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Max Forte

Max Forte's Public Library

  • ‘The Great White Hope’

    Thursday - May 26, 2016
  • By Patrick J. Buchanan


    “Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group … death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.”

  • The big new killers of middle-aged white folks? Alcoholic liver disease, overdoses of heroin and opioids, and suicides. So wrote Gina Kolata in The New York Times of a stunning study by the husband-wife team of Nobel laureate Angus Deaton and Anne Case.


    Deaton could cite but one parallel to this social disaster: “Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this.”

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    A growing number of vocal Hispanic minority speaking out in favor of Trump

  • Hispanic voters in Florida, New Mexico and California have waved Mexican flags and bashed Donald Trump piñatas — clashing with police, at times — to protest the Republican presidential contender's hard line approach to immigration.


    Yet far from the protests, an increasingly vocal Hispanic minority is speaking out in favor of the brash billionaire. They are backing Trump even in the face of resentment and suspicion from friends and family, who are among the overwhelming majority of non-white voters opposed to the New York businessman's candidacy.

  • "I'm not ashamed to vote for Trump. I'd just rather not have the conversation with my family," said Natalie Lally, a 22-year-old college student from New York City whose large extended family has Colombian roots.


    She says silence fell over her grandmother's living room when she admitted her support for Trump during a recent family gathering that included more than 30 relatives.


    "They just kind of seemed uneasy," she recalled. "And my uncle just said, 'Why?' "

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  • Victorianism 

        New Dictionary of the History of Ideas |     2005    | MacRaild, Donald   
    COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc.


    Even seemingly unshakeable axioms are prone to reassessment by historians, and Victorianism is no exception. Even the very period of Victorianism itself stands challenged: historians no longer refer unquestioningly to the  "Victorian Age" as the precise years associated with the monarch but instead concentrate on a shorter perioda "high age"from about 1830 to 1880. Yet critics shadowed the entire period in question, and the negative connotations were fired dramatically forward soon after the period ended, notably with Lytton Strachey's (18801932) mocking attack Eminent Victorians (1918). Moralizing, prudish, repressed (and repressive), and old-fashioned (rather than traditional)each of these notions captures what Victorianism has meant to later generations.

  • Early Victorianism


    The early Victorian years witnessed the emergence of a cluster of values and beliefs that represented the central ideas of Victorianism. These years are associated with developments in governance, economic and social life, science, and learning that capture the essential features of Victorianism. In governance, one can look to the reforms which, if not immediately democratic, changed the structure of parliament, ushering in a tradition of evolutionary change (with major Reforms Acts in 1832, 1867, 1884) and the expansion of local, middle-class political power with the Municipal Corporations Act (1835). In economic life, the hard-nosed essentials of political economy and utilitarianism reached a high point prior to the 1850s.

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  • Is America entering a new Victorian Era?

      By   (@michaelbarone)    7/27/15
  • Forty-seven years ago the musical Hair opened on Broadway. Elderly mavens — the core theater audience then, unlike the tourists thronging Disney-movie-knockoffs today — were instructed that America was entering an "Age of Aquarius." The old moral rules were extinct: we were entering a new era of freedom, experimentation, self-expression.


    In some ways Hair's prediction came true. Rates of divorce, cohabitation before marriage and illegitimate births rose sharply in the years after 1968. The percentages of children living with two parents fell sharply. Hair's version of history — hundreds of years of oppression suddenly followed by a sudden trend to ever more liberation — seemed plausible, even persuasive.

  • But history is not unidirectional. Trends get reversed or arrested sooner or later. Behaviors that at first seem modern and refreshing, come to seem antique and old-fashioned. People adjust to new experiences just as they adjusted to old.


    Today several widely unanticipated trends — certainly unanticipated by me — suggest that America is in some significant respects entering a new Victorian Era. Some may regard that as regrettable, others as welcome, still others as a mixture of good news and bad news. But it's certainly news, especially to the aging baby boomers who expected the Age of Aquarius to continue indefinitely.

