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Drawing The Line - When Idealism Ushers Apathy (and how I became something of a neocon)

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posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 10:17 PM
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I spent a very long time in political trenches balancing the fine art of morality and workable, contemporary politics. I (then) proudly attended the largest rally in the world against the Iraqi war in Rome. I ran philosophical and moral laps around those I considered to be prey from knee-jerk nationalism and 101 mediatic brainwashing. I considered myself educated, intelligent and ultimately right.

I recall being a "frequent flyer" in Gaeta's (a small Town near Naples dominated by a large U.S Naval base) Vic's pub, attempting to debate the so-called virtues of unilateral politics with navy conscripts and just about anyone who'd lend me their ear.

I preached tolerance, the expansion of cultural norms and attempted to emanate a worldliness that I hoped permeated the superficial propaganda that I assumed shrouded "their" reasoning.

In short, I was at the crest of what I believed to be contemporary European wisdom. After-all, how could one not learn from an area of the world that still rocked and cracked from a distant and tragic war (my family too, were involved)? Surely, they (we) had the the authority to teach the world about the civil reality of war!

I'm not quite sure when it happened or how. But as a fledgling opinionist and writer, I was asked to write an article on Lars Vilks (the Danish "comic" who had dared portray the Prophet Mohammed in several not-quite-so-funny and degrading ways) and discuss the debate which surrounded it. It was an incredible turning point in my life and perhaps that was a beginning.

I wrote an article that in hindsight was uncharacteristic (Thomas Payne would be have been proud). I ardently defended the principle of freedom of expression and speech and concluded that "being offended" was no reason for political privilege. The article's feedback was boisterous to say the least -- and as expected. But what struck me the most was the sheer apathy of those who -- by all rights -- should be the first to defend this right.

When prompted with, "Is Lars a monster, and if so why?" The general risposte was:

"No, but he should have known better". I was flabbergasted. And my own personal transformation began.

In short. Listed here is what I came to realize:


  1. Political tolerance must draw the line at some point to preserve certain crucial rights. Tolerance promotes moral equivalency. And while I once thought this was a virtue, I now find it is not. I cannot and will not accept, for instance, that the repression of women in many third-world countries is somehow secondary to the much agitated concept of western imperialism in contributing to poverty. In short, blowback exists, but many third-world countries (principally north African and East Asian) have their own leaders to blame.
  2. Much of the tiresome Neo-Con rhetoric was far deeper than I had anticipated in terms of philosophy and political consciousness. The realization that ultimately an individual's will to act is immensely important. More important perhaps than working towards a national or global cultural consciousness.
  3. Playing devil's advocate not only contributes nothing, but leads to apathy which is far more dangerous than interventionism. Picture England, whose drive to balance and respect all forms of tradition has lead to the erection of Sharia courts that are now legally binding. Ask yourself if this is something you really want, not if this is right!


I differ from 90% of my acquaintences on these issues (so I'm used to friendly, if heated confrontation -- bring it!), but I seem to be one of few of who transformed from a political left, to a political right. I would be curious to know whether any of you feel differently, disagree or agree with me.

Bring it!




posted on Feb, 20 2011 @ 11:04 PM
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Originally posted by Oscitate
,,,but I seem to be one of few of who transformed from a political left, to a political right. ...



Far from it my friend. You simply grew up. Welcome to the real world!



posted on Mar, 20 2011 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by Oscitate
 


Your still a leftist. neo-conservatism is a leftist political ideology. It is the last remnant of the traditionalist branch of the Democratic Party. It began with Regan(I still think he was the first Neo-Con Republican President) hijacking the Republican Party.

In America the farther left you go the more authoritarian government is, the farther right the weaker government is.

You make the classical mistake of assuming America is the same thing is Europe. It ain't. In Europe people get their rights from their respective governments. In America, our government gets it's right to exist from us. Thus in Europe the Fabian Socialist political spectrum makes sense, while in America that spectrum is nonsensical and intellectually dishonest.

If I had but one wish, it would be that people who admire European politics either a) moved to Europe or b) stay in Europe.

I am glad though you see some reason, but I fear you merely traded one form of insanity for another.



posted on Apr, 10 2011 @ 03:26 AM
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I spent a very long time in political trenches balancing the fine art of morality and workable, contemporary politics. I (then) proudly attended the largest rally in the world against the Iraqi war in Rome. I ran philosophical and moral laps around those I considered to be prey from knee-jerk nationalism and 101 mediatic brainwashing. I considered myself educated, intelligent and ultimately right.


Do you now consider your action to visibly oppose the Iraq war to be 'wrong' morally, or just ineffective?




I recall being a "frequent flyer" in Gaeta's (a small Town near Naples dominated by a large U.S Naval base) Vic's pub, attempting to debate the so-called virtues of unilateral politics with navy conscripts and just about anyone who'd lend me their ear.


So you immersed yourself behind enemy lines and engaged, with reason as your weapon, those who you realize to be indoctrinated in irrationality? Again, were your actions wrong, or simply ineffective?



I preached tolerance, the expansion of cultural norms and attempted to emanate a worldliness that I hoped permeated the superficial propaganda that I assumed shrouded "their" reasoning.


Your basic assumtion is that those you were trying to enlighten were indeed open to reason. You also assume that 'cultural norms' (a nebulous and frankly dangerous term) of the day are indeed worth spreading.

Superficial is in the eye of the beholder - many consider the tens of thousands of hours of indocrination and countless memories of artificial patriotism to be anything but superficial - it is their very identity.




In short, I was at the crest of what I believed to be contemporary European wisdom. After-all, how could one not learn from an area of the world that still rocked and cracked from a distant and tragic war (my family too, were involved)? Surely, they (we) had the the authority to teach the world about the civil reality of war!


When you falter in my eyes is when you uphold European wisdom (which of course has its many virtues as well as faults) as authorotative and thus enforcable. The highest virtue attained by humans thus far, in my mind, is that of rationality. Rationality is in no way enforcable.

If you mean by 'teach' a voluntary exchange of ideas, then I would certainly agree that one who speaks with rationality is indeed authoritative, in the non physically binding sense. If you speak of authority in the neo-con sense, (which you proclaim to be a convert of) I must assume you mean authority in the physically binding sense that is violence. Im not sure, if the latter is the case, that you have anything to teach to anyone.



I'm not quite sure when it happened or how. But as a fledgling opinionist and writer, I was asked to write an article on Lars Vilks (the Danish "comic" who had dared portray the Prophet Mohammed in several not-quite-so-funny and degrading ways) and discuss the debate which surrounded it. It was an incredible turning point in my life and perhaps that was a beginning.


If you are unsure of why or how you were converted to an ideology that embraces violence, I respectfully implore you to check you premises for contradictions.



wrote an article that in hindsight was uncharacteristic (Thomas Payne would be have been proud). I ardently defended the principle of freedom of expression and speech and concluded that "being offended" was no reason for political privilege. The article's feedback was boisterous to say the least -- and as expected. But what struck me the most was the sheer apathy of those who -- by all rights -- should be the first to defend this right.


Im not sure your previous conclusions (freedom) contradict your experience in any way. (apathy) If one is free, he is free to be apathetic. That what you considered to be virtuous (freedom) did not meet with your expectations of the effects of your beliefs should be (rituous action) should not necessarliy invalidate the virtue of freedom.

Again, is what is right what you seek to know and live by, or what you percieve to be effective? Do the ends justify the means? (while not self detonating in internal contradictions?)




When prompted with, "Is Lars a monster, and if so why?" The general risposte was:
"No, but he should have known better". I was flabbergasted. And my own personal transformation began.


I have to chuckle a here, not in condescension, but instead in comradary towards a fellow thinker who fell into the same contradictary traps that I was enmeshing in. (and still am)

I would ask you: was your action to protest that which is certainly evil, wrong? and if not, should you have "known better"?'

Would "knowing better" change the moral content of your courageous actions? Or the actions themselves?





  1. Political tolerance must draw the line at some point to preserve certain crucial rights. Tolerance promotes moral equivalency. And while I once thought this was a virtue, I now find it is not. I cannot and will not accept, for instance, that the repression of women in many third-world countries is somehow secondary to the much agitated concept of western imperialism in contributing to poverty. In short, blowback exists, but many third-world countries (principally north African and East Asian) have their own leaders to blame.


  2. First, I would have to know what you mean by 'tolerance'. If by 'tolerance' you mean the Non Aggression Principal (foundation of all morality), I would say the opposite - clear moral certainty reveals a sharp demarcation between good and evil, drawn deeply in the sand between those who aggress on others, and those who do not, with a grey area being occupied in gradations between more and less violence. Ex. Im completely intolerant of moral equivalency.

    If you promote violence as a solution to moral equivalency, I think you will have achieved your goal, except it would not be you who would be judged as virtuous. An aggressor is clearly known as the evil one, and no complex philosophy is required to know this insight. As an attacker, you certainly would not be morally equal to one who engages peacefully.



  3. Much of the tiresome Neo-Con rhetoric was far deeper than I had anticipated in terms of philosophy and political consciousness. The realization that ultimately an individual's will to act is immensely important. More important perhaps than working towards a national or global cultural consciousness.


  4. I wonder, not so passively, on what principal you judge the virtue of either of these aims. What Neo-con 'rhetoric' (ie not philosophy) could have swayed your previously reasonable mind?

    What broke inside of you that allowed your rationality to be overwhelmed by the madness of violence?



    Playing devil's advocate not only contributes nothing, but leads to apathy which is far more dangerous than interventionism. Picture England, whose drive to balance and respect all forms of tradition has lead to the erection of Sharia courts that are now legally binding. Ask yourself if this is something you really want, not if this is right!


    Have you personally been subject to Sharia law? If not, have you personally been contacted by one who is, asking for assistance in self defense?

    If violence is the cure-all, how much of it, in your 'enlightened' opinion (with intended condensation) would solve the problem of irrationality? (sharia law, religion, statism, ect) How many soldiers, how many bombs, how much treasure, in your opinion, would sufficiently convert the believing non believers? Can you provide philisophical grounds, other than bloodlust, for the effectivity of your plan?

    I would seem to me that your final solution would be just that.



    I differ from 90% of my acquaintences on these issues (so I'm used to friendly, if heated confrontation -- bring it!), but I seem to be one of few of who transformed from a political left, to a political right. I would be curious to know whether any of you feel differently, disagree or agree with me.


    If you indeed propose violence as your ultimate solution and trump card, I wont validate your response any further than this post by pretending this is a debate and exchange between minds, just as I wouldnt pretend a mugger with a gun to my head who politely asks for my wallet is in any way negotiating with me. Since neo-con ideology rests on the bedrock of overhwelming violence, and you declare yourself to be a neo-con, I may be kidding myself by spending my precious time writing this lengthy response. Agreement and disagreement are meaningless terms under your belief system. The only terms of any currency when violence is threatened is obedience or defiance. To give the pretence of civility under such terms only gives sanction to evil.



    Bring it!


    Is your goal to be virtuous, or to win?





    edit on 10-4-2011 by Neo_Serf because: (no reason given)

    edit on 10-4-2011 by Neo_Serf because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2011 @ 04:32 AM
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It's interesting to me the OP sees an antiwar stance and a protect-freedom-of-expression stance as somehow mutually exclusive, or at least unusual enough to necessitate an explanation. But in point of fact these two issues have nothing to do with each other whatsoever and every human being is free to formulate his opinion about each of the two however he sees fit, in whatever shades of nuance seem the best.

Ideology restricts this vast spectrum of possible opinions by yoking unrelated topics together irrationally, in effect saying: "If you believe X about Y then you must believe A about B," when in fact Y and B have no intrinsic relationship to each other, and X and A are only two among dozens of possible opinions one could hold. This deliberate blinkering of human imagination is praised by polemicists as somehow necessary for whatever ideas of progress they happen to have, but I reject this hellish worldview in its entirety. I think it is demeaning and repulsive to restrict your own range of thought for this kind of reason, and indeed there is something immoral about it, in that you are abdicating your responsibility to think through each issue carefully on its own terms and make the best possible decision. It's basically outsourcing your own perception and judgement, and I think it is something best avoided at all costs, on either the left or the right, IMHO.


edit on 4/10/11 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)



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