A Fool’s Paradise Is a Wise Man’s Hell
The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen incredible progress in science, technology, art, philosophy, morality, and more. Not only that, but we can
access all that knowledge and wisdom from a device we carry around in our pockets. We have even transcended modernity according to many progressive thinkers, and moved into the “post-modern” era. There is no need for a religious messiah; we have carried ourselves into paradise, albeit a fool’s paradise. Truly these are enlightened times; the realization of humanity’s universal values.
These enlightened values are a force in themselves. John Kerry, the American Secretary of State reacted to Russia’s invasion of the Crimea by telling Russia “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.” The times, according to Kerry, dictate behavior. In a similar fashion, the new Prime Minister of Canada, when asked why a fifty percent female cabinet was important to him said, “Because it’s 2015.” President Obama, reacting to the Islamic terror attacks in Paris stated that “this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
It seems those values aren’t so universal.
Muslims make up over twenty percent of the earth’s population. While we can assume that most don’t support violence on the scale of the Paris attacks, if we look around at the world’s Muslim-controlled regions, we can see that they operate with different values than the ones adhered to by Secretary Kerry, Prime Minister Trudeau, or President Obama.
But it would be wrong to assume that the problem is simply Islam. Christianity, followed by Islam, developed the concept of the religious enemy (in contradistinction to the political enemy). All non-believers are sub-humans, and bereft of rights. In early Spanish South America, for example there was a
“…common practice of snatching [native] children from their mother’s arms and throwing them to be devoured alive by dogs, or smashing them against the rocks and throwing them to die in the mountains. The usual way to kill native leaders was in groups of thirteen, in honor of Jesus and the twelve apostles!”
The rape, torture and mutilation of native women by the Spaniards differed little from ISIS’ contemporary treatment of Yazidi and Christians. This contrasts with the Biblical rules of war for dealing with captive women, where such women were given a month to mourn for their captivity, and could not be sold or enslaved. And even the idea of
capturing a woman was considered evil. It seems that a set of morals accepted over three thousand years ago is more enlightened than the values of a large part of humanity today.
Morality is not linear and progressive, especially if we are charting the behavior of mankind. It is a jagged line, soaring to phenomenal heights and astonishing depravity. We cannot expect the passage of time to elevate people’s behavior. There are no universal values that we all share, whether in the realm of political autonomy or the human right to life. It’s a fool’s paradise to think otherwise. Ask Vladimir Putin about the Crimea. Ask ISIS about the rights of captives. Ask a Muslim imam for an unqualified condemnation of the Paris terror attacks. To use “universal values,” the “twenty first century” or the year being 2015 to formulate strategy is to walk from a fool’s paradise straight into the hell of Paris, Madrid, New York, Washington, or Buenos Aires… A wise man understands we are already there.
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