Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tony Jones, American Empire and the Hauerwasian Mafia

Tony Jones recently posted an entry on his blog about why the United States is not an empire. The primary reason he gives is that "an empire has, by definition, an emperor," and "the Bush-Cheney oligarchy ... do not represent an emperor." Genius! What brilliant deductive reasoning!

And rather beside the point when you consider how many right-wing political types have been lauding the emergence of the American Empire, Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol being two of the more popular ones. Robert Kagan would be another one. These neo-conservatives are not ashamed of the global military influence of the US to say the least - go here and learn about these folks and what they want. From another corner, Patrick Buchanan (another political type who would not call himself a "progressive Christian") has accused the USA of behaving like an empire. Yes, that's an old school conservative criticizing the current neo-con love affair with American imperialism.

And not all who accuse America of being imperialist would say that it's a phenomenon that began with Bush-Cheney. The Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, and the New World Order were around before they got selected, and those ideas will certainly linger on no matter who replaces them. Michael ("Guido") Northcott's An Angel Directs the Storm is a good telling of this story.

It's odd that Tony would be so particular about the use of the word "empire" when he is rather sloppy with his use of the word "mafia". You know the "Hauerwasian Mafia" - those guys who come in and blow away Niebuhrian realism with reckless abandon. Oh, for sure, reading After Christendom would make any delicate-minded, hard-core Zwingli follower cry all over their TULIPs. But Hauerwas and those influenced by him are hardly gun-toting guys who control the crime in their cities and put bullet holes in people who don't see things their way. Has a horse head ever ended up in Tony's bed?

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