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Thread: Dr. Tom Sunic: Critic of the Post-Modern Age

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    Dr. Tom Sunic: Critic of the Post-Modern Age

    Dr. Tom Sunic:

    Critic of the Post-Modern Age.

    Dr. Tomislav (or Tom, for short) Sunic is a former professor at California State University, the University of California, and Juniata College in Pennsylvania. From 1993 until 2001 he served as a Croatian diplomat all over the European Union. He has written several books, including Titoism and Dissidence (1995) and Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007).

    Originally printed in the Winter 2009 issue of Black Oak Presents, pg. 4-7.

    Black Oak: You describe American and European intellectuals as ruled by a regime of self-censorship. Where did this censorship originate, and what are the concrete ways in which it is enforced and encouraged?

    Dr. Sunic: The goal of liberal totalitarianism is to avoid using physical violence. Instead, it reinforces the need for citizens' civic acceptance. Being 'out of the loop' is viewed as antisocial behavior. Hence the reason that more and more professors, or for that matter journalists, resort to disclaimers and conditionals sentences in their writings. Nobody wants to rock the boat. Even well-tenured professors in humanities, who are more or less aware of the mendacious nature of the liberal system, and who know the system from the inside, prefer self-denial. We are dealing here with a typical form of postmodern behavior.

    Black Oak:
    What can the consequences be for "speaking out of turn" at universities, newspapers, and in the American media generally?

    Dr. Sunic:
    Speaking out of turn turns a free-thinker first into a pariah and then into a person likely to get fired—regardless of his skills and qualifications. I remember when I was a professor in political science in the States, at Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach, I couched my statements in neutral terminology so my minority students could not perceive any Eurocentrism on my part. It was make-believe lecturing. In view of the fact that more than 20 per cent of my class was Afro-American, Hispanic, and Asian I did not have any qualms about giving them all passing grades—however mediocre some of them were. There was always the fear of possible lawsuits for racial insensitivity hovering in the back of my mind.

    Black Oak: What role do you think semantics—in other words, the meaning of the words and phrases we employ—control thought in post-modern America?

    Dr. Sunic:
    Take those heavily loaded words and expressions such as "anti-Semitism," "white supremacism," "hate speech," or "fascism." All these words and many, many more have been subject to semantic distortions. This is especially the case with the word "Nazism," a word which has entirely lost its original meaning and which serves today as the best tool to pathologize the opponent who challenges liberal mythology. I'd suggest studying first the masters of discourse and clearly finding out what their agenda is. Before anything can be done, real dissidents, be they in America or Europe, must first re-appropriate the public discourse.

    Black Oak: As the 2008 presidential elections were gearing up, we saw neo-con pundits using the terms "racist" and "anti-Semite" to smear controversial figures surrounding the Obama campaign, and then later they used it somewhat effectively against Representative Ron Paul. How can the public discourse be re-appropriated when politicos of all stripes have learned to use these words as weapons against their opponents?

    Dr. Sunic:
    Both candidates are trying to outsmart each other via an overkill of philosemitic lingo. This transforms the campaign and the much-vaunted American democracy into a grotesque reality show. I wonder how neocons observe this carnival. They must be laughing themselves to death. This reminds me of mass Communist rallies in North Korea or ex-Yugoslavia. I remember that as a kid in communist Yugoslavia I was forced to posture in this exact same philo-communist mimicry, even to the point of shedding fake tears in honor of great communist leaders passing nearby.

    Black Oak:
    In Homo americanus, you wrote, "there are social minefields engendered by political and academic elites in postmodern America that are meant to be 'off limits' to intellectual scrutiny." What are some examples of these "minefields," and what are the consequences for treading on them?

    Dr. Sunic:
    There are two of them; the first one being modern historiography, including the Jewish question during and after WWII. The second is the issue of multiracialism, wrongly labeled "multiculturalism." These are two main minefields that need to be addressed with extreme care in the liberal system.

    But let us not fool ourselves. Each epoch and each polity throughout history has had its self-evident myths that required if not mass complacency, then at least tacit acceptance by skeptical individuals. The issue is not whether social myths are true or false; the fact is that they are necessary in order to legitimize a system in place.

    Black Oak: What is "Americanism," and how do you believe it parallels Communism? Why were Communist officials in Eastern Europe so eager to embrace Americanism after the collapse of the Soviet Union?
    Dr. Sunic: The word "Americanism" has been also subject to semantic distortions. Back in the 1920s it had a completely different meaning from the present one. It clearly has a pejorative rhyme in Europe, particular among right-wing intellectuals, who associate Americanism with uprootedness and the dictatorship of money. Former Communist officials in East Europe do not have second thoughts in rejecting communist ideals and replacing them with Americanism.

    After all, as I argue in my writings, Communism disappeared in the East because many of its tenets have been better implemented in the West, including America. Take the communist language for instance which has different signs in America yet expresses the same Soviet message: "affirmative action," "ethnic sensitivity training," "hate speech," etc. These American expressions were all part of the lexical arsenal in ex-communist countries. On a practical level the prompt support by East European rulers for U.S. involvement in Iraq in 2003, tells you much about the servility of the ex-post communist elites.
    Black Oak:
    It was astonishing to hear both vice presidential candidates proclaim their "love" for a foreign country—Israel—during the vice presi-dential debates last October. Why do you think many Americans are enamored with the Jewish state, and why would candidates running for office in the United States need to explicitly mention a "love" for Israel rather than, say, any of our other allies?

    Dr. Sunic:
    To understand that mindset we need to delve into history. This is part of standard aberration among ruling elites all over the West, i.e. using Israel as their psychological super-ego, as a cover, as an alibi, as an excuse, as an asset. It is something "self-evident" in American public life. The most important thing, though, is that all of America is permeated with Judaism from the bottom up.

    America is essentially a Biblical theocracy—albeit in a secular form. We often hear about agnostic founding fathers, but rarely about the Judeo-Calvinist spirit which played a crucial role on the U.S. mindset for centuries. The problem is not the Jews; the problem are those who embrace the monotheist god.

    Black Oak: In what ways do you believe that American liberalism shares a fundamentally identical worldview with Judeo-Christianity?

    Dr. Sunic:
    Liberalism and communism are essentially, if I can paraphrase Carl Schmitt, secular transpositions of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Neither is Catholic Europe much better. Yet Calvinism brought this judeophile Christian replica to the American shores in a more glaring fashion, stripped of its critical content.

    Liberalism in America draws it political legitimacy not in Washington but in distant Jerusalem. We are seeing the price tag of it daily.

    Black Oak: What about American conservative fears that the United States is turning away from its Biblical roots? Isn't our culture today a rejection of Christian values?

    Dr. Sunic: Having been born into a conservative Catholic family this remains the most painful dilemma for me. Wishing to shrug off the deep-seated Christian roots of many white Americans, and start preaching about Wotan or Freya or sun-worshipping, may sound like signs of early lunacy.

    However, we must emphasize that Christianity is by definition a religion of universal brotherhood of all men. White anti-Semitism is a form of self-defeating neurosis. Did we not turn Yahweh, a Jewish god, into an anti-Semitic Christian god? This type of "negative legitimacy," I fear, will lead us anew into another round of hatred, pogroms, and civil wars.

    Look at St. Paul and his Epistles to the Galatians where he openly calls for a multicultural system-religion. If we want to trace the dynamics of modern globalism, or for that matter the incoming collapse of our society, we must carefully reconsider the legacy of the Levantine heritage.

    Black Oak:
    In Chapter 3 of Homo americanus, you wrote, "Never has the West preached so much tolerance and so much multi-racial conviviality, at a time when the whole system is ripe with all forms of subterranean violence and mutual hatred." That statement seems to fly in the face of all assumptions about American cohesion and unity in the years after the September 11 terror attacks. What is your evidence for this "subterranean violence and mutual hatred," and how does it tie into the discourse of tolerance?

    Dr. Sunic: In the ex-Soviet Union, when flaws and failures of communism had to be mended, communist politicians thought that the solution was to bring in more communism, not less. We have exactly the same mindset with U.S. liberals and free marketers. When the whole state of America is on the verge of economic collapse you hear hollering for more free market. When the whole country is balkanized to the hilt, you hear politicians and academics claiming that the only cure is to bring in more non-European immigrants.

    Despite its aura of invincibility, the US system is extremely fragile system and could implode like the ex-Soviet Union at any moment.
    Black Oak:What about the idea that more racial and cultural diversity benefits the United States? Haven't we moved beyond the animosities of the past?

    Dr. Sunic: Does it? Racially homogenous countries have much more political stability than multiracial countries. Take Japan for instance, a country with a high level of civic responsibility. In homogenous countries, citizens develop early-on a sense of community and identity and mutual trust. "In-group feelings" are a typical hereditary trait… part of our evolution.

    Let me be blunt if I may. When we were younger, when we dated some girl for real, I suppose both parties looked out for someone from the same gene pool? I did. There are serious studies on this subject. For that matter I could cite dozens of scholars to support my statement. Or for that matter I could refer you to some of my books and essays.

    Black Oak: Recently we have seen dramatic examples of the limits of speech in Europe and Canada. Early last year, a Canadian reverend was charged with a human rights violation and faced a $5,000 indemnity for a 2002 letter to the editor in which he criticized the official government position on homosexuality.

    Whether you agree with his view or not, the legal prosecution of opinion seems anathema to our fundamental views of freedom of expression. Do you believe that similar "hate speech" laws will ever find a home here in the United States?
    Dr. Sunic: Surely, America can brag about its First Amendment, but let us not forget that political rectitude is being enforced in US higher education, often with more vehemence than in Europe. The great benefit of Communism, which I lived as a kid in Yugoslavia, was its transparent vulgarity to the point that everybody knew that communism was a farce.

    Repression in the West, including the USA, is more insidious as it is carried out with more sophisticated means. On a personal level yes, let me tell you… as a naturalized US citizen I have been considering moving back to the States and restarting my teaching career and to be of service to some local community.

    My solid background in literature, languages, philosophy and all my titles have not been of much help. I guess I am overqualified as I am getting lavish praises—but no job offer. It probably has to do with my "guilt by association" and my politically incorrect views.

    Black Oak:
    Have you experienced any kind of intellectual backlash since Homo americanus came out last year?

    Dr. Sunic: So far the response has been very good... but usually from academics and individuals who are more or less aware of the closing of the American mind, and for that matter the closing of the American century. The book contains many translations from German and French and it provides solid bibliography. I think it is a good read. I'd like to see some feedback from the Left, too.
    To read more about Dr. Tom Sunic

    visit The Official Website of Dr. Tomislav Sunic

    Interview conducted and

    edited by Michael Kleen.

    Interview with Dr. Tom Sunic
    When men cease to fight — they cease to be — Men.
    “Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.” Brendan Behan

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