Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Heavenly Peace

 Heavenly Peace
by C.A. Matthews

Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright.
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!
There’s nothing in any classic Christmas carol about “Shop until you drop!” There’s nothing about spending tons of cash on gifts, food, travel, clothing, or general rabble-rousing. There’s nothing about “He who dies with the most toys wins,” or how great it is to send billions of dollars in weapons to a proxy war and drone bomb civilians, either. Carols tend to emphasize qualities such as “silence” and “peace.”   

How did we ever find ourselves in the mess we find ourselves in today? To understand where we are now, perhaps it’s best to unravel the string of events that led us here.  

Let’s travel back in time and see where our Christmas celebrations took a turn away from silence and peace and landed us in a pit of noise and turmoil. What wrong step did we take? How can we get back on the path of peace and stillness, away from this madness that calls itself “Christmas” in the 21st century?

The idea that Christmas was about going broke every December buying numerous superfluous presents for loved ones, friends, co-workers and bosses is a relatively recent invention. Most place the blame on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s shoulders. Albert and Victoria (both of German descent) introduced the tradition of Christmas trees to the English-speaking world. 


Of course, being tremendously wealthy, the royals lavished tons of toys and other gifts on their huge brood of children. The British middle class was coming into its own in the mid-19th century, so they had an overwhelming urge to copy the customs of their young and spendy queen. Hence, the yearly mad rush to the toy and department stores began.

To outdo your middle class neighbors, you had to have the biggest tree with the biggest pile of gifts under it. Competition was not only encouraged in Victorian times, it was practically mandated. This competition started near the beginning of the industrial revolution, and mass-produced items were becoming the “in-thing” to give. Simple gifts of food and drink were seen as inferior and only for the poor and disadvantaged to share with each other on Christmas Eve.

The burgeoning middle class had to have the best their money could buy from the best stores and manufacturers. To aid these not-quite-as-rich-as the-queen folks and guide them toward where  they could purchase the latest mass-produced gift items, a new art form was developed. “Advertising” told the middle class exactly what was the in-thing that year and, more importantly, where it could be purchased and for how much. 

“Be the first family on your street to own this wonderful consumer item!” advertisers shouted, bursting the peace and silence of the beautiful snowy skies.

This is where the Western celebration of Christmas took that big wrong turn.

“Okay,” you say. “Materialism is bad. Unselfish giving of our time and talents is good. We all stop purchasing useless mass-produced goods we never wanted or could use and end this stupid competitiveness, and everything will be hunky-dory, right? We'll start now, and the world will be peaceful before you know it."

But it isn’t, and you know it. We still have hatred, violence, and endless war. What wrong turn did we take there? 

Would you be surprised if I told you it was the same one? 

The same mass production and keeping up with the neighbors and allowing the elites to dictate how we ordinary beings should live our lives has led us into this mess. There can be no “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Humankind” when there’s money to be made creating billions of useless disposable items—from $1 plastic do-dads to $1 billion bomber aircraft.  

By creating an insatiable need to have more and use more via advertising, we perpetuate the modern myth that Christmas is a holiday for commerce. Because what’s the use of having stockpiles of anything—including weapons—if you don’t have the means to deplete them before next year’s big rush to the “toy” store? Ka-boom!

Capitalism depends on endless growth in order to make capitalists (the elite) endless profits. Endless resources are needed to produce ever more mass-produced products for consumers to buy (as they're instructed by advertising to demand more and more) year after year. When the natural resources are depleted at home, capitalists must go abroad and take them. 
Sure, capitalists could offer others money and a fair trade, but bombing another country to smithereens and destroying their economy is much more fun, isn’t it? Once you’ve destroyed another country's economy via either a "hot" or "cold" war, you can assume all its resources and use its people as cheap/slave laborers. They have to work for you now, or they don't eat. More profits to be made for the "winning" capitalists. Yeah!

To reiterate, advertising drives the middle class into a frenzy of crass materialism each December, which then leads corporations into destroying our environment in search of the raw resources needed to manufacture these items while also making these corporations vast profits, and these resources are being obtained more and more via endless warfare. Rinse and repeat.

A holiday to honor the birth of a man of peace has been co-opted by capitalism and endless wars for resources. Totally and completely co-opted.  

Now that we know how we’ve gotten ourselves into this mess, how can we get out of it? Could it be all we have to do is ignore the propaganda that capitalism is the best economic system ever? (Propaganda is simply another name for the advertising put out by our governments to prop up private corporations destroying our earth in their race to obtain natural resources.) Could it be that all it takes is to stop billionaire CEOs and the endless warfare and sue for peace throughout the world? Could it be that simple?

“Sleep in heavenly peace!” By following words of peace and not those of capitalist warmongers, we will find ourselves surrounded by the beautiful silence of Christmas, where only the celebration of the gift of love is needed.

Related pieces:

The Madness of Nuclear War is Alive and Well in America https://scheerpost.com/2022/12/16/the-madness-of-nuclear-warfare-is-alive-and-well-in-america/ 

Raytheon and Boeing Can't Be Voted Out (video) https://revolutionaryblackout.substack.com/p/raytheon-and-boeing-cant-be-voted

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  1. It's really come to something. Unlimited cash for warfare with the exciting chance of nuclear oblivion. Some people may be spending as much as they can because they don't see much future ahead of them. I suspect most can't afford anything much, so capitalism is going to take a hit this year. Too bad, so sad.

  2. I think that capitalism taking a hit this year is a good thing. It helps get the holiday season back on the right track. And anything to stop the endless wars for resouces is fine by me. Merry Anti-Capitalist Christmas and a Socialist New Year to one and all!


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