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Topics: Propaganda • Iraq • Media • Militarism • Iran • Israel • Religion • Strategy • Islam • Racism • Venezuela
December 04, 2004
You can't have one without the other
In a certain sense, American liberals have only themselves to blame for the Bush catastrophe. On one hand, they criticize Republicans for their parochialism and unilateralism. On the other hand, the mainstream American liberal intellectuals, and even those on the left, have always acted and talked as if they believed the rest of the world does not exist, or that in any case its concerns are strictly secondary to those of the United States. For too many years, far from simply tolerating the unique brand of American jingoism, they surpassed their conservative compatriots in championing it. Their advocacy of the pursuit of American interests at any cost was cloaked in homilies on "human rights" and "peace," meanwhile repressing the struggles of poor nations to achieve dignity and equality. Jimmy Carter called for respect for human rights while supporting the vilest military dictatorships in Central America. And he forced the "peace" of abnegation and degradation on the people of Egypt at the expense of Palestinians. Well, what is good for the goose. . . The Bushites are now pursuing the same objectives, only a little more openly and "honestly," and the Democrats have deprived themselves of the moral authority to condemn them. American liberals may not have created the Frankenstein's monster of Bushism, but they did little to keep it from coming to life. Any version of "America's manifest destiny" involves the risk of the eventual predominance of its more extreme manifestations. Meanwhile, the liberals show themselves as a bunch of hypocrites. An instance of their hypocrisy is their lamentations about the American dead in Iraq. Are they whining about the loss of life, or about Americans getting killed? If they are really liberal, if they are really "bleeding hearts," their hearts should bleed for the 100,000 Iraqi dead too. And they should reject the arguments for war in Iraq that are based on "manifest destiny."
Let's not confuse American liberals with the Democratic party. I agree that the Democrats failure to articulate a morally coherent position has a lot to do with the results of the recent election. This is particularly true in regards to the invasion of Iraq, but also on a host of other issues. Why the Democratic party abandoned its liberal base is a long story. But I don't feel that your assessment of liberals is on target. American culture is both significantly fear based and aggressive and this goes back long before 9/11. 9/11 simply gave many Americans an excuse to take out the safety valves.
Thanks, Jim, for your comment and for the links to your blog, which I read. Your analyses, both in your blog and in your comment on my post, are enlightening. One criticism I would make is that your analyses pay insufficient attention to the economic dimension of the issues. There was an article in the local paper here the other day about a Penn. State professor who recently immigrated to Canada. I found his views on the domestic economic roots and impact of the "War on Terror" quite interesting. Scholars breathe `fresh air' Attention to the economic dimension clarifies the commonalities between WWII, the Cold War, and the War on Terror.