Monday, July 24, 2006

Stabbed in the Back!

The myth of betrayal is one of the most powerful and significant stories in right-wing politics. Harpers has an article about it:

Every state must have its enemies. Great powers must have especially monstrous foes. Above all, these foes must arise from within, for national pride does not admit that a great nation can be defeated by any outside force. That is why, though its origins are elsewhere, the stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.

Even in victory after World War Two, the American Right pulled out an imaginary story of betrayal, accusing Roosevelt of virtually selling out democracy in the Yalta Conference; again their were cries of betrayal during and after the Korean War; then again in Vietnam; and now, as the occupation of Iraq gets bogged down in civil war, every report of government corruption, incompetence or criminality is defended by the Right with cries of "betrayal" for reporting the bad news.

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