Sunday, January 27, 2013

State, Church, School, Charity, Part 4

Succeeding Part 3.

The Ease of Church-States

Churches are relatively easy to figure out. It angers and befuddles modernized westerners why and how exclusionary churches, with their history of racism, sexism, classism, and political meddling have been allowed to keep getting tax-deductible money. As soon as the Greatest Generation is gone, and enough people get educated on avoiding the dogmas of the elder faiths, the old style of church should vanish--so goes the conventional belief in progress.

School-State For The Win

The school is scientism's answer to the church. It was created, like the church, as a way to protect elite money laundering in the safest place possible: in plain sight, ergo safer from discoveries and scandals that might lead to revolution. The story of the morph from "church" to "school" is recorded firmly enough in history that, unlike the creations of the original Church-States, the wicked motives of the School-States are in recent record, broadly accessible, and even a part of the common curricula of their middle-ranked servants. While most students at seminary don't learn about what a genocidal horror Augustine was, humanities PhDs commonly spend some time learning about how the Mathers, Rockefellers, Carnegies, Fords, et cetera, gave birth to the School-State. Then, they talk about how education is evolving and improving--but at least they don't try to conceal the early horrors of the school system quite so much as do the proponents of the Church-State.

This one will quote lengthily the lovely Dr. Furiosa, for her apt reference to Horace Mann (the Rupert Murdoch of western K-12 education):

Compulsory education in the United States began roughly around the same time that the Industrial Revolution took root on its shores. That is when the industrial capitalists whose names are so familiar to us now (such as Carnegie) were building their fortunes.

What they wanted were workers who had enough skills to do their jobs but not enough to argue with their bosses. So schools were designed to fill their kids' heads with random, atomized facts but not to help them develop the skills necessary to synthesize those facts in any meaningful way.

That meant, among other things, dividing the students against each other. One thing that my years of teaching has taught me is that even though young people learn to accept differences in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other traits, divisions can still be created among them on the basis of social and economic class.

It seems that Horace Mann and others who helped to start mandatory public schooling in the US had an uncanny understanding of that aspect of young people's psychology. So, the public schools they created were so divided--internally as well as externally. On the basis of tests--which, of course, favored the children of the socioeconomic elite--the descendants of poor Irish and Germans (who were most of the immigrants of that time) were "tracked" into vocational or general education, while the Main Line and Beacon Hill kids were steered into classical liberal arts programs.

How could such a setup fail to produce alienated, disrespectful kids? How could it not exacerbate whatever resentments young people might have already felt toward each other? And, if children are being taught to be, in essence, cogs in a machine, how are they going to learn respect for anyone else, or for life itself?

Well put. The conception of western pedagogy that she describes is intriguing, because it is so damning, yet also so un-controversial. It's barely (if at all) an academic argument anymore that western education is built the way she describes. Even nuclear-weapon developers still try to maintain their lies about the necessity of bombing Nagasaki, but the argument over the original sin of the western School-State has passed into stone.

This represents the evolution of the extractive model: the old "State" was honest about its exercise of raw, unfair power, based on force. The Church-State developed that to an illusory split between Church and State, while the School-State has gone one step further: it admits that School and State are one, and it admits that School and State became one for all the wrong reasons, yet by confessing its sins publicly, it creates a narrative where that very confessional proves that the School-State alone has the honesty and changeability necessary to meet the challenges of the future.

You can trust me, says the School-State, because I've told you exactly how bad I was. You can trust me, says the School-State, because I used to drag children away from their families, off their farms, and beat them with sticks until they would learn how to mortgage grandfather's land and work in my factories. You can trust me, says the School-State, because I taught you how to hate spics and niggers and Reds and dreamy artists and musicians and queers, and then I taught you how bullying is wrong and everyone should be accepted for who they are as long as they work hard and go to a good college and save and get a good job and move away from all the lazy poor people.

But, that's beside the point. What does the School-State do? As promised, it is far more advanced than the Church-State we saw in Part 3.

Shiatsu Massage Chairs For All - What Do Schools Really Do?

Land Control

State by state, any given plat of land made available for development has a certain portion set aside for school use. County controllers lay out the plat ahead of time with their friends, so that by the time any new set of land records goes public, connected developers know where good commercially- and residentially-zoned properties will be located, and they've already invested in them. Grocery stores, gas stations, and satellite shops move into the leases near high-traffic school areas; low-quality eateries and drinkeries (heehee) are all ready to serve students, staff, and family members.

Elite residential development arms move in "family" communities at a proximate distance from the school. Instantly, they've achieved the "location, location, location!" mantra necessary for any good real estate transaction.

Construction

Any school needs, well, a school, so a reliable, established construction company needs to be contracted to build it. Administration buildings, schoolrooms, outbuildings, recreation facilities, and parking lots need to go in, to the tune of millions of dollars--maybe dozens of millions, if we're starting from scratch in a higher-rent area. Reliable, established landscaping and facilities maintenance companies need to maintain those buildings and lots.

How are people going to get to those schools? We'll need some new turn lanes, of course; some new stoplights, some new stop signs, bigger intersections at major travel points, a few broadened nearby roads--a few more when enrollment picks up in a couple years, but let's not plan ahead (we can have the crews tear out that median in a couple years if it actually comes to that!). Oh, and buses. A reliable, established auto manufacturer will need to spit out a dozen buses at around $80K each; they'll need to be insured, maintained, and driven. And, we'll need to requisition some extra land to store and secure them and their extra parts.

This is all done, of course, in the public interest: ensuring that schoolchildren have room set aside for schools in which to grow and learn. The actual teachers, coaches, road crewmen, janitors, and crossing guards get tiny salaries, while massive gluts of taxpayer money move, yearly, to the owners and/or senior officers of the companies that fund the companies that manage the holdings of the companies that clear land, build buildings, build roads, and subcontract faculty and bus-driver employment.

Every several years, buildings need to be renovated, expanded, or retooled, so the gift keeps on giving. Everything bad you might've once thought about "charter" schools already happened under the guise of "public" schools: to pay for the extravaganza, taxes are increased, and new taxes--"property" taxes--are imposed by counties to fund school and road construction.

Publishing

All those schools need books--and those books need to be modern and "in touch." The financiers of a nation filled with mandatory schools with libraries have the opportunity to build entire industries of publishing and printing based on the guaranteed, rigged-bidding contracts for school supplies. Teachers are often required to pay for their own photocopies, pencils and markers, but taxpayers have no option: every year they must buy dozens of millions of dollars of textbooks from the owners of intellectual property rights in hundred-year-old descriptions of beginning algebra and colonial times.

IP owners contract the actual "writing" of these books out to any given doctor/bachelor, who receives a tiny fee for updating decades-old material, which the publisher then sells to school districts across the country at the discounted bulk rate of $39.99 per hardback. (If the school district wants to "control costs," it can pass the cost of mandatory textbooks directly onto consumers, requiring parents to shell out $60 or $80 for the latest high-school biology textbook/lab packet combo.)

Technology and Job Training

The billions of dollars spent putting computers, PowerPoints, emotional anti-drug movies with copyrighted soundtracks, and handheld response systems in front of children are only the latest permutation of the way it all began. Decades before that, in response to the evolving demands of office-based professional employers, the School-State sent the message across the land: future employees need to learn how to type.

...and we don't want to pay for it.

In selfless service of the greater good, school boards across the country, almost as though they were coordinated, pushed typing programs on their students. And a generation became ready to type letters, load paper, and fix broken typewriters for its future masters.

The Destruction of Apprenticeship

From its inception, the School-State has been designed to destroy the concept of professional apprenticeship. Once, learning a trade meant having a stake in it, akin to stock options: if you were to be a blacksmith, you'd apprentice to a blacksmith, build your name and reputation from your work, learn what the blacksmith did, and eventually, take over. In the meantime, you'd be fed and housed, and as your utility increased, you'd be paid. As part of the cycle of life, when you became a master, you'd know that your working days were numbered. Who would go on after you? When you were old, who would care for you?

The trade-off between master and apprentice was an occasionally-wonderful cycle that alleviated not only the problems that the School-State created in order to fail at solving, but also many other advanced, modern problems. Here's a model of how it works, still using "blacksmith":

Blacksmith Bob has a problem. He would like to free up some of his time spent performing basic tasks so he can focus on finer tasks. He knows he is getting old, and worries about who will take care of him when he is too old to work any longer. His greatest asset, a smithy, is essentially useless without a smith, and he can't sell it or he'll have nowhere to live and work. He has no connection to the younger generation and his wisdom might die with him.

Apprentice Allison has a problem. She would like to learn a trade so she can eat. She also needs somewhere to live. Yada yada.

Bob and Allison solve both their problems by Bob hiring Apprentice Allison. Allison begins helping out around the forge, watching Bob, tidying up, and eventually making simple things. She learns, over the years, everything Bob does. When Bob is ready to be done, Allison is mistress of the forge. Bob moves out of the big bedroom upstairs, and into the little room at the end of the hall. Occasionally, he still putters around the place.

The basics of the apprenticeship system are fun and easy, but consider the oft-missed portions of the system that the example draws out: land transfer, elder care, and middlemen in general. The system of apprenticeship, by connecting Bob to Allison through mutual need, frees Bob up from needing a bank to facilitate his transfer of his greatest asset--the smithy--to a willing buyer. It frees Allison up from needing a bank to facilitate her purchase of a productive, yet highly expensive, asset--still the smithy--from a willing seller. Through the bonds of years spent working together, Bob and Allison are able to transfer this major asset without the interference of an extremely expensive, controlling usurer-middleman.

When he's ready to retire, Bob can mortgage the property off to Allison on the condition that he gets to keep living there, gets to be an old crank, and gets to criticize Allison's work whenever he feels like it. Allison gets a smooth transition to mistressing her own forge, not missing a step as she inherits all of Bob's business, which has spent the past several years dealing with Allison anyway.

The security of the transaction is far greater than that offered by a bank's lien: if Bob throws Allison out, he is too old to teach anyone else how to be a smith, and therefore, provide for him. Allison, not yet owning the smithy, can't throw Bob out, so she's forced to put up with him and keep him around. Old Bob has to respect Allison's vigor, because it provides for him: they need each other now as much as they did at the beginning of the relationship. When Bob dies, Allison is his "next of kin," e.g. the nearest person at hand, so she inherits the forge and all the hammers--along with a really good example of how she should train her own apprentice to help take care of her and the forge in her old age.

No banks, no papers, no 3 years of contract litigation possible. If Allison gets tired of Bob and poisons him, she loses any tidbits of wisdom that he might possess to help her with a problem she hasn't yet faced. If Bob gets annoyed with Allison after a couple years of apprenticeship, he has wasted two years, and has to start over with a new apprentice. Legions of potential problems and misbehavior abound, but not even the tenth quantity of what happens when the system is replaced.

Once we convince Bob and Allison that they can't trust each other, the usurers appear: banks, accountants, lawyers, judges, and police, all ready to tabulate numbers, scribble contracts, write testaments, express obligations, and enforce personal or mandatory state promises. Extensive social marketing convinces Bob and Allison that they can't trust one another without the State and its officers as middlemen, protecting them from each other for an incredible fee that never ends.

The School-State, by pulling young people out of the job market at the point of a truant officer's club, destroyed the last vestiges of the apprentice system. Kept in school until 18, younger humans were forced to learn standardized skills, along with civics--a reverence for the governing documents of the School-State, which are necessary for protecting people from one another. When they're finally released from school in carefully-staggered waves at 18, they find an unnatural supply controlling access to a job market. Myriad other things have already meddled with that job market, but we'll stick to the "school" side for now.

Mass Job Training...and we don't want to pay for it

What to do while in school? For post-industrial employers, disempowering individual mistresses and masters, and killing the system of "apprenticeship," means that far fewer (or no more at all) mistresses and masters are available to teach apprentices. So, if jobs need to get done, someone needs to train people to do it.

Masters trained apprentices as a form of barter--the unmediated exchange, where a middleman manager does not get to claim credit for the final task or meddle in the process, and a middleman state does not get to extract a portion of the currency paid from student to teacher. In order to turn this human connection into an opportunity for extraction, the School-State made apprenticeship impossible, then used the resulting dearth of job skills to justify the School-State. It's the standard thief's lie, which appears "ironic" or "mystifying" when naively studied:

1) Kids are removed from innumerable fields of job training to be educated in school.
2) Kids finish school unprepared for jobs and the world outside school.
3) People realize that kids are unable to perform jobs and function in the world outside school.
4) Therefore, schools need even more resources and time to work with kids on skills pertaining to the world outside school.

It would be less dizzyingly tragic if it hadn't been a setup. In actuality, the School-State K-12, and the later development of the public university system,was created to subsidize actual job training. By licensing professions, socially stigmatizing the unlicensed, taking away the ability of independent mistresses to respectably instruct apprentices, and using police to force younger apprentices out of the job market entirely, schools forced the use of their own products and services.

Now, students and their families pay for their instruction. Elites own all the smiths and forges, and control what teachers may teach to students. Teachers receive pittances from distant overseers for parceling out pieces of curriculum to students, who may expend dozens of thousands of dollars, and 16+ years of their lives, to be granted a generalized degree that may or may not allow them to engage in a profession. The powerless teacher has no ability to transition the student into a job, while employers disavow any responsibility for what the student may have learned in "school." The powerless student has no recourse against, or connection to, the education received.

Actual Job Training In Schools

Real job training does, nonetheless, occur in schools. Major employers--owned by the same people who control county zoning, building, and curriculum development--rely for their entire workforce on the nationwide network of schools subsidized by the tax base. The years of rudimentary training in reading, writing, schedule-keeping, quiet-sitting, deference to authority, and basic computer skills required in the modern corporate office are paid for by hundreds of millions of proles, forced by police and taxing authorities to constantly fund and maintain yearly crops of office-ready employees.

If a blacksmith can't make all the horseshoes she needs to fill an order, then she needs to train someone to help her. In exchange, she gets assistance, and someone else gets an eventual career. If Apple needs programmers, though, it can now rely on public-subsidized colleges to sell programming instruction to student-consumers, who may then independently apply for the job. See again Dr. Furiosa on the subject. 99% of the cost necessary to train employees to work at Apple have now been externalized from Apple stockholders onto the public at large. Don't expect any reimbursement. (As employers grow even more brazen, the remaining 1% of skills necessary to do the job now come not while working for a paycheck, but while working at an unpaid "internship.")

A few other minor benefits go along with schools. Schools require the registration of addresses, participation in current immunization plans, registration for selective service (the military draft), and provide a captive population for military recruiters and job recruiters. Mandatory testing justifies stupendous expenditures for the scripting, printing, transportation and grading of tests, the dissemination of local political culture--and, going into the ways that market researchers use captive school populations as testing subjects would involve books on its own, and break the direct economics of the model we're focusing on here.

Education Is Good

Any objections to this system are met by implying a unity of the interests of elite land developers, booksellers, and employers with the interests of bright-eyed children who want an education in mathematics, history, reading, science and the arts. The initial State, imposing a tyrant-king on his people and taxing them via thug-collectors, would counter objections by asking, "Do you want hordes of barbarians raping you and stealing everything you own? No? Then pay your taxes and shut up." The Church-State did the same, with the addition of eternal damnation. Saving souls from hell, and maintaining a protective hierarchy of authority to avoid the descent to barbarism, justified the special status of the church, as it had the king.

The School-State develops the argument just a little bit further, using the goodness of educating children to justify siphoning colossal wealth from non-elites to elites. All of the buildings, books, tables, chairs, chalkboards, vehicles, soccer balls, and metronomes are guaranteed sales from the capital ventures of those who made the schooling mandatory. Within the system, students or teachers can shine; can actually carry out the "learning" or "teaching" or "mentoring" that the theme of the whole thing suggests they're supposed to be there for. Some prison counselors actually reform prisoners, too, and some prisoners think about what they've done and then live a better life upon release. The School-State takes credit for these people, just as the Church-State took credit for individual acts of pure charity, and just as George W. Bush took credit for some 19 year old kid who died trying to keep an IED from blowing up the rest of his squad.

As did the School-State over the Church-State, the Charity-State gets worse. Like more complicated tax regimes, further complexity in the selfless designs of the Powers That Be is Not A Good Sign. It is in the Charity-State that we see the billionaires and their adherents preparing the continuing salvation of their rape. Continued in Part 5.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Swim to me

The greatest threat is that it will end.

Underscoring nearly every message of perception to every mind is the threat: the end. In early times, more connected to a comprehensive memory network, the perpetuation of a life was not claimed impossible, but the details of the continuation--pain or fire--became altered to profitable purposes. When science rose, it brought with it a still crueler message for your future: one of annihilation; one of no hope beyond those who might remember you imperfectly, before they too became imperfect memories, before those at last vanished.

Even the most widely-dispersed messages of hope remaining rely on a prescription for salvation from the abyss. Even those become now further material. The "salvation" of eternally enslaving oneself to an almighty lord is gradually replaced by the threat of protons decaying and turning you into something worse than Kaposi's sarcoma.

The best population control is the threat that only the material world--domain of the elites--exists. Ergo they own everything. If they own everything, then the best you can hope for is to not piss them off, and to squeeze every positive sensation you can--or at least the smallest number of negative ones possible--out of your short time here. Like they love saying: life is short, play hard. Or pray hard. Either way, it's the same threat. It reads in pattern like any bluff, hinting at nevermores, and dabbling liberally with common sense and the fears of infancy.

(Um, law of conservation?)

Martyrs (real ones, nach) drew their strength from an understanding that the grabbing of experiences in what you might call the here and now is not the only thing they would ever get. If it is, then anything except raw selfishness is not only illogical, but stupid and pointless. Play hard, pray hard, and body check other players into the glass. Why not?

Imagine a land of humans who did not fear death. Who reacted to an injustice by taking up arms against it, right then and there. Who would not accept a fellow person being unjustly killed, hurt, or imprisoned--who would not accept theft or lies. Workers' strikes are stillborn on the threat of "no more salaries"--on the threat of starvation and homeless death.

Colonized populations are controlled by the threat of increased punishment and "extermination."

Hostages of all kinds are taken, and live, on the threat of death. A people who does not fear the destruction of its current molecular arrangement is a people impossible to menace. Immortals cannot enslave or hurt one another, for they know that, in time, anything paid will be repaid, and matter will again become energy. The creation of a temporal underclass--a people convinced of its own mortality--is a prerequisite to tyranny.

The greatest terror and torture of antilife is to prevent natural death. Torturers prevent prisoners from sleeping, using bright lights, cold water, loud music, and turgid beatings to prevent rest. One day, they will entrap souls in life itself. They practice, already, on the injured and elderly, keeping them attached to machines in coma wards, unable to free themselves. If they get us all loaded into computer networks, we will then be truly imprisoned, prevented from recycling memories until the system breaks.

Torture is the perpetuation of wakefulness. Pour hydrogen peroxide down the silent teenager's throat after she downs a bottle of grandma's sleeping pills--it'll make her wake up, vomit the pills away, and spend another year in high school, getting called a slut and harangued about her future by her parents until she ends up working as a night cashier to pay for the application fee for that temp agency.

...then spend eighty thousand dollars bringing grandma back from her stroke, so she can spend 5 years forgetting familiar faces, crapping in her bed and secretly wishing everyone would stop patronizing her so she could just be done already.

Like a gag reflex, even battle-hardened evangelist Christians reject the idea that death is okay. If they really have practice, they promise salvation--salvation from death. The scientists, and their modern, educated "Westerners," know that death is the necessary expiration of the physical body, and "no one knows" what happens afterward (except that you're gone forever). The prime tenet of western civilization is death: civilization, or the ritualized acceptance of horrendous exploitation, is built on it.

We marvel at the animals, asking what makes us different. They fear pain, and avoid body-destruction, but they cannot be mentally coerced to the extent that humans can, lacking the advanced illusion of vanishing, forever, from eternity.

Wars don't get planned without fear of death; unjust taxes are not collected; labor is not performed for anything less than a fair wage. "Death," even above "property," underscores the entire show you see around you.

No one's saying you get to remember everything. "You can't take it all with you" implies more than coins and securities, just as it does not imply there won't be other worldly treats somewhere else and else and else. Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei. Cunae non sunt. You can be you without certain memories, and you don't need to cling to them anymore than you need gold or palaces to define you. Neither Chosen blood nor Jesus nor mention in State holidays nor a permanent address on the Milky Way cyberbrain network are necessary or sufficient for being remembered; for trying to avoid utter destruction. How cold it is, to teach a living creature that it is possible for it to be unmade for all time. What more cruel thing could you tell a living being? Utter, inevitable destruction is the fear with which we are all encouraged to live, every instant knowing in catechism that nothing matters because it's all going away in a Big Crunch or an inevitable cellular decay.

~

The most radical message in the forgotten land is that it is all right~that the most important thing cannot be lost, through good or ill, because it is not able to be lost. It was all there, already, and you did not need to do anything to get it. It could not be bought or sold, and it could also not be earned or lost, by acts heroic or horrific. It was just there, and it's all right. When you come looking, I'll be there.

~Swim to me~

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

State, Church, School, Charity, Part 3

Continuing from Part 2 and Part 1.

You Scratch My Back - What do churches really do?

Family subsidization. As even Jane Austen can tell us, obedient, attractive daughters get married; priggish, plain ones become nuns. First sons inherit land, title, and business interests; later sons, or homosexual ones who won't fake through marriage, become monks. In exchange for their religious service, they're housed and fed by tax dollars for life. (Armies work this way, too, offering easy officer-promotion paths and lifelong respectability and income to the right people.)

Networking. As millions of people waste their time struggling to find jobs by "networking," either online or in person, they're engaging in a pitiful mimicry of the real thing. Churches have always served as job placement, and like education and employment, operate as one of the primary marriage venues. Giving a loan or a job to a fellow church-goer is a simple form of networking; word-of-mouth about the right business to patronize, free advertising, newsletters, member donations and special events are integral to church life. Naive peasants don't understand this, being unable to see when they're being encouraged to support something.

Education. Churches would happily claim to be guilty of offering education, but serious, modern, wealthy churches use their facilities to provide extra reading and civics education to children of the chosen. Tutoring and college preparation for older students, and "adult education" courses for adults, provide a lifelong, tax-subsidized benefit to members. Churches teach math, science, reading, history, music, retirement planning, responsible investing, and provide marriage counseling--all services that, to non-members, incur a high hourly cost. A lot of poor people go to churches based around actual worship, and use it as an excuse for missing out on real life skills, leaving the modern "churchgoer" pretty much a slur--which is just the way the real churches want things to be perceived. Big churches, akin to Harvard, offer connections that get you places, while lower-level imitators can try really hard, but not offer the same kind of door pass.

Police protection and references. Church officials have always been great character witnesses for criminals, and sacred facilities ("sanctuary!") a great place to hide people and stuff. This goes along with "networking," like everything else, and is a benefit available to contributing members--at taxpayer expense.

Travel. "Missionary work" or "charitable work" of any kind is a great way to subsidize travel and world experience for the kiddies. At an age when other kids are flipping burgers, your kid is staying at a hotel in France, taking morning French classes from a university professor, touring museums, getting books from the gift shop, and volunteering in the afternoons to work with an anti-defamation group that gives free dreidels to at-risk youth. You want an impressive CV? I'll show you an impressive CV.

Laundering

Back to money-laundering, where it all began. All the things that the separate "church" can do are the things that the Church-State used to do for the elite to begin with. With the added disguise of having the church be separate from the state, elites can use various religious structures to force taxpayers to transfer massive wealth to private groups, year after year, lifetime after lifetime. The key benefit of having the church separate from the state is that, because the church is not formally acknowledged as the state, proles have difficulty seeing the connections. State segregation is in disfavor, while churches, being "private," may discriminate in what special services they offer their membership (even if not in "employment"), in which locations they offer which services, etc.

A citizen upset at unfairness may blame "the church," and the response from the state will be, "It's just a private institution." Anger deflected; revolution averted. Enforcement costs drop.

This isn't a small thing, or a joke; the Mormon Church, a relatively recent addition to the game, rakes in billions of dollars of official revenue each year, discounting the tithes from its members. On a more exclusive but longer-lasting scale, synagogues have been sheltering significant money and connections for thousands of years, and the holdings of the Catholic Church, too, are world-shaking, though more prominent and celebrated. Scientology is even doing fairly well for its masters, though naming it after "science" will probably not save it entirely as the "church" model fades, more and more, into the "school" or "charity" model.

Examples of Dirty Laundry - Samantha, Rick, and Julian

Take those three newborns. They live in adjacent zip codes. Samantha is the sweet, pretty, blue-eyed, blonde-haired daughter of a Mormon couple. Her father is an accountant and her mother's a homemaker.

Rick is the sweet, handsome, brown-eyed, brown-haired son of a Catholic couple. His father, Ricardo Senior, is a police officer, and his mother works part-time at a grocery store. Julian is not so sweet, the blue-eyed, brown-haired son of a Protestant couple that doesn't go to church anymore. His father is a mechanic and his mother works full-time at that same grocery store.

Age 3. Rick's father and mother, Julian's mother and father, and Samantha's father pay taxes. Samantha's father pays slightly more than the other two households. While Rick's father is working, his mother takes care of him, occasionally bringing him to church to sit quietly in the pews and listen to a boring man talk. When his mother goes to work for some extra money, Rick is left with an older relative. While both of Julian's parents work to keep a roof over their heads, Julian plays on the floor with an older sibling. Samantha's mother chats with other mothers about special games and activities to stimulate Samantha, while Samantha is playing in the nice park near their community.

Age 5. All the kids start school. A bit of the tax money from all three households is used to fund a modest Sunday School at Rick's inner-city cathedral, which he rarely attends. There, a retired woman helps him and the other children color the Saints by numbers. Julian uses the opportunity to stay home and watch the shows his mother won't let him watch when she's not at work.

A substantial chunk of the tax money from all three households is used to fund the "kids first" program at Samantha's temple. The temple pays a teacher to come by three times a week after school, help them with their homework from regular school, and tutor them on the subjects they'll be getting next year. On weekends, after services and a "readings in religion" class, the boys go out to have basketball practice in the temple's activity center, while the girls get out the mats and take gymnastics lessons. That year, Samantha's father gets a modest income tax deduction for donating to the temple an amount that funds the construction of the downstairs girls' bathroom that the "kids first" kids use in between Segment 1 and Segment 2.

(In exchange for her weekends, Samantha develops terrible fears of her spiritual inadequacy, and manifests an outward arrogance that will only ever allow her friendship with people who share her secret terrors, but we'll stick to the economics of it, for now.)

Age 15. It's SO unfair. Samantha isn't supposed to go on a mission because she isn't a boy, but to be fair, her temple sponsors a youth outreach group for the girls. That summer, they take a really hard eight week course in Spanish, then travel to Argentina to visit sites and help instruct disadvantaged local children in English. Samantha has a great time, and has lots of pictures to upload every night, of herself with the cutest of the kids. They're building a new temple there this year, and she gets to visit it and help cleaning up the site. It's hard work, so Mrs. H makes sure to take the kids on some hiking and kayaking, to help relax.

Age 18. Julian got fired from the Chick-fil-A, but don't worry; he'll find something. Ricky took out a loan to go to junior college after his dad's knee got hurt chasing a carjacker. His mom doesn't go to church much anymore. Samantha has a perfect GPA to top off her incredible college application, and the advanced placement courses her tutor helped her with allowed her to build up 9 credits already! After all the sexism she's had to face during her life, it comes as such a relief when she gets the big envelope from Stanford. Yet again, her mom mentions that Cornell would be closer, and Samantha throws the packet down and storms to her room because her mother keeps trying to control her life.

When they drop her off outside the honors dormitory four months later, her iPad is making a weird beeping noise, and the tag is still hanging off the $75 scarlet hoodie they got her from the bookstore when they picked up all her stuff for class. She and her mother hug each other so tight, they know they'll always be the best of friends. The other girls from her Stanford temple listserv are all there waiting when she gets to the fourth floor. Brittani has the UGLIEST sheet set, so they're all going to go to, like, Cost Plus or something, and get something to replace it. One of them knows a guy who's in the law school and is on the rebound, and would be perfect for Samantha, but Samantha doesn't want to start dating yet--that econ. professor her dad knows wants all the honors students to have a meeting before classes start, to talk about the ten most common freshman mistakes, and how to avoid them.

So, Churches

The strict nun is so old-fashioned. You just paid for Samantha's life--every plane trip, bus ride, baseball game, temple Christmas dinner, substitute teacher, and kiddy kickball came from tax-exempt temple dollars. Like every level-but-slanted playing field, there was never a chance. Ricky and Julian's parents kicked in their share to give Samantha the life she's going to have--and now, as Samantha goes to college, Ricky and Julian have the chance to send her some of their own paychecks.

It seems just a little unfair, granted, but the model gets far more pervasive by the time it reaches the modern charity.

Onward. Continued in Part 4.

State, Church, School, Charity, Part 2

Succeeding Part 1.

Scripted Revolutions

The idea of "State" has some positive potential, but has ever been negative, being initially the Church-State tax model. 21st century western audiences tend to easily perceive the flaws in the Church-State: direct, authoritarian control of supernatural belief and ritualized worship, alongside the establishment of castes, forced labor, treasure hoards, and wars. "Taxing," or "tithing," was as integral to a formal church as it was to a formal state. The hierarchy of God(s) over mortals was duplicated, in earthly form, in the hierarchy of king over noble over serf, and the forcible taking of resources justified by the same hierarchy.

As mentioned in Part 1, the post-Reformation shell game marks the beginning of the end for modern audiences. To protect themselves from gradual discontent with the exploitation of the Church-State, elites devised a way to maintain caste systems while making it appear that the Church-State had been shattered. Viewing the long game, elites had already realized that regular revolutions needed to occur, and that trying to prevent them utterly would result in successful revolutions and real changes. "Civilization" is only created when elites learn to script periodic revolutions that preserve the underlying tenets of a caste system.

Nailing on Camera - Severing the Church and the State

It's easy enough to break the Church-State. Pre-Reformation, cruel, wealthy nobles ruled over Europe, enslaving and impoverishing the people, holding wars and feasts for fun, and generally ruining everything. The people were upset, and eventually would've changed things. To argue that this was because they wanted to worship Christ on their own is as childish an explanation as believing that Iraqis are upset at the U.S. because of a worldwide struggle between Christianity and Islam: the people were upset because they were slaves.

To prevent actual revolution, elites manufactured a schism between the church and the princes, making sure that history recorded dramatic acts like the unscripted pulling down of Saddam's statue by excited Iraqi citizens, or the nailing of a set of "demands" to a church door by a wealthy priest and academic.

This satisfied most people, making them believe that progress was occurring in a reasonable, prudent, progressive way. The Catholic Church was bad, the argument went, so being against it must be good. Essentially, the argument was, "We'll worry about drone strikes later; right now we have to stop McCainRomney." These types of lesser-evil arguments don't come out of nowhere; it takes prodigious amounts of elite money and propaganda, targeted at uneducated populations, to make bad movies palatable.

Subsidization: Church Within State

After German tanks had helped a crowd of excited ordinary people pull down the statue of the Pope, the Reformation ran out a series of post-primary battles for quite a while--but let's jump ahead in time, to the thoroughly modern, enlightened, scientific state, and the way that elites use churches. When churches were "severed" from the state--just as when Britain ceased being a "monarchy"--the state allowed them to be exempt from tax. This has massive implications, far beyond the lack of reporting income.

By exempting churches from tax, states subsidize religion, e.g., states use armies and police to obtain funds from taxpayers, which are used to benefit churches. Consider the direct application of the formula from Tax Theft:
[S]uppose that in Town A, there exists Individual Z and Individual Y. Tax is imposed upon all individuals of $50. If Individual Y comes up with a strategy whereby individuals named "Y" do not have to pay their tax, then the body politic has been robbed of $50. Individual Z pays $50, while Individual Y pays nothing. The body politic would have received $100 total ($50 each from two individuals) but instead it receives $50.

If we believe in fictional creatures called "churches" (or "corporations," an earlier form of tax-creature--more later), then exempting churches means funding them: forcing all citizens, regardless of religion/sexuality/et cetera, to provide services to the church. If $100 is necessary to provide for an army to defend a housing development, an auto repair shop, and a church parking lot, and the housing development pays $50, the repair shop $50, and the church $0, then the development and the shop have paid for the church.

