a while there it looked as if the very idea of national sovereignty
would be overwhelmed by the assault of the acronyms: the EU,
the UN, NAFTA, NATO, WTO, MTV, CNN, IMF suddenly the
ancient power of sovereign states was being superceded by
supra-national entities of one sort or another. "Globalization"
became the buzz-word of the moment. We were inundated with
economists, journalists, and politicians of the right as well
as the left solemnly declaring the inevitability and desirability
of One World: free trade, free immigration free, free,
free of the ancient monsters that wreaked such havoc in the
Dark Ages of our planet.
END OF HISTORY
sooner had Francis Fukuyama ushered in Hegelian Chic and declared
the "end" of History, then it wasn't long before
US government officials were joyfully proclaiming the end
of the American nation. A recent New York Times profile
of deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott [September 21,
1999] revealed his belief that the US may not exist "in
its current form" in the coming century because the idea
of the nation-state is on the way out. As Talbott approvingly
predicted in Time magazine [July 20, 1992, "The
Birth of the Global Nation"]: "Within the next hundred
years . . . nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all
states will recognize a single, global authority... A phrase
briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century 'citizen
of the world' will have assumed real meaning by the
end of the 21st."
But not everyone is resigned
to being a citzen of everywhere and nowhere, and before our
globalist elites in the West consign national identity and
independence to the dustbin of history they had better look
over their shoulders because the backlash is already
upon them. As I pointed out in a
column on the recent electoral triumph on the pro-market,
anti-EU, Freedom Party of Austria, the alleged "racism"
of the Freedom Party was based on their opposition to immigration
a view also held by the majority of Americans. That
anyone should suggest that the EU, unlimited immigration,
and the welfare state were not ushering in a utopia, but instead
were destroying the economic and cultural foundations of Austrian
society why, it was unthinkable. The Freedom
Party was naturally denounced as a vile manifestation of
what else? anti-Semitism, "xenophobia," and
(the epithet of the hour!) "isolationism." Joerg
Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party, was vilified as the
second coming of Hitler and now the Swiss
People's Party, following its stunning election victory
a few weeks later, is getting exactly the same treatment.
ART OF VILIFICATION
tone of the news stories covering the Swiss election picked
up the same three major themes that permeated the anti-Haider
propaganda blitz: Hitler, Hitler, and Hitler. It was naturally
a coincidence that the Voice of America, the Western media,
and the endangered Swiss elites were singing in three-part
harmony. The complete text of VOA's October 24, 1999 radio
commentary in the days before the recent Swiss elections,
presented in full below, makes for fascinating reading, as
a textbook case of how the propaganda of vilification works.
polls indicate the right-wing Swiss People's Party is gaining
at the expense of its less- radical opponents. This is causing
a fair amount of angst among conservative ruling politicians.
They have been working hard to rehabilitate the country's
image, which was tarnished by evidence of Switzerland's collaboration
with Nazi Germany during World War II. The politicians are
concerned a strong showing by a party which wants to
curb immigration and espouses isolationism will once
again put Switzerland in the eye of an international storm."
a masterpiece of innuendo and smear! Here, packed into four
sentences, is an object lesson in how to destroy an idea without
ever having to discuss it. Note how intimately "isolationism"
and proposals to curb immigration are intertwined with Hitlerism:
the words "radical" and "right-wing,"
practically the first words out of the announcer's mouth,
set the stage and the tone for the rest. And since this is
directed at the Swiss people, there are undertones of an implicit
threat you will be thrust once again into "the
eye of an international storm"! Crude, and, given the
election results, not all that effective.
the past 40 years, Switzerland has been ruled by consensus
under a so-called "magic formula." This system involves
a four-party coalition. Until now, the three main parties
have been given two seats each in the cabinet and the right-wing
Swiss People's Party has been given one. Concern is rising
that a strong win by the Swiss People's Party in Sunday's
election could upset this fine balance and send shock-waves
through Switzerland's normally staid political scene."
what a shame if we upset this "fine balance," for
then, things would not be "normal" and what
could be worse than that? But what does political normality
mean in a country which voted, in 1996, to give heroin addicts
free supplies of their drug of choice?. The
proposal passed, 63 to 37 percent, in a popular referendum.
The "isolationist" Swiss People's Party was the
only political grouping to make an argument against this surrealistic
proposal. How dare they want to isolate themselves from the
worst dregs of Europe which soon came flocking to their
Swiss People's Party's biggest card is Christoph
Blocher a charismatic billionaire industrialist.
His populist low-tax, tough-on-immigration stance has struck
a resounding note with many people. In the final days of the
campaign, Mr. Blocher came under attack for allegedly condoning
a revisionist view of the Holocaust. He strongly denies these
charges, saying he was the victim of a well-planned smear
campaign by opponents."
SCHOOL FOR SCRIPTWRITERS
I know this will type me as one of the dreaded "conspiracy
theorists," but can't you just visualize the New World
Order School of Smear-mongering, where the scriptwriters for
the various countries all sit around comparing notes, sharing
helpful tips, and thinking up new synonyms for "xenophobe"?
A typical conversation might go something like this:
"Gee, you know I'm really really stuck for some
new stuff on Buchanan I'm mean, now many times and
in how many ways can you compare someone to Hitler? It gets
well, in Austria, fortunately, we don't have that problem:
but let me see what I can do for you. Ah, yes, here's something!
What about comparing him to Karl Lueger?"
mayor of Vienna at the beginning of the last century: a Christian
Socialist, not really a Nazi but certainly anti-Semitic I have a file on it, if you'd like to see it."
would be great. I know the Wall Street Journal would
just love it, especially the part about how Pat is a socialist.
If we can get David Brooks or John Judis to do it, that would
be great. But
if they're too busy, we can always have Geoffrey Wheatcroft
crank something out." What
third voice, with a distinctly Swiss accent, interjects: "Yeah,
but what about this guy Blocher? What are we going to do about
him? The guy's one of those goddamn self-made billionaires,
a former farmer who is now worth roughly 2 billion dollars.
With money on the scale of Ross Perot, and a Buchananesque
charisma, Blocher is beginning to be a real problem! Why,
if not for him, Switzerland would have long ago been absorbed
by the EU."
Boss (is that an American voice, or do I detect a slight British
accent?): "Look, you guys, if you're ever stuck for an
angle, just go back to the original script, which as you know
is basically the same for every country. Just give him the
old Hitler Treatment it helps if they're Germanic,
or at least European, but we don't discriminate Third
World countries (especially those with rich oil reserves)
qualify, too. Well, what're you guys standing around for
get to work!"
MOSCOW, CIRCA 1936
I'm not alone in seeing the irony of all this. Here we have
the "Voice of America," born as a bulwark against
Soviet propaganda, now eerily coming to resemble its old antagonist
and not only stylistically but also thematically. For
here is how the VOA writer, Lisa Schlein, ends her vicious
tirade against Blocher and the Swiss People's Party:
Blocher and his party oppose closer Swiss ties with the European
Union and the United Nations. the three main conservative
and socialist parties are in favor of bringing Switzerland
out of its isolationist cocoon. Analysts here are afraid a
swing to the right would invite comparisons with the recent
electoral success of Austria's far-right freedom party. They
are afraid it would send a powerful message that Switzerland
still harbors a politics of self-interest and greed above
forbid any nation should act in its own self-interest
and as for greed, we'll leave that to the blackmailers who
are draining the resources of the Swiss people. From the perspective
of the VOA, however, it is greedy to resist extortion. The
Swiss must be made to pay for the unforgivable sin of remaining
a beacon of peace and a haven of relative prosperity and freedom
in an era dominated by totalitarianism and war.
The VOA is expounding the same
line abroad that the Clintonian spinmeisters are broadcasting
for domestic consumption. It is the same crusade against "isolationism,"
albeit from a European angle: the evil Swiss "isolationists"
will not be a doormat for the EU and will not abase themselves
before the guardians of international political correctness
for having successfully maintained their neutrality during
World War II. Switzerland's foreign policy of commercial relations
with all, entangling alliances with none, was the foreign
policy of the American Founders: Switzerland followed their
sage advice, even if, after the Spanish-American War, the
US did not. Switzerland became a byword for the policy of
neutrality that preserved the nation's freedom and independence
through two world wars and a possible third. It is therefore
a perfect target in a political campaign against "isolationism"
a symbol of everything that is "obsolete"
in the international monoculture that is being carried into
eastern and southern Europe on the wings of NATO: bourgeois
values, independence, and most of all the sense of Switzerland's
uniqueness, a nation somehow elevated above the others,
geo-politically as well as geographically.
nation exempt from the vicissitudes of war, conquest, and
imperial ambition such an example, in Switzerland or
anywhere, cannot be allowed to stand. The sight of a happy
prosperous people, untroubled and untempted by the unnatural
pleasures of imperialism, might serve as an example to be
emulated, a permanent reproach to the War Party, and a constant
reminder to Americans of what they lost when they took the
road marked "Empire."