Saturday, August 02, 2008

Old News: The Republic in Peril

I have recently been investigating Philip K. Dick's so called "exegesis", and came across this:
The Constitutional guarantees of our country have been suspended for some time now, and an assault has begun on the checks and balances structure of the government. The Republic is in peril; the Republic has been in peril for several years and is now cut away almost to a shadow of itself, barely functioning. I think they are carving it up in their minds, deciding who sits there forever and ever, now. In the face of this no one notices that virtually everything we believed in is dead. … I’m trying to learn what the Lie is or what the Lies are, but I can’t even discern that any more. Perhaps I sense the Lie gone from the world because evil is so strong now that it can step forth as it is without deception. The masks are off.
Sounds eerily up-to-date, and the most prescient thing in it for me is the statement that without noticing it, almost everything we believed in is dead. I'm thinking here of the UK government's collusion in torture, the erosion of habeas corpus, the increasing state suppression of peaceful protest ... and nobody seems to give a damn. Of course the above was written about the US, and they have led the way the last few years. Hope our American cousins get a decent president next election. If they do, there's a chance things'll look up in the UK too.

The above quotation comes from Philip K. Dick, In Pursuit of Valis: Excerpts from the Exegesis (Lancaster, Penn.: Underwood-Miller, 1991), p.236. Dick wrote this particular passage in July 1974, in the midst of Watergate.