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05/22/2006 Archived Entry: "Government and a permanent state of righteous anger"
YESTERDAY, MY SWEET LITTLE FOSTER DOG NADIA (aka "Naja") did one of the Uber-Big Bads -- this time putting her paws up on a counter and eating catfood, extremely bad for both doggie health and domestic decorum.
You know the Uber-Big Bads -- those handful of doggie deeds that can't be handled with the usual stern look and firm "no." I stood between that girl and her exit route and I made her cower. I told her that she was a Bad Dog. I told her if she ever did that again she'd not only be a Bad Dog, but that the status would be irrevocable. She'd be sentenced to life without possibility of parole in Bad Dogdom. After that she'd go to the Place Where Bad Dogs Go, to be tormented by canine-sexual, S & M oriented kitties (and I don't mean Siamese & Manx) with six-inch claws. And she'd get a bath every day for all eternity. And that would be for starters. She cowered. I put on my little act and felt stupid. I stopped as soon as she got it and five minutes later we were all huggie and lovey again.
(Until the next time she eats the cat food, which, knowing her, the little libertarian, she will.)
I'll bet if you have to act that way to your pet or your child, you also feel like an ass. After the first outburst (which may or may not be genuine), all you want is for the conflict and its bad feelings to be over. You sometimes need to get high-handedly righteous to make a Major Point of health or safety with a little one, but you don't relish those times.
Then it occurred to me that there are some people in the world who actually like having weak, helpless little beings cowering in front of them. It's their peak state -- or rather the state they spend much of their time in, because everything everybody else does fails to suit them, and therefore they're righteously angry all the time because all these other people are the only thing standing between them and Total Control.
Next to Total Control, righteous anger is the very best thing. Ick. Sick. I think we've all been there at times, feeling like we're 100 percent right while the people we're dealing with are 100 percent wrong. All that Raw, Burning, POW-AH!!!!
We don't want to stay there, though. If we're healthy we'll avoid situations and people who bring out that side of us.
But men (and a few women) who love that righteous superiority and its accompanying outrage are the ones attracted to pursue high levels of power -- e.g. government. That's also what the military engenders or fosters. And increasingly I fear that law enforcement is being dominated by those types, too.
In everyday living, the LEOs who think like that are the scariest of all. First, because we see them. You'll probably never see George W. Bush up close, right? Not unless it's 1/10th of a second before his Secret Service agents tackle you, drag you off breaking three ribs in the process, and/or kill you. But you could at any moment encounter Officer McRough.
Second reason they're scarier is that they don't start at an elevated level ("The world would be run perfectly if you serfs and vassals would perform your function properly"). They're at an "angry just to stay alive" level. Rage is their way of staying just minimally, possibly safe.
There's some validity to that attitude, given the nature of the job. I recall a study a few years back that said the cops who get killed in the line of duty tend not to be the classic "pigs," shoving their weight around, but Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy, the cop everybody likes, who may be too trusting.
But the moment governments began creating a specialist class of police who tend to see nothing but the worst in other people day in, month in, year in, they began creating an inherently paranoid and angry class. Not that every member of the class is ugly. But the job tends to select for ugly, over time. And to foster righteous hostility. Especially when you increase the number of "crimes" and "offenders" by passing more and more laws. The overwhelmed + angry + righteous cop can be a scary cop.
I know. The "run the world" guy kills people by the 10s of thousands, often the millions. Mr. "Mine's Not Only Bigger than Yours, Mine's the Biggest One on the Whole Planet" is the more culpable villain, though they're all part of the same marauding band. But the "my wife's a bitch, my kid's a lazy fatass, and even my hound dog won't obey me, and you look like a convenient target for my frustrations" guy (or his lovely and charming female equivalent) is the one we're going to look in the eye and try to deal with.
I kept thinking about the film critic (Roger Ebert, I think) who said the tagline of V for Vendetta was based on a false premise. Neither governments nor people should fear each other, he said, but work together harmoniously for mutual benefit. Except of course, you can't do that. It's impossible.
You always ultimately end up with the nice people getting as far away as they can from government "service" and the nastyfolk or those who can be easily molded into nastyfolk signing up in droves. Then with their rules and regulations, their false promises of safety and security, they create moreangry, frustrated people.
They invent a permanent underclass for whom the easiest way to rise is to get a government job or take a government handout. So they create more offices and agencies for them to fill or for them to suck at. And the need for government "services" increases. And the need for enforcement of all the new rules and laws. And the anger feeds and feeds and feeds on itself ... their anger inspiring our anger ... and our anger in turn inspiring them to feel threatened by our every website, gathering, or political tee-shirt. And they crack down. And we cower and comply. And they crack down. And we cower and comply. And they crack down. and we ...
Well, have a happy little future. Me, I'm off to pet the pups.
Posted by Claire @ 11:17 AM CST