The Day of the Let’s Pretends

This article first appeared in the September 12, 1959, issue of NATIONAL REVIEW.

From National Review Online, By J. D. Futch

“This damned morality is going to ruin everything!” — Lord Melbourne, ca. 1840

To tell the truth, it doesn’t matter very much to us what “the world” thanks of America and of the West — how Nehru and Sukarno felt about the Hiss hassle, “McCarthyism,” “germ warfare,” and Suez. The oracles of the Establishment set up such criteria as these for our guidance in foreign affairs, but we might do better to begin turning things around and asking what the West thinks of the world, for this question, and not its reverse, will lead us to one of the gravest of all the contradictions in Western attitudes which, taken together, have left us semi-paralyzed and at times scarcely able to prosecute the Cold War at all. What has happened is that since the “victory” of 1945 we have somehow grown afraid of Africa and Asia (this is the Western, not the editorial we). And why the people whom the fathers commanded now inspire fear in the sons is explained by circumstances we should examine.

The one-time colonial powers have worn one another into a state of comparative debility vis-à-vis the world’s underdeveloped nations. The two wars which wrecked the Continent and washed away the foundations of its social order have made it impossible to launch anew, for the time being, imperialism in the grand manner of the nineteenth or sixteenth centuries, and likewise made it very difficult to maintain existing dependencies in the face of organized minority agitation masquerading as popular revolution.

This granted, we should also take account of a further and more deeply rooted psychological factor to which historians may end by assigning decisive responsibility for the collapse of the Western position in the world and for throwing the way open to Soviet penetration of the greater part of the globe. Little enough has been said or written about the basis, or the very existence, of “the dogma of revolution,” a liberal and above all an Anglo-Saxon conviction that underdogs everywhere will and ought to rise soon or late against their oppressors.

Such a doctrine has animated, or in some cases simply excused, US foreign policy since the opening of the nineteenth century when our attitude towards the revolt of the Spanish American colonies foreshadowed darkly the part we would play in the breakup and “liberation” of the British, French, and Dutch possessions after World War II.

Conscious of our position at the head of a coalition that includes the greatest of the old colonizing powers, and, conscious, too, of an imagined moral duty to “atone” somehow for their imperialism of other times, we have been rampaging through the world sowing revolution among people little able to grasp the Spirit of ’76 — as Arnold J. Toynbee rhapsodized, “beckoning them to the pursuit of the American revolutionary objectives: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Behind us lie the wrecks of empires, whose fragments are patiently gathered up by the Soviet Union, the only long-run beneficiary of an American policy based upon misunderstanding and misapplication of the principles which inspired our Revolutionary statesmen.

When our leaders welcomed the uprising in Spain’s colonies, they did so in order to transform the hemisphere into Fortress America and surely not to realize the vagaries of socio-political witch-doctors. The United States drew political profit from the development, and the ideological fanfare accompanying our policy was principally eyewash. But we who have misread our own history are now committed to encouragement of virtually all “independence” movements everywhere, even (or particularly) in the case of countries so little ready for self-government as to become the certain prey of native dictators or Communist regimes or both. Innumerable of these let’s-pretend states have been thrown up in the wake of the retreating West, and whatever their ultimate fate may be, they are now undermining whatever usefulness the UN might have had.

There should be no confusion among us at least as to the single raison d’être creditable to the UN at the time of its inception: that from 1945 onwards it serve as a Western instrument for maintaining the peace won through war. This would have been analogous to the French view of the League of Nations in 1919. It was owing to Western unwillingness to utilize the League effectively to this end that it evaporated. However, we had the opportunity in the mid-1940’s to profit from the lesson and to weld the United Nations into a massive anti-Soviet alliance, which, after all, would have been the historically logical second stage of development for the organization which began its career during the war as a worldwide combination against the Axis.

As it is, the UN bids fair to take its place one day among the hostile forces confronting the West. For it is rapidly filling up with new member states, admitted with absurd haste and indiscrimination, most of them under the leadership — if not the iron hand — of Western-educated ideologues oriented towards autocracy and Marxism at home and neutralism or outright Russophilia abroad. The UN is being transformed into a standing convention of the Anti-West. Winston Churchill, the tragic prophet, witness, and commentator of so many disasters in our time, has remarked that the flood of newly independent (Afro-Asian) countries into the world organization is threatening to alter the balance within it in a manner very disadvantageous to the free world and in no way foreseen (by the West?) at the time of the San Francisco Conference. If, under these circumstances, the long-called-for “teeth” should ever be written into the Charter, then we might prepare for the bad dreams banished in the West during the twelve hundred years since Charles Martel turned back the Moors at Tour.

One response

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    We need a Charles Martel to turn back the invasion from our southern borders, but it appears Obama will finish up the details of the Bush1&2 Doctrine of WIDE OPEN BORDERS.

    Both “parties” are owned by the Globalists who want our culture destroyed. One world government cannot exist with an independent America to be able to overrule the evil scheme. Americas’ former might, industry, sound currency and productive culture with a moral basis has stood in the way.

    So – offshore the industry, increase the dependency class, and flood the nation with a 3rrd world country, and destroy the currency. Tickle the minds with “foreign” threats to distract from the real issues.

    Shakespeare SUMMED IT UP in one line in “King Lear”:
    “Be it thy policy to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels.”

    We have 40million illegal aliens here – the Southwest, especially, is a goner. The Balkanization of former USA will be an ugly future.

    from The Coming Dark Age by Roberto Vacca

    In the imminent dark age people will endure
    hardship, and for the greater part of their time
    they will be labouring to consist in cultivating
    the soil or building shelters with their hands.
    It will consist in schemes and intrigues, grimmer
    and more violent than anything we know today, in
    order to maintain their privileges.

    One must point out, however, that many who now
    deplore the oppression, injustice, and intrinsic
    ugliness in a technically advanced and congested
    society will decide that things were better when
    they were worse; and they will discover that to
    do without telephone, electric light, cars,
    letters, telegrams is all very well for a week or
    so, but not so amusing as a way of life.

    One fact will bring notable relief to many
    survivors: the grim problems facing them will at
    least be completely different from those that
    have been tormenting them in past years. The
    problems of an advanced civilization will be
    replaced by those proper to a primitive
    civilizatian, and it is probable that a majority
    of survivors may be made up of people
    particularly adapted to passing quickly from a
    sophisticated to a primitive type of existence.

    It is certain that free societies will have no
    easy time of it in a future dark age. The rapid
    return of universal penury will be accompanied by
    violence and cruelties of a kind now forgotten.
    The force of law will be scant or nil, either
    because of collapse of machinery of state, or
    because of difficulties in communication and
    transport. It will be possible only to delegate
    authority to local powers who will maintain it by
    force alone.

    On the third day the looting of supermarkes
    begins, and troops try to stop it. There are
    riots and several hundred are killed. John Doe
    becomes aware that he is totally unprepared for
    this kind of situation.

    The candles are finished and all the electric
    appliances that fill his house are useless. Jose
    Gutierrez, the Puerto Rican, finds his situation
    not so bad. His subsistence level is low anyhow,
    he is not especially distressed at what is
    happening. He has never had a telephone and is
    accustomed to having electricity cut off because
    his payments are often in arrears. His home, with
    the bare minimum of necessities, corresponds to
    his primitive way of living. He is accustomed to
    a competetive, even violent existence. Jose will
    clobber John Doe – and survive – when they fight
    for the cylinders of liquid gas.

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