Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > What the Response to the Killing of Black Men Reveals About the USA: 2

What the Response to the Killing of Black Men Reveals About the USA: 2

Following on from my previous post in this series, I shall now try to answer a set of related and important questions that almost nobody seems to be asking. They are as follows.

Why are the police so dogged in their refusal to publicly accept that they might make mistakes? What do they really stand to lose from occasional gestures of contrition, even if they are insincere and meant for public displays? But perhaps more importantly, why are elected officials apparently unwilling or unable to pressure police departments to publicly lose a little?

As you will soon see, the last question in that set is far from trivial. Throughout human history, successful tyrannical regimes have always spent a considerable amount of time on making sure that they were feared but not hated. To this end, successful tyrants always made sure that low-level enforcers of the regime who overstepped their bounds and bought disrepute to the tyrant were quickly punished for their excesses. As is often the case, the reasons for punitive action against low-level enforces who brought disrepute to the regime were motivated by the self-interest of the regime.

Most of these reasons boil down to two interlinked issues. Firstly, excessively tyrannical low-level enforcers result in the regime being hated rather than simply feared. A hated regime will always cause the affected subjects to rebel against the regime or try to sabotage it- neither of which are desirable from the standpoint of the tyrant and his cronies accumulating wealth and power. Secondly, low-level flunkies in the department of oppression require periodic reminders that they are just low-level flunkies. Tyrants do not like people who dream of usurping their position.

What does this say about the current situation when elected politicians seems unwilling or unable to reign in the low-level flunkies in the department of oppression?

Well.. there are two ways to look at it. You can either believe that the politicians are unwilling to reign in the police because that is what they want them do. However, the demographic-racial profile of, and the electoral situation in, the USA is such that willingly ignoring such problems is a good recipe for losing power- especially at the national level. A related possibility, namely that politicians are expecting these problems to blow over before the next series of elections (like in the days before internet) has some merit. However the sheer number and frequency of cops murdering and beating up people combined with the ubiquity of people using the internet means that hoping the problem will go away is a naive assumption.

But what if there is another explanation for this reticence by the political class to condemn cops who commit murders? What if they are actually unable to do so?

Towards the beginning of this post, I casually mentioned the concept of “successful tyrannies”. So what makes some tyrannies successful and long-lived? It comes down to rational centralization of power and a clear chain of authority that ultimately gives one semi-competent (or better) person the final say on any subject in his realm. Unsuccessful tyrannies, in contrast, have many competing centers of power involved in a continuous game of one-upmanship. And this brings us another question.

Is the USA a representative democracy or a tyranny masquerading as a democracy?

Now, I am sure that readers of this post will have their own beliefs about the “right” answer for this question. However I am not interested in answers based in personal beliefs or books- because those answers are really about what you believe or want to see. Let me show you another way to look at this question.

Does the USA, as a society, function largely on the basis of constant explicit and implicit threats or does it function on the basis of a melange of individual calculations, some goodwill, some fear and some guilt?

Well.. in my opinion, the functioning of american society has become increasingly dependent on the constant application of explicit and implicit threats. While we can certainly argue about whether that was always the case, it is quite clear that there was a period from the 1930s to the 1970s when optimism and belief in a better future was the driving force for people keeping up their end of the social contract. The end of this era, in the late 1970s, signaled the beginning of an age where repression combined with explicit and implicit threats has gradually became the norm of making the system function- for enriching the top 1% and 0.1%.

The USA is therefore functionally identical to a tyranny. The real question is- are the people running this tyranny united and competent or divided and incompetent.

Russia and China provide good examples of what successful tyrannies look and function like. In both countries there is a very well-defined, uncontested and publicly known chain of command and power that pretty much everybody in those countries is well aware of. While those at lower levels in the power structure have some autonomy and perks, they are perfectly disposable and dispensable if they screw up or do anything that causes public embarrassment or loss of face for those at the top. Everyone in the setup, including the flunkies who staff the oppression apparatus know their place and leeway in the system.

In contrast to Russia or China, the USA lacks the highly centralized and efficient human infrastructure of a tyranny even though it operates as one. Consequently there are multiple centers of power and members of each group are locked in an unintentional but eternal struggle with members of the other centers. This low intensity civil war between multiple power centers results in the formation (and subsequent dissolution) of numerous temporary alliances between groups who often don’t have much common ground or interests.

