October 19, 2004
A Boring Repetition of History: True Believers Versus the Reality-Based Community
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Ron Suskind's article from the Sunday's NYT Magazine exhibits a frightening brilliance, and shines light on the dark intoxication that happens every time there is too much absolute power concentrated in one political apparatus, whether a monarchy, military junta, or in this case, a White House sitting atop a one-party government.
It's so predictable, it would be mundane if it weren't terrifying.
Throughout history, pretty much any time a group ends up with complete political power without any group to challenge them intellectually, people go nuts. They get drunk with their own power, believing the delusions that it's a "new world," that they create "new reality" out of sheer will, and that the rest of the world will be bystanders to their manifest destiny.
Blah blah blah. Heard it before.
Who else went down this road?
Commodus of Rome; more than a couple Popes; heads of the Holy Roman Empire; Charles IX of France; Shaka Zulu; the Nazi party; Mao; Pol Pot, the list unfortunately goes on.
I remember a quote from a Nazi officer who said, "We thought we were stars. We were the most important people on Earth." Every one of these guys have quotes where they think reality sprung forth from their will like gods from the forehead of Zeus. Every one of these idiots thought that they were the pioneers in a brilliant new world where they were history's actors, and all others were bystanders.
Nope. It's just that through fate, they ended up with a lot of power, and they suddenly started believing that gravity didn't apply to them. You'll notice that none of these cats have come away with the 10,000 year reign they all promised, because y'know, gravity really does work.
Daniel Quinn in Ishmael said that societies are exactly like aircraft. There are laws, just like lift, drag, thrust, and gravity. Let's say you build an aircraft, and push it off a cliff. No matter how much "will" you exert, gosh darnit, those laws still apply. You think you're flying the craft into the annals of history, but in reality, you're approaching the ground at terminal velocity.
This is why Europe had the Enlightenment and applied it directly to governance -- to get away from the magical, divine-right-of-kings horsepucky that drove all the theocracies. We created a bureaucracy based on scientific thought so that citizens would no longer be subject to these crazy ideas.
And here we are again, imitating Europe in the 14th century, a hereditary line of rulers and Georges II thinks he's got divine guidance.
I study antipsychotic medications as part of my day gig, and sadly, the kind of nonsense that comes out of the Bush Administration is just a couple steps away from the symptoms of schizophrenia: magical thinking, special voices only you can hear, secret powers, a general loosening of associations with demonstrably true facts.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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