Swans Commentary » swans.com September 24, 2007  



"The Curse Of Ignorance:" Endless Centuries Of War


by Carol Warner Christen





"When will humanity cast off for ever the curse of ignorance, and cease to allow itself, first in one country and then in another, to be dragged to destruction by wicked men intent on their own glorification and enrichment? Only when mental development, by means of education, reaches a point which enables the people to have and keep a wise control of their own affairs. Then will be laid a basis for peace and prosperity; but this constitutes only the first step, as education must continue to direct these free people along the path of righteousness, which alone leads to happiness, as any deviation from it brings conflict, misery and eventual destruction."
—Arthur Findlay (1)

"What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes; imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose."
—Thomas Jefferson (2)

"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?"
—Lillian Hellman (3)

"For in a Republic, who is 'the country? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant - merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them."
—Mark Twain (4)

"...the machine of government...is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."
—Henry David Thoreau (5)


(Swans - September 24, 2007)   During the Clinton administration, someone was quoted as saying, "We are a country of laws, not of people." The quote had something to do with the impeachment trial in the Senate and the fact that Republicans wanted to promulgate something called "The Rule of Law."

Since the Constitution says: "We, the People...do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America," it cannot say: The Rule of Law... does ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Preamble further states that the purpose for the Constitution is to:

form a more perfect union,

   establish justice,

     insure domestic tranquility,

       provide for the common defence,

         promote the general welfare, and

           secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and

             (secure the blessing of liberty) to our posterity.

To me, a citizen, that means that Congress will devise methods to accomplish all of the above, often by writing laws to implement those wonderful purposes stated above in the Constitution, which we must use to measure our government, which we established. The People established government; government has never established People, except to their detriment.

Somehow, it seems that in the last half century, we have forgotten what law is and are now rapidly making our blessed liberty subject to absurdities of law, law twisted to benefit one group or another, not fairness to all. Our elected officials are subverting our government with inventions that were not there, such as special prosecutor laws, laws which only punish and fill jails for the sake of a "criminal justice system" -- another misnomer if the Preamble is to be honored by establishing justice.

When did common defence turn into "National Security"? When did the general welfare of all the People turn into corporate welfare and become anti ordinary people? Who decided we no longer need habeas corpus? Why has the Executive Branch decided to run roughshod over the Congress and the Courts under the guise of a perpetual Commander in Chief persona? We, the People, remain mute. Why?

How does insuring domestic tranquility occur with riot squads, quasi-military police using tanks and snipers against un-judged persons? When did the idea occur that our country will fail in a second over one person's mistake or aberrant behavior?

Take a vote before rushing to judgment. We, the People, are still out here. Corporations and parts of government seem to think they are all that is necessary. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I wish we were ashamed of what we are becoming in the name of all this wrongness. Go back and re-read the only purposes of government in the Preamble. There are no other purposes.

Maybe elected officials should list their ideas of better purposes for governing us so we can contrast them to the Preamble. After all, what else is the real measure of our worth as human beings? The People who formed such a tool of government created a country that beckons welcome to the entire world's unhappy people ruled by fools, kings, or dictators. Oops! We did welcome others until the other became a "terrorist" or a Muslim or an undocumented alien.

This change of heart came from two pieces of rhetoric that crafty people put together as a scare campaign to sell a war on terror; one, an emotion targeting an "alien religion" as Americans think of it. The other, the undocumented alien, was created by the same people to trade without restraint, i.e., NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, et al. These groups caused a mass migration to the United States when Mexico's ancient corn crops were undercut by -- guess who? -- the United States and Canada throwing cheap corn into Mexico and driving their people out of work.

Then, those same movers and shakers threw our traditional work across the Pacific; we became poorer here. Since we are not used to being farm workers, farm owners hired the undocumented aliens by the truckload. This gave us the opportunity to jail them and their families, even their babies, to enrich the new privatized for-profit prison system. All of this is so nicely dovetailed, don't you agree? So, unfairly fair to corporations but not to humans. "Lock 'em up." Your taxes pay for this corporate-governmental profit system. They never asked us about it, did they?

We have built, I understand, many detention camps in the United States of America, just as we built them during World War II for the citizens of the United States who happened to have Japanese lineage. The United States government will practice martial law on United States soil from October 15 until October 20, 2007, to test the idea. That idea has been forbidden since founding our country. Oh, but now we need martial law suddenly because the Executive Branch needs enemies under every bush to feed the gross monetary needs of their corporate friends, the weapons' manufacturers. Do we then have to concede that the Executive Branch containing the Pentagon is actually We, the People? Are we in wonderland again, Alice? Read "Bush Grants Presidency Extraordinary Powers" on WorldNetDaily.com for May 23, 2007.

As an aside, Ray McGovern wrote that the president is actually afraid, very afraid, of the wrath of ordinary citizens, which is why he is never alone near any of us without the army, air force, loyalty oaths, or police. And, we've all assumed he was strong and resolute. We, citizens, have all these nefarious legal undoing of the laws of our land because the president is as afraid of us as he is his invented terrorists to terrorize us! What a delicious Mobius strip twist of events!

I also heard a senator say that he had to vote his conscience, not take a poll. Oh? He said it because someone in Parliament mentioned it in a country where people are actually subjects. Here all the people in any district are citizens, your constituents, not just your party and never your subjects. Why is that so hard to understand? The elected need to ask us what we want; and then, they need to synthesize it for all of us or vote no on it, whatever it is. The elected are only 0.00000066 of us in Oregon. Without all of our counsel, how could any of them be that arrogant as a human being? What do we leave to posterity? Why would we ever elect them again?

The danger is that this thoughtlessness may leave citizens no better off than thralls to corporate power mongers and egotistic "leaders." If Congress is pressured by 65,000 lobbyists spending $200,000,000 per month, how much do we suppose is left over to serve the people who elected the Congress? Each member of Congress is in a beehive of 118 lobbyists with $363,636.00 of honey for each of them for this or that. This makes corporate "persons" happier than all the rest of us: real persons without such means.

Humboldt County in California just took the sails out of corporate persons in their area in 2006. It was an act of "municipal civil disobedience." That has a nice ring to it. No corporation is entitled to give money to anyone for any election there. Maybe this concept will spread like a virus to other concerned counties. (6)

Logic and proportion, ethics and integrity, have been disappearing as quickly as they did after the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century elevated an amalgam of religious persons to top positions and proceeded for sixteen centuries to torture and kill nonbelievers. In another Mobius twist or "pretzel logic," we are killing and torturing believers of a religion that seems alien to the Christian followers of the emperor Constantine (who was not a Christian) as projected into our future. Bin Laden suggested that Americans convert to Islam the other day. Since his family is neatly tied up with the Bush family pertaining to money, among other enticements, does anyone know what anything means anymore? This logic is described by James Brooks in an article about John McMurty, a professor of philosophy, who describes the many possible cases of this type of logic, which is causing inertness in the people of the United States. (7)

The three news stooges of the three "made for Americans" newscasts: ABC, CBS, NBC, all say the same nothings or twisting without any journalistic integrity. The a priori assumptions in the three branches of government are ridiculous, too. War is for defence per our Constitution; war is not to change another sovereign country into a "democracy," as we have erroneously argued for Iraq. War is not to bomb, using the atom itself, Iran or North Korea into total rubble because the Pentagon, in the persona of the Executive Branch, believes that's a great idea to save our/their oil for them/us under the guise of helping them out. Who believes this "made for television" logic and mental crap? And, why? Angie Risdel's article, "The Stupidest People on Earth," fits in right here, citizens. (8)

Why are We, the People, paying "yes" men and women to mouth nonsense under the guise of wisdom while our hard-earned monies go to everywhere but here to undermine our general welfare? Is destruction our general welfare? Is it justice? What format? If I pay you to create a lie for me that sounds illogical enough, will the People slap me on the back for brilliance? In reality, they should fire all liars or send them back to school by rescinding their bogus degrees. Read Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" excerpt on Carolyn Baker's Web site. (9)

It might actually be a good idea if all laws had an unbreakable sunset clause. Maybe the People should have a final say about unread law-passing in the dead of night without discussion, debate, and citizen consideration.

The idea, which is the worst of all, is this: too many American adult humans can and do believe that it is their right to order about, jail, kill, torture, rape, question and, otherwise, manipulate another adult human's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of property, changed later to happiness. The reason we have three branches of government is to prevent this. We have paid a military to override governmental prohibitions on adult freedoms by arming them to kill on command. Kent State comes to mind, along with Vietnam and Iraq. The powers that be strain to be permitted to "attack" Iran with the same wantonness. (10)

Is violence a necessity against others? If so, no one is ever for one moment safe from such predators, ours or theirs, whoever they are. Is that what we tacitly insist is our right-unwritten -- to take over anyone any time because-because-because we believe we should? That makes our citizens scarier and lacking integrity and ethics, respecting nothing but power: pure, naked, death-dealing power! Be ashamed; be very ashamed at what we are becoming. History has shown this occurs again and again because we never learn to respect our humanity and its legitimate differences of opinion. "The Curse of Ignorance" is two thousand pages of the minutiae of war, death, and destruction all over this planet for the past 6000 years. We haven't been educated on the dangers even now; dangers involving egos and religion and weapons against each other to what end: more of the same. "Bowing Before An American Tyranny" by Robert Parry reviews a book by Jack Goldsmith, "who clashed with senior White House lawyers over their expansive interpretation of presidential power." (11)

Egad, People! Before we get any poorer, both mentally and physically, changes in our attitudes are essential. Ignorance may be bliss but it is not sufficient for adulthood or the human species and its progeny's future when showered with radiation for four-plus billion years. It will twist our DNA and warp our species forever (to us).



1.  The Curse of Ignorance, Arthur Findlay, The Headquarters Publishing Co. Ltd, London, 1947, p. 761-762.  (back)

2.  Thomas Jefferson (quoted on internationalclearinghouse.info  (back)

3.  Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) American playwright and memoirist (quoted on internationalclearinghouse.info)  (back)

4.  Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910) (quoted on internationalclearinghouse.info)  (back)

5.  Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," 1849 (quoted on internationalclearinghouse.info  (back)

6.  "Challenging Corporate Power: California Community Says Companies Are Not People; Bans Campaign Donations," by Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, 9/5/2007. http://www.alternet.org/story/61737/  (back)

7.  "The Occupation Within, Middle East Mind Lock," by James Brooks, http://www.counterpunch.org/brooks09072007.html.  (back)

8.  "The Stupidest People On Earth," by Angie Riedel, 09/08/07, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18338.htm.  (back)

9.  "Shock Doctrine," by Naomi Klein, 09/08/07, http://carolynbaker.net.  (back)

10.  "Who Really Calls The Shots?" by Jim Kirwan, 09/09/07, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18343.htm.  (back)

11.  "Bowing Before An American Tyranny," by Robert Parry, 09/06/07, http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2007/090507.html.  (back)


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Published September 24, 2007