My preferred definition of a ‘universal soldier’ is – any human who is willing to obey a command to kill another human. It is precisely this level of strict obedience that enable wars to be threatened and or waged, so what is it about the story that goes on between the ears of the universal soldier that persuades and enables them to kill each other?
Apart from the few psychopaths who do it for the perverse excitement of it, most universal soldiers believe they are justified in obeying a command to kill each other because they are protecting or defending either a deity, a country and or their kin, from a perceived enemy. Such belief and obedience on the part of the universal soldier is usually justified whether the enemy is perceived in reality – as in battle, or as an abstract notion – such as in a perceived threat expressed in propaganda and or as dictated through nationalist military policy and strategy.
While I can understand and accept it being a natural instinct for adult humans to defend and protect ourselves and our kin from danger, I cannot understand or accept the need for any of us to obey a command to kill another human who has been deemed an enemy on the basis of religious belief nor nationalism.
The patriotic belief held by the universal soldier in their need to protect or defend a deity and or country, has existed for millennia. However, it is still a relatively recent phenomenon when compared with our more ancient and natural instinct for protecting and defending our kin – in other words for our survival as a species.
From my PaGaian Socialist perspective I can imagine how our natural defensive instinct to protect kin evolved over many millennia, at least since the time when our earliest human ancestors needed to constantly defend themselves from non-human predators. So what was it that caused our more recent human ancestors to start defending themselves from each other, from the enemy within? I don’t believe the emergence of the human as an enemy was such an inevitability as was the earlier more natural defensive instinct to defend ourselves against non-human predators.
The threat of danger from other humans was more likely to have resulted from an increasing number of groups spreading throughout the planet resulting in a diminishing of fertile land and resources available to such nomadic groups. As fertile lands and resources became more scarce and hence more valued, they were eventually settled. The earliest settlement of fertile lands with its increasing human productivity and cultural diversity inevitably led to the need to defend such places. This phase of human development and separation not only produced the original universal soldier, it has since come to dominate human consciousness, and threaten our very existence as a species. How and why has it come to this?
It doesn’t take a great stretch of my imagination to visualise the emergence of relatively small centralised groups organising and arming themselves to defend their settlements and resources from other human invaders. Then, it is only a matter of time before such groups eventually morph into roles of leadership, ownership and rulership, with the eventual formation of standing armies that are prepared to both defend against and or attack their human enemies. While such human war-like development can appear to follow an evolutionary development of our survival instinct to protect and defend our kin, in hindsight, it is more accurately described as a material, cultural construct, born out of increasing human productivity, ownership, rulership, wealth and greed.
Since the industrial revolution of the mid 1770s, this form of material development has rapidly morphed into nuclear armed imperialist nation states that now threaten our existence as a species. This is why the human population in general and the universal soldier in particular are constantly being lied to and thereby persuaded to accept war and the need to kill each other.
What then is the lie that the majority of us are being told? It is a complex lie, one that needs to be analysed and considered in some detail. If it were simple and easy to identify then the ruling class purveyors of the lie would not be able to recruit sufficient numbers of the universal soldier to protect their wealth and control.
Like most military apparel the lie is well camouflaged and difficult to see, it is couched in devious metaphor designed to distort reality and discourage any questioning of whose interests are really being served by the command to kill. The lie is camouflaged by the clever blending of abstract cultural constructs of deity, country, freedom and liberty with the more natural human instinct to protect and defend self and kin. These abstract cultural concepts underpin the well and truly tested strategy of divide and conquer. The human population is deliberately divided in many ways, but most importantly from the ruling class perspective, we are divided by nationality, ethnicity and religion.
Even though this strategy and level of division inevitably results in conflict and war between nationalist ruling classes, it is worth it from their elitist perspective because not only do they need to protect their rulership and wealth, they as a class do not expect to sacrifice their own lives, they are not the ones being commanded to kill another. Lest we forget, or worse still, lest we continue to believe the lies, illusions and propaganda perpetrated by a ruling class whose continuation depends entirely on the obedience of the universal soldier to kill another.
Again, from my PaGaian Socialist perspective there is only one political story and program that comes anywhere near meeting the necessary criteria for achieving and end to war and permenant peace on our planet, namely The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) and its associated political party, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) as expressed through the World Socialist Web Site – WSWS.org
25th April 2015