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The Supreme Court and Little Lord Fauntleroy What Muslims Must Do After 7/7

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Back to Business as Usual

by Christopher Chantrill
July 12, 2005 at 3:53 am


ALTHOUGH the 7/7 London bombings, coming a day after the award of the 2012 Summer Olympics, were immediately interpreted as a cruel trick upon Londoners, It was really an appropriate culmination to a week of modern ephemera. The week of 7/7 began with a Live8 concert at which young people could blame their parents for tolerating world poverty. It continued with demonstrations by the usual crew of lefty anti-globalists and a meeting at which the world’s leaders endeavored to prove that their concern for Africa was at least as great as Dickens’s Mrs. Jellyby’s concern for the natives of Booriaboola-gha. Then there was the award of the 2012 Olympic Games to London, and finally the bombs-in-subways artistry of the terrorists.

Consummate political actor that he is, Prime Minister Blair hit his marks flawlessly right through the week, culminating with a sad but firm insistence to the terrorists that “It’s through terrorism that the people [who] have committed this terrible act express their values and it’s right at this moment that we demonstrate ours.”

By the weekend things had returned to normal and The Guardian was relieved that nobody had

spoken of retaliation or reprisals against other countries or sections of society. For it is crucial not to indulge in the rhetoric of a clash of civilisations, legitimising revenge attacks on Muslims and driving the many into feelings of marginalisation that will breed despair and strengthen the hand of hatemongers who find their recruits among the weak-minded.

We could now get on ordinary life leavened with a “rigorous and fair implementation of existing laws combined with heightened public vigilance” and sidestep any question of a bigger conflict.

The editors of The Guardian are right. Even the American philosopher Lee Harris admits it:

After the London bombing, I feel more than ever that the war model is deeply flawed, and that a truer picture of the present conflict may be gained by studying another, culturally distinct form of violent conflict, namely the blood feud.

The blood feud is not a fight to the death but rather a form of private justice in which “you are avenging yourself on your enemy for something that he did in the past.”

But there is another way to understand war on terror and the actions of the Islamic terrorists, namely in the rebellions of the Plains Indians and the Chinese Boxers against the western imperialists in the nineteenth century. The frustrated young men of the North American plains developed a cult of Ghost Shirt dancing and the young men of the East Asian plains developed a cult of Spirit Boxing as magical ways to stop the bullets of western rifles. But of course the western rifled bullets were the least of their problems.

The real power of the global capitalist democracies is not in their weapons or their wars on terror but in the power of their social organization and social technologies. From this view the war on terror is a tactical diversion, part of an ongoing effort to keep the Middle East’s oil resources out of the control of a single despot. Meanwhile the advance of global capitalism rolls on, with the real action taking place in China and India.

The great drama of the last millennium is the gripping tale of the global shift from a human economy based upon the ownership of physical capital, principally in control of arable land, to a new human economy based upon the ownership and deployment of human capital, principally through the agency of the limited liability company. At the center of this global shift has been a revolution in the relations between the people and their rulers.

In the old days the land was central and the people were a cost, subjects useful only in keeping the land productive. But now the people are a resource, citizens valued for their productive power, and the resources are a cost. Modern powers compete in an arms race of human resources and global productivity.

It took a while for the two great centers of human culture to cotton onto the new world order, and the cost in human misery has been great. For India it meant two and a half centuries of humiliation under the tutelage of the British, and forty years of subsequent misdirection. For China it has meant a two-hundred-year time of troubles.

But while the peoples of India and China have got with the program, the rulers of oil rich Arabia have not. To them the terroristic young men of Islam are surplus population, an unnecessary cost.

The genius of the United States has been to take the surplus populations of the world and transform them into a global middle class. The world waits upon Europe to get on with the business as usual of doing the same for the surplus populations of Arabia.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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