Sunday, December 13, 2009

HUBRIS - December 10, 2009

As we cross the threshold into another period of imperial war, we must look back on the wisdom of the classical world and consider how we came to be impaled on the horns of yet another dilemma. The US has come through a long period when it was the shining torch of the Enlightenment, though there was always the grubby details of the human condition to mar the wonderful story of human flowering. The initial period when the rebels of the New World considered how to build a civilization eventually gave way to the Jackson Era, when the Man on Horseback started rebuilding the republic to look more like the party system of the British semi-democracy. But they were always ahead of the game, even though they did not lead, but followed, in the elimination of slavery. Eventually the temptations of power led them into the XX Century as they consumed much that remained of the Spanish Empire and we moved to replace them and the British and French Empires into the flourishing of the power of money and the money of power. Since WW II, we have styled ourselves the leaders and saviors of capitalism and when that was challenged, if only in theory, by the rise of a nation that called itself socialist, our ruling class took up the task of seeing that the threat to the power and wealth of the Robber Barons would be dedicated to bringing them down, as Napoleon was brought down in 1815. We called everyone democracies, even those that were military dictatorships, provided they were dedicated to preserving the power of the proprietor class. But we discovered that supporting every tinpot dictator in the world eventually led us into wars we could not win, even with conscription. But by that time we felt ourselves the rulers of the world, hubris had set in, and the Light had begun to go out. Now, with the riches of capitalism shrinking again under the pressure of unlimited greed, US is so consumed by the imperial hubris that even well-wishing liberal leaders are joined in a war that may finally finish the American Experiment.

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