Justice: the Newest Meme in Modern Mimetic Warfare

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Posted Dec 12, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Justice: the Newest Meme in Modern Mimetic Warfare

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

Mimetic warfare is the use of symbols, like words or memes, to manipulate the mind of one’s opponent subliminally, that is, without the opponent even knowing that he is a victim.  Two of the standard weapons are the terms “justice” and “progressive”. 

President Obama really hit a hornet’s nest with his campaign talk this week in Osawatomie, Kansas, where Theodore Roosevelt gave his New Nationalism speech in 1910 as the “Bull Moose” heading a new third party known as “progressivism”.  In this speech Roosevelt attacked buccaneer capitalism, which nowadays is referred to as the 1% exploiting the 99%.  President Obama wants to be the new Teddy Roosevelt, thereby co-opting a symbol that many Republicans have always claimed as their own private property, usually without understanding what Roosevelt was saying. 

President Obama wants to share the mantle of this “good Roosevelt” (as distinct from what conservatives call the “bad one” a generation later), who is memorialized at Mount Rushmore together with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln as one of the four greatest American presidents and as the first president to link the memes “progressive” and “justice”.  Obama in this first effort at paradigmatic warfare is reintroducing the meme “justice”, which he first used seven times in his Cairo speech three years ago as his model for just governance but was persuaded never to mention again. 

President Obama’s path-breaking talk at Osawatomie is bold, because for many decades the very words “justice” and “progressive” were terms of derision and even of treason.  He risks being attacked as the modern equivalent of a covert Commie Symp.  Forty years ago the CIA monitored people according to how often they mentioned the word justice, which then was a codeword for the totalitarian mind. 

Nowadays the new global threat, of course, is Islam, and the best giveaway for a totalitarian mind quite rightly is whether and how often one uses the term “global caliphate”.  Today, real totalitarians do not use the word justice, but anyone who does can still be attacked as totalitarian. 

The most powerful weapon used by Muslims against totalitarians in their midst is the classical Islamic concept of ‘adala or justice, which is embodied in the highest normative principles of jurisprudence known as the maqasid al shari’ah. The Qur’an reveals in Surah al An’am 6:115 that, “The Word of your Lord is fulfilled and perfected in truth and in justice”, wa tamaat kalimatu rabika sidqan wa ‘adlan.

The attack by the online Townhall Magazine on December 11, 2011, on the very concept of justice seems to be enjoining a debate on the subject.  Derek Hunter’s article in this issue does a useful service by introducing a reactionary conservative attack on the concept of justice as a tool of the “progressive” mentality.  He writes, “If there’s one thing ‘progressives’ love to talk about, it is justice.  Social justice, economic justice, ‘no justice, no peace’.  Whatever kind of justice you want, they’re selling”.

Derek Hunter continues, “The President told the people of Osawatomie that Teddy ‘believed then what we know is true today, that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.  It’s led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world’.  Then the other shoe dropped: ‘But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can’.”  Hunter retorts: “On what planet is that a pillar of the free market?”

We need a “just third way” beyond capitalism and socialism to fill the semantic gap that produces extremism from both “right” and “left”.  Ronald Reagan introduced the just third way of “capital homesteading” in what he called a “Second American Revolution” to provide universal access to ownership of productive capital for every American citizen.  The various books and articles on this approach to justice can be found at http://www.cesj.org, including http://www.cesj/thirdway/comparison3rdway.htm and www.capitalhomestead.org/notes/Core_Principles_of_the_Coalition_for_Capital Homesteading . 

A general introduction to applying Teddy Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism” in an era of capital intensivity, whereby the 99% would join the 1% in owning America’s future productive wealth without stealing property from the 1%, can be found in the lead article by William Greider, entitled “A Radical Idea as Old as Lincoln”, in the Washington Post’s Outlook Section on March 11, 1979, of which Greider was the Editor.  The philosophical background of the current national discussion on the subject can be found in Michael Greaney’s blog of the Global Justice Movement, specifically in the seven-part 100-page analysis by Michael Greaney beginning at http://just3rdway.blogspot.com/2011/12/orestes-brownson-and-socialism-viii-fit.html

The focus of the Just Third Way for economic justice is social justice in the form of solidarity in pursuing institutional reform, such as reforming the Fed rather than ending it.  Personal ethics are important but not sufficient as a means to promote justice in a free-market system of private ownership without removing the institutional barriers to broadened capital ownership.  Such ethics, however, as advocated by Rabbi Michael Lerner in calling for a “new bottom line”, would be important if not decisive in maintaining justice in a system where the 99% have already increasingly gained ownership by interest-free pure credit in the trillions of dollars of future wealth.

The role of such personal ethics in a just third way have been summarized in the September, 2011, issue of Caux Round Table’s journal, “Pegasus: Moral Capitalism at Work” in its “Code of Conduct for Banks and Other Financial Intermediation”, together with the associated article, “Capitalism’s Big Challenge: Rebuilding Trust with Main Street and Re-Occupying Wall Street”, by Noel Purcell and Stephen B. Young, who are, respectively, the Chair of the Caux Round Table and its Global Executive Director.  This issue, which includes also an article by Raed H. Charafeddine, Vice Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, entitled “The Arab Awakening”, is available online at http://www.cauxroundtable.org.

Fortunately, the leaders of the American Revolutionary Party, http://www.americanrevolutionaryparty.us, decided a week ago to register right away in an initial twelve states for the 2012 presidential elections.  This provides a third option, since both of the major parties need new ideas in what otherwise seems like a useless effort to create substantive differences when in fact the only differences seem to be merely semantic dueling in a self-defeating mimetic war of platitudes.