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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


the neocon booze cruise

too stunning and farcical to be allowed to fade down the memory hole. via washington note, this from johann hari and the independent as he joined a cruise ship full of "conservatives" assembled by the national review who paid $1200 for the privilege of hearing neocon luminaries like bill kristol and norm podhoretz wax fascistic -- unadulteratedly, unapologetically, undisguisedly fascistic.

it's certainly no surprise that significant swathes of the american electorate are racist, monarchical, imperialist and reactionary -- it is so in every society. that they have found voice and power is what separates the united states from so many other nations. how long that may last is anyone's guess, but the hope must be that the second bush presidency has exposed the ruthless stupidity of such views to the wider electorate that previously enabled their exponents. it certainly seems that the lesson has filtered into the military.

but there is something to consider here. just as dinesh d'souza exclaims on ship that "liberal treachery" lost vietnam by "demanding america's humiliation", the war in iraq has become a cultural touchstone that red-state fascists will never concede. george will recently compared the situation to that of the german conservatives of 1918, who were convinced in their militarism that the german army had not lost but been betrayed -- and that a second war would right a basket of perceived wrongs against a presumedly natural nordic order, not to mention a deeply insecure german national pride.

the united states will be compelled to leave its imperial vision of iraq in the end, at great damage to both the mideast and itself. but what becomes of its domestic politics in the aftermath is not a trivial question. america has been both polarizing and vulgarizing at a remarkable rate since the first world war. i've feared the degeneration of the public discourse for most of my adult life -- even as i've sometimes contributed to it, as a man of my times -- and can all too easily imagine the return of political violence to this country in a manner not dissimilar to that introduced by those who exploited the zeitgeist of hope abridged in weimar germany.

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