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The Heck with Morality

The ends justify the means has always been regarded as a questionable moral stance. Both reasoning and experience have shown that, throughout history, adopting immoral means to attain even noble goals has usually resulted in the sacrifice of any chance of attaining those goals, except in name only. In his statement supporting Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Jamal Kashoggi murder, President Trump has not only endorsed immoral means—disregarding evidence that implicates the Saudi Crown Prince in ordering Kashoggi’s murder—but he has made our country’s goals simply base and materialistic.


“After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!”


The president is talking about turning a blind eye to murder! He admits that it “could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” and news report strongly suggest that, in fact, we (the CIA) know that he did. Not only did the president’s statement not conclude that the Crown Prince was responsible for Kashoggi’s death, it cast aspersions on the reporter’s character, citing Saudi claims that Kashoggi was an “‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” 

The president’s message, which is full of distractions, such as blaming Iran for the wars in Yemen and Syria as well as international terrorism and questioning Kashoggi’s ties to terrorist organizations, is a bald face endorsement of economic considerations over morals, as the guiding principle of “America First!” One could argue that this has always been America’s policy, but Trump is just the first one to admit it, but the real question is whether the American people want to join in the explicit endorsement of such a policy. Have we become so concerned about protecting our material success that we will sacrifice any moral standard in order to preserve it? If so, then America First means that we will bite and scratch our way into economic success and that we will stand for more billionaires and more big houses and powerful multinational companies than anyone else and that’s who we are—nothing else. Ah, but you say, we are still free—freer than anyone else. But Kashoggi, although not a U.S. citizen, was a reporter, based in the U.S., writing for a U.S. newspaper, enjoying first amendment rights. It was his words that got him killed. It was his exercise of freedom that got him killed. And we let it go­—to preserve arms sales and the price of gasoline.




Reader Comments (1)

Two quotes came into my mind while reading this article. The first is a quote from Maya Angelo: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." Donald Trump has shouted who he is and what his values are for decades. The question of why good people are able to rationalize such unfettered attainment of wealth as a virtue that walks side by side with honor, justice, and morality, seems to have some roots in Evangelical prosperity theology gone amuck and a lack of understanding of the power of exponentiality of wealth that is connected to power and how that power is a danger to everything for which America stands. So while we are somewhat shocked by the blatancy of Trump's remarks, it isn't a complete surprise to us that he expressed himself that way. The larger issue as you put it is that "One could argue that this has always been America’s policy, but Trump is just the first one to admit it, but the real question is whether the American people want to join in the explicit endorsement of such a policy." That IS the real question and the answer has to be "no". If it isn't "no" nothing in life matters--what we live for, what we die for, principals, integrity, self-sacrifice. We all fail at those aspirations, but who ARE we as a nation, a people, maybe even a species if we lose that? Shakespeare said, "Assume a virtue, though you have it not." If we give up on at least assuming virtue even while we know we fall short, then I think we are doomed, and it will have been this man (one who has essentially stated that nothing else matters other than "capital") who has brought us to that incredible brink.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBillie Kelpin

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