They deserved it! apparent American libertarian exceptionalism
“They deserved it!” the apparent American Libertarian exceptionalism.
American Libertarianism and its blood lust for its foreign inferiors.
The religion of nationalism is a violent and distinctly exceptional form of collective chauvinistic narcissism. It is expected that found within such a belief that the willing of so many painful ills upon those of a foreign birth or people will occur in its many forms. However justified and validated such horrendous desires may be, often they are simply honest outcomes of this political ideological religion. They are born from an ugly truth that those from within this nationalistic camp can simply say, that ‘they’, those outsiders, are different and not ‘one of us’ and thus are inferior and deserve whatever it is that they should suffer. Beyond this brutal political religion lurks other mind-sets that are far subtler but just as malicious and volatile. These other ideological camps are however in many ways worse than the thuggish nationalist for they not only condemn such brute jingoism in others all the while supposing to champion some higher moral principle of individual liberty and freedom. In truth they are hypocritical savages and unprincipled cowards that lurk beneath the banner of a better morality and virtue. They are the hawkish patriots of the liberty movement.
A point of topic that often comes up among the ranks of most often American political philosophers is the morality of such mass slaughter as the aerial bombings of entire cities or most specifically the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was with the recent American Libertarian Party debates that candidates were asked to express their vulgar national pride by validating these bombings. Ignoring the hypocrisy that a movement based on a philosophy that generally revolves around the Non-Aggression Principle, has a party that seeks to use the blunt mob rule of a democratic process in order to hopefully rule over others. It was with ease that the Libertarian Party hopefuls and its fanbase find an easy justification in the mass slaughter of their foreign inferiors past and present.
Ignoring an in-depth look at the histories of the middle century World War that destroyed millions of human lives and deranged scores more, the US involvement in the conflict, much as was the case in the previous World War, was all too eager. Its entry was not simply just by any grand conspiratorial connivance nor was it by any one sided militancy conducted by its Japanese Imperial enemy. It was one that came about after years and decades of fermented politicking and accumulative realities that lead to the War of 1941 (for the USA and USSR). The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was unexpected and ‘ungentlemanly’, it was however a limited military strike against a recently acquired colonial possession of an imperial military state that had for the past half century been aggressive and ever expanding inside the Pacific region that was so near and ever crucial to the as imperialistic Japanese nations own sphere of influence and national self-interest.
Without delving into the United States brutal war of horrible near genocide in the Philippines, its unified efforts with other imperial powers in the Boxer Rebellion on the Chinese mainland, the support of Nationalist militants in China, the invasion and conquest of Hawaii, occupation and possession of Guam and parts of Samoa to the embargoes and general diplomatic aggressiveness, the United States for the previous fifty years leading up to the attacks on Pearl Harbour had been quite volatile and active inside the pacific region. Its ever expanding mandate to rule and control the World was ever apparent, especially to the many Asiatics that suffered before its occupation and mercantilism. Japan, itself a growing Empire saw the United States as another European style threat, and when the moment seemed desperate and right, they struck. The United States response, inevitably lead to mass indiscriminate bombing of Japanese, Chinese, Philippine and scores of other Oriental cities full of civilians. And then as well, those two dreadful bombs of atomic might.
The Japanese militaries cruelty was widely known, its horrible conduct in China, its brutal occupation of Korea, its suppression of the many people beneath its rule and its abusive treatment of prisoners was despicable. What did it do however that was any different to the United States? Ignoring the savage mass killings of its own native peoples and its self-righteous gangsterism in Southern America, how could any neutral and principled individual look at the terrible treatment of the people of the Philippines under American rule, especially in the early twentieth century and not say, that it was beyond cruel and malicious. Perhaps thankfully because they possessed a more tactical air force, the Japanese military was unable to mass bomb cities or civilian dense populations on the scale like the United States and her allies managed to achieve during and after the war. Despite that, their people suffered horribly.
The point is that governments and those that seek to rule, thrive on the mass murder of others. They can find from their pulpits of historical greatness a mandate or validation but in the end among the flames and ash lay the wrecked and pained lives of scores of innocence. For those from within the liberty movement there is a supposed appreciation for the individual. A realisation that one’s government does not speak nor represent themselves let alone the many other individuals of their place of birth. And yet, somehow this exception, this individual exceptionalism is denied to the foreigners who are ruled by arguably far worse and more oppressive regimes. That somehow, the Japanese people, every Japanese person, bought the two bombs onto themselves because of their ruling regimes limited military attacks on Pearl Harbour and the Philippines (both recently conquered territories by the United States) so validated such a murder on a large scale.
So granted while Japan as a nation, did attack a United States naval base in an ‘unprovoked’ act of violence and this so justifies some libertarians need to validate the storm that should befall Japan thereafter. What about the mass bombings of Germany, France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and so on in the American war outside of the Pacific theatre? The German’s merely declared war upon the United States (who was actively supporting, again, her enemies as a supposed neutral) in allegiance to her ally Japan. What justification was there in destroying so many European civilian’s lives was there? Well, one could argue that the German and Italian regimes were terrible and oppressive, certainly they were. Any more or less than the Soviet Union however? The same Soviet Union that during their 1930s genocide in the Ukraine, killing millions, their hundreds of thousands executed in the purges, their expansive invasions into the Baltic regions received aid and support from the United States? If Hitlerism was the reason the allies needed to fight a war in Europe, where was a need for the United States to protect these many victims of Stalinism? Instead he was enabled and saved with American government support. In any case, that is not the point, the issue is that conveniences are sought and lost by those that make a case for the righteousness of World War Two and the Allied nations murderous lusts as far as civilian life goes. No national regime conducted themselves on the side of liberty during World War Two and should one from the liberty movement seek to say otherwise then perhaps they should consider their principles over their loyalties to nation and the romantic dogmas of history. The two seldom coincide.
The proud nationalist, those flag waving bigots that cry every time an anthem plays or boil with hate when some one dares burn their flag, a yearning for such genocidal violence is to be expected. It is proudly expressed, it wins them macho points around their drinking circles, it gains them votes in elections. The tough talk of cowards is a nationalist right, that somehow sending your amoral military abroad to slaughter others is a heroic and patriotic expression, is their traditional domain. One cannot argue against such a rigid belief nor can one hope to find reason from them. It is however those that speak the language of liberty, those that pollute the essence of freedom with such arrogant collectivisations. Often all it takes is the death of an American Sniper to rile up those sometimes liberty activists into a feverish need to kill every person of another faith or to proudly support such men as they conduct themselves with little morality other than a code dedicated to a team and a nation that sends them to fight and kill for nothing more other than a political objective of a time or an administration’s desire to have its own warring legacy. The courage and loyalty of such martyrs is never in doubt, principle to liberty and freedom however often is.
It is perhaps because the United States is going through its ritualistic and convoluted election cycle that near every American is obsessed with the ‘he said’ ‘she said’ rhetoric of politics and perhaps because most Americans feel that their nation and identity is more important than anything else that exists in this solar system and beyond, BUT many of the supposed libertarians and any other ‘ist’ of politico philosophy seems to look to their own system and their own nationalistic identity as the only way as far as living and morality goes. That somehow the World beyond is a barbaric darkness void of morality and full of violent ‘statists’ or orientalists. And now it seems, as no doubt is often the case just as Reagan spoke in such splendid overtones about liberty and ‘libertarianism’, that demagogues speaking the lingo manage to seduce the easily swayed though all the while beneath such poetic words lurks bloody blades dripping with red, white and blue ready to plunge into the chest of millions of foreigners.
For those in America’s growing movement of ‘liberty’ the upsurge in Trumpish populism to the socialitistic narcissism of Sanderites provides a fork in the road that has lead them again to face compromise. A Gary Johnson as politically vanilla as he may be in a main stream setting is not radical in rhetoric nor principle enough to inspire any change or liberty minded reality. Johnson who is a Mitt Romney of libertarianism, perhaps he is simply a Romney of politics in general, only appeals because of such anti Trump related Republican endorsements seeping into the party of Harry Browne. And we should not forget that Harry Browne did more and spoke more for liberty than perhaps every candidate combined that hoped to run in 2016 for this party. Even a compromising Rand Paul would have provided a more consistent foil to the three headed idiocy that is emerging from the mainstream alternatives to ‘liberty’. And even then the need to talk ‘tough’ seems to be the apparent feature for all, as though the dark and ominous cloud of foreign barbarians are forever drifting closer to the United States. As though the entire history, recent and distant of proud Americanism and its constant occupations, interference’s, wars and corruption is an agreed upon omission by many all the while embracing each injustice that a few determined individuals express upon the American nation empire is enough to invoke the most indignant vendetta.
It is often asked what causes or creates terrorism, as though this is some point of sociology-psychological debate by which one should delve into the minds of the many ‘terrorists’ to seek a singular truth as to what lead them to this course of violence. Apparently radical material and ideology is enough for some, an infectious cerebral disease that can take hold of the normal and derange it. Never once is it investigated as to what could radicalise a person who seeks such absolute vengeance, yet we as individuals could imagine moments that would derange us beyond all reason. We can imagine brutally harming another if they did something so violent to a loved one, or loved ones. Add to this a faceless mass that hides behind a national identity, then one can see how manipulative murderous geniuses with cynical intentions of their own could easily recruit and direct such vengeful frustrations. And the opposite of this are those obedient patriots that are so easily inspired to kill strangers because proxy murderers with cynical calculation yearn for war. And then there are those supposedly individualist liberty minded people who can so easily be swayed by rhetoric and the arguments for war, that sees them shred dignity and principle in the name of war lust, that playing on fears and riling up indignant instincts is enough to shred principle for just one more good war.
