Elitism and American Politics
Douglas Valentine, in his very fine book, The CIA as Organized Crime, asserts that “some of America’s top leaders…evil intentions.”
Wrong. That is not the problem. They have good intentions but because they are elitists their good intentions end up being imperialistic, meaning ultimately cruel and savage. Thus, people with good intentions, decent people, insofar as they embrace elitist policies and or operate within elitist organizations, will end up being imperialists and doing cruel and savage things, like the Phoenix assassination program in Vietnam.
Our top leaders do such things, and most people accept them, not because thoe leaders and those people have “evil intentions.” Both the leaders and the people have good intentions, but being elitists, they end up being imperialists and committed to cruel and savage policies.
Valentine is asserting that America’s top leaders have evil intentions wants to distinguish himself from Seymour Hersh, who, Valentine says, “exonerated his American sources for any mistakes that were made.” Yet Valentine here misses a key point, viz., that Hersh – and many others – exonerate Americans by calling their actions “mistakes.” By calling those actions “mistakes,” Hersh et. al. hides the fact that those actions stemmed from American imperialism, an imperialism like all imperialisms derived from America’s elitism. Calling the US war in Vietnam or Iraq or anywhere a “mistake” exonerates the US of any charge that it was and is imperialistic. And it does so to an extent that an intelligent person like Robert McNamara cannot even entertain the thought that he and the United States were imperialistic. He had “good intentions” so, in his mind, he couldn’t be an imperialist. But clearly, he was imperialistic, and he was because his intentions, however good they might have been, were irrelevant once he had embraced elitism.
Embracing elitism led McNamara, as it has led others, into imperialism, i.e., led him into the cruelty and savagery that always accompanies imperialism. So, without a critique and rejection of elitism, the human condition will remain dire. Great empires might arise on an imperialistic or elitist foundation, presided over by allegedly noble or royal members of highly esteemed elites, but those empires and their elites will be characterized by cruelty and savagery.