Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Types of Country

Well, we're finally bringing some of the guys from Gitmo into the country for trials. As expected, those from the "right" have started lampooning the decision, basically saying we can't apply the same rules to them as we do to ourselves.

I find this perspective interesting. The problem with our country is that we have a nationwide case of severe cognitive dissonance. We want to think that we are a country predicated on ideals and not simply a group of people, but when the realities of being a group of people pop up, we act in accordance with those.

I always said that I had no problem with invading Iraq, if we said that we were going in there for oil and control. Think about that, we need oil, is it not our mandate to acquire what we need? Let's kill everyone in Iraq and take their oil. There's nothing morally wrong with it.

The problem is that under that interpretation, we're just a group of people. The American flag is nothing more than a logo. The American Dream is an advertising campaign. The Statue of Liberty is our mascot. And the national anthem is just our theme song. Most people have a problem with that idea.

The real argument is whether we're just a group of people or an set of ideals. We might give the ideals a high-falutin' status, but there's nothing about them that is fundamentally superior to seeing us as just a group of people trying to get what's best for us. If we're correct in our self-service, then we are a group of people and not ideals. If we are a set of ideals that "transcend" the people, then our actions are pretty easy to determine.

Too bad that latter interpretation has never been true. We've never been the good guys. Remember Nuremberg: many Nazi's got off for some action because they showed how Allied forces did the same thing. Well, if we did it, it can't be wrong. Case dismissed!

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