Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Judgement, Guilt and Hypnosis

It's been proposed on another forum that I'm too busy judging others, to judge myself, thus have I been judged...

It's an interesting point. I was accused of being a wealthy american who buys crap at Walmart, that was assembled by twelve year old children in other countries. By this token, I'm as guilty of the crimes committed by Bush and Cheney as they are. The argument proposed is that the Nuremburg trials demonstrated the concept of mass guilt.

This got kicked off, when someone argued that we are all guilty of the sins committed in our names. I disagreed and argued that we can only be guilty of the things we do, and the lives we lead. We are not responsible for what others do, when we have no influence over their actions.

in the view of mass guilt, even the children who died in the ovens, were as guilty of Nazi crimes as Amon Goeth. I wholly reject that view. Though the Nuremburg trials were as much spectacle and theater as justice, it had at least the pretense of dispensing justice. The people put on trial, were people who had authority in the system and made choices that led them to becoming willing participants in the crimes that they committed.

This is a far cry from blaming a citizen that abhorred the system, as being a culpable criminal. Prosecuting the people who actually committed terrible crimes, is not the same as blaming the common man for the sins of others.

What got me into the argument, and likely led to a misunderstanding is that I argued that those gaming the system, and controlling the message, have more culpability than those who are going about their daily lives. These people know what they are doing and have made the decision to participate in the fraud and the crimes. They have made this their career and life's work.

The common man shares some guilt and responsibility, insofar as they could do much better. Our apathy is the sin that leads to other sins.

The counter argument is that apathy and or ignorance makes one just as guilty, as those that choose an active life of crime.

I still disagree. Our culture and the hypnotic training provided by television and radio, are powerful forces of control. People should, if compelled by a higher reasoning of ethics, work to break this cultural and societal hold. But the masses don't. And the reason is simple science. The quickly flashing images and simple messages that the televisions project, goes straight to the core of our being, to the reptile part of our brains. People spend their lives learning to manipulate other people, into accepting political slogans and buying a specific brand of flavored sugar water.

It's an intentional act of manipulation, backed by sound science. People shouldn't fall for it, but most do.

The folks that frequent this forum and similar one, are a self selected group. Most of you, like myself are likely misfits by some definition or another. You're all likely to have above average intelligence. And you're all likely finding it easier to walk away from the television, than most can. Some of you may not even own televisions. For myself, from college on to marriage, I didn't have a television. I played games, guitar and vinyl discs that were popular in that era. I didn't have many friends hanging out at my place. It was too boring without a TV.

I'm sure though that many of you have experienced the brain numbing qualities of television. When I married my first wife, the continuous noise and imagery from the television would in fact, cause me to lose track of time. I would get home from work, the TV would be on, and as part of my communal activities, I was expected to stare at the television with my wife and step daughters. I burned out on that fast. The dog and I spent a lot of time walking the neighborhood.

But in millions of homes in the USA, families stare at the television for hours every night. Sometimes, they even watch the same exact television.

The power and influence it has, is nothing short of incredible.

Now, back on that other thread, I probably really kicked it into the let's teach Weaseldog a lesson mode, when I argued about self selection, and that for each reader present, there was someone in the country on the other side of the IQ scale. A person who wouldn't understand most of the articles and comments written, and wouldn't care. Obviously, I'm not a PC Liberal, though I do believe in the Golden Rule.

I don't think I argued anything that isn't factual. After, I've known people all of my life that are representatives of the TV Zombie Culture. These people have opinions that they get from the television. And they use them to make judgments when they go to the polls.

There are precious few in this group that I would characterize as being evil. Most are decent and moral people. I cannot, therefore make the logical leap in assigning them the same culpability that I would give Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney I would wager, doesn't watch much television. He is a hard worker. And he has openly committed crime after crime in the pursuit of personal profits. Openly obviously, as in elephants wandering in a circus tent kind of openly and obviously. It's hard to feel guilty about being judgmental when crimes are committed in plain view.

But 'judgmental' I have been labeled. I think I'm good with that.

And this leads in our round about journey to a concern that I have with the Democratic Party, or is it just liberals as defined by liberals? What drives the fear of being judgmental? Is it really as the Dark Wraith has recently argued, a product of our educational system? He argues that we a have a whole generation of people brought up to believe that no one should be judged, out of a sense of fairness. I'm heavily paraphrasing. Mosey over and see if you get that impression from the professor yourself.

And this is why they buy the idea that you don't prosecute politicians for war crimes, because it might produce discord, or harm our nation or some other bullshit excuse, on that order. This is why the Democratic Party has no spine and can't defend it's constituents. It can't stand up to bullies, for fear of hurting their feelings.

Bush and Cheney killed well over a million human beings (likely more than three million), right out in the open. in plain site. Lie after lie after lie produced atrocity after atrocity. War crimes pile upon war crimes. And the Democratic Party gives token speeches of disapproval, then acquiesces. Then puts their stamp of approval on this ghastly state of affairs and adopts these crimes as their own.

And they do it, so that they won't cause discord, or hurt a war criminal's feelings.

Barak Obama may have well over a million human beings slaughtered on his watch. His party tells us, it's okay, because we should not judge people. It's not our place.

To hell it is. When a crime is committed in public, before our eyes, we have a duty to recognize it and if we can, do something to prevent it.

In this case, I don't think is a god dammed thing we can do. But I will not, sit back and pretend that Emperor has no clothes, for fear of hurting somebody's feelings on the internet.

The crimes continue. I can see them. I am not at fault. I do not share responsibility, as I am opposed to them. I am helpless to stop Obama from committing crimes in my name, but I will not acqueiese and take credit for his decisions.

Yes, I am guilty of buying shoes made in China. I will accept responsibility for the things I have done. But it is too much to ask me to share the sins of the world. I reject the myth of original sin. I reject the view that I am a war criminal by an accident of the geography of my birth. I reject the belief in mass guilt.

I am only responsible for those thing that I can control. And the same goes for my critics, my friends, my friends that are my critics, Democrats, Republicans...

People, you are not Jesus! You don't bear the sins of the world. You do not have the power absolution. And when you see an elephant in a circus tent, it's okay to say so out loud.


At 3:05 PM, Blogger Kitty said...

Good post... there are lots of elephants in the tent...

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hi Weaseldog,

I believe in degrees of guilt, as I draw a distinction between ignorance and willful ignorance that amounts to turning a blind eye. We do not turn a blind eye to the suffering and exploitation in the world, nor do we condone inflicting it.

Shall we go around wearing burlap garments in protest? Perhaps, but I get the most use out of my well made shoes because I am cognizant of how hard someone worked to produce them, and how little they were probably compensated for their labor.

I boycotted Nike for many, many, years over allegations of child labor violations. In fact I just bought a first pair of Nikes in over a decade because they were so well made. I appreciate whoever made them because if it were up to my own skills I would be wearing tire tread sandals.

Do I oppose the wars and exploitation? Yes. Do I buy stock in war material corporations? Hell no! Am I complicit? I'd like to think not but it could be argued that I do benefit from the crimes of the imperial regime. However, were it up to me things would be different, and possibly no less comfortable.

What of the third worlders who continue breeding uncontrollably in spite of knowing what causes that and an understanding that local resources will not provide adequately? Who is more guilty in that case? I have no children and never wanted them. When I am gone that's it, they can have the planet I leave behind, but don't (them) try to make the argument about who is the most guilty because we all have our own little load to bear and the suffering is just beginning.


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Edgar, I have no children, but on occasion, I do think I'd enjoy having a couple.

I don't have any intention of having children in the future though.

Instead I have pets. Who's footprint isn't zero, but it's much lower that what another human would produce.

I've also applied at a local big cat sanctuary for volunteer work. If that pans out, I may have some interesting photos to share in the future. I went out for an interview. African lions look bigger up close, than they do on TV or at a zoo.

It seems to me that the folks that try the hardest to make me feel guilty, are doing so out of a competitive spirit. It's an ego thing. As if they want to show that they are more liberal because they carry a bigger guilt load, and therefore they are more important to the world. They are better humans...

I think that if we do want to be better humans, the ego is the first thing that has to go.

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous edgar said...

I think that if we do want to be better humans, the ego is the first thing that has to go...

I have no problem letting go of ego, I am the humblest man on earth. ;)

I would like to see the big cat photos as I only have one little one and yes, she does have a carbon footprint as her litter and food is trucked in from some distance. I also plan to bet on a horse saturday called "Carbon Hoofprint". Is that green? Raising green awareness? No? I took a shot.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous edgar said...

i meant to write "carbon pawprint", damn!

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Since you brought this up here, it'll save me the rudness of passing on some goss about you/Ilargi on Edgar's site. Let me dump it here.

You're not being unnecessarily harsh on him, just the back-and-forth of blogdom. I reckon he's like the ArchDruid and many other Big Picture thinkers -- an idea man, not a people person.

He must not have a settled life. Stoneleigh let some tidbits about him drop -- like his real first name, which I promptly forgot, because I don't care so much about "Ilargi" the person as I do his synthesis of ideas. Ilargi doesn't have a day job; just kinda wanders around getting by. He was in Europe, visiting an aging mother in Holland and relatives in France when I got the story from Stoney. Long-term destination and timeline unknown, she said. Ilargi sounds like a wandering, prickly minstrel...

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Bukko, It's actually out of respect for Stoneleigh and VK, that I'm overly nice to Ilargi.

Being a wandering prickly minstrel, doesn't sound like a bad gig.


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