Thursday, June 30, 2022

Set in Stone, Molded in Mystery

Outside the town of Elberton, Georgia in the American southeast stands an enigma. Standing stones carved with a modern day attempt to warn the world of its impending peril and give it guidance towards its ultimate redemption.

Four standing stones just shy of 20 feet tall are oriented to the cardinal directions, pinwheel style. A fifth stone stands at the axis, a slot and a hole cut and bored into it at about four feet high. These provide astronomic markers. A single flat slab rests on top of the five.

Inscriptions are carved on the eight sides of the four outside stones in each of these languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.  Each contains ten guidelines. Commandments, if you will. On each of the four sides of the capstone one inscription is written in Babylonian Cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

The Georgia Guidestones.

Every epochal fin de siècle some self-proclaimed prophet decides that he knows what is wrong with the world and what everybody else is supposed to do about it. These are often accompanied by some monument or artifact of stone inscribed with much needed but barely asked for advice.

The ten commandments come to mind, of course. Joseph Smith’s plates (though those were gold, allegedly.) Norse runes. And Hammurabi’s code. To name a few.

They never include things like, “The law must be inscribed on your heart and not in stone,” or “Harm None,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Nor do they say, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Nope. They are always about what everyone else is supposed to be doing. Lectures from the throne of self-righteousness. Platitudes, two for a dollar.

The ten guidelines on the Georgia Guidestones on a dusty hill outside of Elberton, Georgia enlighten us with the following admonitions. My comments are in parentheses.

 

Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature. (Good luck with that.)

Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity. (Hooked on eugenics! Or just the first bene gesserit breeding program?)

Unite humanity with a living new language. (Newspeak? Undo the Tower of Babel? And if it is living, doesn’t that imply change? Goethe would have words to say about that!)

Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason. (All three? Have you read any history books?)

Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts. (No one’s attempted that before.)

Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court. (We tried that. Twice!)

Avoid petty laws and useless officials. (Define petty and useless.)

Balance personal rights with social duties. (While riding a unicycle and chewing gum.)

Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite. (What if the infinite doesn’t seek harmony with you?)

Be not a cancer on the Earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature. (You said that already — You said that already.)

 

The four inscriptions on the edges of the capstone say this one thing in four dead languages:

 

Let these be guidestones to an age of reason.

 

The world never lacks men who know what’s wrong with it, what are the solutions, and what everybody else should do to make it better. The author seems exempt from his own advice.

In this regard women have the advantage. They don’t carve things in stone or pontificate from a high holy hill. That’s a guy thing. Women just distract their world with whatever resources, abilities, and feminine graces they have at their disposal and manipulate things in the background. Delilah, Cleopatra, Boudica, Queen Olga, Queen Maud. Every dowager queen mother who ever stood behind the throne and pulled the strings. Every Lady MacBeth goading on her husband. Women do things by making things happen. By whatever means necessary. Through whatever tool available. Cunt or clenched fist. The breast offered. Or withheld.

These are the hands that rock the cradle of civilization. The powers behind the throne. The whispers on the edge of understanding. Heed, Oh man. You rule at the discretion of your women.

Well done, women. I know I should be impressed but I’m not sure why.

But now we are discussing arrogant men who know what is best for the rest of us and how to make us comply.

Such a one as Mr. R C Christian, pseudonym of a mystery man who walked into a granite quarrying company in Elberton, Georgia, one day in 1979.

R C could stand for Rosy Cross, emblem of the Kabalistic order of the Rosicrucians. Like the Bilderberg Group, the Masons, The Knights Templar, the World Economic Forum bunkered at Davos, Switzerland every year, and every other congress of learned gentlemen before them, these all pretend to have all the answers, if only the common man will listen. And obey. You will own nothing. And you will like it.

Mr. Christian claimed to represent a group of concerned Americans who want to leave ‘guidance’ to humanity. Guidance, laws, Sermons on Mounts, catechisms, eternal commandments, and everlasting laws. And more tablets of stone or clay or obsidian or gold than can fill the British Museum.

“As it is written, so shall it be done,” is the calling card of every prophet, strong man, and messiah ever. This one was to be of granite and would weigh several hundred tons. Try carrying that down a holy mountain.

Men seem to think that carving ephemeral words into dead stone turn them into living things.

I remember the first time I heard that liberal parties are the ones who become fascists. I couldn’t believe it.

“No,” I though. “We are the smart ones. We are the sensitive ones. The sensible ones. Liberals are, well, liberal. We entertain different and unique ideas, tolerate, indeed, celebrate alternate views and odd expressions, arts, theater, dance.

“Different cultures and languages. And encourage the free exchange of ideas. We fight for causes such as voter rights, minority and women’s rights. We are the cultural Silk Road of modernity.”

My cultural education began with the 1964 world’s fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. I remember the pavilions. The global village. Peace through Understanding as symbolized by the Unisphere, that was the slogan of the fair.

And the Ed Sullivan show. He had acts from all over the world. Chinese acrobats. Russian dancing bears. Japanese nine year old violin prodigies. And the little Italian mouse, Topo Gigio.

I was enthralled. “The world is a great and varied place,” I thought. “Full of talent and grace. Altogether different and unique, and altogether human.”

I have considered myself a liberal since the 1960’s.

Then the ugly side raised its head. I remember race riots in my high school, The Norwich Free Academy. I lived through President Johnson’s Great Society. I remember bussing, integration, fully funded and grand scale government programs that were intended to right the wrongs of slavery and Jim Crow laws. We were going to make it all better.

I remember Kent State, Haight Ashbury, college sit-ins. The war protests. I wrote an essay in the seventh grade saying that Astronauts and Cosmonauts should work together for the exploration of space. I could not understand why Russia and the US were competing in something so important when we could be working together. I still don’t.

I remember Richard Nixon appearing alone, sans secret service or armed guards, on the steps of the Washington Memorial and asking protesters, “What do you people want?” “We want to end the war!” the confused protesters replied. “So do I!” he said. It was a surreal time.

What happened? The Great Society went bust, the war petered out and ended with a humiliating evacuation from the rooftop of an embassy in Saigon in 1975. We beat the Russians to the moon and didn’t know what to do then. The hippies got jobs and raised families. Jerry Rubin became a Wall Street stockbroker. And the Cold War set in with a dusty regularity. Inflation picked our pockets and drained our willpower.

And then I started to see it. The slow, creeping encroachment of fascism. 1960’s liberalism died in the 1970’s. A snake grew in its rotting remains. Liberals failed to accomplish all that we wanted, though what we did accomplish was significant. Johnson’s Great Society. Integration. The end of the Viet Nam war. Many great things were attempted. Some succeeded. Some failed. Many just morphed into something nobody could have anticipated. Change is incremental. Outcomes are uncertain. Most died on the vine. The air seeped from the tires of change. We became the mundane. We became the tired past.

In its place arose a faux-liberalism which called itself Politically Correct. That was the golden child of the 1980’s. Being unable to create our Liberal New World, some decided to force it into existence. Instead of reaching out to people one at a time and winning people over with our example, some decided to dictate it. Instead of respecting the ones in our immediate surroundings, some lectured the world. “You will do as I say,” they decided. “And you will be happy.”

Instead of being the change we wanted to see in the world, we decided to change the world into what we wanted to see.

After all. It’s easier to pretend to be something than to actually be that thing. And you can use your spare energy bragging about it.

Next came a laughable construct called the Social Justice Worker. I know, it sounds like a skit on Saturday Night Live or a John Belushi movie. Attack of the Social Justice Workers! How 1950’s. To Serve Man! These were the storm troopers of the Politically Correct gestapo. The Brown Shirts of Hot Topic.

I stood on the sidelines of liberalism during this time as the 1990’s saw the advent of SJW’s. I still believed myself to be a liberal. A 1960’s era liberal, that is. One who believed in communication and holding out my hand to the world out there in respect and understanding. One who looked to dancing bears and acrobats. Child prodigies and cultural exchange.

But I was feeling decidedly uncomfortable around the new Stasi. SJW’s had no real authority. After all, we don’t have Kristallnachts in this country. We don’t have roving bands of self-empowered berserkers on the streets looting, vandalizing, and killing. And we never will, right?

These SJW naïve-inati have no power beyond their own sense of self-importance. Right? They have no power that energizes them like a legitimate government enervates a police force to keep the peace and arrest the wicked. Right? Just some kooks with no center and no focus shooting off in tangents like Roman candles and sparklers on the Fourth of July, brilliant and colorful. And soon extinguished. Just cardboard commandos.

Right?

Then, by the 2000’s there arose a new atrocity: Wokeness. If you were woke, you were a part of a gestalt. A higher consciousness that was above governments, churches, courts and laws, and common sense. You were a god unto yourself, beyond good and evil. And compromise. This was the new epochal fin de siècle. You were part of a hive is what that meant.

Well, I don’t exactly know what it meant. There is no Woke party. No Woke Party Planks constituting the Woke Party Platform. No Woke talking points. No Woke constitution. No Woke Martin Luther King. No Woke Lyndon Johnson. No Woke annual convention to discuss the current issues of the day and what the Woke response should be. No Protocols of Wokeness. No Woke debates. No Woke centrists vs. Woke extremists. No Woke conventions electing Woke candidates. Woke is what Woke does. And what Woke does is destroy. It became a zombified collective unconscious.

“Where have I seen this before?” I began to wonder. “I haven’t changed. I am still the same person I was. The person who asks questions, especially of my own motives. The person who tries to understand other people, even those I might disagree with or even dislike. The skeptic who doesn’t believe anything without criticism. The person who believes in treating others as I wish to be treated. I can talk to anybody who talks to me yet I am no man’s disciple. What happened?”

Woke happened. The New-Jacobins were here.

The Jacobins during the French Revolution were liberals. Basically and grossly over simplified, within the Jacobins were far left liberals, the Montagnards, represented by Robespierre. And a more centrist group, the Girondins, who favored a more representative constitution and opposed the bloodshed and the killing of King Louie XVI.

Oddly enough, some aristocrats agreed with the revolution and approved of a constitutional republic. A few years earlier Rochambeau had marched through Connecticut, a sign marks his trail a few miles from where I lived for most of my life, and joined Washington in the American Revolution. Franklin schmoozed hordes of silk clad aristocrats and secured support for the cause. They were on our side, after all. The side of liberty and human rights. Well, that and sticking it to the British. Should we not embrace those who embrace us, no matter their origin? “Non,” said the extremists. “No,” say the Wokzi zealots today.

The Girondins would have created a constitution that allowed all of France a say in her governance. The Montagnards wanted power all to themselves. “Why should we let those deplorables in the vineyards and pig styes have a say?” they believed. “We’re the right ones. We’re the smart ones. We’re Woke! We know what is best for the majority.” And what was best for the majority was that the minority behead everyone who disagreed with them.

After the Girondins were driven out and beheaded, the Reign of Terror began: Canceling with extreme prejudice. And after the Reign of Terror, they ended like all fascist regimes end. They ate their own. Then they beheaded their own.

The same can be seen in the Russian Revolution in 1917. Tsar Nicholas II had been implementing some reforms, reluctantly and somewhat clumsily. That had been going on for a hundred years in Russia. The Decemberists who wanted reforms after the Napoleonic invasion was repelled in the War of 1812. They saw the plight of Russian peasants and how much worse off they were that the peasants of France. They tried to do something about it. And failed.

Alexander II ended slavery in Russia in 1860 by abolishing serfdom. He was Russia’s Abraham Lincoln. Alexander had actually assisted the American civil war by providing a naval blockade of the east and west coasts, which prevented an English invasion of the Union states. England had sided with the agricultural South, which they needed for cheap cotton. Wars are always about money. And power. And control. Ironically, though unsurprisingly, both men were assassinated. Alexander and Abraham.

But these things take time. Change comes in fits and starts, with excruciating dialog and compromise along the way. You can’t make a good John Wayne movie about compromise.

But the Bolsheviks would have none of it. Liberals don’t want dialog. Talk is for traitors. They already knew it all. They have the answers. They fight for the common man, the hammer of the factory worker and the sickle of the farmer united! Their reforms must be instant and bloody. The Russian Reign of Terror was implemented by Joseph Stalin.

A similar thing played out during the People’s Revolt in China in the 1950’s under Mao. Bands of visceral school children attacked established institutions and killed trusted but flawed public officials. All in the name of Communism, the next new utopia. The next Nowhere.

And we all know about the National Socialists in 1930’s Germany. Woke went stratospheric.

Liberalism always rejects the established order, washing away the graffiti and the greatness. Liberalism always tends towards fascism. Without a governor the engine of change ultimately explodes. I saw that now.

I had not changed. What had?

I think I will create my own stones of wisdom. Or stone. Just one is enough for what I have in mind. Just a small one. One you can hold in the palm of your hand. And on it I will carve something. It will not be an admonition. Not be a platitude. Not a pronouncement nor a commandment. Not the aphorism of a god.

It will be just an observation with the implied message of, “Do with this what you will. You will, anyway.” No matter how much fancy pink, Georgia granite I use or how many obsidian stele or gold plates. On it I will inscribe the following:

 

You become your greatest passion.
If your greatest passion is love, you become what you love.
If your greatest passion is hate, you become what you hate.

 

Choose.

 


 

Addendum.

Two weeks after I visited the Georgia Guidestones, someone placed an explosive device at its base. At 4:03AM on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, an explosion destroyed one of the leaf stones, the one containing the inscription in Swahili and Hindi, and broke apart the cap stone. It was later demolished by bulldozer due to the remainder of the monument being unstable.

 

The Guidestones and their inscriptions have been criticized for being racist, which they surely are, and expressing a call to genocide, arguably so. Someone or some group took it upon themselves to censor this message. Yet one more expression of, “I know what’s best and I am allowed to force it on you.”

 

In the 1990’s, the City of Moscow took several Soviet era monuments and moved them to the Art Muzeon Park east of the Moscow River, across from the Kremlin and just above Gorky Park. It is also known as the Park of the Fallen Heroes.

 

Here, these monuments were preserved, some already vandalized by hurtling bricks and stones thrown during the fall of the Soviet Union. One had a couple of carnations lying in the snow before it when I visited in January of 2020. Someone in Moscow wished to remember Leonid Brezhnev with honor, it seems.

 

The Moscow City Council did not want to keep these monuments within the city where they might be misconstrued as being worthy of honor, nor did they want to remove them as if history can be erased or cancelled with a bulldozer or a bomb. Or a brick or a rock. Instead, they preserved them in a place where visitors could view them and decide for themselves what they mean. Here it is. Make of it what you will. You will anyway, so what’s the difference?

 

Each fallen monument bears a plaque describing what it is and includes the following message:

 

By the decree of the Moscow City Council of People Representatives of October 24, 1991, the monument was dismantled and placed in the MUSEON Arts Park exposition.

This work is historically and culturally significant, being the memorial construction of the soviet era, on the themes of politics and ideology.

 


 

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