"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Dec 26, 2011

Law has no power

If laws were routinely passed, but no loot was set aside to enforce them, so that they were effectively nothing more than suggestions for conduct which the average resident could adhere to or ignore at leisure, we would have a far different understanding of law the currently we do.

What we have - and what has been our occidental tradition, harkening back all the way to the first glimmer of supposed civilization in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, the Levant and polities of Hellas and Megale Hellas - is quite different from all that.

We have the passage of laws, statutes, codes and decrees - and the apportioning of weapons, wealth and armed staffers to enforce them. Our tradition of legislation comes with punishment, and the threat of punishment. We have gods who punish, and fat old men who refuse to disperse slave-made toys, as a punishment. We are threatened with discipline at every turn, and we are raised from toddler until retirement age, and beyond, to believe deeply and with an unshakable certainty that actions not only have human consequences, in the form of violence, imprisonment and the loss of status, but divine ones, in the form of self-destruction, bad luck, heavenly corrective scourges and everlasting damnation.

Our predecessors have produced variations of culture and credulity ranging from the fantastical to the nightmarishly bureaucratic. Our history records the numinous spirits of forest and riverside, a thousand divines in olympic contention, pantheons of bickering child-gods, and the current all-seeing monster who populates the brain spaces of most Muslims, Christians and Jews. We have had decades of doubt, and ages of faith. We can look back, as well as looking back allows, and scan the flowering of the Provence, and the explosion of regimental Prussian might, separated by less than a thousand miles, and fewer than a thousand years.

And despite the seeming limitlessness of our cultural variations, and individual perspectives, we have as a constant the passage of laws, and the enforcement of laws.

We have learned to impose, and to be imposed upon.

And it's all a set of fictions.

Really, it is.

The law is powerless. It does nothing. It achieves no end. It accomplishes no outcome. No law on the planet binds you, because no law can bind you.

Look instead to the weapon in the hand of the enforcer. To the threat of the slap from mommy, or the loss of her love. Watch the teacher's ostracism of the troubled child, how a little boy is slowly set aside from his peers, is isolated, is twisted and warped into a young man who has turned self-defense into a protective cruelty. See the priest poisoning the minds of the young, encouraging the madness of faith in the pettiest, most vicious, most hateful god built up into a sky daddy monster yet. Know that the good reverend, the pillar of the community, encourages mass delusion and a lifetime of self-betrayal, every time he casts aspersions at the harlot, condemns the godlessness of the teenager who flushes at his first boy-crush, or rails at the sinfulness of a nation which dares to allow women the freedom of their own bodies. Hear them teach about hell, and a concentration camp in the afterlife from which there is no escape.

See the cop with his gun, the soldier at attention, the jailer with his grin and the judge who sits above the mere humans arranged in rows for his judicial enjoyment.

It's punishment.

It's punishment.

The thing which which twists us up, which teaches us to police ourselves and neighbors, which faces us with a daily set of choices, all of them bad, and most of them worse, is punishment.

It's our lives - our labor, the wealth we create, the sacrifices we must endure - turned against us. That's what punishment is - the capture of the output of our work, its conversion into weapons and wages for armed staffers, and the threat and use of those weapons, against us.

The law achieves nothing. The outcome of its enforcement is everything.

We don't need to fear the law.

And its more than possible to lose the fear of enforcement. There's an emotional terminus to obedience. You can arrive, there. We can.

Our earthly masters have a lot of weapons, and a lot of leeway to use them. That I grant.

But we know where they build those weapons. And we know where they train their users. We know how they feed themselves, and we know where they sleep. We know - and we can know - how they get from home to work. We know where they work. We have every capacity needed to study them further. We are makers and watchers, because that's how we've been trained. We are observant of power, because that's how they shaped us. Every aspect of their lives is discoverable, and their behaviors are discernible. We already have the tools necessary to ending their reign of power and punishment.

And there just aren't all that many of them.

But there sure are fucking multitudes of us.

15 comments:

Justin Parker said...

Thank you.

Lisa Simeone said...

I don't believe the law has no power, and yes, I understand that we are multitudes and that gives us some power, but if what you're saying boils down to this:

“If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”
-George Orwell

then I understand.

Jack Crow said...

Lisa,

A thought experiment:

Grab a book, any book. Now, wrap it up in a plastic bag. Encase that plastic bag in concrete. Let the concrete set. Try to read that book without removing it from the bag, or the concrete.

rob payne said...

Laws are written by those who will benefit them, this is what law achieves. Part of the con of government is that it must convince the masses that they somehow benefit from government and laws when in truth they are the victims of law and government. The State rides on, depends upon, its legitimacy. Legitimacy is what bestows power to those who write laws. It is the masses who bestow this legitimacy every time they vote for the lawmakers who screw them blind. The only thing that has changed since the days of Mesopotamia is that we now have car keys.

Enron said...

If laws can be considered to be norms, one has to look at their origination and mechanisms of enforcement. Also, your argument can go a little bit further in that the culture of the law has built upon and expanded itself over time. I mean Louis XIV had his cahiers du roi and all but there were a far less percentage of people in jail back then. Often Eurocentric theorists like Foucault argue this all emerged out of Feudalism but really over five thousand years it has ebbed and flowed. And lest Lisa forget, Civil Rights laws existed before the 20th Century.

Anonymous said...

Well, there is always Natural Law

RLK said...

Amen

Paul Alexander said...

I really enjoyed the spirit of this post. Punishment is horrendous. Unfortunately, I think this setting up of opposing sides, those with the ability to punish and those being punished, is not aligned with reality. It's not as if those who are being punished all realize this and that if there was a way to magically get them to hear the message of this post they would immediately come to their senses and band together to remove the punishing forces. In fact, I'm guessing a large percentage would still love to be a part of the powers of major punishment. On the flip side, the majority of the punishers do not consider themselves as such, in fact they truly believe themselves to be acting defensively, to be protecting themselves and that those who can't see it are not accepting the logic of the world. Sure, there are some cynics who know the score, but most people in positions to do the most damage are as ignorant of the outcomes of their decisions as those on the receiving end are aware of the true source of their abuse.

The human world is made up of human beings, not the haves and the have-nots. To assume that only those that are being shit upon would welcome the message of "rising up" would mean that the reason for doing so is self interest because it would obviously be at the expense of those currently in power. To assume otherwise is to believe that the shit upon possess a greater moral fortitude than those in positions of power. Essentially, we're a completely different species.

Punishment, law, and all other such ideas are the creations of the mind of man. They're used in differing degrees, like you pointed out, everyday, from the mom all the way up to the president. It's precisely this reason why I don't see there ever being an end to this so-called madness, just differing degrees. To me it seems more of a characteristic of the human species.

Of course this doesn't mean we shouldn't stop trying to make the world as pleasant as possible. I like to surround myself as much as possible with people who have been able to step out of the paradigm, and one of the best ways is to open people's minds. At the same time there is a limit. Self interest and the violence attached to it are not going to ever be entirely stamped out.

Of course, there's always the possibility that I've misread your post and none of this applies, but I'm too lazy at the moment to go back and check. My apologies in advance if so.

Rude Awakening said...

i refuse to believe everything is over and done with here in this country.

this cannot possibly be all there is to it: for the younger generation to slouch into a "lost decade" while the plutocracy steals it all...

NO!!!! we are a generation with a spirit of rebellion and we will NOT fucking give into this bullshit.

NO. FUCKING. WAY.

Soma said...

I don't know about you, rudie, but I'm scared as fuck of a cadre of sociopaths with weapons and cages. Running in silence is all one can do when we're outgunned and out organized.

And they're watching us just as sure as we're watching them, with itchier fingers and crueler intentions.

Rude Awakening said...

Soma,

Yeah, there's some truth to that. Revisiting my comment it now appears more as an expression of exasperation than a call to action...

Pharrell said...

I'm surprised just how blind I was to the future: how little I saw coming at any moment. 2007, I didn't see the financial crisis coming. In 2008, I was full of all this misguided optimism.

Even inside the institutions, I had no idea that everything would relentlessly pursue the status quo.

It's, as Crow once said, entirely to my discredit.

And yet there it is: blindness.

Jack Crow said...

Appreciate the comments and discussion. We've had a rare uninterrupted stretch of being-together, our little tribe, and the computer cannot compete with that.

Hope to reply at length soon.

Lisa Simeone said...

"The law is powerless. It does nothing. It achieves no end. It accomplishes no outcome. No law on the planet binds you, because no law can bind you."

Sorry, this is nonsense. If you mean in some grand philosophical sense, like "here I am sitting in a 6X6 jail cell, yet my mind is free!" then fine.

But I, for one, don't want to be sitting in a 6X6 jail cell, no matter how free my mind may be, and the law that can put me there does have power and can bind me.

When the NDAA starts being used to toss people in jail for speech, which will start happening in 2012, then maybe you can again explain how the law has no power.

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! If i knew how to love i'd probably love it!
Someone wrote this post (A very very good post!) And instantly there are sceptics nay sayer's and those who agree! It's beautiful to watch!
(BTW LISA I think the whole book thing might have been a metafore as in you can't see the bigger picture! Shh don't tell anyone!)
Mr Crow, You missed the part about not being able to tip the scales in favor of the NWO by the blinded sheep doing the work of the law lol (sorry i can never say the word law lol without laughing out loud to myself!) Anyway sorry yes the sheep are all of us (That part about policing ourselves and neighbours) and so the scales will never be tipped!
I rather amused by all this but in short im sorry to be the bearer of Good/Bad news but were all better off dead!
Were born (Hang on i can't resist saying this but.... Mr Crow i have 2 son's and when we are out in the countryside my 1 year old likes to put allsorts in his mouth to test it! If i knock a poisonous mushroom/berry out of his hand smack his hand and say "NO!" that would be a collective animal instinct not law lol.)
Anyway again (i often get sidetracked) Were born natural born killers and after that we are taught to go against nature.
Don't be so small minded to think killing is wrong, we as an animal only kill for 2 reasons Food and Protection! Those reasons have un naturally have been removed and replaced by consumerism!
So what (as a so called intelligent race) have we learnt about going against nature??? Hmmmm.....
New World Order will only delay the inevitable! We are made to die! What is the 1 certainty in life? We die!
weather your in a heard or a loner NO ONE is to be trusted we are all just dumb animals trying to go against nature!
Im tired of ranting now im going to go roll a fat one and yes i do believe were all aliens and i have proof!!! Look at the person closest to you! There ya go I'd say peace but i wouldn't mean it i'd much rather watch the world end at the moment im bored!