Monday, February 11, 2008

Manifest Destiny

I thought since the other blogs have a pretty good discussion going about the book itself, that I would try and place it within the rest of what we have been reading. As space has become the new wild west, humanity, and Americans in particular, has put a claim to space. Although international treaties prevent individual countries from claiming pieces of outerspace, it has not prevented humanity from thinking of space as the next frontier t be explored and conquered. Since we believe we are more enlightened now, there would most likely be no outright slaughter and devastation in any new habitat we were to find, but at the same time, by the simple virtue of discovering that habitat (whether with or without sentient life) would they not feel as if affairs of that world should be allowed to leave it to whomever found it.
One thing we discovered during class (besides the fact computers don't generally help create a good discussion) is that manifest destiny, or at least the idea behind it has become complete rhetoric. As evidenced by the use of it in all the inaugural speeches, politicians feel without constantly stating the greatness and rights of America, they will lose popularity. However, it is such a piece of rhetoric that it is normally recognized as such. Why then, do politicians still seem required to state rhetoric, which does not allow them to move out of this destiny-centric view of the United States?

2 comments:

Juggle Monkey said...

I agree that if we spread out into space there would be no outright slaughter, but I don't think affairs of the new world would be left to whomever found it. I think there would be a rush to be included and compete with each other. Much like the lunar colonies in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, each country would want to take advantage of what was available, to keep up with other global powers.

I think politicians feel required to state destiny-centric rhetoric in their inaugural speeches because it is their first official act to the public. It is about popularity. By mentioning the greatness of America, the politician can be categorized with the previous presidents who had made statements with a similar theme. It has become a firmly rooted tradition and to break that tradition would cast a negative light on their career. Also, what is the alternative to a destiny-centric view? To say we should wait for something to happen instead of being the active force in the world would not be the best inaugural speech. That being said, now I'm anxious for the next inaugural speech next year to pick up on this rhetoric.

Rinske said...

You can still make a speech that suggests that something be done, without making it seem like it is the innate human right of the country. Destiny is not equivalent to action. I understand that it connects them to the politicians of the past and those positive themes, but it seems like simple pandering to through out random lines that are programmed to make the public like you, but don't really mean anything. It should be possible to present a positive course of action without making it sound as if it is your destiny to do it is perfectly possible, nor do you have to use weaker language, simply different, and hopefully less trite, arguments.