• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Let There Be Conflict!

 

The result of the presidential election has produced a range of reactions from the antiwar crowd, from optimism to despair. Paul Craig Roberts notes hopefully that the Christian right which delivered Bush the election did not vote for preemptive war or American Empire, but merely against homosexual marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

I suppose we can find some comfort in that; the cultural conservative who voted for Bush may react much as his or her pro-choice, homo-friendly compatriot will react to the mounting bloodshed in illegally occupied Iraq. But on the other hand, the administration’s goal of acquiring hegemony over Muslim Southwest Asia, plus traditional American bigotry, plus the specifically anti-Islamic mindset of Christian opinion-makers who really conceptualize the War on Terror as a Crusade against Muslim evil, plus the ignorance underlying religious fundamentalisms everywhere, are an explosive combination.

Anyone who can believe that the world was created in seven days, and that all humanity except for Noah’s family escaped the Deluge 4000 years ago, can easily fit into this web of delusions the belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11. Or that Syria or Iran threatens Americans’ security. Conceivably such believers will tolerate tens of thousands more deaths in a prophesized apocalyptic confrontation, energized rather than disillusioned by all the carnage.

Robert Jensen in contrast to Roberts sounds a very pessimistic note, eloquently drawing on the Book of Micah to condemn America, like the Old Testament Prophet condemned “the sin of the House of Israel” in the eighth century BCE. With beautiful irony he employs what the Bush base regards as sacred text to damn the evil, oppressive, warmongering regime. But he leaves the reader with a sense of hopelessness

Libertarian Justin Raimondo, on antiwar.com, proffers reasons for hope in the ongoing investigations of administration duplicity and venality. Citing the example of Richard Nixon, overwhelmingly reelected in 1972 and driven from office in disgrace two years later, he suggests that the Plame Affair, and investigations into administration lies preparatory to the Iraq invasion, might lead Bush-Cheney to a similar end. http://antiwar.com/justin/ I have been thinking and hoping the same thing. That’s a very happy scenario, but I’d prefer a rapid intensification of social conflict like that which occurred in the heroic Sixties, producing a necessary polarization, radicalization, genuine debate, and the disillusionment with institutions that has to precede real change.

Bush and one time quasi-radical, career opportunist John Kerry alike dread the latter scenario. The Massachusetts senator had “a good conversation,” with his war criminal counterpart when conceding the poll. The two “talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need, for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together.” Kerry hoped “we can begin the healing.” He repeated this line in his pathetically unprincipled concession speech.

Jesus, Senator! Begin the healing? Of what? The injury to U.S. imperialism caused by the antiwar movement, which so naively rallied around your sorry ass? Let that wound stay open. Let it bleed, as the scriptures, or equally valid texts, say we should. Since we’re all being so damned biblical lately, let me cite Jesus’ statement to his disciples as recorded in Matthew 10:34-36. “Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.” Like so much in Holy Writ, in any religious tradition, you can do whatever you want with these passages. I quote this simply to suggest that disunity and conflict are by no means a bad thing, whereas unity for its own sake can advance the cause of the vicious. The last thing the country needs as it slides towards fascism is unity around that project.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” says Jesus on the cross (Luke 22:34). The victims of religious fundamentalist indoctrination (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu) throughout the world in their know-nothing ignorance deserve human compassion. (And divine compassion too, in the highly unlikely prospect that such exists.) But they don’t deserve, and aren’t best served, by kiss-ass compromise or capitulation. Let there be logic challenging ignorance, broad-minded tolerance challenging religious bigotry, civil strife challenging hopes for an American harmony that could only further damage and enrage the world (which still wants badly to believe there are decent Americans) by its fruits.

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

 

 

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

May 28, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Virtues of Not Eating Animals
Jeffrey St. Clair
Last Stand in the Big Woods
Jack Rasmus
Two Fictions of Mainstream Economics
Louisa Willcox
“What Are We Fighting About?” 9th Circuit Hears Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Delisting Case
Danny Sjursen
The Future of Forever War, American-Style
Steven Salaita
To Students and Teachers Targeted by the Israel Lobby
David Rosen
Silence=Death: Larry Kramer, RIP
Dean Baker
Restaurants in the Pandemic
Martin Billheimer
There is No Vacation Anymore
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Bold Responses to a Stark Crisis
Deborah Toler
Is Stacey Abrams Progressive?
Binoy Kampmark
Budget Cockups in the Time of Coronavirus
May 27, 2020
Ipek S. Burnett
The Irony of American Freedom 
Paul Street
Life in Hell: Online Teaching
Vijay Prashad
Why Iran’s Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Are Sending Shudders Through Washington
Lawrence Davidson
National Values: Reality or Propaganda?
Ramzy Baroud
Why Does Israel Celebrate Its Terrorists: Ben Uliel and the Murder of the Dawabsheh Family
Sam Pizzigati
The Inefficient and Incredibly Lucrative Coronavirus Vaccine Race
Mark Ashwill
Vietnam Criticized for Its First-Round Victory Over COVID-19
David Rovics
A Note from the Ministry of Staple Guns
Binoy Kampmark
One Rule for Me and Another for Everyone Else: The Cummings Coronavirus Factor
Nino Pagliccia
Canada’s Seat at the UN Security Council May be Coveted But is Far From a Sure Bet
Erik Molvar
Should Federal Public Lands be Prioritized for Renewable Energy Development?
R. G. Davis
Fascism: Is it Too Extreme a Label?
Gene Glickman
A Comradely Letter: What’s a Progressive to Do?
Jonathan Power
The Attacks on China Must Stop
John Kendall Hawkins
The Asian Pivot
May 26, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together
John Kendall Hawkins
The Gods of Small Things
Patrick Cockburn
Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech
George Wuerthner
Greatest Good is to Preserve Forest Carbon
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis
Henry Giroux
Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump
John G. Russell
TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic
John Feffer
Trump’s “Uncreative Destruction” of the US/China Relationship
John Laforge
First US Citizen Convicted for Protests at Nuclear Weapons Base in Germany
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
James Fortin – Jeff Mackler
Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative
Binoy Kampmark
Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach
Howard Lisnoff
If a Covid-19 Vaccine is Discovered, It Will be a Boon to Military Recruiters
David Mattson
Grizzly Bears are Dying and That’s a Fact
Thomas Knapp
The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition
May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail