Monday, February 15, 2010
There Are Seven Big Bad Countries In The World -- Is America The Worst Of Them?
America thinks its Constitution and economy and military make it better than anyone else. Britain thinks its Shakespeare and erstwhile empire and Beatles and sense of humor make it better than anyone else. France thinks its food and fashion and culture and Revolution make it better than anyone else. Germany thinks its Beethoven and philosophers and engineering and efficiency make it better than anyone else. Japan thinks its honor and work ethic and tech smarts and kawaii make it better than anyone else. Israel thinks its Jewish suffering make it better than anyone else. China thinks its size and growth make it better than anyone else.
Call them countries who suffer from a superiority complex.
Now, if you meet anyone at a party who thinks he or she is better than anyone else, your reaction is natural and immediate. You say to yourself under your breath, what an asshole, and move on.
But one thing we cannot do with these We're-Better-Than-Anyone-Else countries is avoid or ignore them. They're bigger and stronger than most other nations, unfortunately. So when they act like assholes, which is what feeling superior makes you do, their influence can be felt beyond their borders. Believing they are better than anyone else, they try to prescribe their better-than-anyone-else-ness to everybody else: they think the entire world should be like them.
One might think this superiority complex stems from overbearing nationalism, but it smacks more of racism because of how it Otherises other nations. These seven nations also happen to be the most racist nations on earth: the root of their superiority complex. The Japanese people, for instance, believe black people are inferior to them, when they don't even have any black people in Japan, and when they themselves aren't even Anglo-Saxons, who invented anti-black racism.
1. THE DANGER OF BELIEVING YOUR NATION SUPERIOR
This seven snotnosed-nations syndrome is a basic fact about the whole world overlooked by the whole world. Pointing it out makes me feel a little like the boy in the story who said, hey, the emperor has no clothes. Or like Heidegger who said, hey, philosophy has gotten it all wrong all along, because it hasn't faced the most basic fact of all -- our There-ness or Is-ness (mistranslated as Being).
It's time we faced the very basic brutal reality that we have these seven oh-so-superior snooty countries among us, and that their attitude causes the world immense harm.
Without them, we'd be a better world.
Call them the Seven Assholes of the World.
Before we get to their actual acts of assholedom, I would like to point out that the other 188 countries in the world are very different from them.
Take a normal country like Canada or Portugal or Finland or Australia or Czechoslovakia or Thailand or Bhutan. They go about their business without the pretension of thinking themselves superior. Imagine for a moment that the world was made up of only these 188 countries. Imagine the Seven Superiority Complex Countries absent.
All of a sudden the world becomes a much more relaxed place.
The other 188 countries might stumble, and get stupid (especially Russia, Nigeria and of course, the absurdly pre-feminist Arabs) but their intermittent assholedom happens on a smaller scale and does not drag half the world down with them. For example, Zimbabwe is a country in the throes of total assholedom, but the rest of the world can safely ignore them and let them stew in the immeasurable immensity of their giganto demento assholedom. In Congo, over five million people have died in various wars in the last few decades, but the rest of the world doesn't even know this behavior of total assholicity is going on.
Russia of course is a special case. Essentially a nation of drunken thugs with a great literary tradition, they did the world the greatest service any nation has ever done the world by winning WW2 for us (all America did was win its sideshow with Japan). They sacrificed 26 million Russians in the process, which is more deaths than the rest of the world suffered combined. France, Britain and America lost only around half a million each; Japan 2.7 million; Poland 3 million; Jews 6 million; Germany 8 million. For this sacrifice Russia got to play the thug in Eastern Europe for 40 years, but after 1989 their assholedom shrunk to hold sway over their own assholes only. All this time, however, they never thought they were better than anyone else. In fact, part of their problem is they know what they are: a nation closely resembling a stadium full of drunken British soccer hooligans.
The problem with the Seven Assholes of the World is different. They have the braggadacio to look beyond their own assholes to try and embrace the entire world in their assholiness. For a start, they simply can't stop lecturing everyone else. Because they think they're better than anyone else, they think everyone else is worse than them, and the only way these worse-than-them nations could be improved, according to the Seven Assholes, is for these worse nations to be more like the Seven Assholes. It takes a snooty French asshole like Sarkozy to tell Muslim women not to wear head scarves, taking French superiority about their fashion sense a mite too far.
