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Mission: an anarchist argument against sovereignty
Sovereignty means you get to grade yourself
Once upon a time this or that culture worked to colonize others for this or that god. Then nationalism became the thing.
Sovereignty means you get to change meanings
Once upon a time this or that nation pretty much embodied an already established cultural amalgam: if you were English (and presentable) then you were Church of England, if you were Italian then you were Roman Catholic, if you were Seneca then you were whatever Senecas are.
And change them again
Sometimes there have been still amalgamating cultures: Alexandria in the wake of Alexander … the United States in the wake of all of the other cultural nations making a mess of everything. Now we can be Methodist or Presbyterian (but please, if you’re Catholic, or Jewish (or Muslim) … try to be invisible about it) but we don’t say that loudest: now we say loudest that we’re Americans. And the United States is a sovereign nation.
That is: however much we are addicted to messing with other nations’ cultures, we don’t want any outsider messing with ours. We’ll show YOU how to be RIGHT; you can’t show us … because YOU don’t know. So there.
Once upon a time the Church was sovereign. If the Sheriff of Nottingham was after Robinhood, and Robin fled into a church (there being only one kind in those parts), the Sheriff couldn’t pursue him, note couldn’t arrest him: till he came back out. Two sovereignties coexisted in what was then a country: not quite yet a nation. The archbishop didn’t invade the palace and the prince didn’t invade the church. That is: neither invaded the other in military terms; memeticaly, yes: both sides propagandized left and right, and the propaganda penetrates walls of both church and palace.
Thus, in the “West” at least, note culture divided into sacred and secular: the English priest, a Christian, imagined that he wasn’t “secular” while the Christian Chancellor, an Englishman, let the priest specialize in the divine.
More than once at Knatz.com I’ve said that if a spectrum is infinite, then no matter where you are along the spectrum, you still have infinity to go in either direction. I think of civilization as a spectrum. We are far far removed from being not civilized, yet we are infinitely far from being civilized by any ideal of civilization. And now I relate sovereignty to civilization (and suggest that there is an “infinite” array of degrees of civilization already in place. You phone the CEO of the XYZ conglomerate: you get the switchboard, the switchboard’s robot, maybe some receptionist, maybe a secretary. You phone the President at the White House: same deal. You visit Lord Mayweather, the butler answers the door: if you got past the gardeners. If the CEO calls on you: he gets you, scratching your belly: or your wife, in her housecoat: or your kid, dangling a broken toy.
When the telemarketer phones PKImaging.com she gets me, “PKImaging. Paul Knatz speaking.” When the telemarketer phones the XYZ conglomerate, he gets the same switchboard robot I get. (But of course the telemarketer’s computer knows better than to call the XYZ conglomerate. I’ll likewise bet that the White House does not get one telemarketing call: in a year: in a decade!)
I jump to this day’s target within this vast subject: I believe we would move far rightward along the spectrum of civilization if we left the sovereignty of churches and of nations in the past and established the sovereignty of the individual.
Individuals of course form teams. And that’s dandy: we’re social creatures, cooperative as well as competing. Five guys on the floor make a basketball team, nine guys a baseball team, twenty-five guys the whole team with bench and bull pen. But we don’t form teams of five hundred let alone hundreds of millions. One male and one female join and form a union: or two dykes. Etc. Such teams are families. Such families can be one individual: or two persons, then three; or twelve persons, also connected (more loosely) to dozens more: uncles, cousins; friends, lovers … but not in the hundreds, not in the millions. I believe that the family — from one or two to two hundred — should be acknowledged as sovereign.
XYZ Corporation has a robot for a switchboard: any modern family’s home should itself be a robot. The telemarketer can call the robot — day or night. But the robot should know when you may and may not be disturbed. “Ah, Mrs. Jones has won $5,000,000? Oh. Well, when you know for sure, just send the check to her home. I make all deposits for the family. … Oh, you want Mrs. Jones to subscribe to 85,000 different magazines at $37.50 each for six months in order for Mrs. Jones to find out if indeed she’s won the $5,000,000? Well, as the family robot I am also empowered to be Mrs. Jones’ business manager in unsolicited matters. You may send me free samples of each of those 85,000 magazines and I at my discretion will recommend to her those that I think may interest her. But for Mrs. Jones herself to read them, you’d have to bid for her time. Currently she is employed at $70,000 per year. I estimate that it would take her a couple of decades to familiarize herself with any portion of those 85,000 magazines, so I’m afraid that your $5,000,000, even paid up front in cash, is not a tempting offer. Good bye.” Click.
I write at night. Oh, I write in the morning, in the evening … but most often I write at night. Therefore, frequently, I am asleep in the day. Fifteen years ago, my landlord came knocking on my camper at 10 AM. No inquiry if it was convenient. No apology. He demanded my attention at a time when I had none to give. My landlord worked in the day: every day. Never once did I knock him up at 3 AM. He might have called the police if I had. What would the police have made of my complaint if I had called the police on my landlord? No, the police, if they came, would have make me stand up and hold still for the landlord. (See? I am merely a tax payer; but he is a tax collector!) Ah, but were we civilized, my camper robot would have intercepted my landlord — incapacitated him if necessary (he was after all standing on my site) — until the landlord showed that he understood that he couldn’t just command my time in my own home (a family of one, a sovereign individual) without an appointment: and he could only make such an appointment by coming at a civilized — to me! — time.
No, the Sheriff couldn’t arrest Robin once Robin was in the church. Civilized sheriffs couldn’t arrest anyone from the sovereignty of their own home: at least not at the sheriff’s convenience. Come back once we’ve finished breakfast.
