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Having grown up in a small town in Central Kansas I was taught to believe that my country, the United States of America, was a land committed to justice and peace, a nation that one could count on to do the right thing, a country of civilized folks who had but one thing in mind…….. that of doing the will of God. I also began to realize that there is nothing wrong with feeling ashamed for having done something wrong, that such a response is a rather natural consequence of having violated one’s conscience, a voice from deep within that is no doubt a reliable guide for how a man (or woman) of true integrity ought to live his (or her) life. However, for those who seem to lack the capacity to feel ashamed, one can only wonder what must be wrong with them.

As I began to emerge into manhood there was an ever, ongoing flow of hints, subtle suggestions that things were not as I had been told. However, it wasn’t until our country vented its awful wrath upon a post 9-11 world that I began to realize that I had been misled. At that point I had no choice but to take a long, hard look at the history of our country, a thorough examination of what turned out to be a past drenched in the blood of our foes, foreign lands raped of their natural resources, democratically elected governments overthrown, an outrageous succession of egregious arrangements with tyrants and dictators from around the world, along with the fact that our nation is the only developed country in the world that utilizes the death penalty to kill its own people, and that we imprison more of our own people than any other nation in the world…… all of such having enabled me to gain a better understanding of why there are so many folks around the world who have become upset by our nation’s apparent willingness to abuse and exploit our fellowman. As a result of what I found, I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of the American public is out of touch with reality, that such folks have unwittingly allowed themselves to have become mercilessly entangled in a world of fabrication and make-believe, a nation dominated by sheepish yes-men unwilling to face the fact that we, as a nation, are, and for some time have been, caught in a downward spiral of moral decline.

I have found it rather common for folks to become a bit upset with people like myself who occasionally pass judgment upon our country. In fact some have even told me that if I don’t like my country then perhaps I ought to consider leaving it. Such folks seem to believe that criticizing one’s country (one that has attained such a high standard of living…… as if such a thing should make a difference) is somehow unpatriotic. However, the last time I checked there seemed to be no relationship whatsoever between a nation’s quality of life and that of its moral standards. I have also found that individuals that tend to equate criticism of one’s country with that of being unpatriotic either do not understand the postulates upon which democracy is based or that their identity is so terribly intertwined with that of their nation that they have seemingly lost the capacity to reason in an objective manner. Finally, based upon my experience of having debated with such folks, it has become rather clear to me that most of these quislings have little or no education as well as being relatively uninformed as to what is going on in the world.

Now, if you don’t mind, allow me to take a look at a few things that tend to bother me regarding the country in which I just happen to have been born……. the United States of America.

I never cease to be amazed at how terribly ethnocentric the typical American tends to be. It is almost as if having been born in the United States confers upon one the right to think of himself as a privileged person, a contrived sense of status that no doubt lies at the very heart of everything that I will discuss in this paper. For example, consider religion…… the fact that the majority of Americans look upon Christianity as the one and only road that leads to salvation, every other faith a blind alley leading to the unending fires of Hell. Next is that of capitalism, a system having apparently received the blessing of God as the universally correct way of doing business. And then democracy, a political system that apparently no one in their right mind has a right to question. Of course there can be no doubt that democracy is certainly a stellar way of running a country, but must everyone in the world agree? Besides if the religious right (just as Moslems in Iraq) were to seize control, don’t you think that they (as fundamentalists) might be tempted to set up Christianity as the official religion in our country rather than that of running a democracy based upon the separation of church and state? Think about it……. fundamentalists are no doubt fundamentalists regardless of the color of “their stripes!” On the other hand, one must ask what right we (as citizens of a nation that is a mere 231 years from its own inception) have to tell folks living in countries not more than a hop, skip, and a jump from the “Garden of Eden” how they ought to live their lives. Ethnocentrism yes, but perhaps even worse than this is that which such narrow-mindedness almost always brings to pass; an unreasoning sense of arrogance generally referred to as that of the arrogance of ignorance!

One only needs to recall the fact that a major segment of the Southern Baptist Church welcomed Adolph Hitler’s march to war in order to uncover the underlying dynamics of such an arrogant faith. According to an article written by William Loyd Allen published in the Christian Century, How Baptists Assessed Hitler (September, 1982), a major segment of the Southern Baptist church (that was attending the 1934 Baptist World Alliance meeting in Berlin, Germany) demonstrated a rather open-armed acceptance of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Falling in line with Nazi propaganda, Allen indicates that the Southern Baptist delegation willingly ignored issues associated with the Nazis’ mistreatment of minorities (Jews, Gypsies, the mentally handicapped, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as others). However, such a disregard is easily understood once one realizes that such an exclusively narrow-minded approach to ethics, one that was (and still is) limited to personal problems such as that of drinking, smoking, dancing, and sex no doubt kept them from developing an interest in problems associated with social injustice. This, along with Southern Baptists’ untoward emphasis upon obedience (that all authority is given by God), an otherworldly-oriented fervor to evangelize the world, a willingness to accept military solutions, racial pride (an historic prejudice toward Blacks), and an out-and-out contempt for communism, quite clearly led the Southern Baptist delegation to support Hitler’s attempt to rule the world. Seemingly they would have learned, but with the exact same factors in place some seventy years later, the Southern Baptists, flaunting the same degree of arrogance, have become enthusiastic supporters of the Bush administration’s arrogant drive to take over the world.

Due to what appears to have been a rather serious lapse of judgment on the part of tens of millions of Americans, the voters, for whatever reason (perhaps it was a matter of fear), chose to place into power a President (a presidential administration) that: may well have laid the groundwork for 9-11 (the “new Pearl Harbor”) that, according to PNAC (Project for the New American Century), was needed in order to pave the way for our country’s military/economic takeover of the world; is in the preparatory stages of going to war with Iran (a conflict that will no doubt reign havoc upon our nation as well as that of the world); lied to the American people in regards to why we went to war with Iraq; vetoed hundreds of U.N. resolutions oriented towards helping the world to become a more humane and peaceful place in which to live; has been unwilling to join with other nations in treaties and accords that would lead to betterment in the world (i.e., the Kyoto Protocol); unscrupulously armed and in other ways supported Israel in its decades-long attacks upon the Palestinian people; tampered with votes (especially in Ohio) during the 2004 presidential election enabling the Republican Party to steal another election; lied to citizens in that our government has no intention of leaving Iraq given the fact that it is in the process of building as many as fourteen “Enduring Military Bases” (enough to house at least 100,000 soldiers) along with that of having built the world’s largest Foreign Embassy located in Baghdad (a 592 million dollar, 104-acre, 21-building complex); committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, as well as high crimes and misdemeanors for which several of our leaders should be impeached; condoned the use of torture on prisoners captured in Iraq and Afghanistan; allowed the CIA to establish a program of “extraordinary rendition” in which secret prisons have been set up around the world for the purpose of interrogating suspects through the use of torture; have engaged in the kidnapping and murder of individuals opposed to our foreign policy objectives; violated the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution by intentionally choosing to interfere with the free flow of information to the American people; enacted laws (such as that of the Patriot Act) that are seriously eroding our freedoms; through the use of the Military Commissions Act, granted the President the right to arbitrarily detain, imprison, and torture U.S. citizens at that of his own discretion (and without the right of Habeas Corpus!); allowed the President to disobey more than 750 U.S. laws through the use of so-called “signing statements”; through the passage of the Defense Authorization Act of 2007 set the stage for, essentially creating the likelihood that, our country might one day become a military dictatorship; allowed the United State’s military to develop an extremely sophisticated, website-based video game (America’s Army) to be used as a recruitment device that is teaching millions (perhaps as many as nine million) of our children to kill human beings with an increased degree of efficiency, all of such having desensitized our teenagers to kill others with little, or no, psychological pain; has enabled politicians to profit immensely from funds awarded to corporate enterprises associated with the military-industrial complex; bankrupted the nation by allowing the national debt to rise to nine trillion dollars in spite of the fact that the nation’s actual debt is a little over 59 trillion dollars due to the government’s use of unorthodox (essentially unethical if not illegal) accounting practices that intentionally disregard (essentially misinforming the American people with respect to) unfunded promises to reimburse (that is to repay) Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and an assortment of federal retirement programs; and has been absolutely unwilling to take responsibility for the fact that we, as a nation, have done more to destroy the ecosystem of our planet than anyone else on Earth.