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  • The New Victorians

  • Another 26-year-old Brooklynite and New Vic, named Christine, is hardly “drifting”—she’s also an editor, a literary one—but she is more introspective than many of her contented brethren and sistren. “Maybe this is also fallout from the sort of these boomer ideas about what sexual freedom is,” she suggested. This theory is a popular one among New Vic observers, just as it was popular to blame the priggishness and probity of the Old Victorians on the ill example of their Georgian predecessors. In this case, the reaction isn’t against specific syphilitic laxity and moral decay, but is rather a vague fear of too much sex (hello, STDs!) as well as the pressure for procreative sex (even men have biological clocks these days!) and the attendant nightmare of becoming—pardon the phrase—an aging spinster, lurching around New York sloshing cosmos and wearing age-inappropriate Capri pants, as in the TV version of Sex and the City and its many spinoffs.
  • “Don’t people in New York always talk about how it’s hard to find men?” Christine asked rhetorically. She has already received a lifetime’s worth of warnings from elder “singletons”—that overly chirpy, Brit-inflected term. Time and again she has been lectured on the scarcity of men, the sorrows of solitude, and the Clomid-chomping horror of post-35 pregnancy attempts.


    In fact, just a few months ago, Christine was out with friends when a pair of slightly older women launched into a jeremiad of dating and despair, imploring her to hold tight to her boyfriend, lest she wind up single and, gasp, 30-something, just like them. “It’s like I was being terrorized by these older women who were like, ‘Don’t let him go, there’s nobody out there!’” she recalled with an alarmed laugh. “I was really scared.”

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  • The New Victorians

  • Blaming the Boomers


    “There is definitely this return to tradition,” said a 27-year-old Upper West Sider named Olivia, who works for a theater nonprofit and, while not one herself, has many friends who fit the New Victorian description. “My sense of things is that the marriage phenomenon is part and parcel of a larger phenomenon, which is that young people are trying to grow up faster …. We’re trying to figure out what success means and achieve it.”

  • Olivia has had ample time to study this phenomenon. In the past two years, from the ages of 24 to 26, Olivia and her beau, an MBA candidate, have attended some 10 weddings—grand, traditional affairs with blushing brides and small armies of froth-draped bridesmaids. This was hardly the kind of 20’s she had imagined as a young graduate of Dalton and Skidmore, but somehow, her life has become dominated by invitations to dinner parties, kibitzing about careers (“people are really driven,” she said), discussions of real estate, and visiting the occasional friend’s country manse in the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons. Along the way, she has come to the realization that for a certain tribe of New Yorker, the whole “rebellious 20’s” phase experienced by the baby boomers (for some, well into their 50’s) is simply not part of the Plan anymore: Sure, a New Vic can be a feminist and even a committed world-changer, but she also has to have a great job, superior husband, kids, and try to save society all at once.

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  • The New Victorians

  • Then there are the models. In the 1980’s, we had brash, muscular super-mannequins like Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, who boasted that they wouldn’t get out of bed for $10,000 a day and pelted the help with cell phones; in the 1990s we had vacant-looking, heroin-snorting waifs. Now we have wide-eyed pragmatics like Calvin Klein “face” Natalia Vodianova, 25, from whose loins two children have already sprung, with a third on the way. Her husband, a British aristocrat named Justin Portman, is the Victorian definition of a “good match,” even appearing with her in her magazine spreads, as he did in the July Vogue, clutching a litter of white poodles. (The couple have just put their Tribeca townhouse on the market—Tribeca is not very New Vic—and are moving to London for the remainder of her confinement).
  • “I have a young group of models who come in here and they really know what they want, and they don’t go out and go crazy,” said Ivan Bart, senior vice president of IMG, which represents Estée Lauder mannequin Liya Kebede. (“Her career actually took off after her first child,” he noted, with the air of a proud godparent. “And after several years of modeling and being successful she had her second child.”)


    In the business for over two decades, Mr. Bart has also sensed a change in the fashion industry’s party landscape. “It’s about home and hearth and eating, versus dancing all night,” he said. “A lot of people like to go out to a mid-evening dinner and then the evening’s over at 11 or 12 and then they’re home.”

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  • The New Victorians

  • On a balmy morning in June, Rebecca Miller, a petite 26-year-old actress and Brown University graduate, was perched on a wooden bench in the East Village, just a block from the apartment she shares with her fiancé, a theater director, and two cats. By the looks of her outfit, she was firmly grounded in the 21st century, just another hip lass with loose curls, a scoop-necked top and denim skirt with naughty front slits.
  • Then she opened her mouth, and it was if one had been transported back—oh, 150 years or so. “We had been talking about getting married since we got together,” Ms.—or perhaps we should write Miss—Miller said, describing how her friend Noelle had, early on, asked her beloved his “intentions”; how he had proposed last autumn, presenting the diamond ring that now glittered in the cloud-light on her left hand. “Ever since I met him, I felt like we’re a strong unit that would be a great foundation for a family,” she said demurely. “We’re very settled in and cozy; we’re like Hobbits in our little place.”

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  • Neo-Victorianism on Campus

    Is this the end of the collegiate bacchanal?

    Sexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses. Conservatives should be cheering on its collapse; instead they sometimes sound as if they want to administer the victim smelling salts. 


    Oct 20, 2014 |   By   Heather Mac Donald

  • Sexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses. Conservatives should be cheering on its collapse; instead they sometimes sound as if they want to administer the victim smelling salts.
  • It is impossible to overstate the growing weirdness of the college sex scene. Campus feminists are reimporting selective portions of a traditional sexual code that they have long scorned, in the name of ending what they preposterously call an epidemic of campus rape. They are once again making males the guardians of female safety and are portraying females as fainting, helpless victims of the untrammeled male libido. They are demanding that college administrators write highly technical rules for sex and aggressively enforce them, 50 years after the proponents of sexual liberation insisted that college adults stop policing student sexual behavior. While the campus feminists are not yet calling for an assistant dean to be present at their drunken couplings, they have created the next best thing: the opportunity to replay every grope and caress before a tribunal of voyeuristic administrators.

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  • Why Helicopter Parenting Is The New Victorianism 

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    What the stereotypical Victorians did to women is what stereotypical helicopter parents (or alarmist neighbors) do to children.
  • According to ourselves, modern Americans have cast off the ruffles, paternalism, and prudishness of the Victorians. We certainly wear less fabric on our bodies at any given time than they did. However, in at least one way our bosoms beat as one: our cultures are linked by the conviction that it is our job to make the world a better place by reforming the beliefs and behavior of the masses.
  • By Anna Mussmann
    15, 2015

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    The Big Uneasy

    What’s roiling the liberal-arts campus?



  • t Oberlin, it started in December, when the temperatures ran high, although the weeping willows and the yellow poplars that had flared in the fall were bare already. Problems had a tendency to escalate. There was, to name one thing, the food fight: students had noted the inauthenticity of food at the school’s Afrikan Heritage House, and followed up with an on-site protest. (Some international students, meanwhile, complained that cafeteria dishes such as sushi and bánh mì were prepared with the wrong ingredients, making a mockery of cultural cuisine.)
  • There was scrutiny of the curriculum: a student wanted trigger warnings on “Antigone.” And there was all the world outside. A year earlier, a black boy with a pellet gun named Tamir Rice was killed by a police officer thirty miles east of Oberlin’s campus, and the death seemed to instantiate what students had been hearing in the classroom and across the widening horizons of their lives. Class and race mattered. Power in a system would privilege its authors. After a grand jury declined to indict Rice’s shooter, the prosecutor called the death a “perfect storm of human error.”

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  • 4 things Hillary Clinton got wrong in her latest statement about those emails

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  • In the wake of a scathing inspector general's report regarding her exclusive use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton didn't say much. But what she did offer up — in an interview with Univision's Maria Elena Salinas in California — showed, yet again, that Clinton will stick to her story on her email server even if the increasingly indisputable facts get in the way.

    Here's what Clinton told Salinas:

    It’s the same story. Um, just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented. I have turned over all my emails. No one else can say that. I have been incredibly open about doing that. I will continue to be open. And it’s not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency.

    Now, a few bits of context.

  • 1. "Um, just like previous secretaries of state I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented."

    Er ... yes, previous secretaries of state have used personal email addresses while in office — Colin Powell most notably and extensively. But, and this is really important, Clinton is the first secretary of state to ever use a private email address exclusively to conduct her business. Period. That was and is unprecedented.

  • 4 things Hillary Clinton got wrong in her latest statement about those emails - The Washington Post

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  • The Battle Against ‘Hate Speech’ on College Campuses Gives Rise to a Generation That Hates Speech

  • During his 18 years as president of Lebanon Valley College during the middle of the past century, Clyde Lynch led the tiny Pennsylvania liberal arts institution through the tribulations of the Great Depression and World War II, then raised $550,000 to build a new gymnasium before he died in 1950. In gratitude, college trustees named that new building after him.

    Neither Lynch nor those trustees could have predicted there would come a day when students would demand that his name be stripped from the Lynch Memorial Hall because the word lynch has “racial overtones.” But that day did come.

  • When playwright Eve Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, which premiered in 1996 and has been performed thousands of times by actors, celebrities and college students, she probably did not foresee a day when a performance of her feminist agitprop would be canceled because it was offensive to “women without vaginas.” And yet that day did come—at Mount Holyoke, one of the nation’s premier women’s colleges.

    Graduates of the Class of 2016 are leaving behind campuses that have become petri dishes of extreme political correctness and heading out into a world without trigger warnings, safe spaces and free speech zones, with no rules forbidding offensive verbal conduct or microaggressions, and where the names of cruel, rapacious capitalists are embossed in brass and granite on buildings across the land. Baby seals during the Canadian hunting season may have a better chance of survival.

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  •  Still Selling Neoliberal Unicorns: The US Applauds the Coup in Brazil, Calls It Democracy


    Washington now has compliant compradores in power in Argentina and Brazil—and perhaps soon in Venezuela.


    By Greg GrandinTwitter

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    Yesterday 11:56 am<!--<span><a href="" class="click_comment"></span><span>4 Comments</span></a>-->   

  •  Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s recently deposed president, calls it a coup. Many, perhaps most, of the countries in the Organization of American States call it is a coup. Even the men who helped carry out the coup admit, in a secretly recorded conversation, that what they were doing was effectively a coup, staged to provide them immunity from a corruption investigation.

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    But the United States doesn’t think that the blatantly naked power grab that just took place in Brazil—which ended the Workers’ Party’s 13-year control of the presidency, installed an all-white, all-male cabinet, diluted the definition of slavery, lest it tarnish the image of Brazil’s plantation sector (which relies on coerced, unfree labor), and began a draconian austerity program—is a coup.      

  •  It’s democracy at work, according to various Obama officials.      

    Last week, Washington’s ambassador to the OAS, Michael Fitzpatrick, rejected accusations that the Obama administration held Venezuela, whose government has long been at odds with the United States, to a different standard than it does the newly installed Brazilian regime, which is fast putting into place economic policies favored by Washington and Wall Street. In Brazil, Fitzpatrick said, “there is a clear respect for democratic institutions and a clear separation of powers. In Brazil it is clearly the law that prevails, coming up with peaceable solution to disputes. There is nothing comparable between Brazil and Venezuela. It is in the latter where democracy is threatened…. We don’t believe that this is an example of a ‘soft coup’ or, for that matter, a coup of any sort. What happened in Brazil complied perfectly with legal constitutional procedure and totally respected democratic norms.”      

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  • Clinton's E-Mail Shenanigans Sure Don't Look Like an Honest Mistake

    Megan McArdle is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes on economics, business and public policy. She is the author of "The Up Side of Down."
    Read More.
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  • Today is the day that so many of us have been waiting for: The State Department’s Office of Inspector General has released its report about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. The report does not uncover any smoking guns -- no records of Clinton saying “Heh, heh, heh, they’ll never FOIA my e-mails NOW!!!!” -- what it does lay out is deeply troubling. Even though her supporters have already begun the proclamations of “nothing to see here, move along.”

  • It lays to rest the longtime Clinton defense that this use of a private server was somehow normal and allowed by government rules: It was not normal, and was not allowed by the government rules in place at the time “The Department’s current policy, implemented in 2005, is that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized Automated Information System (AIS), which “has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information.”

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  • Academic Vote on Israel Boycott Should Not Be Suppressed
  • Guest blogger Roberto J. González is an alumnus of UC Berkeley. He is chair of San José State University’s anthropology department and author of several books including Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State (2010) and Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca (2001). His position on academic boycotts differs from that of the AAUP, which can be found here.

    Last month, University of California President Janet Napolitano sent a bewildering letter to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the world’s largest professional association of anthropologists.

    document, co-signed by the chancellors of all 10 UC campuses, expresses concern about a proposed AAA resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It urges “Association members to consider the boycott’s potentially harmful impacts and oppose this resolution.”
  • Napolitano’s letter betrays an Orwellian disregard for what it claims to protect: academic freedom.

     The timing of Napolitano’s letter is deliberate. The AAA’s 10,000 members began voting on the boycott resolution in mid-April, and will continue casting ballots until May 31. Napolitano seeks to influence the election outcome by discouraging scholars from voting their conscience.


     If its rank-and-file members ratify the resolution, the AAA will become the largest and oldest academic association to do so.

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  • Affiliation is power (without irony)

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    As many of my readers probably know, the big controversy in my field this year (in American cultural anthropology) has been about a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions, essentially as a protest of the Palestinian situation. The substantive politics have been debated for months and years, and I’m not going to get into them here. But this past couple of months, I’ve been subjected to unsolicited weekly email missives from the anti-boycott faction, and as an ethnographer of academic culture, I couldn’t help noticing the extremely standardized introductory format that they all use:

  • My name is Jill Korbin. I am the Lucy Adams Leffingwell Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Case Western University. I am also a lifetime member of the American Anthropological Association and President-elect of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. I am writing to ask that you vote against the boycott of Israeli universities.



