Logical Absurdities: Only Anti-Government Sentiments Are Political

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So, US Iraqi war veterans who oppose the political mission, though presumably they support the troops [themselves, their comrades and friends], aren’t allowed to march in a Veterans Day Parade in Long Beach.

“They do not fit the spirit of the parade,” she said. “The spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done. We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.” Parade coordinators work hard to keep the event free from politics.

This is the absurd double standard that plagues people cursed with an inability to understand paradoxes.

I remember the early 1990s and how hard it was to make it through the relativist paradox of elements of post-modernism. As an early post-modern zealot, I rejected absolute truths because I rejected any truth as being able to be absolute. I was trying to embrace that concept while rejecting the arguments that have supported the human misery that resulted from absolute truths: white supremacy, genocide in the Americas, heterosexism, two millennia of imperial Christianity.

But at the same time, there is the relativist paradox that rejecting absolutes is itself an absolute.

This inability to contend with the modernist-postmodernist tension shows up in the “support our troops” nonsense, whereby anyone who rejects Canada’s presence in Afghanistan doesn’t support the troops, even though the troops didn’t make the politician send them there.

It also shows up in the more single-minded culture in the USA. If you oppose the government, you are being political. Yet it is not a political act to support it. So a Veterans Day parade is for apolitical people.

It also shows up in this surreal Flickr group, America, America!

It is hard to fathom:

About AMERICA, AMERICA! 1200+ members & growing! **** WE ARE NOW A GROUP OF 1200+ MEMBERS! AWESOME! YAY! WOW!
OUR PERMANENT THREAD IS FLAG DAY, PLEASE ALL MEMBERS POST ALL PHOTOS OF OLD GLORY IN THE “FLAG DAY” THREAD! We are building the biggest best collection of American Flag photos on Flickr!! Let’s do it together!!
Anyone who posts in any thread receives a special award and will be eligible for front page exposure!

GROUP RULES: NEW RULE, POSTING LIMIT IN POOL 1O PER DAY! Any pictures, photoart, digital art that depicts the good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom! Photos and photoart that depict patriotism, the spirit of America, family life, and that which shows the ways God has Blessed America and the world. Please *NO POLITICS OF ANY KIND*, *NO CAMPAIGN PHOTOS FOR ANY PARTY*! NO AMERICA BASHING, NO rude or BAD LANGUAGE, and NO nudes. This is a wholesome family oriented group about America and the people who make her the greatest nation in the world.
If you have a gripe about something, write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper -THIS is NOT a forum for anger. Thanks and enjoy! Fantartsy AKA JJ

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ANYONE who blocks administrators will be banned from the group and all their photos WILL BE REMOVED!JJ/ administrator

GROUP MOTTO: FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN OR LOVE THE IDEALS OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE FOR WHICH AMERICA STANDS. Thanks to each and every member for making this a great AMERICAN group! JJ and all the administrators and helpers!

Beyond the planes, trains and motor vehicles fossil fuel worshiping, the philosophy of the group is similarly blind to the reality that they themselves are expressing a political view of supporting the government, an act they ban by definition. I remember in the 1980s Bruce Springsteen said blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.

The good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom, however that is defined by the group leaders. Patriotism, the spirit of America, family life [defined again I suspect by the group leaders], how God has blessed America and the world [again, defined by the group leaders]. No politics of any kind shows they have no sense that their whole group is a political expression of rigid, uncritical conformity with the government line.

And yes, America is the greatest nation in the world. I’m always wondering what criteria people use to say that. Constant overt and covert invasions and subversion of other countries for over two centuries? Largest military expenditure? Only country to use nuclear weapons on civilians? Economic imperialist supporting multi-national corporations creating global feudalism with half the world’s 6.6 billion people in the world dying on less than $2/day?

Anger and “gripe” belong in newspapers. And while they have the right to have Flickr group that shows blind support of America’s junta, saying they brook nothing political is just silly.

They also say this for a current event:

fantartsy (a group admin) says:
04 Nov 07 – YAY!!1000+ members!!** .VETERANS’ DAY THREAD, open for 2 weeks only! Post a photo of the veteran you want to honor> ANYONE FROM ANY COUNTRY may post in this “special” thread!OPEN NOW! JJ/admns

I suspect that if Iraq Veterans Against the War members try to post pictures of events that are critical of the policy in Iraq, those pictures will be removed.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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4 thoughts on “Logical Absurdities: Only Anti-Government Sentiments Are Political”

  1. Your identification of an absurd double standard is absolutely right, and I have nothing to add to it. But I don’t see how the business of “absolutes” sheds any light on the problem.

  2. yes i didn’t really make that all that explicit.

    relying on absolutes or committing to them at all seems to be a dangerous game.

    this, of course, is itself a paradoxical statement if embraced absolutely.

    a solution may rest in embracing both a post-modern rejection of all absolutes and a belief that some absolutes can exist.

    surfing the wave of paradox for the chance of meaning.

  3. Surprisingly enough, I agree with this: “Relying on absolutes or committing to them at all seems to be a dangerous game.” Commitment seems to be the crux of the matter.

    Commitment to truth is good. But people commonly confuse “commitment to truth” and “commitment to some specific (alleged) Truth”. These two kinds of commitment are not only different, they’re in violent opposition to each other.

    This confusion seems to be as good an explanation as any, if we have to take a stab at guessing the answer to this question: What on earth can make people so unperceptive as to perpetrate the absurdities you pointed out in the present article?

  4. well the easy answer is of course stupidity, but i don’t think it’s that simple.

    in al gore’s new book, the assault on reason, naomi wolf’s new book, the end of america, and neil postman’s classic amusing ourselves to death, they all argue that there is a slow anesthetizing facet of our culture, one that guides us into a complacent kind of satisfaction with the stable norm.

    wolf’s arguing that democracy must be practiced or it atrophies.

    politicians cultivate apathy to avoid too much critical thinking. citizens are victimized by this.

    we are also assaulted by economic demands on our time. we work now 200 hours more per year on average than Canadians did a decade ago [i think], meaning we work an extra hour each day 4/5 days each week. does this leave time for the luxury of reflection on life beyond playing with our kids and getting errands done?

    our real incomes have declined in the last 2 generations and we now have about as many single income families left as we had double income families in the 1970s. those productivity gains have been scooped up by our corporate feudal lords.

    in the end, how is one to even have the mental energy to fend off the all-too-easy answers that fox news, and frankly, the mainstream media feeds us as pablum.

    easy answers are easy to embrace in a scary world. thus the rise of fundamentalism.

    wow. i should have been a sociologist, eh? đŸ™‚

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