Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

“We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”
Aesop

When I hear this quote I think of our involvement in the Middle East and in South Korea; just to name a few. Our involvement in these regions affairs causes tension throughout the globe. This involvement paints America into the self-righteous parenting role, those whose side we approve of calls us heroes; those we disapprove of call us villains. We sit atop our throne of democracy and condemn every single other nation for doing things in ways that we do not “approve” of. This type of pompous positioning is why we are not favored throughout the world. If we deem something to be a problem we stick our noses in where it doesn’t belong. It is this meddling that actually creates more enemies for our nation.

They see us as their enemies because of our involvement in various disputes throughout the world. The radical groups are able to recruit new members based off the propaganda spread by their organizations. They sell America as the evil step-father who is out there oppressing them while in America we live so great. Because we are aligned with their enemies, we then become the enemy. My thing is if we were never involved then there would be no radical groups spreading hatred because we would just be chillin’ at home eating pizza and watching some television.

The North hates America because we are backing the South. If we had zero troops in the South, and just allowed the two to work it out themselves then we would not be breeding a nation of people raised and programmed to hate everything America stands for and every American within it. If we had no involvement in this war then what ammunition would the North have to hate us? The fact is if we were not involved they wouldn’t hate us as much. Not only are we aligned with the South; their greatest enemies we are directly involved in sanctions levied against the North. I understand the leadership in the North is filled with insanity, but that should be all the more reason to stay as far away from this situation as possible. What are we gaining from being involved with this civil war? What is the worst that could happen if you just let the two work it out for themselves? There may be a war and many would die, but should this really be our concern? I say no.

Now let’s take a look at the Middle East. I think the main reason the Muslim nations hate us is because we back Israel their most hated enemy. This is the vocal point for anti-American sentiments, and is a great recruiting tool for new members. There is a deep hatred over there in the Middle East towards Israel, and Israel is one of our greatest allies. This allegiance we formed with Israel is why the Middle East hates us so much. If we would have just stuck to our own borders perhaps 9/11 would have never happened. We are adding fuel to the fire everyday we stand tall with Israel.

I think it is time we step up to the podium and say “all right look you guys we are pulling out and will let you figure this whole thing out yourselves.” I can guarantee you if we were able to do that we would stop giving the extremists reasons to hate us, because we would just become another country in a far off place. The Muslim extremists don’t seem to hate Russia or China. The reason for this is simple they are not meddling in their affairs. I would be willing to gamble that all planned and executed terrorist attacks have probably been against those countries who are involved in the Middle Eastern countries affairs. I think the only time we should consider sending troops out is if there is a full blown world war.

We need to live by example, and the example should be that of peace and harmony within our own borders. We need to become a nation which is admired throughout the world, not for our military might, but for our peaceful society. We should pull everyone of our troops off foreign soul, and bring them home. I am in no way saying abandon our armed forces. We should continue to build our military to become the mightiest army in the world, not because we plan on using it, but because protecting our boarders should always be a priority.  

We need to rid our government of crooked politicians, and become a nation for the people by the people. If we become admired and respected then perhaps when we speak out against something it may carry more weight throughout the world. If we were to funnel all the money we currently use for war, and occupation we would have enough funds to create programs in this country aimed at bettering our society. We can still be the parents of the world except this time we can lead by example instead of waving our fingers in disapproval.    

Aesop or Esop (620-564 BC), known for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition born a slave and was a contemporary of Croesus and Solon in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Aesop’s existence remains uncertain, and no writings by Aesop survive, but numerous fables attributed to him were gathered and set down in writing across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day; various collections under the rubric Aesop’s Fables are currently available. In these stories animals speak and have human characteristics; see for example the Tortoise and the Hare or the Ant and the Grasshopper.

