Monday, December 8, 2008

Heroes and Monsters

No, this isn't going to be a diatribe against politicians. I'm hard-pressed to think of any that have ever been a hero of mine.

I was struck, a couple of days ago whilst reading one of Les Visible's recent screeds - this one against Richard Dawkins - by how much a man's heroes can change. Dawkins, you see, used to be a hero of mine, back in my university days when I was convinced that there was no God and that all religion and spirituality amounted to no more than memetic virii that had infected the minds of the weak-willed. As recently as a couple of years ago I still bought and read his books, nodding sagely as he pronounced against dangerously misguided theories of the world such as Catholicism, Islam, or Postmodernism. His, I thought, was a brave voice in the wilderness, raised against the madness of the ages that had given us the Spanish Inquisition, the destruction of native cultures, the persecution of Galileo, witchhunts, and the tedium of the Anglican liturgy (I was raised Anglican. Boredom in the pews had as much to do with my fascination with atheism as anything else.)

It's hard to say just when Dawkins' one-note act began to pall. Certainly he looks to me, today, to be something like a crazed baboon, his screeds amounting to no more than feces crapped into his hand and flung at things that scare him because ... he doesn't understand. I'd almost feel sorry for him, were it not for his legions of avid followers, the rabid atheists who eat up the words of the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens and Dennett, spitting their arguments in the face of anyone who dares give voice to the belief that there's more to the world than Brownian motion, then beaming smugly as though they'd proved something other than their own self-imposed blindness. They're an ugly lot, the mirror-image of Christian fundamentalists as convinced of their own intelligence - they're so Bright, after all! - as the Bible-thumpers are of their own righteousness. Both are alike in their own self-satisfied certitude, and everyone can see it but them.

Dawkins isn't the only one whose visage has morphed in my eyes from brilliant sage to leering primate. Many of the science fiction writers whose work I idolized as a youth - Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, Bruce Sterling, to name three - I now look at with a somewhat more jaundiced eye: Heinlein as a pollyanish techno-utopian, Niven as a crypto-fascist, and Sterling as a (possibly paid) shill for the New World Order. Alex Jones was another hero of mine, for a year or so, until I came to the conclusion that, in all probability, he's a gatekeeper: controlled opposition, like Noam Chomsky, telling the truth except when it counts.

Whether someone's a hero or a monster is largely a matter of perception, and perception's a tricky thing in a world built out of lies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Note on Obama

Wow, the Obama honeymoon isn't lasting long at all, is it?

Scanning the headlines on What Really Happened today, a couple of stories sort of leapt out at me. One was a simple list of those Obama's tipped for cabinet positions. Bankers, zio-cons, and neo-cons, and neo-libs (none of those labels mutually exclusive mind you) to a man, or woman as the case may be.

Yep. "Change"!

This other morsel that really caught me was this:

A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that in July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.

So no matter who won, it would be largely the same - if not precisely the same - people in charge (with the sole exceptions being the president and the vice-president, of course. ) Call me crazy if you will, but would Hope not have implied that one option differed significantly from the other?

I do wonder just how long it will take to seep in to the zeitgeist just how thoroughly the masses got pwned this time 'round.

I'd be remiss if I didn't link to SOTT's take on this whole fiasco in their latest weekly economics summary, Sleepwalking Our Way to Hell.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mask of Glass

For Tony Snippe

Sit down, 'friend', let's have us a chat,
I'll start by saying that I smell a rat,
And you don't need to say a word.
Haven't you heard?
Now your mask is made of glass,
And I can see it clearly, your heart of brass.

Be silent.
Your words, cheap lies, they've polluted my mind
A sweet-scented fog in which no one can find
The truth.
But now the smell turns sour
In your final hour
Like a whores' rancid perfume
Her abandoned carcass rotting in your room.
Nothing can hide the stench.

Did your jaw just clench?

I can see in your eyes, the surprise, now the desperate plots you devise
To escape one more time, scrambling to climb
Out of this pit that you fit
So well.

I consign you to hell.

And I just thought you should know:
I've laid out the victims in a row
Their wounds and their scars,
Your unmistakable mark.

We're done. You hear me?
Take what you've stolen,
Eat what I grew,
Though none of it was ever for you.
And with every bite,
Know that you brought the blight
On yourself.

With this verse perhaps I'm the first
To break your mask of glass
And it won't so much as scratch your heart of brass
But now everyone can see it, at last.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What to Remember

Today, I'm going to be an asshole. I'm going to piss on a parade that a whole lot of people can't even bring themselves to think bad things about, let alone say. No, I'm not talking about Obama (I'm Canadian, see. About Obama I could give two tugs of a dead rat's tail.)

