About the Name of this blog

This blog's title refers to a Dani fable recounted by Robert Gardner. The Dani live in the highlands of New Guinea, and at the the time he studied them, they lived in one of the only remaining areas in the world un-colonized by Europeans.

The Dani, who Gardner identifies only as a "Mountain People," in the film "The Dead Birds," have a myth that states there was once a great race between a bird and a snake to determine the lives of human beings. The question that would be decided in this race was, "Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds?" According to the mythology, the bird won the race, and therefore man must die.

In the spirit of ethnographic analysis, this blog will examine myth, society, culture and architecture, and hopefully examine issues that make us human. As with any ethnography, some of the analysis may be uncomfortable to read, some of it may challenge your preconceptions about the world, but hopefully, all of it will enlighten and inform.

Friday, October 21, 2011

And Will There Be Passion Plays About Liberals?


There is a truly frightening trend emerging in the politics of the 21st century, declarations of your political opponents as icons of pure evil.  We see this in the casual comparisons of leaders to Hitler, Stalin, Eichmann or others just as evil.  (I’m just waiting to see someone compared to Cthulu, because I’m tired of them going for the Lesser Evil.)

All joking aside, the most appalling name calling is saying someone, especially the President, is the Anti-Christ.  Not an accusation of behaving in an un-Christlike manner, but actually saying they ARE the Anti-Christ.  This is something that has cropped up from time to time in history. (And thank you Nostradamus for this little gift)  But it is especially prevalent in certain circles in modern America.

Before I go any further, I want to make something perfectly clear, the Anti-Christ was Nero.  End of story.  Most true biblical scholars agree that the entirety of Revelations was an allegory about the Christian persecution at the hands of Rome and its emperor. 

Revelations was an apocalypse, a term which has completely lost its meaning.  An Apocalypse means literally “lifting of the veil” or “revelation.”  To say that the Book of Revelations describes the Apocalypse is a recursive statement, it is saying the same thing.  You might as well say the Book of Revelations describes the Revelation.  It makes no sense.   The apocalypse described in Revelations is the lifting of the veil on the evil and corruption of the Roman Empire.

The Apocalypse referring to the actual end of the world is a product of later theology.  And while we are at it, since the world didn’t end today, I also want to state that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the Rapture in the Bible.  That has no true Biblical origins.  The entire story about the Rapture was developed by the Dispensationalists in the era just prior to the Civil War; it grew out of the writings of John Nelson Darby.  At best it might be considered a Christian version of Midrash.  And unlike Midrash, where they are reinterpreting existing stories to have a deeper understanding, the Rapture has no legitimate biblical lineage.

Now back to the regularly scheduled rant.

Calling someone the Anti-Christ is not playing with fire, it is lighting a fire under an armed nuclear device, while pounding it with sledge hammers.  It is an absolute call to action for devout Christians.  The Anti-Christ, as an agent of pure evil, must be destroyed.  (See any number of cheesy Hollywood films from the last 50 years.)  You cannot be a “good” person and not try to kill or at least hope for the death of the Anti-Christ.  It is a call for Presidential Assassination, wrapped up in Christian Drag.

Imagine if the Left had openly called for Bush’s assassination.  They would currently have lifetime accommodations in Gitmo.  It was branded un-American and evil to accuse Bush of being a war criminal, and saying he should be arrested and tried for crimes against the Constitution.  Calling someone a war criminal is small potatoes compared to calling them the agent of Satan.

I do not understand this phenomenon.  Trying to do good (bring universal health care, fix the economy, and rejoin the world community) is considered to be evil, while actually doing evil (starting wars that are illegal under international law, torturing in violation of the Geneva Convention, and shredding the Constitution) are held up as paragons of good.  (Did someone declare this the Opposites Millennium when I wasn’t looking?)

You can disagree with the President, you can think his policies are bad for the country.  This is not beyond the bounds of decorum.  You can even say they are one of the worst Presidents in history.  But when you begin to compare the President to some of the worst characters in history (fictional or real) you have crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Which leads to the other scary thing going on in America today.  Not only is the President being denounced as the Anti-Christ, the left is generally being accused of treason or worse.  Herman Cain is saying Liberals killed Jesus.  In saying that the Left killed the Christian Savior, it is not hyperbolic to compare this to the Nazi propaganda about the Jews.  The Nazis, and all anti-Semites, point to the Jews killing Jesus as one of the root sins of their people.  This is the core point of most of the Passion Plays, and most of them were written, in part, to stir up anti-Jewish fervor.

The Nazis stirred up animosity toward the Jews, blamed them for everything bad in Germany, and created general hatred of one segment of the population to unify the rest of the country.  The Liberals are the new Jews.  Liberals are the one group that it is culturally acceptable to hate.  And term Liberal is now so politically toxic that even Liberals shun the word.  They describe themselves as Progressive.  

It should be noted as a sideline that the term Progressive used to be a term applied to socially conscious Republicans.  Teddy Roosevelt was regularly termed a Progressive.  Liberal was the Democratic equivalent.  Now liberals wrap themselves in Republican terms, because they have been so marginalized in the national discourse.

Liberals are being so demonized in society today that they are considered de facto traitors and criminals.  Liberals are evil, they even killed Jesus.  At MiniTrue, the Liberal point of view is condemned.  This condemnation resounds through the echo chamber of the mainstream media.  The left is denounced from the speaker’s podium and the pulpit.  Liberal Christian has become an oxymoron. 

To illustrate this comparison, I am going to quote Hitler, changing the word Jew to Liberal.  (The book I am quoting from is ‘Lunacy Becomes Us’)  “If the Liberal wins, his crown will be humanity’s funeral wreath… I believe I fight today in the spirit of our Almighty Creator.  When I fight against Liberals, I am doing the work of the Lord.”  I am not making this statement to be offensive and perpetuate the Hitler meme, I am doing it to make a very specific point.  The parallels with the statements coming out of a Glenn Beck type are very ominous.  There is a segment of the population on the right who, rather than debate Liberals on their views, and criticize them for their positions, resort to blatant hate speech to turn them to the enemy.

It's called de-personalization. When you de-personalize someone, you make them sub-human and worthy of hate.  You don't just minimize a view, you minimize a person or  group.  You remove any compulsion of human dignity toward the targeted population.   
This demonization of the President and the Left in general needs to stop.  The rhetoric will only lead to tragedy.  How many Oklahoma Cities and dead Presidents do we need before we understand that this sort of out of control behavior will tear the country apart?  We barely survived one Civil War.  I don’t think we can survive another.

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