Fact is there is only a small handful of “sides” to take (i.e. choose to live under) within the current world order. And all of those dominant “sides” represented by powerful regimes like China, the US, the British Commonwealth, and (still) Russia, among others — encompassing commie systems, democracies, republics, monarchies, etc. — that dot the spectrum of freedom and transparency (one end of it being the authoritarian systems and the other the ultra-representative mob ruled regimes like the Philippines’) were all built upon blood spilt by both soldiers and civilians on the battlefield and the ruins of pillaged and bombed villages and cities respectively.
So there really is no such thing as a purely good regime unstained by atrocity and brutality. Any world order is necessarily established after one side kills off enough of the opposing force to lend enough stability for a long enough period to consolidate its power and wealth. Then they become “good” when they come to dominate enough of the world’s information dissemination infrastructure to convince the majority of humanity’s minds that they are “good”.
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So there really is no point in using state-sponsored “murder” statistics as bases for vindicating or indicting any one regime. All political and economic power was originally won by the sword whether this be American power, Chinese power, Syrian power, British power, Japanese power, or German power. The idea that one regime is “good” and another “evil” residing in our minds is just an outcome of successful state propaganda implemented by those who happen to be the victors of the moment in humanity’s on-going internal struggle to dominate the planet.
When Jack Nicholson’s character in that excellent film A Few Good Men bellowed “You can’t handle the truth!”, he was referring to this simple reality — that we all sleep well at night because our armed forces presumably do what it takes to keep the folk we respectively regard as barbarians outside of our respective countries’ gates. And that’s not necessarily bad nor necessarily good. It just is what it is.
My fellow writer Jose Mario de Vega took one clear side in his piece The Boston Bombing and US governmentâ€™s history of mass murder. One can just as easily take a different side and present an argument all but identical to his. Just change the names and the events and it will be just as compelling — or just as outrageous. For every Boston Bomber living amongst us there will be an American covert operative or saboteur living and working for us deep within the societies of our “enemy” states. It’s all just a matter of which side of the fence you happen to live, love, pray, work, and play in.
Ultimately, there really is no need to be judgmental about these things. Every government would like to paint itself as the embodiment of humanity’s goodness — quite simply because all of them have to. There is just so much money spent on buying and doing stuff that is not relevant to the average citizen’s wellbeing that nevertheless needs to be rationalised by every state. The notional “good” to which that spending will supposedly end is the state rationale behind its existence.
The way North Korea’s Kim Jong Un does it may seem a bit goofy to us while the way US President Barack Obama does it comes across as sleek, hipsteresque, and “modern”. But underpinning all that is basic Persuasion 101. Bottomline is both approaches work just as the quaint Yellowist taglines murmured in between rosary beads by our own President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III work on the minds of his constituents.
And us, as ordinary citizens? Well, it’s really quite simple. We all just want to live, love, pray, work, and play on the “right” end of a cocked rifle (or an armed missile, as the cases tend to be today) in peace. That last sentence sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it only does, if you spend too much time worrying about whether your people — and your government — are the good guys or the bad guys in today’s world order.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.