Archive for July, 2008
The cul-de-sac of the Resentful
There are a variety of ways for an American of the political left to oppose the Iraq war, all of them susceptible to refutation. This refutation can be done either by taking them as a whole or by taking them as individuals.
So first, taking them as a whole, it’s necessary to point out initially that the leftist anti-war position is an instantiation of anti-Americanism. Eliminate the alleged moral authority of this anti-Americanism, and the nihilism of the anti-war stance is thus exposed, if not completely undermined.
Thus, the chief characteristics of anti-Americanism are the gullibility of its sensibility and the hypocrisy of its moral narcissism. Those Americans who have a tendency towards tartuffery are especially vulnerable to the glamorous seductions of a fashionable anti-Americanism. They are told that, as Americans against America, they are on the right side of history, on the side of the morally non-contingent against the merely arbitrary and selfish.
They believe this out of the credulousness created by their vanity: anti-Americanism is an alter ego, a longing for an elusive identity that cannot exist in reality. They choose a fictitious world, based on the warrant of Plato’s idealism, to call the real. Moreover, the visceral strength of anti-Americanism can be put down confidently to the hold of irrationality on the human mind. Only when this alter ego is relinquished, under the force of vivid and stark experiences, can such as these respond without irrationality to reasoned argument about the war.
A second general defining characteristic of anti-Americanism is the belief in social determinism, that is, the view that foreign populations cannot help but hate the US, since they are driven to their own violence by our violence. For them, history is a crime that must be undone, “a nightmare from which one is trying to awake.” This perspective suffers from the wildly mistaken idea that human beings are nothing but revenge addicts, and it relies overmuch on chronological explanations. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy–the violence of al-Qaida and their ilk is caused solely by their neurotic desire for complete power. Any other explanation puts the cart before the causal horse.
Taking the particular instances of the leftist anti-war position now, it’s clear that the mother of all doctrines here is Marxism. This is the first and foremost way to be anti-American, the very flagship of the fleet. (To be anti-American here is to be anti-Iraq war, by logical extension.) Marxism claims to possess the key to the interpretation of history: social class struggle. But this is just as risible as the claim of Nazism that race struggle is the key concept of historical interpretation. Marx and Engels posited class struggle as their central concept simply so as to legitimate in advance the precise crime they were about to commit: getting people to bite the hand that feeds them. An ironic aspect of Marxism is that it’s a case of upper class intellectuals vehemently telling lower class workers how hard life is.
But the concept of class struggle as history’s key is only pseudo-science posturing as verified empirical science, since it was only a ploy with which to get a pathetic movement going. It was only an apple of discord rolled into the banquet room of civilization. It is not even close to being impartial science. No matter how many thousands of books, no matter how many millions of pages Marxism writes in proof of itself, it cannot escape at least one ineluctable fact: it is based on the disingenuous resentment of the rabble and intelligentsia.
Next there is the predilection for diplomacy: this is only an avoidance syndrome, a shying away from the acknowledgement of totalitarianism. Negotiations would be to no avail here, they would on the contrary only encourage, since the desire to negotiate would be rightly perceived as capitulation. One can only negotiate with those who are not ideological fanatics–those who make themselves voluntarily subject to the international system, and to its law and order. To offer negotiations to those who are fanatics (and how could they not be known fanatics?) is clearly a caving-in, an attempt to get them to go easy on us, to mollify them.
Then there is multiculturalism, or moral relativism: this is the belief that all cultures are equal, and we cannot therefore take decisive and forceful action against another culture. This labors under an unjustifiable self-abasement, and, if its proviso had always been observed, the British Empire would never have put an end to the international slave trade (which it did magnificently in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). Enough said on this one.
Last there is multilaterism: here we are told that we must never act alone, since this practice alienates our allies and sets world opinion against us. The fallacy of this is the assumption the US wants to act alone. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t want to act alone. We would be happy if the allies continue to help fight the criminal regimes of the world. This is shown abundantly by the penchant of US presidential administrations for visiting the capitol cities of the world, seeking to an amazing degree a consensus with the allies.
All these ways of being anti-war have in common the counsel of inaction. But why? Has a patina of shame accrued to bold self-defense? Has resentment accrued in the hearts of those incapable of action? Oh please, James Joyce, wake me from that nightmare!