Yesterday was Remembrance Day here in the Great White North. And I'm going to talk dirt about it.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not the dead I think ill of, though I will say they were sad, deluded fools to 'give' their lives the way they did. Give? Hell, the Thought for the Day at WRH says it quite nicely:

I hate it when they say, "He gave his life for his country." Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don't die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them."-- Admiral Gene LaRocque

Sort of sums it up, yeah? Same for the soldiers who managed to survive the wars more or less intact (less a limb here, more an acquired psychosis there.)

There's a school of thought, a science really, called ponerology. No, I didn't think you'd ever heard of it; that's for a reason, believe me. Ponerology is the study of evil, or more specifically, the study of the social effects of psychopathic influence. Between 2% and 6% of the population in any given society is psychopathic, by which I mean, they lack the neural circuitry that gives normal people a conscience, the ability to feel empathy, the feeling of guilt when they do something wrong. You might well say they lack a soul. Now, the number fluctuates; some societies do a very good job of keeping their psychopaths under control. Such societies have talented human beings in positions of power and influence, and generally, they prosper. In other societies, it's the pathological few who sit in the halls of power, and they set things up to keep the normals down; such societies are marked by the penury in which the common people exist, and the arbitrary privelage the pathocrats excercise over them. There's usually more pathological types in those benighted lands: people who would be normal otherwise acquire psychopathy from the social environment (like a disease.) Of course neither condition is permanent: ponerogenesis is the process whereby the former degenerates into the latter; when the latter ruins itself, as it inevitably must, a new (and healthy) society grows from its ashes.

You get three guesses as to which kind of society we're living in now (and no, the first two don't count.)

Why am I talking about all this? Quite simple, really. Pathocrats are desperately afraid of being found out by the normals; they know they're outnumbered to such a degree that should the normals ever unite against them, they're screwed six ways from Sunday. So they have a number of methods they use to keep the normals from uniting against them, and of those methods one of their favorites is war. Psychopaths are masters of manipulation, you see, and in full flower as pathocrats - with the power of the media to mold the thoughts of the masses - they're able to induce a pervasive fear of some outer enemy. From fear, hate is always sure to follow, and then it's only a hop, skip and a jump until your sons and husbands and brothers are dressed in fine uniforms and lining up for slaughter in the charnel house that is modern combat.

Those who die, are made heroes, beatified in poem and song, their deaths held up as an example for others to follow. There's a poem like this that every Canadian knows:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Written by Lt. Col. John McCrae as he stared out over the vast graveyards of WWI, this poem is recited across the country on every Remembrance Day, the day when we remember those sacrified in war, give their souls our thanks for the freedoms they've protected, and vow 'never again'. Well, ostensibly; if you read the verses objectively, it doesn't really align with those aims. We all know there's more to poppies than remembrance, and I wonder if the invocation of this imagery isn't meant to have a narcotic effect on the reader's powers of critical thinking? Following this we're introduced to the Dead, whom the poem ostensibly speaks for, who urge us to 'take up [their] quarrel with the foe' ... which to me, looks like an effort to stimulate us into combat, not an urging towards peace.

Of course, it's not just the dead the pathocracy profit from. The survivors are useful too. War heroes to a man, of course, and they cling desperately to the myth of their own heroism, for to imagine that they marched through to the ninth circle of hell for no good reason at all is too much. Every survivor who comes back has been thoroughly broken, broken inside or outside or broken to the harness or all three at once. Having passed through the fires of hell for their flag, they'll never for the rest of their lives question the rectitude of what they did ... and what was done to them. And who will look a war hero in the eye, and tell him his friends died for nothing?

No, not even I. I'm not that cruel. Sometimes, it's better to just nod your head, and move along.

So what should we remember, this Remembrance Day? We're supposed to focus on the dead soldiers, of course, and think nothing of why they died save for a vague impression that they died for a noble cause. If you point out that they deaths were nothing but an atrocity, carried out for the enrichment of the rich and the accumulation of more power by the powerful ... well, no one wants to hear that, do they? No one wants to imagine that they were duped, as were their parents and their grandparents and their great-grandparents and every generation back to Caeser's when he dragooned half of Roman manhood into ten long years of foreign campaigning ... and quite a bit further back than that. The cognitive dissonance induced by suggesting, even obliquely, that we've all been fools, is just too painful for most to endure. It's easier to voice fine words like honor and patriotism and loyalty and brotherhood; to believe that the fight was one of good against evil and not one orchestrated by the same evil controlling both sides; to imagine that we were bringing the benefits of civilization to the savages, and not enslaving them and looting their lands for no better motive than base greed.

If you want to remember something, remember how every single time we were tricked into war. Remember the tricksters' true motives. Remember that the soldiers on either side were just ordinary men, tricked into mutual slaughter. Remember that every time, we all say 'never again' ... and it always happens again, because we never remember why it happened.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Party's Over

A couple of months ago found me back in Toronto for the first time in three years. As I sat on the patio of a downtown bar, enjoying a beer and some nachos and the company of a Japanese lady who had come to visit me, I had time to observe the changes those years had wrought. That the movie theatre now bore the name of a bank sort of leapt out at me; at first I squinted at it, confused. Where's the sign? Ah, but then I saw it: it was now the scotiobank logo, paired in that jarring hybrid way with the latter half of the old sign, as though it had been summarily chopped in two. I'd grown accustomed already to sports stadiums, concert halls and other buildings becoming bank branches, but a theatre?

And why not?

Truth be told, that occupied my attention for but a short while. At street level there was far more to see. It didn't take long for me to realize that there were cops everywhere, decked out in dayglo green vests, patrolling the sidewalks in groups of two and three and ten, riding bikes, mounted on horseback, driving cars. As soon as one group was lost in the crowd another appeared; it seemed for every ten late-night revellers, an officer of the peace had been assigned to keep them in line. Is it always like this? I asked our waiter. Oh, yeah, he replied, there's always a lot of officers downtown on Friday nights. With all the shootings and stabbings recently, they had to up the numbers, y'know?

Doesn't this seem like overkill? I asked.

Well, I know I feel a lot safer, he replied, and went off to another table.

I forebore from mentioning to him that, if one wanted to increase the number of police, an excuse was necessary. Hire some thugs to do some senseless drivebys in the downtown area. Kill some kids, even better if they're adorable little girls. Stoke the public outcry through the media, and get the budget to hire whole fistfuls of cops.

Of course, Torontonians are not inherently violent people. The cops are thus un-necessary. Wandering the clubbing district, they looked not so much alert but bored, their eyes scanning the crowd not because they sensed any danger but simply looking for an excuse to have something to do other than wander.

Years ago, I went on a ridealong with my brother, who was in the Ontario Provincial Police at the time, policing a small town in the North. It was two o'clock in the morning and he was pulling over cars doing 5 km over the speed limit. Only because he was bored, he explained. And his advice? When it's early in the morning and you think you can drive flat out because there's no other cars on the road, well, that's also when the cops are bored.

There's nothing more dangerous to the public peace than bored cops.

So then, this morning, in the back of the Globe and Mail I find that 26 people were arrested in a raid on a downtown club. I won't bother to go into all the disinformation being thrown around in the article (ecstasy being addictive, GHB being a 'date-rape drug'). Several hundred people were detained and searched, and two nearby residences were raided as well, where guns (a pistol and, depending on the article you read, either a machine-gun or a modified assault rifle) were found along with cash.

We're supposed to feel good about this, of course. The police are cleaning up the city, dealing with the Asian gangs, keeping us all safe.

Stop and imagine what it must have been like for the clubbers. Gathered on the dance floor, grooving to the music, drunk and stoned and high and horny. Then the lights slam on, the music stops, there's storm troopers piling in through all the exits shouting orders, waving weapons and grabbing people. There are no innocents; simply being there is probable cause sufficient to have an armed stranger rifle through your wallet or your purse or your pockets.

Try to see it in your head. Smell that? The panic in the air?

That's the real reason all those cops were hired.

The party's over, friends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Long-Awaited Inaugural Post

People are always telling me to be positive. Why are you always going on about conspiracy theories? they ask. Stop spending so much time bewailing the state of the world. It's not all bad. Just because the economy's crumbling, there's no reason to be angry. It wasn't intentional. And what do you mean America's becoming a fascist police state? That's paranoid hyperbole. More police on the streets make us safer, safe from all those mass shootings and stabbings and the drugs and the crime (and don't you even dare mention where the drugs and the guns come from!) And those Muslims in Afghanistan? They need our help; our fighting men are there to bring democracy and free markets and all the benefits those bring.

All right, I give up. Setting up straw men just isn't my strong suit. My heart isn't in it. It's been so long since I've believed any of those lies, I'm so far beyond all that now, it's hard to get worked up about it. At this point, I'm just taking it as totally read that I'm surrounded on the street by remote controlled zombies displaying only a semblance of consciousness, with about as much genuine sentience as the bots that wander around MMORPGs making the virtual worlds look populated. Canned dialogue, canned thoughts, canned reactions ... it's all a grand orchestra of manipulated minds, with HAARP as the conductor.

I started this blog because I wanted to split things, positive and negative, internal and external, spiritual and material, action and reaction; the former on Psychegram, the latter here, at Moon-Food. A blog should have a focus, after all. All the angry ranting was going to be done on Moon-Food. And maybe it will be, but right now ... I'm not in the mood.

Reacting to things like that just makes us food for the moon, after all.