We used to be able to think that if we obeyed the law, "they" would leave us alone.. I doubt this was ever true. When the "social contract" is broken the idea is that we revolt. The threat of this revolt is supposed to control those in power. "Mob rule" has changed over the years and we have great fear of revolution and perhaps now view it in terms of the famous Russian curse 'may you live in interesting times'. Molly framed this in terms of 'cops and robbers' - the largely black protests about their treatment by cops and the Establishment - yet seen as riots against police violence. This situation is complex, not least because most of us want protection against so many of the people the police take action against. Tony gets a lot of this right in his question about whether you want to call cops or a mob. Writ larger than this we have seen the old Soviet empire collapse and the Arab springs. Democracy and transitional economics have not worked even though many 'braved the bullets' and we have seen elections. The election situation is close to that in Germany when the Nazis and Communists were putting themselves up for election with the express intent of having no more elections - think the Muslim Brotherhood and the situation in Iran.--
I think we should be overthrowing government. Yet I hardly want the 'interesting times' many in the Middle East are suffering or the riots in Baltimore or those in the UK, which spread like wildfire after the shooting of Mark Duggan. I want an end to the state terrorism that has long existed in "empire". There are only 22 countries (out of about 180) that Britain did not invade in empire days, the US having almost caught up on this list of shame. Yet I also don't want to live under foreign jackboots or Sharia Law.
In recent UK elections I voted Green. I would have voted for the Scottish National Party, given the chance, but I live in England. This is because the SNP is a Scandinavian-style social democratic and anti-austerity party. Our Labour Party in now an anachronism and fit only for dissolution. I had no real vote for anything I would support and our first-past-the-post system is a paradigm in decadent decay - to the extent Britain feels increasingly fascist. I say this having lived and worked in the old Soviet block best described as the USSR (four words four lies) and Middle Eastern terror states (best described by an old Iraqi friend disgusted by Saddam, but who said 'at least he keeps the Mullahs off our backs). Political choice in the UK and US is really no choice at all - we essentially "choose" one form of neo-liberalism or the other. This is really not unlike the "choice" in Soviet or third-world voting systems where there is a one-party state. Karl Popper said it mattered much less who we elect and much more what control we have over those who get in power. We have lost a great deal of this control. Blair was elected here on our democratic urges, yet became Thatcher in drag and a disgusting war criminal. I even suspect Thatcher would have kept us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, we never got to vote as a public about the wars since WW2,that have claimed more than 25 million and have many more living in "interesting times".
Now, many living in these interesting times are trying to flee them and we face massive immigration pressures from countries freed from the Soviet yolk and various dictatorships we have deposed. There is other blow-back too. Francis mentioned the 'rough beast' of WB Yeats the other day and I now dream of something vile to come - the the dream content is empty of what this will be. I think this content may be empty because it is played out in the main media theatre that flows past our eyes. We are hands-on in almost nothing these days, as clueless as undergraduates in the theatre of corrupt higher education. Hardly any literature tries to deal with the reality - there is no Belassario producing anything other than government propaganda.
We are living in an Emperor's New Clothes age. I defy anyone to read and understand company accounts and what is passed in front of us government statistics. It takes me days to find killer entries in the accounts of even disasters like Tesco and even then one can only find the money trail to a £250 million hole that is really £6.4 billion one. I can vouch that we are being lied to on the economy and could argue this on the quants, but there is almost no point in a society where most are innumerate. Much business accounting and economics is expressed like this:
1. The Conservatives won a majority in the election.
2. Forget this 'majority' is 37% of those eligible to vote.
3. Forget that 10 million we not registered to vote ("majority" down to 20%)
4. Lots more forgetting that votes only matter in 14% of our constituencies and only 20% of people in them ...
The "majority" is achieved by influencing perhaps as few of 5% of the total population.
Freedom has fallen because we are not capable of rational discussion. Answer - lets educate everyone to be capable of rational discussion - a great Catch 22 as we are obviously no good at education. Arghh!
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