Saturday, December 31, 2011

My thoughts on Kim Jong Il's Funeral and the UN lowering the flag for his death

On one hand, judge not lest ye be judged; the West likes to claim they are in touch with Judeo Christian values, and yet I find myself judging the rest of the world all the time, even subconsciously, something I am never proud of doing and work hard to stop myself from doing, yet something I also notice is very pervasive. I agree it's a nice gesture to bridge-build with the North Korean people and maybe one day history will recall the UN's lowering of the flag as the first brick paved in a road to better relations between N Korea and the rest of the world. But, at the same time, I'm also kind of aggravated because the UN does exist on US soil and the US is its largest financial contributor. The US also believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and I feel that in a way, even though te US and the UN are NOT the same, I don't see the harm in upholding those ideals, I don't really see how any rational person could possibly have a problem with endeavouring to pursue these ideals, I don't see "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as controversial goals, and by the UN lowering its flag on US soil for N Korea, it's kind of telling man's most noble qualities, or at least telling those who believe it's worthwhile to try and achieve or embrace those qualities, that they aren't any better than the diametrically opposed ideals of repression and tyranny championed by Kim Jong Il. I don't think it's controversial for the UN to champion, foster, and embrace the best parts of humanity, the most noble qualities we as humans (not just as members of any particular country) can achieve, or to make a statement that it holds these values in higher regard than oppression. Life and liberty are always going to be better than death and oppression. there are some times morals aren't relative; there are some beliefs that are better than others, that represent a more evolved frame of mind; ideals whose ends result in better outcomes than others. However, this stance confuses me too, because it's kind of like we'd be treating N Korea like some wayward child that needs our guidance, and to disrespect their sovereignty like that is counter to our founding principles (save the GW Bush references, I know we haven't always adhered to them), and run counter to my personal beliefs as somebody who does try to be the best person I can be and embrace the best parts of my nature. So, I find myself in a conundrum, a very slippery slope. I think we have an obligation to let the world know many of us believe in principles of equality, freedom, and democracy, and that we don't tolerate brutal regimes who murder their own people and create misery solely by existing. At the same time, it's hard to adopt this stance without the accompanying condescension implicit in "we know better than you; here's how to do things if you want to be our friend. You are a misbehaving child who needs our discipline." I disagree with that, too. How do we show the world we hold idealism in regard without heavy-handing our way into their way of life? How do we encourage them to embrace freedom, equality, and opportunity without judging them implicitly? It's just a really slippery slope. I'm just going to hope smarter people than I, smarter, well-intentioned people, can answer these questions.