About a month ago, the world woke up to yet another out-break of violence, this time in Paris. And, as was their intention, the terrorists were successful in stirring-up hatred and tension around the world.
Unfortunately, as violence and civil unrest in countries around the world escalate, so do the cries for militant action and government intervention from right-wing extremists. The problem with these two 'solutions' are that in the long-run they produce militant-police states and government programs riffed with bureaucratic negligence, inefficiencies and incompetence – exacerbating the extremism and violence already rampant in the society.
Real solutions to extremism, and all the woes which come with it, need to shift from crisis management to prevention. And, prevention can only come through widespread integrity, transparency and accountability in a society – something sadly lacking in today's world. Widespread laissez-faire politics in the past 35 years have left not only economies and financial markets in shambles, but also a general discontent amongst people everywhere.
The rationalizations used by terrorists may change from region to region, but the common denominators in all of these cases are widespread economic instability, corruption, and civil discontent – with each element feeding off the other. And, government programs designed to address the underlying issues are so riffed with negligence, bureaucracy, corruption, under-funding, mis-management...that they do more to add to the problems, than create solutions (with the issues explored in Ideological Problems Plague Our Nation's Capital).
It appears that the world has forgotten the lessons of the past, and the economic terrain that permitted right-wing extremism to take root and flourish in Europe half a century ago is carrying us down a similar path at present. As stated in Bringing Human Rights Home, "it was widely recognized that economic dislocation, rampant inflation and the associate inability to purchase food and other basic needs, massive unemployment, as well as existing racial and religious prejudice, had created conditions ripe for the perverted philosophies of fascism and Nazism to take popular hold.
The protection of economic and social human rights can be seen as an additional security measure, aimed at the prevention of further global and domestic conflicts" ("New" Human Rights: U.S. Ambivalence Toward the International Economic and Social Rights Framework, by Hope Lewis).
This is where governments and societies need to look if they really wish to combat terrorism. Governments (and societies) need to take a hard look at how widespread corruption and rampant economic, social and cultural rights violations are igniting and inflaming the violent out-breaks which plaster the headlines. The social and economic chaos, which is the result of decades of bad governance in countries and markets across the globe, is escalating tensions, aggression, and hatred amongst groups everywhere. The cyclical, cause-and-effect, nature of this relationship necessitates a colossal effort from governments instead of their typical bureaucratic, paper-pushing inaction, coupled with apathy amongst their ranks.
As the recent shooting in Paris showed the world once again; combating violence in our societies and communities is no longer something governments and societies can ignore. But, where they must start looking, is in -- inside their own societies and government institutions, and looking at the widespread apathy, negligence and corruption that permeates them.
The 'random' out-breaks of violence that we are seeing in countries around the world, while abhorrent and inexcusable, are not "attacks on the 'Western' democratic way of life" as right-wing extremist contend. These violent out-breaks are the result of long-term, unbridled discrimination and human & civil rights violations, with anger and resentment festering for years amongst the aggrieved – and people grabbing at whatever extremist rhetoric they have at hand to justify, and even glorify, their violence.
Governments can no longer continue to sweep the problems of our society under the carpet. They need to pull their heads out of the sand, pull up their sleeves, and clean-house.