Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“Political Violence”

“Political Violence”
by The Zman

“Why is George Soros still alive?

For most of human history, a person who caused trouble for rulers found himself either on the run or on a pike. A earl or prince that made trouble for the king was dragged before the king, humiliated and then hanged. If he fought back, then the king sacked his lands, killed his family and made an even bigger spectacle of killing the the troublemaker. After all, the point of political power is to reward your allies and punish your enemies. Yet, George Soros, an international troublemaker, is free to make trouble wherever he likes.

The obvious reply to that is civilized nations no longer rely on political assassinations to handle their business. Political leaders have a self interest in discouraging the practice of killing heads of state. If ruler X has ruler Y killed, because it advantages him, the other rulers have no choice but to band together and kill ruler X. Otherwise, it is a lawless world of all against all. President Gerald Ford issued an executive order in 1976 prohibiting US intelligence services from conducting political assassinations for this reason.

That makes sense with legitimate political leaders, but George Soros is a rootless grifter, who has no allegiance to any government. Killing him would be no different than droning a terrorist. Some argue that international law prohibits targeted assassinations, but international law is mostly meaningless. The Israelis have been using targeted assassination against whoever they like for a long time, including the murder of Canadian engineer Gerald Bull. The US has droned more Arabs than we can count.

The most likely answer is that George Soros is not seen as anything more than a nuisance and only to certain members of the political class. He may be a billionaire, but he has no armies and he has no real reach. He’s smart enough to know that, so he makes sure to keep on good terms with the right people. It’s fair to assume that he is a master at not pissing off the wrong people. The proof of that is he has not suffered from whatever the Europeans call Arkancide. Still, no one stays lucky forever, yet Soros still lives.

It’s not just Soros. What we don’t see in the current age is any political assassinations in the West. For that matter, there are no attempts to take out an important person. The last such example in America was Patty Hearst and there is some question as to the reality of her kidnapping. Maybe there have been some recent cases of rich people targeted in Europe for political reasons, but none spring to mind. You would think with all the Muslim fanatics lurking around that some of them would decide to target a rich person.

It’s a strange thing that makes even less sense when you consider the realities of the modern age. In the 1970’s, someone like Squeaky Fromme taking a shot at Ford had a certain logic to it. Today, killing the president does not make a lot of sense. Sure, Trump is a critical component of the current fight, but generally the head of state is nothing but the part of the iceberg we see. The real political power is the cabal of rich people under the waterline, controlling things out of site of the public. Regicide has no value these days.

On the other hand, blowing up a few important political influencers in the Imperial Capital would have an enormous impact. Imagine back in the Bush years if opponents of the war, started targeting neocons. Alternatively, think about the impact it would have if Muslim terrorists blew up Mark Zuckerberg. Sure, taking down an airliner is a big show, but it is really hard. Killing some billionaires is a lot easier and the impact is much more significant, assuming you kill the right billionaires. It never happens though.

Of course, we could be in a transition period as the world of political violence adjusts to the changing nature of politics. Thirty years ago it made a lot of sense for political terrorists to attack civilian targets. The IRA and the Basques separatists lacked the capacity to take on the state, so they attacked the people in effort to put pressure on the state. Today, the state is not the only player and not the most important player in most of the world. Maybe political actors have not yet internalized the new global order.

The decline in political violence in the West sounds like a good thing. Most people would prefer it if car bombs are not going off in their cities. Even if heads of state are off limits, killing important political figures is destabilizing. The rise of a global order not only reduced the need for violence between countries. It may have reduced the need for violence within countries, as the political factions merged into a unified managerial ruling class. Rule by hyper-educated bureaucrat means disputes are handled over cappuccinos.

This may not be a good thing. For all of human history, power brought risk. The higher someone climbed the hierarchy, the greater their responsibilities and the greater their personal risk. The very real threat of personal violence had a tempering effect. Today, people in the managerial elite don’t have to worried about getting fired, much less assassinated. They occupy a world where no one is ever held accountable for their actions. As a result, they have become dangerously cavalier about t
heir duties.

In fact, the main feature of the on-going domestic espionage scandal of the last administration is the brazen and reckless way the players went about it. High moral character is what leads good men do the right thing when no one is looking. Fear of the hangman is what leads lesser men do the right thing when no one is looking. In the political game, personal risk has always been what weeds the reckless and dangerous from the game. That’s been removed so our political class is full of reckless and stupid people.

Nature has a way of correcting itself. If a species evolves down a dead end, something else evolves to replace it. Maybe what comes next is a new brand of political violence that meets the needs of the managerial state. Instead of people shooting political players, managerial class types will get snuffed out when going for their mocha latte. The assassination of Seth Rich could turn out to be the model. Maybe what will evolve to provide vigor and discipline to the managerial state is a grad school version of Arkancide.”

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