9.22.2009

Prediction

The world will end when a group of insurgent/terrorists (or even an individual) refuses to be bought off for any amount of money.

I've heard in the news lately talk that America's military strategy in Afghanistan should/will include the tactic of paying off insurgents to fall into line. That seems outrageously unethical to me. I can't say I blame the insurgents for choosing money-ideology over their ideology, but this strategy makes one huge presumption--a huge presumption that may or may not be correct in this case: that everyone has a price. Money (more specifically, valuing money) is the One World Government called for in Revelation, and we're nearing the time when every person on the planet gets on board. Here's hoping there'll be one exceptional and courageous individual waiting at the end of that undignified line of assent. G-d knows he or she is going to pay the price for refusing to value money.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Money on your mind again? :)
Two thoughts:

First, it does not follow from the fact that our military strategy includes payoffs (as has every other military or economic strategy in every country, always) that the strategy is based upon a 'huge presumption' that EVERYONE has a price. Not at all. Our present application of it presumes the opposite. Money is used precisely as a sorting device--to sort those who fight b/c their lives are physically insufferable (and so can be paid to fight against us, or b/c they suppose us the cause of their downtrodden state), and those who are ideologically committed to fighting, without regard to material conditions. One can 'get principled' against this 'sorting' function of money; but isn't it best to remove the former folks from where the bullets are as best we can? And what, exactly, is the ethical problem? If we can make life physically better for them and their families while achieving national aims (leaving those unchallenged here), why is this unethical--or at least, less ethical than any conceivable alternative? There are 20-year olds in Iraq presently working for American contractors on water-treatment plants who, two years ago, were planting volatile explosives for pennies. So--hard world and all--but is this tactic of payment really a backward step, ethically speaking?

Second (and sorry, I am contrarian today) I am unable to see love of money as playing the role in the envisioned grand finale/dystopia sketched in Revelation (that 'wild performance'). Perhaps this is why: the twentieth century was chuck-full of utopian slaughters that spent night and day denouncing the love of money--and often money itself. In these 'revolutions' those most most associated with money were the first to 'disappear'(e.g. 'Capitalists'--remember, much of the early public denunciations of the Jews in Germany were for their associations with 'unsavory' finance). Instead, the talk was inevitably AGAINST 'profit' and OF MORALITY--of service to others--usually in the form of some abstraction, like the Fatherland, the State, or (in the worst cases) 'The People'. My prediction, then, would run contrary to yours: I suspect that these money-denouncing fiascos were the undercard to future atrocities coming soon to a country/continent near you--carried out in the name of Humanity or some such altruistic notion. The reason for this seems straightforward: Real zealoutry has to harness (not simply oppose) moral energies; and appeal to money and the love of it can never do this. Thus, contra Revelation, I don't think an appeal to 'Mammon' has the ability to produce the kind of boneyards that appeals to altruism have, and will have. Dostoyevsky's Inquisitor understood that Bread was only ONE of the great temptations--and by no means the one with the most powerful pull on the human soul.

Casey said...

Maybe "ethical" is slightly off the mark... what would you say about a very civil, but committed Protestant like (I'm thinking of Roger Williams) doing his best to persuade Native Americans to change their religion? I'm thinking of money as that kind of persuasion... and now that I line it up more carefully, I see that it's not necessarily unethical (even if it is "imperialist").

And I didn't mean to imply that the end of the world would come in the form of a dystopia... in fact, I'm picturing shining aqueducts and clean power from sea to shining sea. I believe money can provide that. Indeed, as I've hinted before, I'm sympathetic to even the most radical libertarian arguments (Mises et. al.) because on one level, I believe they're right: money and markets can bring wealth to places where wealth didn't exist before. A material "net-gain" for humanity is possible.

Nevertheless, there are some things that seem stunted by the spread of financial gain. Namely, liminal states of consciousness, experimental thinking, and (dare I say) love.

Since I heard Carl Sagan's rendition on Cosmos I've been fascinated by the story of Hypatia's murder by a band of angry Christians who were led by St. Cyril. Legend has it that St. Cyril and his gang were also responsible for burning down the Great Library of Alexandria. No matter how much I study it, one thing seems clear: these people were trying to end the empire...

Who would do that? Why? These questions suggest an inevitable history for me... the rebellious instinct cannot be suppressed even in Eden.

When money has covered the globe, it will be time for another crucifixion of sorts, and the victim will be that last hold-out: the one who refuses to worship everyone else's god.

When there are television studios in Bhutan and international banks in Tibet and shamans-turned-paid-nurses (click here) ... look for the dawning of a new age, even if that means a new "dark" age.