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reason, race and choice

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  • Mike Helsher
    [Yikes, I just sent this to the critics list by mistake] I d like to commend Linda Clemens for the following statement over on the critics list:
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 1, 2004
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      [Yikes, I just sent this to the critics list by mistake]
       
      I'd like to commend Linda Clemens for the following statement over on the critics list:

      *******************************
      My working theory at this point is that your definitions aren't about
      race, they're a rebuttal in an ongoing societal debate about race, and
      absent that "debate" they have no inherent value really: 

      **********************************
      I would agree that they aren't about "Race" as much as they are about the orthodox  rational definitions of "race" that can be had, and adhered to, by intellectuals that admire the idea of mathematically assigning meaning to words. Intellectual dreamers, most often like to consider rationalism as the only appropriate venue to  gaining understanding, and deriving conclusions like "Anthroposophy is racist to the core".

      Rationalism also tends to Poo on the idea of free will, hence the ferocious need for the merry-go-round debates about the meaning of words.

       If Life is a gift (and I do believe that it is) then the "inherent value" tends to come form gratitude (Steiner used the word Reverence). If it's an unconsciousness accident, and we are like ants, or if it is created and controlled by some omnipotent all knowing God, then we all better start squawking at each other, because the "inherent value" tends to come only from soothing the soul with witty debate.

      Of course this is just my opinion.

      Mike 
    • Tarjei Straume
      ... That can easily happen if you don t use different email addresses. They re both public lists, however, so the only disadvantage is that every word you send
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 2, 2004
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        At 08:50 02.09.2004, Mike wrote:

        >[Yikes, I just sent this to the critics list by mistake]

        That can easily happen if you don't use different email addresses. They're
        both public lists, however, so the only disadvantage is that every word you
        send in their direction feeds their disinformation machine.

        >I would agree that they aren't about "Race" as much as they are about the
        >orthodox rational definitions of "race" that can be had, and adhered to,
        >by intellectuals that admire the idea of mathematically assigning meaning
        >to words. Intellectual dreamers, most often like to consider rationalism
        >as the only appropriate venue to gaining understanding, and deriving
        >conclusions like "Anthroposophy is racist to the core".

        I can hardly believe it. Those people are sicker than I suspected. They've
        still got their heads stuck several feet deep into the mud of racial
        obsession, poor souls. Which reminds me, I've thought of a more appropriate
        musical: "Marat/Sade" by Peter Weiss. I'll explain.

        I've been thinking about "Rudolf Steiner Superstar" as well, with
        hmmmmmm.... DD as Caiphas, perhaps, and an appropriate cross-over as Judas.
        Changing the names of course, replacing them with the Goethanum arsonist
        and other villains. PS or Walden could make a dynamite Herod and sing

        "So you are the Steiner, the great Rudolf Steiner?
        Prove to me that you're a wizard
        Assume the shape of a forest lizard".

        And incidentally, Mary Magdalene's song "I don't know how to love him"
        would be dynamite for Dottie. I'd cast Bradford as RS and the rest of us as
        disciples, the critics as Roman soldiers and the Sanhedrin and so on....

        And then we have "Hair" which we could call "Astral!" The opening song
        needs little or no change - "Age of Aquarious", but

        "How can people be so cruel
        Easy to be cold"

        would be a bullet. Man, we would hardly need to change the lyrics at all;
        the anthros are hippies and the critics squares, that's it. They're so fond
        of war, and with this thing we could pin the Vietnam war on them. Wouldn't
        they just love that?

        "Fiddler on the Roof" could be adapted from Jewish to Anthro just to irk
        them something awful. Changing the lifestyles amd dating habits and
        matchmaking to fit modern Waldorf teachers and their chaotic private lives.
        And when the girl runs off with...... huh.... a follower of Jerry Falwell?
        - her old man will just say sadly that it's a shame he's not an Anthro.

        More musicals? Oklahoma, Carusel, Cats, and..... Yeah! Marat/Sade! Oh shit,
        it's about PLANS and the WC! Holy Macro! It's taking place in an insane
        asylum in France after the French Revolution, and everybody's crazy and
        pervert... wow, Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Corday, Marquis de Sade - Hey
        Jeremy, do you remember we did that at Mountview in '73 or '74? It was
        terrible! I'll leave the casting to you guys.

        http://www.marionboyars.co.uk/Specific%20title%20pages/marat.html

        http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/weissp/collect.htm

        I found it on my shelf! Here's the subtitle:

        "The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of
        the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of Marquis de Sade."

        How do you like that?

        Marat/Sade, the ultimate nasty dysfunctionality! And which cult is the
        wackiest in the world? You guessed it. Marat is sitting in a bathtub
        because of a skin disease and has a short time left to live:

        "Herald
        [Herald knocks three times with his staff]
        Already seated in his place
        here is Marat observe his face
        [points his staff at Marat]
        Fifty years old and not yet dead
        he wears a bandage around his head
        [points staff at bandage]
        His flesh burns it is yellow as cheese
        [points at his neck]
        because disfigured by a skin disease
        and only water cooling every limb
        [points to bath]
        prevents his fever from consuming him"

        So Marat is in his bathtub, but quess who'll sitting on the toilet when we
        edit? I'll give you a hint: Sitting on the WC?

        Anyway, here's one of the songs:

        "A Regrettable Intervention
        [A Patient, a clergyman's collar round his neck, detaches himself from the
        group and hops forward on his knees.]

        Patient [stammering incoherently]
        Pray pray
        O pray to him
        Our Satan which art in hell
        thy kingdom come
        thy will be done
        on earth as it is in hell
        forgive us our good deeds
        and deliver us from holiness
        Lead us
        Lead us into temptation
        over and over
        Amen"

        And here's one of my favorites - there's no point in editing any of it
        before you've familiarized yourselves with the original. But as long as
        you're aware of who the inmates of the asylum of Charenton are, the editing
        can wait:

        "Poor Marat in Your Bathtub Seat
        [Marat sinks back into his bath. Exhausted, he leans forward on the board.
        The spectators' benches are pushed back, the Sisters and Nurses force back
        the Patients. In front of the arena the Four Singers dance a slow Carm<gnole.]

        Four Singers [accompanied, singing and dancing]
        Poor Marat in your bathtub seat
        your life on this planet is near complete
        Closer and closer to you death creeps
        though there on her bench Charlotte Corday sleeps

        Poor Marat if he slept too late
        while dreaming of fairy-tale heads of state
        maybe your sickness would disappear
        Charlotte Corday would not find you here

        Poor Marat stay wide awake
        and be on your guard for the people's sake
        Stare through the failing evening light
        for this is the evening before the night"

        There will be plenty of opportunity for textual analysis by Peter
        Staudenmaier here. Peter Weiss, one of the most remarkable of the post-war
        generation of German writers, who wrote works like "The Investigation and
        Its Critics", which was about the political aesthetics of Holocaust
        literature. As you have guessed, we don't need to be casted at all in
        Marat/Sade. The PLANS clan will supply all the raw meat. We'll just watch,
        perhaps even pay for our tickets.

        And check out this bit:

        "Chorus:
        And what's the point of a revolution
        without general
        general copulation copulation copulation
        And what's the point of a revolution
        without general
        general copulation copulation copulation
        [continues as a round. Mime ends.]"

        >Rationalism also tends to Poo on the idea of free will, hence the
        >ferocious need for the merry-go-round debates about the meaning of words.

        That's why the copulation scene above is such an excellent therapy for the
        WC-PLANSers. They sing the lyrics as a round while everybody on stage is
        copulating in various fashions. Plus, of course, they're all lunatics.

        >If Life is a gift (and I do believe that it is) then the "inherent value"
        >tends to come form gratitude (Steiner used the word Reverence).

        That's a problem here I guess. These people have reverence only for the
        guillotine and the rolling of heads, with an obsession that's comparable
        only to the WC-PLANS'ers obsession with race.

        >If it's an unconsciousness accident, and we are like ants, or if it is
        >created and controlled by some omnipotent all knowing God, then we all
        >better start squawking at each other, because the "inherent value" tends
        >to come only from soothing the soul with witty debate.

        Yep, that's an accurate diagnosis. And they're immune to the love cure. But
        if the therapy of dysfunction, sadism, and bloodthirst can do the trick
        through the play-acting of this awful musical (yep, I played one of the
        patients myself, the schoolmaster in fact), there's not only hope, but
        there's a chance for the public to see what that group is all about :)

        >Of course this is just my opinion.

        Well, I can't say that what I've written in this post is my opinion. I've
        just taken Peter Weiss's opinion and welded it with PLANS, solving a
        puzzle. I may not have solved the Monroe case or the JFK riddle, but I've
        just solved the PLANS Mystery with a stage musical.

