?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Millennium-Shock - Eroticdreambattle — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Millennium-Shock [Aug. 23rd, 2005|09:31 am]
Tony Grist
I think of it as millennium-shock- the mindset that has propelled conservative governments and dictators and demagogues into power and influence all round the world. We're afraid of the future with its shinyness and its mind-and-body-warping technologies and its promise of an end to life as we know it, and we fall back on the defence of green-mouldy certainties from way back when. Thus the demand for sharia law throughout the Muslim world, thus the dominance of the religious right in the USA, thus a Pope who decries personal religion and demands that his young people submit to (his) authority. We're a race of scaredy-cats. We'd prefer to have the Middle Ages back rather than commit ourselves to the unknown.

I think in the end we'll get over this reactive fit. Science and invention will continue to motor away- and we like the goodies they provide too much to shut them down. And ideas are harder to censor than they used to be, now that we have the Net. Even so, these are hard times, and those of us who don't want a new Dark Ages to descend- and the world be run according to the lights of Bush and Khamenei and Pope Ratzinger- are going to have to make a fuss.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-08-23 06:34 am (UTC)
We're afraid of the future with its shinyness....

I'd never thought of this as a component. I thought our fearfulness and flight to ultraconservatism was a result of the fear of terrorism.

Actually, your thought is much more hopeful. We have reached a point when we could do so many wonderful things--go far into space and explore, design housing that is cheap and useful to everyone--

But we are alive in this transition, and it's so sad to watch us retreat back into our caves.

This morning, a leading televangelist, Pat Robertson (who once ran for President), told viewers the "U.S. should kill Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to prevent the Latin American country from becoming a launching pad' for extremism."

What happened to the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," Pat?

You're right--we're going to have to make a fuss. But how?

I want off the planet, I think.

All my hope is in reincarnation.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 07:08 am (UTC)
Terrorism is also a reaction to modernity. The terrorists, the American far right and the Pope all want to take us back to theocracy.

They all believe that "Daddy Knows Best".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-08-23 06:58 am (UTC)
Here is more about Pat Robertson's scary little speech. This is all over the news here this morning.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 07:14 am (UTC)
And Robertson thinks Chavez is an extremist!

I don't understand the charge that Chavez is trying to export communism AND Muslim extremism- and I don't suppose Robertson understands it either. He's just slinging mud.



(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-08-23 11:55 am (UTC)
Another person for my voodoo list.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 12:27 pm (UTC)
I think he's doing a pretty good job of voodooing himself.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-23 07:20 am (UTC)

A view from the "right"...

Just a comment from someone partially over there on The Dark Side.

I'm a fiscal conservative / social liberal. I know that many social services are now delivered by various governments because well-intentioned people want to see the beneficiaries receive those social services. I do, too. But I also observe a staggering amount of waste, inefficiency, political patronage, and corruption involved when the government here delivers social services. I'd like to see those services delivered by nonprofits.

Why? Because I can look at their tax returns (every nonprofit with more than $25,000 in income must file a Form 990 with our Internal Revenue Service -- and the 990s are online at http://www.guidestar.org/). If the delivery-to-donation ratio falls below acceptable limits, I can pull my funding -- deciding, perhaps, that Lutheran World Relief operates more effectively than The American Friends Service Committee (to pick some examples at random) and sending my social service dollars where I can be reasonably sure that the highest percentage will get to the hands of folks I actually want to help, instead of [Kofi Annan's son][Halliburton][pick your favorite corruption target and insert here]. I sure wish I could pull the xx% of my tax dollars that go to social services and bestow them where they'll be used more efficiently.

Now, if I (or someone like me) articulates this viewpoint, we're quickly branded unenlightened anti-social-services types, and much of our mainstream media will talk about us -- condescendingly -- as marginally tolerable subhumans who have somehow learned how to bathe, wear shoes, and not make messes in the house, and as uncaring folks who want to see their fellow Americans, especially children and the elderly, continue to struggle in poverty, disease, and ignorance. If we support school vouchers, we're somehow anti-education. If we think Social Security needs to be reformed, we're anti-elderly. Ditto if we sugest that the law of the land should be made by the legislature and not an activist judiciary responding to some sort of self-directed higher morality.

[hyperbole alert]That's also how the mainstream media has been talking about the religious right for years -- when it isn't labeling them as slavering, fanged, violent folks who should be locked up in the interest of public safety. A certain amount of what's happening here is a group of folks who are more laissez-faire than you might realize taking a long-overdue swipe back at the smarty-pants commentators who've been mocking them for years.[/hyperbole]

Seriously now, a lot of what's happening here at least is a desire on the part of a large number of middle-of-the-road people to make sure we don't go haring off one way or another without fully considering the implications of where we're going.

[Given the subject matter, I'm fairly confident Robert Heinlein wouldn't mind my borrowing his "marginally tolerable subhuman" line, as long as I give proper credit...]

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 09:08 am (UTC)

Re: A view from the "right"...

I'm in favour of what we Brits call the welfare state, but I recognise that you fiscal conservatives have a case to make which is cogent and humane.

So you guys- who correspond very roughly I suppose to the position traditionally espoused by the British conservative party- are fine by me. The folks who worry me are the neo-cons and their theocratic allies.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-23 09:13 am (UTC)

Re: A view from the "right"...

Frankly, I put the theocratic allies in the same category as moveon.org -- barking moonbats of the extremes. And reports of their omnipotence are greatly exaggerated. Or so it seems to me. As for neo-cons, a case could be made, I suppose, that I am one.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 09:34 am (UTC)

Re: A view from the "right"...

I'd like to think the theocrats are as marginal as you say they are. They certainly make a lot of noise.

I use "neo-con" to describe the clique of ideologues and plutocrats around the Bush presidency. I think they're a scary bunch of people. I'm not that well-informed about their domestic agenda but I find their overseas policies dangerous and wrong-headed. I don't know your position on the Iraq war, but I think it has been (in almost every way) a huge mistake- not just because it is immoral and illegal but because it has been so badly thought through.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2005-08-23 07:25 am (UTC)
I wonder - the world saw a similar level of hysteria (religious and secular) when we hit 1000 AD. I'd be interested to go back and review the history of the decades following to see how the cultures/governments developed.

Re: previous post - I think surgeons have grown tired of removing Robertson's foot from his mouth, and just created a second one for him so he can still eat when he makes his continually bizarre (and decidedly un-christian) statements in his increasing old age.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-23 08:57 am (UTC)

Millennial Studies

[reposted to correct bad link -- sorry]

Richard Landes (Boston University) spent a pleasant couple of years around Y2K on the rubber chicken and talking head circuit. I just surfed on over to his website, Center for Millennial Studies, to see what he's been up to, and the site looks pretty quiescent. Perhaps he's gone back to teaching and paper publishing. But he did put up some stuff relating (or not relating) the Apocalypse to 9/11.

You can Google Richard Landes and pull up his faculty profile and C.V. that way.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 09:18 am (UTC)
I don't know much about the world of 1000 AD. As far as we English are concerned this was the era of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy- a period of relative peace and good governance, but not (I think) of great cultural dynamism.

It would be interesting to compare the period immediately following the first millennium with our own times. I wonder if there are any books out there that deal with this?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-08-23 12:15 pm (UTC)
1000 AD was a turmultuous time, there was no one 'Anglo Saxon Monarchy' Wessex was the dominant kingdom but Northumberland was independent and undergoing political chaos, The Scots and the Norsemen were attacking. the town of Jorvik was established at this time.

The Anglo Saxon world was suffering from the Norse invasions, Aethelred the Unready [actually a pun - Aethelred means 'well counseled' but his nickname was 'unraed' - ill advised] kept buying the Norse invaders off but of course they kept coming back for more and the English economy was in turmoil (though English coinage kept its good reputation). Aetherlred in 1002 ordered a massacre of the Danes living in England. Oh there are many parallels!

I don't know how helpful it is to think it terms of millenium fear. It would imply that people, rather than being grounded in a particular time, have an overview of the whole of history. We do not have the luxury of comparison because we are not time travellers. Each problem of the age seem insurmountable - wore than anything that has gone before. Yet we always get by - our species survived the black death, the common cold did not wipe out all the North American natives, wars and tyrannies have come but they will also go. But as soon as one madness goes there will be another! But we still keep moving.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 12:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this.

