Tag Archives: 1860

Comparing Catalonia and the Confederacy—States and Nations (with notes on the Monstrosity of Moderation in Media)

SPAIN TRIED AND FAILED TO SUPPRESS A VOTE FOR SECESSION IN ITS WEALTHY NORTHEASTERN CORNER OF CATALONIA TODAY (Sunday October 1, 2017).  According to the latest tally I have seen on the BBC, 2,020,144 Catalan voters cast their ballots in favor of an Independent Republic, centered on the Mediterranean seaport of Barcelona.  These two million plus voters constituted 90.09% of the 42-43% of the eligible electorate who voted, but Spain itself had urged pro-Spanish “no” voters to stay away from the Polls, and the massive police intervention and use of force must have discouraged some….

Although during the past 42 years that “Francisco Franco is still dead,” Spain has acknowledged the right of the several nationalities (Basque, Galician, Catalan) to assert regional autonomy, Spain has declared this vote illegal and non-binding. The Central Government of Spain in Madrid has been arguing ever since the election of the pro-Independence party in September of 2015,  that Catalonia’s vote was going to be “illegal” and they threatened to, and actually did, try to suppress the vote by Police Action.  

Most of the world (which has spoken) has either come out expressly in favor or seems tacitly on the side of Catalans who want independence.  Only Madrid and the Spanish government seem strongly against it—fearful, undoubtedly, of losing prime Mediterranean beach resorts, Barcelona (the second largest city in Spain, seventh largest and “most successful” in all Europe), plus the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera).  In essence, Catalonia includes some of the best real estate IN ALL OF EUROPE AND THE CIRCUM MEDITERRANEAN WORLD.  This is indeed “the Spanish Riviera”.

The comparison to the Secession of the Confederate States of America is obvious, but it isn’t getting much currency in the U.S. or British Media, despite the fact that the Confederate States have made a renewed appearance in the news since April, here in New Orleans and around the USA…. and even in the consciousness of the whole world.

So, since nobody else is making the comparison (that I’ve seen so far, anyhow, I will).   In 1860, the Southern states formed (per capita) the richest part of the United States.   Catalonia had better hope that world opinion remains on its side!    Because Spain has its eyes and tax collectors all focused on this rich province, and history tells us that the rich can be laid low when they try to retain their wealth….

For the record, Catalonia was originally, and has always considered itself, a separate “Nationality” (i.e. ethnolinguistic group). During the Middle Ages, the County of Barcelona became the Capital of the “Principality of Catalonia” which later became incorporated into the Kingdom of Aragon.  Aragon, in turn, was one of the most powerful and richest states in the post-Reconquista/Crusader world of the Mediterranean.  Then Aragon, later, under the 15th century reigns of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, merged to form the modern Nation-State of “Spain”, leading to 500 years of almost continuous unity, although Aragon and Catalonia have several times reasserted their identities as monarchies or republics.

As James Ronald & Walter Donald Kennedy have shown in their most recent book “Punished with Poverty: the Suffering South, Prosperity to Poverty and the Continuing Struggle”  Columbia, South Carolina: Shotwell Publishing (2016), and as my dearly beloved grandmother always told me, THE SOUTH WAS THE WEALTHIEST PART OF THE UNITED STATES, “before the War” and the poorest part afterwards.   The combined cash value of the crops in any of the three pairs of Virginia and Georgia or Mississippi and Louisiana or North & South Carolina (each pair taken alone) exceeded the cash value of all the manufactured goods produced north of the Mason & Dixon-Ohio River—as of 1860.  But as of 1870, war had irreversibly altered the situation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Shsf–rh4PE

While neither historians or any Southerners today doubt that the people of the South overwhelmingly favored secession in 1861, the state legislatures only voted to hold popular votes as referenda/plebiscites/”propositions” in three of the thirteen states and one territory seceding (there were fifteen “slave” states, but a secession vote in the legislature in Maryland was suppressed at gunpoint and the state of Delaware never tried—West Virginia seceded from Virginia but kept its slaves and (ironically) after the war was among the most hostile toward enfranchisement of the newly freed slaves, as evidenced in several of the early major civil rights cases which emerged from that idiosyncratic Appalachian state opposite Ohio that seceded to nullify secession—oh, and Arizona was a territory constituting the southern half of what is now Arizona and New Mexico, but had then all been “New Mexico” until 1861).

In the states that held popular vote referenda, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, the votes in favor of secession were nowhere nearly as lopsided as the vote held in Catalonia today (Sunday, October 1, 2017), but it should be noted that NO NORTHERN STATE, nor the United States Federal Government, under President James Buchanan, ever questioned or attempted to quash secession in any state.  From South Carolina’s legislature’s first Ordinance of Secession on December 20, 1860, through Louisiana’s secession as the sixth state on January 26, 1861, the popular support for separation from the Union never appeared to waver or be doubtful.

SOUTHERN SECESSION PLEBESCITES

In February of 1861, Texas’ legislature voted to dissolve the state’s barely 16 year old affiliation with the Union on February 1, and a popular referendum was held on February 23, wherein the vote was 3.13:1 in favor of disunion.  

Virginia went through a similar two stage process in April and May of 1861, and the vote there (after Fort Sumter) was 3.53:1 in favor of taking the Old Dominion state into the Confederacy.  Robert E. Lee had opposed secession, but IN THOSE DAYS ONE’S CITIZENSHIP BELONGED TO THE STATE, NOT THE FEDERATION.  It would be comparable to calling us all “Citizens of the United Nations”—maybe some people WANT Global Citizenship, but so far, THANK GOD, no politically viable majority anywhere have ever voted for such a thing.

Finally, in May-June, Tennessee voted to secede, although the popular vote in that state was only 2.21:1 (for reference and comparison, NO PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS EVER WON ANY ELECTION BY A 2.21-1 POPULAR VOTE (although Lyndon B. Johnson came closest in 1964 against Goldwater at 1.58 to 1 comparable to FDR in 1936 against Alf Landon at 1.61 to 1—there being more third party votes in 1936 which reduced Roosevelt’s over all majority win very slightly).

IS FREEDOM TO CHOOSE REALLY TREASON?

How many of you have been divorced?  No, it’s a serious question.  How many of you have been divorced AFTER taking a vow “Til Death do Us Part”?  I was born an “Anglo-Catholic” (i.e. Episcopalian) and my wife was born Greek Orthodox in Greece.  My parents, despite their vows, split up when I was pre-school/kindergarten and it had a major impact on my life, mostly negative.  I especially regret now, looking back on it, how my grandmother taught me to scorn my own father.  That MIGHT have been a bad thing…  Anyhow, my point was this: my wife Elena and I swore personally to each other, quite aside from the marital vows, that we would never be divorced, that we would always stick together.  And we made collateral agreements that made I think this was actually a genuine promise that we would really keep, but we didn’t.  She hired the nastiest team of divorce lawyers (and their wives) in the entire state of Texas.  She turned into a monster.  Now, I blame the system, not her, but we split up, and it wrecked me.

But, in a sense, as one of my law school professors of international law at the University of Chicago said, “the nations of the world are all in a Roman Catholic marriage with one another.”  Or are they?  Are legal unions really indissoluble?  Most people do not believe that law should stand in the way of divorce, although most marital lawyers want divorce to be as much like an expensive world war as humanly possible.  So: is divorce “normal” or is divorce “treason?”

I have to admit, I led a fairly pro-Southern, sheltered life.  Even when I lived up north and attended Harvard GSAS (A.M., Ph.D.) and the University of Chicago law (J.D.) programs, I never ever heard ANYONE ever call the Southern Confederacy TREACHEROUS or the Southern Confederates called “Traitors”—as a matter of fact, everyone I knew at Harvard kind of went out of their way to apologize for Harvard’s apparent iconography of Yankee imperialism and to point out the rather obscure stained glass windows on Memorial Hall and inscriptions dedicated to the graduates of Harvard who fought for the South—(There were 257, significantly more than you might think, including five major generals, eight brigadier generals, and fully 38% of all Harvard Graduates who died in combat 1861-1865 died in the service of the armies the CSA, including three of those brigadier generals).  

So, I confess I was shocked, bowled over in fact, while I was standing in line at the very first public debate held in New Orleans on a steaming day in July in 2015 and an exceedingly unpleasant and unattractive woman in line started talking about how Confederates were all TRAITORS.

