Brock Lorber

More About: Philosophy: Anarchism

The Most Dangerous Word in Any Language

To protect the public, we regulate cars and toys, medicines and mutual funds. So, simply as a public health matter, shouldn’t we take steps to reduce the toll from our domestic arms industry? - Nicholas D. Kristof

I am not, nor have I ever been, a consumer products regulator. According to Nicholas Kristof's bio, neither has he (bureaucrats and ex-bureaucrats tend to brag about such things). I am not a financial regulator. Neither is Kristof. I do not own any arms manufacturing capability and, I assume, neither does Kristof.

So, who the heck is this “we” he keeps talking about?

It's definitely not an author's “we”. But, it's not a royal “we” either, as Kristof isn't royalty. Not a patronizing “we”, though it may be a psychotic “we”. Actually, it's something far more pernicious: a blameless “we”.

You can't blame Kristof, or the people who are nominally regulators, for toys or medicines that aren't 100% safe. No, since “we” regulate toys “we” are all in this together and, by the way, it's your part of the “we” that is to blame for the danger. You allowed the regulatory capture to corrupt the logical and reasonable regulatory process that “we” undertook.

Kristof would, most likely, never personally initiate force or fraud against persons or property, but that's something “we” do as a matter of course. Moral and ethical considerations do not apply to “our” actions.

“We” bear no culpability in the moral hazard created by bailing out “our” wholly-owned subsidiaries, banks and auto manufacturers, although “our” regulation did not prevent and most likely exacerbated the financial dire straights faced by these industries. Nor are “we” responsible for the unintended (though perfectly foreseeable) consequences of transferring wealth from Main Street to Wall Street through K Street.

Your resistance to legislating the bailouts forced “us” to pursue other means of infusing “our” cash to entities that “we” deemed too big to fail, thereby opening the door for additional transfers of “our” wealth to foreign banks (which are just an extension of “us” in the big scheme of things) though without “our” knowledge, until recently.

With a solid track record of “us” regulating and you failing, Kristof wants more of “our” attention to be paid to makers of arms, who may or may not be part of “us” depending on whether “we” are looking for a handout or to cut off a hand. “We” must, by violence if necessary, reduce the violent toll forced upon “us” by these, surprisingly, completely unregulated manufacturers.

“We” can easily reduce the violence by putting words on paper and backing them by violence. It will work just as “we” want this time because “we” won't invite the NRA to the table. Or, if “we” has to absolutely include the NRA, then “we” have a convenient scapegoat to blame when the regulation fails.

Kristof is far from alone in using the blameless “we”. Its use is ubiquitous, and synonymous with “understood sanction for actions no individual could morally take on their own”. “We” can start wars. “We” can murder, rape, and steal with immunity. “We” are not bound by logic, reason, or anything that makes “us” human when considered individually.

But, and I'm just spitballing here, “we” could take one last action and be done with this nonsense. “We” can recognize that there is no “we” and that only individuals can conceive of or take action.

Here, let me show you how easy it is:

Dear Knights who say We:

There is no I in we.

I do not grant you the power of my voice, consent of my silence, force of my hands, or sanction of my morality.

I am not responsible for your actions, to be credited with your successes, nor to blame for your failures.

There is no I in we, because there is no we.

Love and kisses,
Me

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

I would think the most dangerous word TO government would be, "No."


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