On global empire

There are three extant strains of thought when it comes to American empire. These are:

1. The Marxian notion of global capitalist hegemony
2. The realpolitik view of sole superpower
3. The utopian concept of world democratic revolution

The “empire” for which Ben Shapiro and his neocon compatriots call is this third sort. It has its origins in Woodrow Wilson’s concept of worldly paradise through correct political structure and rests on the notion that the quasi-democratic system of majoritarian representation in a centralized state is superior to every other form of government, including genuine democracy. Based on this faith, the democratic supremacist finds justification for ignoring national sovereignty, cultural tradition, self-determination and anything else that happens to bar this progress towards global utopia.

This view is inherently globalist, which is why Wilson was a strong advocate for the League of Nations and why American neocons are surprisingly – to conservatives – friendly towards the United Nations. To the world democratic revolutionaries, the idea that Americans should be solely concerned with American rights and American citizens, not with Iraqis, Yemenis or Papua South Guineans, is archaic and bordering on immoral, for they see everyone as global citizens with the concomitant global rights. This is why the UN – a centralized global quasi-democratic institution – is seen as a primary ally by the utopians, who hope to reform its flaws and take advantage of its strengths to further their visions of strictly limited world democracy.

The “freedom” espoused by the utopians should never be confused with the unalienable freedoms that are the American birthright, however. It is no accident that despite the fact that they speak of an American empire, the quasi-democratic systems that result from American military invasions and occupations are inevitably free of the not only the checks and balances of the American Constitution, but also a good part of the American Bill of Rights. I have not perused the Iraqi Constitution, but I would bet that it bears far more similarity to the UN Declaration of Human Rights than to the U.S. Constitution and the American Bill of Rights. For example, there is almost no chance that the right to bear arms is included despite the fact that Iraqis have suffered under a despotic government for decades.

The reason that advocates of utopian empire are inherent traitors to the United States and enemies of its Constitution is because without respect for national sovereignty and self-determination, the United States itself has no raison d’etre. The protections of its constitution are nil and its unalienable rights are void if they are in conflict with the wishes of the utopians. In the same way that neither the Serbs nor the Kurds are permitted the right of self-determination under this utopian scheme, Americans are denied the very rights that they are supposed to be guaranteed. This utopian veto over individual rights is how Shapiro can justify the “temporary sacrifice” of civil liberties in a war predicted to last decades, even though there is no possible way that these sacrifices will aid the war effort and there are other, less oppressive means of addressing the supposed risks.

And because it offers the promise of freedom while delivering its opposite, the neocon’s utopian concept of empire is doomed to failure by its inherent inconsistencies. The World Democratic Revolution is no more tenable than the World Communist Revolution, and like its intellectual parent, will eventually collapse into totalitarian tyranny. The particular danger for the United States is that following the tradition of imperial overstretch, its abuse as the utopians’ primary weapon will cause the remnants of its constitutional system to break down as well.

Mailvox: logic and pugilism

JR plays dirty by bringing logic into the equation:

I think you are becoming a victim of the type of “debate” used by . . . chickenhawks . . . on, say, FreeRepublic. You end up chasing them as they obfuscate, dodge, change the subject, etc. They are great at creating quagmires.

It is really pretty simple: (1) these men are of an age where they are good potential military material; (2) these men assert that this “war” is of the highest priority to the nation; (3) these men do not enlist.

Therefore, one of two situations exists: (1) these men are cowards or (2) they do not believe their assertions about the priority of the war…. If they believe there is another situation that could exist, it is their obligation to posit it.

I’d add the “hypocritical” adjective to coward in situation (1) but otherwise I see nothing logically incorrect about JR’s summary. What are the chances that Chuck, JohnG or any other avian defender can respond to this train of logic without obfuscating, dodging or attempting to change the subject?

For all the digital ink that has been spent on this, I’ve yet to see a similarly rational defense of chickenhawkery. Instead, these nominal defenses are getting increasingly absurd and bitter.

And it seems that upon further thought, BH has concluded that Ben’s honor isn’t worth fighting for. Michelle’s either, for that matter:

Thank you for your very cordial invitation…. I never wrote that I agreed with Ben Shapiro, only that his age and inexperience have no bearing on the validity of his arguments. Concerning Michelle Malkin, however, you are right: I did misrepresent you. I retrieved the article in question and there was no ad hominem. You argued the facts. It’s been a pleasure corresponding with you.

Likewise, BH. It’s always entertaining to discuss the arcana of the sweet science and its Oriental cousins with a fellow enthusiast.

