Thursday, July 17, 2008

America the pitiful; stupid and proud

GOD BLESS AMERICA! God loves America! God is on our side. Our country was founded as a safe haven for God’s people. Everything we do, we do to the greater glory of God.

Um… Yeah, except there is no god.

Of the great Western-style Democracies, ours is populated by the most ignorant and undeservedly arrogant people. Let’s drop the whole religious thing for a few minutes. It adds immeasurably to the case for American idiocy, and clearly we are by far the most religious of the world’s democratic nations. No small coincidence, one can be sure. Let’s see – reason… or superstition? Reason or superstition? Which is the more noble path for Homo sapiens (wise man) to follow? I just can’t make up my mind – being an American. But, again, let’s leave it alone. No amount of rational explanation could ever break through the closely guarded minds of believers in the supernatural. After all, they didn’t get to that point by the use of reason (even though the tool was readily available) so why would they let reasoned discourse sway them now? Oh, that it were so easy to make a bright person out of a moron.

Let’s just use this current election cycle as a way of examining the intelligence of Americans. There will be absolutely no attempt here to offer either of the major candidates as the more logical choice of an intelligent citizenry, nor any of the possible alternatives, such as voting 3rd party or starting a revolution. Let’s just look at what the American people find to be fascinating and insightful pieces of information to be narrowly picked over in an effort to come to an unbiased decision on who would be the best person to take charge after this same electorate in their infinite and seemingly inexhaustible wisdom, elected George W. Bush to serve, not one, but two terms as its leader.

Here are 25 “issues” that have come up during the primaries and the early part of the general campaign. One looks at these and rubs hands in glee with the knowledge that the next 3 months can only figure to bring many more crucial “issues” for the brain-dead American populace to mull before making its final decision, informed by the wisdom of their God. Oh. Sorry. I wasn’t going to bother with that. It’s just too annoying that people in this country actually take pride in their god-given “special” status, when it is clear that we are special only in the same sense as “special” education.

1. Is Obama a Muslim? Who the fuck cares? Read the Constitution lately?

2. Why isn’t Obama patriotic enough to wear a flag pin on his coat? Who the fuck cares?

3 Obama doesn’t say the Pledge. Bullshit.

4. Obama went to a madrassa as a child. Bullshit. And who the fuck would care if he did?

5. Obama went to Kenya and dressed in native garb. Done by politicians all the time. Who the fuck cares?

6. Jeremiah Wright said bad things about America. Not really. He said some things that show the dark side of America. But what does that have to do with Obama?

7. Hillary told a lie about her experiences in Bosnia. All politicians lie all of the time. It's not exactly lying about WMD and the Sadaam/Osama buddy connection.

8. Hillary’s 3 AM campaign ad. Brilliant ad. It had America discussing 3 AM phone calls for weeks. Want to bet whether it comes up again before the election?

9. McCain was attacked for being a prisoner of war. Bullshit. General Clark said it wasn’t a qualification for president. But who the fuck cares if he was attacked?

10. McCain divorced his first wife and married a young hottie. OK, so not everything done by Americans is dumb. Who the fuck cares about his personal life?

11. McCain is too old. He can either do the job or he can’t. None of us know if we will be here tomorrow. We’d be better with an 80 year old with moderate skills than “W”.

12. Cindy McCain was a drug addict. Of course she was. Maybe stupidity makes us all need a little something to get by.

13. Look at the percentages of whites voting for Hillary. Blacks make up 10% of the population and Obama won the Democratic primary. Statistics deceive.

14. McCain called his wife a cunt. She probably is. Who the fuck cares what language people use in their private lives?

15. Michelle Obama said this was the first time she’s been really proud of her country. Who the fuck cares? I’m happy for her that she found something.

16. A priest who supports Obama ridiculed Hillary. If dumbass America only learns one thing from this election it should be to stop paying attention to the clergy.

17. Parsley and Hagee both said awful things. Who the fuck cares? What did we expect from clergymen? What the fuck does it have to do with McCain?

18. Obama said people cling to guns and bibles. Yeah, no shit – they do. What else would a country of fools do?

19. McCain said we might be in Iraq 100 years. And we will, even if Obama gets elected because we are a country of dumbass people and we want our oil.

20. McCain said “Al Qaeda” when he meant “extremists”. Is that anything like saying evangelical when you meant fundamentalist? Who the fuck cares?

21. McCain sang, “Bomb Iran” to the tune of a Beach Boys song. It was funny! Now, if that’s a policy position, it’s not so funny.

22. The New Yorker ran an awful cover of the Obamas. Bullshit. It was funny! But the New Yorker should have known that satire doesn’t work on idiots.

23. Obama does a terrorist fist jab. I know where I’d like to jab my fist; on about 150 million American retards.

24. Obama disrespected Hillary by dusting off his shoulders. OK. Is everyone over the intense hurt of that one now? Or shall we talk about it for another week of the campaign?

25. If Obama is elected, he won’t take the Oath of Office on the Bible. One could only wish this were true. Alas, Bullshit.

Just think of how many hours of broadcast, thousands of print articles, and endless Internet discussions and blog posts have been devoted to these “issues”. Do a mental comparison of the 25 "issues" with real ones like climate change, the environment, fossil fuel dependency, repairing the damage done to our Constitution by the current administration, the myriad of economic problems here and abroad, healthcare, respect for science, dealing with terrorism without resorting to unnecessary wars against sovereign nations that have not attacked us. It’s clear that these are the issues that should occupy 90% of the discussion to determine who is best qualified to lead the United States, and yet it’s the other way around.

None of this is to say that America is any dumber than the average nation in the world. We probably aren’t. But to have unwarranted pride that this country is somehow better than other places is ludicrous. We are certainly no more intelligent than the average citizen of the world, and less rational than other modern democracies. Patriotism itself is for idiots. And there are no more patriotic people anywhere than right here in the United States of Airheads.

Hat tip to The Exterminator for creative consultation.

29 comments:

the chaplain said...

Great post. Thanks for reminding me why I pay so little attention to the news: there is none.

Ordinary Girl said...

Preach it, brother!

The Exterminator said...

This is a great post and I agree with everything in it.

That sounds self-serving since you've chosen to give me credit for so-called "creative consultation." But I'll translate that phrase for your readers: I caught a few typos.

DB said...

This is probably one of the most brilliant things I have read in a while. I am pissed that I didn't think of it first! Bottom line is the media is preaching to a nation of morons.

(fyi - my visit was via the Chaplains blog, I think)

grumpylion said...

Jeez, Evo, and I thought I was the angry, pissed off motherfucker.

Good post.

John Evo said...

@ DB - thanks for stopping by and I'm happy you enjoyed it. It was very cathartic to write.

@ Grumpy - Oh... you ARE. And thanks.

bullet said...

I've never heard of some of the stuff on you're list. I don't know if that makes me an stupid, apathetic or both. I don't really watch the news. It's on at the same time as the Daily Show. Besides, you guys do it for me.

the chaplain said...

@ bullet - do you mean The Daily Show is not the real news? It should be.

John Evo said...

@ Bullet - I think, without bragging, that I've paid closer attention to this cycle than the average voter; certainly closer attention than I've paid to any election in 35 years.

Still, all you need to do is look at the ones you have indeed heard about and compare those, and how much you have heard, to the other more relevant issues that you could have been hearing about.

@ Chappy - Isn't it a bizarre fact that the satire of news has become the more reliable source of real news?

PhillyChief said...

Patriotism isn't the problem, it's what's being passed off as patriotic and American that's the problem.
• Ignorance
• Stubbornness
• Action over thought
• Unquestioning loyalty
• Religious belief

The government is not America. Our leaders are not America. The flag is not America. WE are America. Having pride in ourselves and our fellow Americans is not the problem, for such pride should move us to help each other, for the better we are, the better America is. Helping politicians, corporations, and other privileged individuals, at the expense of others, is not American, and couldn't be further from what America is supposed to be.


As for the media, it's all full of shit. It's strictly entertainment and the propaganda machines for a mere handful of privileged entities. To give an example, Fark had this great tagline the other day for CNN coverage of the new Batman movie:
"CNN, owned by Time Warner, publishes second straight top headline about "The Dark Knight", a film made by Warner Brothers, owned by Time Warner, and based on Batman, published by DC Comics, also owned by Time Warner"

Who can expect journalism in a world like that?

John Evo said...

@ Philly

I was hoping someone would make a comment like yours. I totally disagree. Patriotism, to me, is just slightly less repugnant that religiosity.

Let me start by agreeing - a little. There's nothing wrong with having pride in where you are from and what your immediate brothers and sisters have accomplished.

But once you move beyond that, you start heading into very dangerous territory where there is almost a natural transition to jingoism, chavenism, bigotry and bias. How do you train your children that China is the greatest nation on earth and expect them (or, at least, large numbers of them) to look down on others?

Patriotism? We are all people. The borders that define our patriotic zeal are completely artificial. They didn't even exist a few hundred years ago. Sure the ideals of the American revolution are worthy and we should fight for them. But what makes them worth fighting for is not in how they effect us as Americans, but in how those ideals are great for all people, everywhere.

If patriotism, itself, is not a "bad" thing, then remember that when you hear patriotic fervor from ordinary people in every country, because they all think the same thing about their country as you think about yours. It's always "my country, right or wrong" when the shit really hits the fan.

PhillyChief said...

"But once you move beyond that..."

Right, so patriotism is bad because once you move beyond it, things can be bad. I see. Great argument.

John Evo said...

Philly, if you think the word "patriotism" simply means having some pride in where you live and in the accomplishments of the people of that area, then yes, it would be a dumb argument for me to be making.

So, if you can give me the word reflecting all of the patriotism that goes beyond that definition, then THAT is the word that is indicative of what I think is stupid.

PhillyChief said...

Jingoism


I will say that although I find it incredibly sad to hear of the plight of people in foreign lands, I find it senseless to concern myself with them when people suffer within the the borders of my country. I will always put them first in my mind, as I put my family, friends and neighbors first in my mind, and I think that's basic human nature. True, that preference of proximity can be perverted to preference at the expense of the external, but is that a fault of human nature or the pervert?

The Exterminator said...

A patriot is a person who adores his or her country, supports and defends it no matter what. It's blind faith in another guise.

Now, you can admire the principles on which your country was founded, or the semi-mythical economic and political advantages available to its citizens, or even it's rich culture (of Nascar and "American Idol") without being a patriot, per se.

Philly and Evo are having a semantic argument. In this case, Evo's right and Philly's wrong. All the things you admire about America, Philly, doesn't make you, as if by magic, a patriot. Why? Because you can't turn off your critical mind.

We should stop using the word "patriot" as if it's a positive thing to be. It's not. It's a stupid thing to be, as is any other self-definition that depends on the inclusion of blind faith.

John Evo said...

There's no useful point in making it a "right"/"wrong" thing. If you find it difficult to sway believers in the supernatural, that's nothing compared to peoples' patriotic nature (Philly is right about that). At least with superstition, we've gotten to the place where there is a usable alternative (science and reason). There is currently no viable alternative to being brainwashed from birth that the piece of land you were born on is somehow sacred and better than the lands of others. It's completely natural to organize into groups of like. When you are born and there is a pre-determined group for you, it is virtually impossible not to associate with it. The Internet is providing the first framework we've every had for moving beyond that, but it's no where near ready or even capable of accomplishing it. Maybe down the road...

PhillyChief said...

So good to have you come down from on high and grace us with semantic truth, Ex. Unfortunately, you're mistaken.

You speak of semantics, yet that's where you're missing the point. What you're calling "patriotism" is nationalism or jingoism. It's perfectly understandable to get this confused, since most people do. For instance, efforts to curb or halt immigration is not patriotism, but nationalism, for it's exclusionary and is, like I described earlier, a perversion of proximity preference that requires a manifestation of that preference at the expense of others on the periphery.

Patriotism is far from blind faith though. Dissent can be patriotism. Treason can even be patriotism if the state has maligned the people. Nationalism doesn't allow for this. A nationalist would object to patriots like Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Frederick Douglas and the Abolitionists, Susan B. Anthony and the Suffragettes. Nationalists embody the "America, love it or leave it" mentality.

The Exterminator said...

So good to have you come down from on high and grace us with semantic truth, Ex.
Yeah, every now and then I like to visit Earth and check out how the hoi polloi are doing.

You're begging the question, Philly. You've made a distinction between "patriotism" and "jingoism" and, therefore, it must be true.

But it's not. Dissent is not patriotism if the dissenters are fucken lunatics. Was Timothy McVeigh patriotic? He thought he was. Do you? I don't. So which dissent is patriotic and which isn't? And who decides?

Patriotism IS nationalism. It's just a different word used to express the same knee-jerk emotions you're supposed to feel when the flag is waved in your face.

Am I glad I live in America? You bet. Do I think it's the best country in the world right now? I'm not sure, but I'd probably say yes. Am I a patriot? Nope. How could I be with a brain-dead populace and crooks, swindlers, liars, and thugs running the place? (Some of the scenery is great, though.)

I agree with Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

PhillyChief said...

How is claiming a distinction between patriotism and nationalism or jingoism begging the question, yet claiming there's no distinction isn't? I've given you the distinctions, you've given me naked assertions. Before you try throwing around logical fallacy claims, look them up first. In fact, looking things up would be a good idea as well if you're going to argue definitions, but of course you enjoy making up your own, don't you? ;)

Really going with the extremes today, huh? McViegh, huh? You're going to ask how can someone can distinguish between McVeigh and Rosa Parks? Really? This is the argument of the right wing (who are nationalists) against dissenters, and is simply absurd. A peaceful protest, an old woman sitting down on a bus versus someone who blows up a building? If you have trouble distinguishing them, then I guess I can see why you're having so much trouble distinguishing between patriotism and nationalism.

Oh, and I prefer googling for solid support of an argument, not gimmicky quote mining. Here, this is a brief example of how to properly support an argument...

George Orwell defined nationalism as "the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests." In contrast, he defined patriotism as "devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people.”

Anyway Ex, don't feel bad. Even Samuel Johnson couldn't figure out there's a difference between patriotism and nationalism.

The Exterminator said...

Philly:

Begging the question is assuming the very point that is at issue. You're assuming that patriotism and jingoism are different, and you've interpreted your definitions to make them so.

Random House Collegiate Dictionary:
patriotism: a devoted love, support and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

Webster's New World Dictionary:
patriotism: love and loyal or zealous support of one's own country.

And your favorite, Merriam-Webster's online:
patriotism: love for or devotion to one's country.

If you look up "jingoism" or "nationalism" you'll find some negative spins on the same sentiments. But how are "national loyalty" or "zealous support" or unfounded "devotion" commendable ideas? How are they logical?

And citing Samuel Johnson was not quote-mining. I've been using that fantastic quote ever since I was old enough to realize that I had absolutely no nationalistic/patriotic/jingoistic fervor, back in the Vietnam War days, before you were born. On the other hand, is that Orwell tidbit something you've been throwing around regularly, or did you happen to pan for Google gold?

As far as Rosa Parks vs. Timothy McVeigh: Of course I highly approve of Parks's actions and loathe McVeigh's. I also highly approve of Bill Maher's spin on 9/11 and loathe ABC's. But who decides which person is a patriot? If you and I get to make that decision, great. If Bush & Co. get to make that decision, we're both fucked. "Patriotism" is subjective because it's based on faith. It's a more grandiose version of team spirit.

In other words, it's not logical to be patriotic.

John Evo said...

You two are getting bogged down in minutiae. Can anyone see the forest, or are all the little the little definitions getting in your way?

Don't get me wrong. Words are important and definitions are important. But so is common usage.

I have no problem saying that nationalism is undesirable. But while Philly tells us all the things that should not be considered part of the word "patriotic", the fact is, many people DO think those are part of patriotism.

More importantly, there are things that nearly everyone considers to be not just nationalistic, but patriotic, and Philly didn't have them on his list.

They include:

1. America is Number 1!

I disagree with Ex that this is probably the best country in the world. I don't KNOW that it's so. There are many objective areas where we are not the best, but how to weigh those against the areas we are, and compare them to others, I don't know. But true or not, it's a really bad idea to make the claim. It serves absolutely no useful purpose. To the contrary, it can only make others resentful of the claim.

2. When our leaders take us to war, we follow.

You can say, "oh no, not me. I have to be convinced by the facts". Maybe. But then you are an extremely rare breed. We've never been privy to more information before war than we were prior to Iraq. Fully 85% of Americans supported the invasion initially.

3. Willing to be violent over perceived (even real) insults towards the country.

Very few people can honestly say that if someone desecrated their country's flag while yelling "Fuck (fill in the country)" that they wouldn't feel anger. Anger? Over free speech? Really? And I think we know what anger leads to, all too often.

4. Respect for the President (or Czar, Prime Minister, Emperor, etc).

Nearly everyone will always "respect" the leader, whether he or she has earned it or not. It's inherent in the position. And it's just plain crazy. I'm not just talking about questioning the wisdom of Glorious Leader. How many would jump up at a public ceremony and start yelling "war criminal" at Bush? And compare the number to those likely to think it unpatriotic, even if they think the same things about Bush that you do.

But there it is. And regardless of "definitions", these are all things that are commonly understood to be patriotic. Count me out.

D. said...

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.""

End quote

Well...since there IS no God,it follows logically, that there is no legitimate claim to human rights. I mean...if society comes to a consensus that only one child per family should be allowed, then who should say differently?

The designers of our constitution came from the premise that God gave human beings an inherent dignity that can not be taken away. But your blog says that there is no god, ans since there is no God, what we humans decree to be so should be so. For the common good, the weak should be eliminated and the genetically inferior should be culled out. Some people, the stronger, should be given more rights then the weak, who hold us all down, and should be, logically, done away with.

The constitution is old and outdated, based on the false premise that God gave human beings rights.

Therefore it should be thrown out and a new, more human based manifesto, with humanity being the judge of what is good and evil, (not some imaginary God) be brought in it's place. Only the strong and healthy, who think right, should be allowed to live.

Dina

D. said...

ps: I don't think you people think right so you should be eliminated. In the new progressive state, you will be.
dina

The Exterminator said...

Dina:
Good move, quoting The Declaration of Independence to write about The Constitution of the United States. You do understand that they're two different documents, don't you? The Declaration was an advertisement to the world that the colonies were from that day forward free from British rule.

The Constitution -- which contains no reference to any god whatsoever -- is the law of the land, and pretty damn good, too. Those enlightened men who wrote and amended it made sure to leave superstition entirely out of their formula. Go read it.

Please don't respond by quoting the Gettysburg Address or MacArthur's Farewell to his Troops.

PhillyChief said...

Dina,

First, you quoted the Declaration of Independence yet spoke about the Constitution. You are aware they're two separate documents, correct? If not, look them up online. They're available freely.

Second, the human rights the US claims exists are far superior to the meager ones found in the bible or any holy book (you spoke of god but didn't clarify which one, but I'll assume you meant the christian one). Free speech, no slavery, protection of children, and equal application of the law to all.

Third, you failed to give a reason for how, without a god, humanity would succumb to the fate you describe. I would be interested to hear that, especially since it has not happened in the 200+ years of our secular Constitution, nor has it occurred in any other secular democratic society.

Have a nice day.

John Evo said...

Dina said: For the common good, the weak should be eliminated and the genetically inferior should be culled out. Some people, the stronger, should be given more rights then the weak, who hold us all down, and should be, logically, done away with.

Dina, I know and correspond with a lot of atheists. In all of my discussions, I've never encountered a single one who did not think the exact OPPOSITE of this. Not one. I don't expect you to take the anecdotal experience of a single atheist who you don't even know, but why not start asking atheists what sort of moral code they live by, and why? You might suprise yourself with newfound knowledge.

Or, you could just make straw man arguments. It's your life.

bullet said...

Hey Dina:

Thanks for de-railing the "patriotism" argument. Beyond that, though, your comment is full of shit.
---
I just encountered the "madrassa" thing this weekend in Alabama (shocker!). I about fell down. Does no one know that madrassa means "school"? Idiots.

BTW, dumbasses, "bible" means "book".

Quantum_Flux said...

Americans just need to be educated....I'm glad to teach science to the atheist community at my blogsite "the irrational theorist".

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