Fear and State PowerSubmitted by Molusk on Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:45
What do people fear?
Death, pain, imprisonment, deprivation. Cold, heat, uncomfortable surroundings.
What prevents people from making an act of resistance or taking a stand?
Fear of pain, punishment, yes.
Also social fear, fear of social isolation, exclusion, disapproval, judgement, exile.
In What We all Believe in, I listed some political principles most of us adhere to.
Let's take it down to a simpler level, and put it all in one axiom.
We believe in the rightness of a basic distrust of human power.
That is the bedrock principle, however else you want to express it or deck it out with custom frills, bells and whistles.
Starting from that basis, we can move to the question Why fear of both types described inhibit an effective distrust of power and resistance to it.
If everyone just stood up and had no fear of social or physical penalty, acted on their belief in the right, no amount of force could overcome that, no matter what privation or penalty it could impose.
It's only recourse would be to exterminate or put down the life it couldn't shape and mold.
That state could perhaps only be achieved on a minority, but if sizable enough it would be enough of a rock to disrupt the working of any machine on the rest of the people.
But how achieve such a state even among a minority of people?
What is needed is:
The continual nourishment of the idea itself -- distrust of power and resistance to its dictates. Passing it down, training others up, cultivating the belief as a fundamental principle.
Training the believers not just in the belief, but in fearlessness.
The belief is worthless if the fear of social and physical punishment overrides the belief.
A thousand acts of resistance would be a chain reaction that could overwhelm even a powerful, vital ruling class, not to speak of our effete, spent rulers, who exist by default in the absence of any stronger will.
Unless and until the belief and the honed, trained attitude of fearlessness to the worst power can offer is alive, power will continue to have its way.
We should be looking ahead in the direction of such a basic and non compromising political creed, simple and elegant, and let everyone slap on his own extraneous elements as needed.