(City updated. My mind is failing me. Also this is a Monday repost from Sunday’s original post because I am having some technical difficulties with a feed.)
I’m not going to turn this blog into a site exposing police abuses and brutality but cheap handheld video devices and sites like Youtube are now helping to turn the tide against illegitimate authority. In the case of police abuses, society is now able to demand greater accountability for unwarranted and often criminal police behavior. This in turn has caused many municipalities and government entities to seek increased limitations on police transparency. This story is so heinous, so inhumane and so indefensible that I want to use it to highlight a topic we have talked about before. That is, the U.S. has become a police state.
The U.S. surely isn’t comparable to third world police states where people disappear in the middle of the night. Our constitution hasn’t been completely dismantled. But, let’s be honest. The CIA, as just one example, is carrying out those exact policies of abduction and extraction (illegal/irregular rendition) outside of our borders. In other words, outside of the view and authority of the United States Constitution and its associated liberties, our government is abducting people without a warrant, without due process, and often with the intent of torture and state-sponsored assassination; something many today, including a few brave souls in Congress, cite as state-sponsored murder. (If you can watch this video and not be stirred to defend against brutality, well, then you might as well quit reading this post. Because you are so consumed by the war state’s propaganda that I would anticipate you hold its cold and calculated views on human life and dignity rather than the views held by a reasoned society embracing the rule of law.)
Without due process or the rule of law, any killing sponsored by the state can truly be classified as nothing other than murder. Is this practice really any different than lynching? Or Nazi Germany’s abduction of state enemies? It is savage brutality surrounded by endless calculated state rationalizations.
It’s quite obvious to me that the U.S. police state is a direct consequence of the for-profit military-industrial complex and the associated war state. Our police often are armed more like paramilitary troops than peace officers. And who benefits from this endless sale of weaponry, intelligence gathering technology and paramilitary training? Of course, the for-profit war machine - the military-industrial complex who lobby our government for the endless overbuying of the war machine’s goods and services. We buy and buy and buy. Then we buy even more. We buy so much that we mothball or park current technology because we can’t afford or rationalize keeping all of the purchases within the active military. In other words, there is no rationalization for a substantial amount of for-profit military-industrial complex expenditures beyond lining the pockets of for-profit military-industrial complex. As we pointed out before, we have the world’s second largest air force mothballed in the desert. And much of that is current technology overproduced by the state. This is no different than the state-based production quotas of communist China and the Soviet Union.
Now with the government outsourcing of war and security to for-profit entities, how many thousands of new for-profit contractors are involved in the bloated bureaucracy of the security apparatus, Afghanistan, Iraq, war state and beyond? And what does it say about the war state’s values that we are the leading exporter of machines that serve no purpose other than mass genocide and murder? And that we sell most of this technology and associated services to corrupt or often brutal regimes who share none of our society’s democratic values?
This same war state dynamic has infiltrated our peace officer ranks. As David Stockman recently pointed out, U.S. defense spending is 60% higher in real terms than under Eisenhower during the Cold War; a shocking statistic. (The Cold War was also a fear-based propaganda policy of aggression by the U.S. war state. I’m not saying the Soviet Union posed zero threat to world stability.) And, if one adds in the cost of Homeland Security, hidden and off balance sheet budgets of nontransparent spying & intelligence activities and the massive bubble in peace officer spending for arms, training and paramilitary equipment, the U.S. war machine spends not only more than every other country’s military on earth combined but they spend more than most governments on earth combined. And this overspending on aggression often forces other states across the world to spend substantially to keep from being bullied by the U.S.’s military policy of global aggression.
And tell me how does this massive overspending and militarization of our society serve democracy? Educate our children? Solve poverty? Provide sustainable economic opportunity? Perpetuate democratic ideals around the globe? Lead to human development and the perpetuation of democratic ideals for our citizens? It serves the for-profit Wall Street banks who finance it, the politicians who take bribes in one form or another to endorse it and the for-profit military-industrial complex who becomes rich off of the endless debt our society is saddled with to buy it. We are going broke not because we cannot afford Social Security or national health care, but because we are a nation of aggression and corrupted our leadership.
There is little doubt that the for-profit military-industrial complex and countless associated acts signed by Congress and Presidents over the decades have eroded our constitutional liberties and given unprecedented powers to the war state, the police and to intelligence or spying bureaucracies. And those acts were often presented as safety measures that were pushed through our legal system using state-based terror, fear and propaganda to gain support. Propaganda that served the for-profit military-industrial complex and political bureaucracies seeking more power and control. The driver for many, if not most of these laws were primarily profit or power and therefore, corruption of our democracy. (The same terror and fear technique used to bail out Wall Street with our money without holding them accountable as to how they used it, whether they were accountable for crimes that created that need or whether its management teams should be sacked or imprisoned for incompetence or criminal negligence or outright criminal acts.)
