Here is something I wrote over the weekend for the Buddhism website. Those of you who have read my book will recognize some of the themes.
See also Paul Krugman, Fearing Fear Itself.
Like millions of people, Iâ€™ve been obsessively following the news from Paris, putting aside other things to focus on the horror. Itâ€™s the natural human reaction. But letâ€™s be clear: itâ€™s also the reaction the terrorists want. And thatâ€™s something not everyone seems to understand.
Take, for example,Â Jeb Bushâ€™sÂ declaration that â€œthis is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.â€ No, it isnâ€™t. Itâ€™s an organized attempt to sow panic, which isnâ€™t at all the same thing. And remarks like that, which blur that distinction and make terrorists seem more powerful than they are, just help the jihadistsâ€™ cause.
It would be really nice if the next President is someone who can find the Middle East on a map and recognize that all those Ferrin’ places over there are not just alike. For example, in the recent Republican debate, Toast! actually said Â â€œIf youâ€™re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon or Iraq or Syria, youâ€™re gonna be beheaded.â€ To which some Lebanese responded, “Um, no, we’re not.”
I’m of the belief that “ISIS” is, as has historically been usual with most players on the world stage, fighting the last war. ISIS is fighting a ‘war of liberation’ as was fought in the past against European colonial occupying powers. Unfortunately for them, Europe is no longer the occupying empire-minded entity it once was. Yes, western policies are oppressive, as are local puppet hegemons. But ISIS spread this conflict to the wrong places – whereas once it was reasonable to make the imperialists feel the pain, now ISIS is making the quasi-imperialists into the victims with righteous reasons for retribution (especially as there is no reason to believe that if the Europeans would just leave ISIS alone then ISIS would stop hurting them). Some of this is effective western propaganda, to be sure, but I do believe ISIS is self-destructing even as we speak.
Not sure how this will turn out in the end, but I think ISIS is violating the Bigger Asshole Rule to its detriment. And they started out as pretty big assholes…
Then again, perhaps I am incorrect.
“The Three Poisons are lobha, dvesha and moha, Sanskrit words usually translated as “greed,” “hate” and “ignorance.”
Ok, that’s a perfect description of conservative – especially, the leaders: The powers-that-be use those to make the rubes follow.
“Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.”
Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951)
And that, is the perfect description of the rubes!
What’s really sad about today’s GOP, is that the powers-that-be which used to be able to control their rabid masses, have now completely lost all control.
And so, their candidates have to salve the rubes with more and more raw meat (now, preferably, Halal-style) – lest their cannibalistic base dines on them – and you can’t tell the difference anymore between the puppets and the puppet-“masters.”
And yet, in 2016, these bigoted, hate and fear pushing atavistic politicians still might win the Presidency, and keep the Senate and House.
And we can then all say “Hello” – politely and with heads bowed – to full-blown “Christian” Theocratic Fascism!
Interesting thoughts. Thanks!
The analysts mostly seem to believe ISIL is lashing out because they are beginning to be contained on the ground. We’ve done something like 6000 air strikes on them and just recently took out a couple of their key mob bosses. I’m inclined to believe they ARE under significant pressure.
Well, look at the brightside…The GOP has found another opportunity to shut down the government over Obama’s commitment to accept Syrian refugees. For the GOP it’s manna from heaven.
Maha, Very nice article over on your Buddhism website..The only problem I had with it is that I felt a sense of conviction in reading it.. but I won’t let that deter me from hating Repugs.
Actually it’s not the persons I direct my poison at..It’s the qualities they embody that I come against. I find it so much more satisfying and therapeutic to attack the vessel rather than its contents. It just doesn’t have the same punch calling bigotry or deception or stupidity an asswipe as it does when you attach it to the person who personifies those qualities.
C U N D: It’s time to re-read Hoffer. Sigh…
“The GOP has found another opportunity to shut down the government over Obama’s commitment to accept Syrian refugees”
Finally something all the GOPers including the “Free-dum Caucus” can get behind, hallelujah! Hell even the GOP clown show presidential candidates all agree: no raggers from Syria (unless they are christian of course). I’m not sure I understand why if we can’t guarantee the raggers from Syria aren’t ISIS plants how we’d be able to determine if they are christian or not? Would they come in white robes with golden halo’s? Oh well don’t sweat the details, lets have a war!
Hate and War!