*****I have a question and need feedback from my readers. “The Philosophy of Quotes” is an ongoing series of posts. I have like in this post added a short bio of the author of the quote, and times I have not. Do you enjoy reading a short bio or should I just leave it out?*****

I wonder how much money our government makes off our taxes. I also wonder how much money our government makes off of us in things like renewing tabs and what have you. These taxes we pay are supposed to go towards things to better our society. Over the last many years our taxes have gone towards funding a war we cannot win. A war many of us oppose. I am hard pressed to believe that the majority of tax payers would be in favor of knowing their money is going towards the death of our children. There are many examples of lost tax money, but one that stands out to me is our privately owned summer camps for criminals. We pump in billions of dollars keeping this system a float.  

I think back to the famous stance the colonies here in America took on the taxes the parliament put on the colonies. Their motto was no taxation without representation. I wonder if this same stance can be made today. Technically we have elected officials in the house who ultimately choose what to do about taxes. I am a firm believer that our elected officials are not a positive representative to the people; therefore I ask you are we being taxed without proper representation? I am not to knowledgably when it comes to these affairs, but I assume when new taxes are passed they are just passed without the say of the people. It goes through the house and imposed by the representatives’ we have elected. I think the statement taxation without representation stands true today because those in the house have alternative agendas that do not include the betterment of their constituents. If this is the case well then something is truly wrong with this situation. Could the people today stand up and use the same war cry our forefathers did? Can the people ever take our country back from the tyranny of our current government?

I am not saying all taxes are bad. They are a necessity to the betterment of our nation. I just question where these taxes are spent, and are these taxes imposed on the people justified. Are we being properly represented? I write a lot about the injustices I see in this country. I am by no means an educated man, and I am sure if I dedicated my time to learn all the in’s and out’s of our system I would probably find so much more to bitch about. Taxes are just one of those things we have no control over. Taxes are taken regardless of anything, and I feel the money is not being spent in the proper places. I am 100% against the war or any other form of occupation. I am 100% against our revolving door prison system, and its piss poor penalties. I am against these things yet the government will take my money and use it for such things. It just gives me such a feeling of yuk knowing I am so powerless, and I have zero confidence that our elected officials will do the right thing.

“Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages.”
Hervey Allen

What do you think when you hear the word savages? Do you think about the small tribes in the rainforest worshiping the Sun God, and practicing black magic? Do you think of ancient times through the early stages of our evolution where man was primitive in their knowledge and behavior? This is a pretty broad word which may mean different things to different people. When I was studying theological anthropology the word “savages” was primarily used to describe primitive people, who still lived in small villages or tribes and believed in so called “primitive” religions. This sentiment is well known in the Christian missionary objectives. If this is indeed the case should we still be considered savages, or have we evolved into sophisticated beings?

I look at this world and I do not see sophisticated beings, I see nations of evolved savages. When I think of the word “savages” I think of beings that live by their primal urges, and are concerned with only their own personal survival. I think of men and woman driven by greed, and the rat race to accumulate more wealth and possessions. I think of people who preach hate and intolerance. I think of perverted minds consumed with insatiable desires for power. I think of these leaders who choose themselves over those they are charged to rule. To me this is what a savage is, and in my opinion we are infested with them. We may have evolved technologically wise, but we are far away from being sophisticated. We may be able to log onto our Facebooks from our iPads, but we still can’t think of others before ourselves.

If we look at our society we will find plenty of examples of people living for their own self-interests as opposed to living for the self-interests of the collective. This is why there will never be peace on earth, or a society which resembles a utopia. Peace and serenity can never be achieved if we are driven by self-interests. I already know one of my occasional readers Tony will chime in on how self-interest is what fuels progress, and without it we would not have evolved technologically and we would not have the amenities we do today. I have heard the argument from one of my co-workers that if we had universal healthcare than our quality of care would go down because no one would be motivated to become a doctor, and therefore your continuity of care would decrease. I think this statement only further shows our savagery. If this is the case than our society is breeding men and woman who get into this profession  not to actually help people, but to garnish a higher paycheck?

I would happily trade our technological advancements in exchange for a society which has advanced on an enlightened path. I would happily walk to work, live without my blog, watch non HD television, and give up my dream of becoming a writer to know my children were living in a world where the well being of your fellow man came before the well being of yourself. To live in a world were innocent men, women, and children did not need to die in the name of war, or suffer from hunger and pestilence in the name of greed. A world where are elected officials are humanitarians as opposed to crooks. A world where nations stand hand in hand in peace and unity, where differences are met by listening and understanding instead words of threats and aggression. A utopia where hate is replaced with love and love is known by all.

I would like to say a world like this is possible, but like the quote says each generation is a fresh invasion of savages who are raised on morals learned from television and video games. New generations raised on greed and self-preservation. Generations who will spit on a dying man just trying to get healthcare so he can live. A society where war is so common it seems like second nature, and is replaced on the news by movie stars babies. A world so dummied down by the media we are easy to control like herded sheep. A world where the good are hidden by the evil and the evil are in charge. A world run by savages.  

“The only reason I’m coming out here tomorrow is the schedule says I have to.”
Sparky Anderson

You could say this statement can be true for most people in America today. I would imagine the percentage is pretty high where people go to work not because they love their job, but because we have no other choice. We are so self-dependent on the all mighty dollar we are often times chained to our jobs. We do not go there because we enjoy ourselves we go there because we have no choice. Think about that for a second….Well? I personally think this is a fucked up situation. I know there is no way to live in a world without money, so there is nothing anyone can do about this situation. We need to live in and accept the society we have created until it can no longer sustain itself and crumbles. I believe America is the only country which places such high demand on its workers. We carry heavy burdens to live, provide, and survive.  If I could have it my way I would move my family to Tibet and live like monks; free of any stress or cares, but this is an unlikely scenario.

I am sure my readers are aware I often times sit and think about life and this society we live in. I am also sure my readers know I despise the system we live in.  We spend more of our lives working than we do with our friends and family. Our work defines and shapes our lives more than I think people realize; our job ultimately defines who we are and what we do. We are slaves to our paychecks; the very same paychecks we get immediately goes back to the corporations which pay our shitty wages. I know this is the life blood of what makes capitalism flow, but something still seems unfair about this societal relationship. The situation is we work our asses off to pay our bills and provide for our families. This gets harder and harder as time passes. Our wages seem to stay the same or in cases decrease, but the products we need to survive continue to increase. This is yet another way corporations can use to keep their foot on our throats. We now need our wages even more, and in many cases need to get a second or third job just to keep our heads above water. I find it sad that the people on the bottom work themselves to death so those on top can fly in private jets. I look at this country and where we are and compare it to communist Russia. On paper communism seems like a reasonable form of government, but failed terribly because mans greed had to fuck it up. In this communist state it was all about the haves and the have not’s. There was the wealthy and powerful then the poor and the powerless. This country is slowly going down this road. Soon the middle class will be pushed out by lower pay and higher overhead all in the name of a few more dollars.

The tricky part in this scenario is there are many people out there who worked their asses off to get where they are, and in my opinion deserves higher pay. I do not think everyone should be paid the same wages, because then what would motivate those to spend an extra eight years in school to become a doctor. This is where my opinions are sort of contradictory. I think our system would be great if the people slaving away to make the company they work for prosper got better compensation. I am not just saying in dollar wise although I think that is a good start. I think we need more compensation via free time. Working 40-60 hours a week is utterly insane and frankly just wrong. How many people take the time to analyze this situation? We are only awarded one life; one chance to live, and we are forced to spend this life slaving away at our careers. The employee has no choice but to fall in line or risk losing their  job. I don’t know how many people are aware of how precious time is. Each minute or hour that passes is minutes or hours we can never have back. They are lost, and I believe they are lost in the wrong areas. We need more time for our families. We need more time for ourselves. It is a sad waste of a life to be dependent on a system set out to screw you around every turn. This is one example of how we are corporate slaves.

My solution is easy and fair to the people. Companies should only hire part-time employees but pay them just and fair full-time wages. This would give everyone the time to not only work and contribute to society, but we would then be afforded the time to enjoy our lives. Hiring only part-time employees would most certainly cure our unemployment problem. Now some may say “this is crazy companies would lose millions!” But is this true? I am but a simple man with limited knowledge, but I would think with more people working then that would create more consumers and in turn create profits for the companies which may offset the higher wages given to employees. I am an idealist not a realist, so I am pretty sure there is no way to actually make this work; with that being said I also do not believe this ideal life is impossible to achieve. The same problem in communist Russia exists today in American capitalism, and that is our thirst for wealth and power.  This thirst blinds us of our main responsibility which is the betterment of our fellow man. This has and always will corrupt us.  

George Lee “Sparky” Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010) was a Major League Baseball manager. He managed the National League’s Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, and then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987. Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. I was shocked to hear Anderson’s age when he passed away at the age of 76. I remember watching him coach against the Twins when I was younger, and I always thought he was around 70 back then.

Bought And Sold To The Highest Bidder.

“The greatest power is not money power, but political power.”
Walter Annenberg

Personally I do not agree this statement to be true. The power today is in who has the most money, and who is paying our politicians. It is the money infiltrating our elected officials which fuels the machine we call democracy. I wrote a piece months back asking the question if we are Plutocracy. I believe we are. I think when Annenberg first took over his fathers publishing business in 1942 this may have been a true statement. In today’s world money supersedes political power. I would guess most if not all of our politicians are in the pockets of corporations and special interest groups. This my friends is a sad state of affairs. I feel sick to my stomach knowing decisions are being made not in the people’s best interests, but in the best interests of those who possess the most money. I feel appalled that the people of this country have just sat back and allowed this monstrosity to occur. 

I have no idea when this trend changed. I know the change occurred prior to my birth in 1979. If I were to make a guess I would say things started to change and the rich started to seize our country during Nixon’s presidency. I have no concrete proof of this it is just a hunch. If you look at Annenberg’s bio you will see in 1966 he used his media business to sabotage a political campaign. If it were not for his media outlets reporting untrue negative things about Milton Shapp he most likely would have won the election. The reasons Annenberg started this early example of a smear campaign was because Shapp was opposing the merger between Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. His reasons were not known until after his death when it was revealed that Annenberg was the biggest individual stockholder in Pennsylvania Railroad.

I think this example shows how powerful media outlets are, and who owns our media outlets? Corporations do. During election time we are bombarded with positive and negative things about the candidates many of which are not true on either side. I remember during the healthcare deal. The media (probably paid by insurance companies) aired many commercials against Obama’s healthcare reform bill. These smear commercials greatly affected how the people felt about this bill. I think the meer mention of socialism really killed the momentum Obama built during his campaign. Then you look at those who cast the votes and you can be guaranteed they are making decisions based off of who is paying them the most money; sadly it isn’t the people. The heartbreaking part is people do not take the time to try to find the truth they just believe what they are told by their televisions. We missed out on something that would have help millions upon millions of struggling Americans get affordable healthcare. Now it looks like the current bill may actually cause problems, instead of correcting them, unfortunately these problems favor the insurance companies not the American people. Isn’t it amazing what money can do?   

Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat. He owned several publications such as TV Guide, Seventeen, The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1966, Annenberg used the pages of The Inquirer to cast doubt on the candidacy of Democrat Milton Shapp, for governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp was highly critical of the proposed merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central and was pushing the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission to stop it. Walter Annenberg, who according to his New York Times obituary, was the biggest individual stockholder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, wanted to see the merger go through and was frustrated with Shapp’s opposition. During a press conference, an Inquirer reporter asked Shapp if he had ever been a patient in a mental hospital. Having never been in one, Shapp simply said “no”. The next day, a five-column front page Inquirer headline read, “Shapp Denies Mental Institution Stay.” Shapp and others have attributed his loss of the election to Annenberg’s newspaper.

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
Edward Abbey

How true is this statement? It is so easy for our leaders to make decisions on war when it is not their lives or their children’s lives on the line. If we were to create a law stating any representative who votes to either continue the war in Afghanistan or whether to enter into a new war would be required by law to serve in said war. I wonder how many of them would vote to continue this current war we are in. I wonder how they would address this current crisis in North Korea. Can you honestly think Obama would continue the war in Afghanistan if he knew he would have to suit up and head off to war? I can guarantee you we would see zero votes regarding continuing or beginning any kind of war. This is an issue for me because we have leaders who only discuss such things in a heavily guarded palace far away from any dangers. It is easy to use human pawns in the name of democracy, when you are safe at home.

I would love to ask our elected officials if they are ready to be sent off to South Korea where they would need to face the fourth largest standing army in the world. I would love to see what their votes would be if they had army gear waiting for them at the air port. I wonder if the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-il would continue to be a crazy fucker if he had to personally lead the troops into the south. Knowing how unstable he is I am sure he would be game for such things.

I just think our leaders need to stop using our children as toys to achieve an agenda which honestly makes no sense. There is no way we will win this war in Afghanistan. It is sad to know that each day another young man dies. It is sad to know that we as a country are creating widows and fatherless children all in the name of what? I understand we are trying to defeat the terrorist, but in reality that will never happen. You can kill one leader and immediately another one surfaces. Our presence in the Middle East is only throwing more fuel on the fire. We are actually creating more enemies with real motives to hate America. If we were to just get out of the Middle East 100% and let them work it out for themselves then the terrorists would lose reasons to attack us.

I believe we need to pull all of our troops out of the countries we are currently in. I think there is something like 30k troops in Germany. Why is this necessary? I think if we brought these troops home, and used them to protect our borders we would be safe, and over time our popularity with other countries would improve because we would no longer be playing the daddy role over the world. I do not think North Korea would hate us so much if we did not have so many troops in the south. I think we need to realize that there are countries out there that if they wanted to could squash us like a bug.

I do not believe our representatives would vote for war if they and their families would be required to serve. This statement is a powerful one if you think about it. They can vote for death and destruction as long as they and their families are safe. I think this shows they are not that for the war. Why is it okay for the sons and daughters of Americans to die in battle when they are not willing to die themselves? In the sixties and seventies there were millions of people who stood up against the war in Vietnam. I really do not understand why this is not happening today. We have been over in the Middle East for years and have spent trillions of dollars to keep this pointless unwinnable war going. Where are the protesters? If our leaders choose to keep this and any future war going then they need to suit the fuck up, or stop voting to kill our troops.

“I don’t really trust a sane person.”
Lyle Alzado

Which is worse a man in the midst of insanity or the man who is under control and sane? I love this quote because it asks us to examine this question. At first you might say to yourself that the insane man is by far more dangerous, but is this true? Yes I think society has taught us to fear the insane, and trust the sane. I know full well the psyche of the insane; because I live it everyday. I do think however the more dangerous of the two is a man who is sane. I am not condemning the sane; I am simply saying they are harder to trust. At least you know what you are getting with someone who is a little wacky. If you understand the illness you will come to understand the behaviors. These behaviors become predictable and routine cycles. Sane people on the other hand are extremely unpredictable. They are able to plot diabolical schemes capable of harming millions of people.

I will use President Bush as an example. He may be simple minded, but he is not insane, even the evil overseer of Mr. Bush Dick Cheney by all definitions would be considered sane. These two men along with all their “sane” republican friends were responsible for immeasurable amounts of crazy shit. The war in Iraq was perpetrated by lies in order to gain support to start a war. They enacted such laws as the Patriot Act which in essence caused a piece of our freedom to be striped away from us. Because of this they are able to invade our privacy at the drop of a hat. Because of the war we have wasted trillions of dollars and caused the deaths of thousands of American troops and uncountable amounts of death to our enemies. Because of “sane” men and women our economy has completely crumbled, and our leaders actually passed a bill to bailout the very banks that were responsible for our downfall. These same “sane” leaders have allowed our government to be taken over by big business.

