Opposing War Is The First Step Toward Moral Politics
by Caitlin Johnstone | Dec 14, 2022
Listen to a reading of this article:
Forcefully opposing the warmongering and imperialism of your rulers is the very first step toward political morality. It’s not the only step, but it is the first step, because if you haven’t taken that step then no other ostensibly moral politics you might espouse are meaningful.
Your anti-capitalism is meaningless if you’re not aggressively opposing your government’s mass military murders for power and profit. Your anti-racism is meaningless if you’re not aggressively opposing your government’s butchery and exploitation of brown-skinned people overseas. If you’re not forcefully opposing your government’s warmongering and imperialism, then the rest of your politics are irrelevant, because they are false. A sincerely antiwar right-winger with all the wrong positions on all other issues is still a much better person than you are.
When I see a lefty voicing solid perspectives without also aggressively opposing the warmongering, militarism and imperialism of their rulers, I personally just ignore them, because their failure in that one area has made a lie of their successes in all the other areas.
If this seems strange or not obvious to you, it’s simply because you have not spent enough time sincerely contemplating the immense suffering and savagery that is inflicted upon our world by war and imperialism, or learned enough about who the worst offenders are on that front. Literally the only reason western warmongering isn’t met with a backlash of horror and outrage is because it’s been so normalized and propaganda-distorted for us. If we could see what our rulers are doing to people with fresh eyes, we would fall to our knees and scream with rage.
War is the single worst thing in the world. It’s the most insane thing humans do. The most ruinous. The most traumatizing. The least sustainable. And the US-centralized power alliance is its most egregious perpetrator, by a massive margin.
There’s no excuse for ignoring this.
Saying a US politician is bad on foreign policy but good on domestic policy is like saying a serial killer was nice to his family. It’s like, okay, who gives a fuck? They’re mass murderers and you should hate them.
It’s a bit nutty how the term “Old Left” gets used to describe lefties who oppose war and distrust the US intelligence cartel instead of simply acknowledging that the real left has been effectively stomped out by propaganda and psyops.
“You’re the Old Left. Those people over there cheering internet censorship and proxy warfare and nuclear brinkmanship, they’re the left now.”
Are you sure? Are you sure they’re not just a bunch of brainwashed dupes? Because they look an awful lot like brainwashed dupes.
The ruling class has near-perfect class solidarity. Their only differences are on questions like “When is it time to transition civilization to new industries” or “Just how hard can we squeeze the public before the guillotines come out,” which are always resolved fairly amicably. That’s generally about as far as it goes in terms of “power struggles” within the oligarchy or whatever you want to call it. Their class solidarity is so good that the working class struggles to even imagine it; they imagine a lot more conflict among those ranks than there is.
If the working class had even a fraction of the class solidarity as the ruling class, revolutionary change would be inevitable. Which is why the ruling class pours so much energy into making sure that never happens; they understand the power of class solidarity better than we do.
“Anti-wokeness” is just as much of an establishment-serving energy sink as hyperfixation on identity politics is. It’s a very mainstream narrative push that mainstream conservative politicians are all campaigning on and mainstream right wing pundits are all advancing, clearly geared toward herding the public into mainstream conservative factions. Fixating on either side of the culture war necessarily plays into the same power-serving dynamics you think you’re opposing.
Increasing right-wing panic about communism is based on three major delusions:
That actual communists are anywhere remotely close to having power or taking power in the west.
That entirely capitalist things like the World Economic Forum, the Democratic Party, and the Biden administration are “communist”.
That China is a threat.
Rightists are panicking about communism more and more because they have been trained to panic about communism by the propaganda they consume. They have been trained to panic about communism because we’re in a new cold war and their panic serves the empire’s information interests. In reality panicking about communism in the west right now makes as much sense as panicking about ghosts or space aliens, but the illusion of a threat is made to feel real by the three delusional narratives I just listed.
There really isn’t enough respect for just how much better the US is at propaganda than other nations. It’s completely incomparable in its power and effectiveness. Comparing Russian and Chinese propaganda to US propaganda is comparing baby scribbles to da Vinci.
Perhaps the most toxic brain poison around right now is the common belief that we have some kind of patriotic duty to facilitate the information interests of our government. You see this in the way any criticism of western militarism gets labeled “propaganda” for a foreign government. If criticizing your government’s foreign policy gets you called a propagandist for Russia or China, what that means is that people believe anything other than alignment with your government’s information interests is dangerous enemy information activity which should be opposed.
Baked into that position is the assumption that everyone needs to operate as pro bono propagandists for your government, and that anyone who does not do so is a treasonous friend of the enemy. This belief is prevalent in both the political/media class and the mainstream rank-and-file. If people didn’t feel duty bound to protect the information interests of their government, you wouldn’t see so much mindless bleating of “Russian propagandist!” and “CCP propagandist!” at anyone who criticizes the most dangerous foreign policy objectives of their government.
And it just says so much about the power of the propaganda machine of the US-centralized empire that people not only believe the Official Lines, and they not only parrot the Official Lines, but they actively condemn anyone who calls the Official Lines into question.
This is brain poison. Can you think of a belief system more toxic for important critical thought than one which says you must forcefully attack any dissent against the most dangerous agendas of the most powerful people in your world? I can’t. It’s a great way to keep people stupid, quiet and obedient.
People defend their rulers for the same reason cultists defend their cult leader: because they’ve been indoctrinated. And usually by the same psychological manipulation techniques.
The least likely outcome for humanity’s future is that we continue along the same trajectory we’ve been on without having to drastically change ourselves and our behavior. That is the least likely thing to happen. We’re headed for massive changes fairly soon, one way or another.
The humanity of the not-too-distant future operates very differently from the humanity of today, either because it learned to work in cooperation with itself and with its ecosystem or because it’s an extinct species, yet most visions for our future imagine we’ll remain the same. We need to abandon the notion that the humanity of the future will move and operate in more or less the same way as the humanity of today, just with better technology. That is the very least likely of all possible outcomes.
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