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Butler Shaffer

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For What Do We Stand?

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The humanoid collective is in an unforgiving snit over the refusal of NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, to stand for the playing of the national anthem. For a society that was once grounded in a greater tolerance for individual values and preferences, this reaction is another symptom of a system that no longer serves – much less tolerates – the diverse nature of human life.

Why would an intelligent person in any country want to stand for and sing a “national anthem?” How would such an act contribute to the well-being of someone who engaged in it? Let me state, at the outset, that in all matters relating to my conduct, I am a firm agnostic when it comes to evaluating the conduct others expect me to follow. Consensus-based definitions of reality or propriety do not impress me.

My mind will always insist upon asking my favorite word in the English language – the word that children ask of the adults in their lives until they are forced to abandon its use – “why?” If you would like me to follow a prescribed course of behavior, please inform me how my doing so would benefit me.
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On Being Thankful...For State Violence?

When people ask me which of the books I have written was my favorite, I respond with my first one: Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. In it, I analyze how institutions – i.e., organizations that have become ends in themselves – have a need to structure our thinking and our behavior in order that we may dedicate our lives to their purposes. Political systems are the most pervasive and vicious expressions of this syndrome, but other institutions have learned to play this same game. The modern corporate-state is the most apparent example, wherein business corporations have managed to convince most Americans that their interests are synonymous with those of the nation-state. The song from the musical Li’l Abner reminds us that “What’s good for General Bullmoose is Good for the U.S.A.”

The entertainment industry, the mainstream media, schools, churches, foundations, and other permanent organizations have, with but few exceptions, climbed aboard the bandwagon of corporate-state-collectivism to extoll the virtues of a society structured around the principle of state-directed violence. So widespread is the practice that most people hardly recognize it.
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