Paradoxes of the State   Leave a comment

Brad and I were busy enjoying the Alaska summer this weekend. A power outage interrupted our viewing of PBS news night, a Friday night tradition in our household, so I ended up writing close to 5000 words for Objects in View and figured out the ending scenes. There’s still a lot of holes to fill in before I can say it’s ready for rewrite, but it’s shaping up.

Writing always puts me in the mindset of the characters and one of those thoughts that struck me this weekend was that when you are asking the wrong questions, you will usually discover the wrong answers, which favors those who would prefer that you don’t discover the truth.

So, here we are on the ragged precipice of societal chaos. It’s looking a lot like 1968 when radicalized American youth rioted outside of the Democratic National Convention to force their party of choice in directions that have been destructive for the country. It was not the Republican Party that moved right, but the Democratic Party that moved left, forcing millions of conservatives out of that party and into the Republican Party. Now, the grandchildren of those radicals are threatening riots outside of the Republican National Convention to force the political party they are not members of to select a candidate to the Democrats liking. I don’t personally care what happens in either of those convention halls, but I think we ought to notice the threat of violence.


So, I just wanted to point out a couple of the paradoxes that exist in our world today and just ask you to think about them yourself.

  • The urban street gangs that function as mini-political systems compete with the formal police agencies whose violent powers provide the essence of what is meant by “law-and-order.”
  • The crazed man who machine-guns harmless men, women, and children at schools, dance clubs, or other public gatherings, must be distinguished from the soldier in a helicopter who opens fire upon, and kills, numerous innocent victims in foreign lands.
  • The “sniper” who murdered five policemen in Dallas is to be reviled for his actions, while Chris Kyle – the Navy SEAL veteran – was honored in the much-acclaimed film American Sniper for his state-serving talents.
  • Policemen and soldiers are the human agents of legal violence – who we are expected to recognize as “heroes” and thank for their “services” – while those who coerce and kill others for their own purposes are to be regarded as “hardened criminals.”

So my inconvenient questions for the day are

  • Who tells us that one is wrong and the other right?
  • Why are we not free to determine that for ourselves?
  • Why is it considered treasonous to condemn the government’s violence as if it were equal to the thugs’ violence?

We’re coming up on a presidential election where it appears neither of the two main party candidates has a clue of how to fix what is wrong with the world. Trump wants war and Hillary wants to double down on the invasion of our privacy. Think about that.




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