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No Peace in the Pantheon

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The sign reads “Beware of Religious Fundamentalists.” I first saw this warning sign on my walk from there to nowhere a few years back. It seemed then that most people fearing the fundamentalists were pot-smoking libertarians living in the free-trade district; that once-prestigious part of downtown that gave way to the sprawling fever once Americans exchanged their nationalist coffee for a free trade brew. But now these front door warning labels have become quite the trend. Books, billboards, and bumper stickers! I think I even saw a young lady with something like “Fundamentalists are Fascists” tattooed on her ankle… or was it her big toe? I am not sure anymore. What I am sure of, though, is that this new “peace in the pantheon” craze has spread like pinkeye in a culture hell-bent on giving everyone eye-to-eye butterfly kisses.

I needed to get to the bottom of this. Truth be told, I was freaking out! Most everyone in town knew I worked with Local 10:34, a Roman Catholic union named after the now-famous sword-text in St. Matthew’s gospel. If fundamentalists were scary, then we were every child’s nightmare!

We said some pretty crazy stuff, I guess. We were pretty bold, saying things like “outside the Church there is no salvation” and that the modern ecumenical movement is tantamount to institutionalized religious whoredom. Many fundies had backpedaled over the years, but not us. Benedict XVI apologized to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” after quoting Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos during his now-famous Regensburg lecture. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell both apologized for connecting the obvious dots between national immorality and national disaster. Billy Graham and Mel Gibson wept before the bright lights after being busted bad-mouthing Jewry and its Lobby. These fellas were diminished to bootlicker status. We weren’t like them. We said what we meant, sure. But we went further and meant what we said. The audacity of conviction!

But yesterday’s boon is today’s bust, or so it appears. And if Dr. “Scary” Gary North was in hot water, then members of Local 10:34 were in hellfire!

A few days later I found myself talking to someone who appeared to be part of the opposition. I don’t recall what it was that gave her away. Was it the fact that she had “COEXIST” detailed across the hood of her car? Maybe it was her “I Luv thePrayer Summit of Assisi” T-shirt. No, it was probably the “Got Questions? Ask me!” button. I guess it really doesn’t matter. What did matter was that I spoke to someone in “the know” about this.

“These fascists are so intolerant,” she said. “They are so full of hatred.”
“Who are they?” I asked.

“Them!” she shouted. “All the fundamentalists. Not just Muslims.”

Not just the Muslims? What??? This terrifying group of foaming-at-the-mouth “Islamofascists” who tear their beards out every time someone mentioned voting machines in their presence?

The entire conversation was quite confusing. It all appeared to be so hypocritical. We needed to hate hatred. We had to be intolerant of all intolerance. Freedom of religion for everyone but not for everyone. Freedom of speech protects blasphemy and porn, but “fundie talk” must be forbidden. Confusing to say the least.

But the Tolerance Tyrants are a pretty complex herd.

The more radical libertines advocated playing arm-chair eisegesis, finding in every religion and sacred text some super-secret hidden proof of hyper-inclusivism. Reading between the lines would result in discrediting the plain-as-day exegesis of yesteryear. These folks have mastered the arts of reading between the lines and the invisible writing on walls.

The “Agree with us or die” handbook from the First Church of Americanism is quite helpful for those exclusivists trying to understand the ecclesiastical structure for this unpleasant tribe of New Worlders. A woman at the gas station up the road from my home gave it to me along with a pack of American Gold cigarettes and handful of peanut gallery cashews. It appears that America’s founding fathers are high priests who had magical insight into the way things ought to be. Thomas Jefferson, who penned “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” a gospel gutted of supernaturalism, is the chief guru. Jefferson is accompanied by George Washington, the Grand Master of the Freemason’s Alexandria Lodge 22, whose own pastor at Christ’s Church questioned the legitimacy of his confession after years of Washington’s refusal to take part in communion services. The works of Mr. “The bloody Christian faith” Thomas Paine are prominent, with Common Sense and Rights of Man being treated like Chick tracts. Apologists for this “second Israel” see in the Bill of Rights what Paul VI saw in the United Nations: the last hope for mankind and for world peace. It’s even ready-made with its own Magisterium, the Supreme Court of the United States. The devil couldn’t have penned a better catechism!

A few hours ago, right before penning this, I noticed a number of city folk parking in front of the house. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was all about, so I went to the door. Bad idea! Turns out that one of their more vocal apologists, a certain Jay Batman, wrote a piece entitled “The Problem of Violent Fundamentalism: Religious Freedom and Responsibilities Thereof.” A harmless little blog, really… or at least it was until it got into the hands of radical inclusivists. Now they are chanting outside my home! Some even have signs reading, “Peer pressure him into submission!” They went so far as to hire a negotiator. “Mr. Bannister,” he said, “fundamentalists can’t hug their children with nuclear arms.” I tried convincing him that I wasn’t down with nukes and that I’m not a fan of the war hawks, but there was no convincing him. Mass hysteria set in strong, and it couldn’t even wait until I was done with my evening walk.

I’m not sure how all of this will turn out. There is no saying, really. We are dealing with a strange breed; the type of person that will demand you hug your neighbor while aiming a gun at your head. There seems to be no exits, so I’m stuck having to fight my way out of this nonsense. I’ll leave you, then, with my favorite line from my favorite propaganda film, Flight 93: “Let’s roll…”

Written by Paleocrat

May 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

American Life at 173 MPH

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typewriter_olympia_hg1

Written by Paleocrat
Jan. 8, 2009
 

What I wouldn’t give for a typewriter. A real nice vintage one. The kind you would see on Citizen Kane or in an old picture of Hunter S. Thompson. If my memory serves me well, and it rarely does, there used to be one tucked away somewhere in friend’s attic. Not at all sure what happened with it, but I wouldn’t put it past the poor saps to have slapped a $1 tag on it in a garage sale. Unfortunate.

My fascination with typewriters may be chalked up with a simple love for all things old. Cars, quills, clothing styles, black and white photographs, music, you name it. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that they require a relatively decent amount of finger coordination. Mistakes aren’t easily glossed over. Errors are obvious, smudged over with White Out. Were I to be tapping away on one of these typewriters at this very moment, this entry would be as mark-free as Tony Soprano’s wrap sheet.

But this post isn’t really about typewriters. At least not directly. Instead, as with most other things, it correlates to my obsession with all things socio-political. 

Americans live life fast and furious, tapping away at their keys without but a care in the world. The delete key, unlike the White Out of old, provides the luxury of fumbling around without having to pay much mind to errors. A simple backspace and all is well. Most forget just how many times, and exactly on what words, they utilize this feature. This allows them to fumble through life while minimizing the number of visible cover-ups by which to recall their errors. Pounding out words and actions as if they bear no consequence. Easily out of sight, easily out of mind. This is the American way.

While life may be dandy when all is easily forgotten, it is those very errors, as well as the reflections thereupon, that make us all the better. We see common mistakes, we notice redundancies, and we get a better grasp on where fine-tuning is in demand. It is here that we begin to more accurately realize our need for betterment, and where exactly these things are to be found. This is not so when all is blotted out with broad strokes and no visible remains.

While I may have a personal passion for the nostalgic, I am by no means encouraging all to return to the yesteryear of typewriters and quills. But maybe it would do us well to be more cautious, more calculated, and more willing to reflect long and hard on those areas in life where haste took precedence over prudence.

Written by Paleocrat

January 8, 2009 at 10:49 am

Oh Yes, Economic Insanity! That’ll do!

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Written by Paleocrat
Jan. 4, 2009 

“It was the mystical dogma of Bentham and Adam Smith and the rest, that some of the worst of human passions would turn out to be all for the best. It was the mysterious doctrine that selfishness would do the work of unselfishness.”
GK Chesterton

The day and age of prudence and sanity is long gone, if in fact it ever did exist. We live in a time where money gurus babble on about how the most radical deregulation will mysteriously perform the functions of regulation, how an absolutely unfettered economy will bring about order, and how “the virtue of selfishness” (as Madame Rand was fond of calling it) would result in nothing short of the economic Utopia finding its home in the wildest fantasies of men like Mises and Bastiat. To be quite frank, the entire ordeal is a tad bit overwhelming for those who, like me, have a sensitive gag reflex. 

I wish these were the musings of a madman who hasn’t the slightest clue of things as they really are, the ravings of things far-fetched. Unfortunately, one has only to fetch the remote. Market mystics are commonplace, and like a bad case of herpes they show up in predictable places at just the worst times. Hucksters in tight suits and cheap cologne spouting off what Betty Crocker would consider a sure recipe for economic disaster. 

The problem isn’t so much their being large in number as it is that they are professional ear-tickerls! They know the game, and they play it like champs. The masses are assured that if they just allow their cookies to crumble, then even bigger, better tasting cookie will appear from the heaped remains they let tumble to the floor. 

It all sounds so simple! It sounds almost too good to be true. Like a good, old fashion pyramid scheme or bottle of snake oil. If only its this bit of irony was any bit ironic.

To imagine that we haven’t overcome our susceptibility to the charlatans of old. We should know better by now. Then again, there must be a reason why the adage “we never learn from history” has stood the test of time. If only there were a generation that had the kind of moral resolve and intellectual fortitude to put that precedent to rest. If only…