Deck the halls with heathen holly!

Joyous Winter Solstice to all writers of good will! Here in the Fox's Lair we're celebrating our Pagan Holiday without the usual tree worship ("Ach, Tannenbaum!"), mistletoe and flowering Poinsettias. Somewhere, we know, fellow pagans will burn a Yule log for us.

My 2005 New Year's resolutions include getting my novel revised and published and getting at least 3 or 4 new stories into print or in web journals. That is in addition to the other work I'll be doing on our (Susana Torre's & mine) book on the history of architecture & urbanism in "Latin America," and maybe an article or two of think pieces.

Tomorrow we fly to London, where they know about Yule logs and tree worship, and on Xmas day we continue to Spain, where we shall be worshipping nothing in particular beyond our own affairs until almost the end of February. I plan to post at least one substantial (500-700 word) essay a week while we're gone, plus little notes on whatever comes up.

So until we meet here again next week, Happy Yuletide!


Can the world be saved?

Thanks to my old friend and colleague Ivan Light for forwarding this statement from Bill Moyers about the global threat from the delusional Christian right now in power in the U.S., On Receiving Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award. I hope you will read it.

As I wrote to Ivan: Thank you, and thanks to Bill Moyers for taking such a strong, clear position through the years. I too am doubting that my optimism is justified.

What gives me some slender basis for hope is the loosening of the US Government & ruling group's influence over other parts of the world. In their very different ways, Western Europe, China, Russia and even the larger economies of Latin America are asserting their independence. And while each is, like all human groups, subject to some kind of folly, none of them is likely to buy into the "Rapture Index." It seems to me that US influence is deteriorating rapidly, with our unaccompanied disaster in Iraq, the falling dollar, and our government's rejection of international law in the World Court of Justice, the Geneva Conventions, the Kyoto Treaty, and so on. Our ballooning debt and deficit just accelerate these trends.

The "War on Terror" promoted by Washington is correctly seen abroad as another theological delusion, a war on evil to bring about God's kingdom on Earth -- a Christian fundamentalist theocracy disguised through plebiscitary elections (as in Iraq) as "democracy." A war conducted by an invasion force abroad and repression of information and of liberties at home is irrelevant to the real security issues here or abroad. Because this is understood in foreign capitals, the war has no followers -- except cynical ones, like Russia, who want to use it to justify state terror in Chechnya.

Maybe the true Armageddon will be the final collapse of US world hegemony. It's going to be messy, with guys like Rumsfeld and Cheney still ready to throw missiles and the tendency of the right-wingers to interpret any weakening as evidence of subversion at home. But I think (here's my optimism) that the world will survive. Western Europe, China, Russia and some of the near-big players like Brazil and Mexico will work out their own strategies for survival and growth. If our US society does too, it will have to be on a more modest scale of consumption and in collaboration with other power centers.

And with those thoughts on December 21, I wish you and all of us a happier New Year!