The Arrogance of Nations

When a nation thinks itself above other nations, I consider that arrogance borne of ignorance. History has proven this time and again.

Western civilization thought itself the center of the world, ignorant of the existence of life anywhere else on earth. As a result, when nations of the west “discovered” the existence of Eastern cultures, they dubbed the new cultures as inferior to theirs–simply because they could not understand those cultures. Yet, they forget that the very seeds of Western civilization began in the East, often referred to as the birthplace of Western civilization. Long before Western civilization had any claim to being “civilized” Eastern cultures had developed sophisticated societies with social structures and technology that was alien to the Western world. It was from the East that Westerners acquired the wheel, gunpowder, silk, spices and perfumes, numbers, and the alphabet.

Despite the wealth of culture, technology and knowledge the Eastern world had, the West had no end to the derogatory terms they created to describe Easterners. Little did they know that Eastern cultures had their own derogatory terms for Westerners, as well.

The wars between nations were the weapons of arrogance–one nation believing itself superior to its neighbour and attacking it, or overpowering its neighbour to become superior over another neighbour.

In the dark ages, Medieval Europe, in its arrogance, marched upon the Muslim countries in the East to purge the land of infidels. Little did they know that they were seen as infidels as well, by the Muslims.

In the Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance, the powers of England, France and Spain constantly battled through bloody war, treachery and treason to gain supremacy over Europe.

In the 16th through the 18th centuries, the powers of the Western world expanded their horizons in a race to conquer the rest of the unknown world–but only from their narrow perspective. It was a race to conquer and acquire more lands to prove and maintain their supremacy until there were no more new lands to be found and conquered.

In the 20th century, the Germans attempted to gain world supremacy through the ruthless and unconscionable leadership of a man who thought he was a God and his race superior to all.

Throughout the 20th century, the fight for supremacy continued–among Middle Eastern nations, among Eastern European nations, among Asian nations, Among African nations.

This arrogance of nations is imprinted upon its people–or is it the arrogance of people that shapes the arrogance of nations? Nations are, after all, run by people, made up of people. A nation’s policy and practice is determined by its leaders, supposedly following the will of the people–or acting in the best interest of its people. Does this mean then, that all men are arrogant? Or are nations run only according to the wishes of the powerful and wealthy who control the nations? Surely, the man on the street does not wish to go to war or acquire another country when his main concern is to feed, clothe and educate his children?

Probably the last time every member of any nation had a vote on whether or not to go to war was when nations nations were small tribes concerned about protecting their own or wanting land where they could find better food. Once nations grew in size, the common man lost his voice and only the powerful and outspoken were heard–who may well have been the greedy and arrogant, as well.

Greed breeds a strong desire for wealth and power, and if this is the basic nature of any nation’s leaders, then we are indeed in poor hands. The greedy tend to be blind to those who have little or nothing to offer. They step on others to get their way and ignore what they don’t understand. Anything that seems like a threat or tries to get in their way, they destroy. The more wealth and power they acquire, the more arrogant they become. And the more arrogant and righteous they are, the more the world is doomed to repeat the cycle of history–of discovery, of conquest, of dominance, of destruction. The more we are doomed to suffer from the arrogance to nations.

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