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  • The Party for America Suckers, Exhibit A

    Posted by Shannon Love on March 22nd, 2006 (All posts by )

    karennkg was kind enough to post a comment to Jay Manifold’s post KCStaralaunche about my post The party for America Suckers. She even sent me a little email in case I missed it.

    After reading her comments I began to feel a little “fisky” so here is my reply.

    Albert Einstein said that nationalism is an infantile disease.

    Einstein was a continental European and had a much different concept of nationalism than an American. The word nation originally meant not country but ethnic group. A nation-state is a country whose population is comprised largely of a single ethnic group. In contemporary usage we would call a nation-state an ethnic-state. For citizens of an ethnic-state, nationalism is ethnic-alism. It is nothing but a bare step up from tribalism.

    Ethnic-states are rare in human experience. Only in Western Europe, Japan, Korea and a couple of other countries do we see situations where the distributions of ethnic groups and political boundaries closely map onto one another. Nationalism, as Europeans conceive it, simply isn’t an issue for most of the people of the world.

    It definitely isn’t an issue for Americans. As I wrote in American Superman, America is a post-nationalistic, trans-ethnic state whose collective identity derives wholly from ideology. When Americas fight for their “country” they do not fight to defend a territory or an ethnic group but for principles and values.

    Leftist like karennkg are so busy mindlessly aping the parochial viewpoint of European intellectuals that they never stop to ask if the European experience actually applies to America or anywhere else.

    …some of these blogs that I suspect are written by spoiled little brats who have not much real life experience.

    Funny, I was going to say the same thing. It has often been noted that people are more likely to be leftist when they are young and naive but move to the Right as they gain life experience. Historically, radical leftists have been young, naive and rich. People educated in the school of hard knocks tend to develop the tragic vision of the Right instead of the utopian vision of the Left.

    The perspectives of other peoples throughout history being entirely lost on Shannon…

    Actually, I have a real understanding of the perspective of other peoples instead of the self-serving projection of the viewpoint of contemporary leftists onto historical peoples. I actually understand that history isn’t a conflict between doe-eyed innocents and cruel omnipotent invaders. I understand that all human beings have the same virtues and vices. History’s losers are usually just as moral or immoral as the winners.

    The next few sentences in karennkg’s comment are just the usual litany of mindless anti-Americanism. We suck because we did all these evil things in the past. Of course, all humans, everywhere did rotten things in the past. Why single out Americans? Why are Americans uniquely bad? What other people, in similar circumstances, behaved better?

    Take slavery. Why is America singled out for condemnation? Slavery was a universal human institution until capitalistic Christian white males wiped it out world wide. American northern states were the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world to outlaw slavery. Don’t we get any points for that? We fought a brutal civil war over the matter. Does that count for anything? Why does karennkg feel compelled to emphasize the negative even though it is intellectually lazy if not outright dishonest? Perhaps most important, why does the fact that America had to wrestle with slavery in the past have any bearing on anything that we do today?

    Of course, being a leftist, karennkg always compares the real-world America not against other real-world entities but against her fantasy model of an ideal world that exists only in her head. America sucks because throughout its history it has not conformed exactly to the utopian vision of leftists. karennkg thinks that at every point in history it was immediately obvious to everyone that her view of the correct outcome was the right one and that it would have been easy for everybody to implement that outcome if only they hadn’t been such evil, selfish pricks. The fact that we did not conform to the utopian vision indicates we are fatally flawed in some way.

    you really get the idea that these people have no awareness or consciousness of the hell that is Iraq today – for the Iraqi people and for our troops.

    Well, let’s see. I lost a distant step-cousin in Iraq. My son-in-law was supposed to have been deployed last summer as a combat medic before he was injured in a training accident. Three of my daughter’s childhood friends, boys I have watched grow up for over five years, are deploying even as I write. Through family and friends I have contacts with many people who have actually been there. I think I have a much better idea of real-world conditions than does someone spoon-fed politically motivated negativism from clueless third parties.

    “…the hell that is Iraq today”

    So, a proto-democracy is hell? Interesting perspective. Of course, people with some actual knowledge of history and of conditions in most of the developing world today, would just laugh at such a description. I wonder if the Kurds think they are in hell right now? I wonder if the Shia, who have regained their religious freedom and the ability to undertake their pilgrimages for the first time in nearly twenty years think they are in hell? I wonder if all the people in Iraq, who for the first time in their history have a real chance to have a say in their governance, think they are in hell? I wonder if a 30%-40% growth in GNP indicates a country “in hell.” Sounds more like heck to me.

    I always have to ask people like karennkg: Knowing everything you know now, if you and your loved ones had been ordinary Iraqis, like Shias, Kurds or Sunnis on the outs with Saddam, would you have preferred to continue to live in his police state or would have chosen to gamble on war and the chance, and only the chance, to live a freer life? Would you think it better to peek out through your blinds and see Saddam’s enforcers standing proud and unchallenged on your street corner, or would you prefer to see U.S. Marines in a fire fight with those enforcers? Why would you prefer the “peace” of a police state?

    A better question for Shannon to ask would be why did the U.S. “support” Saddam Hussein for so many years?

    We didn’t. That’s a leftist myth. Iraq was a Soviet client state until the end of the Cold War. All their military equipment and training came from the Warsaw block. We did provide some financial support in the second half of the Iran-Iraq war but only after the Soviets threatened to intervene to protect their client. The attitude of the US towards the Iran-Iraq war was best summed up by Kissinger’s observation that is was “a pity they both can’t lose.” It was decided that Soviet intervention or an Iranian super-state stretching to the border of Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be good for the world in general. I guess karennkg thinks it would have been OK.

    Whenever a leftist asks, “why did we support less-than-ideal regime X,” I always ask, “Why did we support the megacide Joseph Stalin when he had that little problem with that German fella?” Stalin’s regime was as bad as they come and the entire Cold War could be considered to be a consequence of helping his regime to survive. In retrospect, did we do the wrong thing? Would the world today be a better place if the Soviets had collapsed or made a separate peace with the 3rd Reich? Did we lose all moral right to challenge Soviet totalitarianism because we helped them against the Nazis?

    Leftists do not have a gut level understanding of tradeoffs. They don’t really believe that sometimes you have chose not between good and evil but between evil and worse evil. Their utopian vision leads them to believe that in every situation there is an essentially perfect solution that requires no moral compromise. The only reason people don’t implement the perfect solution is due to selfishness.

    A better question for karennkg to ask would be why did the world-wide Left “support” Saddam Hussein for so many years? At every major juncture in the last 30 years, the Left took the side of Saddam. The Left was hysterical when Israel bombed the Osiraq reactor and derailed Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. When Saddam invaded Kuwait the Left struggled mightily to help him keep it. When the UN leveled sanctions the Left lied about their effects and decried them as a great humanitarian crime. The Left tried to prevent the liberaton of Iraq and even now struggles to try to insure a victory for the remaining Baathists and jihadists.

    I suppose that leftists will argue that this is all just coincidence, an unintended side-effect of their struggle to contain the evil that is America. However, it is still true that the behavior of those on the far-Left is indistinguishable from that of paid agents of Saddam.

    And why is the U.S. supporting China with our huge trade deficits…

    Wow, remember the good old days of the Cold War when leftists were wildly enthusiastic about trading with totalitarian communist states? Remember when Reagan was denounced as a warmonger for questioning if it was ethical or wise for Western Europe to depend on a natural gas pipeline built by slave labor in the Soviet Union? If China was still a totalitarian communist state with Mao at its head, karennkg would shower praise on any American businesses who set up shop in China, but now that they are on the road to reform, it’s evil. Hmmm, what is the pattern here?

    Maybe if the government wasn’t always meddling and bungling everything we wouldn’t need to incite the populace’s “patriotic” fervor so often

    Yep, we cause all our own problem. Classic leftist thinking. No other actors in the world exist but us. Other people don’t have their own cultures, worldviews or internal political dynamics that drive them to attack us. Every bad thing that ever happens, happened solely in reaction to something we did.

    I was taught in college that the Cold War resulted not from the inherently aggressive worldview of communists but from the selfish bumbling of the American Right. Stalin the megacide was a “realist” who didn’t really believe in communism. If only we had appreciated their perspective more, we could have avoided the whole mess. The fact that the Cold War ended with the fall of communism and not the evolution of America never made a dent in the leftist groupthink. The fall of communism and the opening of the Soviet archives showed that virtually every tenet of the leftist view of the Cold War was wrong, yet they blunder ahead with the exact same mindset today.

    The hatred and bile that karennkg directs at the Right and even America itself is self-evident. Nowhere in her rant does she say ANYTHING positive about America or American values, even though the theme of the parent post was that leftists are either anti-American, should be anti-American given their professed views or, at the very least, should tolerate anti-Americans as political allies. You would have thought she would have at least made a token defense like, “I love America but…”

    karennkg has proved the point of my original post. The Left in general has a darkly negative view of America. They cannot conceive that an entity so corrupt can actually accomplish anything good in Iraq or anywhere else. They don’t believe we have the moral right to defend ourselves since we cause all the violence in the world in the first place. They don’t believe that we possess values that would be of benefit to all the peoples of the world.

    People like that cannot be trusted with the defense of the post-national entity that is America. People who do believe that we can be a force for good, who do believe we represent something unique and important should continue to deny the Left political power for as long as possible.

     

    14 Responses to “The Party for America Suckers, Exhibit A”

    1. Mark Says:

      Even worse than being a leftist, I think she’s part of that evil transnational intelligentsia, so called. Can you imagine why people would think of themselves as citizens of the world instead of a wonderful country like America? They should be deported to planet earth or something, and not be allowed to remain here.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      “why did the world-wide Left “support” Saddam Hussein for so many years?”

      Yes, I remember reading articles in “progressive” magazines that defended and even praised Saddam.

    3. Mitch Says:

      “…spoiled little brats who have not much real life experience…”

      Wow. I haven’t been called that since a couple of decades before karennkg arrived on earth to clear things up.

    4. jaime roberto Says:

      “…spoiled little brats who have not much real life experience…”

      I actually found that living and working in a different country for several years gave me a much greater appreciation for what we have here. I think many people believe that we evil incarnate suffer from the “grass is greener on the other side” delusion. If they lived in another country for any length of time, they would discover that other countries and cultures have their warts too.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Yes, I remember reading articles in “progressive” magazines that defended and even praised Saddam.

      And yet somehow they always took the position in policy debates that Saddam wanted. Kinda makes you think doesn’t it?

      Well, it probably won’t but it should.

    6. Bruce Chang Says:

      Mark, folks like karennkg are undoubtedly inspired by the possibilities of massive power. They are likely the types that marvel at the Pyramids and wonder how much greater, how much more majestic, how much grander projects we can achieve today, if only the state were able to marshal all the resources of the land. It does not occur to them that such projects were built on tears and blood, and when the evidence is incontrovertible, they look for evidence that, while difficult, the labor was voluntary or compensated. In other words, they take the uncanny defense that it must have been okay because it was capitalistic rather than totalitarian. Yet that does not deter them from their totalitarian dreams.

      Yes, they decry power because they want power and don’t have it. May they never have it.

    7. ArtD0dger Says:

      I don’t know why everybody’s getting worked up over this person. No principled and engaged leftist would offer up that litany of clichés as though it were something Chicago Boyz readers would find persuasive. This is just some dilettante who followed a link in her local paper and inadvertently stumbled into the lair of “the other.”

      It’s very kind of Shannon to be patient (and frisky) enough to deconstruct her comment on its merits, but a member of the America-hating leftist transnational intelligentsia she is not. It’s called barrel-fishing, folks.

    8. Mitch Says:

      It’s called barrel-fishing, folks.

      Can I use dynamite?

    9. James R. Rummel Says:

      Listen to ArtD0dger. He is wise in the ways of The Chicago Boyz.

      James

    10. LotharBot Says:

      In a tangentially related note, I wanted to say, American Superman is one of my favorite essays ever, by anyone.

    11. Shannon Love Says:

      LotharBot,

      I wanted to say, American Superman is one of my favorite essays ever, by anyone.

      Thanks, I am rather proud of that one myself.

    12. Jonathan Says:

      American Superman

    13. Angie Schultz Says:

      Maybe if the government wasn’t always meddling and bungling everything…

      I’m particularly fond of this one. I keep meaning to blog about Elinor Burkett, a journalism professor who got restless and decided to spend a year teaching in Kyrgyzstan, arriving in August, 2001.

      On September 12, her class offered her their formal condolences, and immediately expressed the opinion that America deserved what it got for its meddling. What meddling? Vietnam, Bosnia, Serbia, Haiti, Somalia, Iraq (and so forth).


      I interrupted the litany: “If Uzbekistan invaded Kyrgyzstan to annex the Kyrgyz part of the Fergana Valley, what would you want the United States to do?”
      “You must defend us,” they said.
      “But we can’t,” I responded. “That would be meddling.”
      “Oh, no, it would be different if the Uzbeks invaded. You wouldn’t be meddling. You would be defending us.”

      They also believe the US is always attacking Muslims, but the Russians never do.

      Burkett’s students at least have the excuse that they were raised under a repressive regime (as were their parents and grandparents) and the ones they’ve had lately haven’t been all that great either. I wonder what karennkg’s excuse is.

      Read about it here. That’s from the Chronicle of Higher Education. If they want you to register, the relevant bits are excerpted here. Burkett also has a book out, which I only found out about after googling for the Chronicle article.

    14. pst314 Says:

      Angie, thanks for linking to that article by Elinor Burkett. I’d lost track of it.