Thursday, October 25, 2007
Quote of the Day
None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of checks and balances ... The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them.
Chalmers Johnson, known for the Blowback Trilogy, chronicles the rise of American imperialism. So it is in light of his focus on the imperial aspects of American life that he concludes his review by writing—
There is, I believe, only one solution to the crisis we face. The American people must make the decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge, still growing military establishment that undergirds it. It is a task at least comparable to that undertaken by the British government when, after World War II, it liquidated the British Empire. By doing so, Britain avoided the fate of the Roman Republic -- becoming a domestic tyranny and losing its democracy, as would have been required if it had continued to try to dominate much of the world by force.
Look. The British did not "decide" to dismantle their empire in preference for liberty and democracy. After the War they were exhausted and broke. And only similar circumstances—or worse—will bring an end to the American empire, certainly not the American people.
Friends have remarked that I do not seem specific in suggesting what may be done in the face of the simply appalling realities described here. That is because, at the macro level, there is little to be done. Some sprucing up of the tatters perhaps—that is the best that can be hoped. This is a chronicle of the collapse.
The work, if we are to call it work, is personal. Try to maintain a sense of humor, your health and a passport.
Reflecting as I just have, I recall a passage from Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable—
What am I to do, what shall I do, what should I do, in my situation, how proceed? By aporia pure and simple? Or by affirmations and negations invalidated as uttered, or sooner or later? Generally speaking. There must be other shifts. Otherwise it would be quite hopeless. But it is quite hopeless. I should mention before going any further, any further on, that I say aporia without knowing what it means. Can one be ephectic otherwise than unawares? I don't know. With the yesses and noes it is different, they will come back to me as I go along and how, like a bird, to shit on them all without exception. The fact would seem to be, if in my situation one may speak of facts, not only that I shall have to speak of things of which I cannot speak, but also, which is even more interesting, but also that I, which is if possible even more interesting, that I shall have to, I forget, no matter. And at the same time I am obliged to speak. I shall never be silent. Never.
In case you were looking to the Democrats for your salvation (8/15/05)