Have I None

It used to be taught, there in the law schools of the United States, and as a very cornerstone of The Law, that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.”

As expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone, in his 1760 Commentaries on the Laws of England.

Or, more stellar yet, and Dick Cheneyonce perfidious Albion had been dethroned from them American shores: “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape, than that one innocent Person should suffer.”

As was so said, in 1785, by Benjamin Franklin.

Now, of course, this loftiness all mostly applied only to white people. More specifically, white male propertied people. But still.

But still, all that—even for white people—it is over now.

Because Darth Cheney, former vice-president of the United States, confronted with the fact that some 25% of the human beings his administration had subjected to torture, were, in fact, innocent, of any and all crimes, he, Mr. Dick, has brazenly and repeatedly stated, that he is “more concerned with bad guys who got out and [were] released than I am with a few that in fact were innocent.”

Who has—he, Mr. Dick—when confronted with that 25% figure, when asked if perhaps that figure were “too high,” “too high” to condone the torture of innocents, no matter what the “benefit,” has repeatedly said: “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.”

And so. It is okay. To torture people. Even if one of every four of the tortured, is innocent, of all, and everything. So long as it shall “achieve our objective.”

This, quite a galaxy, far, far away, from “it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape, than that one innocent Person should suffer.”

The Cheney-type people—the people of Fear—have always been against the Enlightenment. Which was a white European movement of the 17th Century. That sought to dethrone harsh, rigid, clerical/monarchial authority, in favor of toleration, individualism, liberation.

Now, I don’t predict shit worth shit. Never have; never will. I have never really had any of a faintest idea how you humans might roll, much less slot, the ball round the roulette wheel. But even me, I must admit, I completely reeled, when I realized the release of the heavily-redacted BurningTheWitch-300x252500-page summary of the 6000-some page Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on “the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” resulted in the utter extinguishment, at least in the United States, of the Enlightenment.

Because (and from this we cannot turn away) 71% of Americans approve of torture—at least to “achieve our objective”—while 52% believe it is more harmful for the US to confess to engaging in torture, than the 29% who believe it is more harmful to actually engage in it.

Which means that, where Americans are, now, today, in 2014, is back in the 1500s.

Seems there has been a sort of time machine. That has hauled en masse Americans back some 500 years. To the time and the lands where suspected witches were tossed into a body of water. And if the witch floated, she was indisputably a witch. And was then hauled out of the water to be lashed to a stake and set on fire. While, if she sank, she was not a witch. “Tough titties,” as the Secret Service these days is apt to say, if, back in those days, in proving her innocence—in sinking—the witch drowned. At least The People—then and now—were safe. And, besides, if she really and truly were completely innocent, she never would have come to the attention of the authorities in the first place. Right? Right. Been bound and gagged. Tossed into the wet. Drowned. Frozen. Slapped. Struck. Punched. Beaten. Hung. Shackled. Hooded. Waterboarded. Rectally infused. Killed. Murdered. Tossed into garbage dumps. Driven insane.

But Darth: he say it all all right. So: it all all right. Even if it mean. We be beings. Five-hundred years, rolled back into the past.

This, here, lost in the way-back-when, is where Americans now are.

Bringing new meaning, to the final words of the Great American Novel, The Great Gatsby:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I have always had a lot of feeling for the right and wise and true thing that John Mellencamp once said:

People are really involved, and rightfully so, in their own lives. You can’t say anything negative about people not being informed, because they don’t have time to be informed. It’s a hard world to get a break in.

This is absolutely true.

But, we are having a problem here.

For, these days, even if people wished to become informed, they can not.

For from all and every of their news-feed, they can become informed only that the former vice-president of the United States says absolutely that there was no “torture,” that anyway any alleged “torturing” of innocents was absolutely necessary to keep the nation safe, that true “torture” is cabined but to “what the al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” and that, if through torture, the fuckin’ witch don’t burn, then the goddam bitch should drown.

They, the American people, trying to draw Truth from all this, are awash in that world, latterly described by George Orwell, in “Looking Back On The Spanish War:”

I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History stopped in 1936’, at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism in general, but more particularly of the Spanish civil war. Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’ . . . .

This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history . . . .

The lies of the Cheneys, foghorn blasted across all and every, are already passing into history. Just as Orwell described. There was no torture. Even if there was, it was justified. Even unto the drowning of the innocents. Because all The American People were kept safe. And anyone who complains, should most probably have been drowned, or flamed—bitchers—with the witches.

That 71% of Americans approve of torture—at least to “achieve our objective”—while 52% believe it is more harmful for the US to confess to engaging in torture, than the 29% who believe it is more harmful to actually engage in it, says, I respectfully suggest, to any serious person, that any serious change, is not going to come from any “political” process . . .  in which the likes of Darth Cheney, for the foreseeable future, shall always be allowed to hog the microphone.

Both Orwell and Arthur Koestler, two intensely political men who even, back in the day, took up arms against fascism—back when “fascism” actually meant something, other than just a stupid flaccid term of abuse for somebody who disagreed with you on the intertubes, or maybe took your parking space—both eventually understood that, as Koestler, writing in a long essay called The Yogi and the Commissar, put it:

Neither the saint nor the revolutionary can save us; only the synthesis of the two. Whether we are capable of achieving it, I do know.

As a commentary on that, and on other portions of Koestler’s essay, Orwell wrote:

That is to say, the “change of heart” must happen, but it is not really happening unless at each step it issues in action. On the other hand, no change in the structure of society can by itself effect a real improvement. Socialism used to be defined as “common ownership of the means of production,” but it is now seen that if common ownership means no more than centralised control, it merely paves the way for a new form of oligarchy. Centralised control is a necessary pre-condition of Socialism, but it no more produces Socialism than my typewriter would have itself produce this article I am writing. Throughout history, one revolution after another—although usually producing a temporary relief, such as a sick man gets by turning over in bed—has simply led to a change of masters, starbecause no serious effort has been made to eliminate the power instinct; or if such an effort has been made, it has been made only by the saint, the Yogi, the man who saves his own soul at the expense of ignoring the community. In the minds of active revolutionaries, at any rate the ones who “got there,” the longing for a just society has always been fatally mixed up with the intention to secure power for themselves.

Koestler says that we must learn once again the technique of contemplation, which “remains the only source of guidance in ethical dilemmas where the rule-of-thumb criteria of social utility fail.” By “contemplation” he means “the will not to will,” the conquest of the desire for power. The practical men have led us to the edge of the abyss, and the intellectuals in whom acceptance of power politics has killed first the moral sense, and then the sense of reality, are urging us to march rapidly forward without changing direction. Koestler maintains that history is not at all moments predetermined, but that there are turning-points at which humanity is free to choose the better or worse road . . . Koestler calls for “a new fraternity in a new spiritual climate, whose leaders are tied by a vow of poverty to share the life of the masses, and debarred by the laws of the fraternity from attaining unchecked power.” He adds: “if this seems Utopian, then Socialism is a Utopia.” It may not even be a Utopia—its very name may in a couple of generations have ceased to be a memory—unless we can escape from the folly of “realism.” But that will not happen without a change in the individual heart.

The individual heart beats because of the Desire of dark matter to incarnate into individual consciousness, from the undifferentiated collective unconscious cloud.

Of course, as soon as we incarnate here, we realize the mistake. Which is why all infants, instantly, birthed into this world, cry.

We then seek—at once—and again, to bond. First with mother, then with friends, then with lovers, then with our own children. The loneliness we know, from the fellowship we once knew, is so vast. So vast. Indescribable. Unendurable. Cannot be borne.

Heigh. Ho.

Nobody home.

Meat nor drink nor money have I none.

Yet shall we be merry.

soul, a soul, a soul cake
please good missus a soul cake
an apple, a pear, a plum, a cherry
any good thing to make us all merry
one for peter, two for paul
three for she who made us all

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When I Worked

December 2014

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