What’s Un-American About It?

Opposing an action by labelling it “un-American” stakes claim to true American status, a seeming necessity to counter those that act with the power of the state and profess to be acting in its interests.

This is an interesting word, profess. In the sense used here it indicates a falsity on the part of certain individuals but it can extend further, say in distinguishing between what the state is in essence, and what it professes to be…its mythology.

Arguing on grounds of un-Americanism accepts the assumption of the primacy of the American state. All arguments within that paradigm adopt the consensus view and are confined within parameters set by others, by their nature short-sighted.

Take for example this present “Muslim ban”. Only by ignoring America’s inglorious history involving red, black, brown, and yellow people, and then things like the WW2 Japanese internment, and then the long count of Muslim countries we continue to bomb, can a ban be considered un-American.

The true American can be perfectly un-American. They’re not mutually exclusive because un-American is a made up adjective used to abstractly foster support within the accepted paradigm. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released February 1, more Americans approved the ban than disapproved, the margin being 49% to 41%. It gets a little sticky when the majority are un-American.

Competition for jobs may be a factor in the poll result, but more likely it is the fear that has been generated through Establishment propaganda of terrorism directed at us. From all angles everything points to US foreign policy being responsible for Muslim blowback, to use the CIA accepted term for retaliation. This threat of retaliation has not escaped Washington’s policy planners, but it’s worth it.

Not only does Washington willingly tolerate this threat to its dominance but it exploits the danger of spectacular attacks to instill fear into the population so it can continue the dominance. A fearful people are a compliant people. This equation works in any country. But who will keep you safe from your own country when your country turns against you? This was the problem in Nazi Germany.

By stepping outside the limiting America-primacy paradigm and staying true to universal ideals, it would be enough to oppose the ban as inhumane. More than enough. For all the attention the ban is getting, it is relatively innocuous compared to what our government is raining down onto Muslim people in their own countries.

If bombs had been banned, there would be no Muslim ban. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the last administration under the Nobel Peace Prize laureate dropped at least 26,171 bombs on seven majority-Muslim countries in 2016 alone. Not much protest because it happened on the cheap, over there and with few American casualties thanks to the drone revolution.

The “indispensable” nation can never be branded a terrorist state because it provides itself an exemption. The State Department limits, by definition, the act of terrorism to be that of a non-state actor. Therefore, there is no such thing as state terrorism involving the United States.

The rest of the world is not obliged to buy into this solipsism. Our record and its continuing trajectory come under the scrutiny of those outside the America-primacy paradigm. And the latest dent in the mythology of the standard-bearing promoter of democracy for the world comes in the form of a report put out by The Economist Intelligence Unit in its annual Democracy Index.

The United States is tied for second with Italy. Not in the Full Democracy tier of which 20 countries are positioned, but tied for second in the next lower tier, Flawed Democracy. How about those Knicks?

James Rothenberg can be reached at: jrothenberg3@gmail.com.