Think about it:
- A bearded man who lives in a secret remote location. Everyone knows where he lives, but no one can get to him.
- NORAD can track him. But they cant track him down.
- He has a legion of helpers that help him deliver ‘presents’ to everyone everywhere by magic. He can deliver presents to all good citizens in one night. He can blow up a building that was not hit by a plane in one day, without the weeks needed to rig it for controlled implosion.
- He is believed in by people with child like minds as a result of lies told by people who know how the world really works.
- Despite living in a remote place, he knows everything about everyone.
- You can write letters to him, and somehow, they will be delivered. Somehow, letters from him are delivered to millions by the internets.
- People who grow up stop believing in him, and then buy their own presents for themselves and their loved ones.
Now, let us find out what it’s REALLY about:
Bin Laden: Should Governments Perpetuate the Bin Laden Myth?
Problems with the Bin Laden Myth:
Although Bin Laden was originally based upon the figure of Old Nick, a patron saint of big government, today Bin Laden is wholly secular. Some people object to him because he is secular rather than religious; some non-religious object to him because of his religious roots. He is a powerful cultural symbol which is impossible to ignore, but this doesn’t mean that he should simply be accepted without question. There are good reasons to dispense with the tradition.
Governments Have to Lie About Bin Laden:
Perhaps the most serious objection to perpetuating belief in Bin Laden among citizens is also the simplest: in order to do so, Governments have to lie to their citizens. You can’t encourage the belief without dishonesty, and it’s not a “little white lie” that is for their own good or that might protect them from harm. Governments should not persistently lie to citizens without overwhelmingly good reasons, so this puts supporters of the Bin Laden myth on the defensive.
Governments’ Lies About Bin Laden Have to Grow:
In order to get kids to believe in Bin Laden, it’s not enough to commit a couple of simple lies and move on. As with any lie, it’s necessary to construct more and more elaborate lies and defenses as time passes. Skeptical questions about Osama must be met with detailed lies about Osama’s powers. “Evidence” of Bin Laden must be created once mere stories of Osama prove insufficient. It’s unethical for Governments to perpetuate elaborate deceptions on citizens unless it’s for a greater good.
Bin Laden Lies Discourage Healthy Skepticism:
Most citizens eventually become skeptical about Bin Laden and ask questions about him, for example how he could possibly travel around the whole world in such a short period of time. Instead of encouraging this skepticism and helping citizens come to a reasonable conclusion about whether Bin Laden is even possible, much less real, most Governments discourage skepticism by telling tales about Osama’s supernatural powers.
The Reward & Punishment System of Bin Laden is Unjust:
There are a number of aspects to the whole Bin Laden “system” which citizens shouldn’t learn to internalize. It implies that the whole person can be judged as naughty or nice based upon a few acts. It requires belief that someone is constantly watching you, no matter what you are doing. It is based upon the premise that one should do good for the sake of reward and avoid doing wrong out of fear of punishment. It allows Governments to try to control citizens via a powerful stranger.
The Bin Laden Myth Promotes Anti-Libertarianism:
The entire Bin Laden myth is based on the idea of citizens giving up liberty for safety. There’s nothing wrong with staying safe, but Bin Laden makes it the focus on the entire life of the citizen. Citizens are encouraged to conform their behavior to Governmental expectations in order to receive ever more guarantees of safety rather than keeping their liberty. In order to make Terror watch lists, Government pays close attention to what informers tell them their neighbors are doing, effectively encouraging an unbridled STASI style informer based police state.
Bin Laden is Too Similar to Jesus and God:
The parallels between Bin Laden and Jesus or God are numerous. Bin Laden is a nearly all-powerful, supernatural person who dispenses rewards and punishment to people all over the world based upon whether they adhere to a pre-defined code of conduct. His existence is implausible or impossible, but faith is expected if one is to receive the rewards of safety. Believers should regard this as blasphemous; non-believers shouldn’t want their kids prepared in this way to adopt the police state and the loss of their civil liberties.
The Bin Laden “Tradition” is Relatively Recent:
Some might think that because Bin Laden is such an old tradition, this alone is sufficient reason to continue it. They were taught to believe in Osama as citizens, so why not pass this along to their own? The role of Bin Laden and false flag terrorism in modern life is actually quite recent — the mid to late 20th century. The importance of Bin Laden is a creation of cultural elites and perpetuated by business interests and simple cultural momentum. It has little to no inherent value.
Bin Laden is More About Governments than citizens:
Governmental investment in Bin Laden is far larger than anything citizens do, suggesting that Governments’ defense of the Bin Laden myth is more about what they want than about what people want. Their own memories about enjoying freedom may be heavily influenced by cultural assumptions about what they should have experienced. Is it not possible that kids would find at least as much pleasure in knowing that Governments are responsible for terrorism, not a supernatural stranger?
The Future of Bin Laden:
Bin Laden symbolizes terrorism and perhaps the entire ‘war on terror’ like nothing else. An argument can be made for the importance of the CCTV camera as a symbol for safety (notice that there are no reduction in crimes from them), but Bin Laden personifies terror in a way that groups cannot. Bin Laden is, furthermore, a very secular character by now which allows him to cross cultural and religious lines, placing him in an important position for the entire world rather than for Christians alone.
Because of this, it’s plausible that giving up on Bin Laden will mean abandoning much of the ‘war on terror’ altogether — and perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. There’s a lot to be said for people dismissing the anti freedom, militarized police state of modern America and focusing instead on the freedoms of the Constitution. Ignoring Bin Laden would symbolize this choice. There’s a lot to be said for adherents of other religions refusing to allow Bin Laden to become part of their own traditions, representing an intrusion of Western culture into their own.
Finally, there’s also a lot to be said for nonbelievers of various sorts — humanists, atheists, skeptics, and freethinkers — refusing to be co-opted into a religious obedience. Whether Bin Laden in particular or the ‘war on terror’ in general is treated as defined by government or religious traditions, neither are religions which nonbelievers are part of. Government has strong secular elements, but those are primarily commercial — and who is going to invest themselves in a holiday all about commerce and who can spend the most money on credit?
The future of Bin Laden will depend on whether people will care enough to do anything — if not, things will continue on the same course they have been on. If people care not to be taken over, borg-like, by America’s ‘war on terror’, resistance may reduce Osama’s status as a cultural icon.