A Question of Morality, A Cautionary Tale

You can’t write about morality without someone taking it the wrong way. So here I go. Have fun.

The real problem with America is not politics, it is morality.

America tortures…..and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

America invades other countries, occupies them and kills innocent men, women and children….and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

America is the richest country in the world, but people routinely starve to death in America….and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

America is designed to foster ‘income inequality.’ And as America deteriorates, that has just kept increasing until there are literally two Americas, a happy and content rich America and a suffering and systematically oppressed poor America…and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

America and the American ‘lifestyle’ is destroying the planet…for all humans everywhere….and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

Americans are willing to give up freedoms and rights it has taken 230 years and millions of lives lost to fight for. Freedoms and rights based on the moral principles of Equality, Justice and the freedom of the individual….because of a tiny tiny percentage of a chance that they could be killed by a guy blowing up his underwear.

And a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

America has a corrupt government, a government that works for all of those things instead of against them….and a large enough plurality of Americans is ok with that.

And so.

Though politics is the way we try to change these stark realities, and though there are many, many, many problems that could be solved (or at least mitigated or alleviated) politically…..politics cannot solve the underlying problem.

To emphasize and illustrate, I will reiterate one point….Americans are willing…either through having bad information, apathy, or an inability to comprehend and face the magnitude of the problem….or perhaps because they just don’t GET that killing the planet so they can continue their ‘lifestyle’ is immoral….

Are willing to allow the planet to be destroyed to the point where billions are likely to die. Including their own children and grandchildren.

That is just reality. Though if course you can spin that reality in a million ways. But spin won’t change the reality…and it won’t save the planet.

America’s morality is broken.

And politics alone won’t fix it. At best it can stop some of the worst effects of America’s broken morality. As we watch the political battles being fought in Congress, in the media, and on the blogs, we see this broken morality in action.

It’s latest illustration occurred with a visitor to our humble blog who was part of a group that was/is willing to sacrifice their own standards and accepted ‘political ethics’ in order to …..win. But when asked what they were trying to win….they were unable to answer. When asked what they were trying to accomplish…they were unable to answer. When asked what the consequences of their political actions were….they were unable to answer.

The only thing that mattered was winning “The Game.”

No thought, no acceptance of responsibility, no consideration of consequence….no morality. All that mattered was winning. Was beating someone else.

Even though they had no idea what they were trying to “win”…or why. All that mattered was winning.

And that is what American morality has degenerated to. All that matters is defeating and destroying things….and people….and so ultimately, the Planet.

What we are trying to do….in my opinion….is to stop as much of this destruction as possible.

Let’s keep that in mind as WE fight the battles that need to be fought. And not become what we are fighting.


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  1. Photobucket

    • TomP on January 19, 2010 at 20:45

    Let’s keep that in mind as WE fight the battles that need to be fought. And not become what we are fighting.

    Too many Democrats want to blame the people for not being worth of Obama.  I see blog wars coming even if Coakley wins.  As your recent post showed, the centrists have an organzied campaign seek to drive the left off dkos.

    It’s a talk that cannot succeed.  Attacking people merely polarizes and creates a response.

    Those who seek change must find the right place in which we stand up to the attacks without becoming like the attackers.  I won’t run and I won’t become them.  

  2. Close your eyes and think of England

  3. Every once in a while I remember that markos started out blogging about sports, didnt he? I forget. Im too lazy to look it up. NOt to pin in on him personally.  The discourse in political blogs and conversations very very often, Im certainly guilty, we use terminology from sports and/or war.

    Its really hard not to, I have to make a conscious effort, but I still do it.

    Cooperation vs. competition. The whole system is, by design, adversarial. Ive talked about this before.

    Its in our nature.

    But we have to evolve beyond that somehow, before we “all go blind” (Gandhi).

    Win. Lose.

    Live. Die.

    You. Me.

    We have to move toward the Us. Its not only moral, it’s survival.

    John Connor: We’re not gonna make it, are we? People, I mean.

    The Terminator: It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.

    John Connor: Yeah. Major drag, huh?

  4. … to have a conversation about winning with a stalker an opponent of mine.  It didn’t work out too well, lol.

    She made an inverse definition of what winning is using your words as an example.

    I tried to explain how she was feeding behavior of folks like Cedwyn and her crew.  She didn’t get it.

    She links to you a lot, btw.  lol

    As I said in one of my comments, referring to what “winning” meant on the FDL fight:

    They failed to win … (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:catnip

    … the shutting down of FDL as a credible blog.

    They failed to win kos removing FDL from the blogroll.

    They failed to win permanently smearing the entire FDL website beause of disagreement on policy with one blogger at the website and they failed to win our FAQ listing FDL as a non-credible source so folks can hide rate or otherwise officially claim other posters have no credibility citing FDL.

    That was what they wanted to win.  They wanted to control how folks viewed FDL — not just Jane Hamsher but Emptywheel, Jon Walker, an entire community.

    They lost that battle.  Even folks who can’t stand Jane or FDL had no stomach for this particular political tactic.

    You contributed to their side in that battle.  Not everyone was obviously “strident” but there was a group – now exposed – who coordinated attacks on FDL posters, coined terms such as “firebaggers,” etc.  Those folks were joined by those who legitimately were disappointed with Jane and FDL, but the strident folks were much louder (something I have no problem with) and lied (something I have a big problem with).

    What our side won — at least for the moment, as things change so rapidly — was the right to make up our own minds about what others write instead of someone else making up our minds for us by smearing character rather than talking about ideas and policy.

    Please don’t tell me you’re done battling.  I saw your recent comment linking to DD as the root of all evil (figuratively speaking).  I’m an admin. there btw, and I agree 100% with what buhdy wrote in that essay about Cedwyn.

    And as far as personal destruction not “moving anyone,” that is not its purpose.  Very often that political tactic “wins” and afterwards indeed convinces folks to go against their own interest.  But the purpose is power.

    It’s not that we shouldn’t fight.  But we need to be careful, as you said, buhdy, about what we are fighting for.  It’s not about not fighting, about civility as this stalker commenter tried to prove.

    It’s also showing that several of the anti-FDL losers are a whole lot interested now in civility … because they lost.  That’s not the same as making peace.

    I’ve learned a lot about morality in action when it comes to politics, thanks to you, buhdy.  I usually get kind of nauseated by it, but the fight is worth it, even though I know it never ends.

  5. in another tab, I just got around to reading this piece, Jeremy Rifkin

    But, what if these age old assumptions about human nature are false? In the past 15 years, scientists from a wide range of fields, from evolutionary biology to neurocognitive research and child development, have been making breathtaking discoveries that are forcing us to rethink our long-held beliefs about human nature. Researchers are discovering mirror-neurons–the so-called empathy neurons–that allow human beings and other species to feel and experience another’s situation as if it were one’s own. We are, it appears, the most social animals and we seek intimate participation and companionship with our fellows.

    It is only when our basic biological drive of empathic engagement is repressed or denied that secondary drives like aggression, acquisitiveness, and selfish behavior come to the surface.


    Now we need to prepare the groundwork for an empathic civilization that is compatible with our core nature. This will require a rethinking of parenting styles, reforming our educational system, reinventing our business models, and transforming our governing institutions so that the way we live our lives is attuned to and, in accord with, our fundamentally empathic nature.

    Lest we think this is an impossible task, consider again the global empathic outpouring for the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Then ask, why we can’t harness that same global empathic embrace, not only to rescue victims of natural disasters, but also to raise generations of empathic global citizens who can live together in relative peace and harmony in a biosphere world.

    • BobbyK on January 19, 2010 at 22:15


  6. …. is just a very basic survival instinct they have, combined with a fear of death as an unknown.

    People see our culture, our technology, and our planet changing before their eyes, at a frantic pace, and this is very frightening.  A lot of doomsday scenario is fed to them not only by religious preachers but by television and by politicians such as Dick Cheney.  Be afraid bad dark things want to kill you.

    A lot of atheists figure, just get everything you can right now because life’s short and it doesn’t matter anyway.

    Evangelical Christian fundamentalists, or any type of religious fundamentalist, the kinds that are encouraging themselves to make the population grow as fast a possible, because they’ve been taught that without growth the economy will stagnate and they’ll be poor (eye roll) are responding to that same instinct.  But they use a fear of a punishing God in an afterlife to obey whatever set of rules they have to use to belong.

    Which is why they’re embracing that good ol’ fashioned Calvinism type of shunning or banning- only doing it on the blogs….  that is about the worst thing their parents could threaten them with….    well, it isn’t going to change reality.

    Where they are going wrong is the continued embrace of Cheney’s doctrine of killing those who have pissed off the corrupt leaders in foreign countries who blame America for every wrong in the world, as a scapegoat.  We buy oil. They get rich, and direct our attention to making war on their enemies, which of course, is a disaster which only provokes more resentment and more war.  Those Oil company profits are used by these countries to fund shadow armies to buy weapons and make bombs to kill our enlisted. (This crap with Iraq started with the first Bush back in the nineties nearly 20 years ago!   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G…    how much longer do we fight this Gulf War? )  Just as we as a nation encourage this mindset by adopting the false Bush meme that any one religion = incorrigible “terrorists.”

    War as an excuse to make more war is not sustainable.  

    How much would a gallon of gasoline for your car REALLY cost if the price per gallon reflected the cost of the current war spending in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan ?

    There are enough miserable countries in the world, and enough dysfunctional families, that the sleazy terror operators can take one nutty psycho teenager from each, give him magic underpants,  and we’d end up being at retaliatory war with 20, 30, 40 countries….   where does this stop?

    So we say, this is wrong.  But the alternatives, not supporting governments who think we’re a handy mercenary army for perpetrating their own abuses of what they do to their own peoples, doesn’t seem to be seen as a positive goal. Yet.

    And yet, I have to say to these people that are afraid, I actually do “get it” that some people are out to get everybody.   “random violent chaos hostility murder of the universe” (paraphrased) as Werner Hertzog the director calls it.  Yet he says he’s not afraid of anything.

    above ^, Hertzog interviewed, begins by getting sniped at by a bystander during the outdoor photo shoot, during a story on his directing the movie about Timothy Treadwell-  Grizzly Man  

     But it’s more likely to be somebody or some thing here than there.

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