The Damning Mentality of the American Right

 

Give Peace a Chance

 

It is funny that a word like “Peace” automatically brands you a commie loving democrat to so many people. The idea of “perpetual war” and always having an enemy to fight is so engrained on the American Right that the idea of peace is a foreign concept. The real American Idol (at least to the right-wingers), Ronald Reagan, is the shining beacon of freedom. After all, he single handedly ended the Cold War, freed millions from communism, and stopped an imminent nuclear attack against the US. All while lowering taxes and keeping his hair perfect. Ok, I know this is a fairy tale and easily squashed and I will probably get around to doing that sooner or later, but the concept of the Cold War and the mentality behind it are what is important about the Reagan reign.

 

Today the perpetual war idea has us locked into battle with terrorists. Of course, there are other things we are doing battle with like drugs and poverty. Even though those two things are out of the scope of this article, they do play to the idea that we must be locked in a continual struggle for “the greater good”. As I have pointed out before and I am sure most people are already aware of, the idea of “the greater good” is nothing more than another form of subjugation, either by the masses on the minority or by the mini-tyrants of the state on us all. Invariably, the mini-tyrants will take any grain of acquiescence and use it to their advantage, taking the natural good will of mankind and using it as a bludgeon against the people.

 

Of course, as with all other things involving Reagan, this mentality can be traced further back.

 

Roots Bloody Roots

 

The roots of the eternal struggle, which is in essence the perpetual war idea, probably goes back further than Hegel, but the application of it as political theory can surely be traced to him. His theory was that reality is only a creation of the mind, that what you believe to be true is true, regardless of anything else. The second was that history could be explained as an eternal struggle between opposing spiritual forces. The struggle between opposing spiritual forces can still be seen today in modern politics, especially in the United States. We have all been involved in the fight, either against our will or with our approval, against both Godless Communists and Muslim Terrorists. They hate us for our freedoms may be the rally cry, but the slogans themselves denote the struggle as religious in nature. A belief that America is founded as a beacon of Gods Divine Will, and that will being Christian in nature, both lend credence that any disagreement with the religious dogma of Christianity is a direct attack on the US. Of course, no one just comes out and says this, which would be crazy and would open up the person that says it to outright scorn. There are those that would love nothing more than to see the US become a Christian Fundamentalist country with the implicit separation of church and state done away with, but even those people temper their beliefs in the politically correct speech of the day. There are those too who do not notice the relation between religious belief and political policy. Either out of total ignorance or just a desire to distance them selves from the theological discussion, they choose instead the convenient blinders of that will keep them out of the larger fray.

 

These Hegelian theories were picked up and refined by another philosophical giant, Karl Marx. Marx took the eternal struggle theory and applied it to class distinctions. His idea was that people make determinations strictly based on economic need and that the struggle applied to the person’s relationship to their economic status in society. Instead of reforming the original Hegelian ideas though, which may have been partially what Marx was attempting; it added another level to the original theory. The struggle not only included the spiritual aspect of being, but it also included their very economic survival, a threat to their very way of life.

 

Unintended Groundwork

 

The concept of the greater good and the eternal struggle already existed before the Neo-Cons invaded the right. Eisenhower could rightly be credited with expanding the notion to include the military as the tool of enforcing the greater good on a worldwide scale. Of course, his use of the military was aimed at stopping the spread of another Hegelian offshoot, communism. On the one hand Eisenhower sought to “defend” the country against the threat of “communism”, while at the same time he not only kept the New Deal socialism instituted by Roosevelt, but he expanded the programs and made a cabinet position to oversee them. He built the Interstate Hiway System to make sure that the military could get to any part of the country, and this in a sense lent an air of military interventionist policy into the American consciousness. The idea that there was an enemy, right at our doorstep, was easy to swallow coming out of World War II and the attack on Hawaii by the Japanese. The greater good became the defense, at all cost, of the United States from communism. He stated that the US was, “prepared to use armed force... [to counter] aggression from any country controlled by international communism.” Combine that with our Imperial allies losing control in their colonial areas and the real threat of communism taking hold, especially in the Middle East, where the Imperialists were losing ground to the Arab Nationalists, and gaining support from the communists, and we see a pattern of “the greater good” philosophy taking on a distinctly military personality in the US.

 

Although Eisenhower added to the military aspect of the idea, the eternal struggle had not yet taken on the perpetual war personality. Eisenhower’s actions were hard to argue against at the time, although people like Louis Bromfield, Murray Rothbard, Garet Garret and Ernest Weir were doing just that. Of course, they were accused of being communists and anarchists and denounced by many on the right.

