Fundamentalism on Steroids

November 22, 2012

The US military establishment rolled out the imperial concept of “Full Spectrum Dominance” in 1998, underlining its commitment to a global position “beyond challenge” at all levels: land, sea, air, outer space, cyber space, even “inner” space of our minds. But, a global imperial policy has its roots in our civilization’s history, and its current boldness in a unipolar world is a logical and inevitable result of the American Way Of Life (AWOL).

The United States, with but 4.5 percent of the world’s population, consumes a minimum of 25 percent of the world’s resources, and with the remainder of the West, comprises one quarter of the world’s population, yet consumes 85 percent of its resources. Thus, 75 percent of the world’s human beings are impoverished with but 15 percent of the remaining finite resources. This grotesque injustice is further exacerbated by globalization’s demands for ever-increasing production and consumption of limited resources, with life-destroying pollution a by-product. If we insist on continuing business-as-usual to feed our insatiable addictions, expansion of our global hegemony is indispensable to assure access to ever-more resources, markets, and cheap labor, as if they are infinitely exploitable. True to the behavior of hard-core addicts, we can’t seem to stop this highly destructive exploitative behavior, even though we also increasingly know that we are committing species suicide.

The seeds of our cultural ethos and mind-set originate in the extreme ethnocentrism and deep-seated racism of our European ancestors, the Puritans, who proclaimed their godly mandate to reign supreme over the “savage” Indigenous inhabitants they upon their arrival here in the 1600s. John Winthrop, the Puritan lawyer governor of Massachusetts, wrote in 1630: “We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to overcome a thousand of our enemies; we shall be as a City upon a Hill.” And in 1637 upon the massacre of the Pequots in today’s Connecticut, Winthrop formally declared the first Thanksgiving.

The Revolutionary War and the establishment of the new republic was in fact a great victory of the invading Europeans over the hundreds of Indigenous nations who had lived on these lands for millennia. Westward expansion was a given, and by the 1840s, John L. Sullivan, editor of the Democratic Review, wrote that territorial additions were “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”

By the end of the 19th Century, domestic production exceeded consumption capacities. Continued profitability demanded overseas economic expansion as the new frontier. The McKinley administration, with the Spanish-American War in 1898 that acquired Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, and annexation of Hawaii the same year, launched what some call “the American Century.” Teddy Roosevelt soon took Panama from Colombia, opening the way to build the Panama Canal. The US was becoming an imperial power. In 1907, before becoming President, Woodrow Wilson wrote: “Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down.”

With victory in World War II and utilization of shocking new weapons of unspeakable cosmic violence, the US possessed a new cockiness. Its only obstacle was the Soviet Union, the product of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution that espoused socialism as the first comprehensive alternative to capitalism. Though the US knew the Soviets were exhausted after the war, having lost 15-20 percent of their population with much of its industrial and agricultural capacity destroyed, it was nonetheless deemed imperative to eliminate the threat it posed of inspiring a different economic model.

In 1948, George Kennan, director of the US State Department’s planning staff, secretly advocated an honest approach to our foreign policy: “We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. We cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our task is to maintain this position of disparity. Our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere. We should cease to talk about unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.” Shortly thereafter, secret National Security Council study known as NSC-68 asserted that the US had a unique right and responsibility to impose “order among nations,” and needed to “check the Kremlin” so that “our free society can flourish.” US policy, it said, “must foster a fundamental change in the nature of the Soviet system,” assuring “belief in ourselves and in our way of life.” Success or failure was framed in apocalyptic terms: “Fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself.”

From 1945 to the present, the US has militarily intervened nearly 400 times, covertly thousands of times, in more than 100 nations, bombing 28 of them. Virtually all interventions have been couched in noble sounding pretexts while the underlying rationale has been simply to thwart the restiveness of aggrieved peoples. Hundreds of millions have been murdered, maimed and impoverished in this quest, accomplished with total impunity. Today, we have military troops in over 150 countries, training programs in 180. This history is preceded by our earlier genocidal campaigns waged against the original Indigenous inhabitants to acquire “free” land, and against Africans to seize “free” labor from those who survived capture. The unspeakable genocidal foundation for US and Western civilization is systemic. As our nation’s fantasy, lies and myths are exposed, it is incumbent upon us to incorporate radical shifts in our eco-consciousness toward humility, justice and mutual respect.

We are living in an apocalyptic City on the Hill that seeks control of everyone and everything everywhere. It is a fundamentalism that has no equals. Simultaneously we are living during a time of extraordinary global consciousness shifts when we have the evolutionary opportunity to see the deleterious effects of our Way Of Life on all life, everywhere. Perhaps our modern day Puritanical extremists are a cosmic gift in disguise motivating us to comprehend the extreme danger our materialist values and policies pose for virtually all life on the planet. I believe that if serious threats are perceived, our species possesses an ancient survival mechanism able to motivate unprecedented corrective responses. Our 5-million-year evolutionary journey as a bi-pedal species has succeeded thus far through many adaptations. If we can call on the ancient wisdom of cooperation to replace the dominant cultural value of ruthless competition, then perhaps our species, and that of many others, have a chance.

What we have created we can uncreate. We are capable of creating sustainable, bioregional alternatives to the violence of civilization, choosing to withdraw our support from its oligarchic structures. To survive, we must take responsibility for extricating ourselves from complicity in the dangerous US American civilization which promises to destroy the Earth as we know Her, accelerating our rapid extinction.

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