It is now an established international practice that a state that causes grievous harm to other states can be invaded. Therefore, America should be invaded, and a Governing Council should be established to help it become a Better America. Now, I love America, and should it really be invaded, I will defend it to the death. But my love of America is not blind and it does not prevent me from seeing that America badly needs a Governing Council or that its foreign policy is fallacious. Thus, my argument will have three parts: America as a terrorist state, why America is being badly led, and how to build a Better America.
America as a terrorist state
A terrorist is someone who randomly causes grievous harm to a large number of innocent people. A terrorist state is one which institutionalizes this process on behalf of a perceived ’society’. Whoever commits a terrorist act deserves severe punishment regardless of the good things he may have done in the past. For example if a pediatrician who had saved dozens of children’s lives, were to blow up one child with a bomb, he or she would be a terrorist. America has done and is continuing to do an immeasurable amount of good for the world, much more so than any other state, but it also causes grievous harm to the world by some of its actions. These actions are:
- Promotion of televised sports, popular music, Hollywood movies, an unhealthy diet, and a consumer culture
- America’s “war on drugs”
- America’s mindless pursuit of “democracy”
Here is what I mean. Human life is limited; it is 60 good years or less, if we take a worldwide average. And during this time each person must understand what the world is about, appreciate the beauty of the world with all his heart, rear and educate children, and create more than one has consumed. These are hard tasks, and there is not enough time. Now, a billion people spend three hours each January watching the Superbowl, so this is three billion hours in total. Obviously, this show does nothing to help them to accomplish these tasks: it is an utter waste of time. There are 9,000 hours in a year, so one Superbowl show works out to 5,555 wasted lifetimes. The World Trade Center attack killed 3,000 people, taking on average 20 years of life from each victim. That works out to 1,000 human lifetimes, five and a half times less than one Superbowl show.
Of course, the Superbowl does not kill anyone, but it does use sophisticated techniques to convince everyone that the game is “important”, “extremely exciting”, and “could not be missed”, whereas in reality it has no relevance to anything important in life - it’s just a show. The damage is caused surreptitiously, and yet it is real and it is severe: consider a father of small children who cannot think of anything but the upcoming Superbowl game while his marriage is falling apart. The Superbowl actually kills no one, but it does kill a great many people a little.
The crime here consists in the use of sophisticated techniques to convince people that they should abandon the reality of their life in favor of an utterly irrelevant show. And the technical sophistication of the explosive device or the meticulous planning that went into organizing the blast do not make a terrorist less guilty; maybe even more guilty, in fact. Now, if America were to use the same sophistication to hook the world on the Discovery Channel, or on the Boston Symphony Orchestra (since America is far and away the world leader in quality television and in real culture), America would not have become the terrorist state that it is.
The same goes for American popular music, which is everywhere. Again, America is the world leader in all kinds of great music, but this is not what it exports. Three generations of life on welfare have produced a certain walk, a certain talk, a certain look - and a certain music, called rap. The marketing machine is so sophisticated and so overwhelming that the hoods are worn from Thailand to Iceland, and youth all over the world imitate the threatening walk of a gangsta about to stick a knife into someone. I’m tellin’ u, mothafucka: this shit’s got to stop!
As far as most Hollywood movies, they are nothing less than deconstruction of culture, turning the entire world into zombies who live in a primitively schematic, illogical, violent, make-believe universe, where technology and appearance mean everything while feelings, culture, and history only interfere with the need to shoot at everything that moves. Again, America can handle this as it has plenty of reality: schools, universities, jobs, churches, strong communities, functional government, and efficient police. But what about Brazilian youths that have none of the above and yet watch all of these vile, soul-destroying, disorienting movies? If this is not terror, what is?
From Hollywood movies, we move on to commercials and advertising, which again are American products, and come to the consumer culture. Just because America has lots of machine tools with an enormous productive capacity does not mean that the only purpose of human life is to consume machine-made products. We cannot eat four Triplecheeseburgers a day: we were meant to be creative and to enjoy life, not to rest, motionless, between oversized fatty meals. Yes, Triplecheeseburgers can be produced cheaply, in the billions, and they are fun to advertise: look at all those beautiful, thin people that pretend to enjoy them (spitting the stuff right out after each photo-take).
What is the “consumer society” that America is pushing on the world? It is not a society where machine-made products are available, but a society where people want these products. Thus, it would be incorrect to say that the consumer society started with the introduction of an enormously productive machine-tools: consumer society is driven by an industrialized, all-pervasive, advertising and that is something that was invented and practiced in America. Let us complete the following sentence “This teenager wants:” Today, the answers would be: sneakers, a candy bar, CD, or a sexual partner.” Yet, only recently this sentence would have had a very different ending: “This teenager wants : to be a pilot.” People want to have, whereas they used to want to become. But if you are not becoming someone, you have not lived, and if you are becoming someone with the sole purpose of having you have not lived, either. The only way to live is to become someone whose main purpose is creating and contributing, and America somehow succeeds in combining the greatest creative and giving potential, with the most violent, aggressive, expansionist, and vile denial of it. Have you ever seen a commercial with a tag line, “Become a scientist?” Yet, every American is asked ten times a day to buy a chocolate bar.
On that note, we smoothly transition to the next subject - sugar. Sugar happens to be the most harmful substance known to man. Since America is a sugar country, it is no surprise that sugar kills Americans first, and America is indeed being devastated by sugar. And yet, even though the results are evident, America is pushing its sugar habit on the world, as teenagers everywhere, having seen glamorous Coke commercials hundreds of times, clamor for the sugary poison. Now, America has the money and the medical establishment to treat diabetes, but the Third World does not have these means. Yet, the sugar habit is being pushed on them, even though it is obvious that it could cause great harm. Today, those who do not have enough money for vegetables and meat, those who suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiency, parade in their slums with a Coke bottle in hand. This Coke took quite a bite out of their budget, but what can they do: they too want to be glamorous. Unsophisticated information consumers, those who have no access to true information and do not understand the nutritional value of things are being induced to spend their money on poison. With this level of corporate social responsibility, one wonders what will happen when genetically altered foods really come on-stream. It’s a crime.
Next comes the “War on Drugs”. Some substances, such as cocaine and heroin, are very harmful and addictive. This is unfortunate, and many people suffer serious medical and psychological problems from choosing to consume these substances. Moreover, these medical and psychological victims of drug abuse are also very often victims of violence owing to drugs being illegal. America (and other countries too) thus define a medical problem as a criminal problem. Since these substances are addictive and very cheap to produce, they should be dispensed free. Yet, because these substances are harmful, they should be dispensed only after proper warning is given and counseling is suggested. An addict gets his dose, clean and proper, and does not have to mug someone or sell her or his body for a hit. Now comes the main point: since drugs cost very little to produce there would be no incentive to produce drugs commercially or to take steps to encourage drug use. Since drugs would bring no money to private business, there would be no incentive to make drugs appear glamorous. The “illegal” drugs would thus become just a medicine for the unfortunate few who cannot derive pleasure out of real life. As such, drug abuse may even die out almost entirely, freeing the society from the enormous costs associated with keeping drugs illegal.
And why have people in America proved to be so susceptible to drugs? We have already discussed one of the major reasons. People choose drugs because they prefer an image or the adrenalin rush to reality. But this is what the entire American pop culture relentlessly pushes them to do! Remember our discussion of the Superbowl, an irrelevant show presented as the most important event in one’s life?
The way to solve the drug problem is clear: it is a combination of the availability of drugs to addicts and the strong emphasis on reality of one’s life, reality that could and should be changed for the better. But America needs to make big business out of everything, even out of substances that bring horrible suffering and death to humans. So, this “morality” and the Economics 101 combined to find a “solution”: drugs were made illegal. As heroin and cocaine are, just like sugar, nothing but crystallized sap of a certain plant, there is no reason why they should cost much more than sugar. Yet, sugar sells for 10 cents a kilogram, while cocaine sells for $100,000 a kilogram, making it a million times more expensive. Well, that is quite a difference, and most of it is the consequence of these drugs having been made illegal.
Since there are such mind-boggling profits to be made, there is tremendous incentive to produce drugs and to market them. Marketing is a key here: no effort and no expense is spared to introduce new people to addictive drugs (and to ruin their lives thereby). Again, there would not have been any marketing undertaken if drugs were dispensed for free in medical establishments to those who are already addicted. There is also a tremendous incentive to engage in the drug trade as there are huge profits to be made. As these profits are illegal, this profession is very violent. As these profits dwarf anything else most people can earn, drug trafficking corrupts the law enforcement establishment, which eventually becomes the principal drug runner. All over the world, millions of people are in jail, millions are employed by the criminal underworld, millions are addicted to drugs, or die from an overdose or from AIDS - all to give huge profits to a few individuals whose road to riches was opened with the prohibition of narcotics.
What is a terrorist regime? It is one that is bad for its own citizens and for the security of the world. If so, then America is a terrorist regime, though fortunately not entirely. For some people, America is heaven on earth: just go to a good private school, do not watch commercial television, follow a sensible diet, stay away from drugs, then go to a good college and get a well-paid, creative job. Be a systems analyst during the day and go to the Boston Symphony at night - what more do you need to be happy? But what if you, or your loved ones, are not so lucky? What if they are addicted to baseball or went to a public school or to a community college, drink a pint of Coke every day, free-base cocaine, eat at McDonald’s, or actually trust the government? What then, let me ask you?
Hundreds of thousands of Americans rot in horrendous American jails for drug offences. Has not the regime been terrorizing them with this arbitrary, self-serving, prohibition? We now know that addiction to sugar destroys many more lives than addiction to drugs, so why are we not putting in jail those who are addicted to sugar, as well as those who sell, produce, or advertise it? You touch a bottle of Coke (appropriately named, since cocaine and sugar are brothers) - and you go to jail for five years. Just say No!
If Saddam’s was a terrorist regime (and it was), then America also has a terrorist regime, and thus should also be invaded.
Externally, American terrorism simply defies description. America uses and abuses so much of the world’s natural resources that prices are kept artificially high, making them unavailable for poorer nations. America is the biggest polluter. American popular culture and consumerism are just a plague. America’s war on drugs is completely destroying the social fabric of the entire Latin American continent, as well as that of Afghanistan, Thailand, and Myanmar. Under the guise of the war on drugs, America also fights “money laundering”, collecting much more information on individual citizens than is proper. The idea that if a peasant grows opium poppy because it brings a hundred times more profit than growing traditional crops, we could strife him from a helicopter or burn his fields is an American idea. Again, opium poppy is grown solely because American policies keep the heroin prices artificially high.
The worst is that America’s strength in international diplomacy imposes America’s failed “solutions” on other countries. America has a great deal of inner strength: it is a prosperous, advanced, highly functional, and fundamentally healthy society. But other societies are not that strong. They cannot handle that which America (barely) handles. An American living in a ghetto has other opportunities than to deal drugs: basketball, US Army, even college or a job with a living wage. But a person living in a Peruvian ghetto does not have these opportunities: often, it is either the drug trade or hunger.
Every country must have a functioning police force. In the US, where there is a fundamentally fair law, law enforcement officers are paid well, and there is a strong tradition of service, we may hope that not all policemen have been corrupted by the drug trade. But how about other countries, where policemen are paid a pittance or not paid at all? Do you really believe they can consistently resist bribes eagerly offered by drug traffickers? This romantic scene brings tears to my eyes: “Darling,” says a Russian border guard to his wife, “our little son may be dying for the lack of $5 in medicine, but he is dying with pride, knowing that his daddy rejected a $100,000 bribe.” Do you really think this is plausible?
Another policy that is strongly supported by America is a ban on prostitution. It is assumed that sexual services are not in demand, that each and every hungry woman would rather die quietly in a corner than to sell her body, and that an unregulated, illegal prostitute would not transmit STDs and AIDS. But unregulated, illegal prostitution simply depopulates sub-Saharan Africa. A combination of illegal drugs and illegal prostitution is clearly, indisputably, threatening the very survival of such countries as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Kazakhstan, to name just a few. And what country is funding these suicidal policies with its “foreign aid” grants? As with drugs, most of the abuse of women associated with prostitution comes from it being illegal. It is the state that intimidates prostitutes and denies them their rights, not the owners of the establishments where the prostitutes work.
America also developed yet another way to kill people, and this is called introducing democracy. Democracy is, unquestionably, the best possible social system, and all nations of the world deserve it, but the fact is that not all nations are mature enough to have it yet. One thing is to fight aggression, as in Korea and Vietnam, but another thing is to try to build a “democracy” in one year on the smoldering ruins of Iraq. Matches are good; but it does not mean that four year olds are ready to be playing with matches.
Democracy strongly emphasizes a win/win mode of interaction from which it stems and upon which it depends. And yet, there are other forms of interaction, such as win/lose and, especially, lose/lose. When Iraqi Shiites parade the streets flagellating themselves with bunches of bicycle chains until their backs are black and blue, they do not look to me as people who would easily abandon lose/lose in favor of win/win. When corrupt bureaucrats earn vastly more money from maintaining a corrupt political and social system, they don’t appear to me as people likely to pursue altruism by promoting democracy and legal behavior.
Another problem with democracy is that it is good. It takes a lot of strength, sometimes superhuman strength, to choose good over bad, since bad is so much easier. I love this passage, and since I am trying to lose weight, I stood up, went to the kitchen, and got myself a chocolate bar. This is the choice I am making, and it tastes great. And the point is: if you claim that everyone is ready for democracy just because it is good, I dare you to abandon all your bad habits right now.
A glaring example of this headlong drive to “democracy” is the decolonization of Africa. As soon as western nations realized that “colonial oppression” was “bad”, they granted their African colonies full freedom and independence. African nations were colonized long enough to learn to use automatic weapons and to build paved roads. Paved roads contributed to the rapid spread of AIDS, while machine guns made things like the Rwanda massacre possible, and actually quite common. It is clear in retrospect that the colonial form of governance should have been modified step-by-step rather than abandoned altogether. Be realistic about what you are trying to do, or you will rightly be blamed for the consequences.
Why should America be invaded and who is the enemy?
Today, an American truck driver can make $100K per year. What does it make him? He can buy everything, and if he goes to India, he can successfully imitate a lifestyle of a king. But intellectually he is just a truck driver, whose understanding of the world may be very limited. Thus he resembles a dinosaur with a huge body (represented by his thick wallet) and a comparatively very small brain. The problem here is that this is a person who outwardly appears to be very successful, but in fact is unable to cope. He fears the real life and thus tries to escape it. Fortunately, he has a big TV. A hick is able to buy anything and is being efficiently “served” and yet he is exceptionally unhappy, even deprived, it terms of meaningful existence. Machines keep on producing, and the hick is positioned to be an endless consumer of whatever the machines produce. He watches TV with his mouth open, and only abandons the couch if he needs to buy something more. Burgers, new fashions, pop music, or doctored news - all that he gets is unneeded and poisonous. He seems to be getting everything, and yet he is separated from anything worth having. As a human garbage bin for machine-made products, a hick is likely to understand less about the world than he did at the age of ten. And yet, this hick is a voter!
Thus, one could argue that the first task of the Governing Council of America should be to modernize the American political system. Life has become much more complex and multifaceted since 1787 when the Constitution was created, and the most outdated principle of our Constitution is “one person - one vote” (which of course did not exist at all in 1787) and really doesn’t exist now either given the bizarre workings of the Electoral College. Perhaps Americans should each receive the number of votes that correspond to their respective merits. Each adult deserves one vote, but a college graduate deserves to be awarded another vote, a holder of a scientific or a professional degree - still more votes, etc. If a person is an employer, if one pays a lot of taxes, if he or she is a veteran or holder of awards - such a person should be rewarded with additional votes. I would say that if each voter were to have from one to a thousand votes, depending on the merits, we would have better public servants and better laws.
We urgently need fundamental reform in America lest the machines feed us all the hamburgers that their owners can convince us to buy. We need to be invaded so that we can abandon our homes for at least a week, walk barefoot on grass, sleep under the open sky, unable to turn on any broadcasting device. Without their favorite radio or television station, many Americans would die, but the rest of us would survive the ordeal, creating a better and stronger nation. This done, the invaders should leave.