Exception or Rule?

January 29, 2007

by Bill Foster

I remember learning in elementary school about the absurd, illogic of the medieval church in its attempts to "save" the antiquated theory which placed the earth at the center of the universe.

The problem for the ideologists of feudalism was that observations of the stars had proved, again and again, that the orbits assigned to the planets by the earth-centered theory simply did not correspond with the facts. Confronted with this contradiction between the real world, on one hand, and the official ideology of Church and King, on the other, the medieval "scientists" adopted the theory of "epicycles" or exceptions. Accordingly, the earth, of course, remained the center of the universe and every fact which disproved this theory was "explained away" by constructing new "epicycles" or exceptions. Over the years as more observations exploded the earth-centered myth, more and more "epicycles" were invented. Pretty soon the "theory" was so filled with contradictions and holes that the only thing holding it together was the appeal to blind faith and the armed force of the medieval state ("heretics," who insisted that the earth was not the center of the universe, were burned at the stake).

The medieval clerics remind me of today's Democratic Party liberals and their "left-wing" hangers-on, the opportunists.

The liberals admit, for example, that the war in Iraq was started for bad reasons and that tens of thousands of people have been murdered. But they dutifully intone the prayer: "Now that we're there, we can't just leave." In other words, the invasion of Iraq was a "mistake" but the basis of U.S foreign policy is to "bring democracy and peace" to the world.

On further inspection, it seems that there are as many "mistakes" in U.S. foreign policy as there were "exceptions" to the earth-centered cosmology. Yes, the bombing of Pakistan was a "mistake" but the U.S. foreign policy aims at democracy. Yes, support for Israeli aggression against Palestine is a "mistake" but the U.S. foreign policy aims at democracy. Yes, the blockade against Cuba, the occupation of Korea, the threats against Venezuela, the first Gulf war, the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, Vietnam, etc., ad infinitum were "mistakes." But now that the U.S. is in Iraq, it must stay. By faith alone (or the force of the U.S. state) the liberals insist that U.S. foreign policy aims at democracy.

As for the opportunists their favorite dogma is that the "Democrats are for peace," and the opportunists cling to this dogma no matter how many facts prove the opposite. Yes, the Democrats have helped carry on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Palestine and Haiti. Yes Clinton attacked Yugoslavia, Truman dropped the atom bomb, Kennedy invaded Cuba, Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam, etc. ad infinitum. But the Democrats are for peace.

When does the "exception" prove to be the real rule?

Perhaps the real reason, why the liberal Democrats and opportunists cannot separate fact from dogma is that, like the clerical obscurantists of medieval times, they have a stake in the dominant ideology. Just as the clerics supported the earth-centered conception of the universe because they supported the King-Church centered feudal society, so too the liberals and opportunists are propagandists for the American-centered conception of the contemporary world because they support the capitalist-imperialist system based on the oppression of nations.