Re: MD A Modern Brujo

From: ian glendinning (
Date: Fri May 27 2005 - 05:51:14 BST

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    Sad is indeed the word, Arlo.

    On 5/26/05, Arlo Bensinger <> wrote:
    > [Platt wrote about a "Modern Brujo" saying"]
    > >Following are excerpts from an essay by Keith Thompson citing his reasons
    > >for "leaving the left" after a lifetime of "long-term intimate
    > >relationship." He reminded me of the story of the brujo in Lila, although
    > >as far as know, Mr. Thompson has yet to suffer torture for his rebellion
    > >against today's liberal priests.
    > [Arlo responds]
    > So, to be a "Brujo" one simply needs to embrace the entrenched power of the
    > right? This ongoing illusion of the poor "right", suffering while doing
    > naught by good works under the villany of the "left" is funnier each time
    > you try to inject it into the dialogue.
    > As far as I remember, the Brujo acted in a way that brought condemnation
    > from "society", not just one side in your ongoing "left is all evil, right
    > is all good" worldview. Methinks a true "Brujo" would act in a way that was
    > neither right nor left, but brought in cultural change to society as a
    > whole. That is, both your "right" and "left" would be altered by the
    > Brujo's actions (albeit it it would only be in retrospect that society
    > would see this). As long as you cling to this deliberately false dichotomy,
    > Platt, all your examplars do is demonstrate your uncritical, unyielding
    > acceptance of "right-wing'" dogma, and how all your philosophy is
    > subservient to this.
    > Keith Thompson may be right to be critical of the left (pun intended), but
    > this hardly implies that the right is above criticism. The Saudis continue
    > to rule with tyranny and oppression, and yet they are part of the House of
    > Bush's inner circle. There is no criticism from the right on this. That
    > Saddam was a brutal leader is indeniable, and yet napalming Iraqis against
    > all global bans is also undeniably "evil". If the "right" is so vocal on
    > Iraqi rights and freedom, where was this voice for all the years that Bush
    > the First sold weapons and was chummy with Saddam? Don't tell me its
    > because we "didn't know he was evil then". We certainly did, but it was in
    > our favor to support his tyranny. We supported the Iraq/Iran conflict,
    > supporting both sides in a historical bloodbath that only served to keep
    > the region destabilized and prevent a global power from emerging. To only
    > look at the "elections" and not the history of the "right's" involvement
    > and claim to be some morally noble freedom-bringer in not only naive but so
    > distorted it smacks of pure Orwellian tactics. (To be fair, it is not only
    > the "right", but both political parties (i.e., the American Governement),
    > that should be critically examined for its historical role in the middle east).
    > Mr. Thompson favors the use of "evil" to talk about those responsible for
    > the millions of murders under Stalin. I say, fine! Good! Let's do that!
    > But, let's also be fair and call those responsible for the "trail of
    > tears", the exterminations of the Indians, the support of brutal dictators
    > in South America, those who used and benefitted from American slavery
    > "evil". Let's be as critical of ourselves as we are of others. But let's
    > also get one thing clear, what people objected to in Reagan's "evil empire"
    > term was that it de-humanized the entire population of Russia. You might
    > not think it was supposed to, but it did. Russians as a whole became evil
    > in American eyes. Look at the movies and popular culture about Russia at
    > the time. It was populated by evil, deceitful people all willingly corrupt
    > and without morals. This language played right into American xenophobia. No
    > one was talking about how Russians are good people, with good hearts and
    > sons and daughters and families who are mostly like us but living under an
    > oppressing regime. The language shaped our cultural attitudes, and the
    > pervasive wave of anti-Russian xenophobia that swept the nation is evidence
    > of what even Limbaugh knows, "words mean things". Right now, the same
    > cultural xenophobia is being tapped into with regards to North Korea. If
    > you follow CNN or Fox or any mainstream media broadcast, you'd walk away
    > believing the North Koreans are, as a people, power mad, lunatics bent on
    > war and destruction. I'm sure there are some like this, but the people of
    > North Korea (not the regime, but the people) are more like us than
    > different. They are fathers and sons and mothers and daughters, who wake up
    > each day, kiss their kids, work, play and dream. I shouldn't even have to
    > point out that the same de-humanizing rhetoric surrounded our involvement
    > with Iraq. Were you, Platt, concerned about the innocent mothers and
    > daughters, fathers and sons, killed by American bombing? Or were they
    > somehow "expendable"? Are you also expendable, or does your life have more
    > value?
    > Everyone I know that you would call "leftist" wants self-determination for
    > the Iraqis, and it is only with mild annoyance that this comes at the
    > expense of right-wing hypocrisy. But we also want self-determination for
    > the citizens of Saudi Arabia, Africa, and all other areas of the world
    > where people are under external or tyrannical power. When Bush invades
    > Saudi Arabia and places his "belief in freedom" above his families
    > long-term financial and power interests, perhaps the right-wing mantra of
    > "freedom" will sound at least a little more genuine. Do we take freedom
    > along with the hypocrisy? Sure. Do you simply let that go uncritically? No.
    > Of course, to make it sound like those on the "left" want to see Iraq
    > implode to make Bush look bad is simply more evidence of the "vile dogma"
    > injected into the forum. It is wrong, and is only used as political
    > propaganda by those favoring a "great and glorious right, evil and immoral
    > left" worldview. Sad.
    > Arlo
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