The High Druid's Homily

A blog about Druidism, Paganism, Politics, Southern Life, Sex, Entertainment, Sci-Fi, and a lot of crap like that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Cynicalest Generation

One of my readers recently made the case that this current generation is spoiled, that they did not appreciate the sacrifices that should be made in time of war, and that we should take a page from the WWII generation in regards to patriotism, nationalism, and civic duty.

The point is well-taken. I’ll be the first to admit that my generation (X, for those keeping score) is spoiled. But not any moreso than the generation that preceded it or the ones that follow.

On the other hand, I think that making a comparison between the current war (On Terror, in Iraq, or a blended combination of the two) and WWII reveals some interesting differences.

Firstly, the nature of the enemy is dramatically different. In WWII we were facing an open alliance of nation-states bent on a nationalistic ideology and territorial conquest. The foe we face today is a hidden political movement, which is using a very narrow interpretation of holy scripture to justify violence in the pursuit of a political end. Terrorists are not, in fact, nation-states. Indeed, the “War On Terror” should not technically be classified as a war, but as a police operation. War is “Diplomacy by other means,” that is, using violence or the threat of violence to influence other nation-states to protect the national interest.

We cannot be at “war” with Al Qaida, as there is no chance of diplomacy with them. Hitler and Hirohito could negotiate and surrender, and their armies would lay down their arms. If Osama bin Laden showed up at CIA headquarters, shaved his beard and repented of his every crime, that would not stop the war. You cannot fight a “war” against a decentralized non-governmental organization. You can, however, pursue standard criminal charges. Indeed such an approach is more effective, often, than the “send in the Marines!” method of conflict resolution.

Then there is the idea of sacrifice. My generation is not opposed to it, believe it or not. We shelled out millions to help the Tsunami victims and the Katrina victims, sometimes curtailing our own expenses to do so. But the fact of the matter is, the current regime has not asked us to sacrifice anything but our sacred freedoms.

Indeed, George II has specifically said that we should continue business as usual in the face of this war, going about our lives as if nothing has happened. The last thing he and the Energy Syndicate want is for Americans to stop buying gasoline and other fine petroleum products – gods forbid that the war get in the way of profits. It took two major hurricanes and the near-collapse of the petroleum infrastructure for the painful words “energy conservation” to come out of W’s mouth. Material sacrifice, which Americans (Gen X included) are willing to do, that is not asked of us by the regime. We’d even be in favor of slightly higher taxes, if necessary. That idea makes a neo-con’s heart turn to ice.

No, the only thing that we are sacrificing are the very liberties that our fathers and grandfathers fought for and died for. We are speeding towards the establishment of a Big-Brother style police state, thanks to the Patriot Act and similar legislation. National ID cards are proposed and narrowly defeated during nearly every legislative session. (“Papers, please?” the SS officer says in a crisp, efficient voice . . .) Better means to monitor and track the actions of every American are routinely requested and granted without adequate review. The right of habeas corpus, the very foundation of our entire justice system, has been suspended. In New Orleans after the flood government-hired Blackwater Security mercenaries fired upon unarmed civilians who sought basic necessities in a time of crisis. We are no longer free to read what we wish unmonitored by authority. In short, we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars doing to ourselves what we would have defiantly went to war to keep a foreign power from imposing upon us. If this is war, then we are losing because we are defeating ourselves and paying for the privilege.

When will these “temporary” incursions of our freedoms be restored? When the conflict is over? And when does that happen? I

n WWII we knew precisely when the war was over. When can we declare victory here? What criteria have been established as conditions of victory? Or are we condemned to sacrifice our freedoms piecemeal in a permanent state of conflict? That is not what the brave men who stormed Normandy beaches for, nor the ones who fought against the other enemies of the Republic.

Another major difference between Gen X and the WWII generation is a matter of sophistication and education. On the whole our population is far more educated than the WWII generation. While I’ll be the first to decry the deplorable state of public education in America, at the same time we have one of the most well-educated populations in the world . . . and we are increasingly using that education to examine the policies of our leadership. The legacy of Watergate has made our citizenry naturally suspicious of our government, and with good cause. The people recognize the importance of foreign policy, energy policy, and trade policy in ways that no previous generation did. And we are more willing, in general, to hold our leaders to account.

When the decision to extend China Most Favored Nation status came before Congress during the Clinton Administration, what would have been seen as a highly specialized and technical aspect of trade policy, best left to the governmental experts, in a previous age was widely debated as the ramifications of such a move were understood by a much wider portion of the population. In 1940 less than 1% of the population had a post-secondary education. Here and now you cannot even think about a decent salaried job without at least a two-year degree, and a BA is considered a bare minimum standard for most management positions – even in food service and retail. There are more college graduates in prison at the moment than there were in all of the USA during WWII. We are a lot less likely to invest our leadership with our faith and confidence on obtuse technical matters, because as a people we understand them much better than our ancestors ever did.

In WWII there were a handful of government-censored media outlets. Here and now we are getting our news retail, through thousands of outlets from blogs to CNN. Everyone can carry a video camera in their pocket, and within hours serious abuses of power that could be easily swept under the rug in that “Golden Age” are headlined on international TV – and often they are late getting the news. We have instant access to information, news, commentary, opinion, and debate. What would have happened if the illegally detained Japanese citizens in the internment camps had blogs? Would the American people have stood for the treatment their fellow loyal citizens were receiving?
Despite the current regime’s best efforts to brutally squash dissent, the blogosphere makes it impossible to conceal any shenanigans indefinitely. We don’t get reports from the battlefront just from the pre-scrubbed News; oftentimes we are receiving emails and photos and video from the combatants themselves, reporting as accurately on the real “on the ground” situation as any trained journalist could. Major political blunders and scandals, things that once could be comfortably concealed, are transparent despite the best efforts of the regime to hide them. Violating the law for the sake of political expediency is now, thankfully, becoming impossible. When someone in the Bush regime screws up (like former FEMA chief Brown, say) there is no hiding it. Not forever. Soon there won’t be any secrets left at all.

Better education and better access to information means that we are a lot less likely to blindly follow our leaders when they mislead us. How can that be a bad thing for a democracy?

The issues here are not the unwillingness of my generation to make sacrifices and serve our country. We have a definite desire to do so. But there are more ways to be a patriot than putting on a uniform. Our founding fathers envisioned a nation where informed debate and civilized dissent would steer our country through the entanglements it would find itself in. Now that we have such a society, why would we turn our back on the sacrifices our ancestors made to give us such freedom? Is ignorance somehow patriotic?

Some look at a war protestor and ask “How can they do that to the troops?” or “Why doesn’t she love her country?” The fact is that it isn’t the troops or the military that the war protestors of today take issue with: it’s the policies of the leadership that puts our troops’ lives in harm’s way without a damn good reason – and trumping up WMD charges of a former paid CIA agent in order to launch a war of conquest is not sufficient cause to do so. Pointing those facts out should not be considered unpatriotic – quite the contrary. Questioning the political motives and methods of our allies in the region should not be considered seditious, for America has no permanent allies, only permanent interests. And I was always taught that the Constitution established religious liberty, freedom of the press, and a fair system of justice to be perpetually in the national interest.

You can love your country deeply and still fear your government. My generation does just that. The reason that we aren’t marching down to recruiting offices in droves is because we simply know better. We know war is not glorious, that people get hurt and killed, that the psychological damage to the soldiers themselves will last years after the last shot is fired. Our actions as individuals have consequences, we know. Those who do serve, we rightly honor – but to expect us all to follow the current regime into battle without question, when daily its attempts to skirt the law and subvert justice become more apparent, just is not in our nature. We are not inclined to spend our lives cheaply, for a cause we are not convinced of, to be led by leaders who have lied to us, to further a policy that strikes against our clear national interest.

That’s the biggest difference between the WWII generation and us. We aren’t spoiled – we’re cynical. We’ve been lied to all of our lives, from “Read my lips, no new taxes” to “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” to “Saddam Hussein definitely has Weapons of Mass Destruction” to “We will be greeted as liberators in Iraq”. We’ve heard a line of BS a mile wide from every administration since we were old enough to vote. The only politicians we trust to mean what they say are on the political extremes – and what kind of choice is that? In the face of this cynicism we look to each other for advise and guidance, rather than our elected leaders.

But isn’t that what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote, in big flowing, proud letters, “We the People . . .”?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Poor policy is what's bad for morale - not dissent.

I keep seeing references by Republicans that all this pesky criticism of the war is “bad for troop morale” – this is despite their own assurances that troop morale remains high. They are, no doubt, doing a heroic job: they are fighting an aggressive and ingenious insurgency while at the same time they are engaged in nation-building that works often in spite of their leadership, not because of it. On-the-ground reports do show high morale, if a growing frustration. Yet the returning troops, once they are out of danger of repercussions from their superiors, have brought horror stories of corruption, confusion, treachery, and blatant incompetence that feed the growing anti-war movement.

