Archive | September 2014

Myths of violence & militarism in Ferguson, Missouri

What’s logical about combat-ready police forces, composed mainly of white officers, marching a phalanx of tactical military equipment (supplied by the Federal government), against a community made up of over seventy percent African-Americans? Absolutely nothing!

Think of Ex-President GW Bush’s actions in a monolithic display of Militarism. The American people had to be prepared to allow their patriotism to build, until the Occupation of Iraq began in 2001. The Bush Administration used lies, cover-up, inaccurate intelligence, and Right-Wing bravado to bring a rhetorical threat into an actualized action on the ground. It should have been labeled Operation Impossible!

Think of the rhetorical craziness that erupts when you proclaim a righteous War on Terror. In philosophical terms and semantic terms how can you have a war on terror? Terror isn’t a nation. Terror has no land. Terror has no soldiers with a specified area to protect. Terror is a non-enemy when defined this way. But Militarism succeeds where logical semantics can’t establish a base camp, in the popular culture.

Militarism supplies the fertile ground for hysteria, pseudo patriotism, nationalism, fascism in the nation of state-supported combat & violence, & always the use of force against the perceived enemy. If involved in any way in this system, one is an integral part of the deception, coercion, military oppression, and collusion to perpetuate the system, keeping it alive and moving.

Wink sees The Myth of Redemptive Violence (MREVIO), as being the primary template on which historical violence has occurred. In contemporary culture, this mythic image is projected through cartoons, movies, video games, websites, digital content, comics, books, fairy-

Tales, and other media systems. Children have already inculcated much violence-conditioning prior to going to the Primary Grades. It contains the same patterns as the Marduk story that comes from the mythic history of the gods in the Babylonian Empire. Interesting enough, there are many instances where both the hero and the villain are killed, but are resurrected again. This sends a message of the cheapness of life & death in a world of chaotic violence.

In the Marduk myth creation itself is an act of violence: order must come through chaotic violence. In the Babylonian myth violence is simply a primordial fact: “…its basic mythic structure spread as far as Syria, Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Germany, Ireland, India & China” (p.46).
He continues (p.48):
In short, the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the story of the victory of order over chaos by means of violence. It is the ideology of conquest, the original religion of the status quo. The gods favor those who conquer. Conversely, whoever conquers must have the favor of the gods. The common people exist to perpetuate the advantage that the gods have conferred upon the king, the aristocracy, and the priesthood. Religion exists to legitimate power and privilege. Life is combat. Any form of order is preferable to chaos, according to this myth. Ours is neither a perfect nor a perfectible world; it is a theater of perpetual conflict in which the prize goes to the strong. Peace through war; security through strength: these are the core convictions that arise from this ancient historical religion, and they form the solid bedrock on which the Domination System is founded in every society.

“Social commentator & theologian Robert Jewett points out, this vigilantism betrays a profound distrust of democratic institutions. It bypasses constitutional guarantees of legal procedure in arrest, or the tenet that a person is innocent until proven guilty” (Ibid. p. 50).

The kind of militarism and neglect of basic civil rights has happened many times. Several Ferguson, Missouri Police Officers came into a fast-food restaurant, and a reporter was in the restaurant eating. While he ate, he was also trying to get one of his pieces of equipment into a bag. The police yelled at him to clear the restaurant, and he replied he was a journalist; when he didn’t come after the first warning, they burst through the door, grabbed his arms, put them behind his back, and tied his wrists with plastic handcuffs, dragging him out into the street; eventually, he was freed by the police when it could be verified that he was a journalist.

If this can happen to a journalist, what other tactics might the police use, especially towards African Americans involved in some protests that turned into melees; or perhaps someone was running away from the riot scene due to fear of arrest or injury.

The constitutional freedom of assembly was treated as though the peaceful protestors were marching on the City Hall with the intent of heaving a bomb in the front door. The marchers were civilly disobedient; later on, as darkness descended, the police lined up in battle gear heaving tear gas and possibly other incendiaries at those they thought were instigating other protestors. With this kind of situation usually there are some police infractions (because they’re leading by the seat of their pants, and they’re damned stressed-out)!

There may be illegal searches, there may be illegal obstructions of justice placed in the way that hinder citizens’ rights of “due process.” There may be illegal arrests & holdings, there may be planted evidence to arrest trouble makers, and get them off the streets.

In short, police militarism takes matters into its own hands of violence, placing itself above the law. Trashing the Civil Rights of folks who, deeply saddened by Michael Brown’s unjust murder. Ferguson teaches us once again that implementing The Myth of Redemptive Violence will only cause a reactionary response that after all, is simply an archetypal story that has been tacked on as so central to our human nature, that it seems natural, and it can be rationalized in a simplistic, non-thinking way to preserve the public order.

In other words, our national religion has established a salvation through identification—the identification of the Marduk myth; a person’s fortunes are tied explicitly to the Hero-Leader. This means that even if some Americans disagree an Administration’s political policy, they will go along to get along, because it makes us feel ecstatic when we feel the brain-chemistry swelling of nationalism & patriotism & superiority.

Ultimately, understanding more about The Myth of Redemptive Violence may be countered by the use of Critical Thinking skills, and demanding to know the sources of supposed fact; then we can begin advocating for officials to “give up” what they know by serving the will of the American people. Take a look at your own worldviews (the essential lens of how you view the world & its systems)