This good piece of writing just out today:
American exceptionalism is killing the planet The many abuses of endless war
War, in other words, is our new normal, America’s default position on global affairs, and peace, some ancient, long-faded dream. And when your default position is war, whether against the Taliban, ISIS, “terror” more generally, or possibly even Iran or Russia or China, is it any surprise that war is what you get? When you garrison the world with an unprecedented 800 or so military bases, when you configure your armed forces for what’s called power projection, when you divide the globe — the total planet — into areas of dominance (with acronyms like CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and SOUTHCOM) commanded by four-star generals and admirals, when you spend more on your military than the next seven countries combined, when you insist on modernizing a nuclear arsenal (to the tune of perhaps $1.7 trillion) already quite capable of ending all life on this and several other planets, what can you expect but a reality of endless war?
Think of this as the new American exceptionalism. William J. Astore
Whatever we thought we had to prove to the rest of the world, we didn’t. What we have proven is this:
“We proved the lie, were served up with a gagging portion of our own vintage distillation of apocalyptic horseshit
— all the narcissistic swill about indomitable spirit, invincibility, courage and nobility of purpose
— and demonstrated once and for all to those who looked on with interest a fact long suspected:
that this nation, through a self-administered indoctrination of spurious righteousness, larded with the false rewards of superfluous luxury, had at last achieved the most tractable, malleable — let’s face it, spineless — people to walk the face of the earth.”
-Aptly described by Oliver Lange in Vandenberg – The Journals, 1971
Lange’s Cold War novel concerned a fictional lone American holdout against a Soviet occupation of America – hardly a liberal theme by today’s standards.
So I decided to see what Joe Bageant had to say about this stuff.
What about being hypnotized by entertainment in whatever form that takes?
” … The American national illusion, where all the world’s a shopping expedition. Or a terrorist threat. No matter, as long as it is colorful and wiggles on the theater state’s 400 million screens … keep the public in an entertained stupor, awed, mislead, and most importantly, distracted.”
What about Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again constituency? What might Bageant have said about that?
“we are seeing an armed infantilized nation wail, hurl blame and do horrific things, the worst of which we do to one another
… to keep its captives deluded and sated enough to remain productive and consuming — not to mention hating the right people — right up to the last moment before total collapse, and they are no longer needed.”
Or, what do we do with the pretended American Dream – whatever that ever was?
Entertainment addiction is like contracting measles after never having been vaccinated or educated about how to think safely.
Consequently such addiction
has, and still does, prevent Americans from grasping any of this. Instead, the hologram allows us to believe that life can exist without suffering. We actually achieved that state for a while, too, by forcing the suffering on unseen people elsewhere. We accepted the hologram’s one voice to the many as truth (not that we had much choice, The ‘Gram was all we knew), then let our souls and national character necrotize in the warm bath of self-gratification and statist hubris.
So where are we now Joe?
Clearly, we have taken an unimaginably disastrous course, and intend to take everyone else out with us. Yet we have only done what most of the world’s nations would have done, given such brute power and wealth for such a time. Perhaps more accurately, done what most of the world’s governments and leadership would have.
So long as nations have hierarchical leadership, they will have escalating hierarchical greed, power hunger and destructive folly — and therefore, eventually approach hierarchical evil at some point. It may be an old saw, but power does corrupt.
What might we do to come to social maturity?
Inside most Americans is a globally brattish child. Thanks to our endowed natural resources (since squandered) and to armed national theft abroad, the American has not suffered enough to become a responsible adult on the planet.
resist pride in anything said to be national, whether it be prosperity, healthcare, culture, competence, social cohesion and identity, or whatever. Pride and courage do not live in the same house. Courage, which has little to do with blood and guts, but everything to do with sacrifice, chooses to dwell alongside humility.