Caitlin Johnstone nails it

I've said something like this before on TOP, but I was never able to make my point so succinct and biting.

American liberals and progressives talk a bit about white privilege, male privilege, straight privilege etc, but one thing I never hear them talk about is American privilege: the ability their nationality gives them to have a relationship with this world that the rest of us do not have.

American privilege is reassuring yourself that there are problems enough at home without worrying about the trillions your government’s war machine is spending terrorizing the world and encircling the planet with military bases.

American privilege is reluctantly allowing the potential Commanders-in-Chief have an eight-minute conversation about foreign policy in your presidential primary debates, when your country’s military policy functionally dictates the affairs of rest of the world.

American privilege is arguing against the legality of assault weapons on the basis that they are “weapons of war”, implying that they’re fine as long as they’re used to kill some foreigner’s kids.

American privilege is being able to masturbate your outrage addiction over a racist joke while ignoring the way your military murders black and brown people by the tens of thousands every year.

American privilege is being able to lose your mind over someone using the wrong pronouns while paying no attention to the fact that your government pours your tax money and resources into governments and groups who hang gay people in the town square.
...
American privilege is black bloc protests against public appearances by figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and the Proud Boys while murderous war pigs like Bill Kristol, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton, David Frum and arms industry executives go from appearance to appearance completely unbothered.

Conservatives are guilty of most of these sins as well, but only liberals pretend that they are innocent. People on TOP literally could not understand this when I tried to explain it.

It's important to point out that conservatives don't spend time pointing out the liberal's hypocrisy here, which shows that they do not understand this either.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

Always does, too!

American privilege is reassuring yourself that there are problems enough at home without worrying about the trillions your government’s war machine is spending terrorizing the world and encircling the planet with military bases.

American privilege is reluctantly allowing the potential Commanders-in-Chief have an eight-minute conversation about foreign policy in your presidential primary debates, when your country’s military policy functionally dictates the affairs of rest of the world.

American privilege is arguing against the legality of assault weapons on the basis that they are “weapons of war”, implying that they’re fine as long as they’re used to kill some foreigner’s kids.

American privilege is being able to masturbate your outrage addiction over a racist joke while ignoring the way your military murders black and brown people by the tens of thousands every year.

American privilege is being able to lose your mind over someone using the wrong pronouns while paying no attention to the fact that your government pours your tax money and resources into governments and groups who hang gay people in the town square.
...
American privilege is black bloc protests against public appearances by figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and the Proud Boys while murderous war pigs like Bill Kristol, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton, David Frum and arms industry executives go from appearance to appearance completely unbothered.

See above! Wink

Most working-class Americans, ironically, do not support this garbage. They look at it as a waste of their tax dollars, and rightly so.

And in fairness, the Proud Boys deliberately summon and provoke all outrages against them.... Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
This is my crosspost from 4 years ago.
The comments on TOP said it was weird and bizarre.

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@gjohnsit

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@gjohnsit

While your analysis of Kipling's "White Man's Burden" was spot-on, and the parodies of the same that you published quite entertaining and cogent, I still think you and your fellow commenters missed the very best snark that was ever snarked on Kipling's poem: Ernest Crosby's "The REAL White Man's Burden". Among other considerations, it was contemporary with Kipling. I post it here now:

The Real "White Man's Burden"

Take up the White Man's burden;
Send forth your sturdy sons,
And load them down with whisky
And Testaments and guns.
Throw in a few diseases
To spread in tropic climes,
For there the healthy niggers
Are quite behind the times.

And don't forget the factories.
On those benighted shores
They have no cheerful iron-mills
Nor eke department stores.
They never work twelve hours a day,
And live in strange content,
Altho they never have to pay
A single cent of rent.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And teach the Philippines
What interest and taxes are
And what a mortgage means.
Give them electrocution chairs,
And prisons, too, galore,
And if they seem inclined to kick,
Then spill their heathen gore.

They need our labor question, too,
And politics and fraud,
We've made a pretty mess at home;
Let's make a mess abroad.
And let us ever humbly pray
The Lord of Hosts may deign
To stir our feeble memories,
Lest we forget -- the Maine.

Take up the White Man's burden;
To you who thus succeed
In civilizing savage hoards
They owe a debt, indeed;
Concessions, pensions, salaries,
And privilege and right,
With outstretched hands you raise to bless
Grab everything in sight.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And if you write in verse,
Flatter your Nation's vices
And strive to make them worse.
Then learn that if with pious words
You ornament each phrase,
In a world of canting hypocrites
This kind of business pays.

source

It's worth noting that Crosby was president of the Anti-Imperialist League of New York.

In 1899.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@gjohnsit . It has to change. We cannot go on like this.

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I agree with her that our country has done heinous things and engaged in hypocrisy that drops our jaws and numbs our souls. In my non-professional opinion, only a sociopath would believe otherwise. However, I don't believe that someone who thinks that using the correct pronoun for a transgender (or whomever) is important is also oblivious to other suffering or carnage.

I am sure that I am not unusual and I've been critical of the US government since I was a sophomore in high school. And don't even ask about college. It's a wonder that I got my degree (a) at all and (b) without having flipped an embolism about our government's misdeeds.

As far as outrage, I can walk outrage and chew outrage, meaning, I can notice and be angry about relatively inconsequential things and also be furious about the kinds of things she is saying we are not furious about. One does not preclude the other.

So, why don't I stop my government from doing bad things? I promise I will, if you just tell me how. I'll even self-immolate--fire being my nightmare of a way to die, btw, if that's the way. I just really don't want to do that if it won't change things.

(Clean up edits made.)

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@HenryAWallace
C99P isn't the problem.
The problem is in the liberal mainstream, like TOP.
If liberals don't oppose immoral wars, who will? Conservatives can't be expected to fill the void because they traditionally approve of pointless slaughters.

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Lookout's picture

to American privilege....because US citizens are willfully blind to their claim of exceptionalism...and Caity nails it in so many ways.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am keeping a copy of that, perfectly stated and perfectly true of most of America today. I love the one about spending 8 minutes on foreign policy when our policy dictates the affairs of the rest of the world. Also love the one about weapons of war being fine on the "battlefield" but not in the Homeland...

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When I hear stuff like that from foreigners all I can think of is to say that I would invite her, if she in not one already, to come and be a citizen here and pitch in to help. It is not like many of us have not tried.

I have been anti-war since the 60's and I rate all the work I have done to stop the wars has amounted to a big zero.

And we get so little help from our "allies" around the world who will not push back against our imperialism. Isn't she in Australia? What has Australia done to stop American imperialism? Not a fucking thing that I can see. And how many more of our "allies" have done any better than Australia? Many of our "allies" goad us into war. One "ally" in particular, seems exceptionally adept at goading.

Where is the "friends don't let friends drive drunk" principle?

But of course what she says is true. A bunch of phony domestic outrage when the real outrage is what we do to the rest of the world.

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burnt out's picture

@davidgmillsatty She does what she does best, she writes, she tells the stories that need to get told, the stories you'll never hear on MSM. And she does it extremely well. We need ten thousand more just like her.

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All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth. John Lennon

@burnt out I am not picking on her specifically. But over the years I have just grown tired of hearing foreigners say that we should stop our government from doing all this shit that it does around the world as if we can somehow do something about it.

We simply can't do any thing more about our government warmongering than other citizens of the world can stop theirs from doing things they wish it wouldn't do.

These people mean well. But well meaning advice doesn't help.

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burnt out's picture

@davidgmillsatty I look at what she does as more along the lines of education or to put it more bluntly simply waking up the sheep. You have to keep in mind that millions of people, our neighbors, work mates, friends even, are still oblivious to the long term brainwashing we've received all our lives and thus still buy the bullshit they hear/see on the six o'clock news. So they take it all in as fact and don't bother to question it further. Those are the people she's trying to reach. It's a worthy goal and one that I'm sure many of the excellent writers right here on C99 share as well. They are the reason I came here in the first place and the reason I'm still here. In all honesty, I'm neither well enough informed nor do I have the writing ability to do the same. I suppose you could consider me one of those that Caitlin and writers like her are reaching and educating. I appreciate what they do and I don't really care where they come from as long as they speak the truth. Peace

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All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth. John Lennon

Centaurea's picture

@burnt out
Much of what Johnstone says is to encourage people to develop self-awareness and to re-claim their minds. To use their critical thinking abilities and to question everything. Those things are key. If enough of us don't get our minds free, we can "do" things and "do" things, but nothing we "do" will have any effect.

What's the alternative? Give up? Our writers and thinkers and activists should just sit down, be quiet, stop thinking, and passively accept the fate that the oligarchy has in store for us?

We're on that road already. What's the harm in trying a different path?

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Creosote.'s picture

@davidgmillsatty
to stop building and promoting unaccountable, perverse, and deadly corporate interests.

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Centaurea's picture

@davidgmillsatty
Tim Foley, is an American citizen. Caity has said many times that he is an active collaborator in her work. In fact, they've recently begun doing podcasts together.

With respect to where she lives, with the Internet one can do pretty much anything from anywhere in the world. Caity Johnstone is doing important work. In fact, I think she's probably better off, better protected, to stay Down Under, rather than subject herself to the physical jurisdiction of the American alphabet agencies.

As to what the Australian government is and is not doing, Johnstone has not been shy about criticizing their shortcomings as enablers and toadies of the US.

Citizens of other countries have every right to critique the US. The US has no qualms about inserting itself into other sovereign nations' affairs. The US controls the fate of the world, and it's not looking too good right now. They'd be fools to passively accept it the way the majority of Americans have.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea @Centaurea They can criticize all they want but they don't help. They would help much more if their governments stopped ours. But they can't stop their governments from stopping ours. And many of their governments strongly support ours. Hell Blair was better at arguing for our war in Iraq than Bush was (since Bush was quite dim minded). Where were the British?

And who is stopping the Israelis from running our foreign policy?

Just today Paul Craig Roberts said that Israel bombed the Saudi Oil fields so that both the US and Israel could blame Iran for the attack. And of course Saudi will go along with it because they hate Iran more than they hate Israel. Another false flag like 9/11. Roberts has a pretty good track record of having info sources that are legit.

So who is going to stop us going to war with Iran? And what are Russia and China going to do if we attack Iran?

What good is Catilin going to be? What good are any of us who complain?

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@davidgmillsatty

Official Secrets, answers your question,

Where were the British?

As the film documents with archival footage, they were demonstrating against the Iraq war in record numbers and taking legal action to expose official lies. I highly recommend the film.

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@Linda Wood Whatever they tied did not work no matter how noble. Citizens everywhere seem to be impotent when it comes to reigning in their governments.

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Centaurea's picture

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty

As you note, what we have been doing isn't working.

What Caity is suggesting, and what I am suggesting, is that we come at it from a different perspective. Re-frame and re-think.

The way I read your comments, you're looking at it from the old perspective, correctly saying "that doesn't work", but then saying "there's no other way to approach it", and then giving up.

There are no guarantees that a new approach will work, but if we don't look for one, we are most likely guaranteed to fail.

("We" means ordinary non-sociopathic human beings like us, not the .0001% currently running the planet. I don't think the new perspective relies on the .0001% in any way.)

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea I don't know what to do. Voting doesn't work and a million people protesting the Iraq war didn't work.

So what does work if voting and protesting doesn't work? What new and novel idea is going to work?

Short of getting someone elected as President who is genuinely anti-war and who refuses allow the military outside the US, I have no idea. And if a President did that, I feel sure he would be suicided.

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Same as it ever was.

Facile maybe, but I still see the whole phenomenon through the lens of the plain-bellied and star-bellied sneetches.

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