Thursday, June 22, 2006

Forces of Composition, Decomposition, and the Space Between

As the old joke goes: How can Elvis be decomposing when he never composed anything in the first place. Well, despite another three month absence, I am not decomposing either. In fact, I have been composing; I just haven’t posted (or finished) anything in quite a while.

Here are some the ideas that almost fell by the wayside.

Why the re-election of Mayor Nagin in New Orleans may cause us to question a people’s capacity for self-government.

Why income taxes ought to be due on Election Day.

How the number 666 (as in 06/06/06) symbolizes evil in the folly of man’s thinking.

To make up for lost time, I shall try to link these three concepts together, centering around the ongoing thesis (with the usual only-mild hyperbole) that the Democratic Party is the epitome of evil in the modern world.

To begin, maybe we can agree on a definition of evil. But first, maybe we can agree on what a definition of evil is not. Evil is not that which we don’t like. If one does not like, say, eggplant or George W. Bush, that does not give that person to right to logically conclude that eggplant or George W. Bush is evil. The same could be said of Bill Clinton or tofu. It just won’t be said here.

Arab and quasi-Christian, poet and pseudo-philosopher, Kahlil Gibran defined evil as “good tortured by its own hunger and thirst.” I especially like this definition as it allows for evil to exist, even though the “evil doer” might not see it as such.

If we can agree that killing 6 million Jews, flying airplanes into skyscrapers, and beheading innocent civilians are all evil acts, perhaps we could also agree that the perpetrators of each of these acts did not consider themselves evil. No, they considered their acts good, though they could not see how hunger and thirst had perverted their notions of good and evil.

In the Book of Revelation, the “evil” beast was marked with the number 666. Exegetically speaking, the number 6 represents man, who was created on the 6th day. The repetition of something three times was symbolic for perpetuity, or an infinite sort of finality. Therefore, 666 represents man obsession with himself, never finding salvation or the rest that comes on the 7th, or Lord’s Day.

Some may call Him God, Yahweh, the Light, the Force, or heck, some might even call Him Her. But it imperative that we acknowledge that which is beyond us. Otherwise, we set ourselves up as the very God we have tried to eradicate from public discourse or rationalize out of existence.

Which brings me nicely to global warming and the fact that it is not an “environmental movement,” but rather an atheistic one. Before the polar ice caps were feared to melt and drown our cities, the ozone layer was going to evaporate and allow mankind to be singed out of existence. The rainforest were going to be clear cut and we were all going to suffocate. Or without abortion and birth control, we would overpopulate the planet, and people would fall off it because they had nowhere left to stand. And those are just some of the hoaxes that have been perpetrated in my lifetime!

What each of these crises represent is an assertion that God is not in control. Anyone who suggested contrary and did not buy into said hoaxes, was branded as evil. Meanwhile, the Chicken Little class asserts man as the ultimate arbiter or his own fate. This is as wacky as the Jesus freaks who were trying to blow up the Alaskan pipeline at the turn of the century, believing if they pissed Jesus off bad enough, He might actually bump up the time of Armageddon and their own personal rapture.

If man is the ultimate arbiter, than the collective energies of man, combined into a democratic form of government, would represent a force greater than God. This kind of arrogance is not only dangerous, it is, as I believe I have demonstrated, evil.

Clearly, there must be some form of government, and I would argue that democracy is the only form, short of the benevolent dictatorship, that can ensure freedom of the people. History has shown us that dictators are usually only benevolent toward some of the people. The rest get slaughtered. So democracy is really our only choice.

While things are far from ideal in Iraq, it would be stubbornly dishonest to say they are not better and headed in the right direction. Yet, someone whom I respect and admire asserted the mission was impossible because, at the end of the day, some people, particularly Muslims, might not be capable of self-government. The word “Muslim” after all literally means “one who submits [presumably to the will of God],” he argued.

I was aghast. I reminded my friend, a student and teacher of history, philosophy, and the Catholic faith, that Pope John Paul II had said that freedom was a natural yearning of the human soul. But he could not be persuaded.

I then went to a friend who recently immigrated from South America and asked him if he thought some people were not fit for self-government. He laughed. His country’s experiment in democracy only empowered corrupt and despotic rulers. Strike two.

Then I saw that the people of New Orleans re-elected Ray Nagin, and I wanted to cry. It does seem that some people are not capable of self-government. Nagin is obviously incapable, and his effort to sidle up to George “Checkbook” Bush sickens and scares me to death.

And on that happy note, I shall conclude. There is much more I could say, and soon, I will. But for now, take heart that Elvis is back in the building.