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Handmaidens to Barbarity --- Chris Hedges

Science & Tech  (tags: americans, business, computers, concept, design, discovery, energy, environment, habitat, history, NewTechnology, research, science, scientists, society, study, world )

- 2116 days ago -
They will relentlessly push forward, exploiting and pillaging, perfecting their terrible tools of technology and science, until their creation destroys them and us. They make the nuclear bombs. They extract oil from the tar sands.

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 6, 2012, 4:10 pm
(Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,J. Robert Oppenheimer)

On this day in 1945 the United States demonstrated that it was as morally bankrupt as the Nazi machine it had recently vanquished and the Soviet regime with which it was allied. Over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki, it exploded an atomic device that was the most efficient weapon of genocide in human history. The blast killed tens of thousands of men, women and children. It was an act of mass annihilation that was strategically and militarily indefensible. The Japanese had been on the verge of surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no military significance. It was a war crime for which no one was ever tried. The explosions, which marked the culmination of three centuries of physics, signaled the ascendancy of the technician and scientist as our most potent agents of death.

"In World War II Auschwitz and Hiroshima showed that progress through technology has escalated man's destructive impulses into more precise and incredibly more devastating form," Bruno Bettelheim said. "The concentration camps with their gas chambers, the first atomic bomb ... confronted us with the stark reality of overwhelming death, not so much one's ownóthis each of us has to face sooner or later, and however uneasily, most of us manage not to be overpowered by our fear of itóbut the unnecessary and untimely death of millions. ... Progress not only failed to preserve life but it deprived millions of their lives more effectively than had ever been possible before. Whether we choose to recognize it or not, after the second World War Auschwitz and Hiroshima became monuments to the incredible devastation man and technology together bring about."

The atomic blasts, ignited in large part to send a message to the Soviet Union, were a reminder that science is morally neutral. Science and technology serve the ambitions of humankind. And few in the sciences look beyond the narrow tasks handed to them by corporations or government. They employ their dark arts, often blind to the consequences, to cement into place systems of security and surveillance, as well as systems of environmental destruction, that will result in collective enslavement and mass extermination. As we veer toward environmental collapse we will have to pit ourselves against many of these experts, scientists and technicians whose loyalty is to institutions that profit from exploitation and death.

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed | Truthout |

Full article at Visit Site. It may not be a comfortable read, but it is an important read.

Kerrie G (116)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 11:40 am
Noted, thanks.

Rosie Lopez (73)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 12:25 pm

Eternal Gardener (745)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 4:26 pm
"It was a war crime for which no one was ever tried."

Exactly, how come that the US, a bully of global scale, is never held accountable for any (an almost countless amount) of their crimes?

If the US was a person, it would have been classified a malignant narcissist.


Vallee R (280)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 5:37 pm
Kit - hard to read - feel we are about there again - FEMA camps ready - military law already in place in some US towns - where are we headed to???

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 7, 2012, 5:49 pm

Where are we going? Well, FEMA has had the power to enforce the most draconian of laws on the people since it's inception. No one complains because when FEMA uses it's power things are most often in a state of crisis. We have a long way to go for actual Military Law to be instituted, and that does require the full cooperation of the military. It didn't work in the USSR when the corrupt tried to over turn Gorbachev and I have serious doubts that it would work here.

I'm far more concerned about the apathy among the US citizens then the power structure coming to take us away. The population of the United States is over 300 million people, not an easy number to control or to reign in.

Sheryl G (363)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 1:57 pm
Progress not only failed to preserve life but it deprived millions of their lives more effectively than had ever been possible before. Whether we choose to recognize it or not, after the second World War Auschwitz and Hiroshima became monuments to the incredible devastation man and technology together bring about."

That one section to me states very clearly that we are the most barbaric of all species on the planet. We delude ourselves to thinking we are so much better than our other relations, but I know of not one other in the Animal Nation, the Winged Ones, or the Finned Ones that has done so much damage. In fact, the only time they take a life is in the act of eating to stay alive, and no more.

Susanne R (235)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 7:05 pm
From the article:

"Human motives often are irrational and, as Freud pointed out, contain powerful yearnings for death and self-immolation. Science and technology have empowered and amplified the ancient lusts for war, violence and death. Knowledge did not free humankind from barbarism. The civilized veneer only masked the dark, inchoate longings that plague all human societies, including our own. Freud feared the destructive power of these urges. He warned in "Civilization and Its Discontents" that if we could not regulate or contain these urges, human beings would, as the Stoics predicted, consume themselves in a vast conflagration. The future of the human race depends on naming and controlling these urges. To pretend they do not exist is to fall into self-delusion."

Dark and sad and, unfortunately, true. We see this being played out every day, by individuals and by large groups. I believe that science has made significant progress in "naming" these urges. Controlling them, unfortunately, is a challenge that will probably never be achieved.

Michael O (176)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 8:09 pm
I always enjoy reading Chris Hedges' essays on various topics. Thanks for sharing Kit!

Phillipa W (199)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 8:51 pm
thankyou Kit, for the article and your insight. And thanks for the same Sheryl.

Janis B (7)
Wednesday August 8, 2012, 11:50 pm
This article is oh so true. But not sure who the handmaidens are, all these so called science marvels of destruction were created exclusively by men

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 12:29 am
The article is as fascinating as it is truly and terrifyingly sad. It did not go far enough though. Bush/Cheney and their fraudulent wars in Irag and Afghanistan has caused the death of hundreds of innocent people! I fear moneyr for exactly this reason! He (good forbid) becomes president and it will be doomsday for the world, because ultimately he answers to his "god" before anything else! Some god?

Past Member (0)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 6:15 am
Thank you.

Robert Hardy (68)
Friday August 10, 2012, 9:12 pm
A bit heavy handed. Hard to apply current values to historical incidents. Of course it was not good and maybe not right. But it was a different time and a different world and to point fingers backward is a waste of historical time.

Kit B (276)
Friday August 10, 2012, 9:37 pm

Isn't that what a good historian does? Take a look at the past and apply current values to reconcile the past? Chris Hedges is simply pointing out the obvious, that we didn't need to use the atomic weapons but once we had it, it was going to be used.
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