see: the Supreme Court has determined that the cops can't just
barge into my bedroom, catch me in the midst of an infamous
act, and drag me and my, uh, partner, off to jail. Whew! What
a relief! But they can still barge
into my office, arrest me as an infamous "enemy
combatant," and throw away the key –
in the name of
fighting "terrorism." So very pagan: no pleasure is proscribed,
but politics can be dangerous.
the California summer swings into full gear, and the light
from the Bay rises up, coating the city with an effervescent
glaze, the question raises itself: why not just escape into
private life, and leave the world to its folly? It would be
so easy to surrender completely to the pagan ethic and lose
oneself in the world of the senses. A life lived for its own
sake is, after all, the libertarian ideal.
slaves had a great deal of what, today, we would call freedom;
they were free to fornicate, to indulge in every sort of vice,
to bring children into the world without
benefit of marriage, all the better to serve the tastes
of their masters, which, by the time of the Imperial era,
had become quite decadent. Not that there's anything wrong
with that, but by the time the stern republican virtues
of yeoman farmers gave way to the Rome of Petronius,
the muscular young republic had long since morphed into a
monstrously bloated and misshapen empire. As to which is cause,
and which effect, I'll leave it to the sociologists to decide.
Suffice to note the connection, and wonder what it portends.
of decadence, is it just a coincidence that the same news
channel that is the most
belligerently pro-war and pro-Bush is the same network
that broadcasts the sleaziest entertainment? The
War Party is hoping that we're all too preoccupied with living
out our personal Satyricons
to notice what's happening in the world – and on
the home front.
their moral posturing, the neoconservative faction
of the War Party is better served by hedonism. The more people
tune out, and turn to purely personal affairs, the more the
neocons can lie about nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction"
and get away with it. Americans are just not paying attention:
large numbers believe
the Iraqis used WMDs during the recent war, a number roughly
equivalent to those who fail
to distinguish between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
link between personal morality and the life and health of
the American republic is subtle, yet unmistakable. As the
neo-pagan ethic takes hold in the cultural arena, a neo-imperial
policy is proclaimed by an American President. The
Roman pattern is being repeated. The Bush Doctrine of preemption, as capricious and
brimming with hubris as Caligula's
edict proclaiming himself a god, is the sort of outrage
that simply would not have been possible in an earlier, and
better world. Nor would the depredations of the Patriot Act
and its successor.
whatever reason, most people just don't have a whole lot of
time to focus on larger concerns. I certainly don't blame
them and don't mean to hector anyone, because this just reflects
the natural and healthy "isolationism" of the American people
– and people the world over – that is the chief emotional
resistance to interventionism. In any case, some degree of
indifference to the affairs of the world, and its quarrels,
is to be encouraged in a nation as powerful and, in
the wrong hands, as potentially
dangerous as the U.S. But ignorance of what is
going on the world is a luxury Americans can no longer afford,
especially those of us who resist mightily the degeneration
of our beloved republic into just another vulgar empire.
the plague of ignorance that's fallen over the land, that's
what Antiwar.com is all about. We're the equivalent of the
Emergency Room in the great Hospital of Peace, where those
traumatized by a barrage of militarist propaganda come for
treatment of their injuries and a good shot of the untrammeled
truth. The lies of the War Party are many, and they come flying
at us without respite, it seems: it's a full time job keeping
up with them. Like computer viruses, or spam, they keep recurring
in new forms, using all sorts of clever strategies to evade
and subvert our defenses. Our job, here at Antiwar.com, is
never-ending. So I can't really afford to be "exuberantly
pagan," as David
Frum described me in his piece naming me as one
of at least a dozen spokes on the Axis of Evil. There just
isn't time. While all those California sybarites are out there
basking in the sun, the surf, and the polymorphous perversity,
I'm stuck inside writing. Hmmmm…..
benevolent lightheartedness, an admirable and quintessentially
American trait, is the emotional leitmotif of our civilization,
and, as a wannabe sybarite, I can think of no other cause
that I would rather spend long summer afternoons defending.
For that heedlessness is the innocence of a country that has
never been invaded, in modern times, has never experienced
a coup d'etat, and has yet to fall beneath the hand of a dictator,
that is if you're not counting Abraham
Lincoln and Franklin
a would-be exuberant pagan, I like to think that I'm defending
the right of Americans to be gloriously unburdened by the
woes of the world, carefree citizens of a free and prosperous
commonwealth. It is a vision of the future that keeps me going:
I am reminded of one of my favorite Ayn Rand quotes:
who fight for the future live in it today."
isn't easy carrying the banner of unreconstructed "isolationism,"
the contemporary smear-word for the foreign
policy of the Founders, in the age of empire. We couldn't
do it without the tremendous support of Antiwar.com's readers
– especially those who responded to our week-long summer pledge
program with overwhelming generosity. As of the latest count,
we've raised a grand total of $18,800.
you" doesn't quite communicate the overwhelming feeling of
validation, nor could any words express the depth of my gratitude.
Yes, words, for once, fail me. I can only say that we will
work hard to be worthy of your continued support.
IN THE MARGIN
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welcome to Anthony Gancarski, our newest columnist: he has
written for The American Conservative, Counterpunch,
LewRockwell.com, and Folio Weekly, among others, and
he’s good. Check out his first column for Antiwar.com,
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