In a previous Pravda.ru article entitled AMERICAN MORALITY SCAM (August 8, 2006), I discussed how demagogues, liars and religious hypocrites confine their definition of “morality” to issues involving human sexuality, which, in turn, enables them to ignore, rationalize and excuse the economic exploitation, and even the abuse, torture and murder, of their fellow human beings.
This tactic is successful for two reasons: 1). There are diverse categories of morality—legal, medical, religious, and business—and they are usually more in conflict than in harmony; 2). There are, according to researchers, three divergent views of morality, which can make one person’s wrong another person’s right.
The first view, fundamental morality, focuses upon basic issues of fairness vs. unfairness and justice vs. injustice. This type of morality carries with it the obligation to “do the right thing” regardless of the situation.
The second view combines law and morality by asserting that people who obey the law in a given situation are, through this obedience, also behaving morally.
The last view argues that moral standards have to be fluid and adaptable to different situations. In a world now witnessing the cruelty and deceit of the Bush dictatorship, and in an America now experiencing the demise of democracy, freedom, human rights and the “check-and-balance” system of government, this view of “morality” has tragically won the day.
But the problem with adaptable morality, at least for those who maintain some semblance of conscience and humanity, is that the underpinnings of fundamental morality can be obscured but never erased. Consequently, throughout history, a plethora of people have, in their declining years when death’s imminence raised fears of eternal damnation, expressed regret for actions they took when power, wealth and selfish ambition made them arrogantly forget that all individuals are constrained by the limitations of mortality.
Benedict Arnold, regarded as America’s greatest traitor, is said to have expressed regret for his attempt to surrender the fort at West Point to the British; Former California Governor Earl Warren expressed regret for supporting the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; Roy Cohn, the opportunistic chief counsel to witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy, is said to have expressed regret over the lives he unjustly destroyed during the “red scare” of the 1950s; Former United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara expressed regret for his role in escalating the Vietnamese war during the 1960s; former Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun, who supported death penalty laws throughout his tenure, waited until six months before his retirement to express regret over the constitutionality of capital punishment.
But do these belated expressions of contrition make Arnold, Warren, Cohn, McNamara, and Blackmun heroes, or simply latter-day Pontius Pilates attempting to “wash their hands” of deeds they can no longer change? What about the people these individuals victimized before the pangs of conscience arose? Is it fair to forgive the victimizers while the victims are forgotten, or to praise them for simply recognizing what they should have known all along?
Now America’s newest Benedict Arnold, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, is predictably joining this legion of “ethical” crusaders by denouncing the Bush dictatorship’s perverse desire to further shred the Bill of Rights and spit upon the Geneva Convention, simply so the world’s largest criminal organization, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), will have unbridled discretion to rape, torture, falsely imprison, “disappear,” and murder political dissidents, simply by labeling them terrorists.
Yet this is the same Colin Powell who arrogantly proffered to the United Nations the Bush dictatorship’s fabrications about the “urgent” need to invade Iraq, the same Colin Powell who angrily replied, “Don’t go there,” when legislators questioned Bush’s use of family wealth and influence to avoid combat duty during the war in Vietnam, the same Colin Powell who continued to obsequiously regurgitate the Bush dictatorship’s lies long after those lies had been exposed.
If America is to survive as a nation built upon bedrock principles, if it is to withstand the hurricanes of fear, prejudice and hysteria, then it is time to be less forgiving of those, like Bush and his minions (both inside and outside government), who exploit such hurricanes for their own aggrandizement. It is time to be more forgiving to the victims who are unjustly scapegoated, persecuted and abused in this milieu of hatred and hypocrisy. But most of all, it is time to be more insistent that fundamental morality be part of the political process at the inception of any proposed idea, policy or legislation, not simply a “Gee whiz, I’m so sorry” afterthought.
Recently American politicians from both sides of the spectrum criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (articles) for asserting that George W. Bush is the devil. But was he really so wrong? From the moment Bush corruptly stole the 2000 election, in a ploy that essentially destroyed American democracy, he has spread an infectious evil throughout the United States and the world, a profligate evil that once again blinded a nation into sending the poor off to die in an unjust war so the rich could get richer, a numbing evil that has deadened the heart and soul of everything and everybody he has touched, a sadistic evil that revels in mendacity, venality, hated, cruelty and death, an ignominious evil that believes power can only be gained by appealing to the worst in human nature. So if George W. Bush and his minions are not inspired and controlled by Satan, they’re certainly doing a damn good imitation.
David R. Hoffman
Legal Editor of PRAVDA.Ru