The past is a foreign…

The past is a foreign country

From The Guardian

America is a great country. But, ever since independence, <historian Douglas> Hofstadter demonstrated, sections of its political class have repeatedly viewed “conspiracy as the motive force in historical events”. At different times, the Jesuits, the Freemasons, Jews and communists have been identified as the conspirators in question. Whatever the perceived enemy, the “central preoccupation” has always been with “a vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character”. As a result, Americans have been regularly prone to seeing a “wrestling match between good and evil” as the “archetypal model of the world struggle”.

This kind of paranoia occurs in many countries and groups. But in America, Hofstadter argued, it has usually been prompted by religious and ethnic tension, and is particularly characteristic of the political right. Does any of this ring bells? It should. September 11 was an atrocity, and there are doubtless still more to come. Heightened security and improved intelligence are certainly called for. But by representing all this as an epic, ongoing war against “shadow and darkness” that requires pre-emptive attacks against sovereign states, it seems likely that Blair, like Bush, has succumbed to the paranoid style in American politics, and with far less partisan benefit.”

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