A journey through the mind of contemporary conservatism: Clutching our values aboard the death train of empire
By Phil Rockstroh
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Oct 13, 2006, 01:14
within an empire consists of the deceitful leading the disengaged. Although
when the artifice shielding a nation�s populace from the ruthlessness of their
leaders begins to fall away, hysteria and displaced rage rises in the land.
Ergo, in the American empire, we�re witnessing these demented days of
congressional boy love and despotic rockets.
Day after day, the
pace at which insane tidings arrive quickens: it�s as if we�ve become
passengers on a high-speed train, commandeered by lunatics, that only stops at
insane asylums in order to board more lunatics . . . Naturally, it follows that
the train has gone runaway, careening down the buckling tracks, blue sparks
spraying from its steel wheels, while any approaching curve becomes a threat to
derail the whole hurdling madhouse.
For many years,
these episodes of mass psychosis have been gaining velocity. Empires are
inherently bughouse crazy, because, by their very nature, they grow
conservative to the point of becoming totalitarian. After a time, the singular
raison d'�tre of this form of pathological conservatism is to fiercely cling to
the things it has gained through expansionist practices and policies. In
addition, it must find ways to rationalize the brutal and deceitful means
required to sustain itself.
its imperial ambitions are thwarted, rage and hysteria will seize both its
elites and hoi polloi alike. The ensuing scene is similar to an inmate riot in
the cafeteria of an insane asylum when the traditional Saturday night dessert
of chocolate pudding has been withheld.
At this point, in
the brutish life of an empire, the term conservative becomes a misnomer. What
exactly is being conserved by policies of expansive militarism and
environmental and imperialistic plundering? That is -- other than conserving
policies of expansive militarism and environmental and imperialistic
plundering? To claim this is conservatism is analogous to claiming that an army
of rampaging fire ants are, only, at times, prone to becoming a little excited
about their property rights. Since when is a rampage regarded as a worldview?
We have endured an
era reeking with the miasmal runoff of �conservative values� spewed by these
toxic totalitarians, as, all the while, they have employed classic Orwellian
Newspeak as a means of perfuming its stench, thereby terming their brazen acts
of exploitation freedom, and calling their smash-and-grab economic
looting free enterprise.
conservative mind is obsessed with the notion that life could . . . should --
must! -- be returned to the values of a simpler, purer past. Perhaps, this is a
compensatory fantasy, an attempt to escape the enervating machinations of their
own rationalizing minds: a desperate coping device that allows these scheming
cartels of aging frat boys to be in deep denial of the ruthless desires of
their own rapacious ids. Among their pathological wishes is: the compulsion to
slip the entire planet a date rape drug then, along with their frat house
brothers, molest her.
unnerving to realize: we are being ruled by a collection of totalitarian, frat
rat, date-rapists endowed with the introspective capacities of rampaging fire
conservative (oxymoron alert) imagination it�s a psychological imperative to
believe in the possibility of returning to a more moral past (even if this
Helicon land never has nor ever will exist). This variety of cognitive
dissonance, roiling the minds of those at the head of our one party, corporate
state, in combination with the rapid dissemination of spurious information and
contrived imagery ubiquitous in the mass media, has suffused contemporary life
with an unreal quality. Within this bubble, we�ve become benumbed; consequences
become diffuse; history and political acts carry no more weight for us than a
television commercial for chewing gum or toilet paper.
diametric opposition to our weightless misapprehensions: To live in these times
is to be subject to the madness of an era wherein those possessing personality
profiles matching those of Grand Inquisitor Tom�s de Torquemada have been given
access to high-tech surveillance devices, the plunder-prone European
imperialists have global communication satellites at their disposal, and
Genghis Khan has the means to solicit the duplicitous talents behind public
relations and advertising firms to re-brand his image.
If the corporate
media had existed in Khan's era, it doesn't strain credulity to imagine the
13th century's equivalent of CNN's Kyra Phillips -- who, during the invasion of
Iraq, asked the attending physician of an Iraqi child who had lost three limbs
and suffered the loss of his entire family as a result of the so-called Shock
and Awe bombing campaign, "Doctor, does he understand why this war took
place? Has he talked about Operation Iraqi Freedom and the meaning? Does he
understand it?" This is tantamount to asking the orphaned children of
lands sacked by the Mongol hordes if they understood the glory of the Great
Khan's Operation Enduring Plunder.
It�s small wonder
the conservative keepers of the present order insist that the world must be
returned to what it was . . . But, inevitably, when these fervent desires are
thwarted, the desire grows into an endless feedback loop of aggression,
accompanied by more self-justifying lies, thereby creating the self-resonating
circuitry of thwarted triumphalism and perpetual paranoia that passes for the
belief system of the contemporary conservative -- as, all the while, the
feedback loop continues to build in pitch and intensity, growing ever more
insistent that the world be changed back to what it never was to begin with . .
. and then, again, being thwarted by reality . . . then, exponentially,
building in pitch and intensity . . . rinse and repeat . . . ad infinitum . . .
ad nauseam . . .
becomes all too much for the conservative mind to bear; therefore, the attempt
is made to cope by means of displacing one's anger, as well as projecting one�s
hidden desires upon the people of distant countries and scorned groups within
the culture. In short order, the war drums thunder; the flesh of the era�s designated
witches hiss from the flames of public burnings; and pathetic sorts such as
pederast Mark Foley must carry all of our darkness.
These are examples
of the epic cognitive dissonance borne by self-destructing empires. Ergo, if
the zeitgeist were personified and was granted a thought process mirroring the
belief system of contemporary conservatism, the poor bastard would have to be
provided with massive doses of anti-psychotic medication to be prevented from
roaming the streets raving (or, at least, as in the case of Rush Limbaugh,
Oxycontin to sustain his ravings on right-wing hate radio). Or: provided with
employment as the engineer of this rattling death train of a runaway empire.
And what of us --
the passengers aboard the train -- what instructions have the madmen manning
the locomotive given us, during the harrowing course of this doomed ride: They
have advised us to hold on tight to our values. Insanely, a frightening number
of credulous sorts seem to have accepted their instructions; accordingly,
they're desperately gripping the armrests and handrails of the train�s
passenger compartments, in the thrall of a mass delusion that such actions
might keep them personally out of harm's way, as well as serve to hold the
careening train itself on the tracks.
Then what are a few
of these much-vaunted values that we so ardently believe will save and sustain
us? First off, as recent events have revealed, we Americans are a people who
are united in our firm and abiding conviction that pedophilia and pederasty are
This might lead one
to the conclusion: If only we had collectively engaged in online, sexually
innuendo-larded chatter with Iraqi teenagers -- instead of killing them -- we
might be able to workup some moral outrage at ourselves. In our madness, our
values inform us that the lives of well over half a million Iraqis have no
value. Obviously, sans our sacred values, we Americans would most certainly
become a nation of morally suspect people.
Although, in an era
where the culturally defining myths of fundamentalist Christianity and
corporate consumerism mix, merge, and envelope us, we do hold sacred the
following value: We believe that incessant self-promotion and successful
salesmanship is close to godliness. Ken Lay died for our sins of self-doubt. He
slipped the surly bonds of this earth and his soul rose to paradise where he
will spend eternity, close to our father, the cosmic CEO. Kenny boy is now so
close to The Lord he can hear The All-Mighty count his money. For God so loved
the world, He bought the company.
Here and now: on
earth, as it is in heaven, the values of present day conservatism inform us
sinners we must, without question, embody a godly consumer's credo: "I am
what I buy; ergo, the facade I show to the world is who I am. Perhaps, if I
begin to believe this shimmering lie deeply enough -- possessed of a saint�s
abiding conviction -- then it will become an abiding truth.�
In addition, in our
secular dealings, we must endeavor to become socially and agreeably dumb; this
credo, the ascendant and defining credo of our age is: "The less you know
the smarter you are." Let me explain (very slowly for those reading this
without moving their lips and who are unable to wrap their big, snobby,
reason-bound brains around the concept): Time, in the corporate era, is more
valuable than intelligence; so it follows anyone who would waste valuable time
pursuing mere knowledge is stupid; therefore, stupid is the new smart. Got it,
In addition, one is
expected, at all times, in speech and bearing to render oneself nonthreatening
to the bullying corporatist and religious order -- or join the ranks of the
bullies and cheer them on. There is an added bonus in this choice: You get to
call your hate, fear and bigotry "values."
Our values are as
precious to us as life itself. Accordingly, one and all can see how precious
life is to us by the realities of our present day healthcare system. Also, our
values include honest, hard work. Many of us value work to such a profound
degree that the ruling class corporatists have allowed us to hold down two or
even three, low-wage, zero-benefits jobs so that we can vainly attempt to make
ends meet. What sorts of values are these? Who has the time to answer such a
frivolous question -- we have to get back to work.
But we the people
of The United States know this much: There are people, very bad people, in this
world, who want to destroy our values. And there are consequences for this. For
example, the people of Iraq are suffering so badly due to the fact that their
belief in their false god has made them a callous and cruel people. So much so,
that it leaves them indifferent to the suffering of us Americans who feel a
deep sense of betrayal due to their cruel rejection of our charitable desire to
share our values with them.
left with little choice but to bring on our faith-based indifference to their
suffering. Where would the people of Iraq be without our values?
As an empire grows
grotesque, its populace mirrors its ugliness in mind and action. Yet, in this
era of authoritarian corporate rule, just below the level of our conscious
understandings, we�re aware of the sad fact that all this nonsensical palaver
about values is simply a desperate gambit to keep reality at bay.
Why is it so difficult
to face facts? Perhaps, because, in an age when we�ve lost any semblance of
economic independence and have forsaken so many of our rights and liberties,
what do we have left to call our own? What we're left with are our values.
So what exactly are
values anyway? Values are what the clergy and the corporatists allow us to keep
for ourselves -- after they've made off with all the valuables.
Phil Rockstroh, a self-described auto-didactic,
gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York
City. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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