Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Agents of History and Madness

Discussion on a friend's blog recently turned to William Ayers, so I researched him a bit. The material isn't secret, and there's a lot of it--Ayers, now an academic, is still writing. One of the things I found about Ayers is that his goal was sabotage and propaganda rather than terrorism; especially after the Greenwich Village disaster, the Weatherman took careful steps to avoid injuring people in their attacks, and in fact no-one was injured. Maybe this was because of those cautions, or maybe the Weatherman (the name of their group, after Dylan's line "You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows") was just lucky. Ayers was another one who, like the northwestern anarchists in Seattle three decades later, had gotten impatient and was going to try to bring about the new world by force. Then and now, it didn't work. It has never worked. The state, the entrenched, corrupt powers--they have more force than any small activist group can match. In the end only persuasion and sacrifice seem to work and the work takes more than a single lifetime.

And, like a wolverine at the gate, we have the Alaska Independence Party--Joel Vogler, Mark Chryson, and Todd Palin, Sarah Palin's husband. Talking violence, with violent associates and ties to white supremacists and (yes!) the Islamic Republic of Iran, this group also wants to bring about a new world and has embraced, rather than renounced, violence against people in its aims. No lofty goals here--they want to make money by destroying the land and water of Alaska. Vogler was a gold miner. They want to become the state, they want to be the entrenched, corrupt power. With Sarah Palin becoming governor of Alaska they succeeded, at least in part. I think back to the nazis and fascists of the last century. Coming from the fringes of society, they took their petty desires for wealth and power, came to power, and failed in some of the most oppressive regimes and one of the bloodiest wars in history.

But it is all about power. My title is from Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle a contrafactual or alternate history novel in which the Axis won the Second World War.

They want to be the agents, not the victims of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archetype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate--confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.
Let us save ourselves from the agents of history and madness.

No comments: