It is no secret to anyone who stays even minimally aware
of the news of the world that there are just now crisis
events heating up throughout the globe. The usual
“hotspots” are particularly active, including, Europe,
the Middle East, Central Africa and Asia.
Of course, there are always crisis events on the planet,
those which are human-induced and those which come
Of the latter, there has arisen a certain complacency,
particularly in the United States and Europe, that the
catastrophic effects of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes
and floods, however costly, can be routinely repaired, and
that epidemic outbreaks can be contained and resolved.
Medical advances employing antibiotics and other drugs,
it has been assumed, could treat or cure any epidemiological
threat . Such was the case of the AIDS epidemic some years
ago, and its eventual treatment as a chronic disease and not a
But new diseases keep coming, and the experts are now
warning us that the antibiotics that we do have are becoming
less and less effective. In a growing number of cases, they are
not effective at all. The new Ebola epidemic in Central Africa
appears to be spreading at an alarming rate, with no cure in
More alarming, perhaps, are the catastrophes created by
human beings in persistent hotspots where ethnic and
religious hatreds, rivalries, persecutions, depraved, violence
and irrational behavior intrude on or dominate daily life for
many millions of victims.
Natural disasters exist in the three dimensions in which we
usually perceive them. The human-induced disasters,
however, are increasingly becoming four-dimensional, that is
to say, the element of time has become part of what disorients
our understanding of this pathological human behavior.
In nature, a disaster happens, and natural conditions arise to
repair or contain the damage. In the history of “modern”
global human behavior, however, the disasters of violence,
conflict, and persecution persist over centuries, even millennia.
This “tribal” behavior of humanity is carried from generation
to generation as if it were DNA.
In Africa, South America, and Polynesia, tribal holocausts have
been part of those continents' social history as long as there is
recorded memory. In North America, it existed before
Europeans came to this “new world.” (A classic case was the
deliberate and brutal annihilation of the Eries tribe in the 16th
century by the Iroquois tribes. Only artifacts remain of this now
extinct tribe.) In Europe, where dominant tribes which became
“cultures,” ‘’religions,” and “nations,” this “civilized” continent
did ruthless work of its own, persecuting and mass murdering
Armenians, Kurds, Rusyns, gypsies (who originated in northern
India), Zoroastrians, and many other groups, including, of course,
those quintissential people of persecution, the Jews.
For more than a thousand years, the Jewish people were enslaved
terrorized, hunted down, ghettoized and murdered in Europe,
mostly in the name of religious rivalry. After a brief “liberation”
in many (but not all) parts of Europe in the 19th century, so-called
anti-semitism revived in a depraved frenzy of murder-Holocaust
that became the profound and enduring shame of Western
civilization. After the revelation of the Nazi extermination camps,
the post-war world vowed cliches of “never again!”
And here we are in 2014, only 70 years after Auschwitz and
Dachau, witnessing mass anti-Jewish demonstrations
(sometimes, but not always, disguised as protests against
the Jewish state of Israel) in the most “advanced” cities of
Europe, including London, Paris, and Amsterdam. (To their
credit, the top leaders in Germany and France are doing
something more than verbally denouncing these
demonstrations, but the manifestations of anti-Jewish
feeling persists.) So much for even the short-term memory
of Europeans. “Never again,” indeed.
The Europeans’ real slogan is “Again and again.”
Totalitarian North Korea is even more sinister than an
Orwellian novel. Totalitarian Cuba, Venezuela and other
Central and South American nations are now in a second
century of betrayal of Simon Bolivar’s anticolonial
revolutions. It does not stop. There are short bursts of
apparent relief from the prejudices, hatreds, and violence
between groups, but they always seem to come back in
The human world is once more upside-down. Unlike nature,
humanity does not seem to heal itself, to put its disasters
behind it in fossils, tree rings, the strata of the earth.
Human scars are re-opened routinely over time, giving
hope and optimism little with which to build a truly new
and healthier civilization.
I have suggested many times that humanity’s true modern
innovations, representative democracy and free market
capitalism, are the only way forward, but there are signs
everywhere, including in democratic capitalism’s own
centers and by many of its own “intellectuals,” of
weariness and frustration with the “indirect action” of
the rule of law, legislation by debate and compromise,
majority rule, and the transparency of all government to
root out endemic waste and corruption.
This cynicism, weariness and frustration are the ingredients
of the next mega-disaster of the human species on this
aging planet hurtling through space.
It’s a planet captive of an aging star (which is called the
“sun’), and on its surface there are tribes of creatures
who somehow and seemingly miraculously have been
mastering the intricacies of “physics,” “mathematics”
and medicine,” but somehow cannot master themselves.
Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.