Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Moral Conscience of the World

In a recent speech at the UN Council on Foreign Relations, the US Envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, remarked that the United States is the moral conscience of the world. More appalling than the remark itself was that none of the foreign policy experts who sat listening to her speech had the backbone to challenge such bombast. What that statement implies is that the United States far surpasses the rest of the world in its sensitivity to matters of conscience and that Americans are endowed far more than any other people in the world with a greater understanding and inner sense of right or wrong with regards motives or conduct and are impelled more than any other people of the world towards right action. 

Who or what gave the U.S. the right to be the standard bearer or moral voice of conscience in the world? By what criteria is this determined? By its economic power? Wealth is no measure of a superior moral conscience. By its military might? Military superiority does not imply the possession of a superior morality. If not by those two constructs, upon what then is America's moral superiority to be based? Is America the moral conscience of the world? 

America, you may be, in your own deluded mind, the moral conscience of the world, but you are not my moral conscience. I reject that notion. You cannot be my moral conscience or the world's, America. You cannot speak for my conscience when you have been ruthlessly violent through most of your existence, when you are, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world", offering your nauseating freedom through bullets and bombs. You cannot be the benchmark of my moral conscience, America, when your Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning 44th President can say, "It turns out I am really good at killing." No, America. You do not qualify to be the moral conscience of the world.

[photo art by Ric Couchman]