Monday, May 2, 2011

Finding the Right Negatives, Part I: The Roots of Terror

The "usual suspects" in the media and the government have not been slow to point out all the negatives associated with the death of Osama Bin Laden. To name a few, 1) Al Qaeda has become decentralized and taking out even a leader of mythical status at this point will do nothing substantive, 2) Bin Laden has become a mere figurehead in recent years, 3) elements in the Pakistani government were almost certainly aware of Bin Laden's location for years, 4) President Obama will use the terrorist's death to bolster his falling popularity, so on, so forth.

There are, of course, reasonable responses to all the objections. For example, 1) the death of a leader of Bin Laden's stature is a great morale victory — an army that is winning tends to continue to win, even against great odds. 2) A figurehead is a symbol, and a very important one. Its (his) loss is beyond cost for world terrorism. 3) If World War I taught us anything, it was that, even with the knowledge of a foreign government's collusion in a criminal act or an act of war, such as the assistance given by the Serbian government to the assassins of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, your government might find it worthwhile to look the other way. 4) Of course the leader in charge when a victory is realized will capitalize on it. President Obama would have taken the blame for an effort that didn't succeed. He can be permitted to take some credit for something that did.

The real negatives as we see them are something more substantive. Personally, this writer finds rejoicing over someone's death, even over someone like Bin Laden, a little out of place. Not as out of place (read "disgusting" or maybe "despicable") as the jubilation over the deaths of thousands of innocent people, as shown by the laughing, clapping, dancing and singing that took place in some countries on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, but still not quite the thing. Bin Laden was clearly guilty, and a sense of relief, and a firm resolution to bring an end to all forms of terrorism is not only reasonable, but commendable. Just tone down the partying.

That's just an opinion, however. The real negatives are 1) the belief that eliminating the terrorist means eliminating the causes of terrorism, and 2) convinced of (1), no one will be inclined to look at the economic justice principles of the Just Third Way as a potential way to remove the root causes of terrorism forever.

We content that the failure of economic justice throughout the world is a root cause of terrorism. If we're right, then it's not only necessary to stop terrorists in their tracks by whatever legitimate means necessary. It's essential that steps be taken to implement a more just and humane future for all in the form of an economically just society embodying the principles of economic justice.

We haven't stated these for a while on this blog, so it might be useful to do so today. Obviously, we've covered the application of these principles at great length, especially in the proposal for a Capital Homestead Act by 2012. In light of the significance of Bin Laden's death, however, today we should look specifically at principles, and the applications in subsequent postings this week.

First, the Kelso-Adler principles of economic justice. As we state in our "Just Third Way Glossary" (we're leaving in the references so that you'll go to the source instead of being spoon-fed):

Economic justice is a subset of social justice. It encompasses the moral principles that guide people in creating, maintaining and perfecting economic institutions. These institutions determine how each person earns a living, enters into contracts, exchanges goods and services with others and otherwise produces an independent material foundation for economic subsistence. The ultimate purpose of economic justice is to free each person economically to develop to the full extent of his or her potential, enabling that person to engage in the unlimited work beyond economics, the work of the mind and the spirit done for its own intrinsic value and satisfaction. (See Work, Leisure.) The triad of interdependent principles of economic justice that serve as the moral basis of binary economics are the principle of Participation (or Participative Justice), the principle of Distribution (or Distributive Justice), and the principle of Harmony (sometimes referred to as Social Justice)

As for the "Four Pillars of an Economically Just Society" (assuming you don't have them memorized):

1. A limited economic role for the State.

2. Free and open markets within an understandable, just, and unified body of law as the best means of determining just wages, just prices, and just profits.

3. Restoration of the rights of private property, especially in corporate equity.

4. Widespread direct ownership of the means of production, individually or in free association with others.

The rest of this week (and possibly beyond) we'll look at how these principles might be applied in, e.g., the Abraham Federation, as a way to root out the causes of global terrorism.


No comments: