Posted by Big Gav in ron paul
Time for a bit of tinfoil - while I think Ron Paul's competing for the Republican candidacy is a good thing by and large (as Glenn Greenwald pointed out, at the very least it forces liberals to look into the mirror) there are a few unfortunate aspects to his platform - though the possibility of him being a freemason isn't one that is commonly cited (not that I have a view about whether or not freemasons are good or evil - by and large I mostly view conspiracy theories about freemasons as coming from paleocon catholics continuing their endless war - where the fundamentalist protestants and their derivative sects like the "crank" libertarians represented by Paul stand with regard to the masons has never been clear to me - though they seem to be pretty chummy with the paleocons).
The Secret Sun blog has a look at Paul's masonic links - Ron Paul: Race, Ritual and the Scottish Rite.
Well, the Clownshow's back in town and from the looks of things it going to be clownier than ever before. We have a Wall Street underling in the White House who is attacked regularly by his opposition party as a "socialist," even though intelligent (read: non-racist) conservatives acknowledge he's governing as a classic Rockefeller Republican (with all that implies for parapolitics watchers, I might add).
On the other side of the aisle the GOP leadership has put its hopes in a candidate who may well have been manufactured in Skynet's Terminator factory and is instinctively loathed by 75% of his own party. So much so that he got the scare of his life from an overgrown altar boy (with all that implies for parapolitics watchers, I might add).
Then there's the Great White Hope of the Libertarian/Neo-Confederate alliance, Ron Paul. No one is quite acknowledging it (except his son, judging from his facial expression last night), but Paul needed to win last night more than anyone else and was in fact polling as such.
Paul's mystique is built on being the supposed champion of the Silent Majority and coming in a weak third to the two of the lamest candidates in living memory-- and in a caucus where Independents and Democrats could register as Republicans and vote-- doesn't exactly bolster that image.
But caucuses aren't primaries and apparently they tend to winnow out the enthusiastic but impatient. A lot of his support on the ground were his version of Deadheads- true believers from out of state hitching a ride on the campaign trail. Most of the younger voters are attracted to Paul's antiwar and anti-Prohibition policies while tending to ignore his more problematic domestic agenda.
Even so, I'm not going to try to argue with Paul's Deadheads anymore. Why? Because I now understand the very sophisticated coded messages he's sending out there (more than they do, perhaps) and I think I better understand the powerful emotional response they instill now.
I was actually hoping he'd win so he could do maximum damage to the duopoly and expose the Clownshow for what it really is. Maybe he still will, but I feel a corner has turned. The soda's lost its fizz.
For all his talk of reason, Paul is hitting a bruised and disoriented Middle America -- particularly the white working class-- with a powerful, symbolically-charged emotional stew promising a return to antebellum Southern folkways and an America better described in the Articles of Confederation than the Constitution.
I certainly understand why this is so seductive in these days of Globalism and multiculturalism, even if I don't agree with it. But the fact remains that he's sending a different coded message to his fellow initiates.
I didn't vote in 2008 and I don't plan to vote in this election either so I have no clown in this show. And besides, what's much more fascinating to me is Ron Paul's almost compulsive display of high initiate secret society symbolism. Which is to say that although other bloggers have claimed that Paul is a Mason --including some Masons themselves-- he has denied it (kind of). But that hasn't exactly stopped speculation on the issue.
All I can say for sure is that if walks like a duck, talks like a duck and performs high initiate ritual like a duck....
Now, the controversy that's dogged Paul has been his newsletters, and to a lesser extent his deep and longstanding ties to extreme right sects like the Christian Reconstructionists and the Neo-Confederate underground.
In the first place, Republican criticism of the Ron Paul Newsletters is pretty rich given the language in them is identical to what's heard on the AM talk radio circuit that GOP lawmakers and power brokers work every hour of every day.
Even so, the fanatical support Paul has in the White Nationalist community the question has been raised if Paul himself is racist. I think this is the wrong question. What people are really asking if Paul himself is a bigot or a hater. I don't think he is.
I think Paul sees himself in a long tradition of paternalist Southern conservatives who understand the way the world really works, son, and think everything will return to its idyllic, antebellum state once that pesky, outside-agitatin' Federal Government with its sissy talk about "civil rights" is done away with for good.
In this, Paul falls smack dab into the old/new (Masonic) hierarchy of the South, which believes passionately in natural orders, natural laws and especially, natural hierarchies. Unfortunately, working class whites don't figure much higher than blacks in this natural order.
But of course the Masons-- Scottish Rite Masons, to be precise-- were at the top of the plantation Pyramid.
What Northern liberals never understood is that the Masonic Dixiecrats (who enriched themselves with New Deal millions and then turned around and shattered the New Deal coalition) were not drooling, foaming, bloviating racists as you might see in a Hollywood movie.
What they really hated were do-gooders and busybody outsiders who don't understand "the natural order of things." ...
Continuing on the tinfoil trail, Rigorous Intuition had a rare post late last year including some peak oil doomerism as part of some rambling pontifications about the gulf oil spill, transhumanism, the possibility of our world being naught but a computer simulation, the aquatic ape theory mingled with thoughts about anarchist biological science and some primitivist-like ruminations about civilisation and empire - We Are The Monsters We've Been Waiting For.
They may be our Most Terrible Lizards, but they wouldn't be called the best and the brightest by even the hindmost fart-catcher in Abaddon's human centipede. They can turn blood into gold, playing Last Days' alchemists in the booming catastrophe and collapse sectors, but don't confuse the management of an habituated massacre with a meritocracy. They're the eschaton of open jaws at the close of the food chain, but for no other reason than a cold heart doesn't dwell upon the cruelty of its bite. We're the 99 and they're the One Percenters, and like the outlaw bikers who share the patch, they run the drugs and guns and kill for their club. They're the Killer Elite, but don't call them elite. No. Apparently, and with ironic perversity, that's me and my numerous tribe; over-educated beyond utility at the end of the Age of Useless Things.
And I mean that: the end of things. Capital has exhausted its first fuels, and now it's the creation of poverty, not of wealth, that makes the world go 'round. And naturally, when it's down to your own body, setting it alight before it's taken from you to stoke the engines of the Great Machine becomes the final impudence. Depending upon whether your nation is an appetizer or an entree on the globalists' menu, and how well the kitchen prepares its living parts, such an act may lead to revolution or a passing LULZ.It can go either way.
Over-educated, I mean that too. But it's not a sour boast after half a life being schooled for self-aware obsolescence. If you feel dumber for having watched Jersey Shore, then you too already know more than is good for you. America's public schools are made to fail on a budget comparable with the cost of air conditioning its imperial guard in Central Asia, with assets peeled off to private charters, and teachers discarded upon their broken unions. University, North America's new high school, is corporate funded and corporate branded and humanities' starved, with a deliberately crushing debt load upon students that corrals the choices of the less privileged towards machinery-sustaining, practical careers. The study of subjects that have not been sufficiently monetized and the accrual of empathetic knowledge are sniffed at as elitist pursuits, even as the student is financially wrecked by their mastery. ...
It occurred to me last year, when the Gulf of Mexico began coughing up its lungs courtesy of Deep Water Horizon, how it's one of the attenuated consolations of life in Evening's Empire that BP's sole, unmitigated success was to hold up a camera to the ocean's injury so we could all together view another viral FAIL video. I can haz desolation!
Because you know, this is what we're good at. I mean, this is all we can do now. And from lackadaisical blogger to Spectator-in-Chief ("I want to know whose ass to kick"), gazing upon from afar with approbation, from the Mississippi Delta to Fukushima and the next sideshow horror, is about as good as we get. And even then, not for long. Gulf seafood is contaminated but officially safe. Japanese school children are passing radioactive piss but it's not a concern unless they continue to eat radioactive produce and drink irradiated water. Half-waking observation, and the dialing down of our expectations of "normal," are for the most part the extent of our response, and we seem to have lost the means and the imagination to do anything but. Perhaps that's what the mass, deranged mind of the Internet has taken from us, by taking us into itself. And perhaps that's even why it exists.
In other words: if our wired brains are experiencing more read/write errors than the factory warranty led us to expect, I don't believe it's all down to depleted Serotonin and Aspartame. (Though, lest we forget, there is that, too.) We know well enough now, by study and experience, how the Web's interruption system impairs focus, and compounds the cognitive switching cost of our online distractions. ...
Steve Wozniak, a few weeks ago as I write this, said "we lost the battle to the machines long ago. We're going to become the pets, the dogs of the house." He said this optimistically. "Why are we going to need ourselves so much in the future? We're just going to have the easy life." Optimism and, if you can still stop and really think about it, a dash of madness.
"Once we have machines doing our high-level thinking," he continued, "there's so little need for ourselves and you can't ever undo it - you can never turn them off." ...
Anyway, what was I saying? Something about the Gulf.
Obama's best advice to Americans during that particular obscenity was that they should shop, swim and pray: one of those crystalline moments that said, yes, this President too is a Celebrity Apprentice to the Criminals Without Borders. Such a stand-up effort won't be forgotten when he leaves his office - an internship, really - and is initiated into Big Money, of which his presidency is merely a rite of passage: a pledge's gofer'ing for the inviolate fraternity of laundered capital. For Democratic presidents and Labour prime ministers, if they actually entered politics with even modest virtue and tepid vision for the public good, they have been richly rewarded for their abandonment. The sudden good fortunes of Clinton and Blair: this is what it profit a man. (By contrast, Jimmy Carter's post-presidency is perhaps an extended act of atonement to win back his soul.) Can there remain any doubt as to which career path Obama means to follow? Bill Clinton has earned more than $65 million dollars since leaving office for motivational "power within" speeches before business executives and similar peers who can afford him. Just imagine Obama's speeches. And his appearance fees. The American presidency is now just something that looks good on a resume, which can lead to a cash-for-life revenue stream.
And BP? Corporations in America may be persons under the law, but they're never persons of colour. If they were, so many would have been shot, hung, gassed or given the chair years ago.
There were many things Martin Luther had wrong. "Strong beer is the milk of the old" wasn't one of them. Another wasn't his revulsion at the Medieval Church's practice of selling indulgences: the tidy revenue stream of peddling Get out of Purgatory Free cards. A posthumous entitlement program for the wealthy dead, and an invitation to sin boldly for those who could afford it. (The poor, as ever, could pay only in the currency of their blood, sweat and souls.) Of course, this turned the teaching of Jesus of its head - rich man, eye of a needle, and all that - but no matter: the Church has made a custom of perp-walking its Christs in a parade of upside-down clowns for two millenia.
Luther's rejection of the selling of indulgences sparked the Reformation, but the practice hasn't stopped; it's merely been secularized. BP paid - or more accurately, promised to pay - an indulgence of $20 billion over four years to cover damages incurred by the sin of Deep Water Horizon. Not even enough to make 2010 a losing year for the company if the amount had been paid as a lump sum. In fact, its stock "surged" on the news that it had just bought its way out of purgatory on the cheap. "The fear was that the government was going to do something so drastic as to effectively push the company into bankruptcy," said oil and gas analyst Brian Gibbons. "Now they can come out of the meeting and say they have held BP accountable and hold up a $20 billion escrow account." That was last year. (Ancient history, and nobody studies history anymore.) This year, the company's bringing unabashed motherfucker back: BP now wants to stop payments based on future losses, saying "there is no basis to assume that claimants, with very limited exceptions, will incur a future loss related to the oil spill." BP points to returning tourists and the reopened federal fishing grounds, and points away from the fish so sickened by diseases and infections and environmental stresses that LSU Oceanographer Jim Cowan says, "I've never seen anything like this. At all. Ever."
And here's where the Medieval Church had it over on us. The rich could only buy their way out of Purgatory, not Hell. Purgatory was the place of temporal punishment, even if it were to last a million years. Hell was forever. And Hell for BP - break it up, bankruptcy, nationalization - was never a serious threat in an era of Too Big to Damn. Unlike, or God help me so it seems, the whole bloody natural world and its profitless life.
But what can you do, Mr President? You're only the titular head of a country that manufactures nothing anymore but weaponry, consent, and high fructose corn syrup. We'll miss our old world like we'll miss our old brains, but the longer it goes on, and the worse it gets, the more we'll become accustomed to it. Like the erasure of a hegemon's great cities to disasters natural and unnatural, its middle class, perhaps even its living memory of peacetime. That's the catastrophe of hope. ...
The tides of aborted dolphins. The acidification of our oceans and the jellification of its life. The neurotoxicants stunting our children's brains. The nanoparticles "unexpectedly" entering the food chain. The vanishing bees. The excellent chance we'll have pumped so much CO2 into the atmosphere by the end of this century that the planet will inexorably warm by 24 degrees, assuring a runaway greenhouse, and the recreation of conditions unseen here since the Hadean Era.
Peak oil, peak soil, peak water, peak food. (And if these play on your mind as at least abstract terrors, then congratulations: you too enjoy more leisure and learning than can possibly profit you at this time, in this culture.) Fondest, most desperate hopes aside, the exigencies of collapse are not calling forth the best behavior from those accustomed to bleeding every stone white. On the contrary, environmental policy, even the most egregiously half-assed, is the first out the window when "shared sacrifices" demand that the vested interests of capital defenistrate the public good. So the ground is fracked and the tap waters flame, and rather than saving what remains of the Amazon, we burn it into becoming the world's greatest emitter of methane.
Not a problem.
If the Singularity is near enough, then the transhumanists may yet have their abiotic rapture. And I'll hand it to them, there's a dark logic to it: perhaps the only way to successfully adapt to a murdered planet is to kill yourself.
"If you draw the timelines," said futurologist Ian Pearson, "realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem." Pearson is sometimes credited with the invention of that fouler of distinction between home and office, text messaging. And given how all the futurist fantasies of increased leisure time have panned out, no one should take comfort in the prospect that death itself need not encumber job performance. Even though pensionable age and benefits continue to be rolled back vindictively, there was always at least the promise of the peace of the grave.
And the dying planet? Those who would destroy it in order to save it are readying its zombie makeover with one word, or rather, prefix: nano.
"Emerging nanotechnology capabilities promise a profound impact on the environment," writes Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity Is Near. "This includes the creation of new manufacturing and processing technologies that will dramatically reduce undesirable emissions, as well as remediating the prior impact of industrial-age pollution." Kurzweil concedes there is the "downside" of introducing innumerable nano-particles, creating "new forms of toxins and other unanticipated interactions with the environment and life." But Singularitans embrace the risk because there's no other way forward. And they have to move forward, and not relinquish one victory of science over the natural world. After all, that's progress. ...
Since transhumanists are capable of recognizing the grave risks inherent to their God project - Kurzweil's "downside" of new toxins and unforeseen consequences - Zimmerman asks why they rush towards its culmination. “One answer,” he writes, “is that Earth’s biosphere is imperiled…. Technological posthumans would not be biologically based…thereby saving self-conscious life from extinction.”
And that seems to be the answer to so many questions, including those implied by the just smile and blow me sureties of our insatiable overclass. The Singularity may be near, but the end of our hospitable Earth is nearer, and all life forms requiring a temperate clime and low-toxic environment must rapidly adapt or die to our new and endless emergency. Unfortunately for us, the multiple maniacs driving the extinction are still crazy-rich, and are daily securing still more crazy for themselves. All we have are our overwhelming numbers, though as the crises inevitably crashes the population we may not even survive the century with that advantage. Our billions merely present the illusion of too big to fail. But the fact is, in the miserly new world, we're far too many to thrive.
At the Foresight Institute's 2002 "Brainstorming-Planning-Actionfest & Nanoschmoozathon," Leon Fuerth, former National Security Advisor to Al Gore, contended that "The majority of Americans will not simply sit still while some elite strips off their personalities and uploads themselves into their cyberspace paradise. They will have something to say about that. There will be vehement debate about that in this country."
First of all, has Fuerth paid attention to the state of vehement debate in his country?
Norway's terror attacks notoriously reminded Glenn Beck of Hitler. Not because mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik acted like a Nazi, but because his young victims were. ("Who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing.") A supposedly transformative president normalizes the criminal perversions of his predecessor and appears to have the fight in him only to beat the legacy of FDR into an unrecognizable pulp. Do Americans have nothing to say about that? I know Fuerth spoke nearly a decade ago, but I remember 2002, and that wasn't a stellar year for policy debate and the public square either. Though of course, like so much else, it's only gotten worse since.
John Steinbeck accounted for the failure of socialism in America by the underclass regarding itself not as the exploited poor but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. Silly beggars. But they didn't come by that idea all by themselves. That's the conditioning of decades of political animal husbandry, and the dulling engorgement of mass instruction masquerading as entertainment.
The dimming of culture and diminution of the Western mind perpetuates society's preposterous illusions. If - oh, I dunno - Ted Williams, the homeless "golden throat" pitch-perfect for selling useless shit can make it (whatever that means, and however fleeting), then maybe we can go viral too. The truly accomplished, the acutely gifted, the deeply wise only prick the insecurities of the idiot class, and that's no way to keep the idiots useful, mollified and self-medicated. Especially since there are so many of them, and more every graduating cohort. A good thing, not coincidentally, for the monied few, who mean to separate the fools from their nickels and dimes. ("I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid," explained John Stuart Mill. "I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.") ...
That the warlike chimpanzee - an animal which might just as soon bite off your face as blow you a kiss if you look at one the wrong way - is considered our closest relation, both Spencer and America's post-American sideshow of Objectivist cruelty would seem to be vindicated. And if self-interest is the only law, and I got mine holds illimitable dominion over all, then maybe we should do our children a favour and stop teaching them to share and start instructing them to steal. Monkey see, monkey do.
But it's not true. In fact, the chimp isn't our only closest relative. There's one other, precisely as close to us, and that example may be more instructive to those still seeking a better myth to live by.
Since it has been found that chimpanzees sometimes raid their neighbors and brutally take their enemies' lives, these apes have edged closer to the warrior image that we have of ourselves. Like us, chimps wage violent battles over territory. Genetically speaking, however, our species is exactly close to another ape, the bonobo, which does nothing of the kind. Bonobos can be unfriendly to their neighbors, but soon after a confrontation has begun, females often rush to the other side to have sex with both males and other females. Since it is hard to have sex and wage war at the same time, the scene rapidly turns into a sort of picnic. It ends with adults from different groups grooming each other while the chldren play. Thus far, lethal aggression among bonobos is unheard of.
Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy
Bonobos were first catalogued by Western science in 1929, which is shockingly late for a large mammal. Even more surprising is the scant attention they have received since, despite our close relation, their shrinking numbers, and their matriarchal, egalitarian and orgiastic societies. (They're smart, too: "the bonobos...defied expectations by beating the group of chimpanzees in intelligence tests, because the chimps were too busy fighting among themselves for dominance.") We needn't romantisize them as the Great Ape Hope to believe bonobos have at least as much to teach us about ourselves as the over-familiar chimp. Perhaps more so if, as de Waal speculates, "the bonobo may have undergone less transformation than either humans or chimpanzees, and could most closely resemble our common ancestor."
Herbert Spencer could have made the chimpanzee Exhibit A in his case for Social Darwinism. But if the species had been known to naturalist and anarchist Peter Kropotkin, he might have called the bonobo as witness for the defense of his Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution: "The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history."
And not just humanity. According to Kropotkin, who founded his research upon the fruits of his exploration of climatically-stressed Siberia,
As soon as we study animals -- not in laboratories and museums only, but in the forest and the prairie, in the steppe and the mountains -- we at once perceive that though there is an immense amount of warfare and extermination going on amidst various species, and especially amidst various classes of animals, there is, at the same time, as much, or perhaps even more, of mutual support, mutual aid, and mutual defence amidst animals belonging to the same species or, at least, to the same society. Sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle.
Kropotkin was well-aware of the risks in the willful misuse of Darwin, and warned his readers against "the economists who know of natural science but a few words borrowed from second-hand vulgarizers," who "raised the 'pitiless' struggle for personal advantages to the height of a biological principle which man must submit to as well." On the contrary,
man is appealed to to be guided in his acts, not merely by love, which is always personal, or at the best tribal, but by the perception of his oneness with each human being. In the practice of mutual aid, which we can retrace to the earliest beginnings of evolution, we thus find the positive and undoubted origin of our ethical conceptions; and we can affirm that in the ethical progress of man, mutual support not mutual struggle -- has had the leading part. In its wide extension, even at the present time, we also see the best guarantee of a still loftier evolution of our race.
And in common with the bonobo, Kropotkin is today little known, little studied and representative of an endangered order. ...
The chief predicate of civilization - empire - is growth, which visits mad, bloody mad violence upon all that would impede its advance. In what's often called progress, though better called conquest, the movement of civilization is towards subjugating the natural realm and converting its life and riches to dead, base elements to fuel itself. Bound and determined to feast, madness calls to madness, and opportunistic, privileged sociopaths rise to maintain the consuming machinery of the sociopathologarchy, not sparing a thought to the consequences, other than perhaps a nod to bleeding hearts who want to make the machine sustainable.
To control creatures of conscience, a system without conscience needs to dull the capacity for empathy in the great mass of its unreflective subjects and provide crumbs of comfort for the balance. And so it sustains itself by exploiting our worst and our weakest attributes: desperate selfishness ("college kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago"), and desperate hope ("I didn't say change you can believe in tomorrow"). It diminishes attachments to the Earth, and creates euphemisms like oil and gas - poultry and pork - that foster alienation towards the objects of our consumption. Nevertheless, fossil fuel deposits remain giant graveyards, and we're still drowning in its undead biology. ...
Tricorned tea partiers may snap the safety off their loaded Bibles when they hear someone conflating "libertine" and "libertarian," suggesting they are at least as much the children of the Divine Marquis as of Paul Revere. And yet it's a doctrine of devils, acclaiming merciless ego and self-interest over solidarity and renunciation of excess. It's not by chance that, in this perhaps gravest economic crisis, and with historic cognitive dissonance, America's populist revolution is radically individualist rather than collectivist, championing the Survival of the Fittest rather than a philosophy of Mutual Aid, and preaches the upside-down Gospel of Social Darwinism while denying legitimacy to Darwin's actual teachings.
The Tea Party may be a sideshow, but its fun house mirror still reflects the pernicious, egoistic spirit of the age, even in science, especially in transhumanism.