Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Forget Calvin, Listen to Hobbes


I’ve just been listening to a national phone-in programme on CBC Radio with Rex Murphy that is debating Canada’s continued involvement in Afghanistan. One caller stated that, though we, as Canadians, are seen as being pretty laid back, but when we someone else getting kicked around we tend to jump in. I’ve got serious issues with this point of view which seems prevalent amongst my countrymen. I agree that, in a general sense and given the size of our military, Canada does seem to journey down the path of righteousness when it comes to peace keeping and foreign policy pertaining to our military action. I’d also like to state, before I continue this missive, that whatever the decision is – whether I am for or against – I believe that we as a nation must support our troops 100%. We are far from perfect, like any family, but that would never justify us turning our backs.

Let’s leave the topic of Afghanistan and address the notion of our sticking up for the victims of bullies. Our entire way of life is pretty much based upon the exploitation of others – who are we kidding?! Whether it’s the clothes we wear made through child labour in Third World sweatshops through to the inflated cost of a cup of coffee where the farmers don’t receive an equal share, our entire “have culture” is a product of their being “have-nots”. I laugh when I hear Spence Diamond advertising that they travel to some pretty dangerous places to ensure their customers get the best rock for their buck. HELLO?! And why are these places so dangerous? Can you say De Beers anyone! Africa is ripe with war and famine, largely due to colonial exploitation of gold and diamonds. Isn’t it amazing the pieces that fly off through media spin?

So, enter Afghanistan. Yes, the Taliban were awful and there is evidence to support that they allowed some of the terrorist groups connected to Osama Bin Laden train there. Fine, but aren’t there far worse issues that need to be dealt with around the globe? North Korea has millions starving to death and may be going nuclear. The Sudan is a mess. Millions were hacked to death in Rwanda, but nobody was too quick to show up. How about the terrorist groups permitted by Libya or Saudi Arabia to train within their borders?

9/11 changed the way we view the world for certain and was an attack on the North American continent. I remember a few of my mates saying that they supported Canada sending troops into Afghanistan after 9/11, so I posed them the question: if you believe we should be there, then why don’t you join the military and go fight yourself instead of leaving the job to others? I thought that this was a fair enough question, given the history of Canadian volunteers to journey into the two World Wars, Korea, Spain, etc. Again, the failure by the able bodied individuals to take up the call falls back on the comforts that the West has become.

A friend of mine who has done his share of fighting with the French Foreign Legion has made the only truly valid point in having troops in Afghanistan in that you simply have to get your Army bloodied on occasion as peace time exercises simply will not make for battle ready troops. This is a point I can accept, especially as the majority of Canadian Military involvement has been through peacekeeping duties. An army is used for war: both offensive and defensive. Perhaps it is the politically correct climate in which we live that makes us as ignorant of this reality as we are about our propaganda on being international saints (we’ve sold some pretty dodgy Can-du nuclear reactors over the years folks, not to mention not been too sensitive to our environment!). The disbanding of the Airborne Regiment in Somalia is a benchmark to this way of thinking. I was outraged at the disbanding of our Airborne, again, pushing the point that we can not expect a tiger from being that which it is. Further to this, after spending five years in Federal Corrections, I am all too familiar with the politically correct juggernaut.

If I am sounding self-righteous in my rant here, that is not my goal. I am as equally guilty of living off the misfortunes and exploitation of others. My point is that we must acknowledge that, just as a tiger will be a tiger, so too will man be man. We are savages who have groomed our hair and traded crude skins for dyed leather. In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes states: “Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon with them: but they are the money of fools.” Hobbes continues: “Covenants without the sword are but words and no strength to secure man at all.” Perhaps this sounds bleak, but, filtering through our political correct minds, we must see these statements as an accurate portrait of what man truly is. For, as Hobbes concludes: “During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.” Isn’t this the truth? Think of the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, the fall of the Soviet Union, or even Rome. Our modern world is held together with economyan artificial system that greatly affects how everyone lives – the haves and the have nots. When the Army is too thin or too inexperienced to keep the masses under there thumb and people have blinked away from religion and their MTV, we have revolution and chaos where man survives as only their instincts may direct.

We are not perfect but we are ignorant of who and what we truly are.

1 Comments:

  • At 7:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I like the Hobbes quote. He always says it better than Calvin. nodrogged out and over the hill

     

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