Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wake Up From Your Nightmare


So, I had a really bad dream last night. I saw someone die a sudden, brutal, and violent death. And I've seen enough of that in real life; I certainly don't need to see it in my dreams, too. Unfortunately, many people will die sudden, brutal, and violent deaths today. It bothers me that so many of these deaths are preventable (e.g., accidents), but what really bothers me—no, angers me—is that so many of these people will die at the hands of people whose sole intention is to kill them.

I guess this is a personal issue with me, because many people don't seem to be bothered by this at all. Perhaps I'm too sensitive?

The town I'm presently living in has a large Army supply depot located just outside the town's limits, and a lot of people who live in this town work there. In fact, the depot is (I think) the largest employer in town. And it's been very busy lately . . . ever since the wars began. Before then it was almost (literally) closed down. I imagine that if the wars ever ended virtually everyone who works there would be out of work. And there's not that many places in this town for someone to find work, other than the depot, especially these days.

I suppose this is the real issue we face in trying to end these wars: too many American's currently depend on them for their livelihood. I imagine that if I were ever to protest, locally, the wars, and this (local) depot's involvement in them, I would quickly become the most reviled person in town. I don't protest the wars locally, or the depot's involvement in them, (because my immediate family fears retaliation if I do, and I believe that I should respect their desire not to be involved) and so life, here, goes merrily on, just as the locals here would have it to go on: with most of the townsfolk busily involved in the task of supplying and resupplying our service men and women who (as the locals put it) are "bravely and heroically fighting for our freedom, over there".

Personally, I could never be involved with any aspect of the military-industrial complex, which former president Eisenhower warned us about. But many people seem to be quite okay with it. When I was younger I did serve in the military, but I certainly want no parts of it today.

Because I have spoken out against the wars, locally, in writing, I've been accused (by some of the locals) of being un-American, and, since I'm also a veteran, I've even been told that I am now "a disgrace to the uniform".

There's a guy, here in town, who has a pick-up truck with "America: Love It or Leave It!" painted on his truck's tailgate. (I suppose every town in America has a guy with a truck like this though, right?) I first heard the expression "America: Love It or Leave It!" a very long time ago, during America's long war in Vietnam. I was too young to go to Vietnam; the war was over by the time that I had enlisted (1976), on my seventeenth birthday. I've had many friends and acquaintances who served in Vietnam, some of whom enjoyed their time over there (some a bit too much), many who did not enjoy their time over there, and many who were simply glad that the war had finally ended and that they had managed to make it back home, alive.

One of my friends, who served in the Marine Corps, had come back from Vietnam with a heroin addiction, which he was still dealing with (via Methadone) some thirty years after the war was over. He also had a serious drinking problem. He told me, once, that he'd been okay, mentally, until he had been ordered to shell a Vietnamese village which (he and everyone else knew) housed only innocent civilians. He (they) did, and he was still suffering the consequences of it some thirty years after the war had ended.

At least the dead are at peace.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Perception and Morality

A Gallup poll has revealed that the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has altered the American people's opinions regarding environmental protection and energy production. For the past three years the poll has revealed a downward trend in people's concerns about environmental protection, but since the BP disaster a majority of people are now more concerned with environmental protection than they are energy production.

I attribute this altered opinion to altered perceptions: the images of the BP oil disaster have raised people's awareness of the danger offshore drilling poses to the environment. Even before seeing the images of oil-soaked birds in the Gulf region people knew, when they heard about the spill, that the images were soon to come; because they had seen these kinds of images before.

Anyone with a heart has their heart broken upon seeing the images of birds that have become soaked with oil; birds that—without people's help—are soon to die. The images reveal a truth that we're usually unaware of: that we are selfishly using and abusing the earth.

This same image-perception-awareness phenomenon occurs regarding other moral issues too. Consider abortion. We never see the images of aborted babies on television; therefore we're often unaware of the truth about abortion: that abortion is the intentional, violent destruction of a human being. Likewise, we never see the images of the many thousands of people who are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; therefore we are unaware of the truth about these wars: that tens of thousands of innocent people are being intentionally and violently destroyed.

The recent Israeli raid on a humanitarian relief ship, during which Israeli commandos killed 19 people, raised people's awareness of the crisis is Gaza, Palestine. Image, perception, awareness; images are perceived, awareness is raised, and moral decisions are forced upon us due to this image-perception-awareness phenomenon.

Imagine if the mainstream media ran the images, which do exist, of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been ripped to shreds by modern American weaponry. Imagine if the mainstream media ran these images constantly. People would demand an end to the wars. People's perceptions, via these images of the horrors of war, would be altered, they would be made aware of the truth, and they would be faced with the moral decision to help to bring about an end to these wars.

Anyone with a heart would want the killing to stop.

As I said in my last post, we, as a society, need to respect life. Pope John Paul II—for over 25 years—taught and encouraged us to work together to build a culture of life. We have a choice to make: we can choose to succumb-to-and-participate-in the culture of oppression, the will to power, and death; or we can choose to work together in order to build a culture of freedom, moral law, and life.

I, for one, choose life. And I hope you do too.

(Last post for a while)

Respect Life

This will be my last blog post for quite a while.

I'm not a blogger; I'm a theorist—a theological, social, and political theorist.

I have no desire to comment on the latest news of the day or to parrot some party line.

And I've written quite enough already.

I have an upcoming trial in Washington, D. C., concerning a non-violent anti-war (sit-in) protest, and I, for one, have HAD IT with the spineless, evil, anti-life, warmongering criminals in Washington, D. C.

Respect for life is what matters.

America, today, has no respect for life; nor does Israel.

This is why we need to get America back on track—on the track of a more just society.

Scientists can't create life; they can only reverse engineer it. Meaning: they can only copy or duplicate it.

Respect life.

Because you can't create life.

Israel, like America, which seems to do Israel's bidding, is a morally bankrupt state.

Respect life.

I've said all that I have to say on these matters.

God is our judge.

And, according to the Bible, Israel has no entitlement to the "promised land".

Why?

Because Israel failed to keep God's covenant.

I'm done with an evil America.

I'm done with an evil Israel.

Respect life.

Nurture life; encourage life; protect life—please, don't destroy it.

America repents of its evil ways.

America repents of supporting Israel.

America apologizes to the Muslim world.

We're bringing our troops home, now.

We're going to focus on American problems—South, Central, and North American problems and solutions . . . from now on.

Respect life.

Israel . . . you're on your own.

Good luck with that.

AIPAC?

Done.

Pack up your money and go back to Israel.

US President, Congress?

Done.

Leave office . . . now.

Complicit, traitorous, liars.

Wall Street?

Done.

People are more important than profit.

Big Oil?

Done.

A nation's natural resources belong to its Peoples.

American citizens, wake up!

We're taking our nation back.

Now!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love Implementing the Demands of Justice

Two theories exist that we, as a society, can choose to become the legal and philosophical basis for our society: natural law or the will to power.

These are the only two choices that exist for us.

I've intentionally set forth the natural law basis of the Declaration of Independence and the civil rights movement of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as exemplars of America's natural law foundation. And I've done so for two reasons: 1) because most people are simply unaware of the natural law basis of both the Declaration of Independence and Dr. King's civil rights movement; and 2) because anyone who chooses to reject either the Declaration of Independence or Dr. King's civil rights movement is simply committing social, political, and intellectual suicide (think Rand Paul here).

The ancient philosopher Socrates was unpopular with many people for one reason: he took people's philosophical positions to their logical (and often absurd) conclusions, which most people simply didn't enjoy facing. In his dialogue with Gorgias (recounted for us by Plato), Socrates took Gorgias' theory of justice to its logical and absurd conclusion: that might makes right. Against Gorgias, Socrates believed that justice transcended humankind, because it was eternal and divine.

In short, these two ancient understandings of justice are the same two theories of justice that we, today, have to build our society upon: natural law (i.e., justice is eternal and divine) and the will to power (i.e., might makes right).

As I've pointed out elsewhere America was founded upon natural law because it was thought to be the surest foundation upon which to build a society. Might makes right and the will to power might be interesting (Sophistic) philosophical positions to debate, but these understandings of justice—as something that is personally interpreted and power-based—simply do not work in a society that is attempting to build a just and harmonious society. In fact, they are contrary to it.

I've also pointed out (elsewhere) the logical and absurd conclusions of the will to power as demonstrated by the tawdry "philosophy" of Michel Foucault, based as it was upon Frederick Nietzsche's "enlightened" concept of the transcendence of such "weak-minded" categories as "good" and "evil" and its concomitant will to power "ethic".

The will to power theory of "justice" leads, inexorably, to the domination of the weak by the strong, the oppression of the weak by the strong, and the Sadistic sexual torture of the weak by the strong (simply for the (evil) enjoyment of the strong).

Sound like anyone (or any nation) you know?

Concerning the dramatic contrast between the ethical theories of Dr. King and Frederick Nietzsche, the late Boston University professor Roger Shattuck has said,

"A succinct and unflinching answer to Nietzsche arose out of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s resolve to protect the civil rights struggle from the forces of radical black violence. In 'Where Do We Go from Here?'—his 1967 Presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—King picks out as one of the great errors in history the interpretation of power and love as polar opposites and the association of power with violence. King cut to the core of the matter with a no-nonsense simplification:

'It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love. Now, we've got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.' (A Testament of Hope, p. 247)

King was not just playing games with the words love and power. He was reaching back to a series of his own earlier readings (above all, in Paul Tillich) and writings and to his experience as intellectual and tactical leader of the civil rights movement. 'To get this thing right' meant to King an appeal to a long-mediated and carefully defined philosophic position: the philosophy of non-violence . . . These two prophets, Nietzsche and King, confront us with a continuing struggle between power and justice that no thinking person can responsibly turn away from" (Roger Shattuck, Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography; p. 303).

No thinking American citizen can responsibly turn away from our civic and moral obligation—our duty—to put our nation upon a proper course of justice.

Considering the current situation, in which anyone who dissents, politically, against the militaristic power-state that America has now become, since 9/11, there is little hope that any non-violent revolution of love—by means of protests involving both active and passive resistance—would be successful. Most Americans seem not to care, or worse: seem to actually support the militaristic power-state that America has now become. Protesters are easily discouraged by the government's ability to declare arbitrary free speech zones as well as its ability to fine and imprison dissenters, virtually at will. The individual protester must decide whether it's worth losing everything simply to take a stand for love and for what's right.