FREEDOM RIDER: Dangerous Progressives

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Created 07/01/2009 – 13:00

By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

manifestAmerican_progressSELF-STYLED “PROGRESSIVES” TEND TO THINK of themselves as another tribe entirely, untainted by American chauvinism. It ain’t so. “Progressives also succumb to the belief in American divine right, and consequently can often be as dangerous as those on the political right.” This is especially evident in the Age of Obama, who “has continued some of the worst Bush administration policies, but still receives nearly universal support from progressives.”

“It is assumed that Americans are good and know what is best for the world.”

Most Americans believe their country is a benevolent and beloved force in the world. That belief is so deeply ingrained that even political progressives are rarely different in upholding this awful dogma. They are as likely as self-identified conservatives to support the government when it asserts a right to interfere with foreign governments, to occupy their nations, or to kill human beings on any pretext deemed necessary by the United States.

“It has been said that the US does not have an ideology, it is an ideology. One needs only to look at the ubiquitous American flag to realise that there might be some truth in this. US culture is riddled with patriotism, and too often it is not a ‘clean’ patriotism, in that pride is felt about the United States in and of itself, but rather a ‘dirty’ patriotism wherein everything that is not American is actively put down, ‘dumbified’ or ridiculed. If one accepts this as being the case, then the question arises: Why? What is the basis for this American need to constantly glorify itself, to make itself out to be special, set apart, almost holy, in relation to all other nations? At first glance it might seem like something of a paradox. If we disregard the comparatively minute number of Native Americans, the US is entirely made up of the historically recent descendants of European and Asian immigrants, the descendants of African slaves, and, even more recent, immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean. One would think, then, that if there were one nation on the planet devoid of national prejudice, the United States would be it. Clearly, this is not the case. But the paradox is only apparent, for it is indeed from this very multicultural nature that the aggressive American patriotism arises.— Sellevold, Martin (2003). “A Look At American Exceptionalism”

The term “Manifest Destiny” was coined in the 1800s, but its power lives on into the 21st century. Manifest Destiny was the stated belief that white Americans had the right to expand their power across the North American continent. Manifest Destiny resulted in the near annihilation of the native population and the spread of enslavement from sea to shining sea. Manifest Destiny has been the cause of numerous wars spanning the globe from Mexico to the Philippines. Lies that justified military action against Vietnam, and the occupation of Iraq, were all fed by the Manifest Destiny myth.

“Manifest Destiny resulted in the near annihilation of the native population.”

Both Democrats and Republicans are hard core believers in this awful creed. Presidents from both parties have asserted the right to interfere in the affairs of foreign nations, and they have almost always done so with the support of the vast majority of their citizens.

The result of this mindless acceptance of an awful propaganda is a country that is always ready to assert the prerogatives of state power. Too few Americans will oppose their government when it incarcerates more people than any other government on earth, or when it chooses to engage in plans for endless warfare.

Progressives also succumb to the belief in American divine right, and consequently can often be as dangerous as those on the political right. The shallowness of their principles first became obvious during the 2008 presidential campaign. Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.No matter. The lackadaisical progressive response to Bushesque Obama policies proved once and for all that true opposition to the United States government would emerge from a very small group and that labels such as left and progressive were becoming more and more meaningless.

Barack Obama has continued some of the worst Bush administration policies, but still receives nearly universal support from progressives. In his first 48 hours in office he authorized a drone attack in Pakistan that resulted in civilian casualties. He has agreed to withhold photos of detainee torture, and proposed a policy of indefinite detention without trial. The war that began in Iraq has expanded in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has turned over more that $12 trillion dollars in public funds to the financial services industry without repairing the damage that industry wrought on millions of people. Most progressives have chosen to either be silent or to actively defended him.

“Too few Americans will oppose their government when it incarcerates more people than any other government on earth.”

They have done so because they are not at all interested in changing the political system. Why change a system if you think it is just fine the way it is? They may prefer David Axelrod to Karl Rove, but they agree that powerful white men like them should decide what is right for this country and for the world. Their differences with Rove are less important than their absolute faith that people like him know best just because they are close to the ruling elites in this the best of all possible nations.  Progressives and liberals are as ready as conservatives to support government interventions in our lives and on the world stage. The country in question may be Sudan, or perhaps Iran. The clarion call is the same. “We must do something” because “we” are superior, all knowing, and chosen by a divine force to make the world in whatever image we choose.

No one asks how “we” is defined, or if the presence of the United States is needed or wanted. No one asks about the history of past interventions and their usually negative outcomes. It is assumed that Americans are good and know what is best for the world, despite a long history of numerous brutalities carried out across the globe.

“Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.”

As long as white Americans believe in their inherent superiority, they will be a very dangerous people indeed. Some of those dangerous people are Democrats and some are Republicans. In the end, they usually want the same thing. They want their ruling class to dominate other human beings. They may differ on which individuals should do the dominating, and where and when the domination is warranted. They may even decide that a black man can act on behalf of the ruling classes, but belief in the power of that class is still accepted without question. As long as that is the case, Democratic politicians and liberal bloggers will pose as a great a peril to the world as do the stars of Fox news. In the end, they all want the very same thing.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgandaReport.Com.

3 comments on “FREEDOM RIDER: Dangerous Progressives
  1. Obama is a photogenic, smart and personable man, a perfectly smoothed out symbol for the presidency in the twenty first century. Although the cosmetics changed (and will over time again into the female, Hispanic or Asian version), the office requires salesmanship and theatrics of the ‘serious’ political kind, all the better to cram down more oppressive measures in half palatable forms, while all resistance is eroded by the media.

    Unlike Michael Jackson who also is a true child of these times. He is in the tradition of Pablo Picasso who was virtually the first super star in the twentieth century, including instant name recognition with a background of enormous sums of money and a host of adulatory and condemning myths. In fact they have a great deal in common, not in the least that both broke through the façade of reality as it is presented to us in bourgeois capitalism. It is entirely wrong to assume that Jackson wanted to dissimulate his blackness by surgery which was not at all the case. He wanted to become a de-personalized mask through which he could advance his music and his high pitched voice as if those originated from an absent even alien entity. In fact his dancing is purely that of a mechanized doll deliberately and brilliantly choreographed by him. This distance of the artist’s creative kernel from his/her product as if the creator is not there and the work stands by itself is also seen in Warhol’s silk screened impersonal flat mirror images of faces, car accidents and electric chairs that reflect the bland materialist surface by which we are mesmerized. Like Picasso’s women who are like instruments in his hands but are spread out in a two-dimensional structure, thus showing their interchangeability, having lost all human dimensions, so does Jackson show us where we have become cogs in the machine of our times and his dancing reflects the doll-like precision with which Chaplin adjusts buttons on a woman’s dress with his pliers after having done this umpteenth times during working hours at the Taylor band in his movie ‘Modern Times’ and that is exactly what Jackson must have had in mind. The super sensitivity of the creative artist remains hidden, protected from the obscene glare of our contemporary materialistically vulgar curiosity even if it adopts great eccentricity for keeping distance. Artists of every kind must protect their perishable creative soul, vide Hadrian’s poem “anima blandula, vagula, hospes comesque corporis, etc.” (O fleeting soul of mine, my body’s friend and guest, whither goes thou, pale, fearful, and pensive one? Why laugh not as of old?) and they in particular feel the oppressive materialism and dehumanization of our existence.

    Obama‘s public ‘persona’ is flat, two-dimensional, intrusive in it’s persuasiveness and easily acceptable as a foil for continuing the hypnotized absorption with which we listen to him, the news, contemporary pop music, look at television dreck and at contemporary art. As long as our emotions are kept in check, because they are dangerous if erupted. We all are caught in the artist‘s dilemma of keeping our true feelings hidden while trying to stay productive in a dysfunctional and dishonest world.

  2. Ms Kimberley’s analysis is simply brilliant, and I, for one, am mighty indebted to her for pointing out the sheer silliness of “progressives” unconditional love for this undeniably gifted demagogue. As reader Pavimentov notes, Obama’s ubiquitous persona helps the system by keeping the stew from boiling over. Emotions are indeed dangerous when connected to action, political action. For their part the media do their assigned job to break up any buildups in emotion, especially mounting anger at the spectacle of things as they really are.

    Thank you for a powerful article.

  3. Yes, I agree. Excellent article, and great comments as well. I’m a reasonably-freshmen anti-capitalism activist. Actually, I’m anti-pyramiding, anti-economies, and anti-ownership, which equates to anti-imperialism and anti-hierarchies. In brief, I’m anti-monetary-discrimination. Make monetary discrimination illegal, and the imperialism/pyramid, just like the childhood pyramids we failed-at, will collapse. Heck, the capitalism pyramid will collapse no matter what.

    All of this personal crap aside, my question is… does Obama have any power to speak-of, or is he a puppet and PR entity? That pyramid scheme on the back of the USA dollar… is it Columbian Freemason? And is the USA gov in a district of Columbia and not part of the USA… because of that?

    Plus, I just KNOW the Bilderberg kids and the NSA are both still powerful and calling many of the “shots”. Is there a docilating and pacifying happening here? Is Mister Obama-rama-lama-ding-dong simply being used as a focal point of blame and attaboys… to keep our critical-thinkingless minds off-of the secret kabals that operate above/behind the president of the USA?

    And even if “we” COULD expose any or all of these hidden forces that might be operating out of public view… would the USA’s bar-b-q addicted, professional and appropriate behavior-addicted, shopping-addicted, everything-is-fine-addicted docilites… even have a reaction? Or are we all too fat and pacified, and teaching of our children to be peaceful… to get anything done about it? I’ve not seen many revolutions that started from shopping, motorsports, over-eating, and then taking yet another nap. A rebel yawn just doesn’t carry the spirit of a rebel yell.

    Wingnut – MaStars Anti-capitalism system fighters

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