Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Do So Many Want To Kill and Torture? (Butler Shaffer)

Why do many, if not most, Americans seem to love war and all the horrors it brings? Butler Shaffer explores the question:

The 2001 attack on the World Trade Center was a watershed event for the soul of Americans. Prior to that time, there would have been a significant questioning of the state employing its collective powers to injure or kill persons who had caused no harm to others. This is not to say that most Americans had a pacific spirit, or were unwilling to engage in warfare against others. The United States has long been a war-loving nation, particularly from the period of the Civil War when Americans reveled in a four-year-long holiday for butchers.

But Americans have long insisted that their government’s participation in the amassing of tens of millions of corpses be grounded in some so-called "rational" purpose; that there be some moral "justification" for the well-orchestrated carnage for which the United States would become the primary supplier of weaponry. If the state had to concoct events that provided the offense for which armed retaliation was then demanded, that became acceptable, as long as the details of the scheme could be kept suppressed, such as by labeling truth-tellers "paranoid conspiracy theorists." As long as they could cling to their state-induced delusions that collective violence served some pragmatic or moral ends, most Americans have been content to allow the state a free reign.

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