Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Islamists are Only the Latest Bunch to Push Back Against Capitalism

The Islamists that killed over a hundred people in Paris on Friday November 13, 2015 are, of course, our enemies. Yes, enemies, Mr. President and much worse than the awful threat of climate change.

But I take a philosophical view of the Islamist threat. To me, these young savages are just the latest in a string of political/social movements that have emerged to challenge the rise of the global capitalist economy and society.

Let us not forget what a stunning revolution and transformation the capitalist revolution has been, starting with the explosion of European traders and adventurers across the world starting in about 1500. Then, starting in 1800, we have seen the Great Enrichment of the industrial revolution, with per-capita incomes increasing by 3,000 percent in 200 years wherever capitalism was allowed to thrive.

The educated youth of the 19th century didn't like capitalism. They thought it was a busted flush and they didn't like the way it treated the workers. They created a movement of rejection, socialism/communism, that spread across the world like no religion before it. But China rejected socialism in 1979, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, and India gave up on socialism in 1993. Now just about everyone except Barack Obama and his Organizing for America recognizes the the free-market economy is here to stay. Everyone except the Islamists.

You can understand the feelings of the Islamists. Imagine the horror that Sayyid Qtub must have felt watching young Coloradans in Greeley slobbering over each other at a sock hop just after World War II. How could anyone endure such license, especially if he didn't get to join in?

So now we have the last people in the world rising in rage against the pitiless monster of capitalism that threatens to destroy their traditional way of life just like it has demolished just about everyone else's traditional way of life across the world. These people are the people of Islam.

It is a humiliating thing to live in the urban ghetto of some great western metropolis and know that you are the low man on the totem pole. It makes you easy to provoke into violence. Ever since the middle of the 19th century agitators and demagogues have known how to rile up the ill-educated young men of these urban ghettos and organize them for rebellion. In the 19th century the agitators organized young men into labor unions and social democratic parties. In the 20th century they organized them into fascist mobs and sent them into the meat grinders of the world wars. Russian communists starved millions of Ukrainians and sent millions into the gulag to work and die. Chinese communists starved millions in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. When all the rage was spent, then the survivors had to pick up their lives and start over, sadder and wiser, this time following the capitalist script.

Now we have another uprising against the capitalist revolution, the young Islamist men of the Middle East. Now another generation must be ground into the dust before they will submit to the greatest change in human social cooperation since the invention of agriculture and the marcher lord 5,000 odd years ago.

I suppose that millions of young Muslim men will have to die, and millions of young men in the rest of the world as well before the Muslim remnant submits to the greatest improvement in material life in human history ever.

If you ask me, it's a helluva shame. But what do I know? For all the lefty talk about war not being the answer, I suspect that the violence of war is needed as part of the human condition and that it does solve a lot of problems.

But capitalism teaches us that almost all of the time violence is not needed because almost everything can be resolved by the market. So we moderns are slow to admit that war is going to be needed.

The various outrages from the Beirut barracks in Reagan's administration to 9/11 to the terror outrages in London, Madrid, Paris, Boston, etc. are bringing the current rebellion to the point that it cannot be ignored.

But it ain't gonna be pretty.

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