Monday, September 12, 2005

This is why...

Since the news, rumors and images started coming in from the lost city of New Orleans, I've seen many interesting opinions about the man-made disaster that followed the natural one. I have yet to see a better take than this piece by Butler Shaffer, on today:
"Once again, the Events in New Orleans have brought into focus the long-standing question that we have heretofore preferred not to face: is society to be organized by and for the benefit of individuals or of institutions? Does life belong to the living, or to the organizational machinery that the living so unwisely created? We are confronted – as was Dr. Frankenstein – by a monster of our own creation, which must control and dominate us if it is to survive. We continue to feed this destructive creature, not simply with our material wealth, but with our very souls and the lives of our children. [...]

In the outpouring of individual compassion and cooperation following the disaster in New Orleans, the state discovered a threat to its existence. Political systems thrive only through division and conflict; by getting people to organize themselves into mutually-exclusive groups which then fight with one another. This is why “war is the health of the state.” But if people can discover a sense of love and mutuality amongst them, how is the state to maintain the sense of continuing conflict upon which it depends?

This is why the state must prevent the private shipment of truckload after truckload of private aid to victims; this is why flood victims – including those who want nothing more than to remain in their homes – must be turned into a criminal class, against whom state functionaries will “lock and load” their weapons and “shoot and kill... if necessary.” The state is fighting for its life, and must exaggerate its inhumane, life-destroying capacities in order to terrify the rest of us into structured obedience.

Forcibly tossing people out of their homes, seizing their weapons and depriving them of their property is obviously not about "helping" them - it's about helping the state. It's not about compassion, but control. This is the true face of government - not just this government, here and now, but government in general! - and it sure is ugly.

No comments: