Death by Proxy

Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Kleptocracy /
@ K. 1999

Mission: to cure us of kleptocracy

Kleptocracy: Death by Proxy

The Bible tells story after story of the good steward and the bad steward. One story has a landlord in trouble with his land. The wise man tells him to ride out every morning. That’s all: just go out daily and look things over. Magic. It’s a miracle: things get better. “Wha’jda do?” “Nothin’. I just did what the magician told me. And things cured themselves.”

You don’t have to be too bright to see what the problem was and how it was solved: the landlord had lived on the fat, noticed that there was less and less fat coming his way. Of course. He’d turned his back on his business. His stewards, foremen, peasants, lawyers, what-have-you, his representatives, were stealing him … Well, not quite blind: just a lot less rich.

When rich-guy Thomas Hoving accepted Mayor Lindsay’s appointment to direct the Metropolitan Museum on New York’s Fifth Avenue, he commuted to work from his plush digs through Central Park by bicycle. Within a short time he’d had a dozen fancy bicycles stolen. Not any more, he told the reporters: I use the best lock there is. And what lock is that, he was asked. “No lock. Don’t let it out of your sight.” Hoving had learned to carry his bicycle up into his office with him.

In Genesis, God talks to Adam. By Exodus he was talking to the Jews through Moses. By the time of the gospels, he was talking to the Jews through the Temple of Jerusalem, its Sanhedrin of fancy rabbis, through the king: Herod. So who’s this Jesus then? Well, Christians say it was God talking directly to the people again. According to the Christian story God’s official representatives wouldn’t allow it. According to Dostoevsky’s continuation of the story Jesus is arrested by the Grand Inquisitor the minute he reappears.

The stewards, the lawyers, the priests … can’t tolerate anything that doesn’t go through them. The same story happens again and again: Martin Luther, for example. The Bible is a book, God’s book. It’s available. People can read. Let God do his own “talking.” No no no.

I say and repeat again: whatever God is, whoever Jesus was, regardless of the facts … the story is true. It’s got us to a T.

Our institutions betray their own supposedly sacred purpose: the priest stands between you and God, the teacher stands between you and the book you want to read, your congressman stands between you and your social order, your lawyer stands between you and justice …

Without kleptocracy, there’d be no way this biosphere could feed six billion costumed Homo sapiens cabbages: the sheeple. Kleptocracy can operate only by the majority accepting the proxy of stewards. Homo sapiens doesn’t ride out and survey its lands each morning; we watch television. The MS-NBC sky cam does our surveying for us: exactly what the landlord in the parable had let happen to him.

Oh, but we’re not landlords; we’re only schmuck employees. Well, whose fault is that? What makes anything theirs any more than it’s yours? I know. Stories you’ve been told. And were dumb enough to swallow. This land is your land … This is a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people …

When Nixon resigned instead of being arrested and tried, our stewards told us, “See? The system works.” Wouldn’t the true story go This is a nation of the stewards, by the stewards, and for the stewards. Better yet: This is a kleptocracy (among kleptocracies), of the kleptocrats, by the kleptocrats, and for the kleptocrats. (Isn’t that what the war in Indochina was all about? Weren’t we wiping out the non-kleptocrats that we couldn’t convert to kleptocracy? (Of course “Charlie” was doing the same thing: for a different, competing, kleptocracy.)) The kleptocrats have a suite of associates to keep you too busy and befuddled to make your own survey of what’s supposed to be yours: teachers, reporters, entertainers … If you do ride out, it had better be in a armored vehicle from which you can’t see anything. But of course, in order to have such an armored vehicle, you have to be one of the kleptocrats.

If the biosphere were indeed a place of magic, a place where saying so makes it so, we could expect to remain as costumed cabbages for ever and ever. When the air, the water, is all foul and the oil is all gone, we’ll just say, No, it isn’t, wave our magic wand, and live on and on. Or pack our delusions into a rocket and go someplace some previous rocket has landed robots to terraform a new asylum for us.


Thomas is said to have put his finger through the hole in the resurrected Jesus’ hand: a first generation of witness. By the time the Sunday School teacher tells you the story, how many generations have passed? Can “witness” one hundred times removed be considered witness?

If Susan and Julie have a dispute and Susan and Julie both agree to let Mort decide between their claims, if both swear to abide by Mort’s decision, that sounds to me like as good a resolution mechanism as you can find. But what about when Mort then sells his judgeship to Sam? And then Stalin dismisses Sam and appoints Ivan? Are Susan and Julie still bound to accept any decisions of Ivan’s?

No No No No No.

Proxies
Death by Proxy
Religious Proxies
Social Order Institutions Kleptocracy

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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