Passivity, cowardice and evil — a comment on Paul Craig Roberts' essay

© 2019 Peter Free


20 May 2019



Introduction — a depressing observation


It is difficult to look around Ah'Muhrika, without seeing a self-involved, immorally complacent and arguably cowardly public.


Perhaps we can attribute this lamentable condition to a historically unusual excess of national power. As well as to a glaring deficiency of functioning moral brain.


I do not mean to imply that we are born ethically worse than other peoples. Just that we are so dominantly militaristic a people these days, that comparatively few of us attempt to repress base national instincts — including controlling propagandized fear.


Power corrupts nations, as well as people.



Paul Craig Roberts described the gist of our situation


In an essay about the perennially war-making, freedom-suppressing American state — including the false imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, as well as the effort to do the same to Julian Assange — Dr. Roberts concluded that:



Everyone who is aware of the US government’s extraordinary criminal actions at home and abroad bears a heavy weight.


The millions of peoples murdered, maimed, orphaned, widowed, and displaced by gratuitous American military aggression comprise a Holocaust of deaths based entirely on lies and false accusations in order to advance secret American and Israeli agendas.


I suspect that the heavy burden of responsibility for mass murder and destruction committed in our name is the reason most Americans prefer the fake news fed to them [—] about how good and wonderful and exceptional we are and how hard our government works to protect us from the nasty folks elsewhere.


Wherever one looks at the behavior of Americans today, from airline flight attendants to police to national security advisors and secretaries of state, one sees people devoid of moral conscience, integrity, compassion, empathy, and self-control.


When I characterize the US attorney and judge [in the Chelsea Manning contempt of court case] as corrupt . . . . I mean that they are corrupt in the sense that they have abandoned the rule of law and do not see their function as serving justice.


For years we have been witnessing the rule of law being attacked from every level, from the president to the local police.


Every American should be ashamed. But they are not.


At some point, the Russians, Chinese, Europeans, Iranians, and everyone else will finally realize . . . that Washington is overwhelmed by evil, capable only of destruction, and a dangerous threat to life on earth.


© 2019 Paul Craig Roberts, The Assange/Manning Cases Have Discredited America, Unz Review (20 May 2019)



Dr. Roberts' conclusion, extreme though it reads, is reasonably taken


I am disheartened at how far and wildly the United States has fallen from its previous (mildly ethical) 1940s position in the world. It is certainly forgivable that many outside America see the United States as a plague of bubonic rats.


So much for American soft power.


Today, I imagine, most people want to come here for our material wealth, rather than (primarily) our liberty and moral principles.



The moral? — The United States has (arguably) been reduced to a parable — one that describes gross spiritual deficiencies


I am taken aback at how passively unconcerned Americans have been — generally speaking — about the erosion of virtually every right, dignity and humanistic responsibility that we used to have. Or think we had.


Quiescently lying down for an internally created and maintained Plutocracy Oppressor is virtually never the correct thing to do.


Standing up, though, requires some understanding of what to stand up for. As well as the courage to adopt and maintain pain-inducing positions. Yoga of the spirit, so to speak.


Here, I am not optimistic about the possibility of favorable American change. We have become such an obviously decomposing culture, that we reduce morality to overly simplistic (and always too narrowly argued) positions "pro or con" abortion and "us versus them".


Perhaps our biggest enemy is a generalized lack of reasoning intelligence. This dumbshit-making trait is now (at least debatably) inbred into the American experience. I agree, for example, with "conservatives" that our educational system has been trashed in the name of graduating a plodding plethora of degree-holding (academic) ignoramuses, who would have been much better served learning to do things that they are interested in and talented at.


All this is why Paul Roberts implicitly argues the potential utility of experiencing national shame.


Unfortunately, in our case, decades of doing eagerly indulged wrongs have slaughtered any hope of national self-recognition. Wrong-doing and non-thinking quickly become unrecognized habits.


We will, I am increasingly convinced, eventually suicide our vicious national self against the bastion of someone else's strength and maybe, principle. Having first, of course, complacently suicided our own freedoms.


Double ignominy.


This ending is what I meant by "parable".


We can take perverse pride in having (successfully!) set a glowingly bad example.


I doubt that the Founders had exactly this in mind, when their experiment with white privilege and property protection began.