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The Big Answer


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Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good

a book by Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass

(our site's book review)

"Immoral Morality"—Doing Evil in the Name of Good

The Amazon blurb asks Is patriotism a good thing in an empire? Did General Petraeus betray us or did Moveon? Does morality often serve immoral purposes? Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good shows us how to understand the subtext of these questions and of all the debates about moral values and liberal versus conservative ideology. Derber and Magrass show that the moral problem today is not just lying but "immoral morality," doing evil in the name of good (e.g., Bush preemptively invading Iraq to spread "liberty").

Bush preemptively invading Iraq to spread 'liberty' accomplished the exact opposite, so immoral morality got egg on its face—the whole thing was a mistake and a lie
Bush preemptively invading Iraq to spread 'liberty' accomplished the exact opposite, so immoral morality got egg on its face—the whole thing was a mistake and a lie

The authors explore three ancient codes of immoral morality frighteningly resurrected in America today—those of empire, the politically correct, and the born again. Although the right today has recrafted historic arguments that empires bring peace (although since 1945 the American Empire has brought nothing but death, misery, and destruction around the world), and fundamentalists battle moral decay, the authors show the Democratic Party and the left have their own immoral morality, with Democrats supporting empire and the left its own political correctness. America's political divide today is a backlash to the progressive revolution of the 1960s and 1970s—secular, antiwar, and feminist—that created a radical break from traditional values and set the stage for current morality wars. In the spirit of de Tocqueville, this powerful book offers a rich and vivid portrait of America's political landscape, exploring ideas that can help move the nation to a new morality and politics.

The pushmi-pullyu, a perfect metaphor for U.S. partisan gridlock
The pushmi-pullyu, a perfect metaphor for U.S. partisan gridlock

“This incisive critical analysis of Western imperial history, and the ‘immoral morality’ contrived to justify its exploits, captures essential features of the great hegemonic powers from Rome to modern America, with many surprising revelations and insights, conveying lessons that we overlook at our peril. Once I began reading, I found this book hard to put down.”—Noam Chomsky

“This is an up-to-the-present history of the kind of intentions that pave the road to hell: the road we are on. Leaders have long mobilized support for war and empire by rhetorical appeals to morality, idealism and God. This book traces the lineage of such moralism—from Rome to the British Empire to America's own history—and offers a clear-eyed, disturbing view of how American leaders today use such 'immoral morality' to pursue policies with devastating effects for the U.S and the world.”—Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

The British Empire justifying their imperialism with such ludicrous pieces of immoral morality as 'God is on our side', which was no more true or convincing than Dubya's greed-inspired and illegal invasion of Iraq
The British Empire justifying their imperialism with such ludicrous pieces of immoral morality as 'God is on our side', which was no more true or convincing than Dubya's greed-inspired and illegal invasion of Iraq

“A trenchant and timely book on how power is wielded and moralized in America.”—G. William Domhoff, author of Who Rules America?

“In clear and passionate prose, Derber and Magrass argues that immoral morality—the way leaders use moral values and their faith in God to justify empire, war, and exploitation—has reached a new peak in the United States. Whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House, Derber and Magrass's book offers an indispensable guide to unpicking the pious claims that mask policies of profit for the few and global domination over the many.”—Jonathan Steele, The Guardian and author of Defeat: Why America and Britain lost Iraq

“Charles Derber is one of our most astute and eloquent social critics. … His political analysis is persuasive and is enlivened by graceful prose.”—Howard Zinn

Whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House, Derber and Magrass's book offers an indispensable guide to unpicking the pious claims that mask policies of profit for the few and global domination over the many
Whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House, Derber and Magrass's book offers an indispensable guide to unpicking the pious claims that mask policies of profit for the few and global domination over the many—see Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order

The Authors Outline Five American Empires

For centuries, the U.S. Government has been involved in immoral actions that have often been justified using self-righteous arguments suggesting that the action was happening for moral reasons. Other countries do the same. Germany kills Jews to purify Germany's people and Iraq is invaded, unprovoked, by the U.S. in order to "democratize" them. (Not for oil, then?) The authors outline five American Empires:

  1. The Fledging Constitutional Empire, 1776-1828
  2. Manifest Destiny Continental Empire, 1828-1898
  3. Allied Global Empire, 1898-1945
  4. The Good Empire versus the Evil Empire, 1945-1991
  5. World Hegemon: 1991-the present

Reagan's people engineered a way to do bad but convince the media it was for moral reasons or they were not involved or the media simply censored reports of their actions
Reagan's people engineered a way to do bad but convince the media it was for moral reasons or they were not involved or the media simply censored reports of their actions

The author describes the Republican Party under Reagan. It was able to put together a powerful coalition of three major groups: Wall Street and corporate elites, national security elites including the pentagon, and evangelical Christians. This was politically a winning combination. Unfortunately, the economic and military actions they put together were a win for a few wealthy people and installed dictators, but a lose for both our country and the countries the U.S. mercilessly manipulated and exploited, and a lose for most of our citizens who didn't enjoy being trickled upon by Reaganomics' trickle-down economics. See The Concise Untold History of the United States.

Reaganomics' trickle-down economics let the nonrich experience the not-so-great action of being trickled upon
Reaganomics' trickle-down economics let the nonrich experience the not-so-great action of being trickled upon


Political Correctness Puts Limits on the Range of Acceptable Thoughts

Blacks, egged on by troublemakers like Obama and Al Sharpton, dared anyone to reply that white lives matter too—which they say proved you're a racist victimizer, which is stupid and illogical
Blacks, egged on by troublemakers like Obama and Al Sharpton, dared anyone to reply that white lives matter too—which they say proved you're a racist victimizer, which is stupid and illogical

Political correctness puts limits on "the range of acceptable thoughts, seeking to outlaw or marginalize those ways of thinking that might challenge the powers that be." Non-tolerated subjects on the Right are: slavery, inequality, questioning U.S. warmongering, and patriotism. Non-tolerated subjects on the left are: questioning blacks as victims, doubting white privilege, and putting down identity politics of feminist, gay, and race movements. The Right silences opposition in the name of patriotism, and the Left silences opposition in the name of political correctness.

There's an even more sinister PC in operation behind the scenes as well: Google censoring opinions that are not mainstream media CW and don't tow the party line, alternative views like the alternative press from Alternet.org. IT IS CRITICAL TO REALIZE THAT SOMETIMES NON-MAINSTREAM VIEWS ARE THE TRUTH AND MAINSTREAM VIEWS ARE PROPAGANDA. Google censoring this content effectively erases truth from the media, making our media search engines into peddlers of government prevarications like in China or Saudi Arabia. This is a blow democracy cannot survive. Google needs to wake up to reality. See The New Censorship, Democracy—an American Delusion and The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.

Political correctness puts limits on the range of acceptable thoughts, seeking to outlaw or marginalize those ways of thinking that might challenge the powers that be; Next step will be the Thought Police
Political correctness puts limits on the range of acceptable thoughts, seeking to outlaw or marginalize those ways of thinking that might challenge the powers that be; Next step will be the Thought Police

The authors say "The police state of Orwell’s imagination—in which Big Brother used omnipresent telescreens to watch you, employed 'thought police' from the Ministry of Truth to monitor your thinking, and invented Newspeak to control your very language so that you couldn’t think heretical ideas—in the minds of many, has now come to pass. Big Brother IS watching you. See 1984.

The police state of Orwell’s imagination—with its omnipresent Big Brother
The police state of Orwell’s imagination—with its omnipresent Big Brother

Immoral Morality Keeps Leaders in Power and the Gears of Society Churning Smoothly

"In this book, we argue that America is increasingly ruled through a system of 'immoral morality,' something similar to—but with important differences from—the mass propaganda of Orwell ’s Oceania. American immoral morality wraps the increasingly unaccountable power of American leaders in a cloak of moral and spiritual truth. Political and religious leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties propagate this immoral morality, a vision that accepts, on faith, the core values and special destiny of America. We have an American Ideological Apparatus—our own more informal version of the Ministries of Truth and Love—to enforce these beliefs. Our aim is to define immoral morality, show its three main forms in the United States, and explain how it keeps leaders in power and the gears of society churning smoothly. Immoral morality plays a key role in American culture and politics. . . . The Bush administration was one of the most moralistic in U.S. history, while carrying out many of the most harmful and unethical practices of any presidency, lying about the reasons to go to war in Iraq, approving torture, and coddling the rich at the expense of the poor. Moreover, Bush carried out his wars and pro-rich policies in the very name of values and God."

Immoral Morality Keeps Leaders Steeped in Hypocrisy

U.S. exploitation policies have left hundreds of thousands to starve to death while Honduras exports food for the profit of agribusiness; let them eat loans
U.S. exploitation policies have left hundreds of thousands to starve to death while Honduras exports food for the profit of agribusiness; let them eat loans—but the corporatocracy doesn't care

Calvinism teaches that some people are Elect and the rest are damned. Outward material prosperity is a sign of God's favor. All those rich Republicans are God's favorites and their bank accounts prove it, right? Looking a bit deeper, it is obvious that the "morality" pretense is merely a hypocritical act enabling one to hide behind God and family values while doing evil. While Reagan's CIA thugs were doing evil in Central America, Reagan was calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire, sounding pathetically like he'd read too many comic books about evil villians or seen too many Star Wars movies.

