As those who commit repression or aggression claim, liberty really does have an enemy, but it is seldom the particular religion or regime or minority being labelled as the enemy.
A common type of thinking appears across a wide range of human societies, characterized by obsession with controlling the behavior of women; intolerance toward political dissent; aggressive interference in the affairs of minorities at home; over-reliance on military force to settle international disputes; insistence on defining morality and forcing popular compliance. Political factions advocating this basket of intrusive policies exist regardless of race, religion, culture, sharing two broad characteristics: hostility toward democracy and readiness to use force to achieve their goals. From neo-con/tea party factions of the U.S. Republican Party to the core advocates of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, these groups of what might be called “Intrusionists” make trouble across the globe—warping legal systems and starting wars—in the firm belief that they have the moral right to tell everyone else how to live. Whatever else they advocate, they agree that they have the self-appointed right to intrude into the personal affairs of everyone else. Giving the lie to their moral pretensions, these self-styled elitists also have no hesitations about hoarding the financial benefits of their repressive politics for themselves.
Super-patriots who trust in war (fought, of course, by those who are expendable) to solve every problem, religious fundamentalists, and corporate war profiteers fit together in a cozy, self-serving Intrusionist coalition. Neo-con American empire-builders and fundamentalist Protestants; fundamentalist Shi’i clerics and IRGC officers building an economic empire at home and promoting political empire across the Mideast; Wahabi Sunni fundamentalists and petro-sheikhs–in each society, these groups coalesce easily to combat all who disagree and to compel obedience. War provides both profit and the fear or excitement to stimulate naive patriotic fervor, with the moralists offering justification for all sins.
Those lusting for an exclusionist and repressive morality can easily tolerate war profiteering; those lusting for war profits can easily tolerate a repressive morality that will first be applied to others.
The Intrusionist package is compelling. It takes a very long time for a mostly apolitical society to see through the hype. A war of aggression can easily be sold to a population for a decade: people may protest the deaths, but the guilty warmongerers may never be called to account. A revolution can be sold for several generations after it has been subverted, its initial idealism twisted and exploited: the accounting in the eyes of historians and the masses is likely to come long after the damage is done, long after the profits are enjoyed by the manipulators.
In the meantime, all who join in the game share the spoils. The Intrusionists do not intrusively interfere with large-scale financial fraud; they do not intrusively interfere with corporate destruction of the environment; they certainly do not intrusively intervene to protect the victims, be they the poor suffering abuse by industrial giants or the civilians suffering invasion.
The real struggle in the modern world is not the struggle against a particular race, religion, society, state, or ideology. The real global life-or-death struggle pits the Intrusionists against the rest of us, and the rest of us might have a fighting chance if we only knew the war that we are actually fighting. But that’s a secret.