Blogging the Apocalypse
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
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Written February 27, 2006
1. America, the Dictatorship
Incrementally, but noticeably, the United states is shedding its democracy. Hard-won civil liberties are willingly sacrificed for the sake of illusory added security. Institutions are stacked with political, partisan appointees who do their puppetmaster's bidding. Laws are openly broken and the Constitution flaunted with breathtaking callousness and an ease that would have been considered unthinkable on September 10, 2001. I wouldn't be surprised if the forthcoming presidential elections are suspended due to this perpetual "state of emergency".
Largely ignorant of history and thus devoid of any meaningful or helpful perspective, people shrug off this doomsday scenario. They forget that Rome - a four hundred years old republic with venerable institutions like the Roman Senate - gave in to tyranny in the space of four years. The same goes for ancient Athens, the first truly participatory democracy on earth, transformed by wars into a hideous dictatorship.
America's is a malignantly narcissistic culture. Its denizens believe counterfactually that it is the richest, most virtuous, freest, society on earth. Reasonably, they are convinced that everyone is destructively envious of them. This renders them paranoid and violent. An early and observant traveler, Alexis de Tocqueville, noted this siege mentality and warned that the United States is walking a thin line between freedom and authoritarianism.
It is this ingrained belief that the world is hostile and harsh that will likely undo the American experiment. Psychology teaches us about projective identification - a defense mechanism that forces people around you to behave the way you are accustomed and expect them to. Treating everyone as a potential enemy usually turns them into ones.
2. The New Politics
Politics, in all its forms, is bankrupt. The notion that we can safely and successfully hand over the management of our daily lives and the setting of priorities to a political class or elite is thoroughly discredited. Politicians cannot be trusted, regardless of the system in which they operate. No set of constraints, checks, and balances, is proved to work and mitigate their unconscionable acts and the pernicious effects these have on our welfare and longevity.
Ideologies - from the benign to the malign and from the divine to the pedestrian - have driven the gullible human race to the verge of annihilation and back. Participatory democracies have degenerated everywhere into venal plutocracies. Socialism and its poisoned fruits - Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism - have wrought misery on a scale unprecedented even by medieval standards. Only Fascism and Nazism compare with them unfavorably. The idea of the nation-state culminated in the Yugoslav succession wars.
People are voting with their feet. Most elections draw to the ballot boxes and the polling stations less than half the electorate.
Three models seem to be emerging as the dominant forms of future politics:
I. Anarchism, both destructive (international terrorism, for example) and constructive (the Internet, for instance).
II. Participatory democracy, both destructive (mob rule and coups) and constructive (people power, especially in Asia and Latin America).
III. In certain countries, mainly in the West, a disenchanted and uninterested citizenry will relegate power and vest it in various oligrachies, forfeiting its decision-making prerogatives altogether and permanently in return for material welfare and personal safety.
3. The Familiar Gone Awry
In this nightmarish world of ours even the erstwhile comfortingly familiar has gone awry and menacing.
Birds, those soaring symbols of liberty and beauty now carry death and devastation in the form of avian flu.
Airplanes, the reification of overcoming gravity and attaining freedom, these harbingers of the global village, now wreak havoc by slamming into skyscrapers and bombing weddings.
The Internet, this eruption of joyous creativity and boundless interaction, is now a minefield of flame wars, malware, gambling, crime, spam, and child pornography.
The United States, once considered by many the beacon of democracy, the home of the liberal ideal exiled from Europe by wars and genocides - is now a thuggish, brutish, murderous threat to world peace and stability.
4. The da Vinci Syndrome
The history of the Catholic Church reads like the annals of a global crime concern. It gave the world the inquisition, incestuous and murderous popes, religious warfare, pedophiliac sex scandals, idolatry, and the gnawing guilt that comes from embracing life-defying ideals. Its intentional lack of transparency, murky dealings, and refusal to be held accountable for the actions of its adherents and officials have rendered it complicit in the most horrendous events of the last two millennia.
With a modicum of justice it has been accused of anything and everything from collaborating with the Nazi regime (and helping war criminals flee justice) to instigating and perpetrating the more insidious forms of anti-Semitism. Its current head was a willing member of the Nazi youth movement. Its former, long-serving, chief actively spread AIDS throughout the developing world by prohibiting the use of contraceptives.
Hence "The da Vinci Code" and a slew of other anti-Catholic tomes. This genre thrives on the widespread conviction that there is nothing the Catholic Church will refrain from doing or find too abhorrent to further its earthly wealth and might. Alas, history this time is on the side of the conspiracy theorists.
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