Due to the Liberal pragmatism that dominates the ideological field of the UK, Racism in this country becomes a much more insidious force. Due to this, bigotry and hate becomes far more institutionalised into our society. Our hate crime becomes subtle and disguised in a contradiction of ‘polite’ rhetoric. When people talk about “Britishness” rarely are they referring to the traits people in the UK hold, they are simply talking about anglo white faces. We wrap up our hate in a pretty package and call the other a foreigner or an immigrant and what we really mean is “you are not the same as I therefore you are less”. This allows us to internally accept our message of hate without feeling any of the guilt that would make us question our liberalism.
“Hegel was among the first to see in the geographical triad of Germany, France and England an expression of three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism” – Slavoj Žižek
In 2003 the Iraq war ignited, with British prime minister Tony Blair fully backing the US led coalition, which was spear headed by George Bush and his administration. This bloody conflict, including the following occupation claimed over a million lives with the effects of this war still pumping out violence today. For those not in the know, we are currently (at last) having the Chilcot report dispensed. As a clear attempt to quell dissidents and ensure the story fades into irrelevance, it has taken seven years for these documents to be made public, in what can only be described as state suppression. This nearly decade long wait for this inquiry was a result to convenient & unspecified “delays” in which evidence of war crimes were kept from the British public. Now it has been clear for many years now that the Iraq war was illegal & at it’s roots the inquiry states what many of us already knew. However, despite stating the absolute obvious, these reports hold evidence to the crimes perpetrated.
Yet despite the value these reports hold, their is a fundamental criticism that must be addressed. The issue lies with Chilcot being solely framed from the liberal perspective. Liberalism key flaw is the idea of the individual being everything & at it’s heart rules out the reality of the dialectics. Because of this Historical correlation is being completely ignored within the framing of this debate. Because of Britain’s dominant liberalism, we are looking at these events as if they were in a vacuum. The divide and conquer of Iraq did not start in the early 2000’s more accurately it took form in 1914 with Britain, France at war with Germany. With Britain & France eyeing new territory in the decaying remnants of the Ottoman Empire, In 1916 British and French drew up the notorious Skyes-Picot agreement to partition the Arab peoples into new states that could become “Area’s of influence” for capitalism. France would take what is now known as Lebanon and Syria while Britain would seize Jordan, Palestine and what we today call Iraq.
This narrow field of perception is not only a fallacy in ignoring the basic concept of cause and effect but, it endangers any real Justice or progressiveness for us as a society to learn from. We must look at the narrative rather than the single sentence to understand how we can move forward. With the apologists & excuses that will come with the inevitable political fall out, we must not lose sight of the reality of the situation, nor allow this to become a sensationalist story to fade into the echoes of time.
Small towns are bubbles. While some may see scenic beauty, in which there is plenty and a place of community, I have always found this one to be an island, the cul-de-sac I live in a place of solitude. I assume a reflection of my introvert personality. I have lived on this island a majority of my life, there were few I connected with. I’ve seen the metropolis and sheltered there for a good 3 years, but to tell you the truth I hate the city, I need the fresh sea air and the trees that made me. I often look at this place and ponder whether I have exiled myself here, to atone for some unknown sin or maybe all of them. But the truth is more likely that I lack the motivation and means to stride any further. The sea is vast and my island is the only land for miles and I’m not quite sure l’m wiling to put the effort and swim. Instead I linger waiting, watching, growing, learning and hoping I can make a difference. This is my Island, I should start here.
Look at all the damage ambition has done. It is one of the most destructive forces man (and woman) wields. In its name, it has committed mass genocide, destroyed miles and miles of natural resources and given birth to ideological monsters. Between our need to feed our ego by striving to become socially immortal (and therefore not forgotten) and our commitment to a single ideology, we have carried on down a dark and difficult path that throughout the entirety of human history that has brought us into constant conflict. Although, an unlit path we continue down in the 21st century, I do not believe their is devil guiding us. The world has no evil men, Just people with ambition and people who stand idle while unethical deeds take place. Good and Evil are completely subjective. To a critical thinker this seems very obvious but, to your “everyday man” (although I hate this term as the “everyday man” is just as subjective) This can be an awkward concept to wrap ones head around. That in theory an ISIS militant is as righteous as an NHS nurse, they just lie on opposite ends of a spectrum. This is not to say that morality is subjective as theere is a right (moral) thing to do and therefore we should hold that separate to what ideology is. Oxford Dictionary defines Ideology as A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. Within the following Text I will be analyzing the I have problem with ideology and how it still hinders us in this century.
I feel it is here I should point out that my criticism of Ambition is not an attack against competency but rather a rebuttal and argument against our “will to” i.e the will to do good. This is obviously purely subjective and could mean anything depending on whom you ask. Of course your standard leftist would state that “the will to” do good is to strive towards social equality however, this is not only an over simplistic look, but within the context of political science, means very little. As previously stated “God/evil” is subjective and is a matter of perspective. Outside of the militant, circle, you can stop your average person and ask them what they want politically and most commonly the answer will be “I just want everyone to get on” I.E most people pride their social ideology as that of social cohesion, however the inherit problem with this liberal way of thinking is that not only is it a far to simplistic outlook to have. It also, often in practice has reverse effect of the desired goal and instead breeds societal exclusion. A contemporary example of such societal exclusion is our current refugee crisis in Europe. This notion that EU countries only let in “qualified” I.E “good” refugees. Politicians have stated that they are looking for those who integrate in to the values of their countries. This implies that if a refugee did not fit into the ideological box of a country he/she was entering they’d be denied entry, ironically in the name of social inclusion and ‘good’, sentencing them to wait on the boarder or risk drowning in the Mediterranean sea in another attempt to find refuge. Although I am fully aware there are existing bodies to help those trapped on boarders and imagine there are certain logistics in place within the context of policy this ideology is border line (for lack of a better word) logically flawed.
This construct to do good breeds combativeness, what we as a society often do not accept is that Ideology is relative. It is hard to advise what we can do to prevent such adversary in our ideas and I am sure there are those out there who’d claim that this conflict of beliefs is just in our nature . Yet Other species seem to fight over resources and territory rather than over belief systems. Ideology seems to be a solely human dilemma and as a result of human conciousness. At the the risk of sounding pretentious we can not expect everyone within a already functional society to transcend into a philosophical sage.Your average laborer probably does not need critical thinking to pay his bills and/or support his family. I often find this wish for everyone to be a equal to be a liberal pipe dream, due to this fundamental and ideological conflict, driven by our human ego. This conflict is often exasperate by our social/political systems, especially within today’s modern capitalist system (this is not to say this problem would not happen in any other forms of political theory) Due to its consumerist nature that leads us to more frequently, rely on dwindling resources nature provides for us resulting on us to fall back on such primitive conflicts. Despite my problems with Capitalism this trait I speak of is universal. This criticism against our commitment to ideology would apply to any Political science or theory and would most likely happen no matter what, and should be seen as a critique, against the way we as a species think and react.
This devout ideological commitment we have, pretentiously assumes, that we have universal validity and that its either our way or the highway. This idea that if someone was not a good person (good being a subjective term remember) they’d not be allowed into “our society” is not only ludicrous but extremely dangerous when applied to real life societies and the political spectrum especially when adopted by an overly ambitious person, in which we’d need only look to our history to find examples of. Yet, instead of looking back into our past we should try to look for more modern examples to reinforce my argument that this is still a very real and relevant threat. If we look to America in its current presidential race, one man stands out from the rest of generic silver tongued, snakes, who run in the political game, is Republican and obvious target is presidential candidate Donald Trump. Business tycoon and millionaire, Trumps ambition has led him to run for presidency in America where he’s been center stage of pundit media for several months now. Although, I don’t believe Trump himself offers any real ideological insight I think his followers do. Recently calling a Ban to all Muslims (which breaks an essential right to freedom of religion) he has been allowed to appeal to a fringe group of ideological bigots, who boarder line on racist and fascist ideals. what I want to highlight from this example, is how Trumps ambition has not only led him to get a platform to spout his ideological tyranny but has allowed him to inject the the poison of fear of the other into the political spectrum something that can only be done when a society has an ideological commitment to clash against.
A less Obvious example of ideological tyranny and a more controversial topic than Donald trump (who lets be honest is an easy target) is religion. before I go on I’d like to point out in no way am I comparing religious beliefs to the ideological toxicity of Trump, rather that from a objective level (or as objective as my writings can be) they share the same goal of imposing a way of thinking onto us. despite being twelve classical world religions I want look particularly at Christianity due to its ideological dominance and the fact that its presence is still felt today all across the globe. In just 300 years, Christianity grew from a small Jewish sect in Galilee to become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire to Polls still stating that 31% of the planet today refer to themselves as Christians. Now there are so many factors that resulted in Christianities influence. From mass conversion (one must remember that populations were smaller and therefore we were not as expansive) to westerns colonial projects that can explain its reach. Never the less, its hold and presence (for better or worst) has had a firm grip on human thinking. There have been horrors and great moral deeds done in it’s name. However, that’s not the point, I am trying to argue. My point is that Christianities preponderance has influenced our philosophy, politics, art, culture etc and is evidence of what ideology can do when added to a platform that has ambition behind it, where it has been able to forcefully inject it’s ideology into societies.
This may seem obvious to academics, but to other people it is something that is often overlooked if not ignored. Political philosophy like every other social science is not only subjective but, often contradictory to. This is why I personally hold such issue with committing to one or the other, as I do not believe any one of us whether that be nation or individual hold “the answer” as there is arguably not one and for better/worst (depending on your perspective), there was never a question asked. We are often to quick in creating heteronormative dualistic terror choices for ourselves,that crop up all to often in ideological debates/conflicts we have. Whether it be: Capitalism V’s socialism, Christianity V’s Islam, Atheism V’s Religion, or Good V’s Evil we cramp our knowledge into either or scenarios, your textbook leftist will call this the red or blue pill conundrum ( as depicted in the 199 Blockbuster The Matrix) where one choice is ignorance and the other is absolutism. Not only s this way of thinking a logical fallacy but a dangerous route of thinking, not only does it narrow our peripherals but it hinders any real critical thinking one can take.
This maybe viewed as just Nihilism however I believe this sells the point I’m making short and that in fact this is not just simple nihilism as this would imply A) we should not care and B) that there is no resolution in which i don’t believe to be true. We should never see ideologies as facts but rather as tools of analysis for life and scaffolding for creating moral societies. Just like how the laws of physics are invisible and shape our universe the laws of morality shapes our society and help us build healthyones. My adversary stems from who decides what “healthy” is? Our monogamous attitude towards ideologies is a naive way of thinking and goes under the will assumption that our truth is universal that must be applied to all. Not only does this mean we are forced into opposition with those who think differently or those who have arrived at different conclusions, but it undermines our very goal of coming together and finding common goals. This has a tendency to censor us domestically to, what I oppose are domineering traits that ideology present, that if it lingers long enough it becomes status quo. This inevitably leadsto societal incompetency and dependency to which can make it difficult for parties to critique systems whether that be political (e.g the state) or Ideological. Whether we look at Stalinism during the soviet union or Capitalism in the 21’st century. Our fundamentalist belief in a system (whether social, ideological or political) becomes increasingly hard to break away from. The moment we decide to state that something is ‘good’ we begin to create laws for everyone else around us. We can not expect our beliefs to equal validity but rather allow the sciences to help shift through the epistemological mess Ideology has given birth too.
We must come to realize that we do not hold answers and that questioning ideology is not something to be left to philosophers, but to be broken down and implemented into societies. Now to an outsider may just look like a indecisive attitude that I’m merely flirting with ideology, like a floundering fish flailing on the surface , gasping for air. But I believe history has shown us what happens when Ambitious men and women find themselves adopting an ideology and reinforcing it as a universal truth, where they are able to either justify their own prejudices, violence and oppression. Our devotion to often archaic and outdated systems stifles our future and hinders generations behind us. We must look at ideology as a analysis tool rather than a fundamental belief.
The common rebuttal thrown back at the left is that socialist ideologies are unrealistic and that they do not fit into the parameters of human nature, that we are all innately selfish, that peace is unattainable, and that collectivist societies are an impossible goal and merely a “leftist pipe dream.” The common misconception is that violent societies are engrained into the human species, and therefore we will always be creatures of hate. We assume that because we have impulses like greed and anger that it is a precursor to our human equation. We then have duped ourselves into assuming that war and conflict is hence forth a natural occurrence within our societies and have irrationally come to the conclusion that it is an inevitable side effect of the human condition.
The fallacy is often to equate our origins with “the cave man” a popular stock character based on Neanderthals and other early Hominid and Hominin. We depict early man as the brute, the violent hunter…This is a myth. Although aggression exists within ourselves and our primate brethren, it is not a single trait or an easily described behavioural system. Despite chimpanzees being commonly aggressive, their sister species bonobos, who we share evolutionary ancestry with rarely are. Anthropologists, biologists and psychologists have recognised different behaviours and patterns of “aggression”. For example, defending yourself versus planning an attack, from mothers defending their infants, from predators chasing prey or even fear-induced aggression. There is no consistent pattern and evidence suggests that there is no real evolutionary benefit for humans today. Even when fighting, aggression plays no role in success, in fact, it would seem that the polar opposite is far more beneficial. Professionals such as boxers and mix martial artists are good because of their ability to strategically constrain their aggression in fights. Obviously we are capable of violence and aggression, but anthropologically, it is not a default within our biology. A majority of neuroscientists points to human beings as being natural empaths. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013 by the researcher Max Planck, he identified that although the tendency to be egocentric is inherent for human beings – part of your brain recognizes this lack of empathy and will auto correct itself. This specific part of your brain is called the right supramarginal gyrus which is located in the parietal lobe, which is one of four of our major cerebral cortexes. This idea of us naturally caring is supported widely by sociologists and anthropologists across the board. This is also backed by historical evidence as shown by the way we used to live in common, healing the wounded, “disabled” or ill members of the prehistoric communities.
In the enlightening article by Marylen Patou-Mathis, research director at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (Paris), published by Le Monde diplomatique in July 2015 titled Non Les hommes n’ont pas toujours fait la guerre (No, men do not always have war), we delve deeper into the origins of conflict within our species. The writing looks at two key periods in history. The Neolithic period (often known as the stone age) and Palaeolithic period (often known as the Ice age). The article states that war was a result of the change in productive structures as we began to accumulate resources and give birth to productive based economies. Violence started with the change of production and with the development of an agricultural economy. With this change came the birth of the class systems and our first appearance of an elite. It was these economic origins that arguably created the division between man we are all too aware of today. The domestication of animals and the new farming economies objective was to build a surplus and in turn create trade (profit). This meant a division of labour (class division) and therefore there was now a demand on the workforce. We then progressed into the Protodynastic period (Bronze age) and began shaping precious metals that added value to the warrior, creating a new caste into human society, and due to both commodity of the soldier, war began to become institutionalised and with it came the first forms of human slavery. Prisoners of war were taken and then if not killed in conflict were forced to toil in the victors’ fields to stimulate their new founded economies. In contrast during the Palaeolithic period these socio-economic inequalities and class hierarchies did not exist and were purely a result for resource surplus.
It seems clear that our conflict is built out of social parameters rather than biological ones which concludes that that it is not in “our nature” but rather in our systems and constructs we create.
The papers have been ablaze with headlines about the recent exposé of Mossack Fonseca & Co and the 2.6 terabyte file containing 11.5 million leaked documents about the internal operations of one of the world’s leading firms in the incorporation of offshore entities, and which is head-quartered in the Republic of Panama. Dubbed the Panama papers by the media, the data shows that Mossack Fonseca was working/worked with more than 14,000 banks, law firms, corporations and other men in black to set up companies, foundations and trusts for clients who with the company’s expertise profited hugely from off shore accounts and various Tax havens. The files were originally obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) and then leaked to more than 100 media partners.
The core of this investigation contains nearly 40 years of records, and includes information about more than 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. The countries most heavily implemented in the crime were Hong Kong, UK, USA and Switzerland with the British Virgin Islands being the most popular tax haven for clients of Mossack Fonseca to use. As well as corporations such as HSBC, Rothschild Trust and Landsbanki Luxembourg many of the world’s elite were implicated in the data. Dictator and agitator of Syria Bashar al Assad, authoritarian, manipulator Putin as well as Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson,who has now resigned after leaks exposed his offshore accounts he had set up secretly with Mossack Fonseca.
