phamos: (brain poison)
This is a placeholder for the eventual post to come about how ridiculous it is to write a book that depends entirely on a convincing definition of "fascism" that ENTIRELY SKIPS OVER THE YEARS 1922-1943 IN ITALY UNDER MUSSOLINI. I mean, that's just STAGGERING. "Let's write a book about fascism but not mention what actually HAPPENED UNDER FASCIST RULE!" That's pretty much the most intellectually dishonest move I've ever seen in a piece of historical writing -- and I've read the whole neocon canon, so that's saying something!

I would like to rant about this further, but I must go to sleep. So I will try to post a longer rant tomorrow that will also discuss Jonah Goldberg's complete lack of irony and possibly a comparison of Sorel's "myth" with Plato's "noble lie" and Leo Strauss and Abram Shulsky and OSP/intelligence gathering/nous blah blah blah. Possibly. But probably not, because I haven't actually read any Sorel and that would make me as intellectually bankrupt and disingenuous as Mr. Goldberg -- probably I'll just post more rants about my cat's effect on my sinuses, or a deconstruction of the recent South Park parody of Heavy Metal, wherein I try to decipher how much of the boob-scenery was actually in the original movie. (I really should have watched more Bakshi while I was at Kim's.)

Also, Weeds is a good show. Romany Malco is hot -- but I think he might be kinda crazy in real life. That's the impression I got from the 40-Year-Old Virgin commentary track -- and obviously I should base all my judgments of human beings on how they come off when being peppered with vulgarisms by Seth Rogan.
phamos: (superpower)
Bill Kristol, my absolute favorite pundit in the whole frickin' universe, was on The Daily Show last night. I have to run and watch it RIGHT NOW. Apparently he said that Bush is going to be vindicated because "the economy's been pretty good." This man is a ROCK STAR of ridiculousness. I mean, seriously, does he have ANY credibility left at this point? It's like the Times gave an editorial column to Yakov Smirnoff. "In capitalist America, economy collapses YOU!" I think Bill Kristol should have to do all of his interviews from now on wearing a clown nose and a shriner's hat and sitting in a tiny tiny car with circus music playing softly in the background. I love him and want to have 8 million of his babies, and we will name them all after AEI fellows. "This is my son, Joshua Muravchik BenZvi Kristol!" (Oh my god, that's the Jewiest name possible in the whole world. Maybe it's cheating to keep my husband's name while having hypothetical babies with another man...)
phamos: (superpower)
Sometimes, in my more brainfarty moments, I mix up Harold and Allan Bloom. This is unfortunate, since Allan Bloom was all Straussy, so I should really keep that straight if I'm going to be taken seriously when I blather about neocons. The best way to distinguish between the two? Harold Bloom tried to fuck Naomi Wolf when she was his student. Allan Bloom totally wouldn't have thought to do that.

In other conservative-scholars-and-their-relations-to-sexy-type-things news, I totally learned today that Jonah Goldberg is Lucianne Goldberg's son! As I have only recently become well-acquainted with Mr. Goldberg's work through the evil machinations of Mr. [livejournal.com profile] rationalpassion, I did not know that. He looks a lot like her, too -- I could really see it in that Daily Show interview, or what was left of it after the editors whittled it down to a nonsensical nub. Oh my god, do I ever want to see the directors cut of that interview. He may be cranky about it now, but his book sales are gonna go through the roof -- and that's obviously the only point of these book tours.
phamos: (superpower)
Fun fact that didn't make it into my thesis: Norman Podhoretz, neocon crank emeritus, didn't know what a Kurd was in 2003. Yay willful ignorance! Let's bomb places we don't know anything about! I hope he knows who they are now, considering they're the only ones over there who still kinda like us a little bit. (Just wait, once we totally screw them over under pressure from Turkey, they won't like us anymore either.)
phamos: (superpower)
Bill Kristol says the surge is working. Hrm. According to this graph, it looks like the drop in deaths doesn't necessarily correspond to the surge, which, I believe, began in April of last year. However, it sure does correspond to Moqtada al-Sadr's voluntary 6 month cease-fire that he called for strategic reasons. Maybe we should wait until February to see if the surge results can hold once the Mahdi army actually starts, you know, trying to kill people again. As of right now, it's all propaganda from both sides. Like that will ever change, though...

