Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Obama's Hard-On for Indefinite Detention & Why They Can't Leave Us Alone


Good news: I just read yesterday a court ruled that the NDAA is bogus--you know, that one law that takes us all on a great legislative time machine ride back to pre-Magna Carta days, thereby making the Patriot Act look like a grand piece of legislation in comparison. (It's not, but Obama has renewed that law three times now as well since he's been in office.) 
Bad News: I then read that Obama's team immediately appealed the ruling which declared that indefinite detention of Americans is illegal and unconstitutional. Which means it will probably end up at the Supreme Court. Which also means it will (my guess being) probably be held up as constitutional in a vote by the Supremes. 
When politicians, presidents, judges, dear leaders and what-have-you write and enforce laws such as the Patriot Act or the National Defense Authorization Act, they are essentially saying to the rest of us, "You are our enemies, and we will kill you if we must."
I say it's time to strike back hard at our enemies. But that's not a new sentiment for me. Back in high school--actually, grade school--I used to wonder why authoritarians could never be content with all the control they had in the first place. They always, always wanted more power and (as the cliche goes) "would stop at nothing to get it." As I got older, I began to understand why. So, I'm not surprised (too much) anymore when I read that Obama (or whoever the next President might be) will stop at nothing for unlimited executive power.  I am still surprised and saddened when I hear his fanatical devotees apologize for him by explaining away his behavior. "But he had to sign the bill into law!  Reluctantly!  The Republicans made him do it!" Yeah, right. And my big fat balls don't stink like monkey dung after a good long hike or bike ride in the mountains. 
Other people, perhaps more innocent than I, are still surprised by the daily onslaught of bad news regarding the growth of authoritarianism. For me, Obama's action to pursue Indefinite Detention speaks for itself. The author below, Eric Peters, calls American authoritarians "clovers" in honor of one persistent fellow (self-named "Clover") who makes asinine posts on Peter's comment page. As stated above, my personal belief in resistance isn't new, but for many Americans (or human beings in general) it's a frightening proposition. First, you have to free your mind of everything you've been taught about the "land of the free" since kindergarten. Then, acknowledge reality: you are a slave. Lastly, ask yourself what you honestly think you can do about it. (And I'm open to all suggestions the imagination can spark at this point--the brighter the flame of creativity, the better.)
But before weaving your mind through those tough questions, you might at first feel compelled to ask yourself a different question, a question that naturally strikes at our hearts and minds since childhood, that awakens, terrifies and enthralls us with both perplexity and the fire of awareness. Eric Peters writes a super article below explaining the psychology of people like Obama and the sheep who worship him by addressing that same question I asked myself in grade school: Why the fuck can't they just leave us alone?
The simple answer is – because they can’t.
Cloverism is a one-way street.
Libertarians, anarchists and others who hew to the philosophy of live – and let live – aren’t the least bit interested in controlling other people. It does not occur to them. In fact, it goes against their nature. It’s an affront to their very core because, after all, if you wish to be left in peace you must also wish that others be left in peace, too. And more, you must accept this as just – as the right and proper order of things. The liberty of others must be as sacred to you as your own liberty – and require a defense (when necessary) every bit as vigorous.
Otherwise, you’re not just a hypocrite – you’re a narcissist and possibly, a psychopath.
The freedom philosophy is an outgrowth of empathy. Of a gut awareness of the other as a mirror image of oneself. It therefore deeply troubles the Libertarian and the anarchist to think about someone else, anyone else, being bullied – a more honest term than merely controlling someone else. It is literally nauseating to contemplate. It makes one physically ill – then angry – to witness blue-shirted TSA goons degrading old ladies and children (and adult males, too). It is enraging to hear about people who are harming no one being thrown into cages as a result of having offended against some manufactured statute. It is depressing to look about one and see a world in which men feed on men – via the ballot box, via the bureaucracy. In which all it takes to take your neighbor’s property – perhaps even his life – is a voting majority in the next election.
The Libertarian and the anarchist do not want anything from others that isn’t the result of peaceful, free consent. The Libertarian and the anarchist proceed from the old common law idea that for their to be a crime there must be avictim – and that absent a victim, any harassment or prosecution is itself a crime. Where we, as individuals, personally disagree with the choices made by others is insufficient cause for forcible interference. It does not mean approval. It can even mean avoidance – or censure. But it can never mean force in the absence of a victim. The “greatest good” is liberty – free will, free choice – and can never flow from the barrel of a gun.
We accept that we must live – and let live.
Even when it chafes.
Even when we see it as foolhardy.
And even when there will be negative consequences – because we know that it is better for individuals to face the negative consequences of their individual actions than it it is to impose negative consequences wholesale on others who have given no cause to warrant it.  We know there is no justice in this – and much tyranny.
Clover is the dark matter opposite of this at the core of his being. Though he will speak in terms of “cooperation” and “helping” others, his voluntarism ends when the volunteering does. Decline – and you will face force. Clovers cannot abide agreeing to disagree. If you do not agree to “help” – you will beforced to help. If you are not interested in “cooperating,” you will be compelled to cooperate.
It is the Clover’s way – or much worse than merely the highway.
There is no yours. Only ours. The collective, with Clover as its arbiter. “Society,” “our children.” The relentless We.
The Clover is like a suffocating parent in being suffused with the desire to control – and to control for the “good” of the “child.” There is the always-present self-righteousness, themoralizing, that accompanies Cloverism. The Clover is possessed of superior knowledge in all things. He knows it. He feels it.
And he will make you do it.
But he is worse than a suffocating parent because one cannot quit him, ever. A child may have to endure while he is a child, but emancipation is always there on the horizon, a beacon of hope in the midst of temporary oppression. He knows that, come 18, he will be free. That his parents will no longer be able to oppress him – unless he freely consents to be oppressed. He may leave – and be done with them. The worst they can do to him is rant and rave, or withhold affection. But they are powerless to control him.
Yet he is not free.
The impotent rage of his parents against his willfulness, his determination to live his life ashe sees fit is replaced by the potent rage of the Clovers all around him. The ones who, like the parents he has left behind, know best about what he must believe, with whom to associate (and not), under what conditions he shall live his life  – and so on – and are determined to compel his compliance to a degree beyond the most hysterical rantings of Mommy Dearest.
And who, unlike Mommy Dearest, have an enforcement mechanism at their disposal. Not merely the apparatus of the state, but millions of little helpers. The small-fry Clovers who suffer from the same defect of mind and soul. Who are prepared to man the checkpoints, the cubicles, the squad cars and the prison cells. Who are ready – and more than willing – to do their job.
There is no reprieve, no escape – no light at the end of the tunnel.
Cloverism is eternal, because it is congenital.A defect in the human genome.
Until this cancer can be excised, liberty will be imperfect – and ephemeral. Brief respites, temporary beacons of light – invariably snuffed by the urge to control, the incapacity to live – and let live.


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