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When Authors Are Authoritative
by David Drum
25 Jan 2010
It is not mere coincidence the word authority takes command from the word author, or a group of authors acting as a united force. Both words are coequal and stem from the idea that some form of egotistic persuasion has come to dominate or rule. This authoritarian reality is true irrespective of whether people put their faith in law, religion, articulated ideology, or any other form of persuasive power. Yet there is little doubt that the most effective form of authority, if believed, is that which speaks fore an endgame result of lasting spiritual finality—namely those clerics, that is how their personalities, claim to speak for an ultimate power of religion, and the ego-will of God, Yahweh or Allah. What mere mortal can stand up to what Hobbes has described as the Leviathan or the iron-fisted state?
When Authors Are Authoritative
It is not mere coincidence the word authority takes command from the word author, or a group of authors acting as a united force. Both words are coequal and stem from the idea that some form of egotistic persuasion has come to dominate or rule.
This authoritarian reality is true irrespective of whether people put their faith in law, religion, articulated ideology, or any other form of persuasive power, such as concentrated wealth’s ability to dumb-down and trickle up. Even violence dominates the mind when it uses coercion and terrorism to get its way.
Yet there is little doubt that the most effective form of authority, if believed, is that which speaks fore an endgame result of lasting spiritual finality—namely those clerics, that is how their personalities, claim to speak for an ultimate power of religion, and the ego-will of God, Yahweh or Allah. What mere mortal can stand up to what Hobbes has described as the Leviathan or the iron-fisted state?
This Leviathan was one name for a more generalized Middle Eastern mythological monster, such as represented in the Old Testament as a creature of the sea, sometimes equated to a kind of crocodile or fire breathing monster. Nevertheless symbolically represents a form of absolute power or an unconquerable force—that is, until the final battle of Middle Eastern propaganda, when such evil will finally be defeated. Hence for Thomas Hobbes, as noted from his utilitarian interpretation of the Bible, the leviathan represented terrorism as co-determinant power of God (as an otherly reinterpretation of Machiavelli’s The Prince).
But then what could be more terror tactic than being brainwashed to believe in such a kind of ultimate authority as a harsh judge with a vengeful penchant of putting souls in an eternal hell chamber of torture? What form of divine, absolute, governance would be more despotic and unforgiving? Yet this is the terrorism that has haunted the European stage since the time of Constantine and Rome’s later legacy—despite the fact some Italians claimed, for example during the time of the Renaissance, that European “barbarians” diluted their greatness and culture.
Yet this has been the religious paranoia that established a long history of persecution and heretic burning that eventually drove fanatics over the sea from Europe to what is now the United States, while still bringing their religious fanaticism with them. This was the pathological terrorist that spurred so many wars amongst Europeans, that is when they were going on crusades to kill other fanatical Mohammedans who also believed in infidels. Yes it was this immense terrorist fear in which some would die rather than risk being forsaken, to a so-called Christian God’s eternal torture run by no other than Satan’s terrorists. What could have been more of an autocratic, psychological or politically, than this Church “Geist” of Europe—that is believing an etiological reality that a “just” God would divine such dispensation of cruelty—given that this same God created human circumstance and human naiveté?
And yet the Bible, not just the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, managed to become the ultimate authority for so many, primarily because of a promise of salvation for “all” who would worship the break-away, left-leaning, Jewish Rabbi named Jesus Christ, as preached to the pagans by Paul. It was this emphasis on forgiveness and assimilation into a true faith that brought the poverty masses and their need to reconcile human transgression into the fold. One didn’t have to be Jewish to be a believer and enter the kingdom (read state). Many millions believed in this need to belong for centuries, because they were persuaded a transcendental God, although operated as an authoritarian ego, and more than willing to punish, had personally authored both Testaments—that is that the written word was not the work of mere mortal mindsets, and politics, and the human imagination).
It was this force of terror divined as ultimate evil, in all its sheer black and white simplicity, that shackled the masses into a psychological prison state of anxiety. It was the understanding that if evil existed in the real world there had to be some supernatural explanation as to why. And therefore it was for various priestly orders to claim the authority to interpret and define what was religious belief—such as at that convening of mere bishopric mortals, at the behest of the temporal imperial monarch Constantine, for them in their hoary wisdom to preside over the Council of Nicaea, in which not even a single angel was said to be in attendance (imagine that not even a archangel like a commander of a theatre with much ranking epaulette on winged shoulder!).
