by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Self-styled “progressives” tend to think of themselves as another tribe entirely, untainted by American chauvinism. It ain't so. “Progressives also succumb to the belief in American divine right, and consequently can often be as dangerous as those on the political right.” This is especially evident in the Age of Obama, who “has continued some of the worst Bush administration policies, but still receives nearly universal support from progressives.”
Freedom Rider: Dangerous Progressives
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“It is assumed that Americans are good and know what is best for the world.”
Most Americans believe their country is a benevolent and beloved force in the world. That belief is so deeply ingrained that even political progressives are rarely different in upholding this awful dogma. They are as likely as self-identified conservatives to support the government when it asserts a right to interfere with foreign governments, to occupy their nations, or to kill human beings on any pretext deemed necessary by the United States.
The term “Manifest Destiny” was coined in the 1800s, but its power lives on into the 21st century. Manifest Destiny was the stated belief that white Americans had the right to expand their power across the North American continent. Manifest Destiny resulted in the near annihilation of the native population and the spread of enslavement from sea to shining sea.
Manifest Destiny has been the cause of numerous wars spanning the globe from Mexico to the Philippines. Lies that justified military action against Vietnam, and the occupation of Iraq, were all fed by the Manifest Destiny myth.
“Manifest Destiny resulted in the near annihilation of the native population.”
Both Democrats and Republicans are hard core believers in this awful creed. Presidents from both parties have asserted the right to interfere in the affairs of foreign nations, and they have almost always done so with the support of the vast majority of their citizens.
The result of this mindless acceptance of an awful propaganda is a country that is always ready to assert the prerogatives of state power. Too few Americans will oppose their government when it incarcerates more people than any other government on earth, or when it chooses to engage in plans for endless warfare.
Progressives also succumb to the belief in American divine right, and consequently can often be as dangerous as those on the political right. The shallowness of their principles first became obvious during the 2008 presidential campaign. Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.No matter. The lackadaisical progressive response to Bushesque Obama policies proved once and for all that true opposition to the United States government would emerge from a very small group and that labels such as left and progressive were becoming more and more meaningless.
Barack Obama has continued some of the worst Bush administration policies, but still receives nearly universal support from progressives. In his first 48 hours in office he authorized a drone attack in Pakistan that resulted in civilian casualties. He has agreed to withhold photos of detainee torture, and proposed a policy of indefinite detention without trial. The war that began in Iraq has expanded in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has turned over more that $12 trillion dollars in public funds to the financial services industry without repairing the damage that industry wrought on millions of people. Most progressives have chosen to either be silent or to actively defended him.
“Too few Americans will oppose their government when it incarcerates more people than any other government on earth.”
They have done so because they are not at all interested in changing the political system. Why change a system if you think it is just fine the way it is? They may prefer David Axelrod to Karl Rove, but they agree that powerful white men like them should decide what is right for this country and for the world. Their differences with Rove are less important than their absolute faith that people like him know best just because they are close to the ruling elites in this the best of all possible nations.
Progressives and liberals are as ready as conservatives to support government interventions in our lives and on the world stage. The country in question may be Sudan, or perhaps Iran. The clarion call is the same. "We must do something” because “we” are superior, all knowing, and chosen by a divine force to make the world in whatever image we choose.
No one asks how “we” is defined, or if the presence of the United States is needed or wanted. No one asks about the history of past interventions and their usually negative outcomes. It is assumed that Americans are good and know what is best for the world, despite a long history of numerous brutalities carried out across the globe.
“Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.”
As long as white Americans believe in their inherent superiority, they will be a very dangerous people indeed. Some of those dangerous people are Democrats and some are Republicans. In the end, they usually want the same thing. They want their ruling class to dominate other human beings. They may differ on which individuals should do the dominating, and where and when the domination is warranted. They may even decide that a black man can act on behalf of the ruling classes, but belief in the power of that class is still accepted without question. As long as that is the case, Democratic politicians and liberal bloggers will pose as a great a peril to the world as do the stars of Fox news. In the end, they all want the very same thing.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.