The War Party messages since 9/11 are always consistent and predictable, with the typical shibboleths always accounted for:
- "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists."
- "We have to scale back our freedoms — temporarily — for the good of the country."
- "There has to be immediate justice upon the perpetrators."
- "All Arabs are always evil, and Israel is always the victim."
- "We must defend our allies at all costs."
- "Being anti-war is synonymous with Anti-Americanism."
- "Anti-war equals leftism."
- "Now is not the time to rally against your government."
- "True patriots are united in this effort for justice."
Accordingly, we must all stand behind our government — unconditionally — in this time of crisis. We are supposed to unblinkingly support the war effort, blame all Arab peoples — everywhere — for wacko fundamentalism, and trust that everything the government does is good for us, and consequently, is the right thing to do.
Not much changes with the neocons and their allies on this issue. First principles, for these folks, are irrelevant. What matters to them is that they be able to pick and choose those issues that best suit their pet causes, that being the military, unconditional support for Israel, and a pragmatic view of the State. The neocons are joined by some of their left-Democratic and formerly libertarian allies in thinking the State may have congenital evils in terms of its domestic policies, however, in terms of foreign policy, the State is a good commodity, and a necessary vanguard of justice against its declared enemies.
Of course, most apparent is the self-contradiction of those who purport to be anti-statist, yet endorse the rolling War Machine and its centralizing mission. How is it that the neocons and assorted other War Party Peoples can be so easily caught up in their self-contradictory assertion that U.S. interventionist foreign policy cannot possibly cause fanatical Arabs to behave in certain evil ways, but our democracy and ways of freedom can cause them to behave in those particular ways? Though it sounds preposterous that anyone would dare assert this point with any sincerity, it has been, and remains the focal point in debates on causation. The conservative news shows are littered with this kind of commentary.
There is a serious denial afoot on the part of the neocon journalists, news shows, and writers who assert that U.S. foreign policy blunders have no responsibility whatsoever in pissing off generations of Arab hardliners. This way, the apologists for the State can placate themselves into believing they have a legitimate argument for the expansion of the State and total war.
After all, the neocons have always loved the State where and when it can benefit them. From civil rights to building empire, and from anti-trust to military pet projects, the State is a necessary compulsion for their coercive management of individuals in society.
Bill Kristol, the Godfather of neo-chicanery, long ago disposed of limited government ideals in favor of bigger taxes, more environmental regulation, greater income redistribution, and the break-up of anti-government sentiment. For Kristol and cohorts like Bill Buckley, David Brooks, and Norman Podhoretz, the secular religion of the State has come to replace a decentralized Republic of limited government. No longer is limited government the goal; instead it is limiting the social left in positions in government, and inserting big-government Republicans in their place.
And statism, as we well know, is a special sweetheart of all the former leftists that gravitated from Leftist to Neocon status. First, they claim a love of the free market and a desire for less government intervention upon that realm. And they profess to want more individual autonomy for citizens, with less coercion from collective groups and federal bureaucrats. Yet, in spite of their declaration of favoring smaller government, they pile more of it upon us each time they are given the opportunity.
The Contract with America is a great example of past chicanery. The purpose of it was to hypnotize the ideological fence sitters into thinking that Republican ideals equaled small government. However, the Newt Gingrich "revolution" was nothing more than good 'ole government propaganda painted in stars and stripes to lure the "undecided" types into the conservative faction.
In addition, the neocons claim the high ground on morality and solicit far bigger government to enforce all of those pet social causes.
And finally, the end of the Cold War has left these big government folks with a gaping hole in their Statist creed; one that must be filled with their cherished military and its adventures abroad. Since then, they have supported misadventures in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, and then we come full circle, back to Afghanistan, only this time hunting down Osama instead of supporting and training him and his frenzied followers.
The most recent war cries invoke either a vile hatred toward all that do not support the government's war, or a passive response to the destruction of liberty. Neocon folly includes George Will, who touts the civilian slaughters of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as something of a model for how to fight modern warfare. We have Englishman John Derbyshire, who favors drafting American men into compulsory service for their government, and Jonah Goldberg, who writes that we make a big deal out of a few minor infringements on liberty, here and there. Petty and temporary infractions, he implies.
Forget past government evils, the neocons tell us. It's time to come together as one glorious unified force and celebrate the new non-partisanship in Washington. This, they say, is true patriotism. However, the true patriotism is, and remains, that which celebrates the founding ideals of a highly decentralized America with sovereign individuals residing within sovereign states. And the right to oppose government chicanery in all its forms, including a war formulated to expand the State's role in our lives, is a basic privilege inherent in all Americans by virtue of birth.
The neocon folks are so adept with symbols and pictures and words. The demonizing of one single human being — Osama bin Laden — is supposed to draw up a sense of unbroken unity among all U.S. citizens in support of an all-out killing mission. He's dark, he's hairy, he's ugly, he's psychotic, and he sure as heck is easy to hate. From that we draw the "either you're with us or you're with Osama" scheme.
And as to Operation Infinite Justice or Operation Enduring Freedom: do they not ring of Stalinist foreplay as a precursor to total rape? If the crashing of liberty at home is the government foreplay to tweak the citizenry into overall acceptance of the State as God, what is the rape scene? Is it subservience to the neocon-built empire? And how about the perverted inflection found in the Office of Homeland Security? Humdrum and demeaning to people of good sense, OHS dreams up Hitleresque connotations once carved out by the barbaric SS. And this is what the American people are told to accept at face value.
So the overall message is, step up and buy the government's propaganda, and choose war and foreign entanglements, or be ostracized. To the neocons and their supporters we ostracized folks say: sorry, we don't buy your hysterical propaganda and we don't endorse your Statist War Machine, either.
January 3, 2002
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a freelance writer and graduate student in economics, and works as a business consultant in the Midwest.
Copyright © 2002 Karen De Coster