Monday, December 27, 2010

WikiLeaks, Michael Lind, and the ‘New’ Nationalism

The international debate engendered by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of classified US diplomatic cables has sent most American liberals into hiding. Gone AWOL when it comes to the Obama administration’s escalation of the federal government’s war on civil liberties, mainstream liberal defenders of WikiLeaks are few and far between.

On the cable news circuit, Rachel Maddow, the supposed “foreign policy wonk,” devoted a brief segment to the issue, echoing the MSM’s party line that There’s Nothing New Here. (Earth to Rachel: Since only a small percentage of the cables have so far been published, isn’t it a little premature for such a pronouncement? Just asking .) Her fellow MSNBCer, Chris Matthews, confined himself to a few snarling comments about Julian Assange – “a rapist” – with only Keith Olbermann (who can hardly be called “mainstream,” in any event) openly defending the last remaining symbol of what had once been a free society.

By far the most consistent and effective champion of WikiLeaks on what passes for the “left” these days has been the heroic Glenn Greenwald: not only in his widely-read columns for, but in numerous media appearances in which he has taken on the worst of the very worst – and, yes, I do indeed mean John F. Burns, of the New York Times. Glenn has been everywhere, a libertarian gladiator up against the Empire’s pundit warrior-slaves, and winning every time.

Lind’s “new nationalism,” is, I’m afraid, the same as the “old” nationalism: a flag-waving, hysterical, ingrown doctrine of delusion and rationale for unbridled militarism. It is an ideological instrument that makes repression easier to justify, even as the epitome of an enlightened “liberalism.” Like all statists, his is the idolatry of Authority, which requires secrecy as a matter of course. His socialistic vision of a highly centralized American state, which controls much of the economy and society, far from curtailing US intervention around the globe, would make it far easier for our government to marshal national resources around an aggressive foreign policy. Once they grab power, these sorts of “liberals” are usually the first to make the most of it. In Lind’s rabid ultra-nationalism, we are seeing the future of “liberalism” as it exists under President Obama – and what a discredited, foul creature it is!