This is going to be controversial.
In an article written earlier today by Benny Morris and published by the UK's Guardian Unlimited newspaper, famous historian and civil rights activist John Hope Franklin had this to say regarding his home:
"This country is so arrogant, so self-certain," he says, asked whether the west is now engaged with the Muslim world in a war of civilisations. "I am not sure that is what we are confronting. [But I am also] not sure we have done what we ought to have done to cultivate the rest of the world. We're so powerful and so presumptuous that it makes us unattractive, almost unbecoming. We don't treat other countries and people right. Power without grace is a curse."
The article goes on to mention that:
Franklin is also fierce in his opposition to the war in Iraq. "I don't see any good reason why we went in there or why we are there now. The invasion has sullied our reputation as has our behaviour there. We have undertaken to spread democracy when we ourselves are not democratic."
America not democratic - how so?
"Our presidents are elected by electoral colleges, not directly. And our military is not democratic. There's no draft. Bush's children and my children do not serve." He points out that those who do serve are mostly from America's poorer classes, including many blacks, driven into the professional army by economic necessity. He suggests that the Bush administration keeps down the minimum wage to prompt the poor to volunteer for the (relatively) well-paid armed services.
Of course, prominent Americans who grant interviews to the foreign media, criticizing the US, is nothing new. This is, unfortunately, a common practice on both sides of the political spectrum.
With that said, this is not your typical, "let's bash America" piece. Granted, it is described as a "Special Report" on the United States of America which, in actuality, is nothing more than a liberal opinion piece. At the same time, however, who penned the interview is just as interesting as the man being interviewed.
Both the interviewer, Benny Morris, and the interviewee, John Hope Franklin, are prominent historians. Mr. Morris is an Israeli citizen and Mr. Franklin an American citizen, yet the article is published in a British newspaper. And in no way is Mr. Morris a regular contributing editor to the paper. I counted just about five articles written by Mr. Morris for the Guardian in the last five years.
If you delve into Mr. Morris' background, you actually find that he is a self-proclaimed "new historian." In Israel, that is simply a way of saying that he's one of those historians who does not believe that the Jews claims to Israel are legitimate and tends to be a historical revisionist.
So here suddenly we have some fascinating parallels between Mr. Morris and Mr. Franklin:
- Both question the legitimacy of their governments,
- Both see their governments as oppressors,
- Both are harsh critics of their governments' policies,
- And both stand firmly against the Iraq war.
In fact, it seems to me that both men express a common ideology, that of Folk Marxism:
Folk Marxism looks at political economy as a struggle pitting the oppressors against the oppressed. Of course, for Marx, the oppressors were the owners of capital and the oppressed were the workers. But folk Marxism is not limited by this economic classification scheme. All sorts of other issues are viewed through the lens of oppressors and oppressed. Folk Marxists see Israelis as oppressors and Palestinians as oppressed. They see white males as oppressors and minorities and females as oppressed. They see corporations as oppressors and individuals as oppressed. They see America as an oppressor and other countries as oppressed.
The folk Marxist view of Iraq is that the United States is the oppressor, and the groups fighting the United States are the oppressed. At the extreme, Michael Moore and Ted Rall have made explicit statements to this effect. However, even reporters in the mainstream media who are not openly supporting the enemy take this folk Marxist view when they refer to "the insurgency."
Clearly, that bias is showing through in this article. And not just in this article. Read through so many other articles published by the MSM and I think you'll see that this ideology dominates liberal thinking.
Unfortunately, too many liberals in the media try to dress up such opinion pieces and call them "news" so as to forward this ideology. Fortunately, the blogosphere is here to question such practices.