Things not what they seem

by Scott ⌂, Mérida, Yucatán, Monday, February 21, 2011, 23:49 (3900 days ago) @ Craig Scheiner

Not quite. I essentially agree with Rob. Except that I don't tend to see things in terms of states. I'd rather focus on the system, its structure, and the social actors involved, across (socially constructed) borders. I don't blame the "U.S.", because what does that even mean? Every U.S. citizen? The government? Both?

But I most certainly recognize the interplay between the military-industrial complex and the drug war in Mexico, for example. In my mind it is all interconnected. But I also believe that the "system" is very complex and probably damn near impossible for any single person to fully comprehend. The average naive voter or citizen can't necessarily be held responsible for what they don't understand, products of a system that doesn't encourage that broad understanding anymore, but rather very specialized knowledge in whatever will "get you a good job". How many people in the U.S. even know that Argentina is accusing the U.S. government right now of importing undeclared weapons, drugs and spy equipment into their country? Not too many I bet. So are they at fault for what your government did? Tough question. On some philosophical level I guess they are, if you truly believe you are a democracy. In that case, then you do share blame. But, in reality, I think most Americans are good people, they're just ignorant about what their government does in their name. The ones who do share the blame, however, are those who know what is going on or have a pretty good idea, and choose to remain wilfully ignorant or turn a blind eye. But when the corruption is so institutionally entrenched, when the system itself is so corrupted, there comes a point when you can't blame the average person for what they have no control over.

So the "US" is not responsible for a drug war murder in Mexico. However, there are most definitely actors within the U.S. who share responsibility for enticing both the drug lords and the government to fight this war. They directly or indirectly place a weapon in the hands of each, and then sit back and watch them duke it out, laughing all the way to the bank afterwards. Not the "US", but rather certain elements within the government and arms industry.

Here is a little analogy to help clarify my point of view with respect to responsibility. Say you go find a bum somewhere. Just for sh*ts and giggles, you dangle $500 in front of him and tell him he can have it, all he has to do is go beat someone up. He goes and does it, gives some good kicks and punches to some random stranger who you really have no connection with, it was just for your personal amusement. He comes back, collects his $500, and goes on his merry way. Who was responsible for the act of violence that took place?

The bum was definitely responsible, he should go to jail. But you were also jointly responsible, because without your enticement, without you dangling a relatively large sum of money in front of a destitute person, that act of violence otherwise would not have taken place. It doesn't matter that you were largely disassociated from what happened, and didn't know the victim. You are still jointly responsible, and should probably go to jail as well. But, I wouldn't blame every single person in California for your actions.


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