Tony Blair’s Manichean Worldview
Huffington Post, 11-3-2013
Tony Blair effectively subcontracted the decision to invade Iraq to former United States president George Bush, according to Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to Washington between 1997 and 2003.
He also claims the former prime minister’s “black and white” view of the world fuelled mistakes before and during the invasion.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph 10 years after the invasion, he described Mr Blair as “more evangelical than the American Christian Right”. …
He wrote: “With his Manichean, black and white view of the world, Mr Blair was in his way more neo-con than the neo-cons, more evangelical than the American Christian Right.
From this flowed Britain’s contribution to the mistakes made before and after the Iraq invasion, despite repeated warnings from the Foreign Office and the Washington embassy.”
He added: “The failure to plan meticulously for Saddam’s aftermath led to almost a decade of violent chaos and the ultimate humiliation of British forces. Mr Blair’s unquestioning support for Mr Bush eliminated what should have been salutary British influence over American decision-making.”
February 2003 George Michael recorded Don McLean’s
The Grave in protest against the looming Iraq war.
The manichean worldview
Prime Directive Blog, 16-11-2007
Democracy, patriotism, internal and external wars, all political tactics based on factional conflict are supported by a worldview which can be called ‘the manichean worldview’ (“manichean” referring to an ancient religious dualist movement, but nowadays applied to any polarizing, black/white belief).
Government propaganda, Big Media and Hollywood lead the way in promoting this worldview, and have contributed to its insinuation into public discourse. A few principles can be isolated from it.
1. Black versus White:
There are “good people” and “bad people.”
People can be divided into two general camps, “good” and “bad.” “Good” means: anyone who is on our side. “Bad” means: anyone who is against our side. There is zero consideration of morality whatsoever in those evaluations, as they denote one’s faction exclusively. “We” (the side with which the person is assumed to identify) are never “bad.”
Once we allow for dividing people based not on what they really are but who we think they are, we introduce the capacity for mass pre-judging and demonization, which the State needs in order to divide-and-conquer society.
2. “Good’ has the right to demonize the other
“Good people” are pretty, smart, happy. “Bad people” are ugly, stupid and ill-tempered. “Good people” are the “light side,” “evil people” are the “dark side.” “Evil people” are always corrupt and angry.
This premise is very dangerous, because it renders us incapable of recognizing actual evil. People expect “evil people” to take an “evil form.” People (for example) refuse to believe that policemen and soldiers are agents of an evil ideology, because they are “on our side,” and therefore cannot be guilty.
3. Good always stands above the law:
Might is Right
Anything a “good person” does is “good,” even if it consists of actions which are universally condemned, like theft, murder or torture. In the manichean worldview, the end completely justifies the means, no questions asked. In the “good” world, there is no moral responsibility whatsoever. Just belonging to the “right faction” gives you total free reign.
There can be times when the distortion between what the manichean perceives as “good” and the actions of the “good person” becomes too great: the “good person” is then either called an “anti-hero,” or everyone denies that the person was on their side to begin with. No “bad” label can ever, ever be pinned on the “good side.”
This premise is an open attack on the principle of universality. There are no universal laws. No one has the right to judge ‘good’ people. The crimes of the State are done for “good” goals and therefore must be embraced. Anyone who tells the truth is a friend of ‘the devil’.
4. No peace with the enemy
Crush your enemy totally
The world is a struggle, which can only be won by violence. The “evil people” must be subdued by force, because they are on the wrong side by definition. When victory is achieved, “the end” has been met, and nothing could possibly go wrong from that point on.
This premise is an invitation to shut off our brains and think of people as pawns in a greater game, a premise common to all collectivist systems. If you can’t think of individuals as individuals, people with their own values and lives and desires, you’ll have no qualms killing them. And that’s the sad truth of the matter.
Pete Seeger: Where have al the flowers gone
The Prime Directive blog is based on the vision of a society without hierarchies (a hierarchy is defined as a system where control is systemic and directed). This is closely related to the Prime Directive (do not impose harm): everywhere we see imposed harm, we see hierarchies directing that harm, from poverty to crime to war and starvation.
The apparatus of society should not serve the interests of the elite, but rather the interests of every individual. Equality and freedom should be our guiding principles.
Based on this, the institutions in such a society should follow the values and principles of consent, cooperation, liberty, human rights, justice, well-being, and respect of human nature.
The apparatus of society should not serve the interests of the elite,
but rather the interests of every individual.
See also: The 48 laws of power