I’m running into this problem more and more: I see something on the news, I want to post about it, and then I think of all my personal friends and colleagues who are bound to either misunderstand or strongly disagree with what I have to say. See, this is the problem – I’m in the military, and thus a lot of my circle are also in the military. This lends itself to a certain worldview that is continually reinforced. Cue the trolling and online debate/vitriol. It’s difficult to get into a meaningful conversation about principles and philosophy over facebook, so I’ve resigned myself to keeping quiet (at least on my personal social media outlets…which is why this blog exists in the first place!). Without further ado, here are the things I would love to post but am reluctant to, because the ensuing discussion is worthy of a long face-to-face over beers instead…
1) I don’t think Chris Kyle is a hero. A lot of my friends do. Truth is, the United States had no business starting (another) war in Iraq, and Chris Kyle made his living killing people who were defending their home from an aggressive invading force. Now, whether he thought he was one of the good guys is irrelevant to the larger picture, in which he (and countless others) fly 8,000 miles to shoot at civilians and unsavory folk alike. Calling this kind of action ‘defense’ twists and distorts the very meaning of the word. Of course, many people get mixed up and sentimental when they think of the personal/family sacrifices that military members make. Believe me, these hardships are real – our own experience is 26 months of deploying in a 3-year period. This gratitude, however, tends to turn into a blind sort of hero worship with no critical analysis of why we’re sending troops overseas in the first place – and whether it’s a moral mission or not.
2) I do think Edward Snowden is a hero. This position also puts me at odds with a lot of my personal circle, where obedience is a virtue and following orders is sacrosanct. My path in the past few years has led to a deeper and better understanding of the differences between morality, legality, natural law, and non-aggression. I don’t particularly care that Snowden signed a non-disclosure agreement; the facts as we know them are that no one has been harmed by the information he has shared, the practices he disclosed are illegal and immoral violations against every person, and Snowden took action at great risk to himself. One of the best articles I’ve read about the situation is here: The Banality of Systemic Evil.
3) I think compulsory vaccination is an abomination, and the people that clamor for it don’t understand what they’re advocating. Whether you think vaccines are good, bad, or indifferent, compulsory vaccination is undoubtedly evil. There is no greater violation of a person’s sovereignty than compelling what someone must do with their body. Come to think of it, I am against compulsion in all forms – whether it’s what you’re not allowed to eat, how the state funds itself, or perhaps an oath you once took. *As a side note, I don’t personally know anyone who is “anti”-vaccine…”anti” means to be against, and as far as I can tell, no one is advocating that you not be able to vaccinate yourself; they simply want to be free from compulsion. **I also don’t know anyone who has actually opted out of vaccines because Jenny McCarthy told them to. Let’s drop the celebrity argument.
4) Can we please stop posturing for war with Iran? The United States has a long history of aggression against Iran, and it’s a testament to the US-Israeli ‘partnership’ that most Americans are ready to nuke the area. Don’t get me wrong – Iran is not a model government (is that even possible?!?) by any means, but they’ve been pretty mild compared to Uncle Sam. There’s also the small matter of Israel’s 300 nukes outweighing Iran’s non-existent one. Or the fact that Iran is surrounded by Western military bases. Or the fact that Iran has not invaded any countries, save for the Iran-Iraq war, when Iraq invaded first (with US funding, by the way). This is a great wrap-up of fact-checking Netanyahu’s recent speech to Congress, with references. As for their nuclear capability, Julie Borowski did something amazing the other day:
So – that’s a quick wrap-up of “things that will make your profile blow up”…unless you’re preaching to the choir and your facebook friends are like-minded. If that’s not the case (like for me), you’ll have to take a more nuanced approach and tease these discussions out of your friends in one-on-one threads. Thanks for reading – please feel free to share if you agree with my sentiments!