For the Record: Neocons Scoff at Democratic Values, Manipulate Religion
In September 2000, an article was published by the think tank, Project for a New American Century (PNAC) called Rebuilding Americaâ€™s Defenses. The article calls for a visionary transformation of the nature and function of the American military, with the goal of establishing a â€œPax Americana.â€ In discussing the difficulty in promoting their agenda to the American people, the authors wrote:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event â€“ like a new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.It does not follow from this statement that these people were in any way involved in the 9/11 attack, however it does speak to the fact that they felt they stood to gain from such a â€œnew Pearl Harbor,â€ which would act as a catalyst in speeding up the implementation of their agenda. PNAC, a voice of the neo-conservative movement, was founded in the mid 90â€™s to promote a global Pax Americana. The signatures of the groups mission statement include Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Chaney, Bill Kristol, Lewis Libby, and Jeb Bush among others.
Most of the people involved with PNAC were, directly or indirectly, students of a political theorist names Leo Strauss. Strauss was a German Jew who fled to America during WWII. His theories developed into a critique of what he felt was an inherent tendency of Western society toward nihilism. He believed that the classical philosophers has understood correctly that, while no higher authority than man actually existed, for the sake of a smoothly-run society it was essential for the masses to have religion. As one article puts it:
Plato benevolently conceived of such a system in order to establish a stable social and moral order and to make the most of the capacities of individuals to serve the community. He was not concerned that the lie he told was false. If the people believed that god put different metals into the souls of different people then they would accept the social order that resulted from this and live in a stable and socially just society. Its claim to social justice would come from a willingness to promote or demote people according to their ability. Even less palatably to us now, Plato also suggested that people be taught the myth that different classes have different metals in their bloodstream, and therefore should not intermarry.
The noble lie is a religious myth told to the people to motivate them to do what is good and right. Without this religious belief they would not behave in a good fashion even if this was what was ultimately in their best interests. It was no use explaining to them why they should behave well because they would not understand. Plato did not have a very good opinion of the ordinary man or woman. He thought mankind should be ruled by super-intelligent Guardians who would know what was right to do. Ordinary people could not rule because they could not be trusted to do what was right. Democracy, said Plato, is the rule of the mob.
Strauss incorporated the idea of the â€œNoble Lieâ€ into his political thought and teaching, and we can see itâ€™s application today. Perhaps the PNAC neocons, who are now heavily represented in the Bush admin., felt the country was ebbing toward a self-destructive nihilism when they constructed a â€œnoble lieâ€ for all of us: that the US isnâ€™t just another superpower poised to expand its power and influence, but that America had a solemn duty to spread â€œfreedomâ€ across the globe. And since God gave us that freedom, anyone who disagreed with us was in opposition to God. Through Bush, theyâ€™ve won over religious groups by couching their noble lie in religious overtones:
the day after 9/11, the President first stated the position he would continue to maintain: "This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil, but good will prevail." Later Bush defined his enemies as the "axis of evil," a term that is theologically and morally loaded. â€œGiven that state of sublime innocence in his own country, like Adam and Eve in paradise, Bush can muster only one explanation for the terrorists' hatred of his nation: "There are people who hate freedom." In other words, they are so evil that they abhor the good because it is good. (But if the terrorists hate freedom, why have they not attacked Canada, which in some respects is more democratic than the United States? Why is there not the same hatred for Switzerland, Holland or Costa Rica?)http://www.thenation.com/doc/20031222/stam
Rather than just exploiting religionâ€™s potential to be an â€œopiate of the masses,â€ this noble lie is a double edged sword: it gave the people an idea to rally behind; a raison dâ€™etre for post-cold war America, as well as justifying the invasion of Iraq and the radical transformation of the American military which PNAC had called for.
In a press conference yesterday, Bush complained that a leaked report which concluded that the war in Iraq has increased the terrorist threat. He claimed that the reportâ€™s leak was politically motivated, and that it would â€œcreate confusion in the minds of the American peopleâ€ Confusion? To the countryâ€™s leadership, the truth is dangerous. Despite all of the rhetoric about Freedom and Democracy, at the heart of the â€˜Bush doctrineâ€™ is a neoconservative contempt for the masses and democracy, an idea that the people can by manipulated through their religion, and the notion that lies are necessary because the masses canâ€™t handle the truth.
Well, I for one have had enough!
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(originally uploaded by Scoobymoo) Steve | 09.29.06 - 11:52 am Iâ€™d have to say, I once thought terrorists were just religious nuts trying to get their 40 virgins. I thought 9/11 was a cowardly, yet simplistic attack. Today, I realize how sophisticat... Read More