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Archive for September 18th, 2020

“Light Comes Darkness Goes”- Now at the West End Gallery


As for … the idea that we could lose our freedom by succumbing to a wave of religious hysteria, I am sorry to say that I consider it possible. I hope that it is not probable. But there is a latent deep strain of religious fanaticism in this, our culture; it is rooted in our history and it has broken out many times in the past.

“It is with us now; there has been a sharp rise in strongly evangelical sects in this country in recent years, some of which hold beliefs theocratic in the extreme, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-libertarian.

“It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. This is equally true whether the faith is Communism or Holy-Rollerism; indeed it is the bounden duty of the faithful to do so. The custodians of the True Faith cannot logically admit tolerance of heresy to be a virtue.

“Nevertheless this business of legislating religious beliefs into law has never been more than sporadically successful in this country — Sunday closing laws here and there, birth control legislation in spots, the Prohibition experiment, temporary enclaves of theocracy such as Voliva’s Zion, Smith’s Nauvoo, and a few others. The country is split up into such a variety of faiths and sects that a degree of uneasy tolerance now exists from expedient compromise; the minorities constitute a majority of opposition against each other.

“Could it be otherwise here? Could any one sect obtain a working majority at the polls and take over the country? Perhaps not — but a combination of a dynamic evangelist, television, enough money, and modern techniques of advertising and propaganda might make Billy Sunday’s efforts look like a corner store compared to Sears Roebuck.

“Throw in a Depression for good measure, promise a material heaven here on earth, add a dash of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Negroism, and a good large dose of anti-“furriners” in general and anti-intellectuals here at home, and the result might be something quite frightening — particularly when one recalls that our voting system is such that a minority distributed as pluralities in enough states can constitute a working majority in Washington.”

–Robert Heinlein, Afterword to Revolt in 2100, 1953


In my Virtual Gallery Talk a few weeks back, I spoke about my belief that artists, writers and others who devote themselves to observation and creation based on their sensing of patterns often create work that is prescient or prophetic. Simply by going down the list of science fiction greats such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke and so many others, you can find many examples of scenarios and concepts in their literature that came to be.

In the talk, I mentioned as an example the novel The Parable of the Sower from the late Octavia Butler which was written in 1993 and describes a chaotic and dangerous USA in 2024 that doesn’t seem implausible at this point. I felt that she was obviously observing patterns of behavior and extrapolating them out in her imagination to come to a created future state of being that was in the realm of possibility.

Of course, it’s just supposition at the time. But sometimes, out of the many speculations for the future that are put out into the world every year, a few strike close to the reality that follows.

I submit the words above from sci-fi giant Robert Heinlein written as an afterword to his 1953 book Revolt in 2100 which involves a citizen rebellion against an authoritarian theocracy in 2100. I suggest you pay special attention to the second, third and final two paragraphs. It certainly seems as though we may be at the culmination of a pattern that Heinlein observed 67 years or more ago.

A most dangerous culmination, I must add.

We have limited time to avert his vision but it will be very difficult to ever fully repress the embedded behaviors and beliefs that led to it. I have often felt that the current president*** was merely the product of a very long arc, comprised of a series of events over many decades, that bent to this very moment. His peculiar set of skills, as vile as they are, fit the needs of this pattern and he became the sharp end of a spear that is following its arc. For all his his awful behavior, malice and stupidity, he is merely the current tool of this pattern.

I have thought over the past few years that we were actually fortunate that such a flawed and horrible person ascended into this position as the spear for this pattern.

Yeah, I said we were lucky to have this piece of crap. But that’s the point, he is a piece of crap. He is so flawed, so self-destructively attached to his own hubris, desires and prejudices, that he ignites a passionate fury in those who stand opposed to his faux nationalism, his desire for total rule, and his very real racism.

With this piece of crap, we at least have some warning of his ill intent.

It gives us a chance.

Think about it. If he had been still as insidious in his actions but had been smoother, saying the right things and not outright pissing off a majority of Americans, he would be cakewalking into a reelection now due to our complacency and unwillingness to rock the boat. This could mean a complete dismantling of the American Experiment over the next four years. It would be (and still could be) a situation that would be (and still could be) beyond reversal.

Maybe even taking us into the 2100 of Heinlein’s book.

So, this morning, let’s hope that Heinlein’s observations don’t come to fruition.

Plus, let’s give thanks for the president***– thank god he’s stupid. Thank god he’s impulsive and self-destructive. Thank god he is only interested in hearing his own voice– or maybe one with a thick Russian accent. Thank god he thinks he is the smartest man in any room. Thank god he is weak willed. Thank god he has no self restraint. Thank god he has not an iota of empathy. Thank god he thinks so little of the common man. Thank god he thinks he is bulletproof and above the law. Thank god he lies as easily as he breathes– which has a little huffing, by the way. Thank god he belittles the military and the scientists. Thank god he has no loyalty to anyone– save someone with a thick Russian accent and a name that rhymes with Rootin’ Tootin’.

The list of thanks I have for this president*** is too long to list so let me sum up in this way:

Thank god our president*** is a total piece of crap.

Now, get out there and have a good day!

 

 

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