Since spring has Sprung with a vengeance around here (See this, for example), I’m wearing my botanist duds and getting away from the computer quite a lot. Which is a good thing.
In the meantime, here are a couple of articles on the actions of the current Republican Administration. Someone said that was the calm way to have a discourse without empowering you-know-who, and I’m beginning to believe that True Names are those where ad companies send you revenue and eyeballs when your name is used. But I digress too much.
The title’s in reference to the Reichstag Fire. Hopefully it will make sense by the end.For those who need a refresher (me, for example), the Reichstag Fire was when the German Parliament building burned on February 4, 1933. While the cause isn’t clear, the coalition government (which, yes, included the Nazis) blamed the communists, said (falsely) that it was supposed to be a signal for an attempt to take over the German state, and pushed their president (who no, wasn’t Hitler) to issue an emergency decree repealing the rights to “assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.” It allowed the central government to overturn local laws, and ultimately ended up with the Fourth Reich and set the stage for the bloodbaths that followed.
We’ve seen any number of similar incidents, including 9/11. The central government, under the pretext of providing safety for its citizens from an unknown and possibly cthulhoid threat (anarchists, communists, terrorists, unspeakable horrors), uses an (apparent) attack as an excuse to institute a totalitarian state. If this is done by an authoritarian strongman and the legislative and judicial branches are too weak to resist, you end up with a totalitarian state.
The important thing is, the state doesn’t have to plan the attack. They simply capitalize on any event, such as a possibly accidental fire that can be portrayed as arson.
That brings me to my central point, a nice little article from Middle East Eye called “Climate Change: How Trump could become the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism.” The idea’s pretty self-explanatory. Climate change is one of the world’s great destabilizers, pushing millions of people to migrate and shaking the foundation of the nation-state idea, so by simultaneously denying climate change and pushing measures to exacerbate it, the current administration is not so paradoxically making terrorism more likely, despite their stated goal of wiping out terrorism. While I don’t think they’re explicitly cranking climate change as a way to provoke a terrorist attack on the US, I’m pretty sure some of them figuratively have the polished jack boots waiting in the spare bedroom with the relevant paperwork stuffed inside to help them keep their shape. They’re probably praying for such an attack (because US Presidents at war always get re-elected), but they’re doing little more to encourage an attack than to look incompetent and unready for any emergency. Unfortunately, they don’t have to do more than that (cf 9/11).
And yes, terrorists do think about climate change. For example, take the following quote: “You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.” That accusation was published by one Osama Bin Laden back in 2002, as part of his justification for the 9/11 attacks, not that they reported this in the mainstream media. Of course, the US Pentagon used to say similar things (pdf link) until the current administration took power.
But intentionally or not, destabilizing the globe and looking weak is a great combination for trying to start a Reichstag fire, don’t you think? There are so many possible conflagration sources, it’s like a damned match factory. It’s hard to figure out what ordinary people like us can do about it, too. My one little suggestion is that organized non-violent opposition tends to do a better job toppling dictators than does armed insurrection. So maybe add that kind of training to your disaster preparedness kit?
3 Comments so far
Leave a comment