« How freeways remade Phoenix | Main | The CityScape Gamble »

April 01, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I share your fears, but also hope that somehow these idiots might see the light of day and recognize the vile nature of what they preach. But then again, I was party to a civil conversation with friends the other night about whether it's better to have food, guns, or gold when the economy collapses.... credibility lost.

Weimar and our current malaise also have this in common: a treacly nostalgia for former glory. In the American version, it's Mayberry where small-town virtues and all-white townfolk weave a comfort blanket of "family values". When Glenn Beck emoted on Fox News a couple of months back about the TV commercials we don't see anymore (the 1983 Coke commerical and a Kodak ad), the point was to suggest a lost Eden from which we, the good people, had been expelled. By liberal snakes. Weimar's "snakes" were more varied, but one ethnicity led the way.

Nostalgia is not a plan. It is, however, a great way to avoid reality. That's why Republican nihilism is so disturbing. They poked and prodded the resentment of working-class whites. Now they have a party that is in full thrall to the dramaturgy of a Total Explanation. Liberals ruined America. They've gone way past the point of no return.

Given the extraordinary challenges this nation faces, this political paralysis - or low-boil civil war - suggests a breaking point not seen since 1860. A country caught in the delusions of the past cannot effectively engage either present-day reality or the future. At a minimum, we the people cannot hold ourselves accountable for truthful arguments since every skirmish is now Armageddon in the Culture War.

I used to hope that demographic change would rescue this nation. But it seems, instead, that it's heightening the contradictions faster than we can resolve them. Something is happening. The change Obama promised has become the last-ditch stand of "real" Americans. Maybe blood will flow or perhaps not. But we know who the losers will be. We've seen the movie.

From Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/:

Nine members of a Christian militia group were taken into federal custody this week, based on evidence that the group was poised to launch a deadly plot. One of the nine was apparently enraged by a bogus claim she received a right-wing chain email. (via Justin Elliott)

A member of the Hutaree militia charged with federal crimes was upset because she thought that President Barack Obama had signed into law this month a bill that would spend $20 billion to help the terrorist group Hamas settle in the U.S.

There was never any such legislation, but Tina Stone believed it was the truth, according to her Facebook account.

Not quite two weeks ago, the woman posted to Facebook, lamenting the fact that H.B. 1388 passed. She wrote, "I'm peeved,,, when people in this country is getting kicked out of there homes everyday and our government passes a bill to spend more then 20 billion dollars to bring Hamas here and supplies them with food and homes that just wrong." [grammatical errors in the original]

Soon after, she added, "I'm so stressed I could KILL someone!!!!!!!"

For the record, H.B. 1388 was a national service bill, expanding AmeriCorps. It included no money for Hamas.

My reading comprehension is fading; however one snippet of Jon's wisdom stands out . . . that we're about addressing the needs of the "least, last and lost". For some, this is woven into their religious beliefs. For others, it raises questions about what irresponsible mistakes these folks have made to be (for example) members of the working poor.

This is the chasm that needs to be recognized and bridged . . any ideas?

The other side of the medal is the "happy-go-lucky" self-help brand of "Christianity" practiced and preached in some megachurches. "God wants you to have a big house (and an adjustable rate mortgage)!". It's the extension of the secular religion "positive thinking" aka delusion preached by Oprah & Crapola.
It pretends to be positive and all about happiness but it is no less vicious, insidious and dangerous than the angry, judgmental side.
The "reasoning" is: the power to achieve happiness and our material wants is in our minds alone. Money etc will flow to us if we only think positive, perpetually.
That pretend-happiness requires a lot of energy and the mental facade is held up even when people objectively shouldn't be happy. "I lost my job -- What a great opportunity for growth!" A great way to sell layoffs. "I lost my healthcare coverage -- There is a godgiven blessing in there!" "The Iraq war is a hell disaster -- Through darkness we prevail!"
Furthermore, it necessitates the active avoidance of reality. "We shouldn't read the news. So much trouble in the world. Happy thoughts!" The bleak economic and political results are all over the place.
Finally, who is to blame? "Of course, me! I didn't try hard enough to be positive, competitive and what not. Of course, politics had nothing to do with it..." That's where it gets vicious. Pacify enough people and make them blame themselves for problems largely outside of their control -- so that business as usual may continue in all eternity.
You could blame people for believing all that claptrap and succumbing to this social phenomenon. Even now, I don't think they are waking up to reality and trying to do something about it. But who is blaming the cheerleaders, false prophets, and disaster profiteers? Who is calling out the Kooks who are possessed of their own arrogant self-righteousness?

