Recently, I continually find myself saying a statement that got me to thinking about some interesing things (some of which I’ve spoken of before). The statement goes something like this:
“The cold war is over. We don’t have to see malicious intent in people’s actions anymore, or see threats everywhere, or seek to villanize people.”
I speak of many cold war attitudes and mentalities that are now out-of-place and not applicable. These attitudes were created in the cold war, as a response to that unique situation. Many of these attitudes have no bearing, whatsoever, to the current times. They are, in effect, “leftovers” from a previous era. By themselves, these attitudes has done a lot of damage. I believe that their continued use is going to be even more damaging.
Some of the traits of these attitudes include:
- Blind fear and continual feelings of being threatened in some way.
- The belief that we must always defend ourselves against some threat that is always there.
- The persistent blind villanizing of people, often done with great eagerness.
- The ridiculous paranoid fear of ‘bad feelings’, such as ‘hatred’ and the fact that some people don’t like people of other races, and acting like they’re going to kill us.
- The glorification of America’s values, almost treating them as if they were statements from god.
- Using and manipulating American ideals, laws, and political views as it will protect us from these fears.
These have created what I would describe as a paranoid-like attitude about everything and the manipulation of America’s ideals as a defense, real or imagined. Because of this, they’ve created a lot of pseudo-crimes, pseudo-enemies, and pseudo-threats. In so doing, they have warped and distorted much of America’s ideals causing many ridiculous beliefs and points of view. They’ve also made society, the world, and life more sinister than it really is.
When people talk about certain things involving issues that come from the cold war era I often will remark, ” . . . but that’s a cold war interpretation. That condition does not exist anymore”. In other words, I’m noting that the cold war has created a SPECIFIC interpretation of America’s ideals, laws, and politics which is UNIQUE to that era and is NOT VALID anymore. This means that there are different interpretations of America’s values. The cold war interpretation is not the ‘final word’!
Many people, I think, tend to think that the cold war interpretations are the only interpretations of American ideals, law, and politics. But, we must remember, that these views existed before the cold war. Not only that, they were totally different from the cold war interpretation, having whole other points-of-view and contexts. Because of this, it doesn’t take a genius to see that the cold war transformed American ideals, law, and political views. If anyone would stand back and take a look I think anyone can see that they did not change them for the better, even though it sounded like it at the time.
More and more I can see the cold war interpretation is out-dated and outmoded. Looking back on the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s can almost be comedic because of how they turned everything into a political and legal issue with this great desperation of ‘self-righteous cause’. Just the other day, I saw some footage from the late 1960’s and it actually made me laugh! They were, for example, seeing oppression and slavery in everyday things, blaming everything on the government and such. They were seeing hatred in simple everyday human things. At times, it’s almost unbelievable. It almost appears like some grand paranoid mania.
I think its time to admit the ridiculousness of all this . . . enough time has passed. The cold war mentality, frankly, went way overboard. Just because it quotes American ideals, law, and political views does not make it right. In many ways, that’s how they ‘duped’ everyone, by convincing everyone that they were American ideals, law, and politics. My observation, over the years, has shown that the quoting of American ideals, law, and political views had a quality similar to quoting the Bible . . . it made it automatically right. Because of this, no one questioned it. I feel that we now need to challenge the cold war interpretation of American ideals, law, and political views. The time has come! The cold war era has passed and so should much of its mentality.
In general, there seems to be three phases of the whole cold war mania mentality:
- Blind fear.
- Seeing the fear everywhere.
- Using American ideals, laws, and political views as a defense against the fear.