From Kelly Thomas’ beating death story in Fullerton (links below) and countless other examples of police aggression, it’s obvious we are screening and/or training many of our peace officer positions using failed criteria. It’s obvious because the aggression we see in our peace officer ranks is now comparatively common and well too often shockingly disturbing. And that aggression is substantially endorsed by the state’s militarization of our peace officer corps . (Watch this video!)
There is no way any human being could literally beat to death a small-framed, unarmed mentally-ill man crying out for his father to help him without being incredibly unstable and unqualified to be a peace officer or to serve society. These are not mistakes in judgment. These acts of aggression point to very substantially unstable personalities. There is simply no defense for what has happened in Fullerton and in countless other cases of police aggression that are on the rise over the last few decades.
Humans exhibit four generalized personality types. Passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive and assertive. Only assertive is possible of becoming completely healthy. And, by the way, it is most assuredly the least common personality type. Because most people, through life’s endless dysfunctional experiences, never learn how to be assertive or emotionally-healthy without consciously seeking personal transformation. Aggressive personality types are the most overtly unstable and egomaniacal comprising such examples as narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, aggressive personality disorder, sociopathic personality disorder, etc. Even when aggressive personalities don’t exhibit all of the traits of a personality disorder, they still exhibit a substantial emotional unbalance that manifests itself in unwanted and destructive behavioral issues. In other words, someone might not be full-blown psychotic, but they exhibit many of the personality traits of severe personality disturbances.
Much of the violence in our society is a result of how the military-industrial complex, our political leadership and the endless military propaganda glorifies aggressive behavior. It transcends every aspect of our society. We then see this endorsement of aggression trickle all throughout other elements of our society. That includes the corporate state’s glorification of aggression we see on Wall Street and in major corporations who embrace exploitive, predatory and ruthless corporate and economic policies. And who often exploit and prey on our citizens. It also manifests itself through the acceptance by many of extremely aggressive cult-like religious leaders who seem to rise to levels of authority as fear and hate mongers. Cult-like figures who manipulate their followers to exploit the often innocent in our society. It manifests itself in the hyper-competitive behavior parents encourage in their children. (By the way, as we have noted before, the hyper-competitiveness in our economy encourages citizens to turn on citizens in a bout to win the limited economic opportunity that exists in our country.) The impacts of the glorification of aggression are endless. And so are the unintended consequences. We once had an economy that often sought to encouraged lifetime employment, a living wage and economic opportunity for every American. And a religious community that encouraged community, empathy, inclusiveness and kindness. And at one time our children were allowed to be children.
Here is my point. When people in authority, who set the tone for the type of society we encourage, glorify aggressive behavior, we essentially are condoning the type of neoliberal economy we are now experiencing, the political corruption and uncivilized political hatred we now witness, the Orwellian predatory corporate cultures we now accept as normal, the hyper-competitive childhood development and associated dysfunctional emotional impacts we often see, the endless military aggression we now glorify, the religious fundamentalism we now see and the aggressive behavior of peace officers and their associated abuses that is now common and even accepted. And with the glorification of aggression, that means the very people who often rise to the level of authority are people who exhibit the most aggressive behavior. In other words, those most willing to throw their fellow man under the bus have a substantial advantage in the neoliberal economy and society. Mind you, aggressive personality types are clearly the most destructive and unstable minds amongst us. I won’t go into a long oration into the litany of personal characteristics of this type of unstable individual but needless to say controlling, narcissistic, self-centered, manipulative, violent, predatory and lacking in empathy are a few words we can use to describe aggressive personality types.
This system recursively reinforces itself until it eventually self-destructs under its completely false and unsustainable belief system. The belief system of an uncentered mind.
Do we wish to have a society based on reason, community, justice, virtue and compassion or control, manipulation, narcissism, exploitation, violence, lawlessness and predation?
As we have ranted incessantly, this is not a financial crisis. It is an economic crisis. And economics is at its core a social science. While that may be lost on the current curriculum and clearly junk theory and junk science taught in university economics curriculums, it is not lost upon reality. Our economy and institutions meant to serve society are now instead being abused by aggressive authority. And that is why these institutions and our economy are collapsing from within. They are collapsing in substantial part because authority glorifies aggressive personality types and all of the destructive behavior that go along with them. A fundamental driver of this dynamic is the war state, the for-profit banking system and the for-profit military-industrial complex. It’s no coincidence all of these are monopoly and predatory bureaucracies run by predatory personality types. Predators have risen to the level of leadership in a society that glorifies their aggression.
By the way, women, being the primary decision maker in forming relationships, play a substantial role in the perpetuation of an aggressive society as well. If women’s beliefs are also affected by the war state and authority’s propaganda, men are often rewarded in the pursuit of intimacy by exhibiting aggressive behavior. (Never to be confused with assertive behavior.) This dynamic then perpetuates itself in the encouragement of aggressive or dysfunctional behavior in intimate relationships and then aggressive and dysfunctional behavior passed onto children. (Isn’t there an old biblical discussion about the sins of the father being passed to the children and grandchildren? Ahem.)
At our core, we are social beings and we learn through observation and mimicry as we have remarked in some lengthy posts. Additionally we have used the novella Marching Morons as a comparison to events in our society today. Society is essentially one giant experiment of never-ending mass delusion. When one realizes this, it is impossible not to be a contrarian with regards to most social beliefs. Or at least beliefs held by crowds. You know, like political crowds, Wall Street crowds, the war rationalization and glorification crowds?
Obviously most people are not aggressive personality types and this dynamic doesn’t apply to everyone, but to some large degree, we are an unstable and leaderless economy and society because the propagandized beliefs and values of the war state encourages completely unsustainable emotional dynamics. Unsustainable emotional dynamics translated into unsustainable socioeconomic dynamics. Our society and our economy are not meeting the emotional needs of most Americans or even worse they are assisting in the creation of uncentered emotionally dynamics in our society. Unnecessarily, might I add. Contrarily it is meeting the needs of aggressive personality types in positions of authority who have a primary intent of control and power. An intent to feed off the productive ability of our citizens while robbing them of a living wage, economic opportunity and democracy when they can.
As we have remarked before, our economy and our society are simply the manifestation of the unstable mind of those within self-granted authority positions. In other words, we are living out the torment of the aggressive and unstable mind through their twisted, unreasoned, lawless policies. Aggressive personality types who now dominate much of the roles of authority in our society have created their own hell on earth through the impression of their unstable minds upon society. And through their manipulation of our society, our rule of law and our government, we are now effectively living out their hell with them. And a prime example of this is the comparatively common occurrences of brutality, arrogance, and aggression exhibited by peace officers.
Kelly Thomas’ father is a retired police officer. He remarks that the police engaged in what is known in law enforcements circles as ‘contempt of cop’. In other words, regardless of the rule of law, or whether anyone has broken any law, the citizen did didn’t do what the cops wanted so they bullied and eventually murdered him under the color of authority. (His words in the video below.) This is substantially representative of pathological behavior. And, if this is a term well known within the peace officer community as he remarks, then we have a systemic pathology crisis within our peace officer corps.
Obviously I don’t want to throw many of the good-intentioned peace officers under the bus, and I know there are many, but what kind of persona are we hiring into our peace officer corps that daily acts of aggression are a regular occurrence? And terms such as ‘contempt of cop’ have become accepted figures of speech within the police community? This type of aggression is arguably something that many in impoverished and underprivileged communities have dealt with through unwarranted harassment for decades. or in some cases for more than a century. Yes, aggressive personality types always seek to infiltrate authority. Even well before the war state existed. But the war state has made social endorsement of this behavior a mainstream phenomenon just as slavery once made endorsement of the same behavior mainstream.
The war state and the permeation of its aggression within our society are collapsing. The role of our military will be restored to national defense with the intent of protecting democracy. Whether that is a conscious decision or whether the war state’s values cause it to self-destruct is irrelevant. The war state’s socioeconomic impact is a self-fulfilling prophecy that will take care of itself if we don’t have the moral clarity to dismantle it. We can see this impact in failed society’s throughout history who also were primarily driven by aggression. That includes all of colonial Europe and countless examples over human history. Aggression is an completely unstable and destructive state of the human mind. And so are the war state’s bureaucracies of aggression. The United States, to some degree, is collapsing for the same reason the Soviet Union ultimately failed. And a major part of that dynamic is the war state.
As part of that dynamic, we need to seriously rethink the role of peace officers in our society. And the psychological competency exams required to become a peace officer. There is well too much violence and too much aggression within this area of public service. The role of a peace officer is to protect, under a rule of law, all people in our society. Kelly Thomas was denied that protection by the officers who brutally beat him to death. The victims of aggression within our society are endless. And so it goes with innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere who are denied that same basic human dignity in lieu of rationalized aggression by the war state.
Salon article on this story
Youtube interview with murdered Kelly Thomas’ father.
Youtube video of local news coverage of this event. (Do not watch this video unless you are prepared to see gruesome images.)
By the way, in closing, the Tea Party is a manifestation of legitimate anger within the American population. But anyone identifying with the aggressive behavior that has come to define much of the Tea Party are supporting the same type of outcome we have been experiencing for the last thirty or forty years. They are electing the same aggressive personality types who will produce the same unstable outcomes.
The way out of this crisis is not achieved through the belief that government is evil so therefore we should dismantle it and leave anarchy and destruction in its place. Doing so is essentially endorsing the same behavior perpetrated by the war state.
The way out of this crisis is by restoring the moral clarity of democratic institutions in this country. And the only way that will ever happen is through the restoration of democracy, a democratic economy and a democratic rule of law. That will only be accomplished by electing and hiring public servants who exhibit qualities of moral clarity; empathy, community, reason, virtue and justice. Those are the timeless virtues of sustainability, stability and democracy.