Monday, July 31, 2006


Families Challenging Religious Influence in Delaware Schools
...“Because Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I will speak out for him,” said the Rev. Jerry Fike of Mount Olivet Brethren Church, who gave the prayer at Samantha’s graduation. “The Bible encourages that.” Mr. Fike continued: “Ultimately, he is the one I have to please. If doing that places me at odds with the law of the land, I still have to follow him.”

Mrs. Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”

Mrs. Dobrich’s decision to leave her hometown and seek legal help came after a school board meeting in August 2004 on the issue of prayer. Dr. Hattier had called WGMD to discuss the issue, and Mr. Gaffney and others encouraged people to go the meeting. Hundreds showed up.

A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”

Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”...

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for an Evangelical Pastor
MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”...

...Sermons like Mr. Boyd’s are hardly typical in today’s evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq. ...

...Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into “idolatry.”

He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.

“I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’ ” he said in an interview.

Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd’s church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a “freedom celebration.” Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending “your hard-earned money” on good causes.

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state. ...

Reaching the Liberal Next Door: Are conservative politics a barrier to the gospel?
Two years ago our church was growing at the rate of about a hundred people per year and we were all very excited about what God was doing. As the pastor responsible for evangelism and assimilation, I had a unique perspective. One night after visiting a family that was new to our church, it occurred to me that no matter what walk of life a person came from to our church, there was one thing that I could be sure of; they had all watched the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News within the last week. They all voted for the same candidates and had conservative social views.

This bothered me because while I was very excited about what God was doing at our church, it was puzzling to me as to why God would do this. “Why would God build the church of people who all thought the same?” The fact is that there are a lot of people in our community that will never come to our church, and it isn’t because of Jesus—it’s because of us. Somehow we’ve mixed politics, ideology, and our vision for our country, with who we are as Christians. This is a barrier that causes many people who are not Christians to not even want to be around us. ...


Kingdom Confusion: Is the quest for political power destroying the church?
Like many evangelical pastors in the months before the 2004 election, I felt pressure from a number of right-wing political and religious sources, as well as from some people in my own congregation, to “shepherd my flock” into voting for “the right candidate” and “the right position.” Among other things, I was asked to hand out leaflets, to draw attention to various political events, and to have our church members sign petitions, make pledges, and so on. Increasingly, some in our church grew irate because of my refusal (supported by the church board) to have the church participate in these activities.

In April of 2004, as the religious buzz was escalating, I felt it necessary to preach a series of sermons that would provide a biblical explanation for why our church should not join the rising chorus of right-wing political activity. I also decided this would be a good opportunity to expose the danger of associating the Christian faith too closely with any political point of view, whether conservative or liberal. The series was entitled, “The Cross and the Sword."

The response surprised me.

For one thing, I had never received so much positive feedback. Some people literally wept with gratitude, saying that they had always felt like outsiders in the evangelical community for not “toeing the conservative party line.” Others reported that their eyes had been opened to how they had unwittingly allowed political and national agendas to cloud their vision of the uniquely beautiful kingdom of God....

...My thesis, which caused such an uproar, is this: I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry....

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Our Dangerous Times
Today’s conservatives are eager to trade freedom for security.

...Was it so long ago that prominent conservatives vigorously opposed Bill Clinton’s power grabs and his trampling of due process? Or was there a hidden asterisk noting that government power should only be limited when Democrats occupy the White House? Now security trumps—or, in reality, political promises of security. Or perhaps, like the prior proclamations of fidelity to limited government, the fixation on safety is simply another ruse to smear liberals and spur donations. ...

...The vast majority of conservative commentators have never shown the slightest interest in the efficacy of the administration’s antiterrorism policies and share the Bush-Cheney attitude that a federal program is legal if the president says so. It seems to be widely assumed that what is good for Bush is good for America, so cheering on the war will make us safe.

Survival of the Republican congressional majority may hinge on suppressing criticism of administration policies, and this storm of media-bashing may be crafted to keep the lid on news about other government surveillance systems. Over a period of barely six months, leaks resulted in Americans learning that the feds were conducting thousands of warrantless phone taps in the U.S., that they had arm-twisted telephone companies to turn over the calling records of tens of millions of Americans, and that our government has been sifting through international banking records to its heart’s content. National Journal recently revealed that the Bush administration is continuing to pursue Total Information Awareness, even though Congress compelled the formal abandonment of that program in 2003. The endless threats of treason prosecutions against whistleblowers, reporters, and editors may be a last ditch attempt to prevent Americans from learning about secret presidential orders that would make the NSA wiretapping look like kids’ stuff.

