Tuesday, June 14, 2011

governance essentials

LewRockwell | What we have in common is the need to protect one another’s inviolability from governmental force. When we understand that the woman being groped by a TSA agent stands in the same shoes as our wife, mother, or grandmother; when the man being beaten by a sadist cop is seen, by us, as our father or grandfather, we become less willing to evade the nature of the wrongdoing by invoking the coward’s plea: "better him than me." The state owes its very existence to the success it has had in fostering division among us, a topic I explored in my Calculated Chaos book. Divide-and-conquer has long been the mainstay in political strategy. If blacks and whites; or Christians and Muslims; or employees and employers; or "straights" and "gays"; or men and women; or any of seemingly endless abstractions, learn to identify and separate themselves from one another, the state has established its base of power. From such mutually-exclusive categories do we draw the endless "enemies" (e.g., communists, drug-dealers, terrorists, tobacco companies) we are to fear, and against whom the state promises its protection. By becoming fearful, we become existentially disabled, and readily accept whatever safeguards the institutional fear-mongers impose, . . . all for our "benefit," of course!

Look at the title of this article: do you find any governmental program or practice therein that is not grounded in state-generated fear? Each one – and the numerous others not mentioned – presumes a threat to your well-being against which the state must take restrictive and intrusive action. Terrorists might threaten the flight you are about to take; terrorist nations might have "weapons of mass destruction" and the intention to use them against you; your children might be at risk from drug dealers or from sex perverts using the Internet; driving without a seat-belt, or eating "junk" foods might endanger you: the list goes on and on, changing as the fear-peddlers dream up another dreaded condition in life.

It is not sufficient to the interests of the state that you fear other groups; it is becoming increasingly evident that you must also fear the state itself! Governments are defined as entities that enjoy a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. Implicit in such a monopoly is the recognition that there be no limitations on its exercise, other than what serve the power interests of the state. In relatively quiet and stable periods (e.g., 1950s) the state can afford to give respect to notions of individual privacy, free speech, and limitations on the powers of the police. In such ways, the state gives the appearance of reasonableness and respect for people. But when times become more tumultuous – as they are now – the very survival of the state depends upon a continuing assertion of the coercive powers that define its very being.

For a number of reasons – some of it technological – our social world is rapidly becoming decentralized. The highly-structured, centrally-directed institutions through which so much of our lives has been organized (e.g., schools, health-care, government, communications, etc.) no longer meet the expectations of many – perhaps most – men and women. Alternative systems, the control of which has become decentralized into individual hands, challenge the traditional institutional order. Private schools and home-schooling; alternative health practices; the Internet, cell-phones, and what is now known as the "social media," are in the ascendancy. With the state becoming increasingly expensive, destructive, economically disruptive, oppressive, and blatantly anti-life, secession and nullification movements have become quite popular.

Of course, such transformations are contrary to the established institutional interests that have, for many decades, controlled the state – and, with it, the monopoly on violence that is its principal asset. Having long enjoyed the power to advance their interests not through the peaceful, voluntary methods of the marketplace, but through such coercive means as governmental regulation, taxation, wars, and other violent means, the established order is not about to allow the changing preferences of hundreds of millions of individuals to disrupt its traditional cozy racket.

Because the institutional order has become inseparable from the coercive nature of the state, any popular movement toward non-political systems is, in effect, a movement away from the violent structuring of society. The corporate interests that control the machinery of the state may try to convince people that government does protect their interests vis-à-vis the various fear-objects. Failing in this, the statists must resort to the tactic that sustains the playground bully: to reinforce fear of the bully, who controls his victims through a mixture of violence and degradation.

Neither the TSA nor the alleged "war on terror" have anything to do with terrorism. The idea that the TSA came about as a consequence of 9/11 ignores the fact that the state’s practice of prowling through the personal belongings of airline passengers goes back many decades. I recall how upset a friend of mine was – in the early 1970s – when government officials went through his hand-luggage, and ordered him to unwrap a birthday gift he was carrying home to a relative. The purpose of such a search then, as now, was to remind passengers of the bully’s basic premise: "I can do anything I want to you whenever I choose to do so." It is for the purpose of keeping us docile – an objective furthered by degrading and dehumanizing us – that underlies such state practices. The groping of people’s genitals and breasts is but an escalation of this premise, and should the TSA later decide that all passengers must strip naked for inspection, such a practice will go unquestioned not only by the courts, but by the mainstream media who will ask " . . . but if you don’t have anything to hide . . . " Those who cannot imagine state power going to such extremes to humiliate people into submission, are invited to revisit the many photographs of German army officers at such places as Auschwitz, who watched – as "full body scanners" – as naked women were forced to run by them.

3 comments:

nanakwame said...

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into
the world today.

Robert McAfee Brown

Dictatorships foster oppression,
dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable
is the fact that they foster idiocy.


Jorge Borges


Jose Borges
writes well about the pococurante’s
created by bureaucracy of civil servants in a military run state - powers given
to individuals over the life of common people. We witness this with Jim Crow in
America
and with the radical groupings in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The problem with
political groups today, they are terrible story teller. We have an anarchist
problem at hand, where local groups may determine the cruelty and servitude
demanded if we keep Balkanizing.


http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/06/08/were-halfway-to-a-lost-decade/


http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/06/the-sunshine-states-pesticide-problem/240377/


Some how we have to
balance a need for security, and the move from a soft police state to a fascist
state; where and who is the movement, these things don’t happen by
personalities only?


http://tv.mona.uwi.edu/#id=439


Peter Abrahams

Tom said...

Maybe I need to give Rockwell another chance.  

I see how this dovetails with the Rwanda story Machines of Loving Grace pt 3.

Part of why I got a little disillusioned with doctrinaire antiracism a couple of years ago, I felt in the end we were still trafficking in powerful narratives that divide people and make them easier to rule.

CNu said...

yeah, yeah, yeah - I'm thinkin it's just the unconscious suggestion implanted by that George Price/IBM love in the documentary....,