Editor’s note: this is a three-part post, running one per week.
I watched one of my favorite movies recently: Sgt. York. I always loved this movie, even better than that paean to George M. Cohan in the Hollywood classic, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Why did I love these two classic pieces of propaganda? Because they made me feel proud. And pride goeth before a fall. And naturally, I fell for it. Because I was an idiot.
What were these two classics about? Defending the Empire, of course. Oh no, they didn’t put it so baldly, but that was the underlying message. The message that unless we stopped those vicious Huns, who were busy bayonetting babies, the world would not be safe. Safe for Democracy! And whether it was Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, George Bush Jr or Barack Obama, or any Idiot Emperor in between, what the Hell was the difference? The message was always the same. New packaging, sure, but the product never changed. Save the world. How? Die for the Emperor. Pick any century, the theme never changed.
Yes, I fell for Caesar. Hail Caesar! And just what does ‘hail’ mean? It means ‘live long, live forever!‘. Isn’t that what Caesar promises us if we should die for him? But have you noticed, nobody says ‘hail, trooper’? No, they only say ‘Hail Caesar’. Why is that? Because, in the Empire, only Caesar has a soul. At least, an immortal soul. The rest of us are simply animals. There is no Pantheon for fallen troopers. And yet we still line up to serve Caesar. Why is that?
I contend that it is because we have been sold a line. A line we have proudly bought. And the line goes like this: The Republic is sacred! Because, after all, in a republic, we are all equal. Isn’t that the line? Isn’t that the mantra of today? Well, I’ve got news for you; that line’s been sold for over 2,000 years. And it never loses market share. Go figure.
Now some will object, and say we are a democracy. Both Old York and New. And that’s a laugh too. Again, I ask, where is my pass to the Pantheon? After years of doubt, I began to suspect that I was simply slated to be a busboy in the big Country Club in the Sky. And finally, I began to think the forbidden thought. The thought that even Caesar was toast, in the end. And that all of this human carnage was nothing but the strivings of competing pride.
And that’s when I decided to look farther afield. Farther than the visible horizon. Beyond the earthly domain. Because I wanted to know if there was anything besides Caesar that was worth dying for. Because, if you’ve noticed, we all are going to die. At least, that seems to be the trend. Anybody got any evidence to the contrary? No, I want more than just one example. He’s the exception that proves the rule. I wanted to know about my sorry skin. And that of my kin.
Anyway, once I began to doubt the divinity of Caesar, I began to ask myself if anyone was divine. So I studied all the ancient (and even new) stories of The One who would save my soul. I wasn’t sure if I had such a thing, but at some point, you’ve got to make some assumptions. What did I have to lose? Once I began this work, I began to see that nearly every one of those who would claim to save me always made it either impossible to achieve, or else the promised land of that particular flavor of belief didn’t really get me past the status of busboy. Or less.
But eventually, with the help of Pascal’s Wager, I came to see the futility of making small bets. Wanna live big (forever)? Then you gotta bet big. And take the long odds. Which is what I have done, as you should know by now. Because here’s how I figure it: almost every offer of the afterlife is either unattractive (Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, etc.) or unbelievable (again, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, etc). There’s only one which offers me what I don’t deserve—and which I actually want. You already know which one, right? The one where I get to keep my distinct individuality, but also get to be part of the Big Family? Exactly.
And so, like Paschal, I have come to see that if I have the chance to make a finite wager (my earthly life) for an infinite payout (an eternal and enjoyable life), I’d be a fool not to bet. Especially if my bet was relatively free for the making. I’ve already received a free chip, my life. I didn’t pay for it. I didn’t earn it. I didn’t deserve it. But yet I’ve got it. What will I do with it? One thing was sure in my mind: not betting on something was a sure loser. No bets, no winners.
The question, of course, is how do I use this opportunity? How do I make this bet? And the choices always seem to boil down to this: do I serve Caesar, or do I serve God? And here is where I had to make my break with Caesar. The purpose of this missive is to lament those whom I have had to leave behind as they think that the answer is to serve both. Cover all bases, right? Yes, yes, I know. Give unto to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. But let me ask a simple question. If those two personages are different people, then isn’t one of them subordinate to the other? They can’t be equal, by definition. Which one is on top, my friend?
If Caesar is ultimately subordinate to God, then what is it that belongs to Caesar that doesn’t ultimately belong to God? So, if man is composed of a mortal body and an immortal soul, which one belongs to Caesar? And which one lasts forever? At least, in the first iteration? After all, we get resurrected, right? All but the poor atheists believe that. And if they’re right, what have they won?
But if I make the right bet, I’m rewarded with a new (glorified) body, right? But there’s no mention of a new soul, for anybody, if I remember correctly. So then, as I see it, the most Caesar can claim is your present body. But not your renewed body. And never your soul. Not now, not later. In fact, Caesar would privately be okay with this arrangement. All he really wants is my mortal body, in the here and now. Which wouldn’t be so bad if all he wanted was me. But no, he’s always a greedy fellow. He wants every body. That’s why he’s called the Emperor.
In pursuit of this goal of total earthly dominion, he always reverts to the basic strategy: subdue those you can, kill those you can’t. The smartest Emperors always figure out the most efficient tactic to achieve the goal of world-wide hegemony: Divide and conquer. Divide the people, so that they fight each other instead of fighting Caesar. Think Sunni vs. Shiite. Think Democrat vs. Republican. Think Catholic vs. Protestant. Think of any division in life. It almost always benefits Caesar. And he will always promote this division. Because it’s cheaper than any other tactical alternative. After all, money counts. To Caesar, at least. Show me the coin of tribute.
Ultimately there always comes the time when this tactic falls short, and Caesar has to fight some battles directly. Or, at least, his minions must fight them. It’s usually against the Barbarians. Me and my cousins. So, when the tactic of division fails, Caesar must revert to subtraction. He has to take someone out directly, instead of getting some erstwhile enemy of his enemy to do it for him. Caesar has to have his own men under arms. The more the better. As long as he can pay them, of course. Many an Emperor has learned this funding lesson the hard way.
Now this raises the question; how do you recruit these fools who will willingly die for you, the Emperor? What in the world can make men accept such a bargain? A bargain that says I will pay you as long as you are alive? But not a moment longer. Now that’s not what I’m looking for. No, I want an eternal payroll, guaranteed. Sure, I realize I will die. But if the Emperor can’t guarantee me a place in the Pantheon, what good is he to me? What happens to me? Am I simply an eternal welfare case? Who is going to look after me? Forever?
So, again, tell me, how do you get people to sign up to die for the Empire? Simple, my friend. Sell them the lie. The Big Lie. The lie that says their sacrifice will make the world safe for…fill in the blank. Tell them that this is necessary to protect their family, their home, their nation. And truth be told, once the fighting starts, this may well be true. Ask any Russian in WWII if he was fighting for Communism. Hell no, he was fighting to keep the Germans out. Now ask Joe Steel if he was fighting for Russia or Communism? Again, the answer is he was fighting for himself. Now ask the German soldier (or Dolph) if he was fighting for Nazi ideology. Nope, he were fighting to redress the wrongs foisted on his country by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. But the war between these two behemoths was supposedly the war between National Socialism versus International Socialism. Yet nobody was really fighting for either ideology. What gives?
Well, we have to go back to my premise ‘once the fighting starts…’. Yes, once it starts, everybody is fighting to save their own skin. Never mind the ‘reason’ the war started. Once the cart starts moving, look out. So again, how do you start the cart moving? The answer is almost always the same: pride. Each side takes a deep draught of it and starts throwing their weight around. Pretty soon, somebody feels that they’ve been backed into a corner. Or that their opponent is backed into a corner. And then the only way out is to fight.
Now that being said, I think it’s time to examine The Lie that we are sold that starts the process of getting us into that damned corner. Let’s look at that concept of ‘The Republic’ that we are all so willing to die for. Because if we can determine that The Republic is dead, then maybe we’ll think twice before we willingly die for a dead idea. An idea that cannot defend us, let alone save us. So, let’s look at this sacred Constitution we are always exhorted to defend. And by extension, this Democracy we are always trying to forcibly extend to the rest of the world.
Now I understand that the current argument is over whether this Constitution is a ‘living’ document, or whether it must be construed in its originalist sense. But that avoids the real question, which is this: what if it is neither? What if the Constitution is dead, under either interpretation? Dead? Yes, dead. The Dead Letter. As in DOA. Or at least, dead for over 200 years. And, in fact, it received its first grievous wound just 15 years after its birth in 1789. Hmmm? Whatever do I mean? It’s quite simple. The first knife wound was in 1804. Then next came in 1861. The final thrust of the blade was in 1913. The same year The Republic was laid to rest, and the leadership of the Empire of Democracy was transferred from Old York to New York. And the Anglo-American schism was healed. To the detriment of all.
I know, you don’t understand. But you’re not at all stupid. Why then can you not understand this? Why? Because you want to believe it isn’t true. You want to believe in America. You can see in your mind that ‘shining city upon the hill‘. You want to be proud of our ‘heritage’. You want to believe we are truly free. But we are not. And we haven’t been for a long time. A very long time. And the reason we don’t realize this is because we have confused equality with freedom. As I’ve said before, slaves are equal, but only citizens are free. You can’t be both.
Wow! An essay by Ianto that is understandable!
But, look–Sharia! Iran! Syria! ISIS!
Oh, it’s that splitting and division thing again.
Let’s all die for the Republic! Sharia! ISIS! Kill! Kill!
The war that never ends. Drone ’em!
I read two paragraphs and didn’t read further. It was so obvious what was going to come. Is this the slow burn or the “coming out in a blaze of glory”?
You are the propagandist along with your enabler.
There is a, luckily, small band of Welsh who for very local and petty reasons having to do with jobs and employment have taken against Churchill and sucked up all the latter day American and German propaganda about him. There is an American German alliance and has been since the war. What a surprising place to find it.
I am still trying to figure out which side people are on. If they don’t stand for something they fall for anything.
Luckily we won’t be relying on defeatists and losers to fight evil. The machiavellian schemers and the Mal contents who always want a redo of history. It’s not healthy. In particular they don’t want to talk about the history in it’s context and in truth but in some phoney constructed conspiracy idea about the end of days.
Where’s the outcry at Brazil gunning it’s people with helicopter gunships? About children being shot on the beaches? It’s tumbleweed. Where’s the outcry at the crimes against humanity carried out even into the nineties and more recently in the name of and under the disguise of the Catholic church?
It is more reason for destruction of faith for so many. Yet the battle here, as presented by Natoli , is again confused between worldly power and ultimate justice. Totally confused and it seems irrevocably so.
You are not God. Neither was Churchill. He was always aware of this. He is still Britain’s greatest ever man and was voted so even in most recent times. You can hope that the propaganda which you and the like spread will still but the truth always finds it’s way to the surface. It will, as it has done, create a lot of damage in the process. Never mind, it’s great armchair entertainment.
Thank God for Trump. Just in time and in spite of the others who slowly reveal their true allegiances. Washington’s old machinery is being shaken. Naturally, European influence and pressure must be brought to bear against this.
Watt and the like are singing from the post war Washington song sheet. No wonder he ‘feels’ doomed. He was taken in!
Read the whole thing, I don’t think it heads where you think it does.
Your adoration of Churchill never abates. Funny, it’s always the men of death who become saints of the masses. Which explains why Jesus, a man of peace, continues to be reviled.
JOY – “I am still trying to figure out which side people are on. If they don’t stand for something they fall for anything.”
Recommend you peruse Eric Hoffer’s quotes on-line. Much there I’m sure you & many others will appreciate. His observations from a generation ago remain valid. And, he is very succinct.
Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.
– Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time (1967) p. 103
To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats- we know it not.
– Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 59 (1955)
The nineteenth century was naïve because it did not know the end of the story. It did not know what happens when dedicated idealists come to power; it did not know the intimate linkage between idealists and policemen, between being your brother’s keeper and being his jailkeeper.
It is disconcerting that present-day young who did not know Stalin and Hitler are displaying the old naïveté. After all that has happened they still do not know that you cannot build utopia without terror, and that before long terror is all that’s left.
– Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath (1974), p. 120
A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women, and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies, and scorn friends.
– Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath (1974), p. 6
Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.
– Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, aph. 50 (1973)
It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression. St. Vincent De Paul cautioned his disciples to deport themselves so that the poor “will forgive them the bread you give them.”
– Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change, Chapter 2 “The Awakening of Asia” (1963)
People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.
– Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, aph. 141 (1973).
FROM The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer (1951)
• When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
• There is a fundamental difference between the appeal of a mass movement and the appeal of a practical organization. The practical organization offers opportunities for self-advancement, and its appeal is mainly to self-interest. On the other hand, a mass movement, particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.
• Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.
• The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.
• A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.
• Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.” It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?
• Those who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and fraternity more than they do freedom. If they clamor for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. The passion for equality is partly a passion for anonymity: to be one thread of the many which make up a tunic; one thread not distinguishable from the others. No one can then point us out, measure us against others and expose our inferiority.
They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually, their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all.” They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society.
• Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses. Where equality is real, freedom is the passion of a small minority
So Ianto, you want to say the US Constitution is “dead” so to speak. And I know our government hasn’t been strictly following the Constitution for decades but I wondering, in your opinion what happened in 1804 in regards to the Constitution? And 1861 besides the Civil War? By mentioning 1913, I presume you find the federal reserve objectionable.
I will, thank you, at some point as you suggested.
Ken, same, I will read all carefully.
It’s not possible to know the truth about Churchill and be confused about him. He was a man who lived the life of four men.
Unless, of course one is a pacifist or some other ideal. That way madness and certain death awaits.
Pacifism as a life philosophy is a foolish luxury. Nuns and monks, live in well protected places. Protected by those who are brave enough to lay down their life for what is right and true.
Whether that comes from a religiosity or otherwise. Plenty of the people who are stabbed, wounded, saving lives, for example, are not religious. They are loving people who have a heart.
As for the masses: everybody is part of a mass if you define them that way before calling them a sheep. It is a meaningless term.
Christians are not better people because they are claim faith. Virtue and faith are not the same. God alone gets to judge the man’s heart.
Years ago I was amazed by the number of non British flags being waved in what was a celebration of British values/achievement, call it what you will. On the last night: Pakistani, Indian, German! Australian, New Zealand and on and on, my friend told me the ones I couldn’t see. These were mostly in the ‘cheap seats’ i.e., standing room only. In the Park? even more. It is obviously a party but all types attend of all persuasions.
Churchill would be proud:
Women in combat?
Homework for Jim and Watts: listen all the way through and DO not, under pain of death, join in.
(Actually, her technique is superb.)
This might work:
Churchill was just a depraved sycophant/lackey of the great money barons who would own/control the world from the comfort of their luxury mansions with collusion of the decadent rabble operating their instruments in the “City of London” and worldwide affiliates. A rabble who gladly exchange their integrity for wealth and privilege.
For such worldly pragmatists war serves only to weaken the nations involved and to embroil them in more massive financial debt that helps to ensure continued subservience to the “Lords of the World”… “The Synagogue of Satan”.
More casually and colloquially described observations from Lanto Watt.
Ah, yes. Your glorious past. But that was before you played Robin to our Batman (hint: remember that Falkland Island triumph).
Still, Churchill was a bloodthirsty megalomaniac. And it is nonsense to believe that only Churchill could have saved the socialist UK from socialism.
so, explain why the Brits did not vote for Churchill in the first election after the war? And secondly, if he were some kind of Ceasar, why he stepped down after he lost the election, instead of holding on to power?
Jim you’re clueless, as ever! That lady was dressed as Admiral Lord Nelson NOT Batman.
Sander, you appear to be guessing ,(I hope)
Your remark betrays a lack of knowledge and trust of British politics and history as well as politics in general if you pair a post war vote with an inditement of the man and with his accomplishment. Double irony. The only way to rid yourself of this is to read about him from the source itself i.e. the country of his origin. “All learning requires some work. “
Post war in any country, especially where the country itself paid so dear in treasure and lives, votes for change. Some people, particularly group thinkers given to deep seated cowardice, do believe that submission is the right way against an evil enemy. These people would never have backed action against evil no matter how close it loomed. Those people ARE doomed by their very nature, to failure unless they hang on to coat tails, then pretend they never support action.
Those types have found their way into the muddle headed right of American politics. They want all the advantage of ‘feeling great’ but want others to do the hack work.
To call into question that Britain voted Churchill the best Englishmen who ever lived? Can you yourself, possibly, imagine why he was voted out of office after the war?
Caesar has nothing to do with the discussion.
What is ironic here is that an element of the so called right in the US has swallowed propaganda put about by anything anti British in the EU (which is not all Europeans, for the black and white thinkers) socialists and by Germany’s post war machinery. This makes you either complicit, as much of outgoing Washington is, or it makes you daft as a brush to fall for it. Since it seems you’re from Europe, I can only say I’m not surprised. Much of Europe buckled and in places backed the axis of evil and is still trying to justify it.
Know your enemy from your friend. To do that, you must know the truth. If you have become so compromised and corrupt that you can’t tell the truth, how can anybody ever trust you on anything?
They cannot and should not.
Whose side? I do mean very locally. The broader picture is rather easier to work out. If you’ve travelled anywhere real, that is.
Thank you for those interesting and excellent quotes. It seems a waste to pick at them as they are good. I differ around the point about faith but it does come into the mix, no doubt. Some of The wording is openly vague but the points are made.
Of note, about repression and resentment. My Dad always says,
If you help someone, particularly financially, they are never grateful. Even when they have asked for help in particular, they will actually resent and sometimes hate you for it.
I think the main point which is absolutely true is that people become confused about what is real and what should be or should have been ideal. It is quite a childish way of looking at the world and reveals a subliminal error that life IS fair, actually.
Several years ago I was talking to a very wise land Army girl who is now ninety-three.
“life isn’t fair is it?”
“No Joy, and it’s no good thinking that it is!”
That made me laugh because it showed the exact sentiment I was trying to get at.
Everybody ‘knows’ “life isn’t fair”
Many people nevertheless ‘think’ it is. Everybody who ever looked at an injustice and shook their head has made the same mistake (which leaves nobody out).
Hence the phrase, “There’s no justice”.
Conversely it is that jointly held sense of fairness which underpins our legal system’s existence.
Faith and trust come first. Political freedom relies upon it, hope and charity result from them.
When they are lost and everybody is paranoid they have lost faith and trust, primarily. That faith may be something around faith in the goodness of man.
People have to try. Criminals must be prosecuted. Hate is something else.
That is the realm of the mind and as Churchill said, the new Empire. He was right.
Britain prides itself on it’s sense of fair play. I’m not speaking for other nations there, this makes it a weak point for subversive strategic entities to manipulate this.
Fairness and the notion of equality are not the same. The opposite of fairness is potentially a justification of an evil and of cynicism as opposed to realism. Surely Ted Bundy knew that life wasn’t fair.
The opposite of equality is reality.
“I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God,
To serve the Queen and help other people and keep the Brownie Guide law.”
Few indeed, understand…This came to me on the TV as If by magic:
“ …people who in the years before the war had gone to the extreme bounds of pacifism and improvidence when indulged in the sport of party politics and who though so weakly armed had advanced, light heartedly into the centre of European affairs, now confronted with a reckoning.
A like of their virtuous impulses and neglectful arrangements. They were not even dismayed, they divide the conquerers of Europe, they seemed wiling to have their island reduced to a shambles rather than give in. This would make a fine page in history. Few British and very few foreigners understood the peculiar, technical advantages of our insular position….”
“…As the commissionaire at on e the service clubs in London said, to a rather downcast member:
~~Anyhow sir, we’re in the final and it’s to be played on the home ground.”
Pommy jingoism has long been the chief weapon of the City of London.
Not all Aussies are sour about the Ashes.
Check the first link and read the comment from James Smith!
An Irish Australian who knows when he’s onto a good thing.