Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves

I know that the "we do it, too," argument pisses Silverfiddle off, but that's okay.  Please remember that whenever I throw one out there like that, I'm not in any way trying to justify the horrors perpetrated by peoples in other societies, nor am I trying to say that we have no right to call them out for their bullshit.

But seriously, lets stop pretending that one culture has some sort of huge moral monopoly over all others.  Britain recently had to get more cops on the streets to stave off all the riots.  People are setting fire to buildings, dumpsters, cars, and they're apparently looting.  But how can such things happen in a Western, Christian culture?

Oh sure, "it's all the Muslims' fault!  They're ruining Britain."  Yes, like the Muslims somehow pushed all these people to get pissed off to the point where they're willing to set fucking fire to shit.  As we know, riots only happen in Muslims countries, and riots are only over religious reasons.  Or at least riots are only bad when they happen for religious reasons in a Muslim country.

We all know that's a crock of horseshit.  The riots in Ireland were over religious reasons, but those riots were in a Western nation between rival factions of Christianity.  Anyone remember Rodney King?  "Oh, but Jack, those were righteous!  It's okay to riot when you're defending freedom and justice!"

But is it really?

Probably not.  Violence is never a good thing.  At times, violence may be a necessary thing, but it's never good, and no one culture has a monopoly on violence.  Add up all the shootings and mass murders perpetrated by Western non-Muslims and I guarantee you that the numbers will make Muslim incidents look like a god damned pleasure cruise.  Sure, some Muslim countries behead people, but how long ago was it that the guillotine was finally banned in France?  Did anyone see that a large number of Britons are now calling for a reinstatement of the death penalty?

There's an awful lot of white people in that crowd . . .

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm ragging on Conservatives a lot lately, but it's well deserved in my opinion.  How can some Conservatives say that they're all about realism and what not, yet they make ridiculous inferences that somehow humans in Western civilization are all above their nature?  Are humans naturally violent?  Under normal conditions, probably not, but how often are humans under "normal conditions"?

We have to face facts sometime: most human beings, regardless of religion, geography, culture, or whatever, can and will be violent when pushed.  Does it really matter what the motive is?  The slaves in Santo Domingo revolted agains their masters.  The things they did were horrifying.  They cut off the genitals of their masters and stuffed them in the mouths of their wives and daughters.  Sure, the slaves had been brutalized for a long time, but does that mean they suddenly had the right to torture people who had virtually nothing to do with their bondage?

Also, I've seen how callous some Christians can be in the past couple of months.  They pretend to follow the teachings and ministry of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but they largely ignore just about everything he advocated.  Peace?  Compassion?  Empathy?  Fuck all of that, especially if we're suggesting that we employ such humanity towards people who have a different cultural experience than us.

Oh how the West is so enlightened.

Some Conservatives seem to think that the only people on this planet who deserve anything that even closely resembles human rights are white, conservative Christians.  Despite the fact that Western Civilization has worshipped violence as far back as the Romans (and continues to worship violence to this day), and although Christians have murdered, executed, tortured, and proselytized far more people than the Muslims have in the entirety of human history, somehow we still think we're better than them.

And why?  Because we believe in Constitutional government?  Because we believe in liberty and secular justice?  Well, it's true that those are ideas that are better than their alternatives, but it's not like that gives us license to be inhumane shitheads.  In fact, believing in those things means that we should never, ever be inhumane shitheads, no matter the cost.

Please, continue to flame other cultures for their bullshit, but stop being afraid to flame your own culture, especially when it's the same bullshit.  The reason I shit on our own faults more is because there's almost nothing I can do or say to change the minds of other cultures.  The best I can do is point out our own bullshit and hope against hope that people will wake up and want to change it.

I'm not holding my breath though, so perish any fear that I might asphyxiate.


Jersey McJones said...

Ya' know, it's a small world.

I'm reading Beccaria's On Crimes and Punishment (I know it's small and anyone should finish it in a single sitting, but I find it's the sort of work that requires careful, slow, and considerate rereading). I just got to the part about torture. Needless to say, even back then, Enlightened thinkers were dead set against it, and Beccaria's treatise was a favorite amongst our Founders.

Just a few years ago, Americans were torturing foreign criminal suspects, and it seemed most conservatives and many libertarians we all for it.

Our Founders - products of the Enlightenment, not conservative Christianity - would have been appalled. Torture is unethical, immoral, and not just un-American, but ANTI-American.

Yet just a few years ago, during the moral vaccuum years of the Bush/GOP One Party State (another antithesis of Americanism), we were behaving like an 18th century monarchy (and in more ways than just this). A throw back to a way of life America expressly rejected in it's Founding.

And supporters of this atrocity have the unmitigate gall to say that people who criticized this barbaric practice were "un-American" and "giving aid and comfort to the enemy."

It's almost as ironic as Republicans still referring to their's as the "Party of Lincoln."

What tragic joke.


Jack Camwell said...

I'm with you on that one. The Founders would be ashamed to see this happening today.

And the larger point is that human nature is the same no matter what culture you're from. It's just that some cultures are better than others at justifying and rationalizing their actions.

Silverfiddle said...

Interesting handful of rocks you just flung. I knew it would be Jersey bait before I got to the bottom.

I could give a crap about other peoples' culture as long as it doesn't slop over into mine.

Harrison said...

I'd bet those rioters don't attend church services nor do most have jobs.

And all four major riots over the past 30 years in London started in immigrant communities.

Just sayin.