Of course, these very considerations are behind the deliberation in the decision to do something about the imminent killing of innocent civilians in Libya. It is difficult to understand the concerns that the dog chorus has for any of the protesters in the Middle East when they could not care less about the economic underclass in their own country, which they are furiously working to enlarge, in regard to employment, wage scales, healthcare, rights of women, rights of labor, voting rights, and religious freedom for anyone but their own Jesus-loves-fascists brand of theology.
People who think that the slaughter of ordinary, hope-grasping people by mad-dog tyrants is wrong and triggers a moral responsibility in behalf of humane decency are in a quandary. Intervention tends to suck anyone giving assistance into a war, and war is at the root of our deficit, moral and economic. Some are quick to delve into the archives of misinformation and compare what we confront in Libya with Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. But, in Viet Nam, we were already allied with a regime of doubtful integrity and supported it out of fear of a communist take-over, that if Viet Nam was a domino that fell in Asia, it would push over all the countries around it into the slough of Marxism. In Iraq, we were duped into a war with false claims that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction to unleash on the world, especially us. We had legitimate reason to invade Afghanistan and chase down the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, but we got trapped into a war that has managed to turn the Afghan people against us through military and diplomatic blunders. (The killings of innocent UN workers by Afghanis over the burning of the Koran in Florida has probably foreclosed any constructive action we can take in Afghanistan.) Libya is more like Bosnia and Kosovo. Our reason for intervening was to prevent the slaughter of civilians who oppose a corrupt regime bent on mass homicide against those who want to be free of it and have a chance at life. We know what the Libyan government is from its involvement in the Lockerbie Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. The Libyan revolt raises the question about what responsibilities in behalf of our professed democratic values we should exercise when innocent people are threatened with slaughter. When we fail to attempt to save lives, we share in the guilt over the atrocities. Pres. Clinton has expressed this guilt over his failure to attempt an intervention in Rwanda. The problem in America regarding atrocities in other places is that we have a major political party that has forged a hard policy of misanthropy as its basic tenet. Anyone who does not profess an abject obeisance to the current form of medieval royalty, corporations and their culture, is not worthy of consideration. People of any other culture are considered expendable. In fact, it is considered desirable that they be eliminated. So, the Republican test for responsible action is only if it serves to maintain the plutocracy and the corporate culture, and what is defined by the GOP as American interests is the corporate interests.
Obama has taken criticism from both wings on Libya. He has taken pains to stress that U.S. military action will be taken only to protect civilians and, in a message verified by Defense Sec. Gates, no U.S. troops will be on the ground there. After the initial use of American air power in Libya to defend the protestors from massive military attack, Obama withdrew the planes and missiles. This prompted charges of incoherence and indecision from the dog pack out there on the front lawn. In this cacophony, the GOP and its adherents define themselves.
Obama has become the touch stone that reveals the fundamental misanthropy of the contemporary conservative movement in the U.S.
The fact is that American conservatism has dipped its toes in the toxic waters of fascism for decades, but after the election of Obama, it dove in head first. A combination of militant chauvinism, racism, and a passion for medieval class inequalities has a compelling appeal for many Americans. Their main ambition in life is to attain status in the upper echelons of the dog pack. To them, a black president in the White House signaled a serious disruption of their sense of class and privilege.
Since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, middle class America has experienced the neo-conservative fascination with enlarging the under class. Wages have stagnated;10 percent of the people control about 70 percent of the nation's wealth; and 47 million people, about 15 percent, have been pushed into poverty.
There is no doubt that the deficit in our national spending is a crisis and that nearly everybody wants to address it. Democrats want, if possible, to bring back the budget surplus that Bill Clinton handed over to George Bush. But the Republican Party has a different agenda that is being pushed in the House of Representatives and governors in the states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, to name the most aggressive in pursuing that agenda.
Those states, among others, have taken a number of measures directed at the subjugation of the middle class and the American work force. Wisconsin has become sort of the advance guard in the assault on the middle class. Many commentators have pointed out that Gov. Walker's proposals for cutting the budget have been agreed to and that the elimination of the collective bargaining rights of the public worker labor unions has nothing to do with the budgets. Walker claims that in order to deal with budgets state and local governments need to be freed of collective bargaining. But collective bargaining does not guarantee workers pay and benefit increases; it merely give them the opportunity to come to the bargaining table, express their concerns, and work out a deal that employees and employers can agree on. That fact reveals that Walker is using the budget to take away any democratic process for workers in the work place and to reduce them to the status of serfs whose lives depend on the whims of their masters. The problem is the number of people who cannot perceive the absence of reason and the overload of guile in Walker's position.
The fact that people are arguing that unions have the power to dictate wages and benefits represents what is the real serious deficit in America: a severe shortage of brain cells. And that applies to the left equally with the right; it takes a marked lack of intelligence for liberals and progressives not to see the intent of malicious deprivation being forced on them and to think it is merely a matter of differing opinions. Every thought, word, and deed issuing from the Republican minions is laden with misanthropy and anti-intellectual, anti-cultural attitudes. The strategy is possible.
Since the founding and the promotion of education by the likes of Jefferson and Franklin, it has been understood that democracy succeeds when the populace is educated and strives for a sustaining culture. People are truly only free when they are free of ignorance and the bondage of creeds and thought patterns of the past. Many slave states made it a crime to teach slaves how to read and write. Literacy would give them the tools with which to understand the obscene state in which they were held and to plan paths to freedom. Ignorance and oppression were essential to the maintenance of slavery.
Nothing is more dangerous to the neo-conservative agenda than informed and thinking people. The way to vanquish an opposing point of view is to destroy those things which feed it and to take away the voices of choice. That is why the Republican agenda, under the guise of cutting the budget, obsesses over those programs which give people choices and opportunities for self-determination:
- Women's rights, particularly regarding health, reproduction, and family planning.
- Labor unions and the right to have a voice in determining the role of workers in the work place.
- Environment, and the right to put public health and safety over the right of corporations to exploit and destroy the environment.
- Education--nothing threatens conservative rule like an informed, critically thinking populace.
- Public broadcasting--like education, a news source that focuses on facts and avoids partisan cant is a danger to the conservative ideology.
The Republican mindset of misanthropy and anti-intellectualism is expressed in every measure passed in South Dakota and contemplated in other states. You have to hate people to oppress them and push them toward poverty and you have to quell those aspects of culture that feed them facts and information from which they might develop opposing ideas.
In the Middle East, the people have taken to the streets to protest oppressive and freedom-hating governments. What forms of government will prevail is undetermined at this time for them, but America is their model of freedom that has been transmitted to them over the Internet. Ironically, America is undergoing an intensive effort to create a ruling class which holds the working class in the same kind of status that the people in the Middle East are trying to throw off.
The American middle class needs to come to terms with the fact that the conservative movement does not regard it as a class deserving equal opportunity and equal justice and a voice in its destiny commensurate with equality. It wants to hold it in a state of thralldom that, along with the environment, can be exploited without restraint to put more of the wealth and power into the twenty percent who already control 85 percent of the country's assets and 92 percent of its wealth.
If 80 percent of the Americans are going to regain their freedom and their rights, it is going to take a lot more than restrained dinner conversation over the wine, rants on the Internet, or polite demonstrations in state capitols. Marxism is a repugnant and desperate alternative. However, it is better than what the Republicans and its conservative neanderthals are offering. Americans will have to do more than dutifully go to work to restart the republic in order to regain the idea of freedom, equality, and justice.
And it won't be done by going out in the front yard with the dog pack and trying to have an adult conversation with it.