[Marxism] Manifest destiny

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 27 07:38:46 MDT 2006


http://www.leftcurve.org/LC29WebPages/ManifestDestiny.html
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.[1]

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, we’ve seen two sets of rationales: one 
official, the other unspoken. The official one, which has long since been 
discredited, was the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The 
unofficial and unspoken ones are racism and religious chauvinism ("Nuke 'em 
all").

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.

Foundation myths

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 world’s insanity."[2]

A foundation myth provides polyglot cultures a sense of kinship, a common 
if manufactured heritage. The Romans recognized the individual’s 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.[3]

(clip)

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