On the Ore Regions of the Species. The ugly face of high technology and the tragedy of the modern era: the more human morality degenerates, the more the human species is endangered.
Birth rates throughout the world look set to plunge for the first time in generations as governments continue to impose remorseless austerity on nations, in turn undermining social cohesiveness and moral values, while also engaging in various wars for the earth’s diminishing resources and ignoring the ever more urgent warning signs of global climate change –all of which threatens not just the survival of our species, but of the planet itself.
In the twenty-first century, humankind appears to be caught up in a high-tech matrix of its own making, but which it is increasingly unable to control, let alone utilise for the wider benefit of the species –for instance, to raise its ethical standards and aspirations for the greater good. The architects of modern civilisation seem at times to be a conglomerate of mad scientists, prisoners of their own inventions, still swollen with hubris as to their false mastery of a world increasingly overrun by conflicts, wars, holocausts, famines and a global decline in ethics and morality. All these pestilences would appear to be symptoms of humankind’s perennial greed for power, wealth and domination –destructive qualities which might well accelerated its own eventual extinction if not kept in check and regulated far more rigorously for the future.
Sexual Morality and Children
On 8 April 2013, in her online petition (which has already reached 20,445 signatories) at change.org, Ms Kirsty Hopley targeted the Conservative MP for Crewe and Nantwich and Under Secretary of State for Children and Families to “Make it illegal to display porn around children”, arguing:
“….How is it legal to display women bending over with barely a covered groin and naked breasts in public places where children can see? It would be a sexual offence if a parent or other person deliberately showed a child indecent pictures. Yet every day children see sexual covers on ‘adult’ and ‘lad mags’. How is it legal to look at pornography in the form of page three and images in the Daily Sport in front of children? These images are available in community centres, children’s swimming pools, trains, buses and breastfeeding-friendly cafés.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic it has been reported that obstetric fistula has already claimed the lives of thousands of underage girls”:
Girls as young as nine are now among the victims of some of the most disturbing hidden casualties of the ongoing horrors of war. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, in sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of young girls are suffering rape by guerrilla soldiers, and subsequently being ostracised or expelled from communities unable and unequipped to provide them with the Caesarean sections or adequate surgery required to cure the potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease.
Obstetric fistula is an injury whereby a hole develops between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum, through which urine or stools leaks continuously. This results from obstructed childbirth, mostly because the underage Congolese girls’ bodies are not physically mature enough for a healthy birthing. These girls are consequently left with a devastating injury that causes permanent leakage of urine and/or faeces, as the surgery required to correct it is unavailable in war-torn countries. This sexual injury is considered a ‘disease of poverty’ since it is mostly associated with underdeveloped nations lacking sufficient resources to protect against it.
Save the Children UK recently called on world leaders to protect the huge numbers of vulnerable and innocent girls whose lives are destroyed every year by such horrific repercussions of wars. According to the charity, in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, there are thought to be around 20,000 underage girls suffering rape and its consequences at the hands of rogue armed militia.
Even geographical boundaries can no longer guarantee protection for children across the globe from the violent incursions of social unrest or warmongering, making the world a very hostile and dangerous place for them.
Children can only develop into balanced, wholesome and well-adapted adults of the future if they are sufficiently protected from the worst types of cultural pressures, poverty and sexual permissiveness. All children need the moral guidance of decent education and upbringing in a healthy, stable and safe environment, if they are to mature naturally, free of the neuroses, inhibition or proneness to drug addiction that can result from excessive infant trauma.
Even in the UK, children arguably face intensifying social pressures, such as sartorial sexualisation, and unwholesome, brutally explicit exposure to sexual pornography via the internet, while still underage; along with other permissive cultural trends. This is one of the reasons why the Government is currently introducing sexual education at primary school level, familiarising pre-pubescent children with the mechanics of human sexual reproduction and intercourse, so they will be better prepared if and when they are exposed to more graphic, pornographic depictions which they might accidentally access online. Indeed, the issue of many parents’ forgetting to turn on internet safe searches has resulted in legion incidents of underage children being exposed to explicit pornographic images online.
Underage sexual permissiveness has escalated to alarming levels the more technology has advanced without proper regulation. One recalls such shocking front page stories as the Daily Telegraph’s of 29th October 2012, entitled ‘Girls of 13 given birth control jabs at school’:
For sure most parents would be horrified to find that their underage daughter has been given a contraceptive jab without their consent, or to find out that not only their child was sexually active at a tender age, but also that they have been given contraception at school without their consent.
Nowadays the gruesome has been normalised, legalised, and understood as such, then wrapped up with shameless rights and meaningless jargon such as political correctness.
It has become common habit to witness children as young as eight on our Community and Discovery channels discussing their sexual orientation with their parents; and parents are not even free to pass on fundamental values to their children anymore, for fear of not being “politically correct”.
Children are also involved in distorted debates of all sorts: cats can now live with dogs and foster baby squirrels, and everyone still has to view this as normal.
However, everyone was surprised, or pretended to be surprised, when, for instance, The Sun, in May 2007, splashed with the headline: ‘Britain’s youngest mother is said to be aged 11’.
Meanwhile, sexually transmitted diseases among children are believed to have risen during the last decade, according to a recent report.
In an article published under the 2013 Criminal Justice Degrees Guide, Nancy Farrell wrote that Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the child murderers of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993, were among the ten youngest murderers in history.
According to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention:
“…juvenile offenders were involved in approximately 1,043 murders in 2006, which accounts for 10 per cent of all murders. Among the 10 youngest murderers in history were Robert Thompson and Jon Venables: they were both 10 years old when they abducted and killed two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. The young boys snatched the toddler from a shopping mall while his mother was inside a store, and took him on a 2.5-mile walk across Liverpool. He was sexually abused by the two older boys. After the beatings, they left Bulger’s lifeless body on the railway tracks so that it would be cut in half.”
Crime and sexual violence are not innate or congenital in human beings. It could be argued that neither Robert Thompson or Jon Venables, nor other violently deviant children, are born to be criminals, sex offenders or killers, but that they have become thus as a result of having been sexually and/or violently abused themselves at young ages, traumas that have scarred them so deeply as to dangerously distort their notions of pain and pleasure, sex and violence, inducing in some a sadistic conception of sex, permanently blunting any the development of rudimentary human empathy and compassion towards random victims. In the case of minors Thompson and Venables, it was later reported that they had been frequently left unsupervised with access to one of their father’s collections of graphically violent videos. In addition to this, the two boys were also known to have come from very deprived and temperamentally unstable home backgrounds.
‘Political Correctness’ versus ‘Moral Panic’
Many parents of today might tend to feel that Western society is languishing in an increasingly unacceptable climate of laissez faire in terms of sexual morality and permissiveness; particularly in terms of a tacit sexualisation of children in the media, advertising and clothes’ industries. Some may be prone to slightly more alarmist notions that at some time in the near future parents will be looked down on as somehow old-fashioned, backward or prudish for seeming over-protective of their children when any adult strangers are around. Social commentators in the more reactionary and conservative-minded newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, might well blame “political correctness” on a perceived contemporary laxity among many parents in speaking up against the increasing sexualisation of childhood. Indeed, in light of so many paedophile controversies in recent years, such attitudes are, to some degree, understandable.
However, there is nothing worse and more obstructive to true solutions than the hysteria and hyperbole which comes from ‘moral panic’ –a social phenomenon most often whipped up by right-wing tabloids for mostly cynical and opportunistic purposes, such as simply selling more papers, than from any genuine concern for the welfare of society. Indeed, the tabloid media will also report frequently that, for instance, society is crawling with illegal economic immigrants, or that all those who are unemployed –even in a period of peaking unemployment and a chasmal lack of jobs– are all just “scroungers”, so any such ‘stories’ in the red-top papers should always be taken with a huge pinch of salt.
Moreover, those who argue that sexual education in schools, rather than being introduced at a younger age, should oppositely be available only to older pubescent children, are completely missing the point: ignorance is the greatest menace to protecting underage children from more damaging forms of sexual discovery. If given the right balance of information at the earliest age appropriate, children can then grow up to be more prepared and vigilant with regards to the various issues surrounding sexual behaviour. To deprive children of such important information until the very last minute of their education is to risk the greater likelihood of their being at some point prior to this exposed to some forms of sexual phenomena wholly unprepared.
Furthermore, so-called “political correctness” is frequently cited by the more disingenuous right-wing commentators as determining common perceptions that such devastating events as the war in Eastern Congo is actually a conflict over mineral resources. But ‘political correctness’ has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the established geological fact that the Democratic Republic of Congo is awash with vital mineral resources, mined in war zones by human rights-abused labourers brutally exploited by international warmongers.
In fact, historically, the DRC (formerly Zaire) has been an important source of strategic minerals for the Western world for more than 50 years; and the atomic bomb that was once dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was allegedly built using Congolese uranium.
Congo’s Robbed Ore Resources
Eastern Congo is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of mineral resources, but yet Africa is portrayed by the mainstream media as the world’s leper. The country does not have basic infrastructure and facilities, such as roads, making it difficult to regulate safety hazards and child labour.
Warmongers and foreign mining companies have turned the DRC into a perpetual battlefield over the last decade –the bloodiest of them all since World War II, where some of the most gruesome casualties are children. Congolese mineral ore reserves comprise millions of tonnes of diamonds, copper, cobalt, zinc, manganese, uranium, niobium, tantalum, ebony wood, timber, to list only a few.
The country is naturally blessed with mineral resources, but yet blighted by the world’s most powerful Western governments.
With more than 92% of global coltan and other mineral reserves located in Congo, a number of analysts have argued that international demand for the metal has become one of the driving forces behind the war in DRC. Coltan is a black mineral that can withstand heat and hold a high electric charge when refined, and the component maintains the electrical charge in computer chips. Coltan is among the many strategic minerals found in Congo which form the basis of the high-tech global commodity chain.
Technologically advanced nuclear weapons, planes, cars, wireless systems, DVD players, mobile phones, ipods, night vision goggles, fibre optics, capacitors, smart phones, mp3 players, laptops, Play Stations, and many toys also depend on the coltan trade. More than 80% of the world’s cobalt, gold and diamond are found in Congo, which is also the largest supplier of high-grade copper.
It is not difficult to establish a connection between Congo’s permanent war, alleged tribal tensions, coups and overthrown regimes and the international capitalist demand for endless supplies of such Congo-abundant minerals as coltan. Nor to link this with the tumultuous tension brought by the Rwandan involvement in DRC politics and the desire for warmongers to maintain the established order. For anyone to argue that one is accused of being “politically incorrect” to question such obvious interrelations between the phenomena detailed above is to reduce the dialectic to an irrelevant, petty and disrespectful level.
The Romanian-born 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, once said:
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Thanks to his activism, ethics and sense of justice, Wiesel, the Sorbonne-graduated journalist, received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his victory over “the powers of death and degradation, and to support the struggle of good against evil in the world.”
Endless ores of mineral resources are deemed vital and strategic for Western military dominance, economic prosperity, and consumer satisfaction.
Gold, diamond, tin (cassiterite) and tungsten have all soared in price on the commodity markets in recent years, and Congo is awash with gold to an estimated value of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Tin (cassiterite) is used in most household electronic items, as it is a vital solder for circuit boards.
Tungsten is a metal used in everything from light bulbs to mobile phones, televisions to racing cars (Formula One) to bullets.
It is no surprise that the ore mines are located in the bloodiest areas of Eastern Congo. The mines can then be easily controlled by warmongers whose roles are airbrushed of brutality in the mainstream media. So as the mineral traffic goes smoothly, the media can then use spin and propaganda to deflect accusations of dictatorship away from the murderous regimes they support in order to make profit.
Some ‘miners’ are literally ‘minors’: children, sometimes as young as two years old, whose parents, as themselves, barely earn enough to survive. Large-scale international mining companies cannot ‘afford’ to see the country at peace as this will hamper their self-serving profiteering.
Every day, foreign mining companies are raiding Congo of coltan and other minerals, and by doing so, robbing Congolese children of their childhoods, enslaving millions of them in digging mines from dawn to sunset for only 10 cents a day. This same coltan is traded on the Western black market for up to £450 a pound.
As a result, Government home and foreign policy have done more harm than good for children around the world since the last decade.
The moral question is: should the world stand by and see so many defenceless fellow human beings being so mercilessly used like this? Surely it is time, in the twenty-first century, for the world to join together and say enough is enough –no human being should be used as a tool, as a means to someone else’s ends?
There are no riches as nourishing as a clear conscience. Human beings should be what we valued most. Not our popularity, not the success of our political party or religious belief, not the success of our business, not our wealth, but our fellow human beings.
At the cutting age of the high tech, modern humanity needs to add wisdom and ethics to its technological ‘ingenuity’ and spirit of invention and ‘acquisitiveness’. Wisdom will help us operate more judicious choices.
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) deontological moral theory is arguably one of the best moral theories –he was an opponent of utilitarianism: he believed that certain types of actions (including murder, theft, and lying) were absolutely prohibited, even if they resulted in more happiness than other alternatives.
For Kantians, we must ask ourselves whenever we decide to act ‘if our actions respect the goals of human beings rather than merely using them for our own purposes’.
Human inherent value should not depend on anything else according to Emmanuel Kant: it does not depend on whether we can use the person to achieve wealth, or satisfy our selfish interest, or anything else: we exist, so we have value.
Modern humankind needs virtue to save it from perdition. According to the Thesaurus online, virtue in Latin (virtus), is ‘moral excellence, a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being’.
To sum up, in order to avoid depravation that will lead to the eventual extinction of our species, we should show respect and love towards our fellow human beings, promote collective and individual greatness, and do our utmost to pass on the right virtues and fundamental values to the next generation, which, quite apart questions of morality, are also the wisest and most pragmatic options in ensuring the continuity of our species.