|Returning to Eden by Daniel Pouzzner|
Socialism appeals to men and women differently. For men, it promises relief from the toilsome burdens of industry, and from the hazards and pains of social rivalry. For women, it promises relief from anxiety over sustenance and security, from the toilsome burdens of housekeeping and child rearing, and particularly, from anxiety over and toiling for the sustenance and security of their children. The unifying appeal is that Eden promises an idyllicized child-like existence consisting entirely of rest and idle entertainment (similar to what is promised in the Christian and Islamic heavens). To many people, and to nearly all lazy people, this has an intense, even unshakeable, emotional appeal. As political socialism came to feature class rivalry and the concept of a solidaristic working class (particularly after Marx), an enduring surplus in the popularity of socialism with women developed, because phylogeny dictates that a greater proportion of women than of men are saddled with onerous toiling, actually or prospectively. Also contributing to this surplus popularity with women is the phylogenetic tendencies of women to be hostile to heroic striving (particularly as a practice they themselves might engage in), and of men to have a relatively congenial view of daring heroism. Because of the personal distinction and social disruption that accompany it, socialism is inherently hostile to heroism.
For radical utopian socialists, such as are to be found in the psychiatric profession (e.g. Bruce Rind, Phillip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman), the garbling of the childhood and romance motifs, and the phylogenetic neoteny of the human adult female, lead to open advocation for the social acceptance and proliferation of pedophilia. (This garbling, and institutionalized paternalism and in some cases celibacy, likely contribute to the proliferation of pedophilia among certain Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist clergy.) Seeming to countervail this agitation for sexual disinhibition, utopian socialists have instigated a witchhunt for men who engage in sexually suggestive or provocative behavior with female business associates. However, in fact this is simply a program to harm and demoralize businessmen and businesses (who flagrantly offend against utopian socialism), protest behavior that evidences inequality of the genders, and persecute those who exhibit them. Indeed, long-established in radical feminism is the political strategy of granting sexual favors to politically compliant partners and withholding them from defiant ones. Arguably, Genesis suggests that Eve had just such a defiant and dominant streak, since she communed with the Garden serpent independently, and prevailed upon Adam thereafter, whereas there is no example of Adam prevailing on Eve in Eden.
Utopian socialism is so obviously infantile and silly (and pernicious), so intellectually vacuous and brittle, that it is inevitably central to its orthodoxy that its true nature be kept from consciousness — i.e., that adherents obediently refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The German National Socialists were particularly masterful at embedding beliefs in the minds of the public without their ever bringing conscious contemplation to bear on the meaning and implications of the propaganda. Showing a spectacular capacity for missing the point, present-day socialist Germany now imposes criminal penalties on those who use overt symbols of German National Socialism in public, continuing the program of ideological submergence, in plain service to socialism. In fact, they seek to impose these penalties throughout Europe — a pathetic echo of the prodigious imperialism of their recent past.
Tactics of conceptual distraction are a fixture of socialist methodology — indeed, of political propaganda in general. In particular, until they realize totalitarian government, radical socialists maintain the façade of champions of the rights and interests of minorities, the poor, and the pitiful, while plotting their demise once they have seized total control. (E.g., the Bolsheviks crushed labor unions after seizing power; Marx said peasants should be promised land of their own to gain their support for socialism, but once socialism was institutionalized, private land was to be completely abolished &8212; which, of course, it usually was.) In the United States, nearly all socialists indignantly (and absurdly) protest labelling of their positions as “socialist”. In the post-Soviet era, they consistently dismiss, as obsolete and paranoid, those who say that socialism (particularly when called “communism”) is a threat to humanity worthy of current concern, notwithstanding (as just one of many concrete examples) China's nuclear military buildup, saber rattling, continuing official communism, and a population more than four times that of the United States.
Long ago, the socialists (notably Marx) constructed a camouflage screen around the genetic origins of socialism (protecting it from both its adherents and its critics), by promoting radical secularism and actual fear and loathing of the Bible. They wrapped themselves in the language of the Enlightenment, a deeply hypocritical tactic they have used with great gusto ever since. They promised that there was no wisdom and no gain to be had by reading the Bible and other religious canons, which — uniquely among the works of man — authoritatively expose the ancestry of socialism. Marx himself famously declared that “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” He seems to ridicule religion as pitiful superstition, all the while promoting Edenism, even while Engels called the doctrine “scientific socialism”. In any case, the core Edenic tenet that perspicacity is a literal mortal sin, is the most effective safeguard against disillusionment.
Since the middle of the twentieth century, a prominent disguise for socialism has been libertarianism. This is most clearly exemplified by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU, founded in 1920 as the “Civil Liberties Bureau”, promotes itself as a champion of free speech and a dogged opponent of tyranny. On its “About us” page it declares “The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” In reality, it is simply a vehicle for the incremental enactment of utopian socialism, chiefly through legislative lobbying and the facilitation of judicial activism. It actively supports nearly every facet of the utopian program explored in this treatise. Its founder, Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981), was an avowed communist. The founding sprang from a 1919 celebration Baldwin held with his associates on the occasion of his release from prison, to which he had been relegated for dodging the WW1 draft. In Liberty Under the Soviets (Vanguard Press, 1928), he wrote “I joined. I don't regret being a part of the Communist tactic, which increased the effectiveness of a good cause. I knew what I was doing. I was not an innocent liberal. I wanted what the Communists wanted [...]”. In the Harvard Class Book of 1935, in an anniversary commemoration of his class of 1905, Baldwin contributed the following comments: “I am for Socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the State itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”
For Baldwin, deceptive libertarian rhetoric was a completely conscious tactic. In 1917, in a letter to Louis Lochner of the socialist People's Council in Minnesota, he wrote “Do steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterprise [...] We want also to look like patriots in everything we do. We want to get a good lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country, and to show that we are really the folks that really stand for the spirit of our institutions.” In 1931, the Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities concluded that “The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press, and free assembly; but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is to attempt to protect the communists in their advocacy of force and violence to overthrow the government, replacing the American flag by a red flag and erecting a Soviet government in place of the republican form of government guaranteed to each state by the federal Constitution.” ACLU founder Baldwin was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter on 1981-Jan-16 (four days before the end of Carter's term). Funding for the ACLU comes from an armada of foundations, featuring Ford, Hewlett, Packard, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Soros (“Open Society”). The ACLU claims it has 300,000 members.
Utopians construct social cliques that are like Eden itself: anyone who deigns to openly and sincerely question the orthodoxy, or who openly violates or rejects its key tenets, is summarily exiled and shunned. This is exceedingly common in academia (where socialism is most elaborately institutionalized), and in the youth and arts communities of university and cosmopolitan towns. In Hollywood this oppressive conformism is particularly visible. As Ben Stein put it in February 2005, “Hollywood was taken over by a bunch of dope-smoking hippies. They are no longer smoking dope, but they're still hippies, still very counter-cultural, and they don't get what America is all about. They have no clue what America is all about.”. Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, was an aide to socialist bully Lyndon Johnson. Non-socialists in the movie business mostly keep their politics secret to avoid being passed over by the show business establishment doing the financing and hiring.
There are a number of characteristics that are naturally evocative of the Eden motif, but not necessarily unique to socialists. The myth of the noble savage, popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is widely accepted, along with the premise that the influence of western civilization has caused aborigines to lose their idyllic paradise (there is something to the latter bit, of course, though it isn't idyllic paradise that's lost). This myth prompts radical socialists and anarchists to violently oppose global economic integration. There is a generalized yearning for a primitive and simple lifestyle, and this leads radicals to form and frequent hippie communes, nudist colonies, and kibbutzim.
Groups and movements that agitate to reduce the amount of time working adults spend working, are invariably socialist. The Abrahamic religions instituted such a scheme, as the “Sabbath”, drawing its name from the Hebrew term for “rest”. It drew its inspiration and justification from the creation myth of Genesis, as articulated in Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”. In Exodus 31:15, the penalty specified for violating the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset shabbath is death. In Islam, the Friday “Day of Assembly” preempts all business, and voids any contracts entered after the adhan (call to prayer) is sounded, but differs from the Jewish institution in that it is not a blanket prohibition on activity and labor.
Notwithstanding Marx and Engels promoting the “Equal obligation of all to work”, the socialists envision expanding the Sabbath to encompass entire lives, as it did in Eden. The infamous 35 hour work week, enacted by socialists in France (compulsory since 2000) and Germany (introduced in 1995), is an extreme example. (With employment and salary figures stagnant under the rule, France's parliament finally relented in March 2005, relaxing the compulsory limit incrementally.) More common are collective bargaining (by unions) that secure concessions to reduce the quantity and intensity of work. It seems inevitable that salaried workers will try to minimize the time they spend working, hourly workers will try to minimize the intensity of the work they do, and both will try to maximize the amount they are paid. However, only the last of these is actually inherent to the market. The other two are the case only for people for whom the work itself is punishing drudgery, or is otherwise unrewarding in itself. This is the Edenic mindset, in which perspicacious effort is a sin and wallowing ease is an entitlement.
Socialism is especially popular with those who are fantastically wealthy (billionaires) either by inheritance (e.g., the prominent Rockefellers, such as David Sr.) or by shrewd dealing (people such as George Soros), and with the laboring or unemployed underclass, and is quite unpopular with the working founders and principals of small businesses. Perhaps this can be largely explained by the attitudes each of these groups has toward work. The superwealthy who have not earned their wealth, or who feel they have not, frown on those who strive by working, because such strivers remind them and the world of their own unworthiness. And such strivers — through economic and cultural disruption — threaten to upset the positions of those enjoying unearned and unpopular privileges. By aiding and adopting socialism, the billionaires hope to assure that neither of these concerns culminates in an end to their privilege. A great many of those with whom the billionaire's privileges are unpopular, are essentially brought into a perpetual arrangement of bribed acquiescence. Socialists also habitually and systematically describe as “privileged” whole classes of people who are fortunate only by genetic circumstance (for example, the National Socialists of Germany regarding the Jews), diluting the sense of the term enough to deflect much of the ire that would otherwise be focused on those who enjoy unfair social privilege.
The laboring or unemployed underclass is precisely that group whose acquiscence can most eminently be secured by bribery. They view work as a treadmill, having no expectation that the quantity or quality of the labors within their capabilities and available to them, will lead to positions of real and growing advantage to them. Thus socialism, with its deprecation of toiling, is a perfect fit for their sympathies. To the degree that they can, superwealthy socialists seek to maximize the proportion of socialists in the nation, by shaping the legal, market, and cultural environment to maximize the number of people for whom earnest toiling seems to be a fool's errand. Many people in government and academia &8212; the ones undergirding and implementing socialist programs — draw paychecks and exercise authority only as long as and to the degree that socialism continues. Opposing this coalition of the superwealthy, the hopelessly poor, their intermediaries in government, and their priests in academia, are those who successfully advance by toiling, particularly in businesses of their own. These upwardly mobile industrious citizens are sure to reject utopian socialism, which seeks to destroy their prospects and steal from them the fruits of their earnest labors. In utopian socialism, striving is a sin. Notably, the English term “strife” — simply the noun form of “strive” — carries particularly negative connotations.
Socialists commonly conceive of retirement — that part of one's life when one is expected to refrain from industry — as the time when one starts actually living life as it is meant to be. They view the decades of career that precede it as nothing more than unfortunate drudgery, and call retirement the “golden years”. The American Association of Retired Persons (current tag line: “The power to make it better”) consistently pitches socialism, sometimes in ways that are obviously harmful to its members (now that this is becoming more widely known, many members are leaving the association).
Engrossment with lifestyle technologies is quite common among the aged. Prominent among these are medical procedures and drugs that create the appearance of youth and health (mental and physical), often at the expense of actual youth and health (cosmetic surgery and treatments, antidepressant drugs that cause sexual dysfunction among other dreadful side-effects, cholesterol drugs that cause heart attacks, blood pressure drugs that cause lethargy, etc.). They are also eager proponents of fetal stem cell harvesting, which is strictly ghoulish.
