November 09, 2009

Nauseating, Unforgivable and Potentially Lethal Racism


I refuse to publish the two words of that article's title on this blog. I provide the link so that those of you still capable of minimally rational, coherent and decent thought can see the depths to which many people eagerly descend.

I will observe that if one chooses to engage in this kind of demonization of huge groups of what are, in fact, individual human beings, individuals possessed of widely different convictions and exhibiting greatly variable behavior (as is true of all such broad designations), you might more profitably start with Christians. For much of human history, that is also where you can end. In that connection, I've written at length about the "apocalyptic crusader" psychology, one which has led to horrifying consequences in the foreign policy of the United States. Among my articles on that subject are: "The Apocalyptic Crusader: Redemption, Purification and a New World -- Through Sacred Violence and Death" and "The Apocalyptic Crusader, Continued: American Apocalypse."

In the column linked at the beginning of this post, there is the usual pretense of "even-handedness" and fairness, and the standard attempt to convince the reader that the author is merely being "objective." The writer seeks to assure us that he is proceeding with great care and with all due deliberation. But the fundamental dishonesty involved escapes the mask at a few points, as it almost always inevitably does. Note these sentences in particular: "How to address the threat posed by the fact that, of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in our midst, there are a few (perhaps many more than a few) who are so radicalized that they would kill their fellow Americans?" Just how many more than "a few"? That sounds as if it might be a lot of Muslims. Are you scared yet? Are you even terrified? That's the purpose of this kind of formulation. If you're looking for a target to assuage your feelings of victimization and your terror, the writer has very thoughtfully provided one.

And consider this: "America differentiates itself on integration from Western European countries, which are far more cringing and guilt-driven in their approach. But can the American swagger persist if many Americans come genuinely to view Muslims as Fifth Columnists?" The sleight-of-hand here is deeply repellent, and I consider it close to impossible that it is not fully intentional. The author is arguing: "Now, I'm not saying Americans would be right to come to that conclusion. Of course, I don't think that Muslims are Fifth Columnists. But can't you see why many Americans might think that, and understandably so? After all, perhaps many more than a few Muslims will kill us, just like Hasan did!" And be very sure you appreciate the unstated, but necessarily implied, conclusion: "We'd better do something before it's too late!"

The pattern is one that should be horrifyingly familiar from history. I will assume I need not provide examples of where it can lead.

For more on these issues, see Chris Floyd. I don't have much to add to what Floyd has said with regard to the Ft. Hood tragedy, and the "hateful echoes" it evokes. Via my tracking information, I was gratified to see that a few bloggers remembered a piece I wrote about certain relevant general issues in response to a similar tragedy a few years ago: "The United States as Cho Seung-Hui: How the State Sanctifies Murder." That essay is not short, and the argument I set forth is complex. But I hope some of you will find it worth the time. Among other subjects, I discussed the central mythology of the United States and of many Americans in detail. I concluded my reflections with these observations:
Iraq has not altered the fundamentals of our foreign policy in any significant way. Our ruling class continues to believe the United States is "the indispensable power," and that we have the "right" to direct events across the globe, and intervene whenever we deem it necessary for the protection of our "national interests." But those "interests" have long been defined in a manner which can justify almost any intervention, anywhere, any time. What we would vehemently condemn others for doing, including the invasion and occupation of a country that did not threaten them, is permitted to us, and to us alone. No action is prohibited to us, while only those actions are available to others that we choose to permit. At the end, Cho was enraged, megalomaniacal, and probably insane. What are we to say of the United States government?

But our nation's crimes are filtered through the State, which dissolves guilt and responsibility, as it sanctifies our sins. Cho is a monster. Our governing class and its unparalleled military commit crimes on a much vaster scale -- and our strongest criticisms are that the crimes were "incompetently managed," or that they represented "poor policy choices." If Cho had survived his massacre, our justice system would likely have killed him. Our State has done infinitely worse, and it has done so repeatedly over more than century.

Yet we do nothing. Our sleep is untroubled. Life goes on.

But not for everyone. No. Not for everyone.