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Monday, September 30, 2013

On The Wind

My mother received a letter - quite a long letter - from some group whose money-raising wheeze was the assertion that the UN was waging a war on religion, and the UN was trying to get the Vatican kicked out of the UN.

First, it was much too redolent of H.G.Wells account of the war against religion in The Shape Of Things To Come, 1933, which I had just read the day before, and I wanted to mention this, but this was not my mother's obsession at all; it was my obsession, and, as such, she would not or could not pay attention to a report on the coincidence.
So Wells had to languish.

Second, I was not aware that the Vatican was a member, but upon "wiking" it up, I learned that it had "observer" status until 2004, when it received full membership, except for voting rights.

Third, the letter was a gem of obsessional nonsense. It was at least 10 sheets of paper long, printed on both sides, and rambled on through various scripts, scenarios, legends, myths, some truths and some falsities until it came to rest upon the altar of supplication: give us money to assist our noble effort.
(For example, on page 3 there was a spirited reference to "false gods". I asked her whether "false gods" was repeated somewhere else in the pamphlet. She did not think so. It was more like a subliminal appeal to her outraged sense of orthodoxy rather than an assertion that the golden calf had been erected at UN HQ.)

I'm not so sure.
I'm not so sure that there is any "New World Order", or international UN power, or UN government that requires a tax on every citizen, or any other of these nonsensical gaspers, for it seems to me that the edifice of any sort of Order has been falling apart, brick by brick,until the copestone remains teetering precariously.

My problem is pirates, the Somali pirates.
There is a new Tom Hanks film out based on a piratical hijacking of a ship off the Somali coast. It is based on a true story some years ago, but the pirates are still there. In fact, it was Somali As-Shabab people that shot up the mall in Kenya.

Pirates in my understanding have always been a feature of an environment in which central power has broken down.

It was a part of my education. When Rome was on the verge of empire, Pompey and Caesar rid the Mediterranean of the brigands; the Dark Ages led to an infestation of pirates and highwaymen, a limited state power allowed Robin Hood to flourish within the "sea" of the Forest of Nottingham, and in all the dystopian visions of the future, from A Canticle For Leibowitz to Waterworld to Mad Max, the proof of societal breakdown is demonstrated to the reader or viewer by the lawless freebooters and buccaneers infesting the place.

Now these Somali pirate types have been around for a long while. There seems to be no international order or power available to clear them out.
So how effective is the UN? And why don't the member states care about the situation?

It has been my opinion for a long time that we were in a long, drawn-out, slow motion death spiral, a lemming-like march to oblivion that seemed to culminate in the period of 1989 to 2003 with the incredible story of how we supported bin Laden in Afghanistan against the USSR, how the USSR fell apart, our parochial arrogance as that happened, then our experience of 9/11, and then the War in Iraq to which we sent our dearest people and our fortunes in pursuit of illusory weapons that we knew we had given to Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran...  and how Saddam Hussein completely buffaloed us by actually telling the truth about the weapons!
(Imagine being totally bamboozled by the truth! Tells us something about our frame of mind at the time.)

And do not forget torture. We not only instituted a regime of rendition and torture, our finest minds argued about its desirability - the argument about the ticking bomb and the captured terrorist - and the legal bases of it.

It was as if we feared that the sins of the fathers would be visited upon their children, and the only way we could bollox up that karma was to commit our own sins... and lots of 'em!

Once again, President Obama's surprising choice of peace over war in Syria is the very first act I have seen where one of our leaders has stepped out from the lemming march to the sea, held out a hand and said, "Stop!"

It was the first major push-back against the spiral downwards. And make no mistake, the fruits of a Syrian war would have been devastating, not for the debacle in Syria itself, but the contribution it would have made to making a permanent preference for violence and destruction.....

....for as we become more and more befuddled by the bullets whizzing by our ears, and our schemes continue to collapse into failure, we would have become more and more brutish. (You only have to recall the speech of the NSA "Commandant" about how he wished to be able to keep every telephone call in the USA to realize how degraded we have become!)

We may actually live to see pirates cleansed from the seven seas.


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