Thursday, October 7, 2021

We Didn't Love Freedom Enough

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.* 
- I have this sort of crazy idea.
- I'm listening.
- Off and on we have talked about the origins of social role, class, master and slave. We wondered if their origin was not in sedentary farming, of both plants and animal, in which each additional plant and animal represented in the counting mind of the farmer additional security.
- Yes. Whereas for the forager and hunter security was in knowing how and where to forage and hunt.
- Ten thousand or so years later we have capitalism, where the increasing count of symbols of security - money - dominates every aspect of our lives. Human beings are farmed both for the power represented by that act alone, and for the farmed humans being the instrument of the business of farming money.
- By which you mean profit. Money 'planted' to grow into more money.
- Yes. Am I correct in assuming you've been as shocked as I was by the unquestioning compliance** of hundreds of millions of people with lockdown restrictions.?
- You're correct.
- I think I have the explanation. You know how the former president used to call the press the enemy of the people, even admitting in an interview that this accusation had the function of discrediting any criticism of him? It does that, obviously, but if you've ever tried to argue with one of his supporters you find you can catch them in a contradiction and the only satisfaction you'll get out of it is their hasty retreat: you'll do no convincing, never. What is said in the news, or you winning an arguement with them, is irrelevant. Relevant is only that you and they are enemies. Enemies serve the function of creating a crowd. In the crowd the sight and words of each like-minded member produces a sense of increasing power and security. But what if the millions of compliant citizens imagine that they are the farmer and the farmed both at the same time? They have discovered they can enlarge their herd by communicating to those not yet with them their complaint. They farm themselves in their stock market investments, hoping that others seeing them run to a stock will join them in that run, bringing others with them who see them do it; in social media, which has been engineered to promote this sort of increasing herd flight and power in numbers of interactions, creating a sense of threat, promoting feelings of anger or fear and suggesting the alleviation of that fear and anger in finding on their sites others making the same complaint; in political parties, where one side complains of injustice, the other of threats to their independence...
- By defenders of their independence you mean the Republicans. Why then did they not complain of the lockdown if their feared enemy was those who would cause the loss of independence?
- Because they as capitalist humans are herd animals that are both herd members and managers of the herd; each has contempt for others in the capitalist herd who are their competitors and enemies in the capitalist economic struggle for survival.
- They don't love each other. They competitively herd each other. 
- The hundreds of millions were happy to stay at home in isolation from those contemtible herd animals out there.
- As long as the government made that allurement financially viable. 
- Yes. There were unemployment subsidies, the promise for large corporations of vastly increasing monopoly as small business went bankrupt...
- What about those small businesses? Why didn't they complain?
- To whom? Who was listening?
- Why didn't they complain to their herd? I see. They didn't have a herd. Why not?
- The political parties, the stock market, the social media, the largest grazing grounds as it were, all are in control of the people whose money is behind all three institutions, all of which have flourished during this time of epidemic lockdown. They all were on the side of monopoly profits.
- So no herd for small business. 
- We are accustomed to thinking of capitalist managers herding*** their money, making it increase, feeling power and security in that increase. Workers, formerly only members of a herd, have learned from capitalism to be herders too.
- Herding themselves.
- Herding themselves in their political participation, in their social media use, in their stock market speculations.

Further Reading:
* Alexander Solzhenitsyn