23 March 2011

Challenging Beliefs

A multi-linked, multi-tiered posting today, but to help explain the last statement in my QOTD, I find it necessary to prompt you to read this about how we as humans are hard wired to buy into our beliefs despite data to the contrary.

Over the course of the last week or so, I have contemplated some things like "Are the liberals right about war" and something off the wall like "Is Capitalism the purist form of Communism."  I know, I know, those are some pretty outlandish thoughts to ponder.  Possibly even further out than my little messily average American brain can handle. 

While I haven't yet formulated opinions upon those two specific thoughts, I do know that I am becoming a bit of a renaissance man.  As such, I attempt to read, learn, and improve myself and my knowledge of the world, its history, and its potential course on a daily basis.  Attempting to gain the knowledge and historical reference that modern public schools failed to instill (dating back as far as my Baby-boomer generation parents), I am realizing that through a prism of historic perspective, can one understand today's world.  Further, after the linked article depicts (though it is related to personal finance and some politics), our beliefs are exactly that, personal thoughts upon which we either chose to live with or reject.

Humans are inherently fickle.  Our tastes and our minds change, but often, our core beliefs stay exactly the same.  I am coming to realize as I self educate, that only a strong willed individual can question what exactly they believe, and not be scared to be wrong. 

I guess that means that all liberals are inherently one of two types of people; ostriches or tyrants.  Ostriches portrays those who wish to ignore the reality of the situation, sticking to their core beliefs no matter what the actual outcome of the world (the cowards).  Or, they are tyrants that impose their ill-gotten notions of reality upon others at the expense of liberty and justice.  Let me not forget those of the zealous right whom prefer to wield the power of the bloated big government against social issues that they fully believe to be the scourge of everything inherently evil in the world.  Our political leaders are only human themselves and as such, we shouldn't come to expect much more from them than ourselves.  This is especially true when self interest in the form of money and political power is to be gained from ignoring reality and common sense. 

Beliefs are a powerful thing and are often contradictory to reality.  Man isn't made to understand everything he believes but those whom know what they don't know, can often cope with the world in a far easier way.

Sorry to hijack your blog folks, but attempting to understand the philosophic and psychological aspects of thought are completely relevant to our country's course.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled programing. 

We're for These Guys?

Just so we are clear here, these are the rag tag rebels that we are spending $100 million+ a day on?  I am just a bit curious to know precisely what is our return on investment?  Is it oil?  Perhaps it's the hearts and minds of men?  Or will it be more Islamo-fascists hating our "imperialism" and "Zionism?" 

These are our monsters?

QOTD x2: Searching for Monsters

From founder John Adams: 
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America's heart, her benedictions and prayers, but she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.  She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.  She is the champion and vindicator of her own.
Should we interpret this quote to mean that the United State should be an isolationist country?  Perhaps that argument could be made, but unfortunately it is only true in theory.  Throughout the history of mankind, there are morally righteous cases to be made for going to war or waging conflict against other nations, but those cases are made with opaque colored glasses.  If one side is right, and one side is wrong, who has the righteous clarity to play referee?  (Often, the winner of the war, I suppose.  It's a deep philosophical question without a correct answer). 

So why do we engage in such conflicts when our founder warned against seeking conflict and "troubles" to be "correct?"  It is even harder to answer that question.  There is no mandate for the USA to play referee to the world when there are human rights at stake by anyone other than ourselves.  We chose to intervene in one civil war, but which other civil wars are we neglecting?  True, we can alter world events and change the course of history into the future should the right tactics be used, the best results achieved, and the evils eradicated, but it's time we start asking "at what cost."  (And I mean not just monetary terms).  
Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge.  It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.  All men are afraid in battle.  The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.  Duty is the essence of manhood.
Patton was a pure student of history and realized that often times, just one simple event changed the course of mankind for forever.  Further, the general realized that battle was only ever, at best, a necessary evil; one he emphatically hated.

As the last beacon of true freedom in the world (that which is quickly dimming and dwindling for its own people), should we be looking for monsters?  Should we be engaged in Libya while still trying to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis and Afghans?  Or should we realize that perhaps our doctrine of spreading democracy and forging peace with friendly nations should no longer be spread by the spear, but by pure example?  Should we switch from a manifest destiny of military action, foreign aid, and good will towards all men (enemies or friends), and once against turn inward to concentrate upon our own?  

I'm sorry dear reader, I've been doing a lot of pondering upon my beliefs lately, and I find myself questioning just how much I claim to know (or believe that I am right).