Wall Street JOURNAL MODERATE MUGWUMP: Allen C. Guelzo

“A YANKEE VISITS CHARLOTTESVILLE, WHERE GEN. LEE IS UNDER COVER.”

Some writers take poetic license, some take journalistic license.  But let’s face it: some writers DO NOT DESERVE A LICENSE.  Allen C. Guelzo is such a writer, and yet he writes for the Wall Street Journal…. and this is a disaster.  This USED TO BE a conservative, respectable journal***.   But no decent or respectable conservative would ever write that:

“As a Yankee, I find it a little difficult to grasp why monuments to Lee are here in the first place.  He lost, and if there is one sin American culture still prefers to bury from sight, it’s losing. Worse, Lee committed treason against the flag and the Constitution.  And behind that is the ugly truth that the Confederate cause was, when all the rhetorical chaff is swept away, designed to protect Chattel slavery, the singular birth defect of the American republic.” 

This is one of those sad moments when I have to admit I’m glad I’m not Chairman Mao or Uncle Joe Stalin…. because if I were, Guelzo would be TOAST—there wouldn’t be enough left of him to fill a matchbox, I promise.

UNLIKE THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT IN CATALONIA ON SUNDAY OCTOBER 1, 2017—NO POLICE OR TROOPS TRIED TO STOP THE SOUTHERN LEGISLATURES FROM SECEDING OR THE PRO-CONFEDERATE POPULAR VOTES FROM HAPPENING

So, if secession didn’t bother the outgoing President James Buchanan, or if it bothered him he didn’t do anything to stop it.  Buchanan was a Democrat, but he was a PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRAT—a Yankee….the only Pennsylvanian ever to be elected President and the last President born in the 18th century.  

Buchanan supported his own Vice-President, John C. Breckinridge, in the election of 1860—Breckinridge being the choice of the “Southern Democrats” over Stephen Douglas of Illinois.  Breckinridge became a Confederate general—that’s right folks, the Vice-President of the United States who came in Second in the Electoral Vote and Third in the Popular Vote in 1860 became a Confederate General.  Was he a traitor too?  

I ask you (and Guelzo) somewhat rhetorically: IF the Vice-President of any country decides to take up arms agains that Country—don’t you suppose that there are some MAJOR issues at stake?  If James Buchanan believed that he had no constitutional power to stop secession, where did Abraham Lincoln get the idea that he had that power?

For the moment, I will leave that idea to you, but recommend to all my readers the words of James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy, but also of Von Mises Institute Economist Thomas James DiLorenzo.

But is it significant that England would surely have allowed Scotland to opt out of the UK if Scotland had voted to do so several years ago?  Is it significant that Spain is trying very hard to look like a bully as it tries to bully Catalonia into submission, but that the world will almost certainly accept Catalonian secession in fairly short order?

***The Wall Street Journal was a feature of life in and around my maternal grandparents’ home in Highland Park in Dallas from the time I went to live there at age 6 years, two months, until my grandmother’s death in May 2001.  I respected it as perhaps the best newspaper in all of North America—I even arranged to have the WSJ delivered to Hacienda Chichén (and later the adjacent Casa Victoria) when I lived there, and made it the headquarters of my Harvard-Peabody-National Geographic-Chichén Itzá Archaeological Project 1983-1988.  Arranging such things by courier delivery from the Aeropuerto Internacional de Cancún in the 1980s was no piece of cake.

 

Nightmare on Bourbon Street—Saturday 30 May 2015—Western Civilization is Dead

I went on a rare walk down Bourbon Street last (Saturday) night. The behavior and demeanor of the people I saw made me want to vomit…. It’s time to reinstitute mass deportations of degenerates…. or perhaps even mass executions….there’s no point in trying to “reform” this many drunken, sex-obsessed, aimless people—send them all to whorehouses in Thailand… or give them a relatively painless death. They are of no use to themselves OR the rest of humanity….. but this is only part of my greatest gripe:

The remnants of the Great South are vanishing every day. The great moral and patriotic spirit of the Anglo-Saxon, German, Spanish and French Colonial people has been mostly, perhaps totally, extinguished. What’s especially sad is the view from here in New Orleans of the present day, once the greatest city and shining light of Southern and Western Civilization.

