Archive for September 1st, 2013
Posted in foreign policy, government, history, media, military, religion, tagged CRUSADE, Islam, James Madison, Lebanese Civil War, Nigerian Civil War, Ottoman Empire, Second Sudanese Civil War, Syria, United States on September 1, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Americans stamp “In God we trust” on money. Pray tell?, what do they trust God to do? And has anyone ever checked to see if He/She/It is doing it or even ever has? Certainly, Americans do not expect He/Her/It to bring victory in battle. The outcome of America’s wars since the end of WWII has not been especially favorable; yet war is a frequent and normal American activity (see list) in spite of James Madison’s warning:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
But America is not alone. In the Encyclopedia of Wars, Phillips and Axelrod present a comprehensive list of 1,763 wars. Many of these wars have religious aspects.
Warfare and organized religion have arisen together; the ability to fight wars is part of any tribal structure that is capable of supporting concerted, large-scale enterprises.
In the ancient world, each city state had its own ruling and protecting god. Warfare between these cities was conceived of as warfare between the cities’ gods. People, like ants, lived for the sake of the tribe.
Although America calls itself a “secular” nation, claiming to “trust in God” is a throwback to earlier eras in human history. Is this God in whom we trust supposed to be our protector? Is the War on Terror a religious, a holy war, a bellum sacrum, a war between gods? Is it a cultural war? In spite of all the denials, this war could very easily be called the Ninth Crusade. European wars against Muslims have always have always been cultural about expelling Islam from the “Holy Land,” where, in fact, nothing is holy, These wars are battles between incompatible cultures. Why is this war on terror different? In fact, the U.N.’s placement in of Israel in Palestine could have been just another attempt to attain the goal denied to the West’s warfare, and the West’s defense of Israel, just another attempt to hold on to the conquests of the Eight Days War. Trouble is, its not working out very well. Instead of conquering the region, we have converted it into a perpetual battlefield.
When societies were small and principally tribal, protecting the city was synonymous with protecting its people. The destruction of the city could very well result in the tribe’s annihilation, but today’s societies (nations) come and go, often entailing much killing, without that consequence. Their tribal diversity makes that impossible. For instance, the Republic of Vietnam vanished at the end of the Vietnamese War but the people who survived the war live on. The claim that Israel has a right to secure borders when the even United states lacks them is ludicrous. America’s insecure borders are legion as any border guard will tell you.
In the Southern United States where church fires are frequent, it is held that the building’s destruction doesn’t affect the church itself which, it is also claimed, is its congregation, its people. Modern nation states are much more like congregations than tribes. Why haven’t nation states come to be thought of as these churches are; as their peoples, not their territories? Is America a land mass in North America or is it the people, its citizens? This ambiguity is revealing. When we send Americans to war to defend America, exactly what are we defending? Certainly not those we send. Are we merely killing our own people? To preserve a nation without preserving its people seems to be nonsensical unless some people are the protected while others are the protectors, which might very well be the case. Do some of us exist for the sake of others?
Since 1095, Christians was been at war with Muslims. Westerners fought and essentially lost the Crusades. They fought the Ottoman Empire. The Nigerian Civil War, the Second Sudanese Civil War, the Lebanese Civil War, the wars against the Palestinians, the revolution in Iran that installed the Shah, the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan and the killing in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon. Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and parts of North Africa. All have been religious wars by Western “Christians” against Moslems trying to reorganize the world’s societies to conform to western standards.
Many pro-westerners would ask, what’s wrong with that? The answer is it’s inhumane. Western society has its virtues, many of which are being destroyed in this attempt to bring about institutional homogeny. Will you have any freedoms when one way is the only way? But wasn’t America said to be founded on individuality?
America’s decline is well-known to any astute person. Fareed Zakaria wrote a article about it for Time Magazine in 2011. He asks, “Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?”, and writes, “most Americans operate on the assumption that the U.S. is still No. 1. But is it? . . . our 15-year-olds rank 17th in the world in science and 25th in math. We rank 12th among developed countries in college graduation . . . . We come in 79th in elementary-school enrollment. Our infrastructure is ranked 23rd in the world. . . . American health numbers are stunning for a rich country: . . . we’re 27th in life expectancy, 18th in diabetes and first in obesity. . . .”
What is America best at? America has the most guns, the most crime among rich countries, the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population, the largest amount of debt, the largest economy (which merely means Americans buy more stuff than other people), and the most powerful military. And, Oh, yes: “The United States has produced most of the greatest movies that the world has ever seen.” Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you proud to be an American? Don’t you want the whole world to be like us?
The sad thing is that Islam also has its faults, but, of course, Muslims don’t think so. To them, Islam is the way of life given to mankind by Allah. Therefore it is a perfect way of life, with no error, since Allah has no faults.
But Islam is authoritarian, its people have no rights, civil or human, and it is deterministic since the individual’s sole purpose is to identify and carry out God’s plan. A person is merely a cog in God’s machine.
So the human race’s prospects for the outcome of this war are dismal. Neither Islam nor Western “Christianity” nor any religiously based proposal will rescue us. Only humanism will. Trusting in God is futile. God no longer lurks on Olympus. What needs to be defended is not a country or even wealth; it is the Earth’s environment and the human race itself.
The West is in a mad dash to accumulate the emptiness of its pantheon. Everything is measured in terms of money, but money has no natural value. Its value is entirely artificial. It shelters nothing, sates no hungry stomach, relieves no suffering. All it does is buy things that the real producers of wealth, the generic people, make, the people without whom no society could succeed. Rid the world of financiers and the electricity still will come on. Rid the world of electrical workers and the bankers cannot function, which indicates that Western Society is not organic. It is an amalgamation of analytic elements which barely work together because it has no humane goal. This society accumulates money, somewhat as a game, that has no use for it when it is accumulated. Billionaires who acquire fortunes come and go. Little good is done with their money. It’s just thirty more pieced of silver. Those that have some sense of charity set up foundations to search for worthy causes to give their money to while overlooking the needs staring them in the face.
Andrew Carnegie built Americans local libraries. It was thought to be a wonderful ilea, but these libraries failed to make Americans into better people. Others funded transactional charities to enhance their family’s stature. Still others search for ways to fund promising discoveries. None has ever enhanced human life substantially, Mr. Gates, the cure for cancer may never be found, Charity promises no results.
Balzac writes that, behind every fortune lies a great crime. It is worse. Being acquired for no human goal, fortunes are acquired by insane people just to the fun of it. Their fortunes guarantee them nothing. They die no older than the rest of us, diseases don’t bypass them, their children often turn out bad, their marriages fail. Balzac also is right when he writes, if there is a scheme worthy of our kind it is that of transforming human beings into moral persons. Unless the welfare of each individual human becomes the concern of the human race, the human race will choke on its wealth and perish, and if life on Earth survives, it will murmur “good riddance.”
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.