RE: Why Europe

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 20:56:04 GMT

  • Next message: "Huntington"

    Greetings, Kenneth

    You cite three books that have received a lot of attention in the US. The Barber book is one that expresses themes that are considered still on target
    (not that everyone agrees with them, of course). Barber is at the university of Maryland, and one of the most original thinkers on this whole matter. The Huntington book is considered a bit obsolete, and has been replaced by Huntington himself, with a much less one-sided analysis that has a lot of thought in it and avoids some of the simplistic assertions that his Clash of Civilizations was based on. Of course, this means that his latest book
    (whose title escapes me though I read it a few months ago), is harder to read and hasn't had the sales that Clash did. Fukuyama's essay blazed like a sky-rocket, brightly for a short period, and then fizzled. It was popular because it was, if anything, a celebration of the US 'victory' over communism, and the thought that wars of ideology were over with. But of course we see that, if anything, ideology has again come to the fore, with a vengeance. Fukuyama is teaching at the School of Advanced International Studies, whence came Wolfowitz (no coincidence, I suspect!), and, no surprise, his courses belie the core theme of End of History.

    For those looking for books: I would recommend William A. Williams' MANIFEST DESTINY. It is an interpretation of the linguistic and ideological shifts that adopted to justify taking by European colonialists the North American lands from the native populations. It stands as one of the key studies of memetics, long before the term memetics was coined. For those who want to think that the US is immaculate, be forewarned: MANIFEST DESTINY is an unremitting criticism of the foundations of the country. But if you stick to the memetic dynamics it portrays, it should reward even the most patriotic of readers.

    Cheers, Lawry

    -----Original Message----- From: []On Behalf Of Van oost Kenneth Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 3:27 PM To: Subject: Re: Why Europe

    Douglas, interesting comment ! You, and others should read " Jihad vs. McWorld by Benjamin Barber ! Together with Fukuyama's The End of History and Huntingtons The Clash of Civilizations, Barbers' book is a very good beginning in the ' Why ' of 9/ 11 !

    One of Barbers ' quotes I like is the following,
    " Free market has an indespensable effect on which brand of shoes people wear worldwide. A Palestian suicide- bomber wears no doubtlely Adidas and not sandals. "


    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Douglas Brooker" <>
    > Grant Callaghan wrote:
    > > As a man who is deploring sweeping generalizations, you seem to be
    > > into your own trap. Is that YOUR petard I see you dangling from?
    > >
    > it may very well be what you see, but whether or not this is actually
    > what is happening is very different question.
    > the folklore or history of the British empire is very different in
    > England, than say in India or Canada. similarly, the record the
    > American activities in other countries since the end of WWII is also
    > seen, when it is seen, very differently within the US than in those
    > countries who have been the object of US affection. a month or so ago
    > there was a conference in Washington - Pentagon I think - that meant to
    > examine why there is so much anti-American feeling around the world.
    > That it was held at all is nothing less than an amazing case of
    > blindness to the military activities of the US in many countries around
    > the world, thousands dead or maimed and dozens of governments
    > overthrown. (a good list was circulating a few months ago of countries
    > bombed, invaded or de-stabilised by the US since 1945)
    > now you can argue pro or con about these activities - this will depend
    > on the culture you have been raised in and other factors - there are
    > many Americans who are unhappy about US foreign policy and there are
    > those in UK and elsewhere who support it. so there is debate about
    > exactly what happened and whether or not it was justified. (Along the
    > lines of: no "massacre", the Israelis say, in Jenin in April, but last
    > Sunday's attack on Israeli troops in Hebron was, the Israelis say, a
    > "massacre", and other nice debates about the number of other people
    > killed are required to constitute a "massacre".) (or here re the IRA -
    > Grant has not told us that the change in US policy with respect to
    > fund-raising activities in the US by the IRA is relatively recent)
    > what is the interesting issue for me, is how a rather dominant strain of
    > US thinking about their overseas activities can be either so dumb,
    > naive, or ingenuous, to fail to make a connection between the record of
    > bombing, invasion and destabilisation and the fact that there is
    > widespread hatred of the US government in these countries. Bin Laden
    > and Saddam, or the Shah of Iran were all American proxies and there is
    > no end of examples which should permit Americans to establish some cause
    > and effect between their own actions and the antipathy felt toward their
    > governments around the world. many Americans can make this
    > connection.
    > much the same can be said about the roles of the UK during and after
    > their Empire period, or other, usually large countries. comparing
    > dominant myths in Serbia and ISrael would be a good study. the issue
    > that's relevant here is how a nation or people can be blind to their own
    > contradictions, (my shit doesn't smell) and how they create historical
    > myths which elevate or sanctify certain aspects of their activities and
    > make invisible that which is unsavory. on a political level, it can only
    > be healthy when nations collectively become aware of their own blindness
    > and contradictions. from the academic perspective, it would seem to be
    > a compelling task to identify instances of this kind of blindness and
    > from these examples, start abstracting theories about the functioning of
    > national and collective consciousness, and unconsciousness.
    > it seems from here - Canadian in Europe - that the kind of political
    > partisanship in America that increasingly is reflected in its
    > scholarship and science - (the cultural civil war) - and which makes
    > participation by others in alot of American academic discourse at worst,
    > a waste of time, and at best, a social challenge - is being exported to
    > the rest of the world. it's a natural human characteristic to so
    > identify with the myths that are the basis on one's social identity. the
    > challenge it would seem to people involved in memetics and similar
    > disciplines is to get outside of themselves, because if one doesn't or
    > can't, all one's going to have to say will be recycled ideology cast in
    > a different set of words, basically saying the same thing. It may not be
    > apparent to those who speak it, often it is apparent to those who hear
    > it.
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

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