Monday, July 28, 2008

John Perkins Interview

John Perkins is the author of the best sellers Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Secret History of the American Empire. The books have made a big splash, and I really wanted to like them, but I found Perkins's tone to be self-aggrandizing, and he really only got out of the biz when the checks stopped coming in. I really think he over eggs the pudding, much as Simon Winchester did in The Professor and the Madman.

In person, he was a very pleasant fellow. I was a bit combative, and for this I must apologize. I get a bit defensive when I run into what I presume to be knee-jerk anti-Americanism. Absolving Arab and Muslim empires for their bloody expansions in the past just gets under my skin. The "West" isn't the only expansionistic and imperialistic culture around. It isn't the first and it won't be the last. Our world has been a long history of peoples invading peoples, and to hold the West up to specific and, I believe, disingenuous scrutiny shows a lack of awareness of world history at best and willful cultural mendacity at its worst.

Enjoy, if I haven't scared you off.