When a country’s past is fable, the present veers towards unreality. The past is not static. It changes as we change, as we become more perceptive with the passage of time. Often times, this change is painful as we are forced to confront the ghosts of the past we have kept hidden.
Fable becomes a refuge from the pain of self discovery. Once we have exchanged the dynamic of an ever-changing past for a static world of make believe, the past ceases to be a source of growth and becomes frozen in amber, thus dooming the present to repeat the sins of the past over and over again.
America’s past became frozen with our victory in World War II, a victory that has turned out to be democracy’s swan song.
America’s past wars saw the mobilization of the citizenry followed by its demobilization once victory was achieved. World War II was different. There was no demobilization as we slowly morphed from a republic to a militarized security state.
Victory in World War II gave rise to the fable that we were a military superpower. From this, it followed that we made the error of equating hardware with strength. (Hardware is okay in an industrial war between two nation states, but it’s meaningless when dealing with an insurgency.) In the process we are slowly spending ourselves in to penury just to keep this fable of the past alive.
In order to keep a dead past alive, the mind needs a constant stream of delusions that protect it from the truth. This is why we need al Qaeda and terrorism. They protect us from the harsh reality that we are a hollowed-out shell. This delusion is abetted by Wall Street with its constant stream of asset bubbles, which maintain the illusion that we are the richest nation on earth when, in fact, we are broke.
We are like the aged dowager, living a life of gentile poverty, who maintains the illusion of wealth by plunging further and further into debt in the belief that her children will deal with it after she is gone.
Now, as we sink even deeper into the quicksand of delusion, we are being told that there is now a link between Columbia’s rebels and al Qaeda to smuggle cocaine into Europe via West Africa.
How wonderful! Now we have more countries we can “intervene” in as we continue with our Eternal War of the Empty Policy. Nothing shores up a bully’s ego like beating up on a kid smaller than he is. Each blow hides his fear and his weakness. His redemption is found in the blood of his victim.
Like the bully, we seek our redemption in the blood of innocent women and children as we continue to beat up on the weak. It’s a feel good thing, especially for the bureaucrat bored to tears by endless meetings and reams of policy papers. What a thrill it is to order wholesale slaughter and destruction with a nod of the head knowing full well that no blood will splatter his wingtips.
This is what happens when our leaders try to drag the past, kicking and screaming, into the present, thus corrupting the future as they do so.