Monday, November 16, 2015

Fear and Loathing

….every boy and every gal
that’s born into this world alive
is either a little Liberal
or else a little Conservative.          Iolanthe, G&S

As the recent abominations in Paris were being reported I thought of the collateral damage to our own political landscape. It struck me that the brutality of the terrorists will be regarded as vindication to the Rumfelds / Cheneys of the world who never met a war they weren’t ready to send others to fight.

The Conservative psyche accepts evil as a given and fear as a natural state of being. In their mindset the veneer of civility is a thin construct of Humankind. We must therefore keep the lid on our savagery by rules, commandments and traditions and be at the ready to combat sin or anarchy with weaponry and ole time religion. Their instincts run immediately to the punitive. Unlike FDR’s message they might say, We have everything to fear especially from those who don’t look like me.

Liberals see the human condition running from the benign to benevolent. Terrorist behavior is aberrant. Or is at least a distorted act of rage against a perceived threat to their version of history. It falls outside the margins of rationality. Yes, we have that capacity for hatred but we also possess the constraints to contain it.

There seems to me a link between the barbarism of the perpetrators and the Neo-Cons of the West. Both are quick to violence and committed to the notion of revenge and retribution.

I have no answer how to respond except to hunt them down as sociopaths. ISIS militates against Western Civilization but their demands are not yet fully articulated. Their subjugation of women, rigid laws of social contract and medieval cruelty are anathema to Western values; I would say an offense against humanity.

However the marginalization of refugees in France aligns with the ISIS agenda and provides an ample pool of recruits. Hopelessness is a prerequisite to suicide missions but is no way to redress their grievances.

I can’t help but feel that the outrage they have engendered feeds directly into the narrative of the most dangerous voices in the Conservative camp. President Obama is courageous to warn against being sucked into full-fledged combat. We tried that in Iraq and arguably that misadventure has led to this. In the meantime. We must love one another or die. (W.H. Auden).

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