Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Staking Claim To My Position

Kevin Baker (who hasn't been on Vicious Circle in too long) has his faith in human failure reinforced by a series of expository posts by Mike-istan. In a comment to the third post, I wrote:
One aspect of the position the police might choose for themselves that hasn't been overtly examined in your series to-date is the degree to which law enforcement (in general terms, the armed segment of every level of the US civil and criminal courts system) might gravitate into creating its own "estate" (recalling your earlier reference to medieval societal demarcations). What if they effectively choose, "We The Cops, The Estate; To Protect And Serve Ourselves"?

On a different tack, "we who don't need to be ruled" are always going to be confronted by a comparatively overwhelming force in any such dystopian (un)civil confrontation with organised government forces. An Army Of One was a stupid recruitment slogan and in the context of your series is a certain loser in any conflict opposing a coordinated group effort. S/He may not go alone, but ...

Freedom and independence are wonderful experiences for an individual when viewed from within the mutual support and association of a like-minded group; they're a wonderful goad for one to dominate and lead as many others as you can otherwise. The people who have already made the choice to join the effort to provide for themselves at the expense of the rest of the citizenry (which is an admittedly unfair description of government employees) are actually faced with the subsequent choice of destroying their personal lives or continuing as they have already chosen to do. Does anyone really think there's much question as to their likely resolution of such a quandary?

Personally, I think it's bad strategy to position any potential rival with an us-or-them threat (even if only metaphorically, as in the case above). Much better to present a selection of potential (and often interdependent) options for mutual assistance between positions. Ideological arguments are best confined to discussions with one's self, or at most a select - and very private - group. Using them as a basis for positional identification is a virtual guarantor of violent reaction (and likely of actual violence too).

Never force someone into choosing for or against you; even if he picks you, he'll still resent you for it and be an unreliable ally. Better to present yourself as an attractive choice potentially available to the right proposition instead.

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