I woke up this morning with that weighty subject on my mind.
I mean, literally: I woke up thinking about what was the main theme of the age. Hitherto I had intimated that it was Terrorism, but the terror is only a fervent detail of the theme that was in my head.
People have paid a great attention to the concept of jihad without coming to much insight that I can see. For me jihad is an important and interesting facet of a religious system that had a founder that led a military outfit and had to engage in battle to fight for his life.
In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the ancient Hebrew actually waged quite a few battles, and there are psalms about the Lord of Hosts. As we entered into the Diaspora, Rabbinical Judaism changed the tone of Jewish cognition, but there still remains many who see the world as a fight between the sons of lights and the sons of dark.
In the Christian tradition, Jesus lay down his life, for as Joe Stalin quite rightly pointed out, He had no army corps to lead into the fight.
The Lord Buddha did not engage in war, nor did the Jain saints.
There is nothing in any tradition that touches on the Terror of the Day, which is what we are witnessing. It is not jihad.
Fighting for one's life against one's own clansmen, the Quraysh, is fighting for existence, for one's life and the lives of one's companions.
Jihad always did and always will maintain a predominantly spiritual motif, regardless how bloodthirsty an entity as ISIS may act and how ravening they may rant.
So what is the Terror?
If it is not a religious jihad, what is it?
The Terror is the perfect dictatorship over mankind, an authoritarianism over body and soul, the acme of Power and Attraction..... of Prison and Human Values....
for as we are drawn to what we hold dear, we enter the trap of Power and are imprisoned.
All values are enticements to the snares of the powerful, and we shall only be allowed those toys and enticements which lead us to our prisons.
When did the joint exercise of Religion and Power begin in our lifetimes?
For me, when World War I destroyed the last vestiges of the divine right of kings, the phenomenon also arose of a state without Religion, the Soviet Union.
When this occurred, many states, and the USA in particular, began to define themselves at least in part with expressions of the basic religious nature of their existence. They told the story of their religiosity being a bulwark against the atheism of Communism.
Power was still king, but Religion now became an important political character, too. Religion had always been an important character of the story, but it had not played so blatant a political role before. Now Religion saw fit to become a king maker and to join the boys in the cigar-smoke-filled backrooms of power.
World War II in its ghastliness reinforced the victor nations identification with themselves as agents of the will of God - the USSR excepted of course, but they had already identified themselves as the agent of History, which in their opinion was better.
Throughout the Cold War era, Religion was always used as a prop for the rectitude of the West.
The West waged wars against Communism and there was always a mention of the threat to religious freedom. Thus, the religious were drawn more and more under the influence of those with Power... as if - given enough time - Jesus were to become pals with Caesar.
The only justification for these wars was (1) a threat to our liberties, and (2) a threat to our religious freedoms, and (3) rationales based on crude analogies to childrens' games: the domino theory.
Religion and Power in the West became so intertwined that there were strange examples of their intimate relationship, as in the bombing of Cambodia:
In his diary in March 1969, Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, noted that the final decision to carpet bomb Cambodia ‘was made at a meeting in the Oval Office Sunday afternoon, after the church service’.Wikipedia
"...after the church service."
What gods were they making obeisance to in that Lovecraftian church service?
Cambodia was one of many dress rehearsals:
From Pol Pot to ISIS: The Blood Never Dried
...A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.
According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of "fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders". Once Nixon's and Kissinger's B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of "Operation Menu", the west's ultimate demon could not believe his luck.
The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors "froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told... That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over."...
In the Middle East, the USA and NATO have assisted in the destruction of a secular regime in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban and Al Qa'ida.
The USA and NATO have destroyed a secular regime in Iraq, leading to disaster and chaos and the rise of the Islamic Caliphate.
The USA and NATO have assisted in the destabilization and civil war in Syria, a state with a secular Ba'athist background.
The future as conceived by Neoconservatives is a Perfect Dictatorship of the Righteous, where Power and Religion are in synchronous lockstep.
Yesterday I saw a bit on the news about some organization rating the religiosity of companies based on such things as whether they force their employees to work on Sunday.
This is Religion learning the ways of Power and Compulsion, and from history we can learn that when Religion battles with Power, Power wins and Religion takes on the face of the oppressor.
That is why we in the USA find anti-clericalism in Europe so quaint: we never really had much of a religious tyranny here in the USA as they did in Europe. People came to the Western Hemisphere to escape from religious Power.
We really do not know what it is like. So often we hear people chatter and prat that this country was founded on such-and-such religious principles and that this is a such-and-such a religion country... a litany of perfect oppression if we but give them a chance.
God and Politics do not mix. God is demeaned by the blasphemy and Politics is megalomaniacally inflated into a suicidal hybris.
The rulers of the world are not really opposed to ISIS. They know it is a momentary aberration caused by the swing of the pendulum far from their disaster in Iraq... but the pendulum will swing back again, and the only people really harmed are the Dead.
ISIS, like the Khmer Rouge, is but a very imperfect foreshadowing of the Dictatorship of the Righteous from the West.
First we wreak havoc from the sky, then the Pol Pots and ISIS come in and torture people on the ground, and at last the survivors will welcome the 1984 World of the Future...
... where the Harness of Power is absolute and the Yoke of Religion is sweet and we rejoice at the Bit in our mouths, for our pain is nothing compared to the suffering of unregulated freedom.