Monday, December 15, 2008

Why Expecting Gratitude is a Bad Idea

There was some discussion here a couple of weeks ago about collective gratitude, specifically the idea that Europeans should feel gratitude for America’s interventions in both World Wars and its defensive umbrella over the continent during the Cold War.

Expecting gratitude from foreign nations is a peculiarly American notion. It’s part of our Weltanschauung. America is an idea, not a nation, so our interactions with other countries are focused on the good things we do for them by spreading the American idea.

Other powerful nations don’t expect gratitude. You’ll never catch the Russians or the Chinese asking for gratitude from their neighbors. Britain may have done a service to India by colonizing it, but the British did not expect gratitude from their colonial subjects. Unlike the United States, these empires acted (or act) as empires, that is, in their own interests. Their foreign policy is not based on altruism, so gratitude is never an issue.

As Rudyard Kipling wrote:

Take up the White Man’s burden,
      And reap his old reward—
The blame of those ye better
      The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of those ye humor
      (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
      Our loved Egyptian night?”

If there were ever a clear example of why expecting gratitude is a bad idea, it’s the recent shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. According to AKI:

Iraq: Protest in Favour of Release of Bush ‘Shoe-Thrower’

Sadr City, 15 Dec. (AKI) — Thousands of Iraqis on Monday demanded the release of Muntazer al-Zaydi, the journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush. The protests took place in the Shia Baghdad neighbourhood of Sadr City and the demonstrators marched towards the headquarters of the Iraqi press syndicate, in al-Waziriya, said Iraqi news agency Voices of Iraq.

The protesters, who were reportedly made up of followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, also burned American flags.

Meanwhile, a statement calling for the release of al-Zaydi was issued by the Cairo-based satellite news channel al-Boghdadiya, where the journalist has worked since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
- - - - - - - - -
“Al-Boghdadiya channel calls for the immediate release of its correspondent al-Zaydi in line with the new era of democracy and freedom of expression the US authorities had promised the Iraqis,” said a media release from the channel quoted by Voices of Iraq.

On Sunday, al-Zaydi threw his first shoe at Bush as he yelled “This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog,”

As he threw his second shoe, he said: “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” As Bush avoided the shoes, al-Zaydi was quickly wrestled to the ground by security guards.

Al-Zaydi was being held on Monday by Iraqi police and was reportedly interrogated about whether he was paid to throw his shoes at Bush. He was also being tested for alcohol and drug use.

In the Arab world, throwing your shoes or exposing the soles of your shoes is one of the worst signs of disrespect.

In a separate incident in the Iraqi city of Najaf, protesters threw their shoes at an American patrol as it passed by.

This is how the people of Iraq react to their “liberators”, the people who brought them democracy and invested thousands of lives and untold billions of dollars on their behalf. No conquered nation has ever received a better deal from its conquerors than Iraq has from the USA.

Yet they burn our flag and throw shoes at us — the equivalent of spitting on us.

Within six months or two years or five years from when the United States finally withdraws its military forces from Iraq, the Iraqis will either revert to their customary ways and install a strongman in power, resort to civil war, or become an Islamic theocracy like Iran. The only way we can prevent such an outcome is to occupy the country for decades — or pave it over.

And, no matter what happens, gratitude will never be forthcoming. Expecting it is utter foolishness.

We should either leave them to their own devices, or rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required.

We should act like an empire or go home.


Hat tip: C. Cantoni.

51 comments:

OMMAG said...

Well that's exactly the point.

The Europeons should damned well have enough class and enough sense to know where they would be now if not for Canadian and American sacrifice in the 20th century..

In the 21'st its "You're on your own now!"

It's not that they're ungrateful, It's that they are pig ignorant and more than happy to slink down the same paths that led to their near destruction the last 2 (3?) times.

rumcrook said...

quit making sense bodissey.


americans are only 230 years old
we obviously havent learned the no good deed goes unpunished rule of life yet.

islam o' phobe said...

It could be worse.

Conservative Swede said...

OMMAG,

The only thing we want and need in Europe is people with your bitching arrogant attitude out of our faces. Your "caring love" is nothing but abusive, which is clear from your comment. If you think so little of us, just get out of here alright!

Regarding American intervention in Europe in the 20th century: It prolonged WW1, the peace of which created the power vacuum for Hitler to expand in. Naive Wilson called this creation of power vacuum "organized peace" (as has been pointed out, if Hitler had had a sense of humour he would have raised a statue of Wilson for the way he paved the way for him).

Then in the aftermath of WW2. Western Europe was sent into a America-led cultural revolution pushing political correctness and multiculturalism upon us, all of which had been in place in America since many decades back, but effectively non-existent in Europe before WW2.

Just to mention a few disasters caused by your deranged altruism, and your absolute cluelessness about the consequences of your actions.

If you had only stayed back home in WW1 and remained there, we would have been so much better off in Europe.

In the 21'st its "You're on your own now!"

I have never seen a bully that is whining as much, as the American chauvinist. Get it into your mind: We want you to get out of here! We want to get rid of you! The sooner you get your troops out of Europe the better.

You sound like a desperate mother, with separation angst, threatening her teenage son "I won't tuck you in tonight!". You are so clueless.

We never asked you to push your deranged altruism upon us. Now get that into your minds and get out of here!

Conservative Swede said...

BB:
We should act like an empire or go home.

Amen!

christian soldier said...

Thank God the 7th has been released to be deployed where needed by US!
No more US protecting the socialist EU!
If the US were imperialistic US would OWN Japan-Germany---and --well--shall I go on....?

Conservative Swede said...

Christian Soldier (second man out to volunteer as evidence for Bodissey's point),

America still got some 100,000 soldiers too many in Europe. You are encouraged to bring them back home. All that talking does no good.

If the US were imperialistic US would OWN Japan-Germany---and --well--shall I go on....?

If the US had been truly imperialistic we wouldn't have been in this sh*t. No deranged altruism, no multiculturalism, no political correctness, no funny games of motherly emotional blackmail with "I won't tuck you in" sort of talk. This babbling therapeutic empire-in-denial of yours is the worst poison that ever was.

The Baron is right: act like and empire or go home!

We are so very tired of your babbling. Shut your mouths once and for all, decide what you want -- eating the cake or keeping it -- the do it! No more therapeutic babbling, for gods sake!

Avery Bullard said...

Remember the anti-French hysteria in the run-up to the Iraq invasion? I pointed out at a couple of blogs that one day Americans would be accusing the Iraqis of stabbing them in the back and not being grateful just like the French. Needless to say it is hard to get through to those who think they already know everything.

Many still don't get it. At several 'conservative' (neoconned) sites they are claiming that the shoe-throwing incident is a positive sign! Iraqis would never have thrown a shoe at Saddam. Progress is being made!

Avery Bullard said...

America is an idea, not a nation

It wasn't always that way. America was an extension of Britain. A new version of it. During the 1920s immigration debates US politicians still spoke of maintaining the integrity of the 'Anglo-Saxon race'.

It's with great sadness I see Americans who claim to be conservatives buying into the neocon/Marxist notion that America is just a universal nation. Unfortunately they seem to have won out over the historical American nation. The culture and ideas of that nation were successfully manipulated by others for their own good.

The unhyphenated Americans who can trace their roots to at least the 18th century are going to get quite a shock this century when they find out they are a minority and the only ones who still see themselves as plain old Americans whilst every other group looks after #1.

Conservative Swede said...

Christian Soldier wrote:
If the US were imperialistic US would OWN Japan-Germany---and --well--shall I go on....?

The implied horror in the ellipse of Christian Soldier's comment underlines how the American mentality is that an empire is the worst that could happen. While it is in fact precisely the other way around. If America had been anything like the Roman empire (or the British one), I would have been standing in the street waving with an American flag. But instead America is this empire-in-denial of therapeutic babbling.

All this comes from America's fundamental identity as a former colony. With this sort of underdog mentality America will never be able to properly act as an empire. In spite of having entered the imperial position of our civilization, it's ideology is to be the opposite of an empire. Therefore it will only bomb and shoot in order to "liberate" people, which means they will never, unlike the Romans and the Brits, take any real responsibility for their conquests. This irresponsibility is the main reason that the world has been thrown into such chaos as we are in now.

Conservative Swede said...

Avery Bullard,

Many still don't get it. At several 'conservative' (neoconned) sites they are claiming that the shoe-throwing incident is a positive sign! Iraqis would never have thrown a shoe at Saddam. Progress is being made!

The world is laughing at America and their therapeutic babbling. I heard Bush comment how this is a sign of a free society.

But it is indeed scary and very intimidating how this giant, with a former colony minority complex, has this massive military weight to throw around in its very unpredictable way.

Conservative Swede said...

I think it's called inferiority complex. And I need to go to bed now...

majority inferiority complex...

Avery Bullard said...

We should either leave them to their own devices, or rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required.

Or as John Derbyshire (an Englishman) put it: Rubble doesn't make trouble.

MauserMedic said...

"I have never seen a bully that is whining as much, as the American chauvinist. Get it into your mind: We want you to get out of here! We want to get rid of you! The sooner you get your troops out of Europe the better."

Wish we could, but as long as our useful idiots keep electing closet socialists with doctrines similar to the EU's ideal, I have a feeling we'll be spending money on your lot for a long time yet. I'd be perfectly happy to have all our people pack up so you may hasten to your Teutonic Caliphate destiny; we have plenty of our own issues within our borders, such as rolling back the idea that European socialism is the answer to all our problems, to deal with.

Nice rants though; reminds me of listening to the senior year Marxists trying to impress their way into a freshman art major's pants back in my university days at a kegger.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

If nothing else, this comment thread demonstrates that both sides should display a little more humility in this debate...

Zenster said...

Conservative Swede: Therefore it will only bomb and shoot in order to "liberate" people, which means they will never, unlike the Romans and the Brits, take any real responsibility for their conquests. This irresponsibility is the main reason that the world has been thrown into such chaos as we are in now.

Dammit, and you were doing so well right before you had to go and poke America in the eye as you just cannot EVER help yourself from doing.

GET OVER IT. America is a relatively benign entity that is slowly rising to the task of becoming the global power it so richly deserves to be. Got any problems with that? Then please head to the back of the line with Zimbabwe, Myanmar and every other corrupt hellhole on earth.

Yup, we're hamfisted. Yup, we're idealistic. Yup, we're even stupid enough to be altruistic.

Is that reason enough to damn America for its repeated sacrifices and honorable gestures towards the world community? Is that sufficient reason to condemn America for having a shred of reasonable expectation of gratitude that it most assuredly deserves?

However idiotic altruism may be (and it is), please show me where any other world superpower has left such a positive footprint in its wake.

As the Baron most succinctly pointed out:

... no matter what happens, gratitude will never be forthcoming. Expecting it is utter foolishness.

We should either leave them to their own devices, or rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required.

We should act like an empire or go home.


And so Afghanistan and Iraq should both have been subjected to harsh military dictatorships that supressed shari'a law long enough to liberate successive generations from its withering embrace.

Either the Free World sets about crushing theocracy like the criminal cockroach it is or all free people will continue to shed blood for the very worst reason.

As adamantly opposed as I am to first use of nuclear weapons, the eradication of Islam may well require abandonment of any such compunction. Muslims will not have it any other way and, quite possibly, the West may well need to feel exactly the same. "Do unto others" has NEVER carried such a burden of responsibility.

It becomes evermore clear that Western reluctance (however reasonable it may be), to grant Islam's enduring death wish is churlish at best.

Conservative Swede said...

MauserMedic,

In spite of your taunting reply I liked it and very much enjoyed it. The reason is that it was free from the otherwise ubiquitous expectation of gratitude for having occupied Western Europe for 60+ years. It was also free from the bitter bickering for not having received enough gratitude for their aggression, rendering the eternal "We will leave!" and "You're on your own now!". Which would indeed be a blessing, but will never happen. It's just the privilege of the occupant so say whatever she feels like, based on the military might with which she subdues her subjects. Might is right, also here, and to this America adds a lot of therapeutic babbling. But that does not change the basic facts: America has occupied Western Europe for over 60 years. This is an aggression made possible solely by America's superior military power. The babbling is nothing but babbling. All that counts and matters is the presence of American troops here.

