By William V. Spanos
Connects the yankee exceptionalist ethos to the violence in Vietnam and the center East.
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Additional resources for American Exceptionalism in the Age of Globalization: The Specter of Vietnam
But characteristically his representation of these contradictions takes the indirect and distancing form of an ahistorical philosophical insight. The gap between the actualities of liberal democratic practice and the idea that Fukuyama declares “could not be improved on” (EH, xi) is, “by definition, a priori, characteristic of all democracies” (SM, 64). What is surprising about Derrida’s otherwise decisive indictment of Fukuyama’s privileging of History over the jagged and dislocating singularities of actual history is his failure or refusal to invoke as witness against Fukuyama’s representation a decisively other history than that which is amenable to accommodation by Fukuyama’s imperial teleological dialectic.
Confronted by the impotence of emancipatory thought in the “postcolonial” interregnum, Said, for example, adapts Adorno’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s theoretical version of the Abgeschiedene—the migrant and the “nomad,” respectively—to the global demographics of dislocation (diaspora) that constitutes the terrible legacy of the fulfillment of the Western imperial project proper. He thus calls for “a new critical consciousness” that, unlike all the available oppositional discourses, will refuse, in its strategically contradictory “ec-centricity,” its “unaccountability,” and its “measurelessness,” to be answerable to the thinking/saying of the “triumphant” imperial culture, will not, to invoke Althusser, be interpellated by the dominant liberal democratic discourse: It is no exaggeration to say that liberation as an intellectual mission, born in resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentered, and exilic energies whose incarnation today is the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages.
III As the representation of such an all-encompassing imperial gaze, Fukuyama’s book, despite its prematurity, can be seen to constitute the culmination—the “end” (I want to stress the metaphorics of vision and timelessness silently at work in this most crucial of “white” metaphors) of a massive polyvalent American historical project of cultural representation dedicated to the obliteration of the dislocating spectral memory of Vietnam in behalf of reclaiming the imperial authority of (American) lib- History and Its Specter 17 eral capitalist democracy.