Manuel Valenzuela: The War Culture
The War Culture
By Manuel Valenzuela, Contributing Editor AxisofLogic.com
May 25, 2004, 15:32
Demonstrably flying away from the fraternity of nations has not been achieved solely by the crimes and ineptitude of the worst president in living memory. Rather, this phenomenon has lingered in the American conscious for the last fifty years, evolving slowly but surely thanks to a rapidly evolving Pax Americana and its exponentially growing exploitation of the world’s remaining natural and human resources that continues to increase at unprecedented rates. This truth has over the span of decades alienated a large portion of the global population who has been privy to the damaging intervention in world affairs by a US government engaged in every corner of the world, usually at the expense of the native citizenry and in favor of the corporate Leviathan.
Exploited and enslaved, the people of the world have seen what those residing inside the belly of the beast refuse to accept and are ignorantly shielded away from. It is the creation of a War Culture that, even with the continued dwindling of the world’s resources and for calls for sustainable development, continues to decimate, devastate and exploit for its own purposes and goals. The War Culture exists to feed itself, to engulf itself in resplendent affluence and material comfort. It seeks to live in lavishness and privileged circumstance, usually at the expense of billions of poor human energies devoid of the luck of living inside the Pax Americana.
Through careful manipulation based on hereditary conditioning, the Corporate Leviathan, together with the American government, has inserted the pursuit of luxury and excessiveness onto an unknowing public that has been educated and acclimatized towards acquiescing to the conquest of land and man through mechanisms of Empire. Included in this training is the acceptance of violence as a means to an end, creating in the citizenry, usually from birth, the tools necessary that allow both the government and the Leviathan to unleash extreme levels of violence, exploitation and destruction onto the world without so much as a small whisper of protest from the population. It is these tools that make violence a sanitized endeavor that is airbrushed to represent an abstract mirage that hides the horror and danger of armed conflict.
Thus, the American people are inoculated to the realities of the violence their government unleashes in the name of the corporate world, making us immune to a truth that is all too real and oftentimes overwhelmingly destructive. This is the only way the War Culture can maintain its standard of living. It is the only way to build an Empire in a human civilization at the dawn of the 21st century. Only by conditioning its population, manipulating it to accept the violence necessary for the continued exploitation and conquest of the world’s natural and human resources can the Pax Americana survive, and thrive.
Sleepwalking through life, blinded by excessiveness and plentitude, made ignorant by the many toys in our possession, we allow our government and the corporate masters that control it free reign to usurp lands, peoples, lives and the collective future of the human race. A War Culture has been created, clandestinely spawned from within our own minds, making us pawns in its demolition of lives and foot soldiers in its continuing existence. Our breaths grant it life, our lifestyle makes it thrive. The War Culture we have become, birthed from our unsuspecting eyes, making us complicit in the forces of Empire building that sequester us to the grievous mistakes of Empires past.
Spoils of Extravagance
The embodiment of what America has become can lucidly be seen in a society that has been allowed to evolve beyond the borders of its own limitations. It can be seen in the voluminous exorbitance that defines the richest nation in the brief history of humankind. It can be seen in the annihilation of indigenous peoples that resulted in the exploitation of their lands and in the enslavement of an entire race that rocketed a new nation to splendorous wealth. Today, in order to meet its insatiable hunger for its luxurious standard of living, afforded to no other nation in existence, the exploitation of land and man must continue.
Devouring Earth at unprecedented rates, American society must satisfy its insatiable craving for lifestyles bathed in excessiveness and overabundance that dwarfs any culture that exists today, or that has come before. This superfluous undertaking has made the pursuit of Empire a necessary evil in which death, destruction and exploitation of both land and man are but predetermined conditions needed for the continued growth of economy, wallets and possessions.
The end result is a culture of war, of expansion, Empire and control of the world’s natural, human and financial resources. Murder, genocide, suffering, enslavement, poverty, malnutrition, destruction of opportunity and ability, lack of education, happiness and healthcare have become mere manifestations of collateral damage in the American quest to satisfy the voracious appetite of its drooling citizens. The War Culture has emerged, and complicit we all are in Iraq, Palestine, Africa, Latin America, Asia and in the continued devastation and rape of Earth’s land, water, air and energy.
Through war our lives are made to prosper; through war our possessions are made cheaper; through war our excessiveness flourishes and greed mushrooms; through war our materialistic selves shop merrily; through war we live like kings and queens while the rest of the world rots in indigence. It is war, conquest and Empire that sustains our standard of living and our slide into decadence. It is war and Empire that allows us to dwell in the expectation of unsustainable development and the continued increase to our ever-expanding array of possessions and property. It is war and violence that furthers our lifestyle living in castles, basking in worldly possessions and eating more than any other human society that has ever existed.
