Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ain't My Americanism

"US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa," reports John Pilger — Have a Nice World War, Folks. An important point he makes: "Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the antiwar instincts of their own citizens." More:
    Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a "pre-fascist era". Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. "Fascism" is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is "more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent."

    This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar.
Of course, "the antiwar instincts of their own citizens" have been pointed out many times on these pages, under the influence of Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism, but of course, it is anti-American to do so.

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3 Comments:

Blogger DC said...

Libertarianism is a respectable world view, but you compromise the quality of your arguments by latching on to hard-left ideologues like Pilger.

4:53 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Though religiously orthodox, I am politically heterodox. I'm not interested in ideologies, but ideas. Sometime, especially about war and empire, the hard-left is right, sometimes even righter than hard-right.

It goes without saying that the hard-left usually dead-wrong about economics and social issues. Someone has said they're good at pointing out problems, but horrible at finding solutions. Where they're useful, we should glean from them what we can.

I don't know Mr. Pilger from Adam, but the excerpt I clipped could have been uttered by a paleocon or libertarian. I was especially impressed that he mentioned "the antiwar instincts of their own citizens," which is something neocons and many on the hard-left fail to recognize. Neocons think we love war and hard-leftists think were evil because we're white. Pilger, to his credit, recognized a truth.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'latching on to hard-left ideologues like Pilger.'

If you think Pilger is radical, I'd hate to hear what you think of Jesus Christ.

1:26 PM  

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