Sunday, June 1, 2014
The True God of Humanity
A couple of months ago I wrote a post entitled, “Civilization Endgame or Endless Cycle” which in general I asked the question as to whether this strange game of fighting for global dominance we humans pursue would ever reach a peaceful conclusion or would it go on until we went the way of the dinosaurs. My conclusion was that I compared the idea that we are condemned to an eternal battle with one country after another going for the brass ring of world domination to a form of Hell, and I still stand by that statement.
I cross posted this essay, or rant depending on your view, on another website and was promptly challenged by some stalwart of the conservative cause that not only would this endless cycle continue but that in so many words it was a good thing. To paraphrase his point, he said that Necessity was the mother of invention, while War was its daddy and when he needs some nifty new and effective way for countries to beat the living shit out of each other, mama better get a working. He suggested two examples of the cool benefits of the large scale organized death and destruction, one being chemical fertilizers and the other I have forgotten.
Well now, with that kind of insightful logic we should just create a massive parasitical industry that seeks nothing but to suck in hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollars so they can build and maintain costly weapons systems that some adversary is diligently trying to make ineffective and obsolete. The technological advancements would be mind blowing as long as you overlook the willful waste, the cost overruns, and oh yeah, the death of inconvenient innocent men, woman, and children who get in the way of all that progress.
Oh well, it is too late on that one as any person with the tiniest portion of brain could understand. There are many large and extremely rich industries in the United States that have way too much power but the military/industrial complex has to be declared the winner because of the way it wraps itself in the abused flag of patriotism and how it spreads the jobs throughout hundreds of congressional districts. I admit, the latter is a damn clever way to make the concept of “Peace” a self defeating prospect. Who wants all that global love, understanding, and cooperation when it might mean Joe Sixpack could lose his job?
That being said dear readers, lets us not confuse the parasitical defense industry with the legitimate need for countries to protect there borders, and when required, to form alliances and defeat the Hitlers and Stalins of the world when they appear. There has to be a balance between paying for weapons of war and making sure the society and infrastructure of a country, say the United States for example, are not allowed to decay and eventually collapse because shithead politicians love to throw their weight around and provide a way for their business buddies to become even richer.
Since I have gotten all that out of the way I want to address another point. Yes, war does lead to progress that bleeds over to into the civilian world. The jet airliners we use to safely and quickly crisscross the world came from the race by both the Allies and the Nazis to make a better fighter to shoot down enemy airplanes. This is where a column I read by Ian Morris comes into play. Mr. Morris being a professor of classics at Stanford University has made the argument that yes, war is “good.” Because in the long run the winners in the battle for regional, if not global,struggles, incorporate the losers into larger societies and then develop larger, more effective governments so they can stay in power.To paraphrase Professor Morris, over the last ten-thousand years this near constant warfare has created nations, with them making some form of temporary peace.
A jackleg conservative might be surprised by my following admission but yes, Professor Morris is largely correct. I've read more than a little history, compared to most people, and I know of no imperially-inspired civilization builder that has worked to bring order, stability, and ultimately peace and prosperity to the greater world out of the goodness of their hearts. Civilization building, in the form of imperial conquest is humanity's one constant whether be it be in the name of some God, an abstract glory like political ideology, or simple gold.
Other than the death and domination of what could be hundreds of millions of unnamed innocents all through history the building of civilization by way of war has indeed lifted most of humanity out of various forms of barbarism and ignorance. However, except for those who are insane or part of the powerful elite the price has been way too steep and uneven. Then there is the inconvenient fact that eventually the Elites who always benefit from war while the unwashed masses go off to fight are themselves replaced whenever dominate powers are defeated or just collapse from societal decay.
The six-hundred pound gorilla in the room the Jackleg conservative I mentioned earlier and Professor Morris utterly fail to appreciate is that the rules of both imperial civilization building and the pursuit of progress have changed. I'm going to spell out the obvious here for any conservative idiots that might chance upon my words but there are over seven billion people on the planet now along with weapons, they're called nuclear missiles and bombs, that can put a total and complete end to human existence. Simply put, there is no damn room anymore for war on the planet. Yeah, we can continue to piss away resources on small regional conflict without threatening everyone else, but history seems to suggest at some point some major power will be threatened and then we'll have yet another battle for global dominance. But this fabulous technological progress war has brought will mean extinction not just for the loser but for Homo sapiens in general.
Just for fun and to keep this essay family friendly, I will not mention old fashion biological weapons and those that could be genetically engineered. Nuclear weapons are still out of the reach for many nations and terrorist groups but bring together a few scientists with PhD’s in genetics and now you can start talking about a cheap and easy global Apocalypse for those groups on a budget.