As the world celebrates the birthday of the Prince of Peace, the Lord of War looms large over the land. The shrikes and talking heads are screeching for Iranian blood, and there are ominous signs in the stars. The war god’s acolytes flood the airwaves with “a complex of vaunting and fear,” as an old prophet once put it, and men of peace are disdained as “weak,” “dangerous,” and “extreme.”
Who will save us from the coming slaughter?
There is no Savior, no man on a white horse or divine sacrificial offering who can stop or appease the gathering demons: they will quaff their chalice of blood, have their pound of flesh, these cannibals of the spirit who demand human sacrifice as the price of propitiation. Blood, honor, “national security,” “world leadership,” the “free world” – these are the words they will invoke, the ritual prayers to the great god Mars that will excuse the thousands killed, tens of thousands maimed – and for what?
For the reelection of a failed president – who would gain the opportunity to blame Iran for the economic catastrophe we brought upon ourselves.
In the end, it boils down to pure economics, and the numbers add up to … war. How else to mask the Depression behind the veil of wartime “necessity”? Can you think of a better way to channel the righteous anger of a slowly-awakening people away from the warlords of Washington and toward some foreign Enemy? Before the peasants with pitchforks come marching up the hill, better to put a sign on the road: TRAFFIC DIVERTED – NO ENTRY.
A cowed people will obey it – at least so our rulers hope and pray. That’s the only time they do pray, come to think of it: not even the war-god is honored by their invocations. They worship him in silence, in secret caverns under the earth, accompanied only by the twin devils of hubris and bloodlust.
In public they are advocates of peace, and more: “world peace,” which they mean to impose by force of arms. “World leadership” – which they tout as a divine gift from God. “Benevolent world hegemony” – which they proclaim as a duty, and a destiny. Their delusions are global in scope, along with their sins.
The warlords of Washington don’t thinks small: their vision is Napoleonic – or don’t you mean Satanic? I suppose it all depends on if you’re the victor or the vanquished. Yet all Americans are vanquished by their Pyrrhic “victory.” That’s the irony of our conundrum; in “victory,” the seeds of our impending defeat are sown, as the tendrils of decline creep steadily over the skyscrapers and monuments of our great cities, slowly pulling them down….
It’s a bare-bones Christmas for many in the US: the only ones to get presents are the banks – which have been bailed out and are still being bailed out – and the politically-connected, including especially our old friends of the Military-Industrial Complex, the croniest of the crony-capitalists. Villains prosper while the rest are fired, foreclosed, and foreordained to suffer for the sins of their rulers.
Yet rebellion is in the air. Without bread, Americans will be consoled by circuses for only so long. One more bailout, another high-ranking government official caught with his hand in the till, one more indication that the Marie Antoinettes who inhabit the District of Columbia believe themselves above the law – and then watch out. It could get ugly.
Under these circumstances, the call to bring the troops home may be taken up by some in Washington – who will need them here to deal with another kind of insurgency.
This may well be our last Christmas in the old America – an America untouched by serious civil turmoil since the era of Lincoln, unbowed by the business cycle since the days of FDR. We are living out the very last hours of the American Century, and all of Mitt Romney’s appeals to nostalgia and belligerent nationalism cannot reconstruct what has been lost. The peerless engine of American economic supremacy has run out of gas, and is sputtering on the false fuel of fiat money.
In the end, we will find what we already knew: that we cannot print out way out of debt – not without destroying our currency, and ourselves, in the process. In the end, the only way out is war – or Empire’s end.
The invocation of a wartime” emergency” is precisely what our rulers require at this particular moment in our history: for them, war would be a blessing. Are prices hitting the roof – has inflation impoverished us all – is it getting nearly impossible to live? Well then, we can blame our “leaders” or we can blame some Foreign Devil? Which story will the “mainstream” media be peddling – and on whose behalf? To pose the question is to answer it.
The window is closing rapidly, but we still have a choice of roads: we can reject the path taken by our government, and the leadership of both parties, and venture into the nearly uncharted wilderness, down a little-known trail leading to deflation. This means a radical contraction, in every sense – one that allows us to revamp, retool, and redeem ourselves, while ridding ourselves of the burden of empire and debt. The sins of past profligacy and overweening pride must be paid for: there is no avoiding that. Delaying the day of reckoning will only prolong the pain – and block the path to full recovery. Is there a leader who will tell us what we do not want to hear, and summon the bravery to inspire endurance?
This is a decision our rulers will never make, for reasons I needn’t bother going into: they would sooner commit mass suicide than give up their delusions of grandeur, which infuse the very air of Washington, D.C., and induce hallucinations in its drugged inhabitants. Especially prevalent is the hallucination of “American exceptionalism” – the self-infatuated idea that we, alone among the nations of the world, are exempt from the wrath of the gods, who would normally punish such hubris as ours.
We will learn too late there are no exceptions to the natural laws of morality and economics: that wars of conquest invite “blowback” and that bankrupt empires don’t last long.
It’s your last Christmas in the old, prosperous, untouched America – a benevolent land of plenty, where opportunity was limited only by ambition and the knowledge of tyranny and privation was second-and -third hand. So please, by all means make it a memorable one.