paranoids and secular eschatologists to merge

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 21:56:02 CST

takeovers, downsizing, and outsorcing, but this means, in effect, that
one and only one existing Department gets custody of the Big Picture,
which in sociology is called Macrotheory, or Macro for short, having at
one time been given the outlandish monicker of Macro-Comparative/Historical
Sociology. All the remaining ones will either disappear or will continue, as
now, to stigmatize those who Indulge as dilletantes, euphemistically,
"generalists." Can you imagine what it *felt* like to be called *generalist*
to my face? I've got some pretty horrid epithets in my time, the nicest of
which was "," but among the very worst, the lowest, I tell
you, was "generalist." I'm certain, because it was a Japanese import who
said it.

Far better to have been the lowest in the now mushrooming field of Late
Antique Near Eastern Area Studies, with its subfields of papyrology, epigraphy,
palaeography, Coptic Studies, Syriac Studies, and Roman-Byzantine Transition
Theory, than the *shame* of knowing nothing in particular, the surest way to
have invalidated the claim to Knowing anything. (As previously noted, Knowledge
is not merely that subset of Information recursively defined as requiring a
doctorate in order to be said to Know it, but additionally, requiring an
upper-middle occupation as current employment, backed up by a corresponding
standard of living. Else, one is epistomologically nullified.

Though some mergers, for example, Paranoid Studies with those secularist or
atheistic eschatologists willing to brave the perils outside Divinity Schools,
make sound practical sense. Consider that, only today, two prominent Normals,
one of them Dwight S. Read, whom no less a personage on my Enemies List than
Stephanie J. Nelson qualified as a "silverback," so who am I to argue, conceded
the existence of Them. We do not expect Normals to cease to burn Paranoids at
the stake for believing in Them, much less apologize for having done so for
centuries. This has something to do with the results of the NH Republican
Primary, where the fascist beat the reactionary, the surrogate for "nobody
at all" or "none of these" came in third, and the aristocratic monarchist
finished fourth.

As both a Paranoid and a secularist Prophet of Doom, I cannot claim credit
for the appearance of rampant overt fascism as a major political force; I have
done so, and explained why, for years. It was, in fact always is, the way to
bet that should one predict Doom regularly enough long enough, there will be
Doom aplenty transpiring. What renders the Prophet of Doom implausible is the
bias, in most cultures, in favour of Doom not occurring. The recurrence of
demographic collapses, social-structural collapses, barbarian conquests, and
the like renders Ends of the World rather monotonous in history; such they
were taken at the time, and for the excellent reason that the End of the World
as You Know It entails rather swift psychic readjustments to the circumstance
that everything to which importance or unimportance had been previously
misattributed is now nothing or lords of creation, respectively, and you
can get in Very Serious Trouble making a mistake as to the continuity of
what you'd previously taken as irrevocably fixed. Consider the poor Pagan,
a little too slow to Convert when the Christians got in, exaggerating the
numbers and severity of persecutions of themselves manyfold, and flooding
the place with propaganda backed by the state. When, for all the pagan knew,
such a thing as Conversion was an unthinkability; one conformed to *mos
maiorum* or *ta patria*, corresponding vaugely to the Confucian version of the
Dao. Which itself withstood the popularity of Conversion to Buddhism rather
better. Indeed, one might say that the End of the World would hardly be so
unpleasant were it not so harshly enforced.

Consider, say, a fascist takeover. Such a thing would be so Not Nice that
only today I saw, elsewhere of course, one organism posting something to the
effect that he will vote for Buchanan as a device for undermining the Republi-
cans. Now, it was not too many years ago that I myself fatuously pronounced
that "there is an intrinsic incompatibility between fascism, with its ethos
of Renunciation and Sacrifice, and the Consumer Society, which posits as its
presupposition that Everything Is Safe, go ahead, splurge, enjoy, go into
debt, everything will still be here when you Come Down or Sober Up." Well,
I'm here to say, my fellowarmenians, tonight, that either fascism has changed,
or the consumer society has changed, or I was just plain dead wrong, or all
of these.

While few would anticipate, at this time, civil war or genocide beyond the
inevitable consequences of enforcing mass starvation on the former welfare-
recipient population as "caring," according to Mr Speaker Gingrich, or "tough
love," in the words of NJ Gov Christine Todd Whitman, plus repetition of the
1919 Palmer Raids (qv) multiplied several hundredfold to evict an Alien Nation,
with routine harrassment of virtually everybody by security guards for ID
checks, after the fashion now becoming passe in Europe, there may yet be some
surprises. Who, in 1850, or even 1857, would have anticipated the antislavery
sentiment elicited by John Brown's Raid, the most perversely successful terror-
ist act of all history? Or the strength of secessionism, on the other side?

The United States, to its credit, has been rather spectacularly endowed with
the capacity to generate and absorb propaganda on behalf of Moral Virtue. Yet
when the nature of said virtue has failed of unanimity, the results did indeed
resemble, to a degree, the End of the World. The eviction of the Tories to
"Hell Hull and Halifax" during the War of the Revolution, for example. And
the Civi War/"War Between The States" was certainly the bloodiest interstate
or intrastate war this side of the Taiping Rebellion in China between 1815 and
1914. (Exceptions may be found, but not readily.)

As I said, I'm not saying, I told you so, because the Doom didn't occur
a few days, or at most a week, after I Prophesied it. Recall the Professor
in Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers: "At night, ven it gets
dark, da vampires come *oudt*. Eets een da *nayture* of tings." Not even
Roman Polanski foresaw that his wife, Sharon Tate, the star of the picture,
would get murdered by the Charles Manson Family.

Nobody is perfect. But I, this particular prophet without honour in his
own country, have earned every bit of infmay I have ever got, I worked for
it, even obliviously. I've been Forgotten before I was Gone, came back, got
Forgotten again, came back, and I've run out of bad jokes for tonight, so I'm

Daniel A. Foss