Archive for November, 2011

You Are the Security Threat

If you concede that sound weapons may exist, may be permitted to exist, then sorry, but you must also accept and understand that they may one day be used against you, just as satellites and drones peer through your curtains as readily as they peer through the curtains of Kabul, just as the Total Information Awareness machine minds read your blog as happily as Vladimir Putin’s tumblr. . . You will often hear civil libertarian types say that the police should not act like soldiers. Why not? They are. —IOZ

This has been on my mind alot lately. There’s a growing awareness of the secret that is foundational to the existence of violence-based social systems: that the technologies and techniques of state power will be used against all enemies of that power–foreign or domestic. Additionally, the enemies of power aren’t limited to armed foreigners, but include anyone who calls into question any aspect of the corporate-state system and its various crimes against the wider population.

Glenn Greenwald has a good piece up related to the topic

It’s a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters.

At the root of all of those views is the classic authoritarian mindset: reflexive support for authority, contempt for those who challenge them, and a blind faith in their unilateral, unchecked decisions regarding who is Bad and deserves state-issued punishment.

To take this thought one step further: at the root of this view is the ability to compartmentalize violence and the moral schizophrenia that enlightenment philosophy has only just begun to disassemble. The idea, with humanity since the beginning, that violence in general is harmful to society; but violence carried out by the leader, the patriarch, the king, the parent, the husband, the police, is a necessary part of social order.

Enlightenment philosophy, at least for the purposes of this post, is premised on the equality of human beings and opposed to the various magical hierarchies that have historically been used to divide human kind into dominant and submissive classes. Its growth has pushed back against the general acceptance of slavery, oppression of women, non-personhood of children, and even against the unchecked power of the ruling class–though these last checks have proved temporary and fleeting.

With growing coverage of the state’s response to peaceful protest, both here and abroad, it seems that we’re on the cusp of grasping the universal nature violence. Militarized police forces are leaving America’s ghettoes and the drug war for awhile to beat and cage the white and middle class enemies of the corporate state. For the first time in 40 years, we’re being reminded that the “average citizen” is no safer from the state–should he/she decide to challenge its power– than the urban poor and “illegals” against which the police state was supposedly constructed.

“Austerity measures” combined with the corporate strangle-hold on any avenue of independent, decentralized wealth creation will push increasing numbers of people into direct opposition to the existing system. The state response is escalating in brutality and frequency and will prove asymptotically similar to the tactics previously used to occupy foreign countries.

The mainstream response to this process, repeated endlessly by state licensed broadcasters, will be continued excusing of any and all abuses. Hopefully, enough people will have been exposed to a framework of non-violence to form a critical mass of discernment which can demand a final and total dissolution of the instruments of centralized violence.

The majority opinion, I imagine, remains that no penalty is too great to inflict on those who push back against authority. My hope is that within the growing minority who understand the irrationality and danger of that view, a complete understanding of violence can be fostered; reform of violent institutions isn’t the answer, abolition is what’s required. Anyone who tries to carve out an exception for armies, parents, spouses, or police, is–perhaps unintentionally–an ally of the forces that prop up the historical and existing dominance-based social paradigm and an enemy of civilization.