Saturday, December 04, 2010

War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

by Rich Miles

If you go back over my essays for the past 6 years or so, one of the things you will find is a relatively frequent use of the expressions "I don't know how..." or "I can't understand how" this or that happened.

And in almost every case, you will find that I will be making that observation about a fine point of human nature. For instance, "I don't know how these people can be so effin' stupid as to" vote for such and such a moron candidate.

But now, I think I may understand, at least a little bit better.

People vote for Republicans because they (the repugs) appear to be able and willing to kick the shit out of the opposition. And deep down in their shrivelled little hearts, that's what the "people" want: politicians who are as close as we can get today to the ancient warriors. Men like Achilles, and Odysseus, and in another context, Geronimo and Chief Joseph. George Patton. George Custer. All our heroes, not just the ones mentioned here but many more, are bloody, murderous men, who were ruthless to their enemies and took no prisoners.

(Why doesn't Hitler make this list, you may wonder. He certainly had the raw skills. It's because he overdid it, and killed too many innocents. And did it too publicly. Too visibly. IMHO. And this we couldn't stand in our relativistic moral universe.)

And these are the men we want our leaders to be like today. But we're too civilized for all that, so we elect Republicans instead - men who do the rhetorical equivalent of killing all the enemies, who at the very least do the modern equivalent of counting coup on their adversaries, an exercise with no other purpose than to humiliate their enemies, and weaken them by that.

Every once in a while, we tire of all the bloodshed, and we elect some Democrats for a while. But sooner or later - usually sooner - our bloodthirstiness catches up with us, and we elect the ones who do the most damage to the enemy, who leave the most mutilated corpses on the field of battle - the Republicans.

We are not so civilized as we think much of the time. We seek leaders to do these things for us, and to keep us in a state of war as close to constantly as possible. (Think about that one for a minute - how long have we NOT been in some war or another in the history of the republic?) And it is our leaders' duty to make it look as if WE are the peaceful ones, who only go to war when provoked. But a closer reading of history will show differently. We were not provoked in very many of our longest conflicts.

For you see, wars are excellent ways for leaders to control the people. It's happening right now. It's been happening in an undeniable way since 9/11. We are being lied to and controlled. I don't need to offer examples of this, because thinking persons will see it with very little prompting.

And the rest don't matter.

How much of our nation's substance has gone for "defense" - how much could we as a race have accomplished if we had not spent so mucn on war?

Impossible to say. But the above is, I believe, the reason why we vote for Republicans, despite clear and unmistakable evidence that it's bad for us to do so. They spend all our money on wars. They kill our children in wars. In short, they keep us in control with wars. And we let them do it, because we WANT war. Macro or micro, World War or political wrangling - we want war. We want the conflict. It makes us feel manly - even though women sometimes feel it too.

And that is why we keep electing Republicans. And it makes me so very sad to see it. Every time it happens. The older I get, the more it simply wears me out to see it. My fellow human beings are so foolish as to yield (without knowing it most of the time, I believe) to their "baser instincts". That of the kiiler. The maimer. The destroyer.

I don't know why human nature is this way. I personally do not conform to this model. But I know why our leaders use it this way. Because they can. Because we let them. We don't put together the cause and effect - haven't done so for 5000 years and more. And the net result has been nearly 5000 years of war and death and destruction.

And as Sean Connery says in the film "The Untouchables": What are you prepared to do about it?

1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

The conservative mind,by nature, is a paranoid one. It does not come from a rational set of beliefs, but rather from a series of misguided cynical suppositions. That is why those of us on the other side will never fully understand it.