Re: Why Europe

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Tue 19 Nov 2002 - 01:21:01 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "RE: Why Europe is so Contrary"

    I'm not sure what your point was, but you put the words together rather elegantly. I would expect every country to have a personal POV concerning what is going on. But what specific things are your talking about? You don't identify the countries in which we have caused hundreds of thousands of people to die at our hand nor do you identify which people were killed by Americans and which were killed by others. Just becuase America gave money to the people running a contry and those people used the money for killing does not automatically make America responsible for the deaths. We gave money to Arafat to run his government and he used much of it to kill Jews. We gave money to Israel and they used much of it to kill Palestinians. Afghans killed each other in droves and we gave many of them the money with which to do it, but that doesn't make us responsible for the actions of the killers. We also gave money to Egypt and Somalia and many other countryies in which the governments of those countries did bad things to the people living there. It was not the fault of the U.S. that they did so.

    Much of what the U.S. is blamed for was actually done by someone else and not at our urging. We even gave England money and arms at various times in the past and some of those weapons were used to kill members of the IRA. That does not mean the things Englishmen and Irishmen are doing to each other is the fault of the U.S.

    Every time we give money or weapons to a country that does not make us responsible for how the people we give them to use them. England and Europe and the Soviet Union also give and gave money to a good many of these countries. Does that make it the fault of England and Europe, too? I don't notice them blaming themselves or each other for the state of the world. Is France resonsible for Algiers, for example? Or England for all of Africa -- or at least those countries in which they contributed their culture and arms in the past. Do you blame England for the poverty and deaths taking place in India and Pakistan?

    Finding people to blame for the actions of others is a child's game. People are responsible for their own actions and the people ordering and doing the killing are the people responsible for it.

    I find my son doing it all the time. It isn't his fault he got into a fight with his boss. It's the boss's fault. He's not responsible for not finishing high school, it's the teacher's fault. It's not the fault of the people who run a country like Zimbabwe that people are killing each other and starving from the policies of the government. It's all America's fault.
      Or maybe England's fault. Or maybe even God's fault. But I say it's the fault of the people who did the deed. So please don't bore me with finger pointing and wild assertions that have no basis in fact.

    >Grant Callaghan wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > As a man who is deploring sweeping generalizations, you seem to be
    > > into your own trap. Is that YOUR petard I see you dangling from?
    > >
    >it may very well be what you see, but whether or not this is actually
    >what is happening is very different question.
    >the folklore or history of the British empire is very different in
    >England, than say in India or Canada. similarly, the record the
    >American activities in other countries since the end of WWII is also
    >seen, when it is seen, very differently within the US than in those
    >countries who have been the object of US affection. a month or so ago
    >there was a conference in Washington - Pentagon I think - that meant to
    >examine why there is so much anti-American feeling around the world.
    >That it was held at all is nothing less than an amazing case of
    >blindness to the military activities of the US in many countries around
    >the world, thousands dead or maimed and dozens of governments
    >overthrown. (a good list was circulating a few months ago of countries
    >bombed, invaded or de-stabilised by the US since 1945)
    >now you can argue pro or con about these activities - this will depend
    >on the culture you have been raised in and other factors - there are
    >many Americans who are unhappy about US foreign policy and there are
    >those in UK and elsewhere who support it. so there is debate about
    >exactly what happened and whether or not it was justified. (Along the
    >lines of: no "massacre", the Israelis say, in Jenin in April, but last
    >Sunday's attack on Israeli troops in Hebron was, the Israelis say, a
    >"massacre", and other nice debates about the number of other people
    >killed are required to constitute a "massacre".) (or here re the IRA -
    >Grant has not told us that the change in US policy with respect to
    >fund-raising activities in the US by the IRA is relatively recent)
    >what is the interesting issue for me, is how a rather dominant strain of
    >US thinking about their overseas activities can be either so dumb,
    >naive, or ingenuous, to fail to make a connection between the record of
    >bombing, invasion and destabilisation and the fact that there is
    >widespread hatred of the US government in these countries. Bin Laden
    >and Saddam, or the Shah of Iran were all American proxies and there is
    >no end of examples which should permit Americans to establish some cause
    >and effect between their own actions and the antipathy felt toward their
    >governments around the world. many Americans can make this
    >much the same can be said about the roles of the UK during and after
    >their Empire period, or other, usually large countries. comparing
    >dominant myths in Serbia and ISrael would be a good study. the issue
    >that's relevant here is how a nation or people can be blind to their own
    >contradictions, (my shit doesn't smell) and how they create historical
    >myths which elevate or sanctify certain aspects of their activities and
    >make invisible that which is unsavory. on a political level, it can only
    >be healthy when nations collectively become aware of their own blindness
    >and contradictions. from the academic perspective, it would seem to be
    >a compelling task to identify instances of this kind of blindness and
    >from these examples, start abstracting theories about the functioning of
    >national and collective consciousness, and unconsciousness.
    >it seems from here - Canadian in Europe - that the kind of political
    >partisanship in America that increasingly is reflected in its
    >scholarship and science - (the cultural civil war) - and which makes
    >participation by others in alot of American academic discourse at worst,
    >a waste of time, and at best, a social challenge - is being exported to
    >the rest of the world. it's a natural human characteristic to so
    >identify with the myths that are the basis on one's social identity. the
    >challenge it would seem to people involved in memetics and similar
    >disciplines is to get outside of themselves, because if one doesn't or
    >can't, all one's going to have to say will be recycled ideology cast in
    >a different set of words, basically saying the same thing. It may not be
    >apparent to those who speak it, often it is apparent to those who hear
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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