By Our Deathless Leader and Minister of Disinformation
Humans and Peace
Humans are born as individuals, but live in interlocking and outwardly expanding spheres of collectivity. Whenever a group of individuals come together to form a new collective entity—whether it be two forming a marriage or millions forming a “society”—three things must be agreed upon by all if the unit is to remain cohesive.
The first is a symbolic structure: some sort of language and the broader communication contexts language occurs in. Without this the various individuals are unable to exchange ideas and rather than invest limited resources like time and energy in the frustration of babbling incoherently at one another they will quickly part their separate ways.
The next is an ethic: a shared set of standards for behavior and benchmarks for resolutions of disputes. If there is no common ethic for the group, certain individuals will quickly feel violated by or appalled at the behavior of others. Their natural impulse would be to break away and without an established framework for assuaging their hurt sensibilities or compensating their losses they will do exactly this.
Finally, any group of individuals seeking to form a collective entity must develop an economy: a process by which the limited resources available to the group are distributed among its individual members with their unlimited respective desires. A collection of individuals without a set economy cannot effectively use any of its resources. Some will hoard them, others give them away, others trade and barter, etc. A group possessing resources but employing no common economy is indistinguishable from a group with no resources at all and a group with no resources will quickly starve to death, die from exposure or each go their separate ways in search of better fortunes.
From these three fundamental agreements among (or perhaps impositions upon) the members of any group arises a group identity. The symbolic structure is used to create shared narratives and from this an aesthetic, a literary canon and culture among other things. These frequently are employed to defend, explain and expand upon the ethic, which compels the creation of religious practices—or at least some related collection of rituals and teachings. The production and promotion of all of this requires an orderly accumulation and distribution of resources, which leads to the creation of a social hierarchy or at minimum some sort of division of labor, which is to be defended as a just and ethical order and so on. The process is not a conscious one, and any talk of “social contracts” arising out of a “state of nature” is nonsense. Any group that lacks a language, an ethic or economy isn’t a group for very long and any group that is one for long develops a constellation of narratives and shared ideas that create a group identity that subsumes each individual in varying degrees.
Still, how does any group come to develop a common language, ethic or economy? That is to say, how can a multitude of unique individuals come to share such important ideas in common? It is hard enough getting a small group of people to decide upon which restaurant to eat at or movie to see, let alone getting 300 million (with begrudging or ineffectively hostile reservations among a small few) to decide on English, secularized Judeo-Christianity and liberal capitalism. Whose standards get to be the standard for everyone?
To start, we should note that any random distribution of a given value will—when charted out—form a sort of bell curve. There are a small number of outliers at each end of things and a nice meaty bulge of values in the middle. Charting out IQ across the population will show a small number of mentally handicapped people, a similarly small number of geniuses and a whole bunch of Deal or No Deal fans. The 20th century gave us game theory which gives us a mathematical way of describing human interactions, and helped us to understand that the idea “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” isn’t just sage old advice, it is mathematically among the most stable strategies for a society. Now we also know that the strategy is not adopted by all, or perhaps even most. And while it is the stated ethic for our society (group of individuals), it could be argued that we have some other, contradictory ethic entirely: look out for you and yours, get what you can and fuck everybody else, competing self-interest, etc. Still, it seems that this value is one that is more or less pre-programmed into social animals. Richard Dawkins in his seminal work The Selfish Gene suggests that altruism and self-sacrifice in the animal kingdom is determined by genetics and that certain strategies are more likely to survive than others. All this to say that ethical behavior is a randomly assigned value like IQ or height. There are a small number of truly wicked individuals, a small number of saintly heroes and a broad mainstream who are largely decent or slightly threatening but not generally noteworthy for their ethics or lack thereof.
So any random grouping of people is going to be a mix of some baddies, some good guys and a milquetoast crowd of those prepared to be swayed. To maintain this group, however, requires the development of a common ethic. The vast majority will be unable to remain in the good graces of the group and will face repercussions that only the heroic few could stand if the ethic of that elite ethical class is established as the standard all are held accountable to. Either the ethical standard has to be lowered or the group will dissolve. The middling many are distinguished by their very unexceptional-ness, and thus any ethic composed on their behalf will be amorphous, ill-defined and as a result impossible to adjudicate. It will be only a notch above no ethic at all and over time it will surely become just that—the group will soon be forced to break up. Ultimately only an ethic of the lowest common denominator can be agreed upon by and be reasonably expected to hold up among all. The result is either an ethic of such pathetically low expectations that even the most faithful adherence still wouldn’t make the person very good at all (“Don’t kill people—unless you have a good reason--or rape them—and “rape” is usually open to interpretation. Only lie if you feel like you really have to”) or an ethic which is actually evil by the natural standard of the Golden Rule (“Seek your own self interest and compete against other selfish individuals” or “Do What Feels Good”). For this reason only individuals can be regarded as moral agents: societies, communities and other collective entities are defined by their least moral elements—sociopaths and other moral cripples.
Of course there are groups of individuals which come together for the sole purpose of combining those heroic few into fronts for the promotion of the highest good. But ultimately these groups themselves contribute to the lowering of ethical standards for society. To begin, any such group defines its group identity in terms of its righteousness, and thus all who are NOT in the group must be defined by some sort of deficit in righteousness. Such groups are fundamentally oriented towards demonization of the “other” as they must either demand a superhuman level of ethical achievement from the other which can never be met (and in so doing confirm their suspicions about the other’s immorality and subhumanity) or write off the ethical failures of the other as insignificant, thus contradicting their own group ethic and either turning them into hypocrites (and thus the highly moral are now immoral) or causing the group to disband altogether. Groups of the exceptionally ethical are then left to either talk amongst themselves, puttering at the edges of society with no impact whatsoever among the larger groups in which they exist or to fail spectacularly in their attempts to change these larger groups and in so doing lose their own status as the highly ethical. The heroic few can never define the true ethic of any society (or other group), setting an ethical floor just above or in the thick of the beastly few is the only stable strategy. The stated ethic of a society—the story they tell themselves—is going to point to those heroes as its foundation, but this stated ethic is only a story. The truth is less polite to talk about.
A similar process occurs with the language of a society. While there are a few who speak only gibberish and are unable to effectively communicate and a few who are erudite and well-spoken, most use language like sailors using a whore—in a mechanical and sloppy way to efficiently meet the purpose at hand. The common tongue and shared canon of stories and narratives available to the group is determined by the least educated and worldly of the group. A company trying to sell something to everybody—toilet paper or something akin—would do better alluding to “Little Red Riding Hood” than The Brothers Karamazov. They would be advised to tar their competitors as “stingy with the sheets” as opposed to “niggardly with their napkins.” As for the economy, it is not the members which determine it, but the fetishized resources—just as the ethic or language available to the greatest number determines that commanded of all, the economy favorable to the bulk of the concentrated resources is set up over all. Those with the greatest stake in the distribution of the resources are those who possess the most already. As a result the economy is dictated by those who have the most. This is taken for granted in our current climate where economic policy is to be explicitly “pro-business” and any other view is considered heretical or insane out of hand.
I have taken the ethic of a group as my jumping off point for explaining the process by which groups determine these basic uniting features for themselves because the maintenance of the group ethic creates a peculiar situation. Each of these uniting features is in constant flux: what is ethical at one time (wifely submission, for example) is deemed unethical at others, what is unethical (ending a dysfunctional and abusive marriage in divorce) becomes ethical over time. The same is true for language (read a 18th century novel, or imagine an 18th century reader picking up Thomas Pynchon) and economy (Marx made his name talking about this). Furthermore, as we have said there is a class of individuals who always fail or refuse to meet the standards imposed on all. This is especially true of the ethical standards as there is the stated ethic and the true ethic, and they are rarely the same. For the largest of groups—society—there comes a time in most when it becomes clear that the maintenance of the group ethic and handling of disputes over ethical behavior and its alleged breaches is a full-time job. Societies then make a fateful decision to outsource their determination of the ethic, its enforcement and interpretation to a central, distinguished class of individuals: the state.
But it is impossible to keep the state’s portfolio limited to regulation of the group ethic. For one, all behavior can be judged on its ethical standing and the actions of the economy are all human behaviors. The result is that as time passes the state will begin to assert control not only over the ethic of the society, but over its economy as well. Now any institution which determines the behaviors of individuals and oversees the production, distribution and consumption of resources in that same society is to become among the dominant narrators within such. Even its most mundane proclamations have significant impact on the language of the society; its jargon becomes the jargon of all. And the publication or broadcasting of words is both an act—a unit of behavior—and the distribution of a limited resource (either airtime or bandwidth or ink on paper) and thus a function of the economy. Any institution called upon first to regulate the behavior of individuals in a society and then to regulate the circulation of their resources of survival will ultimately seek and likely gain the power to regulate the symbolic structure of that society. Such a state—which controls the behaviors, economy and language of a society—is called totalitarian. And any society—the largest of groups of individuals—which adopts a state will end up with a totalitarian framework which ultimately regulates the ethics, speech and economies of all the smaller groups beneath it. Groups which were established or emerged to allow individuals to achieve some common goals for their respective aggrandizement give rise to a structure which destroys these individuals wholesale.
The alternatives to this scenario are grim. The idea of there only being atomized individuals with no groups formed whatsoever is of course absurd. To begin, if each individual—the only unit capable of moral action, the only not functionally immoral or on the way there—were to abstain from relationships with any other individual(s), the species would go extinct in a single generation and it’d be a pretty unhappy time until then. Human interaction is a fundamental need of our species, not only for the process of procreation but because we are a social animal. Even if humans grouped together in atomized mini-societies free of states and dedicated to nonviolent interaction it would take only one group with a different, forceful ethic to lay waste to all the passive others or force them each to adopt violence and centralized authority for themselves. Only individuals can be moral, but the continued survival of each individual is dependent on the development of structures which are compelled towards gross immorality. Each individual can only be happy if free to follow his or her own prerogatives, and can only be happy if he or she is a part of groups which ultimately will smash the capacity for individual freedom. Thus humans are fundamentally incompatible with notions of peace.
War is the Health of the State
It becomes clear right away to those individuals called upon to serve as the state that their job is impossible without the use of force—without access to legitimate uses of violence—and so the society that has conceived of a need for the state grants the right of violence to its new government. It follows upon this that if everybody else can use violence as they see fit the state is unlikely to survive or its services will be rendered irrelevant. So the state claims a monopoly on violence. This is how the Max Weber, the father of sociology and hardly a bomb-thrower, defined the state: any institution which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.
The implications of this are that every act of the state is an act of violence. Even the nice and helpful things the state does—paying old people’s salary, feeding pregnant women, rebuilding disaster areas—are financed with tax money. If one does not pay one’s taxes, the state is likely to fine you. If you refuse to pay the fine, they’ll put a lien on your property. If you sell the property under the table to someone, or rack up enough new back taxes and liens they’ll come to arrest you. If you resist the arrest they’ll kick your ass. If you fight back hard enough, they’ll kill you. Liberal states are distinguished by their ability to hide the violence behind many layers of bureaucratic and legalistic bullshit. They issue a regulation, which if disobeyed will go ignored for some time, then a warning will be issued, then fines levied and so on down the same line until fatal violence is at long last used to compel obedience. Authoritarian and totalitarian systems dispense with the niceties and use violence more quickly and openly. Our legal and ethical traditions recognize that the threat of violence—even an oblique one—to compel behavior is itself an act of violence. The state is the only actor that is allowed to use violence and everything it does is backed up by this threat or financed by people’s healthy respect for it.
From time to time the pent up violence of the state must be unleashed in a war. Two or more violence monopolies disagree and seek to compel one another to submit or some armed and organized internal aspirant to the violence monopoly makes a move and immediately the state must round up its resources and focus its effort on deflecting the exceptional violence of its opponent and responding with even more intense displays of such violence of their own. This exceptional violence serves as a motive for the state to expand the capacity for violence in the future, that is, to enhance its own powers. The broad precarity of life that results not only from combat but also from the rationing of resources towards the war effort provides a means by which to pull this over on the people. They are ruled by fear and thus distracted from the constant vigilance necessary to keep the state from gobbling up their power as individuals: the state has new opportunities for the expansion of its powers. And the emotional patriotism inspired by the dread of dying in vain and hope of serving some cause higher than oneself gives the state the motive to foist this over on the people. War provides the means, motive and opportunity to pull over the crime of state expansion. This was the argument of turn of the century U.S. essayist Randolph Bourne when he said “War is the Health of the State.” Even in the liberal, self-righteous United States this is true. Wars in this country have justified dispossession of war opponents of their land and property (the Revolutionary War), the suspension of habeas corpus (the Civil War), the jailing of dissidents (World War I), the internment of minority groups into concentration camps (World War II), the development of a private army for the president’s personal disposal called the CIA (the Cold War), the assassination of radical activists and surveillance of political opposition (Vietnam) and the construction of secret prisons and application of torture to detainees (the so-called War on Terror). Add to this rationing, nationalization of various industries, strike-busting, draft conscription for the armed services and compulsory air raid practices among a host of other infringements upon the individual and one sees that as long as there are states there is a strong incentive for periodic or even continued wars.