The British prime minister David Cameron was also exposed in the leaks, with his late farther Ian Cameron being linked to off shore accounts and profiting from a “unit trust” fund; this is where a group of people pool their money (by buying shares, or units) and use it to invest in a variety of companies, to spread out the financial risk. The money from this passed to David Cameron upon his father’s death. The documents also shine a light on Britain’s capitalist relationships, exposing Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan president of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) who up till now had secretly been UK’s biggest offshore landlord with a 1.2 billion property portfolio.
Now it is important to keep things in context by pointing out that under our current political structures, i.e capitalism, off shore accounts are not completely illegal; and instead they often exploit legal loop holes to bypass current laws set up to halt tax avoidance. In fact, the rhetoric from the bourgeois and Cameron’s allies would have you believe that nothing damnable has happened. Herein lies the fundamental problem which makes this much more criminal, and in turn, exposes the deeper rooted sickness embedded at the heart of our society’s ideology that allows such inequality to inherently exist within our economic systems.
These leaks are but a glimpse of the ruling class and no doubt just scratch the surface of the accumulated wealth hoarded by the rich. For those wishing to look at the raw data click here. What is so appalling about the revelations the data shows, and why so many are in an uproar, is due to the utter hypocrisy that is highlighted in the leaks. Although not everyone who uses off shore accounts is automatically a crook; it does seem to appear to be a morally questionable way to profit, especially seeing it was only last year British PM David Cameron took to a stage in Singapore and said “the corrupt, criminals and money launderers” take advantage of anonymous company structures. The government is trying to do something about this. It wants to set up a central register that will reveal the beneficial owners of offshore companies. claiming that UK companies will be forced to reveal their “significant” owners for the first time. which now seems almost laughable seeing when confronted about his affiliation with the data dump Cameron claimed he did not have to disclose the information calling it a “private matter”. Tory MP Alan Duncan yesterday described the non-wealthy as “low achievers” in defence of Cameron in the House of Commons. If it wasn’t so insulting, it would almost be laughable especially from a mostly self- employed oil tycoon millionaire, who back in May 2009 appeared on the satirical BBC programme Have I Got News for You. The programme showed footage of Duncan’s previous appearance on the show in which he boasted about his second home allowance, denied that he should pay any of the money back and stated it was “a great system”.
However finding hypocrites within the political class seems far too easy and at the heart of it, it should be expected from this fall out. The important thing outside of the data that the Panama Papers will inject into society is, that it will dispel this myth that the wealthiest amongst us got their wealth through hard labour that has somehow been adopted by the mainstream. We need only look to the London protests starting and the people of Iceland, who are now calling for their entire government to resign. The only benefit of these scandals are the power they give the left and its various movements, that blossom when economic corruption is exposed.
I have become completely desensitised to these atrocities; not because they happen so often, but because the response is so staged and formulated. Apathetic morons flood to social media and pretend to give a shit for a couple of days and then there will be utter silence until the next horror that man can inflict on her/himself happens. The press get a field day, politicians will use these attacks to promote an agenda, while the under educated get to blame the nearest brown person. All parties involved ignore the reasons why, and nobody acknowledges that shit like this happens daily in countries where we regard the inhabitants as savages. The link between Islamic terrorism and bad foreign policy is backed by hard evidence. Until both the public and government accept this we shall continue spiralling into more violence. Disasters like this have been broken down to ‘trends’ and ‘clicks’ and all of it is so reactionary. It is all so under thought that it has just become a spectacle for pundits to feel that they are relevant. The opinions formed are wrapped around an agenda of ‘the other’ and all it does is exacerbate already existing problems. Those in the spotlight of fame will use the tragedy of Brussels to stay current while families of the victims will go unnamed and their opinions will be unheard. Outside of the obvious, the tragedy here is peoples’ response. I look to social media and see the Belgian flag being shared by the ignorant and my eyes roll to the back of my head, not because I do not feel for Brussels and the horrors they have just been through, but because how plastic peoples’ response has become to these attacks.
The poser quickly rushes to his or her Facebook account, changes their profile picture to the Belgian flag, talks about the tragedy on a purely emotive level whilst ignoring the political spectrum surrounding the topic and just simply condemns the attacks without wishing to dig deeper. Depending on where the individual stands they either sympathise or retaliate. The sympathiser appeals to their own humanity in a way to comfort their own ego. They rationalise the scenario by expressing their disgust at the actions. While the ‘retaliator’ expresses his hate for the perpetrator and instead of playing on his/her ego plays on his/her fears.
The Parasite uses the tragedy to fit their own agenda and promote themselves. We live in an era of click bait articles and a desperation for stardom and recognition. British pundits like Katie Hopkins have made a living of this sociopathic tendency to cling to fame. Therefore, attacks like the ones that have just shook Brussels are the perfect opportunity for controversial attention seekers to say something edgy to grab the public’s attention and steal the lime light from the victims. It is not just vile Sun columnists either that do this but the majority of the media play this succubus role and should not be exempt from our wrath. Within hours of the event publications like Huffingtonpost had pages of opinion pieces on the attack, each one profiting from those expensive clicks the public hand over. Never mind the moral intention, forums like this still happily profit from the misery of these events, and that, my friends should be unforgivable.
The political predator is someone who is tied to the political establishment and who hijacks the event to promote their own political agenda. American Republican front runner Donald Trump regurgitated his hate to Fox news immediately after the disaster stating: “I would close up our borders”, “We are taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they’re from or who they are.” Most would allow events to unfold, but to score cheap points with his xenophobic far right demographic Trump was eager to place blame on the ‘other’. The problem with this is that a majority of IS attacks that have happened in Europe have been perpetrated by Europeans. “Shutting down the borders” betrays an outdated paradigm that assumes current threats are “out there”, when in fact they’re home grown.
While others comment on expanding communication and surveillance, Britain is currently waging war on encryption to further expand GCHQ’s and fellow intelligence agencies mass surveillance programme. This is despite the fact that evidence points to Burner phones rather than Cryptography techniques. No doubt this reactionary mentality to expand “security” will be ignited once again after these events in order to boost defence budgets.
These three archetypes are a modern cancer that plague these tragedies and have become a typical response from the 1st world. We must engage in politics at all times and not just when we feel guilty or feel it is opportune.
In the 21st century the term ‘First world problems’ is used within the developed western world and often describes issues that seem trivial to the disparity of the third world. However, I believe it is naive to dismiss the idea that first world problems don’t cause societal damage within the western world. Now I’m not talking about you only having diet coke and no coke zero in your fridge, or that you wanted the iphone 6 and only got the iphone 5c; I’m talking about real issues that solely occur in the first world. We should not be dismissive of such issues because they do not result in an immediate threat or do not pose some imminent lethality. We must remember that there is no charity for your common Man (or Woman) and that even with the supreme comfort of the first world, human beings are not routinely attacked by the struggles of existence.
We as a modern society seem to have one purpose- to work, to accumulate wealth and pass it down to our successors. However, this constant strive for wealth is one of the very issues that the first world presents. Despite our abundance, our sole purpose within the capitalist driven western world leads a majority of the population to pointless consumerism that not only hurts the individual economically, but our mass consumerist ideology is causing unrepairable damage to the planet as well as leading us into conflict over even more resources. Our need has turned into greed and unfortunately we have to tackle this alone. Within the first world we no longer belong and we suffer from individualism. Despite communities still existing, it is up to the individual to contribute as we are no longer part of a tribe or feel the need to defend our parent’s honour or name, nor do our children cling to us. Despite our mass communication tool we are more alone than ever. With religion on the decline we have no church and worse no spirituality , leaving an unfulfilled hole within us all. Despite the irrationality of religion, it has played a key role in society – gods played a parental figure and when our lives start to fall apart, we humans regress into a child looking for that figure that is always there to forgive and act as a moral guidance. Figures like Jesus Christ acted as a moral guide, reminding the wealthy to give to the poor, if not to hell they go, to be baptised in fire for their sins against their fellow man. While the Celtic tribes’ gods were tied to nature, reminding us to look after our planet and respect mother nature, the first world presents us with huge urbanization disconnecting us from all that is beautiful. One of the retorts to the death of belief in God in Europe was to replace religion with culture, but unfortunately consumerism has no vision, and unlike say during the Renaissance, our first world has no real goal and we are all to often reminded by science that we are but a mere speck in a vast expanding universe where we a guided by our own basic animal instincts. We have no obtainable heaven, therefore no end goal. We became a first world nation due to our productivity but with this comes the stress of modern capitalism, working long hours for very little substance in life. Our wealth comes at a price and the cost is our constant anxiety, in which capitalism holds us hostage with job insecurity and loss of property.
There is also a moral price attached to our first world as well. This burden is a heavy one, frustrating and dark and it weighs on our mind and souls. it distorts us from humanity, separating us from our fellow man. Our privilege is directly linked to the exploitation of third world nations. This in turn creates tension between nations as well costing a huge ethical price towards the individual. Due to the system he/she is born into they are forced to profit off the misery of others to participate in his/her own society.
So how can we avoid such tragedy of modern life as first world residents? I look to the work of political theorist Henry David Thoreau to tackle not only our consumerism but our return to nature. Within his theories we should learn to adapt his ideology to the modern world and begin to dilute our consumerist ideologies in line with the progression of 21st century. Unlike Thoreau, I am not stating we retreat to our cabins in the forest and not pay our taxes; instead we look to his message of how little we actually need to be content. Despite today’s capitalism constant poke of buy, buy, buy we should accept that wealth does not equal happiness and evidently our wealth inflicts misery on others. No matter how much we accumulate, it will not fill the void that the lack of spirituality has left us. We must think to a new age of philosophical thinking and enter a new renaissance of thinking to push past the hollow ideologies the first world has created.
The raging debate of the rise of ISIS from bystanders is being thrown back and forth a lot lately. It is currently been split by the Left and the Right into to two popularized theories. The Left claim the rise of militant groups like ISIS is down to destabilization of Iraq by western foreign policy and NATO intervention, whilst the Right exclaim that ISIS are a result of medieval ideologies and barbaric violence which plagues the Islamic world. Both aren’t wrong and they are defintely contributing factors but these are flimsy, weak-sauce arguments that can be picked apart with ease. The Right’s argument of a bloody history leading to the the rise of such a militant force falls to pieces when we look at how brutal and horrific our own history is; while the Left’s assumptions do the same when we look at how many bad choices we’ve made when it comes to foreign policy. Saying this, I am not denouncing that these are not contributing factors, rather stating that these are symptoms of a much larger disease.
For ISIS to of become the threat they are today, ideology alone could not animate their beliefs into reality, nor is it able to sustain their military power. In September 2014 a CIA spokesman stated in the press that ISIS had an estimated 31,500 fighters spread across Iraq and Syria, with French Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian giving the similar numbers of between 20,000 and 30,000 well equipped troops. ISIS believe in a form Wahhabism, an intolerant Islamic “reform movement” whose goal is to restore “pure monotheistic worship” to the middle east. This belief system ISIS has created has not become popular because of it’s validity, but because it is funded and supported through capitalist ventures. Without the money funneled into ISIS, it would have very little to offer other than its views. However, instead it has been able to garner vast materials and resources on top of its existing military power. Money has no morality and Profit no ethics, but what it does have is a a trail. The foundations of this form of Wahhabism lie within al-Qaeda where, in the 1970’s, Abdullah Azzam (Osama bin Laden‘s mentor) theorized it to justify the conflict between the Soviet Union and mujahideen cells who believed they were fighting for a pan-Islamist state idealism with the middle east returning to the golden age of Islam. This exploitation of Islam towards violence was justified like any other in time of war and was used to push back the Soviet invasion during the cold war. These mujahideen networks were trained and financed under the supervision of the CIA, MI6 and the Pentagon in Afghanistan, with Gulf countries also jumping in with Saudi Arabia giving $2 billion in funding. As well as this contribution from Arab countries, this new branch of Islamic fighters was provided yet another $2billion in funding by the Reagan administration (U.S).
These fighters were encouraged by both their US overseers and Gulf state backers to be increasingly violent against the communist forces in Afghanistan. It was during this period that USAID invested millions in sending text books teaching Arabs to “pluck out the eyes of the Soviet enemy and cut off his legs” stating that they would be rewarded for such acts. These textbooks were filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings justifying the violence against enemies of the mujahideen.
This sponsoring of extremism carried on over the years. In 1991 the U.S, U.K and its allies continued to put money first. In order to protect the financial economy, U.S. U.K and Saudi Arabia participated in a cover up where Saudi Arabia bargained with Osama bin Laden (who was at this point under house arrest) to let him leave the country as long as he kept attacks away from Saudi Arabia. This was due to the fact that the Saudi Arabian oil pipelines were key to the the global economy. The west turned a blind eye to bin Laden as long as its finances were protected. However, this was not pacifism to solely protect the economy, but for profit too. From 1994 up to 9/11, U.S intelligence forces as well as Britain & Saudi Arabia were covertly selling weapons to al-Qaeda. These crimes dd not go unnoticed, and in 1997 Amnesty international raised their concerns about the close political ties between U.S and the Taliban militia. One account reported that religious schools which had been set up by Britain, United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan during the the Islamic resistance of the cold war were now being used by Taliban militia to indoctrinate school children using the same graphic text books America had supplied Afghanistan during its proxy combat with the Soviets.
Even after the horrors of 9/11 attacks U.S and 7/11 in London U.K, the western coalition still capitalized on extremism in the middle east. It now set its eyes on cheap fossil fuels as a profitable expansion to capitalism using various extremist groups to undermine Iranian influence in the region by financing sponsored terrorist attacks on Shiite Muslims. These attacks were not only meant to damage USA’s rival Iran, but also weaken Syria due to its allegiance with Russia and China. Similar tactics were used in Libya to topple the Gaddafi regime after which European, British and American oil giants easily took advantage of commercial opportunities to choke Russian producers who were currently dominating the gas supply.
This participation and sponsoring of violence across the middle east still continues. If we look at where most assume ISIS started (Syria), it is where for the last 5 years now Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Jordan and Turkey have transparently provided financial and military support to al-Qaeda linked Islamist networks which formulated the rebel forces that would soon make up a majority of ISIS. We also saw the west take advanatage of the untapped oil pipelines within Syria where former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas revealed that in 2009, British Foreign Office officials had stated that UK forces were already active in Syria, attempting to cause a rebellion which we know now led to the destablization of the regional area and contributed to our current migrant crisis within Europe. Attacks like the one that has recently struck Paris happen becuase we continue to pay for it. Trade and commerce happily ignore creatures like ISIS as long as our country is able to profit while manipulating Arab countries to ensure our poltical dominace over precious resources. We only need to look to our EU and NATO allyTurkey to see evidence of this – a country we happily trade and negotiate with despite their smuggling ISIS through their borders as revealed through reporter Serena Shim. In 2014 Shim revealed that ISIS were openly moving through Turkish borders in vehicles desguised as NGO trucks. Turkish journalist Denis Kahraman interviewed an ISIS militant in a Turkish hospital who claimed: “Turkey paved the way for us. Had Turkey not shown such understanding for us, the Islamic State would not be in its current place. It [Turkey] showed us affection. Large number of our mujahedeen [jihadis] received medical treatment in Turkey.” The biggest irony of this is that G20(2015) has just been held in Turkey where western polticians shared a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris attacks.
The coverage of the recent Paris attacks is now being used by western polticians to reinforce the same values it has always had since the cold war. Hijacking this tragedy to only reinforce a capatalist expansion across the globe. These militant fighters within the death cult of ISIS despite being deplorable, are nothing but pawns in a geo poltical game of colonialism. The entrenched violence that looms in islamic countries has been paid for by the west and its allies all throughout history, manipulating young Arabs for decades to become violent, only to then turn round and condemn them for being that way. This “Rise of ISIS” is not new and UK and U.S tax payers have been sponsering it abroad for years to where now, white middle class people turn there backs on civilians within the region who have suffered due to the west’s actions within their countries. If you want to know why ISIS is doing what they are doing, and where they came from, you need only look into the mirror. The cancer that is ISIS was bred in a petrie dish by the western world and its capitalist views of the world. Since Friday’s attack, France’s president has vowed “war” on ISIS and today significantly escalated the country’s bombing campaign in Syria. Who profits? Western captalism of course, with arms companies sales sky rocketing with Lock Heed Martin, Northrop Grumman corporations, Raytheon Company and France’s largest arms manufacturer, Thales seeing huge increase in orders. To defeat cults like ISIS we must first start with the cult of capitalism.