I write for you this afternoon, to share a political and ontological metaphor/analog I built this morning. I often think of metaphors, as I’m sure you do too, but you might find as I do that the very thing in which we are thinking about, or in my case, thinking against, is the very thing that keeps us from allotting the time to put the metaphoric thoughts into communicable prose. In my case, it is the government and money (which are not necessarily being distinguished as two separate phenomena) that I write against, more strongly of a surface to allow writing to develop than any hard desk could surely ever allow.
This metaphor is directed at specifically the American polity, of which I am more familiar with, but it should be exportable with little to be lost to many other so called governments and nations.
Laws, all laws, are a house of cards, one that if stood alone would be blown down by the winds: the stronger and more ontologically true forces in this equation to be sure. The windstorm could be of the moderate type—a small group of people with qualms—swayed more by their peer’s suggestions rather than the stale words on paper in some archive. A simple emotional momentary outburst could waft away the pathetic out of date piece of legislation thought up by a presumptuous politician, and so bring the house of cards laying flat on the ground, entropically motivated. How then do the cards remain standing?
One argument might go that for the most part, they could have remained standing because the expansion and wealth enjoyed by this 200+ year old country has brought little wind upon them. Rather, what wind there has been has been funneled outwards, by some centrifugal force. This “windless” pax americana has few historical exceptions, regardless of how significant you are told any of our wars have been on the shaping of this land, at least with regards to bringing down “the cards”.
However, if the explanation stopped there and the metaphor was put up to the highly probable, tumultuous times ahead, the winds would surely bring the house of cards down.
Why won’t, then, the house of cards come falling down when challenged with the future gusts and windstorms that an age of economic contraction (borrowing James Howard Kunstler’s designation for it) will usher in?
The answer lies in the government personnel, the real ontological forces at works, of which the cards are a mere architectural sketch up. The big bad wolf can’t blow the cards down where everywhere he finds people buttressed against the house, inside and out. The employments of the government are so large that no matter what law is challenged, there are hordes of people that will challenge your challenge because their income stream is under threat. The local passport agency desk workers are loathe to hear of growing relative inefficiencies of their existence when customers could be doing the transaction of acquiring a passport solely on the Internet. They use the cards they were leaning on and remind us that we must show up in person sometimes so that we can’t falsify our identity. The comfortable building inspector who has used the cards to wrap himself as a blanket will defend the zoning regulations even when he can’t go ahead with building his fat and growing family a second addition to their home. The fraternity of police doesn’t lean on the cards that justify their existence, rather they block them from view totally and intimidate you from even approaching the vicinity. Want to get rid of the Electoral College or the Senate because of the anti-democratic representation they enshrine? Your logic in so proceeding could be 100% verified and agreed upon by the major populace, but good luck pushing these boulders off their tall hills. Politicians more generally have had their cards tailored, and retailored, to be limber and fit their evolving needs, more plainly put their outward tending wastes. These examples and many others are the numerous sycophantic government careers that have been carved out of the laws, not to mention the parallel profiteering industries such as war corporations that have bills passed to contract tax payer money to them.
So for those of us who think we know or can see the laws existing, would do well to look closer and see that the real foundations are the parasites from a variety of economic classes (super rich down to working class). Your arguments against the laws might be very reasonable and enough to mobilize people against them, but behind and in front of every thin stupid law acting as book ends do, are living breathing people who have made themselves dependent on the existence of that law, so you are not so easily going to huff and puff and blow them down.
It is a lie to say we live in a place governed by the rule of law. Closer to the truth is that we live in a place that is governed by the rule of the government.