Once upon a time, I was told I lived in a thing called a country. It had a flag and an anthem and its own symbolic colors. Wasn’t that super? What a great thing a country was, they said. The country had once been a colony, but then it wanted independence and it got it. People had drawn lines on the ground and they said: everyone who is born within these lines is now of this country, they are its citizens. Then they instituted a government and called it a democracy, because they said that’s what you call a country where the people are represented in their government. You can vote for some of your politicians, they said, and isn’t that a great thing? Really, isn’t that the most fantastic idea you have ever seen?

Then they added police and military and a bunch of bureaucrats. You don’t really vote for those, no, we’ll take care of that for you. They also said they needed a secret service – to do secret things, of course. And not only one secret service, but many different secret services, aside from all the secret things the military did. The people no longer knew what these secret government bodies were doing. They no longer controlled it, and their representatives no longer informed the people. That’s how it must be, they said. It’s for your own good – this is how countries work. In a democracy, you must obey the rule of law and we must control secret services.

Now it came to light that these secret services were going to other countries and breaking all kinds of laws allegedly to further some interests. And that’s when they said: our interests are your interests – that’s how it works in a democracy. The secret services were spying on people – and that is a crime. “But that’s what secret services do!” they said – smiling. They were torturing people – and that is a horrible crime. “But it must be done!” they said – so amicably. They were murdering people. “But we have to”, they said – and smiled again. And that’s when they weren’t committing mass murder by another name, war. Which of course had to be done – that’s what they told us.

“It’s our right because we are defending your interests and aren’t our interests your interests too?” they said with that gleaning smile. It’s all for your own good that we go to other countries and we behave like thugs and like the mafia. That’s democracy!

And that’s when I understood how this “democracy” system works. I live in a country where there are a million laws. Not only laws, but the principle of the rule of law. And which I am told I must follow because they say the principle of rule of law means that the laws apply to everyone. Yet a very large group of people take a huge amount of money for themselves to come together and break the law in any country, any time they wish, for any purpose they like to call “our interests”? Curiously, I never got to vote on what my interests would be in the case. I don’t even know what their interests are and who gets to decide what interests are “our” interests. I only know nothing was chosen by me. Nothing represents me. I gave no consent to any of it.  “But that’s democracy!” they said. Isn’t it fun? And they smiled.

Well! Let’s just examine how fun it is. When I look around this so called democratic world based on the rule of law, this is what I see. It functions just like a non-democratic system in many ways, even though some of the government people are elected. It has a very curious organizational dynamics that resembles every other thuggery-based system that has ever existed in the past.

Imagine that in my house, I have the same system. I tell everyone who lives in my house: we have rules – they are laws. Everyone must obey the rules: you cannot rob or murder people living in our house – these are just horrible things and we don’t want anyone doing horrible things. But, if it serves our interests, we can go to our neighbor’s house, after we’re all decked in black and wearing a black a mask, and do any crime we wish – all those things we said were horrible. All that is needed is that it serves some nebulous interests that someone conveniently decides to call “our” interests. That’s our magnificent, laudable, sophisticated, modern democratic system! Behold and be in awe of Western democracy!

So this  is the great vision of a democratic world? This is a world ruled by the rule of law? On what planet?

We live in a barbaric feudal mafia system with a few ballot boxes sprinkled on top to disguise it, that’s all.

And this is just a little parable on international relations, without getting into a scenario of secret services breaking the laws in their own country. Which they obviously do.

(the above was slightly edited on Aug 28, 2015)

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Added later:

Tying in to how this thuggish kind of democracy works today, there is this great comment from Fran Macadam, over at TAC:

America’s Civil Liberties Exceptionalism

With the passage of the NSA-reforming USA Freedom Act, the U.S. separates itself by restraining its post-9/11 surveillance state. (By Reid Smith)

Fran Macadam says:

It frankly involves a huge amount of cognitive dissonance to try to claim exceptionalism for ourselves in matters of liberty over our allies own mass spying, when our government and its covert agencies strongarmed allies into becoming wholly owned subsidiaries for NSA spying, “collecting it all” for them and transferring it to NSA. These weaker countries really had no choice, when “you’re either for us or against us” and it’s the American Way, or the highway. Look what happens to nations who don’t tow the line – few are willing to endure economic sanctions. To say then, that we who are the authors of the greatest mass domestic surveillance programs in human history, forcing what we developed on others without their peoples knowing what was being done to them, are superior defenders of privacy and liberty is completely beyond hypocrisy. Without Snowden, whom the array of democratic institutions in our nation – law enforcement, homeland security, the surveillance agencies, the courts both secret and open, the congress, the Presidency, the Justice Department, the State Department – still declare Snowden to be the greatest criminal in U.S. history – there would have been no discussion, no knowledge of how the United States government turned its covert agencies against the American people, compiling dossiers and assigning threat levels to everyone, recording and assessing every personal communication and transaction.

Yes, this is exceptional, but in the opposite direction of every founding principle embodied in our Constitution that sought to give us liberty. My former Florida Sheriff friend had told me that the government was engaged in building the greatest mass surveillance in human history. I thought at the time it must be hyperbole. It wasn’t.

Snowden is as great a patriot for our times as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and others, all of whom were sought to similarly be imprisoned or executed by the imperial tyranny that claimed they were traitors for advocating democracy and liberty.

We have a country – if we can keep it.

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