Moloch in the Mirror

Phil Rockstroh—06/2005
Rockstroh issues a powerful prosodic warning of America's rapid descent into a deathscape of aggression, fantasy, selfishness, ambition and ceaseless appetite — in service to Moloch.

Having an unexciting occupation may increase your risk of a heart attack, believe researcher.

Healine from BBC, 7th June 05

And like that magnificent old faggot who saw the same vision years before we did, I often find myself sobbing on the steps of a madhouse called America.

Joe Bageant

AN UNDERLYING FEELING of unease roils beneath the surface of the American psyche. Is it related in any way to the ugliness and tackiness of the corporatized/militarized landscape? What effect does the landscape have upon the collective mindscape?

It could be that I'm giving the American culture far too much credit — because it has become so vapid, it can't even rise to the level of being tacky… Whatever the case, even an attempt at tawdriness would show some kind of low-grade involvement… Instead, there exists a feeling of flimsiness — a sense of a world devoid of substance. And the pervasive shoddiness creates an underlying aura of anxiety — the feeling that all of it can and will be leveled and scattered in some approaching cataclysm.

So we have a habitual need for distraction from the unease and emptiness — that persistent feeling that something is missing — that the garnering of more… of something — anything… is needed to fill the void… that maybe we'll find it in a mall, in a catalog, order it online, find it on a restaurant menu, get a prescription for it, or bomb somebody in some far away place until feelings of safety, satiety, and well-being are bestowed upon us… But none of these things suffice… Still a sense of apprehension persists… Why?

The corporate/consumer/military culture has the same effect on us all. Its propaganda manipulates our need for novel experience, hijacking our drives, dreams, and desires into the service of an exploitive system rigged to benefit the ruling classes.

The human species would die out without powerful instinctual drives. Eons of evolutionary adaptation stand in testament to the fact. (Yes, even in Kansas.) Darwinian principles, though scorned by retrograde simpletons, are held as Holy Scripture by the black magicians of marketing and public relations firms. Media imagery is designed to bi-pass the restraining mechanisms of the human animal's discriminating forebrain and address directly the concerns of our primal natures. But because it is only an electronic simulacrum of existence (It lacks warm breath, animal scent, spontaneous interplay and touch) contrived to manipulate our deepest dreams and most powerful desires into consumerism and nationalism — it leaves us restless, afflicted with vague feelings of dissatisfaction, aggravation, and dread. Hence, the need to ply the populous with more palliatives (more consumption, more distractions, more meds) so the illusion (growing more tenuous by the day) can be maintained that the empire is not in a state of runaway entropy — that its overlords are not psychopaths — and so that we don't go mad from being stricken with the knowledge of our powerlessness before the soul-devouring forces of corporate/consumer/military Moloch.

So many obese adults and children waddle about us — such an abundance of fat-glistening flesh to sacrifice to Moloch — God of Empty and Mindless Appetite — God of Suicidal Empires — God of Mass Extinction.

Here lies the reason fundamentalist Christians have so little Christ in them: Moloch has moved in and sent Jesus packing… though it was only a rumor he had established residence there to begin with.

Where in the corporatist, death cult of Christian Dominionism are the teachings of its namesake, that renegade rabbi who sermonized against the sin of the wielding of mindless power — and for his efforts was executed for the crime of sedition by the quislings of the imperialist occupiers of his native Judea?

Contemporary Christian fundies do retain some of the beliefs of those early (equally as) fantasy-prone apostles. The early Christian, racked with despair due to the fact their situation had remained unchanged long after the death of their prophet, created a comforting myth to give balm to their sense of powerlessness… According to the myth, at some point in time, the brutal inequities of their era will be reversed by divine mandate and their martyred leader, now, somehow, deified by his execution, will appear from out of the empty sky, returning to free the faithful of this fallen world from toil, oppression, and death… We're still waiting…

Even though history records that despite the ceaseless vigilance of successive generations of the followers of this renegade rabbi — who they claim was killed, rose from death, strode from his tomb, and went up into the air — the sky remains uncluttered of savor activity and the world remains a charnel house for the poor and oppressed… By Jupiter, it would seem that the actual teachings of Jesus were the passionate, but passing, fancy of a young religion — teachings soon to be abandoned before the realities of a harsh, brutal system… a similar situation occurs, presently, when the sons and daughters of privilege must cast aside their commodified rebelliousness — discard their body jewelry and have their tattoos surgically removed — in order to find employment in the corporate sector.

But it all comes at a cost. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort, energy, and expense to crush the human spirit. Whence comes: the ceaseless drive of those ruthless individuals who rise to positions of power within churches, governments, and corporations in order to gain control and dominance — it appears not only over all aspects of earthy existence, but — over every atom that stirs in the cosmos as well.

Now branded at birth, our lives are circumscribed according to the dictates of society's most ruthless and unscrupulous sorts. From cooing Teletubbies to dissembling Military recruiters, America 's young are manipulated to do the bidding of a corrupt core of elitists.

But when the spirits of a nation's young are crushed — the landscape is rendered into a deathscape… for the ineluctable passions of youth do not writher — instead, they rise as an urge to become the bringers of death. From the vapidity of a parasite such as Paris Hilton (and anyone who would have the slightest interest in her doings) to the youthful American practitioners of genocide in Fallujah (and anyone who would rationalize or chose to ignore their doings) — this death-urge is manifested before us.

If there is anyone out there who actually still believes that yesterday's children were damaged by an Oval Office blowjob — then brace yourself for the blowback engendered by our era of Oval Office fomented, military aggression… before which the press and public have dropped to their knees, deep throated the lies, and swallowed willingly.

The energy expended to remain in perpetual denial of the collective culpability of a nation's people in war crimes perpetrated by their government can deplete the reservoirs of an individual's humanity… First, the culture's children languish for lack of succor. Next, the empty come-ons of corporate Uberculture turn the young into hungry ghosts — then the propaganda of the national security state compels them to howl for libations of blood. Eros transformed into Thanatos… here a people become supplicates before the blood-lacquered alter of Moloch's temple.

The populous of an empire internalize its actions. Accordingly, the brutality it inflicts upon the world will reveal themselves in their pathologies. As stated, children, in particular, do not have the means to hide the effects. Apparently, the same principle applies to a large percent of the increasingly infantilized general population of the United States. By promulgating the emotional arresting fantasy that they are the center of the universe, a distressing number of Americans have been transformed in overgrown babies. By instilling childish states of credulity, passivity, and self-centeredness on the public at large, the toxic tenets of corporatism/consumerism/militarism have come to dominate not only public discourse but all manner of contemporary life as well.

Increasingly, this manipulative illusion is growing strained (it was always provisional, more a desperate arrangement struck between power-craven authoritarian types and their willfully ignorant charges) and the shrieks of infant-tyrants' tantrums echo through American shopping malls and through its foreign policy. Worse, these vicious brats, whose sense of entitlement has left them devoid of any sense of consequence, have a great deal of weaponry at their disposal. Instead of pitching their dinner plates from their highchairs — they are throwing bunker-buster bombs.

Empires devour everything within reach, even their fattened young… then themselves. Yet, they wither from within due to a lack of sustenance… there is simply no way to sate the bottomless appetite of Moloch… it dies from a lack of warm-blooded mammalian resonance, from a paucity of contact and communion, stranded in the wasteland it has made by its merciless appetite… Salted snack foods, second mortgages, Starbuck's mochaccinos, bunker buster bombs, unlimited oil supplies, public relationship firm sound-bites will not revive it. It has gone mad and fouled its nest… At this stage, it is more dangerous than ever — it will attack anything that comes near it.

Hence America 's psychotic wars of aggression… hence its degraded landscape… hence its frightened/benumbed populace.

Though Americans doze off before the garish glow of their televisions, with crumbs of Doritos stippled in the folds of double chins and upon sagging chests — we sleep restlessly, for we know we are devouring our seed crop… We dare not dream of the future — a future of crushing debt, runaway inflation due to diminishing oil supplies, global environmental upheaval brought on by global warming, and the enmity of the people of the world beyond our shores in response to our bullying militarism. Most of all, we are afraid to dream — because we cannot face what we have become. When Moloch rises before us — we see our own face. It is the face of empty entitlement, of exceptionalism, of state sanctified selfishness, of ceaseless ambition, and mindless appetite.

Paradoxically, we are afraid to either dream or to awaken… so we have come to exist in a nether region between the two states… In our stupor, we have come to believe that the mass media phantasmagoria and the garish unreality of the commercialized landscapes we sleepwalk through daily comprises some semblance of human sentience.

We dare not dream nor awaken — because to glimpse our carelessness and cruelty might give us pause, causing the sustaining machinery of global capitalism to break down. We dare not dream nor awaken — because if we were to catch a glimpse of eternity, the churches would be forever emptied. We dare not dream nor awaken — because we might cop a passing glance of our common humanity, and, as a result, we'd be forever exiled from our comfort zones and be forced to take up arms in a life or death struggle against our own complacency.

But we must dare to both dream and awaken — because if we stay fixed in our fantasy of the perpetual sustainability of the present order — then the future will become a waking nightmare from which we cannot awaken.