Yet throughout time immemorial, a constant has always been manís progress away from our primitiveness and animal instincts. Of course progress and human behavioral evolution do not change overnight. It takes thousands, even tens of thousands of years for our behaviors to evolve away from our animal urges and passions. We are, therefore, still very much the animals we have for centuries distanced ourselves away from. Our animal instincts are the symptoms of our disease; our thirst for blood, violence and war, our passion to dominate and selfishly exploit, the ceaseless hunger for territory and resources, the need to procreate. Revenge, fear, love, hatred, selfishness, greed and violent manifestations of unfettered anger all owe their existence to our inability to control Ė along with our denial Ė our animal selves.
There is no doubt we have come a long way. Our ability to control our violent selves has given way to a greater respect for human life. We are no longer the methodical killers we once were or the inhumane punishers of yesteryear. We respect laws, institutions and a personís right to life. Humanityís progress has changed a lot of things for the better considering the incessant pursuit of violence scarring our historical existence. The growing concern for human rights is a great leap forward and a natural and inevitable step in our civilizationís evolution.
Progress and humanity are not mutually exclusive. Only on rare occasions do we take a step behind, regressing back to earlier times. The more natural inclination has been a progress towards better and greater things. This inevitability arises because of the greater enlightenment of mankind as we progress as a civilization. It cannot be stopped. To try and halt what is humanityís move toward greater progressiveness is to mettle in powers beyond manís control or understanding. Yet those with conservative and status quo inclinations continue their dead-end quest to subvert civilizationís natural tendencies toward the betterment of the species, toward progress.
One only needs to look at the Catholic Church to see great attempts at curtailing progress only end in miserable failure. Time and time again the Church has tried to fight progress, only to be sent reeling back to its dark dungeons of ignorance. At times it has succeeded in stopping progressí onward momentum, yet these attempts only serve to temporarily halt their eventual demise. Today, the Catholic Churchís failure to evolve along with progress has left it a microcosm of its former self, impotent and unable to change humanity as it once did.
Even with the great power of the Church in the last thousand years progress was only impeded, never squashed. Humanityís natural and never-ending pursuit of progress is a momentum not even manís greatest forces can hinder. As a result, we live in modern times of scientific and human wonderment and not in the dark ages of unyielding ignorance. Mankindís road to progress may be filled with bumps and obstacles but it is nevertheless clear and straight, always heading upwards in the inevitable movement away from conservative agendas designed to impede our pursuit of bright stars and the betterment of world civilization. In the end, the great momentum of progress trumps all human endeavors to halt that which cannot be stopped.
History is the movement of progress, of leaping forward and not backwards, of escaping our troubled past and embracing a better future. It is awakening and not remaining in hibernation, of challenging and not acquiescing, of moving to accept mankindís inevitable changes and not our mistakes. Like all else in the universe our society evolves, it does not remain stagnant. Evolution is about perfecting errors, of betterment for the sake of self-preservation and of improving life for the better. This is progress, and it constantly points up, not down.
All of manís time on Earth has been a progressive movement; our historical record, archeological sites and civilizationís many realities lend credence to this fact. Those who try to maintain the status quo and conservative dogma are fighting an unwinnable battle, as our history proves over and over again. The hindrance of progress, though sometimes effective in the short term, is an experiment destined to fail over the long-term life of man. It is reality; it is human civilization.
The collective human experience pushes us towards a greater understanding and empathy for our fellow man. Slavery, once common among all groups, is now mostly a thing of the past. Racism and fear of others different than ourselves is beginning to dissipate, slowly but surely, thanks to our pluralistic society. We now abhor crimes against humanity, war crimes and apartheid. The incessant wars and battles constant throughout our existence that devastated mankind are now controlled and less severe. We embrace womenís equality when for thousands of years they were considered the inferior of man. Growing virtues of fighting inequality and injustice continue to gain momentum. The idea of the separation of church and state, once considered heresy, is now common. Respect for other species and their plight is quietly growing. Science, once hindered by those in power, has given us the tools to understanding who and what we are. All of the above has been made possible because of progress. Human history simply leads us in this direction.
The collective human experience is pushing all together in sympathy, understanding and solidarity. Greater freedoms and liberties now make us happier beings than our long lost ancestors; our lives have more meaning, purpose and independence than those that came before us; we are so much more educated and enlightened, more cognizant of the world we inhabit. This is called progress, and it bends over to nobody. It cannot be defeated nor destroyed. Its power lies in the billions of human energies that have existed before, walk today and crawl tomorrow.
While we might sometimes think the opponents of change and the army of status quo conservatives has the upper hand and is succeeding in hindering societyís ever-steady flow of progress, this is a vastly distorted fallacy. When in doubt, simply look towards the vast volumes of history. That is proof enough that progress will not and cannot be altered. Progress is winning this war on human enlightenment and betterment in a landslide, and those who would like to see it eviscerated can only smile in their delusion that the conservative way has triumphed. We have two million years of human evolution that tells us otherwise.
No group epitomizes the army of status quo conservatives more than the Taliban of Afghanistan. This group of religious zealots enacted anything and everything that impeded progress. I will refrain from describing these many beliefs but it is fair to point out that the people of Afghanistan along with their culture and society suffered tremendously thanks to the conservative views imposed on them. The limited progress Afghanis initially had was severely amputated thanks to the Taliban. Fortunately for the world, this group is no longer in power, though through George Bushís failed "war on terror" they are slowly but surely revitalizing themselves.
In the United States we have a group, conservative and unenlightened, ignorant to the tunes of history, in many ways similar but not as extreme as the Taliban, that is trying to impose unclimbable walls of razor sharp wire around progress for the sake of attempting to change our society to suit their conservative agenda. George W. Bush, the American Taliban, heads this group.
Warmonger extraordinaire, creator of doctrines of pre-emption and perpetrator of offensive wars for imperial expansion, the American Taliban sits perched high above his vultureís nest. As governor of Texas he allowed for the execution of more prisoners than any other governor, and is proud of it. His thirst for blood is unparalleled, his apathy for fellow men nonexistent. His appetite for blood has led to the murder of tens of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Taliban used ropes and bullets to kill and execute; American Taliban uses cluster and smart bombs, Apache helicopters, fighter jets, lethal injection and the pathetic state of legal representation for the poor.
A born-again Christian, espousing Jesus as his favorite philosopher, American Taliban does not seem to understand, grasp or want to implement those same teachings he holds in such high regard. This is hypocrisy, preaching from the pulpit to satisfy the callings of his core constituency while unleashing furious fires of hell on Earth onto both peoples and lands.
American Taliban lied to the world in order to invade Iraq. He and his administration deceived all Americans, distorting and contriving information and intelligence in order to sell their pre-9/11 planned war to the public. As a result, more than 510 US soldiers have died and more than 10,000 have been injured in some form. Countless more Iraqis have suffered the same fate. Yet lies so severe as to merit impeachment and resignation go unchallenged by an impotent Congress unwilling to act.
A DNA stained dress brought forth impeachment, causing no damage or death, no government impropriety or severe disorder, yet meticulous and malfeasant lies are allowed to continue. Lies unheard of in American government history have been committed by the American Taliban yet he remains in office, surely already planning the next bundle of lies for the next expedition into unjust and unwarranted wars. Excuse after excuse, lie after lie, American Taliban is showing the great honor and integrity he once promised to restore to the now smeared White House.
Domestically, American Taliban and his conservative cohorts have declared war on the growing number of gays in this country. The Taliban administration has commenced a civil rights battle eerily similar to the one fought in the last century against African-Americans. Out of fear of what they do not know or care to understand they label and segregate. Out of their own ignorance and small-mindedness they discriminate and belittle. Enraptured by their own ideologies they fail to realize that the movement is too strong, that progress cannot be defeated. The exact same thing is happening to gays as happened to blacks decades ago. In the end, we will see the same result: freedoms, liberties and protections for the persecuted class. Who is the American Taliban to impose his backward ideology on an entire segment of society? Who is he to say that two people that love each other cannot marry or raise wonderful children?
Whether we agree or disagree with the gay lifestyle, we cannot marginalize out of our own fears, belief structure and ignorant hereditary conditioning. With over half of marriages today ending in divorce, and knowing that the Christian church once forbade divorce, considering it a sin, who is the American Taliban to say that a marriage or union should or should not exist? It should not matter who is getting married, and to prevent love from prospering in a world desperately in need of it is to espouse all that is wrong with mankind. We now live in the 21st century, not the 15th, and we must evolve accordingly, along with the times.
In this sense the American Taliban is trying to hinder progress, like many leaders before him, only to find that the momentum is too great and the energy too encircling to stop. This next wave of civil rights battles is as inevitable as a full moon, given the constant state of change of America. The fight for gay rights is not the first struggle for equality, nor will it be the last. It is those insecure, ignorant and traditional entities, however, that fight tooth and nail to maintain their perceived belief structure based on archaic thousand-year-old beliefs and fables. In the end, they will lose their battle, as they always do, and progress will once more rise like a giant wave to swallow ignorance back to its rightful place.
In another arena womenís rights are being diminished through the passage of a ban on partial birth abortion. This maneuver by the American Taliban is designed with the eventual outlawing of all forms of abortion in mind. The strategy employed is one of baby steps, of eviscerating abortion rights one tiny step at a time. This battle is seen as lasting several years, through the appointment of conservative judges to the bench that share the same conservative views as the American Taliban. Methodical and meticulous, this strategy has as a purpose the destruction of womenís right to choose. Again, womenís right to choose is fundamental progress, fought for centuries by women and men alike in order to equalize womenís rights. This was another battle for equal civil rights. And, as usual, progress eventually won.
Now, American Taliban has succeeded in curtailing one form of abortion, robbing women of a right they by birth should have as free human beings. Who is the American Taliban to impose his belief and dogma onto millions of women? What makes his ignorant policies supercede what a woman can decide based on her own life and mind? This attempt by the American Taliban is nothing more than a political charade to please his base, namely fundamentalist Christians.
Womenís right to chose is an inalienable right endowed to all females. It is they alone who can and should decide their fate. By robbing women of this right, the American Taliban is fighting centuries of progress, years of hardship and determination. He is trying to subvert a womanís equal rights, making her a subjugated class considered different than men. He is saying that the state can make a better determination of what is right for a woman better than she can make on her own. And, lest we forget, abortion rights are themselves a result of progress and of our society evolving with the times.
American Taliban is imposing his own ignorant and backwater beliefs onto a nation of 285 million people. Is he a god to have this right? I know god appointed him to conduct the war on terror, but to also eviscerate womenís rights as well is probably a little far fetched. After all, god might just be a woman. She did, after all, grant Earth, its creatures and man the power to evolve. If she did not want progress in our civilization, why would she create nothing but progress throughout our history? Makes you wonder, doesnít it?
A great unsettling dilemma that has only gotten worse since the American Taliban cheated his way into the White House is the state of our childrenís education. Today, our children are being made more ignorant than ever with the No Child Left Behind faÁade. Our schools are teaching to the standardized test, ignoring the necessary tools for ensuring the prospering of creativity and free thought. Every child is different, every child learns in their own unique way, yet through the American Talibanís mirage our children are being taught like automatons. They are being denied that which is most necessary in order to become an oasis of brightness and intelligence. The end result is a generation of ignorant children turned slave-like adults.
The most fundamental years of a child have now been converted to mush. Today, all children are being left behind, and this will have a dramatic effect on our nationís future. Our kids are being turned into docile creatures of conformity, trained to never question authority, think for themselves and to always follow orders and what those in power tell them. Systematically being made ignorant to history, art, music, the world, languages, the environment, the real world, philosophy and liberal sciences, they are slowly becoming hypnotized robots of the state, the future assembly line of exploited workers that will enrich the elite oligarchy. The eventual fall of the Roman Empire was in part a result of this same phenomenon.
Ignorance is being used as a tool while education is slowly turned into an instrument of manipulation and conditioning. With the ever-rising cost of higher education, less and less of our children will be privy to the liberated mind knowledge creates. Instead of an educated society that asks questions and demands answers, we will have a low wage, easily manipulated and exploited one subservient to those in power. The American Taliban is assuring himself and the oligarchy of the loyalty of millions of children whose destiny we are all condemning due to our continued acquiescence to the destruction of millions of young minds.
The American Taliban is also engendering onto our children the teaching of sexual abstinence in our nationís schools. This belief, conservative and blatantly Christian fundamentalist, holds that only by abstaining from sex will sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies be stopped. This theory goes against every human impulse and animal instinct. The changing of hormones and chemicals in the bodies of young adolescents cannot be stopped by preaching abstinence. To do so is ignorant and dangerous. We cannot fight human biology with antiquated views of frivolous fantasy.
We have all been there; teenagers are creatures jumping with hormones and horniness. They are going to be sexually active, especially in todayís world, it is a fact. It is at this time of development that we become capable of sexual reproduction, just like any other mammal. Again, we might not like it, but biological evolution does not change overnight, it takes eons. It is nature, pure and simple, and to deny this reality is to live delusions of falsified pretenses.
Our children are being taught scare tactics in school by preachers of abstinence designed to misinform and further ignorance. Disinformation about contraceptives and their usefulness only helps to place our children in more peril. The end result is to further ignorance, STDís and unwanted pregnancies. American Taliban is using our schools to impose his Christian fundamentalist ideology that exacerbates rather than alleviates problems. This is the wrong approach, a contradiction with reality and a backward policy that is better suited for the 1500ís.
We can see yet again how American Taliban, through his policies and politics, fosters ignorance and danger onto our society. He is once more trying to subdue progress for the sake of conservative beliefs. He is trying to make America stop the incredible societal advancement it has created. The politics of the American Taliban are but another manifestation of how conservative groups have historically attempted to curtail progress. These policies end up hurting rather than helping the nation. Denying the awesome power of societyís and mankindís progressive inclinations is to fall prey to a vicious cycle of torment and self-deception. One cannot fight with inevitability or history or the collective conscious of humanity.
What American Taliban has done over the last three years has been to try and erode the progressive movement to the point where he can impose his conservative agenda on the nation. He has divided the country based on the politics of hate and fear, segregating us into groups and subgroups so that we are unable to unite against him and his cabal. Scare tactics divide us into rich and poor, minority and majority, urban, rural and suburban, gay and straight, religious and secular, lower, middle and upper class and educated and uneducated. They are designed to segregate us, grouping us with who we associate with and think ourselves as. As a result, we fight each other over fictional issues concocted by the American Taliban instead of fighting the real problem together. It is easier to conquer and subdue weak and separate group divisions than by fighting a united monolithic centurion yielding exceptional strength.
In the end, American Taliban will fail, as all that have fought progress eventually do. Those who know nothing of history usually end up repeating it. Those who do not understand human civilization or its constant movement towards progress cannot triumph over that which they do not comprehend. Ignorant arrogance is ignorance nonetheless.
The constant battle between conservative and progressive agendas is as human as eating and sleeping. It creates a better civilization and society because the incessant clashing of ideas fosters compromise and debate. It opens eyes and extinguishes ignorance because, in the end, after much fighting and hardship, progress is proclaimed triumphant and society is made better as a result.
Our civilization today is the culmination of thousands of years of struggle and evolution, of progressí forward march through time in spite of constant threats and hindrances, having survived nefarious leaders and self serving powers, becoming the torch that lights our way into the futureís murky tunnel. There is no reason to doubt that this truism will continue, much as it has for the majority of human existence, much to the great detriment of the American Taliban.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in 2004. His articles appear bi-weekly on axisoflogic.com. He welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. © Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com.
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