As you see my grasp of Anglo Saxon history is worse than sketchy.

Like you I believe we'll survive. We're a tough species.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ibid
2005-08-23 01:31 pm (UTC)
I think we were probably the last school in the country to do it at a level. It was boring until I no longer had to study it, then I found it fascinating! There is something about it that really appeals to me.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-23 02:45 pm (UTC)
The way I was taught it, British history started with the Norman conquest. Before then there was Alfred the Great, but he seemed almost more legendary than real, and he was presented as an isolated figure, without context.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-23 07:54 pm (UTC)
I once went through a 15th c scroll showing the descent of Edward IV from Adam. It had Every.Single.One of the generations listed in Geoffrey of Monmouth, with the exception of one particularly dreary series that was summarized in a little paragraph. It was a mind-numbing exercise, a bit like reading the begats in the Old Testament.

Said scroll also had the whole French line from, I kid you not, ffaramond ("idly supposed to be the founder of this bill").

It also had the "we're descended from Arthur and you Lancastrian lot aren't, neener neener" bit, too.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-24 01:44 am (UTC)
Fascinating in summary, but obviously a bore if you're having to read the stuff yourself.

I guess things like this are the medieval equivalents of today's political "spin".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-24 05:39 am (UTC)
So it would seem.

Recently a columnist wrote, of our particularly egregious corrupt politicians and their camp followers, that they were new to the game, "all sharp elbows and no finesse." I think the same can be said of 15c efforts at "spin." The rise of a moneyed and literate middle class was a fairly new phenomenon; both their efforts to seek favor and the warring factions' efforts to influence them are a little oversupplied with sharp elbows as well.

If you'd like to see the scroll, and some of my comments about it, see

http://www.r3.org/bookcase/misc/e201.html

We (the Richard III Society, American Branch) raised $5,000 to pay for its conservation prior to a 2001 exhibition -- the first time, we suspect, it had been on public display since the fifteenth century. The exhibition can best be described as awesome; the Museum constructed a special 20-foot-long case so that the scroll could be displayed unrolled.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-23 07:56 pm (UTC)
1000 AD for Jorvik? I somehow thought it was earlier, but then of course there had been Eboracum.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: frankepi
2005-08-23 08:18 pm (UTC)
the fuss part is important. one of the mistakes we "liberals" make is thinking that the bad guys are so obviously wrong, even ludicrously so, that they can't get much power, can't win people over. then when they do we think it can't last, it'll blow over. people are smarter than that, we think. the problem is, we don't make enough noise, don't articulate well enough, charmingly enough. we roll our eyes and snicker and condescend and turn our backs and then shake our heads in disbelief at what happened while we were being incredulous.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-24 01:47 am (UTC)
Exactly.

There's that famous line from Edmund Burke- “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-08-24 05:57 am (UTC)
Yabbut -- it's not just that liberals don't pay attention. It's that many of the liberals in the media are so damned condescending, while at the same time using the barking moonbats as exemplars of the other side, with the result that folks on the other side but not all the way out in barking moonbat territory get their backs up.

I once spent some time in North Carolina where, as bad luck for me would have it, the only station that came in well was the local public radio station. The notion that conservatives constitute a mass of the great unwashed was palpable in every news report, every commentary, every discussion. At the same time, it was painfully obvious that all these reporters and commentators considered themselves 120% unbiased.

On my own LiveJournal I posted links to a survey, recently commissioned by Newsweek and BeliefNet, that indicates that the so-called "religious right" is a lot more laissez-faire and tolerant than one would know from the regular reporting in the press. Also, recent coverage of our barking moonbat Pat Robertson has dutifully, although not loudly, chronicled the decline of his influence over the past decade.

(I personally think Robertson should be arrested for making terroristic threats.)

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kaysho
2005-08-29 02:12 pm (UTC)
There has always been this tacit partnership between the people who just want to be told what to do and the people who want to control other people's lives. It is the duty of the independent thinkers to make sure that this partnership doesn't swamp everyone else.
(Reply) (Thread)