Terrorism in Paris: A Chance to Unify?

Posted By JMoser on 28 Jan 2015 – 8:14am in Biological Sciences, Biology, Ecology, Medicine, Public Health, Physical Sciences, Climate Change, Anthropology, Demographics, Economics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Terrorism/Crime/War | 0 comments
Shortly after 9/11, bedlam took place throughout the world. The stock market plunged, liberalization of laws designed to protect Americans from foreign terrorists such as the Patriot Act were instituted to rid the world of foreign Islamic terrorists, and a war was started against Iraq and Saddam Hussein who served as a convenient target to avenge the despicable act by terrorists. It was just 19 terrorists that led to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding, long lines in airports, the Iraq War, and ultimately a larger presence in Afghanistan. It led to more insecurity and made us question the very freedoms that has allowed us tremendous advantages as a civilized country. Disunity and an “us versus them” mentality gripped our world. We were determined to get rid of them, whoever they were.

The recent terrorism in France has sparked a tremendous bit of unity so far. Over a million people gathered in the streets of France to show support for the very institutions that we ourselves take pride in: the liberal democratic state, and its important set of values like freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. That sense of unity should involve all individuals of the world and not just the people in France. This is not a French problem; it is the human predicament of the twenty-first century. How do we keep from turning small events into wildly problematic events of epic proportions? Terrorists understand now that resonant waves of social pathology (as I call them) can and will bring the world to its most difficult set of circumstances we have ever faced: the possibility of a synergistic die-off.

Most notably, no high ranking official was present during the marches in Paris from the United States. Why? President Obama needs to give an explanation. He needs to tell us the reason why terrorism should be fought with the very values and norms that have made this country so great: due process and the need to give the very respect we give to our own people to all the people of the world. No more enemy combatants please Mr. Obama; we need all individuals throughout the world to receive the same rights that we all receive in this county. Please give access to the writ of habeas corpus to all, give them access to the Fifth Amendment and the rest of the US Constitution. Fight them with values not military might. Export our Constitution please, Mr. Obama, not our guns, tanks, and warships.

Nationalism and xenophobia have no business in the world of today which I call The Supercivilization. The Supercivilization was formed at the turn of this century and exists because we have exponentially increased interconnectedness, growing disparities in wealth, and a declining resource base. The paradox of individual power is weighing heavily on The Supercivilization now. What is the paradox of individual power? Even though we as individuals are so seemingly inconsequential (one of seven billion people), we have the overwhelming ability to influence all of humanity unlike our past. The terrorists in Paris and the terrorists of 9/11 intuitively understand our profound interconnectedness; we, especially our leaders, have not acknowledged this fact. We are now a Supercivilization undoubtedly.

The more we promote provincial values (and keep them provincially formulated in our minds), the bigger the trap we fall into. That trap is one in which we create an “us versus them” mentality. We have all come from the same ancestors 200,000 years ago in Africa; we are a species from one set of genes, not separate people with separate “Gods” who created us. The only thing that separates us is our stubborn views of reality: religious dogmatism and cultural superiority that in the bigger picture of humanity means so little. Why must we always assume it is “them” and not “us” that is causing these despicable acts of terrorism? Should we allow the Rupert Murdochs of the world to continue calling terrorism an “Islamic” problem? It is not an Islamic problem; it is a human problem or what I call the human predicament of the twenty-first century. The human predicament is dealing with the existence of the Supercivilization and the real possibility of a catastrophic die-off due to our stubborn desire to remain isolated and not become unified in our problem solving.

Humanism should now trump nationalism. All humans should work together to eliminate these despicable terrorists. We should not regard them as Islamic terrorists, Christian terrorists, or Jewish terrorists. It should be just “terrorists.” Period. Global humanism is about realizing that when we separate and resolve global problems at the regional, national, or even local level, we create artificial dividing lines that promote hatred and xenophobia without getting at the real problem: our inability to acknowledge our critical need to resolve extraordinary problems that we all need to address. Our global problems like climate change, terrorism, and resource declines are foremost. Let’s make the French terrorist disaster a unifying experience, not a dividing one like 9/11.