|Artist's depiction of the uncivilized world standing |
atop the architecture of power. (Click to enlarge.)
It happens from time to time that I get bored with the dissident world and venture into other realms.
My most recent foray into those other realms is going on right now. The catalyst is the ongoing and so-called euro-crisis, which has persuaded me to look at the situation from other and perhaps more obtuse angles.
I don't have any particular interest in the euro-crisis except insofar as it represents a manifestation of the direction being taken in the "distribution" (or should I say "consolidation") of power among the world's elites. The matter of who prevails in the end is largely immaterial, at least insofar as I'm concerned personally. Whoever prevails will be able to anoint themselves as dominant, and whoever loses will take up a subservient role in support of the dominant players.
The "losers," so long as they don't make waves in their (either new or previous) subservient role, will be well-rewarded for their obeisance. Is anyone under any naïve impression that, regardless of who reigns supreme, all elite players will not continue to live in vast privilege?
So what else is new?
In any event the euro-situation has led me to dig a bit into recent history, perhaps to gain an understanding of some of the undercurrents of present reality, but also perhaps simply to entertain myself.
For the record, I've been reading two books by Richard Evans, The Third Reich in Power and The Third Reich at War. In addition, and by way of contrast I've been enjoying Don't Mourn, Balkanize! Essays after Yugoslavia by Andrej Grubačić.
Both power structures are/were hierarchical, with the ability to inflict extreme quantities of violence onto perceived enemies reserved for persons occupying the highest social ranks.
That Germany is and was a predominant player in the euro-picture isn't important. What's important is to note that in both structures, power is as it always has been: consolidated at the top, with the necessary and gradually-dispersed co-optation of the ranks below -- where the higher up the chain one goes, the more that participants will be co-opted by the truly dominant.
The Nazis provided an extreme example of the phenomenon. (For those who consider this to be an inappropriate or perhaps even an offensive comparison, before dismissing the suggestion one should consider the points of view of surviving Iraqi family members subjected to Geedub's "shock and awe" bombings or of having survived Abu Ghraib as "detainees.")
In his book, by way of contrast, Grubačić offers an interesting alternative suggestion for power paradigms: "a horizontalist tradition of barbarians who never accepted the civilized world that is now collapsing."
I think therein lies at least part of the solution to the present malaise: so long as dissenting participants in society remain beholden to their assumption of the legitimacy of hierarchical power structures, the longer that the social impotence of those dissenters will be preserved.
The concept pertains even to the most innocuous situations. For example, dissidents may complain about corruption. But prior to lodging the complaint, the question that needs to be posed: What is corruption?
According to Google's definition, corruption is "dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery." This, of course, begs the question: 'what is bribery?'
According to Black's Law Dictionary, bribery is defined as "the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty."
So then what's a campaign contribution? If we apply Black's definition, campaign contributions are simply legal bribery.
I suggest, then, that the difference between a bribe and a campaign contribution is simply whose interest the payment serves: if it serves the interest of an established power structure it is a campaign contribution. If the payment runs contrary to, or even worse, if it subverts the interest of that power structure, then it's a bribe.
So making predictions about the outcome of the so-called euro-crisis is, at bottom, an exercise in chasing one's tail. It's just a matter of semantics. The outcome matters only insofar as the ranking among elites is concerned.
By extension, it's evident the making of any political comment about any topic at all is likewise an example of tail-chasing, unless perhaps, the comment calls into question the legitimacy of existing power structures.
Feel free to comment by clicking the "comments" link below.