Uvalde = My Lai. This is not hyperbole. War crimes are an inevitable byproduct of war. Mass shootings are an inevitable byproduct of militarism and a militarized culture.
The same political process that led to and perpetuated the war in Vietnam continues to perpetuate the slaughter of innocents in American schools, supermarkets, nightclubs, subways, and synagogues.
It is not just the “extreme right” doing this. It is the cultural consequence of the political aspects of full employment. It is the result of the pursuit of full employment through a perpetual war economy, as Michal Kalecki warned about 80 years ago. I posted Kalecki’s Political Aspects of Full Employment to EconoSpeak in 14 installments 13 years ago. If anybody wants to argue “we’re not really doing that,” please explain to me what the meaning is of $780 billion defense department appropriations.
Seventy-two years ago, Leon Keyserling’s contribution to NSC-68, which advocated the tripling of U.S. military spending, consisted of arguing that the increased spending would pay for itself through additional tax revenues that could be siphoned off from an economy whose growth would be stimulated by the armaments spending that the additional tax revenues would pay for. A perpetual motion machine!
I’m sure Keyserling’s scheme had nothing to do with Kalecki’s critique. But just to be sure, I would recommend that folks read Kalecki and read the sources on Keyserling and NSC-68 and think about the immense military expenditures and the associated deficit spending so crucial to keeping the economy growing and then explain to me why there is no such thing as “military Keynesianism.”
If we admit that military spending has a stimulating effect on the economy and admit that such spending also molds the economy in certain guns v. butter directions, then it has to be asked, why should we assume all this militarism and militarization has no effect on the culture? Support our troops! But don’t just support our troops — applaud our invasion of Iraq. But don’t just applaud our invasion — wear the camo, buy the gear, wave the flag, drive the pickup, shoot the gun…
In a speech he never gave 70 years ago, General Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower mused about the consequence of the view that prosperity depended on arms production:
There is in certain quarters the view that national prosperity depends on the production of armaments and that any reduction in arms output might bring on another recession. Does this mean, then that the continued failure of our foreign policy is the only way to pay for the failure of our fiscal policy? According to this way of thinking, the success of our foreign policy would mean a depression.
Ike’s speech was pre-empted by the scandal that forced Dick Nixon to go on national T.V. to deliver his famous “Checkers” speech. Ike’s invocation of foreign policy failure as the price for economic prosperity overlooked the other half of the equation, as Kalecki had defined it.
It wasn’t simply that deficit spending on the military was acceptable to big finance and industry. More fundamentally, they objected to deficit spending that underwrote the social wage and thus undermined their domination of workers.
Throw in a national anthem that promotes our military conquest and you have completed the circle.
Coberly, I didn’t do that personally. I would have left it and my response up as evidence of the last straw.
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American militarism, arrogance and natural tendencies toward violence as the go-to solution to all problems is nothing new. America was founded by those who learned the lessons of the Old World and used them to carve a state in the New World. Americans spent a few hundred years enslaving blacks and Latinos and massacring and putting into concentration camps any Native American who had the audacity to suggest that his land was…well…his.
America has invaded and occupied more nations than perhaps any other political entity in history, at least in modern history. Americans regularly shoot each other at a rate that would make Stalin and Pol Pot queasy. America has the largest prison population in absolute and relative terms. Americans generally pride themselves on reacting to any criticism with a swift punch, gunshot, or drone strike. The answer to violence, gun or other, in American has always been “more violence.”
So, there is nothing new in the shooting up of schools. School shootings seem particularly offensive because the kids are deemed innocent. They are no more innocent than the millions of Iraqi and Afghani kids Americans slaughtered in our decades long wars over there. The death of these kids at home and abroad is considered by most Americans to simply be the price to pay for living in the “greatest” Christian, constitutionally-protected republic on earth.
Americans do not worship the military because they are told to! They are reminded to worship the military and its explicit call to violence because that is the nature of the American himself.
Call me when you are ready to deal with the problem and not some weak psycho-analysis. Meanwhile, keep preparing those mini-coffins; you’re going to need them.
Follow the money, but do not imagine that the US is a democracy. OTOH, the two party system does have its useful idiots that are generally referred to as voters.
Ultimately, US bankers decided that the Treaty of Versailles would set conditions for Germany that lead to the rise of Hitler and WWII as roughly predicted by The Economic Consequences of the Peace, a book written and published by the British economist John Maynard Keynes. So, the wealthy and powerful do not necessarily intend for the lives of ordinary people to be ruined by poverty and violence. It just usually turns out that way because power corrupts.
Ironically enough, Wilson was first elected POTUS because of the fracture of the Republican Party that separated out the progressive movement, but then reelected because he kept the US out of war (WWI). Caught between the interests of US bankers and the leaders of France and Britain that owed US war debt, then he could find no better solution than the “Carthaginian peace” designed to crush the defeated Central Powers, especially Germany.
Metro-sexual militiamen of the world unite :<)
To the extent that there is any semblance of democracy in the US , then America’s top fetishes are entertainment (because we are such boring people) and shopping (because one can never own too much of anything). There was a time in America when our number one drug was religion, but thanks to a rising standard of living god has been largely replaced by entertainment and shopping.
It is not like militarism is non-existent, but it is far more threatening to the larger population than it is prevalent in the overall population. Freud can explain this.
We will never see militia thugs exercising open carry at amusement parks, concerts, or festivals because open carry would in such situations run cross purposes with the proprietors. OTOH, militia thugs exercising open carry at an activist demonstration or protest runs in perfect harmony with the purposes of the proprietors as long as the thugs do not shot anyone or run over a young woman with a car.
Mass shootings are an inevitable byproduct of militarism and a militarized culture
Then why doesn’t North Korea have them? Why didn’t Nazi Germany have them? There have been plenty of cultures far more militarized in their everyday civilian life than the US is.
That’s a good question.
As you know, Nazi Germany massacred millions of civilian Jews, gypsies, communists, socialists, gays etc. But it was organized slaughter. North Korea regularly executes people who step out of line. One could hardly characterize the two societies as idyllic.
In the U.S., militarism is fused with “rugged individualism.” Mass murderers, in effect, “take the law into their own hands,” as perverse and horrific their version of law may be.
As a thought experiment, imagine the U.S. government has been taken over by the genocidal “white replacement” conspiracists and sends out death squads to exterminate the segments of the population that doesn’t conform to their racial criteria. There might be some sporadic or sustained armed resistance to the death squads, but my guess is that random shootings by lone wolves would evaporate. There would be abundant opportunities for the loners to join the official festivities as either executioner, spectator, or victim.
Please excuse my grim imagination. I’m just going by what I read in history.
Your question, which appears to be an argument to me, is somewhat silly. North Korea is
nota totalitarian regime where citizens need permission to piss and can’t own a cell phone so a gun is out of the question. Nazi Germany was militarized rapidly with internal security first (totalitarianism again) and then externally (remember WWII?).
American militarism is a long-term cultural feature which is combined with high levels of freedom, xenophobia, racism and religious belief. All of these work to make Americans trigger-happy. Try the experiment yourself. Bump into a Texan and see what he does; he will instinctively put up his fists. Try the same thing around the world; most other peoples won’t instinctively look to a violent response. Americans have been raised to be violent (it’s a feature, not a flaw, in American culture) and given the means (guns) and rights (Stand Your Ground, etc.) to use violence.
America is the most dangerous country on the planet as voted by the rest of the world every year, year after year.
Edit: North Korea IS A totalitarian regime….delete the “not”.