People v. State

fairly undermining public confidence in the administration of justice
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Compare and Contrast

May 07, 2012 By: John Kindley Category: Uncategorized

Fear and Loathing: Manipulation of the Liberty Movement, by Bruce Jay at the Daily Anarchist:

Is there any reason to believe the end is coming soon?

In our lifetimes, the answer is no. It’s all about time. The greatest of all empires, the Roman Empire, collapsed over many centuries, not in a few days, years, or even decades.  Most living in Rome were not aware of the decline in real-time.  How could they?

Twenty years ago, my roommate commented that we were living in the decline of the American Empire.  She was most likely right, but twenty years later the change has been practically imperceptible. In terms of economic and political freedom, nothing has really changed. The most glaring exception is the TSA. In market driven areas (e.g., technology, communication, and medicine), things have vastly improved.

Furthermore, the passing of generations adds to the loss of perspective. If you’re four years old today, going to the airport and being molested by the TSA is nothing new to your life experience and hence, you have nothing to compare. God knows how many things I have taken for granted in my lifetime (e.g., income taxes) because I’ve never known any different. Funny, we often laugh at the elderly for their ideas and experiences, yet they are true witnesses of change. Sadly, most have passed on before any of us are old enough to know the right questions to ask.

The point is you can’t plan for doomsday because the process is slow and it takes place in the form of erosion, not catastrophe.  When the demise finally occurs, it has taken so many years to complete that those who might notice have died; others are acclimated from birth and have made the necessary economic and psychological adjustments. Of course, you can leave all your gold, guns, and gas masks to your great grandchildren.

The Policeman’s Your Friend — As Long As He Can Afford to Be, by Kevin Carson at the Center for a Stateless Society:

What we’re witnessing is the reality behind that Officer Friendly mask. This is what happens when the state perceives the general population as a threat, and drops the pretense that The Policeman is Your Friend.

People in predominantly black and Hispanic inner city neighborhoods — where police hardly bother to hide the fact that they see the local population as an occupied enemy that must be cowed by superior force — have seen this ugly face for decades. But in recent months, the radical upsurge in police violence at Occupy demonstrations, combined with ubiquitous cell phone video, have introduced the naked face of power to many in the white middle class public for the first time.

Lt. Pike of the UC Davis police force, methodically directing pepper spray into the upturned faces of peaceful (and predominantly white) college students, was a revelation to many in the burbs. But while it was the first sight for many, it won’t be the last. Because this is what the state looks like when it can no longer afford to maintain the facade of democracy. All that nasty stuff that used to happen to “those other people” beyond that Thin Blue Line — “It’s Giuliani time!” — is coming soon to “people like us.”

The American state has operated in a manner, if not lawful at least “regular,” toward most white middle-class folks most of the time, because it could afford to. It showed its nasty side to racial minorities and radicals, because they were less successfully socialized into consensus reality — and nobody “who counted” would listen to them anyway. But most of the public absorbed its conditioning in a more-or-less satisfactory manner. They believed this was a “free enterprise society” in which people with great wealth mostly earned it, giant corporations got that way through superior performance, the state represented all of us rather than some “ruling class,” and if you didn’t like the law you should work for change within the system — all that Pleasantville stuff. Constitutionalism and legality’s comparatively no-muss no-fuss — but only so long as the cultural reproduction apparatus successfully manufactures consent.

Now the conditioning’s starting to wear off. A dangerously increasing number of people understand that the system’s rigged in the interest of the 1%, and folks like us are playing in a crooked game. The state and the corporate ruling class that controls it have been stunned as measures that ten years ago would have gone through without a hitch, like SOPA and ACTA, suffered unexpected losses to networked movements. The system can’t work when too many people notice the man behind the curtain.

The state’s functionaries are beginning to realize how high the stakes really are. In response, its shock troops are dropping the Officer Friendly masks. So get ready: The state, before it’s over, will be as nasty as it has to be.

 

4 Comments to “Compare and Contrast”


  1. Mark Kernich says:

    Re the declining empire… I recently had to travel via the USA to get to your northern neighbor. That involved me spending a few hours in LA airport. Within minutes of clearing customs I had the feeling of entering a militarised society, shortly followed by the feeling that ‘this must be what it felt like in the dying days of the Roman Empire’. Funny to finally get back home and read this post of yours. For what it’s worth, I think the collapse these days will be much quicker than it was back then, the price of progress.

    Re the Kindguards – nothing like a demonstration for a worthy cause to show us white middle class folk the real face of power (the pepper spray video). And yes, the system will go down kicking and scratching (and a lot worse) and drag a lot of us down with it when it finally collapses. Better get used to it.

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    • John Kindley says:

      Good point about the “progress” we’ve made since the days of the Roman Empire making it likely that our collapse will be much swifter than the Romans’. We can only hope. What country are you from? How’d you find this obscure little blog?

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  2. Mark Kernich says:

    Australia. I’ve been following your blog for a couple years. I am myself something a philosophical anarchist who practices criminal law (defence). I came across your blog while trawling the web at work for sites of interest to my own practice (a strange blend of professions, practices and philosophies as much of my professional life is involved with ‘therapeutic courts’ eg drug court). I can’t recall exactly how I found it, I suspect was linked on a blog roll of one of the bigger sites out there (before most of them got caught up in the new ‘filter’ that has been imposed on my workplace).

    Many of your intellectual heroes are people I too admire, and that’s how you ended up on my ‘favorites’ list.

    Any further questions? :P

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    • John Kindley says:

      Just one more for now(: I happened to watch last night The Proposition, which some critics have called the Australian Unforgiven. It’s now one of my favorite movies. Both of the main characters, one a law man, the other a criminal, are highly admirable in their own way. The movie speaks to the purpose of the criminal justice system being about prevention rather than vengeance. Have you seen it?

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