The Conscience (as opposed to mere consciousness) is that “associated knowledge” or “small quiet voice inside of one” that will whisper or nag about the right or wrong of our conduct. Someone who is conscientious is careful about investigating these nonverbal, internal critiques – someone who listens to his or her conscience.
My conscience nags from all sides in political questions: Can I speak up and claim any authority when my perpetual implicit foolishness shines out in whatever I say? Can I speak up when I am simply reacting to news, when I haven’t researched or investigated the report deeply? Can I let crime go by, seeing that it’s an inevitable part of nature, and not speak up? Can I put any value on the idea of the ‘equality of men’ when quite plainly we are not in any way equals, but rather more ‘born rivals’? Is ‘equality of men’ just another word for the Law of the Jungle, the Social Darwinist ‘justice’? Is it not foolish to carp about misfortune, as though nature were being wronged by the suffering it itself creates? Is it not foolish to give voice to resentment? To disagreement? What are my credentials for giving voice to any such protest or dismay? Since death is not an evil, how can I complain about the ‘collateral damage’ carnage that American intervention has loosed on Afghanistan and Iraq? How can I complain about this carnage, given that it is caused more by Muslim absolutism and Aghani and Iraqui ego than by any specific American policy? How can I imagine that the original American neo-Con interventions were not, in fact, pursued for American Imperialism? How can I imagine that the original American mideastern neo-Con interventions were not, in fact, aimed at truly evil men, guilty of every kind of crime? But then how can I endorse further carnage pursued at the expense of the more-or-less innocent folk of those nations when we know that the terrorists’ tactics inevitably result in fixing greater and greater accretions of crime and blame on us Americans – that guerilla wars are impossible to win where the people on the ground are made into shields to suffer or deflect the domineering power’s blows – how can such a war ever be won?
Et so on and so forth. If the evil folk of the world have decided that rotten America is ‘the great Satan’ and legitimate target of any kind of violence and provocation, how can they not be treated as our enemies? And if enemies, how can we not defend ourselves? The joke for militant and aggresive American Christians is this: Christ already laid that his followers should “offer them the other cheek also” – not sweat oppression and domination that is yet to come, simply endure it and cleave to God.
But how can one, in good conscience, stand by as people are killed and torn to pieces regardless of their guilt or innocence? How can one stand by as one’s own nation implicates itself in crime and savagery? Yet, by its nature, savagery is a natural part of the human world.
Et so on and so forth….