September 6, 2002

Not enough facets.

Ok, let’s see if I can clear some things up.

If a person acts for a bad reason, his action is unjustified. Sometimes the action is small and without great consequence. Let’s say I get up and dance to Alva Star with the intention of impressing people. That’s a weak line of reasoning, as it depends on the unverifiable (at least until after the action) assumption that people will be impressed.

My awful, horrible generalization of the activist mind is this: “I dance to make an example of myself and to help move the unenlightened horde that isn’t dancing.”

This line reasoning is unjustified. It assumes that there is something innately right about the activist position, merely because “everyone else thinks this way, so I must be right.” My previous discussion may have alienated people, yes, but the activist mindset alienates everyone that doesn’t agree with their cause. Instead of meeting the hordes at their own level and building them up, activists sit in their own holy chairs of enlightenment and ‘tsk’ the people who have not yet come to the right conclusion. The image is a strange juxtaposition, when you consider that the stereotypical activist that shows up to an anti-globalization rally looks like he fell out of Haight- Ashbury.

Now, do not misunderstand. I have no love for the flag-waving patriot that believes in “my country, right or wrong.” That sort of dedication is dangerous and unjustified. I also think that “my country, wrong and wrong,” must be incorrect as well, as it’s too easy and too convenient of a counter-argument. Motivation and passion are great and wonderful movers of people, but can often cloud judgment. This does not mean that we need to do away with them, quite to the contrary. However, action with passion does not make the action right. There is no doubt the terrorists were passionate about their cause, but I believe they were suffering from a horrible mental disease when they crashed jetliners into our buildings.

Should they be held accountable for this disease? Fuck yeah. They’ve got free-will just as well as we do. They’ve got the free will to shit on us, and we’ve got the free-will to make sure they never shit again.

I have trouble understanding the anti-war argument, though it may be because I have an oversimplified view and have read too many counterarguments to their claims. I had an argument with my friend last year about war and civilian casualties, to which he made the claim that “no civilian causalities are justified.”

Alright. That sounds good and all, but it is a manufactured absolute with no justification. It takes the generally held belief that “human life is precious,” (which, as shown by the actions of militant Muslims, is not always the case) and explodes to a preposterous level where it becomes an absolute truth about civilian casualties. I agree that civilian casualties are an awful thing, but I don’t like the alternative any more.

“You’re making the argument that an American civilian life is worth more than an Afghani (or Iraqi, in the current case) civilian life.”

No. I’m making the argument that the government of Afghanistan had the opportunity to meet our demands (hand over Bin Laden), knowing full well that non-compliance would result in war on their turf. Rather than losing one person and saving their country (their awful, Taliban-ruled country that executes people in stadiums), they chose war, and thereby put their own citizens on the line.

The American government’s responsibility is first the lives of Americans, and I kind of like it that way. Were it any different, I would seriously consider why we call it the American government.

for clarification on my end:
i agree to the danger of reasoning based on the creation of absolutes – it does tend to place people into isolated hierarchies. thrones of righteousness are a dangerous place to look down from.
my beef came more from the assumption that all activists see only their own point.
i am not ‘correct’ in my own opinions as they resonate in the world – i can only create my own truths. same as any other person. where we differ, perhaps, is in the number of individuals we accept as able to distinguish the fact that they are doing so (creating their own truths). so long as one realizes this, no problems – you can express your views without placing a right or wrong inferrence on others, instead leaving with them with a ‘different’ view.
not that this form of intellectualism makes for effective activism, but it comforts me in knowing that (for those who understand) i can accept another viewpoint as the truth of another individual.
not sure that i’m making sense here…
as to the pro-war, anti-war discussion, i’ve thrown it about too much lately and am tired of it, i’ll not argue it in this forum. it’s the deeper issues of communication and perception that i wanted to toy with.
i will forever be enthralled by the quest to understand another’s perception of an object, forever cursed in that i cannot completely see that perspcetive. outside my own eyes are only shadows and it is in those shadows i wish to tread…
esoteric enough?
apologies for all of the vitriol – i shouldn’t read web posts (or at least respond) after 2 a.m.