Enter into any debate of
sufficient liveliness and it's only a matter of minutes before it
Proponents of the Trump administration's attempts to topple the Venezuelan government would share this meme in online debates with anti-imperialists as a way of accusing them of whitesplaining to Venezuelans that they should support an evil dictator who is oppressing them.
The idea being, of course, to silence those dastardly socialists using the socially progressive value system they claim to uphold.
But the dumbest thing
about it is the implication that someone who opposes US regime
change interventionism could only be doing so because they believe
that Nicolás Maduro is a "good guy".
Everything we've been
taught by TV and movies tells us that if a conflict is happening,
someone in it must be the protagonist and someone must be the
antagonist, and that our job is to figure out which one's which.
A hero wants something, has some kind of adventure trying to get it, but a villain tries to stop them. It's a recipe for exciting storytelling that's been used since time immemorial, and it works because the standard human ego is structured to spin mental narratives about itself as the central character whose wants are constantly being fulfilled by friendlies and thwarted by hostiles.
Almost every story from
the earliest prehistoric campfire circles to the latest Hollywood
blockbuster has in essence been nothing other than a storyteller
using a simple mind hack to attract the interest and attention of
their audience, just by making their narrative relatable using the
protagonist/antagonist framework which the ego finds so appealing.
We like people who do
things we want and we dislike people who do things we don't want. We
stand transfixed by our babbling mental ego narratives, so we find
any similar external narrative mesmerising in the same way.
There are no "good guys" or "bad guys" in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs. There are just people.
Some of those people do things we like more often than they do things we don't like, and vice versa, but that's not a matter of whether they're "good" or "bad", it's a matter of our personal preferences and how we think people ought to behave.
"Good" or "bad" isn't
written on anyone's DNA or inscribed above their heads upon the
fabric of reality; we made it up...
American-led regime change interventionism has a well-documented and historically undeniable history of increasing suffering and death in the nations in which it takes place, and consistently fails to accomplish what its proponents claim it will.
You don't need to have
any opinions about who Maduro is as a person to recognize this
self-evident fact and oppose yet another US regime change campaign
in yet another oil-rich nation.
Of course it's useful to recognize that Hitler did many things that we should always oppose going forward.
But notice how the only reason Godwin's law exists is because the "good guys versus bad guys" dichotomy allows people to associate anyone who opposes their side with Hitler, thereby marking them as the "bad guy" side in a given debate.
That's all anyone who
fulfils Godwin's law is ever trying to do.
But it's also very useful
to understand how the "good guys vs bad guys" dichotomy is leveraged
by those who seek to control our thoughts and perceptions.
Awful convenient for those who benefit from maintaining the status
Divorced from the "good guys vs. bad guys" dichotomy, this administration's behavior can be described in the same way as its predecessors: mostly supportive of the violent and increasingly Orwellian pillars of empire, with a few helpful things mixed in.
Yet it's rare to find anyone who is capable of discussing Trump outside of the false dichotomy.
And the same would be more or less true of whoever Trump winds up running against in 2020.
Even if by some miracle Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard overcome the rightward-slanted DNC nomination process and go on to beat Trump in the general election, they will with absolute certainty advance many of the destructive agendas upon which the US empire is built.
They are not heroes either...
This doesn't mean they're
villains, it just means that "heroes versus villains"
is an illusion
we've been trained since our earliest media-consuming days to buy
Because it turns out that we're all actually a bunch of confused primates doing the best we can with the wildly unique and incredibly complex sets of conditioning we've been dealt by our individual birth circumstances and life events.
The "good guys versus bad
guys" dichotomy is just imaginary conceptual overlay on top of a
giant biological storm which carries on in cool indifference to our
puny little egocentric narratives.
It has some successes and many failures in trying to figure out how to make living on this spinning rock a little more harmonious, and it will either succeed or it will fail.
comfortable to slice this dance up into a narrative about heroes and
villains, good guys and bad guys, but it's really all one twirling,
churning, chaotic and beautiful dance.