Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Englehardt Reveals the Myth With Which We Are Being Jacked to Hell AGAIN

Originally posted as a comment at Unclaimed Territory on Salon.com
The Ponzi Scheme Presidency
Tom Englehardt
(via Antiwar.com)

With the highest-tech military on the planet, funded at levels no other set of nations could cumulatively match, the United States, they were convinced, was uniquely situated to give the phrase "sole superpower" historically unprecedented meaning. Even the Assyrians at their height, the Romans in their Pax Romana centuries, the British in the endless decades when the sun could never set on its empire, would prove pikers by comparison.

In this sense, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and the various neocons in the administration were fundamentalist idolaters – and what they worshipped was the staggering power of the U.S. military. They were believers in a church whose first tenet was the efficacy of force above all else. Though few of them had the slightest military experience, they gave real meaning to the word bellicose. They were prejudiced toward war.

With awesome military power at their command, they were also convinced that they could go it alone as the dominating force on the planet. As with true believers everywhere, they had only contempt for those they couldn't convert to their worldview. That contempt made "unilateralism" their strategy of choice, and a global Pax Americana their goal (along with, of course, a Pax Republicana at home).

Thus, the sole nuclear super-power of the Middle East, Israel, is playing the god of ultimate force in Gaza right now, as we are playing god all over the globe--and with Space Command, even out in space. I suppose that means "Death from above!" is our new national motto.

The "war on terror" is a perpetual motion holy war cash machine, just like the Crusades were. "Holy" war is what we do. It's our number one export (as measured in weapons).


[Read knowbuddhau2's other letters]

Permalink Tuesday, January 6, 2009 11:06 AM

Bravo, brother [Glenn Greenwald]! I salute your courage. I admire how you take the healing directly to the hurting.

Scott Horton noted a similar failing.

...the Office of Legal Counsel, which has become controversial because of its legal defense of practices bordering on torture....

Got that? John Yoo and Steven Bradbury were defending practices “bordering on torture.” We’re talking about waterboarding, hypothermia, long-time standing, the use of psychotropic drugs and burying people in a box for prolonged periods, among other things.

Dear Times editors: read your own pages. When Russia used the practice of stoika in the Stalin era, you called it “torture.” It is. Why does it become “bordering on torture” when the Bush Administration uses it? When the Nazis used the practice of Pfahlbinden during World War II, you called it “torture.” So when Bush uses it, suddenly it becomes “bordering on torture”? By consciously softening your language, you are allowing those who introduced torture to escape the opprobrium that is their due. Moreover, you are enabling torture. Your readers deserve better. http://harpers.org/archive/2009/01/hbc-90004135

As "Matthew Alexander" demonstrated, we're using fear and control, in keeping with our mechanical conception of being in the world, to manufacture consent; whereas it is more truly human--and effective--to empathize and persuade based on mutual respect.

I've been reverse engineering our methods of controlling public opinion with fear for years now. We're using the power of myth as the engine of weapons-grade propaganda. We're treating the human psyche as a god-forsaken machine, susceptible to malicious hacking. How do we do it?

I call it myth-jacking. A myth isn't a lie, it's a metaphor, a vessel for going from ignorance to understanding. Like any other conveyances, myths can be hijacked in order to deliver a people not into the Promised Land, but into the hands of their butchers.

Think-tanks have assumed the role of myth-makers. Their bombardiers then disperse to drop their bullshit bombs on unsuspecting target audiences.

We are gettnig jacked to hell, and stuck with the bill, by think-tank bombardiers.

[T]hink tanks... monitor and adjust governance norms and networks by using research, analysis, and advocacy to structure discourse about social problems and solutions among multiple elites and in the popular imagination. http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-08192005-162045/

We worship at the altar of force, mechanical power, applied from the outside, to force stupid stuff into the order we desire.

ALAN WATTS: It’s very inconvenient to have the kind of god, who is this authoritarian boss of the world, prying down over your shoulder all the time, knowing your inmost thoughts, and judging you. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, and everybody’s happy to be rid of it. It has never significantly improved anybody’s behavior. In the so-called Ages of Faith, people were just as immoral if not more so than they are today. Because you see, all this fixed notion of god is idolatry! If thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image of anything that is in the heaven above etc., the most dangerous and pernicious images are not of wood or stone, nobody takes those seriously, they’re the images made of imagination and conception and thought. [End Watts; Relevance of Oriental Philosphy, podcast downloaded December, 2007 from http://www.alanwatts.com]

HOWARD ZINN: Here are some of the elements of the mindset that stand in the way, in the way for Obama, in the way for the Democratic Party, in the way for many Americans, in the way for us. One of the elements in our mindset is the idea, somehow, that the United States is exceptional. In the world of social science, in, you know, that discipline called social science, there’s actually a phrase for it. It’s called American exceptionalism. And what it means is the idea that the United States is unique in the world, you know, that we are different, that we--not just different, we’re better. Right? We are better than other people. You know, our society is better than other societies. This is a very dangerous thing to think.


So, yeah, and I began to realize certain things, that war corrupts everybody, corrupts everybody who engages in it. You start off, they’re the bad guys. You make an interesting psychological jump. The jump is this: since they’re the bad guys, you must be the good guys. No, they may very well be the bad guys. They may be fascists and dictators and bad, really bad guys. That doesn’t mean you’re good, you know? And when I began to look at it that way, I realized that wars are fought by evils on both sides. You know, one is a little more evil than the other. But even though you start in a war with sort of good intentions--we’re going to defeat fascism, we’re going to do this--you end up being corrupted, you end up being violent, you end up killing a lot of innocent people, because you’ve decided from the beginning that you’re right, and then you don’t have to ask questions anymore. That’s an interesting psychological thing that you--trick that you play. Well, you start out--you make a decision at the very beginning. The decision is: they’re wrong, I’m right. Once you have made that decision, you don’t have to think anymore. Then anything you do goes. Anything you do is OK, because you made the decision early on that they’re bad, you’re good. Then you can kill several hundred thousand people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then you can kill 100,000 people in Dresden. It doesn’t matter. You’re not thinking about it. Yeah, war corrupts everybody who engages in it. http://i3.democracynow.org/2009/1/2/placeholder_howard_zinn

No comments: