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USA & CANADA / Denver: A Massacre Answering to Power
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 02/08/2012
Original: Denver: una masacre funcional al poder

Denver: A Massacre Answering to Power

Atilio A. Boron اتيليوا. بورون

Translated by  Machetera

 

What Thomas Hobbes suggested in Leviathan in 1651 as a heuristic metaphor, so extreme it was impossible to find, has now become sadly commonplace: the abandonment by individuals of almost all of their sovereign rights in exchange for being allowed to live has become the tragic reality in the United States of today. 

The murder that occurred in a movie theater in suburban Denver has led, as on so many other occasions after similar atrocities, to the predictable laments and questions about why, every so often in the United States, there appear such monsters, capable of committing crimes such as those perpetuated by the Joker’s dismal impersonator.  As a matter of fact, an analysis that avoids the habitual complacency of established wisdom goes straight to the heart of the tragedy’s cause: as the ultimate expression of bourgeois society the United States is also the place where individual alienation reaches a level unequalled anywhere else in the world.  No-one should be surprised in the least that behavior like that of the young James E. Holmes – how many random slaughters have occurred in recent years? – surfaces from time to time in order to sow additional pain in the U.S. population.  It is an alienated and alienating society that generates millions of addicts (without a single federal program to prevent and fight addiction); millions of “vigilantes” ready to impose their own law and order against others based on skin color or facial features, and millions more who, like Holmes, are able to buy any kind of assault weapon, revolver, pistol, rifle, grenade, smoke bomb or any other kind of military paraphernalia, and to top it off, obtain permits to legally use this lethal arsenal.
 
The recurrence of these kinds of massacres speaks to a structural problem, one which is carefully avoided in the conventional wisdom that, invariably, mentions a loner, a madman, but never questions the structural causes that produces serial madmen such as these.  The United States of America is a society that is presented as a kind of paradise, the promised land, a country where anyone can overcome anything and earn money, power and prestige by the bushel, with all the collateral benefits.  Things that in reality are only accessible to 5 percent of the population.  The rest, subjected to a constant, relentless barrage of advertising, feed on impotence and frustration.  Once in awhile someone gets the idea that the solution is to go out and kill others indiscriminately, cold-bloodedly, while others, more passively, decide to kill themselves slowly with drugs.
 
But if the general alienation of US society is the underlying cause, other concurrent factors combine to produce aberrant behavior like that of Holmes.  In the first place, there is the phenomenal business of weapons sales, sheltered under the pretext of being a constitutionally guaranteed right, and which in reality is a necessary complement at the civil society level to legitimize the “military-industrial complex” that has dominated economic and political life in the United States for more than half a century.  Whoever manufactures arms must sell them to make profits, whether to the US government (which in turn should manufacture wars worldwide or set the stage for them) or to individuals threatened by an ever present spectre of insecurity and fear.  A number of analysts have pointed out that on the border between Mexico and the United States alone, there are some 17,000 gun shops where one can purchase an AK-47 assault rifle as easily as a hamburger.  Apart from being a grotesque aberration, this speaks to the consistency of a governmental policy that encourages all this nonsense.
 
For another thing, the (Hollywood) entertainment industry is constantly feeding the imagination of millions of USAmericans with an unceasing flood of television shows and movies where the most cruel, atrocious and aberrant forms of violence are displayed in a perversely meticulous manner.  This has been going on for some time, but by now it has grown exponentially and at times it’s practically impossible to see anything on television that is not a subliminal celebration of sadism in all its forms, only conceivable by a sick imagination.  The censorship exercised and efficaciously applied, whether in a subtle or completely shameless manner, to block or conceal the work of filmmakers critical of the system or who speak well of countries like Cuba and Venezuela – Michael Moore or Oliver Stone, for example –  or to manipulate or prevent access to news coming from the war fronts in which US armed forces are involved does nothing to preserve the mental health of a population exposed ad nauseam to Hollywood’s atrocities and cruelties.  There is a reason for that.
 
The “reason” is that the uncontrolled sale of any kind of weapon as well as the violence induced by Hollywood are perfectly useful to the US bourgeoisie’s project of societal domination.  For decades, Noam Chomsky has shown how the mechanisms that allow for domination through terror have been perfected.  Thomas Hobbes was right when he pointed out that fear is the most incontrollable of all human passions, and from it, springs submission to the powerful.  It is a bourgeoisie that instills fear among the people, making it clear that no-one is safe and that to protect their poor and defenseless lives they must renounce more and more of their rights, granting the government the capacity to watch over all public spaces, monitor their movements, listen in on their telephone calls, intercept their email, control their finances, know what they are purchasing, how they spend their money, who they read, who they are with and what they talk about when they meet. It is not by chance that in a fear dominated society the resistance to such unconstitutional and despotic encroachments has been weakened with the years, being replaced by the passive acquiescence of a large majority of the US population.
 
An external enemy, today “international terrorism” and yesterday “communism”, is presented as an omnipotent force of unlimited cruelty, supplemented by the threat embodied in thousands of concealed murderers who blend in with the rest of the population, like Holmes, whose neutralization requires the granting of all possible powers to police, FBI, CIA and a Department of Homeland Security. 

What Thomas Hobbes suggested in Leviathan in 1651 as a heuristic metaphor, so extreme it was impossible to find, has now become sadly commonplace: the abandonment by individuals of almost all of their sovereign rights in exchange for being allowed to live has become the tragic reality in the United States of today. 
 





Courtesy of Tlaxcala
Source: http://www.atilioboron.com.ar/2012/07/22-24.html
Publication date of original article: 24/07/2012
URL of this page : http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=7881

 

Tags: USAAurora killingsLogics of PowerDomination through terror
 

 
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