The Better Nature of Less Evil Angels — Exceptionalism Debunked

Well, this will be quick and, of course not, painless. I’ve been contending with this sort of deluded idea about America, or the States United, or whatever the hell you want to call this country of collective mass amnesia and mollification of facts, history.

I’m not trying to be snarky here, as the mainstream press seems to call anyone and his brother who might be questioning the values (sic) of our foreign and domestic policies. Snarky as in Glenn Greenwald, James Howard Kunstler, Rachel Carson, what have you.

Just reading Paul Craig Roberts in his latest piece and the interview with Gary. Interesting stuff, and I’m glad Paul Craig Roberts is around criticizing Empire and the US mindset, both political and corporate. Hats off there. But this glinty thing, about a new “deleted morality,” or when he talks to Gary about a time when he grew up and was a man and you could not look yourself in the mirror if you had done something abhorrent, morally wrong, and against your fellow human. Here, the two quips, then my take.

“Whatever Became of Morality?”  by Paul Craig Roberts / June 5th, 2014

What are we to make of this?

Two 12 year-old white American girls who look perfectly normal stabbed their 12-year old friend 19 times in a murder attempt. By murdering their friend the girls hoped to win the acceptance of a totally fictitious cartoon character on a website.

Does this mean that not only has the enculturation process in the US deleted morality but also that American kids can no longer tell the difference between fiction and reality?

On several occasions I have written that Americans live in The Matrix, just as in the movie, only there is no “The One” to release them. Has the electronic existence in which children are raised destroyed their humanity?


“Transitions, Morals, Alliances, and Dissolutions: A Conversation with Paul Craig Roberts” by Gary Corseri / June 3rd, 2014

C: I’m wondering about your background. You mention God, not thinking of ourselves, and so forth. What about your upbringing? Can you tell us how these values were inculcated?

PCR: You know, it was a different world. People had to be able to look themselves in the mirror and that meant you had to have behaved correctly. Today, it has almost turned around! The only way you can look yourself in the mirror is if you got the better of someone else. It’s like the Wall Street culture has taken over. And, if we look at American foreign policy — what it’s about is prevailing! It’s not about diplomacy; it’s about the application of force. Our diplomacy is: If you don’t do as we say, we’re going to bomb you into the Stone Age. This is not the country I grew up in!

GC: What country did you grow up in? Did you go to Church every week…?

PCR: I grew up in the United States! And the people I grew up with — their values, their way of life — were formed in earlier times; their behavior, their appearance, their way of thinking reflected the kinds of values that were the basis of the country, when such values were still effective or somewhat effective. It was before those values had been worn out and discarded. So, in that sense, I’m a remnant of when we were finer than we are today. And the kinds of things that happen today simply couldn’t have happened earlier. I think that a great deal has been lost….


I’m wondering if Paul Craig Roberts or Gary have even entered the realm of a world not centered around white European devaluation of humankind? Galeano’s “Memory of Fire” trilogy might help them see a world where founding fathers or pre-Korea War or during that time that is sickenly called the Greatest generation ever.

“Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.” ? Eduardo Galeano

Look, some of us regard the genocide of the original peoples as proof positive of this country’s white ethics, though mirrors in the old days were not widely used by men. Ponder the fact that in Spokane, the road leading to the community college, is still called Fort George Wright Blvd, names after a colonel who in revenge killed Native’s people without trial, and slaughtered 400 native people’s horses.

A town with no community gathering to celebrate the native people? A town made by whites, by railroad, by cutting down forests, those homelands of native people. Sure, Paul, the ethics and values of settlers, 1890s.

Which fire-bombing World War Two general is Mr. Roberts looking to as “those finer days?” Which president that knew a nuclear weapon WAS not the answer to peace is Paul talking about? Those finer and more ethical and diplomatic days?

Chavez Canyon? Los Angeles. Remember how a decent Hispanic community was pushed off property for the LA Dodgers? Is that the great white male finer days Paul is alluding to?

He does what with the 12 year old stabbing “if it bleeds, it leads” news? Really? The best and the brightest under Kennedy and LBJ? Bomb them back to the Stone Age? Is that the finer days of diplomacy and American exceptionalism Paul is wanting a return to?

