cannot leave your room.”
by Norman Ball
(This essay appeared previously at Dissident Voice.)
The erasure of national sovereignty leads, not to Shangri-La as some Eurocentrists would have it, but to a supranational consolidated ‘sovereignty’ presided over by banking interests, which is no sovereignty at all. On the contrary, it’s the Town Hall of the Panopticon.
Greece is not some idiot uncle who simply needs a loan to get back on his feet. That’s a tragic misread fraught with stereotype. Greece is the canary in our mine-shaft, loss-leader on the road to global debt servitude. As goes Greece so too will go the world in due course. Others wait in the wings: Puerto Rico, Italy, Portugal, the US. From the back of the cave, day-lit miners are easily mistaken for canaries.
It’s the math, stupid. That there exists an irrevocable tipping point of accumulated debt derives from the law of large numbers. Debt-money has unsustainability built into its Ponzi structure –unless we get the Martian mineral mines cranking in short order. (Exogenous resources expand the denominator. But then what next? Diamond mining on Saturn?)
In the meantime, the Earth wearies of being picked at for mindless, usurious advance. Those who run the Ponzi are not wringing their hands in distress. Debt is a consciously devised weapon for bringing the world to its knees. This ‘abyss’ is a planned rendezvous.
So, all the media histrionics about spendthrift nations tempting perfectly avoidable black holes, the character defects of the lazy Greeks, etc. are misdirecting narratives meant to disguise a premeditated arrival point that awaits even ‘fiscally responsible’ nations. The tipping point is a mathematical certainty, not a moral defect in the Southern European character.
Debt is an accusatory finger pointed at the People while the other hand gathers the former’s national treasures as ‘recompense’. The trumped-up contempt for national sovereignty rests upon a circuitous myth: That war in Europe has traditionally been precipitated by jingoism and toxic forms of nationalism, when in fact these are second-order manifestations brought on by the boom-bust manipulations and economic crises caused by the very financial interests that now endeavor to ‘rescue Europe’ from the fascist recoil the former set in motion. How neat. How tidy. We’ve been schooled since birth in ass-backwardness. Debt is not a handmaiden to growth. Debt devours growth; for without it, the former perishes. Nor is debt agnostic. On the contrary, it is laden with agenda as all weapons are.
So when we hear the idealistic refrains of committed Eurocentrists (i.e. idealists presumably, as these hapless cheerleaders lack a stake in the centralized outcome), we witness stupendous naivete greeting circular logic with open arms. Paraphrasing the circle:
“Anoint us as your ruling elite and we will refrain from playing the gaps that have historically visited ruin upon you, indeed delivered you to such desperate straits that you would even consider anointing us as your ruling elite.”
These various ‘sovereignties’ (lampooned to ridiculousness in ‘Borat’ caricatures and the like) happen to comprise the variegated splendor of the human race. Perhaps humanity’s a little too splendid for your tastes? God made the nations. Petition Him, why dontcha!
Core identity springs from sovereignty (the latter really a geo-politicized term for community, coherence and social comity). Sovereignty is the only potent ‘reservoir of recoil’ against a powerful centralizing force. National sovereignty is a life jacket against supranational hegemony. There is a frying pan. There is a fire. It pays to know which is which.
Power didn’t raise no fools. Fully recognizing its enemy (and faced with a prey that’s been trained to sees its enemy as its fwend), absolute power insists its enemy is our enemy, when in fact its enemy is us. Saturation media reinforces the trope of self-loathing. An indeterminate flatland will no doubt aid administrative management, Max Weber’s foretold nightmare. Part of this tactic, again, involves denigrating sovereignty ceaselessly in the hopes of banishing it forever to a pejorative neverland. Another tactic is to flood all pockets of distinction (and social coherence) with waves of outsiders, in effect burying the former alive in their own backyards. Note how the inoffensive euphemism ‘open borders’ is promulgated by the media to gloss what clearer heads cannot mistake for a mass invasion.
The powers-that-be seek gray, flattened automatons alienated from everything that makes them human and distinct –veritable warm bodies whose raisson d’etre consists in holding up the consumer end of card swipes. Sheldon Wolin calls the present system ‘inverted totalitarianism’, a grim evolution from ‘classical totalitarianism’. Suppose though we’re in the grips of a determined eschatology, from proto- to perfected totalitarianism? The ‘perfections’, you ask? Rallying cries are beholden to things that need rallying against. Mussolini, so easily detestable, has been inverted into an odorless colorless gas. You can’t hang oxygen from a lamppost.
Centralization is a thus devil’s bargain that swaps lesser ruins for an eclipsing ruin from which there will be no easy escape. The surveillance super-state will detect intimations of dissent before they congeal into barely-formed intentions. Every hill cannot be taken at once. One hill must serve as lever. Inverted totalitarianism is the ultimate invisibility (ubiquity) cloak.
Today’s Stasi is a trillion eyeballs peering from all pedestrian sides, an army of clever toasters and sensate devices measuring our biorhythms, sizing us up for our propensity for future crime, all the while baiting us with that ingratiating bitch, convenience, and the solicitous winks of emoticons –pixels mocked up to be our flatland fwends! It’s enough to warm the pixels of your heart.
So you’ve been warned. Never touch a sentient doorknob while nursing a fever. You could be mistaken for a hothead. The Internet of Things will work tirelessly for the State (as things do not tire). Without pay. Without compunction. Kitchen appliances will reveal the dark brooding side of inanimateness. The heat of the kitchen hides a multitude of sins! Never curse your skillet. Beneath the scrambled eggs the clever ones are taking notes.
The enemy is ubiquitous and soon to be eternally ensconced. Fortunately manufactured consent has taught us to love and embrace our self-harm. So there need not be a fight. Even a whimper detracts from TV time.
As Wolin points out brilliantly, the instigators and seeming foremen of the Panopticon are themselves unconscious cogs in a system of vague and indeterminate tyranny. With everyone comporting a touch of gray, no one villain warrants the gallows as no one departure is singular enough to halt dystopian advance.
The Internet of Things is the distributive architecture of complicity. Jeff Zuckerberg became a billionaire launching a pro bono spy apparatus which avails our services both as surveillance target and dutiful cataloger of our every move. Never again will the gumshoe sigh into the camera, ‘damn I lost him at the lights.’ We are he. They are we.
Which brings us to the zipperless fuck of perfected lockdown…
We cannot thwart an enemy we inhabit. Nor can we forestall a future that, by virtue of ubiquitous arrival, rescinds the coordinates of discrete arrival for a mysterious, spontaneous omnipresence.