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The Moonspeaker:
Where Some Ideas Are Stranger Than Others...

You Will Be Assimilated (2020-08-31)

Diagram of categories of social integration from Carolin Donath, Dirk Baier, Elmar Graessel, and Thomas Hillemacher, 'Substance consumption in adolescents with and without an immigration background: a representative study—What part of an immigration background is protective against binge drinking?' via wikimedia commons under CC Attribution 4.0 International License. Diagram of categories of social integration from Carolin Donath, Dirk Baier, Elmar Graessel, and Thomas Hillemacher, 'Substance consumption in adolescents with and without an immigration background: a representative study—What part of an immigration background is protective against binge drinking?' via wikimedia commons under CC Attribution 4.0 International License.
Diagram of categories of social integration from Carolin Donath, Dirk Baier, Elmar Graessel, and Thomas Hillemacher, 'Substance Consumption In Adolescents With and Without an Immigration Background: A Representative Study' via wikimedia commons under CC Attribution 4.0 International License.

"You Will Be Assimilated": this is the great dream statement of the people who think of themselves as elites, the ones who think that there are no other ways to live for people outside of their narrow group but what benefits their own clique. At this point it is quite obvious that the way of life demanded by these supposed "elites" is so pathological and destructive that they must hold at least four core beliefs that allow them to justify what they are doing. I'm sure there are many ancillary beliefs, but the point is that they have to start with some quite basic points after which any other selections are as taste and convenience dictate.

  1. They are exceptional, chosen people, the only real human beings.
  2. Everyone else is only notionally human.
  3. There is no future for this Earth.
  4. One way or the other, it doesn't matter what happens, they will come out smiling and rich, because of belief 1.

The majority of this clique apparently shares an important ancillary belief in what Karl Polanyi famously described as the enforcement of a labour market, in which everyone will be free to sell their labour, though not free to do anything else. It is worth quoting his overview of this thinking, via page 171 of the 2001 beacon press edition of The Great Transformation.

To separate labour from other activities of life and to subject it to the laws of the market was to annihilate all organic forms of existence and replace them with a different tyoe of organization, an atomistic and individualistic one.

Such a scheme of destruction was best served by the application of the principle of freedom of contract. In practice this meant that the non-contractual organization of kinship, neighbourhood, profession, and creed were to be liquidated since they claimed the allegiances of the individual and thus restrained his[sic] freedom. To represent this principle as one of noninterference, as economic liberals were wont to do, was merely the expression of ingrained prejudice in favour of a definite kind of interference, namely, such as would destroy non-contracted relations between individuals and prevent their spontaneous reformation.

The effect of the establishment of a labour market is conspicuously apparent in colonial regions today. The natives are forced to make a living selling their labour. To this end their traditional institutions must be destroyed, and prevented from reforming, since, as a rule, the individual in primitive[sic] society is not threatened by starvation unless the community as a whole is in a like predicament.

If the only way to get people into a contract is to give them a choice to sign or starve, the situation at hand is certainly not one of freedom or non-interference. This is the coercive force behind the assumption that everyone will just have to assimilate to what today we more often refer to as fundamentalist capitalism combined with settler colonialism or die. The people who take this position, however they pretty it up or sidestep around putting it this bluntly, are nevertheless taking precisely this position. To their minds, if people end up starving, they are either perverse, lazy, or surplus to need anyway and so should die more quickly as they shouldn't have existed in the first place. The people whose position this is would mostly never put it this bluntly, and might even deny there are ever dire consequences, either because they don't consider them dire, they start inveighing against "bleeding heart liberals" with no sense of irony, or the worst happens out of their sight. When Hannah Arendt talked about the banality of evil, a key aspect of her examination focussed on how people found ways to deny what was happening by insisting they didn't know, meaning they did not have direct knowledge. It seems to me that Karl Marx and more recently David Harvey have made related points, that economic systems can be designed to make it possible to deny knowledge of the destruction required to keep the system running.

There are many aspects to current conditions that hark back to Polanyi's analysis, and an eerie sense that now we are seeing those who saw themselves solely as colonizers forced to admit that they are colonized. Take the united states, where people across that country's political spectrum are furious that their communities are being pulverized, and people who think they are white are discovering to their rage and terror that their communities are slated for demolition too. The proof is legion that the creation of what amounts to a Hobbesian world of all against all by means of total force and constant interference by corporations, state, and their useful idiots among the clergy and teaching professions is anything but liveable in any but the very shortest term.

The real question is, are the majority of us seriously going to go along with being assimilated, that is legally murdered, by a few extremists?

Copyright © C. Osborne 2020
Last Modified: Monday, May 29, 2017 2:03:23