- The silence from list members over the past two months has
something to do with the US presidential election, as far as I
can see. There hasn't been much enthusiasm for writing about
amphibians in the swamp because we have been up to our armpits in
Everyone seems to think that the USA is a pillar of political
stability and that we could never descend to a condition of
instability similar to the unhappy not-so-distant past of say,
Argentina ( with due respect to our Argentinean listmembers!).
Perhaps they are right and this is merely an interesting election
rather than one of the usually boring ones.
Well, I have voted in ten presidential elections,, including
today's, and I have a few observations. In all my life I have
never seen more than, say, 40 people at a polling place while I
was there. Last night I insisted to my wife that we arrive this
morning at the polling place (an elementary school) at 6:15 AM so
that we would be there fifteen minutes before the poll
openedjust in case. We did so. There were already 25 people
ahead of us. I got out my folding chair. A couple of minutes
later there were 25 people behind us. By 6:30 when the polling
place opened, there were 125 people behind us.
There were nine voting booths and I figure the average voter was
in the booth for about four minutes because there were many
judicial offices and bond levies as well. We use touch-screen
electronic voting machines. When we emerged from the school at
6:45, there were 250 people in line outside, perhaps more,
snaking around the school parking lot chain-link fence.
If Bush wins Ohio, he wins the election. He will be here again
in Columbus today. It is his seventh visit here in six days. He
votes in Crawford Texas, flies here, and then goes to Washington
to await the results.
It has been ugly here. The Democrats have registered 38,000
voters, including 5000 here in Franklin County, letters to whom
have been returned by the US Post Office as non-deliverable
because the addresses are false. A federal judge and Clinton
appointee, Susan DeLotte, has granted the Democrats an injunction
to prohibit the holding of hearings to inquire into these voter
registration irregularities before the election. I have to pass
a gauntlet of Kerry signs to get to my house, including one put
up by a Catholic. People are in a foul mood, short tempered and
fed up. I suspect this sort of mood preceded the US Civil War
and the ascendance of Hitler in 1933.
Without belaboring the obvious, the Kerry team promises escape
from multiple anxieties of existence and the Bush team offers no
respite whatsoever. Voegelin's exposition of modern mass
psychosis is to the point here. I am thinking of his discussion
of Thomas Pinchon in relation to pronoia and paranoia.
- Perhaps Voegelin would simply observe that a President who wishes to be successful has to be able to communicate effectively, something which Bush does not seem to be capable of doing at all. He once described a statesman as someone who can bamboozle the public into voting for him for all the wrong reasons so that he can do the right thing. On the other hand, powerful rhetoric is always something to be worried about.
Roosevelt was a superb rhetorician, at least by American standards. He campaigned on a 25% tax cut, and a 25% reduction in the federal budget. 1937 was the worst year of the Depression. He promised we would never be in a war. When polled, large majorities of people disagreed with his economic policies (they blamed themselves back then for their own economic woes), but he won four elections.
Bush is the polar opposite. The absolute worst Presidential communicator in my lifetime, perhaps in American history, but essentially in line with mainstream American values.
Thanks to Mr. Wagner for his description of polling in Ohio this morning.
Usually US presidential elections are not so close that noise and error
influence the result. But, I guess that the US hasn't seen an election
this close since Kennedy beat Nixon. Except 2000, of course. Maybe no
more civil unrest should be expected than that which characterized the
60's. Challenging, but nothing like Sumter. On the other hand, maybe the
apparently boundless authority granted by Americans to their Supreme Court
will suffice to hold them together in spite of a relatively fiercely
At any rate, I'm not convinced that the choices presented to the American
electorate this year are as neatly categorized as Mr. Wagner suggests.
For what it's worth, my own reflections on the election vis a vis Voegelin
have tended toward his discussion of Thucydides treatment of factions in
OH II. Thucydides is handy at
Not that I suspect things will degenerate to the state of Corcyra, but I
there seems to be something to Plato's image of shadowplay on a wall we
are forced to watch in chains. But, this avenue quickly runs into the
fact that one can't just abandon the game. As I was recently reminded by
David Morse in his essay The Problem of Metastasis, Plato didn't just
throw up his hands at shadowplay and walk away, but struggled to balance
the demands of spirit and power. And his effort, while hardly ending
history, certainly helped constitute it, and so us too. At the very
least, it helped get me to the polls this morning.
In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
�St Augustine De vera religione
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- The last 40 years of US politics has served to diagnose the disease. Now
that Liberalism has been recognized for what it is, its proponents will
find it increasingly harder to mask it. However, the surgery needed to
remove it will not be pleasant. I fully expect that the likes of Micheal
Moore will kill everyone to defend it, if need be.
Frederick Wagner wrote:
> People are in a foul mood, short tempered and[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> fed up. I suspect this sort of mood preceded the US Civil War
> and the ascendance of Hitler in 1933.
- Last night I attended a Church social organized to come up with ways to
help some of the local needy. As chance would have it a stranger decided
to lecture me, his idea of conversation I guess, on the evils of George
Bush. Not wanting to get into a battle, especially in that setting, I
begged off by saying that I knew nothing about politics and was not too
concerned about Bush. Well, I did a bad thing. My protestations of
ignorance were confronted with more extreme protestations that I should
be concerned and involved, and when I announced that I had to see
someone else, my lambaster followed me around the room, lecturing all
the while on why I should be against Bush. I noticed that interspersed
into his diatribe were blurbs about Bush's intolerance of gay marriage,
abortion and an accusation of Bush's "extreme born-again
fundamentalism". In the course of this he also stated that "religious
nuts" are just "afraid of the oblivion of death", that they believe in
"three gods" and are "dangerous". This was very odd, given the setting,
but I had enough and confronted him with "Look, I am very religious and
I believe in nothing you say we religious people are supposed to
believe. The problem with you Bush haters is that you understand no one,
not even yourselves. Now shut, leave me alone and go and bother someone
else." And, what did he do? With even more intensity he annouced "But
you do not understand. Bush caused the was in Iraq and created Bin Laden
because of Israel. The US is run by Jews and the US help the Jews steal
the land of the Palestinians for the Jews. What they should have done is
annexed a part of Germany and given that to the Jews." Dumbfounded, I
starred him in the eye and said "What is your problem?" It was like
talking to an indoctrinated cult member. He did not hear my question or
brushed it off as insignificant and continued blabbing on how Mohammed
was a "quiet religious monk who spent all of his time meditating in a
cave to write the Q'uran". This was from a red head of Scottish lineage.
Finally, the meeting was called to order and I managed to escape.
This event was not the first time that I have been exposed to similar
ideas, but never before with such enthusiasm. I fault the local
universities and the media, both of which are heavily staffed by
"intelligentia" influenced by their education in American institutions
and their daily prayerful meditations on such journals as "Foreign
Affairs" (a book that few people buy but which is available in every
bookstore in the land, where its presence is mandated by our Socialist
Canadian Government, the "Harvard Review", "Unete Reader", amoung many
others. The socialist secular liberalism so strongly preached in North
America and Europe and which has come to direct the thinking of the
elite in every profession is generating masses who cannot think but who
are imbued with verbal formulae for which some will want to die and for
which others will cunningly and covertly administer to overthrow all
"reactionary" (i.e. religious but especially Christian) ideas. Hence,
Rocco Buttiglione learned that it is insufficient to tolerate the
reigning intellectualisms; one must be seen to promote them in face of
Like it not we are in a religious war. I just wish that the enemy was a
bit more capable. I would enjoy meeting an honest, logical and
well-intentioned opponent and carrying one a tough tete-a-tete. But how
does one confrount air-heads with extreme adherance to fuzzy ideas about
history, philosophy and religion but who are nevertheless adamant as to
their absolute wisdom concerned world affairs and life itself?
Yesterday, I placed my faith in the American people, especially those
like the one who replied to a reporter and he was out to vote to "save
morality". I would have prefered that he said "to save sanity"; it all
comes down to the same thing. In Canada and Europe there is no hope, the
anti-individualist steam roller has pretty much paved the land with idea
control. Only in the US do we find a sufficiently strong element that
can stand up against the Gnostic derivatives with their frantic
certainties about "change" and its direction.
Martin Pagnan wrote:
> The last 40 years of US politics has served to diagnose the disease. Now[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> that Liberalism has been recognized for what it is, its proponents will
> find it increasingly harder to mask it. However, the surgery needed to
> remove it will not be pleasant. I fully expect that the likes of Micheal
> Moore will kill everyone to defend it, if need be.
> Frederick Wagner wrote:
> > People are in a foul mood, short tempered and
> > fed up. I suspect this sort of mood preceded the US Civil War
> > and the ascendance of Hitler in 1933.
- Change churches.
Will posters please:
1. Trim threads before adding to them.
2. Allow time for decompression from
the election before deciding emotional
postings are worthy of careful analysis.
On Wed, 03 Nov 2004 12:05:52 -0500, Martin Pagnan wrote:
> Last night I attended a Church social organized to come up with
> ways to help some of the local needy. As chance would have it a