Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"Liberal" Types and Official Enemies (Finished!)

The commentator who was the subject of my last entry appears from her blogger profile to be a US liberal of sorts. And she's gotten me thinking about liberal types who construct these elaborate justifications for imperialist actions against regimes that are "official enemies" of the capitalist system.

"Babette" was opposed to the government of Haiti's Aristide, and from her blog, it appears she's also concerned about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. No doubt the Taliban, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic, the Chinese in Tibet, North Korea's Kim Il Jong, Zimbabwe's Mugabe, etc., etc., all figure in her rogues gallery of international villains. To say nothing of the governments of Iran and Syria.

Of course, some of those aforementioned governments are quite dastardly. But the liberal disconnect comes with the belief (or the sales pitch) that the Western capitalist democracies are passionate about defending human rights, defeating "evil" and righting wrongs wherever they may be. So, of course, the alleged crimes of Aristide against the poor of Haiti, or the Taliban's outrages against the women of Afghanistan, justify Canada, or the US, or France, or the UK, or NATO, to fly in, cannons blazing, to topple these hateful regimes and introduce democratic reforms to the grateful populations.

Which, by this point in my life, I find so-o-o tiresome. The US-led capitalist democracies have been propping-up dictatorships, TEACHING and PRACTISING TORTURE for decades. Our governments have been caught lying time and time again about their own policies towards us, and their policies towards other countries. It beggars belief that anyone can believe that we are fit to intervene militarily anywhere in the world, regardless of the "collateral damage" to innocent civilians, to bring "peace, order, and good government" to any part of the globe. It is astonishing that anyone can believe the lies of Western leaders anymore.

A few liars and embittered militarists aside, the vast majority of the population in the West recognizes that the US war in Vietnam was an atrocity, built upon lies. It really was the first imperialist war that had to be conducted in a mass democracy, sold to a public educated, empowered by decent living standards, and able to access a news media that was relatively free, and, as such, the Vietnam War was eventually seen for the crime that it was, the population revolted against it, and the governments that had conducted it were disgraced.

I was able to understand the failure of the general public in the West to be hoodwinked by their politicians into supporting that war, especially given the brutal nature of the enemy that was sold as the real enemy in that conflict, the mass-murdering dictatorships of the USSR and the PRC. But I was really depressed to see Western electorates back our first Gulf War with such witless enthusiasm. Then the cynical dismemberment of Yugoslavia. The rejection of negotiation with the Western-created Taliban in Afghanistan. And finally, with a year's build-up, and a justification based on the most obvious, clumsy, stupid lies, by an unelected president, in an area that just happens to be sitting atop a treasure-trove of oil, the Western electorates once again lazily, stupidly, pathetically, tragically, gave their trust and loyalty to the most brazen pack of criminals and thugs to occupy the White House for a long time, perhaps ever.

And it seems that there are two major cheerleaders justifying these conflicts. Right-wingers ("conservatives") and liberals. These two groups are significant minorities, perhaps together they might approach half the population, but there is, I think, a larger bulk of the population that is generally uninterested in capitalist politics, and which takes its cues from the shifts in editorial policies in the media and the climate created by the more vocal partisans in their local communities. The right-wingers are easy enough to figure out and more easily discredited (they discredit themselves), first and foremost is their blatant militarism and their racist hatred of whoever it is their masters tell them we'll be fighting next. They often embarrass themselves with their naked bigotry towards the mostly brown populations the imperialist nations find themselves invading. The "conservatives" mostly want to destroy the bad guys, and teach all the stupid people in their shit-hole countries not to fuck with us. They tend to blindly and wildly support the most blatant lies and incompetence of their own parties (witness the blind devotion to the bungling bush II and the thieving, cynical, thick-headed Cheney, even in opposition to the almost unanimous criticism of the US military leadership, or the Canadian Canuckleheads lining-up to defend the ignorant, lazy Gordon O'Conner and the laughable platitudes and disgusting deceptions of Stephen Harper here in Canada).

But it's the liberal defenders of imperialism who seem to me to be the greatest threat.

And now that I've reached the subject of my fucking post, I find that I've been typing for far too long, and I'll post this, and come back later when I get time, and finish it.

Okay. Here's a few free minutes. Let's see what happens.

Yes, liberals appear to be a graver threat than right-wingers, when it comes to the problem of imperialism. Because while the right-wing appears to be motivated by racism, bloodlust, and a gullibility regarding their own party's lies that borders that borders on the ludicrous, liberals appear to be motivated by concerns about democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. They seem to genuinely want to help the peoples in the countries that their governments are invading. There is a selflessness in their concern for the world's poor and oppressed that can influence the mushy middle of the Western body-politic. And that's what makes them dangerous. The right-wing's appeal is limited by normal human intelligence outside of the debased corporate culture of the United States. The liberal wing can appear to be guided by loftier, more enduring motives.

The difference is radiated by their respective parties. Here in Canada, Stephen Harper's embarrassingingly gigantic love for anything the bush II regime does, and the gross incompetence with which he and his cabinet pursue their work, and his utter indifference towards human rights abuses, it's all reflecting badly on him and Canadians are quickly losing their faith in him. The Liberals, on the other hand, while they are just as imperialist, just as willing to make the US-dominated international system work, simply do a much better job of selling their shit. They masquerade it with all sorts of high-flown language like "the responsibility to protect" and they try to avoid the excesses of militarism which Stephen Harper can't seem to control. The Liberals might even genuinely believe their bullshit themselves, the way their followers do.

The problem is, whether it's their followers, or the mushy middle, who decide to follow Liberal policies out of faith in their rationalizations, is that this is the abuse of peoples' nobler sentiments for ignoble ends.

And the targets of our liberal "concern" always end up being regimes or democratic governments that are trying to remove themselves from our systems of domination and pursue their own autonomous path. And it isn't their "undemocratic" practices, or their "human rights abuses" that are the real cause of imperialist anger. Oftentimes these are only invented.

What's prompted this post was the simultaneous condemnation of Haiti's Aristide and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, on the web-page of a recent commentator. Of all the politicians in the Western Hemisphere to attack and condemn, this pleasant, sincere liberal decides to focus on Aristide, twice the victim of US-backed coups, and whose party reflects the majority sentiment of Haiti (and whose followers might be a tad impatient with foreign-financed "opposition" members who subjected them to torture and murder in the past), and Hugo Chavez, whose real crime (it should be obvious) is trying to force his country's tiny rich elite to share some of its wealth with the poor majority, and for attempting to get his country out of its servile, exploitative relationship with the United States.

It's just so tiresomely predictable that the US government and corporate media will point to actions on the part of these governments that can be construed as threatening to liberal values of limited government and protection of human rights, as signs of incipient totalitarianism, when they're really just attempts to fight back against US-orchestrated subversion. While bush II spies on Americans, jails people indefinately without charges, practices torture, lies to the media, lies to Congress, attempts to use the Justice Department as a partisan tool to inflict partisan "justice," violates international law, attempts to ram through a pro-corporate oil bill through the Iraqi Parliament, all this while having never been elected, ... it is Aristide and Chavez who must answer to the enflamed outrages of Western liberals.

While Colombian death squads, with their leadership being part of the current Uribe government, mutilate union leaders and pro-democracy activists, while the Mexican conservatives steal another election and murder journalists, while grinding poverty afflicts people throughout Latin America and the leftist opposition is brutalized, it is only Aristide, Chavez, and the old stand-by Fidel Castro of Cuba, who must explain themselves to these liberal sheep.

And any attempt to explain this convenient focus on the crimes (real or imagined) of official enemies as being Western imperialism, is attacked as being a justification for these crimes (real or imagined). But what happens when we give our governments our support in their attempts to "spread democracy"? The governments in question are toppled, to be replaced with something worse. And our media conveniently drops its concern for the people of the countries that we've just destablilized, and the area reverts back to the slow burn of inequality, malnutrition, torture, and massacres. And we the people of the West are discredited. Our "liberal" democratic values are discredited. And it is sickening.


Unknown said...

Two great articles for you thwap.

PS My MP says the handbook was created for the chairs, but the other parties do the same thing with training and don't put what they do in written form.

Anonymous said...

TWAAAPPP! Well-deserved 2X4 upalongside 'liberal' heads - WTG!

Red Jenny said...

Good post. Found it at Kuri's blog.

The liberals legitimize the imperial project. At best they are paternalistic (white man's burden, you know) and at worst they are neoliberal apologists.

Dark Daughta said...

Thanks for this. The liberals and the right wingers actually form a closed and interdependent system that feeds all sorts of oppression in the west. I've been arguing with liberal feminists and other lefties in blogland for quite some time about this. They pretty much ignore me after having branded me "evil" and "mean" for daring to question their seriously mislead political agendas. Reading your post was a breath of fresh air. Mind if I link to you?

thwap said...

Lots of activity this past hour or so!

Wayne, ... I'll look at your links, I was busy talking with experts on Haiti.

macadavy, ... visiting from pogge ('eh)? Thanks.

red jenny, ... Thanks as well. I'll have to thank kuri personally.

dark daughta ... I'd be honoured to be mentioned on either of your blogs. I'm glad that you liked it.

Polly Jones said...

Excellent post.

I agree liberals are a graver threat because they are better at 'selling their shit' as you say, and because many of them do believe it.

What have been the good intentions leading them to interfere with peoples aroud the world?

First, they were 'civilizing' them.
Then, they were 'modernizing' them.
Now, they are 'spreading democracy'.


thwap said...

Thanks polly jones. Whatever it is, we're always doing good.

Even the Soviets sold their invasion of Afghanistan that way:

and, evidently, the Soviets invested more resources than has the West, trying to win "hearts and minds," but it didn't appear to do them any good ...