Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Serenity of Modern Warfare

The successful execution of America’s Eternal War of the Empty Policy does not require toughness or resolve. All that is needed is for those in charge to achieve a sublime state of moral nihilism that transcends the division between good and evil.

In this elevated state of moral nihilism, consequences no longer exist. The dead are not dead; the maimed are not maimed. It is an ethical void scrubbed clean of the gore that is war’s traditional aftermath. In this netherworld dead children, who really aren’t dead, continue to play in the streets under the loving gazes of their mothers, whose limbs haven’t been blown off. Dead fathers returned from their destroyed factories and the family sits down to its evening meal even though its home has been reduced to rubble. Life goes on, no matter how brutal the bombing.

Slaughter is sanitized. A clean-cut young man sits at his laptop somewhere in Nevada and with his mouse directs the course of an unmanned drone until a collection of hovels is in his sights. He clicks the mouse and in a flash, the hovels are no more. He closes his laptop, goes home to his family and gets a good night’s sleep. He’s put in a good day, and as he sleeps he is blissfully unaware of the death and destruction he has wrought.

Moral nihilism works best in value-free individuals. This emptiness is achieved when the ties that bind an individual to family and community are severed. Into the void that remains pour the facile symbols of the state, symbols that are effective because they have been stripped of their original meaning until they are empty shells that resonate with meaning in individuals who are also empty shells. The best example of this is the flag lapel pin. This once proud symbol of freedom and democracy now signifies the moral void that has made us a hegemonic wonder to behold.

To reach its peak efficiency, moral nihilism requires an environment in which nobody is in charge. Instead of a single evil mastermind, there is a collective mass consensus that is more reminiscent of a pool of toxic sludge than a grand conspiracy. Its driving force is a blind momentum that drifts along more from habit than resolve. Any attempt to think outside the box is thwarted because the box is constantly growing and expanding so the mind is never able to step outside of its confines.

Language, stripped of passion, is the medium of this moral nihilism. The language of the nihilist doesn’t sing, it drones. Here is an example of its poetry:

A cluster bomb delivery will be examined to determine the optimum configuration of bomblets from a maximum probability of destroying the target.

The power of this passage rests in the absence of a child attracted to an unexploded bomblet. Nowhere is there a photograph of the child after the bomblet has exploded. The prose sits in a state of pure innocence which reduces war to little more than a pushing and shoving match.

But, do not think for a minute that our moral nihilists are totally lacking in compassion. Leo Tolstoy had them in mind when he wrote:

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means except by getting off his back. Of course, if the man throws me off his back, I have no choice but to kill him so the contagion of his freedom doesn’t spread to other carriers.

A savage brutality once drove war. Now it is driven by the serene barbarity of the civilized.


Ivan Hentschel said...

Warring, conquering, besieging, brutalizing,beating into submission...none of these have changed in the eyes of the victims. And the aggressors lost their nerve endings and moral compass long ago. The difference today is that war and brutilization have become like using a Wii to feign exercise or consucting street battles or mythological wars using a video game: now,like nearly everything else, it is all done by remote control, and using an HD TV screen. Oppressors no long have to get their hands dirty to do their dirty work.

Case Wagenvoord said...

Keeping their fingernails clean makes oppress and brutality just another job description.

Ivan H. said...

Appearance and style are everything...especially when you are drinking double chocolate mocha lattes while working the keyboard.

danish said...

Wearing flag lapel pins is not a big thing ...!!

custom pins

tice said...

her response visit directory our website my blog you could try here