Spanner is my long-planned cyberpunk manga about a teenage prankster who comes into conflict with the world corporate dictatorship that is coming in our near future. Inevitably, Shira Thomas gets hauled before her self-appointed nemesis, Interpol agent Diana Shockley. Since our heroine Shira is a known anarchist, Agent Shockley tries to pin the blame on her for some terrorist gang's latest atrocity. Shira laughs at the accusation and replies: "Real anarchists don't do terrorism." To the agent's contemptuous nonanswer of disbelief, she answers: "That would be an unacceptable act of government."
So what is the notorious Spanner saying? Actually, she has a complete anarchist theory of government.
Here's the theory:
- Government, terrorism, and organized crime are the same thing. These are all bywords for mass coercion. The very word "government" means mass coercion: to govern is to rule. The method of ruling is terrorism. Terrorism means ruling through terror, that is, the violence necessary for the mass coercion that is government. Since terrorism is the fundamental method of government, any anarchist who indulges in it is betraying themself as a statist rather than an anarchist. Statism is, of course, the cult of the State. "State" means government.
- Government is really some criminal gang's self-appointed absolute monopoly on the inititation of force. It is also that gang's sovereign right to use force for any reason or no reason at all. Those outside the gang, of course, have no rights whatsoever. To make sure this remains the permanent status quo, the ruling gang grants itself an absolute monopoly on the possession of weapons and forbids its subjects to even touch a weapon, on pain of death.
- A mafia is nothing other than an illegal government. "Illegal" simply means that it's not "authorized" to rule by the mafia that rules the "legal" government. The "legal" government is simply the one that has won the right to make the laws, i.e. impose its whims on its victims.
- A "terrorist organization" is simply a mafia that is impatient to become the government. Thus it wages war against the people. Terrorist acts scream: "Surrender unconditionally or be destroyed!" That is, they say: "we are the government, so obey us or die." An anarchist who resorts to terrorism therefore betrays himself as a statist in disguise.
- Violent crime (and I'm including all seemingly nonviolent forms of robbery here, since they're all backed by a gun) is in fact terrorism. It declares a master/slave relationship of government. And have you noticed how many violent criminals beat their mates and children? This is tyranny on the most personal level; these people are petty Stalins to begin with. And don't get me started on the playground bullies.
- As for "democracy" — like communism and laissez-faire capitalism, it's an unknown ideal that's never even been tried. "Democracy" is little more than "liberal" tyranny with a plebiscite — and sometimes it's not so "liberal" at all. After all, terrorizing the masses for the sake of a ruling gang's privilege is what government is. And after the collapse of the United States and European Union (Spanner begins in late 2014), the ruling corporatist cartel has abolished even the façade of democracy and rules through direct terror. Ironically, that serves to disconnect the masses from the government they once were deceived into thinking was theirs.
- Spanner (and its prequel Black Science, which I'll get around to writing soon, once I either finish its prequel Bad Company or give up on it) establishes statism and corporatism as the modern form of ancient religion. That is, ancient religion as described by Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Back then, before the political chaos of the second millennium BC led to the rise of our modern half-consciousness, the gods were hallucinated, and they were all-powerful. You did what the gods told you to do, period; there was no second guessing, since ancient humans were still incapable of that. Full consciousness was born in ancient Athens and reborn in the modern Renaissance and Enlightenment. After the breakdown, the old god-driven consciousness was reduced to the mental illness of schizophrenia and a new form of bicameral mind took over. The gods disappeared and started speaking from the shadows. They became mind viruses. The old cults turned into organized religion, and the direct and immediately obeyed voices of the gods became faith. And then God died. What happened next? The rise of statism and its religious manifestation, nationalism. Government used to be secure in its dominion because it had God on its side. (For the moment, let's not consider those pious terrorists who claimed to have God on their side.) Now that God is dead, it has found it necessary to replace God. You know, American exceptionalism, "Deutschland über alles", and similar bullshit. And you know what that means? In the statist age, anarchism and atheism are the same thing! Anarchists reject the sovereignty and legitimacy of the State (any state) the same way atheists reject the existence of a supreme being. In economics, whether socialist or laissez-faire capitalist, anarchists reject central banking for the same reason. The tyranny of religion, government, the central bank — it's really all the same thing. That makes terrorist and criminal gangs comparable to cults. In fact, some of them are cults.
- In this neopagan world, the old gods have been replaced with "corporations" (in the broad sense of the Latin word): governments, business corporations, religious corporations, criminal gangs, political factions, and every combination. What they have in common is that they are both collectivist and amoral. Today the old religion is now the rare disorder called schizophrenia, and the "new" religion of mind viruses enforced by state-backed religious corporations is breaking down in its turn (resulting in the breakdown phenomenon of schismatic and syncretic cults). That leaves only two bulwarks for the unreasoning faith that keeps tyrants in power: gang loyalty (i.e. nationalist tribalism) and gang terror (i.e. war and police repression, whether the gang is a "nation" or not). The mystics of spirit have been superseded by the mystics of muscle. Forget the old gods of faith; meet the new gods of terror: governments are the new gods, and corporations either prey on them parasitically or try to become them. Terrorist and criminal gangs have no other purpose but to become the State. Which, in modern terms, is to become God. In the 19th century, Russian "nihilists" killed themselves in order to become God. They failed, of course; the way to become God is to take over the State. Which is what Joseph Stalin and other atheistic yet fanatically religious tyrants did in the 20th century.
- Atheism is finally becoming mainstream in the Western world (increasingly, the global north). Now that the State has replaced God, rational people will start turning to anarchism for the same reason, for anarchism is atheism in politics. The kingdom of God has been overthrown (in the secularizing north, anyway); the kings of earth will inevitably follow. The kings (and the terrorist gurus who want to become kings) have God on their side, to be sure. But the growing anarchist consensus of the people has Nature on its side, in the form of the dialectically complementary Laws of Entropy and Evolution, of which both religionists and statists are denialists.
- Statist political theory, like religious theology, rests on an archaic psychological theory known as "original sin", which claims that humans are born inherently evil and thus must be governed ruthlessly. Even Freud accepted it. Science, however, has thoroughly demolished it.
- It is an unrecognized fact that people who are secure in themselves and who need no faith in outside powers are ungovernable. There are three levels of consciousness: gene-driven, meme-driven, and self-driven. Gene-driven people live by the "Four Fs": feeding, fighting, fleeing, and, uh, fornicating; they must be governed harshly, like an unruly pack of animals. Meme-driven people are ruled by faith in forces outside themselves; they are the ones who govern harshly, as agents of those outside powers, which we know as God and the State. Self-driven people, of course, govern themselves; they need no outside government, just as they need no outside power to put their faith in. They need no faith at all, just reason and self-trust. Thus, in the most fundamental sense, they cannot be ruled, for the simple reason that they are in complete control of themselves. And they do not rule themselves like the State rules its
victimssubjects, but effortlessly: self-government is central to their very being. This is what Abraham Maslow meant by his famous term "self-actualization". They, not the terrorist gangs that falsely call themselves "anarchist", live in anarchy. For what is anarchy but the complete absence of outside government? Therefore, as more people become self-driven, anarchy will spread of its own accord, and the State and those who would become it will become ever more violent just to prevent its extinction, only to accelerate the process.
- Personal freedom (the liberty of the individual) is the opposite of sovereign freedom (the liberty of authorities to do whatever they want to their subordinates), and in fact is the cure for it. When sovereign freedom is absolute, personal freedom is extinct and you get tyranny. When personal freedom is complete, sovereign freedom vanishes and the State with it, and the result is anarchy.
- Finally, there is the inherent rigidity of hierarchical organizations. The necessary use of terror makes them even more rigid. Government bureaucrats are reduced to denying the existence of entropy. But entropy, in the form of the Peter Principle (in any hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence), undermines the organization until it fatally weakens and finally collapses. Every empire inevitably dies. The most recent victims (as of late 2014) are the Soviet Union, the European Union, and the United States of America, all of which were driven by the bureaucratic expansion drive to build huge and unwieldy empires which bankrupted them and destroyed them from within. The United Corporations, Shira tells her self-appointed nemesis confidently, will be next, and no amount of terror and oppression can save it.
- Outside authority, whether spiritual or political, rests on faith, coercion, or both — that is, on fear at the expense of reason. Truly rational people reject religion; likewise, the only rational form of government is no government at all.
But Agent Shockley had better understand where Spanner is coming from. You see, it's not Shira's already legendary pranksterism that makes her a threat to the empire of the United Corporations. It's the well-developed theory she acts from that turns a mere teenage prankster into the revolutionary "angel of chaos" called Spanner. To choose such an enemy, and fight her without understanding her, may be the mistake that destroys her along with the Corporate Empire she serves.
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