Following the horrible attacks in Paris I can hardly listen to a radio talk show without “security” being an issue which is brought up. Greater security, more security, higher security… And always the means to achieve this desired “security” is presented as more bombings, more troops, tighter borders, more surveillance, more electronic snooping.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, we have millions of people who have been being bombed, shot at, beaten and starved for over a decade (and in many cases decades). And for what? Oil? Human rights? Really? How is security in the Middle East after all the bombing?
Here in the U.S. we have great, inordinate amounts of our tax dollars going to pay for the bombs, bullets, guns, planes, ships, oil, supplies, to keep the Middle East…what? What are we trying to do that has anything to do with people having a better, brighter or even a more secure future? Maybe a few oil and arms tycoons and some other government contractors feel their future is brighter as a result of all the spending, bombing, suffering and dying that’s going on, anyone else? In the meantime our domestic needs go begging.
So “security” in common media parlay of our time translates into more forceful restraint and control of (or destruction of) people. Why people? Because it’s people that are causing the problems. This is really a truth but not necessarily the people the media is blaming. So the worldly powers-that-be want to control the rest of the people. Here, there, everywhere. But let’s take a moment and look more closely at what’s happening. Are people, in general, behaving erratically? Is abnormal behavior running rampant? Are people, in general, all that untrustworthy?
While there is a lot of regrettable, horrible, short-sighted behavior going on, the fact is that in general, as always, people are trustworthy. We can trust, even rely upon people, all around the world, to by and large act in certain ways. To be healthy, people need to; eat, sleep, have shelter, be safe, love their families and be loved. To have the freedom and the means to engage in educational pursuits and some fun, recreational activities. In general all these activities and the work that needs to be done to sustain them are what the great majority of people around the world, everywhere, spend their time and energy doing.
When these activities are allowed and supported, when people are living and enjoying vibrant, vital lives, guess what? They aren’t out shooting up theaters or bombing stadiums. Things are, dare I say it, secure. And if some individual or group starts making noises about wanting to do such things, someone, a neighbor, friend, family member is likely to intervene, or even notify authorities. Law enforcement officers in such a culture find they are respected and supported by the community-at-large. Because it is obvious those planning hurtful, upsetting activities are not well, have somehow become unbalanced, and are threatening to upset the lives of the thriving community.
But when these common, essential, day to day activities are interrupted, when there isn’t work, isn’t food, isn’t shelter, isn’t safety, isn’t education to pursue or recreation to engage in, when loved ones and family are dying from disease, starvation or assault, when life has become torturous, more extreme, then people’s minds; thoughts and feelings, begin turning to less pleasant, more extreme options. In this scenario we can trust upon, rely upon, significant numbers of those suffering and desperate to come up with violent options as a path of action.
In fact, the extreme, horrible, devastating, events that are taking place seem to all emanate from the two ends of the economic continuum, the economic extremes in our world; the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. Would greater economic balance result in greater sociological stability? It’s not rocket science, of course it would.
So there we are. What do we want? People can, by and large, be trusted to respond in certain ways to certain conditions. If an empathetic, reasonable person can look at the conditions that exist around individuals who perform various awful actions (on either end of the economic continuum) and think; You know, I can understand how someone might think and act that way considering… well, there we go, we’ve figured it out. Again, it isn’t rocket science.
So, do we want real security, security we can live with? Then we have to do what we reasonably can to see all people have livable, enjoyable lives. And when someone wants to sell us on a product or service with a business plan or scheme which promises great, inordinate wealth by pulling great/inordinate amounts of money out of the individuals/communities around us (thereby creating inordinate poverty because that’s the only way inordinate wealth happens) we have to remind ourselves of the eventual cost of such behavior. We need to put economic regulations in place to prevent the extreme economic imbalance that leads to cultural instability.
Essentially there are two cycles we as inhabitants of this planet can set in motion. One is the cycle that is currently in motion. It’s motivation lies in greed, avarice, want, destitution, distrust, fear, and desperation. It has to do with some people thinking primarily about how to acquire more and more worldly wealth and how to keep it, while others try to figure out how to stay alive in the face of the obstacles the wealth takers have purposefully or inadvertently put in place.
The other is a cycle motivated by mutuality, trust, honesty, equity. It is a reality in which people realize the need to keep ourselves within certain parameters so that all may experience a life that is full, rewarding and enjoyable.
With the first cycle, those who end up having the most then become paranoid about others wanting to take it away from them. Which of course, they do. Because the inordinate poverty of many that the inordinate wealth of a few produces means that’s the only way for many to stay alive. So the few want to build a fortress world for themselves. Sooner or later every fortress made to support the inequity and imbalance that greed engenders is going to fall. Guaranteed. However, balance and stability, traits that can be achieved via the latter cycle, can simply keep going on. This is security.
In economic/wage terms, balance does not mean that everyone receives the same wage no matter what. That would not be a healthy situation for a number of reasons. There are other factors involved. But it does mean that the range of wage/income possibilities includes a reasonable, living wage/income even at the lowest rung.
Simply put, it’s a lot like living in a functional family in which everyone helps with the chores and no one takes too much from the dinner table.