Chekhov wrote:Bradley Manning was doubtlessly abducted, tortured to enact a false confession, murdered and his body dumped in the harbour - oh wait, he's probably confined to quarters for a breach of military discipline. Meanwhile, a mass grave of over a thousand political prisoners was found in Libya today.
He was not just detained. He was locked up all isolated and only let out of his tiny cell for 23 hours a day, and never saw the sunlight for a whole year. That's psychological torture to break the prisoner's spirit. Smart move from the Pentagon. There's no point trumpeting the "moral superiority" of the US military, because you wouldn't know what fate they secretly want to give him. Mind you that he was only transferred to a normal brig after their conduct were called on by the media. What that tells us, is he's lucky to live in a democracy, where there are checks and balances over the armed force's power. That doesn't make their leaders moral or humanistic people. But I think The Onion would take a jab at this better than me.
Chekhov wrote:I said they were in fact better than most other countries, morally speaking.
Get me a yardstick to measure their heart, to see how deep their humanity is. Oh wait you can't.
Tenebrarum wrote:Personally I would think twice before making that kind of sweeping statement about a whole culture.
Well of course it's a sweeping statement. But it's more economical than analysing the 6 billion or so sub-cultures.
I think it's very counterproductive to think in that reductionist manner, because if you look at it that way, the question of whether politics guides culture or culture guides politics is harder to answer than "which came first, the egg or the chicken?". It doesn't help that culture is terribly complex and intangible. And so we fall back on stereotypes, seriously now? Writing off a whole nation as incapable of achieving something based on cultural claims is always easy. Until they actually do achieve it. The West used to think East Asia was incapable democracy, until Japan, South Korea and Taiwan emerged. Japan was rebuilt by an established democracy that is America; South Korea is indebted to those students who rose up; Taiwan has to thank the son of Chang Kaishek, who decided that it's time for his party to relinquish absolute power. Taiwan are also ruled by Han Chinese, who are supposed to be nepotist and oppressive, then why did that happen? We can assign cultural causes to those stories all we want, but such statements are never falsifiable. "Arabs don't have any democratic country because they have this oppressive mindset...", and then when the Arab Spring broke out: "In hindsight, this was bound to happen because Arab people have this sense of pride so innate in their culture..." You see? They can be, and are, revised on whims to explain whatever is going on. A very lazy approach to explaining politics.
I think it's safe to say that governments around the world are the way they are because nations, by chance
, have (not) had an opportunity to get exposed to democracy at some point in their history. Democracy is a game - the longer you have experimented, the better you are at it. Culture is so ephemeral, that if you include it into the equation, you have trod into the ground of untestable speculations.
That's why people in a country do not "deserve" their government. There are so many factors they don't get to decide, like for example the seeds of what they're enjoying/suffering today were planted a full century ago (most likely several centuries). They always deserve better.