And quite as you touched upon, if America would withdraw from Europe it would force you to deal with your own problems. A president of a country with such military power will always feel the need to show his big muscles. Today this happens by throwing around the American military weight in different "wag the dog" wars, such as Bosnia, Serbia and Iraq. One worse and more destructive than the other. The day you no longer see yourselves as the "altruistic" care-taker of the world, and have withdrawn your troops from Europe etc., there's no other option for an American president, who wants to show his big muscles, to deal with your aggressive neighbour: Mexico. I.e. precisely what you urgently need to you, but what is totally ignored today.

So it's not only in our interest, but also in yours, that you remove your troops from Europe.

Conservative Swede said...

Zenster,

GET OVER IT.

This is the language of the aggressor: "We occupy your continent with our superior military might, and you do not even have the right to complain about it, 'cause our guns say so." I guess that's the message to Serbia too: "Get over it!".

Why don't you just get out of Kosovo, Bosnia, Germany etc.? You are not in a position to say "get over it" until you have done so.

America is a relatively benign entity that is slowly rising to the task of becoming the global power it so richly deserves to be.

Is it Obama you have in mind here?

You seem to be living in a dream world Zenster. America was rising as a global power from WW1 until 1969, since then it has been constantly losing the grip and eroding.

Got any problems with that? Then please head to the back of the line with Zimbabwe, Myanmar and every other corrupt hellhole on earth.

Once again the American fantasy of how a Europe untouched by America's golden hand would be at the level of Zimbabwe. America is indeed the empire of PC MC, and the rhetoric of American chauvinism in indeed completely colour-blind, history-blind and reality-blind. The inherent differences between Germany, Japan and Iraq are simply not understood. This is why the neocons try to build democracy in Iraq. This is why Buch hinted to Putin that Iraq (and P.A.!) was more democratic than Russia. This is why Zenster has the fantasy that a Europe untouched by the golden hand of America would be at the level of Zimbabwe (or is this just another one of those arrogant threats?). Zenster, you would need to read Fjordman's many essays about the history of European civilization, to understand how wrong you are.

However idiotic altruism may be (and it is), please show me where any other world superpower has left such a positive footprint in its wake.

Is it Bosnia and Serbia you have in mind as the positive footprints? Is it how America always end up supporting the Muslims in every conflict? Is it how America in collaboration with France and European socialists transformed Western Europe into the self-loathing suicidal vegetable through the post-WW2 cultural revolution? Is it how you gave away the oil fields to the Arabs and then payed them loads of money for it so that they could launch the Third Jihad? And next we have Obama. Let's see what kind of positive footprint he leaves.

No ideology has ever been as destructive and inherently traitorous as the one of the America-led West. No tyranny has ever been as brutal and random (I'm thinking again of the most characteristic side of the America-led West, the forever ongoing gang rapes, torture rapes against underage girls, innocent virgins, by the predators unleashed by this PC MC hegemony).

Conservative Swede said...

BB: We should act like an empire or go home.

Zenster: And so Afghanistan and Iraq should both have been subjected to harsh military dictatorships that supressed shari'a law long enough to liberate successive generations from its withering embrace.


No Zenster, this is the same idea again. The idea of an empire is to conquer land, take it as yours and then own it. You are here expressing the same old American idea of "liberating" people. You have just turned back the clock to how America went about this up until the days of Kissinger. A more realistic variant of the concept than the fantasy of instant democracy of the neocons today, but the same old concept after all: to install a military dictatorship as a means to later on being able to "liberate the people".

The problem with this approach is best expressed in the discussion where the advantages of Capitalism is put forward: anything that is privately owned is much better taken care of. A real empire goes in to take over and own the land that they conquered. This is the only responsible way. This is how the Roman empire acted, this is how the British empire acted. They idea is to stay around forever, taking full responsibility.

America does not even have properly the idea of owning their own country. We see how southern America is flooded with tenths of millions of illegal aliens from their aggressive neighbour: Mexico. Everything is just supposed to be "liberated".

When the British empire conquered and ruled in India and the Middle East, they prepared themselves for staying forever, built their institutions, imposed their culture, families moved their to stay indefinitely. Whenever America has a campaign the key concept is always "exit strategy". America's idea is to go in with bombers and tanks, liberate the people and as soon as possible get back home, having barberques in their own gardens. This is simply not responsible, not viable. And as mentioned America does not even act responsibly in defending her own land. And this mentality has now been spread all across the West during the 20th century. This has to be stopped and reversed.

So, either you invade a country to take it over and own it, or you stay home. Which also implies: pick your fights carefully. And not a word about "exit strategies" and especially not a word about "liberating people", as soon as that has been mentioned you'd better cancel the whole campaign. The only morally responsible way of acting is from the perspective of self-interest and with the intention of conquering land to own it.

Conservative Swede said...

Just to connect to the bigger picture here, and explaining the focus on America:

The poison that is killing us was brewed in Europe during the Enlightenment, especially in France. However, America which was built as a new society in the new world, was built according to these ideals. America and France has thus ended up as the two main propagators of Enlightenment poison during history. The list of guilty ones can be made very long and there are European socialists/liberals from many countries on that list.

However, all power rests on military might, and the military might upholding this civilizational regime comes from America. That's the reason for the focus on America. If your pipes are blocked, you need to clean out the plug that is stopping the water from flowing. It's as simple as that. America out of Germany!

The way France is able to wreak havoc all across Europe rests entirely on America's military might and control of Europe. Germany has been emotionally castrated and spiritually obliterated. The British empire was discouraged and self-imploded. While Russia was suffering most of the 20th century under their own Enlightenment tyranny. Only France was elated and vitalized by America's power grab of Western Europe.

jezekiah said...

We should either leave them to their own devices, or rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required.

Required for what?

Conservative Swede said...

Jezekiah,

Required for what?

I think we should let you have a try on this question first. Could you imagine any situation, in e.g. Iraq, where ruthlessness is required?

jezekiah said...

Could you imagine any situation, in e.g. Iraq, where ruthlessness is required?

By those defending their homes from a foreign army.

My original question is still unanswered.

Conservative Swede said...

Jezekiah,

By those defending their homes from a foreign army.

So you have already answered you own question. The rest follows as a consequence.

jezekiah said...

@ Conservative Swede:

My question is still unanswered. It was in relation to this statement by the blog's owner:

rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required.

My question: required for what?

Sagunto said...

When you're talking about elites (chosen, I know) handling state power on both sides of the Atlantic, I don't think that there's such an enormous difference some comments might suggest. Yet I think that on the whole, CS is right here, both from a conservative European's as well as a conservative American's point of view (and I mean conservative, not in the strictly political sense).
It is only fitting when international interventionism is concerned to mention Woodrow Wilson, who i.m.o. was not the man of "international peace" as the official portrait in EU-land likes to depict him, and certainly more zealous than naive. What I always find missing, is the religious dimension behind the Progressive blue-prints for ideal societies in those days, both in the States and abroad. But European leftists always seem to be preoccupied with a few nutty evangelical preachers, whilst missing the politicized, so-called "cultural" Christianity that often underpins the support for today's and yesteryear's versions of "Progressivism" (and also multiculturalism). The simplest explanation for that glaring oversight could very well lie in what Theodore Dalrymple has said about Dutch social-democrats/socialists/liberals: "Scratch a Dutch liberal, and you will find a Calvinist moralist not far beneath the surface."

That could very well apply to all "modern" or "undogmatic" Christians of today who aspire to be part of the State apparatus.

But speaking of the Dutch.. their colonial "empire" could very well serve as an example that today's policial elites in America are not unique when it comes to high-minded "altruism" that ends with inevitable ingratitude of the receiving party. Many Dutch colonial administrators where equally zealous and progressive "do-good'ers", all along the principles of "ethical colonialism".
The famous 1860 novel by Multatuli can serve as a prime example of this mentality: the Dutch administrator in the Indies, fighting to elevate the people and liberate them from traditional oppression by local princes and what not. All the things ascribed in the above comments to the US, i.e. benign entity, idiotic altruism, naivity, zealous vendors of democracy.. all these things are minutely described in the historical accounts of the Dutch colonial empire in the East, during the 19th/20th cent. And the expectations of gratitude and concomitant astonishment at the displayed ingratitude.. if it's not exactly the same thing, then at least the parallels are striking. When Holland had to give up the Dutch Indies (under pressure of the US no less), the knowledge was not lost, but transferred as "tropical science" to yet even vaster areas in Afrika, where it inspired what would later become the state sponsored foreign aid industry. There are strong connections between the ethical colonial mentality and the foreign aid as well as the multiculti mindset. The link being para-religious Progressivism.

Well, enough said. Detailed description would suggest that at least some of those Dutch colonial administrators at the time seemed a lot less naive than their modern US (and EU) counterparts appear to be, especially when it comes to installing "democracies" in Gaza and Irak.

Back to CS and Zenster.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Conservative Swede said...

Jezekiah,

"rule them with all the ruthlessness that is required."

My question: required for what?


...for ruling them.

Conservative Swede said...

Sag,

Thank you for this lesson in Dutch history. It's just like I already said "The poison that is killing us was brewed in Europe during the Enlightenment". It was not so bad back then (except for in France of course). But now it has been festering for many centuries into deadly poison.

It's been degenerating in many steps, and in each steps the previous one has been dismissed as the worst of evils -- this is characteristic of the zealous altruists that we are dealing with here. So when America ascended to leader of our civilization after WW1, these very altruistic and ethical Dutch colonialists (which you described) were depicted as the evil itself. And today the Bushites see the actions of Kissinger as evil. Installing a dictator is unthinkable, only instantaneous democracy is acceptable. Bush and Condi pushed for the democratic election of Hamas etc. And then the Obamanites consider Bush being the worst of evil. There is a very scary religious zeal about this whole thing; intolerance galore.

Anyway, back in the 17th century there was a strong confidence in our own culture. The altruistic idea was to impose our culture upon them, since that would be better for them. And this still holds true today, especially in the Muslim world. They would be so much better off if we colonized them and imposed our culture upon them. E.g. in Sudan the only time in their history when they didn't have slavery was during the time they were colonized by the Brits. Both before and after: slavery. The idea of the West today is that anything goes (multiculturalism etc.), so slavery is all fine. The only true evil is colonialism. Well only white colonialism. Colonization of white countries (as we know) is all fine too, and considered fair and good.

Back in the 17th century our culture was imposed in colonized lands. Today with America running the show, the countries are not colonized but "liberated". And elections are held so that they can vote for Hamas, Sharia, etc., which is all fine, since we are now all self-loathing nihilists. The blood of our own soldiers are spilled for the sake of "no values" and "anything goes". Altruism has turned into deranged altruism and then into deranged self-loathing nihilism.

metasailor said...

US policy isn't bases on altruism either. We just like to think it is, because it makes us feel better.

But to think, for example, that we invaded and occupied Iraq because we cared that much about the good of the Iraqi people, is just ridiculous.

If we were really altruists, we never would have put Saddam in charge in the first place. Or Suharto. Or the Shah. Or...

Conservative Swede said...

Metasailor,

But to think, for example, that we invaded and occupied Iraq because we cared that much about the good of the Iraqi people, is just ridiculous.

So why are you there then?

Homophobic Horse said...

Islamic terror in the Balkans and also in Central Asia and the Middle East could not exist without the covert support of the US and European Establishments.

As you may recall, after 911 Bush said repeatedly that a) the US would not tolerate any nation which in any way gave comfort to terrorists and b) that the US was fighting extremists, not Islam, which, Bush explained, is a religion of peace.

The CIA armed and trained mujahideen, today's terrorists, in Afghanistan. This is no longer denied by anybody.

The real intention of the Iraq war is create a Muslim terrorist power in Asia, comprising Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, which will be used against potential opponents of the Enlightened One's (UN, NATO, Neoconservative's, Wilsonism etc) benevolent global hegemony - India, China, and Russia.

The European Union is also using Islam as a means of destroying every last trace of the European continent's Christian nations. The Kosovo their plans have already paid up.

OMMAG said...

Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Hope CS and his ilk enjoy their independence from the evil attentions of the West.

A state of affairs that is coming very soon.
And then what?

Sagunto said...

It's not all "blind altruism" of course, but I think that Chesterton once perfectly described the often overlooked rootless, and easily politicized religious dimension, that fosters things like multiculturalism, political correctness, foreign aid industry and planting democratic liberation "theology" in denial of the once wise words of John Q Adams. Again, i.m.o. it's a "modern" disease of the political elites on both sides of the Atlantic. Its indeed perhaps virtuous (in part) to try and zealously "elevate" people, but here's what Chesterton had to say about such secularized religious virtues:

"..When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad.."

[from Orthodoxy, Ch.3: "The Suicide of Thought"; emph. added]

Robert Nisbet describes the same process in his 1975 book (still in print) "Twilight of Authority".

Sag.

Decatur said...

Conservative Swede, you said “Then in the aftermath of WW2. Western Europe was sent into an America-led cultural revolution pushing political correctness and multiculturalism upon us, all of which had been in place in America since many decades back, but effectively non-existent in Europe before WW2.”
Conservative Swede, I’m not sure that I agree with your take on this. My own view is that this PC and multicultism is of European origin. I think this might be due to the possibility that Europe, and here I mean Britain, France and Spain in particular, never really got over losing the American colonies. The Europeans have always leant towards Monarchism, Dictatorships or other forms of Totalitarian rule and watching the American colonies dump all of this and proceed to become the most powerful, happy and wealthy nation ever, must have grated exceedingly.
Europeans think they are being influenced by American ideology, but it appears to me that the influences have mostly come from the media and from film, (how else would they know?) and this influence is Socialistic, a European concept. Lenin knew the value of film and very quickly set up Communist cells in Hollywood in the 1920s and their influence has been permeating the English speaking world ever since, creating an America which is a complete fantasy. Hence, most Europeans have not got the slightest idea of what America and Americans are really like. It’s all an illusion and the idea of Socialism existing here is totally alien to them, they believe what they are seeing, reading and hearing are American Capitalist, Christian, Conservative values.
We know that following the success of International Socialism over National Socialism post WWII, the Europeans exported their ‘victorious ideology’ to the US via the Frankfurt School, which had already become ensconced at Columbia. All this Obama Socialism, Internationalism, Political Correctness and kowtowing to Europe/Eurabia, is I believe, a product of that exported European ideology. We know that one of Obama’s major backers is European Socialist Georges Soros, who also backs the now hopelessly Leftwing Democrat Party. All the ‘American’ influences that permeate Europe from the counter culture of the 60’s to today’s Multicult are European International Socialist ideas; In my opinion they did not originate in the minds of Americans or from the Constitution, nor from the concept of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. European Socialism has come full circle.

Baron Bodissey said...

I agree with Decatur.

I have said many times, until I became so tired of saying it that I gave up, that most Europeans don't understand Americans.

They are at a disadvantage, because they have deeply-embedded false ideas about the American character, derived from film & TV. As Decatur says, this is a fantasy. Only a small slice of America actually resembles the America exported to the world by Hollywood.

The majority of America is different, and difficult to explain to non-Americans.

The coastal elites are as clueless as the Europeans, because they get their information about "flyover country" from the same sources.

Homophobic Horse said...

" The Europeans have always leant towards Monarchism, Dictatorships or other forms of Totalitarian rule and watching the American colonies dump all of this and proceed to become the most powerful, happy and wealthy nation ever, must have grated exceedingly. "

Isn't this exactly the problem? This socialist materialist idea that the right "regime" will yield the best results, as though people are like lab mice, as though American society were a "structure".

Avery Bullard said...

the Europeans exported their ‘victorious ideology’ to the US via the Frankfurt School, which had already become ensconced at Columbia

The Frankfurt School was entirely Jewish and had virtually no influence in Europe until after WW2 when the US deconstructed Germany.

All this Obama Socialism, Internationalism, Political Correctness and kowtowing to Europe/Eurabia, is I believe, a product of that exported European ideology

Lawrence Auster is right when he refers to present-day Europe as America's student. In some ways the student has become more extreme than the teacher. Europeans have internalised America. New England Yankee and Jewish America to be more precise.

We know that one of Obama’s major backers is European Socialist Georges Soros, who also backs the now hopelessly Leftwing Democrat Party.

Soros is an American success story. And, of course, few Europeans would consider him indigenous. That Americans consider Soros and the Frankfurt School proponents to be European is telling. Multiculturalism is now so ingrained in the US that you believe a person's ethnic origins do not matter as much as the state that issues their passport. It's like when the US media called the 7/7 bombers 'Englishmen'. They were nothing of the sort no matter where they were born.

Sagunto said...

So the infamous Frankfurter Schule is mentioned as a prime source of neomarxist ideology that European elites received back trough deconstructivist "scholarship" at US academia (don't forget to mention those lovely French philosophers Avery, but you're right).
I'd like to point out that @Decatur might be a bit late in choosing his point of origin (Frankfurter Schule is what, 30's/40's and in the US postwar?). Long before the FS, marxism had already undergone several phases of "modernization", and one very important phase he overlooked, was already hinted at by CS when he mentioned Woodrow Wilson and Progressivism. Progressivism is US style heterodox marxism, intermingled with Bellamy derived "military Socialism" or "Christian Socialism". The Progressive era roughly dates from 1890s - 1920s.

