Full Circle

I once talked to a Marxist colleague about Stalinism. He dismissed everything I said about Stalinist horrors with, “yeah but the US is so much worse!”

It’s quite disappointing to discover that some people on the Right have embraced the same mentality. Whatever you say to them about terrible things happening anywhere, they come back with, “we can’t judge because the US is worse.”

18 thoughts on “Full Circle

  1. If they are saying that, they are abdication their responsibility. Judgment is required.

    For example, my father fought against the USSR specifically because (if only in part) he judged the U.S. to be better. Defectors defected to our side because they came to the same conclusion.

    Picking sides in a war is like that.

    Sometimes the choice is between the lesser of two evils. And sometimes people chose wrongly.

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          1. Why would being called a leftist bother me, or being described as despising America, were it true? You’re clever and rational, so you’d know that. So you’re hoping to manipulate me. But for what? Perhaps a variation on “If you really loved your country, you’d want to go to war with Russia, too.”

            Interesting. But moot.

            The monsters who conquered my homeland are not America. And yes, I do despise them. Russia is not our friend. But she is not the one we have to fight to take our country back.

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      1. “how come the Right got duped into adopting this idea as its own?”

        Off the top of my head I’d trace this back at least to Rush Limbaugh (his actual views were cookie cutter republican platform but his style did a lot to change the US political landscape and shaped how people talked about politics).

        He became really famous during the Clinton administration and a lot of his shtick was about how uniquely awful and criminal the American (Clinton) government was and the way these things worked the idea outlasted the one administration and was alive and well all through W’s time in office.

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        1. There’s definitely long been a strain of conservatism in which anti-Big Government sentiment is so extreme that it becomes indistinguishable from ant-American sentiment.

          But I think that strain was mostly marginal. The big event, I think, was the Iraq war. A big part of conservative identity back in 2003 was that, in contrast to the hated liberals, they were the ones who would answer The Call and sacrifice for the country when asked. Years later it became clear that The Call had come from a bunch of feckless idiots who didn’t know what they were doing. It’s no accident that one of Trump’s big break out moments was when he openly called the Iraq war a stupid mistake.

          Many of my conservative acquaintances were left feeling like their patriotism had allowed them to be played for suckers. It’s had a very demoralizing effect on the right, which can easily turn to cynicism.

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          1. “demoralizing effect ,,, can easily turn to cynicism”

            Cynicism is an adaptive response to feelings of disrespect from instituitions (or institutional unreliability).

            I wasn’t in the US during the whole Iraq thing (though from abroad it seemed like the stupidest idea in US political history) I can barely imagine the disappointment of the true believers as they slowly came to realize it was all a scam…

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            1. It’s shown really well in the novel Ohio I wrote about recently. It’s strange that such a mega important event as the Iraq war has very little literature written about it even 20 years later.

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            2. I don’t know if I’d say it was a scam per se, but rather poorly thought out, and then Obama pretty much blew it and let what was a mostly won war be lost.

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          2. That definitely makes sense. And it’s really sad because who needs a Right that’s indistinguishable from the Left? We already have all this America-bashing in spades. Who wants more?

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          3. It wasn’t just that The Call had come from feckless idiots. It was that plus our friends coming back from Iraq with permanent lung damage from… whatever the heck they were burning over there.

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      2. I think it’s a portion of the Right that are like this, but many Trump supporters are very patriotic. That is one of the things Tucker Carlson keeps harping about regarding Ukraine, i.e. we should stop funding that war and focus on our own country.

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