Neocon “History” Versus Rational Truth

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Obama is “distracted” from empire-building, moans Charles Krauthammer. And seldom has a neocon laid his cards so visibly face up on the table. For Krauthammer, to announce that the U.S. will ever leave Afghanistan means certain defeat – whatever “victory” is. And to be “distracted” by reality — the disasters at home, exacerbated by the wars that Krauthammer has supported ab initio — is not prudent and rational, but “scandalous.”

In pretending to attack Obama, Krauthammer exquisitely illustrates his real target: reality. He personifies the ideological rejection of rationality advanced by the neocons for years: “Some presidents may not like being wartime leaders,” he writes. “But they don’t get to decide. History does.” This unctuous snarl harmonizes perfectly with the contempt of rational inquiry Krauthammer expressed shortly after 9-11, when he denounced those who demanded a rational debate about the American response as “navel-gazers.”

Krauthammer’s ire demonstrates the triumph of the ideological concept of “History” over the two thousand years of real history in which the West was distinguished by its celebration of human nature and rationality. In post-enlightenment thought, especially in Hegel and Marx, “History,”  not reason, rules, and man obeys – even presidents are powerless to make rational decisions. “History” dictates the future — it is the future, not the past — and History absolves everything done in its name. Just ask Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and their ideological bedfellows in the West. That’s why Tony Blair, now awash in countless millions (his reward for being George Bush’s lapdog in Iraq) could stand beside Bush during the war and proclaim that “History will vindicate us.”

Reality has now soundly condemned Blair, but the ideological nightmare lives on:  To hell with the people, with rationality, and with the truth. When we’ll all dead (some of us made richer, and others impoverished, by endless war), they’ll be building statues on the Mall of Tony and W and Krauthammer because History, not reason, demands it.

8:18 am on September 3, 2010