Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our
light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who
am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are
you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our
presence automatically liberates others.
-- Marianne Williamson
According to Beevor, there were gangs of Russians pressed into the service of the Werhmacht. Since Hitler was a racist, he had to change the racial designation of these men such that their ethnicity wouldn't defile the uniform. They were thus called Cossacks and some were made officers in the army headed towards Stalingrad. Others, known as Hiwis from 'hilfswillige' were more often than not Russian POWs. The Russian Red Army was so brutally strict that it was often better to desert to the other side rather than be summarily executed for not obeying orders.
Since I am in a bleak mood, owing to my back injury and slow days, it has become easy for me to imagine the necessity of war. War is a prison of necessity and no man escapes. And thus it becomes the mismeasure of manhood, and yet the very basis upon which his life depends. It seems there is only one way to survive a war with one's self intact and that is to be a career officer. Everything else is destroyed. All other concerns fall into the singularity of war's destruction. You will be conscripted into the affairs of killing the enemy. A nation at war preserves only the dimensions of military thought. A desperate nation at war includes the madness of wishful thinking and barbarity for its own sake.
Imagine yourself, not a fighter, but a social worker in drug and gang intervention. Now you are charged with the supervision of forced labor over the captured enemy. They will break rocks and build roads or be shot and you must make them or be sent to the front. Nobody has a choice - the entire aspect of voluntarism and free association is gone. Everything is enforced at gunpoint. Your humanity has come to be expressed in the gesture of the extra ration of water, the two minute break. What kind of man are you now?
You are the same kind of man, except you are functioning in a different economy - the economy of war. Nothing is any more precious than it is insipid today. If somebody hands you a glass of water, it is a cheap and meaningless act that will never mean anything, but your life has been reduced to that. That is the tragedy of war, of slavery, of captivity.
I bring this up to remind us that all such deprivation resides in the direction of crime. Our deepest fear is our greatest weakness. It is our acceptance of deprivation, our willingness to conform to the economy of shame. This weakness should remind us of the necessity of defending liberty such that we might shine as we ought. Our great weakness is that we are inadequate and we know it, and we accept it, and we accept punishment for it, and we enable that which is merely bold to rule over us. We trade in the economies of shame and blame the economy and we forget in whose image we were made. We forget our obligation to shine.
Are we pressed or do we volunteer? For the privilege of being designated Cossack?
Some say that our nation is at war. It is a figure of speech. We are not. We are merely engaged in military activities in service of geopolitical positions. Sure there are bombs being walked into marketplaces and men dropping down nylon ropes from helos, but we are not a nation at war. We are a nation that watches basketball contests and talent shows. We are a nation with an entire class of political money minders whose greatest accomplishments are to scandalize themselves and incrementally bankrupt millions of dozing fools. We are a nation that watches simulacra of war in movies and video games - we keep our limbics limber through the literature of Michael Bay, harboring up our store of grit and gumption for some showdown in the dystopic future. You know, in case some commie destroys the iTunes store, or some alien creature tramples down the Brooklyn Bridge. Then we're ready to rumble, or pwn as the adolescent case may be. Oh our brutal spirits are dormant, but they're in there.
An old soul like mine, doesn't need war. I don't want it. I don't feel the need for fire's purification and evil's wakeup call. I'm still hoping for a good situation. But I recognize how sleepy we have become, how easily we have subordinated our best selves behind the comfort of an easy peace. Just walk away from Vietnam. Just walk away from Iraq. Just walk away from Afghanistan, Pakistan. Close your eyes and find your cool cave, your spirit animal is a sanguine penguin, an amiable panda, a furrymuck squirrel.
Peace and prosperity cannot be trusted by the corrupt. They need war and sacrifice and conscription. They mistake liberty for decline because of the way they sinfully indulge their free time. They don't understand the rewards of industry or the moral constraint of free and honest enterprise. All profit is moral hazard to them that horsetrade and try to bankroll virtue with loot of vice. There's always some dirt in their deal, and so they assume that the biggest deals must be hugely dirty. If there were no truth in that such people would never come to power.
I don't know what it might take to get us to shine, to chrome dip ourselves and smooth out our inevitable pits and pockmarks so that life's mud doesn't stick. More likely it's a daily scrubbing that gives us a finer finish. But we cannot wait for the gang press of war. We have to wash our faces every day and prepare to work. An early start beats fast running a steady daily prayer beats shouting and screaming at the last moment. America is moving from crisis to crisis. We are in glum preparation for a dozen wars, we are girding ourselves for economies of shame within economies of doom. We have irony as our sidekick, a snide muse aiding in our craven calculations.
Bolsheviks vs Nazis. No escape.