Also, Bill Kristol is totally phoning it in with these columns. I'm disappointed and bored. He's not even trying. I guess he saves his really inflammatory stuff for Hannity. Boo.
phamos: (hotkarl)
Despite the fact that no one should listen to polls anymore (I mean, seriously, didn't we learn this in 2004? We really needed to be schooled on their serious failings by New Hampshire 2008?), this one made me laugh: Rudy might not even win New York. People seem surprised by this. I'm not. There is a huge misconception across the country that New Yorkers revere Rudy Giuliani. Actually, most of them loathe him. We liked him for about two weeks right after September 11th, and then before that there was that time he was in drag on SNL; people thought that was pretty funny. But yeah, we know firsthand that he's a bitter, petty megalomaniac. He can talk about 9/11 all he wants, but that doesn't change the fact that the firefighters hate him. A LOT. His kids hate him, too -- because he dumped their mom on television without telling her first. He's a real class act. Also, if he gets more than 10 or 11 black votes in the entire state, I would be STUNNED. (That's among black Republicans, of course, of which there are about 37.) I'm personally amused that he's running as the foreign policy candidate, when he has absolutely no actual experience in anything foreign policy-related except shouting about terrorism for the past 7 years. Hell, the guy couldn't even be bothered to show up for Iraq Study Group meetings. His main foreign policy adviser is apparently Norman Podhoretz, who is, seriously, still cranky about détente and the fact that Allen Ginsberg blew marijuana smoke in his face once in 1947. But, hey, if you want a president who will totally smote the terrorist squeegee men, Rudy's your guy. Otherwise, New York Republicans are gonna throw the vote to McCain, and Rudy's going to look like an even bigger schmuck than he usually does. Which takes some doing.
phamos: (entry)
Now that my time at Columbia is winding to a close, I've found myself looking back and trying to remember exactly what it was that I supposedly learned. I've forgotten most of it already. But I found this one little paper, for my informal Danchin class back in 2005, that sums up the way I felt about the program when I was finishing up classes. I found it interesting to look back on. It pretty much still describes my feelings about the program as I prepare to graduate, so I thought I'd post it here.

At the meeting at Professor Martin’s house on Friday, I raised the idea that maybe a politics of identity is often more destructive than constructive. Defining identity is as much about exclusion as inclusion, definition by difference as much as commonality. No one really took up that idea, so it may be a dead end. But I thought I’d write a little bit about it, just to play devil’s advocate.

I’ve always thought of myself as a good little liberal universalist. Some of what I’ve read in this class has made me realize that I stray from rigid Liberal doctrine more than I had thought. But still, multiculturalism, in its purest form, makes me uncomfortable. I took a gender and human rights class last semester, and it made me feel like a bad feminist. Why? Because I found the tone of the class very negative. Instead of addressing positive changes to be made, the rhetoric was all about Western patriarchy. I found myself writing a final paper that I didn’t even necessarily agree with, because it mirrored what I thought the point of the class was. In that class, identity as woman was defined through being embattled. The class was thoroughly couched in relativistic terms; i.e. the reason that women in the West are marginalized is because the Western system is inherently patriarchal, and imposing that system on other parts of the world will inevitably lead to a form of victimization just as terrible as the supposedly backwards culture we are trying to replace. Isn’t it possible that there’s a way to walk between the two poles, to embrace strands of Western thought that should lend themselves to the furtherance of liberty and equality while simultaneously taking similar elements from other cultures? Isn’t a good idea a good idea everywhere? In many ways, a lot of modern human rights debate is a reaction against a Western ideological imposition as a matter of principle, not because of a disagreement with the fundamental theories that ideology entails. Because of Western dominance, critics are on the defensive, and sometimes seem only able to create an identity as anti-something, rather than pro-something.

As an undergraduate, I studied nationalism, particularly the role nationalism played in the dissolution of Yugoslavia. In my final Bachelor’s paper, I wrote at some length about the idea of definition by comparison with “the other”. Serbs and Croats lived fairly peacefully for long period of time before more modern notions of nation began creeping into the picture during the World Wars. The rise of nationalism rose alongside the downfall of empires, and it has been rare that the wielding of nationalism as a political tool has ended peacefully. The line between state and nation is eternally blurry. Are all states nations? Should all nations have states?

The first question can be answered with a fairly obvious “no”, as many wars have evidenced. Many African nations have demonstrated the arbitrariness of their Western-imposed borders through civil, tribal wars; one particularly vivid example at the moment is the Sudan. Yugoslavia was a multi-national state, wherein a strong center played diverse nations off one another in a highly structured political way. Once that center became a vacuum, the road to power was paved with nationalism. By kindling separate national identities, men like Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman were able to use the furor created between abutting nations to boost their own rises to authority. This is a particularly telling example because, when the Serb/Croat and Serb/Slovene wars began, there was no side that was hopelessly marginalized within a society dominated by the other. The example doesn’t run parallel to the Kurds in Iraq, or Palestinians in Israel, or even, later, the Muslims in Bosnia or Albanians in Kosovo, where there was and is a narrative of prejudice and suppression. Creating a Serb identity or a Croat identity wasn’t a response to hardship. In a way, it was identity politics gone out of control. Because there was difference, there was a way to define one’s group by comparison, and each group wanted to assert dominance. It was a case, in my humble opinion, of self-determination through selfishness.

Self-determination is a concept that I find myself fascinated by. When taking international law, it was the subject that I was most interested in – the way that, legally, states were created in the post-war international system, and how or if new states can be validly created in the present day. So, obviously, I was particularly curious about what the representative of the Sioux nation would say at our class on indigenous rights. He was a compelling speaker. His point about how it’s impossible to secede from a country that you were never part of is well taken. I fully believe that the United States’ treatment of the Native Americans is and was reprehensible, and that a way should be found to fairly deal with the numerous ways treaty obligations have been ignored to the detriment of the Sioux people. But I had a practical problem with his speech. Reclaiming land that belongs to the Sioux under treaty obligations would create a parallel to the Israeli/Palestinian situation in the West Bank. He had no strategy that he presented to deal with that problem, other than to say that anyone would be welcome to live under the laws of the Sioux nation. He also had no apparent plan as to how any Sioux state would be a viable state. If they forced their hand and “seceded”, they would no longer have the option of any support from the US. What would be the economic base for the nation, now that the US’s actions over time have impoverished their people except for casino owners? When asked about the possibility of a federation with other Native American nations, he looked blank. It seems that for all his rhetoric, he hasn’t actually worked out a real plan for how independence would work – he’s simply working on an ideological, rather than a practical, basis. In this way, his nationalism is destructive, because his commitment to the purity of his cause is distracting him from the reality of the situation. His speech reminded me of the aspirations of the Palestinian people, in that his ideology is admirable, but his inability to compromise will inevitably paralyze his ability to see any version of his dream come to fruition.

Many people at Professor Martin’s apartment spoke of their identities as activists, and how frustrated they are by the career-driven structure of SIPA. But I wonder if what they are really chafing against is the imposition of the boundaries of reality on their boundless aspirations for how to change the world. I think it’s important to look forward, explore critical approaches to the status quo. But it’s also important to understand the way the world works, and how we can fit our strategies for progress and change into an existing framework, rather than constantly raging against limitations. I think what it boils down to is that I’m not the revolutionary I was in my teens. Somewhere along the line I became a moderate within my community. And I feel like whenever I profess my moderate opinions, my right to assert my identity as an activist is questioned. This is why I think identity politics can often be divisive. It has become a battleground, where ideological purity determines one’s right to subscribe to a certain political identity. I think that in the end, it’s just as important to keep looking for commonalities as it is to embrace our differences.
phamos: (superpower)
I've already made my first somewhat-large change to my paper, totally independent of my advisor. I read a fun article this morning about a lovely man named David Addington who has apparently been the muscle behind Dick Cheney on executive privilege and torture and all kinds of neat stuff. (Reading this made me feel really out of the loop...I'd had those Post articles about Cheney sitting next to my bed for months now, but figured it was just all that "man-sized safe" stuff Jon Stewart was ragging him about. I suck.) This was actually a good discovery, because he makes a much more compelling villain in the whole "Geneva Conventions are quaint" debacle than Alberto Gonzales. Fredo's really kind of a dead weight; apparently Addington (along with John Yoo, who I already mentioned in the paper) was the real author of all the infamous memos. And Gonzales has no connections to the major neocon groups, whereas Addington's right there in the thick of things with Cheney. Works much better for my paper. Not as good for the country, but good for my paper. And isn't that really what matters.

ETA: Apparently I have some sort of cognitive block when it comes to Addington's name -- I keep wanting to call him Addison. (This happened when I was looking for him on Wikipedia, too.) Don't worry, I got it right in my paper.
phamos: (superpower)
So, I finished the Iraq section of my thesis. I just KNOW he's going to make me go back and put stuff about Abu Ghraib in. I left it out on purpose because I couldn't really see where it fit in -- it's not about neocons PER SE. I might be able to find a place for it in the last section, which is more straight-up about HR, but the paper is really mostly about the idea of democracy building and benevolent global hegemony, and I think that Abu Ghraib, as horrible as it was, doesn't quiiiiite go along with the theme. It's a very good example of how hypocritical the Bush administration is with regards to human rights, no doubt, but I just can't pin it specifically on the neocons. Which is totally, totally bogus. I will discuss this with him when I meet with him, and see if he has any idea where I could put it, if he does indeed think it needs to be in there.

So I have 47 pages and one more section to write (5-7 pages or so) by the beginning of next week. Down to the wire!
phamos: (kitties)
In the absence of roaches to chase, Simi has become obsessed with ridding the area immediately surrounding my desk of ANY AND ALL POST-IT NOTES. This is to be a Post-It Note free zone. Mostly because they flap up and down in the breeze from the air conditioner and make her all cracked out. But also because Post-It Notes are inherently evil and MUST BE STOPPED before they can demarcate any more printouts from the AEI website. The Post-It Note reign of terror is almost at an end.
phamos: (torquay)
Anybody have any hints about how to cite a policy paper in MLA style? I have it like this:

“Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.” (The Project for the New American Century, September 2000) 63.

But that's kinda just made up, based loosely on how you format other citations. Anybody have a better suggestion?
phamos: (superpower)
Jeane Kirkpatrick died. She was a woman. She wasn't Jewish. And she thought "democracy" was sometimes overrated. And yet she was still a neocon! And a big-deal one, too. Which is why the word is so hard to pin down a lot of the time. Here's some of what I've written about Jeane Kirkpatrick in my thesis:

While the neoconservatives were disgusted by the realpolitik of Henry Kissinger and the Nixon-Ford years of detente, they were even more horrified by the human rights language of the Carter administration. In their eyes, Carter had everything perfectly backwards, coddling left-wing totalitarian governments while denouncing right-wing authoritarians who had previously been seen as vital allies in the fight against Communism. The relevant concept to the neocons was not a blanket support of democracy but a fervent anti-Communism that overrode broader human rights concerns. Jeane Kirkpatrick wrote the most famous explication of the neoconservative opposition to Carter’s foreign policy in Commentary in 1979. Her article, “Dictatorships and Double Standards”, decried the lack of support, even outright hostility, that the Carter administration showed perennial allies such as the Shah of Iran. In her eyes, equating authoritarian governments on the right with the Communist totalitarianism of such countries as Cuba was a grave error. In addition, refusing to aid the government of Nicaragua against the encroachment of the left-wing revolutionary Sandinistas represented Carter’s misunderstanding of larger issues at play. The revolutions in Nicaragua and Iran were not simply a matter of democracy, of letting the people of these countries “choose their own government,” as Kirkpatrick quotes Carter. She claimed that there were no instances “of a revolutionary ‘socialist’ or Communist society being democratized,” while “right-wing autocracies do sometimes evolve into democracies – given time, propitious economic, social and political circumstances, talented leaders, and a strong indigenous demand for representative government.” Therefore, the only way to stem the encroaching Communist tide was to support embattled right-wing regimes, as only they had the potential to, in time, follow the United States’ democratic lead.
Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign was heartening to the neoconservatives. His tough-talking rhetoric was firmly anti-Communist and anti-Soviet, a repudiation of Carter’s policies. When Reagan won the presidency, a number of neoconservatives were appointed to positions in his administration, notably Kirkpatrick as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Elliott Abrams in a variety of positions, most notably Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs between 1982 and 1985. But despite the retroactive admiration today’s neocons profess for Reagan, the positions to which most of them were appointed had relatively low influence. They were outnumbered and outgunned by realists like Secretaries of State Al Haig and George Schultz. “The essential causes for the chasm that emerged between Reagan and the strict letter of neo-conservatism were two: the manner in which the president’s rhetoric translated into actual policy, and who the real decision makers were in the president’s defense establishment.” Even Kirkpatrick and Abrams would not have passed muster by any litmus test applied by today’s neocons. “Their objectives in putting policy on the ground were more limited than the ideals of liberation and rollback advocated in Commentary. Both shared the conviction that spreading democracy was a gradual process. As Abrams told the editor of Foreign Policy, ‘the task of believers in democracy is not to impose democracy on a world bitterly opposed to it, but rather to help fulfill the expectations that every people acknowledges for itself.’”
...

[After the fall of the Iron Curtain] it was obvious that neoconservatism would have to create a new paradigm to guide their political efforts, or grow obsolete...Jeane Kirkpatrick, always wedded to the idea that democracy needed to develop slowly over time, reiterated that position in the face of a growing sentiment of democracy promotion: “While it is not the American purpose to establish ‘universal dominance,’ in the provocative formulation of Charles Krauthammer – not even the universal dominance of democracy – it is enormously desirable for the United States and others to encourage democratic institutions wherever possible…It is not within the United States’ power to democratize the world, but we can and should make clear our views about the consequences of freedom and unfreedom. We can and should encourage others to adopt democratic practices.” But as older neoconservatives such as Kirkpatrick and Kristol called for a re-evaluation of America’s national interest, the younger generation began its ascent with the first hints of an expansive view of what American foreign policy could and should be in the 1990s and beyond.


Of course, I will always fondly remember Jeane Kirkpatrick as the woman that Bill the Cat ran off with in the early 80s in Bloom County, because I was reading a lot of comic strips that went way over my head at the time. I thought jokes about Caspar Weinberger were funny because he had a goofy name! Well, honestly, that was a big part of it...
phamos: (superpower)
It looks like I haven't posted anything about my thesis in months. Which is fitting, since I've barely WORKED on my thesis in months. I wrote a page or so right after seeing my advisor, and then I fell down some stairs and got distracted. I wrote a couple of pages last weekend, ramblings about Wolfowitz and Abrams and Ferdinand Marcos, and then Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan and benevolent global hegemony. I thought this weekend I would work on fleshing that out, trying to get through the Clinton administration and the founding of PNAC.

But instead I got distracted last night watching an infamous documentary (The Power of Nightmares) that was actually much less inflammatory than I thought it was going to be. More poorly MADE than I thought it was going to be (the director apparently went to that stock footage film festival that Bart and Lisa went to and took everything that didn't involve trains going through tunnels and hot dogs coming off of conveyor belts), but not that conspiracy theory-y in the first installment, at least. The second two parts apparently have a lot more of that tone to them, but found myself nodding my head with a lot of the stuff in this part.

The weakest part of the film's thesis, unfortunately, is its insistence on Strauss as the glue that holds neocons together, this Machiavellian (ironic) cabalistic figurehead with an equivalent anti-modern jones as Qutb. I still don't completely buy this. That's not to say I don't think Strauss was anti-modern. He obviously was. I just don't see how Strauss's anti-modern stance can be used to legitimize a foreign policy based around "benevolent global hegemony". I'm not even taking issue with the benevolent part -- as far as I can tell, nothing Strauss said had anything to do with benefits of imperialism at all. I think Strauss's students (actually, more like students-of-students) who have ended up in Washington take from him much more of an academic mentality than any particular policy positions.

So, suddenly having Strauss on the brain again, I've been reading more Strauss stuff and writing a little bit -- I had to go read a little bit about Plato, since I've never actually READ The Republic and wanted to check and see if this "noble lie" business is sourceable or simply, as Googling it would indicate, a blog-meme like "Pearl-Harbor level event". It is real, but it's translated in a lot of different ways -- often as "myth", because the original instance in which Plato/Socrates used it was to describe a religious lie used to keep the masses in order. Reading articles by Shadia Drury weren't helping very much, since nothing was usefully footnoted, but I think I've gotten a better idea of how she relates Strauss's interpretation of Plato as an emphasis on elitism and societal stratification -- rule of the wise. So from that, I started writing about how Strauss's methods of textual interpretation led his followers to see themselves as more qualified than the masses to see hidden, esoteric truths, leading directly to the train-wreck that was the D.O.D.'s cherry-picked Iraq intelligence.

