February 13, 2012

The Two Beasts

A year ago the Middle East exploded, or pehaps "imploded" would be more accurate. The "Arab Spring" swept away bitter, oppressive dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and half a dozen smaller countries. At about that same time, a pro-Shari'a fundamentalist political group was voted into power in Turkey's parliment. As spring moved into summer and summer into fall, power struggles within the Arab Spring countries gradually forced out modern democratic reformers. Although the world's press is trying to pretend otherwise, this spring fundamentalist military and political regimes are being solidified in every single Arab Spring country. Here are two of the rare news articles that have actually been brave enough to report the facts, one of them is Israeli, the other British:

IsraNet Daily Briefing: As the Arab Spring Fades Into an Islamic Winter
Daily Mail Online: Arab Spring is becoming an Islamic Winter

My own take on this phenomena is much less focused. After all, I'm not a journalist. I'm just a guy living in Ohio who makes connections the real journalists tend to overlook (partly because their profession requires them to have razor sharp focus on the immediate situation). Some of my views are here:

June 26, 2010: The Final Unholy Alliance
August 14, 2010: Progressive Hypocrisy
May 14, 2011: Chaos, Confusion, and World War Three
May 21, 2011: Time, times and half a time

Ever since early 2010 I have been racking my brain trying to understand why the Marxist-inspired academic and journalistic worlds have been so hot to downplay Islamic violence, disregard for human rights, and imposition of Shari'a law on freedom-seeking national populations. One reason, although not the only reason, is a basic assumption held by both groups that some individuals are superior by nature and this entitles them to tell the rest of us how to live. This "divine right" has been used throughout human history to force we the people into subservience to tyrants, dictators, kings, emperors, and other "rightful leaders".

A key difference between the American revolution and every revolution before or since is that we strove to abandon as much as possible this core assumption whereby some individuals are seen as more "enlightened" than others. Unfortunately, just enough of the old monarchist assumptions remained to cloud the issue. Although the complex system of checks and balances meant to restrain these power-hungry individuals lasted for nearly a century, the Civil War pretty much ripped that system to shreds, opening the way for the psuedo-dictatorships of Lincoln, Jackson, Wilson, and Franklin. These men, who we've been taught to regard as national saviors, each forced us to surrender a few of our individual freedoms "for the greater good". Now we find ourselves at a point in time where two presidents in a row, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, have felt no guilt and no compunction at ordering the nation to shut up and abide by their dictates.

The office of president has drawn to itself so much power that all it would take is a single executive order to dismantle the constitution and render us all slaves of the federal government. Thanks to the combined legal framework of the War Powers Act and the Patriot Act, the president does not even need a real-world cause, all he would need to do is claim that an undefined systematic threat to our way of life exists and the only way to command the resources to counter it is to short-circuit the system "temporarily". He could suspend the Constitution for six months, and at the end of those six months, suspend it again. After the first year, all he would need to do is write a new executive order prohibiting the Constitution from ever being restored and asking for a new one to be drawn up by a committee he appointed.

For better or for worse, our current president spent his formative early years in an Islamic school in Malaysia. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that much of his foreign policy encourages and strengthens Shari'a-based fundamentalist Islam everywhere it raises its violent, blood-soaked head.

"Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."
--- Revelation 13:11-17

And, as everyone knows, that number is 666. The number itself, however, is just as symbolic as everything else in that passage. When John wrote it he was no doubt referring to the reigning Roman Emperor. The important elements of this passage are the two beasts, the first out of the sea and the second out of the earth. The sea and the earth were very important symbols to the Jews of the First Century. John was a Jew while his audience was a mixture of Jews and everyone else.

The beast from the sea for non-Jews would resonate as the Kraken or perhaps the god Poseidon who commands the Kraken. For Jews it would resonate as the Leviathan from the book of Job. It carries the weight of a huge, unexpected danger rising from the unpredictable sea and destroying all in its path. In today's world, it could easily be a powerful nation such as the United States, Russia, or China. It could also be the combined submarine launched nuclear arsenals of the United States, Russia, China, France, and Great Britain. There are two important characteristics: it is vast and destructive and it is wounded from an apparently fatal blow to the head.

The beast from the earth would represent something much different. For both Jews and non-Jews of the 1st Century, a beast from the earth would represent tradition, order, kingship, and other human institutions. Lions, dragons, griffins, manticores, serpents, and even a variety of werebeasts were used by landed gentry and powerful elites to symbolize their personal virility, their political power, and their rightful station as defenders of the masses.

The key point in all of this is the fatal blow to the head suffered by the first beast. For five years now that is what I have been watching for. Remember, it does not have to be a literal blow to the head or stroke of a sword even as the beast itself does not have to be a literal sea dragon. The second beast is powerless without that blow and cannot appear until after it has taken place. The second beast "resurrects" the first beast as some kind of "image" and it is from that resurrection that the second beast derives its power. The key metaphor is a perversion of Christ's redemptive resurrection, not the literal appearance of a couple dragons. The resurrected "image" replaces Christ and Christ's body on earth (the church) in the popular imagination, deceiving if possible, "the very elect" (Matthew 24:24). Again, the ability to deceive is the point the text is trying to make. A perversion of something ordinary and everyday becomes the device used to convince Christians and non-believers alike that a new world order has arrived, a world order which demands their allegience at swordpoint.

Now, in case you're having trouble putting the pieces together, let me spell it out for you. The modern collectivist movement (Marxism primarily, as well as the more palatable cousin, "socialism") seeks to resume it's "rightful place" telling the rest of us how to think, how to eat, and how to live. They know for a fact (at least in their own minds) that they are better educated and more intelligent than you and I, therefore, it is their solemn duty to guide us. In keeping with this sense of privilege and entitlement, they dare not sully their hands and reputations with the real blood-work of mass destruction that is necessary to give them this power. Every divine king must have his dutiful liege who commands the actual executions. Starting with the rise to prominence of the Palestine Liberation Army, western collectivists (both conservative and liberal, by the way) have counted on Islamic terrorists to perform that duty. Since radical muslims also feel they are more enlightened than the rest of us, and since the Qur'an commands the use of violence and death to fulfill this duty, they are more than happy to do the dirty work. It is, as they say, "a match made in heaven".

And I am not the only one saying this. Today I found an article by a very liberal, collectivist documentary filmmaker named Eric Allen Bell which arrives at the same conclusion I arrived at in early 2010. Unfortunately, I cannot get the original article to load, so you will have to read the same abridged version I did. I do apologize for that. I always prefer to list up original sources whenever possible and in a case like this, it is vital, but I cannot send you off on a link that will not load. If you've read every link I've posted today, then you've been hanging here for a hour or so already. I do appreciate that. The following article is just as long, but the perspective is entirely unique and radically different from my own. It is, I freely admit, shocking to find someone at the opposite extreme of the intellectual and political spectrum who has arrived at the same conclusion as I have.

Dancing Czars: "The High Price of Telling the Truth About Islam", by Eric Allen Bell

I'm not a fan of Alex Jones and his "Prison Planet" movement, but I will give him credit for getting one thing absolutely right: there is a war on for your mind! The ultimate prize, however, is not just your mind. The real prize is the future of your children and the destiny of your immortal soul. If you don't choose a side in this war, your side will automatically be chosen for you by your family and your culture, so please, take the time to make your own choice. Honestly, it does not matter to me which side you join. My only concern is that you make the choice yourself. Your eternity depends on it. The real-world future of your children and mine also depends on it.

Choose wisely. Even more importantly, make sure it is your choice and not someone else's choice being forced onto you.

February 10, 2012

Gay marriage is not about love

Whatever that kind of relationship is, and I'm assuming it's a good one by the way, it's not a "marriage". A "marriage" is a man and a woman who decide to start a family together. The piece of paper is nice, but that's not what a "marriage" is. That is why most states have a "common law marriage" definition. If gay marriage is the law, then two people of the same sex who live together fall under the same legal requirements for a common law marriage as would a man and woman living together.

So your son or daughter moves in with a same-sex friend while they're in university and because they're good friends, they are together in the same apartment for four years. If gay marriage is a legal institution, then under half a dozen state laws defining common law marriage they are now married and all the legal rights of marriage apply to them. ALL the legal rights, including property, bank accounts, insurance, debt, and personal items.

That is the aspect of gay marriage no one is telling you about. It's not about the love. It's about money, property, possessions, and insurance. It provides legal recourse for homosexuals who fall in love with heterosexual roommates and get their heart broken when that roommate gets married.

If it were about love I would support it wholeheartedly, but it's not. It's about your best friend wanting your stuff because you got married and left them all alone. It's about visitation rights in hospitals when your lover is in a car accident and the homophobic doctor refuses to recognize the relationship. It's about who gets the house and the mutual fund when someone dies: the live-in homosexual lover they had for the last decade of their life or the kids from their original marriage.

These are the kinds of problems that Prop. 8 created in California. These are the reasons it was voted down. These are the reasons it was a complete violation of all that is right and proper when the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court reinstated it last week.

Gay marriage empowers gay thuggery in the same way that common law marriage empowers heterosexual thuggery. Even worse, it does so to the detriment of genuine gay love because suddenly common law marriage rules come into play and easy-going relationships have a whole new set of stressors applied to them.

If the love were there in the first place they wouldn't need a legal definition of gay marriage. That is not what this law or any other law does. The reason we have marriage laws in the first place is because there are too many men and women who don't honor their familial responsibilities. Marriage laws protect children and spouses and encourage (admittedly, very weakly) couples to stay together when things aren't perfect.

