Guest Post – An Egotistical Idea that Lacks an Identity


The US is the only country in the world that has intervened in almost every nation. Looking at the history of each individual country you will notice that the US will appear during times of turmoil – either to help the insurgent groups against the current government or to protect the current system in place. The outcome of these interventions hasn’t always been positive and usually when that’s the case it’s due to the lack of understanding of the local culture thus evoking a negative response from the host nation towards the US and democracy. But why does the US insist in getting involved on matters of other nations? The answer is simple: EGO.

Now, when I say ego is the reason why the US gets involved, I’m not disregarding the economic interests that have been at play at various occasions or the strong campaign against communism, but these motives have been relatively recent and the US is not the only country who has economic interests internationally or detests communism. Hitler was against communism – he demonized communist ideals and even banned the party – but he wasn’t actively invading other nations to stop communism, he was invading other countries in order to make Germany great once again.

It’s important to understand the declaration of independence and what the Founding Fathers intended for the future of the country. However, it’s important to remember that explorers and conquerors had settled in the colonies. These were not the ordinary citizens of a nation; these were people who were creating a new beginning and setting trends – in a way they were an elite group, highly educated. Thus, the founding fathers were great thinkers and visionaries and the country they created was their idea of the ideal system. It was a complete break from traditional monarchy and transferred the power down to the people but they didn’t account that the basis of their system would also be its downfall.

So, at the end of the first sentence, Thomas Jefferson placed a crucial phrase:

“a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

The placement of this phrase and its significance sets a foundation and a priority for the American political agenda overseas. Since the beginning of their independence the colonies wanted international recognition as a legitimate state, thus they emphasize the importance of justifying why such separation is necessary. They want the world to see them and value them as equals – trendsetters.

The second sentence states the values in which this country is being built upon and the rights all humans possess:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Beautiful words that have been echoed by every single American president, but what do they really mean? These words are very subjective and are left open to interpretation. When everyone shares the same background and education level, then the interpretation will be pretty similar to each other’s. But when you have a group of people who don’t share a background and their education levels fluctuate greatly then everyone will start acting on their own accord following their interpretation. And that is what is currently happening in the US. Education, ethnicity and customs differ from region to region.

The third sentence explains the duty of the government:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Power is granted by the people and enforced by the people. And if the government were to overstep its boundaries, the people are responsible for abolishing the tyranny and instituting a new government under the original principles. Yet, if a government is being overthrown because it became tyrant, wouldn’t instituting a new one under the same principles as the previous one lead to the same effect in the future?

The declaration then continues to elaborate into the last phrase I pointed out, then lists the injustices from the British crown, and finally those present pledge their honor, fortune, and lives to the independence.

As I mentioned earlier, the people living in the colonies were not ordinary citizens. They started the revolution to gain independence and created a nation under their ideal form of government. They were experimenting, changing the rules of the game. By giving power to the people, they were showing the world that the monarchy’s belief in the people’s corrupt and selfish nature was false.

They created the country under a belief, not an identity, and as long as that belief is kept alive so will the US. This belief ties the citizens under a common morality and virtue. This system is highly sensitive to any change in any of these two qualities. The virtue required to keep Democracy alive is selflessness – you must have the ability and desire to put your personal interests aside and act towards the common good. And society’s views of wrong and right must be viewed and accepted unanimously.

Jefferson believed that you had to be enlightened in order for democracy to work, only those of strong moral character could form part of such a system, therefore the US must set the example for the rest of the world to follow. As long as Americans kept a strong moral force, the essence of their society and government would remain infallible.

Consequently, the belief embedded in the country is:

America is made up of enlightened citizens and if America fails, then its citizens were not truly virtuous or enlightened and the rest of the world will have no one to look up to. So, America cannot fail.

As time passed by and revolutions in Europe failed to create and sustain new republics, the US grew in popularity and was THE example of a true and successful republic. So, massive waves of immigrants entered the country in the pursuit of the American dream. It was the land of opportunities, new beginnings, and beliefs. All these people brought with them their cultural identities.

This wave of immigration in the 1820s and the future ones that came were made of ordinary people, there is no way of knowing who are the ones that posses the strong moral character that Jefferson believed in. So, instead of working towards enlightening its new citizens, Americans simply reinforced their belief as the leaders of the world.

Americans started to encourage revolutions worldwide without intervening militarily yet raised money for the rebels and some Americans went to fight in support of the revolutionary movements. They would also be the first to recognize any new government that resulted from these revolutions. The world was following their legacy.

But in 1917, the Bolsheviks took over the Russian revolution and founded their government on a new set of principles – Marxist principles. This new system marked a new path for the world to follow. American Democracy was no longer the path of the future. Marxism was the new route and was attracting many. So, the US stopped supporting revolutions and instead started supporting existing regimes regardless if they were not democracies as long as they were not communist, the US would intervene directly and help control the uprisings. The belief of democracy was still present, but what was more present was the fear at failing to lead the world into democracy. So, any nation that showed signs of turning communist the US would jump to intervene as a way of “saving” them from following the wrong path.

This belief of an enlightened savior is the ego that has been guiding the US since its creation. Rooted in the idea of self-governance and global leadership, the US operated as a superpower. It is a superpower that lacks a real identity and due to its focus to international recognition, it forgot to never stop educating its citizens. Thus without an identity to keep its society’s moral compass from going astray, it must now deal with a society that grows in ignorance trading the original virtues for materialistic luxuries whose only hope for survival is to stay internationally ‘relevant’ and keep their belief alive.

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Thank you OM for letting me post on your site. I’m Lex Solo and I blog at Lex Solo’s Political Rantings, come and discuss politics with me.

14 thoughts on “Guest Post – An Egotistical Idea that Lacks an Identity

    • Yes and no. If your county is in the US’s region of interest at the moment then yes. But if your country isn’t in the US’s region of interest, then you could be dying and the US will not care.
      It’s a very hypocritical way to act.

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  1. Well, your thesis fails at its first point – “The US is the only country in the world that has intervened in almost every nation.”

    You fail to note the British and Spanish empires (and, to a lesser extent the French) who at one time ruled or interfered in every place on the earth. Also, in ancient times, the Greek and Roman empires, the Assyrian Empire, each ruled or intervened in the affairs of every nation of which they were cognizant.

    While some of the points you made are valid, others fail from what seems an anti-US bias. Undoubtedly the US has failed, partially due to hubris, but more so due to its lack of a consistent political vision, which can be blamed entirely on the two-party system, which Washington warned about. It has come to a head since the 1970′s, when the polarization Washington feared began tearing the nation into two divergent subcultures.

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    • You are right. I failed to specify that I was talking about modern times and not throughout all of history. Thank you for pointing it out.
      As to the points you’re making, I don’t deny that there plenty of factors at play that I don’t get into and you’ve pointed a great one – polarization of the two-party system.
      I was attempting to look at the root of American’s foreign policy since it’s creation. Which I feel that the lack of identity, has been detrimental to the society.
      I’m not anti-American, I’m disappointed in the current direction in which the US is headed. I highly admire the US from the 90s backwards. But I feel the country has lost it’s focus and it’s society is too polarized and had high education gaps that it’ll take a long time before returning to those glory days.

      Thanks for the comment

      I recommend listening to this lecture I stumbled the other day: http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/american-revolutionary-tradition-or-why-america-wants-spread-democracy-around-wo

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      • I agree with you on the education gap, but I disagree with most people on the solution. I honestly feel we need to eliminate the federal DOE, and return control to the states, who are the best able to handle the varied needs and wants of their local populace and economy.

        A businessman from Michigan was asked why he employed so many Canadians in his company. His answer was very enlightening…Michigan schools aren’t teaching the technical skills he needs for his business. He approached them about the situation, and was told that federal guidelines don’t allow for that type of customization. His is a high-tech business, and needed mid-level algebra and specific computer skills (excel and CAD) to properly products. He does no manufacturing but does the design work for hundreds of companies around the world. Starting salaries were in the $15+/hr range, and he needed hundreds of employees.

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        • Completely agreed. Education is the real solution. The only problem is that, hypothetically assuming the educational system gets a radical restricting and fixes the problems it has, it’ll take a long time to start seeing the effects. What I fear is the damage that is being done in the short-term will leave a huge chaotic mess to fix.

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        • Oh yeah! When my sons were in Scouts I did the American History MB for the pack. You could pick out the kids in Catholic school vs those in public. One assignment was to pick an American historical figure, write a short paper (one page) on what made them great, then read it to the pack. The public school kids could barely read the report they, supposedly, wrote. Simple age-appropriate words would overwhelm them. It was a sad commentary on what was supposed to be one of the better schools in the county.

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        • That’s very sad. I believe that the public system should be as rigorous as the private one. Just because someone wasn’t born with the fortune of being part of an economically stable family, they shouldn’t suffer with inferior education levels. This system simply fosters the gap. It’s also sad seeing how some states have amazing public education systems while others have such terrible standards that the kids are lucky if they can read and write…

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        • Actually, I don’t buy into that whole economically disadvantaged garbage, I think it’s just a ploy for unions and teachers to get more money. If it were true then the money would be proportioned so that the disadvantaged districts got the lions share of the money, instead of the other way around.

          I grew up in one of those disadvantaged districts, and not a single kid left school without knowing how to read, write, balance a checkbook, and read the paper (including the stock section). The difference is that teachers back then really cared about the kids, they weren’t in it for the money and pension system. Teachers would work their lunch hours and stay after school to help struggling kids (I was one of them, didn’t really take off until 9th grade, then I exploded). I had one teacher who come to my house on weekends to give me extra help. And they weren’t paid extra for it, they just did it because they cared.

          In the district I live in now the teachers refused to help out in the evenings if they weren’t paid. The district was trying to cut back on the budget because a large raise is scheduled to kick in during the 2014-15 year, so they asked teachers to run the after school study program pro-bono, they refused. So, staring next year, there will be no after school study for the kids.

          Our district is aging, and some of the elderly are in danger of losing their homes if taxes increase much more. There are fewer kids, teachers won’t budge on class sizes (20 is the max, I had 45 when I was in school), salary, pension, or benefits (currently they pay $10/pay for healthcare, and that was a fight from free).

          No, it’s not finance, it’s teachers who are in it for the money, not for educating our kids.

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        • I think we’re getting into a whole new debate. Lobbying and money play strong influences in the education curriculum – which should not be the case.
          Also, this society places such emphasis on money than the actual value and importance of education.
          Ideally, there shouldn’t be such a huge gap between private and public education.

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  2. Just a short comment here but I would like to point out that the founding fathers did recognize the inherent flaws in a democracy and so they created a republic similar to that of the Roman empire which lasted for hundreds of years rather than a democracy like Greece. Thus the current tri-pod of power where the legislative, judicial, and executive branches all had separate powers and were placed to balance each other out. Although you quote several ideals from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution is more what you should go on in terms of the support and guidance of this country, because although the declaration is used as a supporting document, the constitution is where they actually wrote out how the country is supposed to work. So yes, the US has had some problems interfering a lot since World War II, but is that any better than the isolationist trend that we were on before where the politics of the world were out there and we refused to see anything that did not happen within our own borders and instead concentrated on westward expansion and the subjugation of the native people of the Americas from whom the US stole land? (Ooops, a little longer than I thought it would be)

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    • I would use the constitution if I wanted to argue how the US works. I used the declaration of independence because, besides being quoted as a justification for any international intervention, it was the first document officially drafted by the founding fathers and it shows the reality of their intentions for the nation they created. Whereas the constitution was highly debated with multiple forces at play and came into existed almost 11 years after the declaration of independence. Also, if you look at how Jefferson and Franklin behaved during and after the revolution, you’ll notice that there was a strong interest in international approval and recognition. Once that was achieved, they wanted to become a leading example for the other European Nations to follow their path. The French revolution was one of these examples – both Jefferson and the French revolutionaries believed that France was following the US’ footsteps.
      There are plenty of examples that show since the beginning that the US wanted to influence the rest of the world to follow their path. The problem with the nature of how intervention has evolved is that there is no clear intention on how they will act. The battle against communism seems to have been forgotten because a lot of Latin American countries are suffering under communist leaders who put up fake elections in order to portray “legitimacy”. Then, the fight against terrorism after 9/11 is a disgrace. Funding Israel, who’s committing atrocities towards the Palestinians. Funding the Egyptian military who is currently silencing and oppressing anyone who dares oppose their rule. The US claims that it wants every nation to engage in democracy and represent the will of its people, nonetheless when a democratically elected government might poise a threat to “national interest”, a covert operation quickly takes place to overthrow that ruler and put back the one that will serve the interest of the American government (aka Iran 1953), regardless of the fact that he’s an oppressive and corrupt dictator.
      As to your point of the Roman Empire, it is known that the reason why it fell was because of the deterioration of its society. People became corrupt, selfish, materialistic, and vain. So, if the founding fathers were creating their republic after the Roman Empire, they knew that the only way of sustaining such a society was through education and maintaining a virtuous society. (If you don’t believe me, go and check the letters they wrote to each other back and forth about this issue).
      There needs to be more transparency on the true intentions behind alliances and intervention as well as a serious restructuring and improvement of the current educational system.

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      • I would agree that education is a large part in maintaining any form of government and thus played a huge role in how the fathers set up their system of government and that once the presidents and congress began to declare war on ideals, the actual war has no clear goal and so is able to be used for political and monetary gain (war on drugs, war on terror, what exactly are you defining by these, how do you prove that you’ve won, etc. wars on ideals can’t be won and so really shouldn’t be a fight for the nation to fight using troops,) However, with regards to the international influence, at the beginning yes and it is understandable because as a new country, surrounded by other colonies, most of which are hostile to you, it makes sense to try and influence countries back in Europe to make sure that you don’t fall apart as a country to be eaten up again by the reigning powers of the times. However after those first few years the US really began to back away from the international stage. We only became major powers recently after World War II, where US and the USSR emerged as the “superpowers” of the world and began the Cold War (why we started getting even more involved with countries such as Korea and Vietnam where the goal was not really defeat the enemy but just keep “Russia” from winning).
        And as for the Roman Empire, people have always been corrupt, selfish, materialistic and vain…look at the US in the 1920′s, Babylon, Rome (as you pointed out), and pretty much any ruling family in Europe’s history. There have been many vain, egotistical people who actually made their country better and even though they really were rotten human beings they were smart and understood how life and the masses worked. It is easy to predict how the “average man” should act. It is much harder to predict how he will act because people are a lot like sheep, even the educated and brilliant ones. We like to follow a crowd and so most of the time people act a certain way but occasionally you will have someone who does the thing that is not the norm. So yep, we should educate people (I am a proud product of the current educational system) but the real problem is to find people who are willing to put their egos aside to work for the the betterment of the country and keeping those who only are out to fill their pockets from power….something I think we are always going to have problems with not matter how hard we try.

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