Righteousness and War
[The following was originally sent in an email to a friend. Thought I would save it here.]
Unaccountability and righteousness go together. In “Oppenheimer” there are scenes of the American people rejoicing when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated, just as they rejoiced when Tokyo or Dresden or Vietnam or Korea were incinerated. Why? Because the killing was taken as evidence of America’s moral virtuousness, of its righteousness, “As Christ died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, The truth is marching on! Glory, glory alleluia!” The mystique of blood sacrifices, human blood sacrifices. The depth of this delusion is mind-boggling.
One implication of humans being political animals is the righteousness of the mankind; and as a result of this righteousness, violence and war are seen as individual and social blessings, restoring vitality to and the purifying of both individual human beings and societies. In this way, the obscenity of war disappears, replaced by illusions of human virtue, the “hero warrior.” Achilles, that is.
[Plato and Aristotle were out to replace Homer and Achilles. Perhaps Twain sought to replace Joan of Arc through irony, not fully understanding what successfully doing that required. Huck would replace Tom, “the model boy of the town.” But perhaps only the ironic got and get it,]
The pursuit of greatness leads to war, bloodshed, and inhumanity, which when achieved is taken as evidence of moral virtue. Trump’s MAGA should actually be "Make America Virtuous Again." And, of course, the Democrats agree with this agenda. Which explains our endless wars. They are the result of our righteousness, our pursuit of moral virtue, and not of an anti-communism or anti-Islamism created by propagandists.
Personal observation: That moral virtue leads to war is confirmed by my brother Charlie’s life and death. No one more wanted to be morally virtuous than Charlie - Mr. Boy Scout, Mr. Let Us Upgrade the Environment at Metuchen High School With Coats and Ties, Mr. President of His Fraternity, and finally Mr. Marine Who Would “Serve”- and Help Save - His Country. He was “a model boy!”
[And then there was his brother, whose ironic campaign slogan for class president Jr. and Sr. years was “I promise to do nothing.” And he won, illustrating the emptiness, the inanity of “student government” in a wholly bureaucratized institution. A lesson you learned later at Assumption. So the money you paid was justified because you did get educated! Just not in the way the bureaucrats wanted you educated! 😎]