The Seven Assholes of the World are total busy bodies, forever sticking their noses in other people's business and talking loudly about the shortcomings of other nations at their interminable G-7 or G-8 or G-10 or whatever conferences. With their World Bank and the IMF, they've been telling the rest of the world how to run their economies, for example. Those who were dumb enough to listen to them, suffered horribly. Those who ignored them, did OK all by themselves. And now that the Seven Assholes have ruined the world economy, they're not even meting out the same remedies to themselves that they so happily forced upon others when their World Bank and IMF still had the power to get others to listen to them.
If these Seven Assholes could just shut up for one year, the world would be vastly improved. They ought to be thrown out of the United Nations. Thankfully, there are signs that this might be happening, with new world organizations springing up that exclude them.
Like BRIC, whose Brazil, Russia, India and China had their first summit in June 16, 2009.
Or the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, consisting of Russia, China and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan -- with Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia having observer status. The US asked for observer status at the SCO but was refused. The SCO is smart enough to know they don't need any input from an asshole like the US.
These two organizations do contain one asshole country, China, but there's a refreshing absence of the other six.
2. THE SUPREME ASSHOLE OF THE WORLD
After the 20th century, in which Germany, France, Britain and Japan exhausted each other with their assholehoodlumness as they each contended with each other to be the biggest asshole in the world, slaughtering themselves like Neanderthal barbarians in a military orgy of assholobotomy known as WW2, and competing ever since with each other in a senseless frenzy of economic assholectolomy called global capitalism, one nation on earth has emerged as the leader among the Seven Assholes of the World.
That country is our country, America, now uncontestably the Supreme Asshole of the World.
There are a number of reasons why we've attained this exalted status.
But let's -- to be fair and balanced -- start with one of our non-assholicable actions first.
3. AMERICA'S BRIEF FLING WITH NON-ASSHOLISM
America did indeed have a little fling with non-assholism, and that was in the 60s. Our people stood up against the Vietnam War, and also showed the world how to enjoy themselves by reveling freely and magnificently and gustily in the immense pleasures of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. (Ah, hedonism. Life sure ain't worth living if you can't get your rocks off good and solid, if you can't toke da herb and groove da beat and squirt da spermatozoa in da one you're with, if you can't be with da one you love.) However, the noble anti-war effort was slightly tainted -- we had the draft then, and it was students who were fated to go and die in Vietnam who led the charge against the war. More self-serving than totally humanitarian, really. And what did the 60s generation give us in the way of Presidents? Our two worst ones: Clinton and Bush. Clinton deregulated Wall Street and sent our manufacturing jobs overseas, and Bush got us into two useless wars and made our already rich way richer and our middleclass worse off.
4. FOR SUPREME ASSHOLICITY, CONSIDER OUR REACTION TO 9/11
If anything proves that we are the Supreme Asshole of the World, it's how we reacted to 9/11. Before that there may have been something of a competition between America and the other six assholes for supremacy of assholery. After 9/11, we pulled away from the pack and established our Supreme Asshole Divinity in a way that cannot be disputed by any other asshole in the world when it comes to immense assholedom in the totality of all assholedom put together in one big fat universal glaring dingleberry-festooned asshole.
9/11 was a great moral test, and we failed it utterly.
Did this unprecedented act of malignancy force us into some essential self-examination? Did it dawn on us that this ghastly deed was wreaked upon us because of our consistent meddling in the affairs of other nations? Did we say to ourselves it's time to stop killing foreigners when they're perfectly capable of doing it for themselves? Did we say to ourselves, hey, maybe we should pull our troops immediately out of the vicinity of Mecca because it is blasphemy to Muslims and upsets them terribly that our troops are there?
No, we asked: “Why do they hate us?” as if there must be something wrong with people who don't like us killing them, and suddenly decide to kill us back.
Did we ask ourselves, why do we have 830 military bases in other countries?
We did none of these things.
I remember at that time coming across only one sane comment from one sane person in the entire country in that entire time of insanity.
That sane person was Susan Sontag, who was roundly criticized for what she wrote in the New Yorker. It's worth recalling her words, and realizing that there was only ONE public intellectual in the entire America who had the moral perception and actual moral fiber to say something sensible. I can tell you, it was personally quite a shock to me to discover that this moral sense was lacking in the ENTIRE American population and its entire class of so-called self-aware and sophisticated public intellectuals. The ENTIRE nation was DEVOID of moral sense. And now Susan Sontag is dead.
Here's what she wrote:
“The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word 'cowardly' is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards.
