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The prompt from my conversational partner: “. . . to solve these problems, we need cooperation, not war. And the main question is why does the government not understand this?”

The response:

Paper, scissors, stone,  and “paper” (money) covers and suffocates all beneath it while “liberating” those who have it and, perhaps (I don’t want to find out!), those who might believe themselves above it – or those of merely modest material ambitions.

My personal approach has been “Money Matters!” but is not everything; however, and this especially with our health care industry, there are forces producing polices I can’t field, and of course that inspires a yet impotent resentment.

Our government should be Christian, good-willed, and muscular (academic term “muscular Christianity” works in this regard), but it’s bending toward the criminals in the great mansions and penthouse suites, and I’ not talking about Bill Gates or most “plutocrats” but rather those who believe there are no boundaries between their perfect embodiment of the “isness” (I will find the word, literally) of their state and themselves. The businesses, the courts, the military and paramilitary elements, and legislatures are all theirs to exploit and manipulate on behalf of their preferred . . . associates. That’s dictatorship.

Let me see if I can find the word for existence as the authentic expression of spirit . . . .

“Esse” and “essence” were not what I was looking for but for an esoteric term having to do with the being of the thing within the thing. Believing in the singularity of person and state (as Ceausescu had; as Erdogan and Putin do) may comprise part of the messianic delusion suffered by dictators but unfortunately visited (with fist in the velvet glove, at best) on their subjected people.

I’m finding my reading of Russian history steeped in punitive control, and that doesn’t come with interest in “the masses” half so much as in the developing and sustaining of wealth beneficial to the image and power of the central figure in power.

Related, Recent, and Singular

On today’s Chinese and Russian totalitarian aggression in Global Information Space:

Walker, Christopher and Jessice Ludwig.  “The Meaning of Sharp Power”.  Foreign Affairs, November 16, 2017.

BackChannels maintains a brief bibliography of accessible and general volumes on Russia’s political history in the “Russian Section” of this blog.  For greater insight into the authoritarian-patrimonial experience of the political culture from the 9th Century forward, I would recommend Richard Pipes’ fine history, Russia Under the Old Regime.

Punitive control: in geopolitical space and in the various ages of the “rule of the strong”, including for Russia and surrounds domination by the Mongols, the power to control space produces arrangements with in to produce wealth.  Pipes’ — in the above cited volume — steps off with economic variance in the productivity of Russian land compared to soil fertility to the south to explain motivation for the social arrangements that would ensue in history and effect Russian political arrangements to this day.  What Pipes appears to find essential — and what most concerns this blog — is the prince’s (or equivalent or greater in power) considering the ownership of property and persons the same thing.  Worse — the test of sovereignty becomes the permit to engage in the wholesale destruction of both!

Now have another look at Assad’s destruction of Syria and incubation of ISIS as a useful foil and political tool (“Reflexive Control’s” little helper) as well as the very emblem of the worst of the worst of destructive forces.

Who has the control of it?


Note: keyword tags are related this time but not directly addressed except beneath the category that is “Dictatorship” and its essential and unfailingly malign narcissism.