Yet according to this Middle Eastern cosmological mythology, in which “angelic forces” (as apparently the divine realm already had denizens) some angles engaged in a civil war (imagine human-like politics in heaven) where thereby one arch-enemy labeled Satan rebelled against the powers-that-be. How instructive this historiography of the eternal and boundless. How ironic that angels too, as well as the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Godhead, would have so much a nature like human nature as to be amenable for war-like propaganda?
Yet it wasn’t so much the seven deadly sins that came to define this arch fiend rival as it was his so called excess of “pride” and “defiance” (kind of like the reactions to Ralph Nader turning to find legitimate governance and constitution elsewhere). But according to these so-called holy scribes that wrote “The Word” as passed down, it was the devil’s ability to lie and deceive and rebel that so defined his nature. Yet by some irrational reason, he as archenemy, was still allowed to tempt God’s creation of mere mortals with any sly and cunning bag of tricks he might choose (such as creating phony websites to claim or blame responsibility for terrorists actions to whatever team would be convenient).
But naturally along with this insurgency of the infidels or pagans or people of the wrong religious sect, there had to be a counter-insurgency of propaganda to counter the “accusations” of the “cause” of evil as reported in the media, with counter attacks and claims as humanity has thus been inundated ever since those victors came to write the history books.
But what better way of coercion could there possibly have been than to manipulate the fear of damnation of eternal vengeance—as a form of psychological blackmail to want to “love” God so desperately—since there were such consequences to not having such zeal for his realm? Surely it was worth a peasant’s last florin coins to buy Catholic indulgences to at least hope for some real estate in heaven? Certainly that was worth sacrificing all, including one’s life to fight another Christian war to slaughter-dom, or to at least send money to the Catholic Central? After all why would there be anything strange about such a weltanschauung, or a Martin Luther’s compulsive need to protest and reform, if one could imagine a salvation from hell as possible?
Yet how much longer will it be before humanity gets a clue to its own religious naiveté, and a covert world of deceit, that if usurped by a fifth column or two, would prey on the weak and the foolish within one’s one realm, such as those easily misled to a blind obedience to the materialist egotism of the doctrine of laissez faire capitalism that centers entirely on the individual as the center of the universe, or prostrate to a ruthless religion based ultimately on fear and despotism?
When will the presumably educated realize that one does not need to be saved from the propagandist work as the Bible, which for so long has been responsible for the death, murder, and persecution of so many, but rather the self needs to deal with the temporal evils like human nature and politics with all its wilily realities so as a willingness of the elite to declare on the masses?
Naturally most people historically have wanted a modicum of safety and sanity—not just the Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Friedmans, and George Wills of the world who are so willing to decry big government save the military and security state. Most people want to be accepted within their own community or nation state—not just the presumptuously elect or those allowed to engage in whatever criminal activities they deem.
Yet a utopian ideal of heaven or heaven on earth may have been a mere fantasy it was still a hope against the doldrums of reality and the existential realities of the stupid and stubborn staking stuck in their crippling mindsets. And yet is that not what every ideology aspires—to some form of utopian answer to all the world’s problems? Is that not what every school of economics or politics equates hope—the perfect plan of control or freedom so as to invite the naïve to swallow the black and white truth?
Is there not a world of endless polemics found in the arguments of various religious and political fanatics, or the crybaby whiners who need to “project” evil to “other” so as to teach their own brand of hatred and being willing to stay blind to personal ignorance and presumptuousness? Was playboy Charlie Wilson really that astute in his need to kill the communists, such as in Afghanistan, and his willing subjugation to everything pro-Israel—because where else was there more authority—than the land of the Bible? Still military industrial complex investors didn’t mind. Nor did Democrats or Republicans mind too much all their compromises—after all we now know that those voted in office here in the United States must be a worldly people of the most sophisticated breed.
And after all isn’t always about Israel’s needs first, at least when it came to the Middle East—that is until the real stories come to be deconstructed. But don’t expect The Nation magazine to do such a deconstruction, even if its intellectuals of “high culture” are readily wringing their hands, such as in the November 2 issue, “American Jews Rethink Israel” in which they are still merely primarily thinking about how “much” they should love Israel and a Jewish culture, rather than perhaps more countries besides Russia need some form of perestroika and glasnost? But some Jewish-American and Christians at least are willing to become more aware that is obvious that some Israelis are just as racist and cruel as were other racists and nationalists in history.
But the real question that our American culture needs to focus is not as much the current state of the Palestinians or politics in the Middle East, as it is about the historic “claim” that their Yahweh commanded “their” tribal people to kill off the inhabitants of Canaan millennia ago. This is to say if one is willing to accept the Old Testament as legitimate legal argument in today’s international affairs, in which Moses claimed that God “gave” a small group of people a specific territory and then commanded this group to kill off those then inhabiting such land millennia ago, then to what basis is there to argue that it is not OK to kill off the Palestinians today? It is exactly the same war and occupation mentality. Is this not a willing subjugation to reject reason and reality?
Read the best seller Moses: A Life by Jonathan Kirsch. The research has been done. The picture that evolves from this clear and scholarly portrayal is that the God of Moses was a tyrant—this is to say his God wasn’t a God at all. The whole Moses story is just that—a revisionist story that claimed such wars were just because people could be brainwashed into believing a righteous God set it up—rather than a propaganda machine that has spawned several centuries.
But are we Americans suppose to believe this religious superstition is fair to our international relations just because a certain culture’s religion says it is OK to kill off the current Palestine inhabitants—that is we are still suppose to remain naïve enough to assume God’s goodness is working for some eternal plan?
What kind of anthropomorphic attitude is this “to ‘hell’ with any idea of progress” because the old school of “might makes right” has always hated the idea of sharing. Hence the Neoconic vision of Leo Strauss reiterating the Big Lie and his projected need to trick the dumb masses with the devil’s power of deceit and coordinating the hydra heads of the mainstream news media to drum up more and more propaganda even if “undetermined” factors find the most ludicrous forms of underwear firecrackers via the laxity of certain security companies in Nigeria or the Netherlands. Hence a supposedly educated elite of Zionists willing to sacrifice everything America resource such as our economy for wars that right-wing Israel wants, and an inability by some Jews to shed the perception of their culture as too special and superior? After all one can’t just be an American first—that would be too homogenized and mediocre? After all there is a clear distaste for the lower classes that want equal rights and equal opportunity in this culture—unless of course you are of some ethnocentric backgrounds such as Caucasians from Europe.
Nevertheless it is time to recognize that the only likely way forward in respect with the Middle East is for Israel to separate Church and State—even if this means the same for the rest of the Middle East. Why should we Americans sacrifice our economy and national security for such an atavistic idea that Jews must have a religious homeland in the Canaan—to the point that they must exclude their selves off discriminatorily from everyone else—when their threat of Islamism comes from the “same” religious psychology and roots as the Bible?
America needs to wake up to this religious insanity. But it is not so easy when the powers have the big stick of Nazi, or Christian or Anglo-Saxon guilt to push around, including the well well-earned fear of Christianity. But where did this Christian xenophobia, in which the right-wing so well manipulates, evolve but if not a religion of terror originating in the Middle East? Where did such zealotry come, so much so, that some early Christians were willing to be put to death in the name of their salvation?
Yet one merely turn to another of “several” examples of the Neocon exploitation of the West’s fear of Muslims—namely Christopher Caldwell’s book: Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. Here is another “caucasian” senior editor at the Weekly Standard, trying to convince more white western people that Muslims are ill fit to live amongst the western culture. The “Muslim Question?” How ironic that so many AIPAC types equally have proven themselves unable to live up to the American ideal of equality—that they would rather sacrifice freedoms here for whatever seems to be beneficial to Israel’s apartheid? Has there not been one long propaganda war trying to convince Americans that we should not trust anything Arab or Muslim and yet we should of course trust everything Israeli or Jewish—if of right-wing mentality?
Has there not already been a persecution here by locking up innocent people, or the torture of innocent people abroad handed over from warlords and drug lords? Has there not already been a change of liberties more toward a police state with the Patriot Act and Joe Lieberman’s introduction of S 1534 for a Department of Homeland Security? It just seems to be something Bolshevik about this stuff and the idea of a totalitarian religion equally reinforcing a kind of Stalinist mystique.
Probably there is some kind of supernatural high God that created this world and cares about the entirety of humanity and the rest of creation, but it surely can’t be some kind of cripple to have appeared on a mountain in Sinai, so as so much reported and redacted scribbling from various clerics, or for the sake of justifying a diaspora of thousands today.
The next human wall that needs to be undone is not a wall of cement or mortal: it is a wall that contains too much fear—that of the human imagination imprisoned in a mindset that has had its play. Can’t we at least get to Francesco Petrarca’s 14th century and the birth of the humanities?
This work is in the public domain