Tag Archives: Plato

HISTORIC “NO” VOTE IN GREECE. CONFEDERATES AWAKE!!!!!

The Greek People today voted against Central Government and Central Economic Planning by a factor of roughly 2-to-1 (in many hard-hit urban areas 3-to-1). Greece has perhaps turned the tide of the expanding power of the European Community, and we should follow suit here. The Greek people know that a central government based in Brussels, exactly on the opposite Northwest Corner of Europe from Greece in the far Southeast, cannot possibly be expected to act in the interests of a minority people with comparatively little wealth and political “pull” compared with France, Germany, or even Italy.

The people of the South derived their concept of Democracy, much of their philosophy, and their iconic style of architecture from the Ancient Greek Civilization of Demosthenes, Aristotle, Plato, and Saint Paul the Apostle, not to mention their battle flag from Saint Andrew Protokletos, the First Called Apostle, who died, crucified on an X-shaped cross, in Patras on the Northwest Peloponnesos.

Every Southern Constitutional Democrat from Thomas Jefferson through Andrew Jackson to Jefferson Davis through John W. Davis (a West-Virginia Born lawyer, successor to Samuel Tilden in New York Law and predecessor to Robert Byrd who as Democratic Presidential nominee carried the 11 Southern States in the election of 1924, ending his career heroically defending the honor and integrity of the South in Brown v. Board of Education thirty years later) up to Sam Ervin, Price Daniel, Walter F. George, and Strom Thurmond was acutely aware of the Greek Heritage of Southern Democratic-Republican traditions.

The people and politicians of the South should follow the developments in Greece closely—and take note that the only major party which unequivocally advocated a “no” vote was the Golden Dawn…. the most traditionally conservative of all of Greece’s political movements…

SUBURBIA & EXURBIA: Creatures of the Communist Manifesto, Targets of Agenda 21 (the Elite Struggle to Perfect its Vision for World Control)

Compare and Contrast Agenda 21 and the Communist Manifesto:

 Manifesto of the Communist Party:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrdmjBAX0E0&feature=player_embedded

Vacillation, 180 degree aboutfaces, and unpredictability, “arbitrary and capricious” decision-making, constitute regular themes in the history of tyranny from time immemorial: the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten (Ikhnathon, Khuenaten, Amenhotep IV) may have been the first arbitrary and capricious tyrant interested in social reform.  He not only abolished all the prerogatives of the Ancient Egyptian Priesthood (who largely controlled and administered agricultural production and food storage for the entire Nile Valley—the most fertile stretch of land in the world, until the Aswan High Dam was completed….the construction of this murderous dam was another idiotic “from the top” elite decision made arbitrarily and capriciously without any regard for ecological process or the reality of how Nile River Valley fertility had been maintained at the top of the world food chain for over five thousand years).

Akhenaten also ordered a forced resettlement and demographic redistribution of the Egyptian “power elite” the entire decentralized nobility of Egypt to be concentrated around him (like planets around the sun…) at a brand new city, El Amarna, designed and decorated strictly according to the new king’s desire to make himself, and his “one God, the Sun Disk Aten” the center of a brand new agricultural, biological, cultural, demographic, economic, fiscal, geographical, historical, ideological, knowledge dispensing, legal, moral, normative, official, political, and social world order.   Akhenaten’s tyrannical experiment was so disastrous that he (and his son/heir Tutankhaten/Tutankhamen) were so despised that they were stricken from the already two thousand year old dynastic king lists of Egypt, and their described in later history (e.g. Manetho) as the time of the Leper Kings…. Now writers from Sigmund Freud (Moses & Monotheism) to Jan Assmann have of course been intrigued by the chronological correlation between the reigns of Akhenaten/Nefertiti/Tutankhamen and the “ShashuHapiru” “Exodus” led by Moses, but whether this was the inauspicious start of monotheistic Hebrew Religion, Judaism, Christianity and Islam is entirely beyond the scope of the present essay.  

I mention Akhenaten’s first the tyrant decrees only because his was the first recorded episode of forced resettlement and urban redesing or “urban planning” for the sole purpose of ideological purity and to make cities the expression of a supreme ideology.  

In our time, really over the past 165 years since February 1848, we have seen Communist ideologues in the tradition of Akhenaten first decree that cities are bad, then engage in 140 years of continuous “suburbanization” an decreased demographic density, only to suddenly start turning around sometime in the late 1980s-1990s and start decreeing that CITIES are good, the SUBURBS and SUBURBAN LIVING are evil, that all ecological disasters come from DIFFUSE DEMOGRAPHICS with high consumption (i.e. easy, high quality) lifestyles.  Starting with the “urban renewal” under Ronald W. Reagan followed by the accession of King George H.W. Bush in 1989, the ideological trend continued so that urban dwelling now epitomizes sacrifice and limited living in comparison to the grotesque and ecologically flagrant excesses of the high end consumer lifestyle to which the world living in the suburbs has become accustomed.  

IS IT ONLY a coincidence that the final excessive bulge of suburban development under Clinton & King George W. Bush ended in what appears to have been a preplanned, premeditated mortgage foreclosure holocaust with the intended purpose of abolishing the suburbs?

It is hardly news that Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, between the two of them, effectively invented the modern social sciences—ALL OF THEM.  Oh, to be sure, Political Philosophy & Practical Theory had existed since at least the time of Plato and Aristotle, and economics had existed at least since the 18th Century and the writings of Adam Smith.  But Sociology & Anthropology certainly had no pre-Marxist existence at all, and were formed as academic disciplines largely in reaction and response to the Marxist theory of Cultural Evolution.  

The Communist Manifesto of February 1848 was primarily an exhortation to action (in the form of World Revolution and the resultant obliteration of “culturally normative, moral and political reality” as know prior to that date).   But it contained amazing little nuggets which have haunted the world ever since.

It is unclear to me what the origin of the Manifesto’s advocacy of an abolition of the distinction between urban and rural living may have been.  I have no ready explanation for why human populations should NOT have both urban and rural components.  To me it seems quite natural that civilization, among its other “discontents”, involves a division of labor and of interests which align very nicely along the division of society into urban and rural foci.

But for whatever reason, I suppose primarily the abolition of all sources of differentiation between human beings, Marx and Engels proposed a progressive elimination of the distinctions between urban and rural living, and the Social Sciences have been obsessed with this distinction and its significance EVER SINCE.

But not only to the academic mind, but also to the “applied social sciences”—political and social engineers of what has come to be known as “urban planning” or “community development”, the distinction between the city and the countryside has become a major preoccupation.

After 1850, for the very first time in both Great Britain and America, and then in the rest of the world, we witness the conscious development of “less dense” urban peripheral settlement which rapidly became known as “suburbia.”  The decrease of population density BY DESIGN was consistent with the Communist Manifesto and hence with social sciences.

There was an academic movement at the University of Chicago Department of Sociology in the 1920s-1940s under the direction of Dr. Robert Redfield to study and deepen our understanding of what he called “the Folk-Urban Continuum”.  It turned out the definition of this continuum almost always depended on local history and politics rather than direct in situ cultural evolution, but the Marxist plan was that “cultural evolution by design” was meant to shape the future.

And so it was that first London and then Boston and New York and New Orleans developed “suburbs” whose houses and land tenure regimes were somewhere between “high density urban” living (characteristic of the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, for example) and true rural areas.  Cambridge and Somerville Massachusetts and the “Boston Back Bay” were 19th century examples of suburban developments in the United States, but even the City of Jefferson and Faubourg Livoudais in New Orleans (aka “the Garden District”) had this characteristic of low density suburbs gradually added on to the city.

By the 1960s, everything was up to date, even in Kansas City, and “suburban development” had gone about as far as it could go in Overland Park and Leawood, and in North Dallas and all around the Houston Beltway, and all along the western edge of Chicago, never mind throughout the San Fernando Valley and Orange County in the great metropolitan agglomeration of suburbs that grew up around the originally tiny railroad terminus city Los Angeles and became monstrously unified as a single political entity in the County of that same name, along with a few stubborn smaller cities like Pasadena, San Marino, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, and Santa Monica.

After some stagnation and malaise during the 1970s, under Ronald W. Reagan, American EXURBIA was born to continue the Communist Manifesto’s plan to break down the distinctions between urban and rural.  For the past 33 years, people have been putting “suburban” houses on mega-lots of 2-10 acres all around the country, eating up valuable farm and orchard and ranch land while producing nothing, and it seems that the barrier between urban and rural had finally really and truly been abolished.  Nobody knew where they lived any more: in a city or suburb or exurb, and it just didn’t matter because everybody had CARS, Fords fulfillment of Freud’s advocacy of instant gratification without much effort.

And then, even in the ashes of Ronald W. Reagan’s promise to restore capitalism and sound government and economy to America, starting with the most deceitful and dishonest of all politicians, namely George H.W. Bush, his sons, the Clintons, and their-jointly anointed Kenyan-born heir and preserver Barack Hussein Obama, Agenda 21 was born: the first major totalitarian ideal since the Communist Manifesto (namely global world-movement ENVIRONMENTALISM).

Now, oddly enough, the primary target of Agenda 21 is the SUBURBAN and EXURBAN lifestyle born in, created-developed-and-elaborated by Communism.  Even more ironic is how the primary opponents of Agenda 21 are those who value and treasure the suburban and exurban lifestyles and decry the One World Government and Wealth transfers implied by Agenda 21.  

The Social Sciences have now all magically turned against the suburbs and back in favor of the cities and promoting DENSE, TIGHTLY PACKED URBAN LIFESTYLE—basically going back to living the way Abraham and his family lived in Ur before they decided to seek an less densely populated “promised land” deeded them by covenant some days west of Ur in what must have seemed (at that time) much like the empty California of the 1850s—a land of milk and honey….

The arrogance of elite social engineers is staggering to me.  I personally hold Harvard Ph.D. in Anthropology & History so I think I know something about elitist Social Science arrogance, especially since I took this over to the University of Chicago somewhere in the late interim between the socialists of Robert Redfield’s & Barack Obama’s eras when the U of C was pretending to be a “conservative” and “free market oriented” island in Academia…. under the leadership of such nominally anti-Marxist non-Keynsian monetarist fence-sitters as Milton Friedman and the members of the “Chicago School of Law & Economics”….

Knowledge is freedom—this I have always believed in the spirit of He who taught us, “Know the Truth and the Truth will Set You Free.”   I suggest that the true-anti-Marxist, anti-Collectivist, anti-Agenda 21 counterrevolution should focus on returning each family to autonomous food production and the genuine self-sufficiency that only such production can provide.  The great modern technological innovations of Solar Power and Wind Power as sources of electricity should be harnessed on the individual, family, and at largest multi-family neighborhood level so that “freedom from the grid” will again become a reality.

I look to my Southern Agrarian ancestors and the Southern Literary movement known as “the Fugitives” which saw virtue and autonomy in the truly rural world of the Old South as an inspiration.  The Southern Agrarian Tradition has its roots in the philosophies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson who looked to truly rural production as the primary source of wealth and power in society.  Agenda 21 advocates, through the mechanisms of communist totalitarianism, the world of elitist power control over people which can ONLY exist in cities, densely packed cities….which have always been the grounds most inimical to freedom….. America’s freedom has diminished directly and proportionally to the increase of its cities, and this is a pattern to be reversed.  How ironic that the world planning elite has now gone back on itself, against one of the original tenets of the communist manifesto from which it derives all of its inspiration and “academic” authority as creator/masters of the social sciences…..

 OH FOR A REBIRTH OF THAT RED-ROOSTER CROWING WORLD!

Note: I acknowledge and look back to my freshman year at Tulane (1975-1976) with great nostalgia for my introduction to the literature of the Fugitives and Southern Agrarians in a course called “Crisis in Culture as Reflected in Modern Literature” that I took from Cleanth Brooks, one of the last survivors of the Southern Agrarian Movement.

My Mother’s Birthday, October 29: In Thanks for Everything She Taught Me and All She Inspired in Me

What can one say about a birthday that coincides with a day of National Disaster?  There were surely children born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, and I know of children born on September 11, 2001 (and people who got married that day also).  But my mother Alice Eugenie was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 29, which in 1929 was known as “Black Tuesday”.  Oddly enough, through the vicissitudes of the family trust funds, stocks and their value have played a large role in her life ever after, but I’m sure that was only coincidence.  Because parenthood and family are complex issues in the modern world, I just want to thank my mother for the good things I associate with her in my life, to wish her a Happy Birthday, on the 82nd Anniversary of the Stock Market Crash, and her life:

(1)   My mother taught me to pray, and to be proud of doing so. The earliest religious lesson I can recall, other than showing me how to pray at night before bed, was that she taught me to recite the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, Le Chanson de Marie, in both English and French.  She taught me that the Magnificat was the essential story of motherhood and its importance in the world.  “My soul doth Magnify the Lord, and my Spirit hath Rejoiced in the Strength of My Salvation.  And behold from henceforth, all generations shall call me Blessed.”  My mother gave me the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer and made sure I studied it from earliest age onwards.  She told me that ours was “the one true Church.”  (Her mother, my grandmother Helen, accused my mother of being something of a “Pharisee”—“Churchy”, she said, but today is a day to celebrate the fact that, unlike most people in the modern world, my mother made sure that I had only one religious affiliation in my life and that I stuck to it, and I think of her every time I go to Church, and during at least half the hymns and prayers of every Eucharist, Morning, and Evening Prayer, and Compline whenever they have it—although in my recent life that would be only at the Christ Church Cathedral on Burrard Street in Vancouver in the Archdiocese of the New Westminster).  My mother also introduced me to the Prophecies of Isaiah, and taught me the importance of that greatest of all the teachers of the Hebrew Bible, foretelling of the coming of the Messiah.

(2)   My mother taught me cultural heritage, especially music, starting with songs about Robin Hood, and an old book with line drawings in which the Ballads of Robin Hood were collected.  In regard to Robin Hood, she taught me at a very early age to look to distinguish history from mythology.  She also taught me the importance of cultural memory, although she called it “the racial subconscious.”  She taught me about Jungian Archetypes and Musical Leitmotives.  She encouraged me to sing, and started me on the piano and violin, but sadly I did inherited neither her perfect pitch nor her long and nimble fingers (instead I got my father’s stubby and rather crooked fingers).  I am fairly musically talented and aware compared to most, but I was tone-deaf compared to my mother.   She tried to teach me to sight sing from sheet music, but this I was never able to do.

(3)  In connexion with music, she taught me a love of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Henry Purcell, Madrigals, Motets, and Richard Wagner, although not necessarily in that order.  Now everyone in my family loved Wagner, especially my Aunt Mildred whose old house with high ceilings, chandeliers, and plaster moldings always seemed to echo with old mono-recordings of Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad, but my mother and Mildred were extremely close.  My mother’s devotion to all things musical was much more intense and academic.

(4)  My mother taught me to love books and all things academic, especially maps and poetry (I realize that’s an odd pairing).  After the Book of Common Prayer and the Ballads of Robin Hood, the next most important book or series of books I remember her giving me were the Shepherd’s Historical Atlas, the Oxford World Atlas, and several other map collections.  In the same vein she introduced me to Ptolemy’s Geography, to ancient Maps and Memories both of Atlantis and of Primordial Chaos, and to Aristotle’s and Plato’s view of the world, and how Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Thomas Aquinas helped merged Pagan Philosophy and Christian Faith.

(5)   And then she made sure I learned our mythic history, King Arthur and Boadicea, and Caractacus, and made sure that I learned the more conventional Kings of England and to “quote the Fights Historical, from Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.”  I loved to study English history and literature with my mother.  It seems our time together on such things was mostly limited to her telling me what to read and giving me books, but she did a lot of that: I had read all of T.S. Eliot from Murder in the Cathedral to J. Alfred Prufrock, the Four Quartets, and the Wasteland by the time I was 11, plus the Cantos of Ezra Pound.  My mother took particular care that I know the story of St. Thomas a Becket and why his Martyrdom at Canterbury was so important to the English people.  And yes, my mother, together with her father my grandfather, who was normally a fairly distant figure, made sure that I knew all the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan by memory, pretty much also by the time I was 11 or 12.

(6)   I wish I could say that my mother and I had had a great many good times together, but I will just say that one of the best times we had in my life was when she was criticizing and editing my doctoral dissertation: I would send her draft chapters and she would read them and severely comment on my semantics and grammar.  She was much harder on me than any member of my actual dissertation committee at Harvard, and for that I will always be eternally grateful.  I also remember fondly the beautiful green dress she wore to my graduation—she looked like Queen Elizabeth II, only better.

(7)   So on her birthday, I celebrate and give thanks to my mother for all she gave me.  I know I am only listing a few of the intellectual things I took from her, my first and greatest teacher.  In this little birthday essay I will dwell on nothing but the positive, except to say that many things have intervened, and not all of family life is harmonious.  My mother has great faith in the large corporate banking institutions which I have come to despise, and this has been a source of some significant tension between us over the years.   Could her love of banks and “corporate trusts” have anything to do with her birthdate?  The relationship between character and astrology is in my view pretty much totally mythical, but it is hard to say that the influence of the historical context of our births is not real.  

Lenten Reflections on Deception or Murder: which is the Highest (most heinous, offensive, injurious) Crime known to Man?

If the primary focus of my legal and political life concerns the enhancement and preservation individual freedom from governmental control and the norms of technocratic/corporate society, my primary philosophical concern is to expand and deepen my own understanding, and I would hope, the understanding of others, of the nature and dimensions of truth*.

Did anyone else ever try to give up lying or “judging unfairly” for Lent?  (Most people might call the latter “being mean” or “bullying”).  It’s so much easier to give up coffee or tea or lemonade.  Most ordinary humans, if we can “to our own selves be true”, would find it difficult to go through a single day without abstracting, oversimplifying, recharacterizing, or otherwise restructuring the truth—in other words, without lying about anything.

Back during the middle-to-last years of the George W. Bush Administration, a fairly popular bumper-sticker read, “Nobody died when Clinton lied.”  Whether you believe George W. lied only about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as chief among the reasons for invading Iraq, or whether you believe he lied about 9/11 and everything from the counting of the Florida ballots in 2000 through his initiation of the Bank Bailout after the election in 2008, George W. Bush undoubtedly told some devastatingly fatal lies.   In that regard, Bush stands in fairly good company.  Deception and trickery of various sorts lay at the roots of the Franco-Prussian War, the Spanish American War, the U.S. entry into World War I, and the U.S. entry into World War II.  Hitlers’ preposterous lies concerning “Polish aggression” as a cause for the Nazi invasion in September 1939 are legendary, as was the peculiarly deceptive nature of the Von Ribbentrop-Molotov (aka “Stalin-Hitler”) pact partitioning Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union.   These were lies that killed millions.  By contrast the uncountable deaths of Afghan and Iraqi civilians are by no one estimated to exceed one single million (by very much) since 2003.  So lies lead to death, but war and murder and the “sacrifice” of young healthy men and women as warriors constitutes a huge part of human history.   The meaning of death is fairly obvious, except of course in extraordinary cases like Karen Ann Quinlan and Terry Schiavo, where the correlation between physical health and brain death has created a modern moral crisis in rare instances with population-wide implications (especially for the ever increasing population of elderly citizens).   The meaning of “truth” is much murkier, and much harder to tie down, or make clear to anyone.  In the courtroom context, “truth” is whatever a skillful lawyer can use rhetoric to convince 12 jurors to believe and vote for.  In the scientific realm, “peer review” of articles largely determines truth and credibility—and under “Daubert” this same standard invades and has vast consequences in the legal context in an era where no serious litigation takes place without expert witnesses.  In the early 17th century a “peer review” panel of scholars belonging to the Office of the Holy Inquisition in Rome threatened Galileo with the most severe of penalties if he did not recant, and yet he is reputed to have muttered under his breath “e pur si muove.”  We now believe we know that Galileo had the higher claim to truth, even though he was forced to recant or suffer the same penalty that met a young maiden named Jean d’Arc when she refused to deny that her visions were true, and refused to affirm that they were the product of the Devil.

