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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Friday, December 16, 2005

R.A. Wilson, Prophet

All this Cory Maye business--i.e., the criminalization of self-defense when the criminal thugs attacking you are in uniform--reminded me of a passage in R.A. Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy. Hagbard Celine, Wilson's central character, describes the Illuminati's strategy for acquiring total power in the U.S.:

Their grip on Washington is still pretty precarious. They've been able to socialize the economy. But if they showed their hand now and went totalitarian all the way, there would be a revolution. Middle-roaders would rise up with right-wingers, and left-libertarians, and the Illuminati aren't powerful enough to withstand that kind of massive revolution. But they can rule by fraud, and by fraud eventually acquire access to the tools they need to finish the job of killing off the Constitution....

The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such [totalitarian] laws in the public mind. ...[T]he people reason--or are manipulated into reasoning--that the entire populace must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted....

....At present rate, within the next few years the Illuminati will have the American people under tighter surveillance than Hitler had the Germans. And the beauty of it is, the majority of the Americans will have been so frightened by Illuminati-backed terrorist incidents that they will beg to be controlled as a masochist begs for the whip.

Although Wilson probably wrote the conspiratorial aspect of it about half tongue-in-cheek (it's hard to tell with him), what's really interesting is Celine's list of specific police state measures that would be gradually be adopted by the government.

Universal electronic surveillance.

Echelon, TIA, and all the other hijinks of those jolly folks lurking in the bowels of Ft. Meade. Not to mention the ubiquity of public surveillance cameras and traffic light cameras in the UK, and near-ubiquity in the U.S. Or the mating of facial recognition technology to government databases, already experimented with in some jurisdictions. But as the sheeple say, you've nothing to fear unless you've done something wrong.

No-knock laws.

No-knock warrants (i.e., warrants which are by definition impossible for the home-owner to inspect before the state invades his "castle") are S.O.P. in the drug war. And unless you've got the nerves of steel required to remain absolutely motionless when awakened by jackboots kicking down your door and invading your totally dark house in the dead of night, and refrain from twitching an eyelid, you'll likely have the shit beaten out of you and be charged with resisting arrest. Or at worst, be shot or tasered to death.

Stop and frisk laws.

The NYPD under Giulani, among other inner city occupation forces.

Government inspection of first-class mail.

Not quite here yet, although the mandatory connection of both USPS and private mailbox rentals to street addresses, and "smart stamp" proposals, are steps in that direction.

Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime.

Already here, along with mandatory DNA samples in some jurisdictions. Hell, there's pressure for the public at large to "voluntarily" submit blood samples as an act of "good citizenship" when a rapist or murderer is on the loose. And depending on where you live, you may get an automatic drug test when you go to the ER, with positive results passed along to the police. Along with "know your customer" banking laws, Lowe's record keeping of purchases of potential meth components, and the like, the latter is part of a growing phenomenon of "private" businesses acting as arms of the police state.

A law making it illegal to resist even unlawful arrest.

When I first Googled the phrase "resist even unlawful arrest" out of curiosity, about four years ago, I found a link to a court decision (in Ohio, I think) explicitly using those words in its opinion. Can't find it any more (little help?). But as we've recently seen, it's illegal to act in self-defense against armed invasion of your house, if it turns out the thugs kicking in your door were in uniform.

Remember that scene in Stranger in a Strange Land, where Jubal Harshaw makes the cops produce their badges and warrants, one at a time, before he lets them into the compound? In response to the squad leader's claim to have an arrest warrant, Harshaw said something like "And I've got a warrant to part your hair with a shotgun, unless you do everything decently and in order." Try getting away with that in today's real police state, unlike Heinlein's fictional Federation.

Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives.

Already provided for under the terms of the McCarran Internal Security Act, long before Illuminatus! was even a gleam in Wilson's eye.

Gun control laws.

Do I really need to comment on this? OK--the Brady law.

Restrictions on travel.

DWI and drug roadblocks, the TSA and no-fly list (with the same likely on the way for train and bus travel), a de facto national ID under the guise of state drivers' licenses, required for using the airlines.... In other words, we're already most of the way to an internal passport system.
Wilson wrote this some thirty years ago, when 2005 was a science-fictiony year of domed cities and anti-grav cars. And, hard as it may be to remember (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia), it was written before most of these things had yet come to pass.

And as Joe Sobran recently pointed out (hat tip to Chris Tame on LA Forum), whatever "freedom" we still have left isn't based on rights at all, but rather on privileges granted to us by a total state.

Americans are still permitted to do a great many things, though not as many things as their ancestors could take for granted. Fine. But permission isn't freedom. The privilege of a subject isn't the right of a free man. If you can own only what the government permits you to own, then in essence the government owns you. We no longer tell the state what our rights are; it tells us.

Such is the servitude Americans are now accustomed to under an increasingly bureaucratic state. Permission, often in the form of legal licensing, is the residue of the old freedom; but we're supposed to think that this is still "the land of the free," and that we owe our freedom to the state, its laws, and especially its wars. The more the state grows -- that is, the more it fulfills the character of national socialism -- the freer we're told we are.

4 Comments:

Blogger Joel Schlosberg said...

It so happens that yesterday, Mark Frauenfelder of the popular blog boing boing scanned and released online the first issue (from 1989) of his zine of the same name (unfortunately it's a 16 megabyte PDF so you're probably out of luck on a dialup connection). It includes an interview with Robert Anton Wilson, an article on "Techno-Thwarting the State!" with cryptography, and another interview with libertarian Jack Dean. From the latter:

BB: Do you think that's possible, to just have anarchy?

JD: Sure.

BB: Do you think that would work?

JD: It depends on what you mean by anarchy of course. The politicians define anarchy as being chaos, but it's not that at all. Anarchy is just a lack of government. I mean you have anarchy generally in a home owners assoication, where the agreements are entered into voluntarily and people handle getting the lawn mowed an dgetting the streets paved, the street lights, and things like that. It's done through a voluntary association.

December 17, 2005 7:51 AM  
Blogger troutsky said...

They are so damned good at surveilance, spying, satellite imagery etc but they want us to believe they lost track of thousands of tons of WMDs."Our intelligence turned out to be wrong" is insulting my intelligence.

December 19, 2005 4:07 PM  
Blogger jomama said...

Rights are a bad con, going on bended knee to The Glorious Leaders to ask for an extended leg chain.

Aack.

December 20, 2005 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Thanks for turning me onto Wilson. I'd had that book recommended too many so many times, and your mention was the proverbial straw. I'm loving the Trilogy currently - can't put it down. Would it be gullible of me to admit that it to a certain extent it makes sense (considering that Eyes Wide Shut is the scariest movie I've ever seen, and Harry Potter creeps me out to no end)? :-)

December 28, 2005 8:15 AM  

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