‘HUBRIS’ is defined as rash and foolish pride, a dangerous overconfidence, manifested with arrogance. The deep state vaunts our ‘exceptionalism’, and since Reagan’s ‘city on a hill’ trope Americans have been assured by all succeeding presidents that ours is the ‘indispensible nation’. The word describes the way the United States sells itself to the world, and has for generations.
The yawning cognitive gap between our nomenklatura’s relentless self-promotion and its pathetic history of botched, humiliating failures in every single act of imperial overreach demands examination. Are we at peak hubris? When exactly should the hubris of a vicious, lying, sloganeering criminal state be identified as what it is, a cover for unhinged stupidity?
Viz. the deranged, hysterical Democratic Party, a subsidiary of the deep state, led — if that term applies — by a geriatric clutch of morally squalid throwbacks and vacuous nonentities, which has its Depends in a knot in the effort to blame the entire debacle of recent US historic crime on the repulsive yahoo squatting in the White House. As Einstein observed, all explanations should be as simple as possible…but no simpler.
Of all the villainies attributed to Trump by Democrats and the deep state — the power elite, establishment, ruling clique, permanent unelected government — the most egregious and only unforgivable one, is that his gross and vulgar bathos in Holy Office has exposed and profoundly embarrassed them, punching holes in their diligently crafted image. The Masters of Disaster can’t tolerate open revelation of their evil, witness the methodical crushing of a roster of whistleblowers, among whom the most damning and brutally handled are Manning, Assange and Snowden. Two are jailed on bogus ‘charges’ in peril of their lives, and Snowden is in exile, only free because the vengeful engine of American ‘justice’ can’t nail him.
The three have exposed the hubris of ‘exceptional America’ far more substantively and damagingly than any of Trump’s galumphing, butthead blundering has done, and produced damning indictments of its despicable nature that assured their dragooning. Their work has done much more to trash and pulverise the mythology of the empire but the operators of the propaganda machine have managed to hide the vast bulk of it from public awareness, a feat they couldn’t manage with Trump’s ranting, erratic, Pigtown jig diplomacy, and his imbecile, chunk-blowing Twitter yammer.
Moreover, the deep state has been able to crush or stifle these heroes, but can’t seem to find a way to give His Bloviance the hook short of terminating him with extreme prejudice, which they haven’t had the balls to do…yet. They’ve had to settle, so far, for anathematising him as the sole source of the betrayal of the United States’ exalted values and principles. As if we had any…
The reality is that the United States has made it ironclad policy to install, support and enrich a gang of the vilest, most murderous dictators, tyrants, caudillos and royal brutes in history behind its sinister fairytale of principled benevolence. Their names fill pages but let Pinochet, The Shah, Mobutu, Papa Doc, Marcos, Somoza, Kagame and Mubarak stand as examples. To be ‘our sonofabitch’ was simple: crush your people’s aspirations, kill their leaders, drain their economic blood, sell off their resources to Rape Capitalism for pennies on the dollar and borrow billions from our IMF, taking only a modest 10 per cent or so for your trouble. And keep the clamps on hard with torture, rape and murder so nothing queers the deal for you and Uncle.
The only ‘dictators’ the United States despises are those who refuse, as Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad did, to knuckle and suck, or those with the muscle, wisdom and grit to balk and baffle our folly, as Putin and Xi do routinely.
This dirty hidden history that the three heroes’ work has revealed is the reason the deep state knows it has to destroy Trump. His loose cannon, ADD follies and zany, autistic impulses draw attention to their documenting of American crimes while blocking the empire from retaking control of the game so it can function as it goddam pleases, the way it always has.
The single paramount commandment in the deep state’s tablet of laws is that nothing must threaten the profits of the war machine, and certainly not anything that benefits only ‘the people’. Very clear on this, the Democratic Party, richly suckled by the ‘defence industry’, excoriates Trump for his sophomoric efforts to end a small war or two, while whorishly advancing the Totenkopf Banner of the war machine to the satisfaction of the deep state.
Major problem, though. Americans who are not brain-dead are sick of endless war, which puts them at serious odds with the war machine and the party that glorifies it. Virulent hatred of Putin and Russia, coupled with the raging lust to murder ignorant, guiltless peasants and destitute slum dwellers is no longer a foolproof formula for swelling the ranks of the liberal faithful. Which raises (but does not beg) the key question: are we indeed at peak hubris?
Judging by the loss of traction that pure American horseshit braggadocio from our organs of propaganda is having internationally, one would have to say we have. After the long line — beginning at the division of Europe, solidified by the stalemate in Korea — of shameful military muggings, half-assed regime change pratfalls and humiliating downright defeats, it is at last becoming clear to the wizards behind the curtain that hubris ain’t cuttin‘ it no more.
The powerful exceptionalist myth, the central tenet of our catechism, which is the basis of the whole crevassed, dissolving superstructure of the empire, the supreme ‘big lie’ upon which our entire culture of fraud, falsity and philistinism is predicated, has buckled at last under the strain of our malevolent history, and is spectacularly shattering and decomposing.
The fact that the myth and the hubris that buttressed it so forcefully are disintegrating does not mean they will be abandoned by the powers and dominions that have used them so long and so fruitfully. Absurdity in action is perhaps the most defining single quality of expiring empires. Buffoons and snake oil men will continue to pitch the myth, stinking and decayed, long after its sell-by date as long as it keeps them on the payroll but where the opinion of the great world is concerned, the party’s over.
What follows? There is no reliable template for expiring empires. The end can be anything from devastating physical destruction, to ungovernable social chaos and barbarism, to just collapsing quietly into poor and feeble senescence.
Kipling said it best of an expiring British Empire:
Far called, our navies melt away,
On dune and headland sinks the fire.
Lo! all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre.
CounterPunch.org, November 14. Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana.
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