I just wrote this on Facebook:
Something that, as I think about it, I've been less and less able to respect is patriotism.
Patriotism is, basically, the belief that the place you live, the geographical region around you, is somehow just the BEST, for really no other reason than that you live there.
Really, it's unfortunate that it seems to be such a basic human trait.
Let me explain. Mitt Romney, this was a while ago, maybe a year ago, that he got raked over the coals because apparently he didn't believe in "American Exceptionalism", and had to make a big speech about how he did.
What is American Exceptionalism? I really, really don't understand, because what it seems to imply is that Americans, people who live in a certain geographical region, are just the BEST. How? From birth? Are we just somehow, endowed with awesomeness? Basically, yep.
One of the proponents of the idea, a man named Gordon Wood, said "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy."
Frankly, that fucking pisses me off.
Now, give America its due. We continue to wield enormous influence over the entire world, militarily, politically, economically, socially, culturally, in every way.
We are almost certainly, still, the strongest power on Earth.
But at the same time, so? The world has to have SOME sort of strongest power, why can't it be us? We were established as a first world power in a very geographically blessed location. We had massive plains and farmlands, and many natural resources to exploit, and with that created the largest basically European country on Earth, and all it took was just raping the Native Americans, something we proved most adept at.
We were a bit late into the whole imperialist game, we didn't really have any significant colonies, but we did have something. We had an entire extra continent to fuck, South America. And we did, repeatedly. With the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, we basically told Europe to stay out of the Americas, so we could have Latin America all to ourselves to slowly rape. And we did, and we enjoyed it. Thoroughly.
But that isn't what made us powerful, nor our invasions of small island nations like the Philippines and Haiti.
No, it would take 2 World Wars for that to happen.
But that's really, not very important. What's important is the idea patriotic people also seem to have that we're MORALLY superior to everyone else.
Now that's just stupid. We had problems with black equality, like everyone else, we interned thousands and thousands of Japanese people during World War 2, not like everyone else, we had camps for sterilizing and quarantining the mentally ill, like the Nazis, and we had camps, lands, and horrible schools for our native populations for hundreds of years, also not like everyone else.
We've experimented with eugenics, aversion therapy for gays, all sorts of terrible shit.
Now, most of this stuff doesn't necessarily make us morally WORSE than people in power generally tend to be, but it sure as hell doesn't make us better.
It's hardly like we always have the best of intentions, and other people don't.
What I've always been asking myself is, what about the soldiers that fought for Nazi Germany? There were millions of them. And they were much like our soldiers today. Brave young men, fighting for their country.
But is fighting for your country really an admirable goal? If China one day invades Taiwan, we'll probably send thousands and thousands of soldiers out there to stop them, we'll come unglued.
But what if Sudan and South Sudan have a war?
But why would we help Taiwan and not Sudan and South Sudan? Because Taiwan is our ally, Sudan and South Sudan, frankly, who cares? Small countries filled with dark-skinned people, what does that matter? We're not major allies with either of them.
The US doesn't fight for truth or justice or really even democracy, or anything (has anyone ever wondered why we ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can't trade with Cuba, cause it's communist, but China, oh, that's fine?), we fight to preserve our own interests, the interests of the people who live on this particular segment of the planet, to keep them rich (or at least, the 1% kept rich) and powerful.
And the weird thing is, we freely admit this. Always in our foreign policy we say what's "in the best interests of the United States".
Is it like assumed those "best interests" are justice and democracy, or something? No way. No fucking way.
Really, in essence, I cringe a little whenever I see a globe. I cringe because we humans have drawn on this planet hundreds and thousands of arbitrary little lines to separate us from each other. Why? Is there any rational reason for this?
No, the reasons mostly lie in patriotism and nationalism, the belief that YOUR people are just the BEST, and won't deal with the those OTHER people who aren't.
Don't you think we could accomplish so much more as a race, alleviate so much more suffering, do away with so much inequality, make everything so much fairer, help ALL of us get a better quality of life, if we were able to start living as a global society, if we got rid of political boundaries, if we all lived by the same rules?
Unfortunately, that seems very unlikely, people just don't like associating with people they don't understand.
It would just all be so much better if we could stop considering this sort of arrogance somehow a virtue.
Oh, also, I'll extend this tomorrow.
And, in response to Jeff's critical goading of my musical tastes, I will for the next few months post my favorite songs from bands that are NOT Pink Floyd. Thank you, good night