Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Survival / Integrity /
What Price Kleptocracy?
You buy a refrigerator. It’s supposed to chill the contents. If it doesn’t, there’s a good likelihood the store will fix it, replace it, or give you your money back.
Your finacée tells you she’s a virgin. You marry her. But it turns out she has a kid living with her mother. She hopes you’ll fogive her and support her, the kid, her mother … Maybe you do, but annulment is an option even if you’re Catholic.
This and that church claim to represent God. You pay tithes to one or another. Then you learn that what the priests mean by celibacy is that some of them are after your wife, or your son. [note] Do they give you your money back?
Maybe you come to see that they’ve been misrepresenting the Bible for some time. They repress documents. They keep silent on reasoned challenges to the integrity of texts and interpretations. [note] Yet they continue to claim their authority, continue to receive tithes.
You pay taxes to a government. The government says it represents you, protects you, values you and your freedom. Pay or go to jail. [note]
After billions upon billions of dollars for school taxes, Johnny still can’t read or calculate. The more billions for “defense,” the more bald the threat to the biosphere itself.
Let’s say you’re an “American.” That government finesses protests against an illegitimate war into irrelevant blather about prisoners of war. The White House is caught interfering with electoral processes. President after president, note at least back to Jefferson, is caught lying: to Congress, to the public, to their wives …
How is the government allowed to still be the government? Wasn’t the Constitution supposed to be some kind of warranty? How can you educate or protect yourself and your family or find justice after the government has taken all the money for schools, arms, and law? What do you do when the courts say that the Constitutional right to bear arms means that you can’t do it?
How do we get our money back?
What do we do with you if you don’t even see that we’ve been defrauded?
The candy store owner pays protection to the racketeer. Pay or getcha winda’s broke. Is there any non-trivial difference between a protection racket and a government? I know one similarity: both will be genuinely valiant — will fight to the death — against a competing protection racket. Isn’t our defense budget really to defend the government so it can go on endangering us? One reason for high taxes is to leave us without funds to seek a more benevolent racketeer.
They were only too glad to offer everything they had, freely, in exchange for a protection that did not exist.
It all reminds me of the guy in gym class who kept stabbing me after I’d won the point in the fencing match.
If an umpire consistently made biased calls, wouldn’t the League discipline or get rid of him? What about judges who allow victims to be slandered? Haven’t we all seen moderators or chairmen allow all sorts of interruptions and cheap shots but still keep the gavel? What makes us think we’re fit for a democracy? Even a sham democracy?
As I’ve already pointed out in Mythological Law (and hinted at elsewhere), King Oedipus took over a vacant throne and married the widowed queen. He set out to find the killer of his predecessor. The killer turns out to have been Oedipus himself. It further appears that the late king was in fact his father. [note] Oedipus had the decency to abdicate: after (of course) mutilating himself. Why are there so few with the heroic integrity of Oedipus in our actual experience?
Nothing like an honorable end to a miserable existence.
Low class people are jailed or executed if convicted of a crime. How is theft or even murder less of a crime than the treasons that the government commits as a matter of routine? Even when exposed, our fraudulent rulers get pensions instead of prison. We even pay to provide them with secretaries and build libraries in their … (ahem) … honor.
The US Bill of Rights “guarantees” [note] freedom of religion. One loophole is that it’s up to Congress to decide what constitutes a religion! The most notoriously fraudulent ones are not only still operating but are still tax free. Not so the Native American Church. Anthropologist Sol Tax thought that if he filmed that Church’s peyote sacrament, Congress might see its legitimacy. Member after member of the church declined to have their sacrament invaded by a camera. Gregory Bateson observes that
they chose their integrity over their existence!
I was close to twenty before I started devouring George Bernard Shaw in print. That was nevertheless six years after falling in love with his Lavinia. It wasn’t just how pretty Jean Simmons was in her portrayal opposite Victor Mature for the RKO film: the Romans are killing the Christians; the handsome centurion’s love for Christian Lavinia is reciprocated: All you have to do is make an offering at the altar of some Roman god. Nobody cares if you mean it. I’ll give you the incense to sprinkle. Then you and I can live happily ever after.
She won’t do it. Thrown to the lions, the Christians are saved by the Deus ex Machina of Androcles and the Lion. One Christian who’s already saved himself by beating up the gladiator sent to goad him is honest enough to realize he’s not a Christian after all.
K. links will have to be recoded, once all files are moved to pKnatz, graphics I re-sample.
In my youth I worshipped Mars, the God of War. I turned from him to serve the Christian god; but today the Christian god forsook me; and Mars overcame me and took back his own. The Christian god is not yet. He will come when Mars and I are dust; but meanwhile I must serve the gods that are [note], not the God that will be.
He takes the practical course of accepting Caesar’s invitation to join the Praetorian Guard. Lavinia rejects practicality.
for the coming
of the God
who is not yet.
It’s a comedy. She’s not going to die after all: but she’d already made clear her choice: we’ve seen her refuse chances to back down. She prefers God’s integrity and her own to her very existence.
2011 05 10 reconstruction note: The 2000 02 11 version of this module used an image of Toshiro Mifue as Yojimbo in place of Mars, the god of war. The image of Daruma used a different Ch’an painting: Daruma by Kei Shoki (d. 1523). And for a period a different pre-Raphaelite female was replaced by an image of Catfarmer. Now I use a still different preRaphaelite female, one favoring her hero as he departs for the day’s battle.
With regard to biology, survival is the only value;
But when considering integrity the value of survival evaporates.
I’ll be back to relate this to evolution and to how woefully inadequate a standard “Darwinism” is with its emphasis on biological survival alone. Meantime, I mount selections from a letter on the subject.
2008 05 13 In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp a veteral English officer is confronted with rationals for fighting dirty in war. The character who is supposed to remind us of Col. Blimp, the chartoon character, familiar embodiment of British hebetude, stodginess, and fuzzy thinking here is honorable, lovable, staunch. I’ll be back to discuss in some detail, meanwhile, You, See It!
2015 10 15 After all these decades of indulging Woody Allen’s public neuroses I accept his joke in To Rome With Love as an apology:
Note however that I still regard Freud as one of the great writers, the great geniuses.
Pay or Go to Jail: taxes
Or don’t pay. Once we’ve sewn our hand into your pocket, we’ll just help ourselves.
Apropos of the foregoing general context: We got rid of George Hanover and his hand in our pocket: what in hell were we doing fawning after (the now late Princess) Diana? Why do Protestants or any non-Catholic Americans get in a lather if the Pope tours the US? Rather, why is the lather one of prostration rather than debate (if not outright protest)?
In the ’70s or thereabouts, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth visited New York. She wanted to see Bloomingdale’s. Traffic was stopped on Lexington Avenue so her Rolls could turn north onto that south-bound thoroughfare the more easily to let her out directly before the entrance. The queen wanted to exit from the passenger side of the vehicle. Therefore, we disrupted our lives so her limousine could approach the curb headed uptown!
Why didn’t we let her just take the damn subway? There’s a stop right on the corner. Or walk? Why couldn’t she have just gotten out into the melee if she insisted on debouching from the traffic side of the car?
Yellow Cab Nails Queen
By what babble of self-deceptions do we now say that we are a nation of laws, not of men?
The above claim was iterated — ho, ho, ho — after Watergate. A friend revised the cliché:
We are not a nation of laws
but of lawyers.
Guy hawking suits on TV says, “I guarantee it.” What does that mean? Maybe it does mean you get your money back. But when the US Government had it said for them by a couple of lawyers, atheists, and revolutionaries, what does that mean?
pk says that it ought to mean that the poorest citizen should be able to bankrupt the entire government if so much as one right is ever violated: ever!
In science one exception to a rule puts the entire rule in doubt: that why respectable schools won’t let real science anywhere near its classrooms. Like good magicians assistants they substitute know how.
President After President:
Clinton is among the least of the offenders, at least for the lies and deceptions he’s most currently being accused of. So he screws everything that moves. Isn’t it we who insist that our executives be a big cheese? When Augustus Caesar could no longer get it up, he had swarms of young boys swim between his legs as he stood in the pool, nibbling on his balls. Isn’t insane power what candidates want? Isn’t insane power what we want them to have?/p>
So he lies if challenged. Whom do we imagine we elect if not liars? What would 99.99999% of us do in similar circumstances? Could any truthful man ever be elected to anything? OK: John Stewart Mill served one term in Parliament. Who else?
Personally, I’m becoming ever more fond of Clinton as his fat baby face remains unchanged in the onslaught. See my nice profile? See my tailoring, my haircut? How’s that for a nose? (Since writing the foregoing I’ve seen Mike Nichols’ Primary Colors: John Travolta as a slick southern governor playing fast and loose and on the make for the White House. Now Mr. Travolta is one of the amazing physical specimens of our recent decades. He’s gotten a little jowly in middle age, but some of his recent roles are better than anything from his testosterone squirting youth. The amazing thing about Primary Colors is that Clinton’s Clinton is better looking than Travolta’s Clinton!)
Nixon tried all the acting school tricks for looking sincere on stage or on camera. More and more, he looked more and more ghastly.
Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Grey kept his cherubic looks while his painted portrait’s appearance amassed the sum of his evil. Wouldn’t it be something to see Clinton’s Dorian-Grey portrait? I bet it would still be more cherubic than that of many of his predecessors.
PS: This file was one of the original “society” files at Knatz.com: early 1996. Therefore the egregious “election” of 2000 had not yet taken place. We can now add to the knowledge that the White House interferes with elections the fact that the Supreme Court also interferes with elections.
The Gods That Are: civilized sincerity
Salute the tin god, then go about your business.
I write these things quoting from my memory in the expectation that sometime, before long, I may be able to check the source and validate or correct the document: however long mounted. (Someday I may find the time to divulge why I have trouble accessing my own as well as public or private libraries.) Above, I didn’t care how accurately I paraphrased The Captain, but Lavinia’s climactic line should be perfect Shaw. Checking, I was reminded of the following:
Shaw wrote — In this play I have presented one of the Roman persecutions of the early Christians, not as the conflict of a false theology with a true, but as what all such persecutions essentially are: an attempt to suppress a propaganda that seemed to threaten the interests involved in the established law and order, organized and maintained in the name of religion and justice by politicians who are pure opportunist Have-and-Holders. People who are shewn by their inner light the possibility of a better world based on the demand of the spirit for a nobler and more abundant life, not for themselves at the expense of others, but for everybody, are naturally dreaded and therefore hated by the Have-and-Holders, who keep always in reserve two sure weapons against them. The first is a persecution effected by the provocation, organization, and arming of that herd instinct which makes men abhor all departures from custom, and, by the most cruel punishments and the wildest calumnies, force eccentric people to behave and profess exactly as other people do. The second is by leading the herd to war, which immediately and infallibly makes them forget everything, even their most cherished and hard won public liberties and private interests, in the irresistible surge of their pugnacity and the tense preoccupation of their terror.
Wife or Son:
My dramatizing example of several years ago is today an item of daily news. Time, etc. has cover headlines about the Shame of the Church. But shouldn’t we see that as nothing compared to churches’ epistemological crimes? Humans are sexual beings. Where the priests are humans, they too are sexual beings. About Jesus we know little to nothing. If he was an Essene, he may well have been taught to be celibate. Paul bragged that sex was no big deal to him. Fine. How easily can we clone Jesus and Paul? Not easily. But even if 50% to 90% of priests violated vows of celibacy, I see that as Ho-Hum,-So-What?-Nothing compared to Teillard de Chardin’s participation in a science fraud; or to collective priests’ behavior toward Luther, Abelard, Galileo, Darwin …
One day riding in my fundamentalist landlord’s truck, on our way to a ride in his plane, I idly glanced through his copy of some Baptist Bible. Page one said that the Old Testament was written by Moses! There’s no end to church lies. I wouldn’t care if they had Saturnalias every Wednesday if only they’d just stop lying.
2002 09 18
I recently learned that the Gnostic gospels depict Jesus as sufficiently physically affectionate with Mary Magdalene that the disciples were jealous and complained. If he kissed her all the time and hugged her, maybe he hugged her at full length.
2004 03 01 I come upon a passage in Ogden & Richards memory of which could have influenced my phrasing above. Westermarck, for example is cited as having called the Catholic Church “a veritable seat of lying.”
2011 05 10 I’ve come to know Bart Ehrman’s series of studies of the New Testament since writing the above. I believe most if not all postdate my first posting this piece. Ehrman makes it clear that seminaries have known about the speciousness of the gospels’ authority for well more than a century: but the knowledge doesn’t propagate.
Oedipus killed his father and married his mother. Cartoon character Homer Simpson asks, “Who paid for that wedding?”
2003 04 15
Only on this day do I get around to noting in my Knatz.com development data base that both Oedipus and Jesus are examples of failed infanticides: examples of humans trying to control the future by murdering inhabitants of the future. King Herod is supposed to have killed a lot of male babies: but he missed the one that counted!
The way to thrones (and keeping the throne) is paved with murder. We all know Macbeth; do we all know that Alexander murdered all his brothers: so that his expectations would be uncontested? (Bee hives kill all queens but one: we didn’t invent this stuff.)
Christians celebrate man as both deicidal and deivorous: eating the god gets you forgiven for having killed the god!
2011 07 20 Last night I began reading Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion to my beloved Jan. It’s coming up on two years now that she and I have been watching my DVD recommendations on her player. Blockbuster didn’t have a DVD of Androcles: at least we’ve seen Jean Simmons in other things recently: Great Expectations, Black Narcissus … And we’ve watched a good consignment of Chaplin. Shaw wrote Androcles in the early ‘Teens, soon after, Chaplin was going great guns in Hollywood. Comedy is perishable: and I’ll say something on the subject in a new post.