For anyone who has taken the time to study the history of the human race, there can be no doubt that one of the primary, if not the primary, cause of harm is that of people taking up arms in the name of God. No one in their right mind can deny that Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, or Lao Tse were men of good will. However, over the centuries the simple yet profound truths taught by these wonderfully wise men have been perverted beyond recognition. And, as far as the West is concerned, the greatest perversion has been that of the religious right’s willingness to accommodate the needs of neoconservatives in Washington D.C., a well-thought-out, although no doubt surreptitious, plan to allow the Bush-Cheney presidential administration to utilize their faith (a plan of salvation that rather conveniently ignores the teachings of Jesus, the fact that we should love rather than kill others) as a theologically-based (no doubt divinely inspired) justification for a cadre of militants all to ready to go to war in order that they might one day rule the world……. and all of such in exchange for political presence, an increased opportunity for the religious right to publicize a gospel of family values (a rather fabricated attempt to “sugarcoatedly-disguise” an undoubtedly well-documented ideology of out-and-out social-political conservatism). Looking back at history, there can be little doubt that much the same occurred in the 1980’s when Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority decided to align itself with Ronald Reagan’s tenure as President, and, before that, when Germanically-oriented Christians decided to go along with, and therefore to support, Adolph Hitler’s Nazi inspired efforts to rule
the world.

Concerning the education (or shall I say the mis-education) of our children it is high time that we do the right thing, that we stop lying to our kids and begin telling them the truth. The school’s job is not to make “good citizens” of our children, for in doing such a thing our children end up being duped, conditioned, slowly but surely brainwashed, into becoming truckling sycophants, bootlicking followers of the status quo. As one who has taught college students for the past 41 years, the only task worthy of a teacher is that of teaching our kids how to think for themselves, critical thinking skills that might perhaps enable them to counter the outrageous mendacity of those in power, chauvinistic jingoes who would, through the use of propaganda, have our children believe a lie rather than that which is true.

Regarding our economy, a capitalistic enterprise focused upon one, and only one, thing (the enrichment of the rich euphemistically referred to as that of “the American Dream”), we, as Americans (those of us who are rather well-to-do), should be ashamed of ourselves, ashamed of having become an island of enormous wealth stationed in the midst of a poverty-ridden world (not to mention an ever-expanding proportion of our own people who are poor) in that we go to bed every night with a willingness to anesthetize ourselves to the needs of billions of folks whose lives are inextricably mired in an absolutely desperate attempt to simply survive. And then due to what appears to be a rather natural correlate of capitalism (activities that no doubt follow capitalism wherever it goes), the American people (folks so terribly possessed by that which they possess) have developed an apparently insatiable appetite to be rich (the capacity to consume anything and everything they want), the need to be constantly entertained, a near addictive fascination with sex, drugs, gambling, pleasure, power, and violence, and all of such no doubt nullifying any legitimate interest in the “finer things of life” such as that of developing a meaningful philosophy of life, a desire to understand what it means to be a human being, and that which might perhaps be worthy of our time here on Earth.

And then based upon the laws of our nation, lobbyists (highly paid representatives of the corporate world) have been granted the right to converge upon our elected officials for no other reason than to coerce them into conducting business in a manner that more often than not benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. We, as a people, have been led to believe that our votes count when in fact our ballots far too often elect congressmen, the majority of which, wait in hiding for a handout (a bribe) that will serve to fill their “electoral coffers,” and all of such in exchange for a simple promise to use their congressional powers to expedite the needs of their benefactors who in turn are far too likely to reward their compatriots with a well-paid, “post-retirement” position the purpose of which is to use their “congressional knowledge” to bribe those who have now taken their place; a revolving door of immense corruption that is no doubt destroying the foundations of a once democratic republic!

The final, and perhaps most important, reason why I am ashamed to be an American is due to the fact that we, more than any other people, have used our accumulated wealth (part of which comes from money earned from having sold more weapons of war to the rest of the world than the rest of the world combined) along with having developed the largest, most destructive military force (larger than the accumulated defense budgets of the rest of the world combined) since the beginning of time (next year’s defense budget will be nearly 700 billion dollars!), all the while realizing that if we had proven our love for God by using such funds to feed the hungry, medicate the sick, clothe the poor, house the homeless, and liberate the oppressed, we would have become a nation loved and revered by all…… rather than, as things have turned out, having become a land hated by nearly everyone in the world.

In conclusion, in order that you might understand where I am coming from, you need to realize that I do in fact have a bit of respect for my country, or at least for that which was envisioned by our forefathers, the founders of, what has turned out to be, a once great nation. However, just as we would with someone we love, we have no choice but to call attention to weakness, since in doing such a thing we give our loved ones an opportunity to address the problem. It is, and must be, the same with that of the land in which we have been born. If we truly care about our country, if we really do want our nation to flourish, then we should realize that we have not only the right, but, much more importantly, the responsibility, perhaps even, one might say, a moral responsibility to point out its deficiencies in order that it might once again be revived. For we must remember, as our nation goes, so do we……. in its flourishing we, as a people, will no doubt thrive, but in passing away, we, as a collective society, might well cease to exist.









------
G. Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Why I am Ashamed to be an American"
by dougsoderstrom

Kudos
This is a solid explanation of what I was trying to tell people on this site for years.

America is a creation of corruption and now it is reaching its inevitable evolution: complete global parisitism. This is the natural endgame of capitalism, the death of everything that is alive.

Welcome to the Left.

( Posted by: the alienist [Member] On: May 29, 2007 )

Doug
Dear Doug

Let me begin by saying that only the truly enlightened would think and write as candidly as you have here .

Although a non American (who has never set foot in the West -nor has the slightest desire to ) I find what you write strikes a powerful chord.

I too am not young -in fact am old enough to remember the Vietnam War ( an uncle served there as Military Attache in 62 and a cousin as Chairman of a toothless International Control Commission during the 68 Tet Offensive).One has vivid memories of the Life coverage of the Ghastly My Lai Massacre.

It is only much later that one learnt two terrible facts about that particular War:

1. More bomb tonnage was dropped on Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia than during the entire WWII . Yet the Vietnamese have since bounced back . (The reason is simply that ,unlike the West , Asians are inherently a hardly , resilient and forward looking people . Not for them any of de rigeur annual breast-beating convulsions that the West indulges in .)
2. As if that were not enough ,the Vietnamese had to endure the worst form of Chemical Warfare :Agent Orange and of course Napalm . As you might well know ,Agent Orange wreaked incalculable environmental damage , destroying millions of acres of pristine forest for all time to come. What is far worse is it damaged the DNA of countless Vietnamese -ensuring a steady crop of grotesque stunted infants far far into the future.)

True to form though ,America has been utterly steadfast in its repudiation of any liability for such truly Final-Solution-type actions.

And what is the response of the average Vietnamese - open hearted forgiveness and putting the whole sorry episode behind them.( Mind you 3 million of them were killed vs 3000 plus on 9/11 and 3500 plus and counting in Iraq )

Quite a price to pay for that crackpot, totally delusional Domino Theory of good ole John Foster D. The Dominoes fell - but it was 'they' who came out winners in the long run.

And now we are ‘treated’ to the horrendous tragedy of Iraq - a war fought for the sole and express purpose of filling the corporate coffers of the US and the rest of the ‘coalition of the willing’.

From where i am , I couldn't agree with you more.

1. Most Americans hold ,as their primary article of faith ,that their Christian God is a God of the Americans .( Now that has expanded to include Westerners in general).
2. They are God's Chosen People.
3. Lording it over the rest of the world ( with their jackboots) is their Divinely ordained Manifest Destiny . ( A perversion of Psalm 24 )

That therefore ,puts all their actions -both personal and geo-political - beyond all Morality.

Extreme violence ,of the magnitude that would have even a Heydrich or a Himmler drooling in sheer envy is perpetrated about as casually as one might swat a fly or mosquito.

A Corollary of this is that a single westerner dead or kidnapped counts for far far more than a million or more of us "lesser breeds" . ( Another perversion here : of Blake's famous lines about 'robin-red breasts in a cage'..)

At the risk of sounding 'over-the -top 'let me say that one perceives the West (and Westerners) today as being eerily reminiscent of Germans in Nazi Germany ( the similarities stare one in the face : the Aryan stock ,the dyed-in-the-wool Christianity, the creed of 'white supremacy' ...) .

And are taking the world in very much the same direction : to an utter and complete destruction.

It would perhaps be good for the world (especially the rest ) if this Empire ,grown arrogant beyond belief meets with its speedy Nemesis.

For far ,far too long have we ,the meek defenceless rest ,suffered.

Finally , I find it supremely ironic that so much of our much-vaunted Western Thought, Theology and Culture was really made possible by the Commentaries of an Arab , Averroes , whose writings greatly influenced Christian Theologians like Thomas Aquinas. And set the stage for everything else - including the Renaissance and the Scientific Method .

This would doubtless be an incredibly bitter pill for many a Western Intellectual ( serene in the belief that even the Sun rises and sets in the West ) to swallow.

Yours Sincerely

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: May 30, 2007 )

RJKT
As always your comments are full of insight and seem to me right on the mark. And thank you once again for having taken the time to read my work. I only wish that I lived next door to you so we could visit with each other every day.

Your friend,
Doug

PS I am going to delete my article and change a couple of words. I'll place the piece back on line as soon as I make the "two-word" change.... Just so that you would know.

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: May 30, 2007 )

The Alienist
Thank you for your fine comment:

This is a solid explanation of what I was trying to tell people on this site for years.

America is a creation of corruption and now it is reaching its inevitable evolution: complete global parisitism. This is the natural endgame of capitalism, the death of everything that is alive.

Welcome to the Left.

I guess I sort of took the words "out of your own mouth." Good minds must think alike!

The best to you.
Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: May 30, 2007 )

Doug
Dear Doug

Thank you for your very kind comments on what was basically a rather disjointed spew of emotion and words.

The point ,still remains : the West has taken the very concept of hubris to heights hitherto undreamed of.In the process ,could it have got the better of Nemesis: only Time will tell.

Speaking ,not entirely ,facetiously - where would we have been ,had we not had Bush , Cheney , Blair and their cabal taking us squarely into the end-game : the dissolution of the West's Seventy Year Reich.

For not too much longer -or so one hopes - will the Sun rise in the West and shine exclusively on the West .

If indeed there does turn out to be a Heaven and a Hell , it may well be that the latter is far too small and inadequate for so many of these denizens of the West , responsible for wreaking such havoc, depredation and mass murder on the rest of the world.

As I said earlier ,even Morality breaks down in the face of the sheer scale and enormity of the West's utter depravity and criminality.

Yours Sincerely

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: May 30, 2007 )

Agreed
Although nobody really wants to say it, sometimes things like your article must be said in order for us to rise above our mistakes, learn from them, then carry on in more appropriate manner.

