Empires Inflame Religious Extremism through their Own, Worse Extremism

Throughout history, as the various empires use overpowering ultra-violence to achieve domination over and profit from smaller, weaker groups, the empires have driven their victims deeper and deeper into their own extremism, as the victims try to maintain motivation for their usually hopeless resistance efforts.

Essayist Dan Sanchez here uses history to help us take a much-needed look in the mirror as we continue to look down our noses at smaller groups (that haven’t done a fraction of what we’ve done) and say they’re worse and we’re better (though, conveniently, we’re also better than every other group, too, in our fantasy world).

He gives the examples of the “Jewish Intifadas against the Greeks and Romans”, documenting how Jews were driven deeper and deeper into religious fundamentalism and extremism as they tried to resist the disgusting onslaughts of the Greek and Roman empires.

Sanchez also invites us to “imagine how Americans would respond if another country ever did to America what the U.S. government does to Muslim countries on a routine basis.”

The obvious response from US citizens “would be an armed insurgency” that would be “deeply Christian in character, and the more desperate the struggle became, the more dominant would be its religious aspects, and especially its most radically religious aspects.”

This is because resisting the overwhelming numbers and force of an empire, like ours, requires “the trans-mundane motivations and existential consolations that only religion can offer”.

Some of the resistance, he points out, “may come to match and even surpass the evils of [the] dominators, as ISIS and Al Qaeda may be said to have done”.

However, he reminds us, “the U.S. empire is still more murderous and evil than even these Islamist butchers, who are simply more forthright and less hypocritical about their crimes.”

Sanchez’s article also contains a powerful video by Ron Paul that puts US citizens in the place of the people in the countries the US continually invades, terrorizes, and destroys.

See the must-read Sanchez piece here.

Further, we should explore the religious fundamentalist/extremist elements of our own Western/US culture.

If we can achieve an objective perspective on ourselves, we might begin to notice the Christian fundamentalist/supremacist rhetoric and themes spouted by every president from Garfield on (all of whom were Christian of some denomination).  The rhetoric blends the Christian god and “America” together as supreme, ultimate entities that have a god-given right to inflict their wrath upon the world, which they do mercilessly, such as by knowingly smiting hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under the age of five.

Western/US culture has peddled the god-given state supremacy theme at all times throughout its history, regardless of what atrocities it was committing, from fascist slavery to wars of extermination and acts of genocide.

Read the rest of the article