Yeah, so I skipped ahead a little bit. But what I have to do from THERE is show how this mentality (inherent wisdom of rulers over masses and the subsequent dishonesty of governments) is antithetical to a society with any regard for human rights, whether individual or group rights. The documentary focused on Strauss's anti-modernity as a reaction against an emphasis on individualism, but obviously the idea of third-gen "group" rights and any sort of cultural relativism would piss him off, too, so it really doesn't matter what school of HR you belong to -- Straussians think you're naive and ultimately destructive to a solid, functioning society.
phamos: (frazzle)
When you dick around on Wikipedia late at night looking to clear up random assertions about neocons from BBC documentaries, you find out things like the fact that the Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations is married to Children's Television Workshop founder Joan Ganz Cooney. My worlds are colliding. YOU'RE KILLING INDEPENDENT GEORGE!
phamos: (superpower)
Of COURSE straussian.net would let its domain expire right before I needed to write the Strauss section of my paper. Because that's how my life works. And because apparently no one wants to claim to be a Straussian anymore. Damn you, Cambone and Shulsky!
phamos: (eyes)
In the last few months, since I began actually typing my thesis and cover letters, it has become an increasingly conscious decision of mine to write my journal in all-lowercase letters. I somehow managed to balance the web/non-web spheres of my typing universe while I was in high school, but lately my brain just can't handle the incongruence. So as I barrel around the curve to my birthday on my unavoidable careen towards my late 20s, I have decided to begin using proper capitalization rules in all my journal communications.

This is something I have considered for some time, and I do not take the decision lightly. In the last year, I have struggled with this every day, not wanting to leave Abby alone in the world of uncapitalized proper nouns that we have co-existed in for 10 years or more. I do this not as a rebuke to Abby and my other lower-case friends. I do it because if I have to go back and change the words "Wolfowitz" and "Iraq" to begin with capital letters one more time, I'm going to go insane.

For now, my email .sig will remain the lower case "-mags", because the idea of parting with this aspect of my uncapitalized personality causes me to let loose with big heaping sobs of loss and shame. One step at a time.

...

Of course, this entry is totally taking the piss. But yeah, I'm going to use capital letters now.
phamos: (superpower)
i have had a constant headache for almost a week now. it's starting to piss me off.

i've got 14 pages of my thesis done, though the introduction needs more added and a lot of editing and one page is just the beginning of the strauss section and i'm not sure where it's going to end up. but there is one completed section. i think next i'm going to work on the post-cold-war, pre-9/11 neocons and how they were sorta drifting. defense planning guidance and kristol/kagan and finally PNAC. i read a bunch of stuff on strauss today, which was sorta a digression from what i should really be thinking about -- it's much more conceptual and right now i want to focus on the historical. i think the more conceptual stuff i'm really going to need to work with juviler on, to make sure i'm not making little mistakes in interpreting things. there was a lot of talk a couple years back when i was still taking classes that SIPA really misses out on a lot of postmodern political philosophy in its core courses, and that seems to fit my experience. i didn't even take the SIPA core course, as i wasn't eligible, but my human rights classes were very focused on enlightenment thinkers. danchin tried to sneak in some other stuff, but he had a tendency to go overboard in his early lectures and then get backed up as the semester went on, so the later stuff got rushed. as such, we talked a lot about locke, mill, and rousseau, and that was the stuff i already knew very well from chicago. i was frustrated about this at the time and am only more so now. i got a little bit more from the kuflik class, including rawls and kymlicka and a greater understanding of libertarianism. but i'm still undereducated in a lot of the offshoots of marxism. i think part of that is a general feeling in the international relations community that since the fall of communism, marxist philosophy isn't relevant anymore. that may be true, but for someone who's trying to get a greater understanding of the historical situations that gave rise to neoconservatism, having to educate myself on trotsky and gramsci has been a little frustrated, because i don't have anyone to bounce things off of to see if i'm understanding them right -- to the degree that there's one right way to read them, of course.

but yeah. headache. not fun.
phamos: (superpower)
i was just typing some stuff i'd written into the computer. i wrote something about how for neocons, democracy was a tool towards promoting "ideological, military, and economic hegemony." while i was typing it, it gave me pause, and i feared it sounded too polemical. and then i realized -- i'm using THEIR OWN VERNACULAR. if anyone said to me, "the group you are politically affiliated with is pursuing global hegemony," i'd feel offended and think it was a broadside. but as kristol and kagan said back in '96, "the aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as either hubristic or morally suspect. but a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain. that is america's position in the world today...american hegemony is the only reliable defense against a breakdown of peace and international order. the appropriate goal of american foreign policy is to preserve that hegemony as far into the future as possible." whenever i feel like using the word "hegemon" betrays me as a reactionary lefty wingnut, i have to remind myself that it's the term they themselves prefer. except for ben wattenberg, who likes the phrase "neo-manifest destinarianism". not shitting you. yeah, cuz it worked out so well the first time for the native americans.

apparently, the xjournal spellchecker doesn't recognize the word "hegemon". how very egalitarian of it. of course, it also doesn't recognize the word "xjournal", so it is also lacking in self-reflection.

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