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'In the beginning, then, was theft', or: The Philosophical Underpinnings of BushCo

I've noted elsewhere that injustice is closer to Nature than justice. Several years ago I pretended to try to write a novel, one of the supposed highlights of which was a conversation between a Corporate Executive and a still idealistic charge of his. The theme of the conversation was that the executive was more in tune with Nature because he understood it better, as proven by his success borne from the clever and ruthless implementation of the simple ethic "might makes right."

The Marquis de Sade was a brilliant thinker who can serve as BushCo's most holy prophet. I believe his enormous, repetitive, and difficult tome Juliette can be considered the Bible of the forces behind neo-capitalism and globalization, best exemplified by BushCo. It is truly a Gospel of Fascism. (Reminder: "Fascism should more properly be called Corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." —Benito Mussolini)

Let us now attend to the words of Fascism's great and holy prophet, Saint de Sade, as spoken through Dorval, a German who explains the origins of his taste while recuperating after the exertions of a felch orgy.

[I know the following excerpt is extremely long. I also know that given our blipvert attention spans it takes a particular kind of gall to dare post something this demanding. But if people really want to understand what the fuck is going on they ought to take the time and trouble to exercise their brains with this because some of the most important thoughts cannot be summed up in economical bite-sized apothegmlets. If this offends you then you're exactly the person I'm talking to.]

And now, the holy man speaks...

An Extended Excerpt from the Writings of Ur-Capitalism's Prophet

Kind friends, by a single feature alone were men distinguished from one another when, long ago, society was in its infancy: the essential point was brute strength. Nature gave them all space wherein to dwell, and it was upon this physical force, distributed to them with less impartiality, that was to depend the manner in which they were to share the world. Was this sharing to be equal, could it possibly be, what with the fact that naked force was to decide the matter? In the beginning, then, was theft; theft, I say, was the basis, the starting point; for the inequality of this sharing necessarily supposes a wrong done the weak by the strong, and there at once we have this wrong, that is to say, theft, established, authorized by Nature since she gives man that which must necessarily lead him thereto. On the other hand, the weak revenge themselves, they put their wits to work, their cunning to use, in order to recover possession of what force has wrested from them, and there you have deceit, theft's sister and likewise daughter to Nature. Were theft offensive to Nature, she would have accorded equal physical and mental capacities to all men; all men existing on an equal footing. Nature would thus have ensured that to every man a fair share in the things of this world fall and would thus have prevented anybody from enriching himself to the detriment of his neighbor. Under these conditions, theft would be impossible. But when from the hands of the Nature who creates him man receives a conformation which necessitates both the inequality of what is allotted to each and hence theft, how then may one persist in ignorance and suppose that nature is loath to have us steal? To the contrary, she so plainly indicates that to steal is her fundamental commandment that she makes theft the basis of all animal instinct. Only by constant thefts do animals manage to preserve themselves, only by countless usurpations do they maintain their existences. And how ever has man—himself, after all, but an animal—been able to delude himself into thinking that what Nature implanted in the very soul of animals can be a crime in her eyes or for him?

