Saturday, February 24, 2018

Weaponizations Part 2: The Understratum.

     The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. – Edmund Burke

     Among the least pleasant events of life is a visit to a medical professional: doctor, dentist, orthopedist, urologist, gastroenterologist, ophthalmologist, what have you. Such trips tend to be postponed a number of times, even when the (eventual) patient knows he should stop farting around, get off his ass, and go. In a seeming paradox, the reason for postponing the visit is often the same as the reason for agreeing to it: fear.

     Fear is one of the two reasons for consulting a physician. Pain is the other. These are strong motivators, yet we frequently attempt to talk ourselves out of acting on them: “It’s probably nothing.” “Maybe it will go away.” “Fred had this, and he got over it.” And so on.

     I’ve done this a number of times. On one occasion it nearly cost me my life. Clearly, a superior power of reasoning doesn’t automatically defend one against it. Similarly, there is no automatic defense against the fears those who wish to enslave us attempt to instill in us.

     A mentally healthy human being can usually discriminate between that which he should fear and a conjured-up phantasm. So our would-be masters do all they can to make us mentally unhealthy. In particular, they labor to weaponize our fears: to direct them away from true dangers and toward imaginary or improbable threats, to intensify them, and to harness them to their agenda.

     “The State is based on threat.” – Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminatus!

     A politically useful fear is always a fear of something larger than oneself. It’s usually kept from being linked to a namable individual who could be approached and confronted one-on-one. There are exceptions, of course, but the pattern is a strong one. Thus, fear of a particular neighbor could not be made politically useful, but fear of the possibility of an unrecognized maniac who just might go on a killing spree can be used for political purposes, if it can be made widespread and strong.

     That unnamed maniac might not seem larger than oneself at first blush. After all, should such a person spring into action, he’ll be a man like other men. He won’t have the strength of Hercules or the speed of Mercury. He’ll have weapons, but then, don’t we all, at least potentially? America has many gun stores, many shooting ranges, and many instructors qualified to teach the skills required for the effective use of a firearm.

     No, the unnamed maniac is fearsome – and politically useful – because he’s unnamed, and therefore unpredictable. He could be anyone. He could arise from any point of the compass. He could select his targets on any imaginable basis, including none at all. How does one defeat the fear such a conjuration inspires?

     Today we have a name for Nikolas de Jesus Cruz. Before he acted, we had only the unnamed maniac-to-be. The political operators of today are striving with all their might to make us fear the next such before he acquires a name, a locale, and a target. It’s their best shot at getting us to surrender more of what little freedom remains to us.

     The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H. L. Mencken

     Our would-be masters usually work with several supposed threats at a time. “Global warming.” “Loss of species.” “Air pollution.” “Natural resource exhaustion.” “Automation.” Those are just the ones that come to mind this morning. There are surely others.

     The common characteristics of those threats are size and nebulosity. Each of them presupposes a large danger. In no case is the imputed source of that danger localizable and identifiable, such that ordinary Americans could address it without political interference. That is by design.

     Our capacity to fear can only be weaponized against us by the invocation of such phantasms. Fortunately, there’s a limit: when our fear energy is exhausted, we tend to dismiss all such bugaboos as a batch. Recent developments suggest that Americans might be nearing that threshold.

     More anon.

1 comment:

Col. B. Bunny said...

There are also patriarchy, sexism, discrimination, terror, white privilege, inequality, peak oil (no adaptation to higher energy cost is conceivable), food deserts, neglect, vote suppression, neo-Nazis, neo-colonialism, neo-anything, structural racism, xenophobia, guns, homophobia, intolerance, puritanism (don't touch that titty), militarized cops, killer cops, corrupt cops, stupid cops, GMOs, and Ann Coulter. I threw in Ann even though she's pretty specific and locatable but she is responsible for every bit of "right-wing" malevolence, but I repeat myself. Oh, and add "right-wingers" to the above core dump. Yow!

Brrr. I'm going to hide under the bed. With Ann, I should be so lucky, but without if necessary.