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Old May 18 2013, 10:48 PM   #44
Gov Kodos
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Location: Gov Kodos Regretably far from Boston
Re: Had we ever seen imperial democracies in Trek?

Sci wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post

I have engaged in no such thing. Being willing to acknowledge the bad things your country has done just means you're creating space to improve it; it does not mean you are punishing yourself. You can't self-flagellate if you feel no guilt for it.

But this kind of reaction brings to mind an interesting facet of American political culture -- a tendency many people have to feel as though any criticism of the circumstances of the U.S.'s founding and early policies is necessarily an attack on the U.S.'s legitimacy, on its right to even exist. It's a perplexing reaction; I suspect few Englishmen feel that England's right to exist is threatened if someone condemns the practices of the Anglo-Saxons towards the Celts, for instance.

To bring this back to the original topic, I suspect that this reaction is itself a function of imperialism's presence in a nominally democratic system. If you feel yourself a stakeholder in the state, it stands to reason that you may feel as though you bear some responsibility if the state engages in imperial policy, even if those policies were undertaken before your birth. In such an instance, I imagine one either feels guilt, or attempts to deny the immoral nature of imperial policy in order to avoid feeling guilt.
I expect you'd have a great career in the Catholic Church. They pander that mea culpa original sin thing, too.
You can only do a mea culpa if it's you-a that's culpa.

If you stop identifying yourself with every ridiculous thing previous generations did, you might find that there's a lot less reason to feel guilty -- and a lot more reason to recognize and proclaim when previous generations did terrible things.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
... the roots of U.S. imperialism go all the way back to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock -- let's not forget that the United States is the product of a project to systematically seize control of Central North America from its native inhabitants for peoples of European descent.
Except that wasn't the "project." Europeans didn't come to North and South America with the primary goal of taking the continents away from someone else. They wanted the land and resources on the continents yes, but the fact that there was a indigenous population was irrelevant. Were there to have been no natives present, the Europeans still would have come.

European #1: "There's no one here to subjugate."
European #2: "Damn, well let's go home then".

Burglar: "I didn't engage in a systematic project to break into someone else's home and rob them of their diamonds. My primary goal was just to have the diamonds; the fact that those things had prior owners was irrelevant! Were there to have been no prior owners, I would still have come and taken the diamonds!"

Europeans, and, later, European descendants, knew that the North and South America had native inhabitants, and they engaged in a systematic project to seize that land from its owners. Period. There is no way to spin this.
You do arrogant, self-righteous humility just like a good Catholic.
We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound... our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color... we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star! Endora, Bewitched
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