Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Amerika's Metamorphosizing Values

"As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities." - Voltaire

Since the advent of the absurdly titled Global War on Terror, many dystopic literary works have been applied to current life in America under George W. Bush. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley come to mind quickly for 1984, Animal Farm, and Brave New World. But another series of literary allusions include Franz Kafka. From his last unfinished work Amerika to earlier The Trial and, of course, Metamorphosis, Kafka explores a wide variety of the absurd in life, and indeed, in becoming victims of our own society's institutions, and in other instances, becoming that which we loathe. In fact, a blending of the aforementioned works has also been in vogue these past few strange years of tortured definitions and administration equivocation. While we argue at home about the potential efficacy of our illegalities under international law, torture in Iraq is said to be worse than under Saddam.

What is happening to our purported values of freedom, liberty, privacy, and due process? What about the Universal Declaration of Rights to which we profess to adhere? How does torture and violation of privacy fit in according to Bush (or Kafka)?

Again, reenter the current American crisis over the alleged quaintness of the Geneva conventions and stated outdatedness of the FISA law. Both of these provide ample ground for such dystopic literary allusion. While "debate" twists through congress on due process, culpability issues, prosecutorial protections, and invasive permissiveness of permissive invasiveness (try that one on, Rummy), our discourse has become quite debased. Our values are under attack, not from abroad, but from within.

To torture or not to torture? How can this be the question? To spy or not to spy? How can this be the question? In the post 9/11 Amerika, it seems most of all that our professed values have been the main victims of our actual policies. If this is so, then we will be next. Our American way of life will follow, like lemmings we go further and further off the cliff of reason.

We need to take notice. We need to act. We need to say no to torture and warrantless spying. We need to define who we are as a people. We cannot allow ourselves to languish in an Orwellian Kafkaesque hell. We are not a country merely of government elites. We the people should decide the laws and policies. We should seek universal applications of justice and ought follow the rule of law, not change it to save renegade officials or justify inhumane and undemocratic acts. It's the only American thing to do. But...

The most recent developments concerning "compromises" are here.

5 Comments:

Blogger cat said...

So easily over looked..So easy to turn a cheek..Shut our ears…close our eyes… If you pretend its not there, maybe it will go away.. Maybe it isn’t really happening.. “Distracted” by normalcy’s of life; from sea to shining sea..
”American” nature seems addicted to a never fulfilled rat-race (life) Not realizing what little rights we do have.. thought we had.. are not…or soon will not be @ all..

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