Mr. Obama amused me a few years back when he advised the country ,after some jihadi terrorist attack, to stay off our high horse and to remember the crusades. The absurdity of the statement, given that USA did not exist until 500 years or so after the crusades is one thing. But a grievance over events 850 years ago is more fundamentally a loser mentality on first principles.
Barack’s dopey comment give me the idea for a thought experiment. We could expect people who fought in wars or had wars fought around them to nurse some grievance against their opponents as we would slaves against their masters. I thought about the example of someone who fought in the Civil War on either side, but I think a better example is World War II. For example, an American soldier or Marine who fought in the Pacific in World War II. Maybe he fought in the battle for Manila, savage spasm of combat that killed more civilian that either Hiroshima or Nagasaki atom bomb attacks.
In 1945 the war is over. The man goes back to the USA. And for the rest of his life he hates Japanese people. He doesn’t want to associate with them. If he had a business he wouldn’t want them as customers or employees. Maybe he is rude to Japanese people when he encounters them, maybe even violent. And he passes this hatred on to his children.
It is these children that are the subject of the thought experiment. As they live their lives they have this choice. Move on and let it go or carry the grievance forward. Which behavior should we applaud and encourage and why?
Say they do choose to carry the grievance flag and pass it on to their children. Then those children as they live their lives face the same choice. Move on and let it go or carry the grievance forward. And the thought experiment asks which side are you on?
Now iterate this 40 or 50 times to get to the crusades, or 3 or 4 times to get to European colonialism or 4 or 5 times to get to slavery or Indian wars in the Americas.
Or you know. Move on and let it go.