Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Tomorrow belongs to me"

Regarding Greenwald, Joe speaks. You listen:

The actions of the current American administration, as well as other examples of lesser atrocities (lesser in numbers only, that is) performed by many governments large and small since the end of WWII shows that we have failed in our mission of preventing aggressive war. The question is, how? How did we as Americans come to fall so low after having shown such nobility and such compassion to our former enemies? How did we go from reluctantly going to war with the powerful military empires of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, who were clear and present threats to world peace, to excitedly going to war with Iraq, who represented no realistic threat to our own safety or to world peace? How did we go from giving the leaders (those that remained) of these dangerous nations a fair trial to torturing and murdering a bunch of poor souls in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of whom were guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Some on the right would accuse me of being an "America-hater" for pointing this out, but of course the ones that do the torturing are the ones who really do hate America, or at least they hate the noble ideals this country was founded on.

I've spoken before on how we seem to find it hard to believe that our own countrymen could be capable of such atrocities, which is why we find it difficult to prosecute them for their crimes. Maybe it's because our leaders, even if they came to power illegitimately, are an indication of who we are as a nation. They may not have had the overwhelming support of the American people, but enough of us were perfectly happy to cheer them on, for whatever reasons. As ashamed as I think these people should be, a great part of it is that we don't stress enough the things that make America great. We protect the symbols of America more than we protect the things those symbols represent. We worship the military as a thing unto itself, not for the things it defends. We make celebrities and heroes of wealthy people regardless of how they earned their wealth, celebrate corporations who make profit from war or exploitation, and look with disdain on people who band together to try to get their fair share of their hard work. The politicians and the media elites who live in their own well-protected world are just symptoms of the real problems in this country, and most of our time is spent just trying to get by.

We should also remember how we got to Nuremberg in the first place: millions dead, a continent brought to ruin, and two cities devastated by the most horrendous weapon ever devised. Those who rose to power in Germany, Italy, and Japan, who either believed or merely perpetuated, for political purposes, the idea that God was on their side, were not the kind of people who would give up that power without a fight. And while the methods being used by our current administration are subtler, less obvious, there's no reason to believe they wouldn't hesitate to go as far as they did. I for one would rather they never got the opportunity...

I've heard even some of the Oborg- the less purely assimilated and vestigially partisan- mutter that letting Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton off will only ensure the whole criminal cabal will be back in 2012, with Jebbie at the helm.

But it's far worse than that, as Glenn and Joe hit precisely. It's not just Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton, or the Republican party that's the problem. The problem is even bigger than the hundreds of thousands of Company private contractors they represent and the millions of corporate termites eating at the foundations of democracy.

It's a problem that required two world wars to sterilize out of Europe, but has grown back. It's a problem that has haunted the middle east for the last 5000 years, and the Mediterranean basin for the last 3000. It's a problem that has lived in the jungles and savannas and deserts of Africa for the last 100,000.

The problem is that modern man is the killer ape. It wasn't the bonobos that evolved to ascendency. You can argue successfully that there has always been a large component of civil social congenial co-operativity in our species. But every time it's the alpha ape that's seized power and twisted the co-operativity beyond constructive to destructive purposes.

We've got to get beyond it. If we survive much longer, we will. But we provide our own strongest selection pressure, so just what primate will be the fittest to survive depends on our own nature.

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