By Philip A. Farruggio
April 22, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – John Locke, a philosopher who lived nearly 400 years ago, summed it up best: “To love one’s neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society that by that alone one might determine the cases of social morality.”
One can understand the first part of this ideal, as one of the 10 Commandments is about loving one’s neighbor as ourselves. The latter part of Locke’s quote wraps it all up quite nicely as to determining our social morality. If we all truly treated our fellow man as we would like to be treated, WOW!!! No more exploitation of others for our own financial gain; no more torture or harsh treatment of a detainee.; No more lying to others to support our own agenda… and on and on.
Imperialism: “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly: the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence.” This defines the exact opposite of not only that commandment, but of what Locke suggests above.
Yet, throughout history, spanning perhaps ad infinitum of human life on this planet, man has constantly used imperialism to enrich himself. Every great empire has been defined by its use of imperialism. The great 20th century wars were fought by imperialist nations on both sides.
During WW2, Churchill and the Brits blasted Hitler and his mad Nazi regime for their concentration camps and ethnic cleansing of Jews and Slavs. .. And right they were. Yet, few recall that it was the Brits (and Churchill participated) who coined the phrase concentration camp during the Boer War in Africa… and placed the Boers in them. It was the Brits (again with Churchill front and center) who, after WW1, used their aircraft to gas the hell out of the Iraqis in order to keep control of that region. All the Nazis did was take these concepts to a much deeper and darker place.
In our nation, founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of…the “happiness to own slaves.” Racism and jingoism has always used the tactic of scapegoating to divide us working stiffs. During and after the Civil War freed blacks were never accepted as truly free men and women. Poor and low income whites were propagandized to hate and fear freed blacks, mostly for economic reasons.
The New York City draft riots of 1863 ( captured somewhat in Scorsese’s 2002 film “Gangs of New York”) revealed how brutal white working stiffs could be towards blacks, who they feared (sometimes rightly so) would take away their low paying jobs.
In the South after the Civil War, the fear of freed blacks, coupled with generational tribal and religious dictums of ‘separation of the races’ saw more brutality and discrimination. The Brits had their own imperial arrogance throughout their empire. Films like Attenborough’s “Ghandi” (1982) or Sheridan’s “In the Name of the Father” (1993) reveal how the Brits viewed their colonial peons in India and Northern Ireland.
WW2 was a war basically fought by imperialists against imperialists. The Germans and the Japanese just made their ‘imperial claims’ overt to the n-th degree. Every Allied player in that war had colonies or ‘spheres of interest’ throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa, which were then under assault by the aforementioned Axis…who wanted them for their own interests and control. Not one major nation in that war cared **** about the peoples of those colonies and ‘spheres of interest’!
The Russians knew that Hitler and his gang would very soon turn on them and attack…for lebensraum or ‘living space’ for German settlers, and of course their raw materials and agricultural land. Yet, Stalin made a non-aggression pact with Hitler so as to share in the carving up of another sovereign nation, Poland, while buying time to get his military up to snuff. Peace never entered into the equation!
We Americans should finally come to grips with the hype and spin about our beloved nation being the ‘good guy’ of the world. It is time to realize that the Military industrial Empire cares only about satisfying its enormous hunger for using our tax dollars to fatten itself.
Philip A Farruggio is the son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. A graduate of Brooklyn College ( class of ’74 with a BA in Speech & Theater), he is a free lance columnist.