Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fascism with a Christian Face: The Grand Inquisitor at The New York Times

by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network at 12/26/07

The NYTs and other major newspapers have opened on their op-ed pages a congenial and brotherly discussion of torture. Like the discussion of the use of nuclear weapons in terrorist situations at last summer’s Daily Kos conference, in which several of the Democratic candidates for President brought forth positions which would have been considered madness a decade ago, this kind of public discussion acclimates the culture to ideas previously unthought and unheard and spirals to a further descent into political and historical degeneracy. As Emerson said at the beginning of our arc of power: We see ourselves ascending a stairs. But today we see ourselves descending that same set of stairs.

Torture now has binary parts; those sort of for and those sort of against – this sort of pseudo-Hegelian dialectic has mnemonic and associative conversational features which acclimate the reader to torture and insinuates torture into our culture to a degree to which it has never existed before. It is a complete compromise of character by the appeasing voice of the horde, today's mainstream journalists.

Arthur Koestler - spirit father of the neocon adventure - referred to torturers in his time - the children of Franco - as the scum of the earth and it is interesting that the neocon journalists who were formed by Koestler's heroic character in opposition to European fascism first advanced this discussion. But in Koestler's time, the torturers were them; The Others. They were not those among us nor were they part of our discussion and we did not consider them to be part of our humanity: We defined our humanity in opposition to them. They were the grotesque caricatures in Dostoyevsky's The Grand Inquisitor and Kafka's In the Penal Colony; a different moral species than the rest of us. Today, as per the discussion in the NYTs, they are us. That this discussion exists at all today is evidence that the American republic as it was born and reared has lost its talisman.

It is startling that the appeasers in the press only accommodate to a new force in Congress which insults 2,000 years of the European tradition and religious history and on the day of Christmas at that. As torture, like the repeal of habeas corpus and the establishment of American gulags, has only entered into the American political realm and discussion since American politicians, like George Bush and Mitt Romney, have promoted themselves as Christian. Romney, in fact, the most fascistic of the lot, has promised us that he is also - Mormonism aside - the most Christian of this squalid pack of hungry predators and in his extreme positions on torture and Gitmo he appears to want to bolster his Christian karma and credentials. As Ron Paul said recently, disarming a Fox commentator who hoped to initiate him into the Fox tribe: "Upton Sinclair once wrote that when America became a fascist state it would do so wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

To discuss freedom is to be free. Likewise, to discuss torture as the NYTs does today is to enter the moral condition of the true slave; the one who prefers moral submission to clarity of heart and mind; the one who has not the courage to stand free in opposition; the one who enters the discussion in objectivity; the coward who channels irony as a substitute for passion and holds on head down through the difficult years lest s/he lose tenure and the pension.

This is Corporation Man and Woman in a Republic of Penguins – the totem animal of the horde; uniform in mind and stripe, walking together into the sunset without the political will or individual character to take the real actions that need to be taken - s/he is the weakling who enables the Wolf and the Rising American Fascism.

The congenial tone and banter in the NYTs discussion finds the voice of Huxley's lightly totalitarianated hordes - people without places marinated exclusively in their generational culture and with tiny telephones the size of roaches dangling from their ears, willfully on the path of Prozac and public radio. If penguins listened to us, this would be the language they listened in. And if penguins could speak, this would be their language and discussion as well.