Just because much of the media is biased does not mean that the Bush administration is trustworthy. Perhaps it is na├»ve to expect commentators to be more honest than politicians. But the “treason” stampede among right-wing talking heads indicates just how much conservatism has changed. And the Right’s knee-jerk defense of every Bush power grab has so decimated their credibility that prominent conservatives will have as much standing to gripe about Leviathan during a reign of someone like Hillary Clinton as her husband has to complain that American culture no longer respects chastity.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Waiting for the Tommies
DURING THE FIRST 24 HOURS OF THE BATTLE OF the Somme - exactly 90 years ago today - the British army suffered its highest-ever number of casualties sustained on a single day. Unbelievably, one half of the 120,000 British troops committed to the battle were killed or wounded, a total greater than the combined British combat losses in the Crimean, Boer and Korean conflicts. ...

Monday, July 17, 2006


There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998
For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate....

...Two simple graphs provide needed context, and exemplify the dynamic, fluctuating nature of climate change. The first is a temperature curve for the last six million years, which shows a three-million year period when it was several degrees warmer than today, followed by a three-million year cooling trend which was accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of the pervasive, higher frequency, cold and warm climate cycles. During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's. The second graph shows the average global temperature over the last eight years, which has proved to be a period of stasis.

The essence of the issue is this. Climate changes naturally all the time, partly in predictable cycles, and partly in unpredictable shorter rhythms and rapid episodic shifts, some of the causes of which remain unknown. We are fortunate that our modern societies have developed during the last 10,000 years of benignly warm, interglacial climate. But for more than 90 per cent of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder, than today. The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming....

Saturday, July 08, 2006


The disbeliever
Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," on why religious moderates are worse than fundamentalists, 9/11 led us into a deranged holy war, and believers should be treated like alien-abduction kooks.

...There's no document that I know of that is more despicable in its morality than the first few books of the Hebrew Bible. Books like Exodus and Deuteronomy and Leviticus, these are diabolical books. The killing never stops. The reasons to kill your neighbor for theological crimes are explicit and preposterous. You have to kill people for worshiping foreign gods, for working on the Sabbath, for wizardry, for adultery. You kill your children for talking back to you. It's there and it's not a matter of metaphors. It is exactly what God expects us to do to rein in the free thought of our neighbors.

Now, it just so happens, however, that most Christians think there's something in the New Testament that fully and finally repudiates all of that. And therefore, we do not have to kill homosexuals. We don't have to kill adulterers. And that's a very good thing that most Christians think it. Now, most Christians actually are not on very firm ground theologically to think that. It's not an accident that St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine thought we should kill or torture heretics. Aquinas thought we should kill them, Augustine thought we should torture them. And Augustine's argument for the use of torture actually laid the foundations for the Inquisition. So it's not an accident that we were burning heretics and witches and other people in Europe for five centuries under the aegis of Christianity. But Christianity is at a different moment in its history. ...

...I'd be the first to agree that it's better not to read these books literally. The problem is, the books never tell you that you're free not to read them literally. In fact, they tell you otherwise, explicitly so. Therefore, the fundamentalist is always on firmer ground theologically and -- I would argue -- intellectually than the moderate or the progressive. When you consult the books, you do not find more reasons to be a moderate or a liberal. You find more reasons to be a fundamentalist. I agree, it is a good thing to be cherry-picking these books and ignoring the bad parts. But we should have a 21st century conversation about morality and spiritual experience and public policy that is not constrained by superstition and taboo. In order to see how preposterous our situation really is, you need only imagine what our world would be like if we had people believing in the literal existence of Zeus. I defy anyone to come forward with the evidence that puts the Biblical God or the Quranic God on fundamentally different footing than the gods of Mt. Olympus. There are historical reasons why Zeus is no longer worshiped and the God of Abraham is. But there are not sound epistemological or philosophical or empirical reasons. ...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The Individualist Code
...Take the story of the Good Samaritan. What if it went like this:

A traveler was mugged and left half-dead in a ditch beside the road. Immediately two government workers took him to a state-run facility and arranged for Medicaid payments, government housing assistance, and free psychological counseling.

Of course, that's not the way the story goes. Well, how about this:

Another traveler found the man, bound up his wounds, and took him to a hotel, where the rescuer promised to pay all his bills for the rest of his life.

But no, that's not the story, either.

In the authentic tale, Jesus says that a traveler is robbed and left half-dead, and that the official functionaries who find him render the aid that such people ordinarily render: none! Meanwhile, a private citizen, inspired by individual motives of love and good will, picks up the traveler, takes him to an inn, and arranges to pay his bills — not for the rest of his life, but while he's recovering. The giver and the receiver retain their individuality, and their independence.

Now try another story: Jesus' parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). A businessman entrusts several hundreds of thousands of dollars to each of three employees. They're supposed to manage his money while he's out of town. When he returns, he is happy to discover that two of them have made enormous profits — 100%! Naturally, he gives them promotions. Then he turns to the third, who informs him that he, the employee, was afraid to lose the money entrusted to him — so he didn't make any investments at all! What does the boss do?

If he were a "social gospel" Christian, he would give everyone a reward, for the sake of economic equality; and he would be sure to discuss the evils of selfish profit-seeking and the necessity of taxing large "unearned incomes" (what the King James translation calls "usury"). The boss in Jesus' story takes the opposite approach: he fires the employee who didn't have enough initiative to make the biggest profit he could, and he never says anything about the dangers of private enterprise. The boss, incidentally, symbolizes the Lord himself.

I'm not suggesting that the New Testament is a handbook of capitalist economics, or a guide to libertarian politics. Jesus said — contrary to the assumptions of all those religious people who have tried to use the government to put themselves in power — "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Jesus was concerned with individual souls, not individual bank accounts....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Ex-GI charged with rape of Iraqi, deaths
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A former soldier discharged because of a "personality disorder" was accused in federal court Monday of executing an Iraqi family so he and other troops could rape and murder a young woman they had been eyeing at a traffic checkpoint.

Steven D. Green, a skinny, 21-year-old former private, was led into court wearing baggy shorts, flip-flops and a Johnny Cash T-shirt. He spoke only to confirm his identity and stared as a federal magistrate ordered him held without bond on murder and rape charges that carry a possible death penalty.

Green became the first person identified in the latest case of alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops, horrific deaths discovered in a burning house near Mahmoudiya in March that military officials initially blamed on insurgents.

According to a 10-page federal affidavit, Green and three other soldiers from the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division had talked about raping the young woman, whom they first saw while working at the checkpoint. On the day of the attack, the document said, Green and other soldiers drank alcohol and changed out of their uniforms to avoid detection before going to the woman's house. Green covered his face with a brown T-shirt.

Once there, the affidavit said, Green took three members of the family — an adult male and female, and a girl estimated to be 5 years old — into a bedroom, after which shots were heard from inside.

"Green came to the bedroom door and told everyone, 'I just killed them. All are dead,'" the affidavit said....

..."After the rape, (the soldier) witnessed Green shoot the woman in the head two to three times," the affidavit said....

...An official familiar with details of the investigation in Iraq has told The Associated Press that a flammable liquid was used to burn the rape victim's body in an attempted cover-up.

The affidavit noted that prosecutors have photos taken by Army investigators in Iraq of all four bodies found inside a burned house and a photo of a burned body of "what appears to be a woman with blankets thrown over her upper torso."

The age of the young woman was unclear. FBI documents estimated her age at 25, but a neighbor of the family said the rape victim was 14 and her sister was 10.

The Washington Post reported the rape victim was 15 and that her mother worried her daughter had attracted the attention of U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint. The mother asked a neighbor if the girl could sleep at his house....

CIA closes unit charged with hunting down al-Qaida chiefs
WASHINGTON - The CIA has closed down a secret unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials said Monday.

The terrorist tracking unit, known as "Alec station," was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned to other offices within the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, the officials said....

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Meet the Malthusians manipulating the fear of terror
From climate change doom-mongers to population alarmists, every kind of fear entrepreneur is piggy-backing on the ‘war on terrorism’.

...Proponents of the new security agenda often criticise those behind the ‘war on terror’ for conspiring to create a climate of fear. So according to the authors of Global Responses To Global Threats; Sustainable Security For The Twenty-Firstt Century:

‘The “war on terror” is creating a climate of fear that can be politically advantageous for those in power; a climate in which, for example, a sizeable percentage of Americans consistently, and unrealistically, report they are worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism.’ (24)

The authors of the report are critical of the tendency to promote and manipulate fear of terrorism. Yet they have few inhibitions when it comes to raising public anxiety about their own fear agenda. So the report goes on to argue that if its agenda of dealing with climate change, global poverty, arms proliferation and competition for scarce resources is ignored, then that will make ‘future terrorist attacks more likely’ (25).

The new Malthusian security advocates use fearmongering tactics every bit as shamelessly as those overseeing the ‘war on terror’. Indeed, in the very process of depicting environmental and health issues as a major threat to human survival, they actually take the politics of fear far beyond the alarmist scenarios dreamt up by the architects of the ‘war on terror’. The Malthusian security agenda accepts the ideology of anti-terrorism in order to draw attention to its claim that there are even graver problems threatening the future and security of humanity.

In one very important sense, however, the Malthusian security agenda is even more retrograde than the traditionalist security agenda. The traditional variety was usually focused on a specific enemy; in many instances the enemy was clearly identified – the Russians, the Cubans, or some specific group of subversives. Today’s security agenda, by contrast, is uncertain about how to distinguish friend from foe and what the problem really is. According to this view, there are no friends or foes. The new security agenda adopts a fiercely misanthropic outlook and blames human behaviour in general for threatening security. They believe that our behaviour – leading to population growth, consumption of oil, environmental degradation – is the real threat. For them, threats are transnational, global, interconnected; in other words, everything is a potential threat. Infectious diseases, environmental problems, economic discontent and terrorist violence are seen as being parts of a broader, generic security problem.

In years to come, this approach, which is now institutionalised through the US Department of Homeland Security, is likely to expand into more and more spheres of human experience. It is surely only a matter of time before the assumption implicit in the Malthusian security agenda – that we do not simply need a ‘war on terror’ but a ‘war on everything’ – will be made more explicit.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Vaclav Havel: "The Power of the Powerless"(1978)
...{4}The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: "Workers of the world, unite!" Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment's thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

{5}I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life "in harmony with society," as they say.

{6}Obviously the greengrocer . . . does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: "I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace." This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer's superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan's real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer's existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

{7}Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan "I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;' he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, "What's wrong with the workers of the world uniting?" Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

{8}Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe. . . .

...{11}Why in fact did our greengrocer have to put his loyalty on display in the shop window? Had he not already displayed it sufficiently in various internal or semipublic ways? At trade union meetings, after all, he had always voted as he should. He had always taken part in various competitions. He voted in elections like a good citizen. He had even signed the "antiCharter." Why, on top of all that, should he have to declare his loyalty publicly? After all, the people who walk past his window will certainly not stop to read that, in the greengrocer's opinion, the workers of the world ought to unite. The fact of the matter is, they don't read the slogan at all, and it can be fairly assumed they don't even see it. If you were to ask a woman who had stopped in front of his shop what she saw in the window, she could certainly tell whether or not they had tomatoes today, but it is highly unlikely that she noticed the slogan at all, let alone what it said.

{12}It seems senseless to require the greengrocer to declare his loyalty publicly. But it makes sense nevertheless. People ignore his slogan, but they do so because such slogans are also found in other shop windows, on lampposts, bulletin boards, in apartment windows, and on buildings; they are everywhere, in fact. They form part of the panorama of everyday life. Of course, while they ignore the details, people are very aware of that panorama as a whole. And what else is the greengrocer's slogan but a small component in that huge backdrop to daily life?

{13}The greengrocer had to put the slogan in his window, therefore, not in the hope that someone might read it or be persuaded by it, but to contribute, along with thousands of other slogans, to the panorama that everyone is very much aware of. This panorama, of course, has a subliminal meaning as well: it reminds people where they are living and what is expected of them. It tells them what everyone else is doing, and indicates to them what they must do as well, if they don't want to be excluded, to fall into isolation, alienate themselves from society, break the rules of the game, and risk the loss of their peace and tranquility and security. . . .

{14}Let us now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth. . . .

{15}The bill is not long in coming. He will be relieved of his post as manager of the shop and transferred to the warehouse. His pay will be reduced. His hopes for a holiday in Bulgaria will evaporate. His children's access to higher education will be threatened. His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. Most of those who apply these sanctions, however, will not do so from any authentic inner conviction but simply under pressure from conditions, the same conditions that once pressured the greengrocer to display the official slogans. They will persecute the greengrocer either because it is expected of them, or to demonstrate their loyalty, or simply as part of the general panorama, to which belongs an awareness that this is how situations of this sort are dealt with, that this, in fact, is how things are always done, particularly if one is not to become suspect oneself. The executors, therefore, behave essentially like everyone else, to a greater or lesser degree: as components of the post-totalitarian system, as agents of its automatism, as petty instruments of the social auto-totality.

{16}Thus the power structure, through the agency of those who carry out the sanctions, those anonymous components of the system, will spew the greengrocer from its mouth. The system, through its alienating presence in people, will punish him for his rebellion. It must do so because the logic of its automatism and self-defense dictate it. The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted facade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth. Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can co-exist with living within the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety. . . .

G.I.'s Investigated in Slayings of 4 and Rape in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 30 — The American military is investigating accusations that soldiers raped an Iraqi woman in her home and killed her and three family members, including a child, American officials said Friday.

The investigation is the fourth into suspected killings of unarmed Iraqis by American soldiers announced by the military in June. In May, it was disclosed that the military was conducting an inquiry into the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha last November. ...