Monday, December 21, 2009

Only a Man

I think the most hilarious quotation to come out of the recent talks in Copenhagen was a reporter's anguished cry that "Obama isn't the saviour of the world after all," or words to that effect - talk about absurdly naive and near-blasphemous nonsense! The President of the (Free) World, sorry, of the U.S.A., is just another politician, and in his own case one of little experience but much rhetoric that for some reason his countrymen (and foreigners too, obviously) find so captivating as to be embarrassing: I mean, really, the way people speak of him you'd think he was of the calibre of greats such as Churchill, men who really did fight the good fight and deliver civilization when it came near to perishing, whereas the reality is rather the opposite.

It says a lot for the unrecognized spiritual hunger of our secular desert that hoi polloi yearn so markedly for saviour figures - for saints, at least, persons raised above the ordinary to become almost supernaturalized: hence the frank cultus of celebrities, sportsmen, and the like, an elite club (whose secrets and love lives are discussed much as the Greeks talked of the goings-on of the gods of Olympus; Zeus being quite a tiger...).

Consider the hysteria that struck stereotypically stolid England when the "Queen of All Hearts" (note Marian parallel) - a miserable woman named Diana - was killed in a car crash with a man not her husband: it and her overhyped obsequies completely overwhelmed the coincidental death and funeral of Bl Teresa of Calcutta. Think too of how people collect relics of the saints, I mean items belonging to, touched or signed by the famous; and of how bus trips take the faithful on trips around the shrines of... Hollywood.

While it has largely passed now, consider too the notorious Communist cults of personality, worshipping first the words and portraits, then the dead remains of Lenin and Stalin (who could believe it, but some Russians actually have icons of Stalin and pray him as a saint!) or of Mao - all of whom were most murderous evildoers. The Nazis did the same, and every tinpot third-world dictatorship likewise. In these cases, the gods proposed are not merely capricious, but truly evil. (At least in the case of villainous Ceausescu, summary justice was applied and he was sent for his punishment to the next world.)

As Trent said of sacrifice, the nature of man demands a Saviour, and saintly intercessors. Since Christianity has fallen off, mainly because it seems intent on hiding its light under a bushel - how priests complain that those whom they admit to the Sacraments nowadays are seen at church neither before nor after, and when brought forward turn out to have been taught and therefore know nothing! - people have turned to other sources for solace, good, bad, indifferent and mad, but none of them truly supernatural.

Consider women's magazines, packed full of celebrity goings-on: how much of this is vicarious living the high life, and how much is actually a debased version of veneration of the saints?

The left in particular, given its still-remaining belief in progress toward Utopia (the Marxist replacement for the Kingdom of heaven), still looks for saviours, even if it would be truer to its unconscious philosophical underpinnings to look toward the Omega Point as that charlatan de Chardin vainly theorized. Hence the almost bizarre adoration of Obama, to whom it is reliably reported that people actually pray! (Part of this is a rebound effect: those who liked Bush the younger - and initially he had hugely high ratings - having been in the end turned off him, naturally changed their focus of love and obedience to one who consciously presented himself as the antidote.)

I would reiterate that I don't see the current American President as some smiling monster, intent - as the lunar Right cries - on turning the U.S.A. into the U.S.S.R.; it is quite silly to speak of him as the ogre bringing socialism to America - as commentators here have noted, compared to the rest of the First World he is quite to the right, and would have a hard time making it into the far right of the Australian Labor Party even in N.S.W. Citizens of the United States, having a far different polity and political climate to that here in Australia, for instance, speak about "socialism" in terms that appear hilariously old-fashioned to those outside, sounding like fifties fears of communism.

It is particularly wrong to compare the U.S. President or any democratically elected leader to some dictator of the rank of the criminal rulers of the twentieth century mentioned above: this gravely offends against truth and decency and respect for those massacred in the past. While the hidden plague of abortion is a foul stain upon the modern age, I really don't think those espousing what they call a "right", their consciences dulled by expediency and false, anti-Christian philosophies, are as guilty as the Nazis who directly planned, organized and carried out the slaughter of the Jews and others.

It is also egregious and completely misdirected for the poor man to be now turned upon by his worshippers of yester-day - since the real villains of Copenhagen were the hardnosed Chinese delegation, who after all are delegates of a one-party authoritarian regime, not nice democrats at all!

I find amazing the blindness of those who can't see that the Chinese government is quite a nasty organization, brooking no dissent, intent on whipping up unhealthy Han nationalism to divert the mainstream populace from complaining against the ruling elite so that they will come to despise Uyghurs and Tibetans instead, and in a xenophobic manner pushing Chinese exceptionalism and "sovereignty" (rejecting all Western concerns for human rights and religious freedom as "interference"). The Chinese Communist Party is the real winner at Copenhagen. A real wish for the future is for a China free and liberated from such shackles. Without this, there are real future risks for the world.

So, to conclude as I began with a critique of the weird reverence paid President Obama: in the immortal words of Monty Python, "He's not the Messiah... *." While I profoundly object to Obama's pro-abortion stance, and would not have voted for him given his track record on that matter, at the end of the day he is just a politician, and one whom I predict will eventually be realized to have been fairly ordinary, not in the least measuring up to the foolishly gargantuan expectations put upon him, and probably if anything disillusioning those who fondly imagined him to be so marvellous and exceptional. The recent debacle in Copenhagen at least should begin the process of forcing a realistic reassessment. He is just a man, no more and no less.

(* For American readers, please note that I in no way countenance any racist overtones to the last word in the full version of this sentence. Australians will remember that Bert Newton, a well-known actor and media personality for many decades, quite innocently said "I love the boy," to Muhammad Ali, not realizing how bad that sounded to American ears. Luckily Mr Ali took it in good humour, learning that the word bore no evil overtones in Australia, but the TV footage shows him bristling while Bert is clearly all unawares and smiling with friendly appreciation, with no idea how close he'd just come to being KO'd for such an insult.)

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