Hierarchical and Relational Societies
By Col. DAN SMITH
"......One could, in fact, do much worse than to survey the myths of a people or culture to gain an appreciation of the balance between hierarchical and relational propensities that distinguish a particular society. For example, a prominent U.S. myth is the inevitable triumph of the "exceptional" experiment summarized in the phrase "Manifest Destiny." The April 1859 Democracy Review opined:
"We are governed by the laws under which the universe was
created, and therefore, in obedience to those laws, we must of
necessity move forward in the paths of destiny shaped for us
by the great Ruler of the Universe."
This is the substance--the laws that govern the course of nature. The form, the image might change and did change: for the Puritans it was "the city on the hill," for the colonial revolutionary leaders it was Enlightenment principles. Ralph Waldo Emerson advised "hitch your wagon to a star," while John Soule, editor of the Terre Haute, Indiana Express, titled an 1851 editorial "Go west young man, and grow up with the country." By the end of the 19th century, "Manifest Destiny" served as the guiding narrative of the American experience.....
And this brings the issue full circle back to the Bush administration. For in the act of developing and applying the neocon orthodoxy, the true believers became so invested in attempting to make events conform to their vision that they could not admit even the smallest variation or interpretation to their creed. They mercilessly manipulated every available force--including fear of an enemy that allegedly had the intent and capability to cause extensive death and destruction--in defense of their "truth." In such an ideological fog, ordinary people and even government officials were not inclined or motivated to try to understand or to meet the "other"--which of course left no opportunity to "give face."
For the neocons, but for no one else, it was "win-win." Success was its own justification. Failure did not mean the vision was flawed but that the public lacked the will to carry through and reach the vision offered them. Everything depended on isolating the I.S. public from contact with the "enemy." For without contact, it was easier to exaggerate threats to the point that fear became communal hatred--cold, calculating, the type that consumes all feeling, sunders all charity, and excises all mercy as it tramples all justice.
This is the emptiness, the unpardonable sin, of Hawthorne's Ethan Brand.
Will it also be the sin of George W. Bush's administration--and the nation's?"