Enfraudening and Enantiomorphism: A Transmodern Perspective
Information warfare is a key imperialist strategy and modus operandi of capitalism; so is ‘enfraudening the public sphere’. ‘Enfraudening the public sphere’ is a term coined by David Geoffrey Smith (Smith 2003, pp. 488-489) to describe ‘not just simple or single acts of deception, cheating or misrepresentation’ (which may be described as ‘defrauding’), but rather ‘a more generalized active conditioning of the public sphere through systemized lying, deception and misrepresentation’.
The major strength of transmodernism, I would argue, lies in its argument that European philosophers still are not facing the historical responsibilities of their legacies (Smith 2003, p. 644). As I argued elsewhere (Cole 2008), transmodernism makes an important contribution to an understanding of the legacy of the European invasion of the Americas, because it reveals how the imperialism in which contemporary US foreign policy is currently engaged has a specific and long-standing genealogy.
Smith (2003, p. 489) argues that the Bush Administration’s ‘war on terror’ was used to veil long-standing, but now highly intensified, global imperial aims. Following McMurtry (1998, p. 192), he suggests that, under these practices, knowledge becomes ‘an absurd expression’ (Smith 2003, p. 489). Again, following McMurtry (2002, p. 55), Smith (2003, pp. 493-4) argues that the corporate structure of the global economy (dominated by the US, particularly through its petroleum corporations) ‘has no life co-ordinates in its regulating paradigm’ and is structured to misrepresent its indifference to human life as “life-serving”’. Thus we have terror in the name of anti-terrorism; war in the name of peace seeking. Accordingly, US Secretary of State, Colin Powell (2003) was able to declare with a straight face and in a matter-of-fact tone that the ‘Millennium Challenge Account’ of the Bush administration was to install ‘freely elected democracies’ all over the world, under ‘one standard for the world’ which is ‘the free market system ... practiced correctly’ (cited in Smith 2003, p. 494). This provides the justification for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children since 1990 through NATO bombing and the destruction of the public infrastructure (water, healthcare, etc.).
This slaughter has, of course, taken on a new dimension since the March 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. Such justification is also given for the destabilisation of democratically elected governments throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia (Smith 2003, p. 494).
Smith (2003, p. 494) describes this rhetorical process as enantiomor- phic—a claim is made to act in a certain way, when one actually acts in the opposite way. Enantiomorphism reached its zenith, I would argue, in the absurd claim nurtured by Bush and Blair that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was necessary because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which he was going to use on the West. There were also reasonable claims made that he tortured his people and was anti-democratic. The Americans and their allies were going there, we were told, to find the weapons of mass destruction, stop the people being tortured, and bring democracy. The reality is, of course, that not only did Saddam have no weapons of mass destruction (it is the Americans who have such weapons, and remain the only country that has dropped atomic bombs in warfare) but the Americans and the British have continued the torture; and upheld the lack of democracy.3