        Cheers,


        Tarjei
        http://uncletaz.com/
      • holderlin66
        Tarjei Straume wrote: Poor Marat if he slept too late while dreaming of fairy-tale heads of state maybe your sickness would disappear Charlotte Corday would
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 2, 2004
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          Tarjei Straume wrote:

          Poor Marat if he slept too late
          while dreaming of fairy-tale heads of state
          maybe your sickness would disappear
          Charlotte Corday would not find you here

          Poor Marat stay wide awake
          and be on your guard for the people's sake
          Stare through the failing evening light
          for this is the evening before the night"

          And now for some great writing on the Bush baby bungler we call our
          own Dubya.

          http://counterpunch.org/stclair08312004.html

          "His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have
          frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes
          onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin,
          the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne
          and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow
          Abraham Lincoln. (For more on this long neglected episode in
          American history check out Charles Higham's excellent new book
          Murdering Mr. Lincoln.)

          Understandably, George Sr. spent much of his time far away from
          Barbara Bush's icy boudoir, indulging in a discreet fling or two
          while earning his stripes as a master of the empire, leaving
          juvenile George to cower under the unstinting commands of his cruel
          mother, who his younger brother Jeb dubbed "the Enforcer." This
          woman's veins pulse with glacial melt. According to Neil Bush, his
          mother was devoted to corporal punishment and would "slap around"
          the Bush children. She was known in the family as "the one who
          instills fear." She still does...with a global reach.

          How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own
          mother's funeral. And the day after her five-year old daughter Robin
          died of leukemia Barbara Bush was in a jolly enough mood to spend
          the afternoon on the golf course. Revealingly, Mrs. Bush kept
          Robin's terminal illness a secret from young George, a stupid and
          cruel move which provided one of the early warps to his psyche.

          Her loathsome demeanor hasn't lightened much over the years. Refresh
          you memory with this quote on Good Morning America, dismissing the
          escalating body count of American soldiers in Iraq. "Why should we
          hear about body bags and deaths and how many," the Presidential
          Mother snapped. "It's not relevant. So why should I waste my
          beautiful mind on something like that?"

          Even Freud might have struggled with this case study. Imagine young
          George the Hysteric on Siggy's couch in the curtained room on
          Berggasse 19. The analysand doesn't enunciate; he mumbles and
          sputters in non-sequential sentence fragments. His quavering voice a
          whiny singsong. The fantasy has to be teased out. It's grueling
          work. But finally Freud puts it all together. This lad doesn't want
          to fuck his mother. Not this harridan. Not this boy. He wants to
          kill her and chuckle in triumph over the corpse. Oh, dear. This
          doesn't fit the Oedipal Complex, per se. But it explains so much of
          George the Younger's subsequent behavior. (See his cold-blooded
          chuckling over the state murder of Karla Faye Tucker.)

          Perhaps, Freud isn't the right shrink for Bush, after all. Maybe the
          president's pathology is better understood through the lens of
          Freud's most gifted and troubled protégé, Wilhelm Reich. (I commend
          to your attention Dr. Reich's neglected masterpiece Listen, Little
          Man.) Sadly, we cannot avail ourselves of psychological exegises of
          either Freud or Reich. So Justin Frank, the disciple of Melanie
          Klein, will have to substitute. In the spirit of his mentor, Frank,
          author of Bush on the Couch, zeroes in on the crucial first five
          years of W's existence, where three factors loom over all others: an
          early trauma, an absent father and an abusive mother. It is a recipe
          for the making of a dissociated megalomaniac. Add in a learning
          disability (dyslexia) and a brain bruised by booze and coke and you
          have a pretty vivid portrait of the Bush psyche.

          With this stern upbringing, is it really surprising that Bush
          evidenced early signs of sadism? As a teenager he jammed
          firecrackers in the orifices of frogs and snickered as he blew them
          to bits. A few years later, as president of the DKE frathouse at
          Yale, Bush instituted a branding on the ass-crack as an initiation
          ritual. Young pledges were seared with a red-hot wire clothes
          hanger. One victim complained to the New Haven police, who raided
          the frathouse. The story was covered-up for several decades until it
          surfaced in Bush's first run for governor of Texas. He laughed at
          the allegations, writing the torture off as little more than "a
          cigarette burn." From Andover to Abu Ghraib"

          Bradford comments;

          Zell with a kiss, lands with his SS storm trooper commando Nazi flag
          to play bad cop to the soft spoken Cheney at the RNC. Both of these
          have nothing to offer but letting the world know that this election,
          and this particualar moment in history, of Western Imperialistic
          ruin, will either make Orwell's world and "The Handmaid's Tale"
          closer to reality or we will barely escape the nightmare of the
          Fundamentalist right.

          Presently the man who should be most watched IMO, for the murder of
          3000 people is none other than Dick Cheney. His and the Council on F
          Relations know damn well that by 2012 we will have hit Peak Oil
          reserves and the fall and decline of Oil, left over from early Earth
          evolution will crave for global catastrophe. There is no other
          reason that we would invade and position ourselves over the fields
          of Oil in the middle east. It needed to be done and the inside job
          had to a Cheney inside job.

          Why find Ossama anyways? If we want any relation with the Saudi's it
          is very good not to find Osama. Besides, me thinks that this dark
          Vader Cheney and the stand down orders, and FEMA, sort of there at
          the WTC for a drill when the Towers went down points to the Dark
          force that Cheney is wrapped in. Poor George was left sucking his
          thumb in a little classroom while the big boys shifted the global
          balance of power.

          The why? It is a known Haliburton fact that Peak Oil and world
          catastrophe is looming only a few years away. Something had to be
          done and had to be done quickly. Stolen I.D.'s and passports do not
          reveal that Arabs or Islam did the deed. It was a bunch of dark
          skinned men, martyrs?
        • Selby Anderson
          You know, the wide public adoration for Barbara Bush (especially by people who contrasted her favorably against Hillary Clinton) is one of the disconnects of
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 2, 2004
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            You know, the wide public adoration for Barbara Bush (especially by people who contrasted her favorably against Hillary Clinton) is one of the disconnects of our culture. I was not aware of the quip from Good Morning America. In fact, all I had heard was an Al Franken anecdote from Air America earlier this year, about meeting her in the first class section of an airliner.
             
            In his knee-slapping 2003 book Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them), Franken relates an encounter with Barbara Bush on a flight to Washington. After describing his unsuccessful effort to pick up a conversation with Bush--the former First Lady rebuffed each approach with, "I'm through with you"--Franken quotes several unnamed "Washington insiders," both Republicans and Democrats, who thought it was funny that Franken regarded Bush's dismissive attitude of him as a form of kidding. Franken writes that at a Bat Mitzvah in Washington soon after his Barbara Bush encounter, "I kept hearing things like: 'Oh no, she's a horrible bitch.' 'Omigod, she's the worst bitch on earth.' 'She can be very charming, but Barbara Bush is the Queen Bitch.'" Then he writes, "But another, even more interesting, insight came from everyone who knew the Bushes. They all agreed. 'Dubya is her son.' He's mean."


            holderlin66 <holderlin66@...> wrote:
            Tarjei Straume wrote:

            "His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have
            frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes
            onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin,
            the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne
            and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow
            Abraham Lincoln. (For more on this long neglected episode in
            American history check out Charles Higham's excellent new book
            Murdering Mr. Lincoln.)

            Understandably, George Sr. spent much of his time far away from
            Barbara Bush's icy boudoir, indulging in a discreet fling or two
            while earning his stripes as a master of the empire, leaving
            juvenile George to cower under the unstinting commands of his cruel
            mother, who his younger brother Jeb dubbed "the Enforcer." This
            woman's veins pulse with glacial melt. According to Neil Bush, his
            mother was devoted to corporal punishment and would "slap around"
            the Bush children. She was known in the family as "the one who
            instills fear." She still does...with a global reach.

            How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own
            mother's funeral. And the day after her five-year old daughter Robin
            died of leukemia Barbara Bush was in a jolly enough mood to spend
            the afternoon on the golf course. Revealingly, Mrs. Bush kept
            Robin's terminal illness a secret from young George, a stupid and
            cruel move which provided one of the early warps to his psyche.

            Her loathsome demeanor hasn't lightened much over the years. Refresh
            you memory with this quote on Good Morning America, dismissing the
            escalating body count of American soldiers in Iraq. "Why should we
            hear about body bags and deaths and how many," the Presidential
            Mother snapped. "It's not relevant. So why should I waste my
            beautiful mind on something like that?"



            Do you Yahoo!?
            Yahoo! Mail is new and improved - Check it out!

