So what’s it all about?
It’s about racism, to be sure — but there’s also an even wider mentality to be engaged here, which I hope to explore in this diary. Masaccio’s piece, frontpaged at Firedoglake, has an interesting point: it’s about domination, domination of the few over the many. The piece quotes from Michel Foucault’s classic “Discipline and Punish” and then discusses the topical matter of who gets to discipline and punish and who gets to be disciplined and punished:
This is a brilliant explanation of the reasons for the difference between the treatment of known scofflaw Cliven Bundy and Michael Brown, and many other dead Black Americans. The point of the delinquency is to mark the accused as not human, not a decent person, not a person entitled to any rights, not a citizen, not one of us.
– and —
The people who get to decide what is normal are the rich and powerful. They use their control over government to establish the line between acceptable delinquency and unacceptable delinquency and illegalities.
So arming cops to the point at which they shoot people down and arrest journalists in an air of total impunity has reached the level of scandal in America today. What is our glorious Congress, of the low opinion poll approval ratings, doing about all this? Well, some of them are going on AIPAC junkets in Israel, where they’ll probably find out if it’s kewl with the Israelis if they send US troops to Iraq or something like that. Yeah, Israel, that’s the ticket. Everyone’s favorite small-nation-sized bunker, with the requisite bunker mentality to boot. And doubling down on Iraq. Very kewl.
One of the primary conservative efforts in this era of last-gasp capitalism is the general effort to feed the bunker mentality among those with power, specifically money-power and weapon-power. In what used to be called the “society of the spectacle,” our elites cling to spectacular forms of what they think is “security” — wall off the masses, and stockpile weapons and ammunition. (It should be added here that, as regards our Congress, the Israelis are ahead of the game in the category of wall-building.)
As technology races ever forward, you better be sure you have your copies of the newest weapons, and to be sure to use them, too! This is no doubt the reigning attitude at the Pentagon, and at other places where “security” is the fetish of participants in the bunker mentality.
As I have suggested before, this is a conservative age, and one hallmark of a conservative age is the redundant reinforcement of hegemonic power out of a fear of the future. It doesn’t matter, then, that the next war in Africa will generate a bunch of blowback — there’s money involved, so Americans carry on with the existing obsessions — guns, money, power.
Never mind that such an approach doesn’t make its participants more secure — just look at the lives of those who are the victims of “security.” You wouldn’t want to be one of them, would you? The real future is sacrificed in bunker mentality concepts of “security,” in the sense in which George W. Bush said “History, I don’t know, we’ll all be dead” when asked by Bob Woodward about his place in history. Participants in the bunker mentality, then, have a problem with time.
The most curious combination of “security” and bunker mentality futurism has got to be the Pentagon’s strategies for climate change. Compound disaster through climate change is a significant medium-term concern, and ultimate solutions to climate change are also medium- and long-term. However, all of the scientifically-informed prognostications suggest that we begin action (which means “stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate of 2.3 parts per million per year) soon. Climate change has thus attracted the Pentagon’s attention as prompting a need for short-term action, while at the same time exposing the utter confusion about the future to be expected from participants in the bunker mentality.
It’s been public knowledge since 2004 that they’ve had a plan for climate change. Here’s the plan, in brief, as the editors of the Monthly Review explained it: