Scott Horton Interviews Ira Chernus

Scott Horton, April 10, 2008

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Ira Chernus, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, discusses Americans’ religious devotion to the state and its wars, the narratives of victory and defeat which supplant the facts as the terms of debate over foreign policy – including within the highest circles of power, the Democrats’ fear of being portrayed as weak and inability to control the debate, the magic word “stability” for calling people into line, the long history of American dissent against war despite all the pressure to rally around the nation and the government, the neoconservative and liberal belief in war abroad to improve society at home and the realignment against empire here at home.

MP3 here. (38:02)

Ira Chernus is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research focuses on the discourse of peace, war, foreign policy, and nationalism in the United States. His published books include American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea.

5 Responses to “Ira Chernus”

  1. According to Dr Bob Bowman, former chief of US Air Force Missile Defense, missile defense is the missing link to a First Strike. Dr Bob Bowman thinks missiles in Poland will be very useful to shoot down any surviving Russian missiles after a First Strike. Therefore the Russians will implement Launch On Warning. The terrible consequences of a mistake will be caused by the stupid Pentagon. Dr Bob Bowman agrees that the Pentagon (McCain?) will get disarming first-strike capability by 2011/12. Acc. to former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org-the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy subs simultaneously. The main danger is Russian Launch On Warning because of US First-Strike Capability. Please read Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, “The Rice of US Nuclear Primacy”, 2006 March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. By 2011/12 the Pentagon will have achieved that the Russians have no choice but Launch On Warning. “Bloody fools in the Pentagon”, as Brigadier Harbottle stated.

  2. I wasn’t impressed by this guy’s leftism. The problem with the left is that they just can’t get class envy out of any issue. I don’t know about you, but personally I’ll jump for joy for the Iraqis on the day that Iraq’s biggest problem is that it has too many billionaires.

  3. Nergol Says:
    April 10th, 2008 at 8:45 am

    —–I wasn’t impressed by this guy’s leftism. The problem with the left is that they just can’t get class envy out of any issue.—–

    Indeed. Ira appears to be a quite decent fellow and is correctly able to observe the absurdity of imperialism, yet unfortunately he is terminally naive regarding economics. The problem isn’t simply having billionaires but rather the tax system itself that allows the wealthy to siphon off funds from the middle and lower class taxpayers.

    This manifests itself through either the printing press of the Federal Reserve (the hidden tax) or direct taxation such as the income and payroll taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes or regulatory controls upon business. The latter actually favors Big Business over small due to the former having economies of scale in filling out paperwork. Small business owners find it difficult if not impossible to compete as a result. Taxes on business is actually a tax on consumers, and thus on the middle and lower classes respectively, for the cost of such taxation (and regulations for that matter) are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, poorer quality products or some mixture of both.

    Unfortunately, these observations have yet to be grasped by many. I would encourage Mr. Chernus (or anyone for that matter) to read “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis” by: Ludwig von Mises. Preferring a tyranny of the proletariat over the tyranny of the financial elite is merely a rearranging of the deck chairs on the titanic. Big Government is still Big Government, regardless of who is at the helm.

    Neither economic “class” of individuals are immune to the opiate of power. It reminds one–if one may be forgiven for utilizing a fictional reference–of the following verbal exchange between Boromir and Aragorn:

    Boromir: It is a gift. A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this ring? Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him.
    Aragorn: You cannot wield it. None of us can. The One Ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master.

    [Absolute] power is extremely seductive. The Ring (government power) should be destroyed rather than simply given to another individual to wield. Unfortunately, its corrupting influence is universal.

  4. It boggles me that anybody can consider the Irag war to have anything to do with free market economic policies other than being total negation of them. Mercantilism, dollar imperialism, and militarism are logically incompatible with free markets. Mr. Chernus speaks the communitarian language. I have no problem with those sorts of ideals if they are implemented voluntarily. Unfortunately, a communitarian government only allows human liberty in the manner that an adult lets children go out to play after the chores are done (the chores being things such as feeding every poor person, having properly communal thoughts, purging ones actions of greed, etc.) This means that most are treated as children, while, certain others will get to enact the role of parent. If the children rebel they will be spanked with a taser or an assault rifle. Communitarianism as a government policy has within itself the seeds of belligerence and violence. Mr. Chernow asks the question “Should people be allowed to make as much money as they want when someone is starving?” Well, how much money are we going to spend on a standing army, a tax system, and a police force to take the money away and give it to the poor guy? Who will be the aggressor when it comes time to redistribute the wealth? Should we kill the rich guy if he resists? Should we perhaps start a war to enforce our poverty alleviation ideals? Such a government would be based on a whole tissue of contradictions and lies, much like the one we have now.

  5. I disagree with the mommy daddy theory. Bush Sr. was known as ‘the wimp’, Reagan was nothing more than a ‘B’ actor who got his political start in corporate theater. Bush Jr never finished his 6 year tour bailing out to get his MBA [failed MBA at that] Dick Cheney is a chickenhawk 5 times over.

    The media has painted the policies of the government of George Bush as that of Ronald Reagan, when in reality Pinocchio is Jimmy Carter or WORSE. Government regulations have almost doubled but George is hard at work with over 200,000 bureaurats, er, bureaucrats busily writing new ones to reward his SUPPORTERS in the final rush of a lame duck. The supplement business is about to regulated into the hands of BIG pharmaceutical firms after nary a problem for centuries to PROTECT YOU! You can expect cost increases of 1000%. Taxes and fees are HIGHER than when he took office and the government has grown by 60%. The unfunded liabilities have grown from $20 trillion dollars to almost $60 trillion since he took office and the national debt which is acknowledged has risen from under $5 trillion to almost $9 trillion.

    ‘Daddy’ is a neoliberal liar with a bunch of dupes believing the small govt BS he relentlessly peddles.

    BTW, why is the liberal media painting Bush as Reagan? Because its not liberal media ya strawman sucking fools.

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