Why Authoritarianism Doesn't Work: Because Nobody Likes It!
18 January 2014
I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's book,
"David and Goliath" -- wherein Gladwell says that, in
the course of any human interaction, there will always
be a graphic curve of diminishing returns when it
comes to maximizing the use of force in order to
achieve one's goals.
In other words, always punching other people's lights
out in order to get your own way can very quickly
become counterproductive. Good grief, I think that
Gladwell might be onto something here.
If the maximum use of force in order to obtain one's
goals had been successful in Iraq (and assuming that
said goals were to depose a dictator and not just to
create chaos and steal oil), then the Bush-led
invasion would never have been such a dismal failure
and there never would have been such a disastrous
resistance war there -- one that still keeps rolling
right along to this day. So much for Shock and Awe.
If maximum use of force really worked, then Europe
would still be saluting Hitler.
Slavery would still be on the books in Georgia and
Alabama because of all those happy slaves it created.
Or, alternatively, segregation would still be a huge
success and MLK would have had no effect at all on it.
Descendants of Genghis Khan would still be running
Russia and China.
There would be no Child Protective Services anywhere
and parents would still be beating their kids to
within an inch of their lives. And I would still be
lovingly obeying my mean older sister.
Women would look forward to being placed in harems and
having a dozen babies each and would never demand the
right to be pro-choice. "Barefoot and pregnant." They
would know their place as slaves to their husbands and
not strive for anything else. Rape would not be a
problem for women and girls.
Those viscous stormtroopers who illegally seized
control of Palestine 65 years ago by ruthlessly wiping
out hundreds of villages and slaughtering Christians
and Muslims by the thousands? They would not still be
getting resistance from the Occupied Territories even
now. And the current Israeli neo-cons' constant brutal
"eye for an eye" faux cleverness wouldn't have forced
Al Qaeda out of the remote caves of Afghanistan where
it was holed up in 2001 -- and forced it into
not-so-remote southern Syria where Al Qaeda is now,
right at Israel's front door.
And there would not have been 30 years of The Troubles
in Northern Ireland either.
And in South America, Pinochet's ghost would still be
running Chile, Argentina's Dirty War would have made
Henry Kissinger proud, the billions Reagan spent on
killing peasants in Guatemala would not have been
wasted, Batista's grandson (not Castro's brother)
would still be ruling Cuba and all those tin-pot
dictators that the CIA supported in Central and South
America over the years would be in Heaven right now --
not in Hell. And phrases like "Banana Republic" and
"Military Junta" and "Drug Cartel" would all stir our
hearts with pride instead of just making us queasy.
The Soviet Union would still exist -- and Afghans and
Chechyans would just love being a part of it. People
there would stop praising Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and
Baryshnikov and start even more fan clubs for Stalin.
We would have "Fascism" and "Corporatism" engraved on
our dimes now instead of just that stupid old word
"Liberty". And "Mein Kampf" -- not "Romeo and Juliette"
-- would be required reading in all American high
All seven billion of us human beings, when we were
babies, would have been spanked every time we cried,
been locked in closets for days for the slightest
infraction and would have thrived on harsh whippings
-- and that would have been that. And as a result we
would all have grown up to become obedient citizens,
not axe-murdering psychopaths.
Jesus would have been just another loser with wild
ideas. Even Mohammed and the Buddha would have been
buked and scorned (and sent to bed without any Last
Supper). http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UdllgBtXPaE
Everyone in America would be happily welcoming the NSA
and the militarization of our police forces with open
arms right now. More tanks driving down Main Street?
More surveillance on our phones? More destruction of
our Constitutional rights? Bring it on!
And Baby Doc and his Bon Ton Macoute would still be
running Haiti and Jean-Bertrand Aristide would have
been laughed out of the country instead of becoming a
hero almost as legendary as Toussaint L'Ouverture.
So why don't whips and chains and oppression and
torture work out so well in the long run? One would
think that they would. Isn't Fear the greatest
motivator? According to Gladwell, apparently not.
And why is "Do unto others as you would have others do
unto you" still such a hot item? You tell me. Which
way would you prefer to be treated? As a friend or as
a slave? Which way of being treated would piss you off
to the degree that you would take torches and
pitchforks in hand rather than live under a tyrant?
PS: And speaking of Haiti, I just got a really great
deal on Expedia to go to Port au Prince over
Valentines Day (flight there and back and five days in
a guest house in Diquini, including breakfasts, for
less than I can spend if I stayed home in Berkeley --
plus a night of listening to RAM at the Hotel Oloffson
on February 13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=eppC82rUK3g (Preview) ).
Does anyone know of any other interesting (and
meaningful) things that I could see and do in Haiti --
on a limited budget? If so, please let me know. Or how
I could get interviews with Jean-Bertrand Aristide and
Paul Farmer while I am there? Or I wouldn't mind
interviewing Sean Penn again either, who I hear now
lives down there -- when he's not hanging out with
Charlize Theron in Malibu that is.
Or even Baby Doc?