Patriotism

Kleptocrats manipulate semantic and ontological confusions for the benefit and convenience of the rulers who betray sentience, banish freedom, and poison the environment.

I quote a favorite passage from literature and will discuss it at leisure thereafter:

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers. To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty-four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them scornfully again.

Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to. And to anyone who questioned the morality, he replied that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the greatest piece of music ever composed. The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else.

“The important thing is to keep them pledging,” he explained to his cohorts. “It doesn’t matter whether they mean it or not. That’s why they make little kids pledge allegiance even before they know what “pledge’ and “allegiance’ mean.”

Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Semantic and Ontological Confusions

The following semiotic points were elaborately established at Knatz.com, some part of that is now getting resurrected here: a quick summary:
Even with civilization the earth has abundant beauty: geographical, ecological … Look at the geographical features of the Bronx, of Vancouver … What German, what Swiss doesn’t love alps? What Chilean doesn’t quake in awe of the Andes? What Afghan of the Hindu Kush? It’s easy for those who blur instead of distinguishing to convince little Hans that if he likes edelweiss on the mountain side, then he loves Hitler and the Third Reich, and should be glad to die so that Poland can be crushed.

I love the Maine coast, I love Niagara Falls, I love the desert around Santa Fe. But as an anarchist; not a patriot. I love the Appalachian Trail, even though I got frostbite and didn’t expect to survive getting lost in a blizzard while skiing it. But what does that have to do with giving license to the White House to kill four million Vietnamese?

How many have we killed in Iraq? Doesn’t anyone care about any of these statistics? Nazis routinely have intelligent estimates of Nazi fatalities.

There are no statistics if no one is counting.


If you’ve sampled my blog you know that in 1970 I offered to become the digital librarian for the global village by founding the Free Learning Exchange, Inc. Ivan Illich had pointed out that a free people would prefer cybernetic community bulletin boards to state controlled schools with coercive curricula: a free market would be better than a rigged roulette wheel. As well, I was protesting the fraud perpetrated by my university in pretending to “educate” when anyone not blind could be shown that our institutions are deaf, dumb, and blind. In ten years NYU hadn’t heard or understood a thing I’d said, didn’t know it, and couldn’t be told. When I tried a last time to tell them, in 2006, they called the FBI, the FBI tackled me and threw me in jail, where the US similarly would not understand a word I said: ever.

God, Christ … intelligence, sense … offered freedom; humans crucified Jesus, defrocked Illich, censored pk … but: they let me out after thirteen months, broke but not broken, my business destroyed, but then eligible for food stamps. Once the FBI returned my computers, disconnected, unnetworked, no longer fine racing machines but fixable and usable to some extent, I began restoring my mostly-ignored writing to blogs, now designating this blog as the new repository for all previous pk domains: in short, the new Knatz.com.

Now: one reason I’ve been able to try to imitate Christ for so many descades despite the sabotages unrelentingly practiced against (life, the universe, god …) me, is that women love me; not groups of women (though it was the United Methodist Women who gave FLEX wheat money it got in 1970): but women individually: one woman at a time. There were women in the jail system, and some of them responded to me, but: they were the jailers, the guards, and a minority: most of the guards were men: as stupid and obnoxious, determined have everything wrong, as could be. Actually, the female guards were no better; But, back home, my patron Catherine dead, her savings gone, me utterly unemployable as always and still too busy to try to correct that, promises to God coming first), I decided that it was past time for me to meet a few new women: So: I connected with the Highlands Senior Center, and resumed dancing for the first time in fifty-five years! Almost instantly I restored the dancing talent that made me celebrated from grade school through junior high (when I stopped dancing for reasons commented on elsewhere).

The first woman I made friends with told her family, they looked me up online, ignored my explanations of myself as the inventor of the internet but believed the fed’s calumnies. The crowd lynching the n- knows it’s lynching the n- but at the same time convinces itself that they’re the good guys, their victim a bad guy, deserving of their crimes. [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 06, euphemizing the most popularly offensive words] Word spread. I was fishing a polluted pool, but caught new girl friend after new girl friend. Etc., till two years ago I met the one woman, adorable, I’ve been with since. For these twenty-five months she’s been ignoring the slanders whispered to her about me, I have what I need: love, beauty, affection; even while I lack what I also need: resources, understanding … an audience.

Sorry, but you need to know all that to follow what I’m saying properly: which is intended for your survival, my survival already having long since been sacrificed.

Let the lynchers convince themselves that they’re the good guys, let the Christ killers believe that Jesus loves them.

Patriotism: I went to the Social, I met new female friends, revived my dancing skills, and paid a series of prices for being there. One: I paid the entrance fee. I did for the first few weeks at least until the boss asked me to teach the line dancing: my pay was to have the entrance fee waved. But, I more than earned my way, accepted a place on the board of directors, and suffering as a blocking dummy between the CEO and her husband, the President.

How I was getting used, abused, and stabbed in the back varied from week to week, but one additional entrance cost came every week: at noon, just before lunch (the $5 entrance covered a decent lunch, sometimes very good), we had to listen to announcements, pledge allegiance to the flag, sing a patriotic anthem, and cooperate in silence with a prayer: the prayer being addressed supposedly to the deity of Christianity, though there was at least one Jew frequently in attendance also.

These days I do my dancing at the American Legion in Lake Placid. There was are often summoned into a circle, before a mural of explosions and tanks and ships and mayhem, where we raise our arms each time the US is referred to.

And I’m pround to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
To give that right to me
And I’ll gladly Stand Up
Next to you …

And we raise our hands at every “stand up” and at every hint of our kleptocratic state: the lynchers, the Christ killers, telling themselves that they’re the good guys.

One thing remains true: unlike Heller’s immortal satire, we don’t have to Pledge Allegiance twice to get lunch. The Lake Placid Post doesn’t track down and shoot those in the bathroom during the anthem.

The American Legion Post is increasingly being polluted by my tormenters from the Senior Center. Women see me, try to befriend me, time passes, then they scowl and shy away … But many come back: No, Paul’s a good guy.

I’m resigned. We didn’t learn a thing from the Crucifixion. We didn’t learn a thing from Ivan Illich, or me, or Saint Francis either. When nature wanted to give us advantages, she made us smart. When she saw that we were overdoing everything, she flicked a switch and our intelligence congealed into impenetrable social mass stupidity.
I used to hope for a Judgment of Sentience: a semantically correct god would judge the defectives and remove them from the line. Now I don’t care about any ideal sentience, any abstract intelligence: I just want the Nazi’s extinct.

I used to care whether we had Jesus’ name right. Now I don’t care if anyone ever knows one true fact about me: just so long as we all exit.

If there fist was “Fiat lux,” or, as John put it, “In the beginning was the Word,” I don’t care if God gets the Last Word, the last word can be postponed infinitely, I just want the earth to cease supporting false sentience. And nature found the shortest route to that end: Let the lynchers convince themselves that they’re the good guys, let the Christ killers believe that Jesus loves them.

Kleptocracy

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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