Learning to Embrace Decay

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Learning to Embrace Decay
by C. L. Cook             
Odd, at the height of summer, to consider the inevitable decay of autumn, but watching the blooms and dry arbutus leaves fall in the garden today I felt a moment of seasonal depression. Maybe it’s just the signs of the times catching up to me
I’ve always held a morbid fascination for the 1930’s; its economic crash, dust bowls, and the rise of fascism. I suppose it was naïve to believe I would never get the chance to see its revival.

“In the Spring there will be growth in the garden.”

                            - Chauncey Gardener

Reading the history, that ultimate exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking, any fool could see, the disastrous policy straws the politicians and pundits of that dirty decade grasped at to find their way out of the morass guaranteed the birth of monsters beyond imagining. But, to be charitable to those long gone wonks, they hadn’t the benefit of historical precedent when they made their awful decisions. We can’t make the same claim.

What had seemed an endless summer of economic and social progress following the Second World War is now crashing to earth faster than a stockbroker from a skyscraper. And, the powers that be, those “others”, a-flounder in the deep end of capitalism’s cyclical tsunami, are again reaching for the straw man salvation of crypto-fascism.
From the Terror War, a concept pioneered by Hitler, and the fiscal barbarity practiced by Gordon Campbell, (doomed policies, it turns out, plagiarized directly from that same benighted era), to farm failures and the revocation of fiscal controls on capital flows and industry, the sense of mechanical repetition transcends déjà vu. And all this without the excuse of ignorance.

It makes one wonder: “Does history matter in the face of a systemic death wish?”         

We’ve all seen the fruits of the totalitarian state. Who, of sound mind and conscience, would want to repeat the horrors of the Gulags and Final Solutions of the past? But recent revelations of plans for vast concentration camps for American Muslims, and presumably others ‘out of tune’ with the current realities, and savaging of constitutional rights is pointing us down a road travelled before.

Which begs the question: “Is this a moment of collective amnesia, or simply the inevitable terminal stage of western civilization?”

A quick study of the history of what we call ‘human civilization’ reveals patterns of rise and fall, ebb and flow; the great flowering of culture, ideas, and ideals inexorably followed by the cruel usurpation of egalitarian principles by elites controlling political, economic, and military power; and then, the Fall.
You don’t have to be a Gibbons’ scholar to see the similarities between imperial Rome and the current American Nepotocracy, or surmise where it’s leading.

There’s a promise of war in the autumn. The legions of America and her faithful allies will, if punditry be true, crusade to the next most brutalized country, after battered Afghanistan, and eject the infidels of Iraq. George W. Bush, like Caesar before him, is busy replacing the republic and no doubt dreams nightly of his laurelled visage beaming at the head of a tickertape parade. The great Pretender will preside clueless over the end of the democratic experiment, and his fascist winter interlude will unknowingly play harbinger to the next world order.

And, the thought of that Spring’s possibilities is worth planting for.    

Chris Cook hosts CFUV’s Gorilla Radio,
broad/webcast from the University of Victoria

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