08 November 2007

The great commission

Saw this sad bit of business at LGM on Monday.

Something I've rattling around in my head for a couple of months--mainly due to my Orwell binge last summer--is the idea of the USA as a parallel to the mid-to-late stage Soviet Union, particularly in its willing ignorance of The Rest of the World (TROTW). The Soviets, of course, tried to convince the population of the decadent West, which, because it was depraved and unsustainable and always facing imminent collapse, was always scheming and plotting ways to choke off the Motherland. Americans likewise have a fantasy about TROTW and its far-reaching anti-American conspiracy fueled by its Godless, socialistic heresies which, any day now, will bring it to its knees.

During the Cold War, Americans used to boast that they were electing "the leader of the Free World." It was never suggested that the rest of the Free World should perhaps get to vote on the people who are going to have such monumental influence over their lives. But American voters have never taken the thought of voting with a more global conscience particularly seriously. And, as anti-immigrant stories like the one above show, we're increasingly shutting out how TROTW lives from our consideration.

I'll write more about some of the possible institutional reasons for this phenomenon when I write about Michael Moore's Sicko this weekend.