The terrorist attacks in France have dominated news media for eight days. When innocent people are killed for no direct reason, this truly is murderous and beyond the reasoning of normal human beings. The terrorist battle is shaped by the power of the Internet, communication satellites, and sophisticated weaponry, which includes bombs placed in soft drink cans.
It also is shaped by a world economy based solely on profiteering. The world economy today, including current trade agreements and international treaty organizations, is designed to protect participants against nonmember incursions – military, economic and cultural. Nations with low gross national product, especially nations with authoritarian governments coupled with countering terrorist groups, are not allowed. The problem is that these nations are full of millions of people who can’t be called the poorest of poor – they truly are destitute and battle death every day from starvation, disease, civil war, terrorist murder – and an indifferent world economy. Is there reason for their animosity?
For the last half century in particular, the United States has led the way in the design and application of the world economy with its singular focus on profit. In fact, the US has set an exemplary example of a government and culture run for the purpose of profit and the power that accumulated profit brings to key players in the economy. Today, the US has become an oligarchy run by plutocrats. The idea that profit (money) is the same as speech in the First Amendment is a telling belief that the US is a profit-based culture.
That the US population (not just the billionaires) has hundreds of billions of dollars to spend on show business, sports, vacations, opulent homes, and other ancillary but expensive pastimes, suggests an abundance of cash well beyond a culture that would use excess income for education, health and social services, technical advancement, 21st century infrastructure, and government-driven charitable support for those less fortunate in the US and around the world. It is noteworthy that none of the above excesses is considered unethical or even out of the ordinary; they are expected benefits of living in a profit-driven culture.
These broad-based observations about the focused pursuit of wealth in modern times – over the centuries since the beginning of colonialism coupled with the industrial revolution and subsequent profit-based ages – are the background that has fostered inequality and poverty as quickly as it has drawn income to the winners of economic profits. It fosters a class system among nations: 1st tier industrialized nations, 2nd tier developing nations, usually commodity economies, 3rd tier undeveloped nations, in truth meaning these nations are not participating in the profit-based world economy because for one reason or another they cannot accumulate an ante to play the profit game. Like the poor in the US, they aren’t allowed to reap benefits from the profit culture.
Another benefit provided by a profit-based economy is the opportunity to feel secure, to feel good about one’s self, and to invest time in socializing and other rewarding pastimes. Conversely, those not wrapped in that security and opportunity for personal growth do not feel secure nor can they mature in a well-rounded way because they are too busy trying to survive not only in body but in spirit as well. Add to this disadvantage – especially among the ancient cultures of the Middle East – a religion that has not had the benefit of cultural upgrades and has not engaged in the evolvement of modern dependable governments – and further has no benefits from modern technology, infrastructure and lacks an income-based workforce, there exists an opportunity for terrorism. This is a common description for Somalia, Sudan, and Nigeria, just to name countries regularly in the news because of terrorism.
Understandably, these populations are starting from scratch; no dependable government exists to influence their thinking, no money to expand personal wellbeing, no nurturing history to assuage them intellectually. They are required to experience to a significant degree the nation making battles of early Europe to sort out their own winners, their own acculturation, their own form of government not based on Christianity. Like primitive man before them, metaphorically they have only spears, their fervor and their lives. While unacceptable to nations who have evolved on schedule, their only choice at the start is terrorism.
By no means do these background thoughts justify their violent behavior. But there is context. In a similar context, because of the permission ostensibly giving every American the right to bear arms, 30,000 US citizens are killed with guns every year. Because our culture condones this horrific violence and it is in the context of our laws and culture, we discount its immorality.
If we understand the context of Middle East terrorism, we may more easily have success eliminating it. The rest of the world must set an example of civil behavior else, we regress to primitive man.