The studied silence of politicians in the face of cop atrocities is therefore a sign of the inability of their group to exert influence on a nominally subordinate group.The shortsighted unwillingness of police to acknowledge either administrative concerns or public opinion is best seen as the result of a situation where nobody is perceived to be in charge of the system. To summarize this post, the largely uncontested and unpunished cop brutality evident in the USA today is a sign of that the country has become an unsuccessful and unstable tyranny- one where nobody is recognized as being in charge of the overall situation.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. December 8, 2014 at 6:30 am

    My theory is because cops are really death squads, specifically designed to brutalise & terrorize the population

    This is why cops arent permitted to be executed for cold murder

    Again these cold murdering pigs have always behaved this way, the temporary state of a none functioning tyranny doesnt really factor into it

    Also all supermarkets & shopping malls, are really military bases & forwarding posts, theyre filled with under cover cops & trained murderers, ie mercenaries

    Shop there at your peril

    This is why I consider cops to be death squads, they prey on the population in conjunction with ex-military mercenaries, while committing the majority of murders in most cities

    Their role to brutalise & terrorize & kill anyone they can get away with, is demanded by the state & politicians

  2. Webe
    December 8, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Agree strongly, and am therefore somewhat sceptical of overarching conspiracy theories: these assume that competent but nefarious groups of individuals have things under control, dismissing the far more terrifying reality: there are conspiracies and all kinds of nefarious power-brokering, but there is absolutely no centre of control. Any direction is simply the vector formed by the current constellation of powers. Because there is no over-arching purpose/direction, game theory implies that any unpopular decisions that will ultimately benefit everyone can never come about. That is also why other countries have been more successful at things like public investments or industrial strategy. The USA simply cannot get beyond ideological shibboleths to take practical public actions.

    There is also a gulf separating the 30-70’s era and beyond: no, not gold. That is the intense mediafication of society. In personal ads, people color in the type of person they are looking for with some personage in a TV-series. Media types and hypes are more real than concrete individual experience. That means children are formed more by commerical media than their own families, school, or local institutions. Perceptions of most current events (including their significance) are determined almost entirely by media expressions. This has completely altered the nexus of control: in general you can get away with anything as long as the media has supporting narratives. And the converse also applies: people in power themselves are no longer aware of the difference between the real world and media spin.

    Militarizing the police is in the interest of some social forces, but the moronic behavior and tactics of a lot of police (and the indignation and anger that follows) hinders rather than smooths the transformation of law-enforcement into an arm of the oligarchy. Sacrificing the occasional jack-ass jarhead would be an advantage to politicians, oligarchs, and general social compliance. Incidents simply showcase incompetence and thick-headedness and lessen social compliance.

  3. December 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

    or maybe those guys shouldn’t have broken the law & then resisted arrest. maybe intelligent people shouldn’t do everything in their power to get out of jury duty. maybe all those “protesters” should vote for once. maybe those “protesters” should become police & change the department from within. or not, it’s just easier to “protest” for some selfies & forget about it a month later.

    • P Ray
      December 8, 2014 at 9:16 am

      I don’t know about that idea about “protesters should become police”:
      Police departments refuse applications from candidates with high IQs (though I’m sure there are also stupid protesters – they are drawn from the cauldron of humanity).
      it looks like if you’re smart enough to protest how the police work, you’re unsuitable to be in the police.
      I wonder how that works out.

  4. joesantus
    December 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    “Does the USA, as a society, function largely on the basis of constant explicit and implicit threats or does it function on the basis of a melange of individual calculations, some goodwill, some fear and some guilt? Well.. in my opinion, the functioning of american society has become increasingly dependent on the constant application of explicit and implicit threats. While we can certainly argue about whether that was always the case, it is quite clear that there was a period from the 1930s to the 1970s when optimism and belief in a better future was the driving force for people keeping up their end of the social contract.”

    And I suspect that a major tool in that increasing dependency upon reaction to threats has been RadFeminism and its pervasive affects since 1970.

    “Calculation” versus “reaction” parallels male rationality versus female emotionalism (speaking generally and not particularly, since each gender has its outliers and its ranges).

    The male psyche is typically better able to detach itself from the emotions stirred by events, to pause, objectively analyze, to calmly deliberate, and to recognize that reality often requires “lesser-among-evils” pragmatic approaches over idealistic, “nobody-loses, everyone-is-equally-valuable, don’t-hurt-anyone’s-feelings” approaches .

    The female psyche has it complemetary purposes for the survival of the human species (offspring-nurture being a major one), but females ‘ emotional sensitivity hinders their ability to detach emotionally, to pause and accept a wait before action, to remain calmly objective, to accept pragmatism over idealism. Female pysche impels to a “do-something-NOW-and-make-everyone-feel-good!” approach to life and issues — and to threats, real or perceived..

    Female emotional impulsivity is well-fitted to a society being driven by threat-dependency.

    I suspect that the threat-dependency AD sees is partly because RadFeminism has managed to infect US society with a female-pysche emotional-reaction attitude that has gradually overshadowed an objective-calculation approach to issues and situations.

    • joesantus
      December 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      …and to preempt possible misunderstanding — I don’t see that US society ever had some idyllic period of “objective calculation”.

      I believe the human species, being a sort of biologically duct-taped “just-good-enough-to-keep-the-species-surviving-for-at-least-now” mixture of conflicting electrochemistries, can’t function purely rationally and objectively even if it sincerely strives to do so.

      But, I think that RadFeministas have made what was an inherently-dysfunctional US society exponentially worse.

  5. Rum
    December 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I was just a little guy when I figured this one out: If you do not put cops in fear of death or great bodily harm, they will not shoot you. I know… this is too complicated for some.
    Cops know how few of them there are. They also know that they need to be able to go home someplace where they are not worried about things like blood-vengeance.

  6. December 9, 2014 at 7:58 am

    In response to the idiots who defend these impotent tyrants by saying “They’re just doing their job…”, I’ll just quote myself from my October writing here…


    Before anyone accepts a job or a career move, it would be in their best interests to review the job description, it’s requirements and any possible dangers or discrepancies of that job/career. Wouldn’t anyone think that’s more important than the amount of annual salaries, perks (hookups, benefits) and sweet-ass pension deals? Did they at least determine the possibilities of working with certain people – dangerous or otherwise – before accepting the job? Or were they just too obsessed with the perks rather than the realities of public relations? That said, should I have any sympathy for them or any other idiot who chose high-stress professions by their own fucking admission?

    If I were to take a job being a prison guard, lording over caged ‘animals’ (murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc.) and for no reason, five guys wanted to rape me or throw feces on me, should I blame them? Or should I look at the fact that I chose that occupation? I accepted the occupation, I signed the contract and before making that vow, I should have reviewed the job description and duties in the same matter my employer has reviewed my application and interviewed me beforehand. So placing blame on anyone other than oneself is not something I have any respect or empathy for.

    P.S. I don’t buy that bullshit about their job being hard. There’s others who go through worse and if it’s that bad, why bother with it and bring everyone else down in the hole you’re in?

    • joesantus
      December 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      I agree, Odessa.

      Job “professionalism” extends to every type of job, and much moreso to a job in which stress-filled engaging with the public is explicit and fundamental to the job.

      No argument, each of us is tempted/tested to react inappropriately emotionally at times — during my decades of contract building, there were times when, IF I’d followed my feelings instead of my reason, I’d have punched a customer in the face.
      But, choosing to take a job which explicitly involves interacting with the public requires maintaining a professional, often impassive, attitude. If an adult is unable to handle people’s difficult attitudes and misbehavior without reacting badly himself, then that adult is unqualified for holding any job which requires dealing with the public.

      And, when a person who’s chosen a public-interaction job does fail to behave professionally, he needs to be man enough to admit his failure.

  7. December 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Honestly I think convenience store clerks in certain areas have it worse than the police.Their job requires them to indulge the whims of all their customers basically.One disparaging phone call can get them fired.

  8. Dave
    December 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    It’s real simple. The powers that be love to have the races riled up at each other – the old game of divide and conquer. Keep the 99% fighting amongst each other and ignoring the 1% that are looting and pillaging the whole damn country. White people who think this is strictly racial are delusional – pigs kill white people but usually not so openly.

    Brown may have been less than perfect but he did not deserve to be shot 6 times by the Neanderthal Wilson (look at his photo – perfect example of a subnormal IQ goober). Garner’s only crime was selling cigs without taxes being paid, the ultimate sin for the government goons.

    • December 17, 2014 at 6:12 am

      Garner’s only crime was selling cigs without taxes being paid, the ultimate sin for the government goons.

      Something Arabics and Chaldeans get away with doing at liquor stores and gas stations in Detroit – selling “loosie” cigs for $.25 – .$50 in the ghettos of Detroit, even to high school kids.

  1. December 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

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