
One thing about the might-makes-right mentality is that they crave to plot. In some ways, to me, “plot” is the sound manure makes as it falls from the rear of livestock. But manure is good stuff, (called “brown gold” by some farmers), and I work it into the soil of my plot to grow potatoes. And that is my personal counter-revolution, and my counter-control. As an old fool and survivalist, I counter any leftist plot to control food supplies with my plot of potatoes. If all goes well, I’ll harvest more than I can eat, and it won’t matter if the markets have empty shelves.
Of course, all might not go well. Bugs and blights and droughts and hail might happen. But that is one good thing about having a garden. It is a constant reminder that though we attempt to control what we can, complete control is not ours, so we keep an eye to the Sky.