From within

- by Cary Hopkins Eyles

I write from your country Steve (see "Back at ya Jerre" for this quote: " sit around in your 'little' country and try to make hash of mine. Not gonna happen!") and argue many of the same points that Jerre (and eric and Mike) does. Particularly about these freedoms and our wealth of which you speak.

Seems to me we can compare countries forever and in some ways we will come out on top and in other we will undoubtedly be the worst. However, neither conclusion is a reason to be static. We need to continually question our policies, the effect they have at home and abroad and as an educated bunch, we need to lead the pack in terms of advocating positive, thoughtful change. We cannot rest on our laurels (of which I am skeptical in many ways).

Do you truly not believe that our wealth is based on many other’s poverty? Since you cannot respond as I write I will move on to another part of this discussion on our wealth. You stated that:
"Our wealth is built on our countries ability to out produce any other country in the world. And then to turn around and sell those good to any other country in the world we choose to sell them to."

OK. Let’s start with this jumping off point. We do out produce others. So much so that we have irrevocably harmed our forests, animals, air quality, ozone layer, oceans… and much of our human spirit. Everything revolves around this wealth – producing, advertising, buying, selling. Our government cares more about corporations and the economy than the people and we get involved with other countries when it financially benefits us. Even if we all agree that the U.S. is responsible for ONLY! 50% of the world’s pollution, doesn’t this speak of our great folly – our self-involvement – our overconsumption?!?! There is no option here – we have to change!

Of course we aid countries with big drug and human rights problems – they have money and resources and WE WANT THEM!

As for Noam Chomsky and others like him, I question your logic. Is it that there is no audience for him or that people just passively accept what they are shown on TV? Was there an audience crying out for Temptation Island to show before it aired? Are people crying out for more sitcoms like "Inside Schwartz"? With the amount of channels there are it seems likely that there is room for Dr. Chomsky. But there are people who do not want him heard. As there were people who did not want Ralph Nader heard in the last election. He was the wild card and I know that many people would have listened and at least seriously considered what he had to say – if they had been able to hear him! I know this smacks of "conspiracy theories" so I will preemptively defend that argument with these quotes from "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf:
"This is not a conspiracy theory; it doesn’t have to be."
"A backlash against (ecological changes, capitalism, etc) doesn’t happen in a smoke-filled room; it is often unconscious and reflexive, like racism. (This) backlash is not an organized conspiracy with maps and pins, but a generalized atmosphere..." (italicized portions and parentheses added)

In this way, those in power know when something is being said that hurts their game. They do not have to meet together (the media moguls – all 6 of them!; the oil guys; the CEOs) and plan to squelch speakers such as Noam and Ralph – they just react to something threatening by keeping it quiet. Or by calling these people reactionaries or radicals – all the words that keep people who think differently from being truly free in the U.S. Heck – at this point they/I can be seen as a terrorist or a threat to National Security. Will there be a rule requiring National Unity and National Patriotism soon?

Before closing, I would like to respond to a couple specific points you raise:
"Why would a free society have such government control on the sale of goods produced freely?"
To be responsible. We have the ability to export a great amount and various types of products but with this ability comes responsibility to not cause greater harm. We take freedom to mean free reign but we have all heard that "with great freedom comes great responsibility". As a parent you know that when you allowed me to drive the car without supervision you didn’t mean that I could do whatever I wanted! I needed to drive safely and be aware of the other people on the road and be careful of my passengers – particularly when those passengers with your other children!

And "I am the only one who can humble me!"
This may be true. As "Americans" we need humbling. One would think that what happened on 9/11 would be humbling because it demonstrated the frailty of the human condition (American or not) and jarred us into seeing how people around the world view us (as Americans). But instead we have used it as a weapon against others? Why? Because "many Americans like me don’t give a damn. Yet. We haven’t received our vengeance or brought justice to the perpetrators. When we do you’ll see a change and things will once again settle down."

I do not include myself in this group. I do not believe in revenge or vengeance. These are unhealthy motives. I also do not believe that our government is waging war for these reasons or that they will stop once the "target" has been hit.

Seeing others suffer will not bring back the trust we had before 9/11, will not bring back the people who were lost, will not bring closure nor will it make the world a better place. And if it doesn’t do any of that, then aren’t we just killing people because we can?


Afghanistan refugees

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