It is a sad day when we have to point out that this is what Jesus calls us to do. I read the other day about a legislator who explained his vote by saying that "sometimes my Christianity trumps my libertarianism" Sometimes?

Several interesting points here.

First, the term "antichrist" occurs only four times in the Bible, all of them in the book of John, and there is no individual, single figure referred to as "The Antichrist".

In 1: John 2:22 (New International Version) we find this:

"Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son."

In 2 John 1:7 the verse is similar:
"Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist."

That last sentence is worth quoting again: "Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist". Note that this refers not to Satan or the Son of Satan or any such thing, but to anyone who denies Christ or denies Christ as having manifested "in the flesh".

The Book of Revelations does not use the term. It mentions a Dragon and a False Prophet and a Beast but no "antichrist" much less "The Antichrist". Look it up in your favorite Bible version here:


The whole concept of "The Antichrist" (in the popular sense of the term) seems inextricably bound up in popular fiction (whether books or movies).

Second, the comparison to Islamic fundamentalism is instructive. Many Christians would no doubt rush to distance the militia conspirators from their religion; but so too would many Muslims rush to distance their religion from those who attack marketplace shoppers with explosive vests of C-4 and ball-bearings. The difference is that, being familiar with Christianity, we immediately grasp the essentially alien nature of the Michigan cult; whereas Islam, being itself alien to most Americans, is easily lost in a sea of popular misconception.

Third, the Weimar parallel, though not without validity, is severely strained. The inter-war Germany was threatened by a vigorous Communist Party directed from Stalinist Moscow: during the Weimar period the KPD polled between 10 and 15 percent of the vote and was represented in both the Reichstag and in state parliaments. Street battles between Communist and Nazi/right-wing militias were a daily occurrence. The country was laboring under burdensome reparations requirements from WW I, not to mention (by the early 1930s) a worldwide Great Depression.

As badly as the talk-radio kooks and their adherents want to portray the centrist Obama administration as the vanguard of international communism, neither the Republic Party nor the vast majority of the American public regards such comparisons as plausible, despite the isolated propaganda message from fringe members of the party -- though the party as a whole is perfectly willing to make cynical use of this message for agit-prop purposes.

On the other hand, the Nazi Party began as an equally absurd fringe. Sophisticated, educated people could only laugh at its crude caricatures and propaganda. Yet, it grew into something considerably broader than a splinter faction. Again, however, I suggest that without a palpable threat to the bourgeoisie, from a foreign-sourced, well-funded, domestically active RADICAL opposition party, there is no threat sufficient to overcome innate common sense and caution. The Michigan cult was composed of half a dozen or so members.

There are no torchlight processions with tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals organized by a revolutionary political party (Nazis). Healthcare reform just won't cut it as a boogeyman, as hard as a handful of nincompoops try. A party (any party, or both) that bails out Wall Street, is not going to be opposed by the Establishment -- and that's where the ultimate support for right-wing revolution must come from: and if it doesn't exist, it must be engineered.

Rather more plausible, in my humble opinion, is the "Friendly Fascism" of Bertram Gross.

There's never a fiery crack of doom around when you need one:


Personally, I think that the desire for cataclysm comes from an instinctual knowledge that "the end of the world as we know it" has ALREADY occurred.


Your parlor game seems to look at having only one of guns, gold or food. All of those options are weak in some way - like rock, paper, scissors. The intelligent person would have some of each, a balanced portfolio, if you will.

This is similar to what we need to dig out of the crisis. Some conservation of the good we have, some return to wisdom of the past (wise regulation and taxation) and some new thinking for the current and future worlds.

It seems to me that Republican Big Business interests don't actually understand how they got rich. They think it is low taxes and low regulation, etc. But in fact it was having a middle class with the resources to purchase the goods and services that they control. If they actually achieved the elite small upper class and huge poor lower class that they are working so hard for, they will see their own worth plummet, unless they are allowed to plunder other countries who still have treasure. But that is only a temporary plan as the Romans learned (or, rather, didn't learn)

Herodotus speaks of a Libyan (north African) tribe who experienced some years of drought. They declared war on the south wind and charged into the desert only to be swallowed up by the sand, one and all. I'm so glad we;ve come so far- Oh wait, the Republican Tea parties are doing the same thing right now!


This is Victoria Silvers, Asst. Editor for Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian's needs. We embarked on this endeavor to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together as one (no matter denomination) and better spread the good word of Christianity. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward to an email regarding the matter, Thanks!

God Bless,

Victoria Silvers
[email protected]

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz