The Five Kings

The writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, has written a brilliant book,

The book lays out the impact of America retreating from its world leadership to the growth of the emerging Five Kings -Turkey, Iran, China, Russia, and radical Islam. Levy states that America by letting the Kurds down in Kirkuk created the beginning of the end of America’s greatness. The American dream really did exist. The Marshall Plan and rebuilding Europe after Hitler destroyed much of it has lost its footing with Trumps “America First” nationalism. I certainly agree that we live in a global economy. Planes can cross the Atlantic in 1 hour and nuclear bombs in 10 minutes . Th USA has the nuclear fire power to blow up the entire world many times over just from their hidden nuclear subs. So why the constant wars and power struggles when we have effectively out dated war though technology and nuclear power.

My main push back to Levy on “America First” as a bad idea regards the fact that protecting Europe and the rest of the world is bankrupting the USA and a lot of that Defense money should got to our infrastucture and education . Our allies have been on the economic tit of America for too long . If America is spending 5% of GDP on defending against the 5 Evil Kings while Britain, France, Japan etc. are spending 2% of GDP then they need to step up. They do not need to spend as much as America but the same 5 % of GDP spent on defense is very reasonable. Where Trump’s “America First” goes bad is that it paves the way into a dystopian world where dictators, religion, and technology can crush personal freedom with impunity.

Levy spotlights Jeremy Bentham as the origin of this dystopian nightmare.

Bentham was an eminent enlightenment philosopher of the late 1700’s who was soon followed by Locke, Voltaire, and others. Bentham among other things invented the panopticon-a giant tower that could watch over everyone. Bentham argued that “commerce and control” would work together in harmony. Levy says the Orwellian nightmare of 1984 has come to pass because Bentham and other philosophers trained us intellectually over many years to be accepting of losing our privacy. Certainly much good has come out of the digital revolution including that the leaders around the world can no longer hide behind closed doors . Examples of Trump as the “chief pussy grabber”, Putin exposed to have of 500 billion in secret assets, Osama Bin laden downloading porn in his lair with 5 wives, Erdogan, Hussein, the Ayatollah, and many Muslim leaders brutally murdering their own citizens were all exposed by all exposed by digital media- yet the political and religious dictators still are still in power -or are they still in power? Th Arab Spring was spawned by the new digital technology. Is GAFA (Google Amazon Facebook and Apple) running the show and letting the dictators stay put for now? Does GAFA become the 21st Century version of of the panopticon where “commerce and control” can work together while everyone including our leaders is being watched. Bentham first postulated this form of control in the 1700’s. George Orwell and Robert Heinlein further updated this dystopia in their novels in the mid 1900’s.

So are we going to let the 5 Kings take over the world politically with authoritarianism while GAFA  really runs the show behind closed doors like Bentham’s panopticon or the Wizard of Oz? The Doors poet and singer Jim Morrison bellowed “We want the world and we want it now!!”

Our generations day is quickly passing but the emotional high I got from Jim Morrison’s lyrics in my late teens still resonates. The “Boomers” made plenty of changes to the world order, but we will not be around to see the full impact . Our cry for freedom and a cleaner less warlike planet had impact. I am an optimist. I believe the glass of life is half full.



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