"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Friday, April 22, 2005

Alienation of the centres

"Everything You Know Is Wrong" "Stupid White Men" "Dude Where's My Country?" "The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We'll Win." "Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos"

For those on the left and the right there is a significant prize that has been unatainable in it's entirity in the past and the future looks set not to break that trend. The prize is the attention of those people who insist on loitering around the centre. The left and right just can't understand how these people can just stand around in complete ignorance of the obvious staring them in the face. They can't understand how they believe one thing, but not it's "obvious" implications. It's taken for granted that the left ignores the right and vica versa, save for the frequent ad hominen agruments that grace the insde pages of many mainstream news outlets, but the centres, they are considered fair game.

These loiters are considered a fickle bunch, by the left and right...
Some of them are support the war in Iraq, but not for all the reasons the right cling to. For example some don't see it as a war on terror, they see it as disposing of a cruel dictator. Some were led by stories of WMD and now feel cheated, not by their government, but by unaccountable intelligence agencies. Some are considered mis-informed, biasedly informed or not informed at all. Some are under the illusion that their government is always right.

Some are anti-war, but not because they see no links to 9/11, no WMD, casualties, the reasons given by government, but because they don't want their sons and daughters to go to war or the monetary cost, or the risk of the creatian of a new terrorist threat.

Some see no disparity in the compassion shown for the victims of the tsnuami in south east Asia, a relatively unpreventable situation and the suffering of an equivalent number of people in Iraq, a preventable situation.

Moore's films and books epitimise the attack on the centre by the left. But he attacks one of their most sensitive areas, their faith in government. The right on the other hand attacks a similar, but less easily explained area, their patriotism.

These are both very sensitive areas for many people. In some cases it's an inbuilt notion that living in a democratic nation means that government in essence is a "force" for good. There are "bad eggs" and mistakes made, but for the most part government attempts to promote equality at home and where possible, abroad. In other cases it is a notion that a democratic nation has a duty to change oppressive regimes in other countries. An admirable idea on paper, but it is never as simple as paper might suggest.

Ask almost anyone whether they believe their government will not raise taxes next year, even if they have emphatically denied it for the last twelve months, and you will in most cases hear the answer "no", but ask someone whether they believe their government is killing innocent civilians in a foriegn country and the reply you get will be quite different.

With Moore's approach, many are immediately put on the defensive. Being blamed for the deaths of people half way across the world, or even for ones closer to home is a saddening experience and sometimes anger is an easier response. On the other side the conservatives take a similar assuming tone. "You are either with us or aganist us," makes the options simple, but for those undecieded a similar defense is necessary. For these, there was scant option in the recent 2004 elections, with both candidates ploughing the same field. But they recieved no help from the left, who managed to throw away their "famous" morals and plug the "lesser of two evils." With conflicting tones from both sides, the centre is doing less loitering and more hiding.

Those in the centre feel underseige, the left is accusing them of being ignorant, the right is accusing them of being unpatriotic. Long established as not being the quickest way to ones heart. And thats what it really comes down to, a question of heart. Where do your morals lie, once you are as informed as you can be, it's then your own decision. A decision those on the right and the left have made and for those "undecided" a mission has been undertaken to convince them. So if either side want to get some of these "undecieded" on board they need to stop attacking them and start informing them.

And for my own "two cents". Yes, ask questions of your government, but remember, they are anything but stupid.