Posts Tagged ‘Monbiot’

Human Kind, Yet Evil Rule

October 17, 2015

Humanity Good, Institutions Bad? Not so simple. Evil Rule (Pluto-Cracy) is a fundamental consequence of human nature, amplified by civilization.

In “Human Kind“, 14th October 2015 George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 14th October 2015, suggests that:“Fascinating new lines of research suggest that we are good people, tolerating bad things.”

Sounds good. It’s very self-congratulatory: defining oneself as “on the left”, “liberal”, etc. has much to do with self-satisfaction about what a great human one is. I sent the following comment:

“Saying that “people are good, while tolerating bad things” is an ineffective morality. The crux, indeed, is the moral nature of institutions, controlled by a few, rather than whether humans are kind or not.”

That observation of mine was censored, as  all my comments to Monbiot in the Guardian are. Human kind? Thus Monbiot readers’ minds are kept safe from my dreadful influence (lest readers flee the Guardian, and starts reading my site?).

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Meanwhile in the terror war occupation in Israel, in a few days, more than 40 young Palestinians got killed. One by one. Human kind? If something looking like a Palestinian moves, it gets shot. Some Jewish Israelis got actually shot because other Israelis thought they looked like the enemy (hey, they are all supposed to all be Semites! One very blonde beauty with very long hair who happened to be an Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian youth who may have pricked her: she is OK, don’t worry).

Cephalopods are surprisingly intelligent. They even use tools (the definition of Bergson of man as Homo Faber, Homo Artisan-Of-Hard-Materials is to be questioned). However, cephalopods experience short, brutish, asocial lives, and that boxes in their intelligence. This demonstrates that fully-dimensioned intelligence is social, and, in particular, cultural.

Superior intelligence is not just about the individual, it’s about the collective. Our biosphere, our part of the biosphere, is collectively intelligent (somewhat as in the movie Avatar).

Before I quote the interesting part of Monbiot’s article (which mainly quotes others), let me re-iterate my main thesis on altruism and love:

All advanced brain animals have to love, love enough to raise the young. To say love dominates, is saying we have brains grown with culture. It’s an important thing to say. And it explains the experiences Monbiot mentions.

Compare to the poignant fate of cephalopods, whose bright intelligence starts from scratch, with no culture, whatsoever. Cephalopod intelligence shines brightly, and quickly peters out, in a flurry of new born eggs.

So, the difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and other thinkers. The scorn Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant, coming from someone with a simple journalist background (and it shows!).

A review article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology points out that our behaviour towards unrelated members of our species is “spectacularly unusual when compared to other animals”. While chimpanzees might share food with members of their own group, though usually only after being plagued by aggressive begging, they tend to react violently towards strangers. Chimpanzees, the authors note, behave more like the Homo economicus of neoliberal mythology than people do.”

That is not just a funny joke, but a deep observation, that traders are just enraged chimps. However, to view chimpanzee behavior as typical of other animals is erroneous. Chimpanzees are half-savannah animals. I saw one once in an area with small, very small, and sparse trees, and the first serious forest was weeks of travel away. Not surprisingly, he was acting fiercely and dangerously, in an area roamed by lion prides. Lions having a look at him, won’t try to come close: he shook an entire small tree he was hanging from, and swung away, with incredible power and speed, after flashing his four inches canines.

Thus Monbiot go off the deep end with chimpanzees. Here is a more balanced view: humans keep much in common with chimpanzees. They both descend from common ancestors (who may have been more Homo like than Chimp like: we don’t really know, however fossils, and logic, point in that direction).

Emotionally and socially, the psychology of chimps is very similar to humans,” says famous primatologist Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta (a Dutch who started his famous observations in the Netherlands; universities in the USA have more money).

For instance, de Waal noted, chimps have shown they can help unrelated chimps and human strangers at personal cost without apparent expectation of personal gain, the sort of selfless behavior often naively claimed as unique to humans. They also display culture, with groups of chimpanzees socially passing on dozens of behaviors such as tool kits, and methods from generation to generation that are often very different from those seen in other groups. There are basically as many Chimpanzee cultures as chimpanzee tribes (and that’s thousands).

The big difference I see going for us is language,” de Waal said. “They can learn a few symbols in labs, but it’s not impressive in my opinion compared to what even a young child can do. They don’t really symbolize like we do, and language is a big difference that influences everything else that you do — how you communicate, basic social interactions, all these become far more complex.

Mathematics is, first of all, a language, remember.

The hyper aggressivity of Chimpanzees is related to their evolution: “They don’t like cooperating with strangers, that’s for sure,” de Waal said. Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham suggested this pattern of genetic (so to speak) violence may have been part of humanity’s legacy for millions of years. Yet, de Waal observed that based on what the canines of Ardipithecus suggest, “chimpanzees may be specialized in that regard [hyperviolence]. It’s only with the special recent human conditions of settlement and agriculture that gave us the incentive to worry about wealth, leading us to become warriors that way.”

This is close to my thesis: EVIL RULE (“Plutocracy”) was made possible by civilization. Before that it was just Demonic Males. Demonicity plus civilization = Evil Rule.

Compare de Waal’ subtlety with Monbiot’s imbalanced enthusiasm characteristic of the journalist he is:

“Humans, by contrast, are ultra-social: possessed of an enhanced capacity for empathy, an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare and an ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.

Such traits emerge so early in our lives that they appear to be innate. In other words, it seems that we have evolved to be this way. By the age of 14 months, children begin to help each other, for example by handing over objects another child can’t reach. By the time they are two, they start sharing things they value. By the age of three, they start to protest against other people’s violation of moral norms.”

Altruism is shown by nearly all advanced animals, because that’s how intelligence is grown. Thus, it’s not about material rewards. On board (so to speak) systems reward altruism intrinsically. Monbiot again:

“A fascinating paper in the journal Infancy reveals that reward has nothing to do with it. Three to five-year-olds are less likely to help someone a second time if they have been rewarded for doing it the first time. In other words, extrinsic rewards appear to undermine the intrinsic desire to help. (Parents, economists and government ministers, please note). The study also discovered that children of this age are more inclined to help people if they perceive them to be suffering, and that they want to see someone helped whether or not they do it themselves. This suggests that they are motivated by a genuine concern for other people’s welfare, rather than by a desire to look good. And it seems to be baked in.

Why? How would the hard logic of evolution produce such outcomes? This is the subject of heated debate.”

The heated debate is happening because the sort of view I defend (the view in Avatar, that of global intelligence, one could say) is progressing against the very reduced Survival-Of-The-Fittest approach.

The difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and the scorn journalist such as Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant.

Humans are intrinsic scientists and philosophers, not just lovers and warriors. To try to say they are all one, and not the others misses the big picture.

The left, by insisting that humans are kind, underestimates the evil institutions are capable of. Institutions, although moral persons, in the legal sense, are not held back by human ethology in the behaviors they are capable of. (Nazism provided with plenty of example of that: even the very worst Nazis, including Himmler or Eichmann, found really hard to go all the way, and could do it, only by using institutional tricks, making institutions, Nazi institutions to force them to do what even them found too hard to do.)

Let’s not underestimate institutionalized evil. It has no bounds, whatsoever. Nazism, or Stalinism, were not about just a few very bad guys, they were about evil institutions, including a Prussianized army (in contrast to a human one). Let’s build human kind institutions that cannot not be commandeered by just a few (as our entire democracy-through-representatives regime gangrening the West, not to say the world, is).

Thus, to progress morally will mean to progress in the intelligence of the institutions we will set-up to rule over us. Hence moral progress will be a consequence, and only a consequence, of scientific and technological approfondissement (deepening).

Patrice Ayme’

Britain’s Mafia State

September 16, 2015

It’s good to see a famous journalist confirm what I have been saying for many years: the West is turning into an organized crime state of affairs. The world’s greatest Mafia, ever.

In Britain’s Mafia State, George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 9th September 2015, ponders:

Where does legitimate business end and organised crime begin?

Be reasonable in response to the unreasonable… Accommodate, moderate, triangulate, for the alternative is to isolate yourself from reality. You might be inclined to agree. If so, please take a look at the reality to which you must submit.”

Accommodate, moderate, triangulate, and especially “NAVIGATE” (the word he explicitly uses) is the essence of Barack Obama’s philosophy of life (at least so he claims in his memoirs). Too much navigation by those hungry to lord over others is toxic to civilization, though. By the 1930s, throughout the West, the notion of “plutocracy” was familiar, and in wide use. This is how President Roosevelt was able to change the USA for the best.

From Germany to the USA’s Wild West, All Knew Who Plutocrats Were, In The 1930s

From Germany to the USA’s Wild West, All Knew Who Plutocrats Were, In The 1930s

This does not just go all the way back to Reagan, an ex-democrat who learned to thrive under McCarthyism and his consequences: become a secret FBI informant, big on “Unamerican” activities. Thanks to his Dark Side, Reagan ended up as president. So did Nixon, Clinton, the Bushes… Collaboration with infamy (Crusades, Nazism, Stalinism, etc.) always starts as navigation (even Saint Bernard, who made a show of destitution, was actually from a plutocratic family, thus Saint Bernard’s Dark Side started well before he became the real pope, and main force behind the Second Crusade… And the cause of the death of millions)..

Here is Monbiot describing Britain:

“It’s not just that the very rich no longer fall while the very poor no longer rise. It’s that the system itself is protected from risk. Through bail-outs, quantitative easing and delays in interest rate rises, speculative investment has been so well cushioned that, as Larry Elliott puts it, financial markets are “one of the last bastions of socialism left on earth.””

It is nice to see a mainstream, left wingish journalist

Public services, infrastructure, the very fabric of the nation: these too are being converted into risk-free investments. Social cleansing is transforming inner London into an exclusive economic zone for property speculation. From a dozen directions, government policy converges on this objective. The benefits cap and the bedroom tax drive the poor out of their homes. The forced sale of high-value council houses creates a new asset pool. An uncapped and scarcely regulated private rental market turns these assets into gold. The freeze on council tax banding since 1991, the lifting of the inheritance tax threshold and £14 billion a year in breaks for private landlords all help to guarantee stupendous returns….Agricultural land has proved an even better punt for City money: with the help of capital gains, inheritance and income tax exemptions, as well as farm subsidies, its price has quadrupled in 12 years.

But it gets better than that. As related here for many years, and confirmed even by the New York Times in the case of New York, both the USA and the UK are the top organized crimes destinations of the world. Organized crime money gets a refugee status in these two countries (France and Switzerland are bit player and has been, respectively). Says Mr. Monbiot:

“Property in this country is a haven for the proceeds of international crime. The head of the National Crime Agency, Donald Toon, notes that “the London property market has been skewed by laundered money. Prices are being artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK.””

Why? Because in Great Britain, organized crime is well received and well protected. The monarchy is its very symbol.

Not only is this a system, but it is a very old system. Now, it’s just becoming the only system, and, flush with hubris, it’s running amok. Monbiot:

“It’s hardly surprising, given the degree of oversight. Private Eye has produced a map of British land owned by companies registered in offshore tax havens. The holdings amount to 1.2 million acres, including much of our prime real estate. Among those it names as beneficiaries are a cast of Russian oligarchs, oil sheikhs, British aristocrats and newspaper proprietors. These are the people for whom government policy works, and the less regulated the system that enriches them, the happier they are.

The speculative property market is just one current in the great flow of cash that sluices through Britain while scarcely touching the sides. The financial sector exploits an astonishing political privilege: the City of London is the only jurisdiction in the UK not fully subject to the authority of parliament.”

The status of the City of London is actually astounding: very officially, it is a plutocracy. Monbiot:

“In fact, the relationship seems to work the other way. Behind the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons sits the Remembrancer, whose job is to ensure that the interests of the City of London are recognised by the elected members. (A campaign to rescind this privilege – Don’t Forget the Remembrancer – will be launched very soon). The City has one foot in the water: it is a semi-offshore state, a bit like the UK’s Crown dependencies and overseas territories, tax havens legitimised by the Privy Council. Britain’s financial secrecy undermines the tax base while providing a conduit into the legal economy for gangsters, kleptocrats and drug barons.”

What is happening is that the UK is now parroting what the USA long did. Monbiot again:

“Even the more orthodox financial institutions deploy a long succession of scandalous practices: pension mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance con, Libor rigging. A former minister in the last government, Lord Green, ran HSBC while it engaged in money laundering for drugs gangs, systematic tax evasion and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Sometimes the UK looks to me like an ever-so-civilised mafia state.

At next month’s Conservative party conference, corporate executives will pay £2,500 to sit with a minister.”

Well, in the USA, during the reign of Barack Obama, one can pay $37,500 to be in the presence of the president. That makes Obama’s presence roughly ten times more valuable than a minister of Cameron. I have yet to come across an opinion maker in the USA which finds this habit of Obama regrettable, and a sort of selling of democracy to the immensely wealthy. Monbiot tries sarcasm:

“Doubtless, because we are assured that there is no link between funding and policy, they will spend the day discussing the weather and the films they have seen. If we noticed such arrangements overseas, we might be inclined to regard them as corruption. But that can’t be the case here, not least because the invitation explains that “fees associated with business day & dinner are considered a commercial transaction and therefore do not constitute a political donation.”

“The government also insists that there is no link between political donations and seats in the House of Lords. But a study by researchers at Oxford University found that the probability of so many major donors arriving there by chance is 1.36 x 10^38: [ a ten followed by 38 zeroes: one chance out of one hundred trillion trillion trillion] roughly “equivalent to entering the National Lottery and winning the jackpot 5 times in a row”. Why does the Lords remain unreformed? Because it permits plutocratic power to override democracy. Both rich and poor are kept in their place.

Most members of Cameron’s government are very wealthy. Cameron himself is a plutocrat with inherited wealth. Such a government is busy re-engineering society to make it a haven for plutocrats. Such a metamorphosis happened before, say when Directly Democratic Athens was turned into a plutocracy, thanks to Aristotle and his Macedonian goons, or when Republican Rome turned into Plutocratic Rome, or the more or less egalitarian politics of the Franks turned into the Feudal Order. Says Monbiot:

“Governed either by or on behalf of the people who fleece us, we cannot be surprised to discover that all public services are being re-engineered for the benefit of private capital. Nor should we be surprised when governments help to negotiate, without public consent, treaties such as TTIP and CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), which undermine the sovereignty of both parliament and the law. Aesop’s observation that “we hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office” remains true in spirit, though hanging has been replaced by community payback.

Wherever you sniff in British public life, something stinks: I could fill this newspaper with examples. But, while every pore oozes corruption, our task, we are told, is merely to trim the nails of the body politic.

To fail to confront this system is to collaborate with it. Who on the left would wish to stand on the sidelines as this carve-up continues? Who would vote for anything but sweeping change?

http://www.monbiot.com”

Much of the preceding is known. Even in Great Britain. Still, nothing is done. And plutocracy keeps on metastasizing throughout the political establishment. Why? Because the mood has not revolved back to dignity enough to push us to action. The exactions of the super-rich, from their very existence, have not become glaring enough, in a way that is revolting enough.

Is it reasonable to be reasonable in face of the unreasonable? Sure.

But the reasonable way to answer the unreasonable is with what the unreasonable will call unreasonable, if it is directed to their unreason.

When things go too far, revolution is not just the most reasonable solution, but the most economical one.

That time has come. Let’s not wait until it’s gone. Plutocrats want us to learn to live with inherited princes and princesses. Let it be known we are not five years old, yet.

Patrice Ayme’

Senegal Cleaner. Britain, Rest Of West, Clueless

March 23, 2015

The son of the previous president of Senegal, Karim Wade, was condemned to six years in jail. Reason? A special Senegalese “Anti-Corruption Court” found that, thanks to complex financial conspiracies, Karim stole 178 million dollars.

He was also condemned to a 230 million dollar fine. Wade, Karim, does not have (yet) to regurgitate most of his 1.4 billion dollar fortune.

President Wade was (officially) a socialist, and ruled for 12 years.

Now Senegal, a country where I grew more, as a child, than any other, has a long democratic tradition.

There Are Better Things To Do In Senegal Than Hypocritically Whine About Slavery

There Are Better Things To Do In Senegal Than Hypocritically Whine About Slavery

Judge Henri Gregoire Diop said Wade had hidden away funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama: “The facts before us constitute illicit enrichment by Karim Wade“.

Notice that plutocracy is global. Many of the richest people in Britain escape taxation by claiming to reside in just those places, where Karim hid (some) of his corruption money. But, there in the UK, supposedly a democracy, that sort of corruption is perfectly legal. Maybe Karim should have become British in a timely manner?

***

Corruption In West; Example Of Britain:

I have been saying this sort of things for years. George Monbiot, in The Guardian, just noticed it in “Let’s not fool ourselves. We may not bribe, but corruption is rife in Britain”

[Thanks to Paul Handover for calling my attention to Monbiot’s article.]

Says Mr. Monbiot:Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded [from consideration when evaluating countries’ corruption]; common practices in the poor nations are emphasized [to claim that they are the ones which are corrupted, whereas corruption in poor nations is mickey-mouse stuff relative to the industrial strength, astronomical corruption in the richest nations].

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read…

Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran [the huge, immensely criminally corrupt, politicians, drug lords and Al Qaeda financing, bank] HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

***

Britain As Tax Heaven: Second Best

Monbiot is obviously unfamiliar with the reality of plutocratic rule in the USA. If he were, he would realize that Britain is the World’s Second Tax Haven. But, otherwise, all he says is correct:

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers.

As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny.

Relying on the World Bank to assess corruption is like asking Vlad the Impaler for an audit of human rights.”

Except that Vlad could make a human right argument (freeing his country from impaling Islamists). Our present plutocrats and their greedy servants can make no such argument.

I will write more about the problems in Britain in the future.

Here is George Monbiot’s conclusion, which is pertinent to the problems less developed countries encounter, as they are dominated by Western plutocracy:

“For organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, there is little difference between the public interest and the interests of global corporations. What might look like corruption from any other perspective looks to them like sound economics. The power of global finance and the immense wealth of the global elite are founded on corruption, and the beneficiaries have an interest in framing the question to excuse themselves.

[And they do, with the help of economics departments and pundits, all over the globe.]

Yes, many poor nations are plagued by the kind of corruption that involves paying bribes to officials. But the problems plaguing us run deeper. When the system already belongs to the elite, bribes are superfluous.”

Indeed.

In the West, it is not just politicians who are corrupt. It is the law itself. It was written, for plutocrats, by their servants. This is, of course, the way plutocracy has always operated. They even have done better in the USA: they made the USA into a so-called “Christian nation”, a place where the befuddled worries more about some guy who never existed, than in bothering to perceived that they are exploited in a system increasingly reminiscent of serfdom.

***

Why Is Senegal So Civilized?

Wade was a senior minister in his father’s government, and was in charge of major infrastructure and energy projects. It was a time when Korean factory ships were allowed to hug the Senegalese coast line, making a fortune for themselves, and starving the Senegalese (who depend heavily upon fish for proteins).

The Senegalese dubbed the soon immensely wealthy Karim “minister of the earth and the sky“.

How did Senegal become so wise?

Three millennia of trading ideas from all over.

Senegal was mostly freed from the past when a handful of French officers under Paris’ command, pacified and unified the country in the nineteenth century. The dozen or so officers commanded an army of 5,000 natives (who did all the work).

Contacts between Senegal and the West are much older than that: under Louis XIV, Senegalese had French nationality. Much earlier Senegal had a salted fish trade going on with Carthage (showing that the human impact on the Mediterranean is not new).

***

Inverted Gorée Racism, PC Style:

Nowadays, when supposedly knowledgeable Westerners only talk about the tiny island of Gorée when evoking Senegal, sort of like talking only about the guillotine when evoking France, or the electric chair, when evoking the USA.

It is a subtle, unconscious, anti-French, anti-Senegalese racism (the so-called “House of Slaves” in Gorée was built by a Franco-Senegalese family).

In truth, as the French controlled Gorée for nearly three centuries, except for 4 years under British control, few slaves passed through it. The French frowned on the slave trade, but certainly could not outlaw it completely until they ruled Senegal!

What counts in a civilizations is what has been institutionalized. In advanced parts of Senegal, for centuries, the part the French controlled, slavery was not institutionalized (differently from the USA, and other forsaken places).

***

Worst In The Rest:

The rest of the West (Senegal is part of the West, civilizationally speaking), is also corrupt, but the corrupt politicians there do not get judged, just admired.

Worse: the systems of thought, moods, and institutions connected to them, are corrupt… to the point few believe they are.

Here is an on-going example.

Right now the central banks of the West keep interest rates roughly around zero percent. The reason that is officially proclaimed is that, thus, the banks can extend very low interest loans to economic actors.

However, that is a lie.

80% of the money presently created goes to High Financial sector. Only 20% goes to the real economy.

This is corruption. Why are judges not rising? Because they have been brain-washed, long ago. Also the corruption is more spread-out, in the leading countries, than it was in Senegal. Millions feed off the excesses of the banking or health-industrial complex.

What Karim Wade was doing has been philosophically determined, long ago, as corrupt. Not so for the present banking, or even, political system.

***

Meanwhile Among Blown-Away Microbes…

95% of the capital of the Republic of Vanuatu, a long but tiny archipelago in the next ridge north of New Caledonia, has been destroyed by a greenhouse force 5 cyclone.

A few decades ago, Vanuatu was called the “New Hebrides” and was part of Britain and France. If it still was such a part and portion, no doubt the French and British government would use their considerable means to help (the French are helping, but not as much as if Vanuatu was still part of France).

So called “decolonization” has passed by, and Vanuatuans are now free to independently fend for themselves.

(As above with Karim Wade, so-called “decolonization” is all about global plutocrats making irresistible deals with local potentates. By the way, Karim does not have to regurgitate most of his ill-gotten fortune. I am ready to bet much is in French banks, cozy and cuddly with stolen Greek fortunes…)

Good luck to Vanuatu in its hut rebuilding project. GDP per capita in Vanuatu in 2014 was $3,200. In next door French New Caledonia, per capita GDP is $39,000 (about 12 times more).

Empire has its advantages. But less so, and even just the opposite, when under the orders of plutocrats.

Patrice Ayme’

Scathing Thinking

October 1, 2014

It is easy to be ironical, pose as a saint, and ponder:”Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world? Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East.”

I generally  like The Guardian’s Mr. Monbiot, and I understand he has to be funny and controversial to earn his keep. Yet, is that ethical? No. If “ISIS” (Daesh) could get its hands on Mr. Monbiot, they would saw through his throat as if he were another sheep (or Abraham’s son, whoever!). It’s something Fundamentalist Muslims have to do. I pointed  this dynamic feature in many essays in the past, such as “Violence in the Holy Qur’an“. It’s best addressed this way:

French Rafale Hunting True Believers In Ultimate Violence

French Rafale Hunting True Believers In Ultimate Violence

Here are a few quotes from the first real chapter (“sura”) in the Qur’an. “the Cow”:

“A fire has been prepared for the disbelievers, whose fuel is men and stones.’ [Qur’an s. 2: v. 24]

“Disbelievers will be burned with fire.” [Koran, S. 2:39, v. 90]

“Jews are the greediest of all humankind. They’d like to live 1000 years. But they are going to hell.” [Koran, s. 2: v.96]

“Allah will leave the disbelievers alone for a while, but then he will compel them to the doom of Fire.” [Koran, s. 2:v. 126]

“Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don’t kill them.) [Qur’an s.2:v. 191-2]

“War is ordained by Allah, and all Muslims must be willing to fight, whether they like it or not.” [s. 2: v. 216]

“Those who marry unbelievers will burn in the Fire.” [2:221]

“Disbelievers worship false gods. They will burn forever in the Fire.” 2:257″

That’s just the first chapter, sura 2, as I said. Nothing wrong with it, of course, if you don’t take it too seriously. But apparently too many take it all too seriously, as they learn little else.

The same problem arose with Christianity: was the Bible to be taken literally? It was solved by the Church’s Founding Fathers, around 400 CE, by deciding it was all allegoric, metaphorical, etc. The exact opposite decision was taken by one Caliph around 850 CE.

Hence the on-going need to flatten completely some systems of thoughts and moods infesting the Middle East, as Ebola does West Africa. As Monbiot points out unwittingly.

Says Monbiot:”Let’s bomb the Muslim world – all of it – to save the lives of its people. Surely this is the only consistent moral course? Why stop at Islamic State (Isis), when the Syrian government has murdered and tortured so many? This, after all, was last year’s moral imperative. What’s changed?

How about blasting the Shia militias in Iraq? One of them selected 40 people from the streets of Baghdad in June and murdered them for being Sunnis. Another massacred 68 people at a mosque in August. They now talk openly of “cleansing” and “erasure” once Isis has been defeated. As a senior Shia politician warns, “we are in the process of creating Shia al-Qaida radical groups equal in their radicalisation to the Sunni Qaida”.

What humanitarian principle instructs you to stop there?”

Then Monbiot in his stupidity, proposes to bomb Israel, Iran, etc. He forgets that Israel is an ally, and Iran used to be one, and could be one again. Besides both have more or less free elections. After the French started to bomb in Iraq, the Iranian president came over, and visited with the French president, in peaceful agreement about the necessity to flatten terrorists.

The leaders of the West made no mystery that they are destroying fanatics according to the prime moral directive, namely survival. Saving the Middle Earth is secondary.

It is true that, as I have been saying for decades, and now Monbiot repeats, the plutocratic connections between Assad and London, or the Saudi family and Washington, ought to be brought to light (actually Monbiot does not mention the former: too close to his employer, and his social circles, I guess…). There is a global plutocracy problem, and it has impacted the Middle Earth, from Ukraine, to Pakistan, Libya…

However, it is useful to consult with a bit of history, Mr. Monbiot. In 1936, similar arguments to the ones you brandish, under the guise of irony, were used to do nothing about the Civil War in Spain. The first step is the hardest, and that’s getting into the fray, and flattening those who want to flatten much of what passes for civilization, in this world.

Another point is that there was certainly something very wrong with the Christianity of the Inquisition. If such ferocious Christians existed today, had an army, and invaded, one should certainly intervene, and flatten them. It would be a matter of security of the Republic, civilization, and… peace. I am all for sending some Rafales against Louis IX, the so-called Saint Louis, a rabid murderous fanatic of the worse type, and give him the Qaddafi treatment. However, as he died nearly 750 years ago in Tunis, I will have to content myself with scathing criticism.

Islam is also a religion of Europe, and the USA, and ferocious, murderous Islamist organizations ought to be treated just as ferocious, murderous Christian fundamentalist organizations would be, if they were still around, killing and torturing.

By the way the present Pope is more than an hypocrite. He loves Opus Dei, the closest thing we have to the Inquisition, which took part in the massacre of millions of Spaniards, and has entangled itself with the West’s plutocratic circles… And probably Putin. The Pope just “beatified” the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Satanas is more like it.

This, of course indicates that the present Pope, below his benevolent smile, was in hock with the Argentinian dictatorship, as charged.

The present bombing in Iraq and Syria is highly targeted. The big bombs below that Rafale above are guided by laser beams, they land within a meter of the target. We are very far from the area bombing which flattened Hitler’s Reich. The French Air Force Rafale depicted can, and does, hunt, identify and destroyed individual vehicles (that’s how Qaddafi was targeted, hit, and, later died, after spending some time in a tunnel like a bleeding rat).

Scathing irony does not replace deep thinking, or, for that matter, scathing thinking.

Patrice Ayme’.