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To embrace the eternal-Psyche and Eros, part 3

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To hear the story first, so that you will know what I write about, go here. Image

Psyche, the beautiful, the beloved of husband and parents, she who has been given everything that heaven and earth can offer, tosses it all away in the name of a curiosity that must be satisfied. When Psyche raises that lamp to gaze on her husband’s face, she takes the next step towards fulfilling the destiny she has carved out for herself. It is at this moment that she continues her journey up the mountain. Psyche is on her way to an elevation that she does not foresee.

How many of us, when we seemingly had everything, have lost it all to a disastrous decision? Did you begin life as a “golden child” only to find yourself caught up in “circumstances beyond control?” Worldly goods or innate talent, or being the favorite of your parents, to have it all and to not lose it at some point is a sure fire way to the life Thoreau described as one led in “quiet desperation.”
The way out of such a life is to take the hero’s journey.

Psyche isn’t tossed from her palatial home. She leaves it. Like every hero who takes their proverbial journey, it is taken up willingly. Deliberately, Psyche next seeks out her enemy, the goddess Aphrodite. We can say of Psyche, as the thug said of Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, “You take chances, mister.”

Psyche takes chances so that she may learn from the goddess how to overcome the shortcomings that got her into her fix. For every one who would take the journey, learning from one’s enemies is an important part of the process. An enemy may be out to kill you, Aphrodite wanted Psyche dead, but if you can survive their plans, you’ve won a great victory. Aphrodite, for her part, is in no mood to be understanding for Eros lies sick, indeed, he may die. His disappointment in Psyche nearly kills him. This state of affairs represents many things, including the idea that the male is sensitive. He’s not only about sex and macho pursuits. Men feel deeply, they just don’t show it. For it is usually men who are given to suicidal thoughts and actions when they are devastated by love gone bad.

Which means that Psyche has unleashed quite the storm on the material plain, for if Eros dies then erotic love dies. Male and female would copulate only for the physical pleasure of making babies. What a dreary world that would be! The soul, which longs to be satisfied as much as the body does, needs erotic love. Psyche, then, cannot survive if Eros doesn’t. Psyche has clarity here. Whatever Aphrodite commands, Psyche will obey.

The first three tasks given to Psyche, the temple grains, the golden wool and the magic water, Psyche accomplishes with the help of nature. The ants who organize the grain, the river who warns her of the deadly sheep and the eagle who retrieves the water for her, these elements of the land, water and air represent nature protecting Psyche from the harsh Aphrodite.

What does it mean that the ant, the river and the eagle take up Psyche’s cause? That nature cooperates with us, with humanity. Recall the beginning of the story when Aphrodite cursed all of nature when she found out about Psyche. All of nature was touched by her destructive edict. Human beings are a part of the natural world, therefore, I will suggest that the ant, the river and the eagle helped one of their own to overcome the goddess. The second meaning is that our natural selves help our souls to develop since our souls reside in this mortal, physical body. We feel this when we get that high from physical exertion. Even when our bodies deny us mobility through pain or disease, we feel that triumph when we overcome the effects to live a full life.

What does the fourth and final task mean? For one, we see how Aphrodite must now conspire with her counterpart in nature: death. The Queen of the Underworld, who gives Psyche the box of beauty, is the degeneration of Mother Nature. All is dark, all is waiting, there is nothing to achieve in the underworld, except the waiting. This is the “nothing” we learned of from The Never Ending Story.

It is at this point of the story that we know that Aphrodite has figured out the human soul is ever curious. The soul must know things if it is to grow, to expand, to rise up toward the stars. It is this understanding that places Psyche in mortal danger. For here is how our devils tempt us. Inwardly. Psyche, the curious one, cannot help but open the lid of the box to see what beauty looks like. Perhaps a little of that beauty will help the, by now fatigued, Psyche look a little better? Yes, the most beautiful woman in the world can have a moment of doubt! A fatal one.

Only a prince can wake Psyche from her “beauty sleep.” Now we see where those writers of such stories as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White got their material. We also get, from Eros’ determination to find his missing lover, where such lines as “Love conquers all,” and Shakespeare’s “The course of true love never did run smooth,” come from. From this couple, lovers eternal who will fight for their relationship.

The two important ideas to take away from this story is that one, we need to take the hero’s journey to fully develop our soul, and two, when human beings love, the soul must engage. Enlightened erotic love is soulful, and everlasting. Those who long for their “soulmate” are on the right path. This is, however, not a sentimental issue. For the soulmate, one must be prepared to risk all, even to the death. This is how a coupling is lifted out of the mundane world into the realm of the eternal. In marriage, Aphrodite, aka our natural instincts, is recognized and given her due. This balance with nature and the soul helps us lead the measured life, one with passion and reason engaged.

The ending of the story brings us to the issue of eternal life, where Psyche is taken to Olympus to live as a goddess in her own right. Mythology, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Pagan, et cetera, gives us the idea of eternal life. Myths, I will argue, speak to us beyond the word “belief” and address that which we term “inner knowledge.” Do you know that life goes on and on? Is this your gnosis? Then this myth, Psyche and Eros, is a guide for you to gain further insights on how to elevate your inner being, your soul. It is your physical self with your psyche firmly engaged that will take the hero’s journey. During this journey, when you love, you will engage the soul as well as the body. For to engage the soul in love, is to embrace the eternal.

Written by lcrockett

December 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Where’s Becket When You Need HIm?

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Why was Becket murdered?

Because four knights who were close to Henry the Second decided to rid their king of this thorn in the king’s side. Supposedly Henry said, in the presence of these knights, “Can no one rid me of this bothersome priest?” Did Henry say that? Who knows? The knights who murdered Becket didn’t say exactly what Henry said to them to inspire them to take matters into their own hands.

The four men of arms did not set out to murder Thomas Becket. They set out to bring the guy in for questioning. To arrest him. No one asked them to do that either. Things got out of hand as Thomas refused to go with the knights. One thing led to another, and then Thomas was dead, laying in a pool of his blood with his brains dashed out on the floor of his cathedral.

In the first part of this Becket series of two, I wrote about history and writers of historical fiction, and how it is important to keep to the facts. In this part, we will look at the one fact Anouilh got right; the argument between Henry and Thomas. What was it? It was, put simply, a power tug-of-war. Who would have jurisdiction over priests when they ran afoul the law. The Church or the government?

One can’t help but be struck by the similar argument we have today between our own American government under President Obama and the Catholic Church. When it comes to certain health issues, who will control the distribution of specific goods and services: private entities, including the Church or the government? For Thomas and Henry, the conflict evolved around a specific case of a priest charged with murder. The Church wanted to try the priest for his crime. In our age, we are taken aback at such an idea. Of course a capital crime should be tried by secular courts. Why, we might ask, would a religious body want to sully their hands with such a thing like murder?

Becket, who had until then been Henry’s man, turned against him. He decided that he would uphold the Church’s right to try one of its own.  The Catholic Church, during that era, was no stranger to hard nosed policies of punishment for sins. Ever since Constantine converted to the Roman Christian dogmas, the Catholic Church had carte blanche in all things pertaining to it. Now, 800 years later, it was time to put the church wholly in its place. The spiritual realm would be separated from the secular.

That, however, was not the reality. The Church had not been separate from the secular at all. State religions never are. State religions do have little tussles over power with the secular ruling class, but these sorts of arguments are to be expected. Therefore, Thomas Becket’s little war would go nowhere fast because the Church’s leadership was no stranger to the political realities of its day. Becket left town not too long after he butted heads with Henry. The King of France, Louis VII, gave him sanctuary, for his own political reasons. From France, Henry went on to Rome to discuss his policy with the Pope. The Pope gave him moral support, but nothing else.  Popes have a tendency to be political animals themselves. How does one think they become pope to begin with?

For years Becket remained an exile residing in France. Finally, he was allowed to come home. Arriving in Canterbury, Becket understood that his days were probably numbered as he still would not back down. Becket knew just how much he had disappointed Henry.

The Catholic Church of the twenty-first century is far from it’s ancestor of the twelfth. Today, the Roman Catholic Church is only one of many churches in the United States. We have no state religion, so it cannot place pressure on a president. Instead, our president wants to dictate to the church. Obamacare is telling the Roman Catholic Church that it must provide birth control in all its forms to individuals who work for the Church. There is protest over this issue, however, there is no Thomas Becket to push the agenda, to inspire with his unwavering leadership.

That was really Becket’s big trouble, is that when he was thrust into a leadership position, he proved to be every bit as much the leader as Henry. In those days of near absolute kingship, there could be only one top dog leader in Henry’s empire. Becket challenged him. If one challenges a dictator, for that is what Henry was, one has to expect that one will, eventually, have to either topple the dictator, back down or loose one’s life. If Becket could have played his game longer, he may have been able to topple Henry and replace him with one of Henry’s sons. Don’t snicker, for Henry was challenged just a few years later by his sons and wife, Eleonor.

In 1174, Henry did penance for the death of Becket. The Church did have some clout left. State religions do, they can bring a monarch to his knees to be whipped. The United States would laugh at the Church if it tried it today. Indeed, under Obama’s forced health care package, the Church is the entity brought to its knees. It remains to be seen if they are whipped or not.

No religious body should be singled out or brought to its knees. If Muslims are exempt from Obamacare, then so too should the Catholic Church be. If the Church doesn’t fight this, they will only lose their members and their moral clout.

When we attend our holy services, we go for specific reasons. If a denomination won’t live up to its spiritual path, then why go? Spiritual paths are not meant to be easy. Christianity is certainly a difficult road to travel on. If the leaders can’t hack it, then they are no longer the leaders.  Being without spiritual leadership is worse than being without the secular kind. I can, really, live without government. I cannot live without the men and women who have dedicated themselves to spiritual enlightenment.

Come on Thomas. Make a comeback.

Written by lcrockett

October 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Et tu, Newt?

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Many a word about Newt Gingrich have been flying around lately. It seems that a few conservatives as well as Republicans have discovered what the libertarian faction has known for quite some time. Newt is a part of the regime. As in the “ruling class.”

What exactly is the “ruling class?” Or for that matter, the “regime?” The official definition is that it is a political or social system. You know, the establishment. Newt is very much a part of the establishment. He is an accepted member, wealthy in connections and cash. That he is no longer in direct political power is only because the present ruling regime is not of his political party. When the GOP gets back in, Newt will be around. Guys like Newt make their fortunes by their political connections. He has earned them. That I would never deny him.

I like it that Newt is out of the closet. It’s good for conservatives to gain an understanding of what has been happening to their nation for the past, oh, 100 years. Our spiral downwards from the uniqueness that was America into some sort of quasi European nation didn’t happen over night. And it did not begin with the current president. He is the recipient of a long line of individuals, within the establishment, who made him and his ideas in the White House possible. Obama is the direct heir of George W. Bush. Gracious I can hear the hue and cry of Republicans everywhere. But that president did his part to get us into the mess we are in. And he inherited a mess from Bill Clinton.

Lest we forget, Newt and Bill managed to co-exist. My theory is that they were able to wheel and deal because they are very much alike. Both are smart men who get along well with people. No, Gingrich doesn’t have Clinton’s charm, but Newt is personable. He could not have accomplished what he has if he were not a likable guy. To continue the comparison,while Clinton did not divorce his wife, he is a known and unapologetic fornicator. Newt has had three wives. And both men are making millions from their past accomplishments in government.

Nice work if you can get it.

Newt and Bill are not alone. Anyone who has worked in government  has a good chance of making a killer living. Once you are thrown out of office it doesn’t mean the American taxpayer won’t still be paying your salary. Ex-legislators get to be high-priced consultants. Ditto bureaucrats. They go to work for corporations, like the pharmaceuticals, as liaisons between the company and the bureaucracies. It’s about networking and connections, but not networking with other people in business. The real gold lies in government connections.  As bad as that sounds – well, it’s down and out corrupt – America’s citizens need to wake up to smell the coffee of what all those Byzantine regulations have done for us. They force more young people into law school than medical school for one thing. The best and the brightest want to learn how to sue a physician, not be a physician.

These are difficult concepts for us to swallow, that we Americans no longer can look up to those who lead us. It is difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that this is not our forefathers’ nation, it’s not even our father’s. It makes a twist in my belly to think that I am at the mercy of so many people who do not know me, who only wish to keep me quiet and want my money at every turn. I hate to say it, but I am disgusted with too many of my fellow Americans. Indeed, I don’t even think of them as Americans any more. They are “Amereuropeans.” These members of the establishment think of themselves as above it all.That means above us.  There is their world and then there is our world. Theirs is a world of privilege and power over the lives of others, namely us. Ours is a world of hard work and the taking of our earnings so that the privileged few can continue their life making decisions for us. They are the aristocracy. We are the peasants, placed here on earth for their benefit.

It is a relief to see  more Americans, mostly conservatives, have made a good beginning in grasping the fundamentals of what is actually going wrong in our nation. It is not about placing the “right party” in power. It is about placing the right people in power, getting virtuous individuals elected, no matter their party affiliation. It may mean that it is time to create a viable third party that reflects the true American values of self-reliance and self-restraint. It does mean that such fools as Mark Sanford, who had everything going for him but gave it all up to fornicate with some harlot from Argentina, will be seen for what he is. A man of no self-restraint who holds only his own pleasures as his primary concern in life. Do we really need such men to lead us? Hell no. The Sanfords of this world are not truly American because our Founders did not engage in such behavior. The men who gave us this nation were men of self-restraint. They set the example. They understood that for America to continue, virtue would have to be our calling card.

There are those who say “you cannot go back” to what was.  Correct. You can’t. But you can reclaim virtue. You can radicalize. You can, shall I say it? be judgmental? That means you will judge everyone by the same virtues you live by. In essence we do that now. Our own moral laziness has caused us to accept others who are morally lazy and look where that has gotten us. Yes indeed, look in the mirror to discover our nation’s shortcomings.

Newt doesn’t get anywhere in this life without you buying into it. You can cut off  his powers to earn and manipulate by shutting him off. Judge him by your own standards. Not by the ethics of others. And when he comes on to the TV to pontificate, that’s a good time to go brush your teeth.

Written by lcrockett

December 7, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Posted in 1, Civilization

Tagged with , ,

Marriage Outside the Box, Part 1

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Only those locked in a cage somewhere in outer space have not heard about the Miss California flap. There has been much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth on the Right and joyful viciousness on the Left. If you haven’t heard about it, first, I want to welcome you back to civilization, and second, you may want to think about going back to that cage in outer space.

Using the 25 words or less method, here’s what happened. During the Miss USA pageant, Miss California answered a direct question with a direct answer. No, she does not believe in “gay marriage.” With her words a firestorm was unleashed.

The “gay marriage” issue is not going to go away until Islam takes over the world.

I bet that got your attention.

The world Islam would like to control is a very confused and messy place. Besides the usual challenges of keeping bodies and souls together, we have the economy, world terrorism, illegal immigrants and global warming to contend with along with a culture that is changing rapidly, as in a generation that grew up in largely a heterosexual world is seemingly morphing into a multi-gendered one where anything not only goes, it is now legally sanctioned. Like same sex marriage. Yes the idea that two people of the same sex would marry is, on the surface, outrageous. There is no historical precedence for it, nor does such a relationship have a parallel in nature that we can point to and say, “See, they do it.”  This notion has as its basis the concept that states should legalize matrimony. Same sex marriage, then, is one of the unintended consequences of the enlightenment of the 18th century.

The traditionalists see same sex marriage as a revolutionary march into hell for the culture. The metro group, made up of social liberals of all stripes, not just lefties, views it as an evolutionary change. California, where I reside most of the year, has a population of nearly 37,000,000. Of that population, approximately 186,000 are a part of a gay couple. Based on the national average of 7.6 percent, there are, in California, approximately 281,200 gays/lesbians. Therefore, what we are discussing here is marriage for this small group of people.  How I arrived at this estimation is by reading over the census data contained on this site: http://www.gaydemographics.org/USA/2000_Census_Total.htm. I chose the middle percentage (7.6, I always choose the middle figure) because I believe the 10 percent is way too high, and the 2.7 a bit low.

When most folks are queried about same sex unions, there is more compassion than hostility. A great many Americans do feel that same sex couples need legal protections as well as legal rights that are basically marriage rights. The problem is when labeling it “marriage” it doesn’t sit well with a great deal of folks. Miss California is one of them. So the question becomes how did such a small percentage of the population get so much control over this conversation?

Well, we, sort of, invited it in. Let me explain.Traditionalists failed to evolve. Those who cry the loudest against gay marriage have been absent on the marriage front for a long time. They have addressed contemporary issues using religion as their backup on why folks need to marry traditionally. Those arguments hold no water in a highly secularized city, where most of the population reside. In short, traditionalists need to look in the mirror and place blame on themselves as the”other partner” in this tango. It goes back to the old theory that if you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem. The Left loves this theory because lefties wants to politicize everything. If all problems in life have a political solution then big government has a job to do. So naturally, the Left loves the concept of gay marriage. It brings gays, who used to be rebels with a cause, into the fold.

Since the left has a track record of taking the low road whenever they need to in order to get their way, no one need be surprised that Miss California got dumped on.  If Miss California had lost her crown, the left would have successfully politicized a beauty contest. But I believe Donald Trump saw through that one and on to the bigger danger. Which is this. It would have been a return to the days when women were to behave. Answer the way you are supposed to, dear. Don’t think for yourself, do not be bold, be a good little girl. How boring is that? Very. The Miss USA program would become a channel turner.

What I suggest is that social conservatives  start changing this conversation, and redirect it. They can challenge the concept of the state having the authority over marriage in the first place. Think this through thoroughly, my friends. What business does the state have in issuing a marriage license? This is especially directed at religious people. It is only too obvious that, in the west, a marriage license has become an invitation to a divorce rendering it a mockery of marriage because that piece of paper is meaningless. A state that requires it really cannot force you to keep it intact. Indeed, on that end of marriage, divorce, the state admitted 40 years back that it couldn’t keep people married. So if you are powerless on that end, why not give up the power on the front end?

Stop thinking marriage will crumble if gays marry. Marriage has already crumbled. Instead, start thinking outside the box. Start thinking about how to rebuild marriage. And to do that, get the politics out of it. Start thinking new language, a new song to drown out that cacophony of hate from the Left.

The above suggestion is based on the theory that sometimes you just have to give people what they want. And then some.

Part Two will address the new rumblings, from the multi-spouse groups.

Written by lcrockett

May 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Posted in 1, Civilization, Culture

Tagged with , ,

A Heretic Speaks Her Mind

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Let us begin with a confession. I am a heretic. I say that with all confidence because no one is going to rush in and put me to the question and then to the stake. I live, and I am so fortunate to do so, in the United States of America, a nation that belongs to the Western Civ traditions. And now, my additional confession. I believe it to be a superior culture. Why do I believe that? Because as a woman I have been able to do just about anything I have put my heart into. This includes my decision to follow the gnostic spiritual path. When I want to take a trip, I don’t need anyone’s permission to do so. If I want to wear a blatantly sexy dress, no one can forbid me. Now here’s the really wonderful thing about Western Civ. The men. They get to appreciate me in the sexy dress, but we hold them to such a high standard, which most of them live up to, that to look at the girl in the sexy dress suffices. They know they may not touch uninvited.

Try that in an eastern culture.

When I see some Muslim kid hold up a sign that says “The hell with freedom” I know he specifically addresses people like myself. And probably you as well for unless you are a follower of Islam, you are a heretic too. An infidel. In Islamic culture, I may not wear a sexy dress in public, I cannot travel without the permission of a the male member of my family whose authority I am under and I certainly cannot practice my religion without being punished for it. Such are a few of the differences betwixt them and us.

I go on the record here to say that not all who follow the “submission” (Islam means to submit) are radical. The differences in our cultures, however, will not be bridged for the very fact that Islam is a religion that is mostly alien to our western culture. So, before I go any further with bandying about that word “culture” let us define it so that we can all understand what I am referring to.

Culture is the expression of a people, through their language, religion(s), art and laws. What it expresses are its values. It is the vision and sound of a civilization’s habits. We can see culture with our eyes, we can hear it with our ears. When we listen to the music or view the art, we can get a sense of what a culture is about. But when we learn its language and study its religion, we dig down deep into its core. Because that is where the values that created that culture are located. One of the most tell all symbols of a culture is the status of the women. And it is here where the differences can be very pronounced. It is one that we are only too aware of now we have seen the results of Islamic revolutions such as those in Iran and Afghanistan.

Women in the Far East also do not have the freedom that women in the West do. Ditto Africa. In places like Dufar, being female is a nightmare existence. So to those who put down the West, who live in the West, I invite you to immigrate to one of those other places. You are free to leave. If you are a female complaining of the values of the West, you too are free to leave. And I wish you would. You need to experience life in those others cultures so that you will appreciate this one. Live in the Middle East, in an Islamic nation or kingdom, where women cannot be seen by strangers for fear of molesting the minds of men.

The exception to this value, of women as chattel, is Israel. Israel is this tiny haven of Western Culture in the Middle East. And I mean tiny. The population of Israel is 7,337,000, of which 5,542,000 are Jews. (In the entire world, there are approximately 13,000,000 Jews.) There are more people in New Jersey than in the state of Israel. So few people yet such a big ruckus. Iran, a culture alien to us, has a population of 62,875,224 souls. There are more citizens living in Tehran than in Israel. Now, we must ask the question mustn’t we, what is Iran so deathly afraid of that they must constantly threaten Israel with annihilation? Could it be that Israel is the stand-in for the West at large? That the values promulgated in Israel are essentially the same values we have in the West? You know, values like private property, prosperity for all who are willing to work for it, women who own themselves, and a mixture of the religious coexisting with the secular. You know, the “to each his own” value.

If you get the drift that I dislike cultural relativism you are right. While I know I would feel more at home in the West, it doesn’t stop me from experiencing alien cultures. That is not the question, of where I would feel comfortable. The question is why would I want to give my blessing to a culture that blesses forms of slavery? For if I cannot own my own adult person, and I mean truly own it, meaning I make all my own decisions, then I am a slave. I do not speak of relationships that are contractual, wherein I agree to give a certain portion of my time and talents to an entity in exchange for money. Though you may feel you are a slave to your job or business, wherever you are free to leave, you are a free agent. It is when you do not have such freedoms that you are owned by someone else. A woman in Iran who cannot leave the city or country without written permission is a slave, in that she does not own her person. Sure, we may prefer the word “chattel” for its politeness, but I prefer calling it what it is. Slavery in its pure sense. Someone else has the ultimate authority over you, an adult.

We do not have this in the West. Therefore, the West is superior.

The real proof is not in this theory, it is in the practice. Look at immigration. Who is going where? Do millions rush to China or Saudi Arabia? Are they fleeing the confines of France for Algeria? Do Mexicans head south or north in search of a better life? Do Cubans sail for Florida or Haiti?

I think you can figure out the rest for yourself.

Written by lcrockett

April 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Civilization

The Man Who Would Be Dictator

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Someone sent me an email recently that asked the question, is President Obama a socialist? My first reaction to the questions is, “Of course!” But then, for a different topic, I needed to make it clear, in my own mind, the definition of “socialism.” Here it is, according to the Webster: The theory or system of the ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of society or the community sharing in work and the products. A socialist is a person who promotes or advocates such a system. Last night, I watched the Glenn Beck program, and he put forth the argument that it is not socialism that Obama is promoting, rather fascism.  My eyebrows went up an inch, and then I said, I’d better look that up. Here’s what the Webster says: A system of government characterized by rigid, one party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition, the retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism glorification of war, etc.

The word fascism is from the Italian, fascio, which is from the Latin, fasces. It means “bundle.” It derived from the symbol of authority used by the civic magistrates of the Roman era. This symbol illustrated the bundle of rods tied around an axe that was carried around by the Lictors. You might say it was a speak softy and carry a big, or in this case, bundled stick sort of thing. If need be, the lictor, a sort of police, could use it on unruly citizens. Yes, you are thinking, police have been carrying “clubs” around for many centuries. This is so because there have been unrulies in the midst of civilization from the get-go.

Here is my problem with Mr. Beck’s argument. The word, fascism, just like the word, socialism, has been overused. Fascism especially has been downgraded from a really nasty noun to an insult we throw at anyone we happen to dislike. The same thing happened to the proper noun, Nazi. I’ve heard so many people called Nazis that its lost its true meaning. For in reality, a Nazi is an awful person. So is a fascist. Therefore these words need to be reserved for the truly despicable, not the guy who stole your girlfriend.

Why this is so, that we use these words too often, is that life is so good in the modern, western world, that we have very little to relate to in terms of real horror. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen here. It can. And what has so many people nervous, is that they fear they see the solid beginnings of a totalitarian state. Ah, now there’s a word we don’t hear too often, and it should scare the living middle America right out of us. For this word is the one that describes it all. Communist, socialist, fascist, what have you, they all have a touch of the totalitarian in them. And I include democracy in the bundle because there is no worse rule than mob rule. If you think I’m exaggerating, you need to read up on the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

Oh dear, did I say something I shouldn’t have? I mean that thing about democracy. You think I denigrate our beloved democracy? Yup. Because of all of the over used, misused and misunderstood words in use today, democracy tops the list. Democracy is the sure fire antidote to liberty. Because democracy always ends up in some sort of violence that is followed by tyranny. Remember that great story in the Old Testament, when the people of Israel started yammering to Samuel about wanting a king? Samuel told them they wouldn’t like it. But they kevetched long and hard enough so Sammy went and found them one. Saul. It all seemed very good, in the beginning, but then kings always end up behaving like, well, kings. Democracy has the same shortcoming. The people really do end up thinking , well, like people, and when they find out they can vote anyone into office, anyone they like, whether or not that person is good for the country, things start to go awry. Because after awhile, when you vote in the same person, over and over again, because he or she gives you enough goodies, without the means to pay for it, sooner or later you have to start paying the piper. When you cannot pay, because the debt is tooooo big and the inflation soooooo enormous, then the only thing left is desperation. And desperate people tend to do desperate things. And one of those last-ditch efforts to save-the-civilization is to call up for a dictator. Don’t worry, he will be delivered.

Our founders were quite aware of this habit that pervades in democracies. That’s because many of them, those founders, had classical liberal educations. Not the junk you get today. The education you get today is from the brains of leftists, not liberals. Ah, now there’s another word that has been trashed! But I digress. Let’s get back to the classical  liberal education which means you studied history and philosophy before you got to college. Persons educated in this curricula knew about Athens and Rome, and how both places came to no good through the auspices of the voting public. If you have had a classical liberal education, you too have read Plato and you too know he said this about democracy: “Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.”

Oh dear. That sounds too, too much like our Western Civ today.

What has this to do with Obama and the question of whether or not he is a socialist? Well, it’s not important what sort of popular derogatory label you place on him. His behavior, thus far, is that of a man who would be dictator. He interferes way too much and not in ways that are allowed in our constitution. But that is not the bad part of this story. The real issue is the voting public that doesn’t see his actions, done in the name of “saving our democracy” from financial ruin, as harmful to our true way of governing. And that true way is this: we are supposed to be a republic. A rule of law, not of man.

This means one thing: republicans – note the small ‘r’, as I refer to philosophy not a political party – need to stand up and be counted.  As the great statesmen Pericles said, “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”

Freedom, possibly another word that we have overused, always comes at a price. And here’s the rub; one has to work to achieve it and keep it. Lazy people love totalitarian governments. No thinking is required. Having a dictator means never having to say you’re sorry. He takes your burdens from you. Along with your soul. So think of this conflict, and yes, this is a conflict, though so far a peaceful one, as the saving of your soul. Come out to the tea parties, write letters to your representatives, editors and whoever will read it, make your voice heard in defense of your divine rights as a human being; to be free of the tyranny of your fellow man. Obama is, after all, only a man.

Written by lcrockett

April 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Civilization

The Ottoman March

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We left off at the end of our last essay with the fall of Byzantium that eventually launched three ships in search of a new route to India. Simultaneously, as Columbus wended his way across the Atlantic, the Ottomans, expansionists that they were, ate up as much of the Mediterranean as they could. After the discovery of America, and as the exploration of this continent was in affect, Europe found itself confronted ever more with Ottoman troubles. The Turks’ did desire to turn the world into an Islamic empire. And whereas many European states had turned their back on Byzantium, the threat of the Ottomans could no longer be ignored as they inched their way west and north. They began with Greece, taking Athens in 1456, Bosnia in 1463, Herzegovina in 1467 and in the same year that Columbus sailed, 1492, they invaded Hungry. The next year it was Dalmatia and Croatia. In 1499 a real disaster struck as Venice, which had been bearing the brunt of the fight against the Ottomans, was defeated and had to give up Lepanto . At about the same time, the Moors of Spain, in Granada, revolted.

To even out this picture, Europe, and Britain, did have its attention diverted by its own problems with rebellions, wars and such. The short story is, it was the usual suspects bickering. To its credit, however, it was the Ottomans who invited the tossed out Jews and of course their fellow Muslims from Spain (1492) to take up residence in Constantinople. Yes, this is true, Muslims took the side of Jews. And after the conquest of Constantinople, Christians did carry on in that city after things had settled.

As you can see, history is resplendent in contradictions. It’s why I love it so for the more I study, the more I come to see things haven’t changed so very much. I do want to see you study it more. Perhaps then you will not get so damned excited over what happens in the Middle East. As Auda said to Lawrence (in the movie, Lawrence of Arabia) “Is it the blood? The desert has dried up more blood than you can think of.” It’s true. This cradle of our own civilization is awash in conflict. It is that part of the bible you can believe in, that the future Armageddon, the great destruction of all mankind, will take place or at least begin in this desert with all its dried blood.

But don’t sell all that conflict short. As is noted before in this space, from conflict we get rebirths. Because nothing comes from a vacuum. Israel itself, the modern day version, exists because of conflict. And the state is a mere 60 years of age. Not very old at all in the general scheme of things. Yet one of the questions that I pose here is, as a westerner, do you want to see it endure or are you one who wishes upon it an orchestrated demise? Come on, let’s pony up here with how we actually feel and think on the subject. Do we care? Or not. Does it matter to you on a day to day level whether Jews have a place to be wherein they feel some sort of safety against those who would slaughter them wholesale? And this most important question, what should our role be in this one way or the other?

That a great deal of Islam is again on the march towards world empire is pretty evident. That they play games of intimidation is irrefutable. That there are “I hate western civ” westerners among us is also plain as day. Stack all that on one side of the plate. On the other side, we find Washington’s advice to us about getting mixed up in a “…passionate attachment of one nation for another…” because it “… produces a variety of evils.” He said this in 1796. At that time, even though we were a young nation, we were involved in the Mediterranean, for commercial purposes, and had even been paying tribute to the pasha of Tripoli. Jefferson had always been against this payment but since we had no navy to speak of, Congress decided to fork over the gold in order to keep our shipping unhampered by the Corsairs. And then when Jefferson became president, (1801) he refused to continue the practice. War ensued, the Marines were sent in and we won. So ended the first Barbary War. The Corsairs, however, continued their practices and in 1815, a second Barbary War was fought. This one had Britain and the Netherlands as our allies. This war too we won, and it signaled the beginning of the end of the Ottoman empire as Europeans began colonizing the north of Africa once again.

And so a cycle of the shifting of power comes round full circle. There are no longer Corsairs on ships at sea, but the Corsairs are still very much with us. We now refer to them as terrorists. They were terrorists back then as well. Their mindset, I will argue, hasn’t changed, as they wish for the same results. Here is how it was put by the American peace commissioners in their 1786 report to John Jay:

“It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.”

It is difficult to maintain peace with such a people until they change. Obama can send all the video messages he wants, but they are what they are. I do want to differentiate between the Islamic nations, because not all wish death to western civilization. That said, all Islamic nations have segments of their populations that do wish to see us, at the very least, enslaved. While I don’t think fear should be encouraged, a healthy respect is absolutely necessary for our survival. But in order to gain that respect, we need to understand the context of those who would conquer us.

And that is where we will go in the next installment on the Middle East.

Written by lcrockett

March 25, 2009 at 9:32 pm