Monday, January 1, 2018

The Scriptures In The Modern Period Are A Firmer Foundation For Democracy Than Even The Idols, "The Founders"

Anyone who reads the comments here might have noticed that the quote I gave from the greatest socialist North America has yet to produce, the Baptist minister Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan and Member of the Canadian Parliament, the father of universal healthcare in Canada contained an error.  Either the person who published his remark made a mistake or the great man himself did, Pope Leo XIII didn't write Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI did on the fortieth anniversary of  Leo XIII's certainly, for it's time, and I would assert in many ways for ours, radical encyclical, Rerum Novarum which successive Popes have built on.  The conservative Pope John Paul II wrote another on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo's encyclical, and Paul VI wrote one on the eightieth anniversary of it.  Most if not every subsequent Pope made references to it in many encyclicals.    I think it's fair to say that Pope Leo inaugurated the modern period of Catholic social ethics, producing encyclicals that have impressed even some hardened atheist-materialists,  Richard Feynman heaped lavish praise, especially from him, on Good St, Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris, Pete Seeger included reference to it in a protest song.

While there are points in each of the line of encyclicals that sound conservative they are, in every case I'm aware of, conditioned by the elevated status of all individuals under Christian belief in ways that set them against "enlightenment" laissez-faire, Malthusian depravity, Darwinian natural selection and its expression in economics, social-Darwinism and various other secular-materialist political economic theories.  In just about every way even the "conservative" content of that series of letters and other documents is more radical than the official academic-secular radical alternative to that series of capitalist-conservative theories.  And there is also content in the documents that, as I said, would be considered ultra-radical by the American free press, the corporate-academic intelligentsia and the rest of the secular American realm of allowable thought.  In the case of the radical content of those, especially in the ones that were written after the Soviet Union started to prove what a violent, oppressive disaster Marxism would be in practice (as well as before in its theoretical forms) the various authors have tried to point to ways of understanding that radical content as in opposition to the injustices that those advocating similar ideas showed they were entirely capable of using, especially to gain and maintain power, which history shows was the actual intention and goals of such radicals.  I disagree with Emma Goldman on most everything, very strongly, now that I've read a lot more than the slogans put on tee-shirts, but she was right, if Trotsky had won in the power struggle with Stalin, he had already shown he was capable of a horrific level of violence to suppress any opposition.  I wouldn't be surprised if he would not have mounted the kind of terror-state tactics as Stalin did, building on efforts of the same kind by Lenin.  Other Marxists gained and maintained power the same way.

Any government that exists relies on prerequisite conditions being in place to allow them to get and maintain power.  Even the most thuggish tin-pot despot relies on an armed group to hold it in place.

In the case of Trump it was a dumbed down segment of the electorate, dumbed-down and successfully  propagandized through the mass media to consider a fascist strong-man - albeit as seen on TV - to be a model of the American president.  And to consider the thoroughly investigated, repeatedly exonerated, massively competent and qualified Hillary Clinton as being the devil, herself, and if not that just, somehow icky.

The Soviet dictatorship rested on a population used to autocratic rule under the Czars and, as we are seeing in the Post-Soviet period, the cultural habits and cynical fatalism of that kind, once instilled into a people takes longer than the 1990s to give up as they expect more of what they already know.  Similar though not identical conditions led the Chinese people through a horrific imperial despotism, a short series of awful ones leading to the Communist dictatorships (among if not the most violent and, at times, oppressive in the history of the species), and the same in other places.

Nazism depended on a confluence of propagandizing the population through a 19th century regime of nationalism - largely instigated through, of all things, romantic era linguistics - and Darwinist natural selection.  Mixed with the disaster of the First World War, a ruinous regime of peace terms imposed largely by France and England, the horrific inflation followed by the depression, etc.*

I think the prerequisites for egalitarian democracy are also knowable and, even more than an accurately informed public in possession of enough truth to make good choices in their governors, more so depends on a belief in the kinds of moral absolutes that will lead them to elect a government that produces equality, equal justice and perpetuates those through a firmly believed in set of moral obligations the we are bound by and whose violation by the government, by the courts, under law cannot be set aside or ignored and their remedy cannot merely be discouraged or neglected.  Well educated, well informed people are capable of an enhanced efficiency in pursuing their advantage over all others when they have no sense of moral restraint.   I think that the reign of error the left promoted in the 20th century under enforced secularism, the whole range of consequent matters, permitting the media to lie with impunity, the permission of them to include morally depraved content (though Hollywood writers, lacking ideas and talent and facing deadlines did a lot of that all on their own) the removal of any kind of moral assertions, even the most watered down versions of those in education, and a long list of the inverted virtues of secularism were certain to produce someone like Trump on the cusp of fascism.

Socialism, the real thing in which the economic means of production are controlled by the workers instead of capital and the economy is conducted for the common good instead of producing billionaire oligarchs, is best seen as, not a dictatorship of the proles but as the economic expression of democratic life. 

That would work in Canada with it modern Constitution, which had the enormous advantage over the United States of not having a deified series of "founders" who saddled us with the awful United States Constitution.   And the Bill of Rights, which has, paradoxically, produced and enabled the oligarchy and the production of a Nixon, a Reagan, two Bushes and a Trump, enabling the election of the deeply flawed Bill Clinton and prevented the election of the vastly more qualified and vastly less flawed Hillary Clinton - even though she had more than three million more votes than Trump.  That last fact, alone, the Constitution in three instances handing power to the loser of an election, in each case one of our worst presidents, two since 2000,  shows that the United States under the secularist regime in place since the Warren Court has not made things better but has made things steadily worse.  The free-press, left to its own devices - when you include the mass media in that - left to pursue its own profits and the profits of its owners and their class was bound to have this effect.