It seems that many of the ‘liberty’ activists forget the 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul campaigns and how he expressed his principles in regards to foreign policy, how he attempted to have complicated grown up conversations on a stage that sought simplistic sound bites. How he invited the liberty movement along for a mature minded and realistic journey to truth and freedom. Now it seems that many of those were on that journey simply because it suited them to be contrary and so they now find solace in a Trump or Sanders, others liked the charm of an anti-establishment type that went after the Federal Reserve and instead now they have receded back to their Infowar podcasts and Zapruder film break downs whereas others flip flop to the lesser of however many evils, going from Rand to Cruz and now perhaps to Johnson. In an attempt to argue that whoever advances kinda liberty is the best option.
Perhaps the American libertarian movement is experiencing a transition like that what was felt during the 1960s when those ‘conservatives’ from the National Review began to infiltrate and transform what was traditionally a right wing of non-interventionists and lesser government types, replacing them with hawkish fiends that desperately bade for the blood of strangers and cared little about the expansion of Government so long as it was not reserved for welfare programs. Just as this form of American conservatism is the benchmark in this day, perhaps tomorrow American libertarianism to will have a sometimes limited government, nationally individualistic bent but always an orgiastic lust for war and imperialism abroad.
Just as a good many of liberty’s intellectuals and elites seem to enjoy tenured positions in academia, whether left or right, proclaiming the negatives of statism while finding sanctuary and material profit beneath its shade and from its bosom. This is done with a smugness proclaiming that it is better that they use the money than it goes elsewhere, never once considering that they are in fact validating such an entity and are showing its supremacy because they lack the ability or courage to find a pulpit in the very markets or place of freedom that they declare is virtuous for others. This criticism is not merely limited to those academics of left or right libertarianism that seem to play the party obedience game in a most convoluted way, magically justifying their Democrats as a Chomsky would while making millions on book sales or a Block declaring the virtues of a Trump while enjoying the ‘public monies’ that he feels is best suited going to men like himself. It is also for those many men and women in public services, whether as armed uniformed agents or one of the many bureaucratic cogs in an ever growing mechanism of State. To those ‘business’ people that eagerly accept grants and subsidies in order to better profit, pretending that they are for a market while hungrily accepting others stolen monies. Though the declaration of ‘taxation is theft’ is spread virally by many of these as they swell greedily from said stolen currency, I suppose like liberty it only matters and is considered theft if it is taken from one’s own self.
Many libertarians seem to express a belief in the supremacy of Western civilisation and philosophy as though the entire history of Western culture has led to the ideals of liberty and that common law, due process, the Magna Carta and property rights were domains solely of Westerners. And if not for such a splendid civilisation the World would be robbed of such concepts of individual liberty and the virtue of dissent. Despite having a history consumed with violence, bondage and collectivisation in every form those few philosophers that did preach and speak such splendid words were few and seldom realised, if at all. Those to the contrary of such individualist natures were more prominent and seemed to not only influence and inspire rulers, systems of rule and culture itself but despite the propaganda of the Wests own self-interest shaped it all the more. Especially as far as it is perceived by those it constantly aggresses against.
A belief that Western Civilisation is the purity that lead a liberty movement to its beautiful path indulges a supremacy in culture and perhaps a religious obedience to a Euro-centric philosophy and world view. And despite the pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, race based slavery, mercantilism, communism, fascism, holocausts, total war theory and mass carpet bombing of civilians that somehow the pretty words of Locke, Smith, Aquinas, Wollstonecraft, Thoreau, Spooner and so on somehow define the actual bloody examples of such a civilisation. Not that such moments of these individuals, their prose and lives were exceptions and not the actual rule. Just as a Ron Paul is a rare example of American politics, he is not the rule by which to exemplify such with.
Long before the birth of Christ and much of the Wests theological fixations for such moral guidance, Chinese Taoism was exploring many concepts that transcend many of the crudities of even more modern philosophies. The Taoists explored into the realms of anarchism, individualism, atheism and dissent, all realms that defied rule and invited wider discourse long before it was a mantle of pride for many in the West. Some Hindi teachers of the ancient past also expressed the virtues of freedom, liberty and thought. In the Persian Empire that fought a brutal infanticide obsessed Sparta, slavery was outlawed many centuries before it was in the British Empire and United States. Human beings are splendid and diverse in every age and region, it is a wide world with so many peoples and histories and this should be valued all the more, especially by those who proclaim to be individualists. It seems however that a special kind of individualist tends to exists from within certain regions of this Earth and that is those that seek freedom for self but oppression and violence for others.
It is a marriage between liberty minded individuals and the brutal nationalist tendencies of those infatuated with the nation state. A rigid embrace to the concept of governance and territorial and cultural separation that should exist. As though an expansion into other frontiers is fine so long as it is an undertaking of those familiar to self in culture and rule, whereas even the sheer broken immigration of many desperate individuals is somehow a threat. That each and every immigrant is an economic parasite and one that seeks financial benefits for themselves and their family and yet should those same traits be exhibited by one’s self or their loved ones it is considered a wise investment or a virtuous conduct. Common language or faith seems to be the main point of differential for many however.
It is not a condition that is limited to the mostly American liberty movement but perhaps the entire political infatuated entity of the USA. When a botched burglary like the ‘Watergate’ scandal is the hallmark of political corruption and scandal it really illustrates the level of selfishness of American politicos and those interested in their government. When the very same administration could continue mass bombings in nations like Cambodia where no declaration of war was made or any actual reasoning sought before the people, it really illustrates the disregard that most Americans have when it comes to the lives of those others abroad. When the entire war in South East Asia is viewed as a mistake and at best a ‘cool soundtrack’, it further more showcases an American exceptionalism that pollutes even the supposedly individualists of the modern liberty movement. And beyond the scandals and ugliness of the Nixon era, objectively how was he better or worse than previous or past presidents and their infatuation with war and the pillage of others. His only crime to many was the snipping of some tape and knowledge of a robbery, oh the scandal. Think of the children. NO seriously, think of the millions of children burned to death, smashed to pieces, ripped apart and mauled beyond recognition in the past one hundred years thanks to the various United States governments, its obedient military and the ever joyous democratically righteous public that validates it all. Watergate indeed.
Ultimately however even those from within the liberty movement suffer the sickness of ‘them’ vs ‘us’ a mind-set that allows splendid omissions should there be acts of vulgarity and brutality expressed by those familiar and an uproar in righteous indignation should a foreign party do just the same, or even less back. It is a splendid ability to pretend that you are on the side of ‘good’ while burning to death children, somehow finding a justification in such conduct. The forever proclamation that we must burn down the village in order to save it and ultimately that a civilian citizen or even a conscript slave soldier is worthy of outright murder because of something their government did or because they belong on the other side of the fence. So while it is easy to find those who will defend the mass murder of innocence during the ‘good war’ or the War that saved Josef Stalin, can these same people then go on to justify the exact same kind of mass murder done by their noble military in the Korean conflict and Vietnam war and the scores of wars thereafter ? Collateral damage is not a war crime if you are the victor and if you are the vanguard for kinda liberty it seems.
So while it is easy to look around and feel the pressures of the State at every level from taxation, regulation to prohibitions it is quite easy to stand up and decry such every day pressures that impinge on liberty. This is the bedroom sexiness for many domestic libertarians. The dethroning of demigods of history and tearing into the statuesque sacred cows of society requires a true principle that seems to elude many champagne liberty activists. Patriotism and the nationalistic pride and fervor so dearly instilled in many runs deep inside many libertarians, it is why it is considered a right wing friendly movement. This is precisely the problem, it is how great leaders and exceptions of the time emerge, where crisis and emergency dictates a suppression of liberty and principle so that we as individuals come together as some important collective and slay a dragon. However real or imagined, whether we stirred it from its sleep or not matters little, and in taking down this dragon we can crush and destroy any other beast on our crusade to victory because we are righteous and as always, even for some libertarians the end, any end, justifies the murderous means.
We can regretfully accept the repugnant nature of most statists and their ever need to seek violence and oppression in order to expand and grow their ideological reality. It is however like a cancer that we see the growth of such commonalities in those that claim to be liberty minded. That somehow just because a political party has a name or that some individuals sometimes talk the talk, are champions of a wider liberty is a disgusting aberration. It is just the human condition, that hypocrisy that allows one to see splendid unique exceptionalism in themselves and those they know while seeing only a common distant strangeness in those unfamiliar, ‘thems’. And because of this liberty is not for ‘them’, considerations such as life and not to be murdered because of a collective guise is also not for ‘them,’ though simplistically bludgeoning to death millions because of complicated and nuanced histories is regretfully apparently always for ‘them’.
Kym Robinson, June 2016
Half Caged but never without a fight