The Horrors of Reality: Moments & Perceptions of Imperial Civilized Life

The Horrors of Reality: Moments & Perceptions of Imperial Civilized Life

Jonathan Gillis

23 June 2013

Cultural Supremacy & Cultural Supremacists

One example of the horrors of reality engineered by dominant culture is that a conservatively estimated 3.1 million children, nearly half of who are under 5, die every year because of malnutrition.[1] What can be deduced of any existence of starvation (which is at least partly caused by drought, which is at least partly caused by ecological collapse and climate transformation, which is principally caused by dominant culture), given the enormous waste from the global food production system? In terms of abject extremism, it might be noted that the West generally, and specifically the imperial U.S., by way of its policies (legally declared or otherwise), institutions and institutional organization and activities, namely the dominant way of existence inherently, which is thoroughly popularized and normalized, and the precedents thereof, kills millions of people every year directly, and imposes conditions upon millions of others, which ultimately lead to their deaths. All the while of course, paying marketed lip-service to decency and mocking overtures of compassion and peace and the like.  “As much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2bn tonnes – ends up as waste every year” according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The cause of such waste is reported to be “unnecessarily strict sell-by-dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with ‘poor engineering and agricultural practices’, inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities.”[2]

One example of moment(s) and perception(s) of imperial civilized life is that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 emissions have passed an ominous milestone. The heat-trapping gas “reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million”, an upper limit of CO2 absorption not experienced by the earth in millions of years. Since the Industrial Revolution, “the burning of fossil fuels has caused a 41 percent increase in” atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.[3] A relational example is the largest movement of marine species experienced by the earth in two million years because of warming oceans. The implications are colossal. Marine species of plankton, algae, jellyfish, whale, and so forth, normally inhabiting subtropical regions, are migrating to the north-east Atlantic. “The last time there was an incursion of species from the Pacific into the Atlantic was around two to three million years ago” according to Professor Chris Reid.[4]

Living in a synthetic reality saturated with noise and light, and toxic pollution, surrounded by crowds of strangers, most of whom are cultural supremacists (constantly stimulated by corporate cultural devices, processes, experiences, and media), many of whom are abusive if not outright sociopathic, is inherently disorienting and disheartening. The spirit writhes in agony at the “human” experience, which appears and feels more like a sadistic experiment of an unwilling victim. Predator behavior asylums within a very broad spectrum of popular-social dominant culture. The dehumanization process is an authoritative device of perpetual motion. The mining of her individuality, of his creativity, of interesting aspects of their personality, or compassion and sensitivity towards others, like the extractive activities of dominant culture generally, never ceases.

King of What Remains of the Jungle

During moments of acute consideration, one finds any current given state of affairs horrific, and also surreal. To give one of a deluge of examples is hardly challenging. In South Africa, there are upwards of 5,000 lions held in captivity on over 150 farms, while about 2,000 live wild. That more lions are held in captivity than live wildly is surreal, notwithstanding the normalized domestication which contemporary civilization demands, which would be considered horrific, if we were not so desensitized to the destruction and desecration of life generally, and invested in the dominant cultural régime primarily responsible thereof. There are serious indications that “most breeders sell their stock to be shot dead by wealthy trophy-hunters from Europe and North America, or for traditional medicine in Asia.” This solicitous slaughter of confined nonhuman animals is termed “canned hunting.” The completely legal slaughter is conducted when a “fully-grown, captive-bred lion is taken from its pen to an enclosed area where it wanders listlessly for some hours before being shot dead by a man with a shotgun, hand-gun or even a crossbow, standing safely on the back of a truck.” For this particular trophy kill, the killer pays a sum from $7,600 to $38,000. In the past 20 years, wild populations of lions have declined by 80%. While perhaps not normative, “canned hunting” is but one example of a “growing economy.” Since it is completely legal for rich westerners from Europe and North America, “to bring a lion carcass back…as a trophy”, they have the option of spending some $76,000 to shoot a wild lion on safari in Tanzania, or electing to go with the more economical “canned hunt” in South Africa.[5] The significance of this sadistic practice is particularly revealing when weighed against the dominant culture’s misnomer view of the lion as the symbolic “king of the jungle” (notwithstanding the political incorrectness, namely that obviously not all lions are male gendered, also, apart from the imperial human interference with, and disruption of, the natural habitats of lions and the organic evolution of the species.) Like so many other species of life, advances in technics, namely the firearm, made short work of the lion, which used to thrive, roaming freely from Greece to India, Southwest Asia, all of Africa, and other regions. “The king of the jungle”, insofar and to the extent that any jungle remains, is reduced to captivity, to await murder by rich westerners who appease their perverted egos by mounting the “trophy” obtained by their act of murder on the wall of the their privately owned estate.    

