Jack wrote this in March, 2006:
Occasionally I have to remind myself how stultified we humans are in our belief systems. How willing we are to turn a blind eye to information that contradicts what we’ve chosen to believe.
One of the means I use to remind myself is my own memory, my own beliefs during past times.
During Peace Corps Training in 1964, I recall a session with the India X psychologist. The USSR and the US were experiencing frequent ‘brink of war’ confrontations at the time. I explained to the psychologist, for reasons I don’t recall, that I believed the Russkies would mind their own business if we would. That the US was, at least, half to blame for the Cold War.
Which might have been a middling sized slice of why I was booted out of the Peace Corps, though there were plenty of more valid reasons I see today for them doing so.
But my point is, that while the second part of my viewpoint held some solid truth, any suggestion that the USSR would have pulled in the horns and begun to behave themselves if the US did likewise is simply absurd. My insistence in believing it was a demonstration of my willingness to overlook much of what I knew in order to maintain that belief.
The Russkies weren’t going home at that stage of the game. Soviet tanks would have rolled across western Europe. Whether it was proper for the US to risk nuclear destruction to keep this from happening is an entirely different issue.
But the Russkies weren’t going home.
Not any more than the US troops are ever going to come home from Korea, Europe, the Middle East, and who-knows-where else, simply because the rest of the world decides to behave itself as US government says it should. Not until internal conditions force it to do so, as happened with the USSR, or foreign nations discover a way to make it happen.
In my Peace Corps days I was deliberately overlooking the piece of human nature that’s always prevailed whenever one human, or one nation, possessed overwhelming superiority in weaponry or force.
The reason for these ramblings this morning is all the browsing I’ve been doing on groups and blogs recently. I’m finding myself wondering which piece of human nature is going to succeed in blindsiding itself with some other piece of human nature next. My money is on brute force, one way or another.
But there might be some favorable alternatives I’m just turning a blind eye to.