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Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XLIII–War. What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XLIII

Teotihuacan, Mexico (1988) Photo by author

War. What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

Today’s ‘contemplation’ is derived from a conversation on a Facebook Group post I was recently involved with[1]. I’ve been reluctant to write anything regarding the current Russian/Ukraine conflict due to the extreme polemic and emotional aspects such events create, especially in the early moments when people are reacting rather than reflecting[2], and the propaganda on all sides has been ramped up to warp speed. Nonetheless, here it is:

War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

So the Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong song goes[3], and this is especially true in times of overshoot given the drain on resources (which have for some time been encountering significant diminishing returns) that modern warfare entails. It is self-evident that military adventurism is heavily resource dependent, and a World War or even a significant increase in a ‘Cold War’ between geopolitical rivals will expedite the coming collapse of our global, industrialised societies as assuredly as a gargantuan ramping up of the industrial processes required to try and replace our fossil fuel-intensive energy needs with non-renewable, renewables[4] that many, even well-intentioned ‘environmentalists’, advocate for[5].

But depending upon one’s perspective, war can be quite good. In fact, fantastic. It is one of the longest lasting means throughout pre/history for a complex society’s ruling elite to maintain and expand power, gain access to resources, and with our current debt-/credit-based fiat currency monetary system and concentration of industrial/corporate ownership ensure gargantuan profits for a select few[6].

Many in the West have jumped upon the patriotic bandwagon to vilify Russian/Putin ‘aggression’ (conveniently ignoring/denying the ongoing aggression of their own elite over the years). This is not surprising given the slanted narratives they are provided by our politicians and their media mouthpieces on a regular basis to garner our support[7]. We are fed lies constantly through both omission and commission. Propaganda is everywhere, all the time[8].

There is a very good argument to be made (based upon history and context) that it has been the West’s ever-expanding encroachment towards Russian borders that has precipitated much of this[9]; to say little about the US-orchestrated coup[10] that led to the current West-leaning Ukrainian regime. And, quite naturally, there has been a full court press on to counter these arguments from US/NATO advocates[11]. The idea that it is unpatriotic to criticise or counter war ‘efforts’ is rampant. The ‘you are with us or against us’ mentality is everywhere. Of course it is nothing new to leverage our ‘natural’ tendency (what some refer to as tribal instincts) of patriotic feelings towards our nation state and her allies; it occurs both in and out of war time[12].

Is Russia innocent in any of this? Absolutely not; they are a nation-state based upon a ruling elite whose primary motivation is the control/expansion of the wealth-generation/-extraction systems to maintain their revenue streams and power/prestige like every other. The West’s elite (who are driven by the same motivation) have challenged the East’s elite and many innocents (the vast majority of the rest of us) are caught in the middle of this power play.

These people don’t give a shit about you or me except in terms of extracting labour and wealth to support them. But on some level they also need our consent to participate in such actions given how significantly outnumbered they are. This consent is, for the most part, manufactured by leveraging our fear of the ‘other’ and our sense of ‘patriotism’ — in this vein, we are sold all sorts of emotional narratives about ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘liberty’, ‘duty’, ‘evil’, ‘tyranny’, etc..

It’s all bullshit but because of our tendency to defer to authority[13] and to identify with the elite we imagine it is ‘us’, the ‘average person’, that the ‘other’ hates and wants to fight[14]. We end up standing with our elite ruling class and support/cheerlead their pillaging of the nation’s treasury (both ‘wealth’ and natural resources) to engage in war…while it is them who are profiting given they own the industries and financial institutions that have to provide the ‘loans’ and armaments. It’s all based on lies and manipulation. It is a racket, plain and simple, just as US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler argued[15].

In the meantime, it pushes us further into overshoot through its significant resource drawdowns and sink overloading — to say little about the environmental impacts should this go nuclear.

The best thing the vast, vast majority of us could do is not choose a ‘side’ but walk away from this insanity by not supporting it at all. Refuse to participate. Refuse to repeat their propaganda. Refuse their lies and manipulation. Don’t be a pawn in their game. Reduce drastically your consumption. Reduce your dependency upon long-distance supply chains. Relocalise as much as possible. Build your community’s self-sufficiency and -resiliency. Grow your own food. Trade with your neighbours. Support each other, not the ruling class whose interests and motivations have nothing to do with you, your family, or your local community (unless of course its sitting on natural resources they want).

Refuse to remain in the Matrix as much as possible.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/groups/460086781192413/posts/1213941985806885/

[2] Not that discussing cornucopian techno-fixes to our dependency upon fossil fuels with some is not — it can be very contentious, especially when one is attacked for being a fossil fuel shill/cheerleader for simply highlighting the problems that arise with alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.

[3] Although originally sung by The Temptations in 1969 and then rerecorded in 1970 featuring Edwin Starr, I personally was introduced to the song during my formative years of the 1980s and know it as a Frankie Goes to Hollywood one.

[4] Non-renewable, renewables is a term I have seen increasingly used by people to describe more accurately our energy harnessing technologies of solar photovoltaic, wind, and wave energy. The natural sources we are attempting to harness energy from are, for all intents and purposes, ‘renewable’ but the technologies used to harness and convert this energy to something humanity can use are not given their reliance upon finite resources, particularly the fossil fuel platform but also the many earth-based minerals that go into the components.

[5] From mining to mineral processing to transportation to reclamation and/or waste disposal, these complex energy-harvesting technologies require much in the way of finite resources and energy inputs, and add significantly to the overloading of our planetary sinks.

[6] See especially US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket (https://ia802605.us.archive.org/29/items/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket.pdf); but also https://www.nber.org/digest/jan05/economics-world-war-i; https://www.visionofhumanity.org/surprising-economic-benefits-peace/; https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/war-profiteering/; https://wri-irg.org/en/war-profiteering-and-co

[7] See Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (https://archive.org/details/HegemonyOrSurvivalAmericasQuestForGlobalDominance/Hegemony%20Or%20Survival%20-%20America%27s%20Quest%20For%20Global%20Dominance/) and his book with Edward S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (https://archive.org/details/pdfy-NekqfnoWIEuYgdZl).

[8] For an insightful, early look at the role of propaganda in the modern State, I would refer readers to Edward Bernays’s Propaganda (https://archive.org/details/BernaysPropaganda).

[9] https://www.vox.com/22900113/nato-ukraine-russia-crisis-clinton-expansion

[10] https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/06/03/how-why-us-government-perpetrated-2014-coup-ukraine/

[11] Claims and counter-claims about history and context, justifications and criticisms of events is common in such times.

[12] See ‘Patriotism’ and Manipulation of it by the State, that I wrote some years ago on the subject:

[13] Refer to social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s experiments on deference to authority: https://nature.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/article35.htm.

[14] Here I recommend Murray Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State for some insight: (https://cdn.mises.org/Anatomy%20of%20the%20State_3.pdf).

[15] War is a Racket (https://ia802605.us.archive.org/29/items/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket.pdf)

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