Stirling Newberry is hereby awarded the coveted Seeing the Forest Blog Hero Award for his post 1968, The Sequel. Excerpt:
“The military world is about lack of choices, the metropolitan world about multiplying them. The last thing that both agreed on was that Vietnam was a mistake, but their responses were completely different.
To the metropolitan world, the response was to end the draft. Unable to stop the political class from going to war against its will, it opted out. Like the gold bug who doesn’t trust the fed, they wanted to be able to withhold their specific consent from the acts of society. The metropolitan mind says “since I did not give my consent, the war is not my fault”.
The military mind embraced the volunteer army — all the better to make sure that it is “we” and not “they” who serve. But, for the same reason that a white person cannot use the word “nigger” criticism of war cannot be allowed. The military man will tell you about the endless errors and stupidity of the military. The Second World War created an entire series of kinds of “Fuck Ups”, from “Situation Normal: All Fucked Up”, to “Things Are Really Fucked Up” to “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition”. However, outsiders are not allowed to criticize the war: because it strikes, as noted, at the core of the being of the unit and the service.”
In news the rule is that liberals will watch the news, and conservatives will watch conservative news. A liberal will watch to see what you think, the conservative will watch to see how much you agree with him. This is why the headline world is so far to the right even of the content. Consider this week’s Newsweek – it has an article which dishonestly tries to look at Bush in a “balanced” way – soft pedaling his unbroken record of sacrificing the national good for his own short term gain, but still admitting Bush does seem to have problems changing course until it is too late. The headline, however, does not even preserve this level of obsequious pandering – and instead proclaims in large letters “No Excuses!” with a determined Bush on the cover.
The editors know that the conservative will not accept anything less than pure hagiography, while the liberal will at least read the article to find out.
Hence, we have a press which is almost unrelentingly propagandistic for the right, not because the people in the press lean to the right particularly – but because the audience that swells the viewership, and the advertising rates, is a heavily reactionary one.
Right now the Republican Party is not more numerous than the Democratic Party, but its lunatic fringe – wanting to repeal Darwin and Keynes, Einstein and Mahler – is much more numerous and much more plugged into the televsion. The consumer electorate – the consumerate – is incapable of knowing right from wrong. The media is incapable of telling the truth: we cannot say that America has committed war crimes in Iraq. We cannot say that America is now locked in a depression, no longer contracting, but never to reach the peak we had again unless we change policies.
A Constitution is what the nation is constituted upon. It must work. Ours does not. Until the Democratic Party faces the hatred and anger of the military and agrarian castes, and the economy associated with it, it will not be allowed to take power even if it wins the election, as was shown to Gore. Or if it takes power, it will not be allowed to use it, as was shown to Clinton in his second term. Until the will of those whose appetite for lies and paranoia is broken – in a Clauswitzean sense – there will be no peace or stability in the American Republic.
But, please, go read the whole thing.