Tuesday, March 08, 2005

National Security

On a political forum the other day, I was in a heated battle over some government policy that I disagreed with. The other fellow made many weak attempts to rationalize the government's position. Each time, I would cut his argument to pieces. Exasperated, he eventually ended the argument by invoking the "it is a matter of National Security". By saying "National Security", he was really saying, "Oh yeah, well, my dad said so, so it must be right".

Hmm. Great couple of words, "National Security". Important sounding, patriotic without being mushy, and they effectively and legally mask all sorts of nefarious government stuff. Always handy and ready to bail the weak argument. Invoking these two words allows the gullible and afraid to sit back and go, " Ohhhh, National Security, it must be okay then." Somehow, these two words alleviate the need to question the policy or action.

Many people contend that to publicly question and criticize our leaders and the stupid stuff they get us into is unpatriotic and a sign that we just do not love our country. Bullshit. I would rather have a country of political cynics than the majority of complacent sheep we apparently have right now. Our country has a history of ulterior goals being attained through false claims of National Security. To assume that our current leadership is doing anything different is naive and dangerous.

Flag waving and blind allegiance may be a kind of love for one's country. But it is a love that is misguided. Many people equate our country with our government. The two are different. Our country is us. Our government is the group of people we hired to run our country for us. Our government does not love us. Our government loves their job. That is, they love having the power of government. The fact that they should be responsible to us for what they do often gets lost in their quest to gain or extend their power. And yet, many folks assume that our government always has our interest at heart. Again, Bullshit. The two party system we are trapped in assures that party survival comes before the interests of the people they represent.

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