I just discovered the writings of John Chuckman. From his bio statement:
John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. He has many interests and is a lifelong student of history. He writes with a passionate desire for honesty, the rule of reason, and concern for human decency. He is a member of no political party and takes exception to what has been called America’s “culture of complaint” with its habit of reducing every important issue to an unproductive argument between two simplistically defined groups. John left the United States as a poor young man from the South Side of Chicago when the government embarked on the murder of millions of Vietnamese in their own land because they happened to embrace the wrong economic loyalties. He lives in Canada, which he is fond of calling “the peaceable kingdom.”
Interesting background. He’s certainly angry at America, his tone is seething. There are two articles. The first is Insanity In America, where he gloats over recent reports “that there is more mental illness and insanity, far more, in America than you find in other advanced societies.” In the study,
“a Harvard Medical School researcher, found evidence of mental problems in 26.4% of people in the United States, versus, for example, 8.2% of people in Italy.” I can’t say I’m surprised. The structure of American society requires such intense cognitive dissonance that millions of people crack and go bugfuck. I wonder how many of those 26.4% are Bush supporters?
The second article, America’s Pathetic Liberals: The Sequel, is the most scathing critique yet not only of Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11, but of the American Liberal culture I’ve ever seen. From the article:
Michael Moore’s role is to make American liberals feel good about themselves without having to question the practices of a society which cast an increasingly long, cold, dark shadow over the planet. The job pays well, and Moore is becoming a wealthy man, a kind of well-kept court jester for those with occasional twinges of liberal conscience or human decency.
Moore’s film revels in exactly the kind of inconsistent thinking, full of unwarranted assumptions, thick with suggestions of undefined conspiracy, typical to one degree or another of most media in the United States. The thinking also is typical of a President who keeps telling us he decimated Iraq and spent a hundred billion dollars to save American lives.
You may ask, we know Bush is a brutal, rather psychopathic man, so how can he be like so much of middle America? You see, middle America is not the harmless, gentle place it seems in Hollywood’s confections. It is the place where thirty-year old couples assume they are entitled to a five-bedroom home on a sprawling lot in the suburbs with at least two lumbering vehicles in the driveway. It is the place which ignores the ugly parts of its own society, the ghettos, the broken-down schools, the lack of healthcare. It is the place where the relentless demand for still more endangers the planet’s future. And it is the place that drives America to global empire.
Bush is not, as so many American liberals claim, out of step with American history. Childish slogans about taking back America or, even worse, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” are just that, childish. Bush is an awkward, unpleasant exemplar of enduring American behavior and values. Did the invasion of Iraq represent different values or attitudes than the “Remember the Maine” invasion of Cuba? How about the invasion of Mexico, or the seizure of Hawaii, or the holocaust in Vietnam and Cambodia? Does the Patriot Act represent anything different than the Alien and Sedition laws of John Adam’s day or the dark excesses of the FBI under Hoover?
Be very careful how you vote to get rid of Bush. Kerry has never so much as condemned the war. He has never condemned Bush, except by repeating official-report findings all thinking people on the planet understood a year before the official report. Kerry’s view of the Middle East, frantic pandering to Israel’s darkest interests, promises no end to future troubles. He is an unrepentant, unimaginative supporter of global empire.
That brings us to the real tragedy of America and the real cause of 9/11 and so many other horrors: America’s swaggering readiness to play the game of global empire with all the brutality and incivility that it implies. You tell me how a confused film like Moore’s, even if it contributes to toppling a confused President like Bush, adds anything to resolving America’s great dilemma of insatiable greed and willingness to do terrible deeds while mouthing high-sounding ideals.
Not much to add to that. Though I do think that Chuckman is conflating “the people” and “the government” into something called “America.” You have to distinguish the two; despite the illusion the the government is “of, by, and for the people,” it clearly is not these days.
Furthermore, if it is indeed true that America has thrice the insanity rate of the rest of the west, then it follows that there is an external cause to this insanity. Therefore, these “American nutcases” are victims, and are therefore worthy of compassion. Mr. Chuckman doesn’t seem to be exhibiting much in the way of sympathy. It’s easy to rail agaist those at the top of the hill, but the question is, what can be done about it?