Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A Thousand Little Bears

Steven Den Beste over at USS Clueless has an incredible post, starting with a review of Rob Foot's article in Quadrant Magazine about the New Anti-Semitism, with which he refers to anti-Americanism. Be sure to read Foot's article in full, as it traces the roots of the new, virolent anti-Americanism we're witnessing all over the world, like here in Spain and the rest of Europe.

Opinions will vary on when it was the socialist dream really died: Budapest, 1956; Prague, 1968; Tiananmen Square, 1989; Berlin, 1989. For my part, I think it died that day in 1989 when Czechoslovakia opened its borders to Austria. For the first time ever, an institutional socialist state said to its people, as all the democratic states say to theirs: "You are free to leave if you want to." As one, or so it seemed at the time, almost every physically able person in Eastern Europe packed a single bag and toothbrush, petrolled up the Trabant, and raced for the hole in the wall. Nothing could have made it clearer that socialism's prison had never been their choice, and they wanted out.

At about that time, the Australian media reported a demonstration in Prague, which included an old Czech woman's bitter malediction upon socialism. As I remember it, the cameras captured her shaking fists, her contorted face and angry tears attesting more eloquently than words to a lifetime lost to misery and terror as, furiously, she shouted - in English! - "They should have tried it on animals first!" It had probably never been possible to tell her that George Orwell had done just that, in Animal Farm, but had not been widely enough heeded. It seems not too bold a prediction to say that no sovereign state will ever again choose socialism for its forward pathway.

This is the font and source of the Left's rage and hate. The wrong side, the wrong ideas, the wrong attitudes and the wrong people had somehow contrived to win. And then, on top of the political and economic victories heralded by end of the Cold War, unsupportable enough in themselves, there came the USA's seemingly effortless military victory over Iraq in 1991 - in a war, as we remember, that the hard Left was unanimous in opposing, despite the fact it was unarguably just. The Left's fury and frustration boiled over. Who to blame for its immense, unimaginable defeat? To its question, "Why did the right side, the right ideas, the right attitudes and the right people not win?" the Left found a single, simple, one-word answer: Amerika. The rest, as they say, is polemics: the unending regurgitation of that helpless, futile response.
He takes as an example the book "Why Do People Hate America" by Ziauddin Sardar, a postmodernist cultural critic, and Merryl Wyn Davies, said to be a writer and anthropologist. In it they lay out what they think are the principal reasons for the world's hatred towards the US.
First, the existential: "The US has simply made it too difficult for other people to exist." The USA has contrived to structure the international economy to guarantee perpetual enrichment of itself, and abject poverty for everyone else (at least, the non-Western world).

Second, the cosmological: America has replaced God as the "cause of everything". Further, imperial America is engaged on a project that involves the consumption of all time and space, and aspires to consuming all non-American people; "Inducted into the cosmological structure of America, the rest of the world will vanish."

The third is ontological: America has replaced the notion of "good" with the notion of itself, as the binary opposite to "evil". Thus, America can only be good and virtuous, and only America can be such.

The fourth is definitional: American has assumed the right to define what it means even to be human, and that only in terms of its own identity. American values are therefore the only ones that any longer actually are.
After which he goes on to debunk this nonsense, warning that when replacing "America" for "Jews" some very scary similarities are appearing.


Soviet Propaganda

Steven Den Beste agrees with him, and on his blog he picks an example, a poor fellow named Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, and completely deconstructs the guy by his writings. It's very entertaining to read.

I agree with Foot, in that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Left has turned its hate directly at the US, and never let go ever since. Visiting friends in Europe, I noticed the difference in attitude towards the US during the 90's, and even moreso after 9/11.

What I do not agree on with him, is that he sees them falling apart at the seams, and that before long it will lose all respectability. I think the opposite is true, their ever-increasing level of vitriol in their conspiracy theories against the US, supported and fueled by radical Islam's own agenda, are having the effect that it's only becoming more accepted, more mainstream. And meanwhile Europe is more and more becoming a big 'communist' state itself, where over 60 per cent of GDP nowadays comes out of government spending. Combine the two, and you will see not just Europe, but think of Brazil and other countries around the world, move towards something which will have all the anti-American rhetoric of an old-fashioned communist state, coming out of countries, whose economies are semi-government run, and which all have medium to large impediments on personal freedoms. And all by election, too.

Won't that be a back-door victory of sorts for communism?

My real problem is, there ain't a whole lot we can do about it. Liberal democracy tends to feel insulated from intellectual attacks such as leveled against it by the Hard Left, the proof is in our success, right? We don't go root out 'subversive elements' to Capitalist doctrine wherever we encounter it, right? Back in the days of the Soviet Union, armed to the teeth with nukes, there was a reason to challenge anti-democratic voices, to be vigilant and to prove, not on the battlefield, but in our freedoms, our economic and intellectual successes, that we had the upper hand and defeat was not an option.

But now, rather than faced with a big Soviet Bear, we seem faced by thousands of tiny little bears, and some camels thrown in for measure. We don't feel the need to address them all individually, but they sure feel a need to address us. In that sense, fascism and nazism have been dealt with far more effectively.