Saturday, December 17, 2005

What Machiavelli didn't realize

George Bush shares with Kim Jong-il the distinction of being one of the two important heads of state in the world who is either deranged or whose handlers have managed to created a usefully universal belief in the head-of-state's madness, and in Bush's case, not only madness, but idiocy.

If it is all Machiavellian smoke and mirrors, it would be an opposite instance of it than with Ronald Reagan, who actually was out of his mind, but whose residual acting skills enabled the White House junta to project the image of a President who was not only sane, but cogent.

But why would it be useful to whoever the present rulers of our country are to project the image of a West Wing lunatic who is out of control, unpredictable, willful, stupid, and pig-ignorant to boot, plagued with inopportune facial tics during speeches, contemptuous of the law and who believes, with the decisive insight of a fraternity president who has just discovered that the frathouse lease prohibits parties on weeknights past 2:00 am, that the constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper?

Well, the answer to that should be obvious enough. Presidential lunacy, whether real or simulated, has been remarkably successful in turning the dreams of a variety of Republican imperial, plutocratic, and theocratic interests into the nightmarish and sordid reality they wished for, and which they hope to make permanent, such that an astonished and horrified world now sees the threat of a runaway train America plunging the world it is hauling behind it into an abyss of permanent religious war and ecological devastation, perhaps as a cover for the jihad of economic globalism and Christian Dominionism, whose climactic end its various authors believe either they will escape thru floating up to heaven like escaped birthday balloons as the world goes up like Falluga in white phosphorous and napalm, or that by virtue of wealth and hidden vice-presidential-like bunkers they will be able to come out ahead after it is all over even richer, and without angry crowds throwing rocks at them.

But this is insane, you might protest. Well, yeah.

Now I prefer, just on the basis of Occam's Razor, the view that the President actually is mad, rather than that he is feigning madness. And even if he were feigning madness, the end of the line, which is now in full view before us, is clearly a place only a madman would want to go, so it would follow that if the president is not deranged, then his handlers are.

In either case, the country is in trouble. Not much of an insight, but one each and every one of us, daily being conditioned to accept madness as normal, needs to remind ourselves of, maybe every morning as we get out of bed. "Note for today: buy toothpaste, pay the phone bill, and--don't forget--remember that the President and all his people are crazy." Crazy and dangerous. A madman who believes he is Napoleon ceases to be harmless when he has an army.

In these disordered times it's useful to have a connection to reality.

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