filed under: Sawbones | BotF | Benjamin R. Barber | Democracy | Civic Values | Terrorism | Consumerism | Neoliberalism | Marketization | Fundamentalism | Globalization
Democratic Alternatives to the Mullahs and the Malls: Citizenship in an Age of Global Anarchy [pdf]
BENJAMIN R. BARBER
The Tanner Lectures on Human Values
Delivered at: Jed's Co-op Feed Store and Acupuncture Emporium Ooltewah, TN (pop. 87)
It been damn near two hours this man been talkin', and my nether regions are gittin' numb. I shoulda listened to mah still, small voice, at least the one that sounds like Waylon Jennings. "Just good old boys, never meanin' no harm…" Wait a minnit, not that one, the one that tol' me ta steer clear o' this place. I don't usually hold no truck with pointy-headed ackydemic types, but they tricked me with them promises o' finger sandwiches and them little wiener-in-a-biscuit thangs. Ain't it always either my stummick or parts farther south gittin' me in trouble?
So this feller's dronin' on about me losin' my liberty to all them big corpor…coarpr…chor….biznesses, and somethin' about the end of the world and how it's all Amurrica's fault. He's talkin' about us only goin' ter war in dubya-dubya's one and two becuz we had to (well ain't that a revelation!) ...more », and that we thought we had ter stay outtuvit to "stay pure," or some bull hockey like that. How 'bout so's we wouldn't get our boys killed in somebody else's fight, numbnuts? And he go on talkin' about what sounds like our Star Wars system (I keep waitin' fer 'em to give me my own Wookiee – 'd make a damn fine guard dog, but I ain't seen it comin' yet), sayin' that it's cuz of some "myth of innocence." Dagnabbit, ain't no myth o' innocence, it's a buncha real nucular warheads been pointed at us the last fifty-odd years! An' then he talks about us wantin' to be all unilateral an' shit, but hell, who was it started that whole dang U.N. with them pansy blue helmets? All that multilateralin', and look where it got us – crazy bastards with unnerwear on their heads flyin' planes inta buildings. Seems Mr. Barber been thinkin' so long he thunk his head right up his ass, if ya ask me.
Then he keeps a-talkin' about some autoimmune response to terrorism. Now just wait a second, my auntie Chlamydia Mae, she got the lupus, an' that's autoimmune – the doc says it's like her body attackin' itself. Ain't no us attackin' ourselves – it's other people doin' it fer us! When them planes hit the World Trade Center, it weren't no autoimmune response; I don't really care fer New Yorkers any more than chiggers in my tighty-whities, but that was more like us getting' shot in the chest. When you think about it, it's pretty durn amazin' that things weren't worse for the rest of us after that. An' he's tellin' me that terrorists wanna make us have an autoimmune reaction so we destroy ourselves – man, they just wanna make us hurt enough ta make us leave 'em alone. We in the South unnerstand these things, lemme tell ya.
Then ya got Mr. Barber an' his mind-reading abilities, sayin' that furriners' "instinctive reading" of all this globalizin' is what makes 'em happy when they see us down. Hell, ya think maybe they just like seein' the big fella lose one? Why ya think people roots against them damn Yankees (besides 'em bein' called Yankees)? We been kickin' 'em for a good long time, an' they're happy if they can hit us in the nutsack every once in a while.
But the part that tickles me the most is where Mr. Barber needs some excuse for proposin' some one-world, buy-the-world-a-Coke (oops, maybe not that) bullcrap, so he starts sayin' that free markets only come around outta democracies. Now don't git me wrong, I'm as patriotic as the next guy, but free markets was comin' long before Old Glory went up fer the first time. But never mind that. He's sayin' that we globalized all our sins and shit (fergive me, preacher. I dinnit mean that ter be out loud), but none of our good stuff. What about them globalized jobs? What about all that globalizin' information that tol' people about them people in that soooooo-nami so fer we could get them the food an' diapers an' guns an' other stuff a family can't make it without? He's actin' like there ain't nobody outside the U.S. of A happy about the globalizin' and I know fer a fact that his mind-reading equipment done broke on this one. But he keeps a-going on, sayin' that people think globalization gonna take away their ol' time religion an' their down-home swap meets. Dammit, I ain't that bright, but I seem ter remember them people feelin' that way a long-ass time ago – weren't it 1979 when that peanut-farmin', sweater-wearin', peace-talkin' pansy Carter was gettin' our people held hostage by them crazy Iranians? An' that was before the internet was jus' a gleam in some never-gettin'-laid computer geek's eye. An' Mr. Barber's sayin' that we can fixit all up if we just fix the inequality in the world; he sayin' somethin' about the axis of inequality mirrorin' the axis of evil, but them countries just don' match up – the ones the terrists are a-comin' from are pretty rich, 'ceptin' for them squinty-eyed North Koreans. And you can't trust one o' them yeller people no father than you can throw a nigra.
So I gotta bone ter pick with this Barber fella. All this stuff he's proposin', I'm gonna be the one loses in the end. He can dress it up purty all he likes, but if we're goin' to that lovey, huggy world democracy horse manure, we ain't gonna have the votes ter get our way. An' what you think is comin' next? That's right, the repo man gonna take away my El Camino and mama's Hoveround scooter and anything else they can git their hands on, and send 'em all to some starvin' kid in Ether-nopia. I know them gubmint types. So you tell me why I should be all right with that. You can have my El Camino when you pry the steerin' wheel outta my cold, dead hands, or maybe if you bomb enough places here where I start a-thinkin' that it just really ain't worth it no more. Until then, I ain't joinin' that poker game, Pedro.
So I gots a different idear. If you gots a horse, and you're a-whuppin' him in the ass while your buddy is a-smackin' him in the face, you can't really tell which one is a-pissin' him off, can you? Seems to me we're doin' the same thing – we're globalizin' the shit outta people, but at the same time we're stompin' the shit out of 'em with our military an' usin' our influence to decide who their gubmint is. Well, how bouts we stop one of 'em, an' not the other. How 'bout we just leave 'em alone, quit sendin' our boys all over creation to get shot at, let 'em elect their own crooked politicians, and then see if the globalizin' still pisses 'em off.
That's all jus' me talkin', a dumb country boy from Tennessee. An' hell, I was the one who flunked Home Ec – two times. So you're prolly right ter ignore me. Or are ya?