So which is it? And what should we do about it?

On the face of it I have this urge to scream and doubt the noble principals our Republic was founded upon every time I hear a Republican say we shouldn’t criticize the policies that have brought us to this war, because “it’s bad for morale”. Yes, we are in a time of war, no doubt about it. But is the Republic to serve the needs of the Military, or is the Military to serve the needs of the Republic, as established by the Constitution?

Criticism and dissent are vital to a functioning democracy, and were considered so important that the First Amendment establishing absolute freedom of the press was the very first item on the Bill of Rights. Some members of the current Administration may have been asleep during that part of civics class, or perhaps they long for the halcyon days of George III, but never did the Founding Fathers intend for there to be censorship of dissent during a time of war – or any other time.

When our nation wages war it is through the auspices of our elected leadership, an elected executive who is answerable to an elected legislature. For five years, now, the Republicans have had a lock on both branches, and because of that anyone who had serious enough concerns about the policies that led up to the war to voice dissent were marginalized into ineffectiveness, not to mention having their patriotism questioned at length. But what the current regime doesn’t seem to understand is that the blank check they wrote themselves to prosecute this war is due at the bank, and they are seriously short of political capital.

What were the stated reasons for going to war in Iraq? WMDs were the primary reasons. Removing an intolerable despot was next, a preserving regional stability after regime change was third. There were vague and ominous references to an Al Qaida/Iraq connection, but those connections were tenuous then and upon further review they are only true now because by invading Iraq we gave Al Qaida a dream-opportunity to strike back at Evil American Crusaders without having to get a passport.

We went to war because the Administration we elected told us there was a danger. They presented us lots of “facts” that they had gleaned to support this. Even back then, during the limited debate on the war, those “facts” were suspect. In retrospect there can be no doubt that the Bush regime cherry-picked the intel, letting their pre-established policy of invading Iraq (something that they had been mulling over since they took power) dictate which reports they would present, not letting the mass of the reports speak for themselves and dictating policy. As a people we were deceived, as correspondence between the Bush Imperium and its former allies is now coming to light reveals.

So when was the time to criticize this policy? Back when we went to war in the first place? Some did just that. While we were abandoning diplomacy? I recall some brave souls screaming that we were doing the wrong thing then, too. Bush told us that he had clear and compelling reasons for going to war, then showed us just enough to get us upset. He didn’t source it (“national security”). He didn’t prove its veracity. Much of what he said was bombastic retelling of rumor and speculation and damn few actual facts. He asked us to trust him that he and his administration had identified a clear and present danger, and we gullably did so.

Four years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, some are finally starting to make some noise about it. His regime is rocked by blatant incompetence, scandal and corruption (the CPB fiasco, Harriet Meirs, Scooter Libby, FEMA secretary Brown, the allegations of torture and the blatantly unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus at Guantanamo, the no-bid contracts that went to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, several indictments of key Republicans in Congress, and others). In the face of this he has circled the wagons, descended into the bunker, avoids any sort of press conference, and loudly denounced the opponents of the war as irresponsible and unpatriotic because they do not continue to blindly follow his leadership.

What has our $300-400 billion investment in Iraq got us? The undying enmity of the Arab nations, a country beset by a de facto civil war on top of our occupation, a recruiting and training program for a whole new generation of American-hating terrorists, a spiraling debt (weren’t the Republicans supposed to be the party of fiscal conservatism?), a much more secure and belligerent Iran, and a nervous and heavily armed Syria peering across the boarder and wondering if they are next.

What hasn’t it gotten us? Cheap oil. Let’s face it: we did invade Iraq over oil, but not to keep it flowing freely. Petroleum companies don’t make a lot of money when oil is cheap and plentiful. They make money when supply is short and demand is high. If Saddam had miraculously liberalized his government and gotten the sanctions lifted, the first thing he would have done would be to start pumping oil like mad, selling it for whatever he could, and driving the price down to under $20 a barrel – the Kiss of Death for Big Oil. By tying up Iraq in a hopeless political situation that precludes the free flow of oil, Big Oil has been able to score the biggest windfall profits in history. It’s made it cost-effective for Texas to become an oil-producing state again.

It has also enriched Iran immeasurably. Remember them? An “Axis of Evil” state with nuclear ambitions? Yeah, they’re making out like bandits while we pay $3.00 a gallon for gas.
The casualty figures for Iraq, as depressing as they might be, are actually pretty light, in consideration of the scale of the deployment. Our troops are better trained, armed, and armored than their Viet Nam counterparts, and have an advanced communications network that allows for a much more flexible force. Our troops are performing admirably. No one is calling them “baby killers” or war-criminals (that seems to be reserved for the Blackwater mercenaries that we’ve hired to do what we can’t legally employ American troops to do).

The conduct of the troops (with a few lamentable exceptions) is not the issue. The leadership and their policies, those are at issue. And those are fair game for free debate, dissent, and criticism in a participatory democracy. Only the Bush Imperium doesn’t think so, and they’re doing everything they can to stop it. No regime in American history has so blatantly come out against dissent as George II. Having the FBI investigate and intimidate American anti-war protesters under the auscpices of anti-terror legislation is a blatant misuse of authority. Thomas Jefferson would weep.

But the anti-war zealots who advocate a pull-out are just as mistaken. Pragmatically speaking, we are committed, for right or wrong, to see the war through. Not for military victory – as long as there are fanatics who will blow themselves up, that war will never be over. But for something that resembles a legitimate armed authority. The Sunni Triangle needs to be pacified, and the fact of the matter is that the easiest and quickest way to do this would be to withdraw the bulk of our troops North into Kurdish territory, let the Sunnis and Shia duke it out, and be ready to come back in to sit on the winners. Brutal and bloody, yes. Also effective.

But a pull out? That isn’t where the opponents of the Imperium need to focus their attentions. As long as they do that, Bush and Cheney can hide behind the flag and the troops and avoid accountability while making this an issue of patriotism.

Forget a pull-out. Try an audit.

A big, mean, nasty full audit of every dime spent in this war, how it was spent, who it went to and for what. Let’s have an audit with teeth to remove and punish by fine and jail anyone who misused the situation and used that blank check to their advantage. Crawl up Halliburton’s ass with a microscope and I bet we’ll see some action. Get Blackwater Security in front of a Senate committee with cameras and reporters, and we’ll see the Imperium’s policy for what it is: a cynical attempt at market manipulation at tax-payer expense. Once our own house is clean, then we can preach accountability in government to the Iraqis and all other nations we seek to influence.

How can the Imperium have trouble with that? Pressure them on the torture and human rights issues and they plead national security and expediency. Pressure them on faulty intelligence and they play a shell-game with the facts. But hold their feet to the fire with an army of accountants backed by some Congressional clout, and we’ll see Bush’s fiscal conservative base – already exceedingly unhappy – melt away.

In the mean time, keep up the dissent. It’s your constitutional right, and it drives them crazy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Let's Poke It With A Stick!"

Just when you thought that W couldn’t get more moronic . . .

This morning it was reported that George II gave a speech in Japan – which has just come under fire throughout the East Asian world for its Prime Minister visiting a shrine dedicated to Japan’s Imperial war dead from WWII. Seen as offensive by the countries that the old Rising Sun Empire tried to conquer – or did conquer – in WWII, this hardly makes Japan the ideal spot for a major policy speech on East Asia.

Strike One!

While George astutely avoided repeating history by NOT throwing up on his hosts, in retrospect this might not have been a bad alternative to what he did do: he mentioned how the People’s Republic of China really needed to ease up on the whole repression of democracy thing and let folks who disagree with the Party have their say without imprisonment, reeducation, forced labor, and all that great Maoist stuff that lies so near to the Western-style surface of modern China.

Strike Two!

Not satisfied with antagonizing a rising superpower by mentioning its dirty laundry in public, he continued his speech by praising Taiwan – which the PRC considers a “renegade province” and swears it will eventually re-integrate back into Greater China by hook, crook, or cruise missile – as a glowing example of how a free and democratic Chinese nation can enjoy Western-style prosperity.

Strike Three! And he threw the bat.

Usually, when a President’s domestic poll numbers start to fall, he hits the road, where he can look Presidential by attending state dinners, visiting troops, and greeting foreign leaders instead of dodging “helicopter questions” from a rabid press corps. This has worked for most POTUS in the past, Clinton, Nixon, Carter and Reagan among them. It didn’t work as well for George I (that vomiting/Halcion thing in Japan, remember? Good times.) and it doesn’t look like George II is going to be able to recapture any public relations points or recoup some political capital on this one.

