Saturday, September 15, 2012

Techno-Fascist Autophagy

by John Valentine Arkenseele

When we think of totalitarian fascism, our minds are conditioned to regard the past regimes, to visualize a ranting Hitler or Stalin or Mao—a dictator. This is a spurious way to characterize it. Fascism need not necessarily exhibit itself through the cult of personality; that it is associated with these individuals only demonstrates that our collective impulse towards it once again has been canalized into its past “faces” in order to conceal its present nature.

The fact is that totalitarian fascism can very well exist as a distributed network, as a self-sustaining system with no central planner; it evolves in the same way organisms evolve, by increment, over a period of time. Instrumentally it may need a figurehead in some politician for purposes of public ritual catharsis, but only to conceal what is beneath.

An organism possesses antibodies conditioned to strike blindly at forces threatening its integrity.

When that immune system overworks, it begins to attack the body itself.

Such is what the war on terror has given us—this organism on the edge of autonomy from the rule of law and the management of any individual human beings.

This system is a Beast.

One school of thought maintains that a Beast like this doesn’t just happen, that individuals created it and individuals run it.

Another school, call it the bureaucratic-apologetic, believe that things like the Beast do “just happen,” that individual human culpability is like the Tao: that culpability has infinite circumference and a center that is at once everywhere and nowhere.

We hear this excuse with regard to the Third Reich, but think about this: did anyone swing in the power structure after 9/11?

No, not a single person. We’re supposed to think that institutional hiccups led to the non-prevention of the attack.

Such thinking is the bureaucratic-apologetic in action. 9/11 served too many purposes for our “masters of death” who, after the fall of the USSR, were left twiddling their thumbs, stalled in their Pentagon offices, for it to go unwasted...The Beast will survive the fate of its "cells"--its individually culpable constituents--as they are shed to go on their speaking tours and enjoy some “family time” and write their memoirs about that Terrible Day. Thus thanks to some handy biological metaphors in management systems theory, the latter model of the bureaucratic-apologetic has gained ascendancy in our society—and academic imprimatur and an intellectual alibi to cover one’s ass is a logical move, of course, when so much money is being made at the top all around on fear-mongering, torture, murder, fraud, and political blackmail.

- John Valentine Arkenseele