Monday, December 26, 2016
Peace on Earth
Most of those of us who have been around for a while have had the notion of Peace on Earth hammered into us throughout our whole lives. This was, perhaps more than anything else, the Post War mantra repeated over and over again, "Let there be Peace on Earth."
Of course peace never came, not really. The mechanics of it were always the problem, weren't they? If there was to be world peace, a Pax Mundi as it were, just how was it to be accomplished? Scholars and mystics the world over struggled to figure it out, and their conclusion seemed to be that the ultimate peace of the world would only come when the Giant Asteroid wiped out humanity. Or some such. Or we blew everything up in a Nuclear Holocaust.
Nevertheless, many of us, we, the Rabble, haven't given up on something as elusive as Peace on Earth simply because it may be an unreachable ideal.
Unfortunately, our situation in the West -- as that part of the world where Anglo-American culture is dominant is still called -- has become so decadent and corrupt, "ideals" are considered a fool's game. Grab all you can before it all goes to shit seems to be the current ethic if you will, an End Times to end all End Times predilection, because I guess if you don't get yours now, you never will. Never ever.
There's just never enough to go around, and it's too bad for them that's got nothin'.
And of course things are going to shit at an accelerating pace. Make no mistake. The End is Nigh.
Many of Our Betters intend to survive no matter what, and I suspect too many of them will.
I was pondering Jeffrey Epstein's bolt hole up the road from our place. The Zorro Ranch is huge, XX,000 acres, I don't know how many exactly, on the border between the Estancia and Galisteo Basins in central New Mexico. An enormous mansion sits on a mesa overlooking both basins. A little western town, like a movie set, sits below on the Estancia Basin side, where apparently the ranching operations take place. They run some cattle, longhorns included, as well as a variety of artisinal breeds, but there are never very many of them, not like some of the other cattle ranches in the area.
There's some dispute over whether Epstein still owns the Zorro Ranch. Apparently the property records aren't clear about its current ownership. The only people we've ever seen entering or leaving through the ranch gate appear to be workers, mostly ranch hands. There's never been a motorcade of bullet proof SUVs and the like, and we've never seen squadrons of helicopters (black or otherwise) coming in for landings at the helipad up the hill.
This is the Google overhead view of the ranch house and helipad:
The mesa on which this spread sits is probably a couple of hundred feet high, and I expect that deluxe bunkers have been blasted into it to preserve, protect, and defend Epstein and whoever else can hie themselves hitherwards when the End comes. I don't doubt that a list has been made, and preparations for transport of selected VIPs have been made. Shuttles are no doubt on 24 hour call.
Epstein's place is one of many such retreats around the nation and around the world built in the past 20 years or so for the purpose of having "a place in the country" for the rich and powerful to shelter in -- just in case.
Our place is nothing like that at all, just a simple hand-built pioneer adobe ranch house, without a ranch any more, surrounded by a modest working class neighborhood, salt of the earth neighbors with whom we get along (mostly) --- even though we're from California. Heh.
But some of our thinking when we bought this place was not unlike that of the High and Mighty selecting their bolt holes for when the time comes.
When I mentioned to a friend in California that we'd bought this place out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico, he sensed right away that a big part of the reason was to have a place to go "when it all goes to shit."
True enough, I suppose. True enough. Though I don't see actually how we would survive should the plug be pulled on "civilization." We, like most folks, depend on electricity and natural gas for light and heat. We don't have a generator or a fireplace or even a woodstove. We don't have our own well so we'd run out of water pretty quick. We haven't laid in supplies, though there is -- or would be -- room for a pretty extensive pantry should we want to have stuff on hand for the Apocalypse.
We're several miles from the Interstate, where most supplies originate in any case. But there are farms closer, farms and ranches, where produce is grown, livestock raised and so forth, and the ranchers and farmers are among our acquaintances if not actually friends. Some of them have made preparations of their own, though nothing as elaborate as Epstein's, and I would imagine that should everything go to shit, folks around here would pull together to hold on to some of the attributes of a positive and purposeful way of life.