“Our leaders are bent on convincing us that everything is O.K. America is not afraid. Our spirit is unbroken, although this was a day that will live in infamy and America is now at war. But everything is not O.K. And this was not Pearl Harbor. We have a robotic President who assures us that America still stands tall. A wide spectrum of public figures, in and out of office, who are strongly opposed to the policies being pursued abroad by this Administration apparently feel free to say nothing more than that they stand united behind President Bush. A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere, about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense. But the public is not being asked to bear much of the burden of reality. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy.
“Those in public office have let us know that they consider their task to be a manipulative one: confidence-building and grief management. Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. 'Our country is strong,' we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that's not all America has to be.”
For these wise words Susan Sontag was roundly abused by a torrent of self-righteous pundits.
And what did our President have to say?
Remember? Those were the great words of wisdom from our President in our hour of utmost grief and confusion, as we reeled from the most bizarre and wounding act of terrorism in our history.
Now OK, you can't expect an American President to have either the morality or the eloquence of a Winston Churchill, a Mandela or a Gandhi, but jeez, with a phalanx of speechwriters and neocon thinkers behind him, that's what he comes up with? Go shopping? What are we, a joke nation? Are we as junky as our junk food -- a junk nation? Junk people?
What in fact did we do after 9/11? Instead of taking the moral high ground, a pedestal upon which we were suddenly thrust by the rest of the world -- in Iran they held candle-lit vigils for us, Le Monde thundered “We are all New Yorkers now” -- we sunk lower than sharkshit into the deepest assholumbra of assholectonomy. Instead of using our elevated moral position to examine ourselves, and come up with a measured look at ourselves and a suddenly changed world, and to render a semi-mature judgment about what had happened and how a civilized nation should respond, instead of thinking and weighing and reasoning the whole thing out among ourselves like the democracy we're supposed to be, instead of stepping up like adults, we behaved like a child who stubs his toe and hits the smaller kid next to him for relief. We did not rise to the occasion. We did not even stoop to it.
It brought out the demon in us which, heart-breakingly, might be what we really are.
We went and attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, and started torturing people. We turned from a nation of happy, dumb consumers into a nation of angry, dumb killers. We took an opportunity that challenged us to maturity, and threw it away to act like adolescents. At this point, we have killed around a hundred Muslims for every American killed by Muslims. Instead of staying on the moral high ground, and exercising moral authority, we turned to violence a hundred times worse than was meted out to us. WE EXCHANGED MORAL AUTHORITY FOR IMMORAL BRUTALITY. The terrorists were successful: they proved that we were bigger terrorists than them, more brutal and senseless and dumb.
In fact, they won themselves many more recruits because of our actions. We didn't defeat the terrorists; we created more of them.
The kindest word you could attach to our reaction then was that it was hysterical. Bush/Cheney and the country got spooked like the worst sissies in history, and proceeded to behave like the biggest bullies. It's to be remembered that Bush/Cheney acted like bullies because of how sissy-scared they were in the first place. These weren't men; they were old maids, and I'm sorry to be insulting old maids here: the majority of old maids have more gumption than Bush, Cheney and that whole cabal of liars who are now too pusillanimous to own up like men to the fuckups they are and to the dishonor they brought upon their country with their ceaseless fuckuppery.
A few years later, the whole world, who had poured great gobs of slobbering monkey love all over us in the weeks after 9/11, actually did hate us, and for good reason, because we were throwing our weight around like assholes.
5. HOW WOULD THE OTHER ASSHOLE NATIONS HAVE REACTED TO A 9/11 IN THEIR MIDST?
Here's a good question. How would any of the other assholes in the world reacted if 9/11 had happened to them?
My guess is that France would have acted as badly as we did. After all, they did it in Algeria until one man, De Gaulle, tried to bring them to their senses and was nearly assassinated for his common sense.
Likewise China, Israel, and Japan. Nothing in their arrogantly errant history suggests that they would've acted otherwise than in the stupid, immoral and hysterical way we did, and maybe worse (just think of how the Chinese treat their minorities, and Israel treats the Palestinians, and Japan treated the Koreans).
Britain and Germany, probably not. Britain had had long experience from Irish terrorists before, so they would've have taken it more in their stride, like they later did after the London subway bombing. And Germany, having murdered six million Jews in living memory, would certainly have watched their rhetoric and their actions.
Now if you think about all the other non-asshole nations in the world, they would have acted very differently from us. Do you think Canada or Sweden or Portugal would have gotten that hysterical?
No. Why not? Simple. They're not assholes, and we are.
6. A FEW MORE EXAMPLES OF AMERICAN ASSHOLICITY
Here's a short list of some other egregious examples of our American-born assholectricity.
