Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:25
Originally written: 07 June 2006
Starting on Friday, 2 June, 2006, the RCMP has made 17 arrests to thwart an alleged made-in-Canada terrorist plot in the Toronto area. The alleged terrorists are apparently all devout, and mostly young, Muslims.
Religion substitutes a fantastic afterlife for an unsatisfactory life. This substitution, in part, distracts people from the causes which make their lives unsatisfactory. Although some people look at society around them, and consciously choose religion’s magical solutions, for most, religion is simply learned from their parents.
There has never been a time when modern society (the past few thousand years) has worked in the interests of the majority. There have probably been few times when young people, before being properly broken, did not recognize this at one level or another. Many young people have a gut feeling that “something” is wrong, but cannot articulate and do not understand the nature of that “something.” They are adrift, seeking answers. This is nothing new, even though historically young people seem to have believed that they are the first generation to see problems and seek answers.
Still very powerful today in Canada, and to a lesser degree in the United States, religion tends not to intrude much into the rest of our lives. Therefore society is generally seen as secular. Disillusioned youth rebel against that secular society, seeking refuge in the waiting arms of religion. This direction is aided by a coincident anti-science movement, and by a general lack of intellectual rigour in everyday social analysis. Religion can provide a sense of belonging. This need to belong is well known and well used to control people.
Religionists put religion outside the scope of reason. Religion is accepted as normal. Religion is indefensible. Therefore criticizing religion is considered distasteful and not practiced in “polite” company. To criticize religion could terminate long term friendships. Less secure friendships are even more likely to be destroyed. So people do not criticize religion, and it continues, indefensible, and sheltered from reason.
Any concept which must hide from reason is dangerous.
Religion cowers from reason, or thunders its opposition to reason. Therefore its teachings, or the teachings of groups within it, or the beliefs cultured by small groups of religionists, are not subject to the revealing light of intelligent analysis.
Religions are divisive. People allow themselves to be divided up by religion. Long before the general fear of Muslims, currently being fostered in countries which are not majority-Muslim, Christians feared each other — feared losing friendships at the very least. Notably, in Northern Ireland, a Christian can be killed for being Protestant or for being Catholic.
Perhaps, as has been alleged by some, Islam is a religion of conquest. Christians have had their share of conquest, as well. Today, no matter what is written in the Quran, Islam is used as a pretext or justification for terrorism. There are people who believe that the actions of “the West” cause suffering to Muslims, or defile Islam, or are simply wrong. Those who also believe that slaughtering infidels is a solution are plentiful enough to be extremely dangerous. Let us also not forget that there are Christians who have no apparent moral difficulty with killing doctors who perform abortions, or with participating in the daily slaughter we know as war.
Christians speak of their god’s laws superseding the laws of man. In other words, if human laws conflict with the laws they impute to their god, Christians believe that the human laws are justifiably ignored. The people who believe this are people just like you. Maybe they are you. These Christians are the people with whom you work, attend concerts, dine, drink, play sports, and otherwise interact daily. Most are not likely to shoot a doctor who performs abortions, but that is perhaps a failure of religious devotion on their part.
In any case, just as Christians believe that the laws of man are inferior to their god’s wishes, so do Muslims. So if a fervently religious Muslim can be convinced that their god sanctions killing infidels to avenge some perceived wrong, the only real difference between the Muslim terrorist and the everyday Christian is that the Muslim is more devout.
The very concept that there is some supernatural power to which humans owe fealty, and whose whims override anything, is anti-human and extremely dangerous. It does not matter if a religion alleges that it promotes peace. The faithful of the Christian religions which speak of “turning the other cheek” have at times been rather bloodthirsty.
Finding exhortations to, or justifications of, murder in the Christian Bible, as an example of a religious “holy book”, is almost trivial. The Christian god is a gruesome, murderous, genocidal killer, which, according to their Bible, commands humans to genocide.
shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17)
Vex the Midianites, and smite them: (Numbers 25:17)
When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;It is the explicit policy of religions that religious law overrides secular law. If someone can be convinced that a god has ordained that the faithful should kill infidels or doctors who perform abortions, the aspiring murderers have the prior approval of their religion that secular laws are inferior to religious faith. Whether one branch of a religion might not sanction killing infidels or doctors does not change the fact that even those branches do approve the concept that faith overrides secular laws.
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: (Deuteronomy 7:1,2)
Once that threshold has been crossed, the rest of us must hope that the faithful do not decide that we fall afoul of their religious perspective, because no pretense of morality stands between their faith, and our death. Unfortunately, most religions seem to have at least a theoretical aversion to anyone who does not follow their religion. History has proven that this aversion can be converted into millions of deaths.
Into this environment throw young men, and sometimes women, angered by some perceived wrongs, introduce them to others, and through the technological miracle of the internet, bring them all together with bomb-building instructions. It is not reasonable to expect that there will be no home-baked bombers.
The solution is to end the wrongs instead of continually apologizing for them and assuming that because they cannot be fixed under capitalism, they cannot be fixed. When the wrongs have been eliminated, the bombers and their religions, which are responses to those wrongs, will also disappear.
You probably cannot wait for socialism to deal with this crisis. For well over one hundred years people have not been able to wait for socialism, and have — at best barely — managed to deal with many crises. The crises return, over and over again, in slightly different forms perhaps, but with basically the same cause. There is always a crisis under capitalism.
Socialists do not pretend, as the supporters of capitalism pretend, to offer solutions which will solve the crises under capitalism. Capitalism’s crises cannot be solved under capitalism.
“Rights” and “freedoms” have been suspended to attempt to address the crisis. More “rights” and “freedoms” will be eliminated as part of the “war against terrorism.” Eventually, perhaps, the terrorist attacks will subside. But how much less free will you be?
No matter what the experts and leaders and armies and police do, it is extremely likely that terrorists will kill more people in North America. The experts and leaders and armies and police will tell you that. They want to prepare you for the expected failure of their approach. There is nothing you can do, under capitalism, to eliminate terrorist attacks. Preventing even one terror attack is desirable, but there will be a cost.
Socialists are not going to stop the “war on terrorism” today, because capitalism, after breeding the problem, demands a “solution.” Socialists are not keen on being slaughtered by terrorists of any ilk, so we hope that capitalism has some success. We also hope that the “solution” is not overly destructive. The supposed cure could be worse than the illness.
None of us can afford to wait for socialism. The problems are too severe, too demanding, too deadly, and too terrifying. Capitalism’s Gravediggers urges you not to wait for socialism. Every moment you wait extends the reign of terror. Start working for socialism, now!