Amoral America

If you have the most limited experience with Judeo-Christian morality or perhaps even Charlton Heston’s famous movie, you know the Ten Commandments.

One of the basic series of laws ever devised and routinely cited by the Christian Right ad nauseam, even to the point that copies of it are routinely installed on public grounds despite their unconstitutional nature (usually to be torn down again, either by legal order or otherwise), they showcase for the most part simple tenets that most of society usually embraces anyway. Whether a practitioner of Hindu, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Atheism, or Christianity, the strongest parts of the Ten Commandments are respected by all cultures, such as:

· Thou shalt not murder.

· Thou shalt not steal.

· Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

· Thou shall not covet.

Other commandments aside (such as keeping the Sabbath, no gods before the one true god, honor thy father and they mother, adultery) may be up for a lot of theological and philosophical debate, but these four are almost universally not no matter what background one comes from.

Yet, in America, and in particular under Trump’s America, we see that not these are usually not. In fact, we actually see that in some ways these are embraced by those in our own government, and those who so happily support our own government and institutions.

The police and other law enforcement organizations, for example, regularly employ the euphemism of “civil asset forfeiture” which allows them to seize the property of people without even arrest or conviction. Whatever mess of a federal or state law allows them to do so doesn’t change the fact that this is stealing. The due process here is the same as the burglar entering your home in the dead of night. You may or may not be a horrible person, but to the burglar that isn’t factored in.

The crimes of the United States Government, which does include assassinations, assassination attempts, invasions, and bombings of others would definitely violate the simple commandment of “Thou Shalt not Murder”. The number of planned attacks on just Fidel Castro himself, is one simple and relatively small example of how much the Government is intent on breaking or has broken this commandment.

Falsely bearing witness against thy neighbor? Again, just as a small set of examples: Iraq’s WMD’s and their so-called intent to give them to terrorists. The Gulf of Tonkin incident. The U.S. has consistently lied in an impressive way, leading to the deaths of how many millions (which backtracks to that earlier commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Murder”).

Finally, thou shalt not covet. For a country that was built on the theft of land from the native population, or slavery, and still is continuing such practices even today in the most unambiguous way possible, the obvious answer is that not only have we repeatedly broken this commandment, we have shattered and smashed it and put it aside to be incinerated and forgotten about.

So why does the Christian Right, the ones who promote the Ten Commandments the most, usually silent on these issues that showcase a long history of the United States?

We can play armchair psychologist, theologian, or political scientist until the moon turns to gold, but the fact of the matter is that to any commonly held morality as exemplified by the four commandments, we are not a moral nation in the slightest sense of the word.

We can talk of moral and social progress until we are blue on the face on cable television, and in some ways, we are absolutely correct. From a Marxist viewpoint, the U.S. is further along than say a post-Soviet Russia, or a regressed Turkey under the yolk of corrupt Generals and intolerant Imams.

George Washington and what he stood for was much better than George the Third. Abraham Lincoln was better than Jefferson Davis. American history does progress, but it doesn’t mean that if one takes a snapshot at this exact moment that the picture looks incredibly rosy.

No, we know that American is an Empire, and we do use violence to subjugate our enemies, and that we do employ theft in order to gain for a few, with a euphemistic statement that it was for the whole of the United States. Bolivia comes clearly to mind; just the last country on a long list of assaults and theft that has been part and parcel of the US domination of the western hemisphere.

America, by any definition from any culture around the entire globe, is an amoral state. We can engage in Whataboutism until we are blue in the face, and point to excesses X, Y, and Z across the entire planet. But that is a logical fallacy of the first kind; even if every country on Earth were terrible places, it doesn’t change the fact that the USA is also a terrible place.

If there is a creator and God, as myself and many other Roman Catholics believe, he would not believe in American exceptionalism. God would judge us guilty as any other place, and made sure that we reap what we sow.

And come to think of it, Covid-19 being much worse here in the USA than anywhere else on this planet may just indicate that. Karma, dumb luck, fate of history, God’s judgement — America is finally on the receiving end of what it’s political class has done to others.

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Forbes West

Forbes West

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Forbes West is a published writer/producer and is the co-host of Free The Bear! Podcast.