Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Things like this are nothing new. Nothing groundbreaking here. The U.S. and its allies have a habit of supporting brutal regimes, sometimes even overthrowing democratically elected leaders to install a dictator. The situation with Uzbekistan is just one more nail in a coffin made of bullshit.

Like I've said before, acting in one's own self interest is pretty natural. I typically rail on the U.S. for it, but everyone does it. The U.S. just happens to be very good at it, and the actions of the U.S. are more visible to me since I live here (and, at least try and pay attention to what the fuck's going on).

The thing that pisses me off, the thing that insults me, is all the fucking lies and bullshit. I hate being told one thing when it's plainly obvious that it's another. Why do they bother with all the bullshit?

Well, because Americans need to be lied to. I think I'm even more pissed about not the lies that the government feeds us, but the fact that the populace is so fucking stupid that it actually buys all the lies. And of course it does! Saying that we fought the second war in Iraq for oil or influence sounds bad. We can't feel good about ourselves for something like that.

However, when you're helping to empty the torture chambers, when you're working to put an end to mass graves, that sounds important. It sounds noble. These deeds, in fact, are noble and important. They allow Americans to feel good about themselves and their country. Nevermind the fact that these good deeds are only getting accomplished because they're a lucky side effect of what we're really there for.

Well, maybe I'm just being an asshole fundamentalist. In fact, I'm going against my normally utilitarian nature. "Hey, Bitter Little Man, if something good comes out of it in the end, doesn't that make it OK? Don't the ends justify the means? Why not just leave it alone?"

Fuck that. Motives matter. Because, as I've pointed out, the good stuff is just a side effect. The good side effects don't erase all of the other evil shit that went down to produce those side effects.

Furthermore, I just think that all this lying to ourselves is beyond dangerous. Although I'm not always successful, I always try to maintain a policy of honesty, for lots of reasons. One of them is because I believe that lies are almost always exposed in the end. The longer the lies stay hidden, the worse off you're gonna be once those lies are exposed. So why not just get it out of the way as soon as possible? Well, because that's hard. The sooner we face the truth, the sooner we're going to have to do something about it. The sooner we might face change or loss. The sooner we might start feeling bad about ourselves.

We think we can run from things forever. And while we're running, we feel OK.

America has a pathetic self-esteem because it's all based on lies. Not just the lies our government tells us, but the lies we tell ourselves that allow us to feel good about what we do all over the world. Lies that allow us to keep living in ignorance, lies that allow us to avoid doing work that might lead to some true actions of nobility.

Of course, it extends well beyond foreign affairs into all aspects of American life. The Church is a force for good. It'll be okay as long as she doesn't find out I cheated on her. No one's gonna catch us cooking the company's books.

This fragile self-esteem has staying power, though. The Church continues mostly unscathed despite a rash of pedophile priests. That shitty boyfriend gets caught but weasels his way into staying with the girlfriend and keeps fucking around. The crooked CEOs get caught but don't go to jail. Because even when the lies and bullshit are out in the open, we just find new lies to tell ourselves.

The cycle never ends, and we never improve. We're still the same ignorant, ass-backwards little children that we always were, and we're never gonna grow up. And being a Toys 'R' Us kids sucks, because TRU is a shitty toystore.

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