Empires, during expansion, control by force of arms and the fresh memory of defeat in the minds of the vanquished. Once the borders have expanded too far, and the battles are the wars of previous generations, other means must be employed.
One of the most successful examples of such practise was the Roman Empire. No longer able to control its subjects by military might alone it cowed them with a state religion in the form of the myth of Jesus Christ. If fear of punishment in the here and now could not keep the proletariat in line, then the threat of eternal damnation surely would. Indeed, even after the Reformation, it is only in the last hundred years that the Roman Catholic Church can be said to have truly faltered.
God may not be dead but he is undeniably failing rapidly in Western society. The Almighty is more often than not the puppet vassal of right wing politicians. Where a strong moral stance on society or an excuse for war is required, you can almost be certain that it is time to pay lip service to God. The downside, now that God is only an excuse, is that fear of His divine retribution can no longer be used to control the masses. Fortunately, for the West at least, the War On Terror has presented itself. A concept so brilliant that if it did not exist then the American government would have to invent it.
Fear, as always, is the key. The identity of the enemy is almost irrelevant. His true power and capabilities are likewise negligible, just so long as the fear is real. The psychology is both simple and deeply rooted in the human subconscious to the point of being an archetype – fear of the bogeyman. Hitler had the Jews, gypsies and homosexuals. America, since the institution of slavery, has had the Negro. The same white liberals that will inform you that the coloureds are now free to vote, ride at the front of the bus and attend schools with their children are ones who are barricaded up in the suburbs with private security. Deep down they know, because it is enforced by the media, that the black man is waiting, ready to rape, murder and pillage. Correspondingly, they must be kept in their place. To do so overtly would be to invite a race riot. Instead, civil liberties have been abused in the name of that other moral crusade – the War On Drugs. With the American prison population now at two million, and a felony conviction in most states resulting in a lifetime forfeit of the right to vote, it is indisputable that this particular war has been most successful is disenfranchising a large number of black, Hispanic and Puerto Rican Americans.
The above has proved so successful in the domestic environment that it can come as little surprise that America has decided to employ it world wide with their War On Terror. They have learned the lesson well – the enemy is now so nebulous that no one is above suspicion. As long as you accede and surrender your civil rights without argument you have the right to be innocent until proven guilty. Should you be foolish enough to suggest that the government may be in error, to protest against being forced to provide fingerprints, DNA and iris scans, woe betide. At best, you will be judged guilty of unpatriotic behaviour. At worst, you will be viewed as a subversive with terrorist sympathies. To disagree is to have something to hide.
While it may be argued that it is a historical inevitability that Britain should align with a power block, it is disconcerting to see the ease with which the current government has grabbed a hold of the USA’s coattails. Apparently falling into line without question to every request made from overseas for increased security. Though, perhaps, there is a certain irony to be derived from the fact that the British now appear to be little more than a colony of their former colonies.