I’ve been meditating recently on the dominionist model - as concisely laid out in Genesis:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”
Dominionism is deeply embedded in our culture - and that of all the “people of the book” - Christians, Muslims, and Jews. So deeply embedded that it’s not examined - it’s just how we look at the world, as our property, for us, in God’s image, and thus higher and more important than any other creature, to control and use for our benefit and our benefit alone. And it’s implicit in the capitalist worldview, which is based on a model of continuous growth - as if the planet and its resources were infinite, by virtue of our assuming it to be so.
And we have institutionalized dominionism in strange and perverse ways. Consider the “War on (some) Drugs” - its model is to define some drugs, all either plant-based or out of patent, and therefore yielding no potential for rent extraction, as “bad”, and the people who use them, generally marginal people, musicians and such, also as “bad”. Thereby, prohibition as the cure for these “bad” drugs protects the markets for pharmaceutical drugs still within patent, and a means to oppress the marginal and socially undesirable. Further, the prohibitionists figured out how to make the “War on Drugs” an instrument of US power and dominion in foreign lands. Consider Plan Colombia, under which the US committed $7.5 billion to arm and train Colombian military personnel to “interdict” coca crops in that country. Essentially, to use US military funding to destroy coca plants and the livelihoods of the peasants who grow the stuff. During the years 2000-2003, US-funded aerial spraying programs sprayed almost a million acres of Colombian farmland with Roundup, in order to eliminate coca plants and hence the supply of cocaine. The result? An increase in coca production, as farmers just moved their operations into areas not previously sprayed. And, proof that Mother Nature bats last, there is now a Roundup-resistant coca variety, Bolivian Negra.
Which is to say that dominionism, as in all plans of mice and men, “gang aft agley”. A consolation, to be sure, in a world where man’s power to destroy far exceeds his ability to understand. Like the sorceror’s apprentice, we are playing with things we only dimly understand - just ask the people of Fukushima how they feel about nuclear power - and ignoring the fundamental fallacies of our worldview. Examples abound - recently, GMO grass seed developed by Scott’s (makers of Miracle Grow) has escaped from test beds and is now threatening Oregon’s billion dollar grass seed industry. Why? Because many countries where the government is not controlled by corporatist interests, GMO seed is prohibited, and will no longer buy seed from Oregon if the GMO seed infects other varieties. Even though Scott’s has backed off from commercializing this GMO grass variety, the genie is already out of the bottle. I suppose that leaving farmers to deal with the GMO seed infecting their crop to deal with it is better than what Monsanto “convinced” the Tanzanian government to do - to make laws that jail farmers for twelve years and fine them $210,000 for what? For daring to save seeds from their crops and trading them with their neighbors, as they have done for thousands of years, because Monsanto owns the patent and therefore has dominion over the entire process.
I’m not optimistic that the dominionism inherent in our corrupt federal system will change any time soon. As Zephyr Teachout points out, corruption is bi-partisan. But it’s like any bad idea - reality will prevail eventually.
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