"...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

May 11, 2012

No Escape

This one is by request, if somewhat revised. So, for d. mantis:

It does no good to underestimate the widespread human capacity to burrow deeper into hierarchies and their controlling systems, in the name of escaping them.

Our libertarian fellow travelers are especially fond of asserting, as a characteristic of that entire American school of thought, that governments are awful. In this they are largely correct, since governments exist to serve the needs of those who can afford to constitute them, run them, maintain them and benefit by their operation. Unfortunately, this libertarian willingness to generalize about the organization of governments as thinly disguised protection rackets does not extend to the necessary and inevitable concentration of power, wealth and bad faith in those successor organizations which would follow the collapse of the state-as-Leviathan. Intent as they are upon dismantling and escaping one obvious despotism, libertarians at the same time rather studiously ignore the more direct consequences of the weakening of the welfare functions of the states we have now; chief among those ramifications is the accelerated transfer of wealth, armed staffers, expertise and training functions to corporations, transnational exchange regimes and market affiliations, a one way flow which would result in the eventual reconstitution of states and state-like hierarchies from within corporate associations.

Then there are the liberals.

The entire liberal discourse - the "progressive" expansion of rights - which followed from the so-called Enlightenment and is only very recently in any danger of collapsing into its own singularity of self-contradiction, depends upon a belief in an absurdly unrealistic core conviction: namely, that those who inhabit the higher reaches of hierarchies can be persuaded to relinquish their advantages. It is only by accident, or that curious admixture of happenstance and callow opportunism, that the democratic-seeming states' histories have coincided with the increase in the number of permissions (usually, called "rights") allowed to the educated and professional castes and classes, which factions cling most religiously to this ridiculous notion of permissive rights. That coincidence has had a profound effect upon their beliefs about the power of "the masses," the value of the allegedly isonomic individual to those with power, and the degree to which lower level chattering and nattering filters upward to those who rule. But, because we live in the last decades of universal education - the one true victory of the middling castes - their "rights" dogma has become the universal doctrine foisted upon the multitude, shaping their discourse, if not their everyday conduct. That the lowest orders of our current society live as if rights are unreal is a testament not to the failure of universal education, but to the brutalizing and liberating agoge that is daily contact with the sharp end of police powers and the clerk's faceless bureaucratism.

The ruling class and its factions don't hear the middlers, and don't care about their problems, in equal measures. They have nonetheless fashioned a clever political apparatus, whereby they pretend to listen to their support classes by taking their money and distracting them with elections. It is a banal and unremarkable observation, but: the middle classes are obsessed with it.

By comparison, our earthly lords and masters can be expected to be "persuaded" with violence, but only in so much as it gets their attention by threatening their wealth and property.

Since violence against one's better armed betters is always a dodgy prospect, at best, and generally a ticket to press gangs, prison houses and cemetery plots, as a norm - it should probably surprise no one that the compensatory middler response, the reemergence of the repressed, if you will, is the aforementioned belief that rights matter, and that yammering at the people with guns and money gets their attention.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Oh pshaw!

Next you will be telling me that one cannot petition the Lord with Prayer.

Unknown said...

It seems to me the problem with libertarians is that they believe that the problems with the state can be resolved from within the state itself. While I enjoy the writings of Justin Raimondo it is clear that he believes that the constitution was created on behalf of the masses when in fact it was created in favor of the wealthy controlling class thus ensuring that they retain their money and control. This is why today the wealthy still control the government, actually are the government. So in the end the libertarians still believe in government of one form or another. The problem with this is that government is essentially a scam and in fact the government is the problem not the solution whatever that is and it remains unclear to me what a so-called solution actually would be. I suspect there is no solution and that people are people no matter what, a result of conditioning. Raimondo likes Ron Paul yet Ron Paul is seeking the office of the most powerful and murderous position in the government.

Liberals are delusional and this is their main problem. This is illustrated in their support of Obama. I won’t bore you with the details since you already are aware of them in regards to what Obama is doing and has done and will be doing. For liberals symbolism is everything. Obama is a powerful symbol for liberals because he is a black Democratic president. Or look at Obama’s recent comments about gay marriage. His first sentence was that civil unions were enough and then goes on to say gay marriage is okay with him. He didn’t say he was going to do anything in particular to change the status quo, indeed he is leaving it to the states where it has always been and liberals are euphoric. They love the symbolism even though it is meaningless. It erases the slaughter and piles of bodies that Obama has produced. It erases Obama’s bailout of the banks. The fact is liberals have never really cared about the issues that they say they care about. Fantasy is the foundation of liberalism. Results of liberalism are discarded as long as their self perception is what they want it to be if that makes any sense. In the end liberals are essentially the same as conservatives with the same beliefs in patriotism as a good thing. Scratch a liberal and you find a patriot.

As for anarchy it doesn’t exist. There is no anarchist movement. I think anarchy is something that might possibly work as far as ending war and other such stuff but we are likely never going to find out if it would work or not. The reason for this is clear enough. We are conditioned from early childhood and into adulthood to be aggressive bullies, to be competitive and to strive for status. It would be very difficult to derail such conditioning if not impossible. There is too much momentum behind such conditioning which is the basic foundation of western civilization.

Anonymous said...

Well I still consider myself a liberal progressive type on a pie chart as much as anything. And I do not fit the mold you shape... though I certainly understand and am pissed off at these fucking liberals who stand for nothing with any sincerity in their goddamn hippie in denial positions or dream state.I don't know what was worse for that generation, cocaine or new age EST escapism...

I really don't know what we should do.... but I think constant general strike rehearsals until they take hold are a good non/refuse confrontational stance in the face of an horrifically armed and eager to be violent upon its own people State. I do wish the larger conversations from the blogos to live communities were discussing the next incarnation of a Constitution and economy we would be far better off. It's way past the time for people to quit pretending we just need a few rule changes around the edges to mend systemic failure. We simply must leave those who remain mired in the status quo or the two party sports posture, aka dream state behind for now.

I do think there are far fewer are falling for the bullshit than a few years ago. Truth is liberals need a leader as much as the libertarian conservatives do. They are nearly all followers.

High Arka said...

What a terrible sadness, Jack. If you're right, it doesn't even matter.

Amidst these of humankind's limitless irredeemable sins, your future is a dark nothingness. A selfish, masturbatory glory is yours for the grasping, briefly, as you tumble into the pit with Arthur, proud that you've chronicled just how terrible it all is, and assured everyone else that there is, indeed, no hope save a rapturous ending. Your words are the face of evil.

yonders said...

ah no Arka, it is left to us to wash in the tide of things, swishy swoosh swoosh, a nexus of experience and a conduit for signals headed from everywhere to everywhere, a permeable matrix of carbon and water, a matrioshka doll of emergent phenomena, ooh la la forever, amin, shantih

d.mantis said...

Thank you...and bookmarked.

I attempted to explain my issues with libertarianism to a friend who actually calls himself such. I paraphrased IOZ's comment that libertarian's wish to go back to a constitutional republic is akin to wanting to go back and re-light the fuse on a stick of dynamite assuming it wouldn't explode this time. This was utterly confusing to him.

It was interesting because he brought up supposed liberal policies that contributed to our current state. I finally lost it and said with some force "liberal, libertarian, democrat, republican, progressive...fuck'em all! They are all flavors of the same system of control used to legitimize the American caste system. NOTHING MORE!"

Our conversation quickly moved to video games.

d.mantis said...

What would you say is not correct about Jack's summary?

What is the system we have now but simply an acquiescence? We have agreed to be ruled under this system which now has huge ramifications if rescinded.

Nevertheless, why could we not agree to some other system like anarchy?

Not trying to be cutesy. I actually want your opinion.

High Arka said...

dear mantis, life is stronger than the current grip fearful humans trying to strangle us all out of existence. Our few thousand years trapped in horror need not always be the future--the power lies in new thoughts or new children, in a time now or tomorrow, to bring new light. Dystopia is fun and awful to think of, but Jack's detailed tale of hopelessness is like the biblical description of the failed world that needs to be destroyed by flood or rapture.

Much disagreement finds it nexus in the question of whether humans are inherently bad or inherently good. This one has long fought Christians with their original sin, and at different times, saw in self-professed atheists or agnostics an ally against the monotheists. Here, surely, are people who do not believe that humans are terrible creatures, doomed to suffering, who can only be destroyed to be saved! That was, though, a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" error; it later came to pass that most of the second group, like most of the first, still did believe that humans were flawed, awful things meant only to suffer.

Unknown said...

d. mantis,

The system which includes government and capitalism is as I have said is a scam, basically to make the rich richer. I suppose you could say we have acquiesced to it but that implies a choice which I don’t believe is really there although it perhaps was at one time in the distant past. As someone said, power comes out of the end of a rifle and our government has most of the rifles. Any rebellion would be brutally short or I should say any rebellion that actually threatened the ruling class. The police resemble the military more and more. Then of course there is the conditioning that is ongoing and the American public is very subservient. I can’t see them rebelling at all. They are kept happy with silly movies, silly entertainment, and silly electronic devices. And that brings us to anarchy. I personally think anarchy or a form of it might be a vast improvement but as soon as you say the word anarchy people envision something like what is happening in Libya, a lot of violence. And there are only a handful of people that think anarchy is worth trying, those who do not hold the popular view of anarchy. I am convinced that we don’t need leaders but I belong to infinitesimally small group in that regard. People have been conditioned to think we need leaders and it runs very deep in people’s makeup. In short the obstacles to overcome this conditioning is monumental and that is why I don’t see people agreeing to some other system like anarchy which implies very little or no system. Although I have been pooh-poohed for saying this anarchy has already been tried and seems to have done just fine. But those people were not prepared for the invasion of Western culture, a culture that I consider to be quite insane. In the end I think it was some of the so-called “primitive” (a term I despise) peoples that had it right but alas they were no match for the various insane cultures that overran them. That is those various insane cultures that we would describe as civilized, those great and historic civilizations like that which began in Mesopotamia. And to disagree a bit with our host I would have to say that formal education is part of the conditioning that keeps people subservient. It all begins in the earliest stages of public schools with “I pledge allegiance to the flag….”

Jack Crow said...

One might petition Shiva with prayer, Thunder. Not sure a petitioner would like the response...



I would argue that anarchy is the only state of society which actually exists, and that most everything else is a conceit, a fiction, window dressing, or justification after the fact.

I liken anarchists (myself included) to fools: we can see the so-called truth, but are too honest to wise enough to shut up about it.



In any conversation on the matter of states and governments, I imagine we'd just have to agree to shut up, and instead share a drink, a meal and some lies about our childhoods.

Our fundamental disagreement, perhaps insurmountable however tasty the beer and win, is this: I do not believe that the system is decay, decline, failure or collapse.

I think it works the way it's intended. Which is why I'm not a liberal.



Face of evil, because I think liberals are kidding themselves about elections?

That's rich.



Could you expand on that, kindly?



It's odd that Arka would read a narrow dismissal of liberal electoralism (which includes most schools of conservative and libertarian thought) and reach the conclusion that this means "hopelessness."

It's like Arka and Arka's type of progressive need to believe that the saints and angels are on the side of imposed order, or something, no?

Unknown said...


I think perhaps you have a good point regarding anarchy being the only state of society since society is actually a formalized and prettied up version of the strong ruling the weak though that isn’t exactly the anarchy I have in mind when I think of anarchy though maybe I am missing your point altogether. I see it more along the lines that if people were left to their own devices without control by a few at the top we would pretty much get along just fine. I don’t think of anarchy as being a magic pill to solve all problems people have with each other but I can’t think of anything finer than doing away with leaders (and role models). Of course if only one nation pursued anarchy and eschewed statehood it wouldn’t last long as it would soon be invaded and occupied by one or another aggressive nation. I suppose a precondition for anarchy to work would be that everyone on the planet would have to participate. Unfortunately the world is full of Christopher Columbuses looking for gold and power.

High Arka said...

Your critiques of the fantasy are accurate inasmuch as your generalizations about who is a "liberal" or a "libertarian" are accurate.

The messages "better armed elites can't be unseated" and "revolutions will always fail" are the messages of No Escape, as you put it--of no hope.

Mr. Silber, for all his personal problems, was right in his criticisms of Americana 99% of the time. It's easy to describe how wretched people have behaved; despite what the teevee implicitly suggests to those with above-average intelligence, you have not reached max level when you're able to offer lengthy criticisms of the modern state and its fawning citizens. Concluding "this is terrible; we're all screwed" is, for purposes of our children doing this all over again, not substantively different than concluding "this is all great; we're really getting there!"

d.mantis said...

shorter Arka "children are our future" and we can't possibly know what alien systems will be made manifest by the future purveyer's of wealth. Whatever and ever, Amen.

Got it.

I do like the way you write, though.

I agree with your first response to me. However, I do not hold that our current government + capitalism (as you mentioned) is so entrenched.

Jack mentioned this in a previous post, but what inhabits all of those beauracracies and forms of control are individual humans. Indeed, even the malevolent police/military force is not a perfectly uniform, conscious being.

But yes, the state is very adept at conditioning us for that which it must have for its very existence; our complacency. IMO this is the hardest nut to crack.

My point is that there is ample grey area to what we percieve as an impenetrable juggernaut.

Take for instance the OWS. By mearly inhabiting an area, the powers went so far as to crush them very violently and publicly. I count this as no victory. Quite the opposite, actually. Imagine if this movement grew to only 1/8th of those who did not vote in the last election. That would put it at almost 17 million people.

And let me assure you, I am NO optimist.

That seems to be Arka's MO: take that which is clearly and narrowly argued and inflate it to the point of broad, absurd generalization. Then stuff it with a condescending tone and thinly veiled passive-aggressive accusations of racism, sexism etc.

High Arka said...

Anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy, and all enemies refuse to follow you not because of their own reasons, but because they are united with your other enemies.

Statements of your belief or desire apply in a reasonably limited fashion when you want them to, and if another views them as indicative of general meaning, they are making a ridiculous leap. Your enemy's statements of belief or desire, however, may be indicative of your enemy's general purpose and feelings, where appropriate.

In a verbal exchange, analyzing the "actual" words that were utilized is boring and wasteful, and is a technique suggested by your enemies only to confuse you. Instead, groups should come to a consensus as to what an exchange meant without boring themselves by dredging through the mere words used to conduct the exchange. Group harmony is most efficiently created through a shared understanding of what history should have been.

d.mantis said...

Dear Arka,
Ahhhh, I see what you did there.

Jack Crow said...


I appreciate the undeserved comparison to Arthur Silber, but it is undeserved. I maintain a narrow focus on a set of perspectives: those of the victims. Art paints upon a larger canvass.

I don't understand, all things being equal, how you equate sober assessments with "hopelessness," why you think hopefulness is consequently anything but an invitation to self-delusion, and why you insist, elliptically, that electoral participation in states is a precondition of this allegedly necessary hope.

Jack Crow said...


Why I think observation bears out is this: states, like Gods, genealogies, college lineages and sporting franchises, are fictions. This isn't to suggest that they are unreal. Obviously, people are getting together to do stuff. But what's fictive is the notion of organization as embodiment.

Everything is temporary. That's contingency, conditionality, anarchy. Right up there alongside the belief in the body-as-one-self, is this equally self-deceptive assertion that organizations exist. They do not. They are descriptions-after-the-fact, ways of categorizing related choices which presume a unity between persons which doesn't actually exist.

Or something like that.

Jack Crow said...


I am now of the opinion that OWS is a complete failure. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy, and all enemies refuse to follow you not because of their own reasons, but because they are united with your other enemies.

Well, he does insist that everyone must join in Jack's Glorious Fantasy of Revolution.

And he does lack originality. Dude is a conduit and copycat.

But he uses such big and/or rare words.

Jack Crow said...

Karl: green headed and wrong as usual. Go away, boring little man.

d.mantis said...

Re: OWS...Yes, I have to agree based on any evaluation of it's effected change, lack of re-constituting itself into other forms after blowback, and failure to avoid the trappings of marginalization.

It was a brilliant beginning, though with the whole no stated goal, no hierarchy, only to occupy itself...in protest. Unfortunately, I think the 'movement' fell into the trap you mentioned above of taking on the moniker of 'movement' or 'organization'. It became about sustaining some entity titled "OWS" rather than the act of protest itself.

My point above was that OWS offers an example of a simple act that was threatening enough to garner its destruction, nothing more. It is to our detriment that we took the destruction as if it was being carried out in one of our numerous 'hot' theaters of war.

TL;DR = Failure? Yes. A usefull and hopeful (thats for you, Arka) lesson? Absolutely.

High Arka said...

Mr. Crow, please to assist--where did this one request electoral participation in states?

You'll notice that in Which Preschoolers Go?, this one argued quite the opposite. Where did this one advocate voting?

See this tenet from above: Anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy, and all enemies refuse to follow you not because of their own reasons, but because they are united with your other enemies.

Jack Crow said...


You're just silly now.

First, I'm arguing against electoralism and you call it "face of evil" and "hopeless." One might conclude that you are making an elliptical argument for...hopeful electoralism. Especially if that person doesn't read your blog.

Second, you're not an enemy, however much you'd like to bloviate on and on and on about it.

High Arka said...

Jack: "[V]iolence against one's better armed betters is always a dodgy prospect, at best, and generally a ticket to press gangs, prison houses and cemetery plots, as a norm - it should probably surprise no one that the compensatory middler response, the reemergence of the repressed, if you will, is the aforementioned belief that rights matter, and that yammering at the people with guns and money gets their attention."

Jack: "No Escape."

"No escape" is pretty hopeless; guarantees of a failed revolution, alongside promises that any other yammering about human rights will be ignored, produce, as you put it, a message of no escape--no escape from this sad, terrible situation. Ergo this one's assessment.

To say "this sucks" is one thing; to say "this sucks and is funny" is another. There's no end of whiners* doing exclusively that. To say, "this sucks and you can never escape it," though, is a thing apart. If typed in error or in a weak moment, then shake it off and return to life; if the message really is "no escape: ever," then the words are hopeless, bleak, and damning.

*Sometimes they like to play British and say they're "whingers." Being anticontinental indicates superior intelligence, dontcha know.

Jack Crow said...

Or..."no escape" means you can't escape contingency. That no more implies "hopelessness" than having to wake up and take a shit does. We are matter. We don't get the crystaline and spiritualized perfect.

I know you prefer a "psychosexual" explanation for political opinions, Arka, but square peg, round hole, and all that.

Jack Crow said...


Posts celebrating the mistreatment of women and other victims will be deleted. I have a wide tolerance. It does not include you. Go back to whining about how your isolated little ski town has too many women who drink lattes and get abortions in it...

d.mantis said...

What exactly are you disagreeing with then?

I read your post. It was nice. Reminded me of Lupe Fiasco's response when a shocked interviewer could not fathom that he didn't vote. The shocked dear soul exclaimed "Oh my, what would happen if everyone didn't vote." Fiasco's response was "Wow, I don't know, but lets find out."

I am more optimistic than Jack but even I maintain that simple non-participation will not lead to a drastic dissolution of the statis quo. It will merely reconstitute itself with another contrived mandate based on a different narrative.

I think Jack is simply maintaining that at some point, things would get messy if your post occured as the first step. Power is like grease buildup on your engine block; it doesn't dissolve without a catalyst.

Are you merely uncomfortable with the idea that it would come to violence and it would be difficult?

Jack Crow said...


Excellent questions to Arka.

Typing for myself, I'm not without what goes generally by the name "optimism," though I have zero use for hope.

What Arka seems to be missing is that I'm not arguing an all-or-nothing proposition. I just (as an anarchist, natch) don't find any evidence for the conviction that fiddling with elections results in anything remotely resembling benefit.

That doesn't mean I've got any faith in what Arka seems to believe is the alternative: either total revolution, or surrender.

Cody said...

Nice post

Enron said...

"which followed from the so-called Enlightenment and is only very recently in any danger of collapsing into its own singularity of self-contradiction, depends upon a belief in an absurdly unrealistic core conviction"

This is quite prescient, but I would say that in the conflict over rights, the status-quo reproduces itself by internalizing the discourse of negation without having to change itself at all