The Real Roots of Our “War on Terror”
edited: Wednesday, June 11, 2003
By J Michael Kearney
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2002
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Our current "War on Terror" is a war between two faiths - the asceticism of radical Islam and the hedonism of western commercialism.
To many Americans the current “War on Terrorism” is about fighting a force that hates America, its freedoms and its way of life. For too many moderate Muslims, it’s a “War against Islam.”
Both are partly right, but mostly wrong.
It is, at its most basic level, a war by the secular West against an Orthodox religion it finds, not only offensive, but threatening to its lifeblood - commerce.
America is a nation rooted in religion – Christianity. It’s Founders were all deeply religious men who based their beliefs in limited government and maximum individual liberty/personal responsibility on Biblical principles.
The America of the 20th Century progressed as a nation whose leaders of industry and commerce put more faith in raw science than raw religion and thus began the secularizing of America. By the fifties New York was a completely secular town.
Religion was an inconvenience at best and a bad joke at worst. Fundamentalist Christians, especially Catholics, as well as Orthodox Jews were looked on askance by their “more enlightened” brethren.
Those who believed in socialism and communism took heart in this, as a sign that this aligned America’s elite with their own fundamental principles. They were gravely mistaken. Just as “equality” and “world change” replaced religion among socialists, “commerce” had replaced religion among America’s industrial elite.
Moderately religious people (those who profess a vague belief in God, but don’t let it get in the way of a good time) are no more a threat to commercialism and consumerism than are moderate socialists (people like Ted Turner who profess an affection for communist “leaders” like Fidel Castro, but fiercely guard their own private property rights). These people might profess a few anti-consumerist sentiments, but they remain consumers first and foremost.
These kinds of “moderates” seem to have a problem with “other people’s” consumption, but never their own. That’s why the recent protests against the WEF in New York were greeted with smirks and chuckles. The media chortled over the image of protesters wearing Prada shoes. The same with “radical” groups like the Environmental Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) – their own Web Sites have to exhort “followers” to avoid being caught in the nearby Taco Bell when burning down the local McDonald’s.
Aside from some pesky vandalism, these groups pose no real threat to commercialism. After all, most of the members of these groups come from comfortable, affluent homes. They profess a good natured “love of simplicity” and a genuine concern for the “poor,” but their real focus is self-centered – “It’s all about ME!” Thus the surfeit of “radicals” cloaked in the gaudiest of creature comforts.
Radical Islam on the other hand, poses a real threat to the West’s secular consumerism and that threat will NOT be tolerated. It’s especially intolerable to Western consumerism because Islam claims about a billion adherents worldwide, that’s a billion potential consumers to America’s industrial elite.
For decades America seemed blithely unaware of the actual threat that fundamentalist Islam posed. It’s even believed that authorities knew about at least one of the terror cells involved in the attacks of September 11th, but didn’t perceive them as a serious threat.
This group drank heavily in a Florida bar, ogled strippers and argued loudly. That is, they seemed to get mired in the West’s web of consumerism as quickly and as deeply as any American ever did. This made them appear no more a threat than any cheeseburger chomping member of ALF.
The attacks of September 11th changed that perception and the radical anti-consumerist messages about America’s “decadence,” only solidified that changing perception. As a result, radical Islam became “dangerous” and “intolerable” virtually overnight.
The mistake that Muslims make is thinking that the West wants to eradicate them.
It does not. It merely means to convert them.
It fully intends to convert them to jeans wearing, fast-food eating, porn aficionados. The West will gladly serve them Mid-Eastern fast-food and Mid-Eastern porn, they will even be encouraged to profess a vague belief in a watered down Islam, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of “having a good time” and “living in the moment.” “Have a Coke and a smile,” and “Have it your way.”
That’s why early on, the American media happily produced a news story about CNN reporters showing young Afghan Muslim boys pictures of a half dressed Brittany Spears. It was proof that the real battle, the battle for that generation’s hearts and minds had begun in earnest.
An older, fundamentalist Muslim might well ask, “Why can’t we cling to our old ways?” What harm do we do?”
An American businessman could well answer, “Because those old ways get in the way.”
Left unspoken is just what they “get in the way of.” They get in the way of consumerism.
As one, now deceased, fast-food entrepreneur once said, “McDonald’s will gladly make you a MacPita, but you ARE going to eat under those Golden Arches, one way or the other.”
The West has claimed those one billion potential Muslim consumers. They want and need to sell them things...Big Macs, Cokes, Soap and Porn. What they need is an assurance that the form of Islam that takes hold will be a moderate one, like modern Christianity and Judaism.
