Fear & Loathing in the USA

For anyone currently looking at the foreign and domestic policies of the USA, and feeling confused, sick, and disoriented, I highly recommend a reading or re-reading of the amazingly prescient* Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It explains everything. Only by imagining a large percentage of the US population (and many elsewhere) in a paranoid, delusional, occasionally euphoric high, seeing shoe bombing Muslims and pothead Canadians around every corner, can I begin to understand the people supporting US policy. For the wonderful people in the US who are fighting so hard to get logic through, they must feel like the poor hitchhiker from Oklahoma.

In the years of the Iraq war, the US has trained their youth, not with physical fitness like the Hitler Youth, but with passivity, aggression, and ignorance, movies and video games that encourage violence and killing, news that informs the citizens that people in other parts of the world are ‘different’, not like them, too stupid to govern themselves, and not worthy of consideration. The media, in one of the most astounding bursts of hyperbole ever produced, induced a state of mass hysteria that turned one terrorist attack into an act beyond revenge. When Wikileaks released the Collateral Murder video, there were a shocking number of internet comments that either celebrated the ‘game score’, or explained that in Iraq, children were violent and probably armed, not like children in the US.

There are still people who would like to blame the state of the country on one president, rather than the inexorable progression it has been. While Bush declared war on Iraq, Obama has declared war on the world. While Bush talked of ‘war’, Obama turns words such as ‘intervention’, ‘influence’, ‘partnership’, and ‘engagement’ into a terrifying form of doublespeak. While Bush spoke of ‘combating terror’, to ‘defend the homeland’, Obama speaks of using ‘all elements of American power’ to introduce ‘a new era of American leadership and  engagement in the world’. And while the netizens of the US once blustered and threatened with fear and loathing, they now calmly wonder why they, in their role as the ‘world police’ do not kill even more people and make those people pay their bills.

Now the US media is prepping their citizens for the attack on the final, greatest enemy of the US – themselves. As anyone who reads the US news will know, the media introduces the idea, regardless of any ‘news’ element, just before the government moves on it. Expect martial law (even more martial law, I mean) right about now.

When Obama speaks of “the greatest military in the history of the world”, “the future belongs to America” and his two sets of laws, one for the chosen ones in the US, and another for the rest of humanity, he is speaking of the greatest and most horrifying attack on human rights and society the world has ever seen. He is implementing martial law over every country in the world, torturing and killing all who disagree and hundreds-thousands-millions of bystanders, without trial or accountability. He is rewriting the constitution of his own country and completely disregarding all other laws throughout the world. He is destroying the living environments of people all over the world and claiming all of the world’s natural and military resources for his own use. The world has never dreamed of a psychopath on this scale. Even action movies usually focus on one country or region – taking over the entire planet is the realm of super villains in comic strips.

It is long past the time when anyone can pretend they didn’t know or didn’t understand. The leaders are telling us their plans. We are telling everyone what is happening. The quote we hear most often from activists who stood up to oppose regimes of terror, from Oskar Schindler to Daniel Ellsberg, is regret that they did not stand up sooner. It is time to stand up now, before history marks you forever by the people you are lying with.

At the beginning of his book, Thompson quotes Dr. Johnson, “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man”. Perhaps. But I prefer to think of Dr. King, who said, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

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