And with that speech, he may have just dragged us five feet closer to a war with the biggest, meanest, most fanatical army in the world. Go George.

Things wouldn’t look so bad, if George II had better sense – or at least sound economic policy. But he doesn’t. Consider that after decades of Republicans accusing Democrats of being “Big-Government-Tax-And-Spend-Liberals”, running up taxes and paying for inefficient social welfare programs, George II and his Neocon posse have made one of the classic mistakes: getting involved in a land-war in Asia.

Invading Iraq was a bad idea – I’ve always said so. Threatening to invade Iraq was a brilliant idea. We could have done that for years and it would have cost us pennies. But George and his gang – Darth Rove, Cheney, Condi, Rummy, Wolfowitz of Arabia and others – had the stupidity to drum up a pretext for an invasion, and then went and actually did it. The result is widely publicized, and the last thing I want to do is to rehash just why it was stupid. We’re talking about China.

So what does China have to do with Iraq?

Well, a lot, actually. Because instead of being “tax-and-spend” types, the Bush Imperium is a “borrow-and-spend” outfit. We are currently spending about $1 Billion a month in Iraq, over $400 Billion so far (and don’t forget the opening act, Afghanistan) and we haven’t raised taxes to pay for it. Indeed, George II has cut taxes repeatedly. And wants to do some more. So where are we getting the cash to pay Haliburton to fight in Iraq?

The People’s Republic of China.

America funds its debt by issuing Treasury Bonds, one of the most stable, secure investments in the world. Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, we sell these bonds to investors around the world, promising to repay them at a decent rate of interest. Problem is, the last decade or so, China has taken its exploding economy (averaging about 11% annual growth over the last ten years) and invested the proceeds in US Treasury Bonds. So China is one of the USA’s biggest creditors.

Oh, wait. It gets better.

You see, even though China is trying to shed its Maoist image and cash in on free-enterprise without giving away the Party store, it is still a command economy. If the Party says do something, something is done. There are no alternatives. The Chinese Communist Party is filled with conservatives, and among their ranks are the ultra-conservative generals who run the People’s Liberation Army. Thanks to a five-thousand year old cultural precedent, Chinese Armies are encouraged to be as self-sufficient as possible, keeping the costs of having a truly huge army down for whoever held the Mandate of Heaven. Back in the good old days of the Emperors, when the Army was needed to keep the Central Asian savages out, this meant soldiers farming and practicing skills for the enrichment of the army. Today, it means Generals are as much CEOs as military commanders. The PLA accounts for a hefty chunk of ownership of most of the state-owned enterprises, and has partnered pretty heavily with foreign investors to take advantage of China’s manufacturing expertise, low labor costs, and government subsidies to produce really cheap stuff to sell abroad.

Mostly to America. Prominently to Wal-Mart.
(“These Extra-Low Prices brought to you by Haliburton and the People’s Liberation Army! Merry Christmas!”)

So one of the major investors in US Treasuries is, ironically, the Red Army. China is funding the Iraq War. And George II, like a little boy who has come across an animal he doesn’t think is really alive, just poked them with a sharp stick. It’s like calling out the banker who handles your mortgage during a Rotary Club meeting and telling him he should really be nicer to his troubled teenager and alcoholic wife. While it might be true, it’s just not a very wise thing to say.

But wait! There’s more!

You see, along with China’s record economic growth (due to selling cheap stuff to Wal-Mart without tariffs – Yay Free Trade!) comes a growing dependence on petroleum for its energy needs. All those Hummers the People’s Generals now drive don’t run on rice. Nor do the textile and furniture factories they own. And China has virtually no domestic sources for oil. Like Japan, she has to import every barrel. Which presents an interesting situation:

Our biggest creditor is also our biggest supplier of Cheap Crap; their economy is dependent upon two things: petroleum and American markets. We control a bunch of the former, and most of the latter (being GATT signatories, as well as members of other free-trade treaties, obliges us not to arbitrarily raise tariffs on foreign merchandise.) In order to get the oil that they need, they have to buy it on the open market, and because of all sorts of market factors and artificial manipulations, the price of oil has skyrocketed, which has severely curtailed the profits involved in the Cheap Crap trade. Right now the American military thinks that it can keep a check on any militaristic moves by the PRC by the simple expedient of choking off its oil. Almost 90% of which comes through a single narrow strait in the Indian Ocean. We hold that strait, we control China by its economic balls. Brilliant plan, that.

Only China is also intensely aware of that fact, and it is rapidly taking steps to block any such move. In addition to spending its fortunes on upgrading its missiles and navy to something a little more 21st century, it is quietly looking out its back door to the wide steppes of Central Asia towards some of the states there: the Stans, they’re called. If the might and economic clout of China can bring these poverty-stricken former Soviet republics into their camp, then China will have the means to build a pipeline across the old Silk Route into the heart of Central Asia.

Where Iran lives.

Iran doesn’t like us. They don’t particularly like China, either, but they dislike us a lot more than them. If China offered them a good deal on pumping oil into a Central Asia pipeline to get it to western China – and out of the reach of our subs and aircraft carriers – they might just look at it as a good idea. Why? As stated previously, they don’t like us. And they have a big army, too, and oil to (pardon the expression) burn. They have nuclear aspirations. And they now have American puppet governments set up in the states on either side of them. A powerful, nuclear armed ally might be a good thing to have. Especially if China’s manufacturing machine could pay for that oil with war material.

Then it wouldn’t have to listen to what George II – and his successors – say about pretty much anything, anymore. They’d be able to pursue their ambitions of regaining Taiwan, and possibly extending their influence more heavily among the other East Asian nations. And they would fund these Imperial ambitions by cashing in on their valuable US Treasury bonds, even as their surrogates in Korea stirred up trouble against our allies and military bases there. It could go after Taiwan a lot more aggressively, no longer having to worry about the economic consequences of a blockade of oil tankers from the Middle-East. With their oil issues taken care of, their economy would only have to deal with markets – the US market, to be exact. And while we could impose tariffs on Cheap Crap from China and make it unprofitable here (which would also put a hurtin’ on Wal-Mart, its employees, stockholders, and folks who have achieved a dependency on Cheap Crap) China is also developing other markets which, while they are less profitable, are nonetheless adequate. Latin America, India, Asia and Africa – oh, and don’t forget Russia. Plenty of places left for Wal-Marts.

Does your head hurt yet?

This whole complicated mess comes back to a simple question: George, what the hell are you thinkin’, son? When you come across a bear in the woods – even a panda bear – your first inclination should not be to poke it with a stick to see if it’s alive.

‘Cause it might be. And that could be bad. Worse than throwing up in an ally's lap.

A Brief Introduction

I’m Arion the Blue, the High Druid of Durham.

That sounds impressive – or pompous – I know, but I got that name back in my misspent youth. When I got it, it was really more of a description than a title.

But I am a Druid, that is, a follower of the Neo-Pagan religion of Druidism, a cousin of Wicca. I’m a Wiccan, too, and a wizard, which just shows you how accommodating Neo-Paganism can be. Consider these names, like my title, to be descriptions. How do you know a druid? S/he does druid-y things. Same for wizard, witch, and Wiccan. All of these words have a root meaning of “wise”, so I like to consider myself a practitioner of a Wisdom Religion, as opposed to a Faith. Faith plays a role in Neo-Paganism, but Wisdom is really the focus.

So what does a Druid do? Blog, for one. Traditionally, the ancient Druids were the professional class (doctor, lawyer, archivist, priest, auger, herbalist, scientist, poet, singer/songwriter, etc.) of the pre-Christian Celts. Among their functions was keeping an eye on the lords and kings of the warrior class and making sure they didn’t get out of hand. Other functions included social commentary and criticism, predicting the future, speaking on issues of morality and ethics, and generally ministering to their community. Thus, a blog is a perfectly druidical sort of thing to do.

My community is both here, in Durham, North Carolina (“The City that Cancer and Fat People Built”) and more broadly across the internet. My “ministry”, such as it is, is not reserved exclusively for my fellow Pagans; indeed, a Druid of an area was responsible for ALL the people in that area, regardless of religion. And while I will be discussing Paganism from time to time, much of my focus on this blog will be in areas of interest to non-Pagans. Exactly what that might be, I’m not certain, yet, but you can bet it will include: the future, politics, economics, sex, entertainment, kids (I have 3), marriage (I have 1), science fiction and Southern stuff. Be prepared for some blistering commentary. And don’t be afraid to ask me questions about Neo-Paganism, Wicca, and Druidism.

Without further ado, let the rancor begin!

Arion the Blue