node created 2019/09/29
Also, bear in mind, people ought to be pretty critical about the Nuremberg principles. I don't mean to suggest they're some kind of model of probity or anything. For one thing, they were ex post facto. These were determined to be crimes by the victors after they had won. Now, that already raises questions. In the case of the American presidents, they weren't ex post facto. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself what was called a "war crime"? How did they decide what was a war crime at Nuremberg and Tokyo? And the answer is pretty simple. and not very pleasant. There was a criterion. Kind of like an operational criterion. If the enemy had done it and couldn't show that we had done it, then it was a war crime. So like bombing of urban concentrations was not considered a war crime because we had done more of it than the Germans and the Japanese. So that wasn't a war crime. You want to turn Tokyo into rubble? So much rubble you can't even drop an atom bomb there because nobody will see anything if you do, which is the real reason they didn't bomb Tokyo. That's not a war crime because we did it. Bombing Dresden is not a war crime. We did it. German Admiral Gernetz -- when he was brought to trial (he was a submarine commander or something) for sinking merchant vessels or whatever he did -- he called as a defense witness American Admiral Nimitz who testified that the U.S. had done pretty much the same thing, so he was off, he didn't get tried. And in fact if you run through the whole record, it turns out a war crime is any war crime that you can condemn them for but they can't condemn us for. Well, you know, that raises some questions.

[..]

I think one ought to raise many questions about the Nuremberg tribunal, and especially the Tokyo tribunal. The Tokyo tribunal was in many ways farcical. The people condemned at Tokyo had done things for which plenty of people on the other side could be condemned. Furthermore, just as in the case of Saddam Hussein, many of their worst atrocities the U.S. didn't care about. Like some of the worst atrocities of the Japanese were in the late '30s, but the U.S. didn't especially care about that. What the U.S. cared about was that Japan was moving to close off the China market. That was no good. But not the slaughter of a couple of hundred thousand people or whatever they did in Nanking. That's not a big deal.
the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
The isms go; the ist dies; art remains.
Still the element of criminals must not be missing from any concentration camp. [..] the fact that nearly without exception they compromise the aristocracy of the camps and fulfill administrative duties, shows clearly that it is much harder to kill the juridical person of a human who is guilty of someone, than of someone who is innocent. The rise of criminals into the aristocracy of the camps is similar to the improvement that happens in the juridical situation of the stateless, who also lost their rights as citizens, when they resolve to commit a theft.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft", S. 656
The forest would be pretty quiet if only the best birds sang.
That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen.
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation. Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.

At this stage of history either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must - namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.

The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.
What's particularly strange about this set of personality and style attacks is what little relationship they bear to reality. Far from being some sort of brutal, domineering, and angry "alpha-male" savage, Chomsky - no matter your views of him - is one of the most soft-spoken and unfailingly civil and polite political advocates on the planet. It's true that his critiques of those who wield power and influence can be withering - that's the central function of an effective critic or just a human being with a conscience - but one would be hard-pressed to find someone as prominent as he who is as steadfastly polite and considerate and eager to listen when it comes to interacting with those who are powerless and voiceless. His humanism is legion. And far from being devoid of hope, it's almost impossible to find an establishment critic more passionate and animated when talking about the ability of people to join together to create real social and political change.
"And in her ears the little Seashells, the timble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming on on the shore of her unsleeping mind."

So, even as she rests, Mildred is surrounded by noise, by constant entertainment, just like she is during the day with her t.v. walls. Montag's society uses these seashells for two purposes. The first is to control information, and hence, thought and potential rebellion. If they are the ones controlling what information you get, they can tell you whatever they want, giving only one perspective, and painting a rosy picture so that people are never discontented. They also use the shells to relay important information. For example, when Montag escapes at the end, they send a message through all of the seashells for everyone to look out for him, and to turn him in if they see him. They automatically have a huge civilian army at hand, through the use of the seashells. Secondly, if people are constantly "plugged in," they don't have any spare time for their minds to be on their own. If people never have silence, they never think, and so never have the kind of discontented thought that come from meditation.

Mildred stays "tuned in" so much that she really has no mind of her own. In this sense, she is a perfect citizen of her society. I hope that these thoughts helped; good luck!
Our evolution within terrestrial physical reality "forced" us to participate in well-calibrated local marketplaces of ideas, and our psychology evolved specifically so that we had a fine-tuned balance of what we subjectively "wanted" and what we found ourselves coming to believe, despite that initial-condition "want" -- dissenting views in a room have both a repulsion but also a very specific gravity -- a closeness that emerges amongst holders of opposing ideas, when these ideas have manifested and are walking around in human bodies within shared meatspace -- we start to empathize with holders of countering views that we're forced to share physical space with. We talk about empathy like it's feelings for the other pieces of meat, but it's perhaps better conceived as a kinship of one tight bundle of ideas for another. It's evolved and it's ancient and it's a very specific foraging strategy for 2D terrestrial creatures finding information/food under those constraints.

And now, we've designed systems that aren't nearly as clever and well-calibrated as our meatspace selves evolved to be. In the purely physical space we evolved for, we had to share space with people we probably disagreed with, and we developed unique tendencies based on the nature of living on a 2D terrestrial plane. Heck, we'd have different psychology favoured if we made it to this level of the great filter, but happened to evolve in the air (3D grid) or within a more one-dimensional environment or some hyperdimensional space.

Speaking of high-dimensional space: enter the internet. Might our prior foraging strategies and adaptations stacked onto our prior foraging strategies... might they fail now? Foraging strategies are informed by the math of the landscape. [..] Our psychology is tailored to adapting to physical reality on a plane, and the internet might totally fuck that up. (What is an internet bubble? Maybe it's just my stepping out of the 2D terrestrial grid and engaging through a hidden, non-spatial dimension with some foraging target I can sense near me?) It's like all places are piped into one another, outside physical reality. This isn't Kansas. It's the formation of a hyperdimensional object. It's no longer a 2D grid, and our predispositions and adaptations for navigating such a grid might drive us to extinction.
People react, but their reaction is channeled into a false dichotomy. What the elites learned from 1984 etc. is that you do need to provide an enemy for the people, but the people are not united; so you need to provide two enemies, each of which is a champion of one side and a foe for the other, and then let the spectre of this false choice become the defining characteristic of people's identity.

Witness it in the people who hate Trump or Clinton or Biden or anyone else that is put forward: you can divide an entire country on it right down the middle, and meanwhile their policies in reality (not policy positions! implementations!) are basically indistinguishable. The same thing would happen regardless of who is elected, for the most part, because the election is a show, a pressure release valve to make people think they've done something.

Even now we have people who think that electing Biden will help solve the problems you've pointed out. People ostensibly on the Left are mad about four years of rhetoric that has been riling them up, and have pulled the lever for "change" to resolve this. And yes, you will _hear_ less about blacks being shot by police for four years - that's part of the strategy, which the media cooperates / coordinates with. The actual number of incidents may not change... Instead, it will be time for news stories and events which angry up the Right for a few years, again forcing them to direct their resources and energy at fighting some spectre that won't change anything instead of directing their efforts inward to truly root out corruption and decay.

There is no protest. Protests are just the establishment throwing a different sort of parade, celebrating their power by demonstrating what they can allow to happen without facing any consequences themselves. Go ahead, yell in the street, burn down a city - nothing changes because nobody is listening and your actions ultimately only hurt people lower down the chain.

Surveillance did not stop the summer of Antifa and BLM rioting. It will not stop a summer of redneck riots if that's in the cards either. Surveillance probably does stop people who actually stand some chance of causing real change; but if that is a functional, working thing, you won't hear a word about it.
Defining efforts to slow/prevent/reverse anthropogenic climate change as "political crusades" has been one of the great propaganda victories of the oligarchs who are raping and pillaging the planet to line their pockets now and will be long dead by the time industrialized human society has come under undeniable threat as a consequence of their actions.

Fuck that. Entities willfully contributing to climate change should be censured and marginalized with extreme prejudice.
To them, violence, power, cruelty, were the supreme capacities of men who had definitely lost their place in the universe and were much too proud to long for a power theory that would safely bring them back and reintegrate them into the world. They were satisfied with blind partisanship in anything that respectable society had banned, regardless of theory or content, and they elevated cruelty to a major virtue because it contradicted society’s humanitarian and liberal hypocrisy.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
It’s im­por­tant for us to crit­i­cize tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies. And it’s not hard, be­cause they’re full of shit.
A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.
Ideology does not arise from pure reason, it does not spring from the void. Ideology does not exist on its own, only in conjunction with power structures; ideology is completely subordinate to physical power. Ideology does not create power, it rationalizes it.
Glance at the sun. See the moon and stars. Gaze at the beauty of the green earth. Now think.
They looked at each other for a moment.

The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

For Arthur, who would usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savanna stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He didn't realize that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones until now it said something it had never said to him before, which was "yes."
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside. Quite a number of people console themselves with this thought, now that totalitarianism in one form or another is visibly on the up-grade in every part of the world. Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the regime can record their thoughts in perfect freedom — that is the idea, more or less.
Don't compromise yourself. It's all you've got.
If you want to find corruption, then "Follow the money." If you want to find authoritarians, you can follow the flow of fundamental things in much the same way:

- Who is doing the silencing?
- Who is engaging in coercion?
- Who wishes for the power to coerce?
- Who is using violence?
- Who is distorts the truth to push agendas?
- Who eschews the universal for the momentarily convenient?
But when they plunder from these miners, these children, my fellow citizens, countrymen, thrown out on the highways and mother insulted — do you think that they will be good citizens when they grow up? I don't. The revenge and resentment will be buried there if they grow into manhood, it will develop, they will kill, they will murder to get even with those who robbed them. I want you to stop that. I don't want it to go on. Your Governor may, but I don't. I want the children to have the best of influence, I want the children to have good schooling, I want women to know nothing but what is good, I want to leave to this nation a nobler manhood and greater womanhood. Can I do it? No, I can't, boys, with the administration you have got, I can't do it.

I can do it if you men and women will stand together, find out the seat of the disease and pull it up by the roots.

Take possession of that state house, that ground is yours. (Someone interrupted, and the speaker said "Shut your mouth.")

You built that state house, didn't you? You pay the public officials, don't you? You paid for that ground, didn't you? (Cries of: "Yes," "yes.")

Then, who does it belong to? Then why did the militia chase you off? You have been hypnotized. The trouble has been that they wanted the slave system to continue. They have had a glass for you and your wives and children to look into. They have you hypnotized.
If you care about other people, that’s now a very dangerous idea. If you care about other people, you might try to organize to undermine power and authority. That’s not going to happen if you care only about yourself. Maybe you can become rich, but you don’t care whether other people’s kids can go to school, or can afford food to eat, or things like that. In the United States, that’s called “libertarian” for some wild reason. I mean, it’s actually highly authoritarian, but that doctrine is extremely important for power systems as a way of atomizing and undermining the public.
Youth and what the Italians so prettily call stamina. The vigor, the fire, that enables you to love and create. When you've lost that, you've lost everything.
"The Woman Destroyed"
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
Sure, torturing Uyghurs is kind of sucky. But do you realize the depth of the pain of the Chinese people, who even now, 70 years after the Communists took over, still nurse all the psychological wounds that came from 100 years of humiliation? Look, China has had a glorious 5000 years of history as a civilization. So this means that when you hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, you're wounding them to the core of their very beings, because that history runs so deep. That might make them seem a bit more sensitive, almost like cry-babies to your eyes, but that's only because you don't understand their pain. Whatever torture the Uyghurs are experiencing is nothing like the pain the Chinese people feel when a soccer player besmirches the moral character of the CCP.
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
"The Stand"