The Pity-for-Osama Lobby
It is extraordinary, and revealing, how quickly the expression of concern about the use of American force in Pakistan became an expression of values superiority over the American people. The modern chattering classes are so utterly removed from the mass of the population, so profoundly disconnected from ‘ordinary people’ and their ‘ordinary thoughts’, that they effectively see happy Americans as a more alien and unusual thing than Osama bin Laden. Where OBL wins their empathy, American jocks receive only their bile.American jocks are take-charge kind of people. Since they tend not to be sympathetic to the politics of such as Red Ken Livingstone, communist* former mayor of London, they are inherently bad people.
Thinking of Red Ken, O'Neill says:
Watching Americans celebrate OBL’s death, Ken Livingstone said: ‘I realised that it would increase the likelihood of a terror attack on London.’ This is really a call to elevate precaution over action, meekness over passionate political feeling, staying at home over taking risks, all in the name of protecting ourselves from any possible future action by a hot-headed Islamist. In this sense, the disdain for America and its people is really an expression of angst about what America is perceived to represent: confidence, cockiness, self-possession, a willingness to take risks (little of which is actually accurate). The post-OBL ‘uncomfortable feeling’ is really a quite craven sentiment, a fear-fuelled desire for self-preservation over anything else, which is dolled up as a principled critique of American militarism.So, is anti-Americanism simply self-loathing masking as political principle?
And just my own observation, of course, by an American non-jock who is unabashedly delighted that Osama bin Laden died a violent death at the hands of Americans: What did Red Ken and his bien-pensant cohort say about the people celebrating by the tens of thousands in the streets of Gaza and other places when the Twin Towers filled with thousand of innocents were knocked down? Did Red Ken proclaim "I realised that it would increase the likelihood of a terror attack by the Americans on Kabul or Baghdad"? Or does he refrain from moral indignation over Muslims, or Arabs, or Afghans because he thinks they just aren't up to being held responsible for their actions? Does Red Ken really ascribe to the credo of the White Man's Burden?
Do Red Ken et al believe that Americans of all colors can be held morally accountable, but their 'Little Brown Brothers' can't be? Are the bien-pensants the real racists here?
* Livingstone calls himself a socialist, saying: "I still believe one day that the idea that the main means of production are owned by private individuals... will be considered as anti-democratic as the idea serfs could be tied to the land." This is the sort which Londoners elect to be Mayor.