That aside, however, once Ms. Ché and I are out of medications, I doubt either of us would last much longer as we both have conditions that are guaranteed to be fatal -- sooner without medications than later.
Not that we, personally, have any particular need to survive come what may. Whatever contribution we can make, we're making while we have the chance, while we're here, elders with some discretionary resources. It's not for us to hold on to; it's for us to give away while we can.
Many of us understand the nature of the crisis this year's presidential (s)election has precipitated. The installation of Trump and his cronies into power marks a clear and clean break from the nation's past. Nothing like this has happened before. And there is little or no likelihood that prior practice will be restored. This is the end of the Republic in all ways but name. Much like the Roman Republic, many of the aspects and attributes of the US republic will no doubt continue on as empty shells, meaningless rituals and practices, but the Republic established by the Founders and operated more or less competently for the past 230 years will be extinct, and something else, call it an Empire, will take its place.
I doubt that very many people will notice, as we've been on this path for a long, long time. Nixon in fact established the Imperial Presidency -- to much mockery and laughter -- and the precedent was set. But there was more to it than just the show. The underlying premise was that the USofA, as an Imperial power, had an obligation to establish and maintain a Pax Americana that would eventually encompass the globe, and that the US had an obligation to use any and all strategies and tactics to accomplish the goal.
In other words, the Empire, for all its faults, would one day come to rule the world. The US has never deviated from that path ever since the crises of the '70s that led to military defeat and withdrawal in Southeast Asia and the crisis of the Presidency that led to Nixon's resignation and the installation of the nation's first unelected president. That was the break in the nation's republican heritage that has never been repaired.
Precedent was set and here we are.
The precedent was that presidents (and vice presidents) can be removed and others installed without consultation or the assent of the People. Who accomplishes the transfer of power is still shadowy. Who is actually in charge at any given time is a mystery.
From my view, the power of the presidency is a matter of agreement between the contending factions of the permanent government and the Overclass. Until now, the Overclass had been content to rule indirectly through the agency of the permanent government. Now with the advent of Trump, the mediation of the permanent government will apparently be dispensed with and the Overclass will rule us directly.
The narrative among most of the Trump defenders and loyalists -- at least among those who can acknowledge the situation -- asserts that this is a good thing, and it's about time that our billionaire Overlords were openly in charge rather than corrupting the managerial class who have been in charge of the government for many generations. In effect, we're going back to the origins of the government itself when the very wealthy Founders were the ones who ran and in effect were the government.
One could therefore argue the advent of Trump "re-founds" the nation the way it was supposed to be.
An argument in favor of this New America is that Trump and his cronies are so rich they can't be corrupted -- the way today's Congress and the whole apparatus of government under a managerial class (oh, such as the Clintons, for example) could be and has been. It's a ridiculous argument, but it's one that has gained some currency, without the simultaneous recognition that putting the corrupters in charge means that there is no longer any mediation between their interests and demands and those of the People.
Without that mediation, the People get screwed harder and faster than ever before. Duh.
On the other hand, there seems to be no recognition that there are many things Our Betters could do -- rather than screwing the People harder and faster than ever before -- to secure their almost perpetual rule over us, and they could even engineer their longed-for Peace without resort to nuclear or other armed conflict.
No, it seems that nearly all Trump defenders and loyalists are determined to impose as harsh and destructive a rule as possible on everyone but themselves -- as revenge, apparently, for harm they believe they've suffered under the Republic. They're disappointed that their hero and champion is not entirely on board with them.
In reality, provided there is any sense of social conscience in and among the Trump-ists, to engineer both domestic and international peace and good will; there is no sign it will happen -- just the opposite in fact -- but you never know.
My wish has always been an end to war and violence.
We may or may not get there.
Signs are not looking good. On the other hand, stranger things have happened.