In 1860, Bourbon Street was something like the sum total of what Madison Avenue plus Fifth Avenue between 75th and 85th plus Central Park West are today—in the midst of the elite residences and commercial financial district was founded the greatest Opera House in the Western Hemisphere (aka “The French Opera”) at the corner of Toulouse and Bourbon.

Now, given the modern reality, I normally avoid Bourbon Street like the bubonic plague it so closely resembles, but when visitors come into town they ALWAYS want to see Bourbon Street. Last night was a typical Saturday night—mobbed with people, black and white, in the lowest stages of self-destructive, voluntary degeneracy.

The people, both black and white and “other” I saw out on Bourbon Street were mostly residents of the Southern USA, to the degree I could hear their accents in the hopeless cacophony and din… William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams wrote of what they perceived as the degeneracy of the ruined post-War, post-Reconstruction South—but they never saw ANYTHING as bad as the scene on Bourbon Street—on a normal Saturday night…

So today, all we can see today is the exact OPPOSITE of the spirit of patriotism and freedom that led to Revolution in 1776, Secession in 1860-61, and brave resistance 1954-1974. And now indeed, in the crowds of wretched humanity evidenced on Bourbon Street, what should have been the symbolic center of Southern and Western American Civilization, we see ONLY the offal (the waste and bi-products) of the world—they are to be pitied, up to a point, but I wish I didn’t have to look at them in MY favorite city.

And of all the great monuments to the Southern people, some commie-pinko bastard has been passing out fliers all over town “There are several hundred examples of white supremacist monuments in New Orleans, Here are about 2 dozen examples….” Starting of course with the Robert E. Lee obelisk and monument “@Lee Circle” but (somewhat ironically) even including “Judah Touro Hospital” because Judah Touro was a “Jewish slaveholder” and Tulane University because “Paul Tulane” (a northerner who graduated from Princeton University in New Jersey) “gave the most money to the Confederacy.”

The people are all anesthetized (temporarily?) or permanently brain dead…..Cry for our Beloved Country!

April 13: The Hunger Games, Judicial Immunity, and the Dawn of a New Dark Age

Life in its petty pace from day-to-day (and related notes on why I’m not on the California ballot)

Is it a coincidence that the California Secretary of State refused to approve me for a ballot place as candidate for the United States Senate Seat currently held by Diane Feinstein within 3 days of Facebook Canceling my profile because I was “promoting or organizing violence?”  Since I have never (to the best of my knowledge) advocated (much less “organized”) violence except to praise the spirit of continuing revolution, it was a great shock to me, but that was how my Spring season began.  (My long-time personal assistant and “Man Friday” Peyton assures me that I’ve never organized anything in my life, violent, peaceful, or indifferent)  

The snafu that led to my ballot position not being approved may yet prove the subject of a lawsuit, so I shan’t go into details except to say: California’s “Top Two, Voter Nominated” primary system only makes sense if non-professional political operatives (i.e. “voters”) are actually permitted to nominate candidates, and this requires a certain exercise of common sense on the part of the Registrar of Voters in each county as well as the Secretary of State.  Obviously, my supporters are largely battered down middle class working people who no longer trust the government to begin with.  They are anything BUT government insiders.  If only political insiders can maneuver the system then it is NOT a true “voter nominated” system.

I would guess that, in fact, the “top two” system was designed to protect the best funded insider candidates from even any hypothetical threat from outsiders like me, and that is, of course, a way of stifling change and preventing any real “dynamic” in the democratic process.  “Top two” primaries arguably serve a system well-designed to engender a “thousand year reich”, ironic indeed since one would think that individuals of Barbara Boxer’s, Diane Feinstein’s and Henry Waxman’s background and ethnic origins would not WANT a thousand year reich….but perhaps the quibble was with the identity of the master race destined to rule for a millennium, rather than whether a unitary elite should have such power…. forever.

Remembering V-for-Vendetta and Serenity from 2005-2006

The only redeeming feature of Spring 2012 so far is a new movie, which equals and possibly surpasses in political insight my (obvious, previous) all time favorite: V-for-Vendetta.   V-for-Vendetta was a futuristic science fiction (literally based on cartoon characters based on a four centuries old English school boys’  rhyme about a highly manipulated historical even in 1605) and as such it served as an allegory about 9-11 and the “W” Bush (43rd Presidential) administration in the USA.   The lead characters, the Guy Fawkes’ masked “V” (Hugo Weaving) and Evey Hammond” (Nathalie Portman), were an amazing couple NOT in love (at least not romantically, and not in any way at all, at least not until Evey’s post-mortem eulogy) were, as cartoon characters are, difficult to relate to any ordinary people one might encounter in life.  

The brilliance of V-for-Vendetta was the incisive treatment of 9-11 and all that had happened in and around that date under the Bush 43 administration: barely a stone was left unturned to expose the rotten mould and horrible colony of insect life underneath it.  The sad part about V-for-Vendetta is that it’s message apparently resonated with so few people.  

As a movie, it should have had a national impact on political thought, revealing the ruling government as an oligarchy of hypocrisy, lies and fear through government media manipulation concealing a simple policy of orchestrated terrorism attributed to foreigners, specifically Islamic fundamentalists, in the justification of never-ending war, even though it was in fact the brainchild policy of the government itself.  

Above all, V-for-Vendetta reminded us of Adolf Hitler’s brilliant but evil insight, that the great mass of people will sooner believe a great lie than a small one.  Another movie concerning a “big lie” by the government was Joss Whedon’s beautiful epic Serenity.  The tale of the outer-space “wild-west racially non-discriminatory confederates” was, in so many ways, merely the extra galactic, historically unspecific, parallel to V.  Unlike V, Serenity did not focus on any specific modern event like 9-11, but  very generally shared a focus on governmental experiments in biotechnology and psychological manipulation as the root of transformational events in human history.  Of course, Serenity very unusually and distinctively echoed and memorialized the injustice of the Confederate defeat at the hands of a technologically superior Centralized government (“the Federation”).

Die Hungerspiele von Panem/Die Tribute von Panem (Totliche Spiele) (You’re a Damn Confederate, aren’t you?)

The new movie which in my mind at least now threaten’s V-for-Vendetta’s supremacy as the greatest political movie of our time premiered on Friday March 23, and is of course, the Hunger Games. (I confess I have not read Suzanne Collins’ books—everything I say here is based on the movie and the movie alone, which I found absolutely overwhelming—but I didn’t read Gone with the Wind until I was 26, by which time I had seen the movie at leas 30 times in my life).  The Hunger Games lacks any of the cartoonish elements of V-for-Vendetta and Serenity (as much as I like and appreciate the genuinely artistic value of those elements).  

My suspicions of Collins’ perspectives as those of a not-so-closet Confederate sympathizer gain more than moderate a bolster from the knowledge that, although born in Connecticut, the author was the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and spent her High School (i.e. critical formative identity) years in the heart of Dixie, specifically in Alabama in the 1970s…. where she attended  high school at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, where she was a Theater Arts major.  Oh yea, FWIW, the Alabama School of Fine Arts was founded by George Corley Wallace’s Wife, Governor Lurleen Wallace, in 1968, shortly before she tragically died of Cancer at age 41, and George Corley Wallace was Governor 1971-1979, all through Suzanne’s High School years.

Now, one way of looking at it is that, perhaps, the Hunger Games takes place after the collapse of the United States and Civil War to which the government news commentators in V-for-Vendetta made such frequent allusion.  According to those reports, the USA “the country that had everything” had become a “cesspool” of continental proportions due to its “Godlessness.”  While that’s a legitimate perspective, I think that the overwhelming weight of evidence and frame of reference in the Hunger Games is to the War of Southern Independence/War Between the States/War of 1861-1973, realizing that those dates are not the ones usually used in High School American History texts.

In fact, The Hunger Games in some of its visuals at least, almost approximates a kind of a futuristic Nanook of the North staged realism, focusing on the lives of the common people of the post-War (I mean Post-War Between the States) south, especially of the Appalachian regions of North Carolina (where The Hunger Games was filmed “on site”).  As in Whedon’s Serenity, the strong suggestion of Confederate nostalgia and sympathy is, to my mind at least, absolutely undeniable.  

It is too much to ask that we NOT see parallels to the War of 1861-65 and its aftermath when the “Treaty of the Treason” and “War” movie both recite that 13 Districts of “Panem” (“Panem” to my eyes sounds like a Hellenized partial translation of “E Pluribus Unum“, cf. Pangea) rose up against the Paternalistic “Welfare” Government that “fed them, protected them, cared for them”, that the District 12 setting is so obviously the REAL Southern landscape of coal-mining Appalachia, and that the poor whites of District 12 have a closely parallel lives and culture to at least the partially segregated black-African dominated population of District 11.

Without wanting totally to “spoil” the Hunger Games for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I will just summarize my interpretation of its wild popularity this way (aside from the obvious: a very human love story about two extraordinarily mature for their age teenagers who were unlikely ever to have fallen in love, but end up being “perfect” for each other, played by a genuinely handsome “All American Boy” lead and beautiful soft-spoken and emotional “Tomboy-type-Girl” who is so hot she literally sets her red dress on fire, combined with lots of action): Even though most Americans are not in fact hungry for food (that is the “Nano of the North” element reality of the starving South of 1865-1950, seeing oppressed, hard-working, underdogs whose primary source of protein was from very small game—squirrels, because the deer were almost all hunted out) people are clearly hungry for genuine justice and a fair playing field. (For one alternative, but to my mind, quite beautifully written and  excellent review of the Hunger Games, I recommend “The Feminist Spectator” by Princeton University’s Jill Dolan, published on April 4: http://www.feministspectator.blogspot.com/.  I somehow doubt that Professor Dolan would agree with me on the strong Confederate Sympathies implicit in The Hunger Games but there was once a President of Princeton University, the only Ph.D. ever to become President of the USA in fact, who thought that Birth of a Nation was the greatest historical drama in history, and portrayed the reality of his native south perfectly—unfortunately, that was also the Democratic President who signed into law (1) the 16th Amendment and Federal Income Tax, (2) the Federal Reserve Banking System, and the (3) the 17th Amendment, namely Woodrow Wilson….)

Hunger for Justice and Freedom

Like the residents of the 13 oppressed Districts of Panem, despite all government hypocrisy and lies to the contrary Americans both you and old today know that the odds are NOT in their favor and that, in fact, the odds are fairly hopelessly stacked against them.  And yet the system has this tiny escape valve: that about 1 in every 24 people can make it rich.  That is, one-in-twenty four of the oppressed can make it rich IF they’re willing to “play the government’s game” and basically, kill a lot of their fellow citizens in the process.  As of this April 13, 2012, I have seen the Hunger Games 5 times, and each time I’ve liked it more, seen more details.  I will have to read the books before completely integrating it into my thought processes about modern pop-cultural reaction to the impending doom that this American Life obviously faces, but I submit to you: the American people (on the whole, and certainly as a population compared to many parts of the world at the present and throughout history) may not be starving or hungry for food, but they hunger for justice and an even playing field, and they do not “relish” the very real prospect of a thousand years of subservience to “the government that feeds, them clothes them, takes care of them.”

Of Time and Space and Presidential Succession in the Leap Years…..

The Hunger Games takes place on the 74th anniversary of the institution of these gladiatorial combats.  The significance of that 74 years has bothered me.  On the one hand, it COULD refer to 1860 (the election of Abraham Lincoln and the secession of “District 1, South Carolina…) + 74 = 1934, the year in which Roosevelt’s New Deal started WPA reorganization of the South in earnest, or it could refer to the original publication date of the book, 2008, as the 74th year since 1934—or it could refer to both.  The coincidence, again, is hard to avoid.  1934 was the first full year of (de facto) Socialist Dictatorship in the United States (Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, took office in March 1933, and many of his first year legislative proposals only took effect in 1934).  2008, 74 years later, Barack Hussein Obama, the first Communist President of the United States, was elected and took office, “perfecting” or at least completing the process begun by Abraham Lincoln in 1860, a mere 12 years after the publication of the Communist Manifesto in London in 1848.  (See Al Benson, Jr., & Walter Donald Kennedy’s 2011: Lincoln’s Marxists, Pelican Publishing, Gretna Louisiana, a fine historical summary of the connexion between Communism and Central government predominance in the USA, a historical summary which is easy to read although not nearly well-enough documented with footnotes and source citations as professional historians would like and scholars generally would appreciate).