Why Nations Want Nuclear Weapons
When the US developed the atomic bomb in World War II, Dwight David Eisenhower—not anyone’s idea of a hippie—pleaded with President Truman to not use the thing. His reasoning was that war was already awful enough and it didn’t need new technology that would make it infinitely more unbearable. Truman of course ignored him and in so doing introduced the world to its cause of death.
We have established that as humans form societies, states become inevitable. We have further shown that states are not only incapable of moral behavior, that they are only capable of violence and will over time seek expansion of their powers through the practice of ongoing warfare. The ultimate limit of this expansion is a totalitarian state where individuals are eliminated as meaningful actors and as such the world becomes devoid of morality. As all these things are true so is it true that all states should seek out nuclear weapons—tools capable now of ending all human civilization and snuffing out more or less all life on the planet.
For one, the state is conditioned by survival pressures to seek out such capacities for violence. What, materially, is the state? There are all those ugly buildings and all that cheap office furniture, but they would be ruins without individuals to run them. It is a set of ideas and symbols (or a series of sets of ideas and symbols) shared by the inhabitants of a society, passed on and gradually changed over time. It is information that is affected by the rules of Darwinian evolution: it descends, it is modified and there is a struggle for survival in the face of pretenders to its place—from street gangs to foreign occupiers and everybody in between. The state is foundationally defined by its access and use of legitimate violence—this forms a powerful environmental pressure within the state as to what policies it prioritizes and which it decides to adopt in the first place. Those policies which expand the state’s capacity for violence are favored, and they result in the state having greater chances of survival over its rivals.
Any external rivals to a state are immediately dispatched with in the worries and bad dreams of a nuclear state. A state with nuclear weapons is absolutely invasion-proof. They could be the victims of a first strike from a more sophisticated nuclear power, but that state will never be overthrown by invasion. They will be undisturbed by their external enemies as long as they live, which by the historic standards of war means that they never have to lose a war. Furthermore it makes the dissolution of that state very bad news among all the other nations of the world—not least its enemies. They are likely to judge the maintenance of that state (bad as it may be) preferable to the seizure of power by some revolutionary movement or coup d’etat and to do all that is in their power to keep even their enemies in power. These upheavals happen nonetheless—look at the Soviet Union—but all the nations of the world, even their enemies, must rally round to insure that some component of the old regime faithfully takes up the reins. The booze-besotted party hack Yeltsin and the KGB spook Putin gained easy legitimacy because the world feared any chaos that might let the old USSR’s nuclear stockpile fall into “the wrong hands.” Nuclear states are warmasters, seemingly capable of impunity so far as they don’t cross some other nuclear power and able to draw on deep wells of support in the face of civil war.
All of this means that nuclear states—regardless of their pettiness, ineptitude or even grosser than normal moral deformity—get to hunker down at the grown up table of global society-building. The legal and diplomatic framework of the globe is the new ethic-setting work of our day as societies are rapidly being transcended by “the planet.” To ignore a nuclear state when drawing up this standard for group identity is to invite petulant display of power. The demands and whims of states like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the seasonal oscillation between flustered parliamentarians and military dictators in Pakistan are of signal importance in what will someday be the history of the world. States in this position are more powerful than could have ever been imagined by the institution’s pioneers.
Definitionally violent institutions have to seek nukes. The power to be perpetual victors in war and big kids on the big stage results from the successful achievement of this goal, and this success or lack thereof is perhaps the primary determinant of global political importance. We worry so much about which states and other violence trusts get their hands on nukes because we fear some “irrational” force getting hold of them. Iran comes to mind in this regard—people are terrified that the Ayatollahs are psychotic wackos waiting to plunge the world into the abyss. But the fact that this regime has stayed in power in such a diverse and significant country for nearly three decades suggests that their kooky superstitious rhetoric is just for show: these sumbitches govern and are no more irrational than the blatherers within our own country’s civic faith or sense of patriotism. In fact, knowing now how the selection pressures within the state work and the advantages to be gained by possessing the tools of global democide the most irrational thing a state can do is to NOT seek nuclear weapons.
It is therefore our position that states which do not seek nuclear weapons are forbidden from possessing them.
