More on Terror

Fanaticism, fundamentalism, and ethnic conflict are increasing. Terrorism is not merely a function of religion, nor will it end because we establish a secular market-based democracy in every country around the globe. This is a war between a global capitalist consumer culture and living beings. Economic *development*, building energy and transportation infrastructure, moves the locus of life from Nature to city. Cities are not self-supporting; they must import food, energy, and other resources from lands outside their own boundaries. Sometimes those resources are taken rather than bought. Sometimes those resources arrive bloodied and diminished by the taking. We are all diminished when we take this course of action. Energy and knowledge abandon the village and merge with the city as young people are seduced with promises of convenience. Western media, purveyor of this global monoculture swallows up village life leaving the people who remain feeling inadequate and insecure. War begins even inside the city as we fight for the new, scarce *jobs* and the newly-needed money they provide. Local councils are overtaken by national bureaucracies. Home-raised and homespun wool becomes polyester and nylon. A village well and water wheel becomes dirty water in corroded pipes and a coal-fired power plant energizing an electric blender. Material possessions, few, cherished, and ever-repaired become plastic, shallow, and disposable. Our young begin to feel ashamed of our native culture and they flee, seeking the bright shiny life they see on TV, or they rebel. In mere years, a village or tribe in which no one was poor can devolve so much that all are poor or it disappears altogether. The sense of shame is a profit center: blue contact lenses, caustic chemicals to whiten skin or straighten or color hair, stores that sell imported food because local food is now inadequate and unacceptable. Few can withstand the vigorous assault on indigenous culture. What is your response in your own life, when the movies you watch tie the hero’s success to violence? What choices will you make, and will they serve you well, when the world you seek mirrors the ads you see? What hope do you have, when your traditions and initiations are buried under the slag of plastic materialism? This rise of antipathy, hate, and violence is happening everywhere because Western capital and culture is global. Placing blame anywhere else: on immigrants, on religion, on deeply-seated vendettas, on racial differences; all only distract us from the root cause. Global capitalism breaks down human institutions, destroys bonds of mutual aid and respect, and pressures us to allow plastic values to replace the true wealth of healthy families, healthy communities, and healthy environments. Profit before people and planet, a grow-or-die economy, and survival of only the fittest; these form a path to ruin, as anyone who looks can clearly see today. The violence we endure personally and daily is the natural result of the violence that destroys our communities and ecosystems. Not all of our young people are leaving home to join the city madness; some are rebelling against parents who have accepted downward mobility as their lot in life. They rebel against parents who have become immersed in the world of plastic consumption and who have not defended truth, love, or democracy along the way. Media tells us what to think and who to hate; if you see things differently, what are you to do but rebel? Parents even turn in their child and claim he or she is *radicalized* as if it is no fault of their own; the ultimate betrayal that shows us how wide the rift between generations has become. Being bored with Western distractions: drinking or drugs, isolating social media, meaningless sex, or petty crimes; our young seek solutions and new ways to live. Destroying ISIS will not end their need to replace what they see as a decadent and oppressive culture. They join because it’s handy and high-profile, not because they are religious. The Abdeslam brothers sold alcohol in their café; yes, they were not refugees attacking Paris, they were long-time residents with jobs. Destroy ISIS and the young *recruits* will find other ways to try to topple the rotten edifice that is blocking their view of any future they might want to live into. How was Paris different from Aurora Colorado? These events are all about a frustration over dim prospects, revenge for perceived slights, nihilism and narcissism. They embody a deep rejection of the new global society. It is interesting that we are beginning to see brothers banding together to strike back at authority figures: Tsarnaev (Boston), Kouachi (Charlie Hebdo), Abaaoud and Abdeslam (Paris Nov 2015). Youth feel their parents have betrayed and cheated them and are striking back.
Obliterate diversity and craft a monoculture and eventually one little virus will end your dreams and our world. The world doesn’t need our American aid to maintain its varied cultures, produce enough for their needs, or to determine their own dreams and future. We lie to ourselves when we say that everyone wants to be like us, and no one of us can say we are truly happy in the world that capital has created. Say no to debt and slavery, no to violence and war, no to fossil fuels, no to patriarchy. The solution to *terror* is not more bombs, more surveillance, or more IMF loans. The solution to terror is peace, love, and just enough.

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1 Response to More on Terror

  1. Paul Heft says:

    Thanks for connecting the young religious fanatics’ outrage to the disgust and rebellion of so many other (especially young) people. The common thread is clearer to me now. But while “peace, love, and just enough” is the right way forward, I don’t think momentum is building in that direction. More war, more antagonism, more stuff appears to be the trend.

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