Another aspect of the Hunger Games is the correlation between the oppressive Central government of Panem and Edward Gibbons’ the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, on the one hand, and a heartless, Machiavellian version of the Social Darwinism of the late 19th century on the other.  The capital of Panem is degenerate in a distinctly Roman Imperial Silver Age manner (Rome’s “Silver Age” normally said to run from the death of Augustus in A.D. 14 through the death of Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 180).  Nero and even Caracalla (“Post-Silver Age” Emperor from A.S. 198-217) would have felt quite at home in the Capitol of Panem, I think.  But the “Emperor” himself is a distinctly late 19th century Anglo-American type (President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland), who has a Romano-“Robber-Baron’s” scorn for the “underdog” without any explanation or moral justification, just the political desire to keep himself and his world on top and everyone else underneath.  President Snow appears to share none of the cultural degeneracy of the Capital, but has a great deal in common with aristocratic Victorian gardeners of the late 19th century.  

Snow’s name is English, as are most of the names of the characters known from District 12.  Most of the residents of the Capitol City, however, and apparently of Districts 1-2, have Roman names: “Cato”, “Caesar”, “Seneca”, “Octavia”, and “Claudius” just to name a few…..  

So the Hunger Games follows the pattern of Serenity and V-for-Vendetta in another distinctly modern way (although all these movies do it well, and for good purposes and effect, quite a few others, such as Captain America and [the movie that I dread most]—Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer, do it very poorly and for improper purposes): historical metaphors and mythic realities are conflated, merged, and reorganized.

NOX OCCIDIT (“NIGHT FALLS”)

In any event, there is a Leonard Cohen song that summarizes why the Hunger Games, as a historical-mythological and futuristic allegory of injustice and game rigging, is so wildly popular, and that song is:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through 
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary 
To the beach of Malibu 
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

The saddest difference between V-for-Vendetta and Serenity on the one hand and the Hunger Games on the other is the complete transparency of the society of Panem: “Everybody knows that the system’s rotten…. everybody knows that the war is over, everybody knows that the good guys lost.”  Everybody knows that the government that feeds the people, clothes them, and cares for them does not like underdogs.  President Snow is a late 19th Century-styled  avatar of George H.W. Bush (41st), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (43rd), & Barack Hussein Obama all rolled into one.  

At least in V-for-Vendetta and Serenity, there still existed the apparent hope that revelation of truth could lead to revolution and change. 

But now President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act allowing indefinite detention of American Citizens on American soil without charges or trial, and he does so unblinkingly and unabashedly.  President Obama jingoistically adopts the dead Trayvon Martin as his own son in an effort to exacerbate racial tensions and divisions to his advantage in an election year at the same time that he tells the AIPAC Conference that he supports Israel’s quest to maintain ethnic homogeneity and integrity.  

There are no secrets in modern America, our Joseph Stalin, aka President Obama, has no need of Hitlerian, Rooseveltian, or “W” Bushian type “Big Lie”—he tells us all that he wants the power to take away all our rights, but asks us to trust him that he won’t really do it—except in the case of real underdogs, like, I guess, for example, George Zimmerman?  And speaking of that, how many of you imagine that George Zimmerman, whether he be called White, Hispanic, or Jewish, or all of the above, will get a fair trial?

So now to celebrate April 13 even further: WHERE WILL WE BE 74 years from now, or from 2008, say in 2082?  I predict we may well be in a New Dark Age, and not just because I’m not on the California Ballot for this year (although that is symptomatic).  

So far as “fixed games” go, what could be worse than a criminal prosecution set by agreement between Judges and prosecutors arranged through bribes?  Is that the American Way?  We wouldn’t like to think so.  In 1980, the year I graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences at Tulane and started graduate school at Harvard, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California said that “fixing” cases was not a normal judicial function and that no judicial immunity could attach to such activities: Rankin v Howard 633 F2d 844 _9th Circuit December 5 1980.  A short six years later, that same Ninth Circuit reversed itself and found judicial immunity from civil suit for such activities: Ashelman v Pope 793 F2d 1072 *EN BANC* 9th Circuit 1986

But the outrageous history of the suppression of judicial immunity just goes on and on through the subsequent citation history of Ashelman v. Pope to show how official immunity for prosecutors and the executive branch has almost merged with Judicial immunity to the point that the government is just one big immune mass of oppression against the people, and the modern government of E Pluribus Unum, aka “Panem” can prosecute you, jail you, and torture you, with complete immunity.