Saturday, August 06, 2005
Aesthetic of Violence
"Destruction is creation in disguise."
Mikhail Bakunin, God and State.
"It is good that war is so terrible for otherwise we should love it too much." Robert E. Lee.
"God help me, but I love it." George Patton.
We love Pepsi Cola. Our primitive Muslim cousins love death. What does it mean? What do we do? Is it important to us that some primitives in the mountains of Afghanistan or in the deserts of Iraq or the far suburbs of London love death? Can we ignore them? Is it something we should worry about or is it simply a small group of criminals who might pose a minimal danger to us at best if we are extremely unlucky? Are we over-reacting to a danger not likely to ever touch our lives or the lives of anyone we might ever know? Really, what are the odds of us ever being more than slightly inconvenienced by the threat of a terrorist attack? We live our daily lives, drink our soda, get on with our lives, and don't worry ourselves too much about what we can't change. And should we try to change the "war on terror?" Is it something we can change if we want to? Is it anything to do with us personally? Terrorism is something that affects people far away. It can't happen to us. We are peace-loving, anti-war people.
We love our comfort, our Pepsi. We love our children, all 1.8 of them. If we lose a kid, then we're left with the .8 kid, the dumb one. And even he is worth a lot, if only in terms of the money we pour into his worthless life to keep him well-dressed, a first consideration, well-fed, well-educated, and medicated. We can't afford to lose any of our kids. No, not even the dumb one. We don't love death, and we can't afford to even if we do. A dead child is devastating. And the chances of us losing a child to terrorism, to Islamic terrorism, is so remote that it doesn't bear thinking about.
But that's not why we're here. We are not concerned overly about the damage done by Islamic murderers. Our deepest concern is that we will loose our children not to death but to murderers themselves: we could well lose our children to fascism, to the sink-hole of Left dhimmitude. We might lose our children to a society that can't or won't defend itself from self-destruction.
Our greatest threat to our lives isn't from wild-eyed pistol wavers who ain't afraid to die; nor is it a problem that all we want to do is dance, dance, dance.
Our problem is that most people, even Muslims, are ordinary and decent law-abiding citizens who go through their daily lives living to the best of their abilities. Most people, even those who are inmates in concentration camps, passively accept their own torture and murder without protest. Our problem is civility. We've lost touch with the aesthetic of destruction. To compound it, we allow savages into our midsts, those who have no true aesthetic appreciation of violence but who are violent themselves in all the wrong ways: they are ugly, stupid, brutal killers. Our children are attracted to them. They enchant our very own dhimmi intelligentsia. And they will rule over us, these worthless savages, because we don't have the sense to act out our Will, if we even have one any longer. We are civil.
Compare, or more likely, contrast the Islamic homicide killer with Macbeth, Hamlet, Pinky, (Brighton Rock,) Eastwood's "Man with no name," Alex the droog, ( A Clockwork Orange,) Michael Corleone, and Hannibal Lecter: The Islamic killer is a mindless and insensitive fool who kills for the sake of personal reward in the future. Today is of no interest to the fascist killer/suicide. One of the main points of fascism is that it is future-oriented, romantic, and pre-lapsarian. In other words, the fascist is forever looking forward to the perfect time that has to be reclaimed from the Other who has destroyed it for the Good and Authentic People, i.e., the group of the fascist; that the fascist's identity derives not from his own person but from his membership in the group; and that to redeem his people from the Other he must die in a Grand Gesture, a sweeping act of violence that purifies his soul and makes his existence worthwhile, something it cannot be in the fallen state in which he's lived his life. Death is the one thing that can make the fascist loser grand in his own eyes and in the eyes of his own people. He cannot love this life and its Pepsi Cola because this life is impure and banal, unlike the perfect life of his forebearers and the future life his own people will live again once the Other is destroyed and the old Perfect world is again restored. The mediocrity is nothing in himself, merely one more loser among the many; but if he were to die in a blaze of glory, then it's straight to Heaven for him. There's no aesthetic value to it. It's solipsistic. It's pretty grubby. And yet, our dhimmi intellectual classes lap it up like dogs eating vomit. Why is it that we are the ones suffering from this low-rent pornographic violence and it is our own who parade in favor of it? We are civil.
We've lost touch with our own aesthetic sense of violence, with our own individualistic killers-- outright mad-men-- from Hamlet to Hannibal. And yet we need our violent aesthetic exercised regularly. We cannot act out our own personal violence because we are civil; so we vicariously live through the violence of the stupid, the Islamic killer who is in reality a mediocrity and a brute. Our own killers are today intellectuals who kill, like Alex and Corleone and Hannibal, with elegant style, to the sounds of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, in great good taste at the dining table. On DVD. Those who are real killers, those we surge forward to idolize and idealize, grubby little fascists like Arafat and his dead teen-age minions. We are civil, and we can't allow our own children to die because we don't have enough to spare. We cannot let our own die, but we can admire from afar those who do; and we can say so out loud. We can feast at the cannibal banquet of the soul, as Tatian puts it, without tasting the blood. And if it's our own blood we're drinking to slake our thirst for violence, we can fall into fits of self-righteousness by claiming it's our (meaning your) fault for making others do this to us. We can drink our Pepsi and watch our Telly too.
The violence of the Muslim terrorist is far away, remote from us, an event that only happens on television. We still have our innate violence living below the surface, but we refuse to allow it expression, except when it comes to our own violent actors on screen. We do not allow for our own physical protection from savages in our midsts because we have convinced ourselves that our own violence is invalid, beneath our high civilizational accomplishments, and that those who do resort to violence against us must be driven, not by anything they do, but by our actions against them.
Our portrayals of our own violence are of psychopaths acting alone in aesthetic acts of madness. We have delegitimized our own violence while at the same time we have elevated to heroism the violence of fascists who kill us. We won't fight even for our very lives because we are civilized people who want nothing more than to live our quite lives in peace and to raise up our children to live better than we do. Violence is something that happens to others, done by others. If we commit violent act, they are insane acts. If Others commit violence, it's our fault for creating a small minority of extremists from the Religion of Peace, desperately poor people who don't understand their own religion. If we give them more money they'll leave us alone. Unfortunately, they'll also take our children as well.
Reza, the Iranian troll at jihadwatch, used to love taunting readers with the slogan: "Your grandchildren will be Muslim." Many readers responded with idiot bluster along the lines of "Melt Mecca."
One thing you may be sure of: If the rhetoric is over the top the speaker will be found cowering in the corner.
We in the West have lost our sense of legitimate and aesthetically interesting violence. By aesthetic violence we don't mean that it's stylized and set to music, but that it appeals to ones sense of reason; that there is a sense to it of poetic justice; of dignified and valourous demise; of the beauty of rational leave-taking in the face of self-sacrificing good. One cannot legitimately speak of the good death, of dying well; but one can and must speak of the death that is better than living a bad life, an aesthetic act of presentness, not some invalid and inauthentic escapism for the sake of later in the distant future. The difference between the fascist Grand Gesture and the adult accepting death as a necessity to be met with ones own decorum is the difference between sentimentalized, ritualized garbage removal and the profundity of tragedy. to know and take responsibility for ones death, knowingly and reluctantly, to resit going gently into that good night but accepting it with quiet dignity is the polar opposite of the artificial shenanigans of so-called Islamic martyrdom. To lay down ones life of Pepsi drinking for the sake of Pepsi for others is an act of beauty; while blowing up strangers for the sake of 72 virgins and Ganymedes in paradise is a scandal. We've lost the sense of the beauty of dying for the furtherance of the Good, even if that good is for the right to allow the rest of us to drink Pepsi if one chooses to do so.
For those who are conflicted over acts of violence in the right pursuit of the Good, like Hamlet, and who act anyway, who act to make good the evil that is for the sake of the Good that is, that is the act of the aesthetic hero. To find ones meaning in the group identity of the horde, and to find ones true authenticity in dying for the never to be, that is the act of the fascist mediocrity who hates his permanent mediocrity.
If we are to survive, we must act violently in the face of violence. We must act legitimately to be authentic. Otherwise we are simply puppets acting under the volition of the mob for the sake of the mob, themselves with no identity other than that of the mob.
In our time we will face the enemy, Islam; and one or the other of us will prevail. The bifurcation of Humanity is to great even today to continue without one side or the other dying out permanently. Claim as we will that Islam means peace, it won't save us from the mob. Even if it were true, that Islam is the Religion of Peace, the fact is that the contradiction between our Modernity and the Islamic primitivism is so great that they would turn to violence in a suicidal rage regardless. We might do the same, in which lies our greatest danger, i.e. the loss of our children.
We might, if we refuse to accept the aesthetic option of violence turn to the evil of exterminating our Muslim cousins. We might, if some had their way, "Melt Mecca." More likely, we will lose entirely our civility, and we might quarantine the Islamic world, allowing in nothing till the necessary three weeks go by in which the billion or so Muslims of the world starve to death. We might be so eventually blinded by our rage that we slaughter them in the streets, becoming ourselves like beasts. We might reduce dar al-Islam to a sand diorama. Those scenarios, dear reader, are ugly. We could lose our own children to hatred of us, peace-loving anti-war types that we are today.