During the president's speech in Newtown, partly because I have been so critical of his inaction on many 'symptom problems' in our 'ailing society', I listened with particular care to the portions of his speech that bore on this nagging problem of protecting kids from gun murder:
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society."
"We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"
And that last line must have been on my mind since last night --- "such violence is somehow the price of freedom".
He was, of course, referring with subtlety to the ironic contradiction in the application of the Second Amendment, which is used to enforce an aspect of freedom, but which now ironically allows the abuse of power --- the power of violence by guns.
After sleeping on the incongruity of a freedom that allows the abuse of one power --- guns --- I awoke thinking about any analogy to any other form of freedom being ironically distorted to allow the abuse of power in a different sphere of our ailing society.
George Lakoff and his colleagues in cognitive science apparently understand that one of the ways the brain works to store and retrieve information with analogous information sometimes causes people to think they are smarter than they really are, and when the brain does its housekeeping in such store and retrieve computing, they can find themselves saying, "oh wow" or "eureka" and thinking that they had a creative idea.
Well, today, I had that sense, but disabused myself, and realized that my sub-conscious mind just overlapped the nearest analogy automatically --- and that I was not the author or this little slip in thinking of the Second Amendment and somehow magically relating it to the First Amendment.
Yes, the misused application of the First Amendment's famous Freedom of Speech is also an analogous example of the misuse of a freedom which ironically allows the abuse of a power --- in this case the power of money, rather than the power of violence by guns.
In each case the analogy runs true and valid, since each speaks to a 'freedom' guaranteed by a Constitutionally honored Amendment that is ironically misused/distorted to allow the abuse of a truly great power --- money and violence --- to be monopolized by a group of common minded actors who plan and are willing to use the power of money or gun violence ---- either of which can undo democracy.
Having been handed this supposedly creative idea by the mere store and retrieve methodology of my effortless sleeping mind, I determined to actually do some critical thinking effort on my own and see if I could extend the analogy between those groups or people who might distort or misapply the First or Second Amendment for their own purposes, and I again thought of Lakoff and systems of thought that are distinct between groups of people over history.
It has been my belief, based on my study of history, civilizations, societies (both ailing and healthy), and groups of people exerting agency over the former, that while the world can not be well understood by looking at different ethnic, cultural, racial, religious, national, or ideological variations over the long haul, that there is a long term variance between those individuals and groups which follow a path of thought that might be called 'Empire-thinking' and those who intuitively follow what might be called 'democracy-thinking'.
My observation is that individuals and groups that follow what I call, for lack of a better word, 'Empire-thinking' tend to seek power or powers throughout history by using various large scale 'tools', like; magic, myth, religion, military prowess, race, knowledge, law, nationalism, persuasion (qua propaganda), economic ideology, technology et al to employ any and all such big 'tools' toward the acquisition of power --- including the power to force externality costs on others, who are viewed as 'the other', and to extract, exploit, and secure resources and wealth from 'the other' (often without much concern with the repercussions) --- which, after all is the definition of an empire.
So, back to the analogy of the First and Second Amendments of our Constitution being misused as the big 'tool' (of law) to confer unseemly concentrations of power over political speech via money and over gun violence via ideological pressure and the will to actually use violence, all under the guise of the universally honored value of 'freedom'.
If the value of 'freedom' is viewed as the ultimate value in America, and by the American Constitution, and by the people, then clearly the protection of the 'Freedom of Speech' in the First Amendment is unquestionable to most. But if the non-democratic token of money can be overwhelmingly acquired and used/abused (by those individuals or groups/corporations who had the most money) to nearly monopolize 'free' speech in general and political speech in particular, then democracy will quickly be lost and "Empire-thinking' (and actual Empire) will prevail.
Likewise if the value of the 'freedom' to protect yourself, and more importantly your children, is distorted such that the Second Amendment is abused and monopolized to the point where the individuals (or groups) who have the most (or most powerful) guns, and are willing to use them for their purposes prevail then violent tyranny and Empire will surely prevail by the strongest and most unconcerned with using violence.
In conclusion, my dreams of analogies between misuse of the First and Second Amendments to concentrate powers over our government by leveraging money as political speech, and gun violence as protection of families --- both under the guise of the appealing language of 'freedoms' and the law of the Constitution could (perhaps already do) confer vast and unwarranted powers in the hands of those individuals and groups who constitute the minority of 'Empire-thinkers' in our ailing society.
Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified by wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets ---- quite yet!
Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0