By Europaeus *
Continued from Part 21
Might is Right! Sieg Heil!
“Trump is not an anomaly of a morally bankrupt nation, but rather an emblem,” and “The U.S. is less of a nation than a collective, psychotic episode,” So wrote Phil Rockstroh, a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard.
“Within day-to-day life in [America], a cultural aura exists that shifts, mingles and merges between a sense of nervous agitation and displaced rage, in combination with a sense of weightlessness. The fragmented quality of daily life imparts an insubstantial, unreal quality wherein the citizenry of the capitalist/consumer empire of hungry ghosts drift through a nadascape comprised of ad hoc, fast-buck-driven, suburban/exburban architecture and the ersatz eros of constant, consumer come-ons.
Yet beneath the nebulous dread and nettling angst of it all, there exists the primal human imperative for connection and social communion i.e., authentic eros. The most lost among the lost in the ghostsphere of the collective mind attempt to animate the realm of shades with libations of blood. The gods of the capitalist death cult demand no less.”
More to the point, the poet asked:
“Where does an impulse to possess an unlimited number of firearms fit into the scheme of things? A firearm’s heft, for one.”
And he explained: “The weapon’s substantial feel, when held and hoisted, serves, provisionally, to mitigate a psychical sense of weightlessness. The act of engagement eases nervous agitation. Gun reality offsets the weightless content of media reality. Focus is achieved when one aims the weapon on a target. Nebulous dread transforms into adamantine purpose. The presence of an Angel of Death will focus the mind. The ground, for the moment, feels solid beneath one’s feet. Hence, there arrives a craving, in the sense of addiction, to hoard the object that provides relief; in addition, massive quantities of ammunition must be stored as emotional ballast.
The mystifying, rankling, uncontrollable criteria of this weightless Age and the white noise of uncertainty seem to yield to the clear and decisive crack of a rifle shot. Relief is imagined in the concomitant carnage. The late British author Rebecca West captures the phenomenon in her book, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon:” (The book, subtitled A Journey through Yugoslavia is a travel book, written by Dame Rebecca West, published in 1941 in two volumes by Macmillan in the United Kingdom and by The Viking Press in the United States. It probes the troubled history of the Balkans, and the uneasy relationships amongst its ethnic groups. The landscape and the people of then Yugoslavia are brilliantly observed as West untangles the tensions which rule the country’s history as well as its daily life. It is a Penguin Classic, reprinted in 2007).
West wrote: “Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.”
The existentialist philosopher continued: “Because we, on a personal level, in most cases, choose the primary option, our hidden, shadow half will live out the latter on a collective basis. During the blood lust on display at President Donald Trump’s rallies, the mob finds a collective comfort zone in catastrophic longings. The domestic landscape of paranoia works on behalf of the profiteers of perpetual war, perpetrators of the U.S.-created deathscapes overseas, and vice versa, in a self-resonating feedback loop of carnage. [Emphasis added]
In our era, in which, the U.S. empire is in decline and the white supremacist order is giving way, Trump’s frightened legions feel as if their identity is under siege. Seal off the nation’s borders. Construct an unscalable wall. Create a cordon sanitaire to protect and preserve racial purity. A strong authority figure is craved to set the world back in order. The phenomenon could be termed, Authoritarian Simpatico Syndrome (ASS) – a pathology manifested in personality types who have been traumatized by the authoritarianism of the U.S. socio-political milieu but who seek to assuage their hurt and humiliation by identification with the very forces responsible for their torment. It’s the stuff of a cultural nervous breakdown. [Emphasis added]
To that end, according to its own laws, the nation’s citizenry, sufferers of mental distress, should be restricted from purchasing a gun. Yet without a doubt, the most disturbed of all are the nation’s political class, those responsible for gun legislation. There is compelling evidence that they present a clear and present danger to themselves and others. The political class is a menace to society; they make decisions, more often than not, based on delusional thinking, that are responsible for harm on a massive scale. They should be subject to institutional-style restraint, within the confines of the most heavily secure, lockdown ward in an asylum for the criminally insane. [Emphasis added]
Although the so-called mentally ill, as a rule, are not any more inclined to commit violent crimes than are the general population of capitalist dystopias. The U.S. was founded in genocidal violence and the fortunes of its ruling class’ are protected by the state sanctioned violence of the police and are bloated by the violence inherent to imperialist shakedown operations. [Emphasis added]
It comes down to this: In our emotionally brutal era, those deemed mentally ill are suffering from capitalism. The pummeling stress and boot-in-the-face, hierarchy-inflicted humiliations inherent to the system inflict trauma on large swathes of the citizenry.
