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Recognizing Why the Military Industrial Complex Exists. . .
To Create, To Build, To Compete. . .
There is much talk of why the military industrial complex exists in its current form. Ranging from corporate interests, political interests, money, resources, and blood lust, the subject matter is the cause of much debate. However, there is little talk of why the average citizen seems to have a sentimental attachment or interest in the said industry. Many of us are simply subconsciously addicted to the "war economy." We may even find the whole concept fascinating or an interesting guilty pleasure. I admit I'm guilty of much the same. If the day is boring, there's nothing like a military conspiracy or a neat-o piece military technology to rekindle my interest. Does that make me a psychotic maniac? Or is there an understandable affection within the darkness of this militarized world?
The Hunger to Create. . .
Let's face it, there is much creativity involved in the military industrial complex. It fits mankind's hunger and desire to create. In both Canada and America, we live in a land where the people simply don't value conventional creativity. Those who are naturally creative, and technologically savvy, can't help but to awe at all the elegant aviation designs witnessed in the military industrial complex. We're caught in a trance at the breathtaking scene of ingenuity and discovery. An artist, while perhaps consciously voicing his displeasure of how creativity is being wickedly used, cannot help but to subconsciously be dazzled over the only economy left in both America and Canada where he can be creative.
You can tell a lot about a nation by how it treats it's artists. And sadly, here in both Canada and America, we treat our artists like collective dirt. In America, only 3% of the population purchases any art. We mock our artists, calling them any label we can think of from "starving artists," to "communists," to "hippies," etc. The overall population, perhaps through jealousy, seemingly takes pleasure in seeing art destroyed in our society and artists suffering. Like a pile of jackals, they laugh together at the very idea of artists being poor and a failure, in some inept way to propel their own self confidence as they deal with their own inferiority complexes, all because their desk job is too boring.
At this point, our often young and disenfranchised creative (and technologically savvy) male is struggling to find a place in this world. . . At this moment in life, he's most likely both consciously and subconsciously beating himself up because he's only average at best in mathematics. He wants to do art, but at the same time, he doesn't want to do art. Why do something not valued by society? So he thumbs his nose down into the hardcore mathematics, thinking through sheer tenacity he can somehow overcome his biological "artsyness." Reality soon befalls him: nature always beats nurture. You simply can't turn the right brained artist into a left brained corporate calculator, no matter how much you deny your very nature by doing nothing but math, and leaving your art completely behind. The artist can't leave you, and the mathematician can't become you. You're still struggling with mathematics despite doing mathematics ten hours everyday. Then comes a moment when your mind innocently slips and you start to doodle some landscape. Your frustrated math tutor says the following, "wow, I didn't know you could draw so well, I never see you draw." Indeed, I never drew for up to six months until that point. During that same six months, I did nothing but math, math, with a pinch of science, and more maths. I shrug my shoulders in disgust, how is it I can still be a great artist, despite being out of practice for six months, yet still struggle with mathematics?
At this point, your heart and mind is consumed with rage. You look up glaringly at the sky with the eyes of hopelessness. "Why God, why, did you have to make me a bleeping artisan in Westernized society?! Is this some form of punishment?" Of course, you never get a straight answer to that question. After failing yet another math exam, you bow your head in shame, realizing a life in the daft "service industry" of low wages and customers treating you like a dog animal is all that's left for you. . .
You take the crappy day job in the service industry, and find yourself wishing you were struggling with mathematical algorithms again. Is there anything more soul killing for a creative person? The service industry, a world where you're told how to talk, walk, what to say, etc. and cancel out your mind in the name of being a human drone with the mission statement to get a smiling disposition from the customer. The customer who owns you, and you're very much their slave, where they (the customer) can pretty much do anything emotionally they want with you without consequences.
Then you get your peanut gallery commentary from your well meaning, but misguided friends. . . "I still think you should get back into art," she says, "I understand it's competitive, but you're very good." Competitive? Art? Today? Don't make me laugh! The competition in the market right now is so weak it's ridiculous. Don't believe me? Take a look of a painting done back in the 1700's compared to the "modern art" we see today. Whose the better painter? The 1700's had artists of greater talent because there was simply more competition. There was more competition why exactly? Because art was valued back in the 1700's; that isn't the case today. The market isn't competitive, it's bare. When you have a guy telling me he can't afford to pay two dollars for a copy of a poem he likes, yet no more than five minutes later he buys a seven dollar McBurger that's a danger to his health both mentally and physically, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what exactly Western society values and doesn't value. . .
When you hit rock bottom; that interesting job offer by the military suddenly becomes more attractive. Between the mindless service industry jobs; and clients who refuse to pay for art (even despite numerous comments how they love my work) if you go the entrepreneurial route, a chance to use at least some creativity and interesting technology to make a living becomes appealing. Your ethical qualms that your creativity will be used for destruction slowly start to vacate when your stomach growls. You're hungry; you check your wallet and find twenty dollars. You have zero in your bank account, and payday from the McJob is still three days away, so you stay hungry and keep the twenty dollars for a rainy day. Wait, isn't it already raining? Alright, a day of thunder and a tornado. At this present moment you accept the job with the military industrial complex. And so yet another military industrialized complex young male is born; this is truly why the military industrial complex exists. . .
