Scenes from a double life
A strange icon has emerged around here in the past year or so. Perhaps the trend to display it is much older than that, but its recent proliferation is notable at least from my perspective. It can be described as a blue line with black lines on the top and bottom of it, or an American flag in blue, black, and white color colors, with a blue line in the middle, or several variations of the same image. Sometimes it makes an appearance in a bumper sticker or in a sign that says, “Blue Lives Matter” or “God Bless All Police.” This is a play on the “Black Lives Matter” trope that has emerged among progressive sectors in the United States in the last few years; this against the supposed observation that police shoot black people with disproportionate frequency as compared to the rest of the population. Maybe this prevalence of the “blue line” is a direct reaction to that leftist political movement, perhaps it has emerged from the general societal malaise. Nevertheless, it has become more and more pronounced in the last few months.
In my own (double) life, there is a certain relief at having the police around. They are parked near playgrounds, near stores, really where lots of people conglomerate. There is a police station within a short distance of my children’s school. We the hyper-civilized feel assured by their presence; yes, it seems reassuring. After all, we have ceded the monopoly on violence to the state. That is the elemental stipulation of the social contract: we leave vengeance and punishment to the gendarme of the bourgeoisie, and we then “morally support” those who do the “dirty work” of protecting us. Thus, the “blue line” is shown protecting us from the black lines of anarchy and chaos.
The ironic twist is that everyone here is armed. As in much of the South, this is an “open carry” state. If I want to carry around a pistol on my belt, and I am not excluded from doing so because I am a felon or some other legal reason, I can. And people have guns: from dinky handguns to AR-15s and everything in between. If the citizenry wanted to revolt (a rather absurd proposition from where I am sitting), they certainly have enough weapons to give the forces of order a run for their money. Many have even served in combat overseas: the number of vehicles with veterans’ bumper stickers driving around here is quite large. But these gun owners are far more likely to use those guns FOR order and not against it: they are far more likely to lend their services and ammunition to the service of police and the state should the need arise.
Contrast this to more urban areas, which tend to be more “progressive” in their outlook. Very few who hold radical political views there have even held a gun, let alone fired one. They still pretend that the forces of order would easily topple to be replaced by glorious Freedom through sheer force of numbers… once the sleeping masses wake up. But, again, this has been the dream since 1789, and once the masses turn out, they always end up turning back in, as business as usual is needed to spur the growth of techno-industrial progress. Still, there are the losers, those living in the inner city where law and order are less dependable (let us stop using euphemisms and just say, “black people”). For the leftists, these losers, the slum-dwellers, the forgotten of society, should be the ones who hate the “thin blue line” the most, the ones that are its greatest victims. Practically, however, the dream of these people is to escape into the safety of the suburbs where their kids have a shot at an education and a future. All leftist protests to the contrary, no one loves the slum, not even the people who live there.
And no one loves the slum because of criminals (to continue to not beat around the bush). It’s easy to think about fairness and justice when you no longer fear being stabbed on the street or having your laptop stolen. The main leftist idea is that, once the “thin blue line” (i.e. the police) is removed, people will just continue on as is, or do even better in life. The premise of progress is that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are co-natural to being human and thus The People taken as a whole would grant them to each and every human being if only Big Bad State and Capital would just get out of the way. Of course, those who put “God Bless All Cops” bumper-stickers on their cars would beg to differ, and the latter are far more numerous than the former.
Even more indicative is that these law-abiding citizens would consider the Anarchist / Communist Cop-Hater as little better than a criminal. Criminal: now there is a problematic term. The leftist and anarchist flee the classification of criminal like a hypochondriac flees a plague. They can brook no tolerance for this term because it undermines the very premise of their ideal: namely, that society could easily function, or even better, it would prosper infinitely more without coercion and property. For the law-abiding citizen, the anti-fascist militant leftist is little better than a criminal undermining the fabric of society. Even the most insurrectionary anarchist praising bank robberies has to baptize these extralegal re-appropriations of funds as an “expropriation”: using the trope of social banditry to rail against the fundamental injustice of the fat-cats and police. “Criminal,” however, continues to be a pejorative term.
This is in keeping with their Enlightened civilized logic. For there is indeed “no honor among thieves.” The criminal is an opportunist, he has no interest in building solidarity unless it serves a selfish end. He may seek passive cooperation but he’ll always settle for fear and possibly terror. It is arguable that in much of the world, criminality and legality go hand-in-hand. In the United States, it is the rule of law that is the most valued luxury: corruption, while perhaps rampant, has to be hidden, and the right palms always greased. But mainly, it has to be predictable with the illusion of fairness. Criminality is always a sloppier and less desirable way of doing things, with plenty of room in the margins for the darkest side of humanity to play.
The eco-extremist is one who embraces the “criminal” characterization without any reservation or protest. Perhaps he or she is the only one who does this, as they seek nothing from society other than the pleasure of seeing it destroyed. Just as techno-industrial society has passed from civilization into hyper-civilization, with the complete and utter dependence of the human on technology and domestication, so the eco-extremist passes from criminality into hyper-criminality. There is nothing this society has to offer that can buy him or her off. There is only war, fire, and bloodshed.
What does all of this say about the hyper-civilized themselves? Let us leave the U.S. for a moment, and go to Mexico, with the corruption of the major parties; or Chile under Pinochet and the aftermath; Argentina during and after the junta; and the same situation in Brazil etc. Why did people tolerate corruption and dictatorship other than out of a deep existential fear of criminality? Did the People not think of the lefty idiots who wanted to “save” them as “criminals,” or at least fear the characterization enough to let them get tortured and disappeared? And yet the commies and anarchos return to the People like a kicked dog to its master begging to be loved. And why would “The People” not look at these impractical spoiled brats jacking off to theory and not label them as little better than criminals? And why would the Left or the Anarchists not protest that they are not criminals, since this abusive relationship is all that they have?
I have expressed my reservations in the last few weeks about the new turn in The Tendency toward extinctionism. However, in thinking about the “thin blue line” and what it means, I realize that any objection to it at this stage is like straining the gnat yet swallowing the camel. In an ideal situation, I would want some primitive society to arise out of the rubble that could live in subjugation to Wild Nature as had been the case for thousands of years. And yet, I can offer no mechanism, no means by which to make this a reality. All I have to do is look to those who hold the “thin blue line.” The material element, the concrete human element, simply isn’t there for a “re-wilded future”: these people will defend this society, this techno-industrial civilization, to the last man. What’s more, they love it. They consider it freedom. More strip malls, more pollution, more progress, more destruction of wild places, more domestication, more, more, more. Why should I help people who won’t help themselves, whose very existence is parasitic? Do I want to save THESE people, the only people left? Someone once told me that a dream without a plan is a wish. To dream of a Feral Future without a viable plan to de-domesticate the hyper-civilized is a just a wish, and I am beginning to see it’s a foolish one.
If some humans survive and become wild again, perhaps that would be desirable, but I don’t see how that’s going to happen. I can only go about my business believing that it won’t. There is simply no mechanism to make it a reality. The reality is that to be human in 2017 is to destroy Wild Nature, even the scientific high priests seem to be telling us that. You can either be for Wild Nature or for the Human, there is no middle ground. And being for Wild Nature is to be a criminal, to be black nihilist Chaos trying to break through the Thin Blue Line to attack the hyper-civilized in their “safe” abodes.