Revealing the truth, or stating an unpopular truth, then, can lead to death as certainly as lying or dissembling.   John Brown believed he waged a private war for the truth when he set Kansas on fire and then tried to seize the U.S. Armory at Harper’s Ferry.  Once John Brown’s body was a-moulding in the grave, his dream of a bloody civil war which would free the slaves was realized, and his role in starting that war is not to be underestimated.  But is it historically true that the war of 1861-65 freed the slaves? Or did the majority of the Black African population of America remain in de facto slavery through 1917 and the American entry into World War I?  Or even until 1942 and the American entry into World War II?  Or even until the Civil Rights Acts of 1948-1964 outlawed, successively, lynchings (1948) and discrimination in the facilities of interstate commerce (1964)?  What is the truth about the wars that redefined America and the world while slaughtering millions?  Was World War II really (in Studs Turkel’s words) the one really “Good War?”

As Japan smolders today in radioactive fallout and the threat of nuclear holocaust due to its dependence on nuclear power, one has to wonder how the Japanese people did not learn the “truth” about the destructive nature of the split atom from their uniquely fatal “true” experiences in August 1945.  I would have imagined that Japan would have been the least enthusiastic consumer of nuclear energy.  But oblivion born of political memory and economic prosperity change the perception of “truth” almost as much as intentional lies and misrepresentations.

What really happened on 9/11/01 between Boston Logan, Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania?  How many skyscraper-towers fell in New York City due to airplane crashes and associated fires on that day of infamy?  3?  2?  none? There are those alive today who believe each of those answers.  I happen to be one who believes the latter.  But that is because I so firmly agree with the motto, “When Clinton lied, no one died.”  (But when Bush lied, the world fried.)  Socrates is said to have corrupted the youth of Greece by advocating his own peculiar dissection of the truth.  Was he killed by fear of the truth or by a genuine belief that his methods and works were dangerous?  Or was he just killed by the Beastly Babbity Bourgeois Bores of post-Periclean Athens?

Philosophy fairly clearly teaches us that on one level, at least, we all have to recognize that any absolute definition of truth is destined to be a lie, or at the very least to generate lies and deception.  One on optimistic level, as I look at the hills around Santa Fe from my fifth floor balcony at La Fonda, the blue sky is only slightly hazy at the horizon and the hills or low mountains to the northeast, behind St. Francis’ Cathedral, have residual patches of snow, while those to the southwest of town do not.  It is a beautiful Spring day in one of the best and finest spots in North America.  What is “true” about this statement?  What is true about what I see?  The sun is not in my eye but clearly illuminates a town which has grown at least 300% since I first visited here here as a child.  There is not a cloud in the sky above, and only a few very low clouds hovering above the sky up and around.  The leaves on the trees are either just nascent buds or not out at all.  Most tree branches are barren, although again even from this low altitude (5th Floor) vantage point there is a difference between the north and the south looking views (more barren branches in the north, more just barely growing leaves on the south.

Is any of this true?  Is any of this real?  It so seems to me, and I doubt that many people (if any) would argue with my general characterization of the sky.  But then I look at St. Francis’ Cathedral, and the rather grotesquely purple-draped crucifix planted in front of it (purple for Lent).   I am not R.C. but have a great appreciation for the majesty and role of the Christian Church in the West.   I grew up an Episcopalian—basically of an “Anglo-Catholic lite” variety.  In my Sunday school days we argued over such things as why glaciers and the ice ages weren’t mentioned in the Bible while “Noah’s Flood” was, and what would happen to the English Church if England (all or part) were ever again covered with glacial ice as it most certainly was less than 15,000 years ago, and what would happen to the Freedom Trail in Boston if New England were glaciated again?  In short, my religious upbringing did not disallow the scientific view of the world, of evolution, and of man’s animal origins and nature.

I look at St. Francis’ Cathedral and the purple draped crucifix standing out in front again.  What is true and what is false?  What is real and what is fantasy?  And above all, which is the greater crime: deception or murder?

In the United States today, no one is ever executed for fraud, although life sentences are routinely meted out—(I for one have never understood why life in prison is an improvement over death; I have spent a lifetime total of 60 days in Federal Custody and rather than stay longer I would choose death any day).  In a German movie from the early 1990s, Schrechklische Maedschen, (“Nasty girl”) an ironic twist was when a distinguished citizen of the town, reputed to have been in the underground resistance during World War II, was revealed to have been not only not a resister but an enthusiastic Nazi who arranged to have an itinerant Jewish salesman tried and hanged as a swindler; in the context of the movie, this was portrayed as one of the great abuses of Nazi sympathizers on the less than epic, mundane, local level.  The Common Law of England, and the Civil Law of Europe, did not always forbid execution for swindling or ordinary commercial fraud (in fact most “felonies” were originally hanging offenses, including for example horse thievery).  Note at sidebar: if capital punishment were allowed for fraud today it seems certain that the entire executive corps of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, would all be eligible to be twisting slowly in the breeze, and most mortgage-lending banks, investment, financial service companies would be entirely without upper level employees of any kind and very few middle level employees.

And yet I digress.  There was a time in England, in the 18th Century, when pickpockets were hanged when caught picking pockets.  And where in all of England were there ever more pickpockets in operations than at public hangings by Newgate prison, including the public hangings of pickpockets.  So stealing was bad and justified state-sanctioned murder.  Hmmm….

Today, possibly under the influence of of Karl Marx, added to a substrate laid by Jesus Christ, we do not think that theft is as bad as murder, and crimes such as led to stonings in Jesus’ time (such as adultery), are now capital only in Iran and a few adjacent countries depending on how the wind is blowing, apparently, although Saudi Arabia has executed its own princesses for sexual crimes in the modern (even the Reagan) era.

The crucifix draped in translucent purple in fron of St. Francis’ Cathedral is haunting me still.   Royal purple is not translucent.  The purple of mourning is not translucent.  A crucifix draped in translucent purple gauze is almost as tacky as the plastic BVMs (“Blessed Virgin Mary”s) that were once all so common on the lawns in LMC immigrant neighborhoods back East.

And yet the reality of the purple crucifix is that we are in Lent, one week past the Annunciation of the Coming of Christ by the Angel Gabriel to a certain unwed (and probably rather ethnic-looking) mother named Mary took place (the Annunciation, celebrated on March 25 or the nearest Sunday of each year, also serves to warn the world that only 9 months (270 days,  of shopping time remain until Christmas….).  Lent is the time (40 days and 40 nights) in which we are instructed to remember that Christ died for our sins…. One perfect and complete sacrifice for the sins of the Whole World…..

Lent in relation to Easter appears to have originated in Egypt sometime in the late 3rd or early 4th centuries A.D., but it is clearly conceptually connected to the many 40 day periods of retreat or fasting mentioned in the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible.

One possibility is that Lent originated in a 40 day period in which the women of Israel wept for Tammuz….  This event, commemorated in one of the most enigmatic lines in the entire Hebrew Bible, is recorded in Ezekiel 8:14: “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”

The author of Ezekiel refers to this sight as an “abomination” but Tammuz (Sumerian Dumuzi), was the lover of Ishtar/Inanna, the “Adonis” of the Fertile Crescent, who died each year and was reborn…. It is hard to know just how “deep” into the Cult of the Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi the women of Israel described by Ezekiel might have been.  The “ordinary” priestesses of Inanna were in fact Temple “prostitutes”, a topic of greatest interest to modern scholarship, as well as to the Greek Historian Herodotus in describing the farthest “West” of the Near Eastern Temples ever recorded, found in Cypress.  The Sumerian word Dumu from which Dumuzi is derived may have meant something about the regenerative vegetative turgidity—Dumu—the sap which flows in the reeds that grow beside the life-giving Euphrates.  (The sap in the reeds gives rise to another farther flung comparison—of the Mesoamerican Tollan and the exile of “le Roi Ivre” (the Drunken King) aka the God Quetzalcoatl from the “Land of Reeds” after sexually incestuous indiscretion with the God’s sister were punished by rival deity Tezcatlipoca… but that is another essay for another day).  The Bible contains more evidence of Temple prostitution associated with either of the Goddesses Asherah or Astarte in Ancient Israel, mainly Asherah (Dumezilian Third Function Goddess whose name means, alternatively “Wealth” or “Poles”—as in wooden poles, not residents of that certain flatland country east of the Oder-Niese line, north of Czechoslovakia, and West of Belarus (Byelorussia).  The word “qedeshah” (“consecrated harlot”) occurs in Genesis 38: 21-22, Deuteronomy 23:18, and Hosea 4:14.  While Ahab’s Queen Jezebel, then, was no prostitute herself, insofar as the Bible reveals, her devotion to the goddess Asherah could possibly have made her the “madam” of many consecrated prostitutes, as the word qedeshah (root Q-D-S) is etymologically parsed and compared to Sumerian Quadishtu.

As a pause within any Lenten dissertation on high crimes, it is to be noted that in Biblical times and ever since, sexual crimes seem to be the most troublesome. The Prophet Elijah dedicated his life and prophetic works to the destruction of Jezebel and her fertility-oriented worship of Asherah.  I have never been fond of Elijah—his very name is an argument “El is [the same as] Yahweh”, but I think his attack on Hebrew polytheism is at least as strange and incongruous, perhaps even moreso, than Akhenaten’s attack on Egyptian Polytheism as much as 600-800 years earlier.

The truth is that nothing binds human beings together more tightly than their interest in/obsession with sex.  Today, the most heinous crimes are sexual crimes—there is no register of released killers, bankrobbers, or fraudulent tortfeasors identifying which released ex-cons live in which neighborhoods, but by Federal Law, sex offenders must be registered everywhere.   Convicted sex-offenders are stained with their stigmata for life, worse even than Jews in Nazi Germany (or the real or imagined Nazi-sympathizers in post-WWII France or other occupied countries).

Prostitution is, one supposes, the complete and total negation of traditional family life and marriage—yet if dedicated by and to the Priestesses of Inanna or Ishtar it was called “Sacred” among the Sumerians, Akkadians, Old through Neo-Babylonians, Assyrians, Kassites, Eblaites, Cannanites, and Cypriots of the Ancient Fertile Crescent.

