Russia has invaded the Ukraine and the headlines in much of the western hemisphere and Europe are strongly against the invasion. Chinese headlines primarily concern the missteps taken by Putin and the invasion of the country. The absence of condemnation for the invasion of Ukraine is often immediately seen as a moral failing of the main stream media in China by the western hemisphere however, one would do well to keep in mind that the eastern hemisphere does not have a morality issue with what they see as a “just war”. Again there is the knee jerk reaction to take some moral high ground especially in the United States but it may be important to keep in mind that the United States has invaded at least 69 countries since 1776. That is a lot of “just war”. The invasions are merely the tip of the iceberg for the United States of America. The United States has also sponsored terrorism and paramilitary operation all over the globe since the 1960s. Invasion’s and terrorism are tools of nations for social control. Scratch that last statement, the major tool for social control by nations is violence. When a nation uses violence to gain social control the term for justification of the use of violence is “just war”.
I say this as a former solider and I truly mean it, war, whether you are serving on the side of the victor or the defeated, is a crime.
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
Often war is started by the leadership and carried out by the followers. It is imperative as a nation that we demand no war from our leadership. As strongly as we cry out against the Russian invasion of the Ukraine we as a group should also speak out against the United States invasions.
Violence cannot be the answer. Violence is psychologically attractive for human beings and leadership has tapped into this when convincing men and women to commit acts of violence. The only issue is that violence is not sustainable. Violence involves the dehumanization of the victim of the aggressor and it is in this dehumanization that violence is most damaging.
There are these “rage rooms” that are becoming more popular now. A rage room is a safe room where a person can go and smash plates, furniture anything they can get there hands on. This is a great way to vent out aggression, however venting aggression should be coupled with understanding the roots of the aggression. Is your aggression healthy or is it rooted in some un faced childhood trauma?
The path to peace and away from violence has to start by looking inward. Again violence is easy to be a part of but we have to, if we as a species are going to survive and thrive, askew violence and embrace peace.
I have been reading Noam Chomsky lately I am in the middle of a great book of his titled, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (American Empire Project)”. The book is a good read, Chomsky lays out the groundwork for a thesis which is, the United States of America has engaged in an an Imperial Grand Strategy since the beginning of the second world war and that the strategy has been developed since the days of George Washington and his conquest of the Iroquois nation.
Hegemony is the dominance of one society over another. It is hard to argue against the fact that the United States has not been in the Hegemony business. English is the most widely spoken and used language in the world. 1.5 billion people in the world speak English and the current population of the United States of America and the United Kingdom is only 396 million. Some will argue for American exceptionalism and that the ideas of democracy and a republic are so lofty that others 1 billion 1 hundred four million people are so taken with republican ideas and democracy that they speak English. Keep in mind that democracy was invented in 500 BCE in Athens and some would argue that the French ideas of democracy. liberty and equality are almost identical to those of the United States. Why doesn’t the whole world speak French then? Some would argue that the French have abandoned colonization while the United States has embraced it with wars on almost every continent disguised as peace keeping, nation building, liberation movements.
All this reading and researching into Hegemony and colonization got me to thinking about Nietzsche and his will to power.
[Anything which] is a living and not a dying body… will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant – not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power… ‘Exploitation’… belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life.
from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, s.259, Walter Kaufmann transl.
I am not positive but a will to power concept lacks something that if humanity is to survive needs to have and that is faith in a higher power or humanity. It makes sense that a society that does not have faith in others will find it that societies responsibility to use their perceived power to enforce their cultures and norms on other societies. The United States started with land management and the slaughter of the indigenous peoples and have not taken their foot off the gas pedal since.
Instead of learning from others the United States has tried and is succeeding in homogenizing the entire world. There is little besides voting that I can do to stop the spread of the United States but in my personal life I will try to be more open minded to others and understand that every living being is exceptional and deserves to be treated that way.
We can learn a lot from other living things if we understand that we are not omniscient.
The stories about the evacuation of the Titanic have the famous statement “women and children first”, when loading the life boats. The story goes that women and children were helped onto the Titanic and loaded first. Why? Well, children are our legacy. Children carry on the species through time and therefore must survive. It is natural that we protect our children. Women bare children. When the Titanic sank the gender norms basically gave the role of caring for and raising children to women. So loading the Life boats with Women and Children first made sense.
It still makes sense today to take special effort to protect and care for women and children. However as a society the United States is doing a poor job of providing for women and children.
