Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Desperate people turn to desperate fixes

Hello Daniel Voisin posted this response to my Bill Maher blog;

I spent the time reading every line of that poll a few months ago when Harris wheeled it out. For example the part on suicide bombing says:

Many Muslims express concern about religious extremist groups operating in their country. On balance, more Muslims are concerned about Islamic than Christian extremist groups. And while the vast majority of Muslims in most countries say suicide bombing is rarely or never justified to defend Islam against its enemies, substantial minorities in a few countries consider such violence justifiable in at least some circumstances.

That minority happens to live in and around Palestine. So asking that question to them is really asking them if they think suicide bombing is justified in the fight for Palestine.

Just as if you go further to the part about sharia you'll see support correlates directly to the preexisting legal system on the country. In these cases the question from their perspective would be asking if they thought their current legal system should remain.

You're right that they are essentially living like it was two hundred years ago though. Afghanistan particularly. But why?

Religion isn't a sufficient answer. During the seventies Afghanistan was a highly educated country. So educated in fact that the people started to push for modernisation, secularism, and, this is critical, socialism. Same thing happened in Iran.

And the result? America and Saudi Arabia, both ideologically opposed to the idea of a strong and educated people unwillingly to accept a top heavy distribution of wealth or an aristocracy, toppled the governments and helped install ultra conservative theocracies.

Now maybe an argument could be made that allowing socialism to fester might have lead to a too powerful Russia, however even at that time the USSR was in steep decline. A fact barely acknowledge by political elites that had a vested interest in keeping a cold war and their weapons factories running.

See I believe that he is reading way too much into geopolitical machinations at the top level and not enough bottom up observation of the people on the ground.  Afghanistan was once a modern society, then they got invaded and entered a miserable 30 years slide into backwards times.

Daniel posits that it's the long game strategy of Saudi Arabia and the USA.  To the extent that USA wanted to sucker punch the Soviet Union to repay all the weapons and support to Vietnam, I agree with that.  But no farther.

But I would argue it's far simpler than this:

When a wild animal is coming at you and you don't have a knife to defend yourself, you pick up a rock.  

Desperate humans turn to desperate fixes.  If you are holding a gun when the lion attacks, you raise your arm and fell the beast. It's startling but you are not in mortal danger.

But if you are left with a knife you will get wounded, you will need to perservere but you will eventually slay that beast.

But, in the worst of conditions, you are left with options so ineffective that it is all you can do to summon your inner cave man and fight to the death. You must become as savage as your foe. You must lose blood and continue the struggle. There is only one way out and it's not pretty.

We, civilization, left modern Afghanistan out in the woods with a rock, against the tank columns of the Soviet Army. So how can we expect anything but the savagery that came next?

Desperate people turn to whatever silly nonsense that girds their courage to face another day with an unstoppable enemy. If that's believing there's an imaginary friend in the sky looking out for you and your family, and it helps you win that day then who can judge that?

There are no atheists in the foxholes is a WWII expression. Everyone is begging Jesus to help out, just this once. How can we condemn them for leaving civilization's path?

Soldiers come back from over there with stress reactions to things most civilians don't even consider.  Why? Because they know that crack sounds like a bullet meant for them.  And they respond in the way that kept them safe. 

So the aftermath is a people that can be influenced by the only comfort that they had in a war zone that was their home. And so if you don't have an army to help you terrorize the people the same way you did when the Soviets were there. You make them cooperate and use god as a weapon.  If you don't have power and want it, you manipulate your fellow man to get it or die trying.