I've also been born here in the United States and grew up being taught certain things, things of which I was never taught to question. Although I'm still very young, already I've asked too many questions that seem to make everyone else uncomfortable and unwilling to answer. I can already see that the educational system I had graduated from didn't prepare me for anything other than becoming XYZ Corporation's minimum-wage-slave.

Without starting another article here where comments should be directed, I want to thank you for contributing this information for everyone to take a good hard look at. There is still hope for young people in our country, however, and if I can realize what's going on and start to do something about it (as sheltered of a life as I had led), then any number of other young people can still catch on and start doing what will benefit them the most: Ask More Questions!

Hat's off to you, friend.

( Posted by: JoeyB [Member] On: May 31, 2007 )

I think you're confused about terms...
Much of what you say is, to some degree, true. But it boils down to this, IMHO:

1. People do bad things.
2. Americans are people.
3. Therefore, America is bad.

Your argument would lead me to believe that you're ashamed to be a human, not specifically an American. And since one of your issues seems to be a problem with nationalism per se, I'm not sure it would be possible at any time for someone who agrees with all your points to be "proud" to be an American, since that implies that America is better than other places.

I think that indiscriminate nationalism is, indeed, a bad thing. It blinds people, as you say, to the areas in a country's character or systems that require improvement. But, conversely, I also think that excessive, unbalanced negativity about a place -- without some kind of comparative quantifications -- is harmful, too.

We should never be proud or ashamed, I think, of "America" in the abstract. There is no abstraction of country; it is not even really a place, but a people joined by their ideas of government and culture.

By what measures will we judge a group of people? How can we say, "You in country ABC are more successful than you in XYZ?"

America -- in the form of its people -- has done many bad things. And many good things. There's big stuff going on now that I think is stupid and evil, too. But does that negate the good stuff?

You can certainly answer that question: yes. If you believe that, in the aggregate, with all things considered, that all American people and their culture and government accomplish more evil than good, compared to all the other countries in the world... that's fine. It's an opinion that can be well argued, as you've done here, Doug.

But judging parts of a whole as less-than-optimal -- or even harmful -- isn't a reason to be ashamed of the whole, is it? I am ashamed of my own misdeeds and errors... but I am not ashamed of myself, wholly, as a result. I do not like the harmful or destructive things my friends do, but I don't shun them from shame.

If a friend behaves so badly that you are truly ashamed of them, it is time to stop being their friend.

I don't mean to say: "America: love it or leave it." That's infantile. But I do mean to say that I don't think its helpful to point out flaws without balance, and to offer no suggestions for improvement.

Is America the best country on earth? I have no idea. I suppose it depends on who you are and what your definitions are. I do know that people here are allowed numerous freedoms, privileges and opportunities that aren't always available elsewhere. I know that, despite the tales of us being universally hated... many people from other parts of the world still consume our culture, educational opportunities, products and services and seek to emigrate here. I know that our models for government and economy have been copied many times in many places, to the benefit of people elsewhere. I know that we invent things. I know that we play together, among ourselves, better than many peoples, despite the bewildering array of ethnicities, religions and belief-sets we support.

And I know that when things are bad, America is a place where the people have the power to change them, as has happened so many times in our history.

I am proud to be a husband and father, son and brother, a friend, a worker, a poet and musician. I do these things in America. Does that mean I like everything about my country? No. But it means I am who I am, to some degree, because of where I come from.

You write well, Doug. But I think your conclusions are unbalanced, and that you somehow expect America to be more than the sum of its good and bad parts. I want to make it a better country, yes. But to do so, first I think I need to admit a certain pride that we can make it a better country, using the tools and rules already available.

Gosh. That was longer than I intended. Sorry for the verbosity.

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: May 31, 2007 )

Fundamentalism
Of late I've been 'privileged' to be at the receiving end of a white-American -ranting and raving on the immigration issue . And bizarrely enough ,managing to work God's Will into the 'divinely ordained ' business of keeping America racially pure .

I did give her a fitting reply : asking her how her thinking and attitudes square with the fundamental tenets of Christ's message. All I got in reply ,was an insane rant - which would have done credit to the most hardened KKK fanatic.

Which leads me to the larger issue: never has one come across more closed , insular minds .

And never has one come across a worse perversion of Christianity .It's almost as if the Christian God exists only to fulfil the desires of a hundred million or so white fundamentalist Christians in America -and elsewhere in the West.

All one can say is that this is some sick ,satanic latter-day Gadarene Christianity .

Where ,very much like the swine ,a hundred million or so souls have made themselves truly possessed .And are about to take the rest of the world along with them -in their crazed plunge into the darkest abyss.

Thank God for the sheer insanity and the murderousness of the Western world. Once they wipe the rest of us out , a truly humane and noble race may perhaps emerge.And all would not have been in vain.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: May 31, 2007 )

JoeyB
Thank you very much for your kind remarks....... and yes, if there are other fine young people like yourself, perhaps then there might be hope for the world

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: June 2, 2007 )

Andy Havens
I read all of your remarks and will take them into considerstion.

However, so you will know, it is not that I hate everything about my country (we have done a few good things as you well point out). It is just that I am ashamed of how my country has used its vast power in order to hurt so many people around the world.

Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: June 2, 2007 )

RJKT
You do have a way with words!

I agree with everything you said!

Your friend,
Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: June 2, 2007 )

Doug
I find it interesting that you cite Hitler's dream of establishing a worldwide Third Reich in this excellent piece of writing. Hitler, as you probably already know, took his ideas for the breeding out of 'inferior' humans, disabled people, Jews, gypsies etc. from USA and UK eugenics programmes being carried out in the 1920s in America and in the UK the idea of 'breeding for purity' received widespread support from our intellectuals, DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf for example. We, in Britain, can't afford to be smug about the fact that we never passed any eugenical legislation. It was a bloody close call and even Churchill supported the idea of sterilising the 'mentally enfeebled'. I watch national and world events with growing concern. These do seem to resemble my concept of the 'last days' and I wonder how far we are from total collapse of our'civilised' societies.
A thought provoking and very interesting piece of work, Doug. If anybody doesn't like your ideas. Then surely, in a nation that is supposed to support the individual's right to free speech, their accusation is seriously flawed. You are being patriotic in that you demonstrate how the concept works - wasn't that the whole point of being allowed to express your views - the fact that you live in a democracy?
You are being patriotic in saying 'look - there's something wrong here - it needs fixing, not burying only to re-emrge later and destroy us'. You have certainly inspired a great deal of discussion here - thank God we can still do that.

Take care
Paul

( Posted by: Ogg [Member] On: June 3, 2007 )

Eugenics
Paul. With apologies to Doug.

The following is an extract from www.eugenics-watch.com :

"White supremacy declined, but did not disappear completely. In 1960, a member of the Eugenics Society, Reginald Ruggles Gates, founded a new periodical to advance racist ideas. The Advisory Council of the new journal, Mankind Quarterly, included yet another member of the Darwin family, Charles Galton Darwin."

I quote this because of the rather delicious irony that surrounds one of the main characters : Dr. Reginald Ruggles Gates ,FRS .

Dr. Gates ( the first husband of Dr. Marie Stopes ,and great grandnephew of Gen. Horatio Gates and another very distinguished person of the times :Brig. Gen .Timothy Ruggles) was the man my late father ( an Indian )took his PhD under ,at King's College, London ,in 1939.

Ironically ,despite his fervent espousal of Eugenics, Dr. Gates spent his last six months ( very happily I might add) in Calcutta , India ,as the guest of Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis ( the long-time Economic Czar of India ).

So much for Eugenics.



( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: June 4, 2007 )

Doug
Dear Doug

Thank you very much for your very kind words.Though I wouldn't be too sure about the 'way with words' bit-one still has quite a stretch to travel just to come upto snuff.

I agree with the sentiments Paul has expressed here. If what one encounters in the media is any indication , there is far far too much blind jingoism ( and of course outright brow-beating ) going on.

Few are able to summon up the courage to stand up and dare to be different.However the herd mentality can have terrible consequences . One couldn't have a more striking and a more vivid illustration of it than the spectacle of lemmings blindly rushing on to their own destruction.

Frankly i don't understand this bizarre incongruity. The West has the finest universities and the noblest traditions of fostering creativity and getting people to think for themselves.

Yet ,increasingly it seems ,people are becoming more and more amenable to being pigeon-holed , stereotyped - and led by the nose.

How come.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: June 4, 2007 )

Doug
Dear Doug

Just to qualify a point i'd made on creativity.I don't think i'd be entirely correct in saying that creativity is on the wane.

In fact it's quite the reverse: creativity is quite the orthodoxy , especially in the world of letters.

However one gets the feeling it's of the mindless kind. People are encouraged to craft , contrive and come up with new forms , new structures and novel expressions.The 'creative output' is thus truly phenomenal in quantity terms. But the instances of true creativity are very few and far between. Most sink into the quagmire .

Which beings me to my point : true creativity is, more often than not ,the end-point of ( often )arduous honing and perfection of one's craft. Involving : the drawing upon a variety of sources. application of thought ( and passion) ,capped ,if one is lucky, with a flight of sublime inspiration.

To illustrate my point : Gandhi's message , which in the realm of human affairs, represented a giant leap forward was not conjured up by him with the wave of some magic wand. In fact ,he drew upon a vast range of sources: his own Pranami-Vaishnava ethos, Christ's message, the writings of Thoreau and John Ruskin's "Unto this last'.And then spent years honing and refining his essential philosophy.

Creativity , de rigeur and by rote , ends up being deadly dull.



( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: June 4, 2007 )

Unconditional Love
Lucie.

" We could unconditionally love America for who she is, anyway. And we could stand together in an attempt to treat her illness."

How about extending a merest fraction of that 'unconditional' love ,consideration and compassion to the victims of America's ( and her flunkey countries ) depredations : Vietnam , Iraq to begin with.


( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: June 5, 2007 )

Shades of Toussaint Louverture
Dear Doug

My two-pice worth:

Were I an American , or indeed a Westerner ( Western Governments too are complicit as they 've 'circled the wagons' around themselves ) I should be hanging my head in mortification and shame .

Instead of carrying on - being as brazen as ever . Doggedly arguing that the Moral High Ground has been Divinely endowed to 'us' . Therefore is 'ours' forever .And that 'our values' are the very best there is -or ever was.

This creed (that few Westerners do not subscribe to) springs from a very deep-rooted ,atavistic belief that they are ,in fact ,the "Master Race " .

(Much as it sounds abhorrent to say so ,the Nazis were arguably the only ones with the courage of their convictions to trumpet the notion of "Aryan Superiority" . Something the rest truly believe , but are much more covert and circumspect about it . It ,nontheless,permeates every attitude and every action of theirs .)

From the Western perspective ,everything about it is far superior . Their scientific and technological acheivements are without parallel (indubitably so). Their literary , cultural and artistic achievements can never be surpassed . The very Gods themselves couldn't have done better than Shakespeare ( and Harry Potter ) . The Bill of Rights is truly sublime -transcending the Bible, the Vedas, the Qu'uran and the works of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates..The list goes on and on.

In short ,most remain unshakably convinced that the West is an ethos that will go from strength to strength .And on which the Sun will never set.

Just when it seemed that nothing could ever stop the relentless ascendancy of the West squarely in its tracks .And that the 'wretched of the Earth' were forever condemned to eternal servitude to the West .

Along comes a hubris-drunk Bush, Cheney and Blair . To drive the last nails in . Or so one hopes.

Will the era of :

"The head must bow
And the back
will have to bend
wherever the darkie may go"

ever pass.

Yours sincerely

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: June 15, 2007 )





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