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Old 01-09-2012, 08:25 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: An apparition is stalking America

Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
How do you get this out of Wonderment's post?
When he characterizes America as "capable of maintaining world military and economic domination by punishing the poor, rewarding the rich and extending control through perpetual warfare," I'd say that's a pretty damning indictment and makes America no better than those empires built solely on coercion and fear -- Rome, the Soviet Union, the United States. They are all of a kind.

If he feels any differently or I'm overstating the case, I'd love to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, as it were.

It seems to me those that he is mocking are the ones who do not. Insisting that everyone acknowledge that the US is objectively the best country ever and that affection for others (except Israel and sometimes the UK) is somehow bad seems kind of like insisting that everyone admit that your wife is the best woman ever.
Oh, I don't think when politicians of any stripe extoll America's virtues, they are "insisting that everyone acknowledge that the U.S. is objectively the best country ever." They do, however, wish that Americans would give their country a special place in their hearts.

To stretch the analogy, perhaps to the breaking point, I have long had the hots for Michelle Pfeiffer; I wouldn't sing her praises too loudly, too often in my wife's hearing.

Why shouldn't Florian have a preference for France? But if I say that the US is my favorite, but it seems silly to demand that we make objective claims about the best-ness of the US, that gets my patriotism questioned.
Florian should feel that way, maybe, though as a dual national, maybe not. I am of the belief that patriotism, within certain bounds, is good and healthy. From Andorrans to Zimbabweans, all should feel that their countries are special. Where we go wrong is in thinking that our countries are perfect and that we have nothing to learn from others. Worse, some seem to think that we can demonstrate our love for our best by showing disdain for others. That is simple jingoism and not healthy.

I've not noticed [that] Wonderment [holds people who have patriotic feelings in contempt].
Maybe not in abstract, general terms but look again at what he writes:

Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
It's all part of the vast right-wing Reaganistic delusion that the US is a) the greatest country in the history of the world b) vulnerable to losing that status because of misguided Democrat party-poopers who haven't drunk the kool-aid. ...

*Dems. also subscribe to the perpetual warfare doctrine, albeit with some misgivings.
From this I get the sense that he holds Americans who feel their country is the best in contempt, though he seems to think it's Republicans fault that they do. Dems have a less virulent strain of the virus, it seems.

I think he holds the idea that the US should police the world in contempt and, similarly, the idea that those in other countries should recognize our fitness and moral unquestionability in doing so. I think this is actually related to the argument about Ron Paul's moral significance that Bob Wright posted at the Atlantic.

(And in case it's not clear, my own foreign policy views are different from those of Wright and more so from Wonderment and the sainted Dr. Paul.)
I don't disagree with the rest, but again, I'd say Wonderment seems to reserve special contempt for the United States in its interventions and efforts to shape the world to its values and interests. Perhaps you might get him to admit that the United States is no worse than any other empire-builder in history, but certainly no better.

To return to my lover analogy, it seems as likely that rather than being cold and unfeeling, Wonderment is like a jilted suitor. America is not the sort of country that he would like. With America having resisted his charms, he now scorns her as the worst country of all.

It's rather sad, actually.
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 01-09-2012 at 08:26 PM.. Reason: typo
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