The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article by Robert C. Koehler:
Taking the rape reporting process out of the chain of command and creating an investigative office outside the Defense Department, while no doubt a good idea, strikes me as being an inadequate response to the phenomenon. That even such a relatively minor, reasonable change is, apparently, impossible to accomplish gives it a certain cachet in the discussion. It’s the idea that politicians and the media have focused on for two successive scandal cycles, keeping the discussion from becoming a deeper look at the root causes.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) did tell MSNBC that a policy of zero tolerance toward rape isn’t good enough. What we need, she said, is “zero occurrence.” Amen, senator, but what are the steps we must take to bring this about?
Like suicide, sexual assault is skyrocketing in the military. Why? Could it be that the problem is deeply structural? Could it be that it’s related to the domination culture the military embodies, not to mention the brutally immoral, pointless wars we’ve been waging for the past decade-plus? Could it have something to do with the idea that what goes around comes around?
In 2011, after the earlier scandal, when Speier first proposed her legislation, I wrote: “Maybe it’s time to look at the values themselves — beginning with those of our military culture, which is the model, and indeed the metaphor, for every other form of domination culture: The prime value is winning, achieving dominance over some sort of enemy or ‘other.’ Around this core of dominance, we construct a fortress of honor, righteousness, cleanliness of mind and spirit. We revere the fortress, but in its dark interior, our natural impulses are ungoverned and often manifest themselves in perverse mockery of the values we salute.”
In a culture based on winning, the rapist is the “winner.” Maybe that’s the problem. And it permeates not just personal behavior but national policy.
The following is my online response to the above linked-to article:
The paradigm is ‘riches for the strongest’. We are all imperfect and when you examine what the riches are, or the gain is, that the rule-breaker acquires, it’s not always something normal people would want. Again, Imperfection means darkness. And, unattended, imperfection increases. Still…
The imperfect antidote, until the sickness (imperfection) can be cured by a healthy doctor (not imperfect humans), is principles. I can’t think of any other answer. Anyone can lose it, but if you have principles, then even when you can’t see clearly, so that a loss actually appears to you to be a gain, If you have principles and stick to them, that can compensate for your wrong inclination. It’s like being lost on a highway. You have this sense that ‘that’ way is north, but you’re not absolutely certain. So you look at your map. Your map indicates that what you thought was north is actually south. But you can’t look at that map – principles – if you don’t possess one.
How do you know enough to have and rely on principles when, in your imperfection you have conditioned yourself to survive by rule-breaking? I don’t know. You either still have some humanity or you don’t. That’s really the answer.
And I don’t mean to suggest that all rule-breaking is excusable. A gang rape (another one has taken place in northern India and an American woman, reportedly, is the victim) by adults is in the category of unforgiveable, in my view. You can’t excuse it by claiming imperfection. Or ‘my culture’. I don’t care what language you speak, what religion you hold to or don’t hold to; If you do something like that, you ‘know’ you’ve crossed a line. You may have chosen to ignore the fact that you have crossed a line, but that doesn’t change it.
I have talked about ‘riches for the strongest’ for many years. Now others are. That’s good. With the Left flailing around to find useful narratives – because the resource-rich Right is happy to offer some and we know we don’t want theirs! – It does surprise me that it shies away from what is probably the best. Here you have the incredible spectacle of ‘law & order’ governments perversely laying down the law for everyone. Taxes. Laws about taxes aren’t working for everyone. They are either outright broken or perverted. Look at tax havens, where it has been estimated (John Henry) that between $21 and $32 TRILLION reside in offshore tax havens. Democracy. The world’s foremost champion of democracy, uncle Sam, is, in fact it’s greatest deterrent, which is what Noam Chomsky makes clear in “Deterring Democracy.” I get Greg Palast’s regular email updates. Today’s was about the renewed effort by some of those helping to run America to destroy section 5 of the Voting Rights Act so as to make it even easier for voters who elites want blocked to be blocked. Meanwhile, Look at the terror unleashed by the state, including criminalizing not just dissent, but actual free speech (where they will target, at their great convenience, those who they want and ignore – the cowed – others), attacking whistleblowers, making it so easy to label their political enemies (powerful and powerless) as terrorists, a terrifying thing once they’ve made laws about who is a terrorist that can be so broadly interpreted that ‘a terrorist’ can be a two year old making too much noise sucking her thumb.
All of that is being done by ‘law and order’ governments and a law and order Right (and fake Left), not because it’s necessary, but because, in our free universe, you can ‘choose’ to believe in inequality and you can ‘choose’ to embrace, wholeheartedly, the ‘riches for the strongest’ paradigm. Once you do, You will certainly rationalize and justify that choice. Your lawless neighbors (meaning others, anywhere, who make the same moral choices you do) will now be a source of moral support for you, which you will need, as long as you lack humility sufficient to say “I made a mistake,” allowing you to take steps to correct it. The problem is huge. Not only do rule-breakers have a lot of moral support, but those whom they have authority over will be compelled to join them in their moral and intellectual – spiritual – failure. But being under pressure doesn’t give you the go ahead to sin.
