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Tuesday 24 November 2015


This blog directly relates to the last one.

Having thought about it, I think there is definitely a solution to the terrorist problem. Also to a lot of other problems. This is where it gets a little...esoteric.

The reason why the solution won't be applied isn't due to over-complication. It's the opposite. The solutions are too simple. They're also somewhat counter to human nature, which is not to be confused with humanity.

(If you need a definition as to why they're different: humanity the hand that helps you up, where human nature is the other hand that goes through your wallet at the same time.)

My solution is three steps, and step one is a constant one for me:


Poverty causes, and is a catalyst for, so many other issues that it is impossible to argue that a global reduction of poverty (even a small one) would be a bad thing. It isn't just about having money, or even the things that money can buy you. It's about security.

I'm not saying that the current Capitalist world-model is a good one, and it certainly isn't the best one. My problems with that would fill a couple of blogs in and of themselves. Fact of the matter is, though - if agenda continues to be set by those with plenty of money, and the infrastructure of society is fueled by such money, then people having more of it increases equality in a very lateral fashion.

Extremism breeds in environments of stress and tension. Intolerance thrives in such environments, though it is far easier to spread to more comfortable locales. If the environments that people live in are made better, if lives are improved, then there's less hostility to go around.

You'll notice I am not distinguishing between areas of the world when I talk about this. That's because extremism and intolerance can exist in any country, and feeds the extremism and intolerance of those it antagonises, creating a feedback loop of backlash. "Violence begets violence," Dr Martin Luther King Jr. told us, and he was right.

The second step in our solution is actually aided by the first one:


While a decrease of poverty should naturally lead to better education as a natural process, a concerted effort to educate people better would be invaluable.

I don't necessarily just mean book learning here. Being able to parrot long words or knowing how to say basketball in Spanish or memorising sulphuric acid's chemical make-up. All these things are good, but knowing is not understanding, and understanding is key.

I was taught a lot of very useful things as I grew up and in my early adult years, but there was a lot more I had to pick up myself, and yet more that I haven't worked out yet. I was taught something about religion, and something about history, and the tiniest amount of economics - but nothing about politics, nothing about mental health, very little about how to be okay with my own company and how to avoid being drawn into the bad crowds I was told constantly to avoid.

It's hard. I know it's hard. The fact is, though - this is 2015. I am sure there must be some way in which we can teach without brutalising, traumatising or dehumanising. There must be.

With a wider base of knowledge and understanding, not only of ourselves but others, then it is far harder for the kind of thinking that allows for terrorism and its associated backlash to take root. Not impossible, but far harder.

Again. I do not distinguish on nationality or locale here. This is universal.

As step two was helped by step one, step three benefits from both:


I've talked about this before. A while ago, but still.

To take a step away from my socially responsible language, we are shitty to each other all the time. We're shitty to each other in a lot of ways - some passive, some active. Some people's shittiness is more effective than others - they have more pull, more to gain, more to lose.

Direct shittiness is thankfully relatively rare, but still exists. Being abusive for whatever reason or over whatever perceived slight. Wishing harm and death on people, and trying to make that happen. This kind of shitty is hard to stop without changing the way people think and feel (see steps one and two), but it can be done.

It is large-scale indirect shittiness, however, that causes the real damage.

Here's some of that indirect shittiness: if a UK arms manufacturer sells something to someone and they default on the repayment, the loss is underwritten by UKEF, a government-funded export credit agency. That means, it comes out of our taxes. Effectively that means that if Gun Company A wants to sell guns to Warlords 1, 2 and 3, they don't have to care about whether or not they will actually get paid. If Warlords 2 and 3 default, then we, you and I, pay to cover their debts.

There was talk about stopping this back in 2012. But then there was talk of stopping this back in 2000 as well, so...

How is this indirect shittiness? Well think about it. Using funds provided you by the taxpayer to allow the arms industry to flog hardware around the world with little worry of being shafted? How many of those sales that have been shored up with our money have put weapons in the hands of the people we happily call terrorists? Literally not caring enough about where the guns end up, as long as we just keep selling them, even to people who can't pay.

That happened in a different market, recently. It happened with houses. In the US. In 2007. It caused the financial crisis that we are currently existing in right now. The crisis that makes it all the more bitter that what little money we have is still being used to hedge the bets of munitions firms.

More indirect shittiness: most policy decisions we have made to do with the Middle East. Starting from year zero. Hell, imperialism as a whole and the superiority complex we have as a result has done us literally NO favours, ever. Some of that I would argue is direct shittiness, but the attitude we have now is formed on centuries of action that we had little to do with but still carry with us. Again it is the powers that be that dabble with this shittiness, drawing the lines of demarcation in Palestine, handing out support here, handing down financial punishments there. Governments use other countries like sandboxes, and then wonder why the citizens of those countries get all pissed off.

That may sound like I'm sympathising with terrorists. Understand this: I hate what they did, but that doesn't mean I can't draw a line of causality from why. Do I agree with them? No. Do I agree with what our governments have done? No. They're not mutually exclusive.

Yet more indirect shittiness can be found in the media. It sells papers to be extreme, to have eye-catching headlines, to appeal to the controversial in society. Fanning the flames of intimidation and tension leads to viewers which leads to more Good Things, and because they don't care about the irresponsibility of their actions and who may suffer as a consequence, they continue to be shitty to other human beings.

And more indirect shittiness...well, that falls at the feet of normal folks like you and I.

See, the things described above - they are huge acts of dismissive callousness. But that callousness has to come from somewhere; and if we allow for small cruelties, large ones soon follow.

Society in general looks like it rewards kindness and compassion. It doesn't. That's the message that is put out, but the reality is that it rewards inversion, huddling down against the cold alone and letting everyone else cope for themselves. As small groups and families and communities we stand together, but any further than that - nothing.

If we cared more, if we reached out more, then there'd be less anger and hatred and loneliness and fear in this world. All of the soil that extremism grows in - here and abroad - would be lessened. Lessen the soil, lessen the crop; and the returns would only increase.

The thing of it all sounds so wishy-washy and hard to achieve because...well...we all know people aren't like that. Nobody believes in the things that would reduce poverty, because that means redistribution of wealth, or adjustment of current living conditions. No one wants that. Fuck those worse off than me, I don't want to be worse off. Refugees? Charity starts at home. Charity? I've got enough to worry about.

It's an austerity mindset, an enclosed and fearful mindset. It is people unwilling to help the whole because the one is more important. It's a mindset that we are born into, live in, die in. As I said earlier, it is what society wants of us.

In the end, we have made a very uncomfortable bed. We've done a lot in the past that is coming back to bite us in the present and will continue to bite us in the future; and the only way out of it is to stop making the same stupid mistakes we keep making, fix the holes in the cieling we keep ignoring, and actually do something for our fellow people.

The crying shame is that the only time the sympathy comes out is when people die. That's what it takes: the corpses of innocents.

There's our solutions. There they are. Simple concepts, achievable concepts, if only people would DO THEM.

But they won't.

Not until it's far too late.

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