The Antisocial Network on Its Imperial Cruise
by Bill Walker
by Bill Walker: Is
As Mark Zuckerberg
says near the beginning of The
Social Network, Teddy Roosevelt got his start through the
contacts he made in Harvard's Porcellian Club. Poor Zuckerberg never
fulfills his Final Club obsession and is condemned to go through
life as a mere outcast Facebook billionaire. He will never know
the joys of standing around a ratty billiard table, looking out
over the Boston slush from the "Old Barn." Unless he just buys the
block and "makes it into his ping-pong room," that is.
Teddy, on the
other hand, successfully avoided the ignoble and politically disastrous
trap of producing something useful for money. He became a millionaire
Family way... by inheriting and then losing much of tens
of millions of dollars (in today's money). Teddy built a political
career rather than wealth. In the process, he caused disaster for
several Asian nations, set the stage for WWII in the Pacific, and
started a trend of faux-cowboy presidents. The
Imperial Cruise is about the effects of Roosevelt’s PR campaigns
and how they began our long series of Asian wars.
Until his twenties,
Roosevelt was no cowboy by anyone's standard. He showed up for his
NY assemblyman's seat (purchased for him by his family when he was
23, still a NY record) in a purple suit and speaking in a high squeaky
voice. If video recording had existed, his political career would
have ended right there.
But the 19th-century
memesphere had no video records. Image could be reworked easily,
if you had the money. Roosevelt began a systematic lifelong media
campaign, presenting photos of himself in custom-tailored, spotless
buckskins and military uniforms. He forbade any photos of himself
in tennis whites. He was horrified at Taft's sloppy PR (Taft was
often photographed golfing).
PR and contacts propelled him into several government posts. He
became assistant Secretary of the Navy, and pushed hard for war...
any war. He claimed that the US would lose the "barbarian virtues"
if we stayed too long at peace.
The war deficiency
was cured by the Spanish-American War. Peace threatened to break
out almost immediately as the Spanish surrendered, but was averted
by the Iraq-style occupation of the Philippines. Or maybe Soviets-in-Afghanistan-style
is a better analogy; the final stage of the American takeover began
with a coordinated surprise attack on Filipino forces. The initial
US attack killed thousands of our "allies" that had done the ground
fighting against the Spanish, and had been operating their own democratic
government for some time. The counterinsurgency campaigns that followed
killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.
Network kept the war going by presenting it as a War for Civilization.
We were just helping out the uncultured "Filipino Negroes" (illustrations
of the time depicted Filipinos as Africans). Eventually reports
of waterboarding and mass killings of civilians trickled home into
Life magazine and the Washington Post. Teddy's PR
team countered by bringing 1200 Filipinos dressed as primitives
and roasting dogs over open fires to the 1904 World's Fair, displaying
(at taxpayer expense of course) them next to Amerinds to drive home
the point of Aryan racial superiority over the lesser races.
So the Philippines
became a money pit for US taxpayers and a quagmire for the US Army...
a perfect habitat for ambitious US generals and Filipino foreign-aid
governments. Thus it remains; the US Army was still fighting rebels
in Zamboanga when Bradley visited the Philippines in 2005.
occupation story has been told
elsewhere (though most Americans have never heard of it). The
unique chapters in the Imperial Cruise deal with the link between
a US President and Japanese militarism.
hate all non-Aryans equally. The Japanese clique that had risen
to power behind the mask of the suddenly very divine Meiji emperor
was right up his alley. He thought that a "Japanese Monroe
Doctrine," combined with Japanese colonization of Korea and
Taiwan, would be a fine thing.
reported on Roosevelt’s praise for the Japanese sneak attack on
the Russian fleet without a declaration of war. The irony in light
of later naval events is obvious. What is not so well known is the
extent of his diplomatic efforts to convince the Japanese government
to expand into Korea (which had signed a treaty with the US for
protection) and Taiwan. With the cooperation of the English government,
Roosevelt made the Japanese ruling clique feel that they had an
"alliance" with the US… and of course none of this was
ever brought before the US Senate for its advice and consent.
The weak point
of The Imperial Cruise is that it doesn’t go into any depth on the
natures of the Filipino, Korean or Chinese regimes. This is ironic
in that the book is constantly criticizing the "white-centric"
views of Roosevelt. The Koreans, like the pre-Perry Japanese, lived
under a stagnant government that prohibited all foreign trade. The
Chinese government also severely limited their subjects’ trade and
other rights, and the Filipino "freedom fighters" assassinated
each other in power struggles that weakened them for US takeover.
This is no
argument for US imperialism, but an understanding of other governments
is necessary to understand events. If Asian countries had been free-trade
zones, they would have been economically strong enough to resist
colonization. There would also have been less profit for businesses
in lobbying to "open" ports with military force if they
had already been open.
The US is still
on the "Imperial Cruise" that was started back in the
19th century. Our taxes still pay to "civilize"
the "backward" nations; the justification for the Afghan
war is now not that we are defending ourselves against terrorists
or WMDs, but that we are "helping empower women." (That
those women might empower themselves if we quit subsidizing the
warlords and allowed free trade is never considered. That would
require that we recognize that foreigners are as capable of intelligence
and action as our selves… not something that Teddy Roosevelt could
ever bring himself to believe.)
In many respects
not much has changed since 1902. The "Antisocial Network"
of Porcellian Club types still tries to maintain itself as a parasitic
class, above mere productive work. It uses mass media to delude
working people into supporting foreign wars, to distract them from
the real drains on their lives from taxes, regulations, and prohibitions.
between 1902 and 2011 is that now the Imperial Cruise has expanded
to cover most of the globe. The US subsidizes nearly
every bad government on the planet, with money that it borrows
from other governments. Our Imperial Cruise has become a shortcut
back to the Middle Ages. We are spending resources we don’t have,
to support whatever warlords that will pretend to be in our "Empire"…
till the day we go broke. That day the Imperial Cruise will end
with a crash.
The other difference
is that mass media is ceasing to be all-powerful. The Social Network,
not just Facebook but the whole Internet, steadily eats away at
the ability of mass media to maintain synchronized delusion.
Social Network will beat the Antisocial Network yet.
Walker [send him mail]
is a research technologist. He lives with his wife and four dogs
in Grafton NH, where they are active in the Free State Project.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.