Us or Them? Does it make a difference?

One of the fundamental distinctions any living entity needs to make is whether it is dealing with ‘us’ or with ‘them.’ Who is the self and who is not? When dealing with the self we follow one set of rules. When dealing with others we follow different rules.

It is precisely because of Andy McCarthy’s experience in that capacity that he understands — in a way others can’t — the crippling limitations of law enforcement and criminal prosecutions in combating global terrorism.

The entire orientation of the criminal justice system is to protect the rights of innocents, affording the accused due process and a litany of other constitutional protections.

But we are at war with an enemy who doesn’t fight wars according to conventional rules. If we
continue to treat them as criminal suspects rather than enemy combatants, they’ll always be many steps ahead of us in a war only they are fighting. While our government frets over their constitutional
rights — rights to which enemy combatants have never been historically entitled — it abdicates its duty to protect American lives. (D. Limbaugh, Washington Times)

The inability to separate self from other is inherent in the terrorist lawfare and propaganda fronts. It is seen by the difficulty in some news agencies about using the word ‘terrorist’ and in the emphasis on missteps. We know how awful ‘self’ can be. It is difficult to understand just how awful ‘other’ can be. We lead sheltered lives and do not experience the lives of others except as aberration.

This is exacerbated by the FUD mongering and false crisis assertions – like the fairy tale about crying wolf unnecessarily. We get enured to things we cannot really imagine happening. We loose sight of the fact that it does happen, whether 9/11 or Venezuela or, just recently, Burma. We have trouble grasping that there are criminals (a ‘social self’ concept) and then there are malfeasant leaders that can lead a whole cohort awry.

As with anything human, there is no clear line. When does a criminal gang become organized crime? When does a criminal organization become a terrorist organization? When is social unrest a civil war? We have police for problems within the social self and a military for problems with other. When the cancer takes advantage of the blurring of the line it becomes ever more difficult to treat and the treatments will have ever greater risk of collateral damage.

This is why it is every more critical for everyone in the society to know just what the ‘social self’ is and to contribute towards the segregation of self from other. Without this discrimination, the society eats its own values and culture. That makes it weaker. That makes it less able to convey its benefits. That can lead to its death. That is what we face in the preservation of fundamental personal freedoms in this era.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.