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A Chapter of History Revisited in View of Modern Terrorism.

When nations come into being they often have a national sense of purpose. Manifest Destiny is the phrase used by American politicians to justify continental expansion by the United States in its formative years. The phrase Manifest Destiny provided a "mission" statement for many politicians as the new nation pushed native Americans off onto "reservations" entirely equivalent to the refugee camps of Palestine.

A war with Mexico was fought during the same period. The 1830 - 1850 decades have been called the era when America came of age. The new nation reached from sea to sea. The Indians were totally out manned and outgunned. The Mexicans were only somewhat better off, having the added burden of winning their freedom from Spain. They lost Texas in the process to yet another dubious war.

Pioneers marched to Oregon, California, and other points West. As soon as their numbers grew in various settlements, they petitioned to become part of the United States. They were after all American citizens, and it was natural for them to desire that their new homelands become part of the "old." The old order was yielding, and that felt threatening to many, especially slave holders. Immigration added a further stressful elements to social development. The changes new technologies brought were fundamentally and vastly important to society, though few sensed that at the time.

Manifest Destiny became a mindset in the 1830 - 1850 era where the American Constitution was considered God's gift to his chosen people. A strong belief in progress arose and it was believed to be providential by many. Bringing the new government to a vast area was viewed as America's rightful destiny. The 1830 - 1850 period was not just one of conquest; science and technology leapt ahead and the rotary printing press enabled cheap newspapers with greater circulation and spread of news. The gold rush brought an influx of miners and "panners" to California of great significance. The ability to send messages over wires to great distances was little short of a miracle and this too spurred economic and social development. So also for advances in the arts and sciences, the cotton gin, rail roads, and steam power.

These were heady times. There was nothing to stop an idea whose time had come and Manifest Destiny was such an idea, logic and morality aside. The Mexican War sealed the fate of much more than the Alamo. It affirmed the "superiority" of the United States, while leaving Mexico with something of a degraded self esteem with remnants recognizable to this day. Extending American Democracy Westward to the Pacific became a "righteous" cause. But as Lippman said, "it was villainy clad in armor." Few others, except Mexicans and Indians, saw it that way at the time.

As for the Mexican War, Ulysses S. Grant, who fought in it, had this to say:
"I do not think there ever was a more wicked war than that waged by the United States in Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster, only I had not moral courage enough to resign."

This is General Grant of Civil War and US Presidency fame. He too was an astute observer of the human condition. As for our times, World Wars I and II moved the American frontiers of influence both West and East virtually around the world. These and similar more modern events served as precedent and motivation for the Neocon Manifesto.

Manifest Destiny is alive and well, logic and morality aside. America has supported and still supports Zionism and has unilaterally gone to war in several places culminating with Iraq, all the while believing God is on its side. These statements are facts; they also are the modus operandi of our times, and they could even become politically correct if not the proclaimed order of the day.

From the terror viewpoint, our interest is in the mind set that existed then and how it has been revived today--the new American frontier is nothing short of world dominance--according to the Neocon Manifesto. The roots, of course, were always there in the guise of the Authoritarian Personality, a leftover from our evolutionary heritage. Authoritarians are basically street fighters, vying for dominance and survival where only the fit survive -- but never in peace for long. Their blind faith in their God-given dominance is the modern-day equivalent of Manifest Destiny.

Our problem is that a genetic predisposition toward Authoritarianism is not consistent with either a peaceful world or democracy with equal opportunity. Although many peaceful Eastern and Western societies have dealt with their built-in genetic capacity for violence; we Americans have not.

Plutocracy is the new American norm; privileged classes reign in ways similar to the feudal barons and lords of yesteryear. Plutocratic behavior fosters the Alienation and Humiliation felt by have-not and oppressed peoples. These feelings fuel terrorism.

The moment societies in conflict begin to deal effectively with these human conditions will be the moment we begin to roll back the tides of terrorism. If we truly believe in democratic principles, we could also start behaving democratically as a nation instead of the world bully, however benevolent we claim to be. Another place to begin is with the tight linking between Monotheism and Violence. Such links exist in our time because extremists have hijacked the monotheisms to further their own extreme ends. It is high time moderates in all walks of life took a hand.

We are not on these courses. Instead, we pursue plutocratic interests by overt and covert means everywhere. For more, see Neoconservatism, The New American Century, and Eroding Liberty.

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