In the new security state, not even garbage will have privacy.
"Terrorism," the Chicago Sun-Times informed us last week, "has created a new market in
Clear plastic trash bins are coming! They cost up to
Ho hum, we're in mortal danger every second of the day, terrorists might strike at any moment, but we've got surveillance cameras and metal detectors, body scans, the USA Patriot Act and now, see-through trash bins, though maybe we also need see-through backpacks . . .
And I started to think, we're chasing infinity here. We're ceding ever more ground to the Watching Authority but aren't the least bit safer than we were a decade or a half-century ago. Every high-profile act of violence is followed by some new security procedure and market opportunity, which of course embeds the procedure into our way of life and subtly, imperceptibly increases the fear, suspicion and social alienation that characterizes American society, meanwhile leaving the causes of violence -- whatever those might be -- unaddressed. And the war goes on.
In mainstream media and culture, indeed, there's no such thing as "causes." The concept is just too complicated, unless "illegal immigration" is a cause, or "Al Qaida" is a cause. Or opaque garbage cans are a cause.
In other words, the only "causes" of violence our society is capable of looking at are external projections. The perpetrators are either bad foreigners or quasi-foreigners (Muslims) taking orders from a central cabal of America-hating fanatics, or they are lone-nut types (mostly whites or Asians) who kill in response to some dark internal disturbance. The only thing we can do is protect ourselves from them with ever-increasing security measures, which of course is impossible.
What we can't do -- no way, give me a break! -- is understand them. We're a sinister mystery to one another, and that's the way it's going to stay. As
Not yet, anyway.
The agenda here, dutifully honored by the media, is the endless fissuring of humanity into incomprehensible fragments of "other." Only in a state of separation and pretend objectivity do we scrutinize the motives of headline-grabbing social rejects.
Thus the Tsarnaev brothers "appear to fit the biographical pattern of those involved in domestic terror plots since the
When I read that, I wondered if he was referring to, oh, America's
Violent potential runs like a subterranean river through the human race. Nationalism is a means of diverting that potential to approved causes. Terrorism, which is the tactic of the politically powerless, taps into that same subterranean river for non-approved causes.
"People resort to violence out of ambition or grievance, and the more powerful they are, the more violence they seem to commit,"
"This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings," Cole writes, "but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model."
The fact of the human predilection for violence ought to be the central issue when we ruminate about security. Instead, we "chase infinity" by attempting to circumvent every possible form that non-approved violence, a.k.a., terrorism, might take, even as we devote more than half our national budget to the pursuit of the good violence that serves the ruling interests.
I'm not even suggesting that we repress or condemn this universal tendency toward violence, simply that we acknowledge it, then ask how we can reorganize ourselves around a principle such as, for instance, the Golden Rule. Maybe it can't be done, but I know this much. Any discussion of security that ignores it is a bitter farce.
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