Friday, February 7, 2014

Believing Your Own P R

Had a discussion with a fellow who argued that a police officer in a coffee shop is an active threat requiring immediate self-defense.  The only reasonable response to seeing the same would be to kill the police officer.

The argument ran like this:  the state is defined as a monopoly on violence within a given territory.  The police officer is the specific agent of violence.  We do not agree to fund the police, they are a requirement of the legal fiction of the state.  No territory within the state is allowed to function without a police presence.

Given the coercive and violent nature, in other words unvoluntary,  the police officer is wearing stolen clothes, driving a stolen car, has a stolen gun, drinking stolen coffee and is advertising themselves (by their uniform) what they do.  At any point he may (and some do) commit crimes for which there are no punishments.  That threat level, his argument goes, precipitates lethal defensive action as soon as one sees a police officer.

Now my counter argument is violence (definitions are important) is always wrong, and there are no instances in which violence pays off.  In short, we don't end the killing through killing.  Seems rather obvious to me.

As I listened to him, I was thinking "I know cops who would agree with him... up to the killing part."  I know combat soldiers who say the whole thing is a game.  Bankers who are clear on what they are doing.  Sports figures who know it is all rigged.  How can they live with the contradiction?

The attitude is "It ain't the hand you are dealt, it is how you play the cards."  They are playing their cards the best they can given the way the world works right now.  Admirable!  And they do not judge anyone for any way one chooses to play their cards dealt.  Irrefutable!

These people are the most interesting to talk with, seem to live a much fuller life, even as merely a cop or banker or soldier.  Will such cops tolerate any threat from an overwrought nihilist?  No.  But nor would they get agitated if someone criticized them for being a costumed agent of violence.  Just so.

Further, such realists are the least likely to abuse their position for the simple fact they are not emotionally invested in an indefensible delusion, so they are disinclined to go into the downward spiral or anger and disillusionment. They seem to be a bit sad at the human condition, and disinclined to take things too far.  If anything, it is these realists within those groups that keep a check on the crazies inside of their groups.

I think one big sin is to believe one's own public relations (PR) story.  Believe that, and you mindlessly fall into a trap of delusional thinking about how things are.  On the other hand, everyone of these realists stands ready to take up a better occupation when the delusional automatons are no longer the vast majority.

It is not an internal contradiction to be "cop" and "free" since it is all in the mind.  The test is if you believe your own PR.

Here is a wee film about violence and PR, when you have a couple of hours.

Feel Free To Email This To Three Friends.

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