Swans Commentary » swans.com June 4, 2007  



Has Mankind Become Inhumanly Serious?


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - June 4, 2007)   "Man is only human when he plays." (Ambrose Bierce) Play is anarchy. Play is fun. Most of us played childhood away. Then we became serious, adult, citizens, slaves, and moved to the other side of the scale towards authoritarianism, totalitarianism or fascism. Seriousness has overtaken humanity in America; play is now contrived towards death by fancy weapon toys modeled after video games but played for real.

There is an idea that liberals are the anarchic left-wingers and conservatives are right-wing fascists. Is that true? My old encyclopedias (circa 1889) say this about "Liberals: a name given first when Lord Byron and his friends started the periodical called The Liberal to represent their views in politics, religion and literature. The name since 1832 has been applied to the more advanced Whigs and reformers. The party held office under earl Gray, viscount Melbourne, earl Russell, and viscount Palmerston." The article goes on for little more than a paragraph. Liberal was royalty by another name. To apply it here to persons who do not hold conservative views is pointless. Without royal personages, it becomes mere name-calling. Liberals are actually authoritarians as befits royalty. (1)

Upon looking up Conservatives, the reference pointed to Whigs and Tories. Both were terms of reproach for two English political parties during the past two (three now) centuries. "Whig was originally a nickname of the peasantry of the western lowlands of Scotland...and afterward on those English politicians who showed a disposition to oppose the court, and treat Protestant nonconformists with leniency. The word Tory...was first given to certain bands of outlaws, half-robber, half-insurgent, professing the Roman Catholic faith, who harassed the English in Ireland...over time the relations of the two parties had been the reverse at a former period." (2)

Conservatives and liberals change sides in the United States just as often. The conservatives of today are the elites backed by ordinary working citizens and the liberals are the peasantry to the conservatives. None of it makes sense. It is name-calling and agenda-fixing to position one's group for profits (oil and armaments) rather than for decent laws. Only Abraham Maslow's study of anarchy on the left and totalitarianism on the right is scientific; anything else is childish name-calling.

We bandy about the terms "right" and "left" now as if they had reversed themselves. The right is now running the country while the left is "left out" of any political consideration and barely mentioned in the news. The wealthy play the "Great Game" of Henry Kissinger for the world is the game board. I bet that if he could, the rest of us would be reduced to tiny pieces to move, play, sideline, or destroy. What if it's true we are pawns, not people?

If anarchy is "...the state of society without any regular government, when a country is torn by the strife of parties, and no law or authority remains," then how would you describe Iraq? "Complete anarchy is necessarily rare and of short duration; but conditions approaching to it often arise after revolutions and gross abuses in government; and, in such cases it is apt to become, as in the South American states, a chronic or permanent evil, attended with constant national decay." (3)

This is the anarchy of the serious adult, not the anarchy of play. As children dispute, they go to higher rules to decide what's fair. As adults dispute, they go to courts, theoretically, for the same reason. However, it is often simply solved on the street by militaristic police departments and brute force. There is no concern for the First Amendment or the Fourth. It must be too much trouble; or, maybe it is easier to kill and injure than testify. Possibly, it is more fun for some.

What I gather from all of the above is that the conservative and wealthy corporations, which are not democratic, thrive on oil, war, and armament monies. They are happy to create "gross abuses" in other countries by bombing them into total anarchy. They go to great lengths to shield citizens from their depredations in our name without our permission. Our Constitutional Republic with its checks and balances has become unbalanced because one branch out of three is so totalitarian that the persons in that branch can reduce to serious anarchy anyone and any place on this planet. That means that we are no longer capable of governing our affairs here in a legal manner.

If all goes according to the right totalitarian side of the universe, the United States of America ceased to exist for the People and is a thrall to corporate fascists. No one cares to read, discuss, or talk about such matters because the "liberal" left is denounced, insulted, and shut out of, or bought by the muscular side on the right that has access to money and power. That is not in the People's interests in any way. Remember the law of the universe is that "for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction."

To start at a point, such as anarchy, travel from it to other points, such as democracy, then centrism, then authoritarianism, and, finally, to totalitarianism and leading around to anarchy again would make a circle, wouldn't it? That would be the serious, vicious anarchy of the adult: war and death, not play. Anarchy for humanity is playing, not governance. Totalitarianism is excessive regimentation to create anarchy for others; it is destruction by the few for the profit of that few.

Some will point to the creation of jobs to make the weapons. That is a chimera. Read the economic statistics. We are poorer, sicker, working harder and longer for less income. Our jobs go offshore where small children compete for "our jobs."

Government is what adults do to order their interactions with each other constitutionally using the precepts in the Preamble to the Constitution as a serious guide. Has anyone done that in any of the three branches for the past 231 years? Groups have been silenced and shut out of fair representation since corporations became people. People are now without protection in any form because government has retracted habeas corpus, among other recent examples of horrid laws beyond the scope of their duties. Naked power is all that is between the People and the government. That naked power is rewarding everyone except the People under whose sovereignty they run their tiny piece of our world.

Has anyone considered that people are not really prepared by life as it evolved to manage everything from microscopic life to whales and every life form in between, including ourselves? Even science has not figured all of life out. We are too busy, too lazy, uninterested, not adapted to taming the living world in an appropriate manner since we invented agriculture. We spend more and more money with fewer results on "managers" who don't admit they are not really able to mitigate every bit of the living world in its innumerable forms. Many of those forms are unknown to humans even now, these many million years later. Those who work to aid life are wonderful people; but, basically, their numbers are too small; it really isn't the purpose of humanity to guide life. Our reason for being here is to live with less indulgence, to thrive and play with what is.

We admit we have no solutions to nuclear waste; we pretend that is okay if we just bury it. Since our planet is seismic, it often erupts and could spew the stuff back at us. Or, as with our stupid and foolish use of the famous "depleted" uranium (Not! the word of some of our young), we now have the nano-particles of it blowing in the wind to create birth defects, tissue anomalies, and death from cancers strewn across the planet. A nano is a trillionth of an inch. Who admits fault? Our news organizations prattle on and on about nothing three times per evening and they all say the same thing in each of their allotted time slots.

We attempt to manage humans -- people -- with specious, poorly thought-out laws; locking up the ones we detest the most with sentences so long they became a blight on the taxpayer who approved privatizing the prisons for a set sum. The taxpayers washed their hands of the torturous results to human beings. Our prisons are a worldwide, expedient disgrace holding ten times more humans than necessary since the 1980s. Restarting the death penalty was barbarous. The United States has devolved to practicing torture rather than using our Bill of Rights and our courts. As children, we knew what a kangaroo court was and today we put our faith in such abominations once again acting as if we are too regal to suffer the insolence of any who oppose us, proof ignored for cheap expediency.

Face this truth: we refuse to adapt to the world we live upon. We pave it over, MacMansion the farmlands and now the forests, mall or maul it to death because we pretend we have that right, reality be damned. In the long term, our progeny (we know who they are, of course?) will inherit the dust because none of this is viable. Toys are now to distract adults. Some of us will be truly alone on a planet we don't and didn't respect enough. Too many of us refuse to read and study science as science, such global warming.

We, as a People, seem to prefer what were called the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride) as forms of amusement over the virtues. My boss told me in 1990, "Greed is good." I recently read it became that in 1987. We as a country have been wallowing in the mud ever since. Sexual appetites appear everywhere, over-indulgence is creating obesity, greed has the elites panting for more money, envy fuels the fashionable worlds, anger is in the streets, and vanity is on stage vacuously. Sin has its place in the human world; but, spilling out everywhere is distasteful and unfortunate because the uneducated and the unthinking glom onto the sins as virtues wherein lays the money. If we have any more commercials on television, there will be no time left for culture if we still have it.

The United States is trillions of dollars in debt for destructive wars using a dollar backed by the hot air of politicians and the Federal Reserve printing presses. These wars are seriously ruinous for humanity and the planet, not to mention our once good name. The United States is now the target for the hatred of innumerable peoples we have harmed so many ways. If the previous saying I quoted is not enough, how about "what goes round, comes round"? Silly me, I actually believed the Founders when they limited war to "the common defence" and no army to stand longer than two years for any reason. I even believed that only Congress could declare a true war.

Somehow, the military has morphed into a gigantic pentagon/pentagram sign of the devil, promoting eternal war, death, horrendous injuries to our own troops and the citizens of the country we occupy, building bases in almost 800 spots around the planet to threaten anyone who wants to think or act differently than we do, gutting our National Guard, which was to protect the states, not the country, from dictators in Washington, D.C. We acquiesced to the wealthy, created a bogus dictator called the commander in chief, promoted a term without value: "war on terrorism," and wasted my grandchildren's heritage on corporate hegemony or, by its real name: fascism.

Will the idealistic generation called the "Boomers" become victims as others are doing now when they retire? The dictator who pretends to be president has already spent the country dry -- trillions of dollars of debt -- without any thought of "establishing the general welfare," even for his group. Their single-minded energies have created this mess by their numbers alone and their philosophies. Their idealism is individualistic, not general, and they are such a large group, no one can change their minds about life and living and bees, even. If the bees leave or are cell-phoned to death, even idealists will not live more than four years.

That comeuppance is not something any of us need. What we need is sanity and reconsideration of the reasons we are here on one very small planet. There is no other. Even if we do spot a planet or two, it will be so far away, no one alive will ever arrive there. Where is Captain Kirk when we need him?

Of course, promoting Armageddon might help by reducing the population to 144,000 people after seven years of tribulation. I take that to mean nuclear warfare, fallout, death, hunger, disease, and a final ending to the crappy decisions everyone is making to drive more and play less. How can anyone think in an automobile or a workplace during the best hours of the day? Does anyone bother to really think? I notice most people simply promoting more and more of the same and of the same stuff. Will the Chinese save us? I think not. They have five times more people than we do. They have poisoned our pets.

If there are no checks and balances anymore and if our foodstuffs are shipped from thousands of miles away with little inspection, how soon will we succumb and others fill the country we wrenched from the English Empire to create our own destiny?

Forgive me if I've overstated the obvious. The piles of rubble are building up here, too, not just in Iraq or Afghanistan. Are huge tornados nature's rubble rousers? Are the fires around the country what we deserve for our callousness towards other countries? Bodies are piling up in Africa. Disease and death appears to be a goal. Enough of it and the few who are left will inherit the earth. Last time it was a flood; this time rubble, starvation, disease, bombs from on high, a theft of life for oil and resources. Humanity's children are dying. Why?

Is anyone out there who wants to stop this serious death and destruction? No one seems to want to change the status quo. We have always changed; there is nothing to fear except walking straight into the inferno eyes wide open, mind closed. "If we are to learn from America's legal history, we must recognize that the courts will not seek to reign in empire or dictatorship." (4)




1.  Library of Universal Knowledge, Vol.VIII. New York: American Book Exchange, 1880, p. 859.  (back)

2.  Ibid. Vol. XV, p. 393-4.  (back)

3.  Ibid. Vol. I, p. 421.  (back)

4.  A Jones for Justice, "Unbalanced Justice and Wannabe Fascists" by Dr. John Calvin Jones, PhD, JD, BC Columnist, May 17, 2007 - Issue 230. The Black Commentator.  (back)


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Published June 4, 2007