The Military Industrial Complex 2.0
Many people in the world, especially in the United States, have accepted the culture of war as an unchangeable part of reality. Despite the famous warning of President Eisenhower about the dangers of the military industrial complex in 1961, our civilization has found itself in a perpetual state of military conflict. As a father, and despite the real possibilities of a nuclear war with North Korea, I refuse to accept this paradigm as a reality.
Luckily I am not alone in my foolish idealism. In an incredibly powerful demonstration, French scholar Idriss Aberkane, makes the case that war is a parasite for humanity. While some scholars (Seiberling 1972) argue that the peace–industrial complex must oppose the military-industrial complex, Aberkane argues that it is destined to become its natural, peaceful evolution, and further calls it the “military-industrial complex 2.0”.
Aberkane’s argumentation contains truths that we should properly acknowledge. War is indeed the most deadly parasite of all and we are all infected. As a society, we thrive on destruction instead of construction. We need to face this reality. In this talk, Aberkane reminds us that “the purpose of war is the destruction of humanity.”
Aberkane further demonstrates that the natural evolution of the military industrial complex should reside in the development of weapons of mass construction instead of weapons of mass destruction. This powerful idea must be spread as widely as possible, starting at home.
How can fathers contribute to creating the Peace Industrial Complex?
Aberkane’s idea of creating weapons of mass construction may seem unpractical. At the individual level, how can fathers contribute to such a daunting task? The answer might be simpler that it seems if we take a less literal approach. After all, isn’t education the most powerful weapon? However, I am not only referring to academics here: I am talking about teaching emotional intelligence too; a task that is often reserved to mothers. I am a strong believer of that “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” as wisely said by Aristotle.
In that spirit, here are three ways fathers can help dismantle the military industrial complex with their children:
1) Fight gun culture.
Gun violence is a disease in America. One that is quite comparable to the war parasite described by Aberkane. Fighting gun culture naturally starts by not owning a gun. Owning a gun defaults our children into thinking that our environment is hostile. It perpetrates fear. Fighting gun culture also involves not buying gun toys to our children. Weapons are not toys and should not be put into a context of play as it normalizes violence and desensitizes our sons. Lastly, fighting gun culture means standing up to the National Riffle Association, a shameful organization that pretexts the defense of the second amendment to fulfill a morbidly greedy agenda; and does not hesitate to apply unbelievable double standards when black people are gunned down.
2) Cultivate empathy.
I consider empathy to be the most powerful weapon of mass construction. Building a culture of empathy at home means teaching your children to see the world through somebody else’s eyes. By doing so, your children will default into compassion. They will default into taking the side of the ones that are being oppressed. They will not seek to attack but to defend. Empathy has many benefits on which to build upon. According to the excellent website Cultureofempathy.com, empathy fosters pleasurable and positive feelings. It strengthens emotional and physical health via connection, care, inclusion, and community. On and all, empathy is the active ingredient in conflict resolution which makes it a natural pillar of the military industrial complex 2.0.
3) Promote a sustainable living.
If the challenge of the 21st century is to go from a “red planet to a blue planet”, sustainability has to be an integral part of the peace industrial complex. It has been proven yet and again that we are over-exploiting our natural resources and it is time that we renew our toes with nature. As fathers, it is our responsibility to educate and enforce a sustainable way to live. It naturally goes beyond recycling and composting, it also takes into account mindful consumption of resources, from electricity to food. It means eating local when possible, limiting our consumption of animal products and explaining to our children why it is important to do so.
This is how I believe, as fathers, we can contribute to build a military industrial complex 2.0. The best weapons of massive construction are made at home. The good news is those weapons are free and yet invaluable. They set the ground for the possibilities of a new world.