Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Let me win or I'll quit the game"

Papua New Guinea is threatening to dramatically reduce the money it receives from Canberra ... The most serious step being contemplated is the suspension of significant elements of Australian aid deemed not essential to PNG, the Herald understands. ... The aide-memoire gives the Australian Government a week to respond. (SMH) Tim Blair comments: "threaten us some more".


Commentary

One of the most interesting of all modern strategies is the use of self-mutilation as defense. And the wonder is how well it works. North Korea vows to starve its people unless its demands are granted. And the world gives. Saddam released crude oil into the Persian Gulf to force America to let it have Kuwait. And environmentalists blamed America for an environmental disaster. Youths burn buses in France to protest the lack of public services to the Paris suburbs. Iraqi insurgents threaten, unless America their bidding to kill each other. And the Lancet duly chalks it up as an American war crime.

The supposed justification for this train of reasoning is that "if you break it, you own it". That's to say the moment America turns its attention to anything, everything that subsequently happens, even if caused by a meteor from outer space, flows from the consequences of that attention. Everyone knows that Cuba was destroyed by America trading with it before Castro. Everyone knows that Cuba was destroyed by America not trading with it after Castro. The attack on the World Trade Center was provoked by America. Besides, the Pentagon actually attacked the WTC themselves just to make sure. On and on it goes, with America alternatively playing the role of hapless bumbler and omniscient fountainhead. Spying everywhre and knowing nothing. Guilty while breathing.

This type of thinking effectively dehumanizes nearly every person on the planet by reducing them to the status of victims. It is probably no coincidence that the greatest economic progress on the planet has been achieved by countries like China, India, Taiwan or Singapore that have simply given up on this claptrap and gotten on with their lives. Who could have guessed?

9 Comments:

Blogger Asher Abrams said...

Dude. You, like, totally forgot Iran. Everything that happened under the Shah is our fault. And everything that happened under Khomeini is our fault because the Shah sucked.

10/31/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

I don't know. US economic progress is pretty good.

10/31/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Pushover tactics work with pushovers. If you aren't a pushover, then these tactics won't work.

10/31/2006 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Gross national income per capita in '03 - US dollars:

India - 530
China - 1,100
Singapore - 21,230
US - 37,610

Geohive

10/31/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Sam makes a good point, Wretchard. I would substitute the words "economic growth" for "economic progress".

10/31/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

I dunno guys, I think the comment about China, India, etc. are pretty dead on. He referred to "economic progress", not relative GNP per capita.

Of COURSE they're still far below us in absolute terms (look at the relative starting points!), but they've been acheiving far faster gains for several years now. That's progress.

11/01/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Islam preaches fatalism, whatever occurs is Allah's will. Communism preaches historic inevitability, whatever happens is predestined by huge outside forces. Both philosophies are ways of absolving yourself from your own failures.

America gets blamed for everything because only we have the power (and occasionally the will) to act. Can you imagine France single-handedly opposing the spread of Islamofacism? Even Jacque Chirac would chuckle at the thought. If America DOES act, and it turns out badly, we’re blamed for making the problem worse. If America DOESN’T act we get blamed because only we could have affected a different outcome. If America DOES act, and it turns out reasonably well the NY Times prints editorials pointing out how much BETTER it WOULD have turned out if only we had followed the sage plans advocated by Senators Kerry and Kennedy.

Face it: the game is rigged. Does that mean we don’t play? I guarantee we’d be criticized for that.

If we want to feel good about ourselves we need a moral compass so we can know what the right thing to do is, and then do it. If we let the moral relativists in the UN be our moral compass (as Ted Turner and Jimmy Carter advocate) then we will deserve the world’s approbation.

11/01/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

The term progress denotes accumulation, and it is clear that the US is way ahead of the game in terms of its accumulation of wealth.

11/01/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

They need to hire this guy.

11/02/2006 08:10:00 PM  

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