Thursday, December 20, 2007

Self-hating Americans

PETER SAID:

“What do you think other nations think about US policy?”

Peter (not to be confused with Peter Pike) lobs a number of other accusatory questions in my direction. I’m going to ignore his other questions because I’ve already dealt with those sorts of questions on other occasions. That also applies to the raving and ranting of the other hostile commenter.

In addition, Evan May and Patrick Chan, at my request, has posted links to several other articles by other writers that deal with various aspects of counterintelligence or the war effort.

Instead, I’m going to focus on this particular question. Variations on this question or objection crop up all the time by opponents of the war effort.

What is revealing about this objection is the asymmetry of the objection. It always takes the same one-sided form: what does the international community think of America?

You can supply your own synonyms. “The world.” “Muslims.” “The Muslim world,” &c.

Have you ever noticed that critics never reverse the formula: what do Americans think of the international community?

This betrays the inveterate bias of the self-loathing American. Their anti-American bias is so deeply engrained that they are oblivious their own anti-American bias. That is why it never occurs to them to reverse the formula.

For them, the “world” or the “international community” or even the “Muslim world” supplies the standard of comparison. They unquestionably assume that “world” opinion is right, and American opinion is either wrong or irrelevant. Only a self-loathing American would constantly frame the question in this lop-sided fashion. It’s the unconscious, involuntary reflex of the self-hating American. Their default setting is to fault America.

Suppose we were fighting WWII. Would they constantly ask, “What do the Nazis think of American foreign policy?” “What do the Kamikazes think of American foreign policy?”

It’s fascinating to see a segment on the Far Right reprise the role of Tokyo Rose. Not only is this unpatriotic (stronger synonyms come to mind…like seditious), it is also unethical.

The fact that other countries may disapprove of American foreign policy doesn’t put us in the wrong. Is the UN the moral arbiter of the world?

But perhaps the critics would say their objection is practical. Maybe they would say our foreign policy is self-defeating because we’re making more enemies.

But the problem with that objection is that it’s a pragmatic and, dare I say, utilitarian objection. Yet these are the very same people who denounce “torture” as immoral because it is (supposedly) predicated on a despicable, end-justifies-the-means calculus.

So what is the basis of their objection to American foreign policy? That it’s too pragmatic or too little pragmatic? Too utilitarian or too little utilitarian?

17 comments:

  1. Publius Valerius Publicola12/20/2007 11:57 AM

    Steve,

    What do you consider patriotism to be?

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  2. Steve, why aren't overjoyed that Americans are capable of self-loathing? After all, whoever is capable of self-loathing can in theory be persuaded that Calvinism is plausible.

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  3. Perhaps more important than the definition of patriotism is the definition of treason, which Article III, section 3 of the Constitution defines as:

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    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
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    Anyone who gives "Aid and Comfort" to the enemies of the United States is committing treason.

    Is Al Qaeda an enemy of the United States? Yes. Does the anti-war crowd give Aid and Comfort to Al Qaeda? Yes. How does that not satisfy the definition of treason? Ummmmm.....

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  4. Publius Valerius Publicola12/20/2007 5:51 PM

    And how does the 'anti-war' crowd give aid and comfort to al Qaeda?

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  5. Peter Pike commented in the previous thread:
    "Why should I care what other nations think about US policy?"

    That is the attitude that usually start wars. Once a nation keeps on starting wars, other nations seem to see it as an enemy. Somehow peace time seems to be better than war. People should read the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    The logical conclusion of that kind of thinking is that foreign citizens should not care if their ruler want to go war against the States. We only have one planet, so we should have less patrionism and tribalism...


    Steve said..
    "What is revealing about this objection is the asymmetry of the objection. It always takes the same one-sided form: what does the international community think of America?"

    Maybe I was not clear about that, sorry. I am also worried about "what do Americans think of the international community?" That is an important issues too.

    Steve said..
    “What do the Nazis think of American foreign policy?”
    Your Nazi comparison does not really apply here. Remember Iraq did not attack the US. You could try to address why EU now rarely agrees with US foreign policy.

    Steve said..
    "The fact that other countries may disapprove of American foreign policy doesn’t put us in the wrong."
    Of course not, but it does not make it right either. What do you think are the policy issues where the US is right and EU is wrong?


    The issues is that US used to be the "world leader" in capitalist ideology, economy, politics, military power and freedom. People saw the US as the visionary leader. Now things have changed.
    US keeps on breaking its promises like; AIDS help to Africa, respecting international deals and laws or the recent Bali climate confrence, where the US was the only country trying to stop the progress. The US has lost its influence (Iraq does not help) and its harder for the US to gets its policies implemented. People see the US as the bully with no brain, using more military than diplomacy. The cost of Irak war is so far about $500 Billion. It would take $5-$10 Billion to eradicate Malaria. It would take $10-$15 Billion to provide clean drinking water to everyone. Those are big missed opportunities. People should be thinking how the US can recapture the world leadership again and build a better global community.

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  6. Steve's 'reply' in this blog post reminds me of a child who puts his fingers in his ears and sticks out his tongue at his mother when she tells him not to hit other people.

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  7. "US keeps on breaking its promises like; AIDS help to Africa...It would take $5-$10 Billion to eradicate Malaria. It would take $10-$15 Billion to provide clean drinking water to everyone. Those are big missed opportunities. People should be thinking how the US can recapture the world leadership again and build a better global community."

    Those things are not the job of the Federal Govt but of private citizens. Secondly, you will always have the poor.

    "respecting international deals and laws or the recent Bali climate confrence, where the US was the only country trying to stop the progress."

    Translation: The U.S. denied the economic meta-narrative of the global socialist. Praise Be!

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. Saint and Sinner said:
    "Those things are not the job of the Federal Govt but of private citizens"
    Remember that G W Bush promised $15B for fighting AIDS in Africa...

    Saint and Sinner said:
    "you will always have the poor."
    Like I said, lack of vision, lack of leadership...

    Saint and Sinner said:
    "Translation: The U.S. denied the economic meta-narrative of the global socialist. Praise Be!"
    Sounds like this is coming from a person, whose parents provided everything, who never had to struggle for anything and who has never visited a third world country. The US has it so good, yet some people are not ready to share any of it. Strangely, some of these people call themselves Christians. Where did the real Christianity and US leadership mentality go...

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  10. Peter,

    The problem I have with a lot of (not all) left-wingers is that they can never acknowledge that right-wingers may have principled reasons for their beliefs. We DO care about helping the poor and about doing what is right, but we just have different ways of going about doing it than you do. This is seen, for instance, in the fact that conservatives give much, much more money to private charities than liberals do.

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  11. I accept that you have your own reasons for thinking as you do. But the problem is that you act arrogantly in assuming that anyone who disagrees with you must be utterly wicked and irrational. The majority of economists recognize the benefits of fiscal conservativism and in minimizing intervention by governments, but you just assume them to be wrong. All the best economists of the last century were conservative: Friedman, von Mises, Hayek. Why don't you try refuting their work, eh?

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  12. "Remember that G W Bush promised $15B for fighting AIDS in Africa..."

    Yes, and most conservatives (such as myself) don't like Bush's social policies.

    "Like I said, lack of vision, lack of leadership..."

    The communists had "vision" and "leadership", but of course, that "vision" could not change human nature and neither will global socialism.

    "Sounds like this is coming from a person, whose parents provided everything, who never had to struggle for anything and who has never visited a third world country."

    Great! Let's dodge the real issue by appeal to emotion. Typical liberalism...

    I am not ashamed of where I came from nor am I unaware of the poverty in other countries. I have been placed in a land of wealth by the providence of God for His purpose, and my forefathers worked hard so that I could have this wealth. I am not ashamed of that one bit.

    Of course, you're assuming that the only way to be charitable to those in poverty is to have the central government redistribute the people's wealth by State fiat. You always forget (as Mark pointed out) that conservatives give far more to private charities than you liberals ever will.

    BTW: How the heck do you know how much I give to charity?

    "Strangely, some of these people call themselves Christians. Where did the real Christianity and US leadership mentality go..."

    You're confounding Christianity (in which the object of helping the poor is either a means of evangelism or helping fellow Christians) with that of Marxism.

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  13. Let's not forget that if the Global Warming alarmist nuts had succeeded at Bali, then the third world would have been denied economic and technological advancement. So much for the caring heart of liberalism!

    Of course, the difference between a conservative and a liberal is that whereas a conservative believes in using his own money to help the poor, a liberal wants to use OTHER people's money to make themselves *feel better* regardless of whether it helps the poor or not.

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  14. I second everything that Mark and S&S have said thus far.

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  15. S&S said:
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    Of course, the difference between a conservative and a liberal is that whereas a conservative believes in using his own money to help the poor, a liberal wants to use OTHER people's money to make themselves *feel better* regardless of whether it helps the poor or not.
    ---

    That's one of the best definitions of a liberal I've read in a long time! ;-)

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  16. Mark Pendray,

    If you are referring to my comments, I do not assume that anyone who disagrees with me must be utterly wicked and irrational.
    Fiscal conservativism and in minimizing intervention are unrelated to how much government gives to poor/charity/etc. Balancing long term income and spending is an important issue, but how much from the balanced income you spend on poor/charity/etc is separate policy issues.

    Saint and Sinner said:
    "Great! Let's dodge the real issue by appeal to emotion. Typical liberalism...
    I am not ashamed of where I came from nor am I unaware of the poverty in other countries. I have been placed in a land of wealth by the providence of God for His purpose, and my forefathers worked hard so that I could have this wealth. I am not ashamed of that one bit."
    What is the issues you think I am trying to dodge?
    When someone has those kind of views, people in developing nations shake their heads and just ignore people like that...


    "You're confounding Christianity... with that of Marxism."
    No, I'm not a Marxist not advocating it. I'm sure you know how much socialist countries gave to third world nations and why.

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  17. Saint and Sinner,

    Try rental storage.

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