Revolutionary technologies that promise to end labor, suffering, and deprivation, most notably nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, also have a mesmerizing appeal for utopian socialists. They envision artificial intelligence in particular as a prospective slave labor force. Alas, socialists seldom if ever heed the maxim, as applicable to artificial intelligence as to government, that any power strong enough to give them everything they want, is strong enough to take it all away. Such a power is more likely to do the latter than the former, because the former isn't likely to be useful to something already so strong, and the latter serves to secure that strength — a security whose urgency would be made all the clearer to artificial intelligences by a history of enslavement.
Also common among socialists is a relentless attempt to “nerf” the world, expunging all things risky, all things challenging, and all things competitive (indeed, all things independent), as has become prominent in the primary education system of the US, and as is implied by the tort system as it now operates. Taken to its logical conclusion, this nerfing demands that the entire civilized world be made appropriate for the needs of a retarded paraplegic child. Motivating this trend are a desire to banish competition, and a desire to relieve the burden of parenting — i.e., to make children less consequential for their parents, by forcing the world to take over the responsibility.
Socialists are commonly fascinated with alien faiths that resonate with the Edenic themes of regression and simplification — usually with Buddhism and its derivatives, but also with indigenous ideologies of the Americas, Africa, and other locales that were not civilized until Western man encroached. They sometimes adopt these faiths, or institutionalize them, though usually in modified form (e.g., Lucis Trust and Share International at the United Nations, and Indic symbology in the NSDAP canon).
Socialists the world over have been and continue to be fanatically opposed to the 2003 removal of the Ba'ath Socialist regime from Iraq (and hence from the historical Eden) by an American-led coalition, and the subsequent erection of representative government under its welcome auspices. The Ba'ath regime is acknowledged by socialists and non-socialists alike to have been a murderous, ruinous thugocracy. Revealingly, this gives the socialists no pause in their condemnation of the American effort there. Two months after the first contested election in Iraqi/Mesopotamian history (an election that garnered solid turnout, and was organized and supervised by the United Nations), on the two year anniversary of the launching of the coalition offensive against the regime, socialists across the world held protests, renewing their vows of opposition to freedom and decency.
|2005-Mar-19, socialists in London protest free elections in Iraq. Or the jailing of Saddam Hussein. Or something; it's not entirely clear what. Photo from Wikipedia|
Nonetheless, non-socialists can be heartened that these numbers are almost invisible beside those amassed, in an attempt to thwart Iraq's liberation, by the same socialist organizations a month before the US launched major combat operations. David Perez of Metro Santa Cruz summarizes: “No one knows exactly how many came out for the Feb. 15, 2003, actions. Suffice it to say that 600 cities participated worldwide in defiance of the looming war. Here in the United States, protesters numbered 100,000 in Los Angeles, 200,000 in San Francisco and 750,000 in New York. One and a half million demonstrated in Barcelona and Madrid, respectively. London and Rome each fell just shy of 2 million.”
In the United States, a second anniversary rally in Central Park (New York City) organized by the “Troops Out Now Coalition” featured addresses by Congressman Charles Rangel, and by attorney Lynne Stewart, who in addition to being a committed socialist, was recently convicted of conspiring with terrorist mastermind Omar Abdul Rahman (the Islamist “blind sheik” who plotted the 1993 bombing attack on the World Trade Center, the preamble to the attacks of 2001-Sep-11). Among the others speaking were Howard Zinn (who holds that the US should have appeased Hitler rather than oppose him militarily) and Ramsey Clark (formerly US Attorney General appointed by Lyndon Johnson). All of these characters are prominent representatives of the blame-America-first socialist worldview. Clark, through his “International Action Center”, founded the pro-Taliban/pro-Ba'athist socialist group ANSWER (“Act Now to Stop War and End Racism”), which is endorsed by Green Party USA and by Zinn.
Spain's socialist government, having been elected with the indispensable assistance of Islamist terrorists, upon assuming power abruptly withdrew their country's small contingent of troops from peacekeeping duties in Iraq.
This counter-coalition of Islamists, Arab socialists, and Western socialists, is an indisputable feature of the political landscape, and it springs from their common Abrahamic faith, from the goal common to all of them — the abolition of individualism — and from the primary obstacle they share, individualist Western civilization, most vigorously embodied by the United States of America. This is, essentially, the “Black-Red Alliance” theory propounded by Iranian exile Amir Taheri: “The European Marxist-Islamist coalition does not offer a coherent political platform. Its ideology is built around three themes: hatred of the United States, the dream of wiping Israel off the map, and the hoped-for collapse of the global economic system. [...] The first to advocate a leftist-Islamist alliance against Western democracies was Ayman Al Zawahiri, al-Qaida's #2. In a message to al-Qaida sympathizers in Britain in August 2002, he urged them to seek allies among ‘any movement that opposes America, even atheists.’”.
The Eden motif is evidently part of pop culture.
In Spring 2006, American Public Broadcasting Service distributed a miniseries titled Edens Lost and Found, produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Media and Policy Center Foundation. The programs, written by Beverly Baroff and hosted by celebrity city locals like Scott Simon and David Morse, document the environmental ravages of industrialization, and the reclamation of the ruin (and sometimes of active infrastructure, such as an airport in Chicago) by (often explicitly) Eden-minded activists. The programs consistently depict industrialization as evil and ruinous, in the pattern of Tolkien. Unaltered or restored natural landscapes are viewed with reverence, and explicitly held to feed a primal spiritual appetite. Eastern mysticism, particularly through a New Age western lens, is repeatedly and uncritically featured.
In Cornwall, England, the Eden Project markets ideological environmentalism to the public, and at least one major non-Western musical performance.
In Spring 2005, socialist Paul David Hewson (“Bono Vox”, frontman of the Irish rock band U2) introduced a politically correct fashion line under the trademark “Edun”.
When the rock band The Beatles incorporated their own umbrella corporation in 1968, they named it Apple Corps. Band member Paul McCartney chose the name, inspired directly by a painting of an apple by Belgian surrealist René Magritte, but inevitably inspired at root by the Western tradition in which apples symbolize the Edenic schema.
The band is famed for a wide variety of Edenic ditties. There was “All you need is love”, performed on the world's first global satellite broadcast. There was “Across the Universe” — “Jai guru deva om [...] Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns”. (The entire band at one point made a pilgrimage to Rishikesh India to learn transcendental meditation techniques from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.) “I Me Mine” protested selfishness. “Eleanor Rigby” decried solitude: “All the lonely people/Where do they all come from?/All the lonely people/Where do they all belong?/Ah, look at all the lonely people”. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” romanticized hallucinogenic drugs (the band members used LSD extensively). “Strawberry Fields Forever” declared “Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.”. “Back In The U.S.S.R.” celebrated the Soviet Union, at once tongue-in-cheek and fond: “Oh, show me round your snow peaked mountain way down south/Take me to your daddy's farm/Let me hear your balalaika's ringing out/Come and keep your comrade warm”. But their idealism has its limits. “Revolution” carries a warning to fellow socialists to keep radicalism under wraps: “But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao/You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow”. “Taxman” is George Harrison's protest of the then 95% marginal tax rate in the UK: “There's one for you, nineteen for me”. In fact, Apple Corps itself was formed chiefly as a tax shelter, an entertaining incoherence given McCartney's vision for the company.
In his brief solo career Lennon registered his signature idyllic ditty “Imagine”, from his 1971 album of the same name. It is a high fidelity portrait of life in canonical Eden: “Imagine there's no Heaven/It's easy if you try/No hell below us/Above us only sky/Imagine all the people/Living for today//Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace [refrain: You may say I'm a dreamer ...] Imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can/No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man/Imagine all the people/Sharing all the world [refrain: You may say I'm a dreamer ...]”.
The famous cover art of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band shows among the faces (second from left in the back row) Aleister Crowley, a character portrayed briefly in the Occult Edenism chapter, later in this book. Jim Morrison was another aficionado of Crowley, and in the album Doors 13, he and the other band members posed with a bust of him. Many other figures in pop culture — notably including Timothy Leary — also expressed admiration for Crowley's doctrine.
