Defeat

What’s the psychology behind America’s support of its government’s evil wars? The scar and shame of 9/11 loom large. That was a defeat. More generally, Americans won’t accept defeat. They fear it. They fear not being numero uno. They fear even a loss of prestige, and politicians even use that as an excuse for maintaining losing commitments and interventions. Americans fear a loss of control, even if such control is counterproductive. Their psychology demands winning and being on top, being the big honcho, the world’s policeman.

Americans perversely regard limits as defeats. A frontier must be extended. It must cross oceans. Space must be conquered. The universe must be penetrated, even when it is light years out of reach. Hostile planets must be explored. Everyone must be employed. Everyone must have health care. Limits must be breached. To be limited in these quests is a form of defeat. Those who mention costs and choice among alternatives are regarded as appeasers to evil and defeatists. The quest to overcome challenges and win shunts the fear of defeat aside.

Americans will not look history in the face because it means accepting American defeat. They will fight on and on in war after war or support their government’s fights because they want to turn defeats into victories. Such persistence in the face of adverse results has its proper place in life, but it becomes pathological when more is to be gained by admitting defeat and cutting one’s losses. Troop surges, new wars, new confrontations against other powers, new sanctions on other countries, new interventions, and new attempts to eradicate evils in Africa and elsewhere are vain attempts to transform limits into victories. Financial policies of government and the FED aim to eliminate any limits on spending, debt and money creation. When recession limits output, policies to turn this defeat into economic victory go into effect. Americans hate limits. Term limits on presidents are an exception, but lately these are overcome through family dynasties. If an “emergency” happens that is construed as a large-scale limit or defeat, you can bet that emergency measures will be put into place that obliterate the limits of the country’s laws.

Defeat, setbacks and losses are actually salutary. It is a good thing to recognize one’s limits. This precedes reordering priorities and making more effective choices among alternatives, not all of which can be attained. It is a good thing to come to grips with realities.

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7:58 am on October 19, 2016

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