You soon discover that believe it or not, the talented artists of our time are often in the military. I guess this explains why the paint jobs and designs on military vehicles, ships and aircraft put civilian artists to shame.
The Satisfaction in Building. . .
Ever since I was a little kid, I loved to build things. When I was five, it was sand castle forts that were taller than me. When I was eight, it was a tree house. When I was eleven, it was a science fair experiment/simulation of an entire city getting washed away in erosion due to a levee dam failing (my first sign that I had the ability to pick up future trends?). At fourteen, it was a mortar made of cardboard with a potato as a projectile. You get the picture. . .
Oh dear, my right brain, I can't make it depart me. I love to make things, build things, and create things. While applauded as a child; my lack of anal analytical ability and rote memorization made me impossible in High School. Test taking was the name of the game; and I'm a lousy player.
For the kids who can't master the left brained test and thus can't get into college; yet love to assemble things together, the military industrial complex unfortunately satisfies their appeal of a deeply seeded human passion: the desire to build and construct. All of the technology present in the military, the ingenuity, the devices, etc. There’s so much to build, so much to maintain, and so much to operate. Sadly, this can seem like a playground to the many of us who love to play with gadgets; that sometimes we can forget what it's actually used for. . .
The Desire to Compete. . .
The reality is people love to compete. Let's face it, we're addicted to competition. Humans love to compete in sports, in board games, in video games, in the classroom, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it! Healthy and fair competition is a good thing. I love competition. I love to win, and love to challenge myself when I lose.
Unfortunately, war is the most unhealthy and unfair competition around. Very rarely are the two sides evenly matched, and the loser dies, but it does still supply our passion as humans to compete none the less.
So there you have it; that's why mankind is addicted to the military industrial complex and to war. War supplies our three greatest passions: to create, to build, and to compete (by blowing up the other guy's sand castle). War also provides humanity's forth greatest passion: to have sex and to reproduce, because let's face it, according to history people have a lot of sex after the war is finished. So wars cause us to create, build, compete and reproduce. There's human evolution right there all summed up in a single sentence. Many scholars are arriving to the same conclusions: that war is necessary for human progress and evolution. However, is that so? Remember, correlation isn't always causation. . .
Is War Necessary for Progress and Evolution?
Today's Military Industrial Complex Fills a Void. . .
The military complex of today is merely filling in a necessary human void. The economics of capitalism has long abandoned its artists, artisans, engineers and scientists across both Canada and the United States. The private sector has simply outsourced the ability to eke out a living in these fields due to "globalization." There's nothing we can hope to do, which allows us to compete with the Chinese or Indians in these fields. The Chinese and Indians are numerous; and can live comfortably on adjusted currency of only a few USD per hour. As I outlined in many of my articles, jobs in the intellectual fields such as art and science are highly vulnerable to outsourcing because they make use of universal languages. Globalization is a game were the rules are so heavily stacked against the Canadian or American worker; that you would be better off tip-toeing your way around it rather than facing the beast directly.
The military industrial complex serves such a purpose. It represents a bypass to the rules of globalization. A government run complex generates revenue from taxes, and thus doesn't have to compete downwards in the quest for cheaper and cheaper prices. It's a completely different economy with a completely different set of rules. It's this unorthodox war economy, not subjugated to the rules of capitalist globalization, that keeps the scientists, technologists, engineers, etc. employed. If the military industrial complex were to be dismantled tomorrow, we would face millions upon millions of unemployed people.
There was a time private industry supplied employment for the nation's men who demonstrated the following traits I have outlined in this article. Now, with the extinction of industry, the military industrial complex is all they have left.
Anti-Globalization is Anti-War
I believe that simply desiring, advocating, and protesting for a world without war isn't enough. A person who wishes to see a world without war succeed must have the wisdom to realize that such a world has to be manifested. That is to say, it isn't enough to be anti-war, you must advocate for an environment that makes being anti-war a real possibility. It's a lot like gardening, you must tend to soil beds, water the plants, pluck the weeds, etc.; in order for a healthy plant to grow.
You see, the dark scholars have it wrong, war isn't necessary for human evolution. There's nothing that war supplies that couldn't be supplied through other means. Unfortunately, the garden bed that's globalization prevents us from moving forward.
If we could put a stop to globalization; and bring industry back here, the men of this nation would put their passions to create, build, and compete in the name of production, rather than in the name of destruction. War isn't necessary for human evolution, there's no reason why the free market can't provide the same level of innovation, but it involves a change in mindset. That change in mindset involves achieving greatness rather than cheapness. I say we close down the cheapness trap door. We're simply better off without globalization concepts. Throughout history, globalization has never worked. As I explained in my article, Globalization in a World Order, globalization isn't an environment conductive to peace. The inter-dependency and entanglements of nations creates causes for war as nations lose their independence. Nations, who have their entire industrial complex outsourced, must immediately replace it with a sickening military industrial complex, if they hope to not lose any of their scientific and technological advancement. When put together, increased nation inter-dependency and nations losing entire industries that must be replaced by a military industry; that's potentially a rather toxic mix. Do you truly believe peace can be conceived with such a chemical alignment?
We must put an end to globalization, in order to bring industry back; and thus hand people an alternative to the military industrial complex. To be anti-globalization is to be anti-war.
-Donovan D. Westhaver