Hollow Outrage

Exclusive to STR

May 27, 2008

It's rather humorous to read and hear the outrage by pundits and politicos against the assassination comments by Hillary Clinton. Keith Olbermann seems to be leading the way in this effort. He calls Clinton to task for invoking 'the nightmare of political assassination' and rails about the 'inappropriateness' of using such a word. After listing past politicians killed or injured while in office or while campaigning, he sums ups his outrage with this:

'This is unforgivable because this nation's deepest shame, its most enduring horror, its most terrifying legacy, is political assassination. The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Mrs. Clinton. You cannot and must not invoke that imagery- anywhere, at any time.'

Why should anyone be shocked 'anywhere at any time' at the mention of violence in politics? Summed up, the election game is merely a battle among gangsters to decide who controls the power of the most vicious, amoral institution created by man--the state! This superficially 'peaceful' political battle successfully masks the underlying method used to enforce state policy--violence! Once elected, the new or returning powers that be will use whatever force necessary (including imprisonment, kidnapping, torture, and outright killing) to enforce its decree. This violence will be easily perceived by anyone not blinded by unwavering nationalism. This violence will be easily detected and clearly understood as such by anyone whose mind is not clouded by beguiling words spewed by political spin artists and media apologists. No one will have to invoke any 'imagery' to expose it.

Apparently, in a 'democracy,' violence is only allowed (or even to be mentioned, as Olbermann whines) once 'the people' (at least a majority of voting, consenting slaves) officially grant the use of violence. Can you think of a more perverted concept to define a social institution? Is it not comical to witness the moral outrage claimed by statists against political violence while they dutifully accept and rabidly defend the institutional violence generated by the establishment they serve?

Recently I watched the movie 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger.' I highly recommend you see it. Near the end of the movie, Kissinger is shown making this statement:

'The average person thinks that morality can be applied as directly to the conduct of states to each other as it can to human relations. That is not always the case because sometimes statesmen have to choose among evils.'

Has there ever been a more succinct explanation as to why the state is not an institution conducive to the success of a civilized world? And this comes from one of history's leading proponents and initiators of state-sponsored violence. Does this quote not expose an inherent moral weakness in an institution that must use violence to reach its objectives, rather than peaceful persuasion of individuals? Persuasion is hailed by nearly everyone as the only proper method to initiate change amongst individuals, while the use of violence as a means to ends is properly condemned. This moral imperative seems sadly absent when questions of state accountability arise.

This nation's 'deepest shame' and 'most enduring horror' is not that a few politicians have suffered the risk that comes with holding or seeking power over others. Rather, it is the acceptance, as common wisdom, that the winner of an election is bestowed the power of life and death over any individual--at any time and in any manifestation they deem necessary.

This nation's 'most terrifying legacy' is not political assassination but the collective acceptance that marks on a ballot give legitimacy and justification to decades of war, economic impoverishment, false imprisonment, theft of property and even political assassination (as long as it's conducted against other countries, of course).

Outrage rings hollow when expressed by hypocrites. Outrage is nonsensical when declared by the deluded.

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Roger Young's picture
Columns on STR: 22

Roger Young is a freelance photographer in Texas and has a blog.