The Thinker

Critical Thinking? Who needs it, we’ve got ideology!

Ugh. This is one of those days when maybe I just should have stayed in bed. Reality is too depressing to deal with some days, but never more so than today.

Ideology is dangerous. If you have ideology, you don’t have to worry about whether an action is advised or ill advised. You know you are right because your ideology tells you that you are right. That’s the sort of immovable force that is George W. Bush. Morality has become a substitute for critical thinking. Circled by his coterie of advisers who only reinforce his inclinations, he does not feel dissent. When antiwar protesters come to town he is conveniently at Camp David.

In the process we are getting a lot of Orwellian newspeak. The latest one is “diplomacy”. In the old days diplomacy meant getting together with those of differing opinions, talking out your differences and coming to a joint consensus. Yesterday in the Azores, Bush said he would give diplomacy one more day. But make no mistake, he’s not going to compromise anything. Basically the U.N. Security Council either agrees with him or he goes to war without the U.N. This is diplomacy hard at work, folks.

When you have ideology you can conveniently overlook a number of facts that would otherwise be irritating. You can excuse our wretched job of nation building in Afghanistan. Our appointed president there controls, at best, the city limits of Kabul, and only because a lot of foreign troops are patrolling the streets. You can overlook the fact that the United States promised aid and democracy to Afghanistan that we did not deliver, yet remain supremely confident that when our troops take over Iraq we will instill democratic values and Iraq will become a shining beacon of freedom in the Middle East. You can overlook those pesky little ethnic and religious rivalries that have been going on for generations between Iraqi and Kurd, Sunni and Shi’ite.

If you have ideology you can pretend that our forces spread out across Iraq won’t be a target for every fanatical Muslim in the region, and there are plenty. You can pretend that because we can “liberate” Iraq that the Iraqi people will love us, even though they hold us responsible for years of sanctions. You can ignore the minor problem that Muslims will consider our occupation something like a holy war, and that they will see us as Christians on a Crusade.

This is what “your either with us or against us” gets us as a nation: virtually the whole world is against our preemptive war. Close to half of the American people are against it too. This sort of attitude causes only further polarization, making compromise impossible.

I am deeply ashamed of our president, and aghast at what our country is about to do in the name of peace. We will not have peace, we will only be throwing more gasoline on the fire. Why do they hate us? We will be giving them plenty more reasons, rest assured.

Please tell me this isn’t happening. Please tell me this is all a bad dream.

 

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