Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The four horsemen of socialism

I wrote a review of Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto the other day, and it was only afterwards that it struck me how my unconscious mind had slipped in a reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I wondered if there was anything behind this, so I investigated these four famous equestrian figures on the Wikipedia web site, and stumbled over the realisation that the pale horse of death is so named because the translation of "pale", from the Greek, is kloros; this can also be translated as green (as in chlorine gas). Like a thunderbolt from the almighty Zeus, I realised that not only is this the perfect colour for death, as used in the Harry Potter novels for all things associated with death such as Slytherin house, the avada kedavra curse, and anything else connected with Voldemort, it is also the blessed colour of the ecomentalists, the same group who want us all to die so that the world can be left in peace to polar bears, blue whales, and magic mushrooms.

In a fit of ribaldry, I wondered whether I could associate any other key emblems of socialism with the other three horses.

The red horse of war proved fairly uncomplicated. This is the horse of imperialism, aggressive attack, pre-emptive war, and the tens of millions of people either killed or displaced from places such as Vietnam, Iraq, or the forthcoming war against Iran.

The black horse of famine is also fairly easy to pin down, as this has always been the horse of scarcity, as represented in the modern age by recurring recessions brought on deliberately by central bank fiat paper inflationists, to cause things such as the recent global food and fuel riots, also associated with the deathly yoke of ecomentalist legislation in areas such as biofuel regulation.

However, it is the white horse which caused me the worst problem, because although we associate the white horse with plague, throughout history the white horse has also been associated with goodness. Just think of Gandalf on Shadowfax, or the white knight on his white charger, or even the White Horse of Uffington, which perhaps represents an early form of the pan-european god Poseidon. (The image of white horse waves crashing on a beach may help if you're trying to get the nautical link there between Poseidon and white horses.)

Any readers of the White Goddess, by Robert Graves, will also know that the three basic colours of the matriarchal Mother Earth/Moon goddess, are red, white, and black, with her sacred beast also being a white horse. (With horse-shoes representing the crescent Moon and the colour white representing milk, the primary foodstuff of humanity - a gift from the matronly aspect of the full white moon goddess - with a crescent-shaped hunting bow also generally associated with the Goddess riding a white horse, this time in her maidenly aspect. The tie to red is that the Moon goddess menstruates in the same period of most women, with the word men-struate (or moon-struate) coming directly from the word moon, which also tangentially gives us the word "measure", for measuring the twenty-eight day Moon cycle, perhaps the first measured period of time after a single day; also of course giving us the word "month" (or moonth). The tie to black, is that this is the colour of the Moon when the old crone Moon disappears for three days at the end of each moonth before being re-born as the new Moon. Confused yet? Try reading the White Goddess.)

By this point I was nearly as mentally frazzled as you may have been reading that last paragraph. What could both be good and bad at one and the same time, both representing bounty and plague in one and the same breath? (You may be ahead of me on this one.) How could I finish my apocalyptic quadrumvirate of socialist emblems?

But with hindsight, how could it have taken me so long? For the white horse of plague must obviously represent "welfare", a morally corrupting blight often seen as good even by people who ought to know better, but always a terrible plague which ultimately causes even deeper poverty, both of the spiritualist kind and of the materialist kind.

I was finished in my quest.

Or was I? For what about the fifth horse? What about the apocryphal horse of Chaos (or Kaos)? What about this black Pratchettian horse who glows slightly red and who accompanies Death in the novel, Thief of Time?

Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, kemo-sabe. For Chaos represents the inability of socialism to calculate.

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