The good citizen must wish for the well-being of his fellows as earnestly as he wishes it for himself. On this all the best thinkers, both ancient and modern, agree. This is for the reason that by definition, society is comprised of a number of distinguishable but interdependent parts, each, ideally contributing to the stability and prosperity of the whole. The happiness of the one is indeed ultimately dependent upon the happiness of the others.
Of course, it is impossible that any single person, let alone the entirety of the citizenry, should be at once capable of feeling the needs of all of his fellows to the degree that each feels his or her own, and wise enough to foresee the precise means of accomplishing it while at the same time having the practical means to realize it. The expedient adopted by all societies to offset this defect is to promote mutual forebearance, on the implicit understanding that if no one is able to obtain perfect satisfaction for him or her self, at least they are all able to achieve a portion of it.
An excellent method of inculcating the principle of mutual forebearance is to multiply the number of interactions each member of society has with his fellows. Perceiving many opportunities to arrive at the desired result, the citizen becomes less resentful of those occassions he or she fails to achieve it, confident that another opportunity will present itself shortly; if the failing today, he or she may succeed tomorrow. Each citizen sees that his or her personal happiness is enhanced by interacting with his or her fellows.
But a "trans"-action is not necessarily an "inter"-action. "Trans"-actions are those that occur across unlike parties; "inter"-actions are mutually undertaken among like parties. One may negotiate, on more or less equal terms, the requirements of an "inter"-action, whereas the disparity of powers inherent to a "trans"-action compells one party or the other to simply accept its terms or do without in toto.
The significance of this difference is often lost in societies predisposed towards democracy. It is not merely the function of the unsophistication of individual intellects, but the common imperative to respect one's fellows as equals in dignity. Constantly reminding him or her self that all are entitled to an equal human dignity, the member of a democratic society is apt to forget that each is not endowed with identical capacities.
This diversity of capacities is often presented as the particular virtue of democratic societies, the theory being that democracy, being least prejudicial to individual interests, is, among all political forms, best constituted to harnessing individual energies to the common good.
But this is rarely the case. It is often forgotten by those predisposed to see their fellows as equals in dignity, that the laws do not always proceed from the social mores of the people those laws govern.
Finding it odious to disparage others, citizens of good will are unwilling to question the aims of those who, unlike themselves, wish to obtain a secret command that makes transactions increasingly un-equal. Cloaked by language directly opposed to his actual intent, the gifted dissembler obscures from us the fact that a moral agent is not necessarily a competent economic agent, and thus he encounters no serious barrier in his evil design to bind others to him by chains of obligation which they cannot scorn except at the cost of their livliehood.
What wonder, then, that simple souls, intending nothing but the honest well-being of their fellows, and committed to respect of the common law as they find it, step by step become unwitting accomplices to the destruction of everything they love? For that is the case. Sooner or later, the accumulated dissatisfaction of people living under such an un-equal system, as it becomes more and more apparent, must necessarily dissolve the bonds of mutual esteem that render a society coherent. For this cause and for no other are societies destroyed.
So while the good citizen must wish for the well-being of his fellows as earnestly as he or she wishes it for himself, the excellent citizen must make careful inquiries into the particular qualities of each he encounters and take care that no one of them acquire command over too many.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
In the coming days, weeks and months many influential public figures will spend a great deal of time and energy trying to convince you to take part in a crime. I advise you to heed the advice of your “better angels” and refuse.
Events on the ground are developing rapidly, but as of the time of this writing it is clear that military forces of the Russian state and paramilitary groups serving it have seized property belonging to the sovereign state of Ukraine in the odd name of “stabilizing” the situation there. The airwaves are being bombarded with continual updates of unverified information, but what is clear is that this is the sort of crisis in which the credibility of the international community of nation states is at stake; the roles they have assumed for themselves demand they take some sort of decisive action.
We know what “decisive action” means: inevitably progress military escalation to open warfare. Only for the purpose of “stabilizing” the situation there, of course.
Equally inevitably, in times of external crisis, all nation states demand redoubled internal unity. Only for the purpose of “stabilizing” the situation over here, of course. Your presidents, prime ministers, members of Parliament, Duma and Congress will ask you to stand “with” your country rather than “against” it; they will ask you to become an accomplice in your own murder.
Our generation, for all our sins, foibles, errors and misfortunes does have one happy blessing, however, that sets us apart uniquely from all generations that went before us: we have lived through a decade of warfare whose most intimate operations have been laid bare to us in real time, courtesy of the likes of Alexander Litvinenko, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and the like. Serhi Scherbyna, editor of the Ukrainian investigative journalism team at Insider, has published thousands of documents saved from destruction by the fleeing regime of ousted president Victor Yanukovych. This has been publicized through western media such as The Globe and Mail in Canada.
These documents reveal that, despite convenient claims of all international players to the contrary, these recent events have occurred, not as the sudden, unpredictable consequence of civil unrest in Ukraine, but a coordinated effort of BOTH western AND Russian elites to manipulate public opinion and defalcate billions of dollars in public assets to their own private benefit. For instance, not only did Yanukovych personally plan and coordinate a foreign military intervention, but he also hired numerous highly placed western lawyers (e.g., Gregory B. Craig, a close advisor of Barrack Obama, et al.) to craft legal and public relations strategies regarding a series of political show trials to stifle internal dissent.
So, in essence, when events inevitably arrive at open military hostilities, your nation state’s political leaders will ask you to die to distract attention from their own crimes. You will be asked to kill innocent strangers and be killed in return in order to sustain the fiction that the “leaders” of the nation state—ANY NATION STATE—has the interests of their subjects at heart. It is a tactic as old as the nation state itself, but now it is being (mis)applied outside the context of one-way legacy media conduits that gave it credibility.
The “perfect crime” is often used to mean one that goes undetected, but I beg to differ. I assert that the “perfect” crime is one that co-opts its victims to the extent that nobody has any interest in prosecuting its perpetrators. Don’t make this the perfect crime. Don’t become an accomplice in your own murder.