Friday, October 26, 2007


To paraphrase Bill Whittle, which way are the boats headin', man?

I keep hearing about the terrible spread of American Hegemony. I was reading a relatively thoughtful article on mistakes America has made in the past few years... some parts I agree with, some parts I cut America some slack. But I ran across this in it:

... the fundamental problem remains the lopsided distribution of power in the international system. Any country in the same position as the US, even a democracy, would be tempted to exercise its hegemonic power with less and less restraint.
(emphasis, mine) And assertion has always bugged me. I don't buy it. The old "so might makes right?" argument against using might, and the idea that if you have might you will nessesarily use it to unjustly impose your will on others. There are all kinds of very strong people, bulky, muscular people, and people who own a lot of firepower who choose, not out of fear but because they are basically good people -- only to use their strength to help others and themselves -- as a positive force.

Might does not make right. But for the kinder, gentler world we all would like to have to survive, right had better have might, or might will make "right" and everyone will suffer for it save the few at the top of the heap.

I think where people get confused comes from the tendency in recent decades to get everyone to believe that nobody is wrong, that there basically is no right or wrong -- and you're wrong to believe otherwise. See the irony?

If nobody's right and everybody's wrong, then what difference does it make what any of us do, and who are you to criticize? Perhaps it's the mentality of the critic. If I can point out what's wrong with you, then the focus is on your wrongness, not mine. And so for the moment, I feel a sense of self-"right"eousness.

But that argument just doesn't scale over time.

No comments: