Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism

The love of Argentine Fascists for German Fascists is well known, but what is less well-known is that modern Leftist Totalitarians have a fondness for Totalitarian Islam. The support of Radical Leftists for Radical Islam is an ongoing puzzle. Why do they do it? If Radical Islam were to ever succeed in its goal of spreading their brand of Islam across the world, Radical Leftists would be the first to be executed. This seems to be another case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the American brand of Liberal Democracy has been the greatest enemy of Soviet Socialism. In fact, the U.S. was largely responsible for the demise of Soviet Communism; so surely, many Leftists think and argue, it deserves to be opposed and gotten even with in any way possible.

And as Radical Islamists argue, America is the Great Satan, and Israel is the Small Satan. Israel is the “outpost” of the American Crusade against Islam. Anti-Semitism means nothing, they argue. It is all about the American Crusade against Islam, and Israel is part of that. And Radical Leftists seem to love the Islamists for giving America its come-uppance. They personally will be long dead before Radical Islam can do any serious damage against the U.S., if that ever happens, but in the meantime any road-block that can be thrown in the way of American success is to the good. America destroyed the best hope of mankind, Soviet Communism, they believe, so America deserves all the harm that can be heaped upon it.

I noticed the article:,0,7725468.story . It is by Fabiola Sanchez and entitled “Venezuela’s Jews fear more violence, vandalism.” Is it merely a coincidence that this outbreak of anti-Semitism occurs in the totalitarian regime of Hugo Chavez? I don’t think so – not that there is a coherent anti-American, anti-Israeli philosophy, but there is a loose one. Noam Chomsky, for example can go on and on in one anti-American diatribe after another, but one can piece together certain themes that are important to him, and the same thing can be said about totalitarian governments, sometimes it seems to be the “exact” same thing. They hate America and they hate Israel, and any harm that can be done them, they in effect argue, should be engaged in. As the Sanchez quotes, “a chavista columnist named Emilio Silva posted a call to action on Aporrea, a pro-government Web site, describe Jews as ‘squalid’ – a term Chavez often uses to describe his opponents as weak – and exhorting Venezuelans to confront them as anti-government conspirators.”

Hitler’s Germany never mounted a very extensive propaganda campaign against the U.S. We were in a sense dragged into the war against Germany by Britain and there was a lot about Britain that Hitler admired. He hoped for a long time that Britain would come to its senses and join him. As for the U.S., they were a nation of mongrels that could not mount a serious threat. Even if they were to get to Europe, they could not match his German soldiers. But Communism and Soviet Russia were a threat; so his propaganda was directed not only against the Jews but Soviet Russia and Communism. A case was made that Communism was the creation of the Jews, for after all, wasn’t Marx Jewish?


It is so easy to forget that what the U.S. and Israel and indeed the European “West” and other nations like Japan represent is a loose, egalitarian, free-swinging, anything goes Liberal Democracy. There is nothing at all Totalitarian about this. Anything goes. Whatever feels good, do it. The governments that permit this sort of life are called Liberal Democracies. It is easy to see why authoritarian ascetics would disapprove. There is a strong strain of asceticism in Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, for example; so it isn’t surprising that these ascetics view “Americanism” as a kind of debauchery.

And it is well known that one of the things Americans believe “feels good” is making money; so America is filled with entrepreneurs tripping over each other with new ideas. That isn’t something that authoritarian regimes promote; so America will always, as long as the current situation prevails, be ahead in technology, in the making of money, and in the making of weapons.

Meanwhile, Socialist ascetics mourn the loss of the dream. Yeah, maybe Stalin didn’t get it quite right, but he was on the right track. He did the best he could to follow Marx and Lenin, but the cards were stacked against him. Let’s not give up the dream, they tell one another. Let’s keep the fire burning: from each according to his ability. To each according to his need. Life can be beautiful in our ideal Socialist future, they still believe. Let’s not give up fighting for Socialism. America represents the Capitalism that Marx and Lenin wrote against. Let us, all of us ascetic Socialists who still believe in the dream, oppose America in every way possible and support all the enemies of America. Yes, if America collapses utterly, the world will probably enter an era of chaos, but chaos means opportunity. That will be our time. That will be the time when we can at last realize Marx’s Socialist dream. . . .

Those who embrace that form of Socialist asceticism can imagine themselves wandering some desert like Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, searching for truth. Siddhartha found truth in simple work, ferrying travelers back and forth across a river. America meanwhile has no truth. It only grubs for money, success, material plenty, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, the Anti-Americans do have a point. All of those excesses exist in American and, indeed, in every Liberal Democracy, including Israel’s. But what the Anti-Americans have failed to produce is a viable alternative. Their two tangible alternatives, German Fascism and Russian Communism failed in the 20th century. Yes, little Fascist nations and little Communist nations still exist, but they are hopeless. They base themselves on dead dreams. If an alternative to American debauchery ever does arise, it will probably arise in America, and most likely in California. We are the fountainhead, here in California, of most of the new harebrained schemes and new religions. Their creation is one of our specialties. Elsewhere in the world, they warm-over Stalinism and Fascism, but we are inventive here. I say that in self-depreciation, but I do intend something serious. We have the freedom in America to choose, and much of America is choosing to be debauched. Its heroes are Barry Bonds and O. J. Simpson. Their heroines are Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. When they want to know who to vote for it asks Ben Affleck and Barbara Streisand.

But no one is forcing Americans to choose as they do. Hollywood celebrities and successful athletes appear before them and they applaud, but they choose to do so. No one is forcing that applause. If someone in some crackpot state like California or Texas were to come up with a viable, somewhat ascetic alternative, perhaps some would look away from the glitter and tinsel. There have been times in our past, in the past of the West, when we were more ascetic. “Debauchery” used to be a bad thing, and it can be again. We don’t need to turn to one of the untried, unproven ideals of the Anti-Americans.

In the meantime, even though we live in America, we ourselves are not being coerced to become debauched. Granted, that is our image, but we do have the freedom to make different choices; so we can go on living in this Liberal Democracy that is partially debauched, or we can opt for a revolution that destroys Liberal Democracy, reduces the world to chaos, very likely explodes several nuclear weapons in the process and then gropes after an ideal that has never been properly defined and has never existed at any time or place in history – an ideal that includes the premise that human nature can be improved.

1 comment:

Lawrence Helm said...

See my response at