OK, only part thereof. Something Europeans miss totally about the USA, is that it is an empire, a military empire, and obeying orders from above is view as the essence of morality. Yes, the Roman army worked exactly like that, for many centuries… Until it did not. This is what gives to the Trump phenomenon an interesting, not to say disquieting, perspective: as Americans view respecting orders from above the essence of morality (as the Prussian pseudo-philosopher Immanuel Kant ordered) one may wonder what will happen with President Donald Trump? Will Americans goose step behind him as they did with G. W. Bush?
So President Obama shows up in Yosemite, and a gigantic expanse of cliffs is “closed”, a kilometer high, several kilometers across. What fascinated me was the obedient tune many climbers sounded in a climbing site I read. It was as if God had ordered them to do something, and they felt honored. In a place like France, the order would have been so unenforceable, it would not even have been tried. Many individuals would have made a MORAL point of disobeying it.
To give the scale, of this piece of the North Rim of Yosemite Valley, the exposed landscape in the picture is more than 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) high. I have climbed and run all over it, from left to right, and above, and beyond. Differently from Socrates, who engaged in combat during epic battles, I am reduced to meeker pursuits, to get to examine myself.
What is good about being an obedient little fascist, is that one never has to examine oneself: following Immanuel Kant, one can define one’s morality as following orders. And this is exactly what the Nazis dis, and explained to whoever wanted to listen to them. (The jury of Eichmann in Jerusalem was not impressed by Eichmann explaining he had been moral by obeying Kant, and condemned him to hang. The Israelis had learned a few important things in WW II!)
Now this sort of orders given to an American population eager to please its masters, is not an happenstance: it’s training graciously provided by the Deep State, another occasion for Americans, in this case rather young Americans (most climbers don’t make old bones) to obey orders. I sent the following comment, fully expecting racist, tribal, hypernationalistic abuse of the sort which passes for normal in the Anglo-Saxon world this days, regarding France (and I was not disappointed). Yes, philosophy rests on experiments, just like science:
I love the way Americans take orders, thus showing they are not worthy to lead the world, civilizationally speaking, as they effectively do. This sort of self-humiliation would NEVER work in France. Instead little American sheep take unconstitutional orders with alacrity, pride and total obedience. They should be ashamed of themselves, instead, and the rest of the world should be afraid. Very afraid. Indeed, who is this Obama? An employee of We The People! Wake up, People, instead of just goose stepping proudly in the sunset of the dignity of the human spirit. The meaning and appeal of real climbing is freedom. Taking orders, the exact opposite.
I know perfectly well that the essence of the USA is the military thing: the Indians did not go away nicely. They resisted. The army exterminated them. General Jackson, commander of the US Army decided to attack them, and Congress was too scared to contradict him. Hence the Cherokee “March of Tears”. The famous Tocqueville saw it, in front of his very eyes, but, as this was outside of his philosophical understanding, did not draw any conclusion on the American character, from that experience (I obviously do). Maybe one of the reason Tocqueville is so popular in the United States is, precisely, that he did not draw any conclusion of the holocaust of the Native American over a full quarter of the US, precisely when he visited them. That makes Tocqueville an All-American boy: very smart on what’s less significant, mute on what is most significant.
Here is the order: “climbing areas will be closed over the weekend. Please see below for area closures for Thursday evening (6/16, tonight) through Sunday afternoon (6/19). There will also be other areas closed Friday evening through Saturday evening. We will keep you updated on the official word for the Friday/Saturday closures.
“All climbing routes from and including Church Bowl east to Washington Column (Washington Column itself remains open) will be closed from Thursday sunset through Sunday afternoon. This includes Bishops Terrace, Royal Arches, Serenity Crack, Son’s of Yesterday.”
Thank you for your cooperation in these temporary closures.
The reactions I got were the usual abuse, insults and lies (deeply believed to be the truth): France was accused to be a Nazi bastion of cheese eating surrender monkeys. Always amusing from the country which, besides Germany, did the most for Adolf Hitler. OK, I plead guilty for provocation, but what is science, but for teasing out, provoking through experiments the true nature of things, be they human or mineral.
I also understand that Obama has little choice in these matters, or so he feels: the instinct of obedience, called also “peer pressure”, is strong in the empire. And Obama was selected, because he felt it, deep in his bones, to help him “navigate”, as he put it. Thus, when Obama became president, he obeyed. Obama obeyed the powers that be. The empire was safe with him. Thus, some are disappointed by Obama, worldwide, but he is loved in the US: “change you can believe in” was very very small. And next year, the meek progress Obamacare ephemerally proposed will blow-up (it’s already doing so). As the “health corridors” expire with the Obama presidency. But don’t worry: President Trump and his art of the deal, will have to pick up the pieces, and dozens of young Americans are ready to goose-step behind him, lauding all and any “closures” that the government may decide to order.