I myself have often confronted the question: what is the difference between modern marriage and prostitution, and have concluded that the primary difference is in time of payment: prostitutes are paid “up front” while wives are paid (through the divorce and alimony system) post-facto, even (especially) if and when they enjoyed the full fruits of married life with their husbands.  Wives in a modern “Brave New World” Divorce of the type that Kathy Ann Garcia-Lawson has so completely eschewed, can typically collect much more for their sexual and child bearing services than even the most highly paid prostitutes ever stand to earn.  I suppose that is why the condescending Pharisees and Sadducees of our time (like Jesus’) called women who belong to the profession of which Mary Madeleine might have been a member, “Cheap”.  Yet Mary Madeleine, at the end of this Lenten Drama, is remembered as she who was the first to see the empty tomb and be greeted by the Risen Christ.  So who’s life and work was more precious to the Lord?

Prostitution and marriage—categorical opposites or merely points along a single continuum.  Which lifestyle represents greater freedom?  Which lifestyle represents greater honesty?  In Lent, when we reflect on our sins, mortal and venal, should we not reflect on such questions.

Are we today free from the hypocritical values which cast some as saints and some as sinners for very similar behaviors?

But leaving for a moment sex, lies and videotape, and returning to murder vs. lies, we go back to the foundation of modern Anthropology.  In The Golden Bough, published originally in 1890, but published in its more famous 12 volume 3rd edition contemporaneously with the Great European War, 1915-1918, Sir James G. Frazer focused on one single interrelated web of questions and problems relating to human religion worldwide: why is ritual murder or human sacrifice so common and why does it always focus on a dying King—a dying young man at the height of his masculine strength and life.

Dumuzi-Tammuz in Mesopotamia and Syro-Palestine (and Cyprus), the lover of Inanna-Ishtar; the model couple for the Sacred Marriage Rite of Ancient Sumer-Akkad-Babylon.  Osiris in Egypt, brother and lover of Isis, the model for Pharaonic resurrection and ultimately for all Egyptian resurrection (through the rites of mummification). Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, who for us and our Salvation came down from heaven, was made incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and made man.

Clive Staples Lewis once wrote an inquiry into the question of whether Jesus was “just another corn God” and concluded that he was not.  But the manifestations and apparent roots of Kingship and Sacrifice stretch from sub-Saharan Africa across Europe and Asia to the Americas.  The story of Quetzalcoatl-Kukulcan on the one hand, and the ritual sacrifice and corn-bread communion of Tezcatlipoca among the Aztec, certainly looks suspiciously like the rites of Christendom.  The early Spanish Conquistadors noted, as did their accompanying clergy, mostly “Franciscans” including but not limited to those who founded Santa Fe and the church here which ultimately evolved into the Cathedral of St. Francis, that the Aztec especially but to a lesser degree the Maya showed ritual parallels to all of the Seven Sacraments in their autochthonous theology, aboriginal ceremonies and indigenous beliefs.   For Sir James G. Frazer, as for Frays Bernaldino de Sahagun and Bartolome de las Casas, Aztec Religion was the nearest ritual approximate to Christianity outside of the Christian world itself.

What does this kind of similarity mean?  On Good Friday we “celebrate” the death of the Son of God.  In the rites of Toxcatl, the Aztec of Mexico celebrated the death of the human incarnation of Tezcatlipoca by human sacrifice.  Among the “Penitentes” of New Mexico, it was long rumored that actual human sacrifices took place on Good Friday to commemorate the original death.  The lines between cultures and religious ideology grows slim indeed.

For the Spanish, the Aztec Religion was a deceptive mockery of Christianity, going back to our original question of whether murder or deception is the highest crime known to Man.  For their sins of heresy and failure to adopt or comprehend Christianity, the Native American peoples were alternatively enslaved, burned at the stake, slaughtered in brutal war, or simply denied the right to serve as priests (despite decades of work, in the sixteenth century, of the bilingual Nahuatl & Spanish Colegio de Tlatelolco established by Sahagun) because they were doctrinally deemed to be soulless creatures easily deceived by the Devil and incapable of understanding or implementing the one “True” Christian faith.

So notions of fraud and murder converge in Christianity specifically, in world religions generally, and throughout the study of Divine Kingship, by Sir James G. Frazer and his followers, who constitute the core of Anglophone Anthropology from E.E. Evans-Pritchardt, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, and Alfred M. Hocart, of an older generation, to Marshall Sahlins, Valerio Valeri, and Gillian Feeley-Harnik of the more recent and modern era.

Is murder truth or deception?  Joss Whedon is one of the most talented writers ever to approach television, and has put many amazing words into the mouths of his characters in several different series.  In the fourth season of Whedon’s series Angel, the eponymous character’s son, a human offspring of vampire parents (Angel and Darla) named “Connor”, tells his father,  “There’s only one thing that ever changes anything and that’s death. Everything else is a lie. You can’t be saved by a lie. You can’t be saved at all.”  (Episode 4.22 “Home”)

This pretty much sums up the Wagnerian-Schopenhauerian-Nietzschean dilemma: DEATH IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER CHANGES ANYTHING.  Is everything else really a lie though?  Can we be saved by the death of Divine Kings?  Tezcatlipoca in the rites of Toxcatl? Dumuzi-Tammuz?  Osiris?  One-Eyed Wotan’s self-willed immolation in Walhalla at the Twilight of the Gods after the Murder of his grandson Siegfried by the treacherous half-breed Hagen?  or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews?

Deception and Murder, from an Anthropological perspective, are fairly unique aspects of the human condition.  Male animals kill each other over mates.  Animals compete for food.  Animals know the law of the jungle: kill to eat, or to prevent oneself from being eaten.  But most animals do not set elaborate mechanical traps (that’s why a Spider’s web is so intriguing and powerful a symbol to the human mind) or drive entire herds over cliffs merely to eat and skin a few of the animals who die in the stampede (Native American Archaeological Kill sites are common from New Mexico to Alberta and elsewhere in the Americas, with prehistoric documentation going back at least to Torralba-Ambrona in the late Acheulean, Lower Palaeolithic, of Spain), but such behavior is routine among humans.  We do not think of this, perhaps, so routinely as “deception” because we do not imagine that the animals would understand the fraud if it were explained to them: “if you step on this spot, you will be caught in a trap and eaten; if you stampede over a cliff with the rest of the herd, while being chased by humans, you will all die but only a few of you will be eaten and the rest will simply rot.”  So death can be the result of deception—death can be the result of lies, even though, as  Connor believes, there is something satisfyingly clear and absolute about death that makes it “truer than life,” perhaps.

Propaganda (Advertising) and Technologically Advanced Warfare write deception and murder large across the tableau of modern history.  As Winston Churchill once observed, man is the only creature who periodically goes out to slaughter large numbers of individuals of the same species, and the invitation, the incentive to such officially sanctioned, corporate, mass murder is what we call political or….other kinds of….propaganda or advertising.  Only a few well-selected deceptive words like “weapons of mass destruction” are all it takes to rally the American population to warfare, it seems.  Yet there have been schools of thought in the not so distant past which believed and argued that truth and the maximum expression of human nobility resided in warfare, like death itself, or murder.

One of the principal reasons I have chosen to be a civil rights activist is that I have seen American Judges (both State and Federal), supposedly the ultimate arbiters of “truth” in society, so corruptly twist the truth or even the facts as presented to them, that I have little or no lingering confidence in the judicial system, anywhere, as a means of ascertaining the truth.  Quite the opposite: in mortgage finance, family, domestic relations, & “child welfare” law, the government (including the judges) more often than not come down on the side of the liars and the corrupt, and against those trying to ferret out the truth.  Doctrines such as “parental alienation” and “best interests of the child” combine to give judges and social welfare workers the power to wreak such havoc on home and family life that, frankly, it is amazing today that any traces of home or family life exist in America today.   What is the truth we are fighting for here?  I think that the real, not-so-hidden agenda behind the iron curtail of Family Law and Domestic Relations in the United States, coupled with the mortgage finance/credit-based monetary system, consists of one single goal: the abolition of the family and private property in America and the rest of the developed world, thereby realizing two of Karl Marx’s key dreams articulated in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, or in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World nightmare of 1931.

*My son Charlie, a Freshman at St. John’s College in Annapolis, regularly tortures me with impossible philosophical questions about classification, perception, and reality and all I can say is: Good for Him! I wish I had had that kind of training, but I am deficient at the dissection of philosophical questions.  His perception and understanding of Aristotle, Parmenides, Plato, and Socrates already far exceeds my own.  As my late aunt Mildred would have said, “he is well-schooled and so acquainted with all the Gone Greeks.”  St. John’s curriculum is apparently as amazing and true to the mediaeval and renaissance traditions as I had always heard—and as difficult.

Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta

http://pledge.tenthamendmentcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/10th-amendment-pledge-state.pdf

I heartily endorse and take this pledge as an essential part of my campaign and indeed, my political philosophy.

Thursday and Friday of this week I am attending the Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta, at which, for the first time in public (this blog/website not counting!) I announced that I am running for Barbara Boxer’s Seat in the Senate in California.  Senator Barbara Boxer is a hard core establishmentarian Democrat of the modern “socialist” tradition, and if there is any hope of ever restoring the United States of America to its status as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, the word “Democrat” has to mean something other than “socialist.”  There was some discussion on Thursday night about the meaning of the words “Democratic” and “Republican” and “Federalist.”  “Federalism” of course lies at the heart of the Tenth Amendment debate.  “Federal Revenue Sharing” is close to 100% of what State governments spend these days.  “Demokratia”, meaning in Greek “rule by the people,” is contrasted with “Res publicae” which is simply Latin for “Common Wealth.”   In terms of ancient history, which is kind of a hobby of mine I guess, being a former archaeologist, the two words are not competing terms.  A Commonwealth (Republic) could be a Democracy or a Monarchy or an Oligarchy.   The United States at the present time is best described, in my opinion, as a Plutocratic Oligarchy (an elite ruled nation whose elite is defined solely by monetary wealth rather than productivity or education or anything else).  Plato in his book “The Laws” opined that an Oligarchy was the worst of all possible forms of government, because it was less susceptible to change and reform once it had “gone bad.”