Friday, 26 August 2011

The "Global War on Terror" is really "The Global War on Identifying/Catching Nut-Jobs'

A reply of mine to a comment on an Atlantic article brought to mind by the always-switched-on John Glyde of Mollymook, NSW, Australia on the subject of how people who lean left are just as prone to dogmatic thinking/rhetoric as those who lean right.  Here's my comment (this was originally posted on my JustOneCynicsOpinion blog on May 14, 2011):
To your point about analyzing human motivations vs. cause and effect, you raise the most telling point about human nature in all of these debates, Omaryak, the underlying barrier to rational, impartial analysis being that we are social creatures with 'unnecessarily' large capacity brains (an 'accident' of evolution). That brain power leads us to be storytellers by nature and to imbue everything we experience or hear about with meaning. That fabricated 'meaning' is most often coloured by our predilections: some people's personalities make them lean towards loving tragedies, others to upbeat romantic story lines (happily ever after). Once some individuals are 'dyed in the wool' tragedy-lovers, everything becomes part of that tragic story -- conspiracies, big/small government, etc. Oliver Stone filters world news through his now-immutable predilections and cannot be objective. Christopher Hitchens, as he alludes to in his aside about his kids' school march, does as well.

Given the enormous complexity of geo-politics, most people look for simple stories in order to have some kind of 'handle' on why things happen. Some simple-minded people in the developing world (and developed world!) hang their hats on the notion that imperialist governments are responsible for propping up the dictators of their home country. They see mass-murder of citizens in the 'imperialist' country, who are as innocent of collusion as they themselves are, as being the only way to bring attention to their nation's plight. (Yes, re-read that last line and run it by some of these simpletons and they'll fist-pump enthusiastically while his 'al Queda' neighbour is busy strapping on a suicide vest to blow up civilians in his local market, the irony lost on both of them.)

My point? "Clouded by emotion" and "rhetoric of evil". Even now, after so much time has passed, after bin Laden has finally been found and killed, our predilections continue to drive us to want to legitimize bin Laden's "cause" as having a valid political platform, yet he was simply a very wealthy psychopath who had the means and motivations to latch onto a regional 'cause celebre' and leverage it to recruit suicide soldiers (each of whom was similarly, though not identically, disturbed). While there are innumerable 'causes' out there that lead to 'effects', in general the trigger-pullers are not legitimate banner-holders (Timothy McVeigh, the Shoe-Bomber, etc.), they're just murder-loving nut-jobs. "Evil" is not the possession of anything, as most people believe quite passionately, it is just the absence of both innate human empathy and our group 'socialized empathy'.

If we had a global "War on Nut-Jobs" we'd all be a lot safer from the Ghaddafi's and Kim Jong Il's, as well as the Una Bombers, McVeigh's and Waco's, let alone the bin Laden's. More in my post from September 2009 here: (Click to read post)
But my convictions wouldn't sit well with military and intelligence type's huge egos, would it? They'd go from being "Geo-Political Spy Lords" to "Nut-Job Identifiers/Catchers". No real romance/thriller story line elements in that!

The real reason that political forces around the world will never name the on-going battle between what is good for the masses versus the small, but exceedingly dangerous percentage of our human population who are murder-loving nut-jobs and megalomaniacs, is that there's not much political capital/leverage in admitting that these people have zero legitimate political motivation, that their motivations are merely to satisfy a deep-seated urge to take lives, or to be all-powerful, or both.

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