previously published at www.libertarianinstitute.org
An outsider’s generalisation of the American avatar.
The United States has often been touted as a brilliant beacon of liberty, a singular champion for justice and free enterprise. It is a myth often believed by most Americans and those that it has seduced abroad. While the United States in all its stages has been both better and worse in many key areas where liberty is concerned, it is neither the sole dominion for freedom nor has it ever stood as its true champion. It is believed that everything America does as a nation is for a greater good and that its actions are always for some positive, in the end. This American version of its own history and its many influences on the world is as sickly sweet as its subsidised corn syrup. For many in its nation’s apparent liberty movement, the discussion of the cost of a cruise missile or a drone strike to the tax payer seems to hold greater importance than the human casualties that such a deadly attack tends to cause for the victims of macho American foreign policy.
Americans tend to look at their history with a bi polar sense of self denial. The segregation of responsibility that exists among many proud and loud Americans allows a continuation of the folly and tragedy wrought by the American sense of exceptionalism. It is assumed that somehow legacy and responsibility for past deeds and conduct, especially the bloodiest and criminal per their own laws, ends with the previous political administrations and regimes. It is a peculiar ability that few exceptional nations possess, to be able to simply drop the national responsibility once a party is elected out of office and it is especially performed on the most majestic scale by the American political organism. No matter how tragic a war may be or how scandalous an event was, it was always the other guys. We voted them out therefore national absolution has been found.
The many acts of domestic and foreign imperialism exhibited by the US government since its very inception are either overlooked or relegated to a marginal status of historical importance or significance often being overshadowed by rhetorical claims and speeches made by the great heroes of those times despite the many cold and bloody facts. The power of belief by both the casual and ardent faithful of the American mythos transcends most zealotry found in other religions. It is an American National religion.
It allows the believer in America to completely isolate entire eras and actions committed by both the Government and large swathes of the populace, to somehow disassociate such terrible experiences from their version of America. While uplifting mere wordplays between political beings are repeated like cultist mantras to exemplify a world that never was or an America that only ever existed inside the faithful’s minds.
Those few lone and brave voices for liberty and reason, who at the time were an unpopular minority, somehow become icons of the era. Whether they be abolitionists to slavery, civil rights champions or anti-war protesters, they are given national holidays, iconised in statue and building and while their words are recited as mantras none of what any of them may have once said ever sinks in or takes on a real life. They are iconised alongside the Great Men of history who in their own times sought to suppress and oppress them.
The American nationalist believer, whether a social democrat, conservative, libertarian or outright fascist can look to the past and see horrible acts from slavery, treatment of the native Americans, suppression of revolution, to the invasions into Mexico, Florida, Canada to the opening of Japan by threat of cannon, acquiring colonies such as Hawaii, Cuba and the Philippines all during the glorious 19th Century as the flaws of their ideological opposition to what it is truly meant to being American. Somehow corrupt business interests, racialist bigots or un-American fiends hijacked the otherwise near perfect process of American Republicanism.
That is if such events are even viewed poorly. Often they are simply seen before a confused or a repugnant light as though they benefited all and a great deal of benevolence was found in civilising the savages or in forcing others to adopt an American way of life. These are not events to shy away from but instead are powerful moments in time to nurture in the history books and to depict as either minor in suffering or grand in virtuous impact. Often however they are simply blips never to be reviewed or discussed, simply to be somehow omitted or contrasted to others and their conducts. They are moments of destiny when American liberty was introduced into dark and barbaric lands, to backwards peoples in need of such.
The various bloodsheds and oppressions of the American 19th Century are overlooked far too easily as the period tends to be lovingly remembered as an enlightened period whether for laissez faire liberalism or for the socially just progressives. Both can find a splendid period in those decades, despite the bloody contrasts. It was in truth an era of chauvinistic, imperialist, racialist, aggression that marred bounds of self-serving benevolence to outright genocidal intent. It is when compared to other nations that the United States and its ardent defenders often argue that she shines so bright and yet compared to many of the other nations who ended slavery, held colonies and segregated its populations it really is on par despite its geographic fortunes. But of those splendid founding fathers who helped to steer the United States onto a majestic course for liberty and uniqueness it is different and superior. The view from all nationalist’s pulpits, not merely America’s.
Regardless of the beautiful prose and rhetorical poetry often espoused by the sacred fathers of the American republic, the lived-in realities were that slaves were still beaten, abused and owned by many of these deified men. The liberty referred to was for white Christian men, usually Protestants and ideally Anglo Saxon or Teuton. Yet, as libertarians, socialists and conservatives alike look at these past men with dewy eyes, obey their sacred sacraments and adore the constitution as though it all somehow leads to an ideal utopia for justice and liberty. Yet for the majority even then it was never to be theirs. The liberty of the founders was not for those natives or those imported, or the poorly indentured.
As the new American republic invented for itself a long-lasting illusion of exceptionalism it was in many ways no different to the Europe that it claimed to reject. It soon sought colonies, defined itself in wars, suppressed dissent, flexed its muscles abroad and sent its many envoys far and wide backed by a budding industrialised military hidden beneath a civil tongue. In the years that followed those infant moments of the Republic, many Americans look back to Europe with a familiar fondness and association than they would to those south of their own border so close in geography but distant in identity and self-perspective.
Many Americans claim that the new republic was not a nation of Anglo Saxon Christian values but its many elites and ruling men did their best to prove otherwise. Like a ravenous disease its many missionaries inserted themselves abroad into other cultures much as the other Europeans had done. They assured supremacy and converted the savages, imposed their virtues upon them and assumed that their singular perspective was righteous and the only way despite the many differences of the peoples encountered.
The curing and converting missionary attitude has evolved into a secular ideology of governmental and econ-political perversion that claims to represent a democracy, a system of laws and free markets. In reality it is a mish mash of convoluted string pulling promoting obedient and easily controlled proxies and despots loyal to their colonial master in Washington, ever dependent on aid and protection so long as the exploitation of geography, resources and the people may be had. And it is all performed under the guise of apparently beneficial traits as the American way is exported by threat of violence and with actual violence beneath a false civility to both friend and foe. Mending the severed limbs from the exploding mines dropped. or healing the burned skin caused by the napalm spread. And so long as schools and hospitals are bombed they too can soon be rebuilt and named in honour of rhetorical promises. The American way.
Even in its recent history the common American psyche allows many of its most ardently devout to view atrocities committed by the American state with a degree of self-protection. When admitted and acknowledged either officially or by the public they are often considered ‘mistakes’ or as isolated incidences, however consistent and widespread they may be. The mass killings of millions of civilians during World War Two are simply seen as a necessity committed by all belligerents, those defeated became war criminals and those who were the victors were justified. The many wars fought thereafter were done with a wider perspective in mind from Korea to Vietnam to the invasions of the Dominican Republic and Lebanon, all done as part of a great power struggle against a monolithic ominous threat. Those killed and oppressed were sacrifices to a greater good in a ‘free’ hegemony buffering a behemoth of Communist tyranny.
The millions of civilians killed in South East Asia during the US involvement were often, when acknowledged and down played, regretted but as always were considered a necessity. Simply a reality of the struggle between Western or American influence and a Communist or Eastern one. In the end though much of South East Asia fell to various forms of communism, often nationally directed and not specifically Moscow controlled and the United States learned a lesson. Its heroic warriors could return home assured that media and culture would soon herald them as a forgotten generation of brave and loyal combatants fighting a war that was lost at home by either newspaper men, hippies, draft dodgers, politicians and those too quick to abandon the fight. But what did winning that war actually look like? Still, many lessons were apparently learned. The bloody nose of Vietnam was a teaching moment for the United States. That was the light at the end of the bloody tunnel.
During the 1980s the Soviet Union would also learn such a lesson with their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The fictional Colonel Trautman in the film Rambo III conveys such when he says to his Russian captors, “Yeah, well, there won’t be a victory! Every day, your war machines lose ground to a bunch of POORLY-armed, POORLY-equipped freedom fighters! The fact is that you underestimated your competition. If you’d studied your history, you’d know that these people have never given up to anyone. They’d rather DIE, than be slaves to an invading army. You can’t defeat a people like that. We tried! We already had our Vietnam! Now you’re gonna have yours!”. In just over a decade after Trautman‘s speech the United States and a coalition would invade Afghanistan. Sixteen years later the US military remains there.
But Americans are different, they are exceptional. The Afghanis and Iraqis will welcome them, they will overlook the embargoes, the bombings and now the invasion and occupation. Those at home and many entrusted with the dirty work struggled to understand just why another nation of so many foreigners would not embrace the new invaders and would instead fight terrible and long lasting insurgencies. Without conscription and with the terrible tragedies of the September 2001 attacks being constantly sought as a justified mandate the American public remains so conditioned that they are indifferent to foreign wars or remain so supportive of them that they absolutely believe in the mission, threat and role that their military is performing. The jihadi Islamists are the Viet Cong, the faith of Islam is communism and the deserts and sandy streets are now the swamps and jungles. Except they are not. And yet as their ancestors in the 1960s grappled with understanding the conflict in South East Asia, many somehow understand that what is being done abroad now in so many countries make some kind of sense. Just as the dominoes of Communism may fall until they reach the US of A, each domino being controlled by Peeking-Moscow so too is Islam a supposedly a singular viral entity of faith, its ardent followers bent on a global dominance of sharia.
While the present focus is on the Middle East and the regions mostly inhabited by Muslims, the past deeds in Asia are not forgotten by those in the Far East. Just as such American infused horrors are not forgotten elsewhere. It is to America’s South, beneath the Northern land mass where generations ago an American regime simply declared the Monroe doctrine claiming that all below and in its hemisphere belonged to the United States. At first this was to deter European interventions in the hemisphere but over time it matured into an American imperialism that saw the United States control, dictate and invade its smaller-poorer neighbours.
The Right-Wing dictators that bloodied the continent during the twentieth century, most notably in the 1980s, committed the worse crimes against humanity with the support, blessing and often training of their Yankee big brother. Without shame or any sense of hypocrisy the American government and many inside of its populace looked to South America as a backyard of backwardness where both benevolence and abuse could be administered with arbitrary self-interest. As scandals erupted relating to corruption and transactions with drug cartels and right wing rebels, the bloody business of tyranny and the many wars seem to be all but ignored. The victims buried in unmarked graves killed by soldiers trained inside the United States and sometimes with US servicemen present. None of that mattered to those in America though, nor does any of it matter now to the American political animal. To those in South America it still matters. And shall always matter.
After fifty-six military interventions into the nations of South America, South of the border remains in turmoil and still suffering. The legacies of anti-American reactionaries and pro-American puppets have in the end united to do one thing – destroy the lives of their apparent subjects. Yet, up North it is the United States that needs a giant wall on its Southern border to keep ‘them’ out. How many of them have ousted an elected American president? How many of ‘them’ have occupied and influenced most levels of government inside the US? But as is always the case from the American perspective, it is ‘they’ that are the problem. Nothing ever done by the United States is to be considered flawed or wrong. Perhaps if the ’wall’ does get built, then the United States government can finally leave all of South and Central America alone.
In a nation that holds the most prisoners compared to the rest of the World, a nation that sees its traditionally puritanical instincts at prohibition run rampant, so much so that murder and theft are considered justified so long as a plant or a substance is removed from individual’s possessions. Yet many inside the US has a populace that views the orthodoxy of other theologies as dim and backwards. As modern America confronts its nemesis in the imagined ranks of Islamic terrorists, Russian hackers and Chinese imported goods, it is the threat of ‘sharia’ law that invokes a good many Americans to their war cries. And yet American puritanism whether atheistic or evangelical still threatens the liberty and lives of more Americans and foreigners in its regime’s crusades of morality and ‘health’.
It is a nation of tremendous disharmony, one that romances its ‘Civil War’ depicting it so simply as being about just the issue of slavery. A nation that experiences some of the biggest riots in the World, where minorities or dissatisfied groups of people lash out angrily having felt wronged by their government, whether justified or not. The riots of the 1960s against the War in South East Asia and about civil rights are distant memories that only served to steel the police ensuring that they had better means of quashing and attacking the protesters. The Watts riots were separated by over twenty years from the LA Riots and much of the same malcontent remained, the emergence of Black Lives Matter and other groups however deformed much of their members’ platforms may be, stem from very real grievances. But they are never addressed, never truly heard instead the next generation will have to go through it all again.
While deranged disciples of Islam commit atrocities against fellow Muslims and non-believers in such horrendous ways and others call for extreme versions of Sharia law, it is with these examples that many Americans seem to find their fears most assured. Yet the Social Justice Warriors of the many academic campuses of the upper echelons of American society are filled with extreme examples of uniquely American beliefs. Modern perversions of feminism, many shades of politically correct socialism and the identity politics that makes little sense to the sane and rationale minded, or to most non-Americans. Yet, do many in the world look to these extremists as representing American culture? Even though, thanks to the internet, social media and likeminded academic institutions many of these perverted ideologies have spread into others lands from the United States.
