Strakon Lights Up, No. 92

The dangers of the dull-normal


I've found that keeping a close eye on my own bad, infected thinking can sometimes furnish clues about the state of mental disease at large. And so it was today, as I watched George W. Bush, flanked by Dick Cheney, propose Colin Powell as the new foreign minister. Thank God, I thought, the normals are back in charge of the Empire!

Those who look upon Bill Clinton as a satanic figure, literal or figurative, may wish to mark down one final Great Deception in the Great Deceiver's account. Clinton and the smaller demons slithering and buzzing and fluttering around him, by carving their own grotesque, terrifying, maddening features on the face of leviathan, have rendered the succeeding imperial regime all the more normal in our sight.

Clinton and his minions burrowed under the skin of lovers of freedom and civilization in a specially nasty and painful way. It wasn't just what they said and did, all of them, from the great mutated poison-spiders such as Albright, Reno, and Hillary Clinton, to the stinging stink-bugs such as Israeli-affairs spokesman "Jamie" Rubin, little Georgie Stephanopoulos, and that sarcastic, disheveled, bleary-eyed press secretary who always looked like he'd kill for a Bloody Mary. No, the real trouble was that they almost always got away with it.  And that their getaway typically earned wild applause from millions of our fellow imperial subjects, as well as delirious paeans from the ruling class and from foreign regimes dependent on the Empire.

After eight years of that, an exhaustion of spirit and heart is unavoidable. Not to mention an exhaustion of rhetoric. In what terms are we now to denounce the evils and crimes and oppressions of Bush, Cheney, and Powell? The danger is that some of us may not recognize their crimes or may even apologize for them. The danger is that Bush may be evil but — compared to Clinton — may seem dull. Dull-normal, in fact.


A "return to normalcy"? — or, if we prefer English, normality? Not on your life. Historians and political philosophers may be able to account for the existence of an American Empire, but that doesn't make that Empire normal. Historians and economists may be able to account for a $1.8 trillion Central Government budget, but that doesn't make that atrocity normal, either. Jailing peaceful drug users, imposing racial quotas, suppressing the freedom of association, coercively cartelizing the economy, subsidizing the well-connected, robbing the productive but unconnected, feeding a bloated standing military that would have stupefied the Founders of the Republic — none of it would be normal on any sane planet, yet none of it will stop under the Bush regime. The deliberate starving and poisoning of Iraqi civilians, including hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, probably won't stop, either.

One thing certainly won't stop, and that's the ever-accelerating dissolution of American civilization. It's hard for me to believe that one last Republican administration will spark a renaissance of morale and cultural vigor among America's remaining white Westerners; it's especially hard because that's the last thing the Bush people are interested in doing. Let me distill it down to this: When Bush leaves office, will there be more or fewer "wiggers" in American high schools? (I hate posing such easy questions.) A dull and fraudulently normal Bush regime may partly succeed in masking a fact that should be plain and palpable: for the foreseeable future, we'll be living in Clintonista America, and among Clintonista Americans.

The challenges for Bush — in order of importance — are to satisfy the ruling class; take good care of Israel and the provinces of the Empire; build his image as a legitimate denizen of the Palace, for those who still care about such things; ditch his image as Dan Quayle's slower brother; and, last but least, come up with a credible show of action toward implementing a little of his declared domestic agenda. Our challenge is to recover our wits and our perspective as the Clintonistas — the ones in the Executive Branch, at least — go away at last.

How are we to do that? Here's what I'm going to try. It involves an act of imagination, and really it shouldn't be too hard. I'm going to keep the victims of leviathan in mind — and keep in mind, if I may steal some of the Left's own jargon, that "we're all victims." When I see George W. all crinkly-eyed and sincere, Cheney all sober and grandfatherly, and Powell all calm and confidence-inspiring, I'm going to picture small businesses staggering under the weight of taxes and regulation; Drug War POWs being raped and beaten in America's Gulag; a cowed people bearing the once-proud name of "American" letting distant rulers tell them whom they might associate with; and deracinated American kids being seduced into joining the imperial military and advancing its murderous ends.

I'm going to picture those starved and poisoned kids in Iraq, too.

December 16, 2000

Posted by WTM Enterprises.

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