Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've written in this blog. A combination of work, tiredness, and a singular lack of inspiration has meant that nothing has been written.

However, lately I've been reading some books by Chalmers Johnson: Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis, which I've just finished. Johnson is an American political scientist, who used to be an advisor to the CIA. He's had some serious re-thinking in light of current American foreign and domestic policies. Basically, his thesis is that the USA is morphing into an imperial power, to the detriment of its original premise of a free and democratic republic. He offers 'chapter and verse' as to why this is so.

Lest we believe that this can all be attributed to the current administration, he takes us back to very early days of the American republic and shows subtly how the undercurrents of imperialism were instilled in the very development of the country. The current regime, however, has taken the next step -- crossing the Rubicon, as it were, and the 'military-industrial complex' which Eisenhower warned us about in 1960 has truly come to pass -- it is the driving force behind American policies, both foreign and domestic.

Much of the American population has reacted in a somewhat ovine fashion to this, somewhat akin to the Germans in 1933. Beware, says Johnson, the end of the republic with its attendant rights and freedoms is nigh. In his book Nemesis, he cites a poem, which I re-produce here. It sums up the situation nicely. My thanks to Johnson, and to the author of the poem, John Shreffler.

Neighborhood Girl

She's new to the neighborhood, her family just moved in
From Greece of somewhere, she's a great, tall gawky girl
With braces and earrings and uneven skin:
Hormones and acne, her change is coming in.

And today, she's playing hooky, January fog.
Orange lights on the school zone sign beat out their tattoo
And caution the Homeland's socked-in morning rush
With their strobe-light samba: Condition Amber,

As she sits invisible, swinging her legs to the beat,
Perched up high on aluminum over
The uncanny Day-Glo of the key-lime fluorescence
That says: School at the top of this composition.

I see her and she lets me. I'm an old family friend:
Sometimes I play poker with her Aunt Erato.
Her name is Nemesis and she's just moved in,
She's new to the neighborhood, she's checking it out.

In Johnson, Chalmers (2006). Nemesis: The last days of the American Republic. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Have a nice day :-)

P B White