    My name is Dale Eickelman, the Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College


    I am Paul Rabinow, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. I write to urge you to watch this important new video where anthropologists who know something about the matter demonstrate how an academic boycott is ultimately personal.

  • I am Ulf Hannerz, Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Sweden. I have been a member of the American Anthropological Association since the 1960s, and I am a former member of its Committee on World Anthropologies. I have voted against the boycott resolution.


    My name is Myra Bluebond-Langner. I am a medical anthropologist currently at the Institute of Child Health, University College London where I hold the True Colours Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People as well as Board of Governors Professor of Anthropology Emerita at Rutgers University. I am a long-term member of the American Anthropological Association and a recipient of the Margaret Mead Award from the AAA and the Society for Applied Anthropology. I am writing to urge you to vote against boycotting Israeli universities in the AAA’s spring ballot.

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    • Public Rage at Glaring Inequality and Mass Downward Mobility Are Fueling the Bernie and Trump Phenomena

        <!-- end: headline -->    <!-- start: teaser --> 
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      The political elite are oblivious to irony: they are the ones who gave birth to the mass anger that now confronts them.
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      May 26, 2016 
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  • Jack Nicholson dryly noted that his mother once called him a son of a bitch—and didn't comprehend the irony.

    2016 has certainly been an odd year for the political and corporate elites. They certainly couldn't predict (and then subsequently stayed in denial about) the groundswell from the masses in terms of the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donnie Trump. Much like the Nicholson example, the aloof Powers That Be are oblivious to irony: They are the ones who gave birth to the mass anger that now confronts them.

  • The political cognoscenti have not understood the massive public rage from today's "unAmerica" of glaring inequality and mass downward mobility that is the direct product of their wrenching the system with such power tools as: "free" trade agreements, union busting, defunding public services, downsizing, offshoring, price gouging, Citizens United, privatization, the Wall Street bailout, student debt, tax dodging, criminalization of poverty, militarization of police ... and so god-awful much more.

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  • Pope Francis might jettison idea of a ‘just war’

    Developed in the fifth century A.D. by St. Augustine, the doctrine of a “just war” empowers rulers to wage war only as a last resort to confront grave wrongs. As Augustine wrote: “Peace should be the object of your desire; war should be waged only as a necessity.”


    Later, the Summa Theologica, written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 1260s and 1270s, clarified that war could only be waged by a properly instituted authority like the state, that it could not occur for purposes of self-gain, and that attaining peace must be its central aim.

  • Though the Catholic Church’s “just war” doctrine has been modified over the centuries – accounting for things like new technologies and the changing nature of warfare – its basic principles remain the same.


    As the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church describes, in order for the Church to sanction engaging in a war, “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to [the conflict] must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; [and] the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

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      “This will stop only when the American people get fed up”: American exceptionalism, the New York Times, and our foreign policy after Barack Obama


      Our smartest modern military historian explains to Salon what's wrong about our adventures in the Middle East

  • I want to stay with the matter of America’s declared good intentions as it explains its conduct abroad. Accounts of our idealistic purposes—and our intentions are always cast in the service of our ideals—carry weight with many, many millions of Americans. From my point of view, to be honest, I can’t remember a time in my life when I took this kind of talk very seriously. The record simply doesn’t support it. Now I have a chance to ask a professional soldier about this and I can’t pass up the chance.

    Well, I think that the moral arguments for U.S. policy, particularly moral arguments for the use of force, are added after the decision to go to war, to use force, has been made. The explanations for why we use our military power are rarely, if ever, informed by any serious moral consideration.

  • So they’re a coat of paint applied afterward.

    A coat of paint is a very good explanation. There are those who might cite the Libya intervention of 2011 as an exception. To the extent that the triumvirate of [Secretary of State] Clinton, Rice [Susan, national security adviser] and [U.N. ambassador] Samantha Power were driving the train, I don’t doubt that they were genuinely concerned about the possibility of large numbers of Libyan opposition forces and individuals being killed by Gaddafi. But I’d also suggest that the Libyan intervention was supposed to validate this whole conception of “R2P,” the responsibility to protect. It didn’t, but had it done so, then, in effect, the validation of R2P would have created new opportunities for the U.S. to intervene wherever it wished to, citing R2P as a basis for action. So even there, where the proponents of policy may have had some amount of genuine humanitarian concern, I think there were secondary factors that looked beyond moral considerations.

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