CHRISTMAS, HAVE A MERRY


Any one who doubts we are on the cusp of fascism in America should try reading the Washington Times (the print edition and not the comic book version we see on the cable talk shows after 5 pm Eastern).   Mr Paul Craig Robert’s Christmas column is a good place to start.   It encapsulates the thinking of the “modern” western fascist on the relationship of religion to capitalism.   Too, he has some telling things to say about Christmas rituals, like gift-giving.  Or, rather, the long road travelled from the self-abnegating early Christians to those of today who find in American materialism just what the Holy Spirit Ordered.


Mr Roberts begins like a true disciple of the Modern Christ, lamenting the “decline” of religious values in America, and especially on our college campuses, while excoriating a noxious and uncritical “multiculturalism” threatening our core capitalist values.   These as all good American fascists know are derived directly from God especially through the agency of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  For people like Mr Roberts, the decline of Christianity in America is coextensive with the decline of capitalism.  For the foundation of American liberty and prosperity can be found in the teachings of none other than Christ Himself. 


Does Mr Roberts really believe this, or is he speaking merely to amuse the constituencies upholding a failing capitalism?


I wonder if Mr Roberts has seen Adam Curtis’ new film, The Power of Nightmares?  It contains a convincing argument that the western democracies have lost the ability to inspire their people with hope and so have decided to control them by means of fear.   Christ and the electric chair, rather than divinely-inspired “values”, have held capitalism together for the past century or so.  Now, even they are proving of little use.


Most American fascists are in or around the Republican party, but the atittudes underpinning the Fascist Ideal which informs our modern culture is prevalent in both major parties.   Mr Roberts’ column and indeed the columns found in most national newspapers like the Washington Times could be credibly written by either sober Republicans or drunk Democrats, caught with their candor showing.   This is why the war in Iraq will not end anytime soon (short of us finally giving up and simply buying off the natives), why Americans will continue without health care or tenable jobs or a decent education, why our cities will continue to fester into uninhabitable hell-holes, and so on.   There is no tenable alternative; history, instead, will create one.


The Christian ethos, and the dispensation on which it has rested for nearly two millenia, is now passing into history.   Its successors are taking many forms.  Each is descending into its own compost of greed, corruption, and murder.  And each is increasingly dependent upon the state to fulfill the role for which it lacks the moral authority to realize; that as an agent of class control.   The rants of the Paul Craig Roberts of western Christendom will increasingly ring hollow as their fate becomes clear.  The old world has become untenable; the new world is yet to be born.   “Christ” as a moral absolute is finished.  He cannot save a capitalism riven by the various insects that now feed off of it.  Capitalism itself is guilty of the most “original” Sin of all.  It has outlived its usefulness.


My advice to Mr Roberts; drop your lap-top and take up Chinese.  They at least know how to make the system work.  Perhaps they will put our tattered model out of its agony.   And free us from the excrescence that is now hissing and spitting everywhere among us.   From 5 pm on.


Merry Christmas


 

2 Comments

  1. Jim F.

    December 26, 2005 @ 10:49 am

    1

    And a belated happy and merry Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday to you too, Louis.

    Right-wing Christians who moan on and about “putting Christ back into Christmas,” are either being disinegeous or are betraying a lamentable ignorance of history. Winter solstice festivals were going in many different cultures centuries before the rise of Christianity. The ancient Romans were already celebrating on December 25, their festival of Saturnalia, whose festivities included partying, merrymaking, giftgiving, and of course, lots of heavy boozing. The Romans are also said to have used evergreen trees in their celebrations as well. Later on, Mithraism, a religion that came out of Persia, and which became very popular among Roman soldiers, celebrated the birth of their god, Mithra, on December 25. Mithra was said to have been born in a cave, and was attended to by shepherds. All sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? How come nobody asks that we put “Mithra back into our holiday celebrations”?

    The question of the relationship of capitalism to Christianity has long been a favorite discussion topic among scholars and pundits. Max Weber famously argued that the Protestant Reformation was behind the rise of capitalism. Marxists have tended to think that it was more the other way around. Rodney Stark thinks that Christianity was an essential basis for the rise of capitalism but disagrees with Weber over the role of the Protestant Reformation, citing the role of Catholic Italy in the history of early capitalism.

    Nevertheless, regardless of one’s opinion on this issue, it is clear that capitalism has long since transcended whatever Christian origins it might have had. Capitalism has taken rooted and even succeeded in decidedly non-Christian societies like Japan and the other “Asian tigers.” And as you point out, the Chinese, who are at least officially Marxist-Leninists, have been playing the capitalist game with considerable success in recent years. Anyway, the relations between contemporary capitalism and religion (Christian or otherwise) is a contradictory one. No doubt the so-called “Protestant work ethic” played a useful role during capitalism’s period of primitive accumulation but after the Industrial Revolution, as capitalist economies began to suffer from realization crises involving underconsumption, a relaxation of the older ethos that emphasized personal austerity was required in order to encourage people to buy the products that capitalist industry was producing. New industries such as advertising appeared which aimed at encouraging people to become more self-indulgent. The older religious values that had encouraged hard work and personal austerity were no longer functional for mature capitalism, which is undoubtedly one of the factors that have been pushing contemporary capitalist societies into a more secular direction.

  2. Charles Bowen

    December 23, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    2

    Nothing more absurd than a commie Harvard ex-fringes of the empire guy whining about a lack of health care. Glad to know PCR tries to reach to the Old Right and gets his column on Counterpunch. I guess you guys are to the right of counterpunch? LOL

    Folks, try to make sense like Satre.

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