Let’s begin with this: who is Erik Prince?
Described by fawning industry media as a “modern-day self-made man,” Erik is a former Navy Seal, brother to former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and founder of Blackwater (rebranded in 2009 to Xe Services after its employees killed a large number of Iraqi civilians) — a private security company that contracted to the CIA.
Erik Prince boasts a well-diversified financial portfolio with global interests.
Frontier Services Group (FSG) is a Chinese Africa-focused security, aviation, and logistics company founded and led by Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide.
Prince has described FSG’s main corporate mission as helping Chinese businesses to work safely in Africa.
The largest shareholder of the Frontier Services Group (FSG) is CITIG.
Who are they?
CITIC Group Corporation Ltd., formerly the China International Trust Investment Corporation (CITIC), is a state-owned investment company of the People’s Republic of China, established by Rong Yiren in 1979 with the approval of Deng Xiaoping.
Which is a great arrangement because that means Erik can leverage his substantial contacts, his background as a former Navy Seal, and his status as a highly-trusted asset of the CIA help China advance its strategic interests.
As Erik Prince told Vanity Fair for its January 2010 issue:
“I put myself and my company at the CIA’s disposal for some very risky missions”
Erik is very well connected, and these connections are leveraged to help connect important people, in support of important missions.
For example, the Psy Group (an Israeli company staffed by former Mossad analysts and whose motto was “shape reality” which was a target of the Mueller investigation) employed best practices in psychological warfare in service to their clients, as covered in a 2019 New Yorker article entitled “Private Mossad for Hire.”
In more recent news, and as been revealed in a recent dump of Myanmar government financial data (thanks to Anonymous), Erik Prince is providing security for the Chinese Government in Myanmar, and in support of the Chinese-supported coup.
So: is Erik Prince evil?
I don’t like the word evil; the word implies judgement, and therefore is open to subjectivity. Additionally, I don’t believe that people have the right to judge (that’s a God thing).
And by “God” I mean: I believe there’s a place which transcends time where the “light” which exists within all things, living and dead, intersects, and it’s from that place where there’s nothing but pure grace, love, and understanding.
An admittedly bizarre belief, I’ll grant you that, but from my perspective, only “God” (the intersection of all light) has the ability to judge. In other words, judgement is outside my pay scale.
So I don’t like to say things or people are “evil.”
That aside, I like to frame an assessment of thoughts and actions through the lens of “selfishness” and “waste,” both of which can be quantified, provided that we can align around the ideas that:
(1) there’s such a thing as a “commons,” and that
(2) there should be an emphasis upon the least of our brethren
Admittedly, many people don’t believe in the commons. Or rather, they do: they subscribe to the notion that they are entitled to privatizing profits and socializing costs, which frequently results in a “tragedy of the commons.”
The tragedy of the commons describes a situation in economic science when individual users, who have open access to a resource unhampered by shared social structures or formal rules that govern access and use, act independently according to their own self-interest and, contrary to the common good of all users, cause depletion of the resource through their uncoordinated action.
This is an outcome you don’t have to worry about if you subscribe to the Christian canon which states that Jesus is about to return, the world will be destroyed, and we spend eternity in heaven, in a world wholly-recreated.
(1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
In that context, who cares if you’re consuming all resources, right? I mean, why would it matter if God is about to wipe out the old Earth and create a new world?
Or, maybe a person isn’t religions, and maybe they simply believe that resources are without limit, and they feel entitled to a slice of it, for personal gain.
This is a common belief, which runs counter to the more indigenous belief that we don’t have “entitlements,” but rather: obligations to serve as stewards (an idea introduced in the book of Genesis, as an aside, but frequently ignored).
Separate from “the commons,” many people admittedly don’t believe that the “least of our brethren” are important, despite their claimed belief in Christ. If I’m not mistaken, the rallying cry has been “f*ck your feelings” and “the strong are more important than the weak.”
And in the current social and political context, the weak, the old, and the vulnerable are considered liabilities. It’s considered a virtue to embrace policies which reward a callous treatment of the vulnerable, because “they were going to die, anyway.”
In that social and political context, Erik is “evil?”
Indeed, he’s a celebrated hero among his peers, many of whom are well-placed Christian leaders, and I can imagine there’s literally millions of folks who think he’s a pretty smart and creative guy. Probably a personal hero to them.
Within the rich context of our current religious, cultural, and political climate, why NOT contract security on behalf of the Chinese government? Go Erik!
It’s not impossible to imagine there’s a large number of people trying to figure out how they can get a slice of that pie, even if it means they step all over the backs of others along the way.
So would you think it’s fair to call Erik Prince “evil?” Indeed, in today’s culture, he’s a hero to many.
What does this say of our culture?