Skip to main content

Oppressive Power Needs Enemies - People Don't

As soon as the death of Osama bin Laden found its way to the media, 'experts' were interviewed to identify the next in line. A new book by James A. Baker (who served under Reagan and George H. W. Bush) was published about a week later, titled Beyond Bin Laden: America and the future of terror.

In Uganda there is a bill threatening to make homosexuality punishable by death. Recently, John Cummins, running for leadership of the Conservative party in BC, said he believes that homosexuality is a personal choice and does not need protection under the Human Rights Act, as if to appeal to socially conservative religious groups who have openly identified as being anti-homosexual.

The treatment of women in Afghanistan, and other middle-eastern nations, makes them public enemies by requiring garments that cover their face and bodies, thereby making the feminine illegal in public. 

Terrorists, homosexuals and women are all enemies created by authoritarian interests. Of course there is a great deal of difference between those who blow up innocent people and those who love members of the same sex. However, left unchallenged to their ultimate conclusion they are treated the same. Enemies maintain the status quo, the justification of hierarchy by creating fear. Oppressive power claims ownership of the world and all its vassals by exploiting human emotion.

We need to revere life, to celebrate it, to nurture it, to create laws and systems that allow it to thrive. We need dialogue, education, music, art, poetry, transportation, work, housing, food and water.  This is enough to fill the air waves with noise as we struggle to find peace through social justice after centuries of dysfunction and violence. The task is overwhelming enough.

We don't need control, we need guidance.  We need thinkers and listeners more than charismatic speakers. We need community more than IPads and game apps.  We need wisdom through experience in conflict resolution as we learn how to live with one another, rather than hours of escapist entertainment.

We need to develop our own counsel more than we need hundreds of news channels, sponsored by a few powerful interests.

We need love, starting with self-love.

Wherever there is a heightened rhetoric around good and evil, there is an enemy-creating industry mandated to keep the masses living in fear and feeling powerless.

Yes this is apple pie, naive, idealism, written millions of times before, like a letter from a kindergarten class. But here is the clue - children get it! What happens to the minds and hearts of those who have been cleverly subjected to propaganda in all its packages, that we think preserving life is silly.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Albert Camus: Our task

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …