Civilized Man as Thief

/ Kleptocracy /
@ K. 1999

The definitions which originally opened this module on kleptocracy now head the kleptocracy menu. The original file is now broken up into that, this, and other files.

What is commonly referred to as “history” is the record of kleptocracy written by kleptocrats for kleptocrats (whitewashing their laundry). Until recently we didn’t know beans about the cultures that did fine for tens of thousands of years before agriculture, cities, kings, wars, conquest … were ever invented. Depending on how you date the “species,” that period could be stated in hundreds of thousands to millions of years.

Some of us know how we came by our fortune,
and some of us don’t,
but we wear it all the same.
The Poisonwood Bible

2002 06 25

… through all historic times, wherever any people have advanced beyond the savage state, and have learned to increase their means of subsistence by the cultivation of soil, a greater or less number of them have associated and organized themselves as robbers, to plunder and enslave all others, … who had either accumulated any property that could be seized, or had shown, by their labor, that they could be made to contribute to the support or pleasure of those who should enslave them.

Lysander Spooner

( had lots of such Spooner quotes.)

Notice: In the United States for example (a society routinely dropping bombs on people while making speeches about freedom, self-determination, law, rights, order …), those who opposed slavery prior to the Civil War had their morality judged by the slavers. (You didn’t have own or trade in slaves to be a slaver: just author or support laws that said it was OK: right, Godly, Christian, biblical …)
Kleptocratic society is set up so that those who commit the greatest crimes sit in judgment on those who didn’t.

In recent decades, those who exercised their theoretical “right” to free speech and conscience in opposing US support of a Vietnamese government that locked its own citizens in concentration camps, were terrorized by hard hats (New York’s mayor proudly sporting a hard hat himself in the next parade), had to flee the country, were fired from their teaching posts. Now we know what “free speech” means. Their morality was judged by the bomb droppers.
Kleptocracies are full of “experts.” Experts are the intellectuals who didn’t get relativity, still don’t get evolution … but teach it, decide what may be published, what should be read … Don’t forget: Einstein’s own physics teacher did everything in his power to prevent the publication of Relativity. Don’t forget that prior to Einstein’s making a suggestion to Roosevelt that benefited the US war effort (getting Einstein his picture in Life Magazine), Einstein was on international hit lists: a condemned “thought criminal.”
If you think that genocide was wrong when the loser of a war did it but is just dandy having been committed wholesale (previously) by the winners of the war, then you should be well at home in what you have: kleptocracy.

Wake up, Wake up Darlin’ Corey
What makes you sleep so sound?
Those highway robbers are comin’:
Go’n tear your still house down.
folk song

1999 12 03 All governments are kleptocracies. Thus, all government officials, yes, even the bureaucrats, are kleptocrats. We may vilify Stalin and deify Lincoln, but they’re both kleptocrats. The Caesars stole from some senators, but even if they hadn’t, they still stole nature. And they can’t give it back.
(I’ll be illustrating other types of kleptocratic theft soon.)
(2015 10 04 Just rereading Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy the State: Nock mentions an Indian tribe or two that were not kleptocracies but that had an institution or two that could have been called “government”.)

Well, the last time I saw Darlin’ Corey,
She was sitting on the banks of the sea
With a .45 strapped around her bosom
And a banjo on her knee.

About here the original module began singing the praises of Jared Diamond. I move that material to a file in his honor.


Darlin’ Corey:
A day or two after reading some Rothbard passages on the subject of government as money pirates, in a games trance, a Pete Seeger version of the old Appalachian folk song kept cycling through my head: decades since I last listened to it. A word or two may be different from versions you’ve heard but I bet if I did refit the studio to play an old 10″ LP, I’d be dead on accurate. But it’s folk music. I’ve heard Seeger alone sing it a half dozen different ways: her gun is bound around her waist, her gun is strapped on her bosom …

Researchers have gone into oral cultures with epic as a living art and recorded recitations of the culture’s epics: then asked for a repeat. The epic was different each time: to a digital society! the same each time — “exactly” — to the oral listeners. Remember the variants in Shakespeare’s quarto editions. Some may be mistakes of memory, others may be variants penned by Shakespeare himself. I doubt that he worried overly about them during a performance of “his” work.


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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