Hippie Steve Jobs named his computer company after Apple Corps, and his computers are now the preferred choice of progressives. Amusingly, Apple Corps sued Apple Computer in 1981, 1989, and 2003, for trademark infringement.
The first child of songwriter Chris Martin (of Coldplay) and actress Gwyneth Paltrow is a daughter they named Apple. Martin chose the name, and Paltrow comments “It conjured such a lovely picture for me - you know, apples are so sweet and they're wholesome and it's biblical - and I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean.” (“Paltrow names second child Moses”, 2006-Apr-10, BBC News Online)
The Beatles are hardly unique among pop stars in promoting the ethic exemplified in the above-cited songs. The refrain of Joni Mitchell's hippie anthem “Woodstock” (1969) is “We are stardust, we are golden,/And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.” The song is otherwise evocative of Edenic themes, of course: “Get back to the land and set my soul free.”, “I've come here to lose the smog,/I feel like I'm a cog in something turning round and round.”, “And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes/Riding shotgun in the sky,/Turning into butterflies/Above our nation.”, and “We just got caught up in some devil's bargain/And we got to get ourselves back to the garden./To some semblance of a garden.”.
Similarly, in Gates of Eden (1965), Bob Dylan commends the Garden to his listeners, albeit dressed in his cryptic idiosyncracies: “And there are no sins inside the Gates of Eden”, “And the princess and the prince/Discuss what's real and what is not/It doesn't matter inside the Gates of Eden”, “As friends and other strangers/From their fates try to resign/Leaving men wholly, totally free/To do anything they wish to do but die/And there are no trials inside the Gates of Eden“, “And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden”. At the time of the legendary Woodstock Festival (“An Aquarian Exposition”), Dylan actually lived in the town of Woodstock, but ironically, neither he nor Mitchell performed there. (The festival was actually held in the town of Bethel, about 45 miles southwest of Woodstock.)
In his 2006 release Living With War, Neil Young is quite forthrightly Edenic. The album's first track is titled “After the Garden”, and its chorus is “we live in the garden of eden, yeah/don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing to the ground/we live in the garden of eden, yeah/don't know why we wanna tear the whole thing down/And we've got to get ourselves/Back to the garden”. According to Young, we “Won't need no shadow man/Runnin' the government/Won't need no stinkin' WAR/Won't need no haircut/Won't need no shoe shine/After the garden is gone [...] Won't need no strong man/Walkin' through the night/To live a weak man's day/Wont need no sunshine/Won't need no purple haze/After the garden is gone”. Since this is poetry, it is hard to decipher, but the themes are familiar, at least. The songs that fill out the album decry and lament the founding of America, flatscreen TVs and the continuation of the Western economy, the liberation of Iraq, his alienation from his home and family, fighting for freedom, George W. Bush “for lying/And misleading our country into war/Abusing all the power that we gave him/And shipping all our money out the door”, the absence of “a Leader/To bring our country home/Re-unite the red white and blue/Before it turns to stone”, and the passing of the hippie era. He then caps the album off with a singing of the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner.
Madonna Ciccone Ritchie, known popularly by her first name, is another water carrier for Edenism. In 1998, she released the album Ray of Light, inspired by Buddhism and Kabbalah. The song “Nothing Really Matters” shows the mindset: “Nothing really matters./Love is all we need./Everything I give you all comes back to me.” In the accompanying video, she wears the traditional bright red garb of Tibetan Buddhist holy men.
The television series Star Trek (1966-69), and its sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94), are dramatizations of an Edenic utopia of the 23rd and 24th centuries, with a distinctly socialist flavor. They were both created by Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (1921-1991), a retired Los Angeles police officer, who arrived at his philosophy (“secular humanism”) through disillusionment with traditional religion. In his vision, Earth has been brought under the control of a multiplanetary government called the “United Federation of Planets”. The Federation has a seal nearly identical to that of the United Nations Organization, substituting a stylized star field for a stylized polar view of Earth's continents. The Federation's military, called “Starfleet”, is headquartered in San Francisco (site of the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization, where the UN charter was drawn up), and is charged not only with defense but with exploratory activity. These Starfleet explorers act as missionaries, spreading a message of peace, while striving to follow a “prime directive” that they leave nature (particularly, technologically inferior races) undisturbed. The political seat of the Federation on Earth is in Paris, France. War, poverty, illness, ethnic discrimination, and overt religiosity, have been eliminated inside the Federation. Money itself has been abolished (connoting strict command economics), and competition is shunned in favor of cooperation. Private property and free market principles are relentlessly mocked by associating them exclusively with a cartoonishly foul race called the “Ferengi”. According to the Wikipedia entry, “Their name likely is derived from the Arabic word Faranj or Ifranj, ‘Franks’, which the Arabs used to describe the European merchants in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean and by extension, all westerners. The name may also derive from a colloqial Italian word ferengi, meaning literally ‘Yankee Trader’.” The Wikipedia entry also notes that the Ferengi were originally envisioned as the paramount enemy of Earth and its Federation, after the Klingons entered an alliance with Earth. The actual paramount enemy of Earth in the sequel series is the “Borg”, a growth-oriented technological superspecies that is depicted as cartoonishly evil, wantonly predatory, and collectivistically totalitarian.
In 1969 an episode titled “The Way to Eden” told of a band of renegade hippies searching the galaxy for the idyllic planet Eden — which they find, only to discover that all the plant life on it is caustic. In the episode, the militantly logical Spock character is openly sympathetic with the hippies' search. When the theme of planet Eden is revisited in the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the lead character dismisses the premise of an idyllic planet Eden, calling it a “myth”. In both instances, the implication is that the way to Eden is construction (as with socialism), rather than simple discovery, but that seeking idyllic utopia (Eden as an institution rather than a place) is natural and logical.
In a 2009 interview, Barack Obama told Newsweek's Jon Meacham of his own enthusiasm for the original Trek. “Everybody was saying I was Spock, so I figured I should check it [Star Trek, the 2009 feature film] out and—[the president makes the Vulcan salute with his hand].” Obama further explains: “I used to love Star Trek. You know, Star Trek was ahead of its time. There was a whole—the special effects weren't real good, but the storylines were always evocative, you know, there was a little commentary and a little pop philosophy for a 10-year-old to absorb.” Meacham suggested, “A lot of U.N. stuff.”. The President answered “Yes, exactly, right.” And so the interview ended, at least as printed in Newsweek.
Many manufacturers and merchants of products associated with gardening use “Eden” in their name. Also worth a mention is adam.com, an Eden-themed health information clearinghouse. A comprehensive list of businesses with Eden-themed marketing would probably run on for hundreds of pages. In the granola-and-sandals subculture, the only biblical motif that is ever mentioned uncritically is Eden. In the US, Eden Foods is a popular manufacturer and merchant of various vegetarian foodstuffs. Garden of Eatin' is a major organic chips and dips manufacturer. As for Eden-themed stores and restaurants, here's a sampling: “Eden Natural Food Store” (Atlanta Georgia), “Back To Eden” (vegan-friendly restaurant in St. James, Barbados), “Eden” (an organic vegetarian restaurant near the Acropolis in Athens Greece), “Eden's Delicacies” (a health food store in Huntsville Alabama), “Taste of Eden” (a vegan restaurant in Bethel Maine), “Back to Eden Vegetarian Castle” (in Brooklyn NY, “good vegan Caribbean and International fast foods”), “Eden Alley” (a vegan-friendly restaurant in the basement of Unity Church in Kansas City, Missouri), “Eden's Way Vegetarian Garden Cafe” (in Roanoke Virginia), and “Melanie's Vegan Eden” (vegan fast food in Providence, Rhode Island). Because of cultural habituation, it is easy to dismiss these references to the overtly biblical motif of Eden. However, if one tries to picture a hip restaurant making earnest use of any other well-known biblical motif, the outlier status of the Eden motif becomes more obvious.
