about morality in the political arena is becoming an antiquated
notion, a crazy kook idea that your aging hipster aunt talks about
up your ears, and clean out your eyes."One sentence is all that
is needed to critique the arguments of neo-liberals and right-wingers
alike: So much bullshit. In todays sarcasm-ridden enlightened
techno age of media-savvy swingers, everyone has an opinion on America.
Being a Canadian who comfortably partakes of American culture as a matter
of routine, its easy for me to identify with our brothers "sur
la 52". Nonetheless, Im finding a great deal of justification
in the worldwide opinion that America should be feared. Now what is
up with that?
I mean, isnt America supposedly a Petri-dish for democracy? Its
certainly one of the richest nations in the world, with a huge percentage
of the population living middle-class lives. That can be read as living
better than a quarter of the people on this planet. So what has good
ole Uncle Sam done to deserve the "Most feared nation on planet
Earth" award? I didnt really know
so I did some reading.
It didnt really take too long to find several long lists of rather
impressive charges against the US. There were charges such as supporting
murderous regimes; charges of international terrorism; a list of over
200 American offensive military actions taken since 1945. These charges
werent from your average left-wing euro-nut either; apparently
the United States is the only country to ever be found guilty of international
terrorism by the World Court.
Considering that it took me all of an hour and half to find some of
this stuff, it makes me wonder how so many people of such a fiercely
democratic nation can feign ambivalence. I suppose that now that there
are US troops in Baghdad, theres no longer any reason to care
about the War On Iraq. Its over, right? It would be far easier
to kick back for twenty years, and learn all about the questionable
things their nation did from the numerous movies and documentaries that
will appear. A lack of critical analyses or debate in the public arena
is only a symptom of the problem however.
The weirdness of this situation is best exemplified by the pageant judge
that is the corporate media, who sagely grades the Presidents
speeches on his poise and winning smile. "Dubya really projected
confidence, and should walk away happy with his score". Shouldnt
television channels be filled with our enlightened ages intelligentsia
laughing their asses off at a man who just told the nation that "This
is a very dangerous time for our nation, evil-doers who fear our democracy
are threatening our way of life,"? That was a literal quote.
Since the eighties, theres been a growing trend to turn politics
into statesmanship, the extremely complex and boring task of running
a country. Our votes have come to symbolize the amount of tax we wish
to pay as opposed to any actual input into the condition of the nation.
There is a reason why discussing politics has essentially become a cultural
taboo, and its mostly because no one short of a career politician
has any clue as to how things work. This inability to talk about politics
reduces meaningful discussion down to polemics. Talking about morality
in the political arena is becoming an antiquated notion, a crazy kook
idea that your aging hipster aunt talks about mid-LSD flashback.
Trying to figure out what your nation is doing by talking politics,
say at the dinner table or in mixed company, shouldnt be frowned
upon but encouraged. Think about it, talking politics should be a key
part of any democracy, shouldnt it?
In an effort to avoid the "Rant" label, Ill leave you
with this thought. The very cool cat John Stuart Mill wrote about something
called the marketplace of ideas. It was a fairly simple construct he
came up with to determine Truth. Put simple, it was the notions that
open discussion and the free exchange of ideas in a democracy helps
to suss out the strengths and weaknesses of any argument. To dissent
is critical in analyzing the actions and policies of a government that
© Juston Jacob April 22nd 2003
all rights reserved