In a true display
of what historian Richard Hofstadter once called the ‘paranoid style’ of
politics, University of Arizona chair of the Africana Studies Department,
Julian Kunnie, was spewing forth his customary anti-American, Marxist ideology
at a March forum on his perceived connection of the evils of colonialism,
apartheid, and Zionism.
not only the young crowd was enthusiastic about his tired drivel: it received
laudatory acceptance in the press by, among others, the Tehran Times,
who published an account with accompanying Kunnie quotes that vilified America,
our domestic policies, and the national security efforts of Israel and the
United States in a time of terrorism. “Racism is the ruling ideology enforced
by monopoly capitalism,” Kunnie suggested, practiced in what he wildly termed
the “colonial settler states” of Israel, South Africa, and the United States.
all need to recognize we live in an empire,” Kunnie said at another, similarly
valuable “forum” of ideas about the war with Iraq. “We live in the belly
of the imperialist beast that intends to spread its tentacles.'' Living in
the belly of such a horrific beast has apparently not been totally without
its benefits for Professor Kunnie: he chairs an academic department at a
major American university, and enjoys the benefits, prestige, and protection
of the very system he works daily at tearing down. Like his many leftist
counterparts on American campuses, he displays either supreme naiveté
at the true nature of his professional and ideological existence, or he is
wildly hypocritical in an effort to deny the true nature of his lifestyle.
S. Thornton observed that this state of self-delusion is not unique to Mr.
Kunnie; in fact, it pervades the ivory tower wherever radical leftists demonize
American democracy to forward their own tired philosophies. “Hypocrisy .
. .is a perennial bugbear of religious belief,” he said. “So too with the
anti-Americanists, the vast majority of whom have no intention whatsoever
of living anywhere other than in the West, where they enjoy the freedom and
prosperity that subsidizes their beliefs. Yet this is a minor cavil when
one is so passionately concerned with the salvation of the oppressed, not
to mention one's own righteousness.”
ideology of perpetual victimization, in which the state of the ‘oppressed’
masses are seen to be fault and consequence of imperialism, colonialism,
and democracy, Kunnie raises the oft-repeated lies about the intentions of
Western nations. Thus, the Marxist historian, carefully ignoring the fact
that Communism resulted in the purposeful slaughter of between 80-100 million
people, claims that in the current Iraqi war “these daily killings of civilians
are not ‘accidents’ or errors in precision bombing by the U. S. and British
militaries. They are intentionally dropped, designed to terrorize the Iraqi
civilian population and squelch their resistance so that they will surrender
their country to U.S. and British colonial occupation.”
obsession with colonialism on the part of the West, of course, overlooks
the important historical difference between the effect Western democracies
have had on colonized nations with the effect of the iron boot of communist
rule on supposedly independent nations subjugated by totalitarian regimes
and dictatorships: the ‘imperialist’ Western nations that Mr. Kunnie and
his fellow travelers so despise actually brought important tools and resources
that promoted the political, social, educational, and cultural growth of
the countries they temporarily ruled.
importantly, as Dinesh D'Souza, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford
University, observed, “There is nothing uniquely Western about colonialism.”
Nor, as Kunnie constantly asserts, has the West repeatedly grown wealthy
as a result of its imperialistic forays in developing nations. “It makes
no sense to claim that the West grew rich and strong by conquering other
countries and taking their stuff,” says D’Souza. “How did the West manage
to do that? In the late Middle Ages, say 1500, the West was by no means the
world's most affluent or most powerful civilization. Indeed, those of China
and of the Arab-Islamic world exceeded the West in wealth, in knowledge,
in exploration, in learning, and in military power. So how did the West gain
so rapidly in economic, political, and military power that, by the 19th century,
it was able to conquer virtually all of the other civilizations? Colonialism
was the transmission belt that brought to Asia, Africa, and South America
the blessings of Western civilization.”
of those cultures continue to have serious problems of tyranny, tribal and
religious conflict, poverty, and underdevelopment,” he concludes, “but that
is not due to an excess of Western influence; rather, it is due to the fact
that those countries are insufficiently Westernized.” But America-hating
leftists like Professor Kunnie look at the depravations of Africans, Palestinians,
Iraqis, and other dispossessed peoples as the fault of nations, like the
United States and Britain, which have prospered—and reviles them for that
very advancement and success. While the far-Left has never had any moral
problem with supporting the right of oppressed people to seek solutions—including
violent or seditious ones—to their perceived subjugation to imperialistic
nations, it refuses to acknowledge all but the worst intentions on the part
of democratic nations who, for instance, attempt to rid Iraq of a horrific,
dictatorial regime and bring peace to the region.
was America’s motive in going to war with Iraq? According to Professor Kunnie,
the U.S. was compelled to do it for strictly selfish goals: “The United States
must break its addiction to war for the expropriation of the resources of
the colored peoples of the world,” he said. ”Iraq was poised to switch
its rich oil trade from a dollar-based system to one based on the euro, challenging
the use of U.S. dollars as the standard for oil sales in the Middle East.
Oil is the most important objective.''
is the historical record of America’s “expropriation of resources of the
colored peoples of the world,’ or any people, for that matter. Where has
our empire grown after our victories through war, negotiations, and treaties?
Professor Kunnie, a historian, should know the answer, but as an ideologue
on the Left, he chooses to ignore the truth. True to form, he and his radical
academics have invented a history of colonialism, occupation, and imperialism,
and even now export this perceived political deficiency to Israel, viewed
by the Left as a proxy for U.S. interests on the international stage. “The
answer was to transform American minorities, particularly blacks and Indians,
into the equivalents of third-world colonial subjects,” says Bruce S. Thornton.
“Indians had already been idealized by centuries of noble-savage make-overs,
so it was easy to slap a coat of anti-colonial paint on this wooden Indian
and make him a stick for beating a racist, land-grabbing exploitative America.
We begin to see now why so many race-activists are also leftists — they gain
instant credibility with the gate-keepers of American intellectual life,
most of whom are still enthralled with socialist mumbo-jumbo.”
to Lee Harris, the virulent critics of America like Professor Kunnie are
not seeking to create dialogue for constructive social change. They are not
interested in intellectual negotiations by which the needs of the weak are
answered through the skills and economic strength of the powerful. Instead,
Mr. Kunnie and his like-minded ideologues persistently defame the American
way of life, its economic and social systems, and the way it behaves internationally
in attempting to maintain world order and stability. They condemn a political
and economic system that is the most successful on the face of the earth
and urge its overthrow for one which has caused wretchedness, death, and
despair for millions and has already been cast into the dustbin of history,
an utter failure.
“America-bashing is anti-Americanism at its most radical and totalizing,” said Lee Harris in an insightful Policy Review
article. “Its goal is not to advise, but to condemn; not to fix, but to destroy.
It repudiates every thought of reform in any normal sense [and] it views
every American action, both present and past, as an act of deliberate oppression
and systemic exploitation.” Professor Kunnie, a historian, might enhance
his scholarship and his teaching with a slightly less nihilistic view of
what our history is and what this country truly represents.
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., writes frequently on law, social policy, housing, politics, and business.
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