The Dangers of Ideologies

Source: Reuters/MSNBC

If there is one word that could be used to sum up machines building prejudices, it is ideology. I don’t want to make the argument in this phrase sound like a sweeping judgmental statement like the ones particularly condemning religion in our times, but yes, a part of that is a part of it. This does not necessarily mean that ideology is a bad thing. All I want to say here is that it can be counterproductive at times, and particularly dangerous when it interferes with logical and mathematical reasoning, especially when it fuels and/or builds prejudices.

Ideology is important to most people. It is actually important and indispensable to most people. I am not against having that sort of a broad outlook to life and existence. It can prove healthy, yet unhealthy at the same time, as a lot of things which are meant to be healthy-for-the-mind go. It all comes down to application but the problem is that people choose to take their beliefs a bit too far to be able to reconcile them with the contradictory facts or reason that they may encounter. While it would be incorrect and absolutist of anyone to assert that ideology is the root of all evil, which it clearly is not as evil predates all such products of evil mistaken to be its sources, it can still create quite a bit of trouble.

While the problem is almost natural to occur, I somehow find it disturbing to how it divides people. Still I would not act like an ideologue by asserting that ideologies are the absolute source of evil, even though I know that there is a part of me that is irrational and that also believes in an ideology. However, if you are reasonable, it does not really matter. It is this being reasonable part which I want to see, because being unreasonable is simply the greatest problem under discussion in this context.

Yes, indeed, it is ideology that prevents you from accepting what others have to offer you in good reason. But not everyone is like that, though not everyone is like that at one point of time, and not unlike that at another. We tend to forget, or not know about it as if we never had it in mind at all and many give in to the domination of ideology if latter is the case. But in any case and at any rate, this surely causes a lot of trouble and un-productivity, unnecessary arguments, killed time that could rather be spent masturbating and illegible and meaningless ink stains on wasted paper that could have actually been a thousand trees injecting oxygen into our suffocating airspace.

Does it require any mention that in more of uncivilized and relatively irrational societies, ideologies can potentially and do cause a lot of bloodshed, in which those people indulge who hardly understand what they believe in? And in civilized and almost rational societies, in which scholars would conveniently contradict their own principles as long as they do not contradict with the mutated baton of bigotry passed on from one ideological fallacy to the other. The greatest thing is that it goes unnoticed by you when you are at it, only spotted by ideologues waiting for something to pounce on or by idiots like the writer of these lines, using it for writing lines like these.

Not every ideology may be reasonable but reason is employed to create each and every one. Not every ideology will bring happiness because somehow life has its own mechanism to run things that probably no such idea can encompass. You need a way to live your life, something to believe in before you give in to despair, but beware lest you become so blindly loyal to your ideology that you start bringing harm to your fellow beings and not even realize when a word of sense and reason is being spoken to you. I call it the bureaucratization of reason.

However, let us not spoil our evening with bitter realism and let us pretend that our ideologies steer us to a happy ending, as in Giaochinno Rossini‘s La Gazza Ladra, the composer whose 220th birthday is today. Because there is a good chance that ideology will defeat reason again.

I Wish the Adults Never Grew Up

Just stumbled on this youtube video of Severn Suzuki, a 12 year old, speaking at the 1992 UN Earth Summit and destroys whatever sense of responsibility adults around the world are proud of.

I thought that it belonged here somehow with my respects to the speaker.

I hope this video will help you redefine your view of the concept of civilization.

I wish the adults never grew up.

No Place for Human Rights in Politics

Source: Alt-market.com/ © 1957 AB Svensk Filmindustri

There is no place for human rights in politics.

You may consider this statement insensitive and absurd, but it pretty much is the harsh reality. I would like to think otherwise as well.

A conclusion that you can reach after carefully analyzing the events of history, both near and distant. The examples are simply so many that it almost seems futile to waste your time and energy on that. Take all the wars of the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries as an example. For some, the post will simply be a case of stating the obvious and something as obvious as a straightforward mathematical equation. For others, it will be something terribly unacceptable since quite a few politicians are genuinely sincere about human rights. But it needs to be shamelessly stated over and over again, without whining about it, if you would like to see it that way.

Sometimes it seems so absurd to complain to governments about human rights because that is simply not a priority to them, unless if it is a project that aligns with their interests. States are concerned about their survival, as individuals are, but they are far more powerful and have much greater control over the lives of individuals for their decisions to not to affect them. This is why in their bid of survival, growth and glory, a lot of bad things happen to the individuals who either work to make it happen or stand in their way.

However, saying that does not mean that you should not have a regard for human rights as a human being neither does that imply that politics should not have a place for human rights. Apparently, politics does have a place for human rights. Everyone talks about it as long as they do not feel threatened. Because guess what, politicians talk about human rights all the time. And that really makes an observer sick up to the stomach. Not all politicians are alike and not all are as deceptive and corrupt as others. Some may even be genuinely honest. But most of the time, you would find such politicians with the weakest of control and influence.

While I do not want to ruin the point this post is making by offering specific examples that will influence you in a partisan manner, you can pretty much find a number of examples in today’s world and in ancient history. There is a saying from the great Biblical wisdom, try discarding this one if you will, that nothing has changed under the sun and that is pretty much true for politics if not for anything else. The only difference is that individual lives has become more secure in some parts of the world, though there are people out there who even doubt that seriously.

Warfare has not changed much and invading armies treat the people as brutally as they ever did. No matter who the offender is and no matter what part of the world it is. But I have already mentioned in quite a few of my posts earlier that politics has a discriminatory and insincere approach towards human rights and you feel almost hypocritical talking about human rights when you are defending a state at the same time. It’s not the people’s fault though. That is what they are supposed to believe. That their states support human rights. Of all the states active in geopolitics, I cannot think of one which does and of all the other states, their silence makes them as guilty perhaps. Or maybe they are better off that way.

You need to be very good at handling cognitive dissonance to be able to promote human rights while defending states, or you either need a very short memory or a very religious devotion to whatever party you are supporting. To the thinking brain, this can very much mean disgust and contempt for everything related to human morality in whatever form it exists on the planet. Therefore, it is good if you do not take any sides at all but not necessarily bad if you do take sides with whatever entity you follow. Anyone with a political motivation seems to be up for something evil and if you do not participate in it and do not kill your competition first, you will be killed anyway.

As the politically active mind of Plato said,

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

                                                                                 – Plato (428 – 347 BCE)

Integrate that to petty domestic politics if you will, but I am concerned about a much broader perspective over here. Surely nothing in the world can stop you from being robbed by your local powerhouses, no matter which side you vote for, but how about politics on a broader canvas? But even on the domestic level, not sure if the people you consider your inferiors are really the way you perceive them. Surely you are inferior if you are not in power even though you perceive them inferior to you intellectually. But if you are able to survive and do not consider power important, then surely you are better off. But that’s relative.

In the world we live in, abstract intellectualism is not really a standard for superiority. It is power and pragmatic tact. In our world, there is a huge difference between how things should be and how they actually are. The world of politics is as deceptive and human relations as complicated. If you remember that, the words you have just read have not just gone wasted. It will not help you to gain power niether will it allow you to clinch glory. But it could save you from disappointment and delusions and may even save you from a rock rolling down the hill. You know, staying out of harm’s way.

Whoever is in power is your enemy.

Why United Nations Security Council is the Part of the Problem

Source: cbc.ca

I believe this is pretty much the right time to write about the problem of the United Nations Security Council, though I am sure many such opportunities have come in the past as well. It is just when most of the people in the world are outraged at something that happened at this diplomatic forum and which offers some relief to the writer of being spared of potential accusations of being anti-American, anti-UN or anti-democracy. The criticism in the post has nothing in particular to do with either entities.

Recently, a resolution was presented in the Security Council to support an Arab League plan to facilitate a political transition in Syria, that is, to throw the dictator Bashar Al-Asssad out of power following the brutal action of his regime against civilian protesters. The Syrian government denies the charge of course. Russia and China were the only countries out of the 15 member Security Council that voted against the resolution and vetoed it.

There are perfectly plausible explanations for why Russia and China did that, primarily because of the political influence that Russians enjoy in Syria since the Cold War decades and that both the countries fear a military action on Syria in the future. The rest of the world has been largely critical of the veto. Even Pakistan and India voted in the favor of the resolution, but they usually do so anyway. Not that their opinion matters much. I have overheard on twitter that the Indian ambassador at Damascus has had some explaining to do.

The United Nations Security Council, in its permanent members, denote the truly representative conference-mode diplomacy forum of the world. All the people that matter. But if that statement were true, it would be a pity that countries such as India, Japan, Germany and Brazil are not permanent members, and yes, why leave out Saudi Arabia and Iran? OK, maybe not Saudi Arabia. But as a matter of fact, given the functional practices of the forum, it is imperative that no more members should be added to the permanent-member club. Unless, you want to lessen the political influence of a particular party or make the organization further ineffective. Reminding you that the primary function of the organization is peace-keeping around the world and dealing with security crises.

But apart from the nuts and bolts of the organization, let us reflect on a controversial article of the UN Charter. The power of veto exercised by the permanent members of the Security Council. While the United Nations and the powers of the world, and sadly even the not-so-powers of the world, are perfectly fine with the way the Security Council works, I find it a violation of the very spirit of the UN charter, such as the Article 2. While the United Nations Security Council works perfectly on the principles of politics, for you cannot complain as you were taught “Might is Right” in elementary school, but I am not sure if such provisions for a UN organization is even compatible with the United Nations Charter, which holds every nation to be sovereign equals.

Legally it would be, but does that make any sense on the basis of the principles on which the United Nations was created? Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% for the United Nations, which is precisely why I am raising this point because it is we who have to make the United Nations work. The point simply is that there should be one vote for one nation. That is equality and that is justice. If you want to make the United Nations work on the brutal principles of Machiavellian politics, then I support the veto vote all out, but if you talk about human rights, then I am not sure how that helps the cause.

But despite everything, why in the world are there permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in the first place and why are there just five of them? Why just United States, France, United Kingdom, China and Russia? I guess every nation that asks the question that it should become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is rightful in asking that. It is just that not every nation in asking that question. We all know why these particularly countries are permanent members and not others, but the point is why everyone else accepts that.

The United States, the greatest donor and one of the architects of the United Nations, has been critical of China and Russia and probably rightly so. Ambassador Rice expressed her disgust over the veto. While China and Russia are wrong, they are not doing anything different to what the United States has been doing in the past. Protecting their interests over human rights. Hardly any major power is an exception to this case.

May I remind the readers of this post that United States was the only country that shamelessly defended the brutal onslaught of the Israeli armed forces on the Gaza Strip in 2006, voted against the new Israeli settlements in 2011 and has vetoed several other times. Actually, I acknowledge and support the right of the United States to prevent any UN Resolutions from passing against Israel that undermine its right to defend itself, but then I would expect the United States to remain consistent and make human rights a priority everywhere, no matter who the offending party is. If they are truly upset about the Russian and Chinese veto, I hope the United States will never veto a UN Security Council Resolution ever again.

I am disgusted to hear politicians complaining about human rights violations when they make them happen everyday and support it but I would not mind if a few of them prevent a few human rights violations in selected parts of the world. Therefore, I would like to see either the United Nations Security Council abolished with its current structure or at least a reform to the way it works. At least, the veto powers should be repealed and voting on issues should be carried out in the United Nations General Assembly where every nation will have its say and every nation will have 1 vote. For those who think this will harm the instant action problem as in the League of Nations, simply take action with a majority or a two-third majority vote.

Keep the United Nations Security Council like the way it is and more people will lose faith in the United Nations everyday.

Thankfully, I will never be one of them.