Thursday, September 27, 2012

The moral authority

I've just finished reading an interesting article from Mother Jones which could constitute as an argument against my post on Obama's speech. Since I haven't received any other arguments besides ".. but.. but IEDs!", this article will have to suffice as a counter-point.

In this article, the author essentially makes an argument of "there's always bad and good". that's valid, there is always bad and good, and I'm certainly not going to argue that point. There are a few things I will argue though.

I'm not really left or right, but for the purposes of this post we will say I'm left as the majority of the author's article is addressed to those on the left.
Why the left should stop grousing, whining, Eeyoring, and parsing differences with your allies and get about the cheerful business of being heroes.
I don't feel like a hero, probably because I no longer feel that Canada and the U.S. has the moral authority to be engaging in the actions they are. Why is Batman a hero? He has a strict code of ethics that no matter the circumstances, will not be breached. It can be trying, difficult, to not break those ethics, but in the end Batman knows that without the moral high-ground, you are no different from what you oppose.

Obama's speech angered me, not because of the events I linked to, but rather because the U.S. does not have the moral authority to make the statements they were making. A hero has to be able to look at themselves and their fallacies and their problems in the mirror, not brush over, white-wash, or simply outright lie about those facts which are too inconvenient and would contradict the overall theme of having strong values.

None of the items I linked to in my post on Obama's speech were minor details. These are all significant and contradictory events which when compared to the speech show clearly that the U.S. is having a complete collapse of moral ethics.

You might say I am holding them to a higher level of scrutiny then anyone else, and you'd be correct. The U.S. purports to be the global peace-keeping and police force and therefore deserves the highest level of scrutiny, no different than how we expect moral and ethical behavior from police even when faced with unethical criminals. Our western society is founded on ethics, freedom and justice and these values must be upheld to the highest level of standards to have any legitimate authority.

After World War 2, the U.S. and the allies expended considerable resources to track down every last Nazi war criminal and bring them to justice, with the exception of the German scientists who later were largely responsible for the U.S.'s post World War technological advancements such as the Saturn V rocket. This was no easy task, but had to be done to show the world that following the war justice would be served and closure would be had. However today, despite the repeated references to justice in Obama's speech what justice have we seen? What closure have we had? Osama Bin Laden in the ocean? Do we really believe that the great free world who hunted the Nazi's and brought them before an international court can not do the same today? Why? This has nothing to do with good or bad, this has to do with a moral code of ethics that is violated at will, can not be questioned, and offers zero accountability.

Obama's speech goes on to talk about how the U.S. is bringing recovery to the world without acknowledging the world only needs recovery because of their careless policies on Wall Street and in the city of London. Talk of peace and freedom in Europe ignores what is going on there right now as I type this post, brought on by the economic hardships he refuses to acknowledge. Do you hear Obama calling for justice when it comes to Jon Corzine? Or Bob Diammond? Extraditions? Executions? Do you see serious effort to reform? Or, as Obama's speech noted do you see this:
In hard economic times, countries may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.
Can we look ourselves in the mirror and reform? Can we be that hero again? Sure we can, but we need to start being honest and challenging these lapses in our ethics. We must remain vigilant and aware of our own actions and once improper actions are identified immediately move to rectify them. We can not become complacent with our leaders as that is how history's atrocities have occurred. To me there is no greater sign of a loss of hope than to stop striving for a higher level, as difficult as it may be.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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