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Old 01-09-2012, 09:33 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: An apparition is stalking America

Note to Wonderment: If I've been unfair, I apologize. I'd be happiest to hear you say that for all our flaws, Americans are doing their best and that tomorrow will be better than today. Here's hoping that's true, anyway.
No need to apologize. You made some good points.

Among the views that you expressed, however, that I'd most distance myself from is that the USA is the most contemptible among nations. I certainly don't hold a "Great Satan" opinion of the USA.

Nation states are geopolitical fictions without a real essence. They are more like players in a board game called geopolitics with ever-emergent opportunities for new moves, which are constrained by past actions. Hopefully, the game is ultimately non-zero, but truthfully it has some zero-sum (competitive) and non-zero (cooperative) features.

Individual citizens of nations have rights, responsibilities and potentialities (creativity). I think it's wise, however, to demystify the ethnocentric or nationalistic components -- the identity politics -- of international affairs. Just analyze the moves without all the patriotic hoopla and noise.

Having said that, I have nothing against benign patriotism. I'm only disturbed when patriotism is employed as a bludgeon to beat other cultures or nations into submission, replaces history with mythology, or justifies abuses of power. The notion that the USA is exceptional among nations (as opposed to say Honduras, Ghana or Switzerland) is an arrogant delusion that in my view is very dangerous. It's a delusion of grandeur, and just as we mistrust such sentiments (disorders) in individuals, we must mistrust them in cultures and nations as well.

That's where I don't think your spouse analogy holds up. If I really affirmed that my spouse or my kids were the best spouse and kids on planet Earth, I'd be certifiably insane. You'd be right to point out, "Gee, Wonderment, that's a cute thing to say, but you can't honestly believe that, can you?"
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
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