Thursday, October 9, 2008

There are monsters...

The government loves its fear, and yes, there are monsters out there. Monsters waiting to take you, break you, and use you for their own will. When we look out into the darkness, what do we see? What do we hear? Is it that bump in the night? It gives us a thrill, the sound of metal clanking on metal. The old ghost stories of the past come forward in our mind, and we find ourselves with an atavistic dread rising from our hindbrain, cold hands, and sweaty fingers.

Fear is one of the more powerful emotions, perhaps the most powerful. Fear moves us, binds us, breaks us down and leaves us seeking for the protection of someone larger, and stronger. Oh yes, there are monsters in the night... but like some teenager's 'snipe hunting parties', often the monsters are created for a purpose.

We hear all the stories, all the grim details, of how this person was murdered, and talk about the growing crime waves, the massive sensationalism sweeping across our conscience, and designed to bring back that atavistic dread. We hear about the sex offenders in the neighborhood, the drug problems, the problems with children murdering their own parents. We're inundated constantly with fear, and hate. If it's not the Koreans, it's the Russians, the terrorists, the Iraquis, the Iranians. Maybe it's the Christians, the Moslems, oh, wait, look, it's those polygamists. Umm, we were wrong, it's obviously Wall Street. Your retirement is gone! Oh no, I'm sorry! No, I didn't break that, it was the high-flying wall street execs.

We look around and see the increasing numbers of crimes and problems rolling through our country, but don't see that we're actually suffering less crime per capita. We hear the constant inundation of stupidity, coupled with horrific cases, but ignore that we're far more numerous.

We've gone in the last thirty years from a fairly private, freedom-oriented nation, with communities knit with common interest, into a 'security-driven' bunch of people with their heads in the sand, fearful of the next bullet. Is it any wonder our children feel alienated, when we won't let them go out and play? Is it any surprise that gangs find that disaffection from society, and draw the people in, then won't let the children go on pain of death?

We look at our bulging prison systems and scream for more protection, more blocking of the prisoners, even while more and more people are taken from the streets, and not given any kind of trial, nor any kind of defense. We look out the window and say "at least it's not me!". Oh yes, there are monsters in the world...

But what is their face? What is their shape? The fears that drive the country are not from the actions of any individual, but actions taken in a pattern, designed to drive the country into a frenzy of fear. Rumours, stories, misdirection and nonsense crowd our channels of information, and more, and more, that fear grows. We fear our government, we fear our neighbor, we fear our police force, we fear our national guard. Fear drives us. It directs us. But what direction does it direct us?

When we look at the sources of those fears, from 'true crime' shows to 'reality shows' which bear little resemblance to truth, or to reality, the evening news which claims a rising tide of crime and a greater social burden, and then look at the statistics gathered by the the Federal, state, and by the Canadian databases, is it really rising all that much? Some varieties of crime are rising... financial fraud, identity theft, bad checks, theft, both petty and grand, drug trades.. but what is the truth?

Where does all the inundation of fear rise from?

When you get to the core of it, people are afraid... but not always afraid of what they think they fear. Not all can admit the fears. We look at a world which seems to have gone mad... our promises of a safe retirement, gone, our investments into the future, gone. The college money we saved for our children, gone. Many of the people responsible, however, go on to retire very well. We feel anger... and hopelessness.

We look out into the shadows of the night and start attributing every bump, every clang, every crash to the monsters which we can see, and think we can do something about. The more fearful the people grow, the greater the backlash against those monsters.

But are they truly the monsters one needs to fear? Does the Department of Justice, and Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police, have reasons to lie about the reoffense rates of sex offenders to make them seem low? They get paid no more, nor less, for their studies, they have no vested interest in promulgating lies, nor do they have any vested interest in making the facts fit theories. Should we, however, take a look at congress, and the rhetoric, at the media, and their reporting, one would think that every offender is ready to pounce strangers at the drop of a hat.

But do they have a vested interest? Well, if one considers that the government is a stronger 'being' than the people, and the people look to the government for protection now, rather than grasping the responsibility in their own hands.. yes. People will cling to the government, adding scrap after scrap of armor, until the being they look to for protection is nigh invulnerable.

But what happens when the government is unassailable? Too often what was protecting turns to destruction. In Germany, in the 30s, there was an economic emergency. The Bolshevik Communists were in the country, and were perceived as a threat. To combat this danger, after the Reichstag fire, the enabling act was passed, passing further power from the hands of the Reichstag into the hands of the ruler. One of these powers was control of the finances of the government. Before too long, the emergency powers removed the Reichstag, after the death of Hindenburg. Attacks on 'antisocials, homosexuals, and sex offenders' became common after the civil rights of the people were removed under those emergency powers. The age of consent was raised to 21, and the church was promoted as the only measure of morality.

Then came a shining hope for the people of Germany... the racial segregation, distributing the Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, among other places, where they could live their lives without interference, and the German people could live free of their taint. Meanwhile, the government was painting them more and more as demons, claiming that they were robbing from the people.

The 'resettlement in the east' was begun, and armed resistance only really began after the escape of people from Buchenwald, and Auschwitz. So the Warsaw ghetto was burned, blown up block by block, and 'cleansed'.

Meanwhile the people of Germany lived mostly unaware of the deaths of millions, living in fear of being taken away themselves, while they labored under the National Socialists and tried to eke out a living... the slaughter of 'defectives' and those felt to be 'detrimental to the whole' was sanctioned by 'reason' and brought in by religion and fear. Nobody wanted to believe what was going on. Even today, some still disbelieve... and some have blocked it from their memory, for being too troubling.

Fear is powerful, and there are monsters in the night... be wary of building a bigger monster to fight them. They often turn on you.

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