07 January 2006

imperial grand strategy

Or perhaps I should call it Imperial Grand Strategery?

I'm on to Book #2 of the year, Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival. I've never read a Chomsky book before, although I've listened to several of his audiobooks and speeches.

It follows in the Empire theme which I've been exploring. Last year I read Michael Mann's Incoherent Empire, for which this category is named. So far, Chomsky comes off more as an anarchist or an anti-statist, not a crazy left-winger that the Right makes him out to be.

He describes the NeoCon vision for America as a mix of Wilsonian idealism and intentional ignorance. After all, they were the ones that said (paraphrasing) "we are an empire now and we create our own reality".

Chomsky quotes Andrew Bacevich:

The principle is "America as historical vanguard": "History has a discernable direction and destination. Uniquely amoug all the nations in the world, the United States comprehends and manifests history's purpose...

Sounds like the NeoCon version of Marx's dialectical materialism. It is our destiny to conquer the world! America is a world historical force to be reckoned with!

I found Chomsky's discussion of what is "anti-American" to be particularly salient:

The term anti-American and its variants ("hating America", and the like) are regularly employed to defame critics of state policy who may admire and respect the country, its culture, its achievments, indeed think it is the greatest place on Earth...

Hmm, sounds like a perfect description of yours truly. Chomsky continues:

...This usage is drawn directly from the lexicon of totalitarianism. In the former Russian empire, dissidents were guilty of "anti-Sovietism". Perhaps critics of Brazil's military dictatorship were labeled "anti-Brazilian".

This plays a critical functional role in bolstering state power by stifling rational dissent and labeling it hate speech. It's perfectly natural to hate the state--something which is an artificial social construct--but confusing anti-statism with hatred of a people is a devious device.

Stay tuned for more on this book. I'm off to make dinner.


I guess you could say this is the "Original Pime". I stopped blogging here regularly in May 2008 (if you don't count the B-Sides diversion - yes it gets confusing) when I joined the Tumblr revolution. Going forward bravely into 2009, this site will serve to house any large image work I produce.

Peace out.


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