Let me use a quote by Goldberg, featuring Nisbet, just to keep things short:
"..Wilson's Committee for Public Information was the first modern propaganda ministry. Indeed, according to the late sociologist and intellectual historian Robert Nisbet, the "West's first real experience with totalitarianism - political absolutism extended into every possible area of culture and society, education, religion, industry, the arts, local community and family included, with a kind of terror always waiting in the wings - came with the American war state under Wilson."

Furthermore, talking about Soros is all fair game, but again, a bit late when it is reminded that both the Nazis and the Commies were financed is no small part by Wall Street. So you can pick your date conveniently to give the impression of having found the source of the West's decay, but what does that prove? There's an ideological connection across the Atlantic that goes back a long way, far into the 19th century when you're looking for the infectious modernization of Marx c.s., and US heterodox socialists played a big part in that drama.

The sad thing is, that - as I already mentioned- the disease is largely associated with "the Revolt of the Elites" on both sides of the Atlantic. One should i.m.o. keep a healthy distance from official government policies when judging inhabitants of any country. Comments like the one that started this thread, are not the kind that foster mutual understanding and it's only fair that such contributions are met with stern opposition.

On a further note it is perhaps useful to bring some obvious and well known facts to the table once more, i.e. that in large parts of Europe - certainly in Holland - people were very grateful towards Canadian and US soldiers (just look at the number of marriages between Dutch women and Canadian men, if that ain't gratitude ;-), and it would almost seem like an unfortunate by-product of the Iraqi shoe-hurling incident, that somewhere in these heated debates, the different peoples of various European nations somehow become associated with the ingratitude that American govt. officials encounter when they actually meet with some Iraqi people. And of course the MSM in Europe and the US are involved in all this, as the mouthpiece that they are, for the political nomenclatura.

I rest this case. For those interested, here's a short overview of early 20th century US socialism

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Conservative Swede said...

Baron,

I have said many times, until I became so tired of saying it that I gave up, that most Europeans don't understand Americans.

This sort of sweeping statement does not bring the discussion forward. You'll need to say specifically where you think I have it wrong. My focus is on the American troops in Europe. Power is based on military might. America is in charge. And these troops need to go. Do you have any objection about any part of this argument?

Furthermore, most Americans don't understand Europeans. I goes both ways. People see the image presented to them and not the real people. But we are not speaking of ordinary Americans and Europeans here, but about America and Europe as political entities and their national myths and political culture. And this is something entirely different. It's obvious for any student of history that there are two sides of the issue in America. Your civil war is a very clear indication of that. But the thing is that one side won and the other side lost spectacularly, and has been forever losing since then. This doesn't mean that the people of the losing side went up in smoke. They still exist. But they have no political influence. It's the very same in Europe you know. The people of the "flyover country" we have here too. And they are equally suppressed and deprived of political influence as the corresponding Americans.

Only a small slice of America actually resembles the America exported to the world by Hollywood.

I was not speaking of Hollywood here but about America, as a political entity, pushing her will upon the world with her military might. But of the cultural revolutions that were imposed on Europe, in the aftermaths of the two world wars, based on this military might. In this two-stage cultural revolution, Europe, as it once had been, was completely deconstructed and reshaped according to extreme Enlightenment ideals. This was done by America in collaboration with France and European socialists across the continent. Great Britain shares part of the blame too. But none of this had been possible without the military might of America. This is the plug that has to be unplugged.

But let's focus on what's "exported to the world" from America, as you write. Because it's exactly what is exported to the world from America I am talking about. The parts of America that is not exported to the world -- such as the undervegetation of sentiments among people in "flyover country" which never leaves an imprint on national myths and political climate -- are irrelevant to this discussion. You are mixing up things here. Your objection did not apply to what I wrote.

Compare it to a discussion about the USSR during the Cold War. We would describe USSR as Communist, atheist, expansionist, etc. But there was quite a lot of "flyover country" in the USSR with people who where very different from this. They were traditional Christians who were definitely not Communists. But the point, Baron, is that they had no political influence. We could imagine, if they had had a voice at all, such a "flyover" Russian, objecting to the description of USSR saying: You don't know Russia at all. But that would have missed the point completely. The criticism of the USSR was not a criticism of the Russian people. It is the same here. I criticize the political organism America and how it has developed and is affecting the world. What Americans in "flyover country" think, obviously has no influence over this.

Do you seriously think that when I criticize Obama, and fear what he will bring on, that I think that all Americans are like Obama? Your comments here are blurring the discussion in a way that you should be to good to do. I understand it hurts to take in what your country has brought on. But that applies to all of us, about our respective countries.

The majority of America is different, and difficult to explain to non-Americans.

And how is this different from Europe? The ordinary people are oppressed by the elite here too. Same situation. But the attitudes in the undervegetation is very different. After all, the alternative view has actually more influence in Europe, since at least we are represented here. In America you only have (had) Tom Tancredo. At least we have anti-establishment parties, more or less successful, in most of our countries represented in parliament.

So I agree with you, Baron, and I always have: Yes the attitude of the people in the Mid West is very different. But it is irrelevant to this discussion. They have as little influence as people with traditional views had under the USSR.

Avery Bullard said...

A good book on this subject is The Strange Death of Marxism by Jewish-American paleoconservative Paul Gottfried - some of which can be read at Google Book Search.

During the Truman Administration leftist intellectuals, including Frankfurt School scholars and Freudian psychoanalysts, were sent to Germany to 'reeducate' the German people in particular and to change European political culture in general. They weren't all Jewish as the John Dewey New Englander Neo-Puritans were also well represented.

German teachers and academics were purged by the Allies, barely in the French occupied parts, but with great enthusiasm in US areas. Books were removed from libraries. Cultural figures like writers and filmmakers were screened by the American authorities and the Marxist and Freudian educators identified the family as the root cause of German and European xenophobia and authoritarianism and set about undermining it. (See Gottfried's book and Tomislav Sunic's Homo Americanus)

You cannot talk about 'European socialism' as if it is some indigenous development unconnected to the prevailing geopolitical situation since WW2.

metasailor said...

