Sunday, 22 March 2009

United $tates of Fear.

"Government is the shadow of business over society." - John Dewey
After the fall of communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s, America began searching for a new enemy to "fight". Why? Because America is a polyarchy - a polyarchy is a system in which the elite is divided into a couple of political groups which are essentially of the same ideology - and as a polyarchy, the elite retains power by keeping the masses fragmented, indoctrinated and distracted. One way to distract and fragment the masses is to create a constant state of fear that is only ended (temporarily) by a false victory, such a state requires an enemy and that's where men like Saddam Hussein come into the picture. Now the US has the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide a false victory, just as Saddam did, and is demonising that state through the media, though in a more subtle manner than the way they demonised Iraq. Which seems to be one of the early stages prior to an actual invasion, at least if we look at history.

The work of Leo Strauss is often referred to as one of the shaping forces behind neoconservatism. Traditionally, the role of intellectuals has been to pander to the state and justify their actions. Strauss taught his students that the prosperous liberal society of the 1950s contained the seeds of it's own destruction. He strongly believed that Western liberalism leads to nihilism. To him liberalism was a development that took everything admirable about human beings and made us into herd animals satisfied with the dangerous life in which nothing is true and everything is permitted.

believed that the liberal notion of freedom would lead individuals to challenge everything, all established values and moral truths, and ultimately society would be torn apart as the shared values maintaining society are destroyed by self-interested individuals.
Strauss proposed that there was a way politicians could avoid the corrosive forces of liberalism, by asserting powerful myths and necessary illusions that everyone could believe in. One being the myth of the Judeo-Christian God and the other being the myth that America has a unique role to play in the world, to defend the good from the evil. Strauss advocated that the elite must promote these myths in public, even though they might not believe in them privately.

“The country was founded on the principle, that James Madison explained in the Constitutional Convention, that the primary role of government is to protect property from the majority, and so it remains to a remarkable extent.” - Noam Chomsky

The way neocons are looking to create a sense of purpose and maintain a moral framework, for Americans and to counteract nihilism, has an existential weight to it. The method of creating such purpose is to be constantly fighting the "good fight" against a "pure evil", even if that enemy is not real and has been constructed by the American government, which would give the neocon's myths of Christianity and America (as the only moral force left in the world) justification as foundations to stand on. But it is the constant meaningless fighting that is meant to sustain such justifications.

Which is why in the 1970s men like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney did their up most to create a much more severe view of the Soviet Union (that was simply untrue). In 1991 after the collapse of communism, Dick Cheney expressed concern that Iraq, Iran and North Korea might obtain nuclear weapons and become a threat to national security. 12 years later, George W Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld named Iraq, Iran and North Korea as part of a "Axis of Evil" prior to orchestrating the 2003 invasion of Iraq. According to Noam Chomsky, North Korea was added to the "Axis of Evil" with the intention of avoiding the "War on Terror" becoming the "War on Islam", as some Christian fundamentalists wanted it to become, with the end being the end of the world as we know it. The reasons why Iran and Iraq were added to the "Axis" are more complex.

Since the Islamic Revolution, every US President has found conflict with the Iranian government; because in 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini succeeded the American backed Shah as dictator. This is evident in the fact that America insists on finding conflict with Iran because of Iran's nuclear program, sponsorship of terrorism and horrendous human rights record. However, America possesses more nuclear weapons than most other countries in the world, and the only place in America that Iran could hit with a nuclear bomb is Alaska. So, what do the Americans have to fear in Iran? It's true that Iran has a bad record in regards to human rights, most notably gay rights, but Saudi Arabia (America's favourite Middle Eastern dictatorship) has a far worse record, particularly in regards to women's rights. And as for sponsoring terrorism, America nurtured Islamic extremism in the Middle East to rid the region of "disobedient" Arab nationalists, socialists and secularists whose policies were threatening oil prices.

The American government funded the Mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, which was when Osama bin Laden met his future mentor Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The President of Pakistan, at the time, Muhammed Zia ul-Haq also received US backing, billions of dollars worth of backing to be exact, because of his love of supply-side economics - such as deregulation and privatisation - and disdain for communism. Despite the fact that Zia ul-Haq used a process of "Islamization" which set the ideological foundations for the rise of groups, such as the Taliban, which continue to plague the region today. In fact, General Zia ul-Haq retained full support, not many Americans know that the early jihadist manuals and books were printed courtesy of the University of Nebraska. It wasn't until 9/11 that the Americans began to "oppose" problems like terrorism and "Islamic extremism", when those problems no longer benefited them. Pretty much all of these issues, could be resolved if the Americans looked in the mirror and spoke about what they see without illusions. So, we could conclude that the real reason that US politicians find fault with the Iranian government is because that government does not take orders from Washington.

This was the same reason the US invaded Iraq in 2003 - not because Saddam Hussein was a real threat but because he refused to follow orders any longer - Saddam
was indeed a brutal dictator and, until he invaded Kuwait, another US backed Arab state, he had the support of the US and the UK. Which is probably why in the 1980s no one talked much of Saddam's crimes which included gassing the Kurds of Iraq and killing masses of Shi'ite Muslims, not to mention his use of weapons of mass destruction against Iran during the war between the two states. But all of his crimes were brought up in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We could also look at the fact that the American public has been kept in a state of fear for well over a century. This fear can quickly become hate which is the reason behind the genocide against Native Americans, who were feared by many and eventually hated too prior to the genocide.

This state of fear continued throughout the 20th Century and was aimed against communism, and once communism was gone the American state of fear turned on men like Saddam Hussein who were no longer accepting orders from Washington. The US could gain nothing, politically, from keeping a tyrant like Saddam Hussein around any longer and used him to take out two birds with one stone. By replacing the "Red Enemy" with Saddam, the US could justify furthering it's expansion of power in the Middle East; which as we all know has been blessed/cursed with certain resources, the most important of which is oil.

If the
invasion of Iraq was really about removing an evil dictator, the US should have invaded Iraq in the early 80s but instead they supported him to avoid the spread of communism to the Middle East and to damage the Khomeini regime. The previous support of Saddam Hussein was a method of dominating the Middle East, and once he had out lived his value to them he had to go. Whereas the authoritarian members of Saudi Royality have maintained their positions by following the bid and call of US Presidents, for them supporting Islamic conservatism and fundamentalism is a way of suppressing all political opposition within their own country.

"The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people." - Noam Chomsky

In the US, during the rise of neoconservatism and Christian fundamentalism over the last 30 years, wages have decreased rapidly and civil liberties have been trampled under the Presidents of Bush and Reagan. So while Republicans and Democrats have argued over gay rights and abortion, their financiers have been abusing human rights to ensure high profits. Just look at the level of health care received in America, the people held captive in Guantanamo Bay receive a higher standard of treatment than in the "Land of the Free", the Republicans have opposed universal health care because apparently it is mutually exclusive with socialism.

Socialism is a dirty word in America, because the free market is held in such high regard by the American tax payers, they are willing to drop $700 billion into the laps of the biggest crooks in 80 years. Much like the bankers, the insurance companies have run rampant, letting the poor die because they're too "risky" to save, whilst making fat campaign contributions to politicians who oppose universal health care and advocate private tyrannies as a substitute. Fear is the goal of elitist propaganda, and propaganda is to consumer democracy what the bludgeon is to totalitarianism.

No comments: