Al-Qaeda and Ted Kaczynski say that Western “Progress” is actually a path to doom. Fred Nietzsche seems to agree. So, hilariously, does Plato, the forefather of all Western metaphysics. Let’s look at a sliver of the evidence.
While sexual violence has accompanied warfare for millennia and insecurity always provides opportunities for criminal elements to profit, what is happening in Iraq today reveals how far a once progressive country (relative to its neighbors) has regressed on the issue of women’s rights and how ferociously the seams of a traditional Arab society that values female virginity have been ripped apart.
Nobody knows exactly how many Iraqi women and children have been sold into sexual slavery since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, and there are no official numbers because of the shadowy nature of the business. Baghdad-based activists like Hinda and others put the number in the tens of thousands. Still, it remains a hidden crime; one that the 2008 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report says the Iraqi government is not combating.
That underworld is a place where nefarious female pimps hold sway, where impoverished mothers sell their teenage daughters into a sex market that believes females who reach the age of 20 are too old to fetch a good price. The youngest victims, some just 11 and 12, are sold for as much as $30,000, others for as little as $2,000. “The buying and selling of girls in Iraq, it’s like the trade in cattle,” Hinda says. “I’ve seen mothers haggle with agents over the price of their daughters.”
When “American culture” — really, a global culture formed at the intersection of consumerist capitalism and multi-cultural liberal democracy, or cosmopolitanism — reaches a new land, it appeals to the inner idiot in all humanity that like a barely-evolved ape can’t think past next week.
That inner idiot finds Coca-Cola and Marlboro as important as democracy and other airy concepts that no one who’s watched community organization successively fail expects to actually work.
And with this global culture, comes a catch: since it’s based on the individual, whatever people are willing to buy is good, and everything’s for sale.
Is it making us happy?
Forget the idea that love is all around us: it seems to be acute loneliness that is pervading our society.
According to many sociologists and psychologists, it is now a national epidemic afflicting women of all ages and at almost all phases of the life cycle.
A student living away from home for the first time, a new mother, a single woman unsuccessfully looking for love, a newly married woman, a mother whose children have grown up and ‘flown the nest’ or a recently retired woman.
All are as likely to report feeling lonely as an elderly woman – the group we wrongly assume are the loneliest of all.
More of us than ever are living alone, with one-third of all UK households occupied by only one person; they also point to the increasing divorce rate and declining role of the Church – all leading to a more fragmented society.
In addition, we are much more geographically mobile than our grandparents – moving on average five times in our lives, making us less likely to form community bonds or even to know our neighbours.
And, of course, technological changes have had a massive impact on the way we live.
It is no longer necessary to leave home to shop, to ‘meet’ people, to communicate, to earn a living, to learn about the world or to be entertained.
Translation: we destroyed social obligation to be closer to ourselves, and replaced real socialization with harmless substitutes, and now we find that empty. But it is a superior product, and it’s what the people voted for.
Or did we just give in to our inner ape and self-destruct?