Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hate, Not Poverty, Causes Terrorism

Although it has been said before, it needs to be said again: Terrorism is not caused by poverty.

Of course G. K. Chesterton debunked that notion decades before with his unassailable wisdom:
There is something we all know which can only be rendered, in an appropriate language, as realpolitik. As a matter of fact, it is an almost insanely unreal politik. It is always stubbornly and stupidly repeating that men fight for material ends, without reflecting for a moment that the material ends are hardly ever material to the men who fight. In any case no man will die for practical politics, just as no man will die for pay. Nero did not hire a hundred Christians to be eaten by lions at a shilling an hour; for men will not be martyred for money. But the vision called up by real politik, or realisitic politics, is beyond example crazy and incredible. Does anybody in the world believe that a soldier says, 'My leg is nearly dropping off, but I shall go on till it drops off; for after all I shall enjoy all the advantages of my government obtaining a warm-water port in the Gulf of Finland.' Can anybody suppose that a clerk turned conscript says, 'If I am gassed I shall probably die in torments; but it is a comfort to reflect that should I ever decide to become a pearl-diver in the South Seas, that career is now open to me and my countrymen.' Materialist history is the most madly incredible of all histories, or even of all romances. Whatever starts wars, the thing that sustains wars is something in the soul; that is something in the soul; that is something akin to religion. [And I am quite certain Chesterton would include athiestic Leftist revolutionaries in this category of religiously minded warmakers--The Bunny] It is what men feel about life and death. A man near to death is dealing directly with an absolute; it is nonsense to say he is concerned only with relative and remote complications that death in any case will end. If he is sustained by certain loyalties, they must be loyalties as simple as death.
--The Everlasting Man

And these simple loyalties are very much undefined, and the haze of their definition becomes all the more blurred as the combat becomes more intense, but their ability to drive a soldier forward is all the more powerful the more blurred they become. These simplisitic loyalties are God, Family, Justice, Hope in various combinations and measures. So when liberals wail that Bush voters are simpletons, perhaps in a way they are right. But when someone is actively trying to kill you examining the internal polling data, conducting focus groups, seeking broad international consensus and seeking a nuanced positions on the issue become life-threatening complexities. If you hope to survive to you must fight--and it is simple as that.

Loyalties can be perverted and darkened in their genesis but the ultimate conceptions of them are nonetheless simplistic within the mind of the soldier. Such is the case for terrorists; they do not fight for materialistic reasons, they too fight for simple ideas: God, Family, Justice, Hope; but these loyaltis are corrupt. Are to believe God sanctions car bombings? Does the defense of the Family tell us to turn our children into suicide bombers? Is Justice served by claiming Jews are literally the descendents of pigs and monkeys? Is there any Hope in a cult of death worshippers?

Moral relativism only makes matters worse. To deny there is such a thing as Ultimate Truth leads to such ridiculous notions as "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." Only people who live free of the threat of their children's school bus being attacked by machinegun toting hooded thugs have the luxury of making such absurd claims--unless of course the man making the claim is a machinegun toting hooded thug. Moral relativism, hand in hand with materialistic realpolitik--indeed they are they are two cheeks of the same ass--attempt to tell us that the terrorist doesn't really want to terrorize us, he only wants a bit more food, a slightly bigger house or a better pension plan and that makes him the same as us. Both the terrorist and his victims should feel insulted by this notion, albeit for different reasons.

Ultimate Truth is what each side claims to represent and neither side will be content until its conception of the Truth remains unchallenged. What is incumbent upon each individual is to examine each claim honestly and then choose sides. Make the wrong choice and you choose the Ultimate Lie. Make no choice and you choose the Ultimate Lie by default. Truth is the only thing worth dying for...and that makes it the one thing we must all dedicate our lives to.


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