Hoover and his Cohen Little Eichmann, is that the timeframe of people in government able to look themselves in the mirror and say they did not attack, did not brutalize people’s rights?

George W.W Bush, the senior CIA man, the contra man, the war in Kuwait? That insipid guy and his gang of diplomats, is that a better day, proof of greatness slipping into today’s morass? Which Iraq soldiers were bulldozed into hell after surrendering? Which major or colonel or captain helped poison and murder four million Vietnamese?

Which finer white captain of industry and government worker helped vilify Rachel Carson? Which DDT spraying and smallpox seeding American blanket distributor are we talking about as the better white male, in that better time in America?

Which Ronald Reagan is that grander representative? The one who turned in people as commies as Screen Actors Guild president? Or was it the government and hit Edwin Meese attorney general we want to huge as great white men of a “finer age?”

Emmitt Till, remember that finer time in the 1950s, tortured, brutalized, murdered and then body dumped in the river? Is that the finer nature of our country’s white majority? Eisenhower didn’t even acknowledge Mamie Till’s letter about the case, about white murderers going free.

Shoot, which invasion of Nicaragua (1800s, 1900s) define America’s great age? Which yellow journalism time period demonstrates America’s ethics, care, diplomacy? The Hearts days? Before?

How many billions of dollars have Afro-Americans been ripped off? Which finer Zionist days can Paul look to as those ethical and lovely American values days?

How many rivers damned? How many children seeded with toxins? You think all those nuke tests and all those release of iodine 131 in Nevada and along the Columbia River, you think those were finer days?

LA police department, 1930s or Rodney King days or today? Any diff?

United Fruit Company, despots propped up by Everything Goes Better with CocaCola, those 1930s and ‘40s are the better days or our American better side?

Still trying to get my arms around how these shooting and stabbing sprees somehow show the American character has gone in the dumpster? Have we not always been in the dumpster?

I need some help here, Paul. I need to know which government timeframe, which white man diplomacy was a better timeframe for our youth to harken back to in order to reappropriate those finer and more ethical times?

James Watt? Earl Butz? Daily of Chicago? Union leaders busting anti-war demonstrators’ heads? Which president convention shows America’s finer and more ethical days?

Which Cesar Chavez harassing days show we fine readers we were once a finer place to call home?

How many finer lynchings show us we were a great country? Which racist American leader can we roll up as testament to Paul’s better days? Which tobacco industry influencer and their bought-off American public servants are we leaning toward for ethical foundations?

I just can’t figure out those leaders of Vietnam massacres or Kent State guardsmen leaders I have to look to as stalwarts of ethics, those finer old days? Which CIA and diplomatic corps am I looking to? Latin American leaders murdered by US decree? Which shah reflects those American values?

I’m trying to figure out which bought out politician or American exceptional example I can look to in our country’s past who doesn’t have the blood of deceit on his fingers?

Which automobile company with those revolving door white leaders am I looking to as stalwarts of ethics? Thugs going after Ralph Nader, sure, those were the good old days.

Which Love Canal shows me the American mindset was a better one, those good old Paul Craig Roberts’ days?

Read the work of Afro-American writers. Read the work of Latin American writers. Caribbean writers. South American writers. Hell, Howard Zinn if you have to. Read-read-read the real history of those better times, when government work was so-so much more ethically bond and filled with finer, ethical white men? Water stealing, land robbing, forest clear-cutting, river-fouling days. Those were the good old days when men could look in the mirror and tell themselves they did good by the people.

Sure, Paul. Help us out. Those finer days, Halcion days. Those days when government workers, diplomats, elected officials, when they were so-so more ethical in their death by a million cuts. Sure, let’s see where that all is in the REAL history of this country. Outliers? Well, of course. Sort of.

“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.”

“When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won’t do to get it, or what he doesn’t believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn’t believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom.”

— Malcolm X

 “The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit . . . We will be marching and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. “

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look easily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

“I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government.”

–MLK, Jr.

“For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from the moment of conception until death.”

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road-the one less traveled by-offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

–Rachel Carson

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Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.