When the first laws were promulgated, when the weak individual agreed to surrender part of his independence to ensure the rest of it, the maintenance of his goods was incontestably the first thing he desired, and so to enjoy in peace whatever little he had, he made its protection the prime object of the regulations he wanted formulated. The powerful individual assented to these laws which he knew very well he would never obey. And so the laws were made. It was decreed that every man would possess his heritage, undisturbed and happy; and that whosoever were to trouble him in this possession of what was his would be chastised. But in this there was nothing natural, nothing dictated by Nature, nothing of what she inspires, it was all very brazenly man-made, by men henceforth divided into two classes: those who yield up a quarter of the loaf in order to be able, undisturbed, to eat and digest what was left; and those who, eagerly taking the portion profferred to them and seeing that they'd get the rest of the bread whenever they pleased, agreed to the scheme, not in order to prevent their own class from pillaging the weak, but to prevent the weak from despoiling one another—so that they, the powerful, could despoil the weak more conveniently. Thus, theft, instituted by Nature, was not at all banished from the face of the earth; but it came to exist in other forms: stealing was performed juridically. The magistrates stole by having themselves feed for doing the justice they ought to render free of charge. The priest stole by taking payment for serving as intermediary between God and man. The merchant stole by selling his sack of potatoes at a price one-third above the intrisic value a sack of potatoes really has. Sovereigns stole by imposing arbitrary tithes, dues, taxes, levies upon their subjects. All these plunderings were permitted, they were all authorized in the precious name of right, and where are we today? we observe men take legal action against what? Against the most natural right of all, that is, against the simple right of every man who, lacking money, demands it at gunpoint of those whom he suspects to be wealthier than he. This fellow they call a criminal, and never once do they remember that the first thieves, of whom and to whom no one breathed a word of reproach, against whom no one protested, were uniquely responsible for the crimes of the second—were and are uniquely responsible for the obligation of this second man to find himself a weapon and by force to recuperate what the first usurper tore so unceremoniously away from him. For, if all these thieveries can be perfectly well understood as usurpations which necessitated the indigence of subordinate beings, these same inferiors' subsequent thefts, rendered inevitable by the earlier thefts of their betters, can scarcely be viewed as crimes; but rather as secondary effects ineluctably precipitated by primary causes; and the moment you assent to that primary cause, you forego the possbility of lawfully punishing its effects. To be sure, you may punish them, but only unjustly. If you elbow a servant against a costly vase, if, as he slips and falls, he breaks the vase, you have no right to penalize him for clumsiness; instead, you must direct your wrath upon the cause that drove you to mistreat him. When that wretched peasant, reduced to beggardom by the immense weight of the taxes you load on him, abandons his plow, gets hold of a pistol, and goes off to waylay you along the highway, you may punish him, yes, but if you do, I say that you commit a very great infamy; for he's not at fault, he's the valet your roughness made upset the vase: don't push him about and he'll not break anything; and if you do push him, don't be surprised when things get broken. Thus when he sets out to rob you this poor fellow commits no crime; he's merely striving to recover some of the substance you and others like you had previously snatched away from him. He is doing nothing that isn't completely natural, he is trying to redress the balance which, in the moral as well as the physical realm, is Nature's highest law: the peasant become desperado is perfectly right and what he does, perfectly just. But that isn't quite what I was aiming to prove; however, proofs aren't needed, there's no need of arguments to demonstrate that the weak individual is doing nothing more nor less than what he must when he attempts his utmost to recover things which were once torn from his grasp. What I should like to convince you of is that neither does the powerful individual commit a crime or an injustice when he strives to despoil the weak. I should like to convince you of that, for it is my own case, and I indulge in this act every day. Well, this demonstration is easy enough: theft perpetrated by a strong man is assuredly a better and more valid act, within the terms and from the standpoint of Nature, than the weak man's theft; for Nature prescribes no reprisals which the weak may take upon the strong; these reprisals may exist in the moral form, but certainly not in the physical, since, to take physical reprisals the weak man must make use of physical forces he does not possess, he must adopt a character that has not been given him, in short, he must in some sort fly in the face of Nature. That sage mother's laws unambiguously stipulate that the mighty harm the feeble, since for what other purpose have their powers been invested in the mighty? The strong individual, unlike the weak, never dons masks, he at all times acts true to his own character, his character is the one he has received from Nature, and whatever he does is an honest and direct expression thereof and in the highest sense and degree natural: his oppression, his violence, his cruelties, his tyrannies, his injustices, all these outbursts are of the character instilled in him by the power that gave him life on earth; all these are then simple, straightforward, and therefore pure emanations of what he is, as pure as the hand that engraved the necessity for them in him; and when he exercises all his rights to oppress the weak, to strip and ruin the weak, he therefore does the most natural thing in the world. Had our common dam desired this equality that the weak long to establish, had she truly desired that property be equally shared, why should she have divided the mighty and the weak into two classes? By so differentiating men has she not made her intention amply clear, to wit, that the discrepancies between physical faculties have their counterpart in material discrepancies? Does she not make manifest her design, that to the lion goes the whole share and to the mouse nothing; and this precisely in order to achieve the equilibrium that is the single basis to her whole system? For, in order that equilibrium reign in the natural scheme, it must not be men who install it there: Nature's equilibrium is disturbance unto men: what to us seems to unsettle the grand balance of things is precisely what, in Nature's view, establishes it, and the reason therefore is as follows: this that we take to be lack of equilibrium results in the crimes through which order is restored in the universal economy. The mighty make away with everything—that, men agree, is unbalance. The weak react and pillage the strong—there, redressing the scales you have the crimes which are necessary to Nature. So let us never have qualms over what we will be able to snatch from the weak, for it isn't we who in acting thus qualify our gesture as criminal; it is the weak man's reaction or vengeance which so characterizes it: robbing the poor, despoiling the orphan, fleecing the widow of her inheritance, man does no more than make rightful use of the rights Nature has given him. Crime? Ha! The only crime would consist in not exploiting these rights: the indigent man, placed by Nature within the range of our depradations, is so much food for the vulture Nature protects. If the powerful man looks to be causing some disturbance when he robs those who lie at his feet, the prostrate restore order by arising to steal from their superiors; great and small, they all serve Nature.

Tracing the right of property back to its source, one infallibly arrives at usurpation. However, theft is only punished because it violates the right of property; but this right is itself nothing in origin but theft; thus, the law punishes the thief for attacking thieves, punishes the weak for attempting to recover what has been stolen from him, punishes the strong for wishing either to establish or to augment his wealth through exercising the talents and prerogatives he has received from Nature. What a shocking series of inane illogicalities! So long as there shall be no legitimately established title to property (and never will there by any such thing), it will remain very difficult to prove that theft is crime, for the loss theft causes here is restitution there; and Nature, being no more concerned for what happens on the one side than the other, it is perfectly impossible for anyone in his right mind to affirm that the favoring of either side to the disadvantage of the other can constitute an infraction of her laws.

And so the weaker party is quite correct when, seeking to recover his usurped goods, he deliberately attacks the stronger party and, if all goes well, forces him to relinquish them; the only wrong he can commit is in betraying the character, that of weakness, with which Nature has stamped him: she created him to be a slave and poor, he declines to submit to slavery and poverty, there's his fault; and the stronger party, without that same fault because he remains true to his character and acts only in strait accordance therewith, is also and equally right when he seeks to rob the weak and to enjoy himself at their expense. And now let each of them pause a moment and inspect his own heart. In deciding to assault the strong, the weak individual, whatever may be the rights justifying his decision, will be subject to mild doubts and waverings, and this hesitation to proceed and gain satisfaction comes from the fact he is just about to overstep the laws of Nature by assuming a character which is not native to him. The strong individual, on the contrary, when he despoils the weak, when, that is to say, he enters actively into the enjoyment of the rights Nature has conferred upon him, by exercising them to the full, reaps pleasure in proportion to the greater or lesser extent he gives to the realization of his potentialities. The more atrocious the hurt he inflicts upon the helpless, the greater shall be the voluptuous vibrations in him; injustice is his delectation, he glories in the the tears his heavy hand wrings from the unlucky; the more he persecutes him, the happier the despot feels, for it is now that he makes the greatest use of the gifts Nature has bestowed upon him; putting these gifts to use is a veritable need, and satisfying that need an incisive pleasure. Moreover, this necessary pleasure-taking, which is born of the comparison made by the happy man between his lot and the unhappy man's, this truly delicious sensation is never more deeply registered in the fortunate man than when the distress he produces is complete. The more he crushes his woe-ridden prey, the more extreme he renders the contrast and the more rewarding the comparison; and the more, consequently, he adds fuel to the fire of his lust. Thus, from hammering the weak he gleans two exceedingly keen pleasures: the augmentation of his material substance and resources and the moral enjoyment of the comparisons which he renders all the more voluptuous the more suffering he inflicts upon the miserable. So let him pillage, let him burn and ravage and wreck; to this wretch he fastens on let him leave nothing but the breath which will prolong a life whose continuation is necessary to the oppressor if he is to be able to go on making the comparison; let him do as he likes, he'll do nothing that isn't natural and sanctioned by Nature, whatever he invents will be nought but the issue of the active powers entrusted to him, the more he puts his potentialities into play, the more pleasure he'll have; the better the use to which he puts his faculties, to Nature the better servant will he be.