Posts Tagged ‘torture’

the shaming animosity of “my god can beat up your god”

March 1, 2012

<note that this video has some spontaneous extra comments beyond the text below. This video is FUN!>

Ah yes, the holy scriptures of some ancient religious tradition– translated, second-hand or third-hand words to discuss. How about these most ancient of prayers: “God, most Christians are so freaking blind- don’t you agree with me, God?” or “God, my sister just does not understand me and how holy I am, and she really should and it’s just so frustrating- don’t you agree with me, God?”

I call that the experience of isolation and condemnation, that is, accusation, which is the “spirit of the divisive one, the devil.” One might notice the repenting from such “sin” and the peace of such repenting.  One may have been trying to get God (or even particular other people) to take their side in some more or less imaginary antagonistic drama. “God, most people do not even recognize the importance of religion, and how proud I am of all the humility I have developed by serving others through forwarding political satires on facebook- don’t you agree with me, God?” “God, did you notice how unenlightened that person’s language is- it’s so negative- how can they even live with themselves- don’t you agree with me, God?”

The isolating and condemning is the worship of a distant God, one that is not within all forms, forming all expressions of God. That is idolatry. That is implying “oh, those Fundamentalists do not have as much God as I do” or “that person is not created in God’s image as much as I am.” That is vanity.

It’s cool, though. Everyone makes “mistakes.” We didn’t even know what we were doing.

We were isolating and condemning God with our language, and it can be a relief to get that- it was just some mistranslation in the language, like a slight confusion between two similar-sounding words when learning to understand a British dialect or idiom, or maybe some little typing error in the software code. It’s kind of funny- not heavy like “this is very important!” – just peaceful.

“Oh, now I see the issue! God, don’t I agree with you? Didn’t I repent of making an enemy out of you? Well, if I was going to blame someone and make myself out to be the big victim of the devil, you were the obvious one to make into a devil, God, because the Lord our God is ONE.”

It’s not that after I forgive someone else of their horrible sin because I am such a holy person, then God forgives me because I earned it. It’s that when I repent of my condemnation, condemnation is revealed as a figment of language, a sign of mental illwillness, madness, temporary insanity, an innocent, instinctual tantrum.

God does not love me more suddenly because I just forgave someone even though they are evil and ugly and stupid and mean and antagonistic and egotistical (like I’ve been?). What shifts is that I receive God’s love as I let it flow through me to the other forms of the single God.

By the way, materialism is totally a non-issue. Materialism is not holy and anti-materialism is not any more holy than materialism, even if anti-materialism is even more vain.

“I know the right way. Your way is wrong. I’m better than you!”

That is the divided antagonistic vanity typical of a developmental advancement of about two years old- which is way more intelligent than eighteen months old, right? Apparently, that developmental stage can take a while to “master,” though, and however long it takes is just however long it takes….

“You’re mean and rude and hypocritical and- gasp- a materialist. You deserve to be punished. I have utterly no compassion for people like you. Plus, your mama is a whore for the mafia. By the way, do you like me?”

It all comes down to attracting attention. Or, hey, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about…. The bottom line is that my God can beat up your God. 😉

<note: the link on this lower image shows up as “broken,” but then works when I click it. It depicts a nude women being tortured during the Spanish Inquisition, with a seated man taking notes and another man pouring some colored liquid into a funnel that he appears to have forced into her mouth.>

published:  April 12, 2010

relocated as a page: February 29, 2012

Related articles

is 1984 BBC anti-government propaganda?

February 9, 2012
Some groups of people may establish systems of organized coercion, also known as governments. The rest of us may call those people the rulers, the leaders, the elite, the patriarchs or “the founding fathers.”
Then those groups who establish violent governing systems with courts, regulations and of course armed law enforcement mercenaries may publicize their systems. They may create propaganda systems to further influence the attention, perception, and behavior of the target populations, including even to produce anti-government sentiment. There are two basic kinds of propaganda of course: (1) propaganda to promote compliance as in the perception of legitimacy of a particular system of organized coercion and (2) propaganda to entice the disloyal to identify themselves and take some action to justify the re-education, correction, punishment, or even the execution of those cultivated rebels.
The cultivating of rebels in order to identify them was the theme of George Orwell‘s famous book 1984, in which Winston Smith volunteers to participate in an anti-government conspiracy, which happens to be a false front operation of the ruling government. Oddly, many people seem to miss that point and instead interpret the book as merely a criticism of tyranny. To present the basic behavioral patterns of tyranny is not to criticize tyranny, but simply to direct attention to it.
Category:George Orwell Category:Nineteen Eight...