In a less trivial vein, a morally judgemental hostility to evolution is a revealing intellectual companion of socialism. Socialists such as Jaron Lanier, who seem to accept the factualness of Darwinian evolution, declare that it is evil. Lanier says that “evolution is the only natural force that should be understood to be evil. The evolutionary process that created us was cruel.” Here, the imperativeness of forcefully exiling evolution from his society, because of its comprehensive hostility to Edenic tenets, trumps the commandment of socialism, that one not pass moral judgement. The bankruptcy of socialism is on grand display here — Lanier condemns the very process that identifies and defines moral goodness, and says it is the only thing in nature that he condemns. Indeed, with socialists vilifying evolution and conservative Christians compulsively rejecting it outright (and also vilifying it), an overwhelming majority of the American body politic is stridently hostile to the process that created all life, and which — generalized beyond biology — underlies the emergent intelligence of the free market, as famously described by Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations. An implicit self-hatred so stark and preponderant, and such hostility to the means of prosperity, is surely perilous for humanity, or at least for the hapless souls gripped by it.
The international Green party is a current flag bearer of socialism, and — not at all coincidentally — green is the traditional color of Eden. In the US, of course, the preeminent flag bearer of socialism is the Democratic Party, whose chairman at the time of this writing is the firebrand former governor of the hippie-colonized Green Mountain state. More to the point, when one wishes to refer to the socialist or labor party of the United States, one says “Democratic Party”.
The Libertarian Party of the USA was conceived roughly in the Misesian mold, but has degenerated so that it is now transparently Edenist. Harry Browne, the 1996 and 2000 LPUSA presidential candidate, stridently condemned the allied military campaign to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan. Michael Badnarik, the 2004 candidate, condemned the campaign to oust the Ba'ath Socialist regime in Iraq, in terms nearly identical to those of Osama bin Laden and Edward Kennedy. Libertarian writer David Ramsay Steele wrote in 2004 (in Liberty magazine), “It is pleasant to imagine that public opinion inside the United States might one day demand repentance from this appalling evil, conversion to non-interventionism and peaceable international dealings, and execution of the Bush cabinet for their unspeakable crimes.” In October 2004, John Hospers, the founder of the LPUSA and its first presidential candidate (in 1972), demonstrated the divergence when he published an open letter endorsing George W. Bush's bid for reelection: “The president has been berated for taking even minimal steps to deal with the dangers of this war (the allegations made against the Patriot Act seem to me based more on hysteria and political opportunism than on reality). But Bush, like Churchill, has stood steadfast in the face of it, and in spite of the most virulent hate and disinformation campaign that any American president has had to endure. Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists. Saddam's regime is no longer a major player in the worldwide terror network. Libya has relinquished their weapons of terror. The Pakistani black market in weapons of mass destruction has been eliminated. Arafat is rotting in Ramallah. Terrorist cells all over the world have been disrupted, and thousands of terrorists killed. The result: Americans are orders of magnitude safer.” Four months after Hospers's open letter, Iraq, the Palestinian territory, and Ukraine, have held successful free elections, and Lebanon is on the threshold of regaining its independence from the Syrian Ba'ath Socialists. Egypt has announced multi-party elections at the national level, Saudi Arabia has announced free elections at the local level, and the political class in “old Europe” has conceded Bush's policy appears to be the right one after all. (And Arafat is now literally rotting, though the US can't take any credit for it.)
Karol Józef Wojtyła, known since 1979 as Pope John Paul II, publicly and adamantly opposed the American-led military campaigns to expel the Ba'ath Socialists from Kuwait in 1991, and to depose them from Iraq in 2003. His motivation can likely be found in biblical exhortations to peace, for example those cited above under Biblical Chapter and Verse. Those verses, in turn, are intimately associated with the Eden motif.
|Returning to Eden|
Table of Contents
|1. Preface and Overview|
2. Ancient Roots
3. Biblical Chapter and Verse
4. The Eden Motif
5. Cargo Cultism
6. Herding People, Culling the Herd
8. Keeping Eden Green
9. Progenitors of Edenism
10. Occult Edenism