Martin LeFevre: The Pendulum is Broken
The Pendulum is Broken
Ironically, quite a few Americans, but no one outside the U.S., wrote voicing their strong agreement with my last column, regarding the urgent necessity for an overseas campaign to defeat Bush in November 2004 (and implicitly, to provide an alternative to Pax Americana).
Though I¹m still sure that there aren¹t enough awake or awakening people in America to get rid of this small tyrant, perhaps things are not as hopeless for my countrymen as I¹ve felt.
Undoubtedly, as the leading edge of human darkness and rapaciousness in the world, we have to first find bottom here in this global race to the bottom. But where will the worldwide revolution in consciousness ignite‹everywhere at once?
Psychologically, can humankind end power and greed, violence and war as the basis for social, economic, and political organization?
It¹s not enough to be against Bush, or even to protest the global structures of privilege and power that made him into Daddy¹s boy with a very big stick. Much more fruitless is waiting for the collapse of the present world order, as certain as that is, with the hope that something better will replace it.
I just watched a documentary about Lenin, who died a broken man at 53. His mummified body (the USSR was embalmed along with him) ghoulishly lies in Red Square to this day. (Hundreds of millions have marched down into the black marble tomb. I was so transfixed by the surreal, crimson-lit scene that I stumbled toward the sarcophagus, whereupon one of the guards stepped forward and ordered me back.)
Communism was an utter failure not because Marx¹s basic critique of capitalism was wrong, but because he and it failed to take human nature and the spiritual dimension into account.
Consequently Lenin, and to an exponentially greater degree Stalin, resorted to unspeakable violence as a means to achieve their utopian ends (a pattern Lenin began with the Red Terror). I witnessed first-hand the end product of communism a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was astonished at how angry the Russian people were.
Historical events such as the collapse of the Soviet Union always happen suddenly and unexpectedly. With history speeding up, how much longer can the corrupt, hyper-capitalist post-Cold War world order last? Not long.
That order is based on the falsehood that the United States won the Cold War. The truth is that the US imploded at the same time as the USSR, though spiritually and socially, rather than politically and economically.
More and more Americans are acknowledging that this nation has lost its soul, and that under the present paradigm, things will not swing back. The pendulum is broken. The Right is carrying out a scorched earth policy (literally and metaphorically), and like Nazi Germany, they will not stop.
The Left is still too wedded to the Enlightenment¹s illusion that reason will prevail. Intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal echo the comforting half-truth that ignorance is a lack of information, and that the media colludes to keep the facts from people. If the people only knew, this dream goes, they would set things right.
However people aren¹t moved by reason and rationality, but by emotion. Given the emptiness and alienation people the world over feel, the Left¹s discounting of the spiritual dimension gives fundamentalists of all stripes, with their fey religiosity, a free hand.
Besides, the focus on a single nation, much less a single politician, is facile and futile. The primacy of nations, religions, and ethnic groups is a thing of the past. Is there any choice but to think globally and act globally?
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.