Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Removed post.
I tried to say what I wanted with few words, but without being glib. It didn't work.
This country is in many ways 'the most free,' the place where people have the fewest obligations to their peers. Some people celebrate that. I merely acknowledge it.

I went to the dentist yesterday to complete the finishing touches on a root canal; I am now the owner of a perfect copy of a tooth. Before he began my dentist crossed himself. I hadn't noticed him do it before but I guess I hadn't been paying attention. "I do it all the time" he said, '"just to remind myself that there is something out there greater than I am. It keeps me humble"
I laughed. "My parents were atheist academics. History was their god; memory kept them humble" My dentist nodded and smiled.

I lied. History wasn't my parents' god, it's mine. My parents were children of modernism, too close to their past and too ashamed of it to understand or admit its continuing influence on their lives. Symptoms were for others to present and for them to analyze. They were too afraid and too stupid to be anything but arrogant.
I am an atheist. I worship history because I have no memory of one.

I think as a point of moral philosophy that one should never be able to say that someone else, a person or state, gave one permission to kill. But that is the logic behind the military, the logic that allows soldiers to do their duty, and the rest of us to ignore the normal crimes of war. And that's the logic behind the horror of those who are offended by the acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, and we assume by now other places as well. I have no patience with it.
If you are sane, you are responsible for your actions. If you kill it is your own choice. You have the blood on your hands.

Most people don't want that sort of responsibility. It seems a hallmark of our democracy that our leaders don't either.

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