08 August 2007

Political Delusions

Sometimes I think that (in the United States anyway) political parties can be characterized by the delusions shared by their respective leaderships. For instance, the Republican delusion seems to be that everything can and should be run like a business. That this doesn't work with war - that you can't fight and win with bean counters (think Rumsfeld) forcing you to do it on the cheap - is only beginning to dawn on them. They even think you can run the National Laboratories like businesses, and have replaced the old University-run management with business consortia. Yes, the University of California is still involved, but the business is changed for the worse, including the compensation plan that used to help retain seasoned scientists. (And the Republicans are mouthing the same platitudes I heard at the now defunct Bell Labs when it began to be run like a business 20 years ago.) Indeed the Republicans think the business delusion applies to everything and everyone but themselves - no business could stay in business, or its managers out of prison, if its finances were run like our government.

The Democrats, on the other hand, labor under the delusion of Amerocentrism. They think everything in the world revolves around us, and therefore it is our foreign policy that determines everything that happens in the world. For example, they think we would have no war against the Bin-Ladenists if we had treated the 9/11 attacks as an international police matter. [Never mind that we treated the attacks leading up to 9/11 as police matters, which gave the Bin Ladenists the time and shelter to organize, recruit and grow strong. It was not our response to 9/11 that led to a surge in recruitment - it was the images of the towers collapsing all over the internet, which the Bin Ladenists downloaded and incorporated into their recruiting videos. More...]

Amero/Euro-centrism is also the reason why many people (not just Democrats) think that if we were only nicer to everyone, they would like us and adopt our values. Sorry, huge portions of humanity see things differently. While we might think that earning a reasonable living at a tolerable job and coming home to watch TV without fighting with our neighbors or being repressed by my government is the pinnacle of human achievement, others find it unbearable. To them, a life without struggle (other than to earn the next dollar) is a life without honor, without glory, and therefore without meaning. Therefore the culture that promotes such a life is inhuman and must be stamped out. While our enemies might complain about our foreign policy, we need to understand that what they really hate is us. And that we can only change that by ceasing to be ourselves.

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