Monday, August 15, 2005

Barbecue Republic: Invasion of the Theocrats

Has America become a theocracy?

From Merriam Webster Online:
Theocracy: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.

When asked if he had consulted with Bush Senior regarding the Iraq invasion, Bush Junior replied, "You know he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to."

It's impossible to know if sonny really believes he's being divinely guided, but he's certainly gone out of his way to indicate that he does, and he's been fairly successful convincing a sizable portion of the adult American population that he is.

This phenomenon would be of little consequence if we could dismiss it as a vanity of devout extremists, but it's much more than that.

Some time back, I wrote a satire piece for the now defunct BlueEar titled "Vote for Bush or Burn in Hell." The piece described the rise of the "neo-bully pulpit," and predicted that ministers and priests throughout America would threaten their parishioners with eternal damnation if they failed to vote to re-elect Mister Bush.

Little did I know; reality is stranger than satire--and not nearly as funny.

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The concurrent rise of the religious right and the neoconservative movement is no coincidence. Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol--respectively the philosophical basis and "godfather" of the neoconservative movement--firmly believed that religion was necessary to "impose moral law on the masses."

Little wonder then that religious right icons like Gary Bauer and Bill Bennett found their way into the Project for the New American Century, Bill (son of Irving) Kristol's neoconservative think tank.

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Irving Kristol considered that America's founding fathers made a major mistake when they insisted on separation of church and state, ignoring the best tool available to them for controlling the population. But Kristol also regarded religion as a thing for the masses, not for the leadership. Leadership needs only to pay sufficient lip service to religion to make the masses believe in the leadership's belief.

So it really doesn't matter if Mister Bush really believes that God is really telling him what to do. All that matters is that "enough of the people" believe it "enough of the time."

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Theocracy Update:

Fellow Virginian Jerry Falwell is exhorting his followers to "Vote Christian in '08."

Pat Roberston, another fellow Virginian, has scored $10.8 billion in the newly passed transportation bill to have an exit installed on I-64 to a road that does not yet exist, but will one day soon run through a $300 million 700 Club complex of shops and restaurants. Sponsors of the transportation pork appendix were Virginia Senators George Allen and John Warner, and Congress persons Thelma Drake and Randy Forbes.

Justice Sunday II just took place down Nashville, Tennessee way. Tom Delay, Zell Miller, and other neo-bully pulpit notables castigated the "activist" supreme court for making decisions that apparently force Americans of faith to kill unborn babies and enter into homosexual marriages.

Justice Sunday II took place in a "mega-church" just across the highway from The Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry is a "corporate team member" of America Supports You, the "grass roots" pro-war organization sponsored by the Department of Defense that's throwing the Clint Black America Supports You march this coming September 11th.

Does anybody else sense a neo-connection in all this?

2 comments:

  1. Definitely - I'm halfway through Andrew Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, and he traces the neocon movement's merging of theocracy and militarism. God wants Americans to be rich and all-powerful, effects on others be damned! Good reading, if you haven't seen it.

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  2. Thanks, I'll look for it.

    Jeff

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