An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Kathleen O’Hara follows:
During the First World War, the power and efficiency of steel, mass production, the railway and airplanes created horrific battlegrounds characterized by heavy artillery, machine-gun nests, toxic gases and bombing. More than 16 million died.
Worse, this war was not fought to protect and promote democracy and freedom, as advertised. The shameful, post-war carve-up of the planet revealed its true goal — to protect and promote various empires and the corporations which benefitted from them.
There was one potentially positive result: in response to the hideousness of the First World War, and over following decades, laws and treaties have been passed to make war illegal, under all but the rarest circumstances.
This might surprise most Canadians. We have been led into war several times by our democratically elected representatives.
My online response to the above linked-to article by Kathleen O’Hara follows:
“The main legal concept derived from Nuremberg is that every citizen has a duty to exercise a moral choice and take action to prevent his or her leaders and governments from violating the laws of war and waging a war of aggression.” As a powerless, poor citizen, this phrase struck me. It made me angry, as all such preaching at everyone – in a world of extreme inequality – [that they] must do their part does. Don’t get me wrong. I take the view that everyone, indeed, must do his or her part. But who preaches it and how matters.
I was reminded of an article I read by Steven Pinker years ago. It seems I didn’t bookmark it or keep it. I might find it if I look hard. Maybe later, for my own edification. (Here’s a sample of the subject matter that Pinker and his critics deal in: “Steven Pinker’s ‘The Sense of Style’ by Charles McGrath http://nyti.ms/1t1Hk16)
There are issues that the author is not addressing here. But these are big big issues. There’s lots to say.
I absolutely believe in law and order. But why and how? I don’t believe in law and order that is soulless and misses the objective of making life for humans decent. Along the lines of what Chomsky says about free trade deals that have no intrinsic value if they do not lift people up, I feel that law and order that is about our ability to come up with right laws rather than deal with real problems misses the point. How about the stuffy style experts who write huge hoary tomes about the English language style without regard for little things like, I don’t know, the need to communicate? I’m very amused when reading about that sort of thing. I myself fuss with English. The most recent Canadians For Tax Fairness bulletin in my inbox had me cringing. Does the author care whether he writes ‘staunch’ in the place of ‘stanch’? The thing is, as Pinker would say, You have to care if there is the risk of your statement producing confusion. Otherwise, No, don’t get too hung up. I understood what Dennis was laying down (and greatly appreciate that org’s work). Still…
Language is slipping. I often don’t understand what I’m seeing laid down. And I’m not talking about language written by someone whose own first language is different than that in which he or she has written.
The world loves rules. But what is the world’s idea of rules? I’m sure more than one Rabble employee and visitor has seen the incredible speech that Chomsky recently gave at the UN. It was about the inabliable rights of Palestinians. He pulled no punches. And he described a lawless United States and a lawless Israel, where there was no aversion to rule-making, but only a great love of breaking them – strategically. Indeed, That’s how the tyrants, big and small, get into positions of dominance. They get together with the rest of us, agree with us about rules we all finally settle on for the purpose of promoting social harmony, and then they proceed to strategically break them while the rest of us law-abiding suckers, sheep, groan and moan about our newly found condition of poverty and enslavement as a result of crazy, undemocratic rule-making that now issues forth from dictators like Stephen Harper. Look at his free trade deal-making for example. Is all of that good for us? Or is it good for those psychopathic corporations that rule the world?
How do we deal with THAT?
Finally, I feel very uneasy about courts like the Hague where, it seems, you might see monstrous, human rights-abusing leaders in the docket, but not if they are, in relation to the world, powerful. I don’t agree with the death penalty. Unlike those on the Left, my reason isn’t because I don’t agree with it. It’s because we are imperfect and some of us, many whom are in positions of authority, are also evil. Which means that the death penalty doesn’t get done right. On principle, If the death penalty, like drones that kill via the signature method, can’t be guaranteed to work, but can instead be expected to periodically kill innocent people, then it shouldn’t be done. Period.
I feel similary about courts, although, obviously, we can’t get rid of them. We can get rid of the death penalty, but we can’t get rid of courts and systems of justice. But maybe those who make laws like those above – which I absolutely agree we all, or more of us, should know – can remember that they are ‘not’ perfect and that the goal isn’t to make perfect laws, but to act in such a way as to conduce to the best outcome, from a social justice standpoint, that can be achieved. I’m not a fan of victor’s justice. I wouldn’t be a fan of any who are okay with it.
Some don’t believe in God and a new world that he will enable humankind to build. They therefore only think in terms of reforming this violent, dark, anti-God world. Will their endeavors be blessed? Some of those ones are good-intentioned. I don’t oppose them and were they to succeed things would be better – while some of us await better than better. Still…