Skip to main content

How Oppressive Power Needs Its Own Mythology

Gary Younge, in his recent Guardian article, titled  The world as seen by Republicans, in a land of myth and amnesia lists the mythologies that drive the Republican political movement in the US.


Younge points out many conservatives believe the problems of America are caused by foreigners or foreign influences. "For a core group of Republicans "foreign" has become an epithet – a slur willfully blurring the distinction between non-American, un-American, liberal, non-Christian and non-white."


Onlookers, including Gary Younge, understand this is part of an election strategy to beat the Democrats by targeting Obama's right to be president.

"This is of course a proxy for race made popular by the birthers, who, despite all the evidence, insist Obama was born in Kenya. In a world where direct racial attacks are out of bounds, "foreign" becomes a useful metaphor. This man, it says, is essentially not like us or even from us. 

Branding him Muslim, as though this too were in itself an insult, has the same function. A recent poll revealed the proportion of Republicans who believe Obama is Muslim has doubled since 2008 and now stands at almost a third. The trouble with these dog whistles is now that everyone can hear them they are scarcely worthy of the name."


But the end result has a much more ominous outcome from a nation whose Foreign Policies have dominated the rest of the world since World War II, when another party almost dominated Europe by creating mythologies and branding scapegoats.  The whole structure of European societies were destroyed almost beyond repair.


Just as the Nazi's segregated the Jews, who had been part of European societies for centuries, the Republicans are segregating African Americans as being un-American.


After the defeat of the Nazi's, tremendous energy was put into rebuilding civil society, which then helped to bring about freedom and a better standard of living. Which then tragically funneled into  consumerism.


Centralized power controls global business, media and government, and is in the process of destroying civil society absolutely, because it is the enlightenment and education of global citizens that hold the greatest threat to their absolute domination. 


It is at this point where power no longer needs to pretend it takes care of, or protects the people, because life itself becomes redundant.  But once we deconstruct the mythologies of leadership and power, we can construct new mythologies that revere the power of diversity and the means to our survival.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

Albert Camus: Our task