By Nancy Jane Moore
At a recent Aikido seminar, my teacher, Mitsugi Saotome, pointed out that the country where an idea developed tends to take the arrogant attitude that only its residents truly understand the concept.
He was speaking of Aikido and Japan -- I should note that he is from Japan, though now a U.S. citizen -- and pointing out that although Aikido was created by the Japanese genius Morihei Ueshiba, excellent Aikido teachers are now running schools in the U.S. and other countries. You don't have to train in Japan to become a master of Aikido.
The same analysis can be applied to the U.S. and our concept of democracy. We are arrogant in our promotion of democracy throughout the world, as if we are the only people who truly understand the concept.
And given that we have allowed the Bush administration to undermine some of the very foundations of our democracy, it is questionable whether we even understand our own ideas, much less have any ability to transmit them to others.
Isaac Asimov had a character in the first book of his Foundation series who often observed, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
I suspect arrogance is the first one.