I was born in 1967. My parents were Boomers, born in the mid-40s after the war. The US has been at war for my entire life, and for the lives of my parents (only my mom is still living). At the end of WWII we fell right into the Cold War. The Cold War morphed into the War on Terror, and in the 80s we started a War on Drugs too. Just think about about that for the moment. The country has been in a state of war and wartime reduction in freedoms since 1941. How can that not have a damaging effect on the culture of any country? There are very few people alive today in the US that remember what it was like to live in a country not at war.
In WWII we interred tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans. Through the 50s we harassed and abused citizens because they knew somebody who knew somebody who once attended a communist party meeting. Let's not forget that a big part of why the USSR came to be is the billions we gave them in support durring WWII. We were forced to side with Stalin because our involvement in WWI can be connected pretty damn directly to the rise of Hitler and Nazism.(Our involvement in WWI resulted in the very one-sided Treaty of Versailles. Without that treaty Hitler probably never rises to power.) In the 80s we destroyed communities trying to root out demand for drugs. Today we regularly destroy innocent lives both at home and abroad over the War on Terror.
Do you ever stop to think about the price we are paying for all this war? I'm not talking money, although all the money wasted on these useless wars could have done a hell of a lot of good in many other places. I'm talking about the cost in freedom. These wars being fought allegedly to protect our way of life are in fact destroying our way of life. From the Red Scare of the 50s to the Drug Scares of the 80s to the manufactured fear of terrorists today, our freedoms as citizens are being eroded more and more. If you are paying attention at all you know that our current government considers the Constitution a minor inconvenience at best when it gets in the way of the War on Terror or Drugs or whatever. In 1999 Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun, famously stated, "You have no privacy anyway. Get over it." At the time I thought McNealy was an asshole. Now I realize he was right.
All these wars we are fighting are at least partly our fault. If we don't get involved in WWI Hitler likely never rises to power. That forced us to ally with Stalin to defeat Hitler, which helped the USSR become a global power. In the 50s we overthrew the modern and progressive Iranian Government and installed the Shah as a dictator / king. Iranians have been rightly pissed ever since and the extremist Mullahs in power today are the result of that overthrow in the late 50s. In the 80s were we forced to support the Muslim opposition to the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. Central to that opposition was a young Saudi named Osama Bin Laden. Later, we were forced to support Saddam Hussein as he battled the Iranians that came into power because of our meddling in Iran. It goes on and on. The US gets involved in a foreign country. Thousands and thousands of innocent people die. Eventually an entire generation of people that hate us comes to power in these countries. Every time our drones take out a wedding party in the middle east dozens of new terrorists are created. We've created just about every major enemy of the US in the last century.
For a country so hell bent on being in a permanent state of war, we sure do suck at it. Maybe we should give peace a chance. But that might be kind of difficult since there is really nobody around that knows what peace looks like.
This post inspired by the Vampiric Memories episode of the Common Sense podcast.