Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reasonably sensible

IOZ sez:
Being an anti-imperialist in America is like being a Zionist in the Third Reich. I am a fringe radical. If you agree with even a tenth of what you read on this site, you too are a fringe radical. Your beliefs and opinions are not reflective of those of your countrymen. The question, "How do we stop being imperialists?" bears as much practical import as, "How do we live without breathing?" We don't. The United States of America is an empire. Maybe you think it's on the downhill slide? I certainly hope so. But it is what it is, nevertheless. The notions that within the body of empire lurks the heart of an egalitarian, constitutional republic, or a libertarian minarchy, or a parliamentary social democracy are the purest forms of political self-flattery.
I'd probably rework that first sentence just slightly: "being an anti-imperialist in America is like being anti-Nazi in the Third Reich." Other than that, IOZ is right on the money! Even the most progressive among the blogging intelligentsia cannot imagine a world in which the US relinquishes its hegemony. They might hope for more indirect forms of organizational and structural violence inflicted upon the rest of the planet than what the US is currently inflicting, but the organizational and structural violence itself is never questioned (or apparently even perceived as such). Hence, those residing in the global south might, under progressive utopia, experience continued heavy doses of neoliberal "shock therapy" and fewer invasions and bombing raids - but the threat of the latter is never far behind (remember the glory days of Clintonism?). Maybe a Clinton II or Obama presidency will insist on smiley faces painted on the cluster bombs before they are dropped on civilians under the aegis of "humanitarian interventionism."

Reform as it's traditionally conceptualized seems a bit of a nonstarter, to the extent that the system has metastasized to the extent that it has. I'm not exactly a reformist then. I'm not that big of a fan of the apparent choice made by most in my position: that of heckler or maybe social deviance for the sake of deviance. Both reek of impotence, and that's something that we can ill afford right now. I keep searching, then, for alternatives; for something to build in the ruins of a decaying empire. I'm not sure I've got the answers, but at least have a few questions, and a few ideas of what not to do. It's a start.

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