Yesterday I was publishing my podcast and news of a school shooting was in my feed. 19 children and 2 adults were shot and killed in Texas. Every year in the United States an average of 7,957 children are shot. The mortality rate for women in the United states is among the lowest in the wealthiest countries in the world.
How can we correct this? Start caring about women and children more than we care about ourselves. There are laws that are not passed in the United States that would make it harder to buy guns. Lawmakers and voters do not support these laws. the law makers and voters say they do not support them because they would hinder their rights to buy guns. I am a simple man and what I hear is that women and children matter less to them than their rights. Women die from domestic abuse and poor health care a lot. There are laws that have been halted that would provide health care to a lot of women. The reason the lawmakers and voters choose to stop health care laws or reform? Cost is a big reason for the lack of health care reform and health care for women. People do not want to invest in the health of women or children.
You and the nation that you live in will invest in and take care of what matters the most. The number one investment in the United States is the military. The military budget surges and not the good part of the military budget. Health care for soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen takes hits every year. Military schools and housing projects suffer budget cuts and are regularly shelved. Planes, war ships, munitions, and tanks are financed and roll off the assembly lines are rapid rates. Never stopping always producing and finding new ways to kill people.
America has and is still investing in death, Big time!! The lawmakers and voters for the lawmakers make some big money on war too. In 2021 lawmakers had over 1.5 million dollars of investments in the companies that built the machines that are used in war and “peace” operations of the US Military.
45 lawmakers voted against the background check law in the senate last year and have filibustered the law. all but three of the senators have and continue to take money from the NRA an organization dedicated to making it easy to buy and sell guns.
Protecting our women and children is the right thing but it is not profitable or easy and it seems all the United States cares about is money and efficiency not people. This is sad because people matter most.
I think Orson Welles understood how important people are and should be. When asked if he ever cast a friend in a film instead of the right person he answered with frequently. When asked why…
Because I don’t regard art as the prime importance. I already told you that I prefer every other loyalty in life to arts
If society is not loyal to at the very least its women and children I fear it will be lost. All that matters is each other. not profit or rights or freedom. If we have no women and children we have no future and no hope.
Words can influence, inspire and destroy a soul. Violence only brings death or harm and sometime both. Violence is a complex process but its rewards are short lived. Words live on for generations and inspire grandparents, parents, and children.
What we say to others matters so much and what we write down matters even more. Words can help but they can also hurt. Lies can and often do result in harm and in extreme cases death.
You can lie to everyone and use the lies as a tool to get what you want. You may never even suffer the consequences of lying to others however you will one day be faced with a situation in which you have to look to your self for truth and if all you have done is lied you will not be able to trust yourself.
Lets make a focused effort today and this week to use true words that make the world better.
It is day 7 of Women’s History month and it is also the 12th day of the Russian Invasion of the Ukraine. Russia an Ukraine are at war. The invading force is Russia and the defending force is the Ukraine. Russia is facing economic sanctions and here in the United States we are getting press coverage of the horrors of war, some have family members trapped overseas looking for refuge from the war.
There is a song that Keith Urban sings called Female. The initial lyrics are;
When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl
How does that hit you?
Is that such a bad thing?
When you hear a song that they play saying you run the world
Do you believe it?
Will you live to see it?
He goes on to sing about how equality can be and will be achieved but not unless woman believe in themselves and society works towards seeing them as true equals.
I grew up seeing photos of war and hearing stories about war. When I joined the U.S. Army women were prohibited from being in combat positions. Women were not allowed to serve in combat positions in the U.S. Army all the way up until 2015!
Men and woman are truly equals sharing the best and the bestial and no one should ever stand in the way of a woman or a man who wishes to fight for their country. Perhaps instead of stopping men and women from fighting efforts would be better spent on diplomacy that would cease the cause for the war in the first place .
Me my wife and kids (I almost typed “My Wife and KIds” there, man I loved that show) worked in our church’s soup kitchen for about 8 years. I loved seeing and helping people my wife loved feeding people and the kids were young enough that they still did as they were told.
Working in the soup kitchen was strange. We would check the supplies and if needed head out to a grocery store and purchase supplies. The grocery store was full of food. The grocery store has always been full of food even at the height of the pandemic very few food items at our local grocery store went un stocked. That abundance seems to be the evidence for success of the United States social system. Here is an interesting article comparing the shopping differences in different countries. The grocery stores in the United States are amazing we do not seem to be bound by geography or season, you can get food from all around the world in and out of the season that the food is grown in. I am no longer working in the soup kitchen however I enjoy cooking at the house and it is not uncommon for me to find a recipe online travel to my local grocery store and get the ingredients I need to prepare the food, no matter what time of the year it is.
After picking up all the needed supplies we would go back to the kitchen and start cooking. Quick note here, most of the supplies we picked up were perishables, the community and church patrons have been very generous and we always had supplies on hand. As we started cooking and opening up the kitchen to the public folks would poor in. It took time and there were lulls in the customers coming is so my wife and the kids would spend that time playing scrabble of course
Something that struck me then and I still find startling is the demographics of the hungry in the United States. Most of our customers were children under 16 and adults over the age of 55. So basically people who could not work.
The same system that created the circumstances for the abundance in the grocery store has also created a rather high amount of poor hungry children and senior citizens. Economics is a required class for most in college. When I first got out of the US Army I spent a fair amount of time at the employment office looking for work and speaking with the veterans assistant. When I couldn’t find employment I was told that “it was the economy”. Being the smart alec that I am I asked the assistant to define the economy he couldn’t. The economy is; the resources of a group and how they are managed. That is it simply put it is how we get all that food in the grocery store onto our plates or how it is kept away from our children’s plates. That is the economy and it is not working.
Children are staving while food spoils. Ecological systems collapse and parts of the world become unlivable for humans and almost any animal. I think about the Cedars of Lebanon and their destruction and I see a parallels to the logging that the United States has done out west and now what is left is being destroyed in fire and drought. In Flint Michigan the drinking water was poisoned and there are cities in Pennsylvania that people cannot live in and have fires that have been burning for over 50 years.
I know todays post seems like a bummer and it can be easy to dismiss it all by saying I am not responsible for the hungry children because they are not my kids and I go to work and kill myself everyday to make sure my kids are not hungry. What happens when you can no longer kill yourself? Will you be at the soup kitchen? Many of the retired soup kitchen customers had family. I know because they would show up when tragedy struck for the customer. We like to believe as parents that our children would not abandon us but what if our children are killing themselves to provide for their children and do not have the bandwidth for us. Well then we can dismiss the system with our 401k’s pension plans and medicare right? I have seen story after story of cases were 401ks and pension plans have been robbed and where medicare has not covered the bills. I am not trying to scare anyone but I am beginning to frighten myself. My dad is preparing for retirement right now and I cannot imagine what his anxiety level looks like. Dad and mom worked ungodly hours to take care of me and my sisters for years. Me and the family recycle and I find it tempting to dismiss the ecological disasters with the idea that we recycle so we are not adding to the problem but aren’t we?
See there is a difference in thoughts and idea here. The current economic system in most of the world involves induvial rights and freedoms and no responsibility. Instead of being responsible for our success and our families success the attitude has to change to a sense of obligation for everyone and everything. Here in the United States we are taught that, we are born with rights. In the document that declared Independence from the Monarchy the founding fathers spoke highly about the rights. The founding fathers called them Unalienable. Unalienable means that the rights are impossible to take away or give up. They say that in mans creation they are endowed the rights by the creator but these rights cost something don’t they? The rights are LIfe, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Life requires food and our children are not getting food. Liberty requires freedom and in the United States for every 100 000 people there are 655 that are incarcerated. Happiness is a hard one isn’t it. “Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them” – Tolstoy. It is hard to define and hard to be happy with the current world state. How can we take solace in the poverty, pestilence and war?
Working at the soup kitchen would seem depressing seeing hungry kids and senior citizens should have really bummed me out but it didn’t. I am not cold and unfeeling that is not why it didn’t bum me out. I got to connect with these folks, by talking and playing board games and on nights when me and the wife cooked enough eating with them.
That community helped me realize the major problem with society. We think about rights instead of obligations. Instead of protecting everyone and everything we decide to take care of our rights and our family rights. This thinking causes stockpiling and the few times grocery stores have ran out of food was do to families buying more supplies than they needed.
It is fear and lack of knowledge that keep us away from our obligations. You have an obligation to humanity and the world you live in. We have to take care of each other and the world. When I think of obligation I think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
We are commanded in the Christian religion and every religion to Love each other and we have that definition for love. This is what we should live by. Love should enforce our sense of community and obligation to others.
I am not sure about you but freedoms and rights give me little solace with the current state of the world but love and the power of love… That is my happy place. Love is the only hope I see for my children and it is the only path that has seemed to work in the past.