Monday, October 16, 2006

The Myth of America

There have always been myths (another word for lies) in every culture. China thinks it is the Middle Kingdom (i.e. center of the universe), and that eating tiger penises will enhance virility. England, the inventor of the concentration camp (the Boer War, 1900) held to its moral superiority as it enslaved hundreds of millions of people. As for America, I wasn't taught about the "gift" by the U.S. government of thousands of blankets infected with smallpox to wipe out (e.g. that's genocide, folks) the Indians, or the overthrow of democratically elected governments that were deemed to be unfriendly to American business interests, or the turning away of hundreds of thousands of Jews trying to escape death in Germany.
My point is not that America is any worse than any other government, but it really is time to stop thinking that it is better than all other governments. When you hear words bandied about like freedom, and democracy and liberty, you can rest assured that it is unlikely that the politician is really talking about those ideals; they are merely buzz words designed to evoke a Pavlovian response in the listener to get him to agree with the speaker without thinking. This is one of the great myths of America, that most of the world hates us because they don't inderstand us, or they are envious of us or whatever. Most of the world hates us because our government is acting in a way that is perceived to be arrogant, selfish, short-sighted, and cruel. 660,000 dead in Iraq,mostly civilians, for a war that was unnecessary and illegal. That is NOT about liberty and freedom. It is about oil and money, and if you don't get that, you are living a myth.