Entrepreneurs as the enemy of terrorism

Jim Blasingame

During the Cold War, human behavior manifested in perhaps the classic example of a human paradox: We possessed the intellectual and technical ability to create weapons capable of global human annihilation, but after a half-century of aiming them at each other, the value of life ultimately proved more compelling than the potential for political or strategic conquest.

Nine years ago this week, the belief that life, as the highest human value, would deter violent behavior turned into an illusion when civilization was attacked by an ironic form of barbarism. Without respect for any international convention or moral standard, 19 evil humans took the lives of almost 3,000 innocents and declared war on civilization.

This barbarism was ironic because these followers of radical Islam employed to their murderous advantage one of the icons of the very society they claimed to hate, technology. Indeed, the same humans who would take 21st century civilization back to the Stone Age, adopted some of our most advanced technologies to coordinate and conduct their evil deeds and then claimed those crimes as they communicated their demented worldview.

But just as technology is the ironic lever of those who place no value on life, it is also a powerful lever for those who do. When tolerant individuals connect using technologies like the Internet, they do three very important things: communicate, conduct business and share values.

The carcinogens that give rise to the disease of terrorism are ignorance and intolerance. But they can be eradicated, little by little, when an eBay seller in Kankakee, Illinois connects with a customer in Kabul, Afghanistan.

And when a small business owner in Bangor, Maine shares a best practice with his peer in Baghdad, Iraq, the ugliness of hatred morphs into the beautiful discovery of shared values.

The 19th century French economist, Frederic Bastiat, said, "When goods cross borders, armies don't." Thanks to technology, never in the history of humanity have goods - and values - crossed so many borders so efficiently as today.

The 18th century Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." In a post 9-11 world, there is no greater army of good people than small business owners around the globe leveraging technology to trade and share values across borders - perhaps the two most powerful weapons against the spawn of intolerance and hatred.

Write this on a rock... The most enduring weapons against terrorism are tolerance, shared values and commerce.

Jim Blasingame is creator and host of the Small Business Advocate Show.
Copyright 2010, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

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