The violence needed to enforce many of the laws that are taken for granted by the extremes of all aspects of American political culture are washed away with sickly corn syrup soda drinks and drowned out by military co-funded blockbusters. They lack the visceral impact of an ISIS video or the back-room thuggery of the terrorist murderer. To the small child blown to pieces in Yemen or the mangled body of a babe thanks to a police no knock raid inside the US itself, the outcome is much the same but the lack of outcry is not. The indignation is lost though when the murderers wear Uncle Sam’s costumes and few find the repugnance of such acts deplorable. Many either ignore it or rationalise it as being part of the process, or as is all too often they find a way to blame the victims. The agents of the American State are seldom, if ever at fault. ISIS and the few individuals that commit such violations against humanity and nature in the name of their deluded version of Islam, somehow represent ALL of ISLAM to most Americans.
Have you read the Quran? Have you seen its pages and looked at Islamic history? A question often used as both deflection and cause to ramp up the operations against those different, those of the non-accepted God of Abraham. Have you read the constitution? Have you seen all the slavery, murder, theft and misery done while its words lingered on the oath takers tongues? Have you seen and looked at the history of the nation that worships that sacred parchment? Seen how aggressive and bloody it all is. Have you looked at the images of MILLIONS of MURDERED civilians all over the World directly killed by the constitutions most ardent of defenders? Inked paper (or hemp) is nothing more than that, it is those who obey it or disobey it that kill and cure. It is a form of miserable religion to obey words penned by others long ago, and to be so ardently for those words while also being so very selective as to which ones you obey. Whether those words are found inside the bible, a Marxist manifesto, a libertarian tome or an Arabic scroll.
Lysander Spooner is credited with saying this about the religious text of the American republic, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” And still it is interpreted according to whoever reads it and seeks to use its uniqueness as a validation for their own ideals. It has neither limited or prevented so many ills of Government, it has instead remained idle as those who claim to love it, both elected, sworn to and born beneath its glow have cruelly and with self-righteousness oppressed both foreigners and familiars with the authority granted to them thanks to the prestige of such a piece of hemp. That truly is a religion.
A text fitting for the puritan past and zealotry for ostracising outsiders. A past that stabbed its reach into the late twentieth century exemplifying itself during the Satanic craze that emerged in the 1980s that truly revealed an odd peculiarity of the main stream mind set. The absurdity that Satanic cabals had infiltrated elements of society, namely governance, and inserted their insidious tendrils so deep so as to promote feminism and sexual deviancy. It was a revealing aspect of a culture that seeks to blame outside or disfigured influences for any errs or evils committed from within the culture. Whether it happens to be the Satanic globalists that are blamed for the impurification of the American way, reptiles, Zionists, Masons, George Soros, Bilderberg and so on an evil influencing element is often sought to both blame and fear. Never once are Americans able to look to the mirror to reflect upon their history and to take account of it, instead the present ills both suffered by the American public and those abroad in foreign lands are often the fault of bankers, Jews or Globalist elites. Never, loyal and red blooded Americans.
Just as in recent times the claim of ‘fake news’ or ‘Russian hacks’ seems to fit the main stream mantra as a way of blaming the poorly predicted outcome of the Trump presidential elections. For a nation that has spent a good part of the past century manipulating, corrupting and rigging the electoral processes in most countries on this Earth, ranging from its allies like Australia to its former adversary like, post-Soviet Russia. It was with both the 1996 and 1999 Russian elections that American influences were most severe, with it also being likely that the 1993 election had a smidge of tampering. Unashamedly and without any sense of history the American populace ignores this only concerning themselves with the Manchurian Candidate, President Trump who must be a Kremlin puppet because he is neither Hillary Clinton and because he has had a positive thing to say about the Russian president. This of course was not a problem for past American presidents who could adoringly laugh alongside a drunkard like Yeltsin or negotiating Cold War arms reductions with a communist like Gorbachev. Different times perhaps, regardless the American cultural chauvinism has not changed, it has simply selected other elements to hate some more.
Many Americans often ask the question, why do they hate us? Because put simply much of the world knows the history of the United States better than most Americans seem to want to understand it. It may not be merely hate but perhaps resentment or even disgust whatever the case not everyone else in the World is as enamoured by the myth that sees scores of proud Americans shrilly scream ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’. And as vile as it is to see handfuls of others celebrate the attacks of September 2001 with burning American flags and effigies, the similarity of hearing political elites and celebrated talking heads proclaim that the entire region of the Middle East should be ‘turned to glass’ is lost on many Americans. It is an accepted fact that those who oppose the US, whether militarily or ideologically should simply die, their families included. Which is why the vulgar machismo of Donald Trump has such widespread appeal and has helped to reinvigorate a war weary nation. A nation perhaps ready for another round of wars against nations with names that many Americans cannot spell or from places that the educated masses of the USA cannot put finger to on a map. It does not matter though because the USA is forever righteous and War is the American way.
So long as many Americans view the past from the limited scope of their own mythic perspective then the blowback from such events will continue to haunt them and the rest of the World. The icons of American history that stand proudly in marble above the graves of their policy, the many names etched on memorials are heroes simply because they are American martyrs regardless of what good or bad that they did. The faces that stare ominously carved into the sacred rocks of a defeated people a reminder of the greatness that America continues to claim. Greatness is not a virtue. It is merely a title absent of morality or righteousness. So long as the argument in the praise for an American Empire is to simply look at other empires and to finger out which is the harshest to its subjects, proves a very bloody point. The deflection does not make right or for those outside of the American perspective it does not help illuminate a glorious example to emulate and aspire to. Instead it only glows arrogantly and inspires the reactionaries of one thousand horrible kinds nearly all of which are Anti-American born from the mother of prior actions.
The United States is filled with millions of unique human beings, they are as different as those found inside the borders of other nations. Unlike those inside the lesser nations, those not glorious or anointed with leading the Free World, the American Citizen gets to be special and an individual. Those others, are tarred and defined often by the national identity granted them, often as clumsily as though depicted in an episode of the Simpsons when the yellow family travel abroad and often sinister, as they seem to dwell inside many American minds. The American, though individual and unique shares a common culture and identity that is concealed beneath a flag that they often take pride in. A flag that for many has represented misery and death, oppression and torture. A flag that many Americans call ‘old Glory’. As those millions of American individuals, many of whom seek to collectivise themselves inside the clunky realm of identity politics and culture enjoy living inside the borders of a Great Empire, consider the outsider’s perspective. They may fear, may admire, respect, love and adore they also may despise, hate and resent you but most do not want to be like you. No matter how much so many Americans may convince themselves otherwise. They may want freedom, liberty and the ideals supposedly held by the USA but seldom anything else.
However proud one may be for being an American, then so be it, embrace that pride. Many great minds, thinkers and doers have been born on the land mass that is the United States, whether they is because they are American or not does not matter. Alongside Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Apgar, Harriet Taubman, Norman Borlaug or Ron Paul there sits William Calley, Curtis Lemay, John C Calhoun, Theodore Roosevelt, Ted Bundy and Cornelius P. Rhoads. All proud Americans in some way. The American perspective is unique in that it allows so many individuals to fall into a category of condemnation abroad, simply because of the marring conduct of a few. Whereas the many who commit terrible actions as Americans are in time isolated and removed from the majority but are ultimately what it is to be an American. They are all American and yet they are still individuals. Just like everyone and anyone else on this Earth. And if those tenets of liberty are meant to mean anything then it is that one should be judged according to their own reputation and actions but that goes both ways. And thus, it is not a uniquely American right.
Sometimes the term ‘UnAmerican’ can be worn as a compliment and not as a derogatory slur. Given the real history of the nation and its many recent examples of outright brutality and oppression, how can one truly be proud? Proud of family, community and home is not the same as nation. And if being a patriot and having loyalty to nation is different to serving one’s government, then why is it that most ardent patriots and nationals seem to be the most loyal to their government in outright action. Killing distant others for love of the uniform and flag does not help freedom at home, in fact so many examples show that the wars abroad in fact impinge on domestic freedoms. The Empire always comes home. Where are the proud Americans, the patriots and the liberty bearers when the many agents of the State raid homes, tax and regulate an entire population into impoverished servitude, spy on every interaction, imprison more beings than any other nation and wage wars in so many other countries solely for rhetoric and imperialism. Where are the patriots? King George was nothing compared to the elected Kings of Washington, D.C. And yet those unAmerican degenerates perhaps in their individualism and varying forms of antisocial dissent represent that vague sliver of Americanism. Unlike the suited political elites that wear the American flag upon their breasts like it is a badge or the oath takers who don the uniform of the regime so that they may bludgeon liberty everywhere all in the name of some perceived security. Maybe being a proud American, is in itself ‘unAmerican’.
Kym Robinson, April 2017
“America… goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benign sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.” John Quincy Adams, US House of Representatives , July 4, 1821
“Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or “disappeared”, at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame. “ Amnesty International, 1996 Report on U. S. Military Aid and Human Rights