GET REAL: Enemy of the State
IF YOU ARE considered an enemy of the State you are in good company. Go and stand on the platform next to Nelson Mandela, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali. An enemy of the State is oftentimes a friend of the people.
The State is never God and is not always good. Recognising this, God created something called democracy and saw that it was good . . . in theory. As the saying goes, there is nothing so practical as a good theory. Very few things work as well in practice as they do in theory. Democracy is no exception.
According to Winston Churchill, the best argument against democracy was a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Bertrand Russell defined democracy as a system where fools have a right to vote. Despite this, democracy sounds better than a dictatorship which he defined as a system where fools have a right to rule.
When fools rule, enemies of the State come like saints. It may seem like these saintly enemies of the State are sent to save us from the State. In truth, they try to save us from ourselves. If in a democracy the people choose fools, it must be because the people are in some sense foolish. Just like a fool and his money are soon parted, a fool under democracy soon finds himself under dictatorship.
Like all God’s creatures, democracy adapts and evolves. When environmental conditions are right, a democracy can evolve into a dictatorship. The kind of dictatorship that evolves out of modern democracy will be a new species of dictatorship adapted to new conditions. It will not be the kind of heavy-handed thuggish dictatorship of the good old days. It will be a subtle, hypnotic, psychological kind of dictatorship, exercising control not by military might but by mass media might. Entertainment is the designer opiate of the masses.
A five-minute conversation with the average voter will show that the average voter couldn’t give two wuk-ups about governance as long as they can wuk-up on the weekend. By wuk-up, I mean work out the stress of the week, whether in a fete, in front of the TV or at church. Whatever opiate the masses choose is fine with the subtly tyrannical State as long as it does not affect productivity. This is possibly one of the reasons cannabis is considered an enemy of the State. Alcohol incapacitates, so most users will wait until after work. Weed mostly slows you down, so a smoker may smoke on the job and take it a bit too cool for the boss’ liking.
Of course, education and ample opportunities for self-realisation can help to prevent substance abuse. The problem is, in a State that leans towards subtle tyranny, education might be considered an enemy of the State. This kind of State does not want people studying things too deeply. Go to work, be productive, come home and wuk-up as you see fit, as long as you make it to work the next day. That is all the State requires. All of that thinking too deeply, asking too many questions and voicing your own opinions can get you labelled an enemy of the State. Before you know it, the State becomes the hidden enemy.
The states of the Caribbean are unlikely to evolve to this level of sophisticated and subtle dictatorship any time soon. As Noam Chomsky notes, propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. The PR machines of our governments are blunt instruments in themselves. They hit us over the heads with their heavy-tongued propaganda. It is doubtful if they are slick enough to evolve into totalitarian states. If this were to happen, it would be because we are not really checking because we are busy wukking-up.
Why do we get so worked up that we can’t do anything but wuk-up to work it out? The State is a harsh deity that requires productivity instead of praise. The citizen was created to serve. This is not how it has to be. This is the day that the State has made or is trying to make and it can be unmade by faithful enemies of the State who are also friends of the people. But, sometimes people are so blind they can’t see their true friends.
If they could, then the Government would be afraid of the people. The people would not be afraid of the Government.
Adrian Green is a creative communications specialist. Email: [email protected]