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European Tribune - American Peasant Report
America used to be sort of this shining beacon of freedom for all
When was that, exactly?

These diaries always seem - to the outsider - to be a confusing mixture of paranoia and pain - obvious suffering and a search for scapegoats - whether these be predatory medical practices, Obama, or world Government, the connections are never argued in a way that is accessible or comprehensible for me.

Poverty is in itself a violation of human rights.  Involuntary medical treatment perhaps another - except where it is withheld from minors who are not in a position to make an informed judgement for themselves.

But the general (mis-)identification of all evil with "the Government" seems to derive from an extreme American libertarian tradition where the world was owned by the explorer, to be exploited at will, and any natives present be damned.

You have to ask how much of the suffering might be self-inflicted.  That a more constructive engagement with the "realities" of the modern world might have more positive outcomes.  That if you start from the premise that everybody is out to get you - well then people end up either getting at you or ignoring your obvious needs.  Of course, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that some people aren't out to get you.  It doesn't however help you to distinguish between potential friends and foes.

An adversarial relationship with "the world" almost always ends up being reciprocated. Obvious injustices are perpetuated.  You have to understand I am arguing from personal experience and general principles which may not apply in your case.  I make no claims to prescience. I just ask you to consider that you could be making matters worse by aiming at the wrong targets and taking on too many adversaries at once - for your own good and that of your family.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 09:54:24 AM EST
That shining light thing would be somewhere up in the silver screen in the middle of WWII, after we forgot or ignored that we pressured the Japanese into striking for the Indonesian oil fields by embargoing crude oil supplies, and before we dropped the bomb.

But thanks to the power of imagination, all that is required is a willing suspension of disbelief to recapture that golden age.

Other than that pretty much taking a subcontinent by force of arms and accident of disease geography, enslaving people of neighboring continent by trading guns for slaves to protect against slave raids, propping up brutal right wing thugs anywhere in our power to do so and using weapons of mass destruction on innocent civilians to achieve our political objectives.

Pretty much the same as the rest of Eurasian Civilization, with some minor changes in details required.

On the positive side of the ledger, we make movies with lots of loud noises and pretty youngsters.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 12:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the U.S. WAS a shining beacon for all, starting in maybe 1780 or so and running up to the  mid 1800s. As the industrial revolution came along--with it's associated urbanization--and slavery continued, we started falling behind.

Then of course in the 1950s everything was glorious, given that Europe and the Far East were pretty much obliterated. After all, we were buying Buicks while you Europeans were still eating fake ration-coupon food! Unfortunately, it's sort of problematical to defend the shining capitalist light on the hill theory now, after noticing that the previously-obliterated have managed to keep their socialistical programs going while at the same time rebuilding their cities and societies to the point where the U.S. is no longer at the top of so many of the statistical reports...

by asdf on Wed Dec 23rd, 2009 at 02:11:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose if you forget the A bombs, the fomenting and exacerbation of the Cold War, numerous democracies overturned and murderous dictatorships installed in Latin America and Middle East, and an entirely materialistic/consumeristic outlook on life - yea, the 1950's were pretty cool - if in a very boringly conservative way.  

Thanks for the Marshall Plan - perhaps the true high point.   And thanks for the Music - folk/rock/blues/Jazz which was beginning as a subversive undergrowth.  And MLK.  But from Vietnam on it was all downhill, morally and pretty much every way.  Which is odd for a country which makes so much of its moral superiority.  Is Eisenhower as good as it gets?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 23rd, 2009 at 07:19:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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