In every stage things were greatly exaggerated, inflated, and blown out of proportion. In fact, the cold war interpretations can be described as one big over-reaction on almost every level. Over-reaction is a defining trait of this era. The blind fear caused a blind fearing of the government, authority, other people, and evil of humanity in general. These were generally ridiculous and absurd. As a result, they saw threats and oppression everywhere, hatred in simple things, bad in people’s everyday actions. Any existing conflict was even more exaggerated, such as the black/white racial problem. Because of this, they made endless political/legal references about it all, condemning and criticizing to no end. They distorted the law to sue everyone, turned everything into a rights issue, saw inequality in everything. They tried to create a ridiculous ‘people power’ in society, as if to create a ‘democracy’. They took the idea of ‘freedom’ to asinine proportions, to the point that any restriction (such as a moral code) was viewed as ‘oppressive’. In addition, in their attempt at dealing with blind fear they tried to change everything under the sun: society, marriage, morality, authority, male/female identity, etc. A lot of this was done with great self-righteousness as if it was all a crusade. It was a crusade all right, but against blind fear and paranoia. Much of what they complained about, frankly, was either non-existent or not that big of a deal.
All this created conditions such as:
- Many innocent people have been villanized by this attitude.
- Many customs and traditions were condemned (such as marriage) because it can somehow be associated with ‘oppression’ or some other theme of the cold war.
- Many ‘pseudo-crimes’ have been created as a result of this attitude. They’ve even created some of their own terms for these crimes such as ‘hate crime’ . . . how cold warish.
- Many everyday things that could somehow be associated with cold war destruction and violence (such as the “violence” of spanking your kids) were turned into criminal acts . . . not because they were but because they could find an association with the blind cold war fear!
- Though this attitude professes to be against these things, it actually created new forms of oppression, abuse, discrimination, bias, and disruptions in American society.
- It has caused great divisions and bad feelings between people that don’t need to be there.
- Its caused a condition where there are certain things no one dares talks about or even refer to. In other words, it has caused a great fear in American society that, still, remains largely hidden and unspoken about. You don’t dare talk about certain issues . . . for fear of being sued or villanized in some way. They even have a term that sometimes reflects this situation: political correctness . . . how cold warish. This is a good example how they tried to make a political issue out of everything.
- Its created a condition where there is tremendous distortion of law and politics. In fact, the law industry seems to of flourished as a result of this distortion: endless lawsuits, claims of inequality, claims of ‘hate crimes’, etc. In many ways, the legal system, itself, just furthered this nonsense because it became so ‘profitable’.
- It has upset and undermined the society. It’s not for no reason that the society left in the wake of the cold war is a broken down fragmented society. Because of the blind fear of authority they destroyed things like social structure, the image of authority, morality, and such . . . things that are a natural part of society.
In my opinion, the cold war interpretation of American ideals, law, and political views has become so ridiculous, and has been taken so far, that it has turned America into something like a pathetic joke.
This era has corrupted, distorted, and twisted basic American concepts so far out of wack that I, at times, can’t tell whats what anymore. Many basic American concepts have been so corrupted by the cold war mentality that I don’t even acknowledge anymore. Some of these include:
- The people.
I even hear these words and I immediately question them . . . and I try to avoid using them. They have been so misused, abused, and twisted out of shape that I can’t believe them anymore. I continually find myself having to find other terms and ways to describe what they mean.
To me, this means that we have to reinterpret everything, and I think we have now arrived to this stage. In many ways, we need to relearn what these ideals were really about and not blindly follow the example set by the cold war era. As a result, we should avoid things and attitudes from that era. In fact, we need to remove ourselves from the conditions the cold war created. As a result, we need to do things such as:
- Most certainly, we need to relearn these things in a relaxed calm environment (not like the panic mania of the cold war).
- We need to look at them practically and see its practical value.
- We need to look at them in a human way and in a human context.
- We should not worship them but see them in a common sense way.
- We should not look at them in the context of fear.
- We need to see their failings and that they are not the answer to everything.
- We need to accept certain facts about humanity (such as that race does bond people together and can cause divisions . . . that’s just the way it is).
In many ways, we need to become more “realistic” about it all.
It seems that our values and ideals have become lost in the great tumult of the cold war era. They even got more lost in the ‘terrorist panic’ of the early 2000’s, which was really just a continuation of the cold war mentality and continued its legacy of over-reaction, panic, and “America’s values are the answer!” It’s like all the commotion and tumult that has happened since WWII has done nothing but make us forget our basic ideals. What’s weird, though, is that we lost these ideals in a warped version of those very ideals.
I tend to feel that we will never relearn these ideals as they were before the cold war era. I often feel that the ideals, themselves, are the problem and, in a way, caused the whole mess to begin with.
America’s values tend to put emphasis on the people. If we notice what has happened since WWII we find that it is the people who warped and distorted the ideals. It wasn’t the government. It wasn’t a tyrant. It wasn’t authority. It was the people themselves. When the authority is put in the people the power now become subject to the whims of the people or, rather, the mob. The dictates of the mob is mindless, unorganized, and without wisdom . . . the mob whim rules! In many ways, thats just what happened. This may be a lesson in why we don’t want the people, who become the mob, as authority. In many ways, its a warning that we don’t want a “pure democracy” where the mob has complete control. The mob cannot think, is unorganized, is not centralized, and lacks wisdom and common sense. Because of this, the dictates of the mob is not directed and is often self-destructive in its effects.
This is why its actually good that democracies really don’t work. Despite what they say, democracies have never really worked. No government, in the whole world, is a “democracy”. It would be more accurate to say that a government has elements of a democracy in its makeup (such as that there is a vote) but its never a “democracy”. The fact is that for any government to work there must be a centralized authority in some form or another. That’s the only way to keep control, keep organization, and keep things working. The ‘people’ are not, by nature, a centralized authority. As a result, they cannot become or make up this centralized authority. Usually, the centralized authority is made up of a small group of people, often with someone who is the ‘head’. Its like that, with variations, in every government and in every society. A “pure democracy” is, in actuality, an impossibility. This is why I keep saying that we should quit using the word democracy. Its misleading and, in a way, a lie. To say “America is a democracy”, for example, is really a lie because it is not. In fact, I have always felt that the continued use of the word “democracy” shows that we are out-of-touch with things. It shows that we are preaching a myth, of a condition that cannot exist.
This, to me, is all part of how things are out-of-date. In fact, I think a lot of political views are out-of-date. I tend to feel that we are impairing ourselves by looking at things in the old way, calling governments ‘Constitutional Monarchies,’ ‘Republics’, ‘Democracies’, and such. By maintaining these points of view I think we distort things and it prevents us from getting a clear picture. These terms are from a former era and describe more simpler conditions where a ‘one system government’ could work. In reality, governments are so big, nowadays, that they require many qualities and functions in their makeup in order to function. This makes it so that any one ‘label’ does not describe them or their actual functioning. In fact, I tend to feel that any large government tends to have traits of every government ‘label’ in its makeup: absolutist, monarchial, constitutionalism, theocracy, republic, democracy, etc. To say that a government is ‘monarchial’ or a ‘democracy’ is misleading and, frankly, in error. And, in every case, the people do not rule . . .
Because of this, it seems that much of our views are out-of-date. It seems to me that continuing the cold war mentality will only lead to misunderstanding about our times, our government, ourselves, and the world, which is actually what seems to be the case. This is particularly the case because the cold war created a warped viewpoint based on a unique condition that, frankly, has never happened in the world, and does not now exist (the threat of nuclear annihilation by two superpowers). It created a mentality that, in reality, has become undermining. The cold war era seems to be a time when the people, in the U.S., tried to implement the idea of ‘people power’ but, in so doing, only showed the failings of their own system. They demonstrated that the people did not know what’s best or what the right thing to do was. They demonstrated that the people quickly becomes mobs and that mania rules the mob. They demonstrated how destructive the people can be to themselves . . . even after a quarter century after the cold war ended we are still living in the paranoid fragmented society they created.
It’s time to move on . . .