 

The insidious use of “might makes right” and perpetual war came after Eisenhower left office. If Eisenhower introduced the idea of military necessity to the American mainstream, the Neo-Con movement found a way to use that idea to their advantage.

 

Neo-Con Infiltration

 

The Neo-Con movement is an interesting, yet oft ignored, facet of American politics. Eisenhower’s continuation of New Deal programs, combined with other factors, such as the waning of communist power and internal fighting among the various communist factions, proved fertile ground for a political movement in the US.

 

Disillusioned with the failure of communism taking hold of power, by 1965 the Trotskyites had “renounced” communism and were looking for a place to land. At first glance it would seem like the Republican Party would be the last place for them to take hold, but they played a tune that resonated with the conservatives in the party, conservatives already resigned to the idea of the New Deal. The message was that the might of the US military could be used to spread the American ideal of right and wrong around the world. Sold as defending our country from the spreading threat of (fill in the blank), conservatives fell neatly in line.

 

The movement gained ground with Reagan. In Reagan they found a sympathetic ear to military intervention and growth. Reagan himself had come from the left (having been called outright a communist by the Republican Party of California) and his holding onto the idea of “the greater good” idea was parallel to the Neo-Cons. They found in Reagan a “soul-mate” and they helped perpetuate the idea that Reagan single handedly used the mighty power of the US to overthrow the Soviet Union. The idea that the US had a noble calling to rid the world of countries that disagreed with the “moral” foundations of the US has proven to be a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the Republican Party. Irving Kristol, often referred to as “The Godfather” of the Neo-Con movement, in “The Weekly Standard” of August 25, 2003, had this to say…

 

“Viewed in this way, one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican Party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy. That this new conservative politics is distinctly American is beyond doubt. There is nothing like neoconservatism in Europe, and most European conservatives are highly skeptical of its legitimacy. The fact that conservatism in the United States is so much healthier than in Europe, so much more politically effective, surely has something to do with the existence of neoconservatism. But Europeans, who think it absurd to look to the United States for lessons in political innovation, resolutely refuse to consider this possibility.

Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the “American grain.” It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked. Of course, those worthies are in no way overlooked by a large, probably the largest, segment of the Republican party, with the result that most Republican politicians know nothing and could not care less about neoconservatism. Nevertheless, they cannot be blind to the fact that neoconservative policies, reaching out beyond the traditional political and financial base, have helped make the very idea of political conservatism more acceptable to a majority of American voters. Nor has it passed official notice that it is the neoconservative public policies, not the traditional Republican ones, that result in popular Republican presidencies.”

The idea behind the Neo-Con movement is still the same Hegelian theory of a battle between good and evil. It has been ingrained in the American political system as “compassionate conservativism” and everyone that wishes to be considered a conservative in the current climate must accept the same philosophy that Marx accepted, that there is a material struggle against evil morals that must be won at all cost. Spending or military action are nothing in the face of the overall struggle and nothing is out of bounds to achieve the goals.

 

Perpetual War

 

So the struggle goes on against this scary threat that is right at our doorstep. The Cold War is over, communism is all but dead, but that doesn’t mean we are out of enemies who “hate us for our freedom”. Every country that doesn’t live how the United States say they should, who doesn’t accept our moral creed (largely based on a spiritual concept not shared by others), will face the might of the US. Even if everyone loved the US, it would be necessary to find an enemy somewhere. Possibly even to create a boogeyman to go after.

 

Of course, with the US still involved in the struggles of the old Imperial powers, empires that are for all intents and purposes are long dead, we will have no shortage of enemies. The words of Ernest T. Weir in "Leaving Emotions Out of Our Foreign Policy," that he wrote back in the 1954 still ring true…

 

“(W)e have to accept the fact that it is not the mission of the United States to go charging about the world to free it from bad nations and bad systems of government. We must reconcile ourselves to the fact that there will always be bad nations and bad systems and that our task is to contrive some basis other than warfare on which we can live in the world.

 

The sane voices have been calling for it forever, but the crazies are in charge. The general “for the greater good” cry reigns supreme. Not only has the right learned this lesson, they have met the left and surpassed them.

 

The people that speak out against the ideas of an eternal struggle between good and evil, against the idea of perpetual war, of overthrowing dictators and chasing “bogeymen” through the hills of foreign countries, will still be called communists and anarchists and denounced by many on the right. But don’t feel too bad, you are in good company.

 

The No Name Group Project 

Published Mon, Nov 26 2007 5:59 PM by IrishOutlaw