Archive for March 10, 2012

The Ubiquity of the “Nuremberg Defense” in Contemporary Society

March 10, 2012 3 comments

We often tend to believe that something labelled ‘evil’ is somehow fundamentally different from what is widely considered to be ‘good’. However categorization based on widespread social beliefs rather than rationality result in a lot of cognitive dissonance. I will highlight this with by looking at the ubiquity of the “Nuremberg Defense” (Superior Orders) in contemporary society.

Superior orders (often known as the Nuremberg defense or lawful orders) is a plea in a court of law that a soldier not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior office. The superior orders plea is similar to the doctrine of respondeat superior in tort law where a superior is held liable for the actions of a subordinate, and the subordinate may escape liability.

So how widespread is this issue in contemporary society? Let me give you a few examples..

1. Consider the ‘war on drugs’. As some of you might know, it is not really about drugs or protecting society but a white reaction to civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s. Today it supports a huge ‘justice-prison-police-legalized thuggery’ complex which has revenues in the hundreds of billions and probably employs a few percent of the American population. To the rational outsider and many insiders it is obvious that the ‘war on drugs’ has failed to reduce either the availability, cost or quality of drugs. But have you ever wondered how those who benefit from this futile and misguided war perceive it or, more importantly, themselves?

The vast majority of those who are employed in the ‘justice-prison-police-legalized thuggery’ complex see it as just another job REGARDLESS of the negative impact on the lives of others. They see quite happy and enthusiastic to accidentally kill innocent people, entrap people, treat non-whites like crap, destroy their lives and otherwise act in a manner that is functionally equivalent to those who served the Third Reich.

“but is all right because we are just doing a good job by following orders from above”.

2. A lot of white westerners poke fun at or condemn the efforts of “foreign tyrants” to encourage personality cults to control their populations. They frequently criticize people in the educational system of those countries as weak-willed, lame or stupid. Meanwhile the educational systems of western countries are now full of legislation against behaviors which were once considered normal to the extent that normal childhood has been criminalized. Then there is the issue of whether these systems teach anything of value to kids.

Once again, it is obvious to rational observers that the educational system of western countries have fundamentally failed those they were supposed to help, those who benefit from its existence see it differently. They frequently advertise themselves as decent hardworking people who are selflessly working in best interest of kids. Apparently the ongoing massive increase in childhood problems such as poor literacy, obesity, ADHD and a myriad of diagnosed mental issues are not their fault.. because they are always right. Have you ever wondered about what is going through their little heads as they make those claims in the face of evidence to the contrary?

“but is all right because we are just doing a good job by following orders from above.”

I could give you many more examples using occupations ranging from physicians and professors to soldiers or average government employee. But it is always the same..

“we are just doing a good job by following orders from above.”

What do you think? Comments?

How Working Relationships Became Useless or Adversarial

March 10, 2012 11 comments

One of the big lies propagated by ‘american dream’ is that if you work hard (slave) you can retire from work and enjoy your “golden years” by doing whatever you want. Let us for a moment ignore that real retirement is no longer an option for most people and your 60s or 70s are not the best time to start enjoying life. The more basic question is-

How can you create new and “better” relationships when your previous one was filled with useless and adversarial ones?

This is not a trivial question as most non-autistic people will require functional relationships, real or virtual, to enjoy life. I believe that the very nature of contemporary society makes forming and maintaining relationships impossible- and this is going to have some pretty interesting consequences as the system collapses on itself.

Part of the problem lies in what most people think consider ‘normal’ is not really normal. Throughout human prehistory and almost all of recorded history most people lived, ate, worked, fucked within a small and very slowly changing tight-knight group. The vast majority of people also had little material possessions therefore human relationships were supremely important. I am not suggesting that we go back to such eras, as that is neither desirable nor possible. But the fact is that the base of human society and its resilience comes from excellent interpersonal relationships- not wealth, money or status.

In the older system- your coworkers were also your family, friends and distant relatives. There was therefore no real separation between your working life and personal life. More importantly, the relationship between your coworkers extended outside of work and was non-adversarial. Let me repeat it- for almost all of mankind’s existence on earth you coworkers were not your competitors or adversaries.

Today your co-workers, around whom you spend over half your waking hours, are without exception useless, deceptive and adversarial creatures. There is of course the added complication of your family, wife, kids and ‘friends’ being the same. But how did it get this way? Some of you might see this as the result of some diabolical conspiracy by the “elite” to control people. I see it differently.. As I have said in many previous posts- the universe allows everything that is possible to occur despite the consequences. The change in the work relationships should then be seen as a consequence of the very nature of capitalism- increase in economic growth at all costs and irrespective of the final outcome.

The frequent displacement and separation of people, the polite backstabbing and barely concealed hostility in workplaces, competition for essentially worthless promotions and chasing opportunities for “career advancement” are merely symptoms of the underlying problem- capitalism is a system based on zero-sum games, artificial scarcity and legalized fraud. Ironically communism in real life was a lot like capitalism because it too was based on the idea of economic growth at all costs and irrespective of the final outcome.

It ultimately comes down to something we don’t like to talk about- changes in the last few hundred years have been increasingly driven by the need to show profit and growth on paper and spreadsheets regardless of the human costs or system stability. Technological changes and population growth helped cover these problems even as they became bigger in magnitude. However the sharp worldwide decrease in fertility over the last 2-3 decades and an inability to keep on improving technology at the previous rates have destroyed the ability of the system to cover the cracks and defects which are still growing at an ever accelerating rate.

So what does the future hold for us? I believe that we cannot go back to the old ways, even if we wanted to do so. I also believe that the general mindset of people in developed countries, especially the older ones, is unlikely to change. The future looks pretty bleak and dystopic unless the supporters of the current system.. you know.. just disappeared forever.

What do you think? Comments?