In Kenya, members of parliament have recently voted to increase penalties for wildlife poaching, namely of rhinos and elephants, and trafficking, namely of ivory; the current punishment for killing a rhino for instance, and scalping it of its ivory horn amounts to less than $500. “To Kenyans it feels as if the country is losing the battle against poachers. According to the government agency, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya lost 384 elephants and 30 rhinos to criminals last year. By the end of May the official tally is 21 rhinos and 117 elephants, however many experts believe these are underestimates.” The situation is much worse in South Africa, where 350 rhinos have already been killed, or murdered, to use the operant term. The value of rhino horn has risen steeply, “a major reason for the ongoing slaughter of rhinos in Africa. Only 6 years ago it was valued at USD 4-5000/kg. Today it goes for ten times that amount and more in Vietnam. This week poachers will have made tens of thousands of dollars each. The combined weight of…eight rhino horns they took is approximately 24 – 32 kg. At these prices the challenge of halting the crisis seems remote.” There does appear to be one at least one case where wildlife poaching and trafficking is to a degree stymied, at least to a significant extent. “Like most rhino range states in Africa, Nepal is one of the poorest [countries] in the world, and it suffers from similar governance challenges. Yet they have managed to control the situation.”[6]

It should be added, that essentially every African state that is “one of the poorest countries in the world”, with their corresponding governments, has been made that way by the policy implementations and continuity of actions by Western powers; imperial neo-colonialism of Africa has been the foreign policy of the United States since at least 1945.

Defining Some Definitions and Contextual Meanings Thereof

A veterinarian once told me that the reason the U.S. waged war on Vietnam, was to defeat communism. Assuming his overgeneralized premise was correct, is it morally right, or at a minimum, morally justified to wage full spectrum warfare on a civilian population because the authority of their sovereignty (put differently, their culture) differs with, if not challenges that of, the dominant, aggressor culture? It is obvious that the answer is unequivocally no. Yet the veterinarian subscribed to the mainstream historical narrative that the U.S. was morally justified in killing millions of people to stop the spread of “communism”. Perhaps he would submit that the U.S. “lost” the Vietnam War, notwithstanding that it ostensibly achieved most, if not all of its strategic objectives, killing millions of people in the process. Incidentally, the U.S. has waged wars on diverse peoples and diverse cultures since its inception, with much the same results, in other words, mountains of death.

What is communism? In the purest sense, more precisely, adhering to theoretical usage, one definition would be: the activism geared towards generating a classless society, in which there is no private ownership and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community. So in other words, defined in this way, communism is little more than the legacy of the majority of humanity dating back eons. In this respect, a “war on communism” would be particularly insidious. It is important to note that this particular definition of communism, or a similarly affixed or synonymous expression, is what seemingly condemns the term and thus the inferences thereof, to the indefinite lingual detention of sociopolitical censorship; it being patently assigned a negative connotation, its introduction in generally any mainstream space or forum is immediately, and often fervidly, ridiculed. To say that true communism, understood to be as defined above, or nearly so, has never existed, is a false, albeit regular conviction from an inculcated imperial citizen. Communism, or socialism if you like, which, as defined here, does not imply government or any sort of hierarchical power structure, has existed for thousands, tens of thousands of years. It is clear why technic civilized empire would want to destroy such a social organization, or at the least, the credibility and thus desirability thereof. Wealth ensures power (there are no poor without the rich class), and with power comes dominance (those who own property, or land, insofar as there is a differential of ownership, dominate), and those at the bottom of the hierarchical sociopolitical power structure are merely exploitable, redundant cogs in the systemic division of labor, inculcated to behave much in the same way as the corporation (the hegemonic geo-monetary power structure, the super-monasteries of consumption, experience, and emotion), which is to say, insatiably hedonistically.

“The human value of productivity rests in its social purpose. Is the purpose to plunder the land without regard to ecological needs, fabricate endless consumer desires, produce shoddy goods designed to wear out quickly, pander to snobbism and acquisitiveness, squeeze as much compulsive toil as possible out of workers while paying them as little as possible, create artificial scarcities in order to inflate prices ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­–– all in order to grab ever bigger profits for the few?”[7]

Defined in quite a different way, communism becomes a word, with an operant definition, to describe the empire itself. If we say that communism is the systematic social organization of which all commercial and social activity is centralized by a totalitarian authority that is controlled by a single and self-perpetuating political party (i.e., democrats or republicans), well then, we essentially have with words painted a picture of contemporary U.S. Empire. Depending on the context, this definition could be inverted to form a technical definition, to inculcate the masses against the “Red Scare” of “communism” or the “communist Chinese”, and so forth. The same is true of the term “terrorism”. While the US conducts its trillion-plus dollar “war on terrorism” (really a global war of terrorism), it essentially engages in acts of covert and overt terrorism around the globe. Incidentally, when the U.S. or its clients commits terrorism, it’s termed “counter-terrorism”. Furthermore, these horrifically violent activities of high-low intensity asymmetric warfare do not “combat” or prevent microcosmic terrorism; the U.S. induces terrorism by radicalizing the victims of its terrorism to commit acts of violence against the U.S. and empire’s clients in a viciously assigned cycle of grisly violence. Perhaps an obliging analogy would be the essential detail that if there was not a wealthy class, there would not be a caste of poor. “National Security” is a term retched by pundits and politicians so often it suggests that were the imperial machine to be psychologically diagnosed, it may not be hyperbolic to state that the prognosis would be: criminally psychopathic. “National Security” is evoked whenever there is the slightest possibility that crimes committed by the imperial-corporate-state will be revealed and publicized; it’s almost like the corporate-state’s contrivance of “privilege” not to incriminate itself, similar to how many organized crime bosses “took the fifth” in 1951 Senate hearings. When the U.S. Empire commits espionage on every one of its citizens, and virtually anyone else in the world it can, via a massive quasi-secreted surveillance state, it’s not spying, it’s “national security”, keeping the “homeland” safe from “terrorists”. When a whistleblower such as, contractor for the NSA and ex-CIA technical assistant, Edward Snowden leaks internal documents and information exposing the illegality, legal intervention, and lawful counter-invention of neo-law(s) which are self-justifying and self-correcting, he is seriously investigated and charged with espionage. Put simply, when the corporate-government commits espionage, it’s not spying, when a whistleblower reveals that indeed the corporate-government is spying, he is charged with espionage.               

Words, their definitions, and the context in which they’re used are obviously important. Though with the deterioration of language generally, and intercommunication specifically, and the substitution with corporate mass communications, it seems the obvious is often hidden in plain sight, redefined, the importance being narrated over with the importation of formal, and formulaic meaning.

