[Marxism] Manifest destiny
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 27 07:38:46 MDT 2006
Manifest Destiny: American Imperial Myth, Then & Now
by Michael Fitzgerald
There is a thread in American history that runs through Indian Removal, the
Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the Asian Rimland Wars,
right on into the current conflict in Iraq. These adventures constitute a
"pattern of racism and imperialism that began with the first Indian war in
Virginia in 1622," writes historian James Loewen.
History shows clearly that whenever Americans want something another nation
has--such as land or oil or other resources--we are able to justify taking
it. The usual contrivance is the age-old theory that non-white peoples are
unable to govern themselves, so we must heed our "divine mission" to
liberate them from their own ignorance and corruption, bringing our gifts
of freedom, democracy and Christianity--whether they want them or not.
The difficult part is getting the American public to go along with these
adventures. Sometimes as a justification we employ appeals to national
security. In the case of Iraq, weve seen two sets of rationales: one
official, the other unspoken. The official one, which has long since been
discredited, was the threat of Iraqs weapons of mass destruction. The
unofficial and unspoken ones are racism and religious chauvinism ("Nuke 'em
When all three elements are present, you have something for everybody. This
country has not seen such an explosivemixture of racism, religious
chauvinism and naked greed since the war against Mexico in 1846.
The conceit that we have a special mission from God to remake the world in
our image is called American exceptionalism, but there is nothing
exceptional about it. The Babylonians, Assyrians, Medeans, Persians,
Egyptians, Israelites and Romans all espoused foundation myths designating
themselves the "chosen people" of God.
Scottish economist C.H. Douglas wrote in 1943 that the chosen-race myth "is
the key myth of history
in it, we can find an almost complete explanation
of the worlds insanity."
A foundation myth provides polyglot cultures a sense of kinship, a common
if manufactured heritage. The Romans recognized the individuals bond to
the group could become a more powerful force than his or her own survival.
What did the Romans think was the foundation of existence? What would they
fight and die for?
"There are three things
we are willing to die for: God, country and
family," Michelle Jones, command sergeant-major, U.S. Army Reserves, told
an Army-base newspaper.
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