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October 30, 2006, Volume 14 Nr. 2, Issue 221

The Doctrine of Americanism and 
the Midterm Elections of November 7, 2006

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

In this the last week before the 2006 mid-term elections (November 7, 2006) in the United States, it may behoove us as United States citizens to ponder upon the following historic words:

"Many of the practical expressions of Americanism such as party organization, system of education, and discipline can only be understood when considered in relation to its general attitude toward life. A spiritual attitude. Americanism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.

"The conception is therefore a spiritual one, arising from the general reaction of the century against the materialistic positivism of the XXth century. Anti-positivistic but positive; neither skeptical nor agnostic; neither pessimistic nor supinely optimistic as are, generally speaking, the doctrines (all negative) which place the center of life outside man; whereas, by the exercise of his free will, man can and must create his own world.

"Americanism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind. Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (artistic, religious, scientific) and the outstanding importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, by which man subjugates nature and creates the human world (economic, political, ethical, and intellectual).

"This positive conception of life is obviously an ethical one. It invests the whole field of reality as well as the human activities which master it. No action is exempt from moral judgment; no activity can be despoiled of the value which a moral purpose confers on all things. Therefore life, as conceived of by Americanism, is serious, austere, and religious; all its manifestations are poised in a world sustained by moral forces and subject to spiritual responsibilities. Americanism disdains an 'easy' life.

"The American conception of life is a religious one in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the individual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. 'Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the American regime fail to realize that Americanism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought'.

"Americanism, in short, is not only a law-giver and a founder of institutions, but an educator and a promoter of spiritual life. It aims at refashioning not only the forms of life but their content - man, his character, and his faith. To achieve this propose it enforces discipline and uses authority, entering into the soul and ruling with undisputed sway.

"Let no one think of denying the moral character of Americanism. For I should be ashamed to speak from this tribune if I did not feel that I represent the moral and spiritual powers of the state. What would the state be if it did not possess a spirit of its own, and a morality of its own, which lend power to the laws in virtue of which the state is obeyed by its citizens?"

As the United States population prepares to cast its ballots this November 7th, it might find the above lengthy quotation patriotic inspiration and moral impetus for voting Republican.  The average American is, after all, very much the embodiment of the Americanism apparently expressed therein.  Perhaps, however, it is wise to reconsider, as the above quotation comes from the mouth of one of the world's most notorious and brutal dictators.  If we replace the words "Americanism" and "America" with the word "Fascism", and "XIXth century" for "XX century" in the quoted paragraphs, we have then, word for word, the words of Benito Mussolini contained in his "The Doctrine of Fascism" written in 1932.  I have on my car a bumper sticker that reads, "Embrace Marshall law, vote Republican".  In this, the very important mid-term elections of 2006, let us not.

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski is co-editor and co-publisher of Metaphoria along with his life partner and wife, JeanneE.  He is 30-year veteran retired teacher and a member of Veterans For Peace.  His writings have appeared in Metaphoria, After Downing Street, Buzzflash, Counterpunch, Thomas Paine's Corner,, Omni Center, Rutland Herald, Times Argus, and others.  

2006 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

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