It is a mistake to say that the Reign of Terror saved France, or so it has been said by many, and to which I can only agree. The Terror certainly destroyed the revolution. Only the insane or the most savage satirist can say the guillotine was an instrument in the installation of democracy. The Terror established a premise for which Napoleon at his worst was the most unavoidable logical conclusion; Napoleon at his best was the illogic of a humane heart. Danton’s exclamation to the Tribunal that condemned him, that Robespierre will follow him, was not prophecy, but again logic. It was also a matter of observation and not any mystical insight, particularly by Francois Buzot, that”Robespierre never forgave men for the injustices for which he had done them, nor for the kindnesses for which he had received from them.” Such was the way of the Revolution; such is the ways of all revolutions? I am asking in earnest.
Here you find an essay written by a man you will hopefully in time come to know. The question raised is about the People versus the State, the single most important question to investigate, to explore and explicate in any society concerned for its democratic future, the present state of its democracy. The question, what then must we do? is always topical, whether stated or not. Other questions are those of context and boundaries–those of genre and how we speak in writing, or what we say in writing, or what we write in writing and what that writing achieves or accomplishes in the way of communicating. Who I am here telling you of this other there now here having written what you will read . . . expositors inside another expositor’s exposition inside an author’s writing called fiction–where is the Truth and what are the truths herein present or to be discovered or that have been inferred?
Louis Quatorze said, L’etat, c’est moi, when asked his opinion about the Political State; the state, it is I, he said. Today, the modern state has no such illusions of absolute singularity, at least not since Mao or Stalin, maybe Pinochet or Pol Pot. That the state could live in one man in Louis’s time is only inconceivable to the grossly historically ignorant, except today, that includes college graduates, who are as contempo-centric as any of their contemporaries infected by a pop-culture tapeworm. These facts not exactly aside; today, the credo of state is L’etat c’est l’etat, en-soi, pour-soi. In itself, for itself. Nothing more; no one else.
Yes, who and whom; what and of what, to what, with what else . . . what is said comes to you from where? Have you examined this? What then does that say about the saying? Again, I am one expositor; the expositor of these non-italicized lines is yet another, and who then is the author, that authority over me–there must be another implied author of the text that there is then an expository voice separate from the vice of the author, no?
How is it we do no see that the economic oligarchy we have in America has become as Absolutist in its designs for and of power and control as Louis had in his Absolutist Monarchy–no? You are looking the other way, perhaps . . . as I know I do from time to time, from occasion to occasion. Who wants to–thinks he needs to–has the energy to keep constant vigilance? No one I have ever known anywhere I have ever been.
I do betray my dreams, my beliefs, my selves, this Self, content to wear the masks I wear, looking in one or another kind of looking glass in one or another circumstance physical or metaphysical, psychic, psychological, in memory, whatever else I have in the matter of contexts lived and looking through as I decide into–I am a long, long way from Louis Quatorze and his absolutist monarchy, or so I assume; but our State is no less absolute for the absence of king. Energy does not die, we know from physics. It merely changes form, and the State form that had developed in Louis’s sei-cento has gone from absolutist monarchy to an impersonal, mechanized, computerized oligarchy of bureaus, the latter no less absolute over the lives they manage rather than rule.
Power is energy; authority is another kind; influence yet another form. There is always an aesthetics for each of them, an appropriate and suitable form to match, and that’s true even if the aesthetics are governed by the grotesque . . . the horror we have in our hearts or caves, as dark as either one of them is . . . Homo Sapiens has come from the cave, but is he truly out of his cave?
Whatever is best in me as a human being is countermanded by the force and power of the State, represented by any of its agents in authority. Everything that is best by my being individually human is disinvested by the State’s efforts to serve the public and only the public, never the people, distinct from the former in how they exist in relationship to the state. Jefferson said we the people, not we the public. I have before and will again make note of how in Roman Political Science, Publius and Populus were not synonyms. The State is a non-human entity, many like myself consider it to be inhuman. It has always remained the mortal enemy of everything good in the individual human soul. The state is an institution that bears its weight of force, the power of its immense density, onto people and only people. All density has the power to displace in proportionate measure. The only people the state has a vested interest in are people transformed into a public, whereby they cease to be the people they were, and each becomes a mass man, a mass woman, one of the great over-arching public that will always attempt to displace the person within, the success of which is usually in direct proportion to the degree of resignation on the part of the individual; however, the State barely trusts its servants in the guise of the Public, that en-masse that serves. It never trusts anyone apart from and not a part of it, this greater impersonal en-masse, at least in numbers, the people. I had a friend who tried to draw corporeal analogies for the State, and thus organic relationships for the Public. As a result, in the Body of the State, the Public had the same function that the bowels do in the human body; we are the intestines of the State when we are the Public, you could say. Waste passes through us.
The frequency with which we read without considering what I have raised herein for consideration is astounding to me–and this in fact should tell you something significant–the signifying expositor, or would that then be the implied author meaning that the there is an expositor inside and author inside the author of me who stands side-by-side with the expositor of this expository diatribe on the state of education in America? Perhaps it is not so astounding.
Whatever the people understand to be best about their humanity the State remains cynical in face of, or only referential to in slogans or platitudes. Intelligence in platitudes alone remain for the State; listen to most people speak about government, listen to your average American, whether he’s Democrat or Republican, whether he considers himself conservative or liberal . . . and in America, I have nothing but the greatest contempt for the later, pity for the former.
The State, ce n’est pas nous, ce ne’est pas moi, jamais. Mais moi, je suis plus gros que l’etat, not because I am a king, the King, but because I am a man, a person as we mean person as one of the people, populus, again, who are never publius, unless transformed by the state into its servants. Yes, I am bigger than the state, as you are larger than it, must always remain larger than it. I am we the people, as you are we the people, and in this enlightened position on democracy, each of us is we the people, and only when this sense of ourselves as demos prevails will freedom actually ring as well as reign.
I wish we had the means to say what we really think in America, and that we were not so managed and shaped by the received ideas we accept without question . . . without fear, we should be, but are not.
The People are always other, rarely ever another. They are potential enemies of the State, always. The President of the United States does take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic: the People are domestic, better domesticated as the public in the mind of any agent of the state, but when not transformed into the Public, the People will always remain suspect. Any person from among the People is potential Public Enemy #1. What then must we do? What then can I do? Do I do anything by writing herein the way I have written . . . who am I here, the expositor I have been in this lines, word by word, I give you my word, by my word, what words do I have, can I meet with what I see, what I hear, what I read, what I experience. And those of you who saw President Obama as the agent of change were are mislead as anyone has ever been in this Western Bourgeois Totalitarian Capitalist America.
It has been said equally naively that I have naively believed that violence is a solution for political problems, that by saying that the guillotine is the greatest of machine politics I am somehow showing a degraded understanding of politics. I do know that those who protest my satire do so as the Queen in the Murder of Gonzago does, yes, of course, too much (as Gertrude observes openly and to her own betrayal); they also do so from a debased notion of literacy and what is literate enough.
Sugar dissolved in water results in a solution. Murdering many people who stand opposed to your politics is not a solution, excepting what dissolves in the blood that flows in the streets. Terror, as in France’s Reign of, does, however, tend to get rid of opposition in an immediate way and having immediate if never long term effects, that is, positive when we understand that criminals murdering each other might be affirmative action for whatever immediate positive results it has on whoever fills the power void within the limits of the circumscribed criminal world.
I have no patience for anyone who misreads Utopian fiction, dis-topian fiction, or most assuredly, Menippean Satire.