It’s the bully principle. You’re enticed by your own wrong desires, for sure. And your equals, your ‘neighbors’, morally support you, for sure. But those who are below you in the pecking order are compelled to please you by imitating you, not calling you out. That’s mainly because we have a money system in which money means life. Instead of biting the hand that feeds you, you feel strongly the urge to stroke it.
I re-read a number of paragraphs last night in a book I have, looking for some information. The book is titled “The Unconscious Civilization” and the author is John Ralston Saul:
“We are – almost all of us – employees in some sort of corporation, public or private. Increasingly, those who follow orders are being aquitted. Why? Because increasingly our society does not see social obligation as the primary obligation of the individual. The primary obligation of the individual is loyalty to the corporation. It is, as Jung described it, “that gentle and painless slipping back into the kingdom of childhood, into the paradise of parental care.” Why? Because “all mass movements slip with the greatest ease down an inclined plane made up of large numbers. Where the many are, there is security; what the many believe must of course be true.”” -pg 91 (Saul, a Canadian philosopher, wrote that in 1995.)
And in a police state where citizens are turned against each other, because the distraction helps elites and their partners in politics make their getaway (with all the benefits of the economy and none of the costs), the security you feel as part of the crowd – that is also willing to part with principles and embrace fantasy – is a negative security. You not only find it easier to go with the flow, but you fear going against it. That’s not positive. That’s negative. But principles would mean 1. fantasy is nice, but embracing it, while my world goes over a cliff made up of many tipping points that we’ve gone past, is wrong, and 2. not fighting is easier, and staying plugged into the matrix (fake democracy) that elites have created for me keeps me safe from elites, but unplugging and fighting, while difficult in some ways, is right and what I need to do for myself, my family and my species.
“There is a general sense that our civilization is in a long-term crisis. It can be seen from the political or social or economic aspect… I would argue that it took on its actual economic form in 1973… We have been in a depression ever since… Ours has been softened and evened out thanks to life preservers put in place by society after 1929…,” writes Saul on page 6. Those life preservers are laws and social programs, and to the extent that they came from lawmakers employing a degree of democracy, then they came from society. But not all in society have the same concept of law and order, as the existence of tax havens attests. Saul continues:
“Now, given our inability over the past two decades to deal with an unbreakable chain of unemployment, debt, inflation and no real growth, we have drifted farther and farther out into a cold, unfriendly, confusing sea. The new certitude of those in positions of authority – those out of the water – is that the the certain answer is to cut away the life preservers.
“This might be called a childlike act. Or one of unconsciousness so profound as to constitute stupidity.”
Which is why I always say that darkness is it’s own reward. You may start off clever enough when you break rules for gain, but, eventually and naturally, you end up dumb as a post. Saul again:
“How is this possible? Well, the view from inside the public and private technocracy is one of relative calm. This is a place where the structure continues to grow, particularly in the private sector; particularly in the internationalized private sector. The technocracy has developed an argument that now dominates our society according to which “management” equals “doing,” in the sense that “doing” equals “making…”
“…As Adam Smith put it: “There is one sort of labour which adds to the value of the subject upon which it is bestowed; there is nother which has no such effect.” The former is “productive,” the latter “unproductive” labour… [Adam Smith’s] argument is that the industrious produce the fund which finances the whole community. The idle – those not engaged in “useful labour” – live upon the industrious. This includes the unwillingly idle – the unemployed. But he is not talking about them. They are not in a position to cost society a great deal.
“He is referring above all to the managerial class of his day… The answer might be that 30% to 50% – the current level of the managerial class in our society – is far too high; that the management of business along with with financial and consulting industries… are a far more important factor in keeping the economy in depression than is any over-expansion of government services.” (chapter 1, “The Great Leap Backwards”)
We can’t afford cruel elites who, in their own self-defeating, self-destructive fantasy world, would enslave and destroy us.
“…The reaction of sophisticated elites, when confronted by their own failure to lead society, is almost invariably the same. They set about building a wall between themselves and reality by creating an artificial sense of well-being on the inside.”
Their choices have led to their fear of the people who they exploit and oppress, which has led to their solution of stealing the means of survival from their enemy (weakening – politically and generally – austerity for the people and more for the decision-makers and their banker and other friends), the people, a negative solution to a problem that will one day knock, irresistibly, on their doors. Reality, if not a brave, unplugged 99%, will knock. Some (Chris Hedges) believe that that reality will be a very changed earth in which conditions are absolutely harsh, leaving the masses of poor to fend, uselessly, for themselves outside of well guarded enclaves of privilege. Some believe that the whole show will be ended by a higher power.
If those who believe in a higher power are right, then the task for individuals now is to not reform an irreformable system (which many of those in both camps believe is the case), but to survive it’s destruction. The task for individuals is to avoid investing, not just pocket change, but our souls (everything), in this temporary, godless system in which the operating principle of ‘riches for the strongest’ has prevailed. The task for individuals who want to survive the coming Armageddon is to not be found having been willing players in the losing game of ‘riches for the strongest’, which game necessitates the existence of losers. The riches aren’t worth it. And the strong are merely lawless – which wouldn’t matter if the strong were, themselves, the final lawmaker. I guess we will all find out who that is.