I recently read a very interesting article entitled “White Guilt and the Western Past” by Shelby Steele. This article came highly recommended by Rush Limbaugh, and I felt like it really helped to explain a lot of things that are going on in politics today. I will quote a bit from the article:

“There is something rather odd in the way America has come to fight its wars since World War II.

“For one thing, it is now unimaginable that we would use anything approaching the full measure of our military power (the nuclear option aside) in the wars we fight. And this seems only reasonable given the relative weakness of our Third World enemies in Vietnam and in the Middle East. But the fact is that we lost in Vietnam, and today, despite our vast power, we are only slogging along – if admirably – in Iraq against a hit-and-run insurgency that cannot stop us even as we seem unable to stop it. Yet no one – including, very likely, the insurgents themselves – believes that America lacks the raw power to defeat this insurgency if it wants to. So clearly it is America that determines the scale of this war. It is America, in fact, that fights so as to make a little room for an insurgency.

“Certainly since Vietnam, America has increasingly practiced a policy of minimalism and restraint in war. And now this unacknowledged policy, which always make a space for the enemy, has us in another long and rather passionless war against a weak enemy.

“Why this new minimalism in war?

“It began, I believe, in a late-20th-century event that transformed the world more profoundly than the collapse of communism: the world-wide collapse of white supremacy as a source of moral authority, political legitimacy and even sovereignty. This idea had organized the entire world, divided up its resources, imposed the nation-state system across the globe, and delivered the majority of the worlds population into servitude and oppression. After World War II, revolutions across the globe, from India to Algeria and from Indonesia to the America civil rights revolution, defeated the authority inherent in white supremacy, if not the idea itself. And this defeat exacted a price: the West was left stigmatized by its sins. Today, the white West, like Germany after the Nazi defeat – lives in a kind of secular penitence in which the slightest echo of past sins brings down withering condemnation. There is now a cloud over white skin where there once was unquestioned authority.

“I call this white guilt not because it is a guilt of conscience but because people stigmatized with moral crimes – here racism and imperialism – lack moral authority and so act guiltily whether they feel guilt or not.

“They struggle, above all else, to dissociate themselves from the past sins they are stigmatized with. When they behave in ways that invoke the memory of those sins, they must labor to prove that they have not relapsed into their groups former sinfulness. So when America – the greatest embodiment of Western power – goes to war in Third World Iraq, it must also labor to dissociate that action from the great Western sin of Imperialism. Thus, in Iraq we are in two wars, one against an insurgency and another against the past – two fronts, two victories to win, one military, the other a victory of dissociation.”