“Chuck Lumley: As we sit here and idly chat, there are women, female human beings, rolling around in strange beds with strange men, and we are making money from that.”
Bill Blazejowski: “Is this a great country, or what?”
(Night Shift with Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton)
Yes, Billy Blaze, it IS a great country. Just ask Professor Ward Churchill:
There is simply no argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center . . .
Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire Â– the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved Â– and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” Â– a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” Â– counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in Â– and in many cases excelling at Â– it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.
The men who flew the missions against the WTC and Pentagon were not “cowards.” That distinction properly belongs to the “firm-jawed lads” who delighted in flying stealth aircraft through the undefended airspace of Baghdad, dropping payload after payload of bombs on anyone unfortunate enough to be below Â– including tens of thousands of genuinely innocent civilians Â– while themselves incurring all the risk one might expect during a visit to the local video arcade. Still more, the word describes all those “fighting men and women” who sat at computer consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, enjoying air-conditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles into neighborhoods filled with random human beings. Whatever else can be said of them, the men who struck on September 11 manifested the courage of their convictions, willingly expending their own lives in attaining their objectives.
There’s much, much more here and I’ve linked to the essay the good Professor wrote on September 12 entitled “Some People Push Back:” On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
Despite the fact that anyone with half a brain knows that what Churchill wrote is so full of BS that one could fertilize a country the size of… well, France, the essay reveals an anti-Americanism based on outrageous exaggeration, hyperbole, gross mis-information, and a willingness to indulge in fantasy for the purpose of self-aggrandizement; in short, Anti-Americanism as a kind of “Theater of the Absurd” where up is down, black is white, and politics are played out on the grand fantasy stage of the self-absorbed.
Wretchard posts a thoughtful piece analyzing this same phenomenon. He links to an article in “Policy Review” which posits the idea that “9/11 was the enactment of a fantasy—not an artistic fantasy, to be sure, but a fantasy nonetheless.”
In trying to explain this fantasy mindset, the author, Lee Harris, relates a conversation with a friend about a long ago demonstration against the Viet Nam war where protestors, blocking the highway, would be defeating the purpose of their demonstration because they’d lose the sympathy of the very people they were trying to influence:
My friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this simply did not matter. His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason—because it was, in his words, good for his soul. What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.
And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy—a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view—for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability.
It’s easy to see, with this kind of intellectual approach, how such outrageous things could be attributed to President Bush, conservatives in general, and the United States in particular. The spectacularly ridiculous notion that the Bush Administration is seeking to tear up the Constitution, or is seeking dictatorship, or is even responsible for the 9/11 attacks themselves, comes from this fantasy world created by the American left and emulated by their ideological cousins in Europe.
Lest one think this mindset, especially in Europe, is solely the result of President Bush’s policies, here’s what an American who lived in London until recently had to say about that:
When Bill Clinton was in the White House I attended a Human Rights Conference at my local synagogue in St JohnÂ’s Wood. During the tea break I asked a man at one of the booths for a leaflet. Instead of welcoming me and asking for a donation, he had detected my accent and duly launched into a loud and red-faced screeching session about the evils of the American Empire and of the Â‘NazismÂ’ and Â‘FascismÂ’ promulgated by the United States. A black man came over and began shouting about America having Â‘invented slaveryÂ’ and soon a delicate elderly lady joined the fray to bellow about the Zionists running America (did she mean Robert Rubin, Dennis Ross, Sandy Berger—after all, it was the pre-Wolfowitz/Perle time zone) and the Â‘genocidesÂ’ perpetrated by Americans since the days of William Penn.
More recently, this same gentlemen had experienced another such display of anti-Americanism on a bus where several passengers screamed epithets at an elderly American woman that left her in tears.
But why? How can otherwise reasonably intelligent people actually believe that the United States is bent on world domination, or “controlled by Jews,” or is to blame for all the evils that inhabit this troubled planet?
I believe it is this “fantasy,” born out of a combination of desires to be, as Harris says above, on “the side of the angels” and, at the same time, a self re-inforcing information loop where hyperbole and exaggeration feed upon themselves until belief is suspended, logic buried, and anything becomes possible in a fantasy world created specifically to raise the self to a privileged position above the mundane world inhabited by the rest of humanity.
The right, of course, is not immune from this kind of fantasy. Fundamentalist Christians have similar delusions about their status as it relates to their moral superiority. There’s a monumental difference however, between the fantasy lived by leftist anti-Americans and conservative Christians: Fundamentalists are ridiculed, scapegoated, and generally derided by the mainstream press while leftists are given uncritical access to the huge megaphone that spouts their “theories” and conclusions about America in 10,000 different news outlets. The resulting avalanche of “news” that Bush is evil, or that America is killing 500,000 Iraqi children, or that Abu Ghraib was the norm not the exception, blasting incessantly day after day, results in an acceptance that well,...if it’s on the news it must be true.
Part of the problem is that the line between reporting the news and offering opinions have been blurred to the point that in a 24 hour news cycle that most of us in the west are exposed to, oft repeated opinions become, in the minds of many, the truth. And in this self reinforcing echo chamber, it’s easy to see how people can leap to the most unreasonable and illogical conclusions about America and about the President. And this cascading effect leads ultimately to fear and loathing; which was the purpose of the purveyors of these exaggerations in the first place.
Professor Churchill and his ilk are stuck in the past…a past they see as glorious. A past, as Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff notes:
“... is defined by 1930 era views on social security, 60s views on the state of race relations and the use of military force, and 70s views on feminism. Cosmetically at least, this state of affairs constitutes a reversal of roles from 1996 when the Democrats claimed they couldn’t “stop thinking about tomorrow,” while Bob Dole promised to be “a bridge to the past.”
Is this the result of the left being out of power and, because of the War on Terror, being marginalized by American voters because they can’t be trusted to fight it?
Perhaps. The normal grips and handholds that make up the mud wrestling of politics in a democracy aren’t relevant anymore to the left. The don’t seek to win, they seek the destruction of their opponents. It’s a tactic that smacks of desperation. By broadly smearing their opponents as “Nazis” they seek to inflate their own egos by, once again, being on the “side of the angels.”
There will always be people like Professor Churchill, whose diatribes against the US have, instead of landing him in jail or a concentration camp, made him a celebrated figure in leftist circles.. This, of course, gives the lie to the left’s constant caterwauling about how the US is turning into some kind of totalitarian dictatorship. The more outrageous your criticisms of America, the more popular you become to a segment of the left that glories in their hatred of this country.
One can only come to the conclusion that these people must be stopped. If not, the future of freedom and rational discourse in the US will be threatened. We simply can’t allow people with no grounding in the real world to control the levers of power.
That way leads to madness.