Most states that don’t seek out nukes have not enough money to meet its basic obligations and build a bomb at the same time. Most of the rest of the abstainers are conveniently protected by some other nuclear power. It was all well and good for West Germany to foreswear the bomb, what with the US willing to use its bombs to keep the Germans only real external threat—the Soviet Union—out of the country. Why pay for the things when your friends will use theirs on your behalf if need be? As soon as scientists discovered the opportunity for tremendous energy release with atomic reactions it became inevitable that the nuclear bomb would be invented and that every state with any sense would find a way to get one for themselves. Ever since then the boss has been the one with the most bombs to his name.
Peace and Nuclear Annihilation
Nuclear weapons are the tools of instantaneous genocide. Perhaps democide is a more precise term, but as a nuke would be launched against a particular nation, I suppose it would meet the definition of genocide. Plus genocide is a scarier word than democide. Nukes represent the stockpiling of future genocidal acts—exemplary cases of mass, indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, genders, combatant status, ability and morality unlucky enough to be in a particular place at a specific time. Any ethic proclaimed in the context of these machines is at best completely absurd. At this extreme of ethical possibilities the societies which set out these morals belies them with their potential to slink beneath any meaningful standards of human behavior at the push of a button. At worst any ethic put forward is a craven manipulation on the part of sociopathic institutions hoping to hide their wickedness in a flurry of nostrums. These societies embrace their lack of principle and put forward a stated ethic only to stave off their eventual unraveling. Of course, each of our nuclear states and the states that crowd around them hoping for their protection and benevolence exist somewhere on this continuum and it fluctuates over time. But nuclear weapons make any idea of a coherent ethic impossible in these societies.
So humanity is now faced with a test—an ethical challenge that must be met. If we choose to keep our nuclear weapons we deserve the very destruction they promise. For one our ethic-rein societies are doomed to eventually crack up under the strains of competing ethics all bumping heads with no real way to adjudicate their usefulness or humanity. The nukes will not disappear; they are bound to end up in the hands of the most ruthless and manic among the competitors. For another the only possibility for maintaining a free future or space for individual—and thus legitimately moral—expression and development depends on the rolling back of the ethic of unrestrained violence that underlies the nuclear world administration. If nukes are maintained they ought to be immediately eliminated through simultaneous detonation.
Getting rid of the nukes in any other way is perhaps an even worse proposition. It would require a global enforcement of a standard ethic, that is to say the creation of a worldwide superstate encompassing all peoples, all individuals on the planet. It would require a centralized authority powerful enough to roll back the force of a state armed with these hellish weapons, or even of several such states. No other force could compel these states to give up this power. Just the establishment of the global ethic itself would (we have seen) give rise to a state programmed to seek continual expansions of its authority. Our understanding of the human potential for peace—rooted on a group identity derived from the least ethical, least literate and greediest among us—further alerts us to the impossibility of removing nuclear weapons from this planet without a coincident increase in misery and repression of individuality. We are faced with a choice between devastation and slavery—being vaporized on our feet or ordered around on our knees. This stress within our global system is palpable, the bouncing back and forth between the poles of eratic violence and moralizing authoritarianism defines the ebb and flow of our current international system. The rise of millennial death cults like al qaeda and their (at the moment) more tepid evangelical Christian cousins in the US embody this very spectrum of desperation. At one moment they are toppling buildings or bombing abortion clinics, the next they are hailing strong families and masculine restraint. This concentrated reflection of a broader global pathology only heightens the likelihood of nuclear annihilation.
As has been said, human beings are simply not cut out for peace. We are compelled by our very hope for survival and our propensity towards socialization to build collective entities among ourselves as individuals. Each individual is differentially enabled to maintain an ethical lifestyle and each has an ethic of his or her own, constantly in flux. In order to hold a group together the ethical prowess of the weakest members must ultimately define the ethic for all. In order to enforce this ethic and carry out its dictates states arise among us. These states are defined by their access to violence, and thus they are rewarded when they act violently—especially in the orgiastic explosion of violence that typifies war. Nuclear weapons make their possessing states capable of magisterial levels of violence and secure them as both warmasters and primary parties in the emerging global state. Simply ridding the world of these weapons is not so easily achieved. One must either submit all the peoples of the world to a distant global state capable of even greater violence than even the nuclear powers or one must support the immediate detonation of all nuclear weapons. This would in fact wipe out the human race, and thus society, and thus the state, and thus war. It would be Peace and Nuclear Annihilation.
Joining the Party for Peace and Nuclear Annihilation
Membership in any political party—including this one—or the pursuit of such is grounds for immediate expulsion from the Party for Peace and Nuclear Annihilation. The Party opposes ALL political parties on principle.