"Suppose we were planning to impose a dictatorial regime upon the American people - the following preparations would be essential:
- Concentrate the populace in megalopolitan masses so that they can be kept under close surveillance and where, in case of trouble, they can be bombed, burned, gassed, or machine-gunned with a minimum of expense and waste.
- Mechanize agriculture to the highest degre of refinement, thus forcing most of the scattered farm and ranching population into the cities. Such a policy is desirable because farmers, woodsmen, cowboys, Indians, fishermen and other relatively self-sufficient types are difficult to manage unless displaced from their natural environment.
- Restrict the possession of firearms to the police and the regular military organizations.
- Encourage, or at least fail to discourage population growth. Large masses of people are more easily manipulated and dominated than scattered individuals.
- Continue military conscription. Nothing excels military training for creating in young men (and women) an attitude of prompt, cheerful obedience to officially constituted authority.
- Divert attention from deep conflicts within the society by engaging in foreign wars; make support of these wars a test of loyalty, thereby exposing and isolating potential opposition to the new order.
- Overlay the nation with a finely reticulated network of communications, airlines, and intestate autobahns.
- Raze the wilderness. Dam the rivers, flood the canyons, drain the swamps, log the forests, strip-mine the hills, bulldoze the mountains, irrigate the deserts and improve the national parks into national parking lots."
It's hard to believe that those words, written about 40 years ago by Edward Abbey, ring so true today as they did when he first put them to paper.
And what has been the Bush administration positions in regards to these propositions? To a 'T', they have been almost like following a playbook (which unfortunately doesn't bode well for Ed, to lay them out so nicely). The only one that hasn't even been remotely broached is a restriction on firearms; when that comes, as I believe it will, this Republic may well splinter, unless we can find a common reason to work together to re-invigorate and re-unite the American spirit.
Unfortunately, a re-invigoration, if it is really to heal broken bonds within our country, may take a position towards a much more isolated international stance for America; contrary to the current demands placed upon our country through international treaties and alliances, as well as our current cultural mythology.
So, what to do? I, personally, am not in favor of America's dominant stance internationally. I believe our arrogance and impudence offends and insults our international neighbors, resulting in a distrust of not just the government of the United States, but also an enmity towards its people as well. However, total disengagement from international affairs isn't possible either. Where the U.S. can lend strength to various international treaties or obligations, we should strive to do so, even if, sometimes, we are not getting the best deal out of the negotiations.
But, of course, that makes me out to be a "dove" instead of a "hawk". And, conveniently, the "hawks" forget that their own guiding tome (no not the PNAC plan, but the Bible) admonishes that for every season (turn, turn, turn) there is a reason. Blah, blah, blah, and all that sixties shit.
But, maybe, just maybe, we ought to turn away, just a tad, from the hawk, and pay a little more attention to the dove. After all, we've had the hawks running things for a generation now (1994-2006). Although sometimes the hawks are right, sometimes the doves are right too.
This post make me sound forlorn and helpless. However, there is another line I keep in mind: "Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are worthless."
Today, I went to the market, I planted plants, I met with friends, and I felt a multitude of joy. Maybe, just maybe, with that joy, this "dove" can turn it into courage to battle those "hawks".