The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Understanding US Foreign Policy of my favorite online posters, Fred on Everything!

A malign and poorly understood influence on foreign policy is the paranoid truculent male (though a few females share the ailment). The PDM is a fairly well-defined type, who believes that They Are Out to Get Us. He doesn’t much care who They are. If one They fails him, he will find another. These They must be fought to the death. It’s us or They.

As a current example, I get email telling me that Moslems hate us and want to enslave us. We must therefore gird our loins and prepare for an apocalyptic conflict that will determine whether Western civilization will survive. A war of peoples approaches, and we must win it.

This of course is transparent nonsense. A week or so ago I spoke with a friend in government service who recently returned from an extended period in Jordan. Perfectly friendly people, he reported. That was my own experience, years back. They knew he was an American, and consequently wanted to talk to him. He traveled by public transportation to Petra and so on. Not the slightest problem.

The difference between documentable fact and ferocious email was predictable. An unvarying characteristic of the PDM is the belief that his current enemies are implacably evil and united in pursuit of his enslavement. Frequently he hasn’t had the most minimal experience of this relentless enemy. Few of today’s PDMs have passed time in Moslem countries. Many do not have passports. The proportion who speak Arabic or Farsi or actually know any Moslems is very low. It doesn’t matter. PDMs share a specific personality that wants an enemy. They will always find one.

The PDM endows the enemy with near-magical powers. The utter irrationality of this doesn’t faze him because he doesn’t notice it. Only sub-clinical paranoia can explain the view that Moslems are going to enslave America, or even want to. A reasonable person looking at the Moslem world sees a disunited, industrially backward, technologically primitive group of ramshackle semi-civilizations that couldn’t enslave Guatemala.

The same thing happened during the days of the Soviet Union.

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