Image via Wikipedia

Ideally, the flow of anti-government sentiment cultivated by propaganda is typically kept moderate, as in a steady trickle. However, there are times when a clash between governments may be produced (like the invasion or “liberation” of one government by another). Prior to that, there may also be a larger polarization (as in first divide and conquer next) in which the morale of a population is reduced by anti-government sentiment being cultivated more than usual.
Civilian anti-government protesters may even be enticed to confront riot squads and tanks. Typically, such confrontations go rather poorly for the civilian anti-government protesters.
More protests may be used to justify more draconian measures. More draconian measures may be used to justify more protests, and so on it goes.
If indigenous populations rebel, governments may increase the frequency of bombing. If slaves rebel, governments may tighten policing and encourage lynching and torture, perhaps protecting (through the politically-directed discretion of local government criminal prosecutors) those in league with the government who commit atrocities.
Police Tank in Tunisia 
Wise tyrants know that the best way to neutralize anti-government protests is to be the ones who start them or at least to infiltrate them and guide them, sometimes with funding and training. For whatever reason, former employees of intelligence (spy) agencies like the CIA or the KGB may be among the most celebrated leaders of anti-government conspiracy. “Ex-CIA agent criticizes CIA” always makes for a dramatic headline, right?
When in the 1930s USMC Major General Smedley Butler presented his criticism of war (or at least of US imperialism in central America) called “War is a Racket,” it was published first by Round Table Press and then in condensed form by Reader’s Digest, achieving a huge circulation. However, how many people notice “Round Table” as the name of the publisher and what that name implies?
What if the publication of that content intentionally produced a wave of anti-government sentiment? If so, could the publishers have been producing anti-government sentiment (anti-US) on behalf of the interests of the US government? We might presume that anti-American sentiment would be cultivated by foreign enemies of the US, but, again, George Orwell suggested that governments may cultivate sentiment against the very ones doing the cultivating. Are they inciting riots in order to justify firing on anti-government rebel fanatics?
Police attacked by protesters in Algeria
Several years ago, the creators of the US TV show “South Park” had an episode parodying how having peace protests in the US looks good for international PR: “Yes, we are invading and occupying your country, but most of us are sensitive and peace-loving folks, so please don’t get the wrong idea about us just because we are dropping bombs on civilians (again).” I had never thought of that.
When I read 1984, I had never before thought that governments might entice rebellion for their own purposes, such as to identify isolated rebels and attract the rebels to throw themselves (armed only with big signs with anti-government slogans) at riot squads armed with… tanks. Now, I think of the practical value to governments of enticing anti-government sentiment and congregating herds of protesters. Some governments might even be so dishonest as to “plant” fake protesters among the sincere ones and then have those fake protesters do something dramatic like throw a rock or a molotov cocktail at armed government mercenaries, thus justifying the use of deadly force against the entire mob of protesters.
Tank of the Tampa Florida (US) Police Department (above)
There are three basic orientations that one can have in regard to governments: anti-governments, pro-governments, or neutral toward governments. Those who are generally anti-governments may be the least likely to perform those behaviors that result in rewards from governments that enhance social status, such as government contracts, but also compliance with laws, familiarity with the protections offered by a particular legal system and use of those protections.
In mid-2002, when I started researching the forecasting of trends, I had no idea what I was getting in to. I found not only trends of things like birth rates, but also of the inflation-adjusted cost of fuel, which had been dropping dramatically for many centuries, but then reversed trend in 1999. I also found trends in approval ratings of governments, as in trends in pro-government sentiment and anti-government sentiment. Further, those trends of social psychology closely correlated with trends of stock market price. Trends of stock market prices were an excellent predictor of things like the re-election of an incumbent President in the US as well as the sentiment ratings toward the current US President (which is apparently polled much more often than overall sentiment about the entire US government in general).
I encourage people to use the protections offered by any legal system. I do not say to do that because of any concern with morality or fairness, but what I call a practical concern.
If you can legally increase your net worth and profit, why not? In other words, if you can legally reduce your taxes, why not at least explore it? If you can legally reduce your debt, why not at least explore it?
Of course, I personally offer services in these realms, so it is not just that I am encouraging that people concern themselves with practicality first and things like morality and fairness only in the context of practicality. That is true, too. But I also specifically encourage people to use my own services solely for their practical value.
Protect your assets simply because it is valuable. Reduce your taxes and debt simply because it is valuable.
If focusing on morality is valuable, then do it! If focusing on fairness is valuable, then do it!
However, be aware that moralities vary from place to place and time to time. Practicality is always valuable.
Moralities are learned, as in indoctrinated from one generation to another, from one group to another. When the elite are propagandizing the masses as to the morality of a particular war and the immorality of a particular target enemy, that is just practical propaganda. It is valuable to the elite to program systems of morality in those ways, even if it is untrue that the target enemy is actually guilty of something like the possession of weapons of mass destruction.
First, condemn the morality of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Then, accuse someone of violating that morality. That is a very practical way to distract people from the clear and obvious fact that one is also violating that same moral code. Using weapons of mass destruction to punish someone accused of weapons of mass destruction… is a classic example of the practical amorality of the elite in governments and media outlets worldwide.
Arab leaders might have used the same principles of propaganda to justify something like an economic embargo against NATO: “economic embargoes are morally wrong, plus NATO is accused of planning an economic embargo against someone somewhere, therefore we must punish them by using an economic embargo against them.” The elite in one system may pretend to be quite different from the elite in another system, but, even with various notable differences, there may be tremendous consistency in their methods.

Governments consistently use organized coercion to collect revenues such as taxes. They also punish others for the unlicensed practice of extortion and racketeering. Only officials like government tax agencies are allowed to practice extortion and racketeering.
Blackmail and bribery are also illegal throughout the world, except for law enforcement agents when making deals with suspects to get more information about other suspects. In that case, blackmail, bribery, and even torture and threats of execution have been used quite consistently by governments for thousands of years. From police officials to the guards of prisoner of war camps, reservations, and internment camps, government officials use whatever methods they deem practical.
Governments may cover up atrocities when practical (or blame them on enemies, such as when the Soviets blamed the Nazis for the massacres at Katyn Forest in 1940). Governments also consistently offer lenience like presidential pardons to convicted criminals who are the friends or business partners of the ruling officials, such as the pardons granted to Oliver North.
So, shouldn’t we condemn the propaganda, organized coercion, deception, fraud, extortion, and racketeering of some or all governments? Well, that may be the reaction that we have been trained to have.
However, those who condemn such patterns of behavior may include many who practice such behaviors. For instance, let’s review the personal history of George Orwell:
From 1941- 1943, he was a propagandist for the BBC (the British government’s public TV station). Here is another interesting detail: “On the outbreak of World War II, Orwell’s wife Eileen started work in the Censorship Department in London.” By the way, while Americans might not know it, Orwell’s references to a “Ministry of Information” were not fantasy, but part of his daily life:
English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the cor...

Image via Wikipedia

Was Orwell assigned by government officials to write his famous books? I don’t know. However, it is notable that the BBC made Orwell’s 1984 in to a TV movie in 1954: and it did produce a wave of people identifying themselves to the BBC as outraged by the ideas presented in their TV broadcast of 1984: “The production proved to be hugely controversial, with questions asked in Parliament and many viewer complaints over its supposed subversive nature and horrific content.”
Also, if Orwell’s writing was so threatening to governments, then how is it that his two books Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945), “together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author?[5]” Isn’t it odd that I was introduced to the book 1984 as assigned reading in a public school class?
The book is represented as a condemnation written by a disgruntled BBC propagandist in 1948 (and published the next year). However, only 6 years after writing it, 1984 was made in to a TV program by the BBC. Isn’t that more than a little ironic?
Was the government station BBC intentionally stirring up anti-government sentiment in 1954? To propose that they were not is rather ridiculous.
Was Orwell intentionally stirring up anti-government sentiment? If so, why? Well, what did he write in regard to the intentional stirring up of anti-government sentiment in his own book? He indicates that anti-government propaganda can created by governments and used to stir up anti-government sentiment in order to create “thought criminals” and entice the thought criminals to identify themselves.
Again, I do not particularly condemn the use of organized coercion by governments or anyone else. For thousands of years, groups of humans have killed each other. To exclusively celebrate a particular occasion of organized violence, such as the US Revolutionary War or Civil War, seems odd to me.
One may be anti-violence or pro-violence, but why some of each? Other than after-the-fact moral justifications indoctrinated by propagandists on behalf of the winning group of organized coercion, I am not aware of any reason to celebrate (or condemn) any particular instance of organized coercion (or propaganda). Yes, wars in particular are dangerous- and governments in general.
But recognizing their danger does not imply condemning them. I also recognize the danger of sharks, airplane crashes, gambling, pharmaceutical drugs, heart surgery, and tornadoes.
So, former British government propagandist George Orwell’s anti-government propaganda was notably successful. Even the government liked it- or perhaps even especially the government there in the UK. The BBC took only a few years to make 1984 in to a movie. It took nearly 50 years for the BBC to make Huxley’s “Brave New World” in to a movie.
Again, though, the BBC, a government channel, made two of the most famous books of anti-government criticism in to movies. Isn’t that extremely odd?
I was assigned both of those books in public high school classes. Isn’t that also extremely odd?

Do governments ever cultivate anti-governments sentiment? If so, how often? Further, exactly how practically valuable is it for them to do so?

Do governments ever discourage people from using the protections promised by government courts? Do “political activists” ever threaten people with economic repercussions for their political activity? In West Africa in the 1990s, apparently thousands of people had their hands cut off for daring to vote “the wrong way” in an election that had implications for the global diamond cartel, DeBeers. In the recent movie “The Gangs of New York,” politics is presented as openly violent. If there is such a thing as political violence, then violence can be political and politics can be violent.
As for me, I promote the full use of government protections such as evicting delinquent tenants, reporting all sorts of crimes including white collar financial crimes to bring about the arresting and punishing of certain people, and the use of the most skilled and effective criminal defense lawyer that a suspect is able and willing to hire. Further, I promote the full use of government protections such as asset protection, tax planning, estate planning, and debt interventions including re-organization of one’s finances under bankruptcy exemptions and benefits. If someone chooses to volunteer more money than is legally required out of guilt, so be it. However, if someone chooses to exercise their personal discretion and personal responsibility to the fullest extent possible, so be it.
If some people create legal systems or alter them or even oppose and overthrow them, so be it. If some people use lobbying or bribery or diplomacy or any other means to produce changes in the regulatory policies and practices of any particular governing system, so be it.
If George Orwell and the entire BBC create anti-government propaganda to incite anti-government sentiment, so be it. If I tell “everyone” to Occupy Wall Street or put their money in to insurance industry ponzi scams or whatever else, so be it. Maybe I get commissions from it or maybe I am sincere as in just doing it to ease my own fears or a guilty conscience.
I forecast the major opportunities and risks of the last 9 years of the global economy. However, lots of folks may prefer to focus away from the actual practical risks and practical opportunities to instead argue about propaganda, government corruption, immorality, injustice and, of course, arguing.
“People should not argue. I condemn arguing.”
Or, on the other hand, maybe some people encourage others to argue because it is practically valuable for huge proportions of a target population to be arguing amongst themselves: Christians vs Muslims (as in NATO vs OPEC), Democrats vs Republicans, boys vs girls, etc. “Divide and conquer” is still practical, right?

Who can we trust?

December 14, 2011

Who can we REALLY trust?

Our elders?    Mine taught me to believe in Santa Claus
Churches?      Besides Santa, one church taught us that the sun goes around the earth
Doctors?        They taught us that scurvy was incurable (and that smoking was safe)
The Media?   They did not warn us about economic instabilities
Politicians?   Right, as if our politicians are more trustworthy than politicians in general!

Beware of trusting tradition. Traditions come and go. Respect them, but do not worship them.

Copernicus and Galileo both noted that the earth revolves around the sun, but only Galileo attracted the wrath of the ruling Empire of organized coercion by proudly challenging tradition. Nearly two thousand years before them, Aristarchus, Seleucus, and even Archimedes had also publicly referenced the idea that the earth revolved around the sun, though Archimedes simply acknowledged the model while rejecting it as false.

English: Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition,...

Galileo facing the Holy Roman Inquisition- Image via Wikipedia

So, it is one thing to merely reference something like Archimedes did, another to confirm it, and yet another to openly disrespect tradition by advocating a model contrary to popular superstition and even publicizing the error of egomaniacal dictators. Galileo was emphatically warned that aggressively publicizing his model (of an earth that revolves around the sun) would result in personal punishment and then he openly risked that punishment, resulting in his conviction as a heretic by the Inquisition. He was spared the typical death sentence of ritual human sacrifice of the Holy Roman Empire‘s Inquisition and was even spared imprisonment or torture, instead only being placed under “house arrest” for the rest of his life (9 years).

Two priests demand a heretic to repent as he i...

"Two priests torture a heretic and demand that he repent." Image via Wikipedia

Now, there are many popular beliefs which may be myths, from Santa Claus to geocentric models of astronomy to political intolerance, like the theatrical anti-communist purges headed by US Senator Joe McCarthy. Ironically, that anti-communist purge was rather similar to any other purge, including communist purges. The McCarthy purge was rather like it would be to organize a counter-Inquisition to purge all Catholics as punishment for the historic Inquisition by a few Catholics centuries before: a replication of the thing it is alleged to oppose or prevent, a mere hijacking of the prior tradition, a clear hypocrisy.

Some people shout and scream and rage each time that a politician is exposed as a hypocrite. Eventually, one may notice a pattern: a high proportion of the politicians in world history have condemned behavior patterns that they were practicing themselves at the time, especially deception (but also coercion).
But why condemn spies for practicing deception? Why condemn assassins for practicing violence and terrorism? Why condemn commercial advertising propagandists for cultivating distraction, disinformation, and confusion?

That is the clear function of mainstream media and education, and what would actually be really odd would be frequent disclaimers warning the masses that commercials are designed to influence perception and behavior. So, have we been trained to condemn certain practices primarily in order to discourage us from practicing them- or at least openly practicing them?
Historically, there have been many social institutions that have cultivated antagonism against their own institution and then punished the rebellion. Courts need crimes (and criminals). Armies need enemies, like in the US Civil War in which the Union Army invaded and occupied the people living in territories that wished to basically get a divorce from the USA.

However, could any individual or group in the governments of those states legitimately speak for all of the people of those territories? While several leaders of the Rebel Confederacy may have favored secession, which sectors of the population favored or opposed secession? How about Native Americans? (Oddly enough, various groups of Native Americans and even slaves may have fought on both sides of the Civil War.)

Some people may say that the sacred principles of property rights were being defended by the Confederate soldiers: the legal right to own another human being as property. Many of the “moral justification ideologies” of politicians that are popular within a particular group at some time are later relaxed or even reversed. Even the Roman Catholic Church officially reversed it’s position on Galileo’s heliocentrism in 1992 (which was 359 years after his trial, conviction and sentencing for the crime of heresy).

The government of the US has famously reversed it’s position on such issues as slavery, the right of women to vote, and the criminalization of alcohol. In fact, what was once a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment, speaking the Navajo language, was later a famous “secret weapon” of US Military in World War 2. Also, about two hundred years after the religious freedom at least of certain white males was protected in the US, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed (yes, even protecting religious practices that included the use of the Navajo language).

Traditions come and go. Respect them, but do not worship them. Beware of trusting them.

Jesus apparently taught “cease condemnation and forgive.” Obviously, not everyone who may appreciate something about the story of Jesus is aware of that specific teaching, and further not all who are aware of it are equally developed in the practice of forgiveness or humble repentance from condemnation.

Shall we condemn them for even only a recent history of condemning? Shall we add to the already long history of religious hypocrisy? We could. We could even simply condemn all people who condemn people, or at least condemn some of the people who condemn people.

We could also condemn the media for doing what they have always done, or condemn the politicians for doing what they have always done, or condemn any of the traditionalists for resisting alternative theoretical models, like by condemning those models. So we could condemn some or all traditions and traditionalism.

We could even condemn being respectful of traditions and traditionalism rather than contemptuous. We could make contempt in to a new tradition to champion.

“Contempt is next to Godliness,” we could shout. We could write it on signs: “What we need is more contempt! Okay, maybe I don’t need more contempt, but obviously you do!”

santa and dramatic scandals

November 6, 2011
Look, everyone knows that the Santa Claus story is just a linguistic concoction that is publicized to influence the behavior of children. Parents could simply say to their kids instead, “hey, do what I tell you and I will give you some presents that you will like, but if you misbehave or rebel or bug me, then you won’t get as many presents or the ones you asked for.”
English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a classic case of bribery first and of fraud only secondarily. It directs the attention of the children to a future reward and teaches them discipline. Sure, the Santa myth involves some trickery and, since it is pretty popular, we can presume that it has worked well enough to keep the story popular for however long so far.
It is also manipulative, deceptive, and dishonest. So, why would we expect something much different from social institutions and their PR campaigns?
Governments govern people, right? They implement rewards and punishments (like the tortures of the Holy Roman Inquisition). Along with using organized violence like cops and armies and jails, governments concoct myths and propaganda to influence behavior. They promote their agendas through public schools and the media.
Governments redistribute wealth. They take from some groups (like taking Texas away from Mexico) and give to other groups (like for building roads and weapons of mass destruction and to pay for the elderly to get expensive pharmaceutical drugs that suppress the functioning of their immune systems). Maybe all of that is scandalous. Maybe all of that is “business as usual.”
Did governments “suddenly” get corrupt? Well, if the use of deceptive stories like the Santa Claus story is an example of corruption, then is government even any more corrupt than any other category of social organization?
Did politicians begin lying just recently, or has that been going on for “a while?” Thousands of years ago, did humans commonly enslave other humans, like in Egypt or Greece? You could name a type of corruption and I could name cases of that type of so-called “corruption” that are hundreds or thousands of years old, right?
Didn’t early European imperialists like Columbus and Coronado  massacre or enslave Native Americans? Were blankets that were infected with small pox intentionally distributed to other Native Americans later as “gifts?”
Churches and governments teach us what is corrupt (punishable) and what is proper (rewarded). The Holy Roman Inquisition may have promoted the idea that murder is one of the ten basic sins punishable by an eternity of torture in hell, but a short torture and public burning was a primary practice of their system of ritual human sacrifice. However, now they are against abortion because it is allegedly evil to take a human life.
So, just as our parents defined to us what behavior is good (rewarded) or bad (punished), so do social institutions (like producing alcohol was legal at first, then criminalized by a constitutional amendment in the US, and now it is subsidized as an alternative to fossil fuel). Whether our parents used a deceptive fraud like the Santa Claus myth is really rather incidental. We all got rewarded and punished by our parents, right? Whether they used fraudulent methods of bribery or direct, explicit bribery is a secondary issue.
Whether governments use fraudulent PR or not is also incidental. For instance, alcohol is now legal to sell to the public in the US in most jurisdictions, but only if first you pay the government $20,000 or whatever a license costs these days. It does not really matter why. If you break the rule and get caught, the government will probably punish you. Also, if you have a great lawyer that you can pay $10,000 to defend you, then the government will probably punish you less, if at all.
So, whose rule is it that alcohol is only legal to sell to the public if the government approves? That is their rule: the government’s. They make up the rules and then enforce the rules on you and they do not require your agreement, just like Santa’s definitions of good and bad behavior do not require your agreement.
“Yeah, but can’t the people influence the government’s rules?” Of course. Try lobbying for the elimination of the government licensure of the public sale of alcohol. Go ahead. You might even win. So what?
“Yeah, but shouldn’t I be personally responsible for fixing governments so that they are no longer corrupt?” Who made up that rule? What are the effects of acting as if it is true?
“Yeah, but shouldn’t we eliminate the corrupt practices of bribing children and deceiving them? Shouldn’t I influence how other people discipline their children, like to defend the children from those evil, corrupt parents? Shouldn’t I be responsible for fixing how other parents operate? Shouldn’t I avoid bribing my children or deceiving them with stories of Santa Claus?”
If that is what you were taught by your parents or your public school or your church or your media or your government, then go ahead. You might even succeed. So what?
“Yeah, but those trustworthy people told me that it is okay to eat lots of candy, especially on Halloween, and best to eat lots of empty carbohydrates and dangerous to eat things that nourish me. Now, I think it was inaccurate and maybe even intentionally deceptive!”
Aha, and so is this the first time that something inaccurate and intentionally deceptive has ever been presented to you, Santa? By the way, when you say that those people are trustworthy, are you sure that a more accurate term might be “trusted?” You trusted them. Then you found out they lied and that they probably knew they were lying all along. They were never trustworthy. They were lying all along- whether or not they knew it, right?
“Yeah, but the government people told us that if we ever noticed any corruption, then we should report it immediately to the government people so that the government people could investigate the alleged corruption.” Right, and then they would punish any unlicensed fraud as a threat to their monopoly on fraud. So what?
“Wait, are you saying that the government trained us to report ourselves to the government if we ever caught on to any instances of corruption, like so they could better cover up their corruption and to make it easier for them to distinguish the half-wit people from the no-wit people?” Well, I did read about that once in a book by George Orwell called 1984, but I am sure that those trustworthy people in all the governments of the world would never create a deception in which they protected their network of other deceptions by training half-witted people to report themselves to the government by campaigning earnestly for justice in regard to some isolated instance of deception or corruption or organized violence or fraud or governing.
However, I will say that when I reported my parents for bribery and fraud in regard to their manipulative use of a fabricated story about Santa Claus to influence the behavior of myself and my sister when we were small children, my parents were acquitted by a jury of their peers. I was shocked. Then, I realized that all the other people on the jury implemented the exact same methods of bribery and fraud on their own children.
Anyway, if you want to go to some government people to report the methods of some other government people, go ahead. Government people love to justify their programs of coercive wealth redistribution by occasionally spotlighting an allegedly isolated case of government corruption and then condemning it harshly.
“Governments should not be corrupt! Oliver North should not have used bribery or fraud! By the way, this [allegedly] isolated case is [allegedly] obviously just an isolated case!”
That makes for a dramatic scandal and attracts a big audience, which advertisers like. Then, when Oliver North is pardoned by the President on the last day of his administration, only a few people notice.
The rest of the people are still celebrating that governments protect people from corruption and all things that are bad or evil or dangerous. Those celebrating people got so drunk with alcohol- purchased from a licensed seller of mind-numbing potion of course-  that they were still passed out from intoxication when the pardon was announced.
By the way, Santa Claus is a staunch opponent of bribery and deception and manipulation, which are dangerous, at least for those without proper licensure. That is why you will not get any presents if we catch you committing acts of bribery, deception, or manipulation. Now, consume all of your biochemical nutrients until your dish is empty, or else we will not give you any fix for your addiction to refined carbohydrates, which would mean that you are good as in obedient as in valuable to us.
Governments protect us from corruption and organized violence by using organized violence and corruption. Churches protect us from things like the psychological torture of an eternal hell by psychologically torturing us with threats of an eternal hell. The media protects us from paying attention to anything besides whatever they are broadcasting. Finally, Santa Claus protects us from accepting gifts from strangers.

corruption and the tea party

October 29, 2011

We are taught what actions qualify as corruption (things like lying, bribery, lobbying, stealing, and coercion). Next we are taught not to do those things (like by being punished for doing them- including with the psychological warfare of tormenting expectations of eternal torture in hell).

Already, irony is present. Note that punishment is coercive. So, we are discouraged from using coercion by someone else using coercion against us.

We are also taught that governments protect us from corruption and crime and so on. All governments glorify themselves as having a foundation of moral excellence, often with some selective legends and even quite creative mythology about the people who started a government: Lenin, Washington, Castro, Mandela, etc….

In the case of the U.S., for instance, one of the most famous acts of tresspass and destruction of property became known as the Boston Tea Party. While that event was clearly a crime (and a very organized one) by the recognized legal standards of the operating jurisdiction of the time, the same event that is labeled a crime can also be labeled a heroic act of courage.

Why not both? Obviously, both labels are valid interpretations or meanings.

The side that wins a conflict dictates (or declares) what interpretations or labels to use to describe the events of the conflict. No government apologizes for it’s origins. Every government glorifies it’s origins.

So, are governments getting more corrupt? Consider that governments may have been less corrupt and then become more corrupt. That is possible, right?

Then, instead consider that governments generally involve some corruption (like across the last several thousand years, for instance, as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible and many other places), but governments generally are effective at public relations enough that the people who have been exposed to government propaganda (like in public schools and mass media outlets) think that any particular government USED TO BE morally superior to how that government is lately (relative to the latest exposed corruptions).

Or, maybe you believe that corruption was invented recently. Note that corruption is a word, like sin and crime. Crime is a legal category created by declaration (such as through the adoption of as criminal statutes) and enforced through systems of organized coercion (such as courts or “the offices of the Holy Roman Inquisition”).

Crime is not consistently defined across all jurisdictions or even across time. In the US, alcoholic beverages were prohibited (criminalized) and then decriminalized only a few years later.

Now, licenses are involved in the selling of alcohol in the US. It is a crime to sell alcohol unless one has a license.

Systems of licensure are systems to coercively benefit the government by involving it in some business activity as a recipient of funds. Those funds may be used to punish other competitors who operate without a license.

Governments are systems of organized coercion and coercive privilege. Governments define “corruption,” punish unlicensed “corruption,” and of course license activity that would otherwise be corruption or crime, but is legal when licensed/approved by courts and the bureaucratic associates of the courts.

When Oliver North confessed to a series of criminal acts performed in the late 1970s, he was functionally granted a license retroactively by President Reagan. Reagan pardoned him and his co-conspirators. Reagan also directly benefitted from the successful accomplishment of the mission of that conspiracy.

Is that so different from what happened in the case of numerous governments that are famously depicted as corrupt? Imagine that in the Trojan War, someone had the idea of deception involving a Trojan Horse, and they later admitted the deception or corruption or coercion involved in their activities, but then were pardoned and even glorified?

The Boston Tea Party might have been the inspiration for many “terrorist” acts in the mid 1800s in slave states in the US, but none of them may currently be as glorified as that prior act. However, in the future, the Tea Party may be considered by some to be a disgrace and the uprising at Harpers Ferry led by John Brown (or some other event) may become symbolic of moral heroism.

One era’s corruption may be another era’s moral heroism. Robin Hood is a legendary British criminal who has been glorified as a hero. Ollie North or John Brown may be remembered for many centuries as well.

So, many people complain about “new” corruption in various governments.  In the 1990s, after Japan’s economic deflation started, a wave of complaints about politicians surged. When public sentiment (in economics) declines, are politicians among the most popular targets of scapegoating? Likewise, when public sentiment (in economics) rises, are politicians among the most popular targets of glorification?

Who chooses the targets of attention? Who chooses the “spin” (context or type of attention)?

Is it the corporate mass media? What commercial interests direct the corporate mass media?

In the EU and US, a similar development to what happened in Japan has been manifesting since the peaking of stock markets between 2007 (for Greece, UK, etc) and 1999. Many of the forecasters who forecast the decline in the US economy, such as myself, also forecast the shift in popular culture as it relates to governments. In early 2003, when I began commenting on the coming real estate decline, or in 2004 when I focused more on the coming surge in fuel prices, or in 2007 when I warned about the coming instability of stock market prices and financial institutions, I already specified that President George Bush would be scapegoated as the one to blame. Why? Because he was the sitting President.

Look at what happened in any other case of major economic decline. Politicians are scapegoated when things are scary and glorified when things are blossoming.

Now, I assert that scandals are publicized according to a sort of schedule by the media. Initially, the Occupy Wall Street protests got very little mass media coverage. Suddenly, they were a central feature of a media circus.

Why? Was it just the corporate media’s attempt to “take over” the conversation about the protests and increase their audience for their commercial sponsors selling things like toothpaste and beer?

That is possible. Or, the mass media may be specifically targeting a promotion of certain kinds of dissent and scandal and conflict.

Darth Vader/The Emperor: “Feel the hatred, young Skywalker. It is the antagonism between the Tea Party supporters and the Occupy Wall Street supporters that makes me strong and my strength is the strength of the Holy Romulan Empire. While there is drama and contentiousness between the new right wing and the new left wing, our tactics of “divide and conquer” keep the bird from actually flying, since the two wings are in conflict rather than partnership. As long as the 99% is really only 50% and the Tea Party is actually approaching 49%, then I have the deciding vote, which is my control of the media (oh, yeah, and the credit markets, too). Did you really think this is a democracy? What military branch is a democracy? What corporation? In what family’s household would the toddler children have equal influence with the adults? In what wolfpack is there no alpha dog? I started both revolutionary reactions. I will also guide them to their climax and conclusion, or else my name is not the gently reluctant Senator Palpatine.”

Why is it important to certain commercial interests that the masses of people argue and protest- hysterically if possible? The details of the drama may not be important. As long as people continue to make the same financial choices that the Japanese made in the 1980s (flipping real estate on mortgages and dumping money in to stock mutual funds and so on), then their complacency will establish their economic fate. They US can predictably follow the path of Japan (or worse).

Commercial interests establish and enforce linguistic declarations of what is corrupt, criminal, sinful, and so on. As long as the commercial interests who establish and operate governments can distract the masses of people from prudent financial choices and thereby monopolize certain behaviors (such as prudent investing and conservative legal sheltering such as through estate planning or systematic use of bankruptcy protections), the commercial interests will maintain their monopoly of influence and affluence. They will control the systems of organized coercion and also control the mass media channels which will inform public opinion about the glories and evils and corruptions and triumphs of the various “solutions” that the commercial interests are dictating as “what to think about.”

One of the most notable things I learned as a college undergraduate was this: “the mass media does not control what the people think. We only control what the people think about.”

The competing herds of Tea Partiers and OWS protestors will both focus on which alternative political solution to promote for economic salvation. As long as the various herds are focusing on political activism rather than financial adaption, the promise of a possible, eventual economic salvation through political reform may remain an attractive myth.

Universal theme of propaganda #279: “only organized political action can save us all from economics, which is the morally superior outcome to target. People who propose to improve their own financial situation by responsive and responsible adaption to economic change are traitors to the Empire. They are the 1%. We must save you from them by massive political reforms.”

Beyond the cult of heroic martyrs

October 16, 2011

Who is remembered fondly for dying for the cause of a rebellion, like for the rejection of a particular idea or phrase in language? What popular fictional characters? How about the founding fathers of US Tea Party movement heroes like Patrick Henry (who said “give me liberty or give me death!”) or even the once-violent Malcolm X?

Malcolm X may have felt guilty about his prior advocacy of violence. So, he acted to compensate for his guilt- speaking out against the advocacy of “political violence” – as in the phrase “by any means necessary”- and soon he was killed and many have glorified him as a hero or martyr.

So many of the heroes of our culture have been martyrs who lived (and often were killed) for some rebellion against some conformity: Jesus, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. (who was named after the man who inspired the first seven letters of the word Protestant: Martin Luther), as well as Gandhi, former “terrorist leader” Nelson Mandela, a protesting Chinese college student in Tiananmen Square who stood in the path of a tank, the Vietnamese monk who burned himself alive in protest to warfare, and so on. Do these heroes actually serve as models of our behavior or do they mostly just remind us of the possible consequences of non-conformity?

Given that virtually none of the people who glorify the heroism of Jesus follow his actual life choices to become a wandering ascetic, consider that these heroes are not so much models of behavior as reminders and warnings. We may use these martyrs to produce guilt within ourselves, with the idea being that we should not conform as we actually have been, but that we should become a wandering ascetic like Jesus or the Buddha and so on.

Focusing on that ideal perhaps creates and sustains the experience of tension and guilt and shame, if believed.

Jesus, according to popular versions of his life story, publicly rebuked the religious leaders of his day as hypocrites, apparently resulting in his death. That pattern of action is actually rather distinct from simply developing inner peace and promoting a spirit of cooperativeness. 

Was the story of Jesus the first ever story of the rebuking of hypocrisy? Even Moses is well known for condemning the behavioral traditions of “his people,” though he was not killed for it by the people he rebuked. Further, Jesus frequently quoted the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, dramatically referencing the distinction between the activity of simply using words such as “peace” and “respect” as distinct from an actual experience of peace and respect.

Can one be peaceful and respectful while rebuking someone? Does rebuking imply animosity and resentment and antagonism and aggressiveness?

Also, should people experience shame for behavior patterns that could be labeled as selfish? Should people keep certain behaviors secret, at least from inquisitors who threaten torture and execution? Should people lie about selfish behaviors and rationalize them as actually having been unselfish? 

Should people always conform? Should people always condemn conformity? Should people always condemn hypocrisy? Should people discontinue the condemning of other people? Should people condemn condemnation?

My experience has been that I have repeatedly condemned other people (whether particular people that I personally know or remote groups even from distant times), and further that I have eventually noticed that I have sometimes done very similar things to much of what I have condemned. I can accept that the intensity of my condemnation of something may be proportionate to the extent of my own practice of that thing. I can also accept that the intensity of my glorifying of something may be proportionate to the extent that I avoid practicing that thing.

“Wouldn’t it be great if people completely stopped being involved in commercial activities and just donated all their wealth and all their time to other people?” I may say things like that, implying that such a pattern of action might be great or greater than some other pattern, but I might not really know if it would be great or not because I may not have actually done it and I may not ever, even though I may talk a lot about how great it allegedly would be.

What if what I really meant was this: “wouldn’t if be great if EVERYONE ELSE EXCEPT ME simply donated all their wealth and time TO ME?” I might experience that the competitiveness in the commercial economy in my midst is challenging for me. I might really like the idea of government benefits received by me that are derived from the collection activities of governments that result in me effortlessly having what used to be other people’s wealth or productivity.

“Government mercenaries, please go and find some rationalization to condemn or criminalize some behavior of other people and bring me the spoils of the conquest. Please hurry!”

“If the spoils come from a distant nation or from traffic tickets and confiscations from convicted local drug dealers, just keep these roads well-maintained and these medical services free. Do not betray me by leaving it to me to be responsible for my own finances, my own welfare, my own health, my own family, and my own experience of inner peace and respect.”

“If people insult us and disrespect us and threaten us, punish them. If people refuse to do business with us at the prices we consider fair, conquer them. If they have values and cultures distinct from ours, like if they decline to commit to pacifism (as in us having a monopoly on nuclear weapons), then give them an ultimatum between unconditional surrender and us bombing them to ashes, but please do not enlist me to be directly involved in the bombing, because that sounds rather dangerous… plus, military drafts are undemocratic, and our militant, imperialist bombings are the most democratic in human history so far, though we only bomb civilians when we are absolutely forced to do so by the majority voting for it and only in order to promote and demonstrate loving-kindness, peace, the combined compassion of Christ and Buddha, and of course the inalienable right to life of all people everywhere, except of course for those who do not recognize and worship the ideal of the inalienable right to life.”

So, do these words sound like the jokes of Charlie Chaplin or the ramblings of a mental patient or the typical statements of politicians and religious leaders throughout history? How about all of the above?

Remember, a martyr is someone who dies for identifying with a cause. Identifying with something involves language. Martyrs die for their language.

Should all people everywhere glorify the ideal of dying for a particular linguistic ideal? Uh, well, if that appeals to you, then you can go right ahead and “march on the Vatican to protest the inquisition” or “occupy wall street” or “march on the pentagon to protest bombs and propaganda and imperialism.” 

By the way, consider that no one is going to march on the pentagon because, for one thing, there is no open physical space there to make that convenient. Further, the popular conception that the US is a democracy does not fit with the idea of marching on the pentagon (or on to a military base or occupying a federal courthouse). Those who believe that a particular government is a democracy are more likely to march on the great temple of the elected senators (and the lobbyists who fund them).

If you think that you can go conduct a public demonstration on a military base or at the pentagon or in a federal courthouse (or a police station or fire station) simply because you live “in a democracy,” you may soon find that you are conducting demonstrations in a jail cell… if you are that fortunate.

Democracy is a component of many political processes. So is organized coercion. That is not a contradiction. Not every government in human history has involved any democratic procedures, from the governing of a household to an empire. However, has any government failed to use the procedure of organized coercion?

Should we be ashamed about a particular government’s use of organized coercion? Should we keep it a secret? Is there a general pattern of punishing with organized coercion those who directly reference organized coercion? 

Or, is there only a specific pattern of the punishing of those who directly antagonize the agents of organized coercion? Wouldn’t you be wary of populist campaigns to occupy the pentagon or even occupy to an airport in China? Your coercion is probably not even close to organized enough to successfully accomplish that kind of result!

Be realistic. In other words, if you like, for an interesting afternoon, go ahead and gather up a few thousand friends to occupy wall street. 

Further, if being a martyr especially appeals to your pride, then identify some linguistic ideal and commit to dying for it. If your idealistic sacrifice attracts enough publicity, then you may even be remembered fondly as one of a rather long list of trailblazers in the promoting of other people’s right to make themselves in to martyrs, too.

Of course, such a path of drama, pride and possible fame may not be the path of inner peace. If inner peace appeals to you, then dying for a linguistic ideal may not be of any relevance to you. You may find it more inspiring to question the nature of all linguistic ideals, including the ideal of the heroic martyr.

As-Salamu Alaykum. Aleichem Shalom.

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