Thursday, October 27, 2005

Willful Blindness

Yes, there is such a thing. One usually sees it in religion, in which faith trumps even what your senses tell you is the truth. Why else do some people call it 'Blind Faith?' However, you also see it in politics, and here's where things can get dangerous.

Say, for example, that you're an average Joe or Jane Lunchbucket. You feel that your government's not exactly in touch, but it does the best that it can. Suddenly your perception of safety and security is devastated by a terrorist attack, and you wonder who to turn to in order to keep you safe and stop these Bad People.

"Not to worry," says the government, "we'll protect you by attacking the Bad People." Hooray! And our troops go off to war and, within a few months, we have the Head Bad Guy cornered. Yes, he's treed like a raccoon with the hounds on him, great! But suddenly the government says, "Wait, we need to hit Bad Guy #2 in order to keep us safe," and everyone's head turns away from the cornered Bad Guy #1 (who promptly escapes and hides) with a speed that can give you whiplash.

We have a steady drumbeat running up to an invasion of Bad Guy #2's country, complete with a lot of information that might be a bit complicated. You don't want complicated; you want to be safe, and you KNOW that the government knows what it's doing.

Now, fast forward.

The government has been shown to have forged documents and blown things out of proportion in order to sell the idea of invading Bad Guy #2. Worse, a fellow who pointed out that documents were forged and Bad Guy #2 wasn't trying to hurt us ended up having his wife's job ripped open by the government. The invasion of Bad Guy #2's country has mired the military in an operation that harks back to Vietnam, right down to the reintroduction of body counts. Granted, there's been some progress, but that country is not quite safe (in fact, a recent poll revealed that 45% of them actually support the insurgency against our troops).

Slowly, painfully, the willful blindness has begun to slip away from Joe and Jane Lunchbucket. They realize that things have been mismanaged, and that the arrogance of petty men in powerful positions have been at the bottom of it.

Time to wake up.


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3:42 PM EDT  

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