A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Friday, April 24, 2015

roibeárd Uí-neíll

The following is an excerpt from the latest issue of The American Dissident (#29):  

roibeárd Uí-neíll (Corydon, IN ). I have been in the blue-collar workforce for approximately 34 years, held half as many jobs, and never regretted leaving any of them. Obviously, the contemplative life will always be out of my reach. And I don't mean fucking academics.  I've been fairly-well castrated for voicing my dim views of religion, politics, and the general anti-intellectual streak among my co-workers. I've always prided myself on never pulling my punches, i.e., you'll see it coming.  Me not write pretty. But then, I write to take my own pulse, check my own compass, politically-correct editors and cerebrally lazy readers be damned.  I'm an unapologetic freethinker/socialist democrat/book-devourer residing in the Bible Belt. You don't know how isolated I am, regardless of the number of people I know.  I find most contemporary poetry safe and banal. Again, I write to amuse myself, and if it strikes an occasional chord, good; if not, I have no aversion to burning my bridges behind me.  I'm not worried about what you can do for me. 

secular saints vs. monsters from the desert

The middle of summer & motoring through
southern Illinois when this ludicrous apparition
was glimpsed, rising above a captive cornfield,
a billboard flaunting an equally ridiculous proclamation:
You think it's hot here?
Moral terrorism, however banal.
Enough to keep the pew-jumpers
& snake-handlers under control.
Wasn't it the world-renowned scholar, Anonymous,
who wrote, "Blind faith is an ironic gift to return
to the creator of human intelligence."?
i believe in free speech, but know that gentle rebuke
wouldn't be permitted to grace its own billboard
in the buckle of the bible belt.
i'm used to it—a casual Christian acquaintance
says there's nothing redemptive in my poetry,
then to be greeted by silence when i asked him
which god of love gave marching orders
to the Ku Klux Klan & Christian Identity,
Neo-Nazis & suicide bombers, or fanned the flames
of Hindu nationalism at Gujarat.
Who's paid to heed Voltaire's warning?
"Those who can make you believe absurdities
can also make you commit atrocities."
Is it hate speech if i suggest 'twas a pity
that pillar of fire leading the tripartite children
of Abraham through the desert
hadn't been a vampire igniting at dawn?
One less ideology to justify slaughtering each other?
You know it's true,
those of us who don't believe in
or rely upon the cult of the supernatural
are labeled spiritually & mentally deficient.
i'm still willing to live & let live.
Thomas Huxley wasn't "Darwin's bulldog" alone.
i'm a thoughtful secular humanist
who invokes his name, allows the light of reason
to guide my path between nihilism & the numinous.
But if i had to write a letter to Thomas Jefferson,
he'd be disgusted—the pathological stupidity
is no longer satisfied with picking pockets & breaking legs,
it's now burning candles at Mikhail Kalashnikov's grave,
it's broadcasting home movies where the art of decapitation
takes center stage;  & evil of evils, continues rending
its own women & children from limb to limb.
Sharia law forbids kite-flying & laughter, radios
& blue jeans, the naked faces of the fairer sex.
Who's surprised Allah has no tolerance
for the many manifestations of human happiness?
& not to neglect the original sin,
the first stone cast in anger— 
the first of the Ten Commandments
made sludge of the golden calf, then knocked the chip
off of every other self-serving celestial shoulder,
kicked sand in the face of the Golden Rule.
The Word become ash in the mouths of the devout,
& no difference between the mortar to build temple or tomb.
Yet the meek, the mild, the moderate
insist their religion has been hijacked.
i'd like to hear any of them refute
the argument posited by Hector Avalos,
a bold professor of theology who concluded
violence is inherent in their belief systems because of
inscripturation, sacred ground, group privileging...
...& salvation.
It's a matter of who's right & who's damned,
& to the victor goes the spoil of souls,
to be disposed of properly.
No-one wants to hear it,
& the meek, the mild, the moderate
are resigned when the hems of their robes
burst from smoke into conflagration.
The late Kurt Vonnegut famously quipped,
"If God were alive today, He'd be an atheist."
& sharing a foxhole with fellow positivists
until the conundrum blows over.
i'm still willing to live & let live.
i have my own fresh-off-the-press martyrs,
despite self-righteous gun thugs
abusing my appreciation of the ironic— 
didn't the Son of God have 12 disciples?
Bless those determined, pen-wielding 12,
the French satirists & cartoonists
& satirical cartoonists who had the temerity
to lift a mirror, who demanded
a barbaric, iron-fisted homunculus
pause a moment to examine his thin-skinned egotism,
critique the delusions imposed upon
the hateful, semi-literate ghost-swallowers
who want to fulfill his impossibly perfect footprints.
i'm wretched, but not a wretch.
i'm not a sinner, but a flawed human being
who understands the expectation of divine intervention
can never replace the satisfaction of tying his own bootlaces.
& my suggestion to honor the brave Paris 12?
We should bomb every jihadist enclave,
every religious fundamentalist stronghold,
regardless of its flavor of ectoplasmic spew,
with leaflets bearing Victor Hugo's indictment,
"Sacrificing the Earth for paradise is giving up
the substance for the shadow."
Provided the believers can fixate
on something other than a single line in their holy books.
The revolutionary Quaker, Thomas Paine,
didn't require a mountaintop when he said,
"The world is my country, and to do good my religion."
Why isn't this written on every human heart?
We return to beating a dead horse,
fully aware it may never get up
& gallop out of the Dark Ages.
But to do anything less
would be to forfeit
our integrity...

...as well as our heads.


Peter Harter said...

Dissidence is a Christian tradition. The fathers of Milton and Blake are buried in dissenter's graves. The prophets in society have always been Reprobate to society. It is the purpose of the reprobate to antagonize the elect. You may think of yourself as an atheist, but I think of you as a heretic. Your tradition and style are prophetic and heretical not rational or philosophical. Or why choose the poem but as a vehicle for your prophecy?

Peter Harter said...

I enjoyed this poem very much. I understand that its a rant--very cathartic. The ranters were English dissenters (antinomian heretics), whose original objection was the formation of the Anglican church. They hated the idea that rich people can buy their salvation. To them, true Christians had always practiced poverty, and saw wealth as evil idolatry. People took their Christianity very seriously in those days. I identify your poem as coming from that vein, and partaking in the tradition of English Dissent, and of prophecy generally.