Epidemic levels of middle-aged U.S. citizens are dying with needles in their arms. The inherent and internalized white supremacy of the societal order has been exacerbated by Trump’s self-serving, reckless agitprop and acts in a drug-like manner causing dopamine levels to rise in those experiencing emotional torment due to humiliation-caused despair. Demagogues such as Trump are aware and exploit the manner in which despair can be mitigated by the emotional displacement of rage. [Emphasis added]
Fascist insignias rise when the hopes and aspirations of the working class lie shattered across a capitalist economic wasteland. Hoisted torches provide the illusion that dark despair has been banished. The fascist mob becomes possessed by a belief that they, en masse, can ascend into the precincts of heaven by scaling a mountain of corpses comprised of outsider groups.”
Rockstroh moved on to consider “Fascism as [a] Psychoactive Drug.”
“Fascism – he said – acts as an anesthetic to the wounds delivered by capitalism. It is also a psychoactive drug; its incantatory rhetoric and imagist psychical material provides an intoxicating, crude allure. [Emphasis added]
Capitalism is borne on manic wings. The economic elite move from corporate skyscrapers and high-rise rooftops in order to travel by helicopter, where upon landing, they board private, luxury jets, then, whereupon landing again, they are transported by helicopter to corporate skyscrapers and high-rise rooftops. Touching the Earth is a fleeting experience. The ruling class have lost touch with ground-level verities. In a classical sense, such displays of hubris were understood as the progenitor of madness. The gods first elevate those they drive mad.
And, yes, race-based fears and animus are in play. Racism engendered mass murder has been coming to pass since armed Europeans trudged ashore in the Americas, with their blood-sodden religion and their murderous craving for gold and land. Of course, the racist demagoguery of the Bloated Orange Tub of Nazi Goo oozing into and agitating the limbic systems of violent cretins during homegrown Nuremberg Rallies and his compulsion to blitzkrieg the pixel-sphere with Der Stürmer tweets is fomenting racist mayhem that includes bacchanals of blood. U.S. mythos is rancid with the reek of the corpses of the innocent slaughtered by white men brandishing firearms. Mass murderers have been and continue to be enshrined as heroes, from Wounded Knee to Afghanistan. [Emphasis added]
The nation was established by gun-enabled genocide and the intimidation of African slaves held at gunpoint on capitalist plantations. The truth has never been faced e.g., the suppression of the Nixon tape in which Ronald Reagan displayed his racist mindset.
The U.S. citizenry thanks the soldiers of its racist wars of aggression for their “service.” The origins of perpetual shooting sprees can be traced to the heart of darkness of the nation and its concomitant white supremacist creed. The killings happened long before the rise and election of the Tangerine Tweet Führer. Of course, the racist shit-heel Trump has exacerbated the situation. He deserves all scorn cast his way. It is obvious his capacity for malice does not possess a governor’s switch. [Emphasis added]
Trump is a two-legged emblem of the hypertrophy at play in late U.S. imperium. Gun-inflicted violence is steeped into the blood-stained fabric of the U.S. (sham) republic. Withal, Trump is not an anomaly; he is an emblem. Gun-strokers are no more going to shed their mythos than liberals and progressives are going to shed theirs that the U.S. is a democratic republic, governed by the rule of law, and progressive reforms will be implemented by its High Dollar owned and controlled political class that will serve to turn around the trajectory of the blood-built and maintained U.S. empire.” [Emphasis added] (P. Rochstroh, ‘Bodies on the ground and the rise and rise of the economic elite’, Information Clearing House, 15 August 2019).
