Ending The Brotherhood of Violence

…Alas, we are the last to come to this breach, Our munitions are spent and our rations meager.. we watch the aerial bombardment as if sitting leisurely at the end of some grand festivity. Yet friend, let me tell you, I fear for the rest of our compatriots. I have seen them down at the seaside. They are sleep walking, up from their beds, gone from their homes, taken to the deep abyss by a spirit incorrigible, and unknowable….

Cori, Italia 8 August 2014

Three summers ago, when I was living in Italy, I had a frightful dream.

I saw before me a long line of people of all races and colors walking single-file towards a barren seashore. The sky was torched red with bombardments. I could not see where the line began, but it stretched away from the sea and over the horizon. When the people reached the water’s edge, they each threw a single piece of wood onto a growing, burning pyre of bodies, and then continued to walk into the sea; slowly submerging themselves and disappearing from view.

I recently read Tolstoy’s Confession and My Religion in which he frames the basis for his theory summarized as, “nonresistance to evil’. Tolstoy’s vision springs from a very deep reading of the New Testament. Late in life, Tolstoy became a devout pacifist, not partially because he managed to entirely and deliberately from divorce Jesus’ teachings the Old Testament world of Jehovah. I will guess that Tolstoy’s ideas will seem quaint and archaic to most readers. Yet they are the most valuable and deeply developed versions of the modern, ‘Christian’, nonviolent attitude I have ever read. His words inspired Merton, Ghandi, and well… me.

Inspiring as reading Tolstoy’s somewhat obscure texts is, I found as stark of a comparison I could hope for watching the blood-splattered and outrageously violent climax to The Revenant. The movie is basically a mumbling mess designed solely for an Oscar run, but still, by the end, I decided I’d had enough of violence. I’m not entirely sure what this means yet, but it serves as the thesis for the book I am working on now aptly entitled A Treatise on the End of Violence. My hope therein is to address the global brotherhood of violence, whereby men continue to celebrate all that is hateful in us, and lever that vile hatred against one another. There is little doubt in my mind that Violence is the most perpetual of our problems as a species.

Having been raised by a Marine and in a particularly rough fashion, I have more than a faint acquaintance with violence, and yet I have never given much thought to coming right out and saying that we must stop. By some weird confusion of events, I am literally sick of violence. Besides the obvious, where men glorify violence as a means to an end., there is violence against women, children, even ourselves. There is violence in thought, word, and deed. I think we will witness an end to it in this lifetime. Perhaps the end, if more of us (men especially) do not decry violence of all kinds, and completely.

When the bloody bastards attacked Paris, I was flying home from Los Angeles and found myself wretching in a bathroom stall. I wrote about it. Oddly, I have never, nor will ever, write about 9/11, which is now a catchphrase for the end of American exceptionalism. I, like most of you, cringe when I hear some assinine politician start down that road and deliver their boring rendition of “Where I was when the first plane hit.” I loathe the inherent opportunism of the “9/11 confession”. We should ban the mention of 9/11 from all speeches, like the Lakota Sioux do not speak of their dead. Madame Clinton recently told us that national remorse about the bombing was the basis for “helping Wall Street.” That is something.

We have since become accustomed to the sickeningly common combination of “self-immolation and mass murder” because it is regular news. Different people will draw different conclusions about the jihadist agenda from academics to politicians to the jihadists themselves. The effect is nerve-racking. Liberals will tell us that the real cause of this is despair. The unemployed youth of the middle east have few options, although joining an extremist brigade or blowing one’s self up seems to be a popular choice for the select few. These vocations might seem appealing to an entire region under occupation who have no other avenue of expression for their misery and frustration. Blowing oneself up does not constitute courage-even remotely. I’m sorry for those that think it does, in any theatre of war.

Assuredly there is not less despair among this youth today — given the Arab Spring and especially since the decimation of Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. All of this despair can be shown to be a good reason for suicide, but is it a good reason for mass murder? I would query that if there is any correlation at all, it should be in the reverse.

