Philip Atkinson Lampoon: "Conquering The Drawbacks Of Democracy" Reply
"The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead.”
If you don't recall the name, Philip Atkinson is or was a contributing editor for Family Security Matters (Matters? Yes it does. More than sanity!). He wrote the nostrum above as part of "Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy," an op-ed which made people, myself included, wonder whether he was taking the piss, was part of a government psy-op, or was serious. How a disabled clerk came to write for a flag-waving, cross-bearing organization connected to Dick Cheney, I do not know. But there is a page cached by Google with his article on it, and he has written much in a similar vein elsewhere.
As part of his conviction that the West is a declining civilization, Atkinson expressed a longing for a Bush President for Life, and for America's adoption of the dictatorial ideals of the Roman Empire in its final centuries. I would speculate that he read Toynbee's 1950s reference to democracy being a form of last-phase government, yet lacked the intellectual rigor or background to realize Toynbee didn't mean to impugn democracy as a bad thing, rather, as the highest although naturally impermanent evolution of government.
I have Philip Atkinson's personal email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so in the spirit of possible fun, I will send him the following:
One does what one can. He's right about one thing. The crimes of this administration are so legion there can be no going back for them. If Caesar had returned obediently from Gaul, he probably would've been promptly assassinated by the Senators. If and when this clique falls from power, it would mean jail, or worse. At this point, not just the Bush Administration but the entire nation, the entire "West," shares in these crimes against humanity. Which goes a long way to explaining why the Clintons ("The Surge is working.") are busy donning the Neo-con mantle.
I read your historically informed editorial on FSM with enthusiasm. It was truly a "Must Read," and an affirmation of the most obvious lessons of civilization. Why was it not given more time in the spotlight? Finally, someone came forward and uttered what we really think! My congratulations to you, sir.
I do have some concerns to share, fine points of disagreement on the way to explaining a plan one hopes you'll seriously consider. The main thrust is put thus: is returning to the Roman model and razing one recalcitrant country and killing all its people really enough? Would not a return to quasi-prehistoric times be superior in many ways? By creating a greater gap, as it were, between civilization and barbarian than the Romans enjoyed?
By starting a wider, surprise nuclear war, for example, we could get rid of nearly all undesireables and genuinely start anew. Such a sweeping, albeit ruthless act would engender, in effect, a return to the Garden of Eden. After a few short years of sheltering to escape any fallout and suitable desolation, re-growth would ensue, and there would then be resources for colonization and peace in abundance. I ask you: is this not better in many ways than needing to constantly manage unbiddable, lazy, obnoxious and unruly savages?
While I realize this idea is a less sophisticated alternate to the biogenetic targeted warfare plan now circulating the upper echelon of government (as Operation Vigilant Mutation), it has the decisive merit of being actionable now, and surer. The weapons are proven effective to the task and readily at hand. We need not develop new ones with undemonstrated efficacies bearing unanticipated, possibly counterproductive effects. Whereas a Nuclear Die-Off is as our greatest leader would say, do-able. We can strike immediately.
While I may not object to its central tenets, your proposal for an American Caesar has a somewhat discomfiting drawback, in that you incite treason by advocating the overthrow of the US system of government itself. Even the barbarians who serve as proof of democratic decline did not attempt so lofty a goal--indeed, terrorists have recently proven quite happy with democracy as a system once they held free and fair elections. While your bold approach differentiates you from those terrorists, it also exposes you to certain scrutinies, perhaps by the Department of Homeland Security itself. In short, while theoretically laudable, your plan may prove too domestically ambitious to be practicable.
Finally, your proposal's high risk profile precludes its employment. The hypothesis that punishing one country like Iraq will bring all other countries to heel ignores the risk of retaliation in kind by others, beady-eyed others, who already possess nuclear weapons, and is likely to test false. Sadly, this is where we differ from the Roman Empire, which never contended with Germanni and Picts harboring nuclear missiles. If you live, as you may well, in Washington, D.C. or its environs such missiles might impose brutish and short personal consequences upon yourself. However salutary the object may be, the in toto retaliatory risk from a limited deployment of nuclear weapons for the purpose of an exemplary genocide is, as they say in these deplorably modern times, a "deal-breaker."
No, the central problem with your proposal is not that it goes too far--simply that it does not go far enough. I strongly suggest you lend your support to our Nuclear Die-Off Proposal (NDOP). Your talents of persuasion would be most welcomed, and I think you'll find an inviting and stimulating home for a classically minded intellect. Won't you join us?
The NDOP, Mr. Atkinson, maximizes the long-term odds of survival for enlightened, nobler people such as ourselves. We contemplate pre-emptive strikery on the grandest scale in history, free from the petty restraints of diminutive, ineffective committees. Has a surer cure for a civilisation in democratic decline yet existed? Our enemies will die like flies in an incinerator, which is to say, as humanely as possible under the exigencies forced upon us. We are an elite group, and have formed a Political Action Committee to see the necessities through. We will submit the mock-up links for our interactive web site, "Friends of The Solution," in a following mail. I look forward to your further correspondence and support.Courage,
Pierce T. Inverieraghty, Esq.