|Humorless Post #2: Progression or Death
||[Dec. 23rd, 2004|12:55 am]
The Kleptocracy of Nimrod
|||||Galaxie 500 - Decomposing Trees||]|
What is the duty of a government? A manifold question, but I would argue that it can be reduced to only a few basic responsibilities. To protect it's people is one such charge. In a world of violence, I consent that a country must be militarily prepared. Though I wish this were not the case, pragmatically I cannot admit that this is the nature or our world. However, I feel it is often forgotten that there are more means of protection than simply the sword, held as an aegis over a government's subjects. This is a remedy for only one threat. It is in this sense that I contest that a government must also defend it's citizens from the specter of poverty. Though many belligerent voices today call for the fires of our war machine to burn ever brighter, ignorance is cast upon the rot within our society. What good is an opulent fortress if it's inhabitants starve to maintain it? I believe our inhabitants are starving, and all the while we build our ramparts higher and higher.
We do not engage in the building of arms with hesitation or regret; we do not proceed down this path purely with the aims of survival. For although I condone the building of arms, I do not speak of profligate spending in regards to war. I speak of this national armament as an apparatus of defense, as a means of preserving citizenry amidst the tempest of our restless world. It is this end that has been ignored; our weapons are forever augmented for the sake of feeding the industrial and imperialistic interests of this nation. We have placed greed before duty, and the populace languishes for it. We arm ourselves in the name of the people while allowing them to wither away; I ask where is the logic in this decision? We have been granted stability within our borders and Instead of forging the plowshare, we continue to manufacture the blade. Before we look beyond our borders for our enemies, we must conquer those that lie within.
The greater paradox is that our nation has built purely for offensive purposes. At a time when domestic security is truly needed, the military leviathan that is modern America has left it's belly exposed to it's enemies. Our intelligence services are ineffectual and divided, our police forces are in budgetary regression, and our defensive forces have evaporated to serve the offensive conflict overseas. We are the most frightening military force in the world, an image created at the expense of our own people, and yet we cannot even guard our own borders. We cannibalize our country to build the great and terrible juggernaut, which cannot even properly protect us. For these reasons, I would argue that the government is failing it's primary duty of protecting it's people.
I would term this above goal as survival. In meeting this goal, a country can advance to a secondary goal of progression. One cannot think of bettering it's situation until it first has the luxury of thought. A being living in subsistence cares little for philosophy when hunger dominates it's mind. Once a nation has insured it's survival, it can contemplate it's own development. Although I argue that we are failing this first point, I would not be naïve enough to claim that we do not already possess, or utilize, the tools for progress. For brevity's sake, we will define America as a special case, as it so frequently is. I would argue that the massive wealth of the few is sufficient to offset the failure to provide for the many, and force our nation forward. I don't personally care for the moral implications of this system, but nonetheless, that is where I believe our country lies in the brief outline I've created. So it is through our great wealth that we develop, and this aspect I also wish to analyze.
To achieve progression, a nation must educate, and once more this is an area where I feel we are failing to fulfill our obligation. We abandon our cities' youth as readily as we abandon their poor. Our schools are failing, and this is a grave danger. The only hope we have for true progress is to continue the social evolution of our country through effective schools and a society open to discourse. I fear that our schools grow continually less effective, as our fiscal priorities are shifted away from education, and again towards the military, in a manner similar to the previous dilemma. Moreover, our society grows gradually less apt to discussing world events, especially concerning the body that governs us. If this discourse does not occur, there can be no new thought, no change, and as a result, no progress. A mental stagnation is a poison to any society which would claim a reverence for this aim of improvement. If stagnation is what occurs, it will be the end of this nation. We cannot continue on the course we have laid before ourselves. The American dream is a farce, it cannot be sustained.
The necessary infinite growth of a capitalistic society is unmaintainable; corruption, monopolization, environmental strain, and the continually exploited populous preclude this system from perpetuating itself. Eventually, we will run out of the physical space needed for our selfish dream. Or perhaps we will first destroy our own environment, or be held to the light of our imperialism by those we abuse to achieve hegemony. There are still other termini for the eternal free market; corporate domination and monopolization is crippling our voice as a people, effectively overpowering our own government. Whichever end might come to pass first is irrelevant, for If we are locked in our present state, or prevented from ameliorating these crises, we will fall. We can see the harbingers of all possible endings already. The land is envenomed, the countries we have left in the wake of our commercial empire have come to our gates to return the favor. Corporate domination of the economy is ironically destroying the competition capitalism needs to operate viably and fairly. It seems that soon development will cease to be a secondary goal; the situation will necessitate that we progress to survive.
It is for this reason that a government must also keep a paradoxical third goal, that of eventually ensuring it's own destruction. Although we have established that progression will soon become obligatory, where to progress to has been left unresolved. I would argue that the only realistic end is the eventual elimination of the government. I am not unaware of the immense task this entails. The requirements of this system are so great, that they would call for the righting of so many wrongs, that it is the only ideal worth achieving. An educated populous must first be achieved, to ensure that people can competently govern themselves, and pass down their knowledge to future generations. An altruistic society must be achieved, to achieve an environment where self governance would not be taken advantage of. Finally, and most trying, this atmosphere need be extended across the globe before a transfer of power wholly back to the individual can occur.
The first ideal is the most readily in our grasp, yet it remains unfulfilled. Education must first occur for any of the other aspects to materialize. The only hope for this society's fruition is social evolution through education and progression. I would say that many of the kinds of corruption and supposedly unavoidable evils that would plague any attempt at an altruistic society are products of the society we live in now and those we have recently emerged from. Social evolution is the crux upon which these ideals stand, for the concept of a society bettering itself is what civilization is built on. Restraining the base instincts that overtake men in trying times is a core tenant of civil behavior. Greed is amplified by a society which encourages selfish behavior, and plainly greed itself. I would not be so blind as to suggest we could completely stamp out evils such as these, but I believe it is possible for a sustained society built on altruistic roots will largely evolve itself away from these vices. Society as a whole can change if it is bade to, and the values constructed by these changes can pass themselves on from generation to generation until they become the bedrock upon which new thoughts are structured. Just as an immoral society's offspring will inherit the debt of virtue passed on by their progenitors and degenerate further into evil, so too can the opposite end be achieved. If one country can achieve this end, then so might all others.
I call these ideals because they are the epitome of idealism. To create a society accommodating to self governance is such an enormous task in itself, it would take generation to come to pass. To enact anarchy would take more time. However, the outcome is the only one which can lead to the freedom and sustainability needed for true civilization to exist. An end to nationalism and borders, an end to the pillaging of the environment and the corrupt trappings of government. The outline for achieving this end is loose for the scope of this article, I include it to stress the necessity of a government always keeping a third objective of self destruction at the back of it's mind. A time will come when this must occur to truly grant freedom and equality to the people. To truly create the utopia which man inherently strives for in his forward progress, government must eventually regress. To forever ensure the aims of survival and development, this third goal must eventually be met. It goes without saying that we are nowhere near even beginning to undertake this trial.
We must now shift our priorities away from the short term and well into the future. If a government cannot meet even the basic virtues laid out here, what use does it have? It is a ship steering itself into a shoal. We may choose to abandon it, or we may right the course while there is still the time to do so. I say this first option is tantamount to death. If this great experiment of America should fail, it would be only the beginning of a greater collapse. The people must take up the standard of virtue and lead this nation forward to a new era. There is no fleeing from this task.