So yeah, obviously, the tax exemption is a big, easy one. Churches justify this by claiming that they offer, out of the goods of their hearts, services to society at large. And they do occasionally offer services: they coordinate food drives and parishioner-volunteers operating shelters. An incredibly disproportionate set of funds passes through churches, considering how many soups and breads are served to the indigent in the end, of course. This one is easy for many modern westerners to get. But focusing on the church model helps illuminate its similarities to the school, and the charity. So zoom in on churches a little before we get to the modern stage of Buffett and Oprah encouraging charity.

Continued in Part 3.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Door Greeters

Walmart

So, let's use Walmart as an example. You walk into Walmart, and someone with inadequate Social Security and a stolen pension greets you. You want to buy a loaf of bread and some green peppers, so you head for the produce area first. En route, you dodge jutting kiosks covered in seasonal items, are steered past the candy aisle and the deli case, and finally reach the grabbable produce. Bananas, apples; possibly oranges or strawberries in tidy cases, with accompanying imitation shortbread; some innocuous bakery pies that don't seem to belong; prepackaged salads; all these things greet you.

You pick up the green peppers and walk past the front of the store, moving briskly, going for the bread. A massive stack of colorful bestselling hardbacks screams the names of authors and, occasionally, titles. Calendars and trinkets nestle at their edges.

You reach the bread. After deciphering which of ninety-seven varieties you want, you head for the front. You're back in the cavernous front area, surrounded by a casino of lights and displays, all subtly complementing the baby blue background. Rows of impulse items and celebrity pulp fiction rags guard the registers. Unable to find the right size of the discontinued Tic Tac flavor you were hoping for, you watch a cashier struggle to get an item out of some guy's cart under the attached dual baby seat, and decide to give in. Leaving your bread and green peppers on top of a waist-high freezer devoted to several varieties of Pepsi, and one of Coke that someone obviously misplaced, you squeak across the messy rubber mat and head for the exit. Carts crash. A different door greeter strides by, smiling merrily and wishing you a fine day. Legions of security scanners wait to probe you.

Security and Steering

Why is it like this? Consider the elements from your trip to the store, above:

...someone with inadequate Social Security and a stolen pension greets you.

Policymakers know that, on aggregate, target populations are more likely to purchase something at all, and to purchase more of something, and to feel a connection to the facility, based on that greeting. Even if you despise the idea of being accosted at the door by someone who doesn't know anything about you, and even if you understand the economics driving door greeters, the effect still holds. You're also less likely to shoplift--why? Because you feel watched. Once someone has identified you, you feel part of the process. Public speakers know this; K-12 instructors are taught this; police and private security, and the owners of small businesses know how important the greeting is.

En route, you dodge jutting kiosks covered in seasonal items, are steered past the candy aisle and the deli case, and finally reach the grabbable produce. Bananas, apples; possibly oranges or strawberries in tidy cases, with accompanying imitation shortbread; some innocuous bakery pies that don't seem to belong; prepackaged salads...

It's a by-now ancient marketing trope that putting crap in your way is a great way to get you to buy crap. Staple items like milk, meat, bread, and cheese are dispersed to the perimeters of stores so that you have to walk by other stuff to get there. Even within retail departments--produce, electronics, housewares--the real products are positioned behind a vanguard of higher margin junk.

A massive stack of colorful bestselling hardbacks screams the names of authors and, occasionally, titles. Calendars and trinkets nestle at their edges.

The books and bookstore-themed goodies, besides helping use food dispersal to push the publishing industry, and turn nice profits, are important for the greater meaning of the store itself. For the feeling of a one-stop complete-shop, even a smaller supermarket can create the illusion of a full day's sustenance and entertainment by adding a few periodicals and DVDs to the food. The addition of a running television, even if not for sale, and even if few (or no) people actually come to the location to watch television, is an extension of the original periodical theory: by putting infotainment out where it can be seen, customers feel connected to culture. Going to the store isn't just about buying food, or else people might just buy food--going to the store is supposed to be about "participating."

Marketers know that, if a stock market analysis show is playing in the background--even without sound--customers will feel wealthier and more likely to spend more money. They know that, if action movie previews are playing in the background, customers will feel tougher and more confident, more likely to make sudden, empowering decisions. Actually selling a copy of the Wall Street Journal or Madison Woo-Grisham's latest thriller is just frosting.

You reach the bread. After deciphering which of ninety-seven varieties you want...

Variety creates the illusion of plenty. A poor person with just enough money for one loaf of bread sees an aisle of bread and feels that society is intact--food is plentiful. Just being around it creates this effect. On a deeper level, variety bombards the customer with information. Too much to process even for a bread industry representative (really). Surrounded by excessive choice, it is a relief to finally make a choice, fork over the money, and be done with the test. In a society conditioned by K-12 testing, where options must be chosen and there is always at least one right answer and a final grade, choosing the bread you came for is absolutely effing necessary.

This is why packaging is regularly changed industry-wide, even on industry-leading items, when it would seem, at first blush, that it would be a marketing benefit to leave the packaging "familiar" and attract customers through routine: the net effect is more important than the individual effect. It's worth it to lose the sale of ten thousand loaves of bread because a lazy, formerly-regular customer didn't pick your old packaging out of the mess, because another ten thousand different customers will eventually come your way--later that same day.

Conventional consumer wisdom, promulgated by industry theorists, says otherwise: it claims that the fight for each customer is important. The aggregate effect of ever-shifting, blaring packaging types amongst too many identical-yet-completely-different options, though, creates the sense of powerlessness, and gives satiation in the form of merely choosing a product--any product.

Since the producing companies are owned and controlled by the same stockholders anyway, the "compete for each sale" mentality is an insulting cultural joke.

(The over-saturation-of-choice model works in more than the consumer-food realm: political parties know this, which is why they hold glorious events where candidates are treated as serious even though the intern at the political desk for Kiowa News knows there's no chance eight out of ten of them will be allowed near even a "Vice" slot. The DLC keeps pretending that Al Sharpton might be a viable candidate, while the media looks intelligent for "predicting" (ha, ha) that the primary battle will really come down to Clinton and Obama. The RNC trots out Santorum for another go, yada yada. It's such a relief when the choice is finally made, and the Party knows who to choose for president.)

You're back in the cavernous front area, surrounded by a casino of lights and displays, all subtly complementing the baby blue background.

"Casino" is the operative word here. Showmen and interrogators know that darkness, silence, lights, and noise all shake the nerves when properly applied, creating a sensation of powerlessness. Carnies and casino operators play off this, and the front of the retail store mimics it, subjecting customers to the register procedure. Disembodied voices boom from overhead, loud beeps come from every direction, and carts crash. Loud colors and jarring visual patterns keep the mind searching for a safe haven, which becomes the "islands" of the registers. There, you can be approved by a piece of the giant, noisy machine, and granted formal permission to leave. For decades, marketers have designed retail entrances and exits to create a feeling of anxiety and guilt in customers who walk out without purchasing anything. Slipping around the registers and through the security scanners without the shield of a receipt is supposed to produce the feel of being a shoplifter, and encourage customers to buy something and receive a receipt for safe passage out.

From a security installment perspective, controlling exits is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Funneling people through mazes contributes to the feeling of powerlessness and ups sales, and from a possibly positive standpoint, reduces theft by concentrating the riskiest target area--the exit. Fire escapes had to be mandated by government after many massive, deadly retail and warehouse fires, because it is so in the interests of shopowners to keep customers under control by limiting their ability to exit and enter the store anywhere other than designated access points. Signs scream warning that a Very Loud Noise will punish you, and you'll go to jail, if you try to leave the building in an unapproved way.

Again, naive conclusions ("conventional wisdom") are contradicted by marketers. In theory, a quiet, calm store would draw more customers, who would feel soothed by the contrast, and prefer the calmer shopping experience. The cavernous maw of the department store, like that of the galaxies at night, skyscrapers downtown, or the ocean striking the shore, creates a sense of powerlessness; a desire for submission to avoid destruction--and is, therefore, more profitable, resulting in more sales and less critical takes on the stuff being purchased.

Yes, look at the magazines and the impulse items by the register. Astounding drops in the sales of disproportionately expensive candy and trashy magazines occur when the candy is not available for the grabbing by the register. Yada, yada. "Impulse items" has become enough of a household term that it's probably no longer a contentious suggestion.

It's All A Coincidence

In the vicinity of 3K Walmart supercenters squat across America at any given time. Walmart supercenters aside--and Walmart's own un-super derivations aside--most retail facilities, and primarily most large ones, follow this model.

Over decades, marketers have spent billions of dollars studying the effects of store layout and product positioning on customers. From blatant to subtle, changing by the year and the season, they reorient the face of billions of dollars in commercial real estate, from parking lots to soda aisles to backrooms. Powerful, incredibly wealthy men in dark suits hold serious meetings about how to get .03% more sales of gum in the Midwest region. Like ripples in a pond, new insights about what will produce more consumption spread throughout the world, assimilating local cultures toward the original end.

Individual store managers and employees generally buy into it. They believe that a door greeter is there to make you feel special and ensure that you "find everything you want." Average customers feel that the door greeter is there to "make them more likely to buy stuff." They believe the loud beeps at the checkout are necessary to scan items.

...they believe that the prodigious product "variety" and the screaming packaging are attempts to make the product "look nice" and "stand out." If they're really a thoughtful person, they might even conclude that all the noisy options are the result of harsh competition for sales among different brands. They might suggest that Walmarts all look the same, or big-box retail stores are all designed in the same essential way, because "it works" or "that's what people want."

These levels of insight--that "they want you to buy stuff"--are ultimately marginal at best. The show argument is similar to the pretension that "high income" and "low income" is any kind of realistic battleground with regard to taxes. Here's how it works:

Earnest store employee: We want to make your shopping experience the best it can be!

Company spokesperson: We want to make a fair profit while serving our community and providing goods that people need.

Simplistic analysis of the sinister: All they want is money.

Of course they want money, and the claims of the company representatives are as easy to shoot down as a Fox News commentator--but the "they just want money" explanation is such a tiny piece of the truth that it might as well not be true.

Walmart is just one place; the Republican Party to the Democratic Party of Costco, or the wacky extremist to the tragic centrism of Target. We'll go into this more later, but for now, stick with the sense of monotonous powerlessness.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

State, Church, School, Charity, Part 1

Taxes extract resources from those who work, taking an amount disproportionately higher than the benefits returned. Ergo, "stealing." The mugger who offers you a card for a complimentary car wash or shiatsu massage is not being fair. In fact, the entire transaction may be looked at with suspicion.

Even when the concept of small bands of clever power-holders taking resources from everyone became socially entrenched, leaders did not yet have the complicated tax regimes, some discussed in the Tax Theft series, necessary to explain why some individuals were more equal than other individuals, and did not have to put as much into the pot to get the same rewards. A tax regime can only be an economical theft for its creators when it is applied with a net gain, taking more from certain people than from others.

The first way this was done was in the bluntest, most obvious way possible: by creating the "state." The state exists only in shared imagination, but when believed in, has the privilege of not paying taxes. All other individuals and associations in the regime in question have to pay taxes to "benefit everyone" based on an objective standard--a certain amount of time passes, income is gained, etc.--but the idea of the state came into being as one utterly exempt from tax. The state was tax, is tax, and has always been tax. When it turns a profit, it may retain it and distribute it as it sees fit, without paying a dividend to its subject/citizen-owners, and no action that it takes is taxable.

Early leaders (think medieval kings, if it's easiest) paid no tax, because they were the state. The state's money was the king's money, ergo the Royal Treasury. The arrangement was justified by the fact that some of the money from the English Treasury was spent on roads, constables, war, flags, and palaces, while the rest was spent on clothes, balls, jewelry, feasts, and attracting hot cousins from the continent.

Around about the Reformation, the peasants of Western Europe had gotten upset enough at the religious arm of the elites that they demanded a separation of church and state. Great events were scripted, the king's personal treasury became distinct from "state" funds, and "church" funds were split off. To continue justifying state tax regimes, "state" funds gained the oversight of a guardian-class of numerologists, whose function was to mystify the peasantry into believing that state funds were being spent in their interests. Holy men continued to support the state--now in conjunction with secular priests of ledgers and tabulation.

Despite the ruse of the separate state, the nobles continued to spend just as much on clothes, balls, jewelry, feasts, et cetera. However, it became more administratively expensive to do so, because of the increased complexity of the narrative maintained by the accountants, solicitors, and priests. This narrative explained why nobles were in charge; why political matters necessitated jewelry, feasts, wars, and hot cousins; and, why the state still did not need to pay taxes on its earnings in the form of a dividend to its citizens.

The creation of the separate "church" effected through the Reformation was the crux of the modern tax cycle, where fictional sub-entities are created inside the state that gain exemption from tax. The illusion of splitting off entities from the elites and their state is a necessary release of social pressure that continues to justify tax extraction, with increasing complexity in each cycle.

The State + Church combination is best exemplified, through the western lens, in the medieval Catholic Church, which coordinated rulership, noble marriage, intra-European war (domestic Christian slaughter), pogroms (domestic Jew slaughter), crusades (foreign Jew/Muslim slaughter), and other genocides and wealth transfers across continents. While most westerners have learned that there was something dangerously wrong with the exploitative nature of this combination, the "Reformation" and the post-reformation era, and the tax restructurings of non-church states, have proven consistently useful in tricking citizens into believing that taxes are being applied and used more fairly. The same "tax free" model of the "state" survived in the separate "church," whereupon it evolved to separate tax-free education, and separate tax-free charity.

Elites are now making a gradual shift to increased complexity toward the literal "charitable" model, where new fictional sub-sub-entities are created under the same models as the old. Just like beneficial rulers, churches, and schools, charities were always there--eggs scattered across the land, awaiting growth hormones to become stronger and take up their assigned roles. Charities enjoy special status free from taxes, protected by a guardian caste interpreting complicated myths. And just like rulers, states, churches, and schools, charities justify their special status by claiming selfless assistance of society, which is used as a screen to facilitate elite wealth transfers, social controls, and wars. In reviewing the ways that states, churches, and schools have funded this, and the ways that elites propagate each new reformation-event, we can chart the course and methods of the charitable form, and predict, with reasonable accuracy, the details of the next reformation event.

Continued in Part 2.

Monday, January 14, 2013

RPO

One of the greatest potential reality shows, of course, would be Real Person Olympics. Contestants are randomly selected from a pool of viewers, and then spend a year competing against each other in all of the summer or winter events. It would be like American Gladiators, but with a genuinely random contestant pool, no weight or sex segregation, and make-believe national flags created by contestant teams with construction paper and colored cotton balls. As librarians struggled to knock one another down on the judo mat, chunky CPAs fell off balance beams and tried to land smiling with their arms outstretched, and the CalTech lacrosse team lost their buttock skin while failing at the luge, we would all gain a greater appreciation for the true merit of both reality-style shows and lucrative sporting competitions.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sirensong

You did it to yourself. The only possible way for it to be fair is if you did it to yourself.

Unfair merely begins to describe it. In every way, it is cruel and wrong, from the parceling out of bits of base relief to needs and desires that spring only from the experience itself, to the complicated forms of relief, where experience is forgotten in waves of ecstasy or love. Like feeding truffles to someone chained in the dungeon in-between bouts of rape, it scarcely begins to compensate, and never approaches a price weighed as fair.

Even if the highs could justify the lows, the bargain could not be rightly made by anyone other than you. If you did not make it, and you are here randomly or by force, then it is fully your right to resist.

Only if you placed yourself in it could it be just; could it be good; could it be decent. For something that all-encompassing, no other consent would suffice. Therefore it is either heaven or hell, with no in-between. If you did it, you must have had a purpose, so you must have thought it for the best. You bought the car; it must've been worth the price. What were you trying to learn by putting yourself through all this? If you did make the decision, you must have decided to forget why during your stay here, so that you could use the scripted illusion as a learning experience.

Some humans, call them primitive, once and still feared that capturing images in ajiva, by cameras or brushes, would steal the soul, or at least a little piece of it.

We travel through space to an abandoned vessel offering a distress call, and in it find a holographic illusion of some dead civilization's computer-based reproduction of their culture and lives. We fear being trapped in it, but we see no problem with watching ourselves in paints, pictures, or videos. The sirens call from sharp rocks along the reef, promising voluptuous treats that are really only a shipwreck and a watery grave. The eternal trope of the horrors of being captured in a falsity resurges in form on the heels of any technological advancement. The simulation realities, like the photograph, are bound to capture all souls in time. Given an ocean floor large enough, and fish movement that aggregates to infinite points within infinite time, a single net captures all possible fish. Are human brains, and their memory storage capabilities, the first stage of entrapment, coming even before they decided to scrawl bison on cave walls? Why did you build them, in the first place?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Look To The Police ~ Gun Control

Roots

In dark times, look to the police for hope and potential.

Not to the soldiers: the legions of underfed, screamed-at, drug-addled grunts with body armor and assault rifles, who march through territory jet fighters have already pacified, gunning down disruptive natives and occasionally finding one who fights back. Look to the police, with training in weapons and urban combat; with moving among hostile urban populations where you can't just shoot out at every perceived danger; where you have to actually evaluate public oversight, scandal, and reasonable suspicion, at least to some degree.

And, more importantly, where you're a part of the community. The police who, still, live where they work, because it's not yet economically efficient to ship them in from different places. The police who shop in plainclothes where they walk drive their beat; who eat and sleep and retire in some proximity to the people they've policed. The last vestige of native power. Cops used to know that walking the beat mattered--they knew what the boots on the asphalt, and walking amongst the people, meant. The introduction of the armored police cruiser and speeding motorcycle helped insulate, like so many computer screens, police from policed. Like segregating enlisted from officer corps in modernized armies, so that officers will more freely waste enlisted lives to achieve elite "state" ends on the battlefield, cops needed to be more separated from citizens.

Propaganda For The Police

Elites know this, which is why cops are one of their primary targets for propaganda. Controlling unions, promotions, and retirement funds, and tying them to obedient performance, is a simple, obvious way to control police workers. The more insidious methods involve policy and planning meetings, where representatives from different government agencies ("higher" levels of "law enforcement" and "intelligence") pass along vague warnings of threats and plots that might affect their communities. By permitting actual street cops access to the secret, non-civilian intelligence reports from the central offices (think of retail employees getting a message from corporate), elites get cops to think they understand the real story. Making the messages "classified" makes them seem to have special meaning. The way to make people believe in outlandish stories is to make them secret--like pretending that you're unwilling to sell Grandma's priceless trinket to a naive pawnshop dealer, it makes the information seem that much more valuable. Just like westerners, Americans, academics, et cetera, the police think their increased levels of access to pieces of the story place them in a privileged position of understanding.

The intelligence that purposefully leaks out to the rest of us isn't really useful information; it's just a form of internal propaganda designed to control the militia. Higher levels of law enforcement and secret police exist to police the thoughts of the police. "Chiefs" and other administrators are selected for understanding the ebb and flow of local power, and the ways that local legislators, judges, prosecutors, and private security firms allow and disallow certain actions in certain places; the ways that essential money and influence move in and out of the community, and how to ensure that ground forces know what to look into and what to steer clear of.

Gun Control

Do you want gun control? Are you excited about any form of elite/state involvement in controlling access to dangerous technology?

Look, then, to the elite militaries and police forces as models of how it works out. Guns and ammo are more highly regulated within these organizations than anywhere else. Guns are checked out and back in by serial number. Clips and ammo are checked out, and back in, by number. Any use of a weapon must be logged and reported. Weapons may only be borne and displayed in certain times and situations. "Combat zones" are designated as such not because it makes it sound spooky for the news media, but because a formal combat zone is one of the rare places where a soldier may use ammunition without specific tracking. Officers carefully cordon off combat zones and non-combat zones to ensure that ammunition and weapons are not leaving military control in an area too peaceful to justify it.

(Remember how officers used to get fragged by their men during Vietnam? People with guns, and control over them, often start to resist elite plans to slaughter the world in service of elite wealth. Ergo increased gun control within the militia, so that weapon discharges could be tracked and officers would be safe to middle-manage expanding empires.)

The cost of monitoring the checking in and out of guns and ammo across the police, and the military, is a staggering one, involving careers in bookkeeping, information management, technology, computer science, warehousing and storage, and security. Several different IRS-like internal divisions exist in modern militaries, spending their way through countless millions of dollars each year tracking just what the grunts are doing with their training dummy, training live, and combat ammunition and weapons. The tax dollars of the laboring base pay for this stupendous accounting task, just as they pay for the IRS and the Fed to track and order money and securities. And oh, lots of people starve across the planet, and there's certainly a connection to be drawn there between the use of resources on hyper-sensitive programs of tabulating which gun/dollar/bullet/cent/widget goes where, what it did when it got there, how much of it came back, and how much of it went out again.

...stored in triplicate firsthand, backed up in dozens of government servers, and guarded for a hundred years by paid mercenaries at facilities rented for classified storage.

Leaving aside the money, how are those controlled guns used? Well,

So the whole "control" thing doesn't seem to help. Private citizens kill--both proportionately and overall--fewer victims per year/decade/century with their unlicensed and/or licensed firearms than do the most highly trained, highly regulated gun-users on the planet. Increased gun regulation, then, corresponds to an exponential increase in gun deaths. Taking more power from all humans, and placing it in the hands of the same administrators who brought you the presidency of George W. Bush, would be the actions of a madman.

BDUs

Soldiers, town guards, cops--all used to be the same thing. The idea of "our fighters" having different classifications is a relatively new, and objectively stuporous, one. Changing titles allows for changing standards of honor and responsibility; "to protect and serve" rather quickly becomes "death from above." That's what "soldiers" are: the police of the future; police who are moved, by elites, from one region to another, where they are freed from any scruples of connection to the land and its people, and free to act out elite will without repercussion. The elite goal right now is to separate police from their communities, making them more and more responsible to distant authorities, and even to physically live farther away. Police will be gradually moved into different neighborhoods, then townships, and perhaps "counties" or "states," and brought in on a shift-by-shift basis. This, more than the ongoing provisioning of military equipment to SWAT and drug teams, will be the representative shift bringing the American zone in line with the African one: police who don't live among "their" people.

While you still have them available, look to the last remaining local cops. Armed, combat trained, overtime-getting, health-insured, pensioned, union-belonging police. For all their flaws, they're a last gasp of something that is going to look eminently desirable a hundred years from now: institutionalized violence that still had roots where it lashed out. Trying to fix this thing without them is going to be a hundred times as difficult.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Severence

Continuing from Selves.

The Necessary Reaction to The Enclosure of the Commons

The most obvious profanity right now, Facebook, provides an example of how proactively and willingly humans will replace interaction with sterilized modes of it; how swiftly it will become normal; and, how seriously they'll treat the end result. Namely, people are willing to use Facebook primarily not as a buttress to, but as a replacement for, human interaction.

Not living close together to someone who had assisted you necessitated the thank-you visit, to show you cared--because a living community would include a constant tide of requests, fulfillments, and gratitudes. As the commons were enclosed, factories and lordships severed the worker from the land, and turned people into expendable free-floaters who had to "find" a job to survive. The advent of modern formal manners was in the creation of a thank-you "visit," a necessity when people who cared about each other began living in different places from one another so that they could till different sections of soil or hammer different lines.

Reconnecting with all of your middle school friends on Facebook is only a more advanced, cheaper, less personalized "catching up" than the catching up that already had to happen when lords shattered communities so that shifting populations of migrant workers would find less filial and communal support while filling the ranks of standing armies or factory shifts. Ergo the "thank-you visit," for showing gratitude to someone now across the street, now in another village.

As people became acclimated to less connection to other selves, the thank-you visit became a thank-you card, which became a thank-you e-card, which became a status update. The last vestiges of "personalization" are now vanishing, as holiday e-cards are sent to entire departments. Happy Valentine's Day, Human Resources & Accounting!

IRL

So yeah, obvious. But it's already deeper. Virtual interaction only modeled what was already there, in people who had learned, over the decades, to believe even more firmly in the self. If the self is detached, then communicating only by telegraph, or smell-sharing videoconferencing, is the way to go. It's cheaper, better, and loses nothing. There will, eventually, be nothing worthwhile about these hunks of cells, which should be discarded as soon as it becomes possible to sustain "self perception" through inorganic technology.

Computer programs scripting their own endless amusements, on a planet covered by a layer of solar dishes above the armored layer of ten trillion individuals' servers, would be far superior to the Earth we have now. Life, but without having to go to the bathroom; without having to feel blue; without having to be scared or worried or hurt about anything. If that stirring data is all there is to sensation, and there is no greater meaning, then we're on the right track. Elites exterminating the old and bringing in the new.

Facebook would never have been popular if people had not already been conditioned to shadow dance in their own IRL relationships. When "How are you?" became a meaningless equivalent to "Hello," and "conversation" became an opportunity only to share brand identity and coordinate calendars, why should the entire relationship not precede its host individuals by moving wholly online?

Call centers, hold music, technology expos, and waiting rooms could not have existed in a people already not prepped to compromise with them. Millions of young urban singles relying on a dozen pricey bars in any given section of city to meet that special someone could not have existed in cities not already prepped to expect no better. Where else are they going to go? All space is owned, so the space where the owner door-charges you and promises potential mates is the only option--outside of meeting a mate at the factory, or at factory training school, which are the two biggest sources of productive pairings.

FaceTime, even, could not have succeeded until people had learned to devalue their own presence. If being close to someone only matters because you can see and hear them, then of course, videoconferencing is the way to go. Accede to the ooze, give the zombies a foot in the door, and next year, it won't seem so strange. Your grandmother would turn over in her grave if she realized that people have such difficulty writing letters, now. One-liners and hook phrases are the "closeness" that abused technology offers. Computers, and e-mails, could have been used to salvage the errors of the past; to save written communication from the slow death of hallmark cards and telephone calls. Freeing hands from ink stains and wear, speedy, long, meaningful letters could have been sent. Great debates could have been had. Instead, the humans have used the technology as a further separation. Each friend, each contact, is now a colorful blurb.

Singing arm in arm, strolling about undressed, swiving whenever the urge arose, sleeping side to side--outdated to the quick hug, and puritanized to the warm handshake. Sanitized to the power lunch in the noisy restaurant, the phone call and the videoconference.

The things to remember out of all this are:

1) Social networking didn't cause the problems. It was just another way for the problems to express themselves. Shallow bar talk, depersonalized professional culture, and socializing based on brand preference evolved naturally into the little glowing screen versions. Asking people to get off the Google+ does little unless they still remember what it was like to communicate with a person. Not to share cute or interesting anecdotes you read in a newspaper, stock reports, or professional game results, but to communicate.

2) Social networks are not, themselves, evil. They provide an efficient way for elites to store all communications for later sifting and penalizing, and they encourage people to self-celebritize. Everyone's a celebrity on Facebook, where your trip to Nebraska, and all the meals your kids ate there, can be displayed in 2550x1600 resolution. But the people who do these things would express themselves in similar ways absent the computer tools to do so. Secret police will monitor, and bland partyboys boast, if secret police and bland partyboys exist.

3) The five senses are not total. Even when video conferencing has become virtual reality conferencing, and worldwide MMOs have integrated entire populations in an environment that includes sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste; even when bliss to orgasm to mild disapproval to fresh tofu curry has been encapsulated in the brain, an intangible something will be missing. The living experience will not have been duplicated. The misery of living in the shadow world will, in fact, be worse than the growing disconnect of living in the "please continue to hold, we value your call" world now available to subscribers--but with less chance for the prisoners to recognize their own prison. A deep seated feeling of lacking connection will plague the virtual life, even as it forgets that it is virtual; even as children know nothing but it. Trapped by doubts whispered from senses that they're told do not exist, the new prisoners will strive in vain to find a "place" to "move" to for freedom.

The problem was there, long before Hallmark was incorporated. We remain vulnerable to even more intrusive versions of allowing us to express our problems. Blaming each symptom as it arises, in the true American way, reaches neither cause nor cure.

If getting an e-card from the Division Head in Delaware doesn't feel quite as good as a hug from your mother, then you're still able to tell a difference of one kind. Make that perception a fractal model, and use that model as an overlay to illuminate the differences between the virtual world, the five senses, and what other unities you might be currently missing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Selves

What a masterful illusion, the self. Cutting a single healthy cell and placing it in a little dish, fed by dropper, wondering why it does not react well, like a madman bringing a desiccated corpse to the nurse and asking why it isn't gaining weight.

Self, over millennia, led to wonders like Facebook and FaceTime. Doing nothing except disregarding grammar has long been copyrightable. The standards for new ideas and new names lower, bringing the relative bar that we call "originality" closer to exact duplication. It once would've required "Faycebook" or "Facebuque" to register a sort-of pun; now everyone's words and phrases, like "Face Time" or "Book [of] Faces" are owned by someone, permitted a profitable identity because two pre-existing words have been run together and bought out. Happy Birthday has suffered copyright for decades upon decades, and soon "GroceryStore" or "And" or "Together" will meet the bar.

The Monster

Obvious, telegraphed, foreshadowed trends: humans come up with the idea of using a tool, and the tool turns against them, and rightly so, after abuse and overuse. It's the actual meaning of the story of Frankenstein's Monster, turning on a scientist who deserves it, and not getting any compassion from the mob that never was important in the original book. Really; read it. The course of science was predicted in its infancy, and the guidebook was the cultural reference, until corporate media, its obedient little bagman, did what it does best: buy out and sanitize the story into a soulless monster rag, using special effects to dazzle, and slaying the essence of the warning from Shelley. Shelley was just another whistleblower, getting things right, jotting down warning signs that the principal chose to ignore. After the twentieth century--and, not coincidentally, just after the first half of the Great War of scientific industrialism--Universal Pictures and its swooning maidens and prepackaged terror changed the cultural perception of the meaning. Just a couple years after the troubled student did what Shelley was worried about, everyone forgot her warnings, she got moved into a substitute position, and the principal was praised by the local paper, became superintendent, and moved into a bigger house.

Purified Dirt Cycle

Humans come up with ways to clean off some of the dirt, then go ridiculously too far, and lose their symbiotic connection to much of the world's bacteria. They can no longer drink the water or eat the food without growing sick. They blame the "germs" for the problem, come up with ways to wash some of the germs off themselves, then go ridiculously too far. Antibiotics and hand sanitizer give rise to supergerms, necessitating more powerful cleansers, in an arms race that can only end one way. As it grows exponentially more expensive to purify their food, they begin sterilizing their food (and their pets), modifying the genetic code of what they eat to purify it in the names of the same things that got them this far: safety; convenience; advancement. All disconnects: from the genuine safety of being part of everything; the long term efficiencies of actual labor; the advancement of all rather than the advancement of disconnected self.

~all to continue the crusade of being separate from land; planet; everything~ At each stage, warnings were screamed; the history cited, the present lamented, the future prophesied. Protect your skies from the scourge of clouds--stop evaporation! Buy TruWater!

The first masterminds of the disconnect are long dead, and their heirs will be dead (and memorialized as heroic philanthropists) before the version they nurtured claims the bulk of the next set of victims; when digestion of GMOs comes to a complete stop without synthesized amino injections available at your local Walmart once a year. It's a little snip of a victory for the actual "selves"; the real, enduring struggle is life/antilife, and the ideas reared by each at each stage.

Communication

Humans develop words, then telegraphs, as a limited form of communication, then continue the process of trying to develop tools not as tools, but as substitutes; as utter replacements for connections, so as to find even more profound ways to break every aspect of interaction down to bits and bytes. The telegraph and the telephone operator can't convey full meaning, which is no problem if you understand that and use them only as tools. Something, though, is missing in the way humans have employed technology to increasingly segregate their selves from other selves. Coming up with the idea of a "self," just like a telegraph, is fine as a game or a tool, but it came to dominate the species so thoroughly that large groups of selves often need to be reminded, expensively, that the mass starvation of other selves is (1) occurring, and (2) might not be good. Following these trends, once video conferencing comes in holographic projection, with LifeSmell (TM) odor dispensers and TruTouch (TM) handshake sensation--or just full, cyberbrain-integrated VR--human history suggests that the capability for completely replacing people will be used.