Argumentum ad Statuam

If Charles Krauthammer is to be believed, the proliferation of statues of various foreign *liberators* (Ireland, India, Uruguay, Ukraine, Bolivia, among others) not only makes Washington unique as a capitol (the only negative comparison he mentions is–hold on to your hats–France) from the rest of the capitols of the world, but it also shows “America’s devotion to liberty. Liberty not just here but everywhere. Indeed, liberty for its own sake.”

That we love liberty for its own sake–whatever that means–can hardly be demonstrated by statues of specific individuals littering our nation’s capital. As we have seen with our own eyes, other nations decorate the plazas, streets, and parks of their capitals with similar statues (but they’re not devoted to liberty–since they’re not Americans). Besides, the mere fact that the figures mentioned were “liberators” hardly means that they loved American style *liberty* (whatever one means by that).

The weird thing about this argument is that since real deeds of real American leaders have posed rhetorical challenges greater than which Krauthammer can conceive, he hopes patriotic sentiment generated by a Lee Greenwood (“I’m proud to be an American) guided tour of monumental Washington (and New York) demonstrates the purity of our intentions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But don’t just listen to the statues, listen to the “the overwhelming majority of Americans” who “refuse to believe” that our motives are anything but pure and [w]hatever their misgivings about the cost and wisdom of these wars, they know how deep and authentic is the American devotion to liberty.”

We do love liberty, but many find our devotion to it deeply mysterious. To them our intentions demonstrate nothing–they see only what we do. Perhaps rather than insisting on the goodness of our intentions, we should wonder about the wisdom of our actions.

2 thoughts on “Argumentum ad Statuam”

  1. The enshrined foreign liberators that Krauthammer mentions would probably disagree with his sentiments. I bet that Bolivar would side with Chavez or Castro over Bush. Are they not also “liberators”? Because America builds statues that are “apolitical” (if that is possible), then why is Krauthammer politicizing the fact that the statues are so “pure”? We give nods to these world leaders because we have large populations of various ethnic groups living within our borders. I don’t think Congressmen or Senators are the ones pushing for these statues to be made anyway.

  2. Krauthammer often appears as one of the least gited of the populist authoritarian employees in service to the propaganda machine.

    Yes, there is a machine and all these people from George Will and Krauthammer to Bill O’Reilly and the other broadcast whores are a part of it. These people are organized and funded from coordinated if not centrally controlled sources. There is a pyramid with the funders and fund raisers at the bottom, the think tanks above that, the media whores above that, all the way up to the top of the pyramid — the President. Thus, it really doesn’t matter who is president. You can put any fool who looks good in a suit and can walk and chew gun at the same time in that office – all you need is someone who is cosmetically right and who won’t choke to death eating pretzels. The other team, however, has no organized structure at all and each time hopes some charismatic prince charming will save them all — This is Bill Bradley’s analysis of the situation and I think he’s got it.

    Instead of focusing on the vacuous, vapid and insipid “arguments” of whores like Krauthammer, try to find the reason he gets space in the Post at all with such drivel.

    Ask why we do not have writers and broadcasters calling into question the source of the coordinated propaganda that is used by the plutocrats — or do we have to rely solely on John Stewart?

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