At least for those of us who are clinically insane we can take medicine to manage our symptoms. This same thing can not be said about the sane. There is nothing that can be done for those who lets say are so consumed with greed they would come up with a ponzi scheme to take billions of dollars away from unsuspecting people. An insane man could simply not come up with such an elaborate and organized scheme. I will not deny there are those who are criminally insane, and yes I could not see myself trusting them, but at least I can tell who they are. I am sure if I met Charles Manson on the street I would know I am up against a crazy fucker and should stay far away from him. The same can not be said about meeting Dick Cheney. If I were to just meet him on the street I would think he is some normal great guy, completely unaware of the evil inside of him.

Because of this uncertainty I just can’t bring myself to trust a sane person. They can easily hide their evil side, and their hidden agendas. There is no medication to take away their greed and corruption. I even believe many of the murderers out there would be considered by all medical definitions sane. I think as a society we need to label these individuals as “insane” to make us feel safe and more in control of our lives. The downfall of our society is not by the hands of the loonies walking the streets, but the “normal” men and woman perpetrating evil inside our government.

Lyle Alzado was an NFL defensive lineman. He was famous for his intense and intimidating style of play. He played 15 seasons, splitting his time between the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and most famously the Los Angeles Raiders, with whom he won a championship in Super Bowl XVIII. Alzado was one of the first major athletes to admit to using steroids. He died after a battle with brain cancer in 1992 at the age of 43. He retired in 1985 so I was not old enough to remember watching him play. He was one of the players of his era who defined the role of a defensive lineman.

I just finished reading “Billy Budd” by Herman Melville. It was a good book, although at times was rather dry to read. The one appealing part of this book to me was the moral dilemma it called to order. Melville challenges his readers by asking; which is the right decision; choosing between what is morally right and wrong based off emotion, understanding, and compassion for your fellow man, or should society’s laws dictate to us what is right and wrong, regardless of our emotions; all in the name of order. This was the central struggle behind this book.

“Billy Budd” was Melville’s last book, and was written the year of his death in 1891. The story takes place in 1797 on a British navel ship the Bellipotent. The main character Billy Budd was an uneducated, simple and just man. He was well liked and respected by his peers on the ship. His superior officer Claggart was the one man who despised Billy for his gentle nature and popularity among the men. Claggart in an attempt to frame Billy accused him of attempted mutiny in front of their Captain. Billy unable to express his feelings in words became frustrated and hauled off and punched Claggart; he ended up dying by the blow. Captain Vere assembled a military tribunal to proceed over the trial with Vere as the sole witness. The internal struggle Vere and those presiding over the trial caused me to question my moral opinions.  

The struggle Captain Vere went through in testifying against Budd was interesting in that there appeared to be no struggle at all. Yes he felt emotional over this because he was fond of Billy, but knew that military order came before any emotional feelings. The feelings of those who presided over the tribunal were not as cut and dry as Vere’s. They believed Billy to be a morally sound man who although made a mistake, was acting justly considering the circumstances. They had compassion for Billy, and for the situation he was in. Vere on the other hand was very matter of fact in his stance that military law reigns supreme in this issue. He expressed to the tribunal that he two felt bad that Billy was on trial but was also the main person who convinced the tribunal to convict Budd of this crime.

Veres stance was one of this; had the trial been a non-military trial then the jurors could afford Billy the compassion and mercy he deserves, but since this is a military trial then compassion and mercy do not apply. Billy had either done it or not. Since Vere had witnessed the crime, and Billy had admitted to it then there was no room for discussion. Billy must be sentenced to death. He feared if Budd was not convicted and word got out about his acquittal then the integrity of British military law would be under minded. Vere could tell the men standing over the tribunal were having a difficult time with this decision, and therefore pleaded to them.

Seeing this and knowing what was at stake Vere made one final speech to the officers. He said “but the exceptional in the matter moves the hearts within you. Even as mine is moved. But let not warm hearts betray heads that should be cool. But something in your aspect seems to urge that it is not solely the heart that moves in you, but also the conscience, the private conscience. But tell me whether or not, occupying the position we do, private conscience should not yield to the imperial one formulated in the mode under which alone we officially proceed?”  He made the argument that it is human nature to feel for a man who they see as right with God, but called to their attention the buttons they were wearing. He said “do these buttons that we wear attest that our allegiance is to Nature? No, to the King.” In the end Budd was convicted and hanged.

