Massacre of the Innocents, Rubens
My Christmas Wishes Against the US Empire
Mark Pickles, the Church of England
“Within humanity there is planted the organism of the Church to be the channel and vehicle of the life of the Kingdom, until at last the Church includes mankind, and all nations, coming into the Church, make Christendom [sic] co-extensive with the world, when at last the Kingdom of God will be come.”
Mens Creatrix, William Temple, 1916.
William Temple was Archbishop of Canterbury for 2 years until his premature death in 1944. He was politically very influential and was largely responsible for the great political shifts in Britain after the War: the Welfare State, the National Health Service, the ecumenical movement, and paid holidays for all workers. Apart from being politically astute, and vocal in the House of Lords, he was a great theological philosopher (whom I often quote) and was in my view the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury we have ever had. Temple’s critics today, most vocally the military historian and crusty old Tory Sir Correlli Barnet CBE (“Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”), blame Temple, and the British Christianity of his period, for Britain’s decline from ‘greatness’ and its will to be the predominant world power
I profoundly believe that what our world most needs is the collapse of the American Empire. And I think that President elect Donald Trump might be the right man for the job.
I think we might be witnessing the divine last laugh that will bring down the topless towers of American hubris, and heal the world: a world that, for the first time in the history of the world, has the capacity, knowledge and wisdom (and technology) within the body of mankind to release the “organism” of the “life of the Kingdom” that was planted there about 2000 years ago.
Merry Christmas, Ho, Ho, Ho!
Of course, the “great light to all nations” 2000 years ago inevitably brought a great darkness. A great light casts deep shadows which equally “cover the Earth”.
In fact the Nativity story itself is as dark as it gets. King Herod, the Roman client king of Judea, indiscriminately sets his army on the “Innocents”, massacring babies and children. But thanks to supernatural protection, the refugee family of Jesus escapes to Egypt, and the baby Jesus comes out of it unscathed.
Fast forward to the advent of Christianity, and then the advent of Christian imperialism, and our historical records show us that few Christian leaders have been any better than King Herod. In fact in our times they seem to be much worse.
Take Tony Blair for instance, who wears his Christianity on his sleeve. In his reign he was effectively US client king of Britain, which in 2003 helped the Christian USA to indiscriminately massacre about 1 million human beings in Iraq. These people were, in the main, civilians, often pulverised in their own home or place of work: children, doctors, nurses, accountants, museum curators, market-stall holders, builders, managers, shop-floor workers, farmers, fishermen, miners, scientists, engineers, architects, religious leaders, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and Christians (there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world), etc. Many of those who survived, and are now having to flee from Islamicist terrorism, still have no homes, and are orphaned children. They are all people, like you and me, and like Jesus the Christ, indeed especially like Jesus, whose race, like the Iraqis, was Semitic.
Jesus, the Messiah, knew all this of course, and that many of his followers would deceive themselves that the old ways were better and more pragmatic, and that the old ways more obviously and immediately produced results than the new ways: the new covenant.
Love and forgiveness, and relinquishing temptations to revenge and temporal power and status, are hard things to do. Violence on the other hand is easy, especially if you are safely ensconced behind a desk in Washington or Westminster. The ways of hell are easy, and easy to understand, and require no dependence or trust in God. The ways of paradise are hard, and hard to understand, and they require much dependence and trust in God.
Jesus forgave his executioners, and the Roman Empire, rather than ask his followers to fight the Roman Empire. Of course, the majority of the Jews were not convinced by Jesus’ claims to be the Jewish Messiah. Some of the messianic pretenders to follow Jesus were more convincing, and convinced the Jews to war against Rome. We cannot blame them. This after all is what the long-awaited “Messiah” had long been expected to do. The three Jewish-Roman wars between AD 66 and AD 136 were messianic wars, particularly the third, led by the charismatic and messianic pretender Bar Kokhba.
Jesus knew that few of his followers would actually trust God, or if they did, would fall at the first hurdle. His very own Apostles ultimately deserted him after all (apart from Our Lady and Mary Magdalene and “the Beloved Disciple”). And he consistently said he was bringing with him not an age of Peace, but the age of the Sword: not Unity, but Division, but to “be not troubled”: in the context of Eternity it doesn’t much matter: there will be justice for all: in the meantime, become good in character rather than evil in character. “Do good”, “forgive all”, “forgive your enemy”, “do not kill”, “be as wise a serpent harmless as a dove”, avoid temptations to take your “reward already”… And take care of the “little ones” and the oppressed, because that is where I will be: with the oppressed, cold, naked, thirsty and homeless… Jesus did not promise that the good times would be imminent: the sun would continue to shine equally on good men and on evil men, the rain would continue to fall on the just and the unjust.
You, my reader, know the script, I’m sure. And seeing as it’s Christmas, let’s look up to the heavens and remember the cosmological dimension. We can hardly detach the Christ child from the starry heavens after all !
Setting the Christmas Scene:
A Great Light brings Deep Shadows
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Isaiah
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John
Yes, the Christ or the “Wisdom” or the “Son” or the “Light” (these words are all synonymous in Scripture) of God is in us, as a singular centre, just as, we might say, the very moment of the Big Bang of Creation is in us: what the cosmologists of our day call “singularity”.
As I see it, the Christmas story is the “Big Crunch” inside the mind and soul of mankind, bringing us ‘back’, through the painful dialectic of history, to the One centre, and, importantly, to know the One centre. This is why, I think, we need the journey, personal and collective, national and international, of history. After all, without memory, personal and collective, there is no consciousness.
Innocence, if we are unconscious, is easy. Innocence if we are fully conscious and self-conscious requires a lot of experience, growth, wisdom and knowledge. And I would say that the more intelligent and talented we are, the harder the authentic journey home, and the harder it is to avoid temptations to use one’s talents purely for selfish gain. Or as Jesus said according to Luke: “to whom much is given, much is expected”.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
from the Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
However you look at it, whether you are an atheist or a theist, the Cosmos was innately conscious from the beginning (just an oak tree is innate in an acorn, and a human being in a fertilised ovum).
Earth (“Adama” in Hebrew) was innately conscious, we are bound to say, because we, man (“Adam” in Hebrew), the dust of the Earth, are conscious. And uniquely (I think) in the animal kingdom we are self-conscious, and conscious of good and evil, and of the whole cosmos, and its hypothetical beginnings (“Big Bang”).
God the King is at the still centre of us all, and the centre of the “collective unconscious” of mankind (if you accept, as I do, C.G. Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious). And we are called to come to know God who has entered us, light and shadow, Dove and Serpent.
On Earth, at the end of the “Aion”, Jesus insisted, it will all come good. He didn’t say how long the Aion would be, and the records suggest he didn’t know (and told us not to guess). However, he did say, consistently, there would be God’s justice for all.
We must not confuse Christ’s teaching of God’s justice with that of Christian American Presidents and British Prime Ministers, who, in the name of Christianity, say “justice will be done”, and then amass guns and bombs, and aircraft (manned or unmanned) from which to drop those bombs, to effect their self-righteous and perverted ideas of justice, all the more scandalous when sanctioned by some (but by no means all) of the bishops of the Church of England.
Yes. Justice will be done. If this were not the case, if there were no justice, if everything were contingent and open-ended, there would be no point to anything, or at least no point that would interest me, and make me passionate about anything that involved solidarity with mankind.
As much as I disagree with almost everything the Buddhists teach, I accept their point that making a change that appears to be for the better will inevitably lead to another change, perhaps into something much worse than before the first change was made (and so the Buddhist decides to negate his desires for change, or for anything in fact). The Christian schema is very different. In the Christian schema (and Jewish and Islamic too), justice will be done. We don’t need worry about a seemingly endless cycle of changes, because we don’t believe in an endless cycle of changes. Time might well have cycles, but it has linearity too. God can and does make definitive changes (or “judgements” if you prefer). The first Christmas was one of these definitive changes.
Christians are called always to work for good changes, regardless of the fact that the good work can be quickly undone, or negated, or bombed. No act of kindness and compassion is wasted, even if often it seems to be the case that it is wasted. In some mysterious way, every good thing is not wasted: “whatever you bind up on Earth will be bound in Heaven”, and all that.
Justice will be done. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be using my time to write this article, or wasting my time with Christianity, rather I would do what the majority of my coevals in England seem to do: spend my life seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, and trusting the politicians and the democracy to sort the rest out.
If the torturer becomes fat and happy, and the tortured is forsaken, and his or her screams are unheard or ignored by God, there is no point to Christianity, and we might as well all aspire to be like King Herod, or Pontius Pilate, or Tony Blair, or George W Bush or Barack Obama, Cameron, Osborne, May or Donald Trump or all the other Fat Cows of Bashan.
[To be fair to Trump, he hasn’t yet, as far as I know, ordered the assassination of people or peoples in the name of God. Yes, he is a racist and islamophobic bigot, with whom I could never shake hands, but so it seems are most white Americans (he got his democratic mandate from somewhere, obviously). There is nothing un-American about Trump, obviously. He has used his celebrity to flatter women into letting him “grab their pussy”, but so, it turns out, have male celebrities in Britain and the BBC, and this kind of thing pales into insignificance when we look at what Bush and Blair have done.]
Down with Empire.
Long live the Kingdom Come on Earth.
I believe, and I hope and pray, that the American Empire will be the last empire to dominate the world. In the final analysis, there is no empire: no nation that dominates the world with, at its head, a caesar, kaiser, fuhrer, king, president… In the end, as the nations come into their destiny, God, only, is King, and “all the world will know” this, as the Jewish prophets consistently told us. There is only one crown, one centre, and that is the Christ. Even the Muslims, it surprises many Christians to know, accept a “second coming” of Jesus at the end of history (and it also surprises many Christians to learn that there are more references to the Virgin Birth of Jesus to Mary in the Quran than there are in the Gospels combined).
But what is the Second Coming?
On what the Christ, Alpha and Omega, actually is, at the end of the Aion, you are unlikely to find two thinking Christians who can agree. My belief, with thinkers such as Hegel, Jung, and Teilhard de Chardin, is that the Parousia (which is better translated as “the Arrival” rather than the “Second Coming”) is mankind’s arriving into God. After all, we, mankind, are now Christ. As Jesus symbolically told us to remember him at the Last Supper, and as Paul taught, we are now the body of Christ on Earth. And Christ is in our minds (and in Paul’s letter to the Philippians we read that we are expected to become like-minded to Christ, no less).
In the end, there is no room, and no need, in the Christian schema for an empire. “All things are brought to one head”, and that one head, I think we can safely say, is not Donald Trump.
I think that empires have been a necessary evil in history. And it seems that Jesus recognised this. Empire is the other side of the coin, and Jesus used a coin, with its portrait of Caesar, to make the point.
Whatever we make today of Pax Romana, without the freedom of movement across Europe made possible by the Roman Empire, it is hard to imagine how Christianity, transmitted by the Apostles, could have spread West as quickly as it did. Even without the Internet, telephones, radios, newspapers (and even very little writing material, and very few people who could write) the early Christians and martyrs could almost immediately begin to spread the Good News, thanks to the Roman roads, ports and protected routes of communication.
The USA: The Empire that says and thinks it’s not an Empire
Since the War, the USA has attempted, often successfully, to overthrow about 50 foreign governments, some of whom were democratically elected, in order to impose its client kings. It has to said that Britain has often been implicated in these projects, not least the military coup of Iran in 1953, orchestrated by the US and the UK, following an officially-sanctioned Anglo-American campaign of “dark propaganda” (false news), to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister to impose a puppet monarchy: a client king for “British Petroleum” in Iran.
Of course, the USA never calls itself an empire. This was strategic marketing, set out by Edward Bernays (an atheistic nephew of Sigmund Freud who emigrated to the USA, and was the author of “Propaganda”, a psychological science, known to be the favourite work of the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels). Bernays, “the father of public relations”, persuaded the American leadership that there should be an “invisible government” behind the elected politicians, composed of the CIA, the military, the corporations, the media, and the banks.
In the inter-War years, Bernays, with President Calvin Coolidge, came up with the political system called “Consumerism” (originally called “Coolidge-Consumerism”) which now dominates the West and beyond. Bernays persuaded the media that its two key roles were:
- To stoke up greed and envy in the people to ensure their materialistic “consumer” desires are never sated, and
- To ensure the people never vote for someone outside the “invisible government”.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country [USA]. …We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organised. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”
Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928
By turning people into self-identifying “consumers”, the empire did not need to assert itself as an empire. All it had to do was to focus the people’s attention on consuming, and convince them their leaders’ main concern is consumerism. No-one who thinks he is a “consumer”, after all, will ever vote for someone (such as me, or my colleagues in the Green Party) who is anti-Consumer-ism, and anti-Capital-ism.
The First truly Global Empire
The American Empire is certainly the most extensive empire in history, perhaps the first empire we can truly call a world-dominant empire, with everyday influence on the majority of citizens of the planet. It has about a thousand overseas military bases, including here in Britain (and Britain’s American Trident nuclear system is how British governments purchase their status of “special relationship” with the US Empire).
The British and French empires the USA replaced were very extensive, but the fact that both existed, and pursued different things, means that neither can be seen as a world-dominating empire. Admittedly, the British and French were often in cahoots in their final decades of their greatest period of power, even in French “Indo-China”, and particularly in the Arab world, not least through the notorious Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, which set the scene for the Western-induced “geo-political” conflicts from which the world has yet to recover. Sometimes the British and French were at war with one another, and in their subject nations they did different things, and introduced different economic and political codes, and imposed their own language. And so we cannot say that either the British or French empires were truly world- domineering empires.
I hope and pray that the American people are the last grouping of people (national or political or religious) in history who feel the need or desire to rule the word or make it conform to a distorted or diminished vision of the world. As noted, no man can be king, Caesar or president of the world, rather the world comes to know that God, and only God, is the King of the world. At this point, to use a common Biblical metaphor, all nations are held in their great diversity as birds in a great olive tree, whose branches shelter the whole world, and in which the strong nations are “rebuked” and cut down to size.
I hope that Americanism, and its propaganda, collapse as rapidly as Communism and its propaganda did with the fall of the Berlin Wall. This will be good for the world. And this will be good for the USA itself, including the many Americans who are imprisoned by their hubris and materialism, and the many Americans imprisoned in their Christian fundamentalism, and the many Americans who are, literally, in prison.
[The “land of the free” has 25% of the world’s prison population, despite USA’s comprising only 5% of the world population. The prison population is predominantly black, and the prisons are run as for-profit enterprises by American corporations: prisoners are full-time employees working for $1.30 per day, and on this salary they need to pay for necessities such as shoes, medicine and phone calls: they invariably leave prison in debt, and are thrown back in prison for recidivism and/or default on debt. This is, of course, Slavery (cf. “The Prison State of America”, by American journalist Chris Hedges). And of course, as in every nation, there are inevitably people in prison due to false convictions. In the USA there are a “staggering number” of false convictions (cf. http://www.innocenceproject.org). And the US Empire can get its lawyers to legalise torture and capital punishment and assassination for anything un-American, just as the Roman Empire legalised the same for anyone who was deemed to be anti-Caesar.]
And, call me a hopeless dreamer, but I hope for, and work for, peace on Earth, or let us say “Kingdom come on Earth”. I hope for happiness for all those of us who cannot be happy until the world gets its priorities right: stops warmongering and begins peace-making, beats swords into ploughshares, begins healing and re-greening our dying planet (atmosphere, land and sea… birds, animals, fish…), and stops neglecting all who thirst for safe water, or who are malnourished or even starving to death, or who are dying from diarrhoea.
[Scandalously, diarrhoea is the world’s biggest child killer (of under 5s) caused by lack of access to potable water and a little salt, often in countries such as India where American sugary-fizzy-drinks companies, with powerful pumps or water mining, dehydrate rural communities, using up to 5 litres of potable water to produce 1 litre of junk food in the name of the “Economy”. The government of India does not seem to care. It likes “inward investment” from US junk-food companies to raise money to buy weapons from, mainly, the USA and France. India, the poorest country in the world, is the world’s biggest import customer for weapons of mass destruction. However, people and popular “anti Coke” movements in India are beginning to have their say, and in places of severe water shortage, or pollution from unregulated junk-food factories, the Indian government is being forced to respond.]
The American Empire is ostensibly Christian (as was the British Empire). The USA’s official motto is, “In God we Trust”. Donald Trump says and thinks he’s Christian. The problem is of course, Trump and Pence (especially Pence) associate the Christ with a kind of American caricature of “Cheesus”, no better satirised than in the song and video by Phil Collins called, “Jesus he knows me”.
Followers of Cheesus often have wide Evangelical grins, and wrap themselves in Stars-and-Stripes, and tell us how much they love Capitalism and bombs and Israel, and their reasons for demonising Islam. For Trump and Pence, the Christ is very like Captain America, and nothing at all like the historical brown Arab we English speakers refer to with the anglicised name, “Jesus of Nazareth”.
Trump is unlikely to know that there is nothing in the teachings of the Christ that encourages the building of a Christian empire, be it Roman, Holy Roman, Portuguese, Spanish, French, British or American. On the contrary, as noted, although Jesus (and later, Paul) seemed to accept that empires of his day were a necessary evil, those who wanted to follow him had much more important work to do than empire building. (Just to confuse things, there is nothing in the records to suggest that Jesus implied that all people in all empires were necessarily bad. In fact, according to accounts of Matthew and Luke, Jesus said he had never seen greater faith than in the Roman centurion, whose servant Jesus healed.)
Down with the British and French Empires
Britain and France still have empires. The remaining territories (what the British call “the pink bits” and the French call the DOM-TOMs) though are rather small, and no-one in the mother countries takes much interest in them, apart from tourists attracted to paradisiacal islands in the Sun, such as the French Isle de La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, or Martinique in the Caribbean, and apart from rich British and rich French people seeking safe tax havens that are reassuringly still under the administration of Britain and France.
In Britain, no-one today apart from a few crusty old Tories – and their friends the tax evaders – takes interest, or belief, in the British Empire. In Britain, it seems to me, most people are not really interested in Northern Ireland or the Falklands Islands, and most of us feel that the Ulstermen should accept their land belongs to Ireland, and the Falklanders that their island belongs to Argentina. In fact, the only places in the British Empire where you are likely to encounter enthusiastic imperialists are places like Northern Ireland and the Falklands. They think we should care about imperialism, and their Britishness and our Britishness, and that we should fly the Union Jack in out front gardens and have a portrait of the Queen hanging in our living rooms, but, frankly, we don’t (apart from the crusty old Tories, and perhaps their friends to the right of them, such as UKIP and BNP).
And whereas you will find much less than one in a hundred Brits who know there was a British king in the 17th century called King William III, of the House of Orange, obsessively Protestant who warred against anything Roman Catholic (including the King of France), the Ulstermen think King William III was the fulcrum of the emergent British Empire. They spend a few weeks of every summer (in “Marching Season”), parading up and down the streets for “King Billy” whilst banging drums and wearing bowler hats and orange sashes, thinking this is an expression of their Britishness.
In other words, apart from the bowler-hatted or ostrich-feathered cranks of the world, self-identification with empire and imperialism is neither fashionable nor interesting. And most thinking people in Britain and France today look back at our empires with an overwhelming sense of shame, and have done since the Second World War. The French still have some pride for Emperor Napoleon, and the British for Queen Victoria, Empress of India (and George VI, King and Emperor) but when the USA came to be the most dominant power in the world, the words “Emperor” and “Empire” were becoming unfashionable and gaining all kinds of negative connotations. Also, the idea of unquestioning loyalty to a republican Übermensch – a kind of super-man who had “struggled” to the top of the nation through his own merits – went out of fashion as quickly as it had come in. Mussolini and Hitler were now dead, and Fascist Spain and Portugal were hardly good advertisements for the new political model of submission to the Übermensch.
After the War, the British no longer had the resources to maintain their militarily-enforced empire, and, one by one, as the subject nations declared self-determination, the British government and people lost the will to war for the imperialistic ideal, and had to find ways to hand over power, and to decide to whom to hand over power (sometimes dividing nations with “partitions”, which led to civil wars and many millions of deaths, and are still being fought over today).
The World is now more Imperialistic than ever
We must not be fooled into thinking that, with the decline of the British and French empires we have seen the decline of Empire. The USA simply grabbed power wherever the British and French let it go. And then the rise of Communism gave them the pretext to take power from any government, anywhere in the world, that was left wing and un-American. In South American nations in particularly, Edward Bernays, working with the CIA and the military, convinced the people of the USA that War is Peace, and that they must intervene in South America to “keep America safe”, and to protect the huge American vested interests in fresh-fruit crops.
This was no different to the British military action (supported by the USA) against China in the “Opium Wars” to protect Britain’s trade in opium, until eventually it was declared an illegal recreational drug. Where the Yanks could not be convinced that South American governments were Communist, the Yanks could be convinced that the USA needed to intervene, and overthrow governments, to stop the world trade in recreational drugs.
When the British and French decided to leave Vietnam, and the USA went in, they essentially did what the British and French had been doing for centuries, but with a different kind of marketing. The USA effected the genocide of 3 million Vietnamese and Cambodians not as an Empire, but as “liberal democracy”.
The USA came to sense that the world needed the USA, and through its media and marketing dominance, convinced the world that the world needed the USA.
How will the US Empire Collapse?
The collapse cannot come about through lack of funds: the USA has power over world funds (such as the World Bank and IMF operating out of Washington) and skews the rules of funds in its own favour.
And the collapse cannot come about through lack of military might: the USA spends more than the other top-ten military-spending nations combined, and, as noted, has military presence in most of the nations of the world.
And the collapse cannot come about through Anti-American media, because the USA owns most of the world’s media and means of propaganda: this is why, in every nation, at least 50% of the “News” is news about the USA. Here in the UK, we never hear news about Japan, or Malaya, or Canada, or Gambia … etc (unless there is a calamity of biblical proportions, such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2010, which is the last time the BBC, which is fed by the US news agencies, bothered to report news from Japan).
No, this collapse will come about, I think, because despite the power of the mass media, Trump’s USA will lose all the credibility – that it never should have had in the first place – to hold the moral high ground. Once the Yanks fail to continue to convince the world that Project USA is “Good”, everything will become impossible for them. Everywhere, people, and nations, will resist.
No empire has ever survived long through military power alone. It requires cooperation of the masses, and client kings heading up its subject nations.
This is why I made no secret of the fact that I wanted Trump to win the election. He is no more or less evil than Hillary Clinton, but Clinton would have been well protected by American marketing, whereas Trump is the first President Elect since Calvin Coolidge to come from outside the Bernaysian “Invisible Government” and conventional marketing system.
Trump – A new kind of evil
Trump is a new kind of evil, whose hubris is so extreme he is incapable of disguising what he is. Clinton, like Obama, would have given us the same old evil: smiling Big Brother, or Big Sister, talking peace and liberty whilst warmongering behind the scenes. Obama, we know, has “Terror Tuesdays” in which he meets to decide the week’s “kill list”: targets for his drone bombs (based on profiles and photographs of the anti-American suspect). (According to a recent report in the Guardian, for every individual targeted by a drone, around 30 anonymous people in the proximity are also murdered. How can this man, Obama, live with himself, and smile self-righteously, knowing, week in week out, he is murdering people to keep his military establishment happy?)
Hilary Clinton, a “hawk”, which is a euphemism for what Leo Tolstoy called a “desk murderer”, led the USA into Libya. Libya was the richest country in Africa, with a good health service and good standard of higher education, but Gadaffi had plans to take Libya and its oil out of the Petrodollar, and create an African bank, linking African oil to gold rather than the dollar. This was obviously incompatible with the goals of the US Empire.
In Libya, a third of the 9,700 Nato “strike sorties” in 2011 were against civilian targets. As the Norwegian writer and historian Hanne Nabintu Herland tells us, the USA were ordering her nation’s pilots to “bomb anything that looks valuable”. The Libyan cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. Unicef and the Red Cross report what was essentially the mass murder of children, incinerated in their homes, most of whom, later discovered in mass graves, were under 10. We cannot just blame the USA here of course. The governments of Britain and France proudly led the initiative, it has to be said, as if to try to re-live their imperial “greatness”.
My point is here is that it would be absurd to think that Clinton is a lesser evil. Had she been elected, she would simply have been a better disguised evil.
Those familiar with my writing will know that I am politically Green, and Christian (Church of England). And I did my best to persuade my American friends to vote Dr Jill Stein, US Green Party. (Jill Stein, a medical doctor by profession, is a wonderful and courageous woman, with a healing vision for her nation. But in the USA, unlike in Europe, the Greens are suppressed and oppressed by the authorities and the media, to ensure they cannot meaningfully participate in American “democracy”. In fact Dr. Stein was arrested by the police, and handcuffed to a chair for a whole day, because, as presidential candidate, she turned up at a “Presidential Debate” at a New York university, claiming her right to participate.)
Trump, if God allows Trump to have his way, would be a disaster for Earth, which has already suffered man-made disaster after disaster in the past two or three generations. Trump is of course a climate-change denier, i.e. denying to himself that the activities of mankind are having any effects on the atmosphere, and the role of the atmosphere in the climate and temperature of Earth.
Apart from fossil fuels, our machines are literally ripping the planet to death, in the pursuit of fabricating synthetic and superficial objects and junk food. A report by the London Zoological Society published in September 2014 tells us that populations of wildlife have halved in the past 40 years. Populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have fallen by 52%. And every year more and more species become extinct. And according to the United Nations, 93 percent of all plant variety has disappeared over the last 80 years. Industrial agriculture is the biggest contributor to biodiversity erosion, as well as to climate change. We are killing the planet.
We depend on God now to keep His covenant and not allow the total destruction of Earth. And perhaps Trump is God’s way of, ironically, bringing about the change. After all, we read the “exalted will be humbled, and the humble exalted”.
Trump, and his hubris and stupidity, will help the world to learn about the hubris and stupidity of imperialism in general. And it will help to world to challenge certain presuppositions that are long overdue for challenging.
Concept “USA” depends on certain presuppositions, all of which are false and tautological. These are:
- Democracy is Good;
- Those who are democratically elected are supremely qualified to make and enforce the Law;
- The Law is Good (or even, “the Law is King” according to Thomas Paine in “Common Sense”, the pamphlet which fuelled the call to revolutionary war against Britain and King George III);
- The Democracy and Law of the USA are the most advanced in the world;
- “Freedom” is democracy;
- The President of the USA is the “leader of the Free world”. Therefore, nothing that he (or she) instructs his nation to do can be meaningfully deemed to be against the law (by lesser bodies such as other nations, the UN, the Roman Catholic Church, and international war crimes tribunals). The USA has the right to impose “liberal democracy” by military means on any nation where un-American democracy doesn’t exist. (I suppose the ideology is that every nation needs a mechanism that allows its Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to rise to the top.)
In 2017, as people watch Donald Trump take the imperial crown, they will question all the presuppositions above. They will ask themselves, “is the USA, and everything its empire stands for, Good?” And I am hoping they will answer to themselves, “No, only God is Good”.
I will give the last word to an American friend: a well-respected scholar and translator of the Old Testament, and theologian and pastor, who told me in a written exchange of ideas:
“Brother Mark . . . The American Empire is one of the most destructive forces in the world today, and I have no wish to defend the follies that now pass for public policy or world diplomacy. We imprison a greater percentage of our population than any industrialized society, and we destabilize nation after nation, driving entire regions into anarchy and disaster. All in the name of “freedom” and “justice”.
“Here, upon these American shores, every problem is now a political problem, to be solved politically, by an almighty polis—a state that happens to be bankrupt of moral capital. I am in dissent, and have been for most of my adult life.”
Dr. Byron G. Curtis, Pennsylvania, April 2015
O Come, all ye Faithful