Monday, November 16, 2015

America and its enemies

Why is it that historically when the U.S. has waged war against enemies perceived as conservative or "rightist" (the British during the Revolution, the Confederacy, Spain, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan) it does so with utter ruthlessness, settling for nothing less than total victory, but when the U.S. wages war against enemies either perceived as "progressive" or favored by (some) leftists, as Islam curiously often is (North Korea, North Vietnam, Communism generally, Iraq, ISIS) it does so half-heartedly, ineffectively, and inconclusively? Perhaps the inherently revolutionary and progressive origins of the USA (logically celebrated by American liberals, and illogically ignored by most American conservatives) are impossible to overcome, even for well-meaning Americans who would like to.

(Note: this observation, including most of the specific examples, is not original to me, but I forget where I first encountered it.

1 comment:

Pair O' Dimes said...

I suspect you're right in your conclusion in that last sentence.

Try though people might, we are suckers for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty--or at worst, corruptions thereof. We like an ideology that is logically consistent, and so can fall for such ideologies which are still wrong foundationally.

I suspect this accounts for the many revolutions throughout the West in the last few centuries. First, lesser revolutions appealed to some people on the basis of a corruption of a real good. But the resulting matrix is necessarily logically consistent--and those who see this have already rejected the pre-revolutionary matrix and so want a new revolution uprooting another aspect of the pre-revolutionary ways. This process continues in the same direction until there is literally and figuratively nowhere "left" to go.

Likewise, the "revolutionaries" of yesteryear are the "reactionaries" of tomorrow. If they are even one revolution behind the times they are called "right wing". And because they reject whatever came before the revolution that produced them, they make their ideology inconsistent logically (and perhaps excusing this on the grounds of "moderation in all things")...which is seen by their opponents who use this as an excuse to go even further left, since it's become unthinkable to go back to the right.

The biggest irony is when actual conservatism gets called "liberal" by those who might be one revolution behind the times and fancy themselves the true "conservatives". Herbalism, for example, or otherwise going organic or conserving the environment--where big business, big as it is and taking liberties as it does, gets called "conservative". This is a false dichotomy, two opposite moral evaluations of the exact same false premise.

The point is that we are suckers for stability and tradition, and revolution is the antithesis of that--so other than making the new matrix the new tradition, the only way revolution can produce tradition is for revolutions themselves to be the tradition, in a "progressivist" historical narrative that claims to foresee a future manmade "utopia" and to blame supposed "conservatives" (anyone at least one revolution behind the times) for the fact that we haven't already achieved it--either that or else questioning the veracity of the revolutionaries (like claiming that "real" Communism, whatever that is, has never been tried yet anywhere).

Finally, I think the USA got so liberal that the "buffer" of the Soviet Union and world Communism that served as an external enemy (and in some cases a domestic enemy) is what prevented the American liberalism of today. But because we don't have that worldwide threat anymore, the so-called "right" has to look to another worldwide threat to oppose (or appear to) or else try to look to something more substantial, if it wants to win. And Islam isn't leftwing (the closest that I can think of to claiming such is that it's largely professed by non-white non-Westerners)--but the only other possible source of a global threat that self-professed "conservatives" might oppose (rather than, say, liberals opposing "climate change") is from outer space. Better to look to Church and monarchy, altar and throne.

I'll stop there. God bless.