          • holderlin66
            Turn up the volume, hit OK and let it rip. This is just a mutant video on the so called Pentagon hit. I certainly wasn t there and it is not like the several
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 5, 2004
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              Turn up the volume, hit OK and let it rip. This is just a mutant
              video on the so called Pentagon hit. I certainly wasn't there and it
              is not like the several video cameras from the surrounding area gave
              us solid info. I am on the fence on this. But it is interesting pop
              art non the less.

              http://www.freedomunderground.org/memoryhole/pentagon121.swf
            • holderlin66
              The Fundamentalistic Armageddon and archaic knots in the soul life, linked to Biblical hallucinations like Pat Robertson and surfacing in Right Wing Rhetoric
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 5, 2004
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                The Fundamentalistic Armageddon and archaic knots in the soul life,
                linked to Biblical hallucinations like Pat Robertson and surfacing
                in Right Wing Rhetoric are objectively the untransformed wranglings
                of Lucifer and Ahriman in the soul life.

                Having failed to promote, grasp, explain, or outline the stunning
                realities of the Christ Event, human beings in, white U.S. have
                adopted archaic values that remain tied to the Best Seller, The
                Bible. The Bible left without cognitive human merging of deeply won
                insights, can be and are used with utter Spin deception when Ahriman
                and Lucifer pick apart the failed thinking, failed nonsense and
                failed bigotry that overgrows the little seed of Cordelia in the
                human Soul.

                This overgrown, trashed, mutilated, whored and tortured portion of
                the soul is where Anthrosophia is locked away. Cordelia is out
                bullied by her two sisters, Lucifer and Ahriman is brow beaten or
                plain ole beaten to a pulp where any esoteric, individualized
                thinking emerges. If we wonder over the fate of John Kerry, we must
                also wonder over the fate of Spiritual Science since those few who
                make Spiritual Science there own, seem timid about breaking ground
                and connecting Sociology today and Anthroposophy Tomorrow with
                Goethean lessons right now. Group Soul dogmatic Power and Ahrimanic
                strength is concentrated, against what this article calls, the HOly
                of HOlies. What is that Holy of Holies? What is the Holy of Holies?
                If I see one head scratching out there, I will literally scream.
                Everything discussed in Spiritual Science and on this list as the
                foundations of the I AM are extended explorations of the Holy of
                Holies. The following article states;

                "...America been brought deeper into a dynamite-wired holy of
                holies..."

                http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/090504L.shtml

                "... With the Crusades, the violent theology of the killer God came
                into its own. To save the world, in this understanding, God willed
                the violent death of God's only beloved son. Here is the relevance
                of that mental map, for the crusaders were going to war to rescue
                the site of the salvific death of Jesus, and they displayed their
                devotion to the cross on which Jesus died by wearing it on their
                breasts. When Bush's remark was translated into Arabic for broadcast
                throughout the Middle East, the word "crusade" was rendered as "war
                of the cross."

                Before the Crusades, Christian theology had given central emphasis
                to the resurrection of Jesus, and to the idea of incarnation itself,
                but with the war of the cross, the bloody crucifixion began to
                dominate the Latin Christian imagination. A theology narrowly
                focused on the brutal death of Jesus reinforced the primitive notion
                that violence can be a sacred act. The cult of martyrdom, even to
                the point of suicidal valor, was institutionalized in the Crusades,
                and it is not incidental to the events of 9/11 that a culture of
                sacred self-destruction took equally firm hold among Muslims. The
                suicide-murderers of the World Trade Center, like the suicide-
                bombers from the West Bank and Gaza, exploit a perverse link between
                the willingness to die for a cause and the willingness to kill for
                it. Crusaders, thinking of heaven, honored that link too.

                Here is the deeper significance of Bush's inadvertent reference to
                the Crusades: Instead of being a last recourse or a necessary evil,
                violence was established then as the perfectly appropriate, even
                chivalrous, first response to what is wrong in the world. George W.
                Bush is a Christian for whom this particular theology lives. While
                he identified Jesus as his favorite "political philosopher" when
                running for President in 2000, the Jesus of this evangelical
                President is not the "turn the other cheek" one. Bush's savior is
                the Jesus whose cross is wielded as a sword. George W. Bush, having
                cheerfully accepted responsibility for the executions of 152 death-
                row inmates in Texas, had already shown himself to be entirely at
                home with divinely sanctioned violence. After 9/11, no wonder it
                defined his deepest urge.

                But sacred violence, once unleashed in 1096, as in 2001, had a
                momentum of its own. The urgent purpose of war against the "enemy
                outside"-what some today call the "clash of civilizations"-led
                quickly to the discovery of an "enemy inside." The crusaders, en
                route from northwestern Europe to attack the infidel far away, first
                fell upon, as they said, "the infidel near at hand"-Jews. For the
                first time in Europe, large numbers of Jews were murdered for being
                Jews. A crucifixion-obsessed theology saw God as willing the death
                of Jesus, but in the bifurcated evangelical imagination, Jews could
                be blamed for it, and the offense the crusaders took was mortal.

                The same dynamic-war against an enemy outside leading to war
                against an enemy inside-can be seen at work today. It is a more
                complex dynamic now, with immigrant Muslims and people of Arabic
                descent coming under heavy pressure in the West. In Europe, Muslims
                are routinely demonized. In America, they are "profiled," even to
                the point of being deprived of basic rights. But at the same time,
                once again, Jews are targeted. The broad resurgence of anti-
                Semitism, and the tendency to scapegoat Israel as the primary source
                of the new discord, reflect an old tidal pull. This is true
                notwithstanding the harsh fact that Ariel Sharon's government took
                up the Bush "dead or alive" credo with enthusiasm and used the "war
                on terrorism" to fuel self-defeating overreactions to Palestinian
                provocations. But some of Israel's critics fall into the old pattern
                of measuring Jews against standards to which no one else is held,
                not even our President. That the war on terrorism is the context
                within which violence in Israel and Jerusalem has intensified should
                be no surprise. It wasn't "Israel" then, but conflict over Jerusalem
                played exactly such a flashpoint role a thousand years ago.

                The Crusades proved to have other destructive dynamics as well.
                The medieval war against Islam, having also targeted Europe's Jews,
                soon enough became a war against all forms of cultural and religious
                dissent, a war against heresy. As it hadn't been in hundreds of
                years, doctrine now became rigidly defined in the Latin West, and
                those who did not affirm dominant interpretations - Cathars,
                Albigensians, Eastern Orthodox - were attacked. Doctrinal
                uniformity, too, could be enforced with sacred violence. When the US
                Attorney General defines criticism of the Administration in wartime
                as treason, or when Congress enacts legislation that justifies the
                erosion of civil liberties with appeals to patriotism, they are
                enacting a Crusades script.

                All of this is implicit in the word that President Bush first
                used, which came to him as naturally as a baseball reference, to
                define the war on terrorism. That such a dark, seething religious
                history of sacred violence remains largely unspoken in our world
                does not defuse it as an explosive force in the human unconscious.
                In the world of Islam, of course, its meaning could not be more
                explicit, or closer to consciousness. The full historical and
                cultural significance of "crusade" is instantly obvious, which is
                why a howl of protest from the Middle East drove Bush into instant
                verbal retreat. Yet the very inadvertence of his use of the word is
                the revelation: Americans do not know what fire they are playing
                with. Osama bin Laden, however, knows all too well, and in his
                periodic pronouncements, he uses the word "crusade" to this day, as
                a flamethrower.

                Religious war is the danger here, and it is a graver one than
                Americans think. Despite our much-vaunted separation of church and
                state, America has always had a quasi-religious understanding of
                itself, reflected in the messianism of Puritan founder John
                Winthrop, the Deist optimism of Thomas Jefferson, the embrace of
                redemptive suffering that marked Abraham Lincoln and, for that
                matter, the conviction of Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John
                Foster Dulles, that Communism had to be opposed on a global scale if
                only because of its atheism. But never before has America been
                brought deeper into a dynamite-wired holy of holies than in our
                President's war on terrorism. Despite the post-Iraq toning down of
                Washington's rhetoric of empire, and the rejection of further
                crusader references - although Secretary of State Colin Powell used
                the word this past March - Bush's war openly remains a cosmic battle
                between nothing less than the transcendent forces of good and evil.
                Such a battle is necessarily unlimited and open-ended, and so
                justifies radical actions-the abandonment, for example, of
                established notions of civic justice at home and of traditional
                alliances abroad.

                A cosmic moral-religious battle justifies, equally, risks of world-
                historic proportioned disaster, since the ultimate outcome of such a
                conflict is to be measured not by actual consequences on this earth
                but by the earth-transcending will of God. Our war on terrorism,
                before it is anything else, is thus an imagined conflict, taking
                place primarily in a mythic realm beyond history..."
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