Peace is one of the avowed objectives of the empire, that conglomerate of governments, military commands, financial institutions, corporate networks, media, think tanks and foundations that function cooperatively to rule the world.
In addition to high profile wars, the empire’s peace entails the covert activities of the 25,000 member Joint Strategic Operations Command (JSOC). It currently is engaged in “counter-terrorism” actions in 75 countries, according to MSNBC news, and operates at the whim of the President. Then there is the $53 billion U.S. spy network and its 108,000 employees. It includes the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which alone receives $15 billion annually in addition to its off-budget revenue from drug dealing and extortion. Much of what JSOC and the CIA do is too ugly to imagine.
Yet Christians are much more likely to support the empire’s way of pursuing peace than Jesus’ way. Perhaps we need to look again at how the empire packages its peace program and why it is so attractive to Christians.
The empire builds on a widely-held pessimism about human potential. Following Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century philosopher, it assumes that so long as people “live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war . . . of every man against every man.” Without that common power, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
The empire’s vision for peace has a global frame of reference. It recognizes the interdependence of everything and everyone on Earth. Obviously, a global, interdependent system requires global, interdependent management.
The empire values the benefits of unity. Like Babel’s builders, it understands that if it does not accomplish great things, make a name for itself and provide vigorous leadership, the global system will fall apart and the various pieces scatter.
The empire embraces diversity. It seeks men and women of every ethnic background and sexual preference to help carry out its unifying mission and enterprise.
The empire maximizes the efficiencies of scale. It is able to take the best ideas and apply them “across the board” in ways that benefit billions of people. It loathes reinventing the wheel over and over again.
The empire supports a principled approach to international governance. It opposes the use of chemical weapons in the waging of war, for example. In economics, it opposes the closing of markets, the limiting of competition or any restrictions in the free flow of capital.
The empire’s approach to peace is creative. As Karl Rove put it, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
The empire values coordination. Outliers and deviants may appear to be harmless but if they persist, others will imitate their divisive thinking. So it’s important to make them full participants in the system.
The empire’s pursuit of peace is comprehensive. The entire world has become a battlefield and so violent threats can come from anywhere. Thus, total information awareness is a priority.
The empire is cognizant of the dangers of blow-back; frustration and a desire for revenge drive people to do awful things. Still, it wants people to have a visceral connection to how dangerous the world really is. Thus, a key element of the empire’s peace strategy is the careful management of terrorism. The tension people feel should not be debilitating, but it should not recede entirely.
The empire recognizes the power of moral narratives to maintain people’s loyalty. Stories about protecting children from violence or making education available to girls are particularly effective in helping people appreciate the empire’s peace.
Spirited partisan disagreements will occur frequently within a democracy and the empire sees the value of this, especially if the disagreements are constructive. Certainly the legitimacy of the empire is better served by a debate about the debt limit than by liberals and the Tea Party teaming up to rein in the NSA or mock the President’s plan “to provide al-Qaeda with an air force” in Syria.
The empire understands the importance of keeping its secrets. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs but the guests don’t need to be in the kitchen to watch. In fact, when the empire’s media outlets are doing their job well, the fact that there is a kitchen slips out of mind entirely. So chill, enjoy the food, and don’t forget to pay your share of the tab!
“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19