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The Splendid Blond Beast (Excerpt, pp 286–287)

See For The Record Read­ing List for more about The Splen­did Blond Beast.

Who then, or what, is the splen­did blond beast? It is the destruc­tion inher­ent in any sys­tem of order, the insti­tu­tion­al­ized bru­tal­i­ty whose exis­tence is denied by cheer­lead­ers of the sta­tus quo at the very moment they feed its appetite for blood.

The present world order sup­plies sta­bil­i­ty and ratio­nal­i­ty of a sort for human soci­ety, while its day-to-day oper­a­tions chew up the weak, the scape­goats, and almost any­one else in its way. This is not nec­es­sar­i­ly an evil con­spir­a­cy of insid­ers; it is a struc­tur­al dilem­ma that gen­er­ates itself more or less con­sis­tent­ly from place to place and from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

Much of mod­ern soci­ety has been built upon geno­cide. This crime was inte­gral to the emer­gence of the Unit­ed States, of czarist Rus­sia and lat­er the USSR, of Euro­pean empires, and of many oth­er states. Today, mod­ern gov­ern­ments con­tin­ue exter­mi­na­tion of indige­nous peo­ples through­out Asia, Africa, and Latin Amer­i­ca, main­ly as a means of steal­ing land and nat­ur­al resources. Equal­ly per­ni­cious, though often less obvi­ous, the present world order has insti­tu­tion­al­ized per­se­cu­tion and depri­va­tion of hun­dreds of mil­lions of chil­dren, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Third World, and in this way kills count­less inno­cents each years7 These sys­temic atroc­i­ties are for the most part not even regard­ed as crimes, but instead are writ­ten off by most of the world’s media and intel­lec­tu­al lead­er­ship as acts of God or of nature whose ori­gin remains a mys­tery.

It is indi­vid­ual human beings who make the day-to-day deci­sions that cre­ate geno­cide, reward mass mur­der, and ease the escape of the guilty. But social sys­tems usu­al­ly pro­tect these indi­vid­u­als from respon­si­bil­i­ty for “autho­rized” acts, in part by pro­vid­ing ratio­nal­iza­tions that present sys­temic bru­tal­i­ty as a nec­es­sary evil. Some observers may claim that men such as Allen Dulles, Robert Mur­phy, et al. were gripped by an ide­al of a high­er good when they pre­served the pow­er of the Ger­man busi­ness elite as a hedge against rev­o­lu­tion in Europe. But in the long run, their inten­tions have lit­tle to do with the real issue, which is the char­ac­ter of social sys­tems that per­mit deci­sions insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing mur­der to take on the appear­ance of wis­dom, rea­son, or even jus­tice among the men and women who lead soci­ety.

Progress in the con­trol of geno­cide depends in part on con­fronting those who would legit­imize and legal­ize the act. The cycle of geno­cide can be bro­ken through rel­a­tive­ly simple—but polit­i­cal­ly difficult—reforms in the inter­na­tion­al legal sys­tem. It is essen­tial to iden­ti­fy and con­demn the deeds that con­tribute to geno­cide, par­tic­u­lar­ly when such deeds have assumed a man­tle of respectabil­i­ty, and to ensure just and even­hand­ed pun­ish­ment for those respon­si­ble. But the temp­ta­tion will be to accept the induce­ments and ratio­nal­iza­tions soci­ety offers in exchange for keep­ing one’s mouth shut. The choice is in our hands.


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