Only through adventures like the failure in Iraq can we hope to continue living the American Dream, living as the feudal lords to the billions of serfs who slave their lives for our comfortable existence and unknowingly sacrifice their progeny and energies to our gorging greed. The ultimate exploiter is the War Culture, hiding behind the multitude of products proudly displayed in our homes, garages and gardens that degenerate the environment, suffocate the less fortunate and that helps release death, destruction and untold misery onto our brethren.
Through the smoking mirror the guilty can be seen, and our faces frown at the realization that our excessively comfortable lives have been garnered through the misery, destruction, death and exploitation of the people of the world. The War Culture continues its dastardly ways, consuming, producing, ruining, destroying and unleashing Empire’s tools of violence, conquest and death upon billions.
Empire is us and we are it; Bush is Empire’s tool and Empire gives us life. America’s military provides what we seek, want and crave. It validates our excessiveness, our desire for more. It attains the continuation of our comfort and the limitless bounty we purchase. The Empire’s financial armies enslave people’s of the south, making what we buy cheap and affordable. Their nations’ resources are pillaged and exploited, sent to our homes in the form of affordable products. The War Culture demands that the world’s limited supplies be sent to our shores so that our lifestyle and that of our descendents be assured.
Looking into the mirror we see the War Culture, made ignorant to what we help create and destroy, made blind to our extravagant ways and made deaf to the many echoes resonating pain. Guilty we all stand, mesmerized in the grandeur of our existence and the ignorance our wealth creates. As long as our lives are made better we care not in knowing how we came to achieve the comfort that continues to shield us away from the reality of billions of human entities that live their lives in utter decay. Each new product we purchase distances our sisterhood with the peoples of the world; each new indulgence we grant ourselves condemns us further away from empathy and the understanding needed to comprehend all that has been done in our name.
In order to achieve heaven in America Hell has been created elsewhere, yet still we live our unsustainable ways, condemning ourselves to the shock of the coming curtailment of our excessive lives that must sooner or later be halted.
Absorbed in the land of the free and the home of the brave we have become, brainwashed by our comfort and our lifestyles, immersed in our materialistic society that reason dictates cannot be sustained much longer. The War Culture we have become, expanding our lifestyles, escaping our realities, becoming immune to the troubles our appetite causes and being made ignorant to the self-defeating mechanisms of our ways. It is for our way of life that Empire exists, Bush lives and Iraq implodes. Unquenchable appetites need to be fed, exorbitant energy needs fuel and the expanding consumerism of American citizens needs nourishment. The War Culture needs blood to blossom and Empire to continue.
From sea to shining sea, superfluous undertaking through hereditary conditioning continues to mark an average citizen’s ascendancy into the American Dream. The land of plenty has become the land of gluttony, suffocating the rest of the world in the unquenchable desire to attain a plethora of materialistic possessions that characterize the vulnerability of the human psyche. As thirsty as a dehydrated tree, as voracious as a plague of locusts and as hungry as a starving pack of wolves, American society’s appetite for an ever-expanding array of products and goods at the expense of planet Earth and its inhabitants continues to unleash death, destruction and violence upon our teetering world. It is our unattainable thirst for vast amounts of worldly possessions that has become the flammable liquid breathing life into the American war machine. It is our lust for materialism and eager escape from unwanted realities that drive the engine of Empire, devastating so many millions and untold areas of land.
In our consumer driven economy it is the corporate Leviathan that hereditarily conditions us to pursue its products as it forces down our throats, almost from birth, the desire to pursue a fulfillment of the expectations it markets onto our society. Whatever it desires to sell it strangulates us with, whatever trend it wants manifested it squirms into our lives. What values it wants created and what goals it wants maximized it bombards society with using its vast collection of media and marketing tools it has in its possession. We are the hand that feeds the Leviathan, mere energies in need of its products and services, mere pawns in its game of power and control. It, in turn, has become the hand that rocks the cradle, allowing us to fall asleep and escape the pill-popping reality that has become our lives today that we desperately want to exorcise from within us. Through the numerous products that flood our lives we can temporarily seek refuge from a reality that never seems to come close to the perfect fantasy we have been led to believe is attainable but that seems farther away each time we seek its fictional delusion.
A consumerist society that has spun out of control is implanted into our conscious from the early stages of our childhood development. Through television we are conditioned to seek the great array of products the Leviathan provides us. Our young developing brains, still too virgin to comprehend what we watch, are bombarded with advertisement after advertisement that begins infecting us with an excessiveness bug whose virus remains inside us for the rest of our lives, compelling us to waste away our blood, sweat and tears on those products we perceive will make our lives the equivalent of the fantasy we see unfold on our television monitors.
The Leviathan manipulates our brains and senses through the clandestine brainwashing of our minds obscured in innocent-looking images of happiness, perfection, fun, fantasy-laden advertisements, cartoons and movies. Using our sponge-like developing mind, mass media transgressions and imagery capture and alter our ability to think as humans have for hundreds of thousands of years. Our brains are being re-wired, no longer evolving through learning of culture, parenting and human behavior. Instead, our primordial brains are subjected to intense imagery based on marketing and profit motive, designed to make consumer drones of us from our earliest days. Bombarded with image after image of toy, food and fantasy, our child mind not close to perceiving the great manipulation taking place, we begin the process of becoming conditioned consumers expected to shop for an entire lifetime.
From birth the Leviathan grips us with its sharp claws, reprogramming our minds to suit its sinister profit driven motives. Even at our most innocent and pure we are left to deal with the most malevolent pack of wolves dressed in sheep skin that use our youth and brain underdevelopment to further their capitalistic drive for greed-filled nirvana. We have been impregnated with a virus that makes of us consumer driven entities seeking refuge from the enslavement of our lives through the escape provided by the overabundance of goods and services we have from early childhood been trained to purchase.
When embedded into our mind from such an early period in our lives, this nefarious condition becomes second nature, almost instinctual, and begins to pass for human behavior necessary for survival. It is all we have known, passed down from television, society and our own families who themselves have been made captives to the Leviathan’s incessant mind control mechanisms that over the course of a lifetime transforms individual thinking minds into a collection of two hundred million serfs dependent on the same products we produce.
Innocence lost and profit gained, the Leviathan, and the expert manipulators working to ruin childhoods, in essence transform society to suit their needs, using the great absorbing power of the young mind to create lifetime consumers that merrily join the fraternity of the War Culture. The vicious circle begins with the cradle and ends with the grave, human procreation becoming the conveyor belt spitting out new foot soldiers that in time will themselves become part of Empire seeking and building.
Conditioned for Blood
From birth we begin to breathe the smell of blood as a society addicted to violence manifests its craving through the many forms of media available to our children. Cartoons seemingly engage our young minds with constant battles of good versus evil, black versus white, inculcating us to the violent means by which to achieve victory over forces at odds with those virtues espoused by the shows’ creators. Cartoons are packed with violent undertones, filled with stories immersed with inner and outer battles that are only solved through violent means. These shows begin manipulating our developing brains to accept violence into our lives, suggesting solutions to problems based on fighting, engagement and destruction. The fantasy shown, whether in the form of human characters or animals, creatures or entities espousing man-like characteristics that solve their problems through incessant clashes is perceived by the fragile mind as a rational human response that makes violence an acceptable if not mainstream behavior capable of fixing what has been broken or solving that which remains a problem.
It is fantasy designed for the youngest that begins to make warriors of millions who have not had an opportunity to be exposed to human reality. Violence is imputed onto the most innocent whose brains have yet to develop the capacity to understand the complexities of life or the behaviors of our circumstance. Through the television, children morph from bright candles of innocence into explosive flames accepting violence, death and destruction as part of every day life. Absorbing every image radiating out of the screen, seeing how fantasy solves its problems, learning behaviors from cartoon characters, the fragile human mind is programmed to accept conflict and conditioned to acquiesce to war.
Our minds, not yet having the capacity to understanding the complex human condition, are inundated with a barrage of behaviors that, though ingrained evils in our animalistic selves, should not yet be embraced at such young ages. Yet somehow we are showering our youth with the tools of war, violence and conflict that they are embracing as realistic alternatives in human society. It thus comes to pass that the War Culture fails to seek accountability to the numerous evils done in our name. With television cartoons, videogames and films portraying endemic levels of violence, it is natural to accept that a society’s young will become immune and indifferent to the evils inherent in antagonistic conflict.
It is the barrage of cartoons and movies such as those marketed by Disney that are conditioning our society to accept violence, death, destruction and by consequence the wars draped in the American flag. Why is it that every single Disney animated film must engage its characters in battle, war, conflict, death and violence? Why is every story and plot infused with battles only solved by violent clash? It is these forms of storylines that make it acceptable for our young to imitate and indeed believe that human society relies on Disney-like solutions to fantasy-filled problems. Disney characters seemingly always wage violent conflict with each other, pitting good versus evil, with the desired outcome always assured as long as violence is the means by which it is achieved. Why must violence be such an incessant ingredient to Disney’s success, to the great detriment of our children and society? Is the War Culture so immersed and addicted to violence that even the perceived creators of goodness and happiness must flood the big screen with a violence that has been a part of the human condition since the beginning of time?
It is the vast expanse of shows and movies that litter the airwaves, most infested with violence, death and destruction that are conditioning us to accept the violence and wars done in our name. It seems the only solutions to the fantasy-ridden problems that comprise television and movies are through the undertaking of violence. In fantasy-land it has become the means to an end; in America it has made our society immune to the dangers of violence, whitewashing its evils from our conscious, making its ramifications upon our lives nothing more than another manifestation of cartoon cleanliness where blood is nonexistent, suffering ignored, destruction unsoiled and death romanticized.
American society has in the last fifty years been transformed from bastion of innocent endeavors to citadel of violent and warmongering conditioning. War, death and destruction have in our minds been made sanitized endeavors where pain, misery and murder are but mere hiccups that resemble the fantasy we have seen throughout our lives. Violence is, therefore, accepted since it is not understood. It is allowed since it is manipulated, becoming the fantasy it never is and the reality our conditioned minds make it out to be.
We have been trained well to accept the evils done in our name. The videogames, movies and television shows that now flood our society glamorize violence, making it a fantasy that fails to awaken its deadly reality into our minds. In today’s War Culture, fictional murderers, psychopaths and cold-blooded killers become heroes, even as they unleash hailstorms of bullets on the enemy and claim victory in the name of violence. Death and destruction has become comical, further degrading our ability to sympathize with those bulldozed by our mighty military. The romantic notion of war, ingrained through our War Culture, makes robotic killers of young boys unleashing everything they have seen throughout their lives in the far away reaches of the world. The symptoms of this disease can be seen in the criminal occupation of Iraq and treatment of Iraqis by American soldiers.
The War Culture represents a deviation from human evolution. The reality of violence is never shown; the death, misery and emotions of war never explored. Blood and gore are hidden from what they represent; screams and pain have become mere inconveniences; destruction of lives and property has been transformed into digital bytes ready to recycle themselves. War is made an abstract mirage portrayed by film, television and video games, not the reality humans have for too long endured that made wiser men of us all. Instead, we rely on fantasy to educate us to the horror and the perceived reality, thus making us willing subjects ignorant to the dangers human violence unearths.
When we fail to understand reality it is transformed into the fiction we believe it to be.
Fiction has triumphed over the reality of the human condition as the War Culture’s assembly line of seekers of violence continues to grow. The master of conditioned violence, the Corporate Leviathan, extends its tentacles into every pair of eyes and every developing human brain, allowing the society it is designing to forever acquiesce to the violence, conquest, Empire and death it vehemently seeks to release upon the world. From birth we are trained, never seeing the true horrors of war nor the energy released by the misery of violent conflict.
For untold millions who are on the receiving end of our failures, however, the violence is all too real, the death all too vivid and the destruction all too devastating. For them, Hollywood and the fantasy on television are sick and cruel jokes that do not begin to describe the terror and suffering enveloping them. In their eyes, the incessant violence of Hollywood has transmutated into the reality of their daily lives where blood is real, life is extinguished and hope destroyed. This the War Culture fails to understand because the fantasy it sees and the reality it ignores clash like the violent cartoons conditioning legions of American children.
All the while, safe in our confined bubble that is America we live, growing ever accepting of our violent ways, unable to comprehend the reality of all we unleash and comfortably sitting on our couches watching airbrushed visions of war. As we bask in the splendor of the luck-filled extravagance we live, shielded away from the war crimes being committed in Iraq under the red, white and blue and unaware of the damage done to untold millions throughout the world our lavish society continues to prosper, ignorant to the true consequences and devastating power of Apache helicopters, cluster bombs, guided missiles, Abrams tanks, fighter jets, mortars, artillery and bullets that our War Culture releases upon our fellow human beings. It is this truth we fail to grasp, nowhere to be found in Disney films, Cartoon Network shows or Playstation video games. The War Culture is us, and guilty as charged we all stand.
© Copyright 2004 by AxisofLogic.com
Manuel Valenzuela, 29, is
social critic and commentator, activist, writer and author
of Echoes in the Wind, a novel to be published in Spring of
2004. His articles appear weekly on axisoflogic.com where
he is also contributing editor. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes
comments and can be reached at
Read Other Articles By Manuel Valenzuela: Manuel Valenzuela Archive