The Roots of Radicalism and the Structure of Evil

My title is redundant for a reason, since the root of the word radical is the Latin word, radix, meaning root.  For I mean to show how the use and misuse of language, its history or etymology, and ours as etymological animals as the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gassett called us, is crucial for understanding our world, a world once again teetering on the edge of a world war that will almost inexorably turn nuclear as events are proceeding.  If our language is corrupted, as it surely is, and political propaganda flourishes as a result, the correct use of our language and the meaning of words becomes an obligation of anyone who uses them – that is, everyone, especially writers.

The United States government exists to wage war.  In its present form, it would crumble without it; and in its present form, it will crumble with it.  Only a radical structural change will prevent this.  For war-making is at the core of its budget, its raison d’être – 816.7 billion for the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act alone – a deficit-financed sum that tells only part of the story.  This amount that finances the military-industrial complex and its blood money is for a country that has never been invaded, is bordered by friendly neighbors, and is oceans away from the multitude of countries its leaders attack and call our enemies.  The U.S. wages wars around the world because killing is its lifeblood, its structural essence.

In writing of the misuse of language, George Orwell wrote, “It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”  So with these words Orwell slyly places us within the enigma of the chicken and the egg, a conundrum or paradox that relates to my theme in a weird way, but which I will directly ignore.

By radical I do not mean the widespread political usage as in radical-right or radical-left or radical meaning one who plays the role through dress or demeanor.  I am using the word in its primary meaning – a radical is one who is rooted in the earth, which means everyone.  Everyone therefore is mortal, human not a god, and comes from the earth and returns to it.  Everyone is radical in this sense, although they may try to deny it.  And the more one feels alive the more one senses one will die and doesn’t like the thought, therefore many tamp down their aliveness in order to reduce their fear of death.  The best way to do this is to disappear into the crowd, to become a conventional person.  To act as if one didn’t know that one’s political leaders were in love with death and killing and were not obedient cogs in a vast systemic killing machine.  Maybe the unconscious assumption is that these “leaders” can kill death for you by killing vast numbers of people and make you feel someone has control of this thing called death.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who stood strongly against the Vietnam War and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., put the basic sense of radical well when he said:

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.

To be radically amazed that we exist is to be equally amazed that we will die.  And there’s the rub.

Yesterday I got in our car and drove away to meet a journalist friend.  It was evening and my wife had previously used the car.  I had just spent time following all the dreadful news about the massive slaughter by Israel of Palestinians in Gaza, including the death of more than 3,000 children whose numbers are climbing fast.  Visions of those children and babies played havoc with my spirits, and I kept thinking of my own children and the love and tenderness that comes with being a  parent.  A musical cd that my wife had been listening to started playing.  The case was on the console.  It was Sacred Arias by Andrea Bocelli.  He of the majestic voice was singing Silent Night.  I was overwhelmed with tears by his passionate words:

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy infant so tender and mild,
sleep in Heavenly peace!
sleep in Heavenly peace!

I saw nights in Gaza as Israeli bombs burst and shattered everyone and everything to bits, all the holy infants, the children and adults.

I felt beside myself with grief, a U.S. citizen driving down a safe country road contemplating the savagery of my nation and its support for the Israeli government’s brutality and mass killings of Palestinians for all the world to see on screens everywhere.

I felt ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game reserved for rhetoric alone as it joins in the massacre of the innocent, as it always has, now together with the apartheid Israeli regime.

I thought of all the compromised politicians who pledge their allegiance to the killers, Biden and all his presidential predecessors, now including the aspirant Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a man with a conscience on many important issues whom I have supported in his quest for the presidency, but a man whose conscience has abandoned him when it comes to the Palestinians, as Scott Ritter has recently documented.  I have privately urged Kennedy to reconsider his “unwavering, resolute, and practical” support for the Israeli government following the Gaza breakout of October 7, but to no avail.  In fact, I have been trying to get him to withdraw his unconditional support for Israel since the summer when he withdrew his support for Roger Waters, marched with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the Israel parade in NYC, and allowed Boteach to say that Sirhan Sirhan had killed his father without correcting him since he knew it was an egregious lie.  My failure in this regard deeply saddens me.

I felt betrayed again – perhaps you will call me naïve – as when I was young and last put my trust in voting for a US presidential candidate in 1972.  I thought I had learned to radically grasp the systematically corrupt nature of the U.S. warfare state.  Now more than three weeks have passed and Bobby Kennedy has remained silent, only to ask for our prayers for the victims of the mass shooting in Maine.  For the Palestinians, not a word. Although he considers the Israeli-Palestinian situation complicated, there is nothing complicated about genocide; it doesn’t necessitate long analyses and discussions with advisers.  The facts of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza are evident for all to see, if they wish.  Bobby Kennedy has turned away.  And I have now sadly turned away from him.

I remembered the Gospel words I heard long ago about the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.”  But this time it is not the Jewish Rachel, for Herod has assumed the name Netanyahu and his U.S. allies, and the weeping ones are Palestinian mothers and fathers.  Nothing can justify such slaughter, not the terrible killings of innocent Israelis on October 7 that I denounce; not the fear that the birth of messengers of peace might strike into Herod/Netanyahu’s heart – nothing!  Seventy-five years of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues apace. The Jewish child Jesus, the radical preacher of love and peace for all people, didn’t die on a private cross, nor do the Palestinians.  So it goes.

I thought of the indescribable sweet wonder of holding your baby in your arms while realizing how many Palestinian parents have been holding their dead children in theirs.  Rage welled up in me at the obscenity of those who support this and those who shut their eyes to it and those who remain silent.

I realized that as a Christian I am baptized into the human family, not some special in-group, which is the opposite of Jesus’s message.  Every child is holy and innocent and to massacre them is evil.  And to remain silent as it happens is to be complicit in evil.

I remembered how these many ongoing weeks of terror started and thought of a poem that is succinctly apposite: Harlem by Langston Hughes:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

And I thought that he could have omitted that final question mark because we have our answer, then and now.

Then the music stopped and I arrived at my destination to meet my friend.

Yes, to be radical is to be rooted in the earth and to realize all people are part of the human family, each of us made of flesh and blood and therefore sisters and brothers deserving of justice, peace, and dignity.  But this is just a first step in the grasping of the full dimension of the radical vision.  It can end in fluff if a second step is not taken: to use our freedom to uproot ourselves from the conventional government and mass media propaganda and mind control that clouds our understanding of how the world works. This takes study and work and an understanding of the historical and systemic roots of all the alleged “unprovoked” violence that ravages our world.

Thus the existential and socio-historical merge in the radical vision that allows us to grasp the structures of evil and our personal responsibility.

Today that obligation is clear: To oppose the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.

Otherwise we are guilty bystanders.









25 thoughts on “The Roots of Radicalism and the Structure of Evil”

  1. I long ago stopped giving any credence to politicians and their ilk. I feel about them the way I feel about the Medical-Industrial Complex, the Pharmaceutical-Industrial Complex, and the large corporations that “control” the world (just to name a few). If there was any one individual that was clearly beyond corruption and unquestionably honorable they would not remain in office for long – if they got that far. In fact, they would not remain alive for very long.

    Pessimistic, for sure. But pragmatic nonetheless.

  2. We are told that the US has over 800 military bases and countless covert operations all around the world because “the world is a dangerous place” and we need to keep the peace.

    The truth is the world is only dangerous because of US presence around the world militarily, covertly, financially, and more.

    This has been necessary in order to both secure the lions share of the worlds finite natural resources for the west and to keep others from growing their economies and consuming those resources themselves whereby depleting them much faster and driving up the prices significantly. One must understand how reliant western “civilization” is on controlling and consuming these resources. Everything in the whole world is 100% dependent on the cheap almost free energy and other critical resources.

