Monday, November 28, 2005

A Great American

Predictably, the chick-hawks have been falling over themselves to launch attacks on Dr Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. Attorney-General and Gandhi Prize winner who has joined the legal team to defend Saddam Hussein.
I am proud to share my surname with Clark, a man who I believe is one of the great Americans of our age- a fearless fighter against oppression and the calamitous foreign policy of his own country.
Here's an extract from an interview Clark gave to the 'Sun' Magazine. Read it and you will discover what it is that really infuritates the war lobby about this man- his belief that political power should reside with the people- and that the aim of any policy- domestic or foreign should be whether it creates healthier, happier, and more loving societies. In other words, the very last things Messrs Perle, Wolfowitz and Cheney really want.

If we are to significantly change our culture, we need to recognize that we are held in thrall by two desperately harmful value patterns. One is the glorification of violence. We absolutely, irrationally, insanely glorify violence. We often think that we enjoy watching the good guys kill the bad guys, but the truth is that we enjoy watching the kill itself.
The other value is materialism. We are the most materialistic people who have ever lived. We value things over children. Indeed, the way we show how much we value children is by giving them things, to the point where a mother's self-esteem depends on whether she's the first in her neighborhood to get her child some new toy.
I think the hardest part for us is to break through the illusory world that the media create. Television is a big part of our reality. Children spend more time watching TV than they do in school or participating in any other activity. And television is a preacher of materialism above all else. It tells us constantly to want things. More money is spent on commercials than on the entertainment itself. And that entertainment is essentially hypnotic.
I think often of the Roman poet Juvenal's line about "bread and circuses." All these distractions that now fill our lives are an unprecedented mechanism of social control, because they occupy so much of our time that we don't reason, we don't imagine, and we don't use our senses. We walk though our day mesmerized, never questioning, never thinking, never appreciating. From this process we emerge a synthetic vessel without moral purpose, with no notion in our head or our heart of what is good for people, of what builds a healthier, happier, more loving society.
You began this interview by asking me about U.S. foreign policy, and I said that it's been a failure. Here is the standard by which I would judge any foreign or domestic policy: has it built a healthier, happier, more loving society, both at home and abroad? The answer, in our case, is no on both counts.
Jensen: So what do we do?
Clark: I think the solution relies on the power of the idea, and the power of the word, and on a belief that, in the end, the ultimate power resides in the people.

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