From Where Comes Consent?
Five hundred years ago Étienne de La Boétie incisively revealed that all political systems rest on popular consent. Given the mountainous pyramids of corpses erected by rulers in the past century recorded in R.J. Rummel's book Death by Government, what kind of mass psychosis must exist to support such incomprehensible and demonic regimes?
What if the place where we live is seized by a pandemic of political negativity so black and clawed that a Great Leap Forward, a Gulag Archipelago, or a Killing Fields is instituted by a political regime to which our neighbors consent?
Without consent no one would send their sons or daughters to labor in Orwell's Ministries of Love, Truth, Plenty or Peace. No sons or daughters would phone Mom and Dad in breathless joy, "I got the job! I was issued a uniform and begin training next week!" Little Mary could never attend school where her classmates' parents held Mary's DHS-employed mother in utter contempt.
Without widespread consent, every IRS agent, every FBI agent, every FDA inspector, and all their tax-paid brethren would be forced to live together in guarded communities lest their non-consenting neighbors slit their throats. Military personnel would never leave their bases unarmed and in uniform lest the locals attack them on sight.
No, whatever political repression befalls the USA, we will know that it exists with consent even if Predator and Reaper drones take to the skies above the 50 states in search for illegal combatants to exterminate.
So what awaits us?
Among many insights I gleaned from Ralph Raico's fabulous lecture series "History: The Struggle for Liberty," was how cosmopolitan was Germany in the inter-war years. Who could have foreseen the coming conflagration when, if I recall his words correctly, one of every nine marriages registered in a major German city was between a Jew and a Gentile?
Those who understood real economics had to know that the Weimar Republic was crumbling under treaty-required war reparations. Despite what must have been a surface calm during early stages of the economic cataclysm, anyone with an open mind had to see a disaster in the making.
Where does that leave us today?
Bob Prechter has written extensively on the relation between popular culture and the mass psychology that underlies the investment markets. One aspect of this is the observation that horror movies proliferate and are successful during periods of waxing negativity and declining asset markets while happy, Disney-esque fare dominates in times of social and financial optimism.
In our recent past we have seen life imitate art in the form of John Yoo spearheading a legal rationalization for politically-sanctioned torture, a horrific entry into our world of the bloody viciousness of the "Saw" and "Hostel" horror movie franchises that are so popular. This occurred under a "conservative" president and continues under a "liberal" one.
Where is the outrage?
This is the definition of popular consent.
A recent YouTube series on the bank bailouts titled, To Rob a Country, Own a Bank reviewed in fine detail how the leaders of both political parties and highly-placed political appointees colluded with campaign contributors and their ex-colleagues in the banking industry to systematically rob the American people in by far the greatest theft in human history.
Where is the outrage?
You guessed it; naught but consent.
The USA looks like a Third World resource-rich backwater ruled by inbred cannibals wearing uniforms who are busy stuffing their Swiss bank accounts.
John Q. Public worries about paying the mortgage while the political elite strip-mine the nation they manage. After all, we expect it.
What's really worrisome?
The President has now arrogated the power to order all the firms serving the Internet to turn it off at his demand. FEMA during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina already demonstrated a predilection for turning off cell phone towers and we know from experience that AT&T, MCI, and all the other phone companies will accede to any demand emanating from the Oval Office.
What happens if you wake up one day and can't reach your kid who is away at college? You can't phone your aging parent in the next state. E-mail, cell phones, and land lines are literally turned off by order of the President.
It's an emergency, the TV tells you. The National Emergency Broadcast System is playing on every channel that does not have one of those "off air" colored bar screens showing, all 999 of them.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to go from our hyper-connected condition of cell phones, texting, teleconferencing, and Facebook to
Silence punctuated by a photogenic face or the President him (or her) self calmly telling you to follow all orders given to you by local federal officials.
Maybe there were riots in response to eruptions of boiling anger about skyrocketing unemployment. Maybe racial tensions burst into violence in response to some real or imagined event.
In an effort to restore "peace," a John Yoo-type decides that breaking up neighborhoods and social groups is the best way to defuse riotous anger so people in some places are ordered to leave their homes and belongings and are "relocated" to safer, better managed surroundings.
Government TV will advise you to leave your guns at home, please, for your own safety.
Searches will be conducted en route at a checkpoint under the muzzle of a DHS-operated rotary-barreled machine gun; just think of it like boarding an airplane where consenting to be searched (for your protection, of course) is already routine.
Those who refuse to leave their homes can always be designated as unlawful residents.
As long as Junior still gets a warm reception from his mother when he comes home on leave from remotely operating an MQ-9 Reaper over the 50 states in Operation Peaceful Resolution, aerial re-education will be a path to a better tomorrow.
Consent begins at home.
April 10, 2010
Copyright © 2010 by David C. Calderwood