Mailvox: a lieutenant sounds off

LT sends a similar response to Ben Shapiro’s recent columns from an Air Force intelligence officer on active duty:

Kind of like un-Patriotic conservatives, Benjy Boy? I’m referring to David Frum’s screed in the National Review attacking Paul Craig Roberts, Robert Novak, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan and other members of the Old Right. The NeoConservatives have proclaimed them un-American as well.

Of course Benjy Boy has to simplistically reduce what a “chickenhawk” is. Chickenhawks have been around a long time. Thomas Paine called them “sunshine patriots”. Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun were actually called “Chicken Hawks” and pressured Madsion into asking Congress to declare war on Great Britain. And then there were the men in favor of fighting the Confederacy who paid $500 to other men to fight for them. Later you had the draft-deferring Newt Gingrichs, Trent Lotts and Dick Cheney who had “more important priorties”. I’m sure Benjy Boy has more important priorties now also than joining the Marines. What Benjy Boy fails to distinguish is support and advocation. If you are going to advocate pre-emptive war and empire then you need to put your money where mouth is…. This is what is bothering Max Boot, Jonah Goldberg, Benjy Boy and the other Chickenhawks. What is laughable is that they can’t ignore it and make pathetic attempts to defend their position.

I loathe Michael Moore but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Following Lt. Col. Geoff Metcalf’s motto of “It is not a question of WHO is right or wrong but WHAT is right or wrong that COUNTS” it does not matter that Michael Moore is the one who wrote the definition. The definition is correct regardless. Benjy Boy accuses others of ad hominum yet he happily uses the ‘Guilt By Association’ argument. If the Kerry campaign said members of the Bush Administration – Dick Cheney in particular – were chickenhawks, then the term has no credibility. Why? Because it was used by the Kerry campaign!

So it is American to argue in favor of imperialism, and that Empire is a right and a duty of all Americans yet it is dishonest and limits free speech when you label someone a “Chickenhawk”? Calling someone un-American advocates Republicanism, freedom of choice and freedom of speech. Calling someone a Chickenhawk violates freedom of choice and freedom of speech. And it is dishonest. “Paging George Orwell!”

The “chickenhawk” argument states that you can have an opinion and vote BUT if you advocate and cheerlead empire without ever having put yourself in harm’s way then you are screeching like a hawk while EVERYONE knows you have the backbone of a chicken. Who is saying that if you behave like a chickenhawk you may not write, speak or vote? Who? Benjy Boy simply does not like being called on who he is! It is not about rights Benjy Boy. It is about credibility. You also have a right to say that there are flying saucers from Mars being hidden in the Nevada desert. But will you be credible? Why do neoconservatives have such a hard time grasping the concept of credibility?

“Implicitly, then, the “chickenhawk” argument rejects all options aside from civilian pacifist control of American foreign policy.” Implicitly, explicitly or any other “plicitly” it does no such thing. Perhaps, perhaps, from the LEFT it may. But from the right the argument is simply, “Quit barking like a poodle from the sanctity of your ivy-league towers and come down and fight like a man if you want any respect. Otherwise keep barking, because you have the right to bark, but don’t expect anyone to respect you or your opinions, Chickenhawk!”

The whole thing was much longer, believe it or not. The lieutenant also highlighted an interesting quote that demonstrates the high regard shown by the military for the chickenhawks: “I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day.” – General Tommy Franks on neoconservative cabalist Douglas Feith.

I further note that readers of this blog, some of the least left-wing individuals on the planet, agree with the lieutenant’s position regarding the chickenhawkery of the specific neocon in question, 303-57. Also, my email ran 2-1 in support of yesterday’s column, much of it very enthusiastic. This is further indication that the popular contention of Shapiro, Lowry, Goldberg and others that the term is nothing but a left-wing pacifistic attempt to stifle debate is itself a red herring thrown out in a futile attempt to avoid debate on their own lack of credibility.

What I find most interesting is the way that the defenders of neocon chickenhawkery so readily resort to the tactics of bait-and-switch, of pointless accusations and the refusal to respond directly to relevant points that have been made against their position.

The tide of public opinion has turned against the global struggle and the Bush administration. This minor chickenhawk irruption is only one indication that a majority of the American people have lost faith in the president, his advisors and their cheerleaders in the media. That is why the chickenhawks are so desperate to shut it down before it cripples their ability to reframe the public discourse in a manner that will allow them to argue for expanding and widening the struggle.