Americans continue to underestimate peer pressure, but I’m not sure that there is a manipulation force in the west that is more powerful than that of peer pressure. In fact, the dangers of peer pressure are ones that I constantly watch out for; as I’ve said countless times, it will only take one drunken idiot jokingly saying, “We should teach that fag a lesson” for it to grow out of control. We all know how it will play out next: his friends will agree, and the next thing you know they’re on their way to my house with chains and bats, and the first drunken idiot’s reservations about it are kept quiet.
I think it was in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Dumbledore remarked that standing up to one’s friends is among the most difficult things that a person can do, and this remains true today. Yet I’m seeing a lot of condemnation for the cops who stood around and did little, or nothing, to stop the arresting asshole from being an arresting asshole.
Absolutely, yes–that was wrong of those officers. But let’s not pretend like most of us would have done otherwise in that position. The overwhelming majority of us would have stood around silently, keeping our reservations quiet. The top-right officer, who you can see in the video putting his hand on the asshole and attempting to calm him, is the only one who did something to try to calm the situation, and I daresay that it was far more than what 99% of people would do.
We all like to think we’re immune to peer pressure. But we’re not. Because he says it infinitely better than I can, take a few minutes to watch this short video on conformity by therapist and psychologist TheraminTrees:
This is an observed phenomenon that affects the majority of people.
It’s easy to stand there and condemn the cops for doing nothing. Yet how many of us have stood and watched a fight play out, and one person be kicked in the head while they lie on the ground? You know what you see when you watch the video of the nurse being arrested, and everyone else standing around and watching?
Notice all the people standing around, watching, as “a few bad apples” engage in being bad apples. Those “good apples” in Antifa–they’re doing nothing to put a stop to this, to calm the situation, to de-escalate it. I’m not ripping on Antifa; the exact same thing is seen in the cop video, or in any video of a mob targeting a single person. The horrific murder of Kelly Thomas certainly applies. You’re watching animals–bloodthirsty predatory animals–who smell blood circle around and pounce on their target.
I remember being in high school, my ninth grade year, when a friend of ours wanted to put together “a gang.” I don’t remember what he called it, but it wasn’t “gang,” though it had the same effect. Naturally, we all agreed, and the rule was anyone who wanted out had to fight the guy who put it together. None of us took it seriously, of course. Then one guy said he wanted out. They fought in the locker room of the Fieldhouse. These two large dudes shoved each other through lockers while everyone else watched. No one moved to stop it. No one went to get the coaches. No one jumped in, because these two behemoths would have crushed most people purely by accident. But there were more than enough of us to rally together and break up the fight.
And none of us did.
On September 11, 2001, a number of planes were hijacked by a relatively small number of people. The passengers, despite being numerous enough to overwhelm the hijackers, consistently did nothing, in at least three out of four of the alleged hijackings*. Because it’s not just a simple matter of “Hey, everyone, we can take these guys! We can put a stop to this.” Anyone who thinks it’s that simple has never been in such a situation.
The reality is that, even if “everyone else” joins in, that first person who acts is as good as dead. Even if five other people would have jumped in and overpowered the hijacker and his box-cutter (or whatever), the first person who jumped for the hijacker was still dead. Of course, in the grand scheme, they were all dead, weren’t they? Surely we have to wonder why, once it became clear that they were all going to die, they did not take over the plane? It was not cowardice; they were not cowards. No, it’s too easy to call them cowards, but that doesn’t carry water. If you tell an animal they’re about to die, they’ll not passively submit.
The answer is more insidious and more dangerous: peer pressure.
Further, we have to ask ourselves what would have happened if one of the cops had moved forward to put a stop to it? Even though it’s pretty clear from the video that most of the cops present had quiet reservations (anyone familiar with body language can see this), only the one guy did anything about it. What if he had done more? He’d have been fired, or at the least reprimanded for questioning another officer’s authority during an arrest. You know how a mother occasionally says to the father, “How dare you challenge me in front of the kids?” or how the father says that to the mother? It’s the same thing here.
Good apples and bad apples is too simplistic of a view. It’s not that simple. There are good apples (yes, coming from me), and you can often see their reservations about how things are developing. It’s easy to criticize them for not stepping forward and putting a stop to the bad apples’ bullshit, but this criticism drastically underestimates the power of peer pressure–the same power that caused the Salem Witch Trials, the anti-clown hysteria of last year, the anti-Russian hysteria, the current Neo-Nazi hysteria. The same power that causes peaceful Antifa protestors to stand around and do nothing as their comrades pile on single individuals and beat them.
We can’t address this quickly or easily. We have to go to the source, and the source is peer pressure. It takes far more forms than the simple “Ah, you know you want to smoke this marijuana” indicated by afterschool specials. Watch the video I linked to get a more complete picture of what, exactly, peer pressure can do–what that innate desire to conform to others can do. It’s powerful.
Some time ago, a bill swept through Congress with surprising agreement, allowing Americans to sue foreign governments for sponsoring terrorist activity against Americans. President Obama vetoed the bill, saying that he feared it would set a dangerous precedent and would give foreign citizens the idea that they could sue the American Government. This is a bit difficult to parse, but bear with me, because…
That means that Obama knows that the shit that we’re getting up to throughout the world is wrong, and he knows that citizens of foreign governments would have legitimate grievances with the United States. We could start with how we bombed a wedding in Afghanistan, I suppose, if we wanted to give an example.
The concern that I’ve had has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia per se or my sympathy for 9/11 families, it has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world, and suddenly finding ourselves subject to the private lawsuits in courts where we don’t even know exactly whether they’re on the up and up, in some cases.
Yes, President Obama. That stuff you said. That’s the point.
“…exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world…”
Yes, Mr. Obama. That’s exactly right.
Lots of people have come forward to agree with Obama and to point out how terrible it would be if we set up a system that allowed those smelly brown people to hit back against us. I mean, it’s common knowledge that they can’t hit against us directly–did you even see Operation Desert Storm? If anything is clear is that the countries in which “we’re doing all the work” have no recourse to stop us or to make us pay. Their bombs are crushed by our bombs; their aircraft massacred by ours.
We can impose No Fly Zones, grounding all of their aircraft, from halfway around the world with very little effort. They cannot fight us directly. This, of course, causes them to turn to “terrorism” in the same way that American colonists once turned to “terrorism” against the British. Does the Boston Tea Party ring a bell? How about the tactics of the American revolutionaries? The British fought war stupidly. They stood in a row, shot, and ducked to reload while the person behind them shot. They continued along like that–almost literal “ducks in a row.”
We couldn’t have defeated the British by playing by their rules, and they hated us for it. They called us cowards, cheaters, dishonorable. “You can’t do that!” they said. “You have to stand here, in front of us, as we take turns shooting at each other until someone wins!”
And we said, “Um, no. We’re not doing that. That’s dumb.”
So we shot from the trees. We didn’t form neat ranks and files. We hid in the hay bells, we hid in the trees and among the trees, we surrounded their forces, we shot from the sides, from the backs. And we won. Yet throughout all of that, we were not just terrorists; we were dishonorable terrorists, using despicable tactics because we couldn’t take them in a “fair fight.”
We face the same thing today–people all around the world who simply cannot go toe-to-toe with our military in the way that the American revolutionaries could not have gone toe-to-toe with the British army. For fuck’s sake, we didn’t even have a Navy, and the British Empire had the most powerful Navy in the world. Think about that when you think of places like Yemen and Syria, where our military is consistently “the most powerful in the world,” and theirs is… not anywhere close to that. They cannot take their fourteen F15 jets [numbers I’ve made up] and throw them at our nine gazillion F650 jets.
So they resort to sniping us from the trees, breaking our “rules of civilized war” in the process, fighting us in the only way that they can because going toe-to-toe with us simply isn’t an option–it’s suicide. We scream that it’s dishonorable, that it’s despicable, and that it’s terrorism. And maybe it is, if we could look back with the clarity of hindsight and say that the price of their freedom was bought with the lives of too many women and children, but we have no right to make such a determination in the first place. We are not the world’s police force, and neither are we the world’s judge.
I am continually baffled by the average American’s lack of self-awareness.
Nothing stops it, sir. That’s the point.
That’s precisely the point.
Anyone who wants to can attempt to sue the U.S. government for terrorism. This doesn’t mean anything. It only means something if a court of law–an impartial one, if we can find extraterrestrials from the Andromeda Galaxy who are anarchists and therefore can view this whole fucking mess objectively and are willing to preside over the case–finds for the plaintiff. Let the people of Iraq sue the American Government for terrorism. Let a court of law determine who is right.
A fair and objective court of law would find for the plaintiff. In Iraq, the United States is wholesale guilty of terrorism. Afghanistan, too, and likely at least a dozen others. Hell, the United States government is guilty of terrorism against the American people. Does this mean that we can sue the American government for terrorism? Because it should mean that.
Jonathon Horn knows, though–just look at what he said. He knows that the stuff the U.S. gets up to in other countries, whether he is okay with it or not, could be called terrorism rightly. If he didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t care whether foreign people sue the U.S. government, because the case would just be thrown out. So he knows. Let’s not just overlook that! It’s critical. He knows that the stuff that the American government does can, in at least a certain light, be rightly considered terrorism.
YES, FFS, THAT IS THE POINT
Germany has no case against the United States and absolutely could not sue us for terrorism. Our interactions with Germany have firmly fallen under the “acts of war” category, and so did the nuclear weapons. Terrorism =/= war. I firmly hate war, but we can’t pretend like an undeclared attack against a helpless nation who can’t fight back is remotely the same as allying with the British Empire to invade Nazi Europe, or that dropping two—those, not “that”–nuclear weapons on Japan is the same as hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings as a declaration of war.
China has no case against the United States, either. We saved their asses in World War 2. Your history sucks, Matt. Please go back to high school. Japan was slaughtering the Chinese, raping them, brutalizing them, torturing them, and China didn’t have much of a military to stand against it. China is the reason that the Allies won World War 2. Hitler was counting on Japan to help him attack the Soviets, coming from the east while Germany came from the west, and Japan instead focused its efforts on China, which proved a bit too big for them to just conquer simply. They weren’t stressing the Soviets, and that allows the Soviets to focus their efforts on the western border, where they lost more lives than anyone else in World War 2, and took the brunt of Nazi Germany’s attack. Then Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, we hit the Pacific Theater, and started advancing toward Japan. Every single island was a grueling battle of immeasurable death, because the Japanese refused to surrender any territory, forcing us to fight for every inch of land that we took. An attack on mainland Japan would have caused extraordinary death. The atomic bombs were a quick solution to a long, deadly problem.
How easily people forget.
The Soviet Union was our ally during World War 2, and so was China. We’ve yet to do anything worth suing over to either China or Russia. We’re about to do some fucked up shit to Russia, but we haven’t yet. China’s gripes could stem from Korea and Vietnam, but we were only in those places as part of a “UN Peacekeeping Effort,” which was a euphemism for “We’ve got military industrial complexes in several of the world’s largest countries that need to continue destroying resources and sharpening their weapons so, lulz, sorry people of Korea and Vietnam.” If anyone can be sued for those fiascos, it’s the United Nations–everyone. And China has no authority to sue on their behalf, because China every bit played a part in creating that mess.
Man, your history leaves a lot to be desired.
Iraq certainly would have a legitimate case. Iran… not so much. There was the virus we infected their centrifuges with–I don’t remember now what it was called–and it caused them to burn through machines at their nuclear refinement facilities, but that can’t be definitively pinned on the United States. We’d blame Israel, Israel would blame the United States; no one could trace the thing back to its source. Hell, didn’t we just give them a few hundred billion dollars? What are they going to sue us for? Giving them money?
I imagine your ignorant ass meant Syria.
Let’s think about Syria for a moment.
We have an established government led by Assad and backed by Russia. Then we have rebels. It started with a series of peaceful protests, Assad said “lol, not in my country” and started killing people and cracking down on protest. Then this happened:
Then we slipped the guy a bunch of weapons and told him to use them to fight off the guards. They did so. This chaos and power struggle caused ISIS, who was already growing and taking territory in Iraq, where we had also left a power vacuum, to sweep into Syria and start claiming territory there, too. Syria absolutely has a case against the United States government. They stoked the fires of instability, provided arms to the rebels, helped create a power struggle, and the resultant mess is what we see today. Now, instead of working with Assad and Syria to restore stability to the country that we helped shatter, we’re only interested in digging the hole deeper, hoping that, maybe, we can dig deep enough and come out on the other side of the planet, standing on our heads.
I find myself becoming leery of people with four-letter names. lol
Alex is simply wrong. We can prove that Saudi Arabia funded 9/11. We can also prove that a Pakistani general gave Mohammed Atta one hundred thousand dollars while Atta was here and training for the 9/11 attack, though “truthers” have made it impossible for me to find this information not on a blogspot site. In fact, it’s actually kinda alarming how the top Google results go to a blog which cites another blog which cites another blog. I actually do have an actual print publication I could go to if I wanted to source the information, but it’s in the trunk of my car, it’s cold outside, and it’s, as the 9/11 Commission Report said, “of little practical significance.”
I should have read your comment in full. You are a truther. That’s okay. So am I, and I think it’s sad that “truther” has become an insult. Yes, insult me because I want to know the truth, because I know that things don’t just happily break physical laws, because I know that a building couldn’t have fallen at freefall speeds, and because I remember that THREE TOWERS went down that day, one of which WASN’T EVEN HIT BY A GODDAMNED PLANE.
All three towers went down exactly the same way. One wasn’t even hit by a plane. And I’m the whackjob for wanting answers? You people going “Meh, that’s nothing worth discussing” are the lunatics! I don’t believe anything about 9/11, except that the 9/11 Commission was a provably biased one with ties to the Bush and Bin Laden families, and that the report–which I have actually taken the time to read–makes wonderful fairy tale reading, but is nothing more than that. You expect me to believe that this fire that magically melted steel allowed one of the terrorist’s passports to be found unscathed at 9/11? People, c’mon. That’s clearly planted evidence. How stupid can you be? It melted steel, but left paper undamaged?
Ugh. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.
I don’t believe the government orchestrated 9/11. The most I will say is that the evidence suggests–like Cheney’s order for NORAD to stand down and the fact that we otherwise have 100% success intercepting aircraft, yet spectacularly failed repeatedly that day–that some powerful elements within the U.S. Government either knew about and allowed the 9/11 attack, or directly orchestrated it. That’s as far as I’ll go, because that’s as far as the evidence supports. Short of a revolution wherein we ransack all the classified documents and un-redact them, we’ll never be able to say more than that.
We’re not over there looting resources, though. You fail at contemporary events. The price of oil is low because the United States has started fracking like crazy, which allows us to get to oil that we couldn’t otherwise get to. We are the reason the price of oil plunged. It was only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that the price of oil began skyrocketing. I remember paying $4.35/gallon. Now it’s half that. You bloody fool. If we were looting their oil, then the reverse would have happened: the price of oil would have gone down after 2003, and then back up more recently.
It wasn’t about oil, though. You’re too short-sighted. It was about the destruction of resources. Sparring, if you will. Competition fosters growth, improvement, and efficiency. If we want the most powerful military in the world, then what do we need? War. “War is the health of the state,” they say, and that’s certainly true here. We need our military to fight. Necessity is the mother of invention. We need the need to cause us to develop new, better rockets, new , better “defense” wink-wink systems. The military industrial complex cannot just build a bunch of tanks and then go, “Well, that was fun, and we made lots of money.”
It has to then destroy those tanks so that it has a reason to invent new, better tanks. It needs to evaluate those tanks’ weaknesses and improve them. What better way to do all of this than to attack a country that couldn’t possibly pose any real threat to us? That’s all this is: sparring. And we’re massacring people’s lives while we do it. It should come as no surprise to you that immediately after one conflict ends, we find ourselves bogged down in another. That has been the case for decades. Why? What is to be gained? Efficiency, improvement, and growth, because war is competition of our killing machines against theirs.
This isn’t an answer in and of itself, though. Why do we want to make our killing machines better, more efficient, stronger, and faster? What is the purpose? What is the purpose of sparring against so many lightweight athletes?
And now the moment has come, as it was always destined to. We’ve improved to ridiculous degrees. We now have fully automated killing machines. Do you really think that we would have military drones capable of dropping smart bombs on an area half a square mile from the comfort of a base in Nevada if we hadn’t had Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, and Syria?
Where do you think the Nazis went after World War 2?
Only nineteen people were found guilty at Nuremberg.
And even discounting the Nazi thing as a minor one–which it is, realistically–it doesn’t matter. We made our intentions clear in the 50s that we would fight whenever, wherever. Why did we do that? Because there was the Soviet Union, the only nation in the world still capable of going toe-to-toe with us. That made them Public Enemy Number One, a mentality that, clearly, never went away.
We continued sharpening our swords and using all of these sparring matches to find ways to improve our attacks, strategies, technologies, methodologies, and tactics. The Russians… didn’t. The Soviet Union collapsed and set them back; they are only recently beginning to stretch back out, with action in Ukraine, Georgia, and Syria.
It is the intention of the United States Military Industrial Complex–a phrase I don’t particularly care for, because I don’t have much patience for conspiracy theories, but we are where we are…–to take out Russia now, before they’ve had a decade to spar with other nations and improve their own capabilities. The plan is to hit them now, before they can have sparring training. This will set them back another few decades, and will leave us with no one in the world who can challenge us as we terrorize smaller nations that couldn’t possibly hope to stand against us. We’ll continue competing and improving through the competition, while Russia will be set back more decades.
And then we will reign, the uncontested champion of the world.