How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War


| 1/20/2011 12:47:54 PM


Tags: Afghanistan, Tom Engelhardt, war, politics, TomDispatch, Ira Chernus,

afghanistan-tomdispatch 

This article was originally published at TomDispatch.com. 

When I try to figure out why we are still in Afghanistan, though every ounce of logic says we ought to get out, an unexpected conversation I had last year haunts me. Doing neighborhood political canvassing, I knocked on the door of a cheerful man who was just about to tune in to his favorite radio show: Rush Limbaugh.  He was kind enough to let me stay and we talked.

Conservatives are often the nicest people -- that’s what I told him -- the ones you’d like to have as neighbors. Then I said: I bet you’re always willing to help your neighbors when they need it.  Absolutely, he replied.

So why, I asked, don’t you to want to help out people across town who have the same needs, even if they’re strangers? His answer came instantly:  Because I know my neighbors work hard and do all they can to take care of themselves. I don’t know about those people across town.

He didn’t have to say more (though he did). I knew the rest of the story: Why should I give my hard-earned money to the government so they can hand it out to strangers who, for all I know, are good-for-nothing loafers and mooches? I want to be free to decide what to do with my dough and I’ll give it to responsible people who believe in taking care of themselves and their families, just like me. I’ll give my money to the government only to protect us from strangers in distant lands who don’t believe in the sacred rights of the individual and aim to take my freedom and money away.

Tony Bloodworth
1/28/2011 9:50:36 AM

What your talking about is neither a myth or tale. It's just common sense and history repeats itself. If we didn't have our way of life and were living by our own surviving skills(say like they did 300 years ago)you if possible would help your neighbor, by giving him food when he was hungry and such. You would not on the other hand help someone who subscribes to the idea that if I can't convert you, I will kill you because that's what the koran tells me to do. Your on the same page as obama, as far as being anit American goes. Most Americans know now where obama's heart is. And want no part of him ever again. I hope he never hold another political office in the U.S.A, maybe he can be deported to where his heart is, he's in the position right now to put some terrible hurt on us and exactly what he is doing. Most Americans know he has two faces.