Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Literally Worked My Ass Off On This


Fundamentalism, in the West or Middle East, is a pure paradox, one of those 'Stupid Human Tricks'. Since we're soaking in literality at the moment, especially the fundamentalist kind, it's something worth keeping in mind: telescoping, overestimating, obsessing over, a few specific things in any bible tends to obliterate the whole of it, and absurdities must ensue. Leviticus trumps Jesus, etc. etc. You can't escape the conclusion that the fundie is looking for justification for what they already believe rather than for guidance. In other words, religion (or other orthodoxy) is politics by other means. Until we, in our own sphere, really digest this difference between cultural tropes and religion, we can't possibly apprehend the Muslim World - which, after all, is about as homogenous and 'unitary' as 1.6 billion people can be (ie, not very much at all). The Bush Administration's 'mirror imaging' of fundamentalism has been a profound, truly fundamental expression of weakness and fear on the US's part - a display not lost on real enemies. You don't have to be dead to see this for the historical tragedy it is. Let's admit it and move on, please.

Mark Schmitt is canny today about the exasperatingly boring knee-jerking of the 'Scoop' Jackson - DLC types about Iraq/Vietnam vis a vis Lamont/Lieberman:

The Vietnam War was a long one, so those devoted to finding exact historical parallels can usually find something to fit into their proof that the nomination of Ned Lamont is a disaster for Democrats.

Jacob Weisberg mines 1972, as usual: "In 1972, the Democrats repudiated their flawed Cold Warriors and chose as their standard-bearer a naive and honorable anti-war idealist...In a similar way, the 2006 Connecticut primary points to the growing influence within the party of leftists unmoved by the fight against global jihad."

Schmitt takes the time to think about the actual Vietnam war and rightly concludes:

This is more like 1974 [post-Watergate] than 1972. And 2008 will be even more so. In 1974/75, everyone understood that U.S. involvement in Vietnam, a decade after Tonkin, had to end. That’s where we are with Iraq, and the only people who don’t seem ready to be part of figuring out how to end it are George Bush, Joe Lieberman and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. But folks like Weisberg, who see everything as 1972 all over again, aren’t making it any easier to get to that point.

Optimism is not the same as solipsism. 'Positive thinking' is not the same as delusion. Radical subjectivity is not all there is to Individualism. The Reagan Era is ending whether some 'liberals' are ready or not. Here's hoping that a lot of them either shake it off or get out of the way.

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