Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Nationalistic Social Change is Disgusting

To any fellow Americans reading my blog: I believe that, at the end of the day, we can all agree that we want America to become a better country and its citizens to become better people. We can agree that our society has problems, and we may disagree on solutions, but the end result is a predicted better society. I want to end poverty, and I think the fastest way there is by guaranteeing everyone a $20,000 a year minimal income. Others think the fastest way there is by reducing the government to near-anarchy.

But what really disgusts me is the focus on America, and American citizens. Why are we so special, us born above a specific plot of land? Why are our needs so much greater than the needs of the Chinese, or the North Koreans, or the Africans, or the Arabs, or the French? The truth is we are all human, the difference in genetic makeup is near-indistinguishable between any two humans, even to us, and the total difference altogether between any two humans is quite indistinguishable to other species, focusing overly on "friend or foe".

Every human culture participates in baby-talk, they have an understanding of what it means to promise, our brains appear to be wired in such a way that makes narrative metaphor a base form of interpretation. We are all human, and that is more binding and real than any artificial label that depends on the area in which you're born.

So I don't mind foreign aid. I find it sadistic that people suggest spending all of it only on us Americans, and yes, I once believed that myself. Now, I have serious issues with the means that foreign aid is usually dispensed, and I understand and agree with some of the arguments about foreign aid not actually being aiding, but that's a separate issue from the idea that aiding people not of your own country is a good idea.

And this non-violence I've been talking about every now and again? I really want to live to see the world cast aside its weapons, to have no further need for them. The future should be bright, where people's needs are trivially met, and people are free to work toward their desires unhindered by cost. Our possible future of being a galactic civilization shouldn't be filled with senseless battles with other worlds using advanced weapons, but optimizing the available light cone in a way that provides guard rails for all species, both on earth and any that may exist elsewhere. As explained by Picard, the Prime Directive protects the Federation more than other planets, it is extremely selfish and ill-advised. "Who are you to say better?", they ask. "We who created the technology to end poverty, we who will create the technology to end death, your primate view is obsolete and you are wrong."

That's my desire. Yet one argument I've faced is that even if, say, just America became non-violent, we would risk extermination by a country not so enlightened. While this argument has some merit, there are counterarguments, one being that the enemy is also human, and the enemy is numerous, and the enemy does not consist of sociopaths, and one can have a non-violent army whose members are willing to die for a higher purpose just as any normal soldier. If the enemy were alien, thus having a different psychology, or sociopathic, then I can support violence for the purpose of disabling (not killing). But assuming there were no counterarguments: the danger of being a better example does not mean that being a better example is a bad idea. What worries me is that such a danger exists.

If the only reason we can't be non-violent is because places like North Korea exist, then we should aim to raise North Korea to our level by whatever means, so that we can then safely ascend, and they can follow again. Support foreign aid that furthers this goal, oppose suggestions that keep NK at its current level. (Such as bribing them with money or weapons to stay peaceful but let them keep brainwashing and killing their people.) We should send fleets of planes over North Korea, not to drop bombs, but to drop information, because only when the North Korean people are free can we expect the North Korean nation to be reasonable. That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be, and it is an American duty as much as a Canadian one to, as rich nations, enable the spread of the truth to the world. (It's a separate argument in deciding what is true.)

But no, say the Nationalists, we should just bomb them. They're not people, they're sheeple at best! We're better than them, as Americans. They forfeited being human by their inaction of destroying their obviously evil and corrupt Dear Leader Who Makes Life Possible and Whom They (are brainwashed to) Love (and fear) Very Much.

This attitude has been bleeding over lately to the illegal immigration issue. I understand there are many problems with illegal Mexican criminals coming over, many of whom are simply part of the drug industry (who would go away should drugs be legalized here..), but the people doing more honest work, more laborious work, even raising and supporting a family? The kids from those families who get the opportunity to become the first of their family with an education? Why should we put so many restrictions for them, who are in every way the same as us, but for their social security number? What does it matter their age, their background, if they are good people? It shouldn't, and that people pretend it does is simply disgusting.

Posted on 2010-11-27 by Jach

Tags: government, non-violence, philosophy


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