May 19, 2009

Exceptionally Awful

A few words about "exceptionalism," in two respects: with regard to America the Most Virtuous, the Uniquely Good, and the Highest Tippy-Top of Everything Possible in All the Universes; and with regard to the performance of the majority of liberals and progressives since the dawning of the Age of Obama. As long-time readers will know, my evaluation of the intellectual rigor and moral courage of Democrats and most liberals and progressives has been negative in the extreme for several years now. As a friendly reminder (just cuz I'm that kind of guy), here's a post I wrote immediately before the 2006 elections. All the predictions I made came true! Except that the post-election record compiled by the Democrats was far, far worse than I had anticipated. This is because, contrary to gossip of extraordinary viciousness concerning my own moral qualities, I am unusually kind and generous in my assessment of others. I start from the premise that everyone is a world-class genius with the sweet temperament of an unspoiled Shirley Temple. Shame on you for your cynicism that causes you to laugh at this unarguable and unadorned description of my perspective.

One particular aspect of the approach of many Obamized lib-progs has already proven to be extraordinarily nauseating, as well as inexhaustible and inextinguishable. John Caruso explains it well, in discussing the slime that recently emerged from the ruptured pustule that is Katrina vanden Heuvel's brain:
Here's how she explained her concern about the way that military escalation in Afghanistan might "endanger the Obama Presidency":
On Afghanistan, I am concerned that it will bleed us of the resources needed for economic recovery, further destabilize Pakistan, open a rift with our European allies, and negate the positive effects of withdrawing from Iraq on our image in the Muslim world.
Got that? Incinerating poor people in Afghanistan is bad because it might cost too much money to allow us to prop up the economy—among other similarly weighty and pressing concerns.

Note in particular the lack of any moral basis for rejecting a massive increase in the level of death and destruction inflicted by the American military in Afghanistan. This is par for the course for liberals these days; piffling considerations like human life or international law are discounted for them in the age of Obama, in which the golden calf of Pragmatism is worshiped with single-minded devotion. No, such outmoded concerns are the sole provenance of fuzzy-headed idealists who haven't managed to grasp that all the fundamental equations of moral calculus changed the instant a Democrat started doing the killing.

This is not to say these liberals don't care about human life, of course, even deeply; they just keep it in its proper perspective, as political expediency and U.S. exceptionalism demand.
Before continuing with our major topic, let us offer a brief diversionary note. About this from Katrina the Kut-up: "negate the positive effects of withdrawing from Iraq..." In what universe is maintaining a residual force of 50,000-75,000 American personnel, military and otherwise, for decades to come, along with a series of "enduring bases" and an embassy the size of Vatican City, in what is in every operative respect an American colony, considered "withdrawing"? You silly goose: in the universe of the lib-prog who lies steadily and with malice aforethought when it suits her political purposes. But this is lying for a Democratic president, so it's All Exceptionally Good. About Iraq and America's plans for same, one might say: We Are Not Leaving. One might say that, as I did a few years ago. I just looked at that post for the first time in a long time, and I see that I had some words about the more general topic here:
It is deeply regrettable, and also inevitable -- since the world of political blogs cannot be other than a reflection of the larger culture -- that this same indifference to human pain and suffering infects the approach of the great majority of political bloggers. For all their ferocious opposition to the Bush administration and to Republicans generally, liberal and progressive bloggers act as if they are largely indifferent to bringing about a quick end to the incomprehensibly deadly Iraq occupation. They certainly demonstrate no sustained, serious effort to pressure Congressional Democrats into defunding the war -- or into acting to oppose an attack on Iran in every way possible. The concerns of these bloggers and the Washington Democrats are perfectly coextensive: they will condemn the Iraq war and act to block an attack on Iran only to the degree such actions will not endanger their perceived political opportunities in 2008.
The ongoing, sickening disregard exhibited by many lib-progs for the criminal murder of large numbers of innocent people has thus been a constant feature of our repellent political discourse for some time. And I will note that, despite the Shirley Temple metaphysics that undergirds my analysis, a few of us have regularly pointed out the gaping, bloody hole where their souls ought to be for several years.

I discussed this issue in another entry from almost exactly two years ago: "Our Disgusting, Sickening, Impenetrable National Narcissism." I began with comments about odiferous oozings offered by Kos and Joan Walsh, and then offered observations on the broader topic. It now appears that this commentary from a time of comparative innocence will find application in the coming months and years on occasions too numerous to count.

I wrote:
So to Kos, Joan Walsh ... and everyone else who mouths the same empty platitudes, the identical fundamentally false and thoroughly conventional phrases that spring from a perspective drenched in "American exceptionalism," which views the United States as the highest possible point of human development and Americans as uniquely good and virtuous in the entire span of history, and which reduces all other peoples to fifth-rate bit players in an increasingly desperate global drama, I have this to say:

I think this formulation reveals an equanimity and kindness that are thoroughly admirable in the circumstances.

Feel free to apply these thoughts as you will, and as seems required. I would recommend not using them more than five or ten times daily, although the temptation will doubtless arise. But repetition dulls the sword, etc.

I do feel compelled to make one acknowledgment. As my most recent posts indicate (here and here), the United States and the corporatist-authoritarian-militarist system that has come to dominate its operations over the last century most certainly do produce exceptional war criminals.

We're Number One! We're Number One!

It doesn't mean what you thought it did. Pity.