June 9, 2012

Waiting In Line

Filed under: Afghanistan, Disaster Capitalism, Global War On Terror — Russ @ 5:14 am


Under “civilized” conditions people are constantly herded into lines. This is unnatural and unhuman.
Apologists for power hierarchies like corporations and governments claim that waiting in line is the civilized improvement on a mob beating each other with clubs.
But in reality natural human beings know how to organize themselves without lines. Meanwhile it’s domesticated/feral people who allegedly need to be herded with queues and clubs. The club is actually maximized under “civilized” conditions, but it’s the police club. That was the real argument of Hobbes with his Leviathan state, that it’s civilized man who’s a nasty, brutish beast unless kept firmly in line at all times*. He fraudulently called that the “state of nature”, but his argument had nothing to do with natural humanity. The Steven Pinkers whose project is to normalize mass state violence as “peace” and “security” perpetrate the same fraud. (That’s also why Obama was given the nobble pries. The Committee, and liberals in general, want to normalize permanent imperial war and the neoliberal police state, under some rubric of “humanitarianism”, as the new baseline for “peace”.)
*This too is a Big Lie. On the contrary, one of the great testaments to human nature is how, even after centuries of relentless system propaganda, economic assault, and brutalization, most people still naturally cooperate, including under disaster conditions. It’s elites and their hierarchies who, under stress, either panic or, more commonly, behave as opportunistic predators.



  1. The timing of this post coincides with an observation I made last night at the local carnival (yes, I plead guilty to this small excess). Everyone was generally courteous and polite about waiting and taking turns. There was no real enforcement in evidence, and there were some roughish-looking people there, but everyone behaved considerately for the most part.

    Comment by DualPersonality — June 9, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    • Why feel apologetic about a carnival? That’s practically wholesome. 🙂

      Comment by Russ — June 10, 2012 @ 1:25 am

  2. I take it you’ve never tried to buy a bus ticket in China, then.

    Comment by paper mac — June 9, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    • Yellow Peril? I didn’t know mass transit would be so necessary if we had walkable neighborhoods. (IOW, where supposedly necessary queuing up is usually a kludge to prop up other problems.)

      Comment by Russ — June 10, 2012 @ 1:27 am

      • Mostly inter-city transport, not mass transit which was ok for the most part. I thought it was just traveller’s tales until I saw the screaming, shoving rugby scrums around ticket booths. The spontaneous organisation of people all attempting to do the same thing at the same time in a culture denuded of traditional values (which goes for the West as well as it does China) is very frequently worse than a queue..

        Comment by paper mac — June 14, 2012 @ 8:20 am

      • I can believe it. That this is the result of a denuded mass pseudo-culture superseding organic cultures, rather than the firm ruling hand humanity allegedly needs, was the argument of the post.

        Comment by Russ — June 14, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  3. Overcrowding tends to send us into orbit, and whittle away at our capacity to get along together.
    Just like the rats…
    Most of us tend to think that since “we” have some kind of monopoly on reason, we can not behave in irrational fashion, and go murderously nuts as a result of overcrowding.
    How else to explain the fact that in my local big city, trees are being chopped down faster than they can grow, in order to accomodate a new, improved public transit system which is going to contribute to crowding more and more of us into less and less space, and sending the urban temperature to new heights ?
    When you’re in large spaces, with sparse demography, there is less need to organize those lines.
    But when you start believing in the lines even without the demography, there’s a problem, there…

    Comment by Debra — June 9, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    • Like I said above, it’s a Tower of Babel, problem upon problem. In this case, where’s everyone supposed to go and what are they supposed to do as they’re driven off the land? I have a speculative post on this coming up.

      Comment by Russ — June 10, 2012 @ 1:29 am

  4. “Civilization” is inherently dehumanizing. The point of civilization is to enslave the many for the benefit of the few, after all. Plato and Aristotle said as much, as far as I’m concerned.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — June 9, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

    • Are you defining “civilization” as the clustering of people in cities? For now I use the term sometimes in this denotative way, sometimes in a more dystopically political way – the bad aspect of civilization comes wherever cities bloat beyond their natural size and position as logical trade hubs (logical from the point of view of economies based on natural foodsheds/watersheds). This natural size would necessarily be relatively small (and there would be far fewer cities), since natural economies are predominantly local/regional, while truly demand-based trade is just an appendage of the natural economy.

      Comment by Russ — June 10, 2012 @ 1:47 am

      • First chapter of the Bible, Genesis.
        After Cain murders Abel, God tells him, raw deal, now that you’ve spilled your brother’s blood into the soil, the Earth will no longer… produce for you.
        And that, in the Biblical tradition, is when man starts congregating in cities… Cause and effect ? Hard to say. But the Bible seems to be saying that when people congregate in cities, there is great risk that they will lose touch with the land, and a feeling of being “enraciné”, we say in French. Feeling rooted in the land, in a feeling of place.
        You will notice that in cities, basically, people are supposed to be sedentary, living in fixed homes, and not be nomadic. But not fixed in.. the land.
        In our civilization…

        Comment by Debra — June 10, 2012 @ 5:17 am

      • No. I am defining civilization as involving state-making, or the political organization of people. Civilization is all about scale and leverage.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — June 10, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

    • The enslavement, according to Lacan, a French psychoanalyst, does not come from people, nor a class of people, it comes from our inherent alienation in our language, and our subjugation to it. There is no wriggling out of this subjugation, no way around it. Call that… fatalism, if you like but there is no absolute, unconditional liberty in our world. If one insists on thinking in terms of master/slave, there will always be.. a new master waiting there somewhere… when you try to kill “the King” by killing the King, you will wake up one day with a big hangover, discovering that… “the King” has simply been displaced into another domain…

      Comment by Debra — June 10, 2012 @ 5:24 am

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