Currently the Rise of Nothing is in the middle of a flashback, hence the noticeable absence of the encroaching nothingness at the base of each panel. But alas, even in flashback times, things weren't always idyllic. As they say, "nostalgia is a seductive liar."
If you look far back into the dawn of history, the Bible records mankind trying to build a tower "reaching to the heavens". It sounds like a tall tale: either the Bible is pulling our leg or else the tower of Babel story is both metaphorical and comedic commentary on human stupidity and flash-mob consensus. We could perhaps believe that perhaps a frenetic madman could take on such a task, but not our foundling civilization. Or maybe only the group with its groupthink can be so spectacularly crazy stupid? When a society decides to go it alone without God, can they be soo-o dumb that it sounds like wild fiction or a macabre fairy tale?
Look at our present day medical system. It is like the camel whose back will collapse if someone was to sneeze in its vicinity. Yet society has signed on the dream that will make medical expenses reach for the sky, make the Tower of Babel seem like a sand castle. We are hellbent on a fairy tale future when men will give birth while NEVER again annoying us by mansplaining every minor thing! Hallelujah! The naysayers (may they be crushed) point out the odd bug here and there. Sure, the current female prototype and "Woman of the Year", Admiral Rachel Levine does seem to seem to have her speech immovably set on mansplaining mode. Uber-annoying, fingernails on a chalkboard, okay, but that in all on the gender-affirming-care of yesterday. The glories of modern medicine soon squash that bug and bring us to new unimagined heights. What did we do before modern genius/medicine?
In the current flashback, The Rise of Nothing does make reference to some historical figures. Just a few notes on them. Strictly speaking Voltaire (1694-1778) was a deist. It is a philosophically safer space, even today. Deism allowed Voltaire to unceasingly snipe at Christianity, like Disney and Hollywood, only wittier and more direct. He could pontificate boldly "Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian religion in horror". All the while, Voltaire and the like-minded polemicists implied there was an alternative that everyone sort-of, maybe, perhaps knew about. All they had to do was to cancel Christianity and let the new world order take hold.
When the French Revolution came around, it was chaos. The revolution itself became a stand-in deity, but it changed its face continuously. Trying to find stability was like searching for the girl- next-door in a drag show. The movers and shakers of that time gained power by popular acclaim and a high stakes game of survivor. With the leaders of the revolution, it is difficult to decide which metaphor is most apt: blood-thirsty monster or Mr. Bean. Yes, history is revisionist, but the image of Mr. Bean, self-importance intertwined with incompetence sticks best. Delusions of grandeur was the order of the day. The calendar was remade, 1789 A.D. became year zero. Weeks now had 10 days and years had 10 newly minted and newly named months. "We will burn down all the libraries, for only the history of the Revolution...will be needed" declared Francois Hanriot, the Commander of the National Guard. When food shortages ensued they were handled in surprisingly modern ways. Price limits were set on staple commodities and the government printed enough money to make everyone rich! A Parisian named Brille was guillotined for showing "disrespect of the revolution" by "having wrapped a pound of butter in newly issued paper money." In a private moment of serenity and insight, Robespierre and his cronies were contemplating how much the population of France should be reduced to for the revolutionary ideals of "fraternity, liberty and equality" to be realized. One suggested the 25 million person population would be reduced to six, another social engineer suggested five but Robespierre won the contest in positing four million would be more than enough. (For more craziness, see Bolsheviks of the Bastille, a July 1989 Leon Steinmitz article for National Review ). It would take up too much ink draw out fully the comedy and tragedy. Robespierre, a squeaky-voiced, diminutive and pencil-necked lawyer, was called "incorruptible" simply because he lacked any human emotions. From his position on the Committee of Public Safety he engineered The Reign of Terror he became the de-facto dictator of France. He made the mistake of allowing a point of order by a certain Jean-Lambert Tallien. Robespierre was guillotined the next day under the execution-before-proven-guilty legislation he hand recently authored.
What scares me today is the authoritarian tendencies and Mr. Bean personalities of our current leaders. Here in Canada, we have Justin Trudeau who is seizing control of the internet with Bill-C-18 and has a longstanding history of Mr. Bean behavior. It begins with multiple episodes of wearing blackface, mansplaining to a hapless teenage girl who had asked an entirely different question, "We prefer to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind", publicly expressing heartfelt admiration for the "basic dictatorship of China", his labelling the trucker convoy as "small fringe minority holding unacceptable views", his firing of his attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, for opposing sketchy business practices of SNC, the hopelessly incompetent or compulsively dishonest handling of the documented meddling by Communist China in Canada's elections... the list goes on. Financial scandals are sprouting like post-pizza-party-pimples on a teenager.
But lest our American neighbors belly-laugh at us, consider this: while Canada's Mr. Bean is young and foolish, your version is no longer young. While George Washington is remembered for "I cannot tell a lie, I cut down the cherry tree", Joe Biden is remembered for going to law school on a full academic scholarship and graduating at the top of his class, standing up to the evil bully Corn Pop, hair sniffing and inappropriate caressing of children, tripping on flat surfaces, shaking hands with thin air, getting lost during podium exits, cocaine in the west wing near the oval office, classified government documents being kept in the Biden garage, not to mention son Hunter's escapades.
Matthew 27:17 records "Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” We can read this as Jesus, in a way, is crucified in Barabbas's place and we are Barabbas. However, there is another way to read the verse. When we, as nations, distance ourselves from the Christ, we seem to have released on us these leaders that are Barrabbas-es, leaders that lie somewhere on the continuum between Count Dracula and Mr. Bean. I'd rather not delve too deeply into today's politics, only enough to point out we have a problem. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Psalm 146 assures us that our help is in the Lord and warns us not to place out trust in princes. It's time to adhere much more closely to the Lord.
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