Tuesday, July 21, 2009

indiscriminate bombers DON'T get to heaven

The life of William S Burroughs was shaped by the choices he made, which ultimately revealed him to be a venal, self-centred, and nonhumanist man.

Unfortunately, as a libertarian, Burroughs impinged on the lives of others through those affected by his writings. One of his tracts advocated random assassination, as a force to destabilise a society. As a disaffected product of a wealthy nation, he had the freedom to do that.

It is possible but doubtful that Indonesian jihadists have read his writings. But they come from exactly the same place, albeit being disaffected products of a poor nation.

Which some of them just made poorer. Every time the indiscriminate bombing of a western target splashes death tolls across world headlines, Indonesia's economy tanks. And it's not just tourism - one of its prime industries - that suffers; it's also trade, and in particular the foreign investment that lifts a poor country up into the developing world. And if you don't hold much stock in that, you don't live in poverty in a poverty-stricken country.

Those latest bombers can be excused for feeling disaffected, at the receiving end of a number of potentially crushing power disparities. But there can be no excuse for the stupidity and selfishness of their action, which ultimately have the opposite effect of whatever their intention was.

And those who expect to get rewarded in an afterlife would find, if you could model such an afterlife, that they are excluded for that very selfishness and stupidity.

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