It’s not funny when a politician with “unusual beliefs” is elected. Unfortunately, there are too many crazies (cra-cra’s) in office today. It’s even less funny when some of them are running for President of the United States.
Wild man’s world is crying in pain
What you gonna do when everybody’s insane
So afraid of fortune, so afraid of you
What you gonna do?
Crazy on you, let me go crazy on you
“Crazy On You” performed by Heart.
Writer(s): Ann Wilson, Roger Fisher, Nancy Wilson
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, Strange Euphoria Music
One of my favorite readings about politics is Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style In American Politics”. What Hofstadter wrote in 1964 is very applicable in describing today’s politics.
American politics has often been an arena for angry minds: In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right wingers,who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.
In using the expression “paranoid style” I am not speaking in a clinical sense, but borrowing a clinical term for other purposes. I have neither the competence nor the desire to classify any figures of the past or present as certifiable lunatics. In fact, the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.
Throughout this article, Hofstadter goes on to discuss some of these “more or less normal people”.
Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, before he became a wise old statesman and before “in your heart you knew he was right”, used this commercial in his 1964 campaign for the Presidency.
In response to Goldwater’s attack ads, President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran the infamous “Daisy” ad.
20/20 hindsight is wonderful. It’s easy to call these commercials over-the-top and crazy now, but 50 years ago, during the height of the Cold War, they were representative of the fear and paranoia of the times. Hofstadter goes on to discuss the king of the cra-cra at that time, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his hearings about communists infiltrating CIA and the rest of the federal government.
Here is Senator McCarthy, speaking in June 1951 about the parlous situation of the United States:
How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men:’ … What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence …. The laws of probability would dictate that part of … [the] decisions would serve the country’s interest.
Not all whackball politicians are Republicans or right-wing nut jobs (RWNJ). One of my favorite cra-cras is perennial Democratic Presidential candidate, Lyndon LaRouche. In 1996, he gave this speech about how the US and world governments are bankrupt and must be put into receivership, or else, they will go out of business.
In this campaign video, LaRouche claims Former Vice President and then Democratic Presidential candidate, Walter Mondale is a KGB agent and is owned by the Socialist International and the “Grain Cartel”.
In 2013, LaRouche was interviewed by the cra-caraziest of comspiratorial crazies, Alex Jones, about the policies of rapid population reduction. One such policy, developed by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and Russian military, involves asteroids crashing into Earth. “The United States is finished”. This is from the self-proclaimed “Architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative” (SDI).
But my favorite of all of LaRouche’s conspiracy theories is the international campaign to lower the pitch of High C to cause world disorder. That’s correct, the international campaign to lower the pitch of High C to cause world disorder. And there are entities like “The Schiller Institute” to promulgate this idea:
On April 9, 1988 at a conference on “Music and Classical Aesthetics” sponsored by the Schiller Institute at the Casa Verdi in Milan, Italy, a worldwide campaign was launched to restore the lower tuning pitch of the classical composers from Bach through Verdi, a pitch based on a Middle C of 256 Hz, which in turn is grounded in the physical laws of our universe.
This campaign had been originally inspired by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., whose collaborators uncovered the historical evidence that Giuseppe Verdi, Italy’s great composer and nation-builder, had successfully battled to impose a diapason of A=432 (A at 432), based on Middle C=256, (C at 256) as the official tuning of the Italian armed forces in 1884.
The Milan conference heard presentations, among others, from Prof. Bruno Barosi of the Cremona International Institute of Violinmaking, Dr. Jonathan Tennenbaum on the astrophysical basis of the C = 256 tuning, and soprano Renata Tebaldi on the absolute necessity to reverse the tendency toward raising the pitch in performance, in order to save the voices of today’s and tomorrow’s singers. World-famous Verdi baritone Piero Cappuccilli demonstrated the difference between the Verdi tuning and today’s higher pitch by singing two Verdi arias in the two tunings.
In the months following the conference, the movement to return to “Verdi’s A” has rapidly gained momentum, and in July, at a press conference in Rome, Senators of the Republic Boggio and Mezzapesa announced they were introducing a law into the Italian Senate to make A=432 the mandatory pitch for all state-subsidized performances and teaching institutions.
If you think that is the absolute insanity, there is this excellent playing of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 by the “Larouche Group Movement”. What’s crazy is the explanation of how this orchestra came to be.
This studio recording, which we now present to you, should be seen as a demonstration of what a group of passionate young people, most of them without any prior musical education, are able to achieve when the pursuit of happiness and commitment to creating a better future, become greater than the common pessimistic small-mindedness. Take this as an example of what the next generations have the potential to create, if they are given the means to do so. And in that case, this will signify the first steps toward a new Classical Renaissance for Mankind!
It should also be mentioned that throughout history, Beethoven’s 9th symphony has at times been misused for political purposes. The latest in this series of perversions is Herbert von Karajan’s reductionist arrangement, currently used by the European Union as their “alibi” for committing atrocities. For instance, it was played during the signing ceremony of the totally undemocratic Lisbon Treaty, which was rammed through without referendum and is intended to abolish the principle of the sovereign nation-state. In stark contrast to the EU’s deliberate elimination of the rich heritage of European cultures, to be replaced by a bureaucratic, uniform prison of soulless directives, rules und norms, our rendition of the 9th Symphony today represents the true spirit of Beethoven’s work and the living embodiment of the universal content of Schiller’s poem. Today, as in 1989 or in every time of great crisis, this is what a culture-starved population really needs — freedom!
Back in the real world, United States right-wing politics has taken a decided turn towards the cra-cra, by the embracement of the writings of Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, a/k/a Ayn Rand. Ms. Rand’s “philosophy” of Objectivism is being used to justify slashing of the social safety net, because this safety net, like food stamps, is enslaving the poor to the federal government.
Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (or rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.
Ms. Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, meet Mr. Lyndon LaRouche.
Professor Hofstadter of Columbia University understood and predicted the embracing of the philosophies of the Ayn Rand’s and the Lyndon Larouche’s.
If, after our historically discontinuous examples of the paranoid style, we now take the long jump to the contemporary right wing, we find some rather important differences from the nineteenth-century movements. The spokesmen of those earlier movements felt that they stood for causes and personal types that were still in possession of their country-that they were fending off threats to a still established way of life.
But the modern right wing, as Daniel Bell has put it, feels dispossessed: America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion. The old American virtues have already been eaten away by cosmopolitans and intellectuals; the old competitive capitalism has been gradually undermined by socialist and communist schemers; the old national security and independence have been destroyed by treasonous plots, having as their most powerful agents not merely outsiders and foreigners as of old but major statesmen who are at the very centers of American power. Their predecessors had discovered conspiracies; the modern radical right finds conspiracy to be betrayal from on high….
Events since 1939 have given the contemporary right-wing paranoid a vast theatre for his imagination, full of rich and proliferating detail, replete with realistic cues and undeniable proofs of the validity of his suspicions.
Which brings us to the most dangerous of the cra-cra’s, the Domnionists, most notably personified by Rafael Cruz, Senior and Junior (a/k/a Senator Ted Cruz of Texas). Cruz is not the only Dominionist running for President. Former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, and former Pennsylvania Senator, Rich Santorum, are running for the 2016 Republican nomination, too. Other Dominionists who have run for President include former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, and former Minnesota Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann.
It is the intersection of cra-cra religion and politics that makes them dangerous. Well-known Georgetown University’s law professor, Jonathan Turley, discusses the Cruz family and Dominionism, “Ted Cruz, Dominionism and Jesus”, on his eponymous website.
As a Jew who is familiar with “The Gospels” there is something perplexing about some Christians in America who have risen to power in our political process within the last four decades. Much of Jesus message, as detailed in “The Gospels” has been one of sympathy to the poor, enmity to the rich and love for humanity….
Sometime in the 1970’s people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell gained prominence and political power preaching their version of Christianity. These Christians became Kingmakers as it was assumed and actually true that their millions of followers would vote as a bloc. ….
Professor Turley goes on to quote from an article, “The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government” written by investigative journalist, Chris Hedges. This article was written in 2013, long before the recent contretemps in Indiana.
Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan. They live in a binary world of black and white. They feel they are victims, surrounded by sinister groups bent on their destruction. They have anointed themselves as agents of God who alone know God’s will. They sanctify their rage. This rage lies at the center of the ideology. It leaves them sputtering inanities about Barack Obama, his corporate-sponsored health care reform bill, his alleged mandated suicide counseling or “death panels” for seniors under the bill, his supposed secret alliance with radical Muslims, and “creeping socialism.” They see the government bureaucracy as being controlled by “secular humanists” who want to destroy the family and make war against the purity of their belief system. They seek total cultural and political domination.
There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country.
Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians” — meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible — will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.”
Hedges goes on to discuss Senator Ted Cruz, who very quickly has been seen as a “White Knight” for this movement and a hopeful Presidential contender:
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry — and legions of the senator’s wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism.
This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.” It seeks to reduce government to organizing little more than defense, internal security and the protection of property rights. It fuses with the Christian religion the iconography and language of American imperialism and nationalism, along with the cruelest aspects of corporate capitalism. The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it — its leaders champion small government and a large military, as if the military is not part of government — and its laughable pseudo-science are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.
The Bible tells you who to vote for, according to pastor Rafael Cruz. This belief is part of his religion- Dominionism.
That different universe is Cruz’s world of misinformation. He doesn’t lie because lying would require that he actually know the truth. And that is what makes Cruz an even greater threat to the health of our democracy than all of his lies put together. Cruz represents a turn in GOP politics where political beliefs operate more like religious fervor than reasoned inference.
Researchers have long worried about the connections between democracy and public knowledge. For obvious reasons, an informed electorate is a key part of a strong and effective democracy. Voters need to have relevant facts in order to make good choices at the polls. But research by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler explains that there is a vast difference between an uninformed public and a misinformed one. An uninformed pubic is ignorant, but a misinformed one is delusional—and that’s far more dangerous.
This distinction is essential. An uninformed voter can have contact with the truth and learn from it, but a misinformed one already believes an idea that’s wrong. Think of Cruz’s delusional comments about climate change, the number of IRS agents, and crime rates rising in areas with stricter gun control laws. Each of these examples indicates a whole new level of political “lying,” since each represents fiercely held beliefs with no basis in fact. This is not a case of simple stupidity. It’s a case of deeply believing something that’s just wrong.
Here is Ted Cruz speaking at the recent CPAC conference. The title of his speech is, “Stand With the People, Not Washington” and he liberally quotes from the Bible in it. There aren’t a lot of facts being presented, but the standard right-wing fodder is. His stated views on Israel and Iran are troubling and consistent with his Dominionist religious beliefs.
It is this intersection of politics and religion that greatly concerns me. Dominionists believe in the “end of times”, they will be the chosen ones left to run the world’s government. Would a Ted Cruz as President go so far as to create an end-of-times scenario? Does this explain his opposition to the possible Iran nuclear arms deal? Or is it just political opportunism to gain support of the radical right-wingers in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire?
Having to consider that question is disturbing enough. But given the heated and hateful beliefs and remarks from Ted and Rafael Cruz, I believe that is a very valid question to ask. The Harvard Law School educated Ted Cruz is definitely not stupid, but his lack of regard for governing makes his presidential candidacy curious and problematic. That his Dominionist beliefs, reinforced by his father, make it a possibility that he would consider going cra-cra on you, in order to rule the world, is frightening indeed.
Copyright © February 2015, Michael A. Maynard, Stow, Massachusetts.
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The theological ethos of Rafael Cruz’s vision is in Christian dominionism; he talks about preaching a “message of dominion” that all Christians have received an “anointing as kings.” I watched a sermon he preached on August 26, 2012 at the New Beginnings megachurch in Irving, Texas, led by Christian Zionist charismatic pastor Larry Huch. Huch incidentally had a very interesting prophecy to share when he introduced Cruz to preach:
We’ve been doing this series here that God laid on my heart: Getting to the top and staying there. A message for us as individuals, the kingdom of God, but also for America. It’s not enough to get there. We need to stay there. It’s not a coincidence that in a few weeks, we go into what’s called in the Bible Rosh Hashanad [sic]… It will be the beginning of the spiritual year 2012. The number 12 means divine government. That God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, God’s people and His kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected, Ted Cruz the next senator.
But here’s the exciting thing… The rabbinical teaching is… that in a few weeks begins that year 2012 and that this will begin what we call the end-time transfer of wealth. And that when these Gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grow and grow and grow. It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers. And the ones that say here I am Lord, you can trust me, we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the messiah….
Our churches unfortunately are very focused on only one of these anointings and that is on the priestly anointing… Those of you who think you don’t have the anointing to teach the word of God, to be teaching Sunday school, you’re second class citizens. And so you begin to lead frustrated lives… The majority of you… your anointing… is an anointing as king. God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what’s the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion.So to pull all this logic together, God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church. The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian “kings” who will accomplish the “end time transfer of wealth.” Then “God’s bankers” will usher in the “coming of the messiah.” The government is being shut down so that God’s bankers can bring Jesus back.