Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Country, Right-Wing Or Wrong

A blogipelago to which I'm quite sympathetic - IOZ, Charles Davis, and SMBIVA - have rightly gone apoplectic over Matthew Yglesias' spineless rationale for murderous imperial adventure:
From a Keynesian standpoint, I believe that with the economy depressed it’s better to spend the money in Afghanistan than not to spend it. But it’s kind of nuts that at a time when we “can’t afford” to do all kinds of things, this is what we can afford.
Now, most re-posts of this have omitted that last sentence, which Yglesias would surely feel deprives his argument of moral burden. And what a heavy load it is: how painful & difficult a decision it be to continue a 9-year military incursion based on bloodlust & revenge! Oh, how it pains us good, liberal Americans - if only it didn't make so much sense economically!

Rather than make Yglesias out to be a morally-sensitive, considerate man devoted to reason, that last sentence underscores how morally bankrupt & coldly calculating Beltway liberals are. Human dignity be damned; realpolitik and maintenance of the empire are the rules.

(Especially since the war doesn't actually make much sense economically. As Jon Greenbaum pointed out on Yglesias' own comment thread, "What’s the jobs multiplier on military spending?")

Something I'd like to hear much more, though, is calling out Yglesias for his recurrent Red-baiting. Like any good toady for neoliberal hegemony, Yglesias repeatedly & pedantically warns of the danger posed by (duh-duh-DUH!) international Communism while employing capitalism's logic of dehumanization & alienation (as when he refers to the very human problems posed by China's overpopulation as its "human capital issues.") Now this:
Newt Ginrich's spokesman told Salon in a phone interview today that building a mosque at Ground Zero "would be like putting a statue of Mussolini or Marx at Arlington National Cemetery."

Asked what the 19th century German philosopher had ever done to America, Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said: "Well let's go with Lenin then." Tyler explained that he was talking about Lenin, who died in 1924, as representative of the Cold War and ideologies opposed to America.
What upsets Yglesias is not the continuing false analogy between fascism and communism, but the implication that Islam is somehow fundamentally anti-American. An idiotic & xenophobic contention, for sure. (Why, what could be more American than blind faith in an expansionist ideology?) But Yglesias' knee-jerk rejection of leftism shows that anti-left reactionism has been so fully woven into America's banal nationalism, it's impossible to even consider socialism as a legitimate political mode.

SMBIVA's Michael Smith is dead-on when he says that, apparently, to "Think Progress" must mean finding "more cost-effective programs of mass murder."


Jenny said...

Well, when you look at Mao and Stalin's reign, you can see that yes, they were just as authoritarian.

Seb said...

Judging communism as a political philosophy by Stalin & Mao is like judging homosexuality as a lifestyle by Jeffery Dahmer & John Wayne Gacy.

Jenny said...

True, but there's no actual current shining example of communism because Chavez, Morales, and the like are actually socialist governments.

Seb said...

Yes, but by that same token, has there ever been a theoretically pure capitalist state either?

Jenny said...