Friday, December 30, 2016

Human Nature in the Real World

It's remarkable how territorial are living things. Having two large dogs in the house this past week has been a case study in this phenomenon. When Lucy is on our bed and Jackson tries to join her up there, Lucy is transformed into this very unfamiliar snarling beast. Apparently, our bed is her space, and woe be unto the dog, no matter how lovable and well-intentioned, who dares invade it. Jackson, on the other hand, can be sitting serenely on the sofa between Jon and Kaitlin perfectly chilled and content, but if Lucy shows the slightest interest in joining them up there, Jackson perks upright and will have none of it, as if to say, "These are my people, my sofa!"

On a strangely related note, I have grown weary of the French having invaded and overrun my blog. At first it was interesting, and a little flattering, suddenly thousands of readers from a foreign country inflating my pageview numbers. But after a month and with a new record for pageviews (over 10,000 and counting in December), I have started to resent it. Who are these Frenchmen suddenly interested in the ramblings of low level American blogger who doesn't even like croissants? Are they really people or some computer hacking algorithm run amok?

The point is, dogs and people have a powerful sense of personal space and a strong, innate desire to maintain its integrity. So do nations. This is the reason why I am a strict non-interventionist when it comes to foreign policy. Every time something horrible happens anywhere in the world, there's a constituency in this country for an active, robust response. This response usually involves the use of the American military. Some photojournalist takes a picture of a dying child in Aleppo and suddenly there's a hashtag movement on Facebook demanding we do something. Some African tribal genocide breaks out in the Congo somewhere and people start clamoring for us to stop it.

But, how would we feel if the Russians or the French felt so moved to send a contingent of special forces parachuting into Chicago to put an end to the death and destruction that has plagued that beleaguered city for the last four years. I mean, enough is enough, right? How long can the civilized world stand by and watch a once great city destroy itself? The fact is, we would be enraged at such a presumptuous provocation and rightly so.

Listen, I'm no pacifist. If a country attacks us, the US, I'd be the first to demand our military defend us without mercy. But short of that, short of a direct threat to my country, I'm for staying the heck out of the rest of the world's business. Let the Syrians take care of Syria. Let the Europeans be responsible for Europe. Let the Russians mind Russia. We've got our own problems.

But Doug, but Doug, you say. The Syrian government is murdering its own people!! Yes, they are, and it's a crying shame. There's a boatload of evil in the world. The Venezuelans will soon be starving, many in Bangladesh are impossibly poor, tribal wars featuring unimaginable brutality are raging all over the continent of Africa. Should we go rescue them too? And if we do, are you prepared to obligate the United States government to the twenty year commitment of men, money and material it will take to keep the peace in each of these places? And who will bear the cost of such an opperation? The American taxpayer. You onboard for an across the board tax increase of say 25% to cover all this do-goodery? Yeah, I didn't think so.

So, my advice for His Orangeness on his first day on the job? Resist the siren call of the Empire Hawks. Let's mind our own business for a change.