But there is another problem, as John W. Whitehead noted: “It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.” In the words of Celisa Calacal, a Filipina freelance journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mass shootings are a problem in America and, although they are getting deadlier, they seem not getting more frequent. And yet, while mentally ill individuals embarking on mass shooting sprees are a problem in America, tighter gun control laws and so-called ‘intelligent’ background checks fail to protect the public from the most certain perpetrator of gun violence in America: the United States government.
Consider this: five years after police shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old man in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been no relief from the government’s gun violence. This is what one has learned about the government’s gun violence since Ferguson, according to The Washington Post: “If you are a black American, you have got a greater chance of being shot by police. An unarmed black man is four times more likely to be killed by police than an unarmed white man. Most people killed by police are young men. Since 2015 police have shot and killed an average of 3 people per day.” (J. Fox, J. Jenkins, J. Tate and W. Lowery, ‘What we’ve learned about police shootings 5 years after Ferguson,’ The Washington Post, 9 August 2019).
More than 2,500 police departments have shot and killed at least one person since 2015. And while the vast majority of people shot and killed by police are armed, their weapons ranged from guns to knives – even to toy guns.
Clearly, the American government is not making Americans any safer. Indeed, the government’s gun violence – inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained Special Weapons And Tactics teams, militarised police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later – poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter.
There is more: “mass shootings … have claimed the lives of 339 people since 2015… [D]uring this same time frame, police in America have claimed the lives of 4,355 citizens.” (M. Agorist, ‘US police have killed over 1,200% more citizens than mass shooters since 2015’, The Free Thought Project, 15 July 2019).
Curiously enough, in the midst of the finger-pointing over the latest round of mass shootings, Americans have been so focused on debating who or what is responsible for gun violence – the guns, the gun owners, the ‘domestic terorists’, the Second Amendment, the politicians, or America’s violent ‘culture’ – that they have overlooked the fact that the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government has done more collective harm to the American people and their liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.
Violence has become the American government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down. The government even exports violence worldwide, one of the United States most profitable exports being weapons. Indeed, the United States, the world’s largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world for too long now. (B. E. Sawe, ‘World’s largest exporters of arms,’ World Atlas, 6 June 2019). Controlling more than 50 per cent of the global weaponry market, the United States has sold or donated weapons to at least 96 countries in the past five years, including the Middle East. (T. C. Frohlich, ‘Countries Buying the Most Weapons From the US Government’, 247wallst.com, 15 March 2019). Saudi Arabia was the top customer of the American arsenals followed by Australia. The United States also provides countries such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Iraq with grants and loans through the Foreign Military Financing programme to purchase military weapons.
At the same time that the United States is supplying nearly half the world with deadly weapons, profiting to the tune of $36.2 billion, its leaders – President Trump at the front – have also been lecturing American citizens on the dangers of gun violence and ‘appeared to be’ working to enact measures which would make it more difficult for Americans to acquire certain weapons.
Talk about an absurd double standard! On one hand there is plentiful talk about getting serious about gun violence while on the other the government makes not a step to scaling back on its weapons. While gun critics continue to clamour for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armour-piercing bullets, the United Sates military is providing them to domestic police forces.
Under the claim to a military ‘recycling’ programme, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. (M. Shank and E, Beavers, ‘America’s police are looking more and more like the military’, The Guardian, 7 October 2013). Included among these ‘gifts’ are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, M.R.A.P. vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.
Continued and concluding tomorrow … (Part 23)
* Europaeus landed in Australia over fifty years ago. Except for the blue skies and starry nights between 02.12.1972 and 10.11.1975 the place has been constantly overwhelmed by what Hannah Arendt called the ‘sand storm’ – a metaphor for totalitarianism.
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