President Bush said shortly after September 11 that you are “either for us or against us." Anti-Bush Alice here sat up and took notice. I have believed for a long time that some day dissidents would be in for a rough ride. Well, that day had come.
The most obvious aspect of the friend and foe business is “us” against the terrorists. As much as we do need to be concerned about that, as evidenced by 9-11, the establishment is really cashing in on it.
This mentality on the part of powerful government officials, who think they are better, is intimidating. It is also belligerent and divisive.
It is intimidating because it quiets dissent. We have seen evidence of the quieting of dissent recently in the low turnout by anti-war protestors this past March 18 (2006). We hope it will be much better next time, but I am not optimistic. We also see docility on the part of mainstream media. Now, from the belly of the beast come a couple of censorship threats that would add to the blatant censorship already in effect. One is the specter of Internet censorship allegedly to halt child pornography. The other is an "incumbent protection" law that strictly limits campaigning by and for candidates who are running against incumbents.
The friend and foe mentality is belligerent because the country is at war in two, possibly soon to be three, places in the world, against a nebulous foe called "terrorism." (This does not even mention the fact that we have troops in about 100 additional places.) Rather than having the criminal justice system go after terrorists who have committed heinous crimes, we go after countries (especially oil-rich countries) such as Iraq, which did not attack us. There, we proceed to kill innocent children and others. The whole point of this expansionism is not really oil, although natural resources certainly are a big factor, but it is power! As I have said, power is gravitating to the White House. This is not just domestic political power either. Although both of the Kristols, and Leo Strauss, and Carl Schmitt all swear they oppose world government (remember their truthfulness record), the neoconservatives want to bring the whole world into U.S. hegemony. This might, in time, give rise to a world government seated in Washington, D.C. They must know this, and the purpose of the friend/foe thing is to unite the public behind them against a foe. Carl Schmitt wrote in 1932 a work called The Concept of the Political that identifies the friend/foe distinction as the essence of politics. This is something that time did not permit me to pursue.
The friend and foe mentality is also divisive. Look, for example at the two old parties (of course this has been going on for decades, but now it is worse than ever). There is a good article on Jerry Falwell's page(1), albeit very pro-Bush. In fact it even calls Bush's 2004 re-election a "sweeping" victory rather than the squeaker it was. The article is about how the Nixon administration destroyed its enemies by way of crooked tax audits and other means. It points out how the Democrats brought down Rep. Tom DeLay. DeLay is not a good guy, obviously, as he supports Bush, but the reason for his downfall at the hands of the Democrats is more due to politics than to any devotion to the Founders' principles.
As this piece is being researched and written, there is a major divisiveness going on that is allegedly the result of some anti-Muslim cartoons. These cartoons caricature Mohammed in a way that Muslims regard as disrespectful, and riots have broken out. Quite honestly, I agree that the cartoons are disrespectful, but the producer does have the right to express an opinion. The cartoons are not, in my opinion, worthy of a response. Why not simply ignore them? Or produce counter-cartoons? Is the effort to censor these cartoons really any different from the Bush administration's effort to censor the Super Bowl half time or us who criticize Bush?
If movies or CD's are released that blaspheme Jesus Christ, I simply refuse to buy that product. So do many other Christians. A good, old-fashioned boycott is the best way I know to deal with that sort of junk. And, a boycott of publications that run junk cartoons is the best way to deal with that, too.
But to hurt people and destroy property are only going to further the establishment's cause. Riots in the street over any issue are divisive and anti-freedom. All it will do is open the door to a crackdown increasing the government's power. This is true here and it is true in Iraq.
We really have to wonder who is really at the bottom of this sort of trouble. Let us not forget who really burned down the Reichstag.
If we really want to fight against the Bush administration's policies, we need to do so with words. The pen is mightier than the sword. The establishment's real foes are us who write and speak, not the half-wits who throw rocks at storefronts.
Of course, part of the use of words is peaceful demonstrations that I do participate in very often, but even this participation is not as productive as a good letter to the editor.
The friend and foe mentality is being used by the neoconservatives to further their agenda.