Fri Dec 21, 2012, 12:05 PM
Fire Walk With Me (38,893 posts)
Common Dreams: The Ultimate Logic of a Society Built on Mass Murder
As a native-born American, I grew up watching cowboy and Indian shoot-em-ups in which the highlight of the movie was when the white guys in the circled wagon train shot the Indians off their horses until all the red men were dead, and very silent. Indians didn’t do a lot of screaming in pain when they were shot; they just expired. Same thing with buck-toothed Japanese, line after line of them, charging into U.S. machine guns, falling instantly silent and dead. It was somehow quite clean, almost antiseptic, these cinematic rituals of death, all staged for the broadest popular consumption to demonstrate the inevitability – and cosmic justice – of ultimate white victory over the darker races.
This was mother’s milk to the white American nation – which is why Richard Pryor and kids like me rooted for the Indians. Mass murder is at the core of the American national religion, which is a celebration of a genocidal march across a continent filled with other, doomed human beings. America’s contribution to European culture was to invite “all the nations of Europe” to come to these shores and become fellow “white” citizens, whose status was defined by the enforced inferiority of Blacks and the remnants of the Indians. Ritual burnings of Blacks were organized as great public festivals, attended by thousands, staged in order to affirm whites’ collective right to commit murder. This monopoly on violence was what made them white Americans.
U.S. foreign policy reflects the nation’s origins and ghastly evolution into a globe-strutting mob, that empowers itself to kill at will. A million dead Filipinos at the turn of the 20th century; aerial bombing of Haitian villages less than a generation later; the totally unwarranted nuclear annihilation of two cities at the very end of World War Two; two million dead Koreans shortly thereafter; three million dead Vietnamese in the next decade,; and, since 1996, six million Congolese – all, and many, many more, slaughtered in the name of U.S. civilizational superiority – the ghastly opiate of the white American masses.
(Much more at the link.)
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Common Dreams: The Ultimate Logic of a Society Built on Mass Murder (Original post)
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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Original post)
Fri Dec 21, 2012, 12:53 PM
stupidicus (848 posts)
2. yep, I wrote this days ago now
but have yet to post it anywhere since I hadn't honed or edited it..
It's the elephant in the room as far as I am concerned, and a successful "trickle down" scheme. And if I were to add anything at this time, isn't it validated by our collective lack of remorse over the millions of dead and displaced Iraqis?
yep, something's rotten in America
and the last thing this country needs at this time is to have the rightwingnut kings of BS telling us exactly how rotten it is or why.
If I were to play social psychologist and try to identify some of the pathogens afflicting the host, I'd start with american exceptionalism that the gun/culture of violence flows from. It's kinda like the functional equivalent of the AIDS virus -- it doesn't and need not kill the host directly, but rather weakens it to the point were it's vulnerable to things that can. In the case at bar, we are indeed "exceptional" and exceptionally vulnerable to its virilence, resulting in the political impotence and will we are now seeking a remedy for in the wake of this evil.
America’s gun-related murder rate is the highest in the developed world, excluding Mexico, where the ongoing drug war pushes the murder stats way up. The question of what causes the U.S. firearm-related homicide rate is a complicated one involving many variables, but it certainly seems plausible, especially the day after a knife attack in China injured 22 children but killed none, that one of those variables would be access to firearms. And, in this regard, America is truly exceptional.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/15/what-makes-americas-gun-culture-totally-unique-in-the-world-as-demonstrated-in-four-charts/
One could I suppose, make a case as to how it makes some individuals more directly susceptible to succumbing to the infection.
Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense. To them, the United States is like the biblical "shining city on a hill," and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.
The phrase fell into obscurity for half a century, until it was popularized by American newspapers in the 1980s to describe America's cultural and political uniqueness. The phrase became an issue of contention between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign, with Republicans attacking Obama for allegedly not believing in it.
During the George W. Bush administration, the term was somewhat abstracted from its historical context. Proponents and opponents alike began using it to describe a phenomenon wherein certain political interests view the United States as being "above" or an "exception" to the law, specifically the Law of Nations.
I'd say given the history of our warmongering and imperialism, that was less an abstraction and more the shared pov as to what it means, and something embedded in most of us whether we understood it that way in the context of the description, or were even aware of the self-description or not.
"No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can expect them not to believe that violence in the end is rewarded."
-- Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901-1978)
whether it be becoming famous or infamous. And given our collective historical lawlessness on the world stage -- of the goose denying the gander type -- well, that's just another absent barrier and pathway to a societal norm Margaret warned about. It's our collective use of violence as a problem/conflict solving tool worldwide and a trickling down of it that feeds the mindset of our "well trained militia" types who cling to the 2nd amendment practically above all else, because without that foreign enemy the constitutional justification imo anyway, evaporates. And the reality is, as long as we are collectively reliant upon indiscriminate violence as a means of conflict resolution or to make a collective statement justified by american exceptionalism, we are gonna be victims of our own collective making. What for example, is the diff between the madness of the gun nut demaning the right to own a gun they could kill hundreds with if they did their homework with, and us clinging to our nukes? And what exactly is the diff from the survivors perspective between the Newton tragedy, and this? http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/lets-also-remember-the-176-children-killed-by-us-drones.html Much like gun nuts here, our gov runs and hides in the impermeable shell of inconcievability that short circuits any consideration of -- much less concrete solutions -- the fact that it's the availabilty and use of the method and means (those inanimate objects that have no role in this) and the lack of sufficient restrictions on both that perpetuate the problem. And of course, this is all due to another thing we're exceptionally good at -- exploiting the profits to be had from the thing we say we're dedicated to stamping out worldwide -- violence.
Does this sound familiar?
How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
The University of Michigan “Correlates of War” project, run by my late colleague David Singer, tried to crunch numbers on potential causes of the wars of the past two centuries. Getting a statistically valid correlation for a cause was almost impossible. But there was one promising lead, as it was explained to me. When countries made large arms purchases, they seemed more likely to go to war in the aftermath. It may be that if you have invested in state of the art weapons, you want to use them before they become antiquated or before your enemies get them too.http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/how-america-is-filling-up-itself-and-the-world-with-guns.html
perhaps maybe that can be compared and contrasted to the "likelihoods" of being a victim to or perpetrator of gun violence in this country once you become an owner...
Of course all tribes like to adopt and sell a similar pov to their members -- in a less "abstracted" way of course, at least in practice -- but how many of them have so many that wanna cling to their guns and bibles like Linus does his blanket, and with so much of their self-identity and world views attached to both? While it certainly can't be said that all those who've used this as a vehicle to "make a statement" in this country did so for the foregoing reasons, they were likely certainly aware of how common it is in terms of usage in this country.
It's certainly a statement our country has made many, many times -- Might makes right, and death sells better and is more easily bought than peace as a solution.