Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An Extremist Position

I know you love your country - so this must be for all the other countries out there.

A natural basis of relationship is family and tribe , a tribe acting as an extended family. Normally these relationships operate under known rules that are accepted by the group's members.

As group size increases, rules are created that support the dominance of the few. An early stage might be a city state - we can use Rome as an example. Some families will dominate - rules to support and perpetuate that dominance are put into effect.

When Rome first expanded beyond to include local conquered groups it afforded them the opportunity to join with Rome under their rules. As growth continued oppression increased with each new victory, the increasingly harsh rules at the edges of empire enshrined the ruling class of Rome.

Beyond a certain size groups will be inherently unequal. Democracy changes the structure but does not change the facts, the majority is now the ruling class making rules to their benefit. Consider three lions and one sheep voting on what is for dinner.

My view is that government originally sprang from roving tribes of criminals that stole from early agrarians. These bands eventually settled down and stole in one convenient location - offering "protection" in exchange for support. A government would then be the first form of organized crime, one reason it fights all other organized crime that tries to muscle into its territory.

Into this admittedly extreme position I will, with apologies to the author, insert a quote by a brilliant man - who I am reasonably sure did not expect to have this quote applied in this manner.

"Look at the tyranny of party--at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty--a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes--and which turns voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits" - Mark Twain


I regard this as what it appears to be - a condemnation of ignorantly and automatically supporting your vastly extended political tribe in elections.

But since Samuel Langhorne Clemens is no longer here to defend his hard work, I will paraphrase it and put it to my own uses.

Look at the tyranny of country--at what is called patriotic allegiance, patriotic loyalty--a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes--and which turns citizens into chattles, slaves, rabbits.


allegiance can be a virtue.

Supporting and defending yourself, your family, and your friends when they are in the right is both natural and to be applauded.

Commitment to a just cause is a hallmark of rational beings.

Connection with a local team or institution can enrich your life. Cheering for a team is a harmless identity projection.

However -- following a faction or group of loosely defined causes without reservation is ignorant tribalism.

Roving criminals still exist, and will settle into any group that folks follow blindly. From a position of authority they will then abuse power and seek to perpetuate their dominance.

The good news is that society is changing - technology is empowering thoughtful individuals to reclaim their personal freedom.

It may not happen soon enough for you, unless you take control for yourself.

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