Birther Sam Sewell, of The Steady Drip blog, recently penned a short piece, Children of the Beast. He explains the underlying analogy in this fashion:
Most people see the conflict between limited government and big government as a political battle between conservatives and liberals. This conflict is much more profound than political theory can encompass. In this essay the metaphor of “The Beast” is used to represent big government, and “Children of The Beast” to reveal the nature of those who support, or are dependent upon, big government.
You can find the whole thing here.
I don’t intend to review the whole article because that isn’t within the purview of this website. But the fact that Sewell drags observations by psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm into it does get my attention. First, here is the Fromm excerpt:
What is the human motivation that allows people to overlook the dangers of “The Beast” and choose a politician for his charming personality traits, rather than donning the warrior spirit capable of subduing “The Beast?” A partial answer to that question was provided by Erich Fromm in his book “Escape from Freedom.” He moved from Germany to the United States in 1938, giving witness to his love of freedom. Freud thought human personality was determined by conditioning having an effect on biology. Marx saw peoples’ lives as determined by their society and economic systems. Erich Fromm challenged these two reigning intellectual systems of his time with the idea of freedom.
Freedom is a difficult thing to have, and Fromm believed that when they can, the unenlightened man tends to flee from it. Escaping from freedom is now an important motivating factor of our species. Because the need to escape from individual freedom emerged in human consciousness, mass movements began to appear in human society. Fromm sheds light on the dynamics with these two quotes:
“The person who gives up his individual self and becomes an automaton, identical with millions of other automatons around him, need not feel alone and anxious any more. The price he pays, however, is high; it is the loss of his self.”
“This loss of identity then makes it still more imperative to conform, it means that one can be sure of oneself only if one lives up to the expectations of others. If we do not live up to this picture, we not only risk disapproval and increased isolation, but we risk losing the identity of our personality, which means jeopardizing sanity.”
Erich Fromm can tell us a lot about what is behind how most people vote. He makes the point that most people are terrified of being an on-their-own, take-care-of-themselves, free, adult human being.
True, Erich Fromm teaches that unenlightened people tend to escape from the reality of their own freedom. But what gives any Birther the moral right to opine about that, when the single most distinguishing characteristic of any Birther is the wholesale denial of reality???
And then Sewell blithely pops off with the “mass movements began to appear in human society” remark??? WTF is Birtherism if not the bad kind of mass movement that Fromm so feared, one based on paranoia, delusion, lies, and irrationality.
And this is coming from a Mensa member??? An ex-military officer??? A psychotherapist and clergyman??? Oh no, Sam Sewell, you don’t get to skirt this issue!. You are a prominent person in the Birther movement. Your group either can’t figure out, or bring themselves to admit two simple facts:
1. That there is no two citizen parent requirement;
2. There is a verified Birth Certificate showing Obama was born in Hawaii.
Birthers cling like torpedo survivors on a rubber life raft to the most insane and bizarre belief system to come along since the Heaven’s Gate cult boarded the Mother Ship, and here you are, a supposed clergyman, playing the role of Marshall Applewhite and selling tickets to the Hale-Bopp Express. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Some of these poor stupid deluded Birthers are just people who don’t know any better. All the Vattel crap, and the quack legal mumbo-jumbo is over the heads of a lot of them. They are just repeating the nonsense they hear from gurus, slicksters, and liars. But I don’t think that is true of you.
Personally, I don’t think you believe any of the stupid Birther crap. If your background is what you say it is, you’re not that stupid. It doesn’t take a Mensan to understand the court decisions that have come down over the past year, or the Wong Kim Ark and Ankeny decisions, either. It doesn’t take a Mensan to recognize the significance of a verified birth certificate when it comes to figuring out where Obama was born. Particularly in the near-complete absence of any contrary information. But then again, I could be wrong. Maybe you are not that smart after all. In the Sane Society, Erich Fromm also noted:
In observing the quality of thinking in alienated man, it is striking to see how his intelligence has developed and how reason has deteriorated. . . . Even from the nineteenth century to our day, there seems to have occurred an observable increase in stupidity, if by this we mean the opposite to reason, rather than to intelligence.“
Well, Sam . . . Which is it??? Liar or idiot???
Note 1. The Image. This is a photo of Judy Geeson, who played Pamela Darein the 1967 film, To Sir, With Love. That is a movie about a dedicated teacher who tries to bring enlightenment to a bunch of disrespectful and rowdy brats. Kind of like me, trying to educate Birthers.
And, on the word play, many skirts (mini skirts), before you say , “That’s a mini-dress not a mini-skirt!” True, mini-dress is more appropriate, but it has a “mini skirt” in that a “skirt” is also a part of a garment:
1. The part of a garment, such as a dress or coat, that hangs freely from the waist down.
2. A garment hanging from the waist and worn by women and girls.
1. To avoid, go around the edge of, or keep distant from (something that is controversial, risky, etc.): The senator skirted the issue.
Note 2. The Image Easter Egg. A word play on the line, and Sweeney guards the Horn’d gate from T.S.Eliot’s “Sweeny Among The Nightingales.”
Here is a adequate explanation:
The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the horn’d gate.
Sweeney’s laughter belies the ominous mood of the evening. Outside, the moon trails westward in a stormy sky toward the River Plate (Spanish: Ro de la Plata, meaning River of Silver.) Ravens gather and the air reeks of death. Inside, Sweeney is on the threshold of sleep, guarding an exit gate from Hades, one made of horn.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope, the wife of Odysseus (Ulysses),says dreams arise from phantoms in Hades and pass through either of two gates. One is a gate of ivory; through it pass false dreams that confuse the dreamer. The other is a gate of polished horn; through it pass “images of truth . . . with visions manifest of future fate” (The Odyssey, Book XIX, “The Discovery of Ulysses to Euryclea.” Alexander Pope, translator).
Apparently, Sweeney does not wish to know or does not care to know what the future holds for him. He is probably unaware of the ominous portents of nature suggesting that his death may be near, although he seems to become aware later (Stanza 7) that he may be in danger.
Ro de la Plata (River of Silver) could be a very oblique allusion to Agamemnon’s bathtub, which had silver sides.
No doubt a hedg’d gate has some meaning, also. . .
Note 3. Links. Sam Sewell’s blog, The Steady Drip, is located here: