Haha! I beat my dad in a best-of-three checkers match. (That’s draughts to all you Britishers). I also creamed my sister in two matches of backgammon. (That’s Tavla to all you Turks) I haven’t actually purchased or made a backgammon board, I’m just babysitting Crayon’s board while she’s off in Europe for the holidays. (God bless you Crayon Darling!). I’m on a roll here folks, all I need now is to win a game of Scrabble and a game of chess and I can declare myself to be the House Champion of Everything. He he…
Problem is, my mother, sister, father and I are all very closely matched when it comes to Scrabble, and Aniraz doesn’t actually enjoy chess enough to play me. My little brother and I used to play, but he’s out of the country right now. So now I have to set the board up, make a move, run around to the other side of the table, counter my own move, run around to the other side of the table again…
Anybody remember the CGI movie, A Bug’s Life? Before the film started there was a charming CGI short film about a little old man playing chess with himself- and cheating. I’ll be that little old man. At one point in the game I’ll have to fake a heart attack and knock a few pieces off the board or something. The good thing about playing myself though, is that I ALWAYS win. (mwahaha!!!) This is compared to backgammon, where I often lose to Crayon, and to checkers, where I only win against my father about 40% of the time, and in Scrabble I win as often as I lose. Hmmm. I’m beginning to think this House Champion of Everything thing isn’t quite as possible as I would like…
I’ve been reading Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince for one of my classes, and it makes me depressed. It’s all about keeping power once you’ve gotten it, by whatever means necessary. (Among other things, he sez that the only way to hold a captured principate is to KILL any and all members of the previous ruler’s family so there is no chance of them rising up years later to take the territory away from you) Machiavelli maintained that ethics and morals had no place in politics or diplomacy.
I don’t disagree with the fact that Machiavelli’s theories are effective, I just don’t think they’re good, especially since everyone, including politicians, are answerable to God for their decisions. Politics is not a greater god that you can sacrifice ethics, accountability, and human rights for. Yeah, politics is currently survival of the shadiest and dog-eat-dog and devious cut-throat conspiracies and all that stuff, but it doesn’t have to be.
And besides, the end doesn’t justify the means. Just because you’re doing something horrible and cruel for the sake of your country doesn’t mean that makes it ok. Your country is no more or less important than anyone else’s country, and with your logic, your enemies could justify the slaughter of your people for the sake of their country. Would that make what they did ok? No? Then how come it would be ok for you to do it?
If all bad things could be justified so long as they were done in the interest of national security (Oh wait, they already are in SOME places….collateral damage my foot) then there would be no guarantee of human rights. The duplicity that already exists because of the Nationalism-A-OK theory is evident in the fact that the people who died in the Twin Towers attack are victims, maybe even martyrs, but the people who die from US bombing in Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t even victims, just collateral damage.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Not everything Machiavellian involves killing people, but I think that if there’s one place where the world needs MORE ethics (as compared to none) it’s in politics. Though Machiavelli’s book is accurate and pragmatic because the current political world is totally amoral and dishonest, that’s not the way it should be. To quote Robert Orben,
“We have enough people who tell it like it is. Now we could use a few who tell it like it can be.”