Well "Conservative Swede", my country is in Iraq in my name, spending tax dollars I will be paying the next several decades, to exert power and control in that region of the world.

If it were not of direct importance to our own interests, we would care about as much about the Middle East than we do about Darfur. We might say "Oh, what a darn shame," and maybe send some food - but there is no way we would have committed hundreds of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars.

And to be clear - Democratic Presidents care about as much. Hence Rwanda was ignored, but Milosevic had to be deal with *right away* - because Bosnia was of strategic importance to our allies.

Avery Bullard said...

Excellent comment by CS at 2.05pm.

I agree with all of it except I'd slightly alter the sentence about the attitudes of people in the Mid West being different. A significant minority of Mid Westerners are no different from those in the North East when it comes to their liberalism. Many parts of the Mid West were settled by New England Puritans, areas Kevin Phillips called 'Greater New England'.

When Baron talks about being an American he sounds to me like he's talking about a particular regional culture of America - the 'Scots-Irish' backcountry America. I've spent enough time in the northern states, including two Mid West states, to know that many of the people there are just as politically correct as those coming out of Harvard and Berkeley.

This is an interesting article from a left wing source about American regional divisions.

Baron,

Have you read David Hackett Fischer's book Albion's Seed?

Baron Bodissey said...

Swede --

I should have listed you as an excepion. You are a quick study, and rarely fall back into the Hollywood-stereotype mode of identifying American characteristics. There are also other Europeans, particularly those who have lived for a long time in the USA outside of the major cities, who are more familiar with what's really going on.

No, I had other people in mind. But I don't want to start a pissing contest by being specific, because it's true of any number of Europeans. Sometimes the British are the worst. It was that way when I lived in England 40 years ago.

And how is this different from Europe? The ordinary people are oppressed by the elite here too.

The difference is that Americans have much less information about an imaginary Europe than Europeans have about an imaginary USA. I've watched Danish TV, and seen all the standard American schlock on it. The Danes thus have an idea in their mind about "America", which probably doesn't correspond well to the real thing. But it may be detailed, deeply ingrained, and difficult to uproot.

Americans, on the other hand, know next to nothing about Denmark. So when an American comes to Denmark, he is a tabula rasa on the subject, and has no deep and detailed misinformation to unlearn. In that case, ignorance is an advantage.

And, for those Americans who haven't yet been to Denmark: be prepared for a delightful surprise!

Avery Bullard said...

Metasailor has great faith in his ruling class.

metasailor said...

I'd love to have more faith in my ruling class; or more precisely, more trust.

But what I can see of the facts, leads me elsewhere.

Nor, to be clear, is the US alone in this. Ruling classes in general tend to dress their actions in euphemisms and gloss over them with symbolism. And they have the power to hire people who will not bring to them unpleasant truths. In this way, by avoiding acknowledging to themselves of what they're doing and why, the ruling classes can doom those they lead into repeating the exact same problems.

Take the English Protestant ruling classes considering the famine about to face the Irish, and wondering if *enough* millions of Irish would die to make ruling the Irish easier. This as, all the while, their rationale for ruling Ireland was that it was for the Irish's own good - they were too childish and stupid to rule themselves.

This led to Jonathan Swift's masterpiece of mockery "A Modest Proposal". He could see this from the outside, as he was a Protestant from Dublin.

And yet the English did not learn from this. Ireland had a constant and bloody rebellion, and also America rebelled, Australia rebelled, India rebelled, and on and on.

This applies to our US nation currently, and the fascinating amnesia about how while allegedly supporting freedom, we've been picking and supporting despots to rule other nations around the world - and overthrowing governments whenever we don't like what they're doing.

We may tend to avoid thinking about how we put Saddam in power, and how we were just fine with his murdering and raping as long as he did what we said. And we may also avoid remembering how we installed the Shah of Iran, armed and trained the Taliban, prop up the oppressive Saudi royalty, put Suharto in power, etc. etc.

But you can bet that their people will not forget.

Janez said...

Oh, if only the USA had been so altruistic as to occupy Slovenia after WW2. And if only they had set up an army base of about, say, 20.000 soldiers or so. Then maybe they would have saved us from Tito, Kardelj and their murderous cronies. And maybe, just maybe, the teachers they would have removed from the schools would not end up in gulags or six feet under. And I suppose we would end up not murdering about 30.000 unarmed Slovenians in May 1945. And perhaps we would have a normal social development, not a communist one. Unfortunately, the USA we not altruistic enough.

Sure, we are adopting political correctness now. Sure, we suffer from white guilt now, even though we never had an empire, we were part of a larger empire - one that had no colonies. We are considered racist, too, and xenophobic, but of course to our Gipsies and to our Bosnians. And guess what? We have no 100.000 American soldiers forcing us into submitting to this craze. As a matter of fact, all the morons pushing PC are Slovenians. And most of them - just as most Slovenians - think they hate Americans. But from much of what I've read here, one would think that every European has an American sitting on their shoulder, telling them: "breathe in, breathe out..."

Janez said...

Yes, and here's another one: some of you wrote about the USA bombing the Serbs into oblivion but that the Serbs were actually saving Europe from Islam or something like that. Do you really think the Serbs attacked Bosnia because of the Muslims? Or that they suppressed the Albanians in Kosovo because they were Muslim? Think again. They wanted the land and they wanted total control. And they ousted Milosevic not because he wreaked havoc in ex-Yu, but because he lost the war. And you say the USA bombed them immediately? If immediately is after almost a third of Croatia and two thirds of Bosnia are occupied (by the ex-Yu army and air force, no less) and more that a quarter of a million people were dead, then I don't know what 'late' means.

However, expecting gratitude from the people you have liberated (saved) from themselves is stupid, I'll give you that. It's just like forcing an alcoholic to stop drinking and expect they'll be grateful.

Decatur said...

Thank you for your comments Sagunto, I might not have been very clear; I don't think Frankfurt Scl was the point of origin for neomarxism, though' I think it was the main source (out of Columbia U)for the Cultural Revolution and for what has followed. My point was that it was the victory over what the Left termed Rightwing ideology, i.e. (Fascism!) that gave the impetus to the Leftists already here at Columbia. They won WWII; we helped them, so naturally they claimed the moral high ground and promoted their agenda guilt free, while the Right wing cowered ever fearful of being associated with Fascism.

I'm aware of the Wilsonian Progressivism. but must read up more on it. Progressivism nearly took off again in the 1940s with Henry Wallace, who narrowly missed being picked by FDR as his VP. Instead the US got Truman.
The source of the decay? Well I don't know how far back that goes, the French Revolution? I know it's a long way back, as I pointed out, Lenin's infiltration of the primary source (film) to portray America to the world started back in the 20s.

For general information, I should point out that I'm female, quite old (60s) and I was born in England.
I too was deluded about Americans for decades. Film was my primary source. Also, I’m not so sure that those gels married North Americans out of gratitude Sag, might there have been some other more primal draw & did those images in movies play a part? I have to say that in my experience, (I lived near US bases Mildenhall and Lakenheath) and the girls who associated with &/or married 'Yanks' were very much scorned by English folk who had very negative and stereotypical view of Americans. From where did this view come? Baron makes good points above re the wealth of imagery Europeans (and the rest of the world) has about Americans.
Thanks again for your interesting comments. I'll check out your link.

Sagunto said...

@Decatur,
I see your point, thnx for the follow up.

It's somewhat of a detail but it struck me as interesting:
"the girls who associated with &/or married 'Yanks' were very much scorned by English folk who had very negative and stereotypical view of Americans."

There's a striking difference with postwar Holland then. Over here those girls were not scorned at all and even remembered in songs, like "Trees heeft een Canadees", i.e. "Trees has got herself a Canadian". Of course England was never occupied by the Germans, like Holland was.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Decatur said...

Thanks for the comments on that detail Sagunto, tho’ it is quite pertinent to the argument re gratitude insofar as you mention only Canadians. Perhaps the girls were not scorned in Holland bc as you said, there was no occupation, but bear in mind that in Britain also there was (and still is) virtually no antagonism towards Canadians, NZ’s, Australian’s, S.A’s etc. I believe it is because these were Commonwealth countries, still attached to Mother England. These countries did not fight a war, win it and then kick the British out and go on to become the world‘s most successful and enviable superpower. I truly believe that there is a hard core resentment felt towards Americans, mostly from France, Spain and England, hence European mockery of American Kulcha , (knowledge of which can only be known from propaganda in film).
I don’t think Europeans can ever truly understand the American psyche, which has traditionally been a deeply felt sense of devotion to why they came into existence in the first place. It took me several years living here to realize that it is not money and ‘stuff’ that motivates Americans, but fellowship, philanthropy, the pursuit of happiness for all and freedom from government interference, closely allied to the recognition that money, or whatever you choose to barter with, is most necessary to achieve these aims; an anathema to Socialists.
But there again, with the multicult social experiment roaring ahead here, Islamists are establishing entire fortified towns and bases, 20 million+ Mexicans are due to get amnesty from Obama, (Mac & Bush were no better in that regard) people are remaining loyal to their homelands and insistent upon total recognition of their customs, the Constitution and the teachings of the Founding Fathers are scorned or not even taught in Public Schools, all public expression of Christianity is virtually banned, Obama himself states that the Constitution is a flawed document. America herself is becoming detached from her foundations, once this happens my fear is that it will be irreversible. This American experiment may not survive the Obama transition and my concern is that the world will return to the way it has always functioned throughout history; the rulers and the ruled.
btw, didn’t the Dutch have some early interest in New York.? I seem to recall Pieter Stuyvesant (sp.) being connected to Manhattan’s founding & would I be correct in saying thatthe Dollar is a corruption of the Dutch Dahler?. Perhaps it was a v. short-lived stay and they were not subjected to being kicked out. More reading… sigh.
Thanks again & best wishes from Texas.
Dec.

Sagunto said...

Thnx Dec.,

for your inside views on the American predicament. Becoming detached from her foundations is the right - albeit sad - description indeed, and i.m.o. that also rings true for many nations in Europe. I hesitate to use "European" as something more than a geographical label, but I can imagine that from today's US, there inevitably must be the sense of a distinctive European mind. And there might very well be English, Spanish etc. antagonism among the "chattering political classes", but of course Holland's politicians are diligently posing as the odd one out in Europe, once again. As long as there's trade involved, the Dutch will go to great lengths to get along with almost anyone [for a long period , the Dutch were from mid 17th century until 1855 about the only Europeans with a trade post in anti-Christian Japan, Deshima, Nagasaki]. So there's "political support" for the war in Irak and Dutch soldiers are fighting in Afganisthan, while on the other hand many in the lefitst MSM share a French-style cultural anti-Americanism that eqeates the US with Madonna and MacDagobert's (no advertising here ;-).

On a basic level, I think people in Holland are perfectly equipped to understand the US mindset of true conservatives, but that would be the vanishing legacy of the independent American States, not the Federal Nation (revamped under arch-Progressives TR and Wilson). Your quote sums it all up:

"..the pursuit of happiness for all and freedom from government interference.."

Well, perhaps not the happiness-thing, but certainly freedom from interference, although that type of character is also slowly disappearing over here, but luckily that is largely confined to the "higher educated" managerial types that thrive on high-minded, "well intended" State dirigism.
I don't know if I agree with your opinions on money and socialists, for I think it's obvious that socialists care for money a great deal. The prime difference i.m.o. is that they have a somewhat more primitive mindset, i.e. see money as loot that needs to be (re)distributed among the tribe's members (come and think of it, the distribution of the spoils is also a large part of the tales that surround Mohammed in the Sirat/Koran). They see economy as a zero-sum-game, like children in a family that all want an equal share of what is desired. Socialists want money just as bad, they just don't like the idea of freedom that equals free markets and individual property rights.

I'll leave you with an up to date impression of fierce Dutch opposition to govt. interference, to back up my view that a great many Dutch will understand Americans, and thank you for sharing your views over here.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.