I have never met anyone who sincerely wishes other people harm. I believe this experience of mine must be common to all of us. We have never met anyone who wishes to vaporise others by lobbing a megaton nuclear weapon at them. We have never met anyone who would be fine with the idea that it is OK to spend resources on acquiring weapons which could have been alternatively used for feeding, clothing, and educating the hundreds of millions of humans deprived of a human existence.
I am certain that except for some notable exceptions, the vast majority of humans want to just live and let live. Among the general population, one category of notable exceptions would consist of those who are mentally pathologically sick. I will call that category “pathologically insane”. This cannot constitute more than a very very small fraction of a percent. They are sick and powerless to inflict much harm beyond the odd homicide or two. The other category of notable exception to the general benevolence of humanity I label “institutionally insane.”
The institutionally insane category consists of people who are outwardly quite sane. They are intelligent, well-groomed, have friends and families that they care for, are educated, well-respected members of society. That description would of course fit a significant percentage of humans. But those in the institutionally insane category have a bit more: first, they are powerful in ways that average humans are not. They have the power, which they derive through their position in some institution, to direct vast amounts of resources to whatever purpose they see fit.
And second, they have somehow lost the moral compass which normally guides average humans away from wishing and doing harm to others. Lacking common human morality, these powerful people use the institutionally provided resources to cause unimaginable harm to humanity.
Who are these people? They are the leaders of countries. They are the generals in those mega-powerful institutions called the armed forces of countries rich and poor. They are the captains of industries that supply the hardware for wars. They are the heads of research institutions that create and constantly upgrade the weapons of mass destruction.
If you start to think about it seriously, this is a crazy way of organizing the world. There are armies that are constantly arming themselves against armies. Every leader of every country and every general of every army will declare that they are only engaged in defense and are totally opposed to any offense. So if no one is really in favor of attacking anyone else, isn’t it insane that they still keep escalating the mega-tonnage of their weapons?
Why is the world caught in the grips of such madness? How did it arise? How will humanity get out of it? Is it even possible? Or is humanity marching towards a precipice and will eventually go over it and commit suicide? Will that finally satisfy the weapons manufacturers and the political leaders of advanced industrial nations?
I have my own answers to those questions. For now, if you have any interest in pondering these matters, I recommend this John Pilger documentary. It is about the “war you don’t see.” It draws from his experience as a war correspondent. He concentrates mainly on US and British TV reporting of wars.
He asks, “What is the role of the media in rapacious wars like Iraq and Afghanistan? Why do many journalists speak the drums of war, regardless of the lies of many governments? And how are the crimes of war reported and justified, when there are crimes?”
Near the start of the documentary, Pilger quotes Edward Bernays, a pioneer of modern propaganda and the inventor of the term “public relations.” Bernays wrote, “The intelligent manipulations of the masses is an invisible government which is a true ruling power in our country.”
The documentary is over an hour and a half, and well worth every minute of it. (You will find it on YouTube in seven smaller bits here.)
We need to remember this. People are bamboozled into supporting insanity — a constant state of war that the world is in — through misinformation and propaganda. That people can be brainwashed is not the most surprising thing. See how insanely people behave after being brainwashed into believing that if they kill non-believers they will end up enjoying virgins in heaven since that is what their one and only true god has decreed for all eternity.
The desert religions’ creators have known for centuries what Bernays realized.
At the risk being branded a bore, let me repeat what I have been saying. At last we have a way out of this madness. We have a way of knowing the truth. Truth shall set you free, goes the cliche. Actually it can — provided we are willing to sit down and listen attentively.
The way out is the education of the public about what is really going on behind the scenes. We have to remove our veil of ignorance and see how the institutionally insane are forcing the average sane humans to support their insanity.
We have a small window of opportunity. Thanks to the internet, and the world wide web, and brave tellers of truth, and whistle-blowers, and leaks, thousands of teachers and activities, we finally have a hope of putting an end to this insanity.
I close with a quote from John Pilger:
“We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”
[Hat tip: Thanks to Dinesh Dharme for the pointing me to the post on pulsemedia.org.]