There Are No Innocent Americans: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readJan 18, 2023

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If the logic that “there are no innocent Russians” because the Russian people have a moral obligation to overthrow their warmongering government were evenly applied, it would also apply to Americans. Even more so, really, since their government is vastly more warlike than Moscow.

Per the “there are no innocent Russians” argument, Americans should be banned from participating in international events. Americans should be kicked out of foreign universities. Cinemas should stop playing Hollywood movies. Hemingway should be banned from schools.

Putin would have to work very, very hard to catch up to the staggering body count of the US empire just in the 21st century. If Russians have a moral obligation to overthrow their government, then so do Americans. They have an obligation to topple the US empire, tear down the military-industrial complex, get rid of the false two-party system whose “two” parties support every war the empire architects call for, and create a peaceful country.

Either apply the logic of “there are no innocent Russians” equally to governments who do the exact same thing on a far greater scale, or admit that you’re just spewing imperialist regime change propaganda.

Most of the major international conflicts of our day involve the collision between the establishment doctrine of permanent US planetary hegemony and the reality that US planetary hegemony is on its way out.

Westerners are so brainwashed by propaganda that more and more of them are starting to believe that China wants to invade them. Why would Beijing want to rule over a bunch of white foreigners, idiots? Do you think China has a desperate shortage of cheese knives and mayonnaise?

Oh no the Chinese are going to invade and conquer us. They need ranch dressing and Michael Bublé CDs. They’re gonna force us to teach them square dancing and make Harry Potter Asian.

Westerners should stop projecting their colonialist values systems on everyone else. Our ancestors sailed out to conquer and colonize. Their ancestors built a wall.

Our civilization is rife with problems despite its great wealth because our civilization has prioritized generating wealth over solving problems. It doesn’t make anyone rich to address the root causes of crime, sickness, war, poverty or ecocide, so those problems go unaddressed.

In a civilization which prioritizes the generation of wealth over the solving of problems, the option which generates wealth will always win out over the option which solves the problem. War profiteers, prison profiteers, big pharma, ecocidal industrialists — they all know this.

Under the current status quo, military aggression will always win out over peace whenever military aggression is more profitable. Keeping people sick to provide ongoing treatment will always win out over curing or preventing sickness wherever doing so is more profitable. Keeping a technological innovation secret until it can be maximally profited from will always win out over making it public and sharing the information for the advancement of science and the common good. Workers will be exploited to the furthest extent possible to maximize profit.

Old growth forests and whale populations were wiped out because leaving them alone generated no profit. Insect populations are plummeting because industrial pesticides are profitable and wild habitats are not. Our oceans are choking on plastic because it’s profitable not to prevent this from happening.

Nobody’s going to become a billionaire by ending homelessness or making sure the elderly and the handicapped get everything they need. Nobody’s going to become a billionaire by making sure mothers get everything they need to raise physically and psychologically healthy children.

A status quo system wherein large-scale human behavior is driven by profit-seeking cannot and will not ever have any good answers for problems like poverty, crime, sickness, war, ecocide, injustice and exploitation, because solving those problems will never be profitable. When solving those problems is never profitable, but causing or exacerbating them frequently is, those problems will necessarily live on. Not until this dynamic is reversed can we be free of them.

Not until we dispense with status quo systems which ensure large-scale human behavior is driven by profit will we be able to move toward a healthy and harmonious world. Until then we will remain plagued by serious problems, and by false promises that our current systems can solve them.


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