my brother’s hunter

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”  Pogo Possum

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars — but in ourselves…”  Cassius, Julius Caesar

Edward Said’s book Orientalism published in 1978, told us the reality of the world was a clash of civilizations:  between the familiar West and the strange East.  It became and is still the go to explanation for conflict in the world.

I don’t know Said’s work except in sketch form, so I’ll put this next thought is it’s own paragraph.  That our civilizations rightly clash is what we firmly believe:  foreign laws are regressive, their ideas threaten our way of life.  We’ve taken it far:  they are taking our jobs, and even, let’s go and kill them.  I guess Said’s idea was complex and nuanced, but also that our advanced crass politics do draw their heritage from it.

Here’s strong evidence for another view:  that in fact most conflict in the world is a lot more local than Said and the priesthood that propagate his beliefs, and the word on the street, and pretty well the whole world, seem to think.  I’ve hunted and pecked some excerpts from Russell Jacoby’s essay Bloodlust below, which show that the enemy is not the stranger, rather it is us.

If you take it chronologically, the fratricidal Cain and Abel are the obvious archetypal start.  Not a war, but the first murder in a pretty important book.  The Peloponnesian war is another early example;  Thucydides account of the Corcyrean civil war describes loyalties that turned families viciously against each other.  Not nations, families.

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