Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where In The World?

I just watched Morgan Spurlock's movie Where In The World Is Osama bin Laden? and have a few comments...of course...

A quick synopsis (and I do mean quick): Morgan Spurlock goes around the world trying to do what the U.S. Government could not do - find Osama bin Laden. He didn't find the elusive bin Laden, but did get to meet with many average citizens in the various countries only to discover that they were a lot like all of us, and were opposed more to the US Government than to the US itself. No surprise here...

The movie further supported my feelings that waging a "war on terror" makes no more sense than saying we're waging a "war on machine guns" or a "war on land mines." You can't fight a war against an object used to fight a war. In short, the best way to combat terror is not to find bin Laden and "bring him to justice," but more to gain understanding of the root cause of why terror is being used, and target that problem.

However, I've said a whole lot about that before, and I don't really need to repeat myself.

What I didn't like about the movie was its premise that peace and understanding in the world is necessary for the safety of families and children. I very much disagree with this. That premise is as lacking as the premise behind fighting a war against terror. It misses the big picture, and somehow places families and children on the proverbial pedestal as though they were above the rest of us. It was said to tug at the heart-strings of movie viewers. The reason why we need to set aside our differences and find a way to peacefully coexist is for the benefit of all mankind, and the world in general. Fear and uncertainty is not good for anyone, the planet and ecosystem included.

As much as I'm an American and I am thankful for living in this country (most of the time), we need to get off our high-horses and stop acting as if our way is the only way. Freedom is the cornerstone upon which our republic was built. Along with that freedom came responsibility, and it is that responsibility that people here take for granted. We go into other countries and act as though we're bringing them freedom and our way of life. Is spreading our way of life to other societies really a good idea? If you look at the behavior of the average American, they consume and reproduce without any concept of moderation. It is this greedy and irresponsible behavior that has caused our need for resources that result in our taking advantage of other nations that have what we want. Why should we be surprised when the citizens of those nations that, in many cases, have no chance to enjoy even a fraction of the quality of life that we as Americans have become accustomed to, all of a sudden find a desire to rebel against American influence to their culture? Does America have its good qualities? Absolutely, without question. many good qualities. Is our way of life something to be replicated everywhere? Not in its current form.

While family and children are important, those institutions as we have implemented it in our culture and the value we place on it is economically and ecologically unsustainable. In general, nations that have developed technologically and socially (the so-called "westernized nations") have not adjusted their cultural practices - specifically that of quantity of offspring - to account for improvements in health care (we live longer lives) and the reduction in labor requirements due to the mechanization and automation of processes. While we allege to place a high value on family and children, parents are assuming less and less of an active role in their children's development, and many refuse to take an active role in assuring that the planet can support their children.

Families and children are important, but not more important than everyone else.

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