Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Military Consumerism

When in Kentucky recently, theologian Dr. Walter Brueggemann spoke at nearby Georgetown on the Georgetown College Campus. Dr. Brueggeman was a conference participant in a two-day conference on “Reimagining Faith for America and the World” as reported by Mary Meehan of the Lexington Herald-Ledger, 1-4-14.

Among other things, Brueggeman issued a call for people to put down the latest electronic gadget and tend to their spirit. Contending that our culture has become “all about buying and getting and eating and having our consumerism,” he said it is time for people to imagine a future that isn’t based on what he calls “military consumerism.”

“The military,” he said, “helps us control markets and resources, and we all recognize that the media, especially social media, and a captive marketing audience constantly reinforce the demands of consumerism. Thus, the United States enjoys an unparalleled influence and affluence when many around the world live on as little as a dollar or two a day and without clean water, pure air, jobs etc etc.Brueggeman suggests we do not want our pot stirred.

Recognizing that this is a kind of isolation that God does not really endorse, he also acknowledged, “It’s all kind of make-believe.” His comments were a sharp reminder to me of something I’ve thought about, but find there is little interest in being reminded of. In fact, some of my peers will forthright challenge my thinking and defend our militarism and bloated military consumerism.

George Bush used nine-eleven as justification for further exercising our military powers. A bloated Pentagon budget forms a sacred document to many people who enjoy American imperialism although disliking being called imperialists. The truth is, and there are available figures to document such facts, America spends more on its military expenditures than the next twenty nations leading our global community.

We have allowed the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us against in his second inaugural address to control the economics of our country. It is today so firmly entrenched, providing jobs to workers and huge fortunes to special interests, that we are afraid to let loose of this giant viper for fear it will squeeze the life out of us through deflatng our economy.

Consider the flack caught by General Colin Powell when he supported a smaller military force and using more effective technological development. What Senator or Representative is going to allow a military closure in his/her district without a huge protest about job losses and a multitude of other political reasons; I live in such a community. 

We enjoy a level of affluence and increasing technology that makes us comfortable with willingly living well off of the self-benefits of international conflict, global wars, and a world of militarism. We willingly live in a police state as long as we can live well.   We pay mercenaries like Blackwater as much as $30,000 a month to wage war for profit and then find taking caring for our wounded veterans interfering with Veterans Administration Executive bonuses.

Such an economy has within it the cancerous seeds of its own eventual self-destruction, so I am responsive when Dr. Brueggeman calls it a make-believe world. I believe him when he says people need to stay connected to the greater world and stay educated about what is happening outside of the comfort of their own lives. I know the truth of which he speaks when he says that churches do that through mission work and that more needs to be done.

When he says it is the job of the church and the faithful to raise questions about the ever-growing materialism in the world, because it is a way that no longer works, I cannot disagree! However, when he says “such upheavals are recorded over and over again in the Bible” and that for “this generation” it is time to “unplug and begin to re-imagine their lives,” I can only wonder why are we not being informed of this by more of our church leaders?

From Warner’s World, this is walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com wondering if we are not being led down a primrose path of moral and socio-economic heresy.

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