The Chemical Clouds of War

The indigenous of Vietnam are still suffering from the aggressive U.S. war which completely devastated the region and according to historian Nick Turse, terminated “2 million civilian lives, with 5.3 million civilians wounded and 11 million refugees.”[8]

Decades after the U.S. war, the lasting effects of the highly toxic Agent Orange defoliant, which was sprayed on entire swaths of countryside to deprive combatants of cover (or so the official explanation goes), are prevalent. Over “3 million people in Vietnam still suffer from the after-effects of the defoliant. In 2012, a baby was reported to have suffered health problems related to the defoliant, meaning a fourth generation of victims had emerged.” Incidentally, “the use of Agent Orange marked the first time the chemical was used in actual warfare.”[9]

A notable distinction reserved by the U.S., which, while not on the same order of magnitude, is certainly in the same realm as that of the two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945, incinerating tens of thousands of people immediately in each bombing run, inflicting tens of thousands more causalities in the aftershock and subsequent nuclear fallout. Until recently, the U.S. has all but refused to pay reparations to its victims in Vietnam, nor prevent further victims, namely by decontaminating the regions saturated with extreme levels of dioxin, and clearing the land of unexploded ordinances. “The U.S. has given billions of dollars in disability payments to American servicemen who developed illnesses associated with dioxin after exposure to the [Agent Orange] defoliant during the Vietnam War.” Nearly 40 years later, and the U.S. has begrudgingly made measured concessions. In recent years “Congress has appropriated about $49 million for environmental remediation and about $11 million to help people living with disabilities in Vietnam regardless of cause. Experts have identified three former U.S. air bases — in Danang in central Vietnam and the southern locations of Bien Hoa and Phu Cat — as hotspots where Agent Orange was mixed, stored and loaded onto planes.”[10]

The financial amount is so trivial as to be homicidally insulting, given the report that more than 3 million people in Vietnam presently suffer from poisoning of the region over 4 decades ago, a claim the U.S. denies. Even if we halve the estimated number of people still suffering from U.S. chemical warfare that ended over 40 years ago, that’s 1.5 million people suffering with disabilities of one sort or another; $11 million dollars amounts to pennies. In fact, the sum is far less than the $23 million the U.S. is offering as a “War© on Terror™” reward for information leading to the capture of a handful of militant leaders of combatant operations against the U.S., their allies and strategic interests in West Africa, including Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.[11] 

Furthermore, the $49 million allocated for environmental remediation, is again, wickedly minor, and has been narrowly allocated to the areas where the U.S. military had bases and landed, stored, loaded, and airlifted Agent Orange. “The U.S. military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971…The defoliant decimated about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest — roughly the size of Massachusetts — and another 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of crops.”[12]

In early 2004, “Monsanto and 36 other manufacturers [including Dow Chemical] of the poisonous” Agent Orange were slapped with “a class action law suit in a New York court…The plaintiffs and their lawyers deliberately chose the very same court that had previously presided over the only previous lawsuit brought against Agent Orange manufacturers, by US war veterans. Indeed, the same judge – Jack Weinstein [presided over] pre-trail arguments in the case. The original lawsuit was settled in 1984, when seven American chemical companies paid out $180 million to 291,000 people over a period of 12 years. The settlement was reached after Weinstein persuaded the companies to buy themselves out of protracted litigation. But the chemical companies refused to accept liability, as part of the settlement, claiming the science still does not prove that Agent Orange was responsible for any of the medical horrors its name has long brought to mind.” Those living in the vicinity of former US military bases, such as Bien Hoa, are among those particularly at risk of the medical horrors caused by Agent Orange. “Dr Arnold Schecter, a leading expert in dioxin contamination in the US, sampled the soil there in 2003, and found it contained dioxin levels that were 180 million times above the safe level set by the US environmental protection agency.”[13] Almost 40 years after the war, and little next to nothing is being done. Arguably, the only reason the U.S. has been, and is even, making insultingly meager reparative concessions to the people of Vietnam is to further strengthen and dominate hegemonic ownership of commercial markets. Digressing on that point, there is another environmental, thus humanitarian and economic scourge affecting much of Vietnam that the U.S. is responsible for.    

Sleeper Bombs

“American bombs, artillery shells, rocke

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