This story holds many different outlooks on morality. In one hand you have Budd who was a good man with good morals who accidently committed the most immoral crime one can commit. In this scenario is Budd a good or bad man? Well this is tough. It is not as though Budd killed a man in self-defense. He killed a man out of anger, because he was not properly educated enough to express complex emotions. In this scenario you could say this was a crime of passion, because it was fueled by anger. I think Budd is guilty of the crime, but I disagree with the punishment. I feel the only time murder is warranted is when it is in self-defense. This should be the only exception to the rule.

Next you have the officers presiding over the tribunal. They wanted to give Budd a non-guilty verdict because they believed he was a just man who was right in God’s eye. There compassion reigned over their duty. They knew what kind of man Claggart was, and believed he had it coming to him. They also understood the severity over the accusation of mutiny, which by its own standards also carried a death sentence. There desired decision was to hand down a not guilty verdict. They truly struggled with this decision. The question is if judges used personal feelings in deciding sentencing then the whole system becomes less about justice and more about personal feelings. Can we afford to live in such a system? This is a tough question for me because there are some crimes I think do not warrant such harsh penalties and others I think are not harsh enough. This is a slippery moral question to answer.

Finally we have Captain Vere, who I believe holds the key dilemma of morality in this story. Should he be condemned as an evil man because of his abstract notion of duty blinded him to true justice and compassion? Or should he be considered a hero who rose above sentiment to meet the need for order, authority, and law in human affairs. I battle with this question because I think there is a huge grey area in-between that is hard to quantify. I think your own personal answer will show what side of morality you are on.

American exceptionalism is an American theory that the United States occupies a special role among the nations of the world in terms of its national ethos, political and religious institutions, and it’s being built by immigrants. Even though its origins date back to the 1600’s the concept still lives on today. This mode of thinking is what has damaged our reputation throughout the world. The concept that we are better than all other nations because as Alexis de Tocqueville, argued; the United States held a special place among nations because it was the first working representative democracy. We may have been the first but we were not the last. I am sure there are some out there who could have a valid argument how a later form of democracy trumps ours. Belief in American exceptionalism is more characteristic of conservatives than liberals. Which being liberal to me makes the idea seem even worse.

Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American puritan roots who believed in divine providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to lead the other nations of the world. The scary thing is; there are those republicans out there who still believe such a thing.  If we take a look at the Latin phrase on the back of the great seal and our one dollar bill it reads “novus ordo seclorum” which translates as “New Order of the Ages.” I think our republican leaders at that time and still to today would want nothing more than to spread their form of “order” to the entire world, and become the nation God has chosen to lead the world.  

Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. We may be connected with liberty (although this may be up for debate) and equality (also up for debate.) The notion of republican ideals against the ruling elite? Isn’t that a bit oxymoronic?

The United States’ policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some Proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a “tyranny of the majority.” What I find interesting is we are protected from the “tyranny” of the majority, but we do nothing to protect us from the “tyranny” of the minority.

All countries probably believe they are exceptional in their own right. Britain at the height of the British Empire, Nazi Germany, as well as the communist state Russia, and France in the wake of the French revolution all demonstrated exceptionalism in terms of systematically engaging in what they considered benevolent enterprises. I believe although broken America is one of the greatest nations in the world. Do I believe we should feel superior over all other nations because we are what we are? No. We are not the judges and jury’s to the world. The belief and ideals we have are fantastic, but are these ideals better than say Norway’s? We could look at Norway or Iceland and say they are exceptional over us because of their low crime rates and penchant for staying away from wars. Does this make them better than us? In my eyes it does, but I cannot speak for a nation of people, nor should anybody else. It is fantastic to have pride in your country, but this pride should not stir up supremacism. I have always believed America should keep to herself. Trying to find nations we believe should be a democracy then enforce said beliefs by military force is wrong anyway you look at it. This concept that America is exceptional above all other nations is the exact way of thinking that caused other nations to hate us.