Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why are Americans kissing off their republic more easily than the Germans did in the 1930s?

The comparison between the loss of American constitutional government and the collapse of Weimar is apt. Let's recall that its Constitution was never formally annulled by Hitler, who ruled under Hindenburg's emergency decree.This prompts two thoughts.

One is that the US resistance is less because the roots of the current American authoritarianism, which is not really fascism, are much deeper and more fundamental to the American character than Nazism was to Germany. The US was founded on the twin pillars of genocide and slavery and has never wandered far from these principles in 400 years. Its constitutional liberties are an important adornment, but in crisis the old standbys trump.

The tremendous guilt engendered by America's fundamental betrayal of its self-asserted identity as the light of the nations has always made Americans extremely fearful of their victims, ever since Southern plantation owners lived in dread of slave revolts and the whole nation lived in fear of the Indians whom they robbed.

Americans also pride themselves on being God's chosen, even if this is somewhat secularized in some cases, but not at all in many.

Their Bibles, in a passage quite familiar to many of them (Rev 13:10) state the fundamental creed of the Christian faith as, "Whoever leads into captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, he must be killed by it." This is so fundamental that the most secular sum it up in the true saying, "Whatever goes around comes around."

But their shining city on a hill has always lived by the dictum that their life depends on killing the Indians or whoever else they fear and want to rob, and that their freedom depends on enslaving the blacks, and now the citizens of other nations under compliant puppet regimes.

To live so falsely, especially for Christians, must generate a tremendous hysteria and eagerness to be lied to in order to hide from reality. I wrote in September 2001 to al-Quds al-Arabi that the US would turn into a brutal garrison state that would nuke the world unless it were successfully opposed and defeated. Nothing in over 5 years, unfortunately, has proven me wrong, although like some others I have done my small best.

This leads me to my second point, Bonhoeffer's statement on returning to Germany in 1939 that German Christians would have to choose between wishing for the defeat of their country so that Christian civilization might be saved or wishing for its success at the cost of civilization.

We too now face that choice.

3 Comments:

Blogger Fred Dodsworth said...

I really enjoyed your analysis and your post on Juan Cole's blog. It's rare to find a Christian intellectual perspective on the situation our country faces today. While there are many self-proclaimed Christians, and an equal number of self-professed intellectuals, neither appear to be serious committed to their ideal. American emotionalism seems,to me, to be the normative standard, driven by anger and guilt. I hope your faith gives you solace.

2/12/2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Mr Pelicano said...

Peter - Appreciated your elucidation of my comparison's to Weimar on Juan Cole's blog. And I thought I was the only apostate praying for the immminent destruction of the U.S. Empire.

Alas, I fear that the leaders of the Empire yearn - consciously or unconsciously - for their own "Gotterdammerung". Far better to be consumed in the flames of a global conflagration of your own making than face the truth of your own failure and mortality. For all their posturing, our leaders are truly "hollow men" who can sustain their self-delusions only by stirring up the blood lust of the mob.

Anyway, I came to my own apostasy via the Southern Baptists and Fuller Theological Seminary. Sitting in Systematics one day, it suddenly dawned on me that the only way to take the Gosepl seriously was to get out of "the Church" and get as far away from "Christians" as I possibly could. Key sources of insight came from Gustavo GuitiƩrrez and, ironically, Nietzsche and Heidegger.

Best Regards,

Mr. Pelicano
Sonoma, CA

2/13/2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Simmons said...

Although the executive powers being given and steps President Bush is taking are extreme and too far, comparing the situation to Nazi Germany is going a bit far. Some of these steps are necessary, but by far, not all of them. Hitler took completely unnecessary steps that led to a dictatorship.

2/13/2007 12:24 PM  

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