Civilization's Fault Lines
Where today do we find the most pronounced "fault lines" in our still highly fragile world wide civilization? Some would say in the rapacious practices of our international corporations. Others would say in a continuing neglect of the biosphere, that which could result in an environmental deterioration substantial enough to threaten our very survival as a species.
And there are certainly many other fault lines that one could readily name. But I would say the most dangerous of them all is that resulting from our failure to provide too many of our impoverished and disadvantaged youth with a proper education followed up by our no less significant failure to provide them with decent employment opportunities once they have left school.
What has happened in place of the education and job opportunities that should have been provided? What has happened and is still happening is that large numbers of jobless young people throughout the world, not just in the underdeveloped countries, are readily falling prey to recruiters of all kinds offering employment and purpose to what had been up until then jobless and purposeless lives.
And these recruiters are everywhere. They are the neo-Nazis in the former "republics" of the Soviet Union, the extremist Shiv Sena party recruiters throughout India's third largest province, Maharashtra, and in particular in Bombay, the city that Shiv Sena would have us call Mumbai.
They are the Taliban and Al Qaeda recruiters in the wild northwest provinces of Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Middle East, and they are the failed politicians in so many failed African states, themselves recruiters who enlist unsuspecting youth members of their own clans into their failed causes.
First world or developed countries are no less free of these people who would use young men, and young women to their own ends. They are the Al Qaeda and other terrorist cells in the suburbs of London, Paris, and other European cities that promise heavenly bliss in exchange for the sacrifice of the lives of their recruits.
And they are the gangs of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and other Western cities that provide more than minimum wages as well as "prestigious" positions in the gang hierarchy to unemployed youth who agree to participate in their criminal activities.
The world wide presence of tens of millions of unemployed youth, mostly young men, remains an inexhaustible source of live bodies for carrying out the antisocial and antidemocratic schemes of growing numbers of religious fanatics and hard core criminals.
This is the fault line that most of all makes any talk, let alone realization, of a world wide civilization with accompanying democratic values such a problematic undertaking. This is the fault line on which the Americans in Iraq continue to stumble and fall.
We will probably see more and more, as in Britain, of what are called Asbos, or Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which are a special set of rules that unemployed and "misbehaving" youth are expected to follow. I say, good luck, to the governments who adopt this plan for virtue cannot be taught, let alone mandated.
What about those in society who do want to hold things together, promote civilized behavior in the young, protect us from breaking down along the fault line of youth unemployment? Individuals, private organizations, the governments of nations, for example. What are they doing, if anything, to diminish the large numbers of unemployed young men?
So far little or nothing, although there is much talk. Instead we continue to devote more and more of our resources to fighting the terrorist and other criminal gangs that result from our world-wide failure to take substantial preventive action in the lives of at risk youth. The gangs (think Hamas and Hezbollah) provide purpose and positions for the young in our stead.