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Small Hornets' Nest

(originally launched into cyberspace on 09/11/2008)

I admit, I was stunned by the response to my message about me not
"supporting the troops." No, it wasn't a wave of hate mail that
stunned me--that's what I fully expected to get. It was how FEW
negative comments I got, and how many notes I got that agreed with
my fringe wacko opinion. The "hornets' nest" I stirred up was a lot
smaller than I expected. In fact, I got about three times as many
messages saying "Right on!" as those saying "You're an idiot!" That
does not bode well for the tyrants of the world, but it gives me a
shred of hope.

Nationalism and pack mentality are constantly drilled into our
heads by the media and the "education" system from the day we're
born. School divides us by classes, governments divide us by
"countries," and then all mainstream political propaganda divides
us by religions, incomes, sex, education, race, and any other way
the tyrants can think of. And this all drastically affects how
people view the world.

Consider this statement: "We fought off Hitler." I don't think
there's anyone for whom that statement would be literally true.
What people MEAN by that is: "People who get bossed around by the
same club of people--though not the same actual people--who boss me
around, militarily defeated people who Hitler bossed around." It's
long-winded and awkward, but accurate.

"We" aren't fighting Iraq. First of all, Iraq is a PLACE. You can't
fight a place. Second, "we" is a term that refers to the first
person plural, which includes the speaker (among others). I've
never been to Iraq, and neither have most of you. So why would you
say "we" did anything, when you weren't there? Because we're
trained to think in terms of packs. (Heck, people even call their
local sports teams "we," even when NONE of the players are from
their city.)

When it comes to rights, they aren't about packs--they are about
INDIVIDUALS. "The Japanese deserved to be nuked." All of them? The
young mother, not to mention her baby, in downtown Hiroshima, who
had never even thought a political thought, "deserved" to be cooked
alive? Is that what people mean? No, they mean the PACK deserved
it. Well a pack can't deserve anything. A lot of individuals can
deserve something, or be guilty of something, or deserve credit for
something. But being born somewhere, or living somewhere, or having
a certain genetic make-up, cannot by itself make you deserve credit
or blame for anything.

For all the indications that people are as stupid and gullible as
ever, there are some hints that we really are evolving. Millions of
Americans cheered when they heard that several hundred thousand
civilians had been killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I don't
believe Americans will ever again cheer for such an atrocity. I
also don't believe an involuntary military draft could ever happen
again in this country (though I certainly think the American
tyrants might TRY it). Blind nationalism is slowly fading, and good
riddance to it.

What war mongers hate the most is when those they target for
killing are seen as HUMAN. All militaries very intentionally and
carefully demonize and dehumanize the enemy that they want their
underlings to kill. Why? Because good people simply won't kill
someone else unless they can either hate him, or at least not think
of him as a PERSON. But Americans can watch documentaries about the
suffering in Japan after the nuclear attacks, and feel sorrow and
compassion. And some of us can even do that with innocent Iraqis
right now. (Imagine that.)

Yes, the war-mongering propaganda machine continues at full speed,
but it's just not working the way it did a few short decades ago.
People aren't lining up in droves to go righteously slaughter the
enemy du jour. Even some people who volunteered for the military
have come to the realization that oppressing and killing people
isn't automatically okay just because a politician somewhere calls
them "enemies of America."

I should add that I believe that most American soldiers, and most
American cops, even most IRS agents, probably BELIEVE that,
overall, what they are doing is good and righteous. That's one of
the main things that makes the belief in "authority" so dangerous:
it persuades basically good people to do evil things. But every
once in a while--and it's happening more often now--people actually
pause for a moment before doing whatever "authority" tells them to.
It's not nearly as often as I'd like (if it were, there would be no
IRS, for one thing), but even the occasional capacity to question
authority is a good sign.

Here's a weird thought. Could it be that all the police brutality
that is being exposed now is, in a very twisted way, a GOOD sign? I
think fewer and fewer decent people can stand being cops anymore,
and I've have quite a few former cops tell me exactly that. Might
it be that the reason authoritarian thugs are getting more vicious
is NOT because there are more bad people, but because only bad
people will take the jobs these days? For example, I doubt the
Third Reich actually made that many more evil people appear; it
merely provided a way--a very destructive way--for those who love
dominion to do what they love.

Another strange positive result is that the general public no
longer blindly assumes that the police or "the troops" must always
be the good guys, or that the targets of government violence must
always be bad. Consider how many movies today have rotten cops or
corrupt politicians as the bad guys--a LOT. A few decades back,
making a movie like that would be considered blasphemy. Despite the
current push for open fascism, maybe blind authorianism really is
on its last legs. If you measure freedom by how nasty those in
power are, we're in deep trouble. But if you measure it by how many
people are really angry about what those in power are doing...
well, there may still be hope. For example, do you know anyone who
does NOT have at least a reason or two to dislike, distrust or fear
the government?

Larken Rose
http://www.larkenrose.com