Of course the house robot would need a deterrent at least nuclear.
2006 04 07
Sovereignty means that no one can make you pay for your crimes (indeed, you are guiltless of crime: since no one can convict you: you are the highest court, you control the records, etc.):
|except God, and God is no problem because God is on your side (your being sovereign proves it: doesn’t it?) (QED) (Indeed, the sovereign kleptocracy controls who and what God is, any actual entity can’t get a word in edgewise.)|
I now see that I made a place for a module on this subject 2002 09 07 but did little with it. I’ll read that day’s material in below and decide later what to pursue and what to discard.
This piece was foreshadowed in Speed Writing where the only mnemonic for me (and promise, as is were, to you) went: “no way to sue the judge.” I had wanted to see how far I could get with first three, then six pieces that day, but, thanks to a number of factors, not the least of which was that US Open Tennis is right now hot and heavy, and also including the fact that it takes a bit of doing just to code the HTML that will “frame” the piece in one or another directory at Knatz.com, I never got very far with a single one of the six. Today I am ready to copy each mnemonic into each file as its seed kernel, expanding perhaps a bit: preparatory to actually writing anything. Thus:
(Hard to edit that for style after decades have slipped by.)
No constitution could restrain the state.
Once its monopoly of force was granted legitimacy,
constitutional limits became mere fictions it could disregard;
nobody could have the legal standing to enforce those limits.
The state itself would decide, by force, what the constitution “meant,”
steadily ruling in its own favor and increasing its own power.
Those hints are about as bald as I ever get with myself let alone with the public. Still, if you can predict from those two brief installments of notes what I will actually write here over the coming hours, days, and months, then you certainly don’t need to read any more at Knatz. Come on over and help me write it. Take over when I croak.
I doubt that any single human delusion is more deleterious, more flat-out wrong, than the self-serving fallacy that any human entity — person or institution — can be sovereign.
Yeah, some of that’s OK. I’ll blend and expand later.
2004 04 05
Now I see I owe a mirror piece on individualism. I’ll seed it here with the observation that I, like you, like her, like him, may be regarded as an individual organism. Still, that’s a mental construct: same as a family, a fraternity, a nation … are mental constructs. How literally can we take it? This individual organism of pk wouldn’t function if it weren’t for all the e. coli living and breeding in my gut. How many cells are in my body? And aren’t they of many different kinds? Don’t I have brain tissue and bone tissue and muscle tissue? Etc.
Also: Knatz.com has several times cited the observation that heavy weight champion is necessarily insane: he doesn’t know who, if anyone, can beat him; whereas the good middle weight knows with fair precision which heavy weights could beat him. I believe it was Garry Wills I got this perception from — an NYR article from the late 1960s. Thus, sovereignties are necessarily insane. And God forbid that the heavies — US or Stalin or Mao or Queen Victoria — should decide to have a World Series.
2012 04 29 Godel Escher Bach, 1979, Douglas Hofstadter blessedly used the phrase god-above-god. Yes, so important. The Jews present a God supposedly at the top of everything. But everything has no “top.” It’s bad cosmology, bad logic, bad math … bad thinking. The Muslims said that there was only one God, all other gods were false. Everyone trying to control reality: and calling it religion.
I don’t believe in the Supreme Court in Washington, DC; I believe in the supreme-court-above-the-Supreme-Court, the god-above-god: not in Washington, DC; in heaven; not in the heaven controlled by the Church that crucified Jesus, or the Church that put a contract out on Luther, not the Church that defrocked Ivan illich, no, no: the heaven-above-heaven, the meta-heaven.
Trouble is: in an infinity there is no “number” which is infinity; there’s the concept infinity: there is no top of the top, end of the line, or you haven’t understood “infinity.”
The US put me in jail, railroaded me, coerced a confession (torture!). I can’t communicate to the US, the US has made that clear to me all my life. No, I complain to God, then to god-above-god … I don’t expect an answer, I don’t expect justice; I expect consequences: a church can’t keep crucifying avatars of God and also expect to get away with sabotage forever.
Of course the Sheriff of Nottingham could enter the church while Robin was in it, but NOT in the official person of the Sheriff. The cops too, if they took off their guns and badges, were welcome inside: as simple Christians.
Though I do not write for the West, I am writing in the West.
I know what I mean and you know what I mean, at least in this instance. But how absurd. Go into orbit. Look at the earth. Where is the “west”?
Well, actually, because of the distinct shapes of the continents, we can easily tell north from south say from the moon. And because we all learned “history,” we may also see North America or Europe and say, “There is the West” and not be speaking utter nonsense. So don’t look at the earth from the moon: go to Callisto. Look at Jupiter. Now tell me where the west is.
Callisto would have a view of the stars seen by man only from orbit (no atmosphere). So from the moon, from Mars, from Callisto … we could still determine “north” (by finding Polaris). So go somewhere far away. Go somewhere not in this immediate neighborhood of this arm of this galaxy. Now tell me where “north” is.
2004 04 05 The cited gibberish is written in my journal style: with abbreviations galore and haphazard attention only paid to style. Mgt is a likely pk abbreviation for “management.” Some abbreviations are standardized (within some fraternity or another), but most aren’t: abbreviate as you will. But once one is aware that R A Wilson joked at length among Mgt, Markov Chains, and his fictional midget Markov Chainey, everything changes. Now I’ll have to figure out whether I wrote that scribble before or since reading Wilson.
2012 06 14 Straight Dope has a funny piece of sovereignty: Accepted for Value.
@ K. 2003 11 30