While Reagan's CIA thugs were doing evil in Central America, Reagan was calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire, sounding pathetically like he'd seen too many <I>Star Wars</I> movies
While Reagan's CIA thugs were doing evil in Central America, Reagan was calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire, sounding pathetically like he'd seen too many Star Wars movies

This is called hypocrisy, which means to perform external acts of righteousness that mask—perhaps even from oneself—one's own inner corruption, or to say one thing but do another. Reagan never mentioned CIA-supported death squads, assassinations, coups, installing corrupt dictators, and interfering in elections. (He kept lying about supporting freedom and democracy—the opposite of what he did.) Some people figure it's because the CIA never let Ronnie in on their activities. The Contras were corrupt, murderous thugs, but Reagan didn't seem to know that. Or maybe he did and he was just "acting"! The Contras had a killing spree of mass genocide—they were guilty of kidnapping and torturing civilians, raping women, executing civilians—including children—seizing and burning civilian houses, and assassinating health care workers. And yet Reagan's immoral morality never wavered, and he kept calling these filth freedom fighters!

The police state of Orwell’s imagination—in which Big Brother used omnipresent telescreens to watch you, has in some ways already happened
The police state of Orwell’s imagination—in which Big Brother used omnipresent telescreens to watch you, has in some ways already happened

Like Reagan, Dubya Wooed Evangelical Christians via Immoral Morality

Like Reagan, Dubya got evangelical Christians on his side by denying that women should be able to control their own bodies, and some of his rhetoric when invading Iraq sounded like he was a Crusader from the Crusades, which reminds Christians of the song Onward Christian Soldiers, often sung in church.

Like Reagan, Dubya got evangelical Christians on his side by denying that women should be able to control their own bodies, and some of his rhetoric when invading Iraq sounded like he was a Crusader
Like Reagan, Dubya got evangelical Christians on his side by denying that women should be able to control their own bodies, and some of his rhetoric when invading Iraq sounded like he was a Crusader

The Progressive Morality of the sixties with its emphasis on equality and peace opposed the Traditional Morality of hierarchy and war. Now Progressive and Traditional 'moralities' war with each other for the loyalty of citizens. The authors, Derber and Magrass, discuss in detail the harm done by the deception of calling evil good. It's bad for democracy, morality, and freedom.

Dubya and O'bomb-em loved swatting to death any Middle Eastern citizen if they didn't like their looks—simply carrying the wrong cell phone could get one killed
Dubya and O'bomb-em loved swatting to death any Middle Eastern citizen if they didn't like their looks—simply carrying the wrong cell phone could get one killed


This was O'bomb-em's main 'solution' to terrorism. How did it work? It pushed them to start ISIS!
This was O'bomb-em's main 'solution' to terrorism. How did it work? It pushed them to start ISIS!

Immoral Morality—Surveillance of U.S. Citizens

Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good prompts us to stand back and to see the big picture—to view our country fully and to understand it in terms of a complex set of perspectives that trump politics and Culture Wars. The book coins the term Immoral Morality. Part of the stance of holier than thou, political correctness, and monitoring morality is surveillance of U.S. citizens. Obama was caught lying about it during his time in office. Edward Snowden is the hero that let us know the truth. See The Rise of the American Corporate Security State, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World, and Shadow Government: How the Secret Global Elite Is Using Surveillance Against You.

Edward Snowden is the hero that let us know the truth about our government spying on us decent, loyal, patriotic citizens
Edward Snowden is the hero that let us know the truth about our government spying on us decent, loyal, patriotic citizens


Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!


Our government watches your every move
Our government watches your every move


The NSA has oppressed various U.S. citizens and violated their rights, and in so doing it might as well have burned the Constitution
The NSA has oppressed various U.S. citizens and violated their rights, and in so doing it might as well have burned the Constitution . . . hey, do you smell smoke?

Immoral Morality Uses Doublespeak, Pretense, and Truthiness

The authors say that a variety of historical circumstances have turned immoral morality into an American epidemic, touching every American and every feature of American life. Immoral morality is a cover-up strategy used to disguise or redefine malevolent actions and policies, often calling black white and white black. It often involves the hypocrisy of doublespeak, pretense, and “truthiness,” a term Stephen Colbert coined. It means disingenuous conning, faking, bluffing, feigning, dissembling mendacity presented as fact or information that is "to the best of my knowledge." It differs from truth. It means presenting events and ideas in the way we'd prefer them to be, but not necessarily in the way they really are. See Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market for more about truthiness, neocons corrupting our country, etc.

A perfect example of not just terrible parenting, but also immoral morality, in which principled arguments are made to justify any form of exploitation, oppression, or abuse
A perfect example of not just terrible parenting, but also immoral morality, in which principled arguments are made to justify any form of exploitation, oppression, or abuse

Unchallenged and unchecked immoral morality is the fastest ticket to moral breakdown. Which explains the situation in the USA. Here is what is in this thought-provoking book, Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good: