Characterizes conservatives as “shameless” because of what he calls “their firm belief that God approves of everything they do.”
Claims that conservatives “want to take us back to an imaginary Manichean age when you were either with us or against us, which means you either are us, or we’ll exterminate you, because we can only tolerate ourselves, we can only tolerate those who share our values.”
Mark Crispin Miller is a Professor of Media Studies at New York University (NYU), where he also directs the Project on Media Ownership, whose objective is to "inform the nation of the oligopolistic sway of just a few giant players over television news, book publishing, popular music and cable TV." Miller teaches courses titled "Seminar on Media Criticism," "Mass Persuasion and Propaganda," and "Advertising and Society." Professor Miller earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1971 and his doctorate (in English) from Johns Hopkins University in 1977. Before joining the NYU faculty, he worked as Director of Film Studies at Johns Hopkins.
Miller has authored such books as Boxed In: The Culture of TV; Mad Scientists: The Secret History of Modern Propaganda; Spectacle: Operation Desert Storm and the Triumph of Illusion; The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder; Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order; and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too. He identifies his research interests as: history and tactics of advertising; American film; media ownership; and modern propaganda.
Miller has become well known for condemning what he perceives to be the propaganda campaigns of President George W. Bush, who he considers a contemptible liar and a veritable "sociopath." Referring to the Bush administration as a "regime," Miller calls its members "fundamentally un-American -- an order wholly alien to the spirit of our founding documents." "Certainly," he says, "the [Bush] regime represents some dark old strains in U.S. history: nativism, white supremacism, theocratic tyranny. But as far as our mainstream political traditions are concerned, Bush & Company have simply junked them. They've hijacked the U.S. ship of state, and have it on a suicidal course. . . . They're neo-Calvinists, quite clearly working toward the imposition of theocracy on the United States, and then on the whole world."
In Professor Miller's view, President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was "weirdly reminiscent of past totalitarian movements." "All the major war-drives in modern history," he explains," -- in Germany, in the Soviet Union, and in the Middle East -- have been impelled by people who believed that they were at risk, that they were being persecuted, that they faced annihilation. Hitler actually believed that 'world Jewry' threatened Germany, and that his bloody enterprise was a means of self-defense against the Jews. We know all too well that al-Qaeda's people universally regard the Jews and Christians as plotting to wipe out Islam. And the Christo-fascist types now in control of the United States believe that they're the victims of non-Christians."
In an effort to disseminate his political observations to a wider audience, Miller wrote and performed in A Patriot Act, an acerbic theater production (which has since been made into a DVD) that ridicules President Bush, his policies, his character, and his lack of eloquence.
"It's only on certain subjects that [Bush] loses contact with the mother tongue," Miller says in A Patriot Act. "When he speaks as a punisher, he's as coherent as any other politician." To buttress this assertion, Miller shows film footage of Bush speaking, in September 2002, calling Saddam Hussein a "man who would use weapons of mass destruction at the drop of a hat," and declaring, "[W]e will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons." In his role as commentator, Miller interjects: "No problem with his [Bush's] grammar there, did you notice? I mean, as a verbal construct, this was flawless." Miller also characterizes the President's remarks as "demented" and "insane."
In Miller's analysis, Republicans place the security of all mankind at risk by their propensity to dehumanize their foes, forsake diplomacy, and pursue their impulse to annihilate rather than negotiate. "When Bush and Company look at their adversaries, they don't see human beings," claims Miller. "They see creatures of an entirely different order. What they see is demons – hateful demons." When asked to identify the people to whom he was referring as "Bush and Company," Miller named Reverend Jerry Falwell, talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and columnist Ann Coulter.
According to Professor Miller, conservatives in general "have to have, as if to reconfirm the fact that they are not evil themselves, they have to have some object for their projection, some object whom they can blame for everything they hate in themselves. . . . I mean, our foreign policy is based on projectivity. Bush, you could say, is our Projector-in-Chief." Expanding upon this theme, Miller asserts that "everything Bush says about Saddam Hussein [how the Iraqi dictator had defied the world, repeatedly lied, and made the United Nations look foolish] is true of him [Bush]. He's talking about himself."
Miller claims that by invading Iraq and declaring a war against terrorism, President Bush has in actuality launched a modern-day crusade against Islam. "George sees this as a religious war," says Miller. "... His view of this is that they [Muslims] are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know. That's a projective movement, exactly like Islamism. They're trying to wipe us out. We must exterminate them."
Miller further accuses President Bush of advocating a "maverick theological movement" called "Christian Reconstructionism," whose alleged aim is to transform the United States government into a theocracy. "It's far more activist and radical than most Christian Evangelism," says Miller. "... The reconstructionists believe that it is the obligation of every Christian to do whatever he or she can do to make this [nation a] Christian republic with an eye toward making the other nations of the world Christian republics. This means replacing the Constitution with the Pentateuch -- the first five books of the Old Testament. It is an anti-pluralist movement, which would entail the disenfranchisement all non-Christians, and the establishment of a common law based on Leviticus. . . . Although the reconstructionists don't believe in violent tactics to get their way, and many of the Islamists obviously do, the world envisioned by the former seems to be more punitive that the global caliphate imagined by al Qaeda." Miller is on record predicting, in all seriousness, that President Bush would support a policy of stoning homosexuals and adulterers to death.
In Miller’s view, conservatives are "shameless" because of what he calls "their firm belief that God approves of everything they do." He describes conservatism as "a movement full of rage against the other, because the other is filled with rage. This is a movement of bloodlust, eager to wipe out the bloodthirsty other, kind of a mirror image of Osama bin Laden." According to Miller, conservatives "want to go back before the Emancipation Proclamation to the days of slavery. Not even. What they want to do is take us back to a moment prior to the Enlightenment. They want to take us back to a moment when faith registered more than reason. . . . They want to take us back to an imaginary age when there was absolute moral clarity, when good was good and evil was evil and everybody could see the difference. They want to take us back to an imaginary Manichean age when you were either with us or against us, which means you either are us, or we'll exterminate you, because we can only tolerate ourselves, we can only tolerate those who share our values."
"Certain millions of our fellow-citizens," Miller said in 2004 (when President Bush's public-approval ratings were still relatively high), "enjoy Bush's short temper, his intransigence, his swaggering, because it makes them feel vicariously powerful." "That's the secret of [Bush's] popularity, insofar as he is popular," Miller elaborated. "It's all about the rage. Millions, several million of our fellow citizens admire in this president precisely those qualities that terrify the rest of the world. His temper, his self-righteousness, his inflexibility. . . . They feel themselves somehow empowered by the fantasy of kicking ass along with the big guy. It explains the appeal of most action heroes, this is what the Germans liked about Hitler."
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