Pay For Play

It is a worthwhile task to ponder what agendas people and institutions have for supporting something. Simply because there are different agendas for people to support a given course of action or a given outcome does not mean that there are not different agendas that may be more amenable to ourselves. The world often works in such a way that there are a variety of reasons why we might support one thing or oppose something and we may often find ourselves on the same side as people with whom we may not have very much in common in the larger sense but where we may have a temporary alliance of convenience. We cannot confuse those with whom we have large degrees of unity and common cause with those we may be friends with for the moment because we have common enemies but have little ultimately in common with them in terms of mutual interests or worldviews.

During times of war, it is common that we may find ourselves with common interests with a variety of people with whom we would otherwise not have very much in common. In the American Revolution, for example, the fledgling republic found itself temporarily allied with a variety of nations who had their own reasons for opposing Great Britain–including nations like France and Spain that were monarchies who were not at all sympathetic to America from a political point of view. In World War II, the United States was famously allied to Communist Russia, a nation with whom we had grave and serious disagreements but which was hostile to Nazi Germany. As soon as Nazi Germany and militaristic Japan had surrendered, any sort of fellow feeling with the Soviet Union was at an end.

Most of the time, though, we are not dealing with differences as drastic as that between the United States and the Soviet Union or monarchist France and Spain. For example, someone I know personally has made a lot of recent posts that appear to be pro-Putin propaganda relating to the contemporary conflict in Ukraine. There has been for some time a great deal of political interaction between Ukrainian political elites and our own corrupt political elites in the United States, including large amounts of bribery and influence peddling. Yet just because we have corrupt political elites that support an action for their own agendas does not mean that we do not end up supporting the same course of action for different reasons. One need not have corrupt political connections in a given country to seek its well-being and to see that both the American people and the people of Ukraine are better off if Ukraine is more closely aligned with Western nations than with Russia, even if that is profitable to the political elites of both countries as well for different reasons.

This is a sort of problem that comes up all the time in history. In the first half of the century, for example, many American political and economic interests were more closely tied to Great Britain than to Germany, which made any sort of American neutrality at the beginning of those conflicts a neutrality that was far more in favor of those nations with whom we had more connections than otherwise. These elite connections may not be widely shared, but they did not contradict the greater agreement between American political culture and that of other allied nations. If our news sources are biased, it is worth investigating that bias and the agendas behind it, but our opposition to that agenda need not contradict other grounds of interest and well-being that will lead us to support some things and oppose others. Even those who are corrupt grifters may occasionally support good causes for bad reasons. It remains for us to support good means to good ends, good causes for good reasons, which means that sometimes we will find ourselves agreeing with people who we might otherwise find very disagreeable. They may also feel the same way, which ought to remain a comfort in such trying times.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, International Relations, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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