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The Acton Institute defends White Supremacy and Imperialism, all in the name of Faith and Family

July 12, 2017

There are statements that politicians make all the time, that are often quite hollow and devoid of any real meaning. However, often, such statements are taken at face value to be truisms, like God and Country. These truism are both the result of extreme naivete and ideological constructs.

Last week, while President Trump was attending the G20 gathering of world leaders and imperialists, he invoked one of these truisms when he said, “We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.

Last Thursday, Rev. Ben Johnson, who writes for the Acton Institute, posted a piece reflecting on President Trump’s speech that was given last week in front of a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising during the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1943.

That Trump chose this location, the site of one of the most famous acts of Jewish Resistance during WWII, is in and of itself an insult to all those who have fought oppression. The United States is seen by millions around the world as an oppressor nation and an imperialist nation that has contributed to a tremendous amount of violence through war and economic exploitation.

However, the Acton Institute writer saw this declaration from President Trump at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising memorial site as visible sign that the United States in continuing a tradition of promoting faith and family foundational principles of this country.

Johnson then quotes Trump at length, where the President is speaking about Poland’s transition from Communism to Free Market Capitalism:

“Through four decades of Communist rule, Poland … endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity; indeed, the very essence of your culture and your humanity,” the president said. Yet despite the onslaught of a soulless system, the Polish people “stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police … and you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail.”

The Action Institute writer takes great joy in Trump’s assessment of Poland post-communism and believes that much of the “success” after communism had to do with people putting their faith in God.

However, we have learned since the fall of communism in Poland, is that many people have felt betrayed by the Solidarity government and its imposition of an economic shock doctrine on the country. This assessment is affirmed in Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine, specifically her section on Poland, but if you prefer a more moderate source, this Harvard study (a shorter version appeared in the journal Foreign Affairs) draws many of the same conclusions that Klein does.

The Acton Institute writer then cites the US President’s condemnation of “radical Islamic terrorism” as the current threat to the United States. Johnson, again quotes Trump:

“While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people,” Trump said, “our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.”

Such a statement is both absurd and historically inaccurate. The US has closed its borders most often when refugees and immigrants have come from non-European and non-White countries, since the US has always embraced a White Supremacist immigration policy that has historically demonized the Chinese, Japanese, pretty much all of Latin America and some African nations as well. (see Aviva Chomsky’s book, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal)

The statement by Trump is also absurd, since it doesn’t take into account that there have been and still are numerous domestic groups that advocate terrorism and extremism, such as the KKK, neo-nazi groups, Militia groups, Christian Identity groups and a whole list of organizations that embrace and promote White Supremacist and Xenophobic values. These groups are not only free to engage in all kinds of violent behavior, they are often supported by mainstream US society, which is tends to embrace White Supremacists values. (see the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map)

Much of the rest of what Rev. Johnson has to say in his post on the Acton Institute website continues to extol the values of The West (read: White values), with particular emphasis on family, faith and free market capitalism.

While some may want to simply respond with a dismissive tone that, “this is Trump speaking, so of course he would say this shit.” The reality is that every US President has said uttered the same kinds of truisms that the current President did last week. The lessons we should walk away with are: 1) the Acton Institute is essentially an apologist for US imperialism; and 2) the Acton Institute is a very dangerous organization that promotes White Supremacy, Colonialism and the exploitative nature of neoliberal capitalism.

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