Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Right Wing Talk Radio's Favorite Epithet

Memo to Hannity, Savage, Rush, O'Reilly, Boortz, Hewitt, Coulter and the rest of the neocons' babbling surrogates: it's time to retire the epithet "anti-American." The term means nothing and its continued use signifies sloppy, undisciplined thinking. Many, many things can be characterized as quintessentially "American:" Baseball. Jazz. Barbecue. Our goofy obsession with celebrities and pop culture. Irony. Individualism. Capitalism. Malls. Strip malls. Strip clubs. Suburbia. Reality TV.

But these pieces of Americana are seldom celebrated by neocons, nor would a critique of, say, baseball much rile them. It is only criticism of the State and its bloody, nihilistic foreign policy that earns their frothing hatred and charges of "anti-Americanism" -- which says a lot about what they believe. To get some idea, try the following exercise: replace the variations of "America
" in the neocons' favored smears with "State." Suddenly neocon opponents become "anti-statists," and "hate the State," "blame the State first," etc. -- which from the libertarian perspective is a lot more accurate (not to mention complimentary). So naturally, where does this place the neocons vis-a-vis the State? This bunch loves power just as much as the Left -- only they prefer warfare to welfare. These so-called conservatives worship centralism, militarism and mercantilism, yet they have the audacity to call their opponents "anti-American!"

It's sad that the neocons and their media echo chambers don't distinguish the State from civil society, believing that old canard that "we are our government." We're not. But even worse is how they place the State ahead of all other American institutions, as if the goals and ambitions of the few in power are in harmony with the needs and desires of nearly 300 million citizens. This idea is plain nutty on its face, which is why the Founders encouraged decentralized power and self-government in the first place.

America's rich heritage is filled with dissent and distrust of power, and these are deeply ingrained in the American psyche. The flag-waving nationalism and unquestioning obedience that underpin right-wing "patriotism" are antipodes to America's true spirit and ideals. If criticizing George W. Bush during wartime is irresponsible, then by this logic a president need only wage permanent war to be perpetually above criticism!

That the neocons call this "anti-American" or "America hating" is further testament to their shallow and dreary philosophy. The sooner this bunch and their loony ideology is swept away, the better.

ADDENDUM: 7/14/05

Synchronicity. From Lew Rockwell himself on his blog:
I was shocked when I first noticed the conservatives using this phrase to mean anyone who opposes the warmaking, spying, and censoring activities of the US presidency. Now it's the normal lingo of the talkshow commissars and all the other cons.

I couldn't have said it better myself, obviously.


Dirty Sanchez said...

Yeah i don't trust them either, but i would sure like to poke Ann Coulter.

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