Posts Tagged With: the human condition


A woman at a recent campaign rally holds up a huge sign that says-“Thank You Lord Jesus for Donald Trump.” Now Trump may be many things, but the one thing he’s not is a bible-thumper.  Yet, the rather large evangelical community of Christian zealots in this country do appear to be solidly in the Donald’s corner. Hmmnn. Strangely, religious fanaticism and Trump seem to fit together like hand in glove. On the opposite side, a noted Wall Street Journal columnist recently called out Trump for his demagoguery, and compared him to the late tyrannical dictator of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who ran his country’s economy into the ground before dying of cancer in 2013. In terms of belligerence, bellicosity, and bullying, there are definite similarities between the two men. But I would more likely compare Trump to Vladimir Putin, who runs Russia mafia-style, with himself as the godfather, or boss of bosses. Those on the right who think Trump will have any respect for the U.S. Constitution, or the traditions and practices of U.S. government operations, once he reaches the Oval Office, are in for a rude awakening. Both Chavez and Putin came to power largely through the democratic process, similar to the one we practice in this country. Once in power, however, both men casually tossed aside any semblance of democracy, and became dictators for life. And now we seem to be traveling down this same road.

Of course, the unravelling of American society pales in comparison to the horrors being perpetrated in much of the rest of the world. In the Mid-East, Islamic fascist terrorism is destroying the societies of countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, thereby creating a huge humanitarian crises. Hundreds of thousands have already been slaughtered by tyrants such as Hafaz Assad in Syria, or by Islamo-Fascist terror organizations such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Hundreds of thousands more, trying to escape a similar fate, have attempted to flood into Europe, the nearest port of entry that’s supposedly safe. Thousands have already drowned at sea trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach the shores of Greece, a country, by the way, that itself is drowning under the burden of unaffordable economic debt. The irony is all too transparent. From Greece, the plan for most of these refugees is to move north into the more prosperous nations of Germany and France. But the problem is that most of these European countries are relatively small, and can ill-afford to absorb the tens or hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants pouring into their boundaries. The prime minister of Hungry has decried this huge Muslim influx, saying that it will change the very core of Christian prevalence over the European continent. And it probably will. Political battles are going on in virtually every European nation as to whether to admit these desperate immigrants, and if so, how many.

What’s at play here is an unravelling of civilized society as we have known it. When a vacuum is created, evil appears to inevitably move in to fill that vacuum, and those opposing that evil are merely jailed or executed. That vacuum came into existence by the withdrawal of NATO from policing world affairs, primarily in Europe and North Africa. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was created originally to counter the aggressive ambitions of the old Soviet empire, consisted of military forces from primarily the U.S., but also from European countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe. But with the disintegration of the USSR, NATO began to wither on the vine, if it even exists today, other than on some parchment.

With huge budgetary debt piling up throughout most of Europe, as well as in the U.S., it has become expedient to attempt to achieve savings by cutting back on military hardware and troops. The military resources of virtually every European country is now just a shadow of its former self, and there has been significant decrease in this country as well. Which makes it a prime opportunity for the bad guys to move in and fill the vacuum left by the hollowed forces of the good guys. An opportunity too ripe to pass up. Thus, the Mid-East is in a process of steady disintegration, Europe is being overwhelmed by waves of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives to a continent ill-equipped to absorb them, and the U.S. is pretty much observing from a safe distance, but doing nothing.

Perhaps it’s in the very fabric of the human condition to eventually end up on a course of self-destruction. Winston Churchill once said that a lie travels half way around the world while truth is putting its boots on. The same exact thought could be made about the forces of good and evil. In the late 1930s, the good guys pretty much twiddled their thumbs while Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan nearly destroyed the world. The price paid for late entry into world events was merely in excess of 60 million human lives. Today the U.S. and its allies fiddle while the Mid-East burns. Of course, such conditions create fertile soil for demagogues like Donald Trump to plant the seeds of fear and anger on his quest to be the most powerful person in the world. Reacting out of fear or anger is a sure-fire route for those on the road to perdition. I wonder how Jesus feels, being thanked for the rise of this snake oil salesman.

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John Kerry, who was recently appointed Secretary of State by President Obama, has taken on the herculean task of trying to arrange a peace treaty between the Israelis and Palestinians. Kerry, as you may recall, lost a narrow election for president in 2004, when Ohio tipped into George Bush”s column. The loss was primarily attributed to a successful smear campaign undertaken by a right-wing fringe group, of Kerry’s record while serving in Viet-Nam during during the 1970s. Even though Kerry had earned 2 purple hearts and other medals for valor. But that would be the the topic for another blog.

In an event, as I’ve said, Kerry is trying mightily to arrange a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian state, even though the odds of success are unimaginable. For over 65 years ( since creation of the state of Israel) the 2 sides have been locked in a state of deadly combat, if not outright war. The Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist. They have undertaken decades long terrorist acts against Israel that have cost thousands of lives. In retaliation, Israel has imposed the harshest of restrictions against the Palestinians that have made simple everyday tasks become the severest of burdens. It’s a never ending cycle of death, destruction and misery. Furthermore, since the U.S. is Israel’s primary, and indeed, only benefactor, Palestinians also vent their hatred toward this country. For example, when 9/11 occurred, Israel lowered all its flags to half-mast, in sympathy with the tragedy we experienced. On the other hand, the Palestinians were literally dancing in the streets.

Thus, Kerry’s chances of achieving peace between the 2 sides face longer odds than winning Powerball. Nevertheless, he’s gotten both sides to agree to sit down at a negotiating table in Washington, which can be considered a minor miracle in itself.  But it raises the question of how many decades, how many generations, how many centuries does it take before it dawns on people that the dysfunctional cycle of vengeance, retaliation, and revenge simply doesn’t work. That maybe, instead, as they used to say in the 1970s, they should give peace a chance. Couldn’t hurt.

Another example of people behaving badly was an article in today’s Wall Street Journal.  As we all know, we have been fighting in Afghanistan for well over 10 years. The U.S. has lost thousands of lives in that venture, to say nothing of the thousands more whose lives are effectively over due to severe war injuries such as brain damage, loss of limbs, blindness, etc. To say nothing of the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve poured down that sink hole. Some of those billions have been spent on educational facilities, especially for women. Until U.S. entry, women in Afghanistan had no right to an education; indeed they generally had no rights at all. They could be murdered by men who then faced no punishment by claiming  that the woman had somehow dishonored the family name. In any event, U.S. largesse has resulted in our taxpayers picking up the tab for erecting brand new universities and other educational facilities in Afghanistan. The problem is, that large numbers of students in these universities have now turned to radical Islam, which in olden days used to be called outright fascism. They form huge rallies to protest the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and advocate for the return of the Taliban, which is merely the Afghan version of Al-Quida. So much for all the good our sacrifice of blood and treasure has done. If we pull out in 2014, as President Obama has promised, it’s likely that Afghan society will again be a place where women have no rights and radical-Islam rules the land.

So it begs the question of why people, in general, indulge in such dysfunctional behavioral patterns. When it’s often so clearly against their best interests. Not only can’t nations live in peace, but this is often true for individual families. Why do parents, at times, become estranged from their children, or vice versa. Or siblings become estranged from each other. Their own flesh and blood. If families can’t live together in peace, what hope is there for nations doing the same.

Why do people act destructively when it comes to their own health and well-being. Why do they do drugs, or drink excessively when it’s obvious that such habits will eventually kill them. Why do people still smoke, when decades of studies and information prove how destructive that is. In the U.S., the latest tally shows that nearly 45 million people, or almost 20% of the adult population, still can’t kick the habit. Even with all the horror stories of what smoking does to the human body. And all these 45 million people seem to migrate to Las Vegas casinos at one time or another. You seem them puffing away as they keep pouring money into the slots. Casinos are the one place left in our society where smokers can puff away to their heart’s content without being stigmatized. Casino owners are more than happy to accommodate smokers, who will usually behave just as compulsively about gambling as they do about smoking.

I guess it’s just ingrained in the human condition that large numbers of people will behave dysfunctionally. Indulging in personal behavior that will either physically or mentally destroy their lives. Indulging in endless cycles of vengeance, destruction and death, when dealing with perceived enemies. Voting in governments that will establish ruinous dictatorships as they recently did in Egypt. Or going no further than voting in a U.S. Congress that now has an 8% approval rating from the very people that put them there in the first place. People behaving badly. Dysfunction advancing forward. Perhaps the best advice is just to sit back and watch the parade as it goes marching along.

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