    The Multipolar progression spells the end of this global dynamic. The growth happening in the Global Majority Countries, where 70 to 80% of the worlds resources reside, is increasing the consumption of those resources and has the potential to more than make up for the decline is those resources being funneled to western countries. There have been several efforts by the global majority to say no to colonialism, all have been violently crushed killing millions.

    This time is different. This time the effort is spearheaded by several of the worlds largest and most powerful countries who have themselves made great leaps in developing and helping others develop. This can not be stopped.

    This represents the total collapse of western countries, not recession or depression but collapse. This is the analysis that is missing from all of the internet pundits which makes all analysis incomplete and mostly wrong.

    This explains the seemingly belligerent and so called “failing” wars and foreign policy of the US over the last 25+ years.

    Israel is completely dependent on the unipolar US dominance of the world to exist. It has zero chance of existing in a Multipolar world. Israel has screwed over all of the surrounding countries, killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims, displaced millions, it is beyond any sort of amicable agreement without the threat of the US destroying all who dissent.

    What is happening is the US and Israel are fighting for their lives. Europe too but they don’t seem to fully understand and are not able to agree with each other and act.

  3. When Bobby threw in to run for President, did he really know the burden he was taking on? Did he intend to lead us to greater awareness, knowing fully the risk to his family and friends? Is that risk to high of a price to beat? Is he attempting some form of incrementalism, believing that if he were to take the Presidency, that position would provide him and his family protection from the dark forces threatening to engulf ali of us? That once in office, he could use that power and voice to reverse this descent into the abyss?

  4. I wonder if RFk’s book on the killer vaccine was “Revelation Of The Method”. This alone would explain his present position on the genocide Israel is now, in plain sight of the world, perpetrating on the Palestinian people, another revelation of the method. Evil requires our acquiescence.

  5. Today that obligation is clear: To oppose the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.
    Otherwise we are guilty bystanders.

    I need to re-write that phrase to better represent our current Reality!

    Today that obligation is clear: To couch-oppose the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.
    Either way we are guilty bystanders.

    1. Good morning voza0db…., I think we spend too much time genuflecting while ignoring who/what is truly important…, yes, we are guilty bystanders. We fill our brains with more and more crap so we can avoid the obvious ! When we see someone bleeding, we don’t need a book about someone bleeding !

    2. …, and we have allowed the various authorities to segregate us by the use of fear, a false individuality, economic class differences…a separation of true self by use of an indoctrination system that only demands compliance, obedience….and we have not learned what or how to communicate so to develop a true human camaraderie to understand and focus on the REAL problem, problems. We are simply particles bouncing off other particles with no human, life meaning. So…regardless of what one might think about their position in relation to all life forms, what can we do to start learning who we really are and how to live a more sane, wholesome life. Political figures will be of no help on this. It was said the Elderly Women selected people for decision making positions. If someone was making effort to be ‘some body’, they were disqualified for life since the Elderly Women felt ‘they’ only wanted the position for some personal gain and did not care about the welfare of the entire group, community, village and so forth. I would also question what Elderly Women do we have who could make any objective decision on any subject ? There are probably some Females who still have some sanity remaining. Where are they ?

  6. Thank you, Ed.

    I share your pain regarding The War Machine and RFK, Jr.’s betrayal. He should have never entered politics. RFK, Jr. is now just another player in the secret global governance system that has captured nearly every lever of temporal power and is executing a long-planned conversion of our human species into a cog in a utopia for the in-group. Their goal for the serfs is: no marriage, no family, no property, no religion – totally controlled.

    As a first generation American (Irish mother/Scottish father), I was not exposed to “American exceptionalism.” I greatly value your perspective, but you are harsh on our fellow citizens at times. I know you realize that massive, insidious propaganda and social engineering has been perpetrated on the American populace. I agree with you, though, that since the September 2001 attacks, mature Americans have had less excuse for their blindness, and even far less since the Covid scam. Yet, here we are. But, do you explain the reality of the situation to young people in your family? Might it not break them? Every enlightened person who I know struggles with this – the horror is overwhelming.

    Honesty, healthy families, and the pursuit of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are the pinnacle of human life. We are enmeshed in the total opposite: lies, ugliness, and evil.

    Never being a political team player, I supported Obama due to the Bush crew’s obvious treason. For several years afterward, I prayed to be shown the truth of our crumbling world. It was revealed to me just a couple of months before the Covid attack. It has been a hard slog since then for my sensitive soul, but God has surrounded me with the best people I have ever known – devout Catholics. We are fully aware that the current hierarchy of the Church is captured (a key goal of the in-group perpetrators). You know that infiltration and lies have been employed toward that goal (Merton’s killing, for example). The plots and calumny against the Church, along with self-inflicted evil, do not negate the Truth bestowed to us by Jesus Christ. We are one human family, as you say. Do the evil perpetrators believe this?

    I pray for your grandchildren.

    And thank you, again, for your efforts.

  7. The most insidious lie of our time is that every issue, every crisis, every conflict, has only two sides, one being right and the other wrong. The insinuation of this lie into each of us has diminished us, polarized us, and made constructive dialogue impossible. Stand with Israel and condone oppression. Stand with Hamas and condone vengeance. I stand with neither, nor, I believe, does God, who would have us instead undertake the seemingly impossible task of learning to love our enemies.

  8. An incredible essay, Ed … I was waiting to hear what you thought of the situation and also of RFKJR’s incomprehensible viewpoint.

    “The United States government exists to wage war. In its present form, it would crumble without it; and in its present form, it will crumble with it. Only a radical structural change will prevent this. For war-making is at the core of its budget, its raison d’être – 816.7 billion for the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act alone – a deficit-financed sum that tells only part of the story. This amount that finances the military-industrial complex and its blood money is for a country that has never been invaded, is bordered by friendly neighbors, and is oceans away from the multitude of countries its leaders attack and call our enemies. The U.S. wages wars around the world because killing is its lifeblood, its structural essence.”

    I have rarely read a better summation of the sheer evil illogic of the MI Complex’s hold on the American people. Madness is what it is, a profound societal illness that is destroying anything good and intrinsically valuable.

  9. Imagine if Bobby had gone to Harvard this month to defend students supporting Hamas.

    And then vociferously denounced Maura Healey, Bernie & Liz Warren for advocating that these Harvard kids don’t have right to free speech. And told them only cowards and bigots attack college students in such shameful manner.

    And then held a rally denouncing Biden and the Rs and Ds in congress for supporting genocide. And for wasting billions of our tax dollars on Ukraine.

    And passionately attacked Trump, without end, for his Abraham accords — at the expense of Palestinians; and Trump having declared US is for Jerusalem as Israel capital. And attacked him for ordering murder of leading Iran general on Jan. 2, 2020.

    And repeatedly told Bibi to adhere to international law, end the occupation, and railed against Israel having nuclear weapons until the cows come home.

    Then announce he is going to Gaza and demand a cease fire, even if that means Israel assassinate him.

    And while in Gaza, point out all the atrocity and barbarity our government supports.

    Then went to Jerusalem and said the Mosque is sacred to Muslims, and the city is sacred to Jews and Christians too.

    There would be parades in all the Arab capitals, if he then visited them.

    And major colleges and university students in USA would all want him to come and speak; and he would. All major civil rights and human rights groups in this country would be drawn to him like a magnet.

    And the more the establishment hated on him, the more popular he become, with benefit of drawing more and more MAGA too.

    This is what a man serious about running for president easily could have done, and this is just a start, a rough outline.

    Instead, he’s floundering.

    The “man whose conscience has abandoned him when it comes to the Palestinians” is niggardly expression in essay focused on clear, accurate use of language in this crisis and all its aspects.

    Who knows exactly why in particular, and why in general, he took the liberty to destroy his humanity by denying universal humanity.

    He abandoned his conscious; he is his conscious. This did not abandon him.

    He betrayed universal humanity.

    He stabbed Waters in the back. And what happened to Kucinich?

    His fragmented consciousness is what it is.

    “Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.”

    “Pity the nation whose stateman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.”

    Pity the nation whose “dissidents” deceive the people and betray them, and whose “intellectuals” are scoundrels and whores and cowards.

    His uncle ended up relying on Thomas Merton, who helped JFK restore his humanity, when he was becoming more and more lost in the woods; and Merton, too, murdered.

    At end of the day, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, & the world outside USA orbit — the people: no longer care, nor are interested in, The West. And don’t need The West to “save them.” What happens on the ground is the only reality.

    It’s immaterial to me some have psychological need to condemn Hamas, as some had psychological need to take a knee for George Floyd and so on and so forth. To those demanding I condemn Hamas, and take a knee — who appointed them God’s spokesperson?

    In current climate here, is more dangerous to refuse to condemn Hamas, and requires more courage for this, than to condemn the Jewish State’s barbarity against Arabs. Most powerful in this country threatening students who refuse to condemn Hamas. Bobby’s not the only one with fragmented conscious — and is silent — as the most powerful heap scorn on students exercising free expression.

    Current Crisis laid bare all these contradictions — that were always there when it came to Arabs.

    There are consequences from this eclipse of reason. We can no longer deny the negative consequences of those consequences. This is what chaos looks like.

  10. I was also sad at the support of Robert Kennedy for Israeli genocide. The geopolitical problem is that a candidate needs Zionist money of the plutocracy and their media to be a viable candidate, and this is besides one’s personal feelings. As a Jew myself, whose grandparents were killed by the Nazis, one can only sigh at the road history takes and fight it as best one can. Instead of the survivors concluding that such horrors should never again occur, many of us rejoice that we are now in a position to continue them as the killers rather than the killed. Leading stupidly to disaster. It’s ironical that Jews are considered smart; there are a lot of dumb jews in the world. Best, Morley

  11. One can only speculate: Does RFK jnr have a coterie of Jewish friends?
    Is he beholden to the MIC for some of his funding? Is he still a patriot at heart? Does he fear he will become a target for the PTB?
    Strange times.

  12. I find myself wondering if RFK Jr.’s psyche is somehow irrationally and irretrievably – unconsciously stuck – in his experience of grief and anger as a fourteen year old boy when his father was murdered and given the “official back story” of the deep state’s patsy happened to be that the assassin was Palestinian and anti-Israel – and that his father was killed for supporting Israel. How else to explain otherwise intelligent, thoughtful and humane RFK Jr having such a complete blind spot on Palestine – to the point he can bear witness to this massacre and remain silent?

    It feels like there is some deep shadow in his psyche over what objectively is hardly a terribly complex or difficult moral situation to grasp. If you stand with – or remain silent – in the face of the mass murder of children you have entered the moral territory of all the rest of Western “leadership” – and it’s political class – where bringing about the death of a half a million Iraqi children can be describe publicly as – “worth it” and not result in war crimes trials.

    Your words feel like the collective conscience of many of us today Ed. Thank you.

  13. Thankyou Edward for this profoundly uncomfortable article. Many honest writers are informing us well of the painfull chapters in our present day.
    But here you have done more than inform, you have disturbed my soul yet deeper by your own personal encounter with the present sadness.
    Jiddu Khrishnamurti said,”It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

    1. Good morning John…you quoted Krishnamurti; “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”… I think that is the only sentence required. I also think there are too many sentences around the net and the most relevant messages are not being stated! I think we need to speak from our blood and guts, our deepest feelings and fears ! I also feel humans are disconnected; first from themselves and then from others who are the same though our personal lack of awareness, does not enable us to see the other ! We have enabled a gigantic mess and the indoctrination system has done more harm than anything truly beneficial !

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