The Power of Nightmares, Part 1

In light of current events in the Middle East (and US propaganda regarding them), I thought this little refresher course was in order. Note the eerie similarities between some of the ideas of the “father of US neoconservatism”, Leo Strauss, and the “father of Islamist terrorism”, Sayyid Qutb (who happens to be an Egyptian.) They’re not coincidences. Both thinkers have a distinct flavor of authoritarian cultism about them. And both have unleashed disaster upon the world through their philosophical influence.

But don’t discount Qutb’s insights altogether, either: He was quite right about certain aspects of the mental colonization which he saw as a reversion to jahiliyya, particularly those which make people think they are free when they are not. While I don’t share the religious viewpoint that Qutb wrote from (I am adamantly opposed to theocracies of any kind), I can still see that same plague very much alive in the US today, and to a lesser extent in Canada and other western “democracies”. Real democracy here is rapidly eroding while wave after wave of propaganda tells us the opposite–that we are the beacons of freedom that the rest of the world aspires to. Which of course begs the questions: If we are such beacons of freedom, why do we support leaders — in Egypt and elsewhere — who are anything BUT free and democratic? And conversely, why do we actively conspire against any leaders who ARE free and democratic? Can we afford to go on singing the praises of our so-called freedom when the chains around our own necks are growing ever tighter–and the real menace comes not from the media boogymen — Islamist terrorists, Latin American “autocrats”, etc. — but from our own (mis)leaders, who manipulate us so cleverly that we cannot see their authoritarianism for what it is?

Food for thought at your Saturday matinée, kiddies. Forgetting is forbidden!

This entry was posted in Canadian Counterpunch, Fascism Without Swastikas, Huguito Chavecito, If You REALLY Care, Isn't It Ironic?, Rivers in Egypt, The United States of Amnesia. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Power of Nightmares, Part 1

  1. toma says:

    Been thinking about this myself, recently, with the Egyptian revolution playing out: why are Americans, especially Conservatives, so opposed to others doing as we’ve done? Behaving as we behaved?

    The Founding Fathers expressly communicated why they were right to fight authority, and the right-wingers are the first to put their hands over their hearts and cry when reminded of it. But when others do it, it’s a crime. Hell if they can pay somebody to put it down, fine by them.

    When I look at Qutbi and the followers of Strauss, I see a selfishness dressed up as philosophy. They are assaulted by the crassness of what others do with freedom, so let’s attack and corral them for their own good. That’s the basis for propagating the ‘nightmare.’ But its usage is only possible when you believe your natural station is above others. This is far more a throwback to European ideals than a new, American one, and the Founding Fathers, I believe, knew it.

    American Conservatives essentially oppose the Founders when they oppose people, any people, their self-determination. They are disheartened by the appearance of actual freedom and by their own inability to attract followers with any positive, constructive message, so they just terrorize folks instead. So, selfishness. It’s childishness played out on a large, political playground.

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