Monday, November 14, 2005

Blame the mirror

I just read a very interesting article at the Asia Times Online. Basically, it suggests what we all so vehemently love to deny... that what our governments do in the West is our fault, because we — as a society — place the people in power who express our national characters. By this I don't mean every single one of us... but overall, as societies. Here are a few telling points from the article...

...American immigration laws, to be sure, favor the rich, the talented and educated. But that sheds some light on the character of the United States, which absorbs immigrants directly into its elite. Europe, which allows barely one in eight of its school leavers into university, does not want immigrants who might displace the local talent. It has recruited an immigrant population of dustmen, whose children burn cars out of frustration. As their numbers diminish, the Europeans confront an army of 30 million unemployed young Arabs, which they neither can absorb nor expel. The reason that the leaders of France can offer no solution to the present crisis is that no solution exists, given the present demography and predilections of the population of France.

The tragedy of the Americans, I have argued in the past, is that they cannot understand the tragedy of other peoples. With force as deadly as the mounted hordes of the past, America's influence has swept through the world and overturned the traditional order, leaving ill-prepared peoples to fend for themselves in the chaos...

...Tragedy entertains us on the stage because tragic protagonists do not know that they are tragic, even after the chorus admonishes them that this is the case. Bush will go into retirement wondering what he did wrong. The trouble is not what he did, but what he is, and what Americans are.

In the classic tragedy of Greek religious festivals, the tragedy of the individual is the tragedy of a culture; the case of Orestes can be resolved only by a cultural change, in this case trial by jury at Athens. Bush, whose second administration has failed on all fronts after 10 months in office, may be less articulate than Pericles, but he is no less tragic, and his tragedy is that of the Americans as a people, just as Chirac's tragedy is that of the French.

1 comment:

L-girl said...

Completely off-topic: I just wanted to say thank you.