And that's not even getting into the quagmire of gay adoption.

Sadly, it's not about the love. It it were, they wouldn't need a law.

February 06, 2012

City of Heroes "Spring Fling" starts Wednesday

The past three years my blog has been overloaded with current events. This year is a critical year in global history. We stand on the threshold of a new era and this year will decide the nature of that era. Yes, it really is that important. This year is the year everything changes, one way or another.

However, I haven't given up on my virtual life. I don't play as often as I used to, but I still love MMORPG style persistent virtual worlds. Lineage II is, in my never humble opinion, still the most beautiful game world out there. The most enjoyable game, at least for me, is still City of Heroes, which is now free to download and free to play. There are a few differences between the free version and the subscriber version. Most of those differences will be meaningless to the vast majority of new players. If a particular feature is important to you, that feature can be purchased by itself for a minimal fee.

This week City of Heroes will host an annual event they call, "Spring Fling". I have played a great number of holiday events in a wide variety of online games. Far too many to count. As far as I'm concerned, the single most enjoyable holiday event in any online game is City of Heroes Spring Fling. It brings together enemy factions for a variety of cooperative missions, enchances gameplay with a variety of "buffs" that must be applied to an opposing faction, and rewards cooperative gameplay more richly than normal missions do.

It's free to play, it has more creative freedom than any other MMORPG, and on Wednesday the most entertaining annual event of them all kicks off at ten in the morning Eastern Standard Time.

So I'm taking a break from the weighty issues of the day. A short break, but a break. Egypt is going to continue to slide into chaos, Syria is going to continue to implode, Greece is going to go bankrupt and America is headed that way, as well. I'll worry about those later. Something tells me the small difference I can make is not going to be missed.

City of Heroes: Spring Fling is just around the corner!

The real problem with revolutions

I cannot bear to turn on the television these days. Even online, I have begun avoiding news sites, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else. The barely controlled chaos of the past three years has finally broken down into full-fledged chaos and there is no telling where it will end. The one thing I can guarantee everyone is that innocent bystanders will suffer the most. They always do.

CNN: U.S. Closes Syrian Embassy
CNN: Syrian bloodshed prompts riots at embassies around the world
Bloomberg: Time is running out for Greece
Washington Post: U.S. Demands Egypt Release NGO Representatives
MASSLive.com: Police disperse 1500 UMASS protesters after Superbowl loss

All of these reports share one common thread that is not immediately apparent. In each case, collective action is making a bad situation even worse. Those among us who insist that somehow we are all magically the same and entitled to the same material success are joining together to tear down "invisible walls" between preconceived ideals of "right" and "wrong". As they burn cities, ignite civil wars, break windows in buildings they do not own and will not have to replace, they believe their violence is somehow justified because they are fighting for what is "right"; therefore, by definition, anyone who disagrees with them is "wrong".

I'm calling "bullshit" on the lot of them.

Before this year is over, millions of people around the world are going to be dead. These victims will be the collateral damage from violence that is supposedly, "for the people!", "for our children's future!", and "for the sake of humanity!" Funny, isn't it, how fighting for humanity always seems to bring about the untimely deaths of ordinary people going about their lives, raising their children, and struggling to pay their bills? The very same people that violent collective action claims to be helping always seem to wind up victims of that very same violence.

You cannot save the world through vandalism, murder, and mayhem. Yes, it is absolutely true that evil people now hold the reins of power. The ambitious, the greedy, the narcissistic, and the sociopathic control the media, the economic engines of our world, and the political mechanisms that keep everything working. So why are you burning the shops of ordinary grocers, destroying the campus where you will learn how to defeat them, defecating in parks where working families take their children to play, and blocking the entrances to places where the people you claim to be fighting for take their children for lunch and dinner?

The real problem with revolutions is that far too often the victims of those revolutions are the people the revolutionaries claim to be fighting for. Even the American Revolution saw the destruction of countless farms, family stores, and practicing craftshops. Over the past three centuries there have been numerous revolutions that targeted the problem of an entrenched oligarchy. Most of them resulted in second revolutions that brought about even greater destruction. The American Revolution, for example, left the question of slavery unresolved, contributing directly to the American Civil War. The French Revolution, in its turn, left the military in charge, leading directly to the Napoleonic Era, the Franco-Prussian War, and eventually, the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. The Chinese revolution fed finances and fervor into Vietnam, fueling the debacle of the Vietnam War and the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

This chaos needs to stop and it needs to stop now. But I know that it will not. Once the angry beast of emotional outrage and collectivist action has reared its ugly head it will not cease to devour everything in its path until there is nothing left to consume.

There is really only one question left, is this the road to Armageddon or merely a bloody side journey along the way?