You will hear the assertion that Marxism didn't fail because Marxism wasn't tried, though it was in many different forms in many different interpretations and all of them have failed to produce anything better.  That is unless your definition of "better" includes the murders of tens and hundreds of millions of people and the oppression of hundreds of millions and well over a billion.  Which no rational or moral definition of "better" could.  And you can say the same about the sciency Darwinist regimes which also produced the conventionally Darwinist "good" of dead in the same range of numbers.

Taken together, the modern secular alternatives,

- the system of the United States under the absolutist, literalist, fundamentalist interpretation of "free speech" "free press" "separation of" not only "church" and state but state and any assertion of morality or ethics, even to a large extent the entire history of the slavemaster-capitalist Constitution,

- Marxism

- Fascism-Nazism

all of them are as catastrophic as the earlier monarchies and empires, either gradually, as in the United States, or immediately.  Though, as I've recently pointed out, for Black slaves, for Native Americans and others the American Constitution was an immediate and ongoing disaster - as the post-Soviet Union still lives with the spiritual and intellectual damage of Czarist rule, we live with the spiritual and intellectual damage of racism, sexism and other forms of moral depravity.

We have always walked a narrow line, the American democracy has always depended on the narrow margin of people who, sometimes, voted on the basis of morality instead of self-interest, on the basis of the truth instead of carefully nurtured fears, bigotry and superstition - some of our most cherished superstitions being anti-religious as well as those involving the supernatural.  When the power of that narrow margin is diminished in numbers and in the strength of its morality, the Constitution, its institutions and least of all the free press don't provide a fall back, as can be seen in how Trump won while losing, the Constitution and its institutions are more likely to help the immoral and depraved, the media can, mostly, be counted on more to try to normalize fascism than fight it.

I am planning on reading and studying that line of encyclicals which Popes generally write in consultation with theologians and other experts, not all of those they consult being Catholics,  but which always begin in the morality of the Law, the Prophets and the Gospel and the apostolic literature which is far more likely to produce egalitarian democracy in the modern period, now that the dead hand of monarchs and emperors doesn't influence that.

Christianity has a chance to finally make serious efforts to implement "do unto others as you would have them do unto you - that which you do for the least among you you do unto God and that which you do not do for the least among you you don't do unto God - love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, . . . " and if they can convince a majority of those who profess Christianity to do that, the results would be a far more egalitarian democracy and economic justice than pseudo-scientific enlightenment scientism does.  I think the trial period of "enlightenment" government proves it's more likely to end up either not doing that (the original American Constitution certainly didn't) or in its implosion, as we see in the patched up, half-hearted reform of it resulting in Trump.

* I, to a large extent, do agree with Normal Finkelstein that after the crushing defeat of Nazism the part of Germany which escaped Soviet Domination did develop into one of the most stable and, n many ways, responsible democracies in Europe - though the same certainly isn't true of East Germany under Soviet domination.  We might learn a lot by studying what was done right in Germany after the war up till the recent resurgence of fascism and Nazism.  Some say that Nazi resurgence came about especially in the part of the unified Germany which was under Soviet domination, certainly encouraged by the Putin mafia regime today.  Anyone who looks to Marxism as something to be hoped for is as depraved as anyone who wants a resurgence of Nazism.  The American Left in its secularist-atheist form, in so far as they promote either the developed results or the prerequisite building blocks of them is not really much better than the alt-right.  In so many ways, they are its tools.


  1. "The American Left in its secularist-atheist form, in so far as they
    promote either the developed results or the prerequisite building blocks
    of them is not really much better than the alt-right"

    Absolutely. There's no question that those of us who don't believe in the Invisible Sky Being are every bit as evil as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.

    1. You have done more to get Republican-fascists in power by alienating voters than Bannon and Gorka and lots of them did exactly the same things as Bannon and Gorka last year, for example, the publisher of The Nation and her husband and others, the editor and various writers for such publications as In These Times, such schmucks as Cenk Uygur and his ilk.

      The results were Trump.

      You know, dopey, when you say "Invisible Sky Being" you're not talking about anything I believe in so it doesn't offend me, I'm indifferent to that stupid, would-be blasphemous cliche which I heard long before you heard it and first repeated it. As I said, you're a malignant Mellotron, every key attached to a pre-recorded tape-loop.

  2. Have you ever actually played a Mellotron, shithead?

    Here's a clue -- a real creative musician, rather than a hack like you, can coax sounds out of it as surprising and unexpected as you can on any other instrument if you have talent. See: Brian Jones, Mellotron, on The Rolling Stones "We Love You."

    1. I can play you.

      Like you, the actual instrument is of limited range. I'd rather have a harmonium.

  3. Replies
    1. Hot air wouldn't be good for the sound producing mechanism. Though,it's understandable mistake that, you put the "li-e" in Calliope.

      A smarter troll would realize you're never going to land a punch, you just keep trying.

  4. Keep flattering yourself. It's adorable.

    1. Simps, I wouldn't think of copying your beauty regimen, I've seen the results.