Murphy's Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any Fool Can Make A Rule and Any Fool Will Mind It. –H.D. Thoreau

Ghosts in the Machine

Posted by PintofStout on May 28th, 2009

I had the opportunity to spend some time a few weekends ago with some bright folks while doing some hiking and such.  While wiling away the waning evening hours over beers, conversation eventually turned to our various day jobs, finance, imbecility, fantasy, profit motive, and the intention of public servants.  Various comments were skipped off the armor everyone wears around their sacred illusions (realized or not).  For those who believe in the system, structure, and scripture of government – enough to be joyfully employed by it or willing to sacrifice themselves for its core beliefs rhetoric – the idea that the system isn’t broken or simply clogged with bad people, but instead working as expected, never penetrated the armor.  For those believing the system and everything it touches – including those foolishly trying to wield this blunt instrument for good – is foul and a bane to real society, the idea of altruism and noble intention skipped off the armor to die silently in the trees.  I’m not here to talk about particular slings and arrows, but I am here to talk about the armor and the trade off of agility and vision for canned ideological security.

Our ideological armor, while making us feel nigh-invulnerable to inconvenient slings and arrows of paradox, mainly only gives us tunnel vision and greatly slows any progression toward our perceived destination. For instance, a heavily-laden advocate of abolition of the State, clad richly with beliefs in the multifaceted evils of prominent State actors may fail to see those acting with noble intentions in their periphery.  The hardened steel of the ideology also makes slight course corrections difficult; to offer help to misguided ideologues, for instance.  These misguided ideologues themselves will be clad in the armor of Intention and Belief in the System, making them blind to the purposes of the system itself.

It is a common theme among ideologues to draw a hard line with personal relationships based on this ideology.  Seeing the evils of the State and understanding that it is the system itself, and not the people in charge or even sweeping the floors, that is inherently evil still doesn’t keep some Anarchists from labeling all of these folks as evil – going so far as to condone non-association with them.  While many in this system have all the best intentions, perhaps there was no other path visible to them to fulfill these intentions.  So maybe we, as anarchists, can’t condone their means to a desired end, but are the means of exclusion, hate, and vitriol any better for achieving these ends?

Intention doesn’t erase or condone the damage done by nihilistic laws and regulation carried out by sometimes well-intentioned ghosts inside the government machine.  Still, my sense of humanity is tweaked by the fact that the institution of government feeds on these well-intentioned people, embraces them like Emperor Palpatine until all good is squashed into the gears of bureaucracy.  Alternatives can be presented for the fulfillment of these intentions without driving them to the Sirens of a centralized nanny state, but we have to see the individuals as individuals first and not some evil state clone.

One Response to “Ghosts in the Machine”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    I agree completely. People are more important than politics, I’ve decided. It’s about connecting with people. When ideas get in the way, that’s not a reason to dismiss human beings.

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