Moderate “faiths” devoid of any real faith and at home with the secular and consuming world. This is what the current “War” is all about – the minds and hearts of a billion people. And this is what angers the West’s elite. They’ve tamed a 5,000 year old religion (Judaism) and a 2,000 year old one (Christianity) and now a relative upstart (Islam dates back to 600 AD), is daring to challenge its supremacy. That cannot and will not be tolerated by the kings and queens of secular consumerism.
So, what will the outcome be? It 's hard to believe that any other belief system now in existence will overcome the secular consumerist one. People want better lives, they want more “stuff,” and seem convinced that Corporatism can give it to them, especially since Corporatism has cloaked itself in the mantle of "Capitalism," implying free markets despite offering none.
Religions give way, just as socialism has given way. The only question is, “Can this modern trend be modified?” It doesn't appear so.
Even most contemporary Libertarians seem resigned to accepting Corporatism’s victory - “At least it’s not socialism.”
Still, it’s not the free market either and it remains anathema not only to free markets, but to nationalism and individual liberty as well.
The emerging Global Corporatism is indeed a threat to nationalism and to the principles of free enterprise and individual liberty.
The recent reports on the corporate abuses of NAFTA’s Chapter 11 make that all too clear. Across the Americas, corporate entities are suing governments (including the United States) over local laws and jury verdicts that “adversely impact” a company.
These suits are heard by secret corporate tribunals that supercede the authority of the member governments. A closed door NAFTA tribunal can now overturn decisions made by America’s Supreme Court.
One of the first Chapter 11 suits was brought by an American firm called Metalclad which sought to open an abandoned toxic dump site in Guadalcazar, Mexico. The local municipality of Guadalcazar refused to give Metalclad a building permit before getting an assurance from Metalclad that the current dump would first be cleaned up.
When the town of Guadalcazar refused to grant Metalclad its permit and the Mexican government would not step in and overrule the local municipality over a local matter, Metalclad appealed to a secret NAFTA tribunal. The NAFTA tribunal awarded Metalclad a $16 million settlement against the Mexican government for actions “tantamount to expropriation.” The dump, with some 20,000 tons of Metalclad waste was left for the people of this destitute town to clean up.
If that rather distant injustice doesn’t bother you, then how about the suit brought by a Canadian firm, Methanex (the world’s largest producer of the primary ingredient in MTBE, a gasoline additive) against the United States government to the tune of $930 million because of California’s ban of MTBE (a known carcinogen) in gasoline?
Consider the suit brought by UPS against Canada for $230 million claiming that Canada’s government financed package delivery system is “unfair competition,” or Vancouver’s Lowen Corporation’s suit seeking to overturn a Biloxi, Mississippi jury decision that found Lowen guilty of collusion in trying to take control of the local funeral business.
Treaties like NAFTA and GATT now allow secret tribunals to supercede the authorities of member nations and provide pathways for multi-national corporate entities to circumvent the concerns of their employees and consumers and makes clear that the modern industrial state is but a servant to these global corporate concerns.
The antidote to this is limited government without the regulatory powers that big business endorses. Powers that allow government to exclude competition from smaller, more innovative start-ups, while funneling billions of taxpayer dollars into corporate welfare and into the coffers of a few global corporate entities.
The answer is limiting government so as to allow the tree of global Corporatism to wither and die. But such regional nationalism, such naked individualism is as despised by the corporate culture as is radical Islam.
Fortunately for the global Corporatists, it has few real champions now a days.
So the future, at least the short-term future, looks like one in which global Corporatism rules the day. As much as the United States has no rival super-power, Global Corporatism has no ideological rival either, at least no effective one.
Web Site: JMKearney.com
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|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
Enjoyed your "take" - quite 'deep' as others have commented. don't know if you have coined the term 'Corporatism' or not, but I like it & think it is accurate - Kind of like the 21st Century's replacement for MERCANTILISM!
Will return to read more, when time allows. Ideas, THOUGHT, Expression - isn't that what we writers are all about?
thanks for sharing - Tom.
|Reviewed by susie harrison
|Very deep peice. I am in total agreement until you lost me in the middle. But you seem the person I may be searching for to help me with my book 'One Nation Under God, The American Paradox'. I need some one with knowledge of early American Christian history. Please click on my link and contact me at your earliest convienence|
|Reviewed by Kevin L Nenstiel (Reader)
|I remember reading this before. I like it just as well the second time around.|
|Reviewed by Steven Poyzer
|Well written, kudos to you.|
|Reviewed by Victoria Murray
|Very thought provoking! I enjoyed reading it!
|Reviewed by Bibi
|The West will gladly serve them Mid-Eastern fast-food and Mid-Eastern porn, they will even be encouraged to profess a vague belief in a watered down Islam, so long as it doesn’t get in the way of “having a good time” and “living in the moment.” “Have a Coke and a smile,” and “Have it your way.”
That's worth a 10!!! Pretty darn deep man!