Top Gear Middle East Episode—some sleepless reflections

Most of you, those who read my blogs, probably know that I have a house in Laguna where I have no internet or cable. Luckily, I now have my loveable Macbook Pro to keep me company. My previous laptop was way too big to be portable. The best plan would have been to have one of those usb internet connection things. Since I didn’t have that, I figured buying a DVD of Top Gear, one of my favorite shows so that it could perhaps help me sleep or something. Little did I know that this plan would backfire because series 16 is probably one of their most entertaining seasons.

The Top Gear hosts in the desert of Syria where they are contemplating how they will be able to cross into the borders of Israel

Aside from being so entertained by many of the funny scenes in this series, I was also inspired to write about so many things. In episode 2, for instance, the hosts were challenged to go from Iraq to Bethlehem and had to go through so many strict borders with a lot of political issues and conflicts. Some were ridiculous, really, such as not being allowed into Iran because they are part of BBC or Israel not allowing anyone from Syria into their country.

This is just so thought provoking, you know. It touches on so many topics and concepts like government coercion and monopoly of force, wars sponsored by alliances of different States, unnecessarily violent disagreements in religions and philosophies, and so many other challenges that face the human condition. I don’t even have the grasp or knowledge of Middle East history to somehow justifiably put into words all these thoughts in my head. There’s just hundreds of years of unrest and hostility between so many nations, cultures, and groups of people.

We see these in the news. We watch statesmen and scholars debate about foreign policy. We read about it online (much like you are doing now). But we’re just so disconnected from it and in a way thankful, I guess, that we’re not directly affected by these wars and disagreements.

I’ve written about a restaurant before called Conflict Kitchen that serves cuisines from nations that the Americans are in conflict with. One time I also talked about the Libyan civil war. The bottom line here though is that people are killing each other and the sad part is that most of the time those who are innocent and want nothing to do with it become collateral damage.

As I have said I don’t have the grasp to talk about what should be done or what is right or wrong about the different policies and actions of States and individuals. All I can do is talk about how much I appreciate being in my room right now, writing and expressing myself—a luxury that obviously many people in the world don’t have.

I actually just got home from 711 where I bought water and other random supplies. Thinking about all these wars make me feel that my act of purchasing and trading (although not entirely free because of taxes and gov’t regulations) with 711 is a luxury or privilege. And I do believe that being able to trade voluntarily and peacefully creates an environment where war or violence isn’t necessary.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

You know that famous hierarchy of needs by Maslow? I feel like I have sufficient stuff in all parts of my triangle that I have room for self-actualizaton. It does make a lot of sense. I am able to write right now about these thoughts in my head because I have no intense worries regarding food, shelter, and security; my problems on love/belonging or esteem bother me but they are objectively petty.

But you see, the government is not the solution to make these luxuries attainable to all, no matter what good intentions or labels you attach to it. The fact still remains: the most practical, ethical, and viable solution to the world’s problems is by adhering to The Philosophy of Liberty.

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