Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.
This was the second time that Galileo was in the hot seat for refusing to accept Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe: In 1616, he had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs. In the 1633 interrogation, Galileo denied that he “held” belief in the Copernican view but continued to write about the issue and evidence as a means of “discussion” rather than belief. The Church had decided the idea that the Sun moved around the Earth was an absolute fact of scripture that could not be disputed, despite the fact that scientists had known for centuries that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
Galileo is convicted of heresy, History.com
Authoritarians have a long history of defying science and reality. No one questions now that the Earth isn't the center of the solar system and our understanding of the universe has expanded since Galileo confirmed Copernican Heliocentric Theory. Modern authoritarians resort to pathological lying.
You look scared, Donald.
You should be.
A pandemic is problematic for you.
You can’t gaslight a pandemic.
You can’t bully it into compliance.
You can’t lie to it and hope it won’t run a fact check.
You can’t pay for its silence or promise immunity.
You can’t threaten its reelection bid if it breaks ranks.
You can’t fire it when it dissents from your ramblings.
You can’t impugn its character with baseless attacks.
You can’t fool it with talk about God.
You can’t bury it with FoxNews fluff pieces.
You can’t drown it in nationalism.
You can’t dismiss it with cries of fake news.
You can’t pardon it after it completes its assaults.
You can’t give it a demeaning nickname and hope to deflate it.
You can’t rage-Tweet it into exhaustion.
You Can’t Gaslight a Pandemic, Donald, John Pavlovitz, Stuff That Needs To Be Said
By golly, Biff damned sure is trying!
I wrote this on Facebook, May 8th:
He’s wrecked the economy like 1 of his casinos.
He sucks as a moral leader, or comforter-in-chief.
Expect Biff to go full Brown People-Chinese-Mexican-Muslim racist, because, why not?
May 8th was Friday. He managed to fulfill my predictions by Monday.
Like all authoritarians, fascists, Nazis and racists: facts don't matter. What matters is emotion, what a certain thing makes "the base" feel. Most of them, like Biff feel threatened by changing demographics. Fascists take advantage of disasters and chaos, as rampant confusion consolidates their power, and a pandemic is made-to-order. For his bewildered, gun-toting herd, it's like the last gasp of Archie Bunker. They're worried about 2042. I'm worried about Dr. Bright's ominous prediction of this being our "darkest winter." I'm worried about the Forbes article four years ago that capitalism MUST change, or humanity will starve itself to death eight years later in 2050. The so-called white majority becoming numerical minorities will be short-lived, and moot:
Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health.
We need to build a new system: one that will balance economic growth with sustainability and human flourishing.
Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050, Drew Hansen, Forbes, 2016
In one of a number of revolts against colonial rule, in a corner of what is now Tanzania, the Maji Maji Rebellion sought to drive out German colonialists. The rebels were partly incited by a spirit medium who claimed to be possessed by a snake spirit and to have a “war medicine” that would turn German bullets into water. In one of the saddest and most surreal episodes in anti-colonial history, thousands of Africans who put their faith in this magic perished before German machine guns.
It has been axiomatic in anthropology since Bronislaw Malinowski’s seminal work in the early 20th century that people turn to magic when they feel powerless. Soldiers, for example, may repeatedly practice mastery of their weapons, but they know there is still a strong element of chance in whether they live or die in combat, and so they also pray, wear talismans, and develop superstitions about weapons, clothes, or routines that bring luck. In this spirit, the Maji Maji rebels—outgunned but unwilling to tolerate German occupation—put their faith in magic water, as well as their own martial skills, as they rose up.
COVID-19 and the Turn to Magical Thinking, Hugh Gusterson, Sapiens.org
I don't think it will matter what hue of human is in the numerical majority. This pandemic screams at us that capitalism as we practice it is out of balance with the globe we live on. This pandemic roars at us that all the magical-thinking-whistling-past-the-graveyard in the world won't will it away, nor will opening up too soon and assume callously only "brown people" will die. As much as I love Star Trek as nerd mythology, I'm not expecting a leap in physics, discovering warp drive, and leaving the planet for exciting Alpha Centauri tours. In 2050, I pretty much expect to be either 88, or ashes. I just didn't expect the rest of the world to be ashed with me.
It is, in a dark sense, a brute force way to end inequality, forever.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," Matthew 5:5.
I guess that doesn't necessarily have to mean Homo Sapiens.