One: we invent, manufacture and sell more arms than any other country, causing countless deaths around the world. The global arms sales business totals between $50 and $60 billion a year (a tad bigger than the movie business), of which the US share is 40%. We literally export death from our satanic mills. Can you imagine the harm to come when we start exporting to all and sundry our missile-shooting flying predator drones that are now killing more civilians than terrorists in Pakistan?
Two: over the last two years, our wizards of Wall Street have put a 100 million people out of work all over the world, thereby adding a 100 million people to the billion humans who suffer from hunger. We have companies like Goldman Sachs who have looted our own treasury and contribute nothing to society; in fact, in 2008 Goldman Sachs paid only 1% tax -- they've literally contributed nothing to any of the societies on which they sponge and which they wreck.
Three: per person we use eight times more energy than other people and cause the most environmental destruction in the world. We are literally ruining the planet and despoiling it for everyone else.
Four: our agribusiness treats animals worse than the Nazis treated the Jews. We Americans are far and away the nation that is the cruelest to animals in the history of the world. We should hang our heads in shame, but instead we go to the supermarket and order up another round of beef, pork or chicken, with no idea in our heads of what suffering those poor animals go through, cooped up as they are in stalls so small, the pigs need their tails clipped because the pigs behind them would otherwise bite them off in cooped-up frustration, and the chickens need to be debeaked or they would peck each other to death in their pain and cooped-up frustration, and the cattle stand all day and night shoulder-to-shoulder and nose-to-butt in their own shit in cooped-up pain and frustration.
But what makes us truly the Universal Masters of Assholostophy is that we are the biggest murderers on earth.
Five: not only do we kill the most people among ourselves in the world, we also kill the most other people all over the world.
We actually employ and train hundreds of thousands of really weird folks, recruited from our poor and unfortunate youth, whom we venerate as heroes (“our troops”) for no other reason than to send them to other countries to go and kill people. That's the sacred duty we entrust to them: go forth and kill other people. It's a most peculiar institution and habit, an antediluvian leftover from our reptile brains still holding sway over our higher reason. This spectacularly immoral asshellishness boggles like nothing else in the history of unbelievable boggling of the human mind. Perhaps the most bizarre thing is this: when these warped, peculiar people -- innocent youngsters trained by the hundreds of thousands to become deadly serial killers -- when these professional murderers actually spring into action and start seriously killing other people (who are usually darker-skinned), the whole American nation, instead of recoiling in total horror and absolute grief that many of our killers are going to be killed themselves ... the whole nation gets a psychic lift, a shot in the arm, an unholy gleam in their eyes, and they start cheering and high-fiving as if they're at the Superbowl hailing a great pass. We actually CELEBRATE war. We LOVE it when “our troops” go on a successful killing spree.
This joy-in-killing (let's call it mordfreude) defies all reason, all morality, all civilization.
Over the last 20 years we've caused the deaths of over a million Iraqis -- first by bombing them and using sanctions to starve hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children to death (thank Bill Clinton for that) and then by declaring war on them (thank George Bush for that). Bizarrely, Clinton dropped more bombs on Iraq in 1999 than Bush did during his run up to the war.
Currently we are still killing Afghans for no particular reason than that eight years ago they harbored Bin Laden but were ready to negotiate to hand him over -- yet we still went over there to kill them, and we haven't been able to stop ourselves since, even though the Bin Laden gang moved to Pakistan years ago.
Not too long ago we went over to Vietnam and killed a million and a half of the people over there for no particular reason.
By now, for no particular reason, we are getting tired of killing Iraqis and want to leave. We are tired of killing Aghans too, according to polls (57% of Americans oppose the war). But our wonderful new President Barack Obama wants to stay there and kill more Afghans because this is supposed to be our good war.
These are the facts. The plain, simple facts that make America the Supreme Asshole of the World, rivaling civilizations like the Mongols and the Zulus in their asholethality.
These are the facts anyone could see if they scraped off all the barnacles of official punditocracy and stuck to the Heidegger perspective of the naive boy who said the emperor has no clothes.
7. THE BLINDEST SUPREME ASSHOLE OF THE WORLD
Do we Americans have the faintest soupcon of an itch of an inkling of a glimmer of an intimation that we are the Supreme Assholes of the World? Do we still believe that we are better than anyone else, when we are actually worse than anyone else?
Unfortunately, sometimes it's only Noam Chomsky all by himself who groks the utter all-encompassingness of the total supremacy of our assholasticity.
We are the Blindest Supreme Asshole of the World. We have an entire punditocracy, enabled by our media, who appear to be there for no other reason than to reassure us that we are the greatest country on earth when we plainly aren't. (They can't even do the smallest thing right, like protecting us from our own predatory elite; instead, clucking gaily, they deliver us into the greedy hands of their and our masters for our interminable plucking via 30% credit card interest, home foreclosures, the biggest prison population in the world, etcetera ad infinitum.)
We cannot fix something as basic as our healthcare system. Sure, we may be about to solve the moral problem of covering almost everyone. We may then save the 44,000 Americans a year who die from lack of health insurance, but we'll still be paying through our noses for it (we'll be screwed until we realize that cost containment can ONLY come from our doctors agreeing to earn less and our insurance companies agreeing to go non-profit and not being allowed to make a profit off sick people).
Yet not a day goes by that some American bigmouth doesn't bray on TV that we have the best healthcare system in the world.
We still haven't fixed New Orleans. Our bridges keep falling down. New York's finest construction companies made a big hole where 9/11 happened, and it's still there -- a big fat goddam hole. Our education sucks; one of four kids don't finish high school and the kids who finally make it to college have to take remedial classes because their schools neglected to teach them how to read and write. Detroit is in the tank. The Pentagon supports an eternal boondoggle of military over-payment for weapons we'll never use in world wars that'll never happen. The Fed watches idly as Wall Street goes bananas and does nothing to stop them. And our elected officials can't keep their peckers out of boy and girl interns, prostitutes and other guy's wives.
We are like the picture of Dorian Gray: in our own eyes we look as young and fresh as he did, except the real us is the picture: a pus-oozing bloody-handed piece of cancerous wart-infested meat.
8. WILL THE SEVEN ASSHOLES EVER STOP ACTING LIKE ASSHOLES?
The sooner America -- and Britain, France, Germany, China, Japan and Israel -- face up to the fact of our inherent assholentropy, based on our absurd belief that we are better than anyone else, the better.
Will it happen? Don't bet on it. Some people stop being assholes after a little experience knocks them around, but nations are different.
Germany was undoubtedly the biggest asshole of the 20th century, which may have taught them never to be such assholasticrats again, even though they still secretly think they're better than anyone else.
But I think Great Britain, France, China, Japan and Israel will continue to be utter assholes.
As for America, well, cry the beloved goddam country. Given our congenital blindness and asinine public intellectuals and constant self-congratulation (what is it with all our Halls of Fame? no other country does anything that crass), there's little hope for us. There are many wonderful things about America -- freedom of speech, great tech, brilliant entrepreneurs and innovators, an appealingly naive gusto about life, and women who don't take shit from men like they do everywhere else yet nevertheless give better blowjobs than women anywhere else (all of which leads many of us, me included, to love this asshole of a nation and embrace it in all its assholustriousness) -- but that does not excuse the murdering and general assholumpiness we commit all over the world.
There's no way we Americans are going to stop thinking we're better than anyone else. We keep telling ourselves we are. We keep telling our children we are. “You live in the greatest country on earth.” Our leaders keep telling us we are. Our Ivy League universities keep telling their students they are (if you want to get seriously puke-prone from snooty superiority-complexed Americans, just hang around Harvard or Yale for a few days).
Be warned, world: you have fallen in love with our new President, but that means nothing. Even if he seems a lesser asshole than his predecessors, he is going to do something supremely assholianistic, as all our Presidents have done. In his case, for example, he is already pouring more of our heroic troops into Afghanistan's civil war. Who knows, he might even allow Israel to bomb Iran, or do nothing about America's lion share of environmental destruction, or install even worse puppet regimes in Afghanistan or Pakistan than we have there already, or something of equal assholic eminence. The talent of American leaders for committing acts of supreme assholosophy is deep and boundless.
And after Obama, the next President will undoubtedly raise our level of assholistic intensity to its habitual supremacy of interminable Godzilla-big Iraq-destructive Cheney-deep assholoxtoxicity.
Pity our poor planet. It's stuck with America. The world just doesn't have the good sense to ostrasize and boycott us, and to follow a policy of containment towards us, and to ban us from all civilized discourse and trade and interaction, which is the only way it can save itself from our toxic presence. In fact, it will probably continue to look up to us as the world's leader, when we're the main problem of what's wrong with the world.
Let's face it, there's nothing doing, my fellow Americans. We are the Immortal, the Supreme, the Ineluctable, the Indispensable Assholes. We will probably remain assholes till the end of time, and think we're better than everyone else in vapid perpetuity, and drag the world down into our never-ending nonstop round-the-clock assholostronomy forevermore.
Posted by Evert Cilliers at 02:30 AM | Permalink