The horrible terrorist attacks of recent months in Beirut, Paris, Mali, Nigeria, the West Bank and on the Russian plane are clear indications that the old approach to politics and economics that has resulted in a Death Economy is not working. It has become clear that violence only begets more violence, and that militarization does not offer protection against desperate people who are willing to commit suicide in order to kill others.
The world’s crises, whether they involve climate change, hundreds of thousands of wandering homeless refugees, or acts of terror are symptoms of a failed global system. It is a system that is based on killing people and destroying the very resources that drive the economy.
So How Should We Respond?
Answering that question is one of the main themes of my upcoming book, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man( February 2016), which can pre-order on Amazon.
In the book I point out that fear is used to paralyze us. Let’s not fall for it. Let’s instead convert our fear into courage. As we grieve the lives lost and move forward, let’s focus on the very thing that The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man emphasizes: a new approach toward a Life Economy that is based on alleviating hunger, social injustice and desperation among people.
It is an approach that is aimed not just at being sustainable but also on regenerating devastated environments, cleaning up pollution and creating new technologies for transportation, energy, communications, manufacturing, and banking that use available resources that can be recycled and do not ravage our planet.
We know that responding to horrific acts of violence with vengeance doesn’t work—it’s a vicious loop. So we have to create a new story that understands that there will always be fanatics, but they won’t get large followings if people feel empowered, that they’re being treated justly, and their basic needs are met.
It is imperative that we move in two directions. The people who are charged with protecting us can focus on short-term solutions for protection. The rest of us need to adopt a long-term response that strives to make the world a better place and creates a Life Economy. We must work on addressing climate change, hunger and other crises that are all connected to a failed system.
Terrorism is like a heart attack. We have to handle it immediately, but that’s not enough. We also have to look at diet, stress, or whatever else might have caused it and make changes. In this case, it is important to examine why so many young people from Western countries are joining ISIS. Why are others leaving their war-torn countries, finding refuge in another country and then attacking that new country that helped them?
The recent terrorist attacks were indiscriminate. ISIS is an equal opportunity killer. It kills Muslims, as well as Christians and Jews; but let’s not fall into the diversion of blaming religion. Those who identify with ISIS are desperate people who turn to fanatical leaders. A letter written earlier this year by U.S. veterans claimed that 6,000 innocent civilians have been killed in the Middle East by U.S. drones and that this has encouraged ISIS and other terrorists.
The veterans urged drone operators to refuse to fly such missions. These seasoned veterans understand that militarization is not the road to peace.
Thomas Aquinas said:
“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.”
We need more and more compassion. I suggest we develop an awareness of our own biases around race, religion, financial status, immigration, gender, and other issues, and work toward overcoming those biases. Listen to stories from people different from yourself, and make heroes of the people you find who are working to create a better world.
But compassion isn’t enough. In our current political cycle, look for candidates who are serious about creating a Life Economy or run for office yourself. Whenever someone criticizes you or tells you that the Life Economy is impossible, as you will often hear from the talking heads on TV and other war-mongering pundits, know that it’s a manifestation of the old Death Economy. Gather strength from their actions and let those actions energize you. Simply put, treat others how you want to be treated, and expect your country to do the same.
“The Golden Rule is just words,” says Rabbi Ted Falcon. “It’s living it out that makes these words a golden reality.”
Let’s promote lifestyles that are compassionate and spiritually and emotionally satisfying. Dream big and take appropriate daily action to make that bigger dream a reality. Share your thoughts on my Facebook post.