Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘American exceptionalism

The View from the Other Side

with 18 comments

Well, isn’t that an interesting image? An Egyptian friend of mine posted it on Facebook. She’s obviously some sort of radical Muslim who hates America for our freedoms. I’d say “snort,” but I’m willing to bet there are many Americans who wouldn’t see it any other way. No, she’s an engineer, and one of the many people who have been working hard to transform Egypt into a democracy. Yes, she is a Muslim. That a person is a Muslim is as revealing about them as saying someone is a Jew or a Christian. IE it means nothing, Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all over the map when it comes to their ideologies … from violent fundamentalists to tolerant moderates working to bring their religion into the 21st century. My friend doesn’t hate America, but she has nothing good to say about Clinton or Obama. And for good reason, they provided aid and comfort (not to mention weapons) to the Mubarak regime long after the writing was on the wall. Imagine if American Tea Party protesters were fired on by tear gas canisters made in Egypt,  pretty safe bet many Americans wouldn’t be happy about it.

My friend also had the humanity to say that the text in the image aside, it was still a touching picture of a woman reunited with her child. This is something a lot of Americans seem to lack these days, humanity. At least when it comes to people in foreign countries. They profess “concern” for the state of women in Afghanistan for example, but don’t seem able to grasp that our war is most definitely killing women and children. Not to mention maiming and killing Americans, while leaving others deeply scared psychologically. War is ugly, not some comic book World War Two superhero fantasy where our heroes save the world from a global menace. The Taliban aren’t a global menace, they aren’t even a local menace. In fact they are human beings, with families and kids too. Afghans are actually an incredibly hospitable people, I have a couple of friends travelling around the country now. If you aren’t associated with the occupation forces, or trying to convert people to Christianity, people in Afghanistan are perfectly friendly to foreigners.

Moving right along,  even though I haven’t even written a post about chemtrails, the commenters are already into it. Even 9/11 got brought up. Ah well. I was struck by one comment though. Someone pointed out that the collapse of the WTC buildings isn’t “rocket science.” Um, understanding the effects of  flying a jet liner at 400 miles an hour into a building certainly sounds like rocket science to me.  Sadly it’s already clear to me, even without research, that the proponents of the chemtrails conspiracy theory are approaching the problem the same way 9/11 Truthers approach their problem. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is substantial overlap between the two groups. Oh well, I will get around to a chemtrails post. Some day.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, check out this story on the BBC no less: Organic food ‘not any healthier’  This is a wonderful example of how the mainstream media outlets are just propaganda organs for giant corporations. This “study” was carefully set up to give the result they wanted. The participants were only studied for two years, no one claims that organic food confers measurable health benefits in two years. It’s like having two runners race for a meter, then claiming it’s a tie so they must run at the same speed. Worse, it completely ignores the fact that many people buy organic not just for the health benefits, but for many other reasons as well. Organic farms are better for the environment, a desire to avoid giving money to the giant processed food conglomerates, a desire to buy locally, a desire to avoid pesticide exposure, and even the fact that organic food comes in more varieties and is often tastier than the corporate produced all-the-same junk like tomatoes. All of this will be missed by the average reader of the BBC article, who will just see it as more reinforcement of the “those stupid hippies” meme. F**k you BBC and Stanford University.(And anyone who reads my posts at all knows I am not a health food activist, far from it.)

I’ll probably have to hide in the Ecuadoran embassy myself after this post. Well, hopefully it’s not that bad. I didn’t write a post Monday because it was Labour Day, and I was resting from my labours. Thank you labour movement from getting us such things as weekends and vacations.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over Facebook so it may be public domain. No clue who to credit it too. There was one other reason I posted the image, and astute regular commenters might be able to discern it. Might. I should also point out that no offence is meant to American service members, it’s America’s leaders and war apologists I am criticizing by publishing the image.)

Written by unitedcats

September 5, 2012 at 6:17 am

Cougars to Korans to American Exceptionalism, Straw Vulcan Logic Illustrated

with 5 comments

Is that a lovely? That’s California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards posing with a cougar he recently killed in Idaho. He claims it was in self defence. OK, that was a joke. He killed (and reportedly ate) the cougar in a  perfectly legal hunt in Idaho. This has caused a storm of protest and calls for his resignation in California, where such hunts are illegal. Mr Richards says the hunt was legal, it was on his own time, and is no different than, say, any other California state official travelling to Nevada to go gambling, which is also illegal in California. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that Mr Richards is an insensitive  idiot. Now don’t get me wrong, I support hunting and fishing when well regulated, the alternative is much uglier. And while I’m not a big fan of trophy hunting, within reason I don’t have a problem with it. I would prefer that trophy hunters be limited to hand weapons like spears and knives. I mean come on guys, if you have to kill a big animal to prove you have stones, do it like a man. Any  a**hat can shoot a cat in a tree. Bring down a cougar or  a bear with a spear, and I’ll buy you a drink dude. Or have one in your memory at least.

I digress. Suffice it to say that any state official careless enough to allow a public picture of himself grinning like a loon while he pursues an activity that the majority of his employers disagree with, an activity he is sworn to prevent in his state, is an idiot. Yes, as a state official he is working for the voters of California. That he doesn’t understand, or is pretending not to understand, that letting a picture like this hit the airwaves would cause some major backlash, is mind blowing to me.

The point here, is that Mr Richard’s attitude is an excellent example of Vulcan logic. Because what he did was legal, he’s basically claiming that anyone who gets upset isn’t being logical, therefore he can ignore them. People do react emotionally to stuff, and anyone who has lived on Earth for more than a few weeks should understand that. Anyone who completely disregarded the emotions of people in their personal life pretty quickly wouldn’t have any friends, or at least they would have just strange stunted friendships. Now for the record I am not saying that every time someone gets upset at a public official’s actions it means they were wrong. I am saying that to claim that your actions are defensible because “people shouldn’t rationally get upset by this” is in and of itself a profoundly irrational argument. People are creatures of emotion, and to pretend otherwise isn’t rational.

And we come to a similar situation in Afghanistan. Despite the fact that there is ample evidence that defacing the Koran violates a core value of many or most of the Afghan people, many Americans in and out of politics and the media act surprised every time something like this happens and cluck cluck about how “irrational” their response is. With simply zero empathy for how they would respond in a  similar situation. If a Muslim Army had occupied the USA for a decade, waging war against the Tea Party the whole time, and the charred remains of the Star Spangled Banner flag was found in a  trash pit outside a Saudi military base, many Americans would go ballistic. The point is that the burning of the Korans, and allowing Afghans to find out, was a sign of either mind numbing incompetence on the part of some Americans … or mind numbing indifference.

The meta point I am dancing around here is that the attitude of many Americans about this Koran issue is simply a reflection of the fact that they think we are the good guys with the superior values, and our values trump theirs. This is the colonial mind set or cultural imperialism or American exceptionalism … or just plain old fashioned being arrogant and condescending. Claiming one is “helping” people by invading their country and installing a government of our liking is bizarre enough, claiming that trampling on their values at the same time is “no big deal” is beyond bizarre, it’s insane.

And frankly, my current theory is that imperialism is a disease. And the USA has a raging case of it.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and at this point is definitely an historically important image. My opinion on the topic? I say to Mr Richards: “Good shot! However, this picture shows you are too stupid, arrogant, and insensitive to hold public office, do us all a favour and resign.”)

PS: Have a great weekend everyone!