Tuesday, January 22, 2008

differentiation must be earned


I was happy that commondreams published the last post on 1/7/08. The editors put my blistered-orblet in great company -- just a day earlier, they had posted G. McGovern's Why I believe Bush must go. Thank you, Common Dreams.

Thanks also go to the commentators on the site. I was moved by the grace, intelligence, and wit that pervaded the comments. I expected to be flamed by some warmongering, nature-hating, big-ass-car-driving, flag-waving Republicans ... and was pleasantly disappointed.

mwildfire offers critique:

But there is a related problem exemplified in this article and so many others, the error of conflating the collective with a person. Throughout the piece, we are told of the statements and actions of “the US” or “Canada” or “Russia.” But how do we know what “Canada thinks” or “America wants”? What does this mean, anyway?

Yes, we're different, and yes, we're told not to generalize, but no, a generalization of the sort used is called for.
Germans after 1945 had a word for this; Kollektivschuld -- collective guilt.
They had ways of resisting Hitler.
They didn't resist.
And to the extent they did, it was too little too late.
Afterwards, they realized, collectively, that they had screwed up, collectively, and felt guilty, collectively.
That's why it is fair to refer to Germans in WW2 with a generalized "they". And that's why 1933-1945 has left us with the expression of the "Good German".

For the past eight years we've seen the rise of the Good American.

Americans know that the Florida election 2000 was a lie.
They know that Bush's rejection of Kyoto on grounds of scientific 'uncertainty' in 2001 was a lie. They know that the Iraq oil-war in 2003 was a lie.
They know that the Ohio election 2004 was a lie.
They know that New Orleans' flooding could've been avoided and yet they bought into Karl Rove's deceitful call "not to play the blame game" 2005.
They know that the editors of Harper's called for a general strike at the election day anniversary 2007.
They know that at Bali the world spoke in one voice to the USA, imploring Americans to stop their near-unilateral perpetration of cimate change -- and they know that Bush blocked emission caps at Bali in December 2007.

And what happened?

In 2000, the Americans didn't arrest Bush for stealing the vote.
In 2001, they didn't impeach him for blocking Kyoto.
In 2003, they didn't impeach him for raiding Iraqi oil.
In 2004, they didn't arrest him for stealing the vote a second time.
In 2005, they didn't impeach him for engineering the New Orleans catastrophe (money allocated by Clinton to Louisiana for levee restoration was used for Iraq by Bush).
In 2006, they didn't impeach him for special rendition, torture, and Guantamo Bay.
In 2007, they didn't impeach Bush, and they didn't strike either.

Eight years of Good Americans.

You differentiate between rulers and people when people fight rulers.

And if a mass of ballsy people stood up, anyone despising the US rulers would admire Americans.

Then no one could talk about "the" Americans, or about what "America" wants -- no one could equate U.S. policy with Americans.

But as long as Americans fall in line behind their leader, their conduct will give reason to generalize.
My apologies to mwildfire, but --

Differentiation has to be earned.


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