The number of Salafi-jihadists, the extremists that now control a broad swath of area from Northern Africa to Pakistan has grown by some intelligence agency estimates, to nearly 50k people. They also control a great deal of “mind-space”, and with every attack, (which have increased by a measure of 10x), they instill more fear, and encourage more violence.

What draws youth to more blood?

There are alternative explanations and many wrong solutions. The GOP’s number one man has riled up 1/2 the population of American white men with his brilliant solution. He would have us believe that based on the success of the another wall or “fence” like the one that Israel has built, we ought to build one too. First, I suggest that if you are an angry white, olive or green person, that you walk into your local recruiting center and volunteer. Get off the streets and “into the shit”, as the Marines say. Why waste your time beating up protestors at Trump rallies when you could be cannon fodder for the asymmetrical war on terror? The analogy between what does not work in another isolated country and what will not work here has somehow escaped the media and the candidate both.

On the other side, the executive branch has a fondness for clinical drone campaigns and “targeted persons”. Mr. Obama’s “hush-hush”, unconventional campaign of drone warfare, cyber-attacks and special forces operations has not only violated the national sovereignty of more nations than any President has since WW2, but has resulted in more “martyrdom operations”, on a greater scale, and amongst more civil populations. Mr. Trump has perhaps only one thing correct. Jihadist violence will happen here again, and I rue the day it does, because it will be horrifying. The political logic on both sides of the equation escapes me, and I consider myself a person of moderate intelligence.

If fear and despair are what has invaded human consciousness totally, why on earth would anyone entertain, be you the incumbent president or wanna-be, more violence? None of these policies will explain why fear and despair now dominate the human psyche, why targeted assassinations will never deter young men from volunteering. There can be no political solution for the whack job who straps explosives to himself hoping to reach a suddenly sexual paradise. Isn’t it ironic that everything repressed and denied to the fundamentalist in life lay waiting for them in heaven? I think if hell exists, self-immolation and mass-murder awards them free, express entry.

Ludicrous, isn’t it?

Even before the blood is washed from the streets of Brussels, the academics will pen articles explaining that the general atmosphere of fear and despair is not the cause. What is being channeled is strictly a political/ideological objective, albeit misguided in Supreme ways, by G-d Himself, according to another set of baboons who like to kill by mythology. I stress the big lettered Him here for a reason.

The Brotherhood of violence works for Allah or “G-d”, or God, didn’t you know?

We will always have a roughly constant stream of potential volunteers, some in camouflage, with lots of velcro, night-vision and dip cans, or second-hand trainers and RPG’s. The immediate needs of the Brotherhood of violence are that the ever-flowing faucet of despair is left turned on. No matter how many intense private discussions behind closed doors there are, we cannot just shut it off. The despairing will continue to call for more violence, more retribution, and more death.

The Brotherhood of violence is filled with nasty, vicious, fanatical people devoid of human emotions, who make decisions and decide the fate of others based on rhetoric and religion. Both are equally creepy. Both give voice to the repressed. One by political exaltation, and the other by condoning a despicable action based on the sickeningly stupid promise of a paradise where everything that is previously forbidden is awarded. Both are political and spiritual. Both are modern mental illness conjoined.

Each side sends out its warriors. One says, “Let’s build a wall and let no one in, we live in heaven.”, and the other says, “Let’s blow their wall to smithereens so that we can get there too.” Neither side realizes that heaven does not exist and that we are damn close to hell.

I still have bad dreams.


Louis D. LoPraeste is a former corporate strategist (2003–2012) and founder of www.quodfatum.com. His firm specializes in the organization of complex investment offerings, strategic communications and solutions architecture for the financial, energy, and technology sectors. His unique approach is shaped by a strong theoretical sensibility, practical market experience in investment and strategic settings along with insights from systems theory, computational intelligence and behavioral economics.