Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 98

collective level. Patriarchy, in its most recent iteration, is exacerbated by the capitalist ethos and social order. Patriarchy provides a foun- dation upon which capitalism can thrive and capitalism is buttressed by patriarchy’s hierar- chical value structure. Together they result in an economic system whose gods are greed and ever greater profit margins at almost every and any cost. Success is measured by an unending need for larger profit margins, larger mar- ket shares, better stock market performance, increased military capability, more effective co-opting of “democratically elected” politi- cians, or the number of attractive-looking women a man can ‘score’. The vast majority of banking systems in the world are, in one way or another, structurally implicated into per- petuation of this patriarchal economic system and worldview. Events surrounding America’s financial crises from the previous decade that, due to our state of interconnectedness, have reverberated in just about every other place on this planet, are a clear testimony to this truth. These two interests and worldviews have entered many political systems even in West- ern liberal democracies. 2 Money created through the exploitative nature of patriarchal and capitalist hierarchies are used in funding political campaigns and are a major source of corruptive and undemocratic practices in the world. Hence, political systems whose survival depends on patriarchal and capitalist interests are a major impediment to attaining world peace. Hans Küng, a noted theologian, once famously asserted that without peace between religions there cannot be world peace. Unfortunately, the dominant interpretations of religion have been wearing the garb of patriarchy for as long as patriarchy has been in existence. Patriarchy has not only been able to significantly dampen the original spirit of constant prophetic mes- sages which emphasized the need for and 98 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G spoke in favour of social justice and protection of the weak and marginalized (and paving the way to their emancipation), but has often co- opted and perverted religious ideas to serve its selfish interests. What is important to keep in mind is that patriarchal interpretations of sa- cred texts are neither inevitable nor are they in line with the prophetic spirit I just mentioned. Patriarchal values, norms, and ethics disguised in religious idioms and slogans not only betray the original prophetic spirit and message, they often coexist very comfortably with the vested economic and political interests on which the patriarchal and capitalist worldview defends and depends. This is most unfortunate and causes much needless suffering in the world and is a major threat to world peace. What we need instead are theologies of peace and com- passion that honor the original prophetic spirit of social justice and care for all. Degradation and exploitation of the environ- ment are also a legacy of patriarchy shrouded in the ethos of traditional masculinity, exacer- bated by the capitalist fallacy that the earth can endlessly produce to meet our never-ending desires. The mindset of competition and cre- ation of a homo economicus, a unique species of human whose worth is solely defined by material profits, detached from (m)any ethical constraints, and who views the world through the single conceptual lens of profit-making is directly responsible for unprecedented and irreplaceable destruction of natural habitats which can have and are, in fact, having cata- strophic consequences for survival of all life on earth including human beings. This destruc- tion of the environment can only worsen the prospect for world peace by further increasing the already stiff competition for earth’s finite